Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Upstream, Uptown

On a lark I pressed reply. With the way we're plugged into email through devices and dings, it seemed unlikely that within twenty minutes no one else would write back. I gave it a chance and sent my name back to the staff member sitting behind the address @92ndStreetY. Within minutes, a response: "Congratulations! You have won two free tickets to Monday's reading."

I went from work and met the evening with anticipation. Authors Francisco Goldman and Roger Rosenblatt sat on the legs of the X that marked my night's plans. Up the East Side I traveled, past the Whitney and just below the butterfly garden, to a solid brick building on the corner of Lexington. Up the stairs beneath painted ceilings, the walls paneled in honey wood, I sat.

What loss they spoke of: A lover, a love. The muse that evening a woman of thirty lost to this world. Transform your grief. Think of the one that sent it to you, she professed to Rosenblatt. His daughter was taken, Goldman, his wife. Both mourned their separate losses to a crowd, mostly female. What loss is not shared? "I feel as though I pollute others with my sorrow," Rosenblatt confessed.

What emotion does not travel? For years, I rode on its currents, was swept by its gales, and all that I felt rung loudly, pierced the void of silence as if I were an instrument played by the gods of fate and time and consequence, their child.

And now, on windy afternoons, they ask for improvised song. I trade lullabies for safety. In every heartbreak, beauty intrudes, Rosenblatt promised.

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