The Sorrow and the Beauty

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A little Helen Frankenthaler for your thoughts?

Listening to the radio this morning, I was hit with a wave of sadness. There was brief coverage of the services in Charleston and the grief smacked me right in the face. Shitty things happen all the time. For some reason, this tragedy in Charleston feels different. It brings fresh sorrow every time I see a photograph of mourners or hear a family member speak of their lost loved one.

Something has to change. How can we as a country live like this?

I don’t have any of the answers. I don’t know what the next steps are. All I know is something is wrong and (unfortunately) I don’t think we, the American people, can rely on government to fix it.

For now, I am keeping the people of Charleston in my thoughts and in my heart. I hope they can feel the love so many are sending their way. Even in the face of such terribleness, there is always love.

Some brighter notes from the day:

This tragedy is opening up some very overdue dialogue around use of the Confederate Flag.

Yes – more Nina Simone. 

Wish I was in Paris for this exhibition. 

Um – I love this list and I love how wrong Fox was about a film with a female protagonist.

Lianne La Havas? Yes, please. 

I can’t claim to understand it all – but gotta give Taylor Swift props for standing up to Apple. Girls got balls.

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Bridging The Gap

I love bridges. There is something so romantic about walking across a bridge.

I have vivid memories of walking to class from my apartment in the Marais and making the delightful decision of what bridge to take that day. Pont des Arts was my favorite – cliché I know.

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I would walk back and forth over those bridges, willing for something magical to happen. On my last day in Paris I remember leaning over the railing of Pont des Arts with tears in my eyes and realizing it had already happened – all the little moments that made up my time there were filled with magic.

When I moved to Brooklyn in 2007 it was decidedly not Paris. It was not pretty. There was no obvious romance.

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I began walking across the Williamsburg Bridge simply for exercise. What was initially ugly and industrial to me became beautiful. I had the pleasure of observing the most fascinating people on the bridge – a ballerina, a gentleman with a pet fox, a dapper unicyclist. I was lucky enough to catch gorgeous sunrises over the Manhattan skyline. I had wonderful kisses on this bridge. I also threw up on this bridge.

Now that I live in Southern Brooklyn I don’t get to it very often, but I still consider the Williamsburg Bridge my first New York love.

I don’t think I could possibly live in a city without at least one good bridge.

Pangs For Paris

I came across this poem awhile ago. It reminds me of an American girl I knew in Paris who died far too young. Her passing was heartbreaking, but my memories of her are beautiful.

THE CITY OF PARIS HAS YOU IN MIND TONIGHT

The city of Paris has you in mind tonight —
Let its bridges lift you up.
Let the city of Paris write you a letter,

the men of Paris open their windows,
tending their gardens of giant snapdragons.
Let the city perceive you.

It is infinite and slow, it will have you back.
The beds of Paris are made for you,
the city of Paris is sending you

steak and water, wine and eggs,
it has cafes for you, a broad-flowing
river and many cross-breezes.

When vaulting under, when the body
has shown you its foul airless destination,
let the Saint-Sulpice declare living

and visible your clever spirit your kindness.
The tables of Paris will give you food
here are some macarons pink-sweet with jam.

How emptily the time goes. How rosé.
You’re not ready to say goodbye
but will be a ghost here. All over this city

you can go to the movies can hurry stop
buy a bunch of lavender, a book, pastry,
be someone distinct true personal and new.

-Deborah Landau