The Irish Goodbye
Because the gesture goes so deeply into the infinite. Each goodbye is every goodbye and names the distance between us.
Because the meeting is so fleeting.
For some the word is a placeholder, a bookmark, the other half of hello. But I think it the echo of an ever-shouting oblivion.
When I leave the world it will be through a window if all the other exits are blocked.
the things are against us
I have been friends with Su since my freshman year in college. We were going to be writers!
And goddammit if we're not.
She's the only writer friend I ever had until recently. Lawrence Kansas is a stray dog in need of a tick shave, flea bath, some serious worming to rid it of the pestilence of writers, but I always felt the word signified a posture rather than an avocation.
And thus avoided the self-proclaimed as though they were lepers.
I have since learned that those personalities in Lawrence I thought were frauds are the same people who became fairly successful writers in the Bay Area and New York. Real estate and publishing is all
location location location.
But I'm not here to gripe. All writers are fraudulent in essence, otherwise we'd utter the holy words that would immolate the universe or glow silent against the fire the flood until it consumed our silence instead.
It's the clay and not the breath of God that makes us human.
But Su and I have grown into this life together. And though we have read each other's work for years...
In fact just a month ago she sent me an old poem of mine. Something arcane about a moon-lusting monk... here's a bit.
An old man of the earth
Not of the cloth
His mouth is wafer thin and ill suited for this passion
Which has conferred with the ice covering his white brier beard
And the tides of his brain:
A fever for seven days to allow her another quarter
And his escape
A fever for tonight’s dance he moves
Gracefully at a boil
...and last weekend was the first time I have seen one of her plays.
I like red-eye flights. We arrived in New York at the same time everyone else was arriving and we began the day together. We took the train into New Haven with a great number of young people dressed in now wrinkled evening attire and night-randy hair through the green green of early North Eastern Summer. Another playwright friend of Su's was there for the opening, Sharif, and he has a delightful story about Mexico's premier Shakespearian scholar, Yale, a young woman, and his inability to make out the word 'betrothal' on his phone, and her downstairs neighbors visited, bring the gift of homebrewed stout, their lovely near-newborn, and fantastic conversation that ranged from Tom Waits to The Watchman to Roland Barthes to Axe Cop and then our chocolate maker friend Alexandra arrived from Cornell and invited us to her aunt's beautiful home in the woods, where rhubarb pie awaited and her grandmother from Charlotte who said I could be from the south because I was so good-looking and then we saw the show, although I had to park and run a desperate few blocks alone to be ushered quietly into the back by an usher who was waiting just for me.
Of the show I may speak later. Old houses are scary. So are Germans. Also now we know why Lorca died young. And redheads are still totally hot. Afterwards we rang in the new day with a bonfire despite a driving North wind.
The next day we day-tripped up the Atlantic to visit a Book-Barn, which is a barn that is filled with books, and nommed some seafood in Mystic, which is actually a place.
Other quotidian adventures followed but the main point is that I strode the wide earth, met fellow workers in song, ate and drank art in the great comfort of a green deciduous old mountain earth. It felt like a window into a happy future. I will fight for it. Thank you, Susan Soon He Stanton.
Sometimes it really does feel like we travel through time together and that space is an illusion.