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Tag Archives: suitcase

found poem: we are


imagined travels…

Finnair luggage tagThe flight was non-stop, Seattle to Los Angeles, but my suitcase took a different route, traveling to L.A. via Frankfurt. Delivered to my office days later, the bag was undisturbed, still secured with its tiny lock, silent about its journey. I sniffed it and studied it for clues, hoping it might reveal stories of this unplanned itinerary, but it remained mute and I could only imagine.

This was a different time. An innocent time, when an unaccompanied suitcase might twice cross a continent and an ocean, traverse nations and borders and find its way home, with its folded maps and photographs, its depleted bottles of shampoo and lotion, its souvenirs and dirty clothes.

I am grateful to have known that innocence, to have lived in a time before this time, when words and gestures, and suitcases, are so infused with suspicion.


hotel hallwayThey have never met, will never meet, but the threads of their lives knit together row upon row. The accident of conferences, interviews, exhibitions, brings them from their distant homes to this place, or another, yet keeps them strangers to each other. This once, by chance, they occupy adjoining rooms in the hotel.

In his, daytime TV flashes its soundless images and his laptop sits open on the small desk. His clothes, just enough for the meeting, the dinner, the night and the trip home, are hung in the closet or placed neatly in the large drawer below the television. His small carry-on suitcase stands in the closet between a single pair of shoes and an ironing board. The curtains are closed. The bed is untouched, the little card with instructions about saving water still propped against the pillow. He sits in the single chair talking on his cell phone.

In hers, every light is on, the curtains are open, and her enormous suitcase yawns empty on the bed. Its contents — clothes, yarn, strips of leather, fabrics, thread, lace, tied packets of letters, rice paper, paste and innumerable cloth envelopes of buttons, shells, words clipped from magazines, doll-house-size furniture, antique bottle caps and garage sale jewelry — she has gathered in her arms and dropped in a heap on the floor. Struggling with the window, which opens only about two inches, she lights a cigarette, blows smoke through the gap and surveys the pile…
photo by Ian Bogost

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