Family and Relationships
The last time I was in London, I kept passing store windows full of tea towels and souvenir mugs with the motto Keep Calm and Carry On. I once read that when the British government dreamed up the slogan at the onset of World War II, the populace was insulted at being given advice that went without saying.
Tonight, as you undress, I watch your wondrous flesh that’s swelled again, the way a river…
In The Paper’s Midtown Manhattan office, the long fluorescent light fixtures contained the silhouetted carcasses of cockroaches that had died making the journey from one end to the other. The carpet was a Rorschach test of spilled cola, coffee, and cigarette ashes. This was where I worked for the better part of a year.
Now he’s here, and there had better be something holy in this darkness. So he puts his hands up and opens his eyes as wide as he can and says he has a message from God. Slowly everyone turns. They see a skinny kid who is not quite a man speaking words that are hard to unravel because of his accent.
Then Hallie meandered in twenty minutes late, glowing in bright colors — orange and green and purple. Her clothes looked like they’d been knitted by a blind person. She wore a scarf on her head and yellow combat boots, and I would give anything to experience that same fear and elation again, the feeling that we were starting something new together.
The title “visiting instructor” suited me. Born into a life of hippie nomadism (even living out of a van at one point in my childhood), I’d been roaming since I’d left home at seventeen. An impulsive enrollment in graduate school at the age of thirty had been intended to impose order on my life, but at thirty-five I was as adrift as ever.