where the blossoming stream takes off

27 November 2013
12:44 AM


I live in a room with no windows.

I am part of a big family, and in our house we share spaces. (Which is to say, privacy is nonexistent, an alien word.) My bedroom never changed, but I’ve shared with it different sisters while growing up. It was my aunt’s darkroom from before I was born, suffice to say it does not receive any natural light. It is adjacent to the library, which I have since converted into my office/studio. I always felt comfortable in it: it’s like a cave, a womb, a cocoon. Of course, it can feel claustrophobic at times, especially when other people dump their things in here (over the years it has played the role of an attic, a garage, a backyard–a repository for things that people don’t want anymore), but I find that I can manage that better than when I am surrounded by a throng of people.

I suppose that’s why my sisters have opted to be in other rooms. This one feels too small, too hidden. I suppose that’s why I love it.

Nevertheless, I have always yearned for a big window. One that overlooks something vast. One where I can see the sky. One where it allows for light to come in. I mean–I grew up living with shadows but light is always welcome, and something worth learning to love.

Does that make sense? I know I’m contradicting myself left and right here, but that’s how it is.

When I am at other places–okay, let me be honest, just hotel rooms, really–I take the time to find the biggest window there is and sit before it.

I wait until everybody falls asleep, and then I go to the window, seeing nothing, everything. I go to bed. I wake up a few hours before sunrise, go back to it. Just looking, and looking.

The New Higher
John Ashbery

You meant more than life to me. I lived through
you not knowing, not knowing I was living.
I learned that you called for me. I came to where
you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.
No one to appreciate me. The legality of it
upset a chair. Many times to celebrate
we were called together and where
we had been there was nothing there,
nothing that is anywhere. We passed obliquely,
leaving no stare. When the sun was done muttering,
in an optimistic way, it was time to leave that there.

Blithely passing in and out of where, blushing shyly
at the tag on the overcoat near the window where
the outside crept away, I put aside the there and now.
Now it was time to stumble anew,
blacking out when time came in the window.
There was not much of it left.
I laughed and put my hands shyly
across your eyes. Can you see now?
Yes I can see I am only in the where
where the blossoming stream takes off, under your window.
Go presently you said. Go from my window.
I am in love with your window I cannot undermine
it, I said.

Someday: a desk before a window.



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