The mansion where Gone with the Wind was written sits up on blocks like a trailer, underpinnings exposed, like a trailer, trucked down a road, relocated from one county to another that also can’t afford its restoration,
a green curtain of vines drawing over the decay. What should stay?
The Alentejo is the landscape of heartbreak. Or at least it was to me. Even its trees are clearly loners, set apart from each other at distant intervals across miles of sere brown fields. The Alentejo is all about waiting, from its numbered cork trees, with their skinned underbellies between harvest years, to the fabled, and perhaps fictional, nun Mariana, writing from Beja to a lover who will never come back. The Letters of a Portuguese Nun have been awaiting an author, an answer, for three and a half centuries now. Once celebrated for sparking a revolution in the European epistolary novel, now considered out of fashion even in Portugal, they remain a literary enigma, the country’s Mona Lisa.
they say that the most impressive of all crossings is not thirst or the fear afterwards. The humiliation no longer wounds what does not exist they say bodies in a boat of bodies veins eyes skin penis nails vagina
35 Enter inhale. Enter time. Enter inheritance. Enter or else. Enter doors with handles, without handles, manually manipulated. Enter alone feelings. Enter tension. Struggle entering bitterness enter. Love turning towards lust enter. Historic languages enter. Human conditions of oppression enter. Enter roadside assistance. Enter talented man killed too soon. Gravemarker write L.O.W. Enter near Dayton settlement but specifically at Englewood location. Enter chirping bird sounds out of the ceiling again. Enter your own music mixing up into the chirps of birds. Enter memory again. Enter thought again. Enter more and more gunshots. Enter yelling. Enter empathy and critical engagement.
Papá announced, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray. Mamã, clearing the table, gave her usual start. She stood stranded in the kitchen doorway, a dirty plate in each hand.
Going to war meant going out in the dead of night to David’s bar, playing hide-and-seek with military patrols. Our lot’s supporters gathered there after hours, drank a few beers, exchanged questionable information and reliable rumors. It had been the same every night for the last three weeks, since their lot retook the city.
After dinner, Papá would say, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and Mamã would give a start, try to talk him out of it, remind him of martial law and the curfew.
Then, out of desperation, she’d say, “At least wait for the shooting to die down.”
When the exhibit went up at Peachtree Center, the Chinese of Atlanta flocked downtown. Jews had been in Henan so close to forever, they weren’t seen as foreign. And we had found an exhibit on China that wasn’t old vases. Jews were Chinese in more ways than food. Migration was not always out of the places our families had fled; it had once been to. Our pantries were “ethnic” not just for the shrimp chips and wood ears, but as well for the matzah. Maybe, when asked, Do you celebrate Christmas?, we were not being checked for Zen or the Buddha. We didn’t say it in so many words. The line between Asia and Europe had blurred.