regressions

Regression renders 4 months in off-toned shadows. Variegated ahead run days, warp of timestamped I (weft of joy), probabilistic and sutured to reveal construction. Marcelo fitfully in milestones sleeps, and I slip into forgetfulness that joy returns also.

develop resolve

Five years resolve in eleven developed.

Some of the above (which are only selections from each roll) are cropped because I think a bit of tape was hanging over the lens. I hadn’t even had time to test the camera out before committing to 11 rolls so after getting back the initial set of digitized prints of mostly underexposed night shots, I still wasn’t sure what would come of the rest. As they came in I felt a bit of glee, a glimmer of joy, that the Holga hadn’t been a dud. Shoutout to The Darkroom for the smooth process in bringing these back to life.

Incidentally, I’d only waited five years because at one point I’d bought the chemicals thinking I’d set up a diy darkroom, gave up on that ghost, started researching places that do medium format film, decided they were too expensive, moved onto other things, and finally decided now that I could afford it. Now that I know the camera’s good, I may start shooting again.

knocked wood

Marcelo is 16 lbs. 7 oz. today. I spotted the woodpecker while pushing him home from the pediatrician’s office, mom next to me with an insulated bag of tortas from Doña Maty’s. I’m listening to Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors as a sliver of sleep expands in my soul. Last night I was up until about the same time as now assembling baby’s crib, cutting up its oversized box, and trashing its styrofoam bits. The crib’s color is called lagoon. It’s a mini so it’s a mini lagoon I guess. Marcelo is swimming or floating then. The pediatrician knocked on wood to emphasize the expression, which is something some people do. I briefly thought of William Carlos Williams only because we are with a doctor in Spanish Harlem I guess. People are dying daily for a very specific reason we’re all aware of instead of the usual nebulous ineffable shadow undergirding all our pedestrian sightings of knocked wood.

101 days

The days though arbitrary have number once you pick one to count. There’s disagreement about the first day, but the last is indisputable as we know. The room is warm with sleep, wake, sleep again. Cedarwood sticks in rice send up wisps of farm in summer Korea—sun, frogs, heavy rains tamping dust.

bee sting and nothingness

Now he reaches far away from being and been. He’s at his ends. I live in half sleep liminal. The room swoons, and the void renders me unavoidable. Tomorrow a hundred days, sacral mortal number, cardinal luck for soju and rice cakes’ offering.

later elations

His hands move now with more intention. He holds them centered looking intently for his will in their grasping. He chatters loudly to us and mumbles to himself with a gaze that seems lost in thought. There’s a deep satisfaction in seeing what I’d experienced but of which I’d had no awareness. There’s joy in his joy that can’t be stifled. As the world becomes clearer for him so does our shared experience clarify something for me though I’m not quite sure what it is.

head’s thread

This thread I’m pulling now is pulling me through the hearted now. This is a record of today. We woke in the baby’s slow wake to feed. 404 push-ups / 406 crunches/leg lifts. Mom bought bagels from Bo’s for herself and dad. Baby burbled with new sounds. Roasted the last 8 ounces of Flores Ranaka Robusta while pourover of same brewed, and the smoke alarm stirred around minutes after second crack. Mom and baby done, baby into bouncer, and we bounce sounds while the coffee is clean but dark and slim bitter. Marcelo on the bed for second time with head raised. Out for groceries alone and return to him asleep, mom’s watch waning, wakes to our lunch. Walk east, three of us in mostly shade for a latte and espresso. Marcus Garvey Park is bubbling with muted joy of kids and dogs. I push the stroller, espresso pushing too. Home to dinner of lime butter white wine shrimp pasta, peeling de-veining freezer-burned thirteen in the sink listening to our collective MLK memories.

Something like a low gurgling joy through all of this, thread/river pulling mind alive. Maybe something waking to this baby boy.

familiar familiar

There is a bubble of ecstatic joy pressing up above the river beneath the quotidian air of my life. Something says it’s been there. What releases it? It’s surrounded by a fractal web of feelings that map against momentary stations of a lifetime. Each node is a world. How do I see this more clearly? How do I instantiate this state?

thanksgiving eve

10:41pm on the eve of Thanksgiving, and the low hum of never sleeping more than 3–4 hours at a clip is a slightly dicey, disembodied feeling. I slough balance as Marcelo rounds 6 weeks—a constant off kilter. The caffeine-frenetic wave’s crest glimmers far off from this drained space of opaque chromatic activity. Something’s going on underneath that I can’t see.

friday the 13th eve

Marcelo Francisco Min Chavez was born 9:23PM EST on October 13, 2020 at Mount Sinai West in New York City. How to think/feel about the fact that from his grandparents’ generation to his, we’ve gone from almost no photos of early childhood to a sinuous stream whose source is the exact recorded time of his birth? And the C-section—a word often passed so casually in conversation—casts a dull, deep pain, ineradicable from palimpsest memory. The fatigue-addled body’s minding gives less and less to reflection and revision. In fits and starts spirit inertia, like the baby’s own growth. His oddly paced, inchoate breath-rhythms and animal noises guide me through strange terrain.

liminal melons

There was an almost fall-like coolness to the air last night as we walked through Marcus Garvey Park and circled back to open our windows to cross-winds. This summer I’ve been buying Korean melons from the local H-Mart regularly. I spent some summers of my childhood on my maternal grandparents’ farm and in Seoul. My grandmother had a head of short, permed curly hair, and the crowns in her mouth gleamed when she smiled wide or laughed. I think her voice partly stands out in my mind because hers was an accent you won’t hear too often, and my food memories from those times are visceral. When we tried the baba ganoush one night at an Upper West Side Druze restaurant called Gazala’s, I had a Proustian madeleine moment because something about the eggplant’s smokiness enveloped me in a reverie of that tiny (now mostly empty) village. It’s a strange liminal state because the visceral memories are clearly imprinted, but my actual state of mind and feelings from the time are vague. Add to that my dad’s home movies on VHS tapes, and it’s a disorienting mixture of intimate closeness and decades-distant mirage.

Still, there’s a non-mystical feeling of ancestral presence about me. And I say non-mystical because it doesn’t feel extraordinary in any way but just as it should be. I do sort of feel like I should be lingering in it though—as if there’s something in it that I need to find.

4-mile sun

4 days in Cape Cod. 4 miles to Race Point Light and back along low-tide-soaked sands, seal heads slipping through red algae waves to eye us with curiosity.

Gull’s bones, buzzard’s meal disrupted, our son’s sleeping mouth moving in his mother’s belly-diffused light.

Now bends the light of now that I can’t see from tomorrow’s now. Remains to be what remains. What will these memories become?

fractal praxis

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about the recent protests and the fucked-up-ness we’re seeing and have been seeing by the militarized psychotic police against our fellow human beings who happen to be cursed and blessed by blackness. Maybe the inertia of immense sadness and anger (the electricity of which I could feel when we happened to pass by the above march) is finally uncontainable.

It’s a strange time but so has it always been. It only compounds as the years pass. But still the fragments of something remain at the fringes (or maybe ubiquitous/obivious but awareness always only at the fringes like Kierkegaard’s indirect communication), something barely understood, inchoate, a sound outside the field of vision, permeating, pulsing, and moving one from within but just beyond comprehension. Today I really sang for the first time in a while and was surprised to feel something that had been there the whole time, even without outward song.


All Teh Taaaaaaaags