Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I wrote my first postcard poem to Cassie on New Year's Day in my parents' living room in Chicago, having returned that afternoon from New York, where I'd sort of been able to see the festivities in Times Square from my hotel room; if I squeezed behind the desk, pressed my nose against the glass, and looked between my building and the next one I could see a lot of cold people standing motionless and shoulder-to-shoulder in what the police had called, not even bothering to euphemize, "holding pens." Avril Lavigne was allegedly playing on a rooftop somewhere, but it mostly sounded like somebody too close to the microphone at a school assembly.

I'd found an old shoebox in a closet full of postcards from places I didn't remember ever having been, including the exterior of a nondescript hotel in Japan, the back of a catamaran, and Disneyland. One of these last had a lot of bizarre machinery on the front and the caption "Welcome to Tomorrowland," which seemed appropriate, and off I went.

The best thing about the project was the ritual of writing every day, and of making a physical object that I would then walk over to the campus post office and put in an actual mailbox to send to an actual person who would actually read it and who would then write something in return. My favorite poems were poems in which Cassie and I responded to each other, riffing off each other's lines, though with a weird time delay because of the inordinate amount of time it takes a piece of mail to get from Palo Alto to Fremont (via Oakland, mind you).

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