tear it down, build it up / by Laura Kochman

The last time I kept a blog, it was a travel blog. I went places, and then I wrote about them, with pictures, and I never really wrote about myself. The places seemed more interesting. It's still there, at http://laurakochman.blogspot.com/ and I can't access it anymore, so read it if you'd like and then don't tell me about it because I'm embarrassed by my youth.

It's May 23rd, and this summer I'm reading / writing / gardening / watching The Wire, though not in that order. I have eight tomato plants, two red peppers, two different kinds of okra, two different kinds of watermelon, basil, oregano, an orchid, a Wandering Jew, and a toothless cat to take care of. I have a book manuscript and a chapbook manuscript to finish, and a poetry submissions log to tend (not to mention the impending contest submission queue!). I'm about to start DJing a radio show. We're putting the finishing touches on my first [editorial] issue of BWR. I'm officially halfway through my Masters program at the University of Alabama. I have plans to build a coffee table and finally hang my giant collection of broadsides.

I'm about to move house, to leave this little brick duplex I've lived in for two years, to live by myself for the first time. I've never been any good at leaving a place behind [See: the poetry I've been writing for the past two years, full of abandoned and rented houses, questions of home and belonging and longing]. It turns out it runs in the family, because my dad's been updating me on the sale of my grandmother's house in Philadelphia, a house she's lived in since 1953. Next to go is the beach house in Margate, part of a composite house that is the center of my book manuscript. Truthfully, it's the house as it was, the people as they were, that I miss, but houses contain those things. Others: Bubbe's various rental houses in Ventnor, NJ, the house on Disston Street in Philadelphia where my mother grew up, the house on Large Street where my aunt used to live.

They're still there, but other people inhabit them. The Margate house will probably be torn down, and so will my little brick duplex in Tuscaloosa. So they live in poems, little brick houses, and this little brick blog. It's a kind of preservation--pickling the summertime for future use. I do love a mixed metaphor.