10/10/08

Dear Ollif, The smokies being smoky... and other amazing things.

Some weeks back, a close friend and i wandered into a thrift store in Williamsburg... hidden in the corner was a treasure; a trough, filled with amazing old photographs. As I dug through them, I felt completely overwhelmed- family photos, christmas morning, first communions, new puppies, new friends, old friends, vacations... so many simple moments that once meant so much to someone. That's what makes us human... the awareness of beauty in simple moments. People are so beautiful. As I picked through all of the photographs, I began to get tears in my eyes.. Here were all of these moments of people lives, captured on film, thrown in a box, being picked through by some random stranger... it felt.... sacred? I began to think about myself being in that box someday- my moments caught on film, thrown in the corner of some dimly lit thrift store, being sorted through by some random young kid trying to make an art project. man...

It's funny, because this is possibly my favorite post I've ever done, and it's with someone else's photographs. Maybe that's why. These are my new treasures. I feel like it's so easy to forget the layers of time, how many people have come before us, here, now. When I look at these photographs, I remember all of my moments that are the same as these people's in the photographs... no matter how different, we are all so similar in so many ways.

We're just people, being people, and that's beautiful.





I found this note on the back of the above photo... life is so amazing:

(08/08/1969)
Dear Ollif,
I am very glad to meet you. Thank you, for the beautiful record. When I am in Holland, I'll soon write you, and I hope to hear soon from you, the wonderful news, that you became a Bahami [?]. I wish you all happiness in the world, and don't forget me.

love, Ireen













The photo below:
(October, 57) the back reads:

"SMOKIES" BEING SMOKY.

I got a kick of that.
my mind is wandering.
wondering.

*

How can I start. It didn’t end.
like the wind, picking up again where it once left off
houses, blades of grass, the long hair of the pretty girls
This is the way he closes his eyes when I play your record. Or when he thinks about being seventeen. Or showing up to prom with whisky dripping out of his lungs.
Blue suit. Scuffed shoes.
The girls in their long dresses, welcoming Sunday. Thank you Jesus for showing us the way.
But we’d really rather get home to our prize winning hedges.
I’ve been here for too long. A tree, suspended, waiting.
Oh Ollif, all the love in the world. If only I could be in Holland again, sitting at the café and surrounded by knotted knuckles and stories of war.
But children are swaying unsteady, happy to make their mothers pleased.
And dogs are playing in the park. Let’s let them be the kings.
The man, a blur, we never saw his face. A ghost of winter, bloodied elbows and chapped lips.
I’ll pretend I knew you when your hair was long.
“The smokies. Being smoky.”
Your chest, a mountain. When I held you then, I tried to sink my face into it, become a part of your flesh. But not gently like the clouds, exhaling to the earth. No. Like a small child, reaching desperately, tearing, holding, collecting, screaming in silence and throwing my body against the rocks. This is why I didn’t tell you that I think about my nose nesting in the soft hairs on the back of your neck regularly while I lie in bed alone. And that I cry when I remember I’ve forgotten your smell. I think it was like autumn. I think it was like home. I am a child. And a home you will never know.
I want to say something resentful.
But I’m thinking about wind.

3 comments:

Kendrick Brinson said...

lovely images and words, shaena.
thanks for sharing both.

Lisa said...

What a wonderful discovery!

Sophie Borazanian said...

Darling, you said it perfectly. I love you.