nnn .


4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

2012 Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon, United States
Full disclosure
"I’ve grown in all the other ways," I told one of my oldest friends, who called me last night and provoked a conversation about intimate relationships I initially said I wasn't in the mood for but then found myself entirely engaged by, uttering yearnings I hadn't even recognized until I blurted: "I want to grow in an intimate relationship. I want to do the work that can only be done in that context, get to know the aspects of myself that show themselves only under such circumstances." My friend isn’t convinced of my complete willingness to love without reservation, and while she knows a lot about me, this just doesn't ring true. In fact, I suspect the opposite is likelier: I hurl myself headlong into love. Thinking of all the poems my latest sweetheart inspired and didn't want to read, I wonder if a little more reservation might be in order, if I could only determine how to bring this about.
Wage slavery
I was fired by phone on February 3 for being $20.00 below quota while on ultimatum, after working at the Telephone Outreach Project (T.O.P.) for a month and a half. I am profoundly sad and a little relieved. I miss my co-workers and the important work of funding a better world, but I don’t thrive on stress, and that is clearly all my future at the T.O.P. would have held without a contract to protect me.
I joined the union because one thing I know for sure is that I can do a better job of anything I undertake when I am secure and valued in my workplace. If $20.00 could separate me from my livelihood, there is no doubt that I was neither secure nor valued there.
Was I a brilliant caller after a month and a half on staff? No. Did I have the potential to be? Yes, according to the brilliant caller who trained me and sat next to me for most of my shifts. Would the contract currently under negotiation have given me the opportunity to grow into that potential? Absolutely. Is there anything else you want to know?

2011 Phsar Dey Hoy, Siem Reap, Cambodia
I went out for supper last night, had one enormous king prawn at what my friend calls a "red chair restaurant" because all the seats at the outdoor tables covered with oilcloth are red molded-plastic chairs. My friend treated a couple of street kids to dinner, and both our waitress and a fellow sharing our table were as welcoming to the kids as they were to us. Good neighbors.

2010 Banglamphu, Krung Thep (aka Bangkok), Thailand
I hope I’m well enough to go to Cambodia tomorrow, and I think there’s a good chance I will be. I just heard a long barrage of firecrackers as we move into the weekend of Chinese New Year. I don’t recall these days from Blagoveshchensk, Russia but Heihe, China, across the Amur River, wasn’t exactly a major city. I was thinking that the big celebrations would be tomorrow, but maybe not, maybe they’ll be tonight. It would be lovely to see some fireworks from these big windows overlooking the city, but I’m no party animal, and I doubt I’ll get any closer than that.
Right now
A downside of organizing my reflections like a core sample through all the years I recorded anything on a particular day - say 13 February - is reliving bad anniversaries. February seems to have more than its share of both unhappy endings and intimations of unhappy endings; it's a good thing that it's a short month. At the same time, February in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, where a lot of those bad anniversaries took place, is full of buds and manages even a few flowers. It is February that always used to remind me that, while Spring that feels like Spring is still a long way off, I can begin to believe it’s on its way.

2009 Tarnow, Poland
It’s snowing hard. I woke to a sky so bright, so orange, I knew that something was up. Come to think of it, we had a dusting of snow yesterday morning, a preview of today's snow in earnest. It’s incredibly beautiful, though I miss the tree they’re cutting down in the middle of the parking lot across the street, and I expect the crows will miss it even more than I do. A lot of them sat in that tree back when it was more than just a house-high stump.
I told the story about the tree to one of my classes, and my students were mortified by the idea of cutting down a perfectly good tree, especially a magnificent old tree. This is a class I've had a lot of difficulty with, but now that it's being disbanded, I find myself suddenly loving what I have suddenly lost.

2008 Robotnicza, Debica, Poland
It’s looking like I’ll be able to stay here in this flat. After all the repairs carried out last night, I ought to be. Bless my neighbor and the concrete blocks he used to build a wall ensuring that any rat moving from under the bathtub toward the new hard plastic sewer pipe would step right on the wapka, Polish for "mousetrap," a word I seem to have had the opportunity to learn early in more than one new language. Before the Rat Patrol swung into high gear I visited “Manhattan,” the farmer’s market near school where Poland has once again proved itself a very hospitable country. The shopkeepers were more than helpful, not only gathering all the mountains of produce I wanted - including celeriac, which is cheap and abundant here - but also telling me the names of vegetables. I can’t wait to make dinner tonight!

2006 St Johns, Portland, Oregon, United States
Comparison and contrast

Fifteen years ago
it was a drizzly
my first night
in my new place,
exactly like
this time around.

Back then
it was a garage
apartment shaped
like a nautilus
coiling out
room by room
from a triangular
closet at its center.

This time
it’s a corner studio
on the outskirts
of the city,
in an apartment building
that was once
a church.

Fifteen years ago
it was a beer I wanted
more than anything,
and my new house key
was the only means of ingress.
I don’t remember
if I got that bottle open,
but I was lucky I didn’t
need stitches.

This time around
it was dilly beans
I craved.
I tried boiling water,
the back of a knife,
a quick rap upside-down
on the counter,
but that jar
might as well
have been a fortress.

What the orange
rubber gloves
were doing
hanging on the trap
below the sink,
or why it crossed my mind
to look there,
I may never know,
but I’m hoping
it’s a trend.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012-2013