For their very awesome and just-released issue "Street Life," Virginia Quarterly Review published my essay "To Write About A Hole" first on Instagram and then in the magazine. The essay dives down holes in city streets and language, starting with finding "halcyon" on a steel plate on the street in NYC. From there, language slips free gets tossed into the road and travels to where I live upstate. Here that hole in the street connects directly to the reservoir and the "halcyon" to halcyonidae, the kingfisher, which lives along the reservoir and on the stream behind my house... It is also the introduction (well part of it) to my book Growing Up Modern that I'm working on now.
It starts here and you can read more here:
I found halcyon on a street in New York. Not graffiti, but part of the pavement: a mound of tarmac, in the middle of which was a steel plate where the word appeared. Shining in the light, it looked like frosting. Who put it there? Who thought a steel plate on the street equaled peace or nostalgia? The company that installed it, Halcyon Construction, is based in Pleasantville, New York. It repairs sewers. It makes holes and covers them.
Halcyon began as Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus, god of the winds. She was married to Ceyx, son of the morning star. They were practically inseparable. Then one day Ceyx sailed off and died in a shipwreck, and in her grief Alcyone tried to drown herself. The gods took pity on the couple and turned them into birds so they could be together....