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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

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The Water is Wide

Okay, I confess, this whole “Ireland” thing is simply an elaborate ruse to have a reason to email Brandon Rogers, formerly of One Child Left Behind, and ask him to contribute a guest post in my absence, to which he very sweetly agreed. There isn’t anything I can say about Brandon’s writing that doesn’t come off as gushing, or that someone else hasn’t gushed before. He is the real thing, and if he doesn’t come out with a novel or book of short stories soon, there is no justice in this world. His prose has a dreamlike quality, but there isn’t anything wispy about it. It is more like a lucid dream—hyper-real, substantial. Hard to shake. His farewell post took me four days to read. I had to keep coming up to catch my breath.

The guest writers I approached all swim in cross-cultural currents, like I do. They are either married to immigrants or are ex-patriots themselves. I told them to interpret this theme as loosely as they liked. Here, without further ado, is Brandon:

Tarrytown Wedding Strangers

Tarrytown, I think, is what we have come to call
This loose incorporation of houses and overgrown trails, my foreign
bride and I;
The poison oak sprouts up high
Upon the banks so that the only way off the path is to fall,
Directly into the water, and you can tell the people who don’t care;
Their children’s shirts are stained in blackberry and madrona, and
their forearms bear
The scars of untended scratches and calloused wounds.

I would like to think that 13 years ago, when I was walking alone
Through a forest 4,000 miles away I was equally ambivalent
About the souvenirs the thorns leave when you forget
Your place, but in light of what I’ve always known
This cannot possibly be true. I will
Always re-open my histories so that they never fully heal.
I find it impossible not to re-visit these small towns.

I remember the first few days we spent together, the excitement of
changes coming near,
Understanding that happenings were coming and going, had arrived and
The way you can just sometimes tell. The ones who are meant
To be remembered, to be re-opened in albums year after year.
She had this ability to shrink from plain sight,
To fit into the quietest corner of a room. On that night,
I could easily imagine her hiding with me in the crape myrtle groves
while the storms raged about.

She has this ability to photograph what I’m thinking, so that
sometimes I don’t think
It would even matter if we spoke the same language, and I have
negatives and proofs,
Impressions of days we barely speak at all, but instead leave clues
Lying around the house that everything is alright. This is when we sink
Into the voids we fill for each other, attributing our
To cultural differences, an easy out that could easily keep us bound
together, strings
Of secrets that drive our boundless curiosity, like visible clearings
beyond the bounds

Of the brambles that simply must be explored, regardless of what the
Devil’s Club would
Inflict even through my clothes, even if I have to sometimes venture on
my own,
Even if what binds us is that neither can point to a common region on
any map called home.
In many ways, she has become the guardian missing from my childhood,
And I consequently alternate between stages of rebellion and
Times when I reject her affection and times when I crawl
Back into good graces via poorly translated terms of affection and
indigenous breakdowns.


Blogger mcewen said...

Newbie - You can end up in some interesting 'spots' if you have a moment to travel around, one link leads to another link and another....

2:02 PM  

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