n i g h t i n g a l e s h i r a z / blog
viva the mood ring.

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the rule of three.

I could talk to you about compartmentalizing grief (how much easier it is, when you are removed; how that easiness is drowned, though, in far too much alone-ness, and how it comes with a small but very-sour dollop of guilt).

About how easy it becomes to work and play and listen to other people's problems.

About how a perfectly-fine evening can echo ever so slightly with all those cross-continental conversations that you have just had with your cousins -- with everyone that has also lost.

About how three times in twenty-six months means that all of that loss morphs a little (or a lot) and the edges blur into each other until you cannot tell just who it is you are wanting back.


This weekend, when I am not doing a fantastic job of being all Holding-Up-Just-Fine and Don't-Worry-About-Me, I am reading Donald Hall's Without:

          "Dying is simple," she said.
"What’s worst is . . . the separation."

                                        You know now
whether the soul survives death.
Or you don't. When you were dying
you said you didn't fear
punishment. We never dared
to speak of Paradise.
Your presence in this house
is almost as enormous
and painful as your absence.

                                        Always the weather,
writing its book of the world,
returns you to me.

Sometimes Holding-Up-Just-Fine is overrated.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[venerdì 25 settembre 2009 ore 19:46:35] []

another year.

another phone call that is far too familiar.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[mercoledì 23 settembre 2009 ore 13:59:35] []

chocolate, wine and wondering.

If you had to show someone your city -- your city in a way that is yours and yours alone.  Where would you take them first?  Where would you take them last?

In New York.  The bits in between are easy to start on.

There is the the northeast corner of the intersection of Spring Street and West Broadway, where I stood one Tuesday morning and watched the South Tower crumple, as Suheir said, "like a broken heart."  There is the homeless guy at the West Fourth Street subway station, with his beautiful Baby Can I Hold You Tonight.  There is the fire-eating swordsman at Washington Square Park, and all the bums that come up and ask you for a smoke, smoke.  There is Mamun's on MacDougal Street, and the extra tahina that drips down your wrist as you wonder what you did with the night, and whether you should have.  There are the swings in Central Park, and John Lennon telling you in black and white mosaic and in long-stemmed red roses, to imagine.  There is the silica in the sidewalk that sparkles at twilight, like fallout from Tiffany's.  There is the goat-cheese pizza at Cornelia Street Cafe, with it's all-around-you-backdrop of poets and writers and lovers and givers.  There are the Jamaican Beef Patties at Grand Central (across from the oyster bar, of course), and somewhere, somewhere, the clock that is telling you that it's later than you think.  There is the Frick, and the curve up the Guggenheim, and the crunch of leaves along Museum Mile in October.  There is kimchi with your Korean barbecue in K-town.  There is the moment when the lights go out on the Empire State Building -- if you catch it you can make a wish.  There is the A-train to Canal Street and Sunday dimsum at Golden Unicorn.   There are Atlas and Prometheus at Rockefeller Center, and the ever-so-subtle slope of the Grace Building, like the small of a woman's back as she turns away from Bryant Park.  There is a hot-dog as you come off the Staten Island Ferry, and walk to South Street Seaport.  There is the backseat swerve of a yellow cab ride, and the sound when the receipt is being printed.  When you are home.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[martedì 20 settembre 2009 ore 20:53:35] []


this morning Davide at Bar Aventino gave me the principessa treatment on my capuccino.  it is hard not to smile while he takes a toothpick and, with both his tongue and his elbows out to the side like semaphore for do-not-bother-me-i-am-concentrating, he writes the world "love" into the top of my coffee.  everyone at the bar nods approvingly, except Davide's father Angelo (looking over from where he is manning the cash register), who shakes his white-haired head and says, cara, avrei fatto molto meglio per te...

it's nice to be a girl in this country.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[martedì 15 settembre 2009 ore 18:17:35] []

six sentences.

today i am antsy.  and i am letting unimportant people piss me off.  people who step on my toes on the tram that is not a tram.  people who send out Excel sheets that they know will be printed, but who don't bother to make sure they print logically.  people who don't think about the answer they want (or the answer they don't want) before asking the question.  people who don't notice that everyone around them is doing something differently from the way they are doing it (and that maybe there's a reason).

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[martedì 15 settembre 2009 ore 13:30:35] []

if you can read this you are exactly where you should be.

it's hard to write when you are thinking about being read.  you need that moment that a five-year-old has in the pool: she clamps her nose shut and breathes in (more fuss than actual oxygen), and does that split-second, slight-rise, before the full-on, whole-hearted descent into equal parts glee and terror.  (it's even harder when her hair's not wet yet.)
and then there is underwaterness.  you always forget how quiet it is.  like passing into another dimension in a science-fiction fantasy novel.  all those people on the edge of the pool you were just talking to, the sky, the sun and the deckchair.  they were all there a moment ago.  and you haven't gone very far.  and yet.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[giovedì 10 settembre 2009 ore 21:45:35] []

cloud nine-ing.  ancora.

weddings in Tuscany (and the boys they bring with them, she says shamelessly);
a visit from your mom that does not involve the usual mother-daughter drama session (i know, it was only four days -- but i'm not going to look a gift horse in its travel-itinerary);
good news from people who had bad news before;
work in *more* than one place that i enjoy;
this apartment (where i still wake up most mornings, a little incredulous -- "how is it that i'm being allowed to make my life here?");
and an automatic cat-feeder.

nothing is broken these days.

nothing is broken these days, and i am back in that wonderful place where my weekend is a showdown between the beach, the bathtub, and some really, really good books.

nothing is broken, and i am enjoying it.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[sabato 05 settembre 2009 ore 19:25:35] []

otherwise known as "preparing" for class...

from a re-dip into Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love:

...I was actually feeling kind of delighted about all the little compartments of time and space that were appearing in my days, during which I could ask myself the radical new question: "What do you want to do, Liz?"
     Most of the time (still so troubled from bailing out of my marriage), I didn't even dare to answer the question, but just thrilled privately to its existence.  And when I finally started to answer, I did so cautiously.  I would only allow myself to express little-baby-step wants.  Like:
     I want to go to a Yoga class.
     I want to leave this party early, so I can go home and read a novel.
     I want to buy myself a new pencil box.
     Then there would always be that one weird answer, same every time:
     I want to learn how to speak Italian.
     For years, I'd wished I could speak Italian -- a language I find more beautiful than roses -- but I could never make the practical justification for studying it.  Why not just bone up on the French or Russian I'd already studied years ago?  Or learn to speak Spanish, the better to help me communicate with millions of my fellow Americans?  What was I going to do with Italian?  It's not like I was going to move there.  It would be more practical to learn how to play the accordion.
     So I signed up for classes at one of those continuing education places (otherwise known as Night School for Divorced Ladies).  My friends thought this was hilarious.  My friend Nick asked, "Why are you studying Italian? So that -- just in case Italy ever invades Ethiopia again, and is actually successful this time -- you can brag about knowing a language that's spoken in two whole countries?"
     But I loved it.  Every word was a singing sparrow, a magic trick, a truffle for me.  I would slosh home through the rain after class, draw a hot bath, and lie there in the bubbles reading the Italian dictionary aloud to myself, taking my mind off my divorce pressures and my heartache.  The words made me laugh in delight.  I started referring to my cell phone as il mio telefonino ("my teensy little telephone").  I became one of those annoying people who always say Ciao! [...]  Just speaking these words made me feel sexy and happy.


more beautiful than roses indeed.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Via Marco Aurelio, Roma]
[sabato 05 settembre 2009 ore 17:46:35] []

when September comes.

First night alone (I can almost hear Etta saying, At Last).  No mammas, no good (and welcome) friends from the Razorfish years, and no (equally welcome) boys with velvet tongues.  Il Pentagrappolo is closed (the Anglo-Saxon in me cannot fathom how a commercial establishment can just close up and scupper for OVER a month...  wait a second.  *what* Anglo-Saxon in me?) and I end up at Cafè Cafè -- Chianti from Serristori, and such lovely waitresses.  Rudy is at the house, making it wonderful for me like he does every Tuesday (attention family and would-be suspicious-persons: Rudy is my Very Awesome Cleaning Man), and maybe when I get home tonight, I will run a bath and do the candles and listen to the sound of an empty house that sits in the almost-shadow of the Colosseo.

What was it Andrew said, over a Renaissance balcony above Tuscany?  It seems like you have a pretty good life here.

It's a good kind of wakeup call.  Inasmuch as a good kind of wakeup call is the one that says hey, nice dream, guess what -- it's real.


So many people try to say that things have worked out for the best.  Or some variation of it (God does everything for a reason, et cetera).  Most days, when they ask me to repaint the larger landscape -- the one that updates the undergrowth of moving to Canada when I should not have had to, and then adds on the brushwork of being back now, and of having built back all the things I lost (maybe not all of them -- Ciro is otherwise occupied, but I have many of the things and the people I had before -- some I had to work for and some were waiting for me complete with a glass of Donna Fugata)...  When I finish the story and shrug, I get the all's well that ends well assurance.  I am always amused by it.  Because it doesn't always work that way, I think.  Things don't always work out for the best, and all does not always end well.  Small children go hungry, puppies get run over -- and (at the lower end of the importance-spectrum, I am fully aware), women ruin their lives -- however temporarily -- because of the myopia of their families.  I don't believe in Everything Happens For the Best.  I think it is a little too convenient.  A little too neat (and I don't believe everything is neat).  You can tell me that I would never have known whether "that" (whatever the missing "that" is) was the "better" thing for me.  All I can say to you in response is, well yes -- exactly.

Cavolo.  How did this get to look like an unhappy post?  This is not an unhappy post.  As dooce would say (or at least, *how* she would say it) -- THIS IS NOT AN UNHAPPY POST.

Davvero.  It's been a good summer.

[nightingaleshiraz] [?]
[Cafè Cafè, Roma]
[martedì 01 settembre 2009 ore 20:30:35] []