Getting to know Shalom Auslander
Honeyed expectations

Weekend in Brooklyn

I wake to early light streaming past a benevolent Buddha. We nod and smile in the dawn silence. There is real chai.

When everyone has risen, the dial on our perennial conversation turns back up to audible volume. The nature of poetry, oral and written. The perils of translation. Photography, the implications of archiving, the marriage of image and word. Regionalisms of language and of food. We're serious and silly and earnest and hilarious. We sling innuendo, we cackle, we groan at each others' puns.

Wise hands leave me half an inch taller and feeling immeasurably cherished, a blessing I want to carry in my body for days.

We're buffoons on the subway. We snap pictures of each other. We marvel at modern art and at ad copy and at tiny lady Liberty seen from far away. We buy red bean popsicles and then, realizing it's too hot to walk home with them, eat them right there on the sidewalk, shopping bags full of chicken parts and striped bass, spinach and okra and ginger root, piled at our feet.

Museums and street corners and window wedding cakes. Merengue in the kitchen, drinking cold white wine, peeling potatoes and stirring curry as though we were accustomed to cooking together.

Late at night we read aloud, hearing our own poems in each others' voices. In turn we recite Yoruba blessings for baby-naming, French song, the first few lines of the Aeneid. The beginning of The Wanderer feels like a sacrament. After a while the intensity dims and I fall asleep to a debate about the best dirty limericks and whether there are any new rhymes for "Nantucket." When I wake, we're talking about saying the unsayable, gurus, the yearning for apprenticeship, what goes into scrapple. Ridiculous and sublime.

Next thing I know I'm on my way home, your voices blurring into the rattle and clack of the train. The kaleidoscope of my memory turns and the weekend's jeweled moments are jumbled and juxtaposed.

How they shine.