Salmon Rillettes (One Good Thwack)

The sun loses itself behind a scrim of melted butter-clouds.

I move a mason jar filled with wildflowers so they catch the caramelly light. They die so quickly. The hardwood glows amber-gold. The sun burns beauty into our shoulders and thighs. We try to make the most.

I’m embarrassed to find myself these days writing mostly about weather. It can’t be helped. Last week I wrote about not writing, of all things, about the feel of quiet. What I meant then was not that I have nothing to report from that quiet. I meant I’m troubled about what to possibly mean.

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Keeping

It’s been observed that these posts read like love letters, and I suppose they are.

I don’t write as often as I used to. There’s a mood to achieve–quiet, still, sad–and these days are unforgiving of moods, unforgiving of all but hard work and frantic play. But these can so weary the soul and I hope I’m forgiven for fleeing from them from time to time, for holing up in my tiny home and laying in bed and looking out at branches, out at nothing at all, and feeling for that quiet again. I have been at it for a day and it’s nearly here. This is who I am. I’m beginning to remember.

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On Flesh

Some thoughts on what it means to have a body:

One: All the good street art faces east. We are riding the train north, passing one of the Red Line burning men—long-faced, suited men engulfed in pink and green flames—when the suited middle-aged lady beside me extracts a roll of toilet paper from her large straw bag. She begins to blow her nose, emitting this percussive, unrelenting, glottal-sounding sound, the relentlessness and percussiveness of which I am powerless to describe.

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On Being Satisfied


**Parts of this post appear in “Hunger” in the Winter 2011 issue of The North American Review.

I’m beginning to notice a problem with eating richly, with eating well.

It’s that it makes you hungry. After a great meal you may find that you are full. Maybe you flirt with satisfaction. But then comes this baseline buzz, this mewling hunger that begs, always, to be fed. And more, better: with finer attention and intelligence, greater tenderness and cheek. There is nothing sadder than the end of a great meal, knowing what comes next.  

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Heat

I have little patience for complaints about the weather, but I tell you I’m ready to throw in the towel if we don’t get some heat here soon.

Last week I heard someone say this has been the coldest spring since…and I stopped listening, stopped hearing: too demoralizing. But it’s coming. Can you feel it? I mean not the season itself–not the flouncy skirts or the scant underthings or the towering espadrilles, not the day games or the melted lake or the milky blues or balmy weather–but the heat, the devotions it inspires in us.

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Reverence

I have this fear that, waiting so long to write you, I open up a space between us.

And I worry that each day of silence grows it, makes it harder to stitch up. But I’m suspicious of talk, of apology–it only puts more of the ordinary between us–and anyway what we have here calls for a different kind of devotion. Let me only say, then, that when I wrote you last, I was, maybe we were, living under different weather.

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Roasted Artichokes, Guacamole

There is a book I love, “On Being Blue,” and it begins with a list.

“Blue pencils, blue noses, blue movies, laws, blue legs and stockings… the rare blue dahlia like that blue moon shrewd things happen only once in.”

We may be surprised to find that the book is not about sadness, except in the way that all art circles back to sadness, which is the being it’s born of. In the end blue is about desire, but desire on the page, the stringing together of words, the, forgive me, the love of language.

So we get underway with today’s list, our string of green things: green apples, greenbacks, green beans; the green of the party, of the river, of the day, of wanness and bruising and the first breath of spring.

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A Question

Then there’s this pressing question about the things we look to to get us through our days.

As if days, weeks, months, years are only things to weather—to hunker down and power through—the uncharactered middle lengths of a road trip. In February I live by false peaks, and it ticks by fast, danced forward by its quiet drumbeat of minor celebrations. But now the Valentine flowers are dying. The office holiday Monday flickered away with the insouciance of a flaking dinner guest. We barely noticed the passage of the Lunar New Year; our city was buried, my family lived in a different world. And yesterday a birthday came and went, the saddest celebration of all, hungry as birthdays are, bloated as they are with exaggerated significance.

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