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Widening Gyres by Tamie Parker Song

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Long listed for the WRITE ABOUT WALKING AND LISTENING competition run in July & August 2021

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.


Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud, for a chance to win a prize. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Read more from the Long List of stories submitted to the WRITE ABOUT WALKING & LISTENING competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 26 September 2021 book here.

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...

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