frozen in quito

and here is a memory of warmth: sitting on fiery hot rocks on the shore of lake michigan in milwaukee this past summer. what a lovely day.

and suddenly the heat in guayaquil seems nothing more than a long forgotten dream. i nearly froze to death today, wandering around in the cold rain in a soggy wool sweater (did not pack for this weather whatsoever). and then i, distracted by my numb hands and spongy shoes, took the wrong bus, so i had to take two more to get to where i needed. i stood on the bus like a tall, wet mop, rubbing away the steam from my window so i could see where i was. i think tea will be a nightly ritual here. i have a lot of spanish homework, class with gilma went well, and lately i prefer homework to tourism. i’m tired of cities, and excited to venture out into cloud forests & rain forests the next two weekends.

having entered this semi-hermit-like state, i’ve had time to comb through some of the writing i did when in guayaquil. i didn’t do much, edited a few poems i’d written at the end of the summer, and also wrote a few new ones. the ocean is a constantly recurring theme in what i write, and i’m not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing. i think i wrote this one during my second or third week in ecuador, but i can’t remember.

the waves (written september 2009)

most days, I am a nameless wave,
drifting out into
a horizon
cluttered with clouds
and ships and hands
raking away the light.

nothing is beautiful initially,
not even the ocean
with its untouchable depths,
its inky waters
and viewless
its foam, like soiled cotton,
clinging to the rocks,
desperate to rush
back out to sea,
but stranded at the shore:
tucking itself inside of shells,
losing itself to the sand.
the shape of something
can never be maintained for long.

beauty comes later.
reshaping myself
some place abandoned
by anybody of any importance.
where the ocean
might as well be the sky,
where the horizon
has emptied itself of

here is nowhere,
and most people will
never feel this place,
the loose beats of
a heart losing
and then winning
and then losing.
trembling up
through the sidewalks,
the sea floor,
shifting the breeze,
the thin carpet of litter and
grass, the palm trees
planted for beauty,
and my bed at night
when sleep
has left the room.

and here we are
all tiny, unimportant waves.
the kind that appear
and disappear
quickly, sometimes,
out in the middle of the ocean.
running toward
the nearest shore,
fighting for the fish,
for the foam,
for tidy, unbreakable crests
that are capable
of traveling for days—

as if solid land
has anything to do with
as if
life at sea,
(in a wave, in a pearl
of light, in a whale,
in a seabird, or
in the endless,
could never
be enough.

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