THE BALLAD OF SPATIAL IMMEDIACY
Dec. 10th 2016
In ordinary moments I imagine my family like a Greek chorus watching. Ahí va. Right on 3rd avenue and left at the crosswalk. The blinking hand casts the first sheet of red on a row of Christmas trees rolled up like sage.
Went with Justin to Duane Reade for cherry flavored dissolving zinc tablets and at the register I noticed the cover of Closer magazine: a portrait of Angela Lansbury from the 1980’s smiling over the heading, “How I Saved My Children From Heroin & a Deadly Cult.” Jesus
Christ Justin said, slapping it on the counter.
Dec 11th 2016
Whenever I photograph religious things I feel like Anjelica Huston. Today I wore a speckled winter coat and dark glasses, with a bouquet of carnations tucked under my arm and one glove removed so I could manage the phone screen. Baby Jesus was interesting to me but to find something like that interesting is a mark of not having found it expedient or necessary or obvious.
Dec 12th 2016
It’s hard to explain “any”
After several attempts I finally say that “any” in this case is equivalent to “algunos.” and the student says “Ah, ya ves ahora sí estoy aprendiendo!”
Explaining the phrasal verb “work out” is another challenge. They gesture with their arms as though lifting weights and say, “This?” and I say in some cases yes but in others, it means for something to happen just as it was intended. They stare and I say it means well when you make a plan and the plan happens. They stare and I say it means when something happens when it happens as you imagined it. When it works. It works out. They gesture with invisible weights again.
Dec 13th 2016
Syrian government forces stormed Aleppo and massacred civilians in order to clear out rebels. Americans comment on FB to ask “How do they still have internet if they’re being bombed, then?” and I close the screen away.
Dec 14th 2016
I saw Moonlight.
Dec 15th 2016
Dec 16th 2016
I cannot believe all that I read. On The Late Show in 1983, Klaus Kinsky told David Letterman, “Watching you on TV I have thought, you poor man, every night doing this show. I felt sorry for you before I realized that this show is pre-recorded. You see, when it is night, I think: ‘It is night’.”
Dec 17th 2016
Dark green for one quality not completely the same and standing in it waiting for it to arrive and eject us into the weather and in the sameness and difference and smallness I take like ten until we stop and it doesn’t come out blurry anymore.
Dec 18th 2016
I receive messages on the new phone I bought in Miami. I don’t know who anyone is and have to ask. Before asking I notice the receiving of familiar messages from unknown voices and think about how this is uniform and we are new phone notwithstanding always being reached for by the unknown.
Dec 19th 2016
My mom liked to watch Miss Universe pageants when I was little. Because Miss Venezuela was always either a finalist or a winner. When people ask me where I am from they react to my response by mentioning it. I wonder if they can accommodate the idea of a lesser known country in the Americas being complicated or self- conscious or in possession of a narrative that doesn’t enlighten and validate their colonizing gaze as it resides in them and in me while I push my nose up to make it look more european.
Dec 20th 2016
Even now though we thought for so long
like The Truman Show (1998) in our daily dealings
in Bogotá my parents had people over and their friend explained to me how simply she fixed her nose. Frenchie held dad’s King Crimson album over her face and said, Mírame.
Dec 21st 2016
The Truman Show is about a person held hostage we watch it now and think we are our own Ed Harris we watch him being bad as though not ourselves not ourselves we ask what we want to have stopped like Ed Harris. Ed Harris + Time.
Dec 24th 2016
I like seeing photos of earth taken from space. In a text, Frenchie tells me incidentally that it’s easy to get lost in the census records. People come over and I make a meal. I wear an apron and reapply the Milani Matte red lipstick I bought for $6 at Walgreens. Justin brings a bottle. Lisa and Alex bring another bottle.
Dec 31st 2016
I was born today inside a clinic attached to a convent in Valencia. The nurses/nuns urged my mother to name me Maria. It is my mother’s middle name and she was not interested. But in my heart my name is Maria.
The nurses/nuns were not experienced. I don’t think this was the most Catholic thing but they preemptively pumped my mother with excess anesthetic and my arrival as a result was silent and psychedelic. They had to slap me awake. There is actually I guess nothing more catholic.
Jan 6th 2016 2017
Justin asks why I don’t simply order my own copy of the Hieronymus Bosch book. Like why do I have to renew the graduate library copy continually. He’s right I just really like the one from the library. I like seeing it on the shelf &thinking You again!
Connie Mae Oliver is founding editor of FEELINGS and lives in New York. Her chapbook, Cosmos A Personal Voyage By Carl Sagan Ann Druyan Steven Soter And Me was released in June 2017 by the Operating System.