Tuesday, November 17, 2009

From moment to meaning


Holland Afternoon

Holland has a smell in the afternoon,
in Amsterdam in 2002 on Cornelius
Krusemanstraat near Valeriusplein,
a certain smell that mixes the moment
with coffee brewing in a kitchen that
looks out over a small courtyard in back
where summer finds late September still
willing to be considered a season not yet
ready to give itself over to dying things,
or to the American man who is me, visiting
on business, scenting fruit coming up from
the tiny produce store two flights down that
sells vitamins and money orders, stamps and
strange bottled drinks, thread and nail files,
children’s toys and the wintered conveniences
afforded several square blocks when cold
counts every one and the only fume that
stings the air is what cannot be long held
in the nose for to do so is to invite the way
water moves in north countries, the milled
certainty of never having to be anywhere
wind won’t go first, like a story being read
by a grandmother in a park, or a long walk
nowhere along a canal for no other reason
than to walk a canal in Holland because that
is what one does when the air steeps the scent
of dry grass and mineral, there near Valeriusplein
where the #16 stops before continuing to or
from Dam Square and the Red Light District,
where Dutch things smell of Dutch things,
unlike anything whatsoever in California,
as memory marks it for recollecting from
time to time in these passing years, when
Amsterdam moves from moment to meaning.

Joseph Gallo
September 12, 2009



Blogger Chaudmoi parried...

"like a story being read
by a grandmother in a park, or a long walk nowhere along a canal for no other reason than to walk a canal in Holland"

Great visuals and depiction of sense!


November 18, 2009 10:58 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Thank you, lovely Jan.

These images were there and real as my walk through Amsterdam's Vondel Park held that grandmother and her grandchild, the strollers, some hand in hand, wending the banks of canals, the scents and senses, all of it.

Thank you for your kind comment and please visit again and often. ;-)

November 18, 2009 12:51 PM  
Anonymous aharamanx parried...

This has an awesome cadence to it Joseph, it's a really lovely piece.

Also love your new profile photo.

November 21, 2009 8:21 AM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Thank you on both counts, Ms. Manx. I might even have said "Manx-a-million." ;-)

(I miss Europe)

November 21, 2009 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Bryan parried...

Thank-you for this, Joseph.
I recall the Amsterdam of my early 20's as being a moment of much meaning to the often bewildering exercise of putting puzzles together in an exacting assembly of places in my heart.
But what can one week mean to a 22 year old? "Much" says I in the shapes of a traveller.

November 21, 2009 11:37 PM  
Blogger Cathie parried...

Thank you Joseph for writing so beautifully about my other home. Amsterdam has moved from so many moments to meanings that I carry with me always.
The september you describe is my favorite time of year there, when the tourists have mostly gone home and tall blonde Amsterdammers sit on their tiny wrought iron balconies in the golden light or drink on cafe terraces into the evening, chains rattle on old granny bikes flying over brick and storks pick along the canals as boats putter by, everyone squeezing the last drops of joy out of summer.

April 17, 2011 12:44 PM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

You describe perfectly many of the very things I saw. The tourists weren't quite yet gone, however, me being one of them. However, I was there on business and as Amsterdam was the first place to touch down in Europe, it was perfect and has a special place in my heart.

Thanks for your wonderful comment, Cathie.

April 19, 2011 12:08 PM  

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