Saturday, June 28, 2014

Errant avec leurs proches à Montréal,,,

Day two at Montreal Jazz Fest was stunning: the weather was crisp and sunny, the people were ready for a party and in time the NY chapter of the family arrived in Canada. What is there to complain about, yes? So, as is our preferred style of mobility, we wandered: we wandered through our neighborhood (Little Italy), we wandered through Marche Jean Talon, we wandered about the festival grounds watching people (mostly children playing in the fountains) and we even wandered through some conversations.
William Wordsworth once put it like this:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

That is, I suspect, another favorite about these types of vacations: there is NO destination or goal, just time to see what strikes our fancy and then follow that impulse until it is over. These two street performers working the Place-des-Arts METRO station capture the soul of wandering as they improvise on U2's "With or Without You."
We wandered about later searching for a park where we might host an impromptu Middle Eastern picnic - when what should present our wandering eyes but Parc Dante with a lovely bust of the poet himself. So we parked ourselves - and a sleeping baby - and shared white wine and schwarma, falafel, hummus and those great pickled turnips the Lebanese do so well. And as evening fell, the kids wandered some more and we returned to the scene of the jazz crime for a late night digestif of jazz funk
Today will be much the same as yesterday - and it will all be sacred. In easing into this morning I came upon this poem by Mia Anderson, winner of this year's Montreal Poetry Award

The antenna is a growth not always
functional in all people.

Some can hoist their antenna with
remarkable ease—like greased lightning.

In some it is broken, stuck there in its old winged
fin socket way down under the shiny surface

never to issue forth.
Others make do with a little mobility,

a little reception, a sudden spurt of music

and joy, an aberrant hope.

And some—the crazies,
the fools of God—drive around

or sit or even sleep
with this great thin-as-a-thread

home-cobbled monkey-wrenched filament
teetering above their heads

and picking up the great I AM like
some hacker getting Patmos on his toaster.

And some, with WD40 or Jig-a-loo
or repeated attempts to pry the thing up

or chisel at the socket
do not give up on this antenna

because they have heard of how it works
sometimes, how when the nights are clear

and the stars just so and the new moon has all but set,
the distant music of the spheres is transformative
and they believe in the transformation.

It is the antenna they have difficulty believing in.

See more at:

credits:  all pictures by dianne de mott


ddl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ddl said...

1. Wow-- never take these moments for granted with your family, RJ. (not that you ever would) I would love to have a reunion picnic something like you are experiencing and thank you for allowing all of us to live vicariously for the moment through your jazz/poetry/cuisine/and good, wholesome splendid family adventures and just plain unburdened fun. :)
2. The U2 Song with or without you is pretty much the theme song of my life.
3. The last poem kicked ass. Seriously. Antenna -- I keep patching it. I once fished for my keys out of a manhole in Sommerville MA with nothing but a broken antenna and a bunch of passersby and a Buddhist nun and several grad students who, for different reasons, found a huge need to help out --on principle, or experiment, or just damn goodwill and true compassion, -- and cars honked and people waved, and we fetched trash bags (to cover ourselves from the filth) and climbed in and took turns getting that manhold bailed out (a bucket brigade) and yes, my keys were in there on the very bottom and after bailing out most of the water, a Brazilian (I think) proudly lifted those keys and I cried and threw everyone a "key fishing thank you party" after the 2 hour event/ordeal and it was one of the BEST moments in my life because it was-- well, it all started with an old antenna, if I remember correctly, and a cord from a curling iron, and some duct tape. And the sheer belief-dream-delusion that I could retrieve those keys in a 5 ft manhole (it had a grate)which we unbolted. It was rank though. And yes, it demands to be written about. So-- the antenna-- even now, it is hard to believe that antennas can work with broken signals and broken people and just rotten pissy luck. Sorry for the swearing...I never fixed that. But the poem is GREAT. Seriously-- I am putting it in my journal. Thanks for the trip down antenna memory lane.

RJ said...

Wow am I knocked out by that one, ddl. Incredible. It is my joy to share this time with my family - and as we all get older it becomes ever more precious. And damn but does that poem ever cut it on so many levels: OMG! Blessings right back at you, too. Can't wait for you to write out your antenna/car keys tale.

summertime is half over...

A gentle rain is falling in the Berkshire hills this morning. Already it feels like a day of contemplation and quiet rest. There was a Fac...