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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

the lion behind the gate


He pointed at the old gate, half-smiling. This was in July, during the handful of days we spent in Tbilisi. It was a toy lion, discarded in some trash, tucked behind the bars. He knew I would take a picture of it, maybe even a few. There are moments when you walk the streets with a camera that are too easily documented, too perfect, too conveniently metaphorical and you keep walking. There are others, when it feels just messy and real and "found" enough.  I took the picture, nodding my thanks to him - curious if he had taken one as well. Then I promptly forgot about it.

Weeks later, finally developing that roll of color film I am right back there in the afternoon heat, on that quiet side street in an old part of the city.  The lion is me, I get that. Am I lost? And I just sleeping in the shade? Am I thrown away, forgotten? Am I holding my chin high, in some lost corner of the world with no one watching? There are never any answers, just good questions. On any given day they could be foolish, or dead-on. On any given day they do not matter.

There is a famous Rilke poem about a panther, maybe the one thing people know by him. To him, there seem to be a thousand bars and back behind those thousand bars no world. I thought of this poem of course when I took it, knowing how empty and pointless the metaphor is. In truth, we see what we want to. We blind ourselves to what we want to avoid.

Sometimes a toy in the trash is just a toy in the trash.


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