Thursday, August 14, 2014, 3:45 p.m. Coolidge Corner

An hour ago on Beacon Street, realizing suddenly how tired I am.
Writing lingo-oozing smarmy corporate blather and actually kind of enjoying it.
Last visit, hopefully, to see my mother at the rehab place before her release home tomorrow. The everyday surreality of the atmosphere there. I get disoriented and uncertain about things there, and I’m not even under their care.
Apples tumbling out of the tree out front. Tiny swallows cocking their heads close by, hoping for crumbs of my bagel. A white-haired woman in a wheelchair, just arrived, suddenly started cackling loudly as I was leaving, and the receptionist and I exchanged glances and then realized she was sobbing. The hornlike duct jutting out of the low roof across the way my mother several times thought was a strange bird. We sat mostly silent in the cool, still air, sharing occasional thoughts and observations, clear and also hazy.
Very good Pu-erh tea at Peet’s. Scads more lingo to wiggle through.


7 June 2014

Today my father is 91 and last night my older son lost another tooth and the tooth fairy was perhaps distracted by the birthday cake request for a single candle and I have been thinking about buying a house and about assisted living and about changing my whole line of work all at the same time, and it’s breakfast time and they’ve started and I saw my threadbare pajama shirt and threw it out.


28 April 2014, 9:30 p.m.

Yosuke, writing a soccer poem for homework asks me, “What is that word that sounds like ‘sportsmanship’ and I get mixed up, kind of like James Brown and Bob Dylan and David Bowie?”  I try a few suggestions off the top of my head, and it’s only when I come up with “brotherhood” that he giggles and gives up.

Passing by Nona’s room at the rehabilitation facility on the way to ask today’s nurse some questions, I hear her phone ring and go and pick it up.  It’s Timotha, who tells me she is sitting on a mountainside “listening to the turkeys display themselves”.  I convey this later to Nona, who is drinking tea in the lounge at the end of the hall with Elie and Tomoko, who are concentrating on jigsaw puzzles while Akira jumps and tumbles about.

Elie, on the phone, explains how he was walking along Mass. Ave. after a city council meeting, and he was looking for a cab to take him home and it was kind of tough because “I was carrying the whole city budget on my back, and it weighs about twenty pounds.”

17 April 2014, 5 a.m.

My body yearns for wood and dirt, and here I sit writing with my fingers on the keyboard and my eyes on the screen, and my mind at a loss, questioning things, muddled.  Who I am must be more than these parts – my body and its parts and their senses, my mind that processes them and tries to put them together and make sense of things or feel through things so that I can continue to move forward, survive, live, be and share with others who are doing something like this too – who I am must be some constantly changing syntheses of these things and more.  And there are blocks to my saying so, the very tools or pathways or media for expressing or conveying or holding also inevitably compressing, warping, concretizing, simplifying, selecting what I am experiencing-observing-feeling-knowing, but maybe it is in part those blocks themselves that make me feel compelled to get past them somehow.  So here I am writing, my buttocks aching, neck craning and shoulders creaking, three floors up in a fine old apartment building of brick and stone and concrete and metal, on this fantastic tool of plastic and tiny amounts of all manner of other substances that connects incredibly to other people on similar devices all over the world, and I cannot help but feel disconnected from something I yearn for.  The fact that there are other people near me, the person who I have chosen to be with for most of my life and the children we are raising, is part of what grounds me and is something I am and must be thankful for.  My body needs the touch of other bodies, I need other people near me to remember and stay myself.
The house I lived in for about ten years, and moved out of, oh here the years and dates start to become crucial, because I lose my bearings and then my will and wherewithal to write things down – Akira was born in December 2010, the Fukushima meltdown happened in March 2011, so it must have been only a few months before, in the summer of 2010, that we left that house as our dwelling place and moved with Yosuke who was then 4 and the unnamed just conceived person in Tomoko’s belly, and started to make in her family’s disused house what I guess we wanted to be some kind of nest for our growing family, only to uproot ourselves a few months later, in June 2011, first to my parents’ house on an extended visit, and eventually decide to move to where we are now – that house is now gone.  Even the address, 3-17 Shimoyanagi-cho, is gone I think, as it and the two houses next door were demolished along with it to make way for a five-story condo development.  Just two weeks ago I was standing there, in a state of shock I guess, on ground I had stood on before, I think the mound of dirt where the boke bush and the passionflower vines had been was mounded a bit higher by the demolition crew, but also on ground I could never have stepped on before with the house still standing, and feeling ineffectual and helpless but also very alive and full of feeling and conscious of the importance of making this attempt at closure and moving on, of the importance of being in that moment in that place…  also aware then and continually, that this kind of thing, and much worse, is going on constantly all over the world, people being displaced and losing everything and having to move on somehow…  And suddenly the words of a Robert Wyatt song come to mind, “We get soooooo out of touch, words take the place of meaning…  So out of touch, words take the place of meaning”.