WALKING THE CITY WITH GRANDKIDS
Children travel new every time out.
Plan one day with the one who draws,
the one who sees
what can't be taught,
What can be?
What can be shaped?
Can it opened and turned--
made easier? Time out
is a parent word.
Call this one time out.
Why do they call it
the emerald city?
Field trip to the city with her--
but Oh, another child will go too--
And so will Grandma!
Dark, raining, dangerous.
Bad highways out of Yakima.
Turning fast to snow
before it gets light.
Tickets to Imax, and Amazon Rain Forest
Henry Walter Bates, English biologist in 3D
Show time at 10:30, running caution into the city
arriving four minutes before curtain--no admission
after movie starts. Bates and the science of mimicry.
Eleven years in the rain forest.
He returns to England in 1859
sending over 14,000 species, 8000 new.
The naturalist on the river Amazons.
In 3D, butterflies coming at us.
Alfred Russel Wallace, the activist,
proposing a theory of natural selection,
biogeography and the distribution of animals.
Change is the only thing there is.
Change is the one thing that never stops.
Kate 12 in 10 days. Dheezus, 10.
Karen, 73, and me. Our group photo
outside the theater in front of Alzheimer's art.
I like Aloof Edgar, perched in the long branch
in the top right corner. Spreading paint,
fostering engagement, dignity and dementia
with its own website: www.theartofalzheimers.net
Walking through the mystery of sound, afterwards,
Kate and I sitting on the table of chairs
created from Alice in Wonderland, our feet
not touching. After the movie--
Kate and I ride the monorail to SAM
Museum of Modern Art to see Andrew Wyeth's paintings.
Dheezus and Karen stay at the center.
Andrew Wyeth? Kate?
Kate carries soul gravity. Gravity,
by chance, on NOVA, the night
before we leave. The arc towards
the black hole before the nothing
and disappearance before the new.
Kate has that at 12. Drawing as prayer.
Everything she doesn't say--and Kate can talk.
Images inside her journals. The eye of knowing.
What she does beyond the world of adults.
Kuerner, the woman Karen likes.
I get her a book Get the title.
For more than 70 years, The Kuerner Farm
drew maps in Wyeth's brain. Inspiration.
Red barn. German immigrants.
Anna Kuerner, elusive on the stairs,
tiny, in and out of awareness,
in and out of family, evanescent bird,
with a surprising appearance, now in the brush,
in the paint, here-not-here, in watercolor.
Looking at paintings with Kate.
Is that light? Or is it paint?
How do you know it's ice?
Why isn't it a photograph?
Don't like talking to you in a museum
Her eye, the 12-year old eye before the image.
Let me Look. I can see. You make it hard to wonder.
Grandpa, I can see.
Selwyn Leamy's book on drawing:
Demystifying process. Relax, you're only looking
Don't look down.
Dheezus and Karen pair up
after Imax, after the Amazon,
remaining at Science Center.
Dheezus wants to look around.
Getting off the monorail,
One rail into the city for 60 years.
Walking into rain, disoriented by memory,
by the moment with this grand daughter.
Turning the wrong way walking down stairs.
Walking away from water, instead of towards it.
Ducking into the store to get Kate
the umbrella. Walking like we're part of it all.
Immersion into emerald rain.
Walking the city. City Sidewalks.
Turned around. Old. The thought of that.
Of being old. Not romantic.
We're going the wrong, way, Kate.
Rain. Umbrella. Not covering the doubt.
Then turning right instead of left.
Direction again. And Kate's question,
"Do you know where you're going, Grandpa?"
How many blocks. Knowing now,
we're close, still off, then the large backhoe,
mistaking it for Hammering Man,
monumental sculpture celebrating workers
outside the Museum. "We're there, Kate,"
But we're not. Old man walking lost,
sun downer clearly man seen in the window.
Looking for Hammering Man
I see the crane a block away.
The hoist building the high rise.
It's overhead, gantry, bridge, and jib.
This first-rate powder coated crane
with the hand winch, this first mate worker.
Turns Grandpa into Quixote,
Kate to Sancho Panza.
It's not a giant backhoe, but it's not a crane, either.
The giant backhoe and the working man
hammering outside the museum.
Hammering Man, a series of monumental kinetic sculptures
designed by Jonathan Borofsky, and placed in cities around
Dallas, La Jolla and L.A. Basel, Frankfurt.
The largest is in Seoul, South Korea,
weighing 50 tons standing 72 feet high.
Celebrating workers. He rests during evening hours.
Not just aerospace, electronics and timber,
but families, young, old. In delight before the work.
Reverent. Reverential. The worker in all of us.
Kate now with blisters on her heel.
What she saw walking the city
no longer part of the wonder.
Trevor Noah at my brother-in-law's.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on late night tv.
When you retire at 42,
how are you going to give your life meaning?
I'm fortunate in finding ways to do that.
The Daily Show
actor, dj, comedian, South Africa.
At 18, stars in soap opera Isidingo.
You laugh, but it's true.
He runs under the surface,
Born a Crime is his book.
A polyglot. Speaks the languages.
English, Xhosa, Zulu. Afrikaans, and some German.
Abused by his father.
Mom shot in the back of the head.
Never went to prison.
Norwegian becomes a synonym for white males.
Norway wants nothing to do with us.
Jelani Cobb, New Yorker, journalism professor,
his book on Obama, Substance of Hope,
calling Trump racist, recalling Hoover-era paranoia,
recalling Haiti's resistance to slavery
inspiring Jefferson, who tracks paths of Black athletes in
What we draw when our brain is switched off.
Like taking a line for a walk.
Don't be afraid to go dark.
drawings from the masters.
City Sidewalks with Kate
The man with Real Change
Homeless, working newspaper
always two dollars. Paying with
a five instead of the twenty.
Grandpa. Why didn't you get your change?
Why did I have a twenty dollar bill?
If you can buy coffee at Starbucks
you can pay 5 bucks for real change.
Splitting the beef submarine
at the sandwich shop on the street.
A rest. Kate's getting blisters
on her heels. We'll get some socks
when we meet Grandma. Counting
seconds left at the light,
Come on Kate, Let's make this light.
Oh, man! Walk around that awning.
Your umbrella won't stop water
coming off that canvas.
Walking into the museum
after a 40-minute walk,
ten minutes after
leaving the monorail.
What the city walk takes from Kate
shows in the Museum. I try to show
without showing. So many
of my chips no longer on the board.
Walk here. Step back, and stay back.
Let her look. Don't try too hard, Grandpa.
And don't try for too much more.
But there is more, and more
that's easy, and easier.
These mops. This cardboard.
The masks. Thinking, too,
We have to get back to the Monorail,
to Karen and Dheezus.
When Karen's text comes in.
Dzeez and I, Museum cafeteria.
The cookie we need.
Dheezus with PP&J. Focaccia Bread
with Baked Pear, a simple pizza.
Kate and I take a selfie in front of Wyeth.
We order Deviled Eggs and a salad.
Karen's parked the car in the Target Store
a block from here. A Target in the city!
Yes. We can get some socks, Kate!
We're nine minutes from Owajimaya.
Seattle's Chinatown/International District.
Family-owned, market an Asian Food
emphasizing Japan. Fujimatsu Moriguchi
opens doors in 1928 selling fishcakes
from his truck. Uwajima-ya,
after the town of Uwajima,
where he began, ya is Japanese for store.
Moriguchi and family were re-located
and interned in Tule Lake in 1942.
Kate gets her socks
and Dheez wants a banana.
Orange chicken and rice for Dheez and Karen.
Kate and I order Pho from the small kiosk.
I go dark in traffic.
But my sister and brother-in-law live in the woods
at the end of the traffic that shuts me down
for the night. While they talk
I walk upstairs and crash.
Looking at books in book cases.
Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.
I want to pull it down and can't.
Fall asleep with clothes on.
Break Fast. Restore the word. Fed by sleep.
Opening Common Book of Prayer on my phone.
Opens by chance to April 11 and William Booth
who founds Salvation Army. In the coming century
we'll have Christianity without Christ.
This before Flannery O'Connor creates Hazel Motes
in Wise Blood, Christianity without consequences to boot.
All the problems before me, but the road's open.
I'm rested. And there's bacon.
Shields and Brooks
He said it, everyone else has gone mute.
Cowardly. Tragic. This is beyond Pocahontas.
For Paul Ryan to call it unfortunate is moral cowardice.
It's a tragedy for the country.
David Brooks. It's clearly racist.
A harsh judgment against black and brown people.
It's a cancer. It can't be tolerated,
but the Republicans appear to be tolerating it.
To not have any compassion or curiosity...
The rot in the Republican party.
Damage to the country, to the Republic, to the spirit.
Restricting immigration is not synonymous with bigotry.
I take issue with the question you pose.
He did not know what was going.
Like the pillow that leaves the impression
of the head that was on it.
We leave with full tummies.
We leave happy.
We're on I-90 driving home in minutes,
driving past traffic in the HOV lane
away from the city
when the highway sign lights up
that I90 is closed at Snoqualmie Pass.
This means the Hobart-Issaquah Road,
Where traffic stops. Where it all stops.
Where there is no notebook.
Where the moment of the world opens
into the world of the moment.
Where nothing works.
The test of the visceral blossoms.
The stopped moment.
I've been on this road before.
I try and deflect. Not mine, not mine.
If ever, I, if ever.
It's up to you
It's up to me
It's up to us
I know this road
Difficulty returns. Perplexed man, perplexed.
Belonging: More Indian, More American.
Code switching. Unsettling and irritable.
What happened. I became more healthy.
With limited happiness.
Less about myself. More about others.
Space opens around me.
12 January 2018
Wake and open the notebook.
My sister's home. Come downstairs
after my dreams and pee, surrounded by the forest,
clock ticking, lights on for my granddaughters,
in case they wake in a strange house in the night.
But it's my sister's and she's not strange.
She's family and they sleep. It's after 7,
I respond to one email and check headlines
at Huffington Post. Here comes someone.
Kate is the one who can see into Grandpa.
See me old.
The one on skis who needs to be taken care of,
not the one taking care of anybody.
Not the caretaker. Kate can see.
The one who can tell me,
Grandpa, I've heard you swear.
Who has asked her mother,
Should Grandpa ski?
Who asks, Grandpa,
Do you know where you're going?
That's why we were here together.
That's the why in the museum.
Wyeth? No, a small part.
Kate is the one who can see
the hymns others sing,
who knows the sorrows of God
along with God's promise.
The one who sees who has and who hasn't.
Who can draw what she sees.
We stop for Divinity Cookies
at Cle Elum Bakery on the way home.
Over and back in a day
turns into two days
when the road closes.
Jack-knifed semis and spun-out cars
bring the story the museum
couldn't open. We need
that museum, though,
our lives depend on it.
"Nothin but the blood.
The blood done signed my name."
Love, work, prayer, suffering.
Maryknoll sister Mollie Rogers.
O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you
as the day rises to meet the sun.
That prayer, those prayers.