Thursday, May 09, 2019

Just Beginning to Breathe

for Jarrett on his birthday

So I was thinking today
how much I admire your work:
the attention to what ordinary people
want and need, to making the conversation
general. I was thinking about
the love of cities, where strangers
bring what they have and find what they need:
the glory of civilization, and its shame,
which are the same thing (generally) and I was thinking
of how hard and necessary it is to help people
go where they need to go
when they need to go there
and how the City is the whole human problem
and solution
at the same time.
General. Trafficking has a bad name, 
but I remember your earnestness when I said
if those people in Vancouver didn't want to pay the cost
they shouldn't come to Portland: you said, 
"But we want them to come!"
You lit up. We want them to come.
I was thinking that today 
is your birthday and how much better the world is
how much better my world is
because you are in it: of the wild,
unreasonable generosity that opens 
the gates and makes the streets a necklace
threading the shops and the houses: the jewelry of 
a barely imagined giant
just beginning to breathe.


Dale said...

Jarrett said...

One of the best birthday presents ever, Dale! "Thank you" doesn't begin to touch it. Jarrett

Joanne Noragon said...

Thank you for the circular reference that explains much. Streets as a necklace is a lovely image.

am said...

What you have written so eloquently moves me, in its context as a birthday gift to a friend and in the context of a 10-year-old boy living in Boston who is the grandson of a friend of mine and has been diagnosed with Asperger's. He has never been to Portland and yet has memorized all the bus routes for Portland, Oregon. Upon meeting someone from Portland, his face lit up and he began asking questions to determine where that person could get on a city bus. Memorizing the necklace-like bus routes for major cities is one of the joys of his young life.

Unknown said...

Brilliant! Also like streets as necklace!

You Always Chic said...

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