Saudade

By Anna McDonald

The city wraps itself
up in me.
Covers its ears in me.
Tried me on in one
of those public nudity
dressing rooms they used
to have at Loehmann’s.
How I loved in my loneliness
the comfort of those pantings
& unpantings. How that dressing
room is no longer there, as many
people from that dressing room
just got up and walked out,
onto the next myth, died or bore
a child or didn’t. Perhaps it was
an accident. Haven’t thought of me
since. Should I stop hating
my own nostalgia, which
places me here on the corner
of my sadness so many
years later on a mild evening,
looking up into lit windows,
dinnertimes not my own?
The city wraps me up
in itself, does with me as air does to
particulate matter.
Lets me float around invisible
killing people I don’t know.

Dougherty’s index of things I owned and loved in 2016

1. Honeywell HCM350B Cool Mist Humidifier
Lame? Maybe. Responsible for the first great night’s sleep I’ve had since moving to a dry apt in Brooklyn? YES.

2. Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream
Does it make your skin shiny? Yeah. Is it great for your skin otherwise? Yeah.

3. Fjallraven Kanken laptop backpack
Does it look like a child’s bookbag from summer camp in 1972? Definitely. But does it only weigh 1lb and not hurt my back at all? Totally.

4. Fuji Xpro2 digital rangefinder camera
This is my new best friend. Invaluable. Recommended with the 18mm wide lens, which magnifies to 23mm.

5. Fuji Instax 90 instant camera
I bought this to send my brother tiny photos every day during his Seal training. So far I’ve sent somewhere around 500. It gets the job done, battery lasts forever, and kids love it too.

6. Amazon Prime membership
Do you still not have one? Whyyyyyyyyyy not?!

7. Victorinox Spectra 2.0, 26L and carry-on luggage, red
Hard case, very light, already been on many planes with me. No complaints yet.

8. North Face Far Northern Parka, navy
Finally bit the bullet and bought a waterproof NF down park with a fur collar so I can look like literally every other person in America. But I get it: these things are warm. And light. And practical. Amen.

9. Maui Jim Cliff House polarized aviator blue mirror sunglasses
Clearly the theme of this list is “This item is really light”, but really, these things are LIGHT. It’s like wearing nothing. And they work SO WELL. And they look awesome.

10. On Cloud lightweight sneakers
‘On’ is the name of the brand, from Switzerland. ‘Cloud’ is the name of the shoe. This is embarrassing, but, again, these are basically weightless sneakers.

Apparently my goal in 2016 was to feel as lightweight as possible, maybe because I carry a 15″ laptop on my back 100% of the time as a tech consultant. But I highly recommend any of these purchases. Bonus shout-out to my old faithful possessions highlighted in previous Dougherty Indexes: Pure Internet Radio, and Bialetti’s Stovetop Venus Espresso Maker. Everything else I own is in storage.

20-something

I realize I have not written in…several seasons. It still feels pointless since my father is no longer alive. And yet, it’s another year, so:

Things I accomplished in 2016

– Finished redesigning & relaunching my church org’s website, an 8-month effort
– Finished redesigning & relaunching my friend G’s website after some technical hassles
– Said goodbye to Astoria & moved to Brooklyn
– Began plotting entrepreneurial product/service ideas, with some success or at least intellectual progress

Things I’d like to (realistically) accomplish in 2017

– Improve posture
– Publish industry papers again
– Do at least 20 minutes of cardio daily, even if it’s running up and down the stairs
– Other, bigger physical & spiritual goals that I can’t jinx myself by writing here

More later.

Thanks

by W.S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

Time is over, or it’s not

If death is not the end, I’d like to know what is.
For all eternity we don’t exist,
except for now.
In my gumshoe mac, I shuffled to the clifftop,
Stood well back,
and struck a match to light my life;
And as it flared it fell in darkness
Lighting nothing but itself.
I saw my life fall and thought:
Well, kiss my physics!
Time is over, or it’s not,
But this I know:
Life passes through us like the blade
Of bamboo growing through the prisoner pegged down in the glade
It pierces your blood, you screaming head –
Life is what happened to the dead.
Forever we do not exist
Except for now.
Life passes through us like a beam
Of charcoal green – a golden gleam,
The opposite of how it seems:
It’s not you that goes through life
life is the knife that cuts your dream
Around the seam
And leaves you turned on in the stream, laughing with your mouth open,
Until the stream is gone,
Leaving you cracked mud,
Not even there to be absent,
From the heartbeat of a dying fish.
In bed, upstairs, I feel your pulse run with the clock
And reach your hand
And lock us with our fingers
As if we were bumping above the Pole.
Yet I know by dawn
Your hand will be dry bone
I’ll have slept through your goodbye,no matter how long I wake.
Life winds on,
Through Cheri and Karl who can no longer smell chocolate,
Or see with wonder wind inflate the sail,
Or answer mail
Life flies on
Through Katy who was Catherine but is bound for Kate
Who looks over her shoulder at the demon Azmodeus,
And sees the Daily Mail
(I clutch my purse. I had it just now.)
Life slices through
The frozen butter in the Alpine wreck.
(I found your photo upside down
I never kissed a girl so long,
So long, so lovely or so wrong)
Life is what kills you in the end
And I can cry
But you won’t be there to be sorry
You were made of life
For ever we did not exist
We woke and for a second kissed.

-Robyn Hitchcock

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