this is my cousin, Jesse (left) and my sister, Emily. the photo was taken years ago (clearly) in the Florida Keys. we used to spend every summer there until we had a nasty boating accident in 1973. that ended it. but i love this image, the dolphin water guns, Jesse's innocent expression and Emily's outrage -- i don't know what it's about. once, when she was raging mad at my sister, Carrie, she looked at her and declared w/ near-combustible fury, "S, . . . N . . .O . . . S . . . N!" Carrie looked at her cooly and replied, without affect, "snosn?" Emily stood exquistely furious and unable to speak or move or do anything. it was indescribably sad, but, yes, we all laughed -- which made it unspeakably worse for Emily. she had been so certain that S-N-O-S-N meant something . . . which is maybe what i'm thinking about, the things we say and do with some sense that it's important; maybe we're not sure, but we fling it out there, trot it out for display, reactivate our associations with it and imagine someone vibing out on its potential in some time and space (too groovy, you say? snosn).
the latest picture i have of Jesse is from his work in Baghdad (Jesse is in the military); he is standing with a local man with whom he'd been discussing neighborhood issues while drinking chai tea for an hour (an hour's worth of Iraqi chai?! i'll bet that was some conversation . . . ). Jesse used to do this rap when he was a kid. it went, "my name is Jesse/ mmmmm . . . I do not mess around, ha-ah/turn around/ touch the ground/get back up and boogie down, I say peace, peace . . . peace, peace . . . " it was hysterical. now, it's weirdly poignant and hopeful. Emily is now a mother of one and pregnant with her second child. her first daughter, Fiona is my lovely little niece who likes to say "i LIKE it" about everything. it's adorable and innocent and childlike and hopeful, like squirting each other with dolphin water guns and getting bowl haircuts from mom and NOT wanting to have your picture taken because your image is yours and not for the taking, not just now. when i'm ready.