Friday 30 May 2014


I notice, while editing the writing from Europe, the inevitable distancing from the places written, which doesn’t surprise me, though my reaction to it does. The pieces remain linked by a location and date to their moments of first writing, but now I’m writing the piece, not the place. The not surprising part is that the process of abstraction—inevitable anyway as soon as we use words—was built into my approach: pay attention, spin out. Thus, my prose poems written in and set among the stairs of Alfama, for instance, or the Grand Socco in Tangier, began leaving those places as I was composing them. Now that I’m removed in different ways from the Euro locales—the “cities” of my writing attention—the poems become more removed too. Before long, they’ll have travelled beyond specific rootedness in any café, ferry, plaza, tram, bus, beach or avenue. They may even incorporate the Reyes throwing error that cost the Jays a win against KC last night, for god’s sake. But for a few muted allusions to incidents and sensations from over there, a few words of Spanish or Portuguese, no one will know where the poems came from. My location and date data might as well wither and blow away. Here’s the part that surprises me: I’m a little sad that the stories of my euro travels will soon be lost even to me, the only one who holds them.

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