I have a new blog. A photography blog.
I have a new blog. A photography blog.
Miss you too. There’s a lot of stuff here that reminds me of you! Can’t wait to see ya…
THE LEAVES GROW WHEN I’LL ALREADY BE GONE
My Dad told me once how his family lived in a slum outside of Haifa during his teen years. He said he never felt comfortable. Never sunk in. He said he hated the trees for covering the ground in leaves. He talked about the heat. The emptiness of friendless places. I see blinding white dust, pale blue houses made of clay. This is mostly in my head. This is how I make it. I have never been a supporter of making the ugly beautiful. Renovations. I am a member of the other group, the balancers-out. Not everything can be remarkable for the same reason.
I take new routes home; take Avenida Tenderina the whole way. It’s sunnier, no looming apartment buildings or bald Plane trees with stubby, swollen branches, covered in boils. I imagine, to them, the wind feels like a good bruise. The plane trees reach out to each other and eventually connect at the branch. In Lierganes I saw whole streets connected by the arm, suspended in a gold-suffused day. I asked how it happens, the response: they just know. I hear in the summer they have leaves as tall as I am, a tall person in a short country. The trees and I are the same in many ways. So often unable to show the best parts. So often it’s just as one begins to sprout and can forget the beige branch-limb roughness of what comparisons reveal. So often that is when you go. I see so many things that remind me, most of the time I am thinking back in time. I am somewhere else.
The other night I was walking through a park I walk through every day on the way home, in a neighborhood called Ventanielles. It isn’t so much a park as a cool, white tile plaza, a playground in one corner, senior-lined benches on the main path. I was walking down the path at night, with a friend, and it came to mind that I had heard Ventanielles been called a “Bad Neighborhood”. So I asked why. She said it was no longer such a bad place, but that it used to be “filled with Gypsies”.
The first time I had heard this, I laughed. I thought it sounded ridiculous, like something a Great-Grandmother would say. “This street is full of Gypsies”. After hearing it a few times, I asked my family over lunch what it meant: Was it a race thing? Was it a joke? The response I got included scrunched noses and the phrase “Generally eastern european”. The “Gypsies” have certain physical characteristics, as have been pointed out to me. They are “bad people” for who “lying and stealing” is part of their culture.
This all sounded fucked-up and racist to me. But that night in the park, I felt it too. It was so comfortable, I almost didn’t notice, and that scared me. I felt good to have someone to blame, to be superior, to conspire with superiors, to blame people I didn’t know, whose definition I barely understood.
On Saturday night I went out with a few friends. We were walking to a club called Salsipuedas, which is downtown but on a quieter, thinner, winding street. We were almost there when we heard shouting, and from around the corner came a huge group—thirty or forty guys— running and shouting, bigger groups of scared-looking people following them. It was weird, and sort of scary, but turned out to be many concurrent fights which may or may not have been related. When retelling the story, I was asked if they were “Sudas”, a shortening of the Spanish word for South-American. I asked what it mattered. How would the story change depending on where they were from? He answered that if they were Spanish, it would “be more justified”. Although the mood of the conversation was nowhere near hostile, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I just told him to think about what he said.
But who am I to tell him how to think? What could be considered racist in my mind and what could be considered racist in Spain are very different things. And rightfully so. I came here to challenge the way I think, but I also don’t want to hear things like “Were they Sudas?” and say nothing. That doesn’t feel right either.
what a lovely, lovely suprise for you to pop up on my tumblr. I miss you too. Let’s skype soon? I want to hear about everything.
Thank you so much! I will:)
i love you! thanks, al.