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talking to the trees

Most experiences cannot be discussed. No one wants to hear the ugly truth, and chances are you will be attacked for sharing it. To be able to speak freely means that you need a willing listener, otherwise you are just talking to the trees. Time and again I have come to understand that there is no difference between New York and Moscow, no difference between East and West. They are just cults of personality, built on violence and money and moral quicksand.

The life of an expat evolves from those early, awkward victories to one of assimilation or in cases like mine - eventually understanding that you have no country you can (or want to) call home. I am left with just these four walls and my family. This apartment is the only place I actually belong. This is the only place I do not need to soft-pedal my thoughts, where I do not need to apologize for what I have unearthed. The river of betrayal runs deep whether I look outside, or across the ocean. Willful ignorance, willful indifference…

the comb of the wind (part 1)

The wind is coming down hard on Kutuzovsky. Dirt whips into my eyes as the empty bag on my arm snaps around like a scarecrow. Sometimes I think there is just a finite amount of grit that circulates throughout the city, transformed to mud, to grime, to dust, never leaving just taking laps around the third ring on an eternal race with no finish line. This is the same dirt that flew into Genghis Khan's eyes, that plastered Napoleon's boots. This dirt has no name.

The city looms empty. 

I pass the same stores, the same windows that hold no interest. Here are the same children's mannequins, the same overpriced liquor store, the same coffee shops with their sour tasting cappuccinos. It is a barren place, where nothing grows, just the throaty scream of traffic, the pickled faces of people hunched down against the wind, the stray trash flipping around the curb. There is no smell here, nothing sweet, nothing alive. 

It is exhausting to walk on Kutuzovsky one more time. 

It was two years ago, that I brought you to Spain for a few days to escape the end of Moscow winter. That was my official excuse, when we stepped off of the tiny plane onto the tarmac in San Sebastien where there was no luggage carousel, just a neat row of suitcases lined up on the asphalt. By nightfall I was sipping txakoli and we were taking a walk along the beach. There was the low moan of the ocean, the smell of cherry blossoms, the salty wet air on our cheeks. 

I carried the ring with me, tucked into the bottom of my camera bag. I was waiting for the right moment, the right light, the right stones to sit on. But that is a story for another day. Right now I think of how it has been two years, and how you are too tired to remember this anniversary because you sleep in tiny stolen moments. You talk to our child with such grace, such gentle confidence. I wish you could see yourself, or see what I see. Two years ago, me mumbling metaphors next to a roaring ocean, waves slapping hard against the rocks in the darkness, you maybe not even hearing everything but hand out, the ring sliding on, the moment passing, a sense of relief, a door opening onto a corridor that lead us to here and this home, this kitchen table, this quiet moment when you are nursing in the other room and I write.


liv said…
Perhaps Russia, dark - sad - corrupt Russia, has brought you the most Grace the most Beauty the most Love you will ever know.
liv said…
ahhhh, more precisely -

the most Grace
the greatest Beauty
the deepest Love

yes, pulled deeper from the heart, those are the words that touch the truth.
David said…
perhaps Russia has brought us Marco bare and naked with truths none of us have ever known.


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