hey mi gente,
This will mark the second Thursday that I have been able to blog, consecutively. It is a big step for me, so clap. I can hear you from here. Where is here? So without making to big a stink about it all. I am happy to say - I AM IN EUROPE!! Officially, I am taking a course entitled "THE CREATIVE EXPERIENCE" - in which the participants will have the opportunity to write about the observations, explorations and creative works while in both LONDON, ENGLAND and MADRID, SPAIN.
FISH AND CHIPS!!
I am on the first half of the trip - London! So far, we have been here two days and it has been a blast. Its been roughly 13 years since I was here first and my first impressions are still a bit the same:
1) the number of languages spoken here are still more distinct than the languages spoken back home. (Though, to be fair, Houston is catching up!!)
2) Public transportation is still kick ass - the tube system and the bus system are easy to use and EVERYWHERE
3) Everything is smaller (except the people- they got some talk folks here!!) portions of food, door sizes, shower space, cars, refrigerators, etc - the notion of "everything is bigger in Texas" does not fit here.
4) the precision of words - ex: its not a "parking lot" its a "car park", it's not "watch the signs", it's "observe announcements"
5) the attitude to media - the biggest breaking story in the news? A BACK LOG OF PASSPORT APPLICATIONS!!! AHHHHHHH seriously, I haven't heard a single thing about a school shooting, or a car robbery, or a house catching fire, a kid getting kidnapped, nothing.
6) This place is bike/motocycle/pedestrian friendly. Seriously. It is the best mode of transportation.
7) There is a historical reverence and connection all across the city and beyond. You go to Trafalgar Square and you get the interconnection between the Brits, the French and the Spanish. They are all tied together. Naturally, it would have to be this way, as this history is preserved so well.
8) They have just as many STARBUCKS as we do. Way too many for my taste.
9) Greens here are greener than what we have back home. I don't mean better, but much more deep colors, in the grass, in the trees, in the flowers. There is so much "green" around, it is nice. Parks are everywhere.
10) The people are so much more personable than I remember. If you are willing to interact, then people will surely greet you and give you time of day. Not everyone is on a cellphone. It's nice to see.
Here are some of the pictures I have taken while here on the trip:
So it might not seem like this has anything to do with my trip here, but hear me out - even as I am able to count my lucky stars to be out here and hold some of the most amazing conversations about writing and the practice of writing - I can not ignore reality - sadly, the Houston Poetry Community has lost of its newer voices - Miss Alice Alsup. She was someone I wish I had gotten to know. Her loss has been felt by many and being here in London-town has a bittersweet feel. My heart goes out to her family and her friends. I only wish I could truly be counted as one of them. I did not know her long enough, but since we kept some of the same friends, I am sure we would have had a natural connection. To all the poets and folks back home, me mas sentido pesamé.
Today, I spent the morning reflecting on what I read in a Free Press article written by Harbeer Sandhu - he put it out there like that I for one appreciate such honesty.
Here is the article in case you don't know about it:
READ IT? ok - so I thought about her and the impact she made. In a relatively short amount of time, she wrecked shop and kicked culo. It would have been amazing to see her grow as a person and a poet. Before we left for a bus ride to Stratford Upon Avon for play, I got a chance to read "CHASE", a poem Alice wrote. I thought of the poem, I thought about London, I thought about what death is, what it means and I couldn't help but run the facts of her demise in my head, and as we were driving past a beautiful field, for a split second, I thought of her not a gone, but merely someplace else. I took out the final details of her life and replaced them in a poem with a new existence in London. I know it is too silly to speak of, but, as elegies go, I wanted to picture her living her life somewhere else. I placed here in "LONDON-TOWN". I place here in Regent's Park, in a flat, reading in the grass. I think as images go, it was fitting.
Where ever you are Alice, thank you for your poetry. You will be missed.
Here is a snippet of the poem I started:
An Elegy in London-Town (After Alice Alsup’s “Chase” )
“But I too am a wildfire" - Alice Alsup
You will think you see her as you walk
around. You will run the moment in your head,
when she is found, you will wish that she be
in London-town with you. Image her in Russell Square,
her feet in the air, barefoot,
simple release, not a care, not a pressure, her,
belly down, reading some poems from Sylvia P.
She will ask you if you would like to get some
candies from the chemist on the corner and if you know
how to change out the sim card on her new “Votofone”.
She will live in this place, now, in old Westminster,
watching the boats travel, walk about town.
She will get lost just like you do, on the Central line,
on the way to Surrey, on the way to Regent’s Park.
She will laugh at the tube stop “Elephant & Castle” and you
will tell her about the necessity of a ploughman’s lunch
with a shot of whiskey before an evening outing.
She will take pictures and read and read and write.
she will tell you,
Let us not burn down the world,
consume ourselves in the smoke.
Its no where near done.
OK, gang, so that about wraps up this post. But first a message.
TO MY LOVELY LADY - JUST A QUICK NOTE -
TODAY, 5 years ago, I made the best decision of my life. I got married to a writer!! Never been a dull moment yet. Baby, hope you are doing well at home and resting. I miss you much. I adore you. See you soon...