Friday, December 2, 2022

Montreal

i gingerly descend the steep, sweeping staircase to the door.


a pharmaprix umbrella. i set out along sainted streets, all of them men (unlikely).


i pass the same woman twice (unlikely) pushing her child in a stroller, protected from snow and rain.


tarnished mirrors reflect fig leaves. a laptop (not mine) balances on a jenga tower. bathroom walls a bilingual conversation.


churchbells compete to toll noon. carmelite nuns beyond stone walls. an intermittent wail of sirens.


hydrangeas in the snow. back alleys spangled in graffiti and murals.


the 747 to the 55. head canted against the window. people (drunk, homeless, mentally ill) at the gates of chinatown. 


patches in the night air smell of good scotch. vegan sushi and a converted ferry smell of privlage. i filch cucumber water.


hibernating public compost barrels. a dedicated space for friendship awaiting strangers. parks laid bare in winter.


so many miles (kilometers) for this return to self.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Wrestling With God And Self



 Marilynne Robinson's insights in her essays on faith illuminate the heart of Judaism, reframing the Old Testament as the private act of a people striving to make sense of themselves and the world around them...


Even pious critics seem never to remember that, in the Old Testament, the Jews were talking among themselves, interpreting their own experience to themselves.  Every negative thing we know about them, every phrase that is used to condemn them, they supplied, in their incredible self-scrutiny and self-judgement.  Who but the ancient Jews would have thought to blame themselves for, in effect, lying along the invasion route of the Babylonians?  They preserved and magnified their vision of the high holiness of God by absorbing into themselves responsibility for their sufferings, and this made them passionately self-accusatory, in ways no other people would have thought of being. This incomparable literature would surely have been lost if they had imagined the use it would be put to, and had written to justify themselves and to defend their descendants in the eyes of the nations rather than to ponder their life in openness toward God.  By what standard but their own could Israel have been considered ungrateful or rebellious or corrupt?  Granting crimes and errors, which they recorded, and preserved and pondered the records of for centuries, and which were otherwise so historically minor that no one would ever have heard of them – how do these crimes compare with those of other peoples, their contemporaries and ours? The grandeur of the Old Testament, and the fact that such great significance is attached to it, distracts readers from a sense of its unique communal inwardness.  It is an endless reconciliation achieved at great cost by a people whose relation to God is astonishingly brave and generous.  To misappropriate it as a damning witness against the Jews and “the Jewish God” is vulgar beyond belief.  And not at all uncommon.  It is useful to consider how the New Testament would read, if it had gone on to chronicle the Crusades and the Inquisition.


The artwork of Gerald Chukwuma, a contemporary Nigerian artist, beautifully captures for me what it means to tangle with history and self understanding.


Monday, November 14, 2022

If I Wanted A Tombstone


 ...[I don't], it would read: 



Corpse pose was always her favorite.


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Adagio [Definition: Slowly; At Ease]



Crushing hard on Dr. Jacob Ham after listening to this conversation between him and his patient, Stephanie Foo, the author of a memoir about recovering from childhood trauma:

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

다시

 


Welp, a Korean rom com has once again eaten my life. And has me craving gimbap something fierce. 

Last time, I emerged from an episode to the smell of gas pervading our house. This time, it was the smell of sewage water flooding our basement. 

Worth it.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

An Underdog Story



 Welcome to Wrexham.

I am not much of a sports fan, but I am a human interest fan so while this documentary series is transparently promotional, it still swept me away and had me cheering and cringing through the season's highs and lows.

Count me in. I am a Wrexham fan.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Soheila Sokhanvari



Women in Iran have taken to the streets in defense of their bodily autonomy in recent weeks. There has been bloodshed and brutality in response. 


In 1939, Iranian women were forced to unveil. Beginning in 1979, Iranian women were forced to wear hijab.



The artist Soheila Sokhanvari uses the traditional Persian medium of miniatures to paint Iranian feminist icons from the pre-revolutionary era.



They pummel with their power and passion. They are alive and well.