Monday, May 23, 2011

valéry on leonardo

"i was only too well aware that my understanding of leonardo was much slighter than my admiration for him."

--introduction to the method of leonardo da vinci

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

on repeat.

i heard a ghost of your voice
long after you had left the room
couldn't quite make out the words
but the laugh was unmistakably yours
how will i ever get the sound of you
out of my head?
i guess that i should only be
so lucky
and i saw my shadow next to yours
slowly fade away
and i saw my shadow next to yours
just fade away
we've had this conversation
so many times before
and i know that you are tired of
the same questions
but maybe if i keep asking them
the sounds from your mouth
will form the words
the words i want to hear
and i saw my shadow next to yours
slowly fade away
i saw my shadow next to yours
just fade away

the submarines, 'this conversation'

Monday, November 15, 2010

warning: self-indulgence ahead

i know what you're thinking. you're like,"okay so there's this long stretch of posts about shopping and music videos and kitties, and now she's all like DEATH AND DYING morbid." it does seem a little bipolar, i know. but since i have an audience of two (including myself), i'm not that concerned about being consistent. one day kittens, the next major life experience. yeah. so when i was in alabama i was on my way to my friend elizabeth's when i thought i should visit all the stewarts who reside at highland cemetery. (is that even what it's called, m.d.?) there's a whole slew of stewarts waiting for me there, all of whose tombstones were photographed because i am my (genealogist) grandaddy's grandaughter. most important though is this guy:

like i said in the previous post, it had been awhile since i had been to anniston, and while i definitely don't believe that everything that's left of my dad is interred here, i always feel a sort of camaraderie when i visit his grave, almost like he'd get a real kick out of it. and at first i thought it seemed a bit wrong to photograph his tombstone, probably in much the same way that my mother second guessed herself when she considered photographing me in the evening light at my father's hospital bed on the ninth floor of rmc. but knowing that she regrets not taking that photograph made me pull out the camera (or the iphone, as it were), because i needed to document the both of us, together, the long shadows of my legs as they fell across the granite. i needed proof that we were together, if only in light and shade. i'm here, i'm here, and i know you'll never leave me.

i've said it before, and i'll say it again. my life is lived in two parts, every day before april 21, 1999, and every day after. what would i trade to see him pull on a fringed suede jacket and mock adam duritz just to get under my skin? what would i give to have him make me listen to in-a-gadda-da-vida on repeat ('just listen, jessica, just LISTEN'), to have him regale me with stories of playing with b.b. king and nearly burning down the house? what would i trade for another handcrafted wooden animal complete with its own correspondence, for another letter claiming he hadn't written this much in years? the answer is always the same, anything at all. take it all.

inherited no. 8

in early october i made the trek down to alabama for a quick weekend. i'm not sure how many years had passed since i had stepped foot in anniston. i went mainly to see the m.d. and her own m.d., my grandma, who is 85 and the most humble person i've ever met, seriously. louise walker spent most of her childhood in a catholic orphanage in birmingham, and on june 20, 1947, when she was 22, she married my grandpa, leonard harkins. my grandpa was already sick with parkinson's when i was born, so i remember my grandma spending most of her time caring for him. she's been on her own for twenty years now and has been pretty independent until the last couple of years. now she lives with my aunt and uncle, and she spends her days praying, playing solitaire, doing puzzles, eating sweets, and napping. there is a photograph of my grandpa in his military uniform hanging in her room, and the first day i visited her on this trip she looked at the picture and said to my mother and me that he was a good man. such a simple statement, so true, but it was clear that what she was really saying was that she missed him. i can't imagine what it must be like to have lived twenty years without the person you loved most in all the world.

this is a rather roundabout way of getting to the inherited part of this post. as we sat in her room and my heart twisted in my chest at seeing her so different from when i'd last visited, she suddenly remembered that she wanted to give me something. (in all fairness, i had a hint this was coming.) she told me to go over to the statuette of the "blessed mother" on her dresser, and perched on top, like a halo, was her wedding ring.
i don't know why she chose me, it could be as simple as the fact that i'm the oldest unmarried grandaughter. (go me!) it's a simple ring in thin white gold, with almost sharp edges around the circumference. it's the sort of ring you wouldn't even notice, which is exactly how my grandma has lived her life, never trying to call attention to herself, but it now ranks among my most treasured possessions. too small for my own fingers, i strung it together with my mother's wedding ring. my mother's thick gold band hangs heavy next to the delicate, thin ring that bound my grandparents together for 43 years. wearing them together i constantly find my fingers twisting around them, trying to hold on to, to feel between my fingers, the love and hardship and commitment that kept them on my grandma and my mother's fingers for so many years. to have them, though, is bittersweet, because that i have them, that they aren't still on their original owners' fingers, is evidence of a loss beyond my comprehension.
that's the tricky thing about inheritances -- they almost always stand for someone's loss. thank you, grandma, for continuing to use a prayer book that's in pieces, for playing solitaire with cards whose edges are worn down in the center from years of shuffling, for reminding me of what matters.