Mapping Discourse

In R.H. Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast"

When Richard Henry Dana Jr. visited San Francisco in 1859 after an absence of almost a quarter of a century, he was informed that, unbeknownst to him, he had become a man of considerable fame on the West Coast. As an adolescent, Dana was studying law at Harvard when he caught the measles, which led to a inflammatory condition that affected his eyesight and reading ability. Coming from a well-to-do family, to everyone's surprise Dana decided not to take the classical route of doing some R&R in the resorts of Europe. Instead, he marched to Boston harbor and signed up as a low-ranking merchant sailor on the Pilgrim bound for Alta California via Cape Horn and the Chilean Juan Fernandez... Read More

Coat of Arms

Vienna, Austria

In a dusty corner inside my room / Behind some silken cover / I found a coat of arms / For me to wear / In a city of the ancient rites / Imperial alcoves and ornate groves / I came here and it's hard to bear / For some of us it's tough to swallow Read More

Unsinkable

Dublin, Ireland

How much fun is it to almost miss your connection in Munich? I would say it all depends on you liking your name blaring loudly on airport speakers, pronounced with that particularly German semi-military ‘gusto.’ Read More

How to Escape a Train

Lisbon, Portugal

I flew again from your arms, from the home we have made for ourselves. On a train with green curtains and orange windows I am moving forward with this idea: Each morning I will be a stranger, wherever I am. My life will stay strange, evidence of incoherent movements, a trail coiling inwards but never reaching a center. Overlapping and colliding, future rewrites of a sense of home, a frivolous fulfillment that hates itself for standing still. Read More

Deep Time

Thessaloniki, Greece

How to leave your noise, your smog, your triple parked heaps of junk? How to break up with the city in which we climbed the highest tower, boarded wooden ships, dreaming up some fatal fever? The ruins under the streets are still there, you know, still ignored, lit up conspicuously by construction lights, sending hard shadows to the walls and into me. I try to swallow them and spit them out onto the busy city streets. Read More