here i am…

The wind is up in Benguerir, blowing out of the west I think, though here I am rarely sure of anything. It often seems plausible that the sky isn’t actually blue…


Last night a woman came into a room in which I was waiting, a room both boundless & confined. I did not know her, but she seemed to know me & gave me a large plant in a yellow pot which I did not believe I could carry. Take this, she said, & bring it to Algadira.

But I don’t know where that is.

It’s not far. You’ll find the way. Take this & bring it to Algadira.

 I woke feeling less scrambled, less disoriented, less encumbered than I have felt for several days. Because these explorations, these two months spent largely alone with my notebooks & camera, with my limitations, which are considerable, have been sometimes very difficult—though of course they have been the opposite of that too, bringing delights & surprises, happiness & satisfaction which I have tried to convey in these posts…

I mean, here I am, drinking my second perfect cup of coffee at La Villa Verte, a café I have come to think of as mine, where the waiter, Redouan, knows I always drink two cups of coffee, the second one about an hour after the first. A large window looks upon gesturing orange & palm & olive trees, two huge billowing Moroccan flags at the sports complex across the boulevard. The Friday midday call to prayer has just issued in succession from each mosque in town while Moroccan-techno-fusion sets my feet to tap & two adorable young women sample pastries, drink Coke, & chat softly, conspiratorially across the room.

But for three days I could hardly get myself out the door. I sat on the couch staring. I lay on the floor. I cried often. & at risk of sounding maudlin I’ll admit I put “sad piano music” on an endless loop. Or Chopin’s Nocturnes. Or Enya.

I felt at once stuck-in-place & placeless::

As if in an endless room, surrounded by voices, none of which you understand, turning in circles, trying to get a bead on your whereabouts, knowing there is no way to do this, no way forward, no way out, except the way you make up, the way that gets you through.

I should be acquainted with this sudden shift to the floor. This hard emptiness that only sad piano music can begin to soften. It happened in Paris. It happened in Chefchaouen. It happens, frankly, at home…

It is, for me, the other side of travel/the other side of life, the part that takes you & shakes you like a frustrated mother, leaving you limp & uncertain about everything—your place in the world, your purpose, asking yourself whether there’s meaning beyond what you make up to get yourself through the days, months, years.

Now the wind is up in Benguerir. I have the promise of two more days with Mary, of meeting my dear friend Ross in the south of France, of talking to my sons again soon. I will walk downtown to buy vegetables at the butcher shop—yes, really—where two sheep heads will be propped on a carton. I, a vegetarian, will marvel at their marble eyes.

I will carry my yellow pot, my plant to Algadira…



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Poet. Writer. Curious person. Yurt-dweller. Word enthusiast. Northwesterner. Looking for poetry in some of the usual & many of the unusual places...

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