I’ve been running across all kinds of symbolically rich sets of slippers lately, catching them out of the corner of my eye and registering them as events, perhaps in the manner of that ultimate “slipping glimpser,” Willem de Kooning.
In Oakland I ran across a pair of golden slippers, sitting quietly and neatly in the street as if waiting for the right person to come along, dip their feet in, and become the princess of the sidewalk ball. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pair of abandoned shoes so intentionally placed before; it was an intention so strong that even with no one around there was an almost ghostly presence, hovering.
In Santa Rosa I stopped by Jeremiah’s Photo Corner to pick up a couple of rolls of film and as I drove away I spotted a pair of silver slippers, dangling from the power lines. They glittered as they twisted.
I haven’t seen any ruby slippers yet (though the phono cartridge I recently received in the mail does have a ruby cantilever), but they do have me thinking about my year back in the States and my return to Japan. In Japanese the verb 帰る (kaeru) is used to designate a return home, a feeling that I have whenever I return to northern California, and a feeling that I have equally when I return to Japan. But which one do I return to when I click my heels together three times? Or perhaps I should simply accept the fact that there’s no place like homes.
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