Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Is Where this Part Is

One month has passed since I moved to New Orleans.
Cassie Smith, longtime co-conspirator and fabulous friend, is visiting me.
In my attempt to convince her (and most everyone) that New Orleans is the best place to call home, I have also managed to keep us out until 6:30 am, sweating away in the world's most exotic dive bars, where exhaustion can't find you, as you're held up by the sheets of smoke that stack and rise in every room. Should you need to get from point A to point B, say the bar to the bathroom, or the dance floor to the patio, the rolling and rousing 60's R&B, 70's Funk, or 100 years of Jazz will aid in your crossing.

I've begun managing and training bartenders at a new bar/ restaurant/ venue/ club/ art-space called Eiffel Society. We grow a large percentage of our herbs, vegetables and spices on premise. The cocktail menu is focused on house-made cordials, bitters and infusions, aided by the vision of Alan Walter of Iris. The space was once the restaurant built into the base of the Eiffel Tower. We've only just begun, but the potential and the ambition are there.

I have a reading at NOCCA in October, along with 4 other recently transplanted poets. I am trying to write about the heart in a way that hopefully a few people might understand. The heart as container, carrying blood and baggage, moving it from here to there, lest it sit and drain itself of oxygen and worth. I believe I am failing at this. I am failing at this in the wrong way. Or the heart as computer, to reboot upon freezing, to reboot upon downloading software updates. The heart as de facto icon for all emotion in and all emotion out. Home is where the heart is. Where people move in and move out. Where rent is split. Where walls are painted. Where furniture reluctantly rests on floors, unfixed and impermanent. Where you go when you're tired. Where you leave when you're tired. I want to discuss a kind of structural surgery, the impossibility of fusing together the anatomical heart and the drywall of a home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. This sickness, where we learn to love what leaves, expending proportionately more energy to love someone whose distance away from us is measured in days passing. Not "days until," but "days since."

This is not despair. This is not tragedy. My first love is living. The heart, before all else, is an advocate of life. Rather, this is grief or mourning. I want to dance blindly and awkwardly, breaking down my inhibitions. I want to accept the unsystematic occurrence of crying that comes as I walk through my apartment door, or when the food is brought to the table, or when fixing the chain on my bike. I want to let it happen. I have so much belief, and I would trade the world that I know for a place to put it.

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