Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April is the cruelest month and other vapid thoughts

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering         5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers. (T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland)   

I'm missing Warsaw. Fortunately, I have my Twitter friend Lola to take pictures of things like peacocks. (Maybe insert photo here.)

I miss the pock marked walls, the WWII memorials that have fresh flowers daily. I miss being 18, or 19, or 20. I miss discovering a new place in a city that has been around longer than long, even though so much of it was obliterated by bombs.

I watched the trams go from red and gray to being covered with M&M and Barbie ads as communism's hold went straight for capitalism. The tram stops, donated by the government of Japan? I should have taken more pictures, written more notebooks. Who knew that at 40, I would be longing for those days, when sometimes the depression was too much to bear, I'd sing "Won't you be my neighbor" to myself in the mirror to cheer myself up?

I remember when Derek decided to stay in Spain and not come to Warsaw for his last bit of Europe, the summer of Vienna Summer School. I thought I was going to marry that man. I still have his letters somewhere. Little did I know he was practically engaged. (Not that he really led me on, I just had a wild imagination.)

I remember we took an afternoon to go see Upper Belvedere, the Klimts. There is something about the gold that Gustav painted. We went to the store for dinner after that, got bread and cheese. He let me pick. "Whatever you choose is fine with me." We sat under a tree and I told him how Shawn Colvin spoke to me,

Sometimes I feel so reckless and wild
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
I gave nobody life, I am nobody's wife
And I seem to be nobody's daughter...

I don't understand it now, but somehow the thought of Derek's mother is what helped me get out of bed the day I heard that he wasn't going to make it to Warsaw. I wonder now how he got in touch with me...this is before email, a phone call would have been prohibitive...and I think I would have remembered a phone call, actually. A letter, a postcard? I would have kept a postcard, maybe.

(and how funny that the "i gave nobody life" line was lost on me until just today, now.) My baby blanket is in eyesight of where I usually sit with the laptop and I think I'll give it to my sister when she gets her baby. And then I think...but no. 

I have talked about Pittsburgh being the city of my childhood, the rivers of Bonn, the mountains of Tegucigalpa. It is only now that I realize this third floor walk-up, this garret, is my Warsaw third floor guest room, that belonged to me every summer and every Christmas for three years. 

And that is all, for today.

Upper Belvedere (wow, I don't remember it being so regal)  (and now I remember Egon Schiele)
Shawn Colvin's song, The Story

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