Widening Gyres by Tamie Parker Song

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Tamie

Tamie

Tamie Parker Song is an essayist and improviser who grew up between Jerusalem, Alaska, and the American Midwest. A recent essay, “The Fifth Direction,” won the 2020 Terrain Editors’ Choice Award for Nonfiction. Another essay, “Manhandled,” was sh...

Circles through the fireflies and tree bones, I decided, was the path I’d walk tonight–

through Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan where I live. Everyone in Tompkins was

ragged in some way. Music from one man playing guitar in rags blurred into music from

another playing guitar in rags~the music fusing like every blue at dusk. Fireflies sparked

and flamed out. A near-naked woman took a drag on her cigarette, another kind of

firefly. I wound round the park, and thought of figure skaters. There was an American

elm, circled by benches of people. Impossibly, it was almost perfectly quiet. I live my life

in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete this last one but I

give myself to it. That’s Rilke. I was thinking of the dead, wending through us like

music.. I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not

complete this last one but I give myself to it… I have been circling for thousands of

years. And still I don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song? A young Latinx

man heard the music and stopped mid-stride and just stood–I stayed, to watch him

stay. A man clapping on his bicycle like a drum, a band of all-female skateboarders

slapping their shoes on pavement, all of us breathing each other. We almost certainly

have no idea whose lives we have saved.

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