diumenge, de novembre 18, 2007

These old ghosts cling about my ankles
still I have buried you all
now memory
when I die you will all die with me
there will be no one else to laud or laugh at you
I will tear your collective pasts down into the soil with me

I grew up in a distant land
all that we were is lost now
I watched it all fade and wither
with each coffin lowered into the ground
each death one more nail in the lid
until finally I was left a man beset by shades and sorrow

No matter how I tried
I could not hold on to the past
begrudgingly relinquishing my grasp
as a world that took centuries to build
died in fewer than thirty years

In our world a wasp's nest in the dining room brought luck
and a ham bone in your pocket kept you out of the poor house
the Bellsnickler might come as easily as Santa Claus on Christmas
and Pigbears brought gifts on Easter
we burned a bayberry candle on New Year's Eve

Old ladies hid jewels under their davenports
in Victorian front parlors
Great Grandma Sandt went up in one wheel in her buggy
as she charged to see an ailing sister in another town
old men drove cattle from the creek to the slaughterhouse
right along Sarah Street
in August heat, horses failed while men bricked the streets
in our world there was a good town and bad town
and we came from the good

the winters were cold
and we lived by wood fires
in season we could take elderberries
gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries
cherries, apples, peaches
rhubarb, grapes and Queen Anne's Lace
up from the land and down from the trees and bushes
and make jellies, jams, pies, and wine

and in the season we'd cull the foul
feasting in the cold months on their flesh
little guinea hens and succulent goose
there was no escaping our attachment to the land
nor to the waters where we could fish for trout and bass

And yet soon, no one else will remember all this
and when I die
all that land ever was, and all the stories it ever told
will die with me.

dimarts, d’agost 28, 2007

Une pensée furtive avant de me coucher (French)

Ce soir, si je meurs, mon seuel regret: je n'ai pas été aimé par un bon garçon. Oui, mes dieux, j'ai essayé, et ça mainte fois, mais je fais quelque chose de mauvais, de très mauvais evidemment, car aucun ne vient me regarder comme quelqu'un de sérieux, où en même temps des exemplaires plus pauvres, plus gros, plus laids, moins intelligents, et toute sorte de combinaison de ces belles qualités peuvent bien trouver pas seulement un amour mais plusieurs! Est-ce que je suis vraiment maudit, alors? Est-ce qu'il faut passer le reste de mes jours ainsi? Si oui, mon seul soulagement est que cette pauvre situation présente la vraie possibilité que vous existez et que vous me détestez. Comme on dirait, un indice sérieux. J'espère bien que ça vous rend contents, de me voir souffrir, de me voir faillir seul, la fin de mes journées prise en mourant seule à mes logements, mes restes pourris trouvés par des inconnus, ou bien par des voisins agités par l'odeur de mon chagrin. Autrement je pourrais bien partir de ce monde parmi les étangers dans un hôpital avec personne pour entendre mes dernières paroles. Ah oui, c'est vrai ces deux scénarios peuvent bien se passer même si j'avais un bel amant de longue durée. Mais au moins, avec lui dans mon passé, mes dernières pensées seraient beaucoup plus douces.

Et si vous existez, je vais certainement demander ce que j'ai fait pour mériter cette condamnation. La seule chose que je veux depuis mon adolescence, la seule chose que je voulais plus que ma carrière, que mes biens, m'a évitée, et mon coeur devient un pauvre mendiant, sans solaz, certainement condamné à mourir plus pauvre qu'il est né. Tout ce que j'ai fait, tout ce que j'ai accomplis, je vais toujours demander si je n'aurais pas fait plus avec un autre à mes côtés...

divendres, d’agost 24, 2007

Last Song (English)

When they sing my last song
when they scatter my dust atop the clay of the Earth
when they hang my memory with the others upon the Great Question Mark
let them say of me: he drank deep
let them say of me: he ate well
let them say of me: he strove for goodness
let them say of me: he tried to make the world a better place
but let them not say of me: in matters of love he did not try....

More Good Eats in the City Where Sin Never Sleeps (English)

More fine treats for the finicky palate..

Last night Barbara and I went to Iris in uptown New Orleans at Riverbend. It was a small, albeit midly pretentious bistro, but they could make a great Grey Goose Martini and the had a Cantaloupe Mojito as aspecial that was to die for. For my opener, I ordered foie gras, prepared closely to the old world style. It was very pleasant, but I think they could have stuffed that goose for a bit longer! Then I had a mixed greens salad with shitake mushrooms and a house dressing that was very nice. Then for my main course I had sea scallops with Bak Choi and grapefruit wedges; all in all the meal was very light, but very pleasant. Finally for dessert I had honeydew melon sorbet, a very nice foil to the light summery dishes I'd had for my meal, especially considering the 97 degree temperature outside!

Tonight we went to a place not far from Irish, in fact in the same building as Lebanon's Cafe (which is in front of Iris) called the Fiesta Bistro. At first, neither Barbara nor I thought the place would be all the good, but we figured we would try it on a whim, figuring that we had been to so many nice places, we were bound to hit a bad one sooner or later. We were both wrong! In fact the menu was relaly wonderful, a nice combination of Spanish and Mexican (although the waiter, a young swain from Syracuse of all places, informed us that all the Mexican elements would be vanishing in due course and the menu would be just Spanish.). I ordered a couple tapas and some tacos for my meal, accompanied by two lovely frozen margaritas (you can get lovely daiquris and margaritas all over New Orleans, and many places have incredible early bird specials on these, although nothing as grand as those 50 cent martinis at La Petite Grocery). For my first tapa I had stuffed mushrooms, filled with olives, pinenuts, garlic and tomatoes sitting in a lovely drizzle of balsamico. Next I had a manchego cheese and red pepper empanada, followed by m main course, two tacos, one steak one chicken, both of which I topped with some lovely spicey salsa. Finally for dessert, I had a flan and espresso. The flan was a little over the top, and therefore disappointing; I would have prefered a more traditional flan. However, over all the meal was very good, and very inexpensive: 52$ for both of us. In fact with the excpetion of Iris, all the meals we have had this week were rather inexpensive. As I am wont to do, I tend to add things on to my meal and make it more expensives, but really, it would have been possible to eat for around 25$ at five of the six restaurants and still get a fabulous meal. New Orleans has so many restaurants, and with the reduced tourist trade after Katrina, and now even moreso due to the hot weather, many have spectacular offers.

dimecres, d’agost 22, 2007

Food in the Big Easy (English)

As damaged as she is, as so totally dysfyunctional as she is, New Orleans can still serve up awesome food.

On my first night here, Barbara and I went to a local Lebanese restaurant, Lebanon's Cafe. In fact the cafe is owned by an Iraqi, but the food seems to keep with the Lebanese theme. I ordered their bake kibbe platter which came with a mixed greens salad, hummus, tahini sauce and two large kibbes. It was excellent, but only the beginning of what we would have so far this week.

Monday night we went to a small, rather newly opened restuarant on the corner of Magazine and Milan called Ignatius, which serves a lot of traditional New Orleans dishes. I had the special of the night, red beans and rice with sausage, accompanied by a ceasar salad. For dessert I had their bourbon bread pudding, really a super meal.

Tuesday we went to a reastaurant located near Ignatius, called La Petite Grocery. They had a fantastic prix fixe menu for 20$, with choice of appetizer, entree and dessert. They also had 50cent martinis! I chose a 50cent martini, which was made with Skyy vodka, not the best, but for 50 cents..., and I chose a celery heart and apple salad with walnuts, blue cheese and a white wine dressing as my appetizer. For my main course I had a filet mignon with stilton on a bed of asparagus and fingerling potatoes. For dessert I had an apple tart with creole creme cheese icecream on top. Over all it was a ravishing meal.

Tonight we went to the Upperline, on the corner of Upperline and Prytania. For openers I had their watercress salad followed by New Orleans veal grillades on cheddar grits, absolutely fantastic! For dessert I had their version of bread pudding complete with pralines, again excellent. Hopefully we'll get a few more excellent meals before I leave New Orleans for this trip.

Further Reflections on New Orleans (English)

New Orleans may indeed be beset by a dinge that's darker and deeper than the one with which she was bemantled before Katrina, but at her heart, she is still New Orleans. It ocurred to me this afternoon as I stood in the Audubon Aquarium looking out over the Big Muddy from the relative comfort of wheezing air condensers that New Orleans was pretty much being ignored by much of America. She has fallen from whatever little grace she clung to before the Hurricane, but that may not be a bad thing. For many years, the city lived on the edge of the American conscience, and it was only in the latter half of the twentieth century that she entered into a zone closer to the center of American identity. Clearly, while many Americans as individuals rushed to help save her citizens and her culture, among them the many millions who have been touched by her unique spirit, the government of her country has not done nearly enough to stabilize her, despite the fact that she is the only city of note between Florida and the giant metropolis of Texas.

Again, that may not be a bad thing, for in the past she has been battered, and on her own she has come back, even more unique than before. I suspect that she is rallying her internal strength for another century or two, and perhaps when America is ready, she will be able to take her place near the center of our minds again.

dilluns, d’agost 20, 2007

Post Card from New Orleans: The Old Grey Mare (English)

Today was my first full day in New Orleans, and I decided to see how the old girl was faring, now nearly two years after Katrina. My orginal plan for the afternoon was to spend it in the cool halls of the New Orleans Museum of Art, since with the deep humidity and 92 degree temperature, a contemplative day felt more appealing to me than sauntering about in the blazing heat.

I was sadly disappointed when I arrived at the museum and discovered that it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I decided to use my new found free time to begin wandering around the city in my hired car, a metallic blue PT Cruiser, complete with very efficient air conditioning. I began my survey of the city in City Park, where the museum is located. A great deal of work has been done along the once beautiful oak allee to bring it back to something like its former glory. Sadly, its former glory now seems lost for ever, since all the of oaks along the allee were destroyed by the flooding the winds. To look at the museum from afar now is odd; it seems stark and cold, even in the deep Southern Louisiana heat. The rest of City Park is still a shambles; the swampy jungle from which it and the rest of the city were carved over the last three centuries is quickly gaining control of sidewalks, roads, parklands, and the city itself is essentially bankrupt, unable to keep on top of rebuilding and maintenance at the same time.

After City Park, I drove through some of neighborhoods along Lake Pontchatrain which were all but bourgeois ghost towns last year. Now it is clear that life is returning to them, albeit slowly. Nothing like the heart of New Orleans, it is reasonable that this area would be slower to recover from the devastation. Still, with blinking traffic lights and many fine, suburban homes still boarded up, you still get the impression of a Frankencity, with some parts alive and well, and other parts being drug along. I still have more of the affected areas to visit, but I decided to drive out into the suburbs themselves and see how life was carrying on there. I drove out into Jefferson Parish to see a place barely affected by the storm. Still, one shouldn't think of Jefferson Parish as a suburb like ones in the northeast. New Orleans is a little but more European and a lot more Carribean than the rest of the US. Its suburbs are a huge mix of affluent, working class and desperately poor; in this sense of the neighborhoods of Jefferson Parish had changed little since the pre-Katrina days. A lot of it is poor and working class, a tell-tale collection of sorry box stores, trailers and ticky-tacky one family homes clinging to the edge of oblivion, essentially mere feet above sea and river level, and sometimes below them.

Upon returning to Orleans Parish, I decided I would drive along St. Charles Avenue down into the French Quarter. Driving along St. Charles, one is reminded of the grand New Orleans that was. It was hardly affected by the storm, and if anything it has become grander in the days since Katrina. Almost everyone of it's grand homes is in excellent repair, most with fresh coats of paint and vibrant flowers in their gardens. However even driving along St. Charles, one is reminded of New Orleans' mixed heritage, and it's colorful past. In the best of times driving along the city's main thoroughfares was something like I imagine driving in Belize City or some other third world nation might be. There are always traffic jams, throngs of humanity clinging to street corners, often walking in front of cars, and invariably something stupid going on. Today, the traffic light one of the primary intersections at St. Charles and Napoleon wasn't working properly, perhaps due to the continued restoration of the St. Charles Streetcar line. Fortunately, New Orleans still has some of her old soul left, and thousands of cars were able to ford the four lanes of traffic on Napoleon and the two on St. Charles without any mishap, at least none that I could see. As I proceeded down the avenue, another light was out as well, but this was a less traversed intersesction.

As I approached Lee Cirlce, I was impressed to see that now only had the neighborhood managed to survive, it was thriving. Many new resturants and shops were open, all freshly painted and apparently doing well. Clearly, while only 60% (about 265,000 people) of the population has returned to the city, the tourists are back, since at no point could the city's population ever have supported its massive retail and dining infrastructure. Arriving in the Quarter I found the tourists, not in droves, but in sufficient numbers for August, traditionally one of the area's off-seasons. I drove in and out of the Qaurter's narrow streets noticing that, while the place still didn't have all its former verve, by large and far it had recovered.

One of the most notable differences in the city today is how the racial make up has changed. Current Mayor Nagin promised that it would be a chocolate city once more, but in fact it's more cafe au lait, much whiter than it was, less black, and certainky more Hispanic; indeed many of the new businesses near Lee Circle have an Hispanic theme, as do many along Magazine Street. My little auto-tour took a good two hours even so, and there's still more of the city to inspect between my own touristic endeavours.

dissabte, d’agost 18, 2007

The Penalty (English)

the dark night
the cold hibernal wind
the smell of frozen snow in my nostrils
the moments fall in icey flakes
the warm days of my youth curl as autmunal leaves
and yet I yearn
and long
that some justice might visit my lonely court
Rhiannon you have always been my guide
will you forsake me now
have I not carried enough visitors on my back
to lust
to others' arms
to self-fulfillment
to the grave
you toiled seven years in Arberth
now I enter my ninth in this place of servitude
and long and long so long have I waged war
do not warriors fight better when well-loved
with a fellow soldier at their sides
was this not the way of Southern Barbarians
would I not be richer still with a strong back to my own
however now the sun has set
and the dark half of my year clammers about my limbs
invading my entrails with wretched promises
somewhere in this darkness I shall meet Truth
yet I would still have a small coal alight in snowy moments
this quixotic desire envivifies me
and so I move zombie-like in blind hope
across deserted tundra
until the hammer falls
only once but decisively
and I greet Orpheus' muse
as I have nearly every bridge I have crossed
irreconcilibly on my own

diumenge, d’agost 12, 2007

Weight of the Past (English)

The weight of the past is heavy. It pulls me back to a world rich with stories and tall-tales, a childhood of privation and suffering, of illness and profound sadness, and still a tapestry far richer than the one I behold today.

Soon I will have no one to share my ancient world with. My mother will fade into the Ultimate Question, surely dragging what little pride any of us has left down with her, and I will scatter her ashes with full knowledge that I'm likely to be next, perhaps even the last.

And when I do, no love will be there to calm my heavy sobs, no kin to tell stories to. There will be no one to witness my keening as I beg to know who will bury me. My fortune: to bury my father and my mother and face the abyss with cold hands.

It should be so. I know death well. We have walked many miles together in the host of hearses and coffins, of hospital gowns and ashen remains. My brother is ill formed to live in a world of emptiness and sorrow. His world is small and poor, but it's nearly as big now as it ever was.

I could not bear to leave him here alone. For his sake, I will take on the mantle of Last Leaf.

He doesn't have my past, our family's past, with houses and icons and reputations. He wasn't there to hear all the old stories, to be wrapped up in the self-agrandized myth of small-town Pennsylvania German bourgeoisie.

Even so, most of those wily old sons-of-a-bitch laughed all the way to grave, forsaking those few dregs of us left like empty coffee cups at the train station. How ashamed I am that I loved most of them as well as I did.

My mother's fondest quote: "I swore I would never sacrifice anything for my children, and I never have."

My own fondest: "What ever I've done, I've done inspite of you and without you. The best things you ever did for me were not kill me and not get in my way."

So many graves to spit on, and not nearly enough gin in all the world...

Meddwl wrthyt (English)

my mind dwells too much on you
still unsure what to think
what to feel

I'm ashamed to say I think I'm beginning to love you
you are so flawed
so typical

and yet, tonight I can smell you on my shirt
and all I can do is dream on you
your lust, your eyes, your sadness

the ancient motherwit inside me
is longing to care for you
hold you tight and make you well

inspite of "superior" knowledge
I still believe in myths
somehow my love could cure you

and yet I know, in my heart of hearts
you will not come to love me
today, tomorrow or a thousand moons from now

yet you placate my weariness
and fill some days and nights with hope
in vain tho it may be, it's better than the long, empty night before the final dawn

Peth Od (Welsh)

Mae cloc y stafell fwyta yn gweithio ac yn canu heddiw, a fi heb ei gychwyn ers meityn hir. Naeth o ddechrau p'nawn'ma, ac rwan, yn hwyr yn y nos, mae'r cloc yn canu o hyd!

divendres, d’agost 10, 2007

Out, Out, Damn Maybe's (English)

life will be sweeter
when the "'just maybe's" are gone
when I no longer dream of youthful pursuits
when I accept my fate
and dream not of love, but merely of a valiant death

life will be sweeter
when "just maybe" is a distant memory
when I remember my attemtps at love
as no more than painful memories
when love has no soil in which to grow

life will be sweeter
when my longing for what never was
is stronger
than what will never be

dimecres, d’agost 08, 2007

A letter to M. (English)

Hi M,

I spend my life wondering about the question you pose. As I look around my world, I have to conclude what happens to the broken hearted is that we retire, generally, to a comfortable world of experiences that that we share with generally casual friends, since, try as we might, love eludes us like water eludes the thirsty in a desert. Only, the thirsty eventually die, the lovelorn just continue to suffer as we watch others find something in life which, for us, as the sand in the hour glass, diminishes and seems less and less likely to be ours.

I have concluded, therefore, that love is a nasty, cruel hoax, and that life, absurd as it surely is, is better with relatively little. At some point in our lives we have loved, and here I mean romantically. For, 'tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved all, says St. Augustine. Thus we have experienced a part of it, but we are not fortunate enough to experience all of it.

Few are. I have observed that most people experience a life in the throes of the wicked double helix of co-dependence, a wicked bugaboo who travels in the guise of love. This leads me to the conclusion that, by large and far, those of us in our 30's who are not partnered have learned to live alone, independently, and that is how we shall grow old and die, always wondering if there hadn't been something better. Alas, because of our experience of surviving alone, we have actually dispensed with the need for love.

Of course, for some people there was something better. Alas, for very few. Most relationships are shallow, vacuous fantoms of love. For those few for whom it is not, they will live and die in a life of true love, what we call in Welsh, cariad cywir. For some others still, greater in number than those who knew true love, but still fewer than the majority, they will have learned to love their partners in spite of them, not because of them. So many times I have watched life come to an end over the years, and realized that the one left behind stayed not because of an undying love, but because there was no one better to go to.

I've seen a lot of death. In another sense of love, the love for kindred, I live each breath with a deep and profound sense of loss and longing. That love is real, and when our hearts break from those losses, it is just, since we have lost a love that is forged only in the bonds of family, and so rarely with friends, a bond that is forged in the fires of adversity and struggle amidst people who would never have chosen to be with one another, but who are with one another because of fate, culture and belief, and who find love by happenstance, and sometimes duty. It is among these type of people that love can flourish in the existential sense, for nearly everyone. Romantic love is, as I have said before, more difficult to come by, so much more ephemeral.

And even romantic love, as we conceive of it today is not an ancient thing. Our ancestors rarely knew of it. It is a wretched invention of the Victorians, who lived too long and too well for all our good! They created this concept of romantic love, based on the ancient "romans" of France where courtly love played out its course. However, courtly love was by large and far adulterous and only sexual (and rarely accomplished)! They chose to reinterpret this sense of love given their longer lives, as something spiritual. The Victorians were so dreadfully confused...

People in the 20th century came to embrace the chicanery of the the 19th century whole-heartedly, thus embuing those of us born in the 20th century with a fatalistic, though wholly unreasonable expectation of romantic love. It's a hard act to follow on the best of days.
As to your question, what becomes of the broken hearted... Me, counting myself in their midst, what I do to soften the sharp edges of a disappointing love-life is sit back with another lovely cocktail and smile. My life isn't perfect, but it does have its pleasures. I can't find true love, but I do find fun-time friends who come around for months or years at a time. No, it ain't perfect, and it's certainly absurd, but it's better than dying of thirst, and it's better than being a romantic Victorian and just dying!

Unigrwydd (English)

piercing chill of January
ice upon the spring's threshold
I, I slide along
making paths through the frozen snow
creating worlds that cannot exist

December near freezing
I help carry the thin body of a kindred
down into the brown grass
where she will lay forever
melting into her sarcophogus

in the frozen earth of March
I laid another dear soul down
I carried her to her dying place
an thence I laid her down
I alone will whisper her name on tear soaked nights

any given trip to the land of my birth
I journey across many miles, from beyound the Endless Mountains
to the place of lost love
and there I place roses
upon your hallowed ground, I alone - no one knows

in my home I erect a musuem
to who I was with you
alone now to face what you already have embraced
alone, alone I weep I alone for you
an image of pity and disgust

visitors are bemused at my icons
they rarely inquire
in my home the love that lives is a ghost
a whisper on the wind
from a land where streets were bricked

now slowly with each year
I begin to close these others out
hide my treasures of the past for me and me alone
they will never love me as I loved you
and I will fade alone

perhaps on some January day
when springs have frozen over
and some small boy somewhere dreams
of worlds that cannot be
I, I shall watch from a distant pane, alone...

dissabte, d’agost 04, 2007

Song in the Throat (English)

Tonight, should I die, let it be with song in my throat

but if not tonight
when I die
let them say of me
"he was eccentric"
and mean it

that the theme of my life was
"My Way"
and that I lived every line of it

and should cruel brother love bestow his wicked gift upon me
before I enter immortality
may my song be the Sparrow's
"Je ne regrette rien"

Though to no one shall I ever croak such chords

love's theme is unheard in my country
it was a cruel land where I was born
harsh and cold
albeit picture perfect from without
the bad in the cheese was well concealed within

Old Bertha's pink and white cottage
a fitting epithet to my youth
the half blind one-breasted Wesleyan that she was
kept her house's outsides like a pin in paper
while indoors potatoe eyes yearned for freedom
along meter long trails of desperation
finding fodder in the ruins of an ancient Christmas tree
the fragile balls of which had long since broken on the dusty floor boards

from such a land I hail
but when sister death comes to call on me
it will be in some other place
warmer perhaps
altho I will bring the stone cold grey of my youth with me
for that was the land that raised me
and those were the hapless people who formed me
made me incapable of being loved I fear

and so let them also say of me that I died for love
for want of love
for the sake of love
for the attempts at love
surely they will scar my soul
(lest I have one)
and perhaps my body before I crawl into the dirt

Not unlike Madame Engletyne
I declare
"Amors vincit omnia"
believing no more in it than she in God
so were are brethren
heathens prostrated
shamefully and pointlessly
at the altar of Venus

dimecres, de juliol 18, 2007

Una noche plenilunada (English)

Tonight an old flame came knocking
and I stoked the fire
am I worse for wear?
Nenil, what sweeter victory
what sweeter irony
when once they were young and foolish
now older they return
realizing the err of their ways

Old lover
once I pined for your moonlight
like Orpheus for his death
I even wrote a bit doggrel to you
but tonight you returned to me like in days of old
come again
come never again
dare deny me from this day foward
it will always be true
I had you more than once upon a time...

For the original bit, click here ;)

diumenge, de juliol 15, 2007

Une lettre pour James (French)

Ce soir je sens un vent triste qui arrive de mon ancienne vallée. Ce soir j'ai dû traduire de l'espagnol une lettre de condoléances pour la mort du mari d'une amie ancienne de ma tribu. La première fois que je l'ai lue, je n'ai pas pu la traduire, car des larmes hantaient les frontières de mes yeux en pensant à ce bon homme mort de trop jeune à l'âge de 60 ans, un homme qui était dédié à notre amie dès la première vue il y a plus de 30 ans. Je me rappelle bien la première fois où j'ai fait sa connaissance. C'était à notre petite maison à l'ancienne campagne de Pennsylvanie, même un peu avant la grande arrivé des autres. Lui, il venait d'un village de mineurs au sud, un petit bled moins bien rangé que le notre où il y avait 2 000 âmes et six églises catholiques. Quand même, il était sympa. Ça, je me rappelle très bien. Il s'appelait James, et il avait en lui un bel esprit, un sentiment de fortune, c'était de toute façon un homme d'honneur. C'était bon aussi car la vie de notre amie, Barbara, n'était pas trop jolie jusqu'à là. Alors, James, lui, il était son saveur, et ils restaient amoureux jusqu'à la fin de sa vie. Même que sa maladie était d'une longue durée, et que celle a bien taxé l'esprit déjà affaibli de notre amie, elle est restée à ses côtés, même en lui donnant sa dernière dose de morphine.

Quand même, quant à la lettre - elle voulait bien que je la traduise, car j'avais déjà parlé avec le cousin espagnol au téléphone au passé, et car je cause en espagnol aussi bien qu'en français. C'était, franchement, une lettre touchante, et il y avait une ligne surtout douleureuse où le cousin a écrit:

"Pardonne ma lettre en langue espagnole, mais je crois m'exprimer mieux ainsi, et je peux te communiquer toute la douleur, que en ces moments, envahit mon coeur. Depuis plusieurs moments, mes yeux se brouillent de larmes et je ne peux plus voir l'écran, mais j'ai l'impression de distinguer parmi mes larmes le visage de ce bon être humain qui était James."

C'était ces lignes-ci qui m'ont tellement touché. Moi aussi, depuis sa mort, je vois le visage de cet ancien ami de notre famille dans mes pensées; je réfléchis souvent au passé où je le voyais plus souvent, et à la dernière fois où je l'ai vu, affaibli mais toujours fort d'esprit, un homme pas trop âgé mais qui a beaucoupe et rapidemment vieilli de sa souffrance. Je l'aimais comme s'il était de notre génus, même, d'une certaine manière, je l'aimais plus que ça parceque chez lui il y avait une grosse amitié profonde. C'était un homme qui aimait la vie et les autres, deux qualités généralement absentes parmis les miens.

Ce soir je me souviens du fait que l'absence d'un ami bien aimé, même pire, une absence permanente, laisse un trou dans la tissu de l'existence. Comme le dirait Arundhati Roy: Then there was a James-shaped hole in the universe.

dimecres, de juliol 04, 2007

Lle mae 'nghariad (Welsh)

Llwyau Cariad Cymreig i Hoywon!

Dyma'r safle:


Rŵan 'ta, lle mae 'nghariad i?

"Dacw Nghariad i lawr yn y Berllan"

Dacw nghariad i lawr yn y berllan
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al
O na bawn i yno fy hunan
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al
Dacw'r tŷ a dacw'r sgubor
Dacw ddrws y beudy'n agor
Ffal-di rwdl idl-al
Ffal-di rwdl idl-al
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al

Dacw'r dderwen wych ganghennog
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al
Golwg arni sydd dra serchog :
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al
Mi arhosaf dan ei chysgod
Nes daw 'nghariad i 'nghyfarfod.
Ffal-di rwdl idl-al
Ffal-di rwdl idl-al
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al

Dacw'r delyn, dacw'r tannau
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al
Beth wyf gwell heb neb i'w chwarae?
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al
Dacw'r feinwen hoenus, fanwl
Beth wyf nes heb gael ei meddwl?
Ffal-di rwdl idl-al
Ffal-di rwdl idl-al
Tw rym-di ro rym-di radl idl-al

dissabte, de juny 02, 2007

Ewythr (Welsh)

Heno, mi ges i gyfle i siarad am frawd fy nhad, sef f'ewythr Terry. Roedd yn od i feddwl amdano fo, dyn sy wedi marw rhai flynyddoedd yn ôl, a dyn nad oeddwn yn ei hoffi un llymaid, ond roedd fy ffrind Anna a fi yn sgwrsio am neidr a chrwbanod, a hynny 'naeth imi feddwl am y tro pan aeth Terry ma's i'r corsydd i hela crwban i gawl.

Dyn bach oedd o, yn 5'9'' os oedd o mor dal â hyn, â chroen braidd Eidalaidd, oedd yn od i'n teulu ni. Gallai dyn ddweud taw mab y dyn llefrith oedd o, ac mae'n wir i'w ddweud tra roedd o'n edrych fel fy nain, doedd o ddim yn edrych llawer fel fy nhaid. Truan o ddyn oedd o hefyd, tu hwnt i'w dalder. 'Naeth o eni'n ddi-fawd llaw ac efo un garreg, felly trwy'i oes, teimlodd fel roedd yn rhaid iddo brofi ei hunan o flaen bawb fel dyn cryfach y gornel, ond ei nerth oedd ond yn gwaeddu'n frwnt ac yn bod yn hyll i bawb yn ei lwybr, oherwydd er gwaethaf ei geisiadau, dyn bach gwan oedd o drwy'i oes, efo bysoedd troed mawr ar ei ddwylo lle dylai bodiau-llaw fod.

Rwyf yn cofio'r dydd pan gafodd y syniad i 'neud Cawl Crwban. Yn nhŷ fy nhaid oedd o y dydd hwnnw, wedi cael bol llawn o gwrw a chwisgi, ac roedd yn chwedlu am ryw dro (ffug mae'n debyg oherwydd gelwyddgi ofnadwy oedd o hefyd!) pan aeth rhyw ffrind a fo ma's i hela crwbanod, a dalion nhw rai, a 'naethon nhw gawl mor flasus. Roedd fy nhaid wedi meddwi erbyn hyn (roedd yn unarddeg o'r gloch yn bore fel cofiaf i, yn ddydd trwm, poeth fel oedd yn debyg yn ystod haf fy mro, a'r wybren yn llwyd â chymylau), ac roedd o'n ei galonogi, a'r ddau ohonyn nhw'n rhy feddw i wybod beth oedd yn wir yn mynd ymlaen. Felly, mi aeth f'ewythr ma's i'r corsydd oedd tu ôl i dŷ fy nhaid (ei dŷ o oedd bwthyn bach gwyn ar gyrion y dref). Roedden ni'r llaill (fy nhaid, fy nain a fi) yn aros amdano fo yn ôl yn y tŷ, ac o'r diwedd daeth o'n ôl efo rhyw grwban brathog, yn fyw ac yn ymladd am ei bywyd o hyd. Penderfynodd f'ewythr berffomio'i driniaeth marwol yn y gegin yn lle yr ardd gefn lle byddai'r gwaed wedi llifo i mewn i'r tir: yn y gegin byddai'r gwaed yn cael ei rinso i lawr y sinc a byddai'n llawer mwy dramatig.

Mam oedd y crwban i fod, a dysgon ni hynny pan gymerodd Terry gyllell o'r drôr i dorri rhan isaf y gragen i ffwrdd. Fel y ceisiodd, mi agorodd o ei chwdyn wyau, a daeth rhyw hanner dwsin o wyau ma's ar y cownter. Naeth o eu casglu nhw mewn bolen, a aeth yn ôl at ei waith.

Ar ôl iddo ladrata'i hwyau, sylweddolodd yr oedd yn rhaid iddo'i lladd yn llwyr cyn ei throi'n gawl. Nid allai fo dorri'r holl ffordd drwy'i stumog i'w lladd, oherwydd hyd yn oed gwaelod ei chragen oedd yn rhy gryf i'w lladd â chyllell. Felly, penderfynodd o dorri ei phen hi ymaith. Hon oedd joben anodd oherwydd, fel unrhyw grwban rhesymeg oedd yn cael ei lladd, roedd hi'n cuddio'i phen hi yn ei chragen. Mi weithiodd a gweithiodd Terry i dynnu ei phen hi ma's, ac o'r diwedd llwydianodd. Yn anffodus iawn i Terry, fel y tynnodd o ei phen hi ma's yn llwyddianus, roedd ei fys cyntaf yn rhy agos i'w cheg, a 'naeth hi gau ei phig arno. Dyma oedd dyn yn ei bedwar degau efo pigyn crwban ar gau'n dynn ar ei fys cyntaf! A hwn yn sgrechian ac yn defnyddio pob iaith yn y gegin. Mi aeth fy nain allan i'r gegin i weld beth oedd y stŵr, ond 'naeth hi ddim ond chwerthin am bennau bach bob un ohonyn ni yn y gegin, ac aeth i'r oergyn i nol potelaid o gwrw gan ddweud wrthon ni nad oedd neb o'n sir ni yn saf dim byd am 'neud Cawl Crwban, ac ymaith â hi'n ôl i'r 'stafell fyw lle roedd hi'n gwylio The Price Is Right neu rywbeth.

Ar ôl hynny, mi geisiodd Terry dynnu ei fyd ma's o geg y crwban, ond oedd am gael ei gwynebwerth tan y diwedd! O'r diwedd, mi gymerodd f'ewythr gyllell fwy o'r drôr a thorodd o ei phen ymaith yn llwyr, ond gan fod crwban yn hen fath o greadur, doedd hynny ddim yn ddigon i agor ei phigyn, felly dyma oedd ei chorff yn colli gwaed coch tywyll ar draws y cownter gwyn metel, ei choesau yn symud rhyw ychydig o hyd, ond roedd ei phen a'i phigyn yn dal yn dynn ar ei fys cyntaf. Daliodd at sgrechian a defnyddio pob iaith. O'r diwedd 'naeth o droi a mynd allan i'r garej lle canfyddodd o bâr o bleiars a llwyddianodd o, o'r diwedd, dynnu ei phen hi oddi ar ey fys. Ar ôl hynny, gwaith braidd yn syml oedd hi i dynnu'r cig ma's o'r gragen. O'r diwedd mi 'naeth pob darn o gig a'r wyau i mewn i'r cawl, oedd yn wir yn blasu fel corsydd wedi'r cwbl.

Stori dda iawn ydy hon i ddarlunio bywyd f'ewythr. Roedd yn ddyn bach meddw oedd yn drwgddweud pawb o flaen ei lygaid. Grace à Dieu fu farw blynyddoedd yn ôl, yn rhy ifanc i ddyn ei oes, ond yn lwcus cyn iddo ladd dyn arall, mor ddig o ddyn oedd o. Mi 'naeth o farw o'r diwedd o gancr yr afu, wedi dioddef yn ei oes o galedwch yr afu, a llid yr afu.

Yntau oedd y cyntaf o deulu fy nhad i farw. Wedyn, mi 'naeth fy nain farw ar ôl ei hail strôc. Nesaf oedd fy nhad o niwmonia, ac o'r diwedd fy nhaid o gancr yr afu.

dimarts, d’abril 24, 2007

Two quotes by me (English)

As far as I know, no one else has said the following. I think they are good, so I will blog them, and claim them for myself!

"I am in greater part what the world has made of me, the smaller part what I could make of myself from the world."

"Love is ubiquitous, but ephemeral."

dissabte, d’abril 14, 2007

Purgatory (English)

tonight I yearn to write
but all the words I possess are printed
I have written them all before
tonight's story is no different
I seek
I strive
I fail
and I have less than I did at the outset

I have made a grave error in my plans
I miscalculated the trajectory of my silver thread
through the cunning forest
the ancient loom
and I am beset by an angry geis

what I could not foresee
what I was too terrified to imagine as a boy
now enters from stage right and stage left

the terror is not disease
it is not mayhem or murder
although those would be terror enough

the terror is in the possible
confirmation of the existence of diety
of the very real possibility that all this means something
and what it means for me is a long punishment

long or short

a punishment

now I must stare down the barrel of a very long rifle
awaiting, awaiting and the sweet sting of death
many tomorrows from now, I suspect
I will not succumb to the lure of suicide
it provides no useful end

in the Existentialist's world it brings only an end
an end to all pleasure
I will embrace the Absurdist's mantle
and go merrily about my stupidity until chance crushes me

in the Religionist's view
suicide brings even more punishment
and an end to pleasure
there is no logic in moving forward that way

In either world I suffer

I will stay and live out my torture
the emptiness some god has meted out to me
or the ludicrous game of chance I encounter in a mindless cosmos

no matter though
the terror I would never have dreamed as boy
comes to stalk the edges of my forest now
and while I hear the dogs' barking loudly still
some day
at last Mallt-y-Nos will come to reap my memories
and I will hear the dogs' barking no more
till then a terrible mare still haunts my days and my nights
not death
not disease
not poverty

what love I have known dies
and what it was I cannot even say
but I would still keep it
sadly, whatever it was, there is always less

my punishment:
to know
that when at last the bullet issues from the bottom of that rifled shaft
it will kill no one at all
save me
and I shall go into that dark night my cousin sang about
in sorrier shape even than he

dilluns, de març 26, 2007

There is no more, mother
than to live to see what tomorrow brings
none of us has decades to plan for
it's always just one day at a time
living for little pleasures
while we can still breathe and walk
nothing, mother, nothing more than that
you may have fewer days than I
maybe not
no reason to worry
no reason to fret
death is an old friend whom we see but twice
whom we met at birth
and who welcomes most of us much later
if only I could teach you, mother dear
to breath each breath sweetly
as though it were your last
and sip each draught deeply
since soon, no matter how many days you have
soon your lips will be dry
all we have until we die
are days
or a thousand
relish each one

dissabte, de març 17, 2007

Llythyr Agored i Gariad (Welsh)

mae angen
mae angen cofleidio
mae angen cusanu
mae ange teimlo dy gorff di

mae angen
angen cyfeillgarwch
angen serch
angen perthynas

dwi d'eisiau di
bob munud
o fy ngheidwad
dwi d'eisiau di

mae angen
angen chwedl
angen gobaith
angen breuddwyd

dwi ar ben fy fun
ysbrydion doe yn dianc
hunllefoedd yfory yn cyrraedd
a fi, a fi, trwy'r amser, hebddi di

mae'r llwybr'ma yn gùl
yn ddu
ac mae hi'di nosi
ond cario 'mlaen dwi
tan i'r diwedd, neu dan i'm diwedd i

mae angen
mae angen cofleido
mae angen cusanu
mae angen teimlo dy gorff di

dissabte, de març 03, 2007

tonight I float
where I can find no solaz
ma mort
je vous embrasse
I still hear the hounds of Annwn
barking loudly
so I know you are many moons' ride from here
Mallt y Nos
quand même vous allez venir
alors, je vous embrasse
je commence à vous aimer
à me préparer à vous accueillir
vous qui semblez la mort d'Orphée
vous qui êtes la seule chose sûre
still one day I will hear them bark no more
and like as to Bill you will come to gather me
and I will join you in the Wild Hunt

dimarts, de febrer 27, 2007

Slgyfaethion (Welsh)

Ia, dwi'di cael fy ffyco unwaith eto gan ddyn. Mae'n anhygoel - dwi'n eu cau ma's y ffycars! Dwi'n eu cadw'n braich hir i ffwrdd ar y cynllun teimladol, ond o hyd ond oes un ohonyn nhw sy'n gallu canfod mynedfa ddigon da heibio pob amddiffyniad sydd gen i.

Yntau, dros benwythnos i gyd yn gorwedd yn felys ac yn hir yn fy mreichiau i, ac y n dweud pob dim rhoslyd oedd yn bosib wrthyf.

Yr holl amser yn dweud celwydd, fel nhw i gyd...

A pheth sydd yn dod yfory? Mae'n iau, a llai o brofiad ganddo, ond mi fydd o'n blasu fy serch am ryw sbel a bydd o'n mynd yn chwilio am ala newydd, fel nhw i gyd.

Dyma fy mywyd...

Bitter, Bitter Sweet Week (English)

bitter, bitter sweet week
as I go forward
new endeavours promulgate about my bow
of this and that
and still the old luggers come sailing by

Bill set sail this week
from the safe harbor of the hospice
St. Peter's
he said he would take up a new habit with the nuns
his words not mine

now he glides along the blue waters of Annwn
journeying to the Pearly Gates, Valhalla or perhaps the abyss
it was time to say farewell
and now his corpse lies in silent repose

and now, if possible, now he knows

and as I bid adieu to my mentor
my colleague
my friend
what reprieve do I find


I pray he has a fine stateroom
on his old paddle boat
chug-chug-chugging along the Styx
with good old Morpheus at the helm

in my world it's a sorry mix of Pirate Jenny and the Pirates of Penzance

the same old class of sorry scows comes to dock
offering some frigging in the rigging
at cheap fare
a few orgasms and a couple free meals

and that, even that
in the guise of love

still not bad
helps pass away the doldrums

and tonight came calling at the quay
a sweet old schooner from a long ago yesterday
I thought surely lost among pescatarian seas
poor old thing had a hole the bottom
but I used my skill to plug it up

and tomorrow
I pull in at Siam
to sample the wares of yet another hopeful first mate
although I reckon by now it is I who is the more hopeful

my bow is barnacled
and my sails are ragged
my balast is soaking
and my rudder is worn

still why not sail on
one more sunset
like the lost Catalan
while I may not find India

I may just find something else to dream on...

diumenge, de febrer 25, 2007

My Regional Variation (English)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

dissabte, de febrer 17, 2007

Musings on an Abortive Love Affaire (English / Spannish / Welsh / French)

the dream is sweet
ephemeral though it is
as fleeting as a thought
or memory of lost happiness

but amid your kisses
almost real
I lost myself that night

your embraces
warm like ice
in retrospect
gave heat to my soul

I enjoyed you
moment by moment
enough love for all eternity
even if it was all a ruse

à cette étape
il n'y a que des ruses, des blagues
aucune sincerité amoureuse fréquente la péripherie de mon être
donc, j'existe pour jouir de ces petits rêves que les uns comme toi me donnent
mais ça plus rarement...

tonight I would dream on you
think of tomorrows
of possibilities
but that is foolish

ya estoy viejo para estar resentido
tu irás, si ya no te has ido
y yo me quedaré dormido
sin nada, solo los cádaveres de mis deseos
espíritus de mis sueños antiguos

pues que te vayas
y que me dejes saber tu olvido
como se me olvidó de los otros
tus antepasados

mae fy mreuddwyd amdanat ti yn marw
y diflannu fel mwg ar y gwynt
daeth dy neges yn glir, bore 'ma
oeddat ti am ffoi

a ffoi 'nest ti
roedd y poen y hawdd i'w weld yn dy lygaid
gormod oedd
dim fi oedd dy nod, ond addawiad dy freuddwyd dy hun

Pero esta vez
no hay yantos
esta vez mi alma rechaza el papel que desempeñaste
y regreso a la fortaleza de mi futuro solo

sin ti, sin nadie
con solo la empatía de los desconocidos-
en el desierto de mis amores
ya no hay aguas suficientes para llorar

(Dros Dai bach ddaeth ataf i dwywaith gan addo posiblrwydd melys ond yn cynnig calon celwyddgi)

diumenge, de gener 21, 2007

Pretty Eyes (English / French)

not a dry eye in the place

I saw your eyes today
first time in years

I remembered two things about you
your eyes and your stubby fingers

I remembered also
how your eyes drew me in then
that one evening
drew me into where I could fall in love

I dreamed so many times of your eyes then
holding your hands
kissing your lips
holding your small body next to mine

even then when I didn't know you were fay
you were younger then
so was I
I still believed in love and you knew you could never love me
or anyone like me

comment tes yeux brillaient
quel esprit y vivait
ton doux sourire, ton heureux rire
après le passage du temps perdu
j'ai fini par ne plus penser en toi du tout

then like an old photograph
of a cherished loved-one
found perchance in an antique store
you came back from the cobwebbed past

and today, years gone blowing by
I saw you
older now, more water under your bridge
your eyes still as brillant as ever

I watched you all day
listening to your tales
always looking into those beautiful eyes
and remembering languid dreams

it's too bad Pretty Eyes
that I couldn't have made you fall in love with me then
from where I sit it looks like your journey has been hard
the lines on your face tell the story
and while your eyes still glimmer as they did when you were younger
they show signs of duress

at my side it would not have been that way, I fancy
and if only I could have been the object of your desire then
both of our paths may have been brighter
crosses are borne more lightly by two than by one
but that was not to be, nor indeed, shall it be I feel

So Pretty Eyes, I'm sad tonight
because I can no longer love who you were or may have been
nor shall I love who you are
for while your eyes still enchant me
it seems all to clear the passage of time has broken you down
and love may not even be yours to give
even if it were mine to receive...

dijous, de gener 04, 2007

Una Cosecha de 1999 (English)

Tonight, instead of beer, I choose a bottle of wine. I pulled out the dustiest bottle from my rack, and it turned out to be a Merlot from the Columbia River Valley, a 1999 harvest. As I sit sipping a product of 1999, I'm forced to remember, to think on the many events which have transpired since then. I don't know why for sure such a pattern of thinking came to my head, as it did not when only months ago I pulled a vintage 1995 from the same shelf and served it to my guests for dinner. Perhaps, encumbered by my company, it did not occur to me to dwell on the past.

Tonight it did. I thought to myself, where I had been since 1999, what had transpired in my life since then, 8 years ago?

In 1999 I went to work at the College, a bright eyed, red faced 27 year old who was cocksure, quite possibly arrogant (according to eye-witnesses alive at the time), and even more sure that this small community college in the back-ass-end of nowhere was not where I would be stopping. I was frequently confused by my colleagues for a student.

In 1999 I made friends with my colleague in the office next door, Bill B. He, like me, was enamoured of arcane objects and ideas which did not always please the rest of the world. Unlike me, Bill still clung to the shadows of the world. He had a few friends, but was not very social. Still, he impressed those whom he met, for when he died in the following year, his impact on the College and his friends and acquaintances was clear. It was the summer of 2000, and he perished while he was at his home in New Jersey with his parents. There was a terrible automobile accident, and Bill, who was riding in the back seat of his parents' car, was killed instantly, beheaded when the larger vehicle behind collided with the small Honda he was riding in. His father later died of injuries sustained in the accident. His mother was left alone to bury them both.

I was in the flat on Park Place in Schenectady at the time, just moving in. It was July, and the summer sun was bright, though gentle for that time of year. I was painting the living room, the Celtic Twilight Blue I had found by chance and fell in love with for its hue and symbolism, when Sue, one of our secretaries, called to tell me the news. I would soon receive other bad news. My father was hospitalized for pneumonia. My mother had struggled to get him to the hospital, even as he cursed her when she found him barely conscious in the bathroom where he had fallen, claiming that if she called the ambulance and sent him to the hospital, if he lived, he would leave her. She had no choice; she could not lift him on her own. My father hated hospitals. To be fair to him, we had all seen to much of those places. Instead of healing hands, there we had more often than not witnessed a human Roach Motel.

She called 911, and he went to Pocono Medical Center, where, as if he had been prescient, he died. He was eight days in Intensive Care. I was called to the hospital in his early days there because the doctors said that he would not live. On the eighth day my father rested forever in the eternal hand of the Unknown. His condition had improved vastly. Still fraught with pneumonia, his kidneys, which had failed only days before, had begun working again, miraculously. It was a bright August day on the cusp of the new millennium. My father, who had become a Corporal during the Vietnam Conflict while stationed in Haiti, who had carried my mother's father's dead body from the stream where he had suffered a fatal heart attack while they were fishing, who had suffered a sad childhood of loneliness and privation at the hands of drunken and thoughtless parents, who had had one sibling who was born twisted and misshapen, that same man was alert and smiling on that sunny summer day, joking with the nurses, quite possibly flirting with them to my mother's chagrin. They were to move him to a regular room, out of the ICU.

They said he was smiling when he died. He was in a cheerful mood.

A blood clot moved from somewhere in his body and caused an occlusion in an artery to his heart. He died instantly. They told us he probably felt nothing at all.

That same August I collected my father's ashes with my mother and brother and we kept them in the house for a short time. My mother didn't know what to do with the ashes. She did not want to keep them in the house, for she is afraid of ghosts, and she was afraid that my father would return to haunt her in the house because she had called the ambulance. Finally, my brother and I convinced her that we should scatted the ashes in the woods behind the house, on our family's land, on my father's land, where he had toiled many long years collecting wood for us to burn in the wood stoves, which for many years had been our only source of heat in the winter.

My brother and I took the small black, plastic box that containing his cremated remains to the woods behind the house, up over the stonewall to a place where the trees were still young because recently he had cleared some. We opened the lid and pulled open the plastic bag, and my brother watched, as I, the older sibling, emptied the contents onto the earth where my father's remains would rest. His dog tags were in the box as well, and I handed them to my brother to keep.

Later we would go a Memorial Service, to which his coworkers from the brush factory came. So many came to me, now the man of the family, as I sat in the big chair, the most important place in the row of the places d'honneur at a Protestant funeral. They all said such nice things about my father. He was a different man to them than to us. To us he was garrulous, coarse, rude and unkind. To them he was witty, kind, loving - he could choose them, we were inflicted upon him. I wept then. I knew then that I was now fatherless, that after my mother, I was next in line to meet the Question Mark, and, perhaps even more, I realized I never knew who my father really was. He kept himself from us for nearly 30 years, and now, a pile of ash and bone fragments in the woods on the hill behind our meagre cottage, I would never know him; even though as I scattered his remains, cremated human remains are so light, some of the dust rose and sank into the fibres of my shoes and socks and clung to my bare legs.

I remember two times when he told me he loved me. He was drunk both of them.

In the years that followed, I would change my mind about the College. I can't say that I came to love it, but love comes hard anyways these days, too many ashes about my legs. I wouldn't just leave the place though. It's been very, very good to me. I've buried a few more people, and I've spent so many lovely moments with my friends, and, heaven help me, the few of my family left alive. There have been salacious hours with lovers and rose moments with those who've found their ways into my heart and near to its periphery. It hasn't always been the brightest of years, but I learned a long time ago, there are no rose moments without the black ones.