On the eve of my twentieth year, I declared

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Perhaps the greatest gift that a speaking invitation yields is the chance (the excuse) to stop and collect one's thoughts.  That's what I've been doing these past few days, as I prepare for the talk I'll be giving at the Radnor Memorial Library in mid-November.  I want to read from Dangerous Neighbors that night, and I briefly will.  But I also want to look back at the road that brought me here—at the bad poems and the kind criticism, at the doors that opened and shut, and, mostly, at the percolating passion I have always had for my city.

In hunting for proof (or explanation) of this passion, I have come upon strange, forgotten queries, notes, promises, explorations, and exhortations, including a history of West Philadelphia that I decided to write (apparently for no one) at the age of 23.  I have also discovered this fragment of a poem, penned on the eve of my twentieth birthday, misplaced apostrophe and all. 

"The city is my lifetime," I declared, hints of the grandiose abounding.  It could not yet have been (despite my "long living").  It is, perhaps, now.

3 comments:

Beth F said...

You've left me smiling.

Bee said...

The city IS my lifetime.

Lilian Nattel said...

I'm smiling too, and waving back at your younger self.

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