:: 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


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.