So March insists on going out
(as it came in) like a lion;
yet we have peach blossoms!
Beata said that in honor of "Dawn or Doom,"
she is naming this photo "Gloom or Bloom!"
Happy Hollow . . .
Photographs by Beata Ribeiro
"The outward sign of something much, much worse...
Cut—burn—away the fact of him. You will
nurse the wound, protect the scab, oil the scar, and never
again be smooth and clean. Never once free of the fact of him
while you wait, phone in hand, ringer on high,
for the call that says what’s next."
Yiddish for Travellers
I bought the book optimistically,
thinking to go there one day, to that lost land
where the border guards only know Yiddish . . .
In the capitol of the Yiddish country, there are
shiny green, blue, and yellow trolleys, broad plazas
with delis and patisseries where the small tables
are filled with people reading and arguing and joking
over their strudel and rugelach, sipping tea in glasses.
They place sugar cubes in their mouths; they lovr herring.
They squeeze plump cheeks of nephews ad grandchildren.
The people there are all oddly reminiscent of my relatives,
my aunts and uncles and great - aunts and great uncles,
and all of their relatives who I never met, who never
somehow crossed over, who were isolated perhaps
int this landlocked Yiddish land, where the police
speak Yiddish, where everyone is in terrific health,
vigorous and sometimes portly from all the pastries,
from the lack of stress, from having escaped
everything so thoroughly. [emphasis added]
"This process reminded me of my older relatives and their worries. Some of them always carried their passports ("just in case," they said). Some of them had gotten into the habit of having many savings accounts so that cash and documents would be available if needed (the winners in this category, as far as I know, were my ancient aunts Gertie and Rose, who lived in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn and had over one hundred savings accounts spread across all of the boroughs). My parents were baffled by anyone choosing to travel to Europe. When I returned from my first summer in Europe (two months in Paris and London) my father said he it was incredibly brave of me to travel by myself there. He associated Europe with the notion of fleeing."
"The inspectors . . . took measurements, put up fences, and planted flags. Porters unloaded rolls of barabed wire, cement pillars, and all kinds of appliances suggestive of preparations for a pubic celebration.Even as the summer season draws to a melancholy close and the beautiful vacationers are required to board the ominous freight cars, their delusional innocence allows them to voice a false hope, heartbreaking to the reader who knows the horrible reality: " 'If the coaches are so dirty, it must mean that we have not far to go' "(148).
'There'll be fun and games this year.'
"How do you know?'
'The Festival's probably going to be a big affair this year; otherwise why would the Sanitation Department be going to all this trouble?'
'You're right, I didn't realize.' " (15)
". . . If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. . . . "
~ from "A Brief for the Defense" by Jack Gilbert
" . . . I am thinking how odd it is that national anthems
("Star - Spangled Banner," "O Canada,"
let alone the more stirring
"Chee - lai! Boo yuan tzo noo lee dee run men"
or the more rhythmic "Ragupat ragava rajah Rum"
can only be handled by massive choral groups,
by opera divas and gospel singers, and can't be played
by amateurs on guitar, and isn't that counter to
national purposes? . . . "