Longing and C. P. Cavafy’s “The City” (Published April 1910)

“You said:  “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried like something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them
totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You’ll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighborhoods, turn gray in these same houses.
You’ll always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things else-
where;

there’s no ship for you, there’s no road.
Now that you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere in the world.

— excerpt from C. P. Cavafy’s “The City”

And here is Cavafy in a note dated April 28, 1907 (three years before the poem above was published).  In April 1907, the poet was forty-four years old:

By now I’ve gotten used to Alexandria, and it’s very likely that even if I were rich I’d stay here. But in spite of this, how the place disturbs me. What trouble, what a burden small cities are — what lack of freedom.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Friday Night, Redwood City: Formosa Bento House

Hubby was driving home.  Self called and asked what his plans were.  She ticked off the leftovers in the fridge:  callos, spaghetti . . .

Usually, hubby says he feels like eating out.  But he only tells self after she’s already cooked dinner, what a drag.

Today, she hadn’t cooked yet.  She was so busy chatting with Drew, who’s in VCCA and who is working hard on our little opera project.  Self could picture the scene:  Drew in his studio in the barn, the three horses in the field, the big and friendly barn kitchen . . .

She hasn’t been on another residency since she was at VCCA, 2007.

Anyhoo, hubby walked in the door and had an immediate hankering for Formosa Bento House.  This is one of those hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop restaurants that hubby and self love.  It is on Broadway, right in downtown Redwood City, and just a few doors down is the né plus ultra of all peninsula bars:  City Pub.  As usual, the sidewalk tables were full, and the waitresses were veeery busy.

At Formosa Bento House, the tables were almost full:  there was just enough space left for the two of us.  Self had done some preliminary research on Yelp and informed hubby that this time, we should try the Taiwanese (Formosa) dishes, they were better than the Japanese dishes.

So hubby went for the fried pork chops, and self went for the stewed pork rice.

Hubby’s dish came out looking like ton katsu (without the brown sauce), and self’s dish was a huge bowl:  minced pork and pickled vegetables and shredded cabbage and rice.  The small bowl of soup that accompanied it was laden with fresh cilantro and was oh, so good.

Afterwards, we walked down Broadway, skirting the seated crowds.  Erawan (a Thai restaurant) and Paradise (a “Persian kabob” restaurant) were busy.  We walked past self’s other favorite hang-out in Redwood City, Natalie Nail Salon.  Peet’s was uncharacteristically empty.

It was a balmy summer evening, one of those that really make you love being in California.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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