Friday, December 11, 2009

Re-considering My Retreat

It’s been three weeks since I took ownership of this condo in New York and it still feels like a hotel. The sheets creased from their boxes, the towels sloughing off the small pills of newness, indecision regarding where to hang a picture, place a lamp, even the perfection of the wood floors and newly painted walls feel strange. Like a new car, it won’t be until I make that first ugly scratch in the wood or the first long black scuff along the base of the walls (and not immediately spend hours trying to erase it) that I’ll feel it’s mine. I also need neighbors! Only myself and five others in the nine stories. I know I’ll miss the absolute quiet of the mornings but I want to hear a few footsteps, doors slam, an argument at an unseemly hour of the night.

I go back to Israel in January (for anyone wondering, I’ll split my time between NY and Tel Aviv). I haven’t studied a word of Hebrew, opened up an Israeli newspaper, answered an e-mail from an Israeli friend in three weeks. Yes, I know. I claim that my deliberate ignorance is a form of hermetic retreat. I needed a few weeks away from the always-terrible news to regroup. Don’t we all sometimes need to block out what bothers us most? If not to give our emotions a rest, than to strengthen our ability to evaluate, understand, fight, whatever… its onslaught.

But I am re-entering the world of poetry (and this blog). Tonight Marie Howe, Mark Doty (two of my favorites) along with Dale Peck and Kate Walbert read at an event sponsored by The Writer’s Studio. Tomorrow, perhaps, perhaps I won't turn off the news and let news of Israel trickle in.

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