Wednesday, September 06, 2006

house of words

Syracuse, NY. Sitting on a back porch, looking at a leaning fence and a blue house with a half-moon window. It could be any blue house, and any half-moon window, anywhere. In Winnipeg, in Vancouver, in any place I have loved. The sun is filtering itself through persistent grey clouds, too bright to look at, too dull to fully cheer.

A week and a half into my continent-trotting parade, and I have seen many states that look exactly the same as the provinces north of them. I have seen many freeways, the bloodveins of a restless nation, where people drive too fast and where there are too many greasy roadside distractions. Another week and a half and I’ll be looking out upon more of this state, from the window of a bus where I’ll sit, alone, in motion. Another week and a half and I’ll be heading towards Times Square: time to the power of two. Time, multiplied upon itself in the center of one of the world’s largest cities. And then I’ll wait for a plane to take me to another place, for awhile.

America, Germany, Canada, and back again. Loved, left, alone, embraced, family, community, alone, rejected, healed. The cycle of looking for home and leaving it behind, finding it in sounds and tastes and textures: The crunch of toast in the morning, the voices of friends by day, the softness of companionship in the evening. These are the things that are my shelter. In spite of the white walls, needing warmth. In spite of the scattered furniture and unpacked boxes. No matter what small messes I pile around me I find the lead weight in my heart and mind that binds me to

this ground

this home

this permanency


Prose that slowly burns off its skins of usefulness, exposing the raw stuff of beauty

that lies embedded in the poetry’s subtle gestures.

This is how we live; observing, accomplishing tasks,

carrying out our various modes of survival.

All the while pushing for the thing that makes it all worth carrying on at all.

The thing that for many of us is nameless, but stronger and louder than

anything we’ve heretofore been able to name.

Poetry, force your way through the mundane flurry of words I write.
Redeem this language. Brighten this day. Amen.

2 comments:

MdL said...

jen, this is beautiful. i love the way you wield words and present them...i've never measured distance by kilometres, instead i measure them by phone calls, emails and letters. for me, this is the reason why you've never left vancouver.

Jen said...

Aw, thanks! I'm glad I still abide on it's rainy shores, my memory kept alive by friends like you. (big cheesy smile) -Jen