Monday Morning Musings:
“I could be
In someone else’s story
In someone else’s life
And he could be in mine. . .”
–Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Tim Rice, “Someone Else’s Story,” from the musical Chess
“People’s personalities, like buildings, have various facades, some pleasant to view, some not.”
-François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) Moral Maxims and Reflections, no. 292
On a sunny day–
spring in February thinking of May–
we stroll through sun and shadows
façades that hint of love inside
I wonder if it is—
and who they are–
wonder about their stories
(someone else’s story)
All of the stories that have been lived
as the centuries turn
eighteenth to nineteenth and on
through changing façades–
those that remain–
past and present merge
modernized, expanded, reformed–
like this church–
where beneath the surface
lie the remains of those
who once lived and breathed here
their breaths becoming part of the ecosystem
their steps leaving footprints,
sometimes larger in death than they were in life.
Other people’s lives,
Someone else’s story
When they lived,
did they wear their hearts openly—
like the cutouts on the door,
or did they keep their feelings buried
behind a façade of smiling respectability?
I wonder how many had secret lives
yearnings that they could never admit?
we divide ourselves
closing doors—saying this is not allowed
we must not live that story,
but times change
and churches, too,
and love is love is love
In the quiet here, there is not silence.
Do their ghosts walk by my side here?
or their sighs
telling me their stories?
In the unquietness of this place,
filled with hundreds of stories
of birth, love, sorrow, and death
a living child with his mother screams in delight
and runs over the graves. . .
what happens at night behind the gates?
We wander back to the movie theater to see
someone else’s story—
there up on the screen
A Fantastic Woman
and she is
what does it matter that she was born a man
(we all have our façades)
but she was loved
and still is by her sister and friends
and a dog–
who doesn’t care about societal labels–
some do not treat this woman well
they threaten and humiliate her
but life and her story go on
because she is a fantastic woman
And after –
we talk and walk
to where fire recently destroyed part of a block
one will have to be demolished
all but it’s first floor cast iron façade–
the stories of these places–
the people who lived there now displaced–
and while we stand there
gazing at the devastation,
I get a text from a friend,
find out about her son’s illness—
the dangers of the invisible world
within our bodies
beneath the surface,
we don’t always see or know what is there–
(thankfully, it seems he will be okay)
and though this is someone else’s story
they are my friends,
so it becomes part of my story, too.
The next day, it turns cold again–
we turn the heat back on
eat homemade pizza, drink some wine,
huddle under blankets,
watch Netflix–and our cats—
we text our daughters,
sending virtual hugs–
behind the walls of our house
this is our story,
and I don’t want someone else’s life.
A Fantastic Woman stars the fantastic Daniela Vega, a trans woman (who also sings in the movie). The movie was made in Chile, and it is nominated for best foreign film. I keep thinking about it. See the trailer here.
The architecture of the fire-damaged buildings is described here.
Historic artefacts so often raise these well expressed musings, Merril. I also like the idea of friends’ stories becoming part of ours.
Thank you very much, Derrick.
The thing about silence is strange. We think we’re listening to it, but the less familiar sounds there are, the more unfamiliar sounds we notice. I wonder if we listened hard enough we could hear even deeper sounds like those voices.
There was someone studying silence. I listened to a report on the radio, which is kind of funny. 🙂
But I think animals hear and see so much more than we are able to.
The things that are important to them are things we tend to be completely unaware of. Yes, listening to a study of silence does seem a bit of a paradox 🙂
Stories can cover and reveal. Like silence. There is always something more if we look or listen hard enough. Or maybe loosely enough…
As usual you are making me think.
Yes, we are all intermingled in each others’ stories. (K)
Thank you, Kerfe.
I’m happy I’m making you think. 🙂
Listening hard or loosely. . .something to ponder.
It is…as soon as I typed “hard” I knew that wasn’t the right word.
Our best hope (and sometimes we are safe to assume) is that we are valued for who we are, and that we not go neglected when ravaged by circumstances.
Yes, to be loved for who we really are is special.
I keep wondering (hoping) that someday we can all be who we are, openly and lovingly. I also wonder, as I see your images of the city, if you visit the Reading Terminal Market or South Street and the Italian Market.
Lovely and interesting musings, as always, Merril. And that pizza looks wonderful! 🙂
Thank you, Robin.
I used to go to Reading Terminal Market all the time, but I haven’t been there in a while, or the Italian Market. I’m usually taking photos before or after we see a movie or a play.
This film you mentioned sounds great! I will try to see if the library has it. . . I rented a few movies and caught some of their messages in my brain. . .
I saw over the weekend, “Maudie,” and was trying to remember if you had recommended it? The story of a woman who is disabled but has a sweet, big heart and painted in real life many brightly colored paintings was motivating in many ways. She seemed to always look at the bright side of life. The black and white interview of the real artist was nicely shown at the end, with her Grandma Moses style of art displayed through at least ten minutes of credits.
I did like how you mentioned stories about those who walked the areas we walk, we pass by in cars and the landmark locations where many ghosts lie, hoping their stories made a difference. . . Where you live has (had) so many stories abounding, Merril.
Thank you, Robin!
A Fantastic Woman is one of the movies nominated for Best Foreign Film this year, and it is currently playing in Philadelphia, so I don’t know if it is out on DVD yet. We did see “Maudie,” so I may have recommended it to you. I really like Sally Hawkins, who played Maudie, and she is the star of the current movie The Shape of Water, which is also up for several awards. We live in S. Jersey across the Delaware River from Philadelphia.
I saw “The Shape of Water” with my oldest daughter, Carrie. She went to art college and worked with theatre like I did in h.s. She loves Guillermo del Toro Gomez.
There are sad and violent parts but this is a beautiful and memorable film!
I would have watched The Shape of Water all over again if I could have. 🙂 I was happy to see this morning that it won Best Picture. (I couldn’t stay up to watch the whole show.)
I will keep a watch for the film clip if they show one, Merrill! I happen to like watching the Red Carpet and the Academy Award ceremonies. It is on now, #90!
I’m so glad you clarified where you live and I have heard you refer to Philadelphia so actually now I will remember this! Thank you, Merril.
If you ever fly into Philadelphia, we’re right across from the airport. 🙂
It won the Academy Award!!! 🏆🎆
It did! I was happy to see that.