Reading The Blue Clerk, 138

“Verso 38.1”

“You will love it.” These promises. These pilgrimages. These homages. These hospitalities. These at-homeness. These we-makings. These Us-ness. “You will love it.” “It is so.” “It is so.” “It is so.”

And, yes, there are different cautions. Vulnerabilities unhome us. Home? No. Un-place us. Displace? No. I mean something about how one feels ejected—not rejected—from a place. One enters a place to find welcome. Or to find its possibility.

I took a photograph of his sandals.

To travel with a crew. To make the space a crew can make. You understand. A crew to generate a protective force. A space within which something like pilgrimage might happen. To be generating space. Not simply inhabiting it. It does not want to be inhabited. Inhabited? Don’t you mean visited? Even that. It does not want it.

A child and her mother pointed to my face and laughed. I did the same to them.

You will develop strategies to walk into places where you cannot have a crew. You will travel with a camera or a notebook or a newspaper or an umbrella or a cute hat or a lapel pin with your grandmother’s initials or the memory of when you felt safe and loved and sure. You will walk—I have written about this—you will walk on floors polished by people who look like you, through doors guarded by people who look like you, and this not always, walk in buildings built by people who look more like than unlike you, whose vernaculars are more familiar than other vernaculars.

These are Ho Chi Minh’s spectacles. I took a photograph.

You will take photographs and write notes to make stories you can tell to those you know can listen. And say, this happened. And know that “this” moves through and in and under and is received. 

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