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I believe in artichokes

Italy did ruin me. After that first trip I came back disgusted by bodega coffee, which now smelled of old socks. Before, it was just fine. I rolled my eyes at red sauce joints, detouring old standbys like a stranger. If eating can be seen as a religious or spiritual experience I had been to the mountain. In time I would return on pilgrimages, always holding the simple pleasures in my thoughts.  An artichoke, methodically fried in good olive oil, with some salt. Black truffles, good butter and fresh pasta twisting around the back of a fork. A very cold and tiny glass of porto bianco sipped in a Genoa bar, with my friend Federico. A man cleaning sardines on a block of wood in the street. A woman selling green figs that she wraps into a newspaper cone. I have thousands of these memories, these artifacts. But I live in Moscow, where there has been an embargo for years now, and there is no population that expects perfect mounds of fresh cheese. They ship powdered palm oil here, that gets …

a dress rehearsal (landscape of a man, part 2)


When the air runs warm and the snow starts to melt, it is no surprise that I feel restless. If I had long hair, I might walk into a barber shop and ask to cut them everything off like I used to. The streets are crusted with dog shit long hidden in snow banks. Children wander towards playgrounds still wrapped head to toe. They will be in snowsuits until the trees turn green. 

I wake in the middle of the night, listen to N's breathing and then go to the kitchen for a glass of water. I check on E, curled like a fern on top of her blankets, a hand stretched out to some imaginary friend. A shovel rakes against the sidewalk downstairs. I am not the only one up.


Is this a belated mid-life crisis? I ask myself on some days, this fresh urge to create, to be prolific, to follow my muse wherever it takes me with a sort of reckless urgency. Or, did I simply hit a sweet spot? Did I make some soup, did I cook up an alignment of planets, did I keep the motor running all these years and finally it feels like new destinations are just around the next corner? I have no idea. I make dinner. I try to make the bed. I try to find things in boxes that I have misplaced. I try to put my teacup in the sink.

And then the snow returns. This was a dress-rehearsal for Spring. The flakes are flapping against the windows.














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