Sunday, June 13, 2010

last time i really spent much time on twitter, it was the iranian revolution, and i kept opening it up, and experiencing what seemed a lot like the streets of tehran. people talking to each other, speaking a variety of languages, giving advice; dropping photos; the government popping in to spy; movie links, picture links, etc. i changed my id photo to green, in sympathy with the demonstrators, but dropped out of twitter, more or less. it was like times square: it would be a discipline to get used to it on a daily basis.

it has matured, however, from those days, and now there is a street for everyone. two of my streets would be #worldcup and #haiku. both hold my fascination in that any time i drop by, i could see a running stream of commentary on the world cup, or a running, fresh supply of haiku, all kinds, all languages. in fact, i quickly adopted a haiku identity, dropped a few, and started following some of the poets on there; some are quite good. some are mixed-media types and these too catch my fancy.

my haiku self is like my traveling self: i might be in the line at starbucks, with a glazed scone staring me in the face, waiting for coffee that will get me through a couple of hours of class. now's the time to slip into some verse, be out on the road somewhere, in a moment captured only by verse, a moment so infinite in its choices, and possibilities, that it encompasses the changing sky and the interstate junction at the same time. the world cup, of course, is another kind of indulgent, escapiist passion, one that allows free access to the thoughts of many of my students, who will freely talk for minutes if not hours, about the chances of some team like italy, to get past the first round and further. it's gotten blisteringly hot here- and i'm quite a wimp these days, even the nineties sets me back, makes me want a cool coffee or a break; what is worst, in my view, is simply going from hot outdoors to cool indoors, and readjusting body temperature more than half-a-dozen times a day. a seasoned traveler like myself would be more comfortable walking miles in the ninety-degree, than going back and forth, all day, as i do, between nineties and sixties. it takes it out of me. my kids can handle it; i can't.

out at the lake, the water takes the bite out of the heat; but, if you sit still for even a minute, the fish will bite you. over in the turtles' area, you can occasionally see the turtles lift their heads above the thin vaneer of brackish pond; we leave them alone, as we are instructed. the film on the water remains until i wash it off; the boys are willing to go a bit longer than i am. home of the "park diagonal" sign: this is a place of profound peace; the cliffs guard it, and the water flows out of sight in two directions, usually fairly clean, in spite of the film. if i miss a spot with the sunblock, i pay with a red mark; this somehow doesn't bother me; i feel almost as if i should store up some of it, for winter.

haiku street is a busy place; people of all kinds, even a machine, which seems to spew out 5-7-5's mechanically. you notice this machine right away; it's putting out a few every five minutes. but you also notice the 5-7-5 is doing fine here; it's alive and well; everyone's using it and using it well. this is like a home, in a way, a place you spot right away, that is in your groove; a place where you say, i could learn stuff here. and, you don't have to leave your computer to do it. like the world cup: not necessary to go to africa; you can experience it all, right here. you can say something crude to the guy next to you, or better yet, say something 5-7-5- just to throw them off. sign it with #haiku, a street sign; better yet, put two or three street signs on it; make yourself an intersection.

now that the world is an infinite city grid of word-streets, parked cars with license-tweets, the joy of a city is walking everywhere, knowing the best routes, taking in the weather and at the same time loving the infinite variety, the changing hues, of the people of the city itself. cities are not so bad, though there is something to be said also for the campfire and the sea of stars; one can go there, take in the style, and the art, and come back to a favorite pond, hoping, to be sure, that if the pond isn't still fresh, it's at least no more stagnant than it ever was, that the film will at least wash off, given a nice warm shower.


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