Revision by Repetition


My sister takes this photograph of me down on the beach and I know right away it is the kind of picture I will look at when I am older and remember this stretch of sand and time and what it was like. It feels like the end of something but I cannot tell of what. This happened to me once before, a tin type photograph taken in a motel room in Idaho. I still have it somewhere.

The early morning looks the similar to the early evening, only the shades of blue are different. The mornings are soft like a children’s blanket, it begs you into the day. The evenings are dramatic and heart sick and moody. Sunsets are for lovers. Sunrises are for the lonely.

I think so often of having a baby I am afraid I am going to will it into existence. The mind is a powerful thing. I wake up in my sleep whispering, wait, wait, wait. Ever since I was young I felt an acute awareness that I was losing time. I have always practiced in the permanence of things- first photographs and then language. One seemed to live longer than the other if you were good enough.

But, how do we know if we are ever going to be good enough? I find myself worried about the things that do not matter as much as the words on the page or how I am going to talk about a dirt road. It is easy to get caught up in the business of life. We must remind ourselves to do the living.

I have a rattle in my lungs that feels like a promise. The waves are always larger in the winter, the roll slowly and methodically. She writes me a letter and tells me they are a measure of time. This has not occurred to me, like this, until now- my entire life measured by the promise that another wave is coming. We take for granted the way the world works, the way our bodies work, when we aren’t even trying.

I have begun to learn the different birds outside the window and love more than just the albatross. I am very interested in the aerodynamic of the birds and they’re methods of why they fly in formation or so close to the water you cannot tell where the bird ends and the shadow begins. Do they know this, or do they simply do it because they are birds?

All I do is rework the language and watch the waves come in and take my dog down to the water and drink tea. I read somewhere the only way to write better is to rewrite so I do this for months. I rewrite like it’s religion. I pray all day at the alter of these waves, revision by repetition- the same sentences only different. Much like these days.




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