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Most likely we travel to exist in an analogue to our life’s dilemmas. It’s like a spaceship. The work for the traveler is making the effort to understand that the place you are moving through is real and the solution to your increasingly absent problems is forgetting. To see them in a burst as you are vanishing into the world. Travel is not transcendence. It’s immanence. It’s trying to be here.

Eileen Myles in her essay “Iceland” from The Importance of Being Iceland. (Just after this, she narrates her trip to Ísafjörður, the largest town (pop 1,200) in the Westfjords. I long to go back there.)

Photo: Darren Patrick

Photo: Darren Patrick

Low bell
not really ringing
so clear
so much as clunk
swinging
clunk again
tied to your neck
so I can find you
when you wander.

A fly buzzes you
never afraid,
you just amble
flicking an ear
back to pulling grass
distended humor
chew
foaming green between your crowded teeth.

This work is usually done alone
But we have found a way to feel
these fields
to be
together, even set apart
by an ocean of lost ice
weeping its way to saline shores
the slow violence
our forgotten fate
rendered from old choices
too linked to the pastoral
of a tiny home on
an empty island
which used to be ours.

We go on culling the
partisans of sense
telling them our electric tales
of an ethics
urbanized by the mesh
of our latent indulgences

A pretty barista
A lobster
An army of vacuuming ants
Piling crumbs near the mattress
Leaving quietly thorough a hole in the wall
Where the dead squirrel was found.

We are where we have always been
touching by underground wires
in pixels
the false approximation of flannel
I feel the terry cloth sound between my teeth
it hurts to swallow
that sound

Do they move together?
Tracing the countours of that hill
unable to see the world beyond this island
It was a gift.

Cleaved in two by a wolf
Distended
We had left them too long.
They are young.

And we
are the shepherds of desire.

Elliðaey Island

Over the last several weeks, I have been in constant, sweeping motion.  I have traveled physically, emotionally, and spiritually through some of the most beautiful landscapes, memories, and experiences in my life.  These last weeks have involved three large trips.  The first, to Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Iceland; the second, a marvelously nomadic art making road trip to the northern reaches of the Great Lakes in Canada; the third, a return to my roots in Cleveland, Ohio.  Taken together, they have pushed me to move beyond my understanding of the meaning of movement, of travel, and of my place in the world.

I haven’t written much yet – on or off the blog – about these experiences.  I have captured some images – and been captured by some image makers – which form a fragmented map of my movements.  As I enter what will undoubtedly be the ‘summer of intense work,’ I’d like to try to process these experiences in a series of posts which attempt not to make sense, but to relive, to represent the sensory-embodied explosions which have shaped my self-understanding through these strange and beautiful times.  I am neither able to nor do I aspire to recreate this time period in a series of travelogues.  Instead, I hope my writing will be a moment of return, a recollective gesture, which draws out the lasting implications of a barely comprehensible sequence of events.

Stay with me, while I rest and process in the coming weeks.

Home in the moment,
I will spin the vapors
Too impossible to contain
Too beautiful to release.

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