The faces look animated and bright on my walk down Seventh Avenue. Their brightness has nothing to do with me, as it can in New York when you’re feeling hurt or heartsick or desolate. In those instances, the tailored shirts, the practiced laughter in your ears can feel like a sting. But I am far past myself tonight, maybe because I’m tired of being sad; maybe because I’ve been reading a little Whitman, who suddenly is mine, just mine, in a whole different way. This listing, this habit of naming what he sees, high and low, grand and not grand—isn’t Whitman in fact inscribing boundaries in language? Isn’t he saying you’re not me, and you’re not me, and finding nourishment in that? Melancholy, of course, but nourishment too. The exquisite loneliness of the poet moving down the sidewalk, over the expansion joints between slabs, stepping down onto the asphalt from the minor heights of the curb. How else could intimacy happen if we didn’t carve boundaries between us? It's the great paradox of love, and we are love as we name the bearded young man zigzagging on his skateboard through stopped cars; we are love as we say: old woman dragging her walker outside the drug store. The blonde falling off high shoes, the homeless man banked up against the building, picking at the sores on his arms and hands and chest--these were never figments of the One Holy Self, but real souls, moving in and out of time, cherished by someone, hated by someone, morphing, active, irreplaceable.
First photo taken with my new iPhone, Thursday, July 29, Hudson River Park toward Jersey City