CONTAIN : :

 

to have or hold within

 

You close the door behind you, with eagerness but without ease,
you sit to relieve your legs of the weight of the day.

You retire your shoes, encrusted with the debris encountered on the cluttered canvas of a street on your way from the train, your bike, a car. Particles descend to rest on a mat. A pad of mud remains patterned with your boot’s footprint. The day’s silt starts to settle, though the day’s goings-on remain cloudy.

We bring into our homes the cluttered house of our bodies, our hearts, our brains. And at times, the hardest work to do is to rest.

Arrive. Settle. Recompose. Your house, your home, your Self contain these assorted joys and miseries in one space, to be tended to in time

 

 

:: My Corner, My Home // D Gallaread

 

After two years my corner, my home, looks mostly the same ‘cept the bearded white man toting a messenger bag and stalling on his fixie. After two years my corner, my home, smells mostly the same: inundated with the sweet scent of Swisher cigars. After two years my corner, my home, sounds the same ‘cept the Bay Area rap doesn’t blast quite as loud. Instead people step (or bike) to the sound of money flowing into contractors’ hands and restaurant owners’ pockets, whilst transplants sip bottles of wine, the price of which would probably cover the uncovered PG&E bill of a nameless resident two doors down. 

Gallaread Corner.jpg

Twenty years ago my corner, my home, birthed a boisterous generation of sisters and brothers. It raised young men and women. My corner, my home, was the breakroom to the bustling institution, stocked with 20 ounces and chick-o-sticks. It was Ebony’s beauty salon, where on payday women shopped for packs of hair in lieu of the hair-do that was to ensue by that one cousin’s friend. My corner, my home was the cafe, third space, social sanctuary, and best friend’s living room. It was, and I can think back on it in a nostalgic haze, hopping off the 54 bus from school to fresh-baked pies accompanied by pamphlets displaying symbols of the Muslim brotherhood. This corner, my corner, our corner was vibrant in more ways than one. It sang, it danced, it laughed, it breathed and regularly died with us.  

Gallaread Close.jpg

My corner on Third and Palou makes me feel at home. Even still, though I've been traversing windy city street corners for the past two and a half years in its place, it makes me feel at home. Even still, though the demographic has gotten both whiter and wealthier, it makes me feel at home. Even still, though the familiar faces have dwindled and the storefronts have changed and the liquor stores have shut down, it makes me feel at home. Even still, though this bubble has attempted to transform my hood into a coder’s paradise, it makes me feel at home. Even still, though the new claim placed on my home makes my heart cringe, eyes swell, and fists clench, it makes me feel at home. Even though in five years this corner will, by most definitions, no longer be my home, I tend to it, I reside on it, I care for it because even then, even still, it will make me feel at home. 

 

 

Gallaread Street.jpg

 

 

 

D Gallaread currently calls 94108 home. 

60202 was called home in the recent past. 

:: The Luckiest Man // S Holler

“The luckiest man in the world is home.”

For 32 Chicago years, I’ve spoken these words as I’ve entered the door, returning home from work.

The greeting began when I was a newlywed living in a Norwood Avenue two-flat. Partly whimsical, partly an expression of the genuine sense of wonder I felt at coming home to someone who had chosen to share life with me, these words of return became an unexpected tradition.

The greeting followed us to a one-bedroom apartment on North Shore Avenue, where our first birth child joined us, and then to a six-flat on Newgard Avenue, where a second child, born to a brown-skinned mother 9,000 miles away, made us a family of four. The whimsy of the words was now gone, replaced by the weariness of a demanding job and sleepless nights. But a sense of gratitude, rooted in a young family’s shared journey, replaced it.

After 10 years of marriage and rented front doors, the greeting found a home in the Highland Avenue house where we have  lived the last 22 years. Another birth child, and another child born to another brown-skinned mother 9,000 miles away, swelled our family to six. The words now found fulfillment in the prancing footsteps of children who gleefully assaulted me with knee-high hugs before I had a chance to take off my coat. As years passed, the hugs were exchanged for requests for help with homework, then for request for rides, and finally requests for car keys. Sometimes, when the fullness of life became too full, I spoke the words as a reminder to myself, to regain my balance.

Over time, as life’s cuts and scrapes accumulated, the weight, the gravity of the phrase, shifted from “luckiest” to “home.” I was no less lucky (which to me had never meant roll-of-the-dice good fortune, but a cradled-ness that could not be accounted for solely by my birthline, life choices, and work ethic). I was just more sobered by the brokenness of the world in which I lived, and more understanding of the haven I had at home.

Home was the place I returned; the border I crossed when returning from an alien land; Dylan’s shelter from the storm, even in the midst of responsibilities that rained down; not virtual but actual reality; my mirror, my muse, my stage, my perfect and spoiled Eden, my playground, my laboratory, my judge, my masterwork, and my tombstone’s epithet.  

At 56, I’ve now had a mother die at 67, and a brother die at 36. I’ve watched cancer shrink a co-worker to the size of a child before finally burying him. I’ve had one friend murdered, and several friends who have taken their lives, or perhaps had their lives taken by wounds that could not be healed. Thanks to life in cyberspace, I’ve witnessed, fatigued and distant, a globe’s worth of suffering.  

I expect I will say my lifelong words of return for many more years to come. But today, I often think of the day when I will say them one last time in a new city, one without tears or night, as I sit down under the shade of the branches of a tree whose leaves will heal the nations, and heal me.

 

 


S Holler continues to call 60660 home, where he remains the luckiest man in the world. He spends his days as a real estate lawyer in Chicago. 

SUSTAIN : :

 

to strengthen or support
physically or mentally

 

 

Whether the day’s work demanded physical labor,
the fulfillment of a calling,
or simply the accumulation of a paycheck,
work is not done without cost to the body.

You repay the body for its labor with something hot for body become cold, something cool for a body worked too warm, something savory for a mouth become hungry, something enticing for a mind grown weary. 

Ritual resolves the pain of routine. You recover what was lost.

Here, you sustain life, love, and friendship, so that you can offer your Self once again. 

 

 

:: A Visit Home // A Gavitt

 

for Primrose and John Gallimore

A visit home
too short as always but
at the last I rested my spirit
in your house
two days and one night
of heart’s stillness
Fed by more than food
I was;
and a thirst greater than the body’s
received a few hours’ rain

Because you knew my mother
and my father
welcomed them
made their lives rich
and have done the same for me
I love you as the limbs of
my family
I grieve the speed of my appearances
and disappearances and
mourn the long years and oceans in between

It is my longing to come again
that we may be to each other
a memory of light or of
a scent of baking—
something remembered with the heart, stored
at the cellular level
not separable even by
the miles in their thousands
or time too long away.

 


A Gavitt currently calls 60202 home.

Gavitt is known to illustrate and narrate worlds both familiar and fantastic. 

Find more from A Gavitt at annegavitt.com. 

:: Chai // S Kibler

 

Several years ago the milk tea
(always with sugar) 
grew close to my heart.  
I didn't think I was someone  
who drank milk or dairy beverages
until I fell in love with chai.  

It happened without me even knowing it- 
that is, I didn't think twice about the whole matter
until I began craving it
while at home.  

On Saturday or Sunday afternoons, 
in between eventful mornings and full evenings, 
I would rest at home.  And that's when the cravings hit.  
Soon, chai became the beverage that epitomizes
a lazy, intentional, restful afternoon.  
What I find interesting, however, 
is that this symbolism exists
bound by time and place.

The potential of chai
reaches its fullest peak
at home, 
on a weekend afternoon.  

While my body physically calls for the fatty goodness
of the whole milk brought to a boil, combined with the sweetness and delicacy
of sugar and orange pekoe tea, 
it also craves the rhythms and stability
found in reliable patters brought to fruition
in their parameters of time and place.

 


 S Kibler currently calls 55404 home. 

S Kibler currently calls 55404 home.

:: Mission // R Goring

 

1
Reclaim, reclaim, be fastened
to this corner.

Sprinkle water in each room.
Slow down your breath,
paint walls with praise.

Say home in each doorway.
The bell with the rough tongue
rings sweetest.
Reclaim refrigerator
shelves, space for a cat,
the mortgage, the ceilings.

Wash tears from your bedsheets.
Your mattress, fertile, receives you.

Never forget candles.

Your friends’ voices, residual,
steep the hallway in earthly light.

2
Cut your own groove.
Plant a grove of interior
trees, name it Quiet.

Let your words fray
at their edges and move
into folds.

The lake offers you its sweep.
Receive.

3
You always
wanted hard things, rock
and oak and truth
from inside another’s life.

Let no and yes braid
through your settled fingers,
knotting something you have never
seen before.

 

 


R Goring calls 60626 home. 

Find more of R Goring at goodreads.com

:: Chair in the Sun // A Gavitt

Returning from work
I come grateful home
to my chair in the rare sun
and I see all my familiar things in beauty

In this pause before going on
You wrap me in warmth and tell me
I am beloved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Gavitt currently calls 60202 home.

A Gavitt is known to illustrate and narrate worlds both familiar and fantastic. 

Find more from A Gavitt at annegavitt.com

MAINTAIN : :

 

to cause or enable to continue

 


Time collects the days, and shelves collect dust.

Beyond ritual and rhythm, you must tend to the nature of things tending toward the chaotic. Belongings find a way of becoming misplaced, thoughts scurry to far corners you’d rather not sweep, a relationship’s gears become squeaky with the strain of distance. Even that which is most familiar demands meticulous attention. 

We beings must also do. We must function. 

Time juxtaposes fracture and finesse. To maintain your Self, you must make from change an equal and opposite approach, and from relapses of reticence, you must foster redemption. 

 

 

:: Shower // A J Saur

 

You enter naked, stripped
of those last vestiges of vanity. 
Everything is now out in the open. 
This, finally, is the you you are. 

And you will be welcomed here
with a warm caress poured
gentle over bent head, 
burdened shoulders. 

Close your eyes
give yourself to it, 
let its love roll down you, 
touching every imperfect thing
even the in between places, 
those cracks that won’t close. 

Stand here. 
Don’t move. 
Don’t contemplate your way forward, 
the endless attire of a clothed world. 
Steep in this moment
become rich, full-bodied. 

Then worship. 
Sing your song of thanksgiving off key. 
Hear your voice returned
different, 
deeper, 
more true. 

The world will ravage you, but don’t despair. 
Tomorrow you will come back, be seen, 
renew your friendship
with tile and faucet, 
with that admiring drain
always looking up to you.

 

 


A J Saur currently calls 49503 home, and 60137 in the recent past. 

:: Living Without a Cat // A Gavitt

 

I am finding out some things about
living without a cat

Taking a nap, for instance,
is boring and
anyway I didn’t
sleep
even when the book I was reading
relaxed onto my lap

My attention wandered from the page
with no animal weight anchoring me
with the responsibility not to disturb
But I remained conscious of the lack of company
and so spent an hour doing nothing

alone

when the addition of just one cat
would have made of my afternoon
a sought-for simple deep
satisfaction

 

 


A Gavitt currently calls 60202 home.

A Gavitt is known to illustrate and narrate worlds both familiar and fantastic. 

Find more from A Gavitt at annegavitt.com.

RETAIN : :

 

to keep possession of;
to keep in one’s memory

 

 

Not all that is within your home can be seen, can be touched, can be moved. Some of the most important parts of your home can be held, for we are materialists. But we are also mentalists. We make for our Selves an invisible storehouse of memories, of notes, of understandings, of dreams.

A house provides the comfort for their flourishing, a home, the fertility for your ripening, and our bodies, the vessels for soulful conspiring. 

Here we learn, here we remember, here we retain.

Your home is your keep, and our body keeps your Self at home, wherever you are.  

 

 

:: In Memoriam // B Montesi

 Geocommunetrics wall installation in B Montesi's home in 60660.

Geocommunetrics wall installation in B Montesi's home in 60660.

Is life simply learning to walk gracefully the path of grief?

We are not gifted immortality this side of heaven. Lord knows the fallible beings we are do not deserve such a thing. Death, in the end, becomes the gift, the ultimate homecoming. And yet, even as we are born to die, the hardest thing to grapple with is the loss we encounter in our lifetime. If we are brave, or maybe just lucky, we learn to love with reckless abandon. Sometimes, though, the loss becomes too much, and loving less and less over time becomes the thing that hurts the least. Or so, in our numbness we allow ourselves to believe. 

Grief isn’t supposed to bring about numbness, or fear for that matter. It is our opportunity for a reckoning in our selves, to our selves. It is a cry for us to embrace life amidst our tears, even if the only way we can comprehend living gracefully and wildly is in tribute to those people and places no longer with us.

But, what if we are prone to forget?

Each individual and place that moves us has shaped our understanding of wholeness, of groundedness. And as these people and places fade into and out of our lives, we must not forget; the understanding of our own being is at stake if we do. In losing, and in living, we are tasked with remembering the moments we shared – the extraordinary moments and the seemingly mundane moments we never imagined would shape us, that would become home to us. 

Is it possible to make that which is now intangible, tangible again? 

Perhaps, if we choose to live within a set of walls, the places they create and the spaces they define will speak to the memories of family and friends, known and unknown, living and dead, who shaped our story, continue to shape our story.

Perhaps, if we choose to erect this memorial of sorts we sanctify that which becomes our home place, our memory palace. As we invite the great cloud of witnesses in, we are shielded from the cacophony of the things that distract, and, in the silence, we might be gifted the hearing of the mystics, in tune with the ineffable murmur of the saints, reminding us we are not alone.

This, then, is what I believe to be a home place in the land of the living. It is at once offers a space of communion and reverence, memories and memory-making, loving and losing, laughter and tears, choosing life amidst death, risk. It invites the pilgrims of today and the pilgrims of yesterday to collectively join a greater narrative. A narrative not defined by the fear of losing or of loving. We can only hope to live well and courageously this life freely given, for those who have gone before and for those who dare to follow. How else will the world know we were ever loved?

 


The pattern behind the wall installation...

The mural pictured above is painted in B Montesi's "dreamspace" room. The lines are a Geocommunetrics pattern based on her home zip code in 38119 in Memphis, Tennessee, where she grew up with the four members of her family, hence the 4-factored repetition. The center of the line design is at the height of B Montesi's forehead - the place of memory - and the line widths are determined by her index finger, the diameter of her eye pupil in the sunlight, and the average of those two numbers. The overall diameter of the design is the length of her leg, as 38119 is where she learned to stand and where she has her foundations. 


B Montesi currently calls 60660 home, with a beloved past home-space in 38119.

:: Tossed, Lost. // M A Moench

 

Kandern, Germany.

                        - For Bethany
 
We used to lose ourselves among
the green leaves in summertime,
when the air was moist
and the flies heavy
and unhurried.
 
If the word was summer

then our feet were wet
in the creek’s flow, without
shoes on the smooth and less-smooth
rocks, hidden
 
under the peaked water, alpine
like snow avalanching,
jostled in the white sunlight scattered
across water ripples,
across our supple
skin and rocks, while chemist’s
bonds flexed to make room
for our feet.
 
Years tussled, lost tresses fell
 
Fast—what once was
is no more. Another year
always lights—No, 
still give me the creek bed’s
cool depth.
 
String me a canopy
of Kandern, of green
suckling leaves
dense with the Soothe
of Kindheit—kind time. 
Christ then in gaiety let us play,
now he cuts us loose.
 
 

*Kindheit: childhood (German)

 


 Peja, Kosova.

Peja, Kosova.

M A Moench currently calls Peja, Kosova (30000) home. This piece was written about Kandern, Germany (79400), from Wheaton, IL USA (60187). 

You can find more from M A Moench at Those Who are Thirsty.

:: The Shop // J Rutzen

 

Sometimes, half asleep on the lumpiest mattress,
The cracks in the plaster wall
Look like helicopters or spaceships
When you have grown tired of
The reruns of late 70s sitcoms
On the small black and white television set
That only works when the antenna is in exactly the right spot. 
In fact, the antenna is really an old screwdriver
Held on with bits of wire and tinfoil,
Gathering unseen signals that have been flying around
For decades

----

The back room is full of ancient machines
That you want to take apart and study
Hoses and wheels and belts and gears and wires. 
Grandpa and dad,
Cutting and crushing
Blocks of rubber
Mixing chemical dusts and stretching long sheets
To be drawn and scraped and clipped
and cinched and vulcanized
Into something for sick people. 

You wonder if the doctors ever want to take apart people
Like you want to take apart the machines. 
To see inside and understand
How and why
We work
and
Make
and
Do

----

If you stand on a bucket, you can watch
Through the window, 
Across the grass in the empty lot next door
Where a building stands, full of people coming and going,
Up and down brown, peeling balconies
Into their homes. 
In between the fences, wild flowers grow amid
Strewn clothes and bits of glass that glint in the
Sunlight, making different patterns as the day goes on. 
You can stand on the bucket until
Dad needs to use it at the end of the day. 
When he starts to mop,
You wander around the shop
Gathering up your books
And your action figures and your blanket to put
Into your backpack
Knowing if you forget something
It will still be here tomorrow.

 

 


J Rutzen currently calls 60625 home.

This piece was written about a home-place in 60618.

:: Come With Me // R Hudgens

 

“Come with me,” she said. We walked slowly down the long, sloping driveway where the cars would come and go all day. I held her hand, her large, rough hand, soiled and stained by many years in the garden. She stopped near the hedge which my father had warned me to never walk beyond. To me it was a like a huge castle wall, much higher than my eight-year-old arms could reach; its branches thick, impenetrable, prickly. 

“Let’s just sit here a bit while I catch my breath,” she said. There was a bench that looked towards the house. I stared at the huge building, finding the window to my room on the second floor, far corner, barely catching the noon sun. 

“Do you remember anything before you were born?” she asked me. I laughed. She was always asking funny questions like that. I almost always laughed. “Well, I do,” she continued. “I remember lots of things.”

A rabbit came from somewhere and I felt my heart flutter. “Look!” I said. The rabbit was about ten feet from us, not moving now, its ears twitching. 

“Be very quiet,” she said. We sat for a long time watching the rabbit. It relaxed before our motionless silence; then began to hop across the grass in starts and stops. 

“Is it lost?” I asked. 

“Rabbits don’t get lost,” she said. 

“But who does it belong to?” I continued (which is what I really meant to ask). 

“Rabbits belong to earth, just like you and I. Rabbits don’t get lost because they never forget where they belong. We are the only ones who get lost,” she said.

We watched the rabbit move closer to the hedge and then suddenly disappear inside. 

“Where did it go?” I asked.

“To the other side of the hedge,” she said.

Something bristled inside of me. 

“Papa says I should never go through the hedge,” I said. 

“Why is that?” she asked me. 

She looked at me with that deep, penetrating gaze she had. I felt as if there was a “right” answer to the question, but it was an answer I was tired of hearing. 

“To keep me safe,” I sighed. 

“Is the rabbit safe?” she asked me. 

I didn’t know how to answer that question. We were quiet for a bit.

“Come with me,” she said, and rose slowly from the bench and took my hand again. We walked along the hedgerow until we came to an opening I had never seen before. It was a small gap, and if you turned sideways it was just enough to slip through. That’s what we did.

On the other side of the hedge we were out of sight of the house. I had never been here before. There were trees and hills and long grass — and more rabbits. I saw the rabbit as it disappeared into the brush and then I saw two more. I could hear water running in a stream.

It felt very different here on this side of the hedge. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to go further. I wanted to get farther away. 

Now I am almost as old as she was then. I can remember lots of things. I can still feel her rough hand holding mine and it seems I can feel her gaze watching me. There are hedges all around. I see them everywhere. I search for the breaks, the openings, the places where I can step through to the other side. I turn sideways. I push through the thorns. 

There is another world over there. No one is lost. Everyone belongs.

Come with me.

 

 

 

R Hudgens currently finds home in a third floor garrett in 60202. 

Find more from R Hudgens at rdhudgens.tumblr.com.