Place-Based

I could write some prose-y, adjective-laden thought piece on “Home”, make it sound like all the lit mags, but I’ll spare you.  I’m home again, the adopted one, not the first.  I struggle with going back every time, with the guilt, the distance, the overwhelming oppression that sinks in my bones when we reach those 666 city limits (oops, I slipped).  I don’t know how to apologize for Kansas not being enough.  I don’t know how to explain that New Orleans, despite the murders and the corruption and the simple fact that it’s not so easy in the Big Easy sometimes, feels like home, or that I’m a better person here, I think.  Upon disembarking, the anxiety melts away and I nearly cry.  I love this city that much and selfishly, for my sanity, this is where I need to be.

Home, The First saw days like this as Cemetery Days.  Days when melodrama was at an all-time manufacturing high.  For lack of real problems, we made our own.  Mine was 5’7″ with black hair and snake-like charm, but we had our moments.  On days like this, we would walk amongst the tombstones and sink down in the comfort of young sadness, relief found in a dark consistency.  (oops, I did it again.)  Such high drama is enticing, makes you feel alive when you feel surrounded by a dying city in which the residents seemed to focus more on the afterlife than the quality of life of the every day.

But today, today finds me “home” in New Orleans and today it is Guangzhou.  Humid and rain-heavy, wet, dirty, and exotic.  Here, I have both Cemetery Days (few and far between) and South China Days, when the air smells like days nearly six years past.  Scent-based memories are instant transportation, inspiration, relief and motivation.  Remember this?  Remember this time?  You did this and you can do it again.

Statue in Topeka Cemetery, 2003.