Articles taggés avec: Ricker Winsor

Root River Return, by David Kherdian

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 09 avril 2016. dans La une, Ecrits

Root River Return, by David Kherdian

In 1970, I was a refugee from Brooklyn living in a broken down old house in Lyme, New Hampshire. I came into the country for the same reason that many of my generation did, to heal the stresses of the lunatic sixties and to find a better way of life. Working as a low laborer with a local construction crew, I tried to fit in as best I could. I tried to decipher their deep New England way of talking. It seemed like another language that had developed without a thought to the world beyond.

My goal was to learn how to do a hard day’s work and I did, hoisting plank after plank onto the roof of the house the Kherdians had bought on the edge of the big forest at the foot of Bear Hill. We rebuilt their whole roof and in the process I understood that he was a poet. We got to know each other a bit beyond the landowner/worker relationship. It was probably obvious I was not a « local » and had my own story and reasons for being where I was, and it would be especially obvious to a perceptive and sensitive poet.

Many years passed, about forty five, and then somehow I saw an announcement of David’s book of poems, « Living in Quiet », Deerbrook Editions 2013 and it all came back and stayed back ; I can see all the scenes of long ago in perfect clarity. Or as the poet says :

10 Years Later

Standing on the leafy bank

on my first day back

overlooking hills & ravines

and the river I fished,

I knelt, reached back over

the years, and threw a stick

that tumbled a wild green apple

Dear Paris

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 05 décembre 2015. dans Ecrits, La une, Actualité

Dear Paris

In the aftermath of the atrocity committed in Paris I wrote a condolence letter to a friend there. He responded and mentioned other things but with no reference of my heartfelt sympathies. And, somehow, that seemed just right, like the sound of one hand clapping, like a fraught, existential, and blank idea balloon kept in the air of consciousness by our mutual understanding. It was appropriate, like a story about death ending in the middle of a sentence. Because there is nothing left to say and, of course, everything left to say.

I am a New Yorker who remembers the thudding sound of bodies hitting the pavement as victims who, a moment before, were going about their business or talking to their loved ones at home in the suburbs, now suddenly found themselves airborne to oblivion in escape from the merciless fire. A friend living near the two towers got on the roof of her loft building and saw people jumping from the towers, some of them holding hands and one, she noted, actually doing a swan dive, taking his last moment to express a gesture of defiant poetry against death. It makes sense in the current context to remember that there was great rejoicing about this in the Muslim neighborhoods of New Jersey. We New Yorkers have not forgotten that.

Our president, Barak Obama, said that the Paris murders were an « attack on all humanity », a comment made more poignant because Paris, in many ways, is the cultural capital of humanity. And it will continue to be that. Somehow, in an unpredictable irony, New York became a much better place after 9/11. People were friendlier, more outgoing. The sense of comradery that has always been a part of New York identity increased in the wake of the disaster. I am not sure if that warm feeling extended to Middle Easterners. I expect this « spirit de corps » phenomenon to occur in Paris too. Those who survive an atrocity are bonded by grief, anger, and a certain pride they discover in the courage to carry on.

Friday the 13th was a tipping point for the French and also for the rest of the free world. It is a different feeling now. We were angered and shocked by the Charlie Hebdo attack and by the murders in a kosher grocery but we also knew that the cartoonists, although within their right of free speech, so central to any democracy, were pushing the envelope, asking for trouble. And the Jews, well the Jews have always been ground zero for abuse and tragedy ; nothing new about that. But this new savagery had nothing to do with anything other than a warped sense of religiosity and a kind of nihilism that celebrates killing for its own sake.

Expatriation, Art, and Spirit

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 04 juillet 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Expatriation, Art, and Spirit

Standing on the edge of the highway I held a sign that said « London ». It was cold, early spring, and I was hitching from Newcastle. I was nineteen, and the year, nineteen sixty-four. At a pub that evening a Canadian guy told me : « You know, once it starts it never stops ». He was right and I knew it even then.

Expatriation is an inevitability for certain people. People with prolonged expatriate experiences due to work move through well-known stages of adaption : the honeymoon of excitement at a new place, the disappointment as the downside is revealed, and the final accommodation to it all. Eventually, surely, they go home. And what happens then ? Most just carry on where they left off in their communities but others have a hard time readjusting.

We all know about « roots » and what that means in a personal way to each of us. Back then, at age nineteen, I shook up those roots, and if they were not yet dislodged, they also never returned to their original condition.

Restlessness attends the expatriate personality. What else could make a person leave for a strange place without friends and without knowing the language or the culture ? That same drive sent Leif Erikson, Christopher Columbus and many others on their way into the unknown. It is in the human personality to want to know what is over the next hill but some people experience that tendency as a deep need.

I don’t even like traveling and I never had an interest in being a tourist. Yet here I am, having lived all over the world and now settling in Indonesia. I returned to my home in the northeast of the USA more times than I can count and every time I left again, not because I didn’t like it but because all my other foreign experience tugged at my heart and called me into action almost in spite of myself. It just seems so much more interesting « out there » wherever that may be.

Someone back home said : « Oh, I would never move somewhere I didn’t have friends ». But the expat knows that there are good people everywhere and new friends waiting for you. They may not be the old friends that are so precious but they are good friends and could be even better friends if you would only hang around, something that is always a question mark both for you and for them.

And up comes  the down side. After yanking on those roots hard and long, they wither and die. You find yourself  « out there » on your own. Back home the friends are huddled together around a fire of communal warmth and you are like the wolf circling from the bushes, wishing you could get closer. You are different and everyone knows it. And when you are with them they talk about their normal lives without much interest in hearing your foreign stories. And why ? Because your stories have no connection with their lives or their experience.

Expatriation, Art, et Esprit

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 04 juillet 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Avec la participation amicale de Simon Mendy qui a traduit de l’anglais Expatriation, Art, and Spirit, et de Julia Revuz pour sa contribution à cette traduction.

Expatriation, Art, et Esprit

Debout au bord de l’autoroute, je tenais un panneau indiquant « Londres ». Il faisait froid en ce début de printemps, et je faisais du stop depuis Newcastle. J’avais dix-neuf ans en cette année dix neuf cent soixante quatre. Dans un pub, ce soir-là, un canadien m’avait dit : « tu sais, quand c’est parti, ça s’arrête jamais ». Il avait raison et je le savais déjà à l’époque.

S’expatrier est inéluctable pour certaines personnes. Les gens qui s’expatrient longtemps du fait de leur profession passent par différents stades : il y a l’excitation d’être dans un endroit nouveau, puis de la déception quand on découvre ce qui y est moins bien, puis l’habitude qui s’installe à ce qui est bien et moins bien. Après, à un moment donné, ils rentrent à la maison. Et que se passe-t-il ? La plupart renouent avec leur communauté, d’autres ont beaucoup de mal à se réadapter

Nous avons tous entendu parler de « racines », et de la part d’intime qu’elles évoquent en chacun de nous. A l’époque, à dix-neuf ans, je tirais sur ces racines, et même si à cette époque, elles n’étaient pas arrachées, les liens ne sont jamais revenus à leur condition initiale.

La fièvre du changement est le propre de l’expatrié. Sinon, qu’est ce qui expliquerait qu’une personne parte pour un lieu étrange, sans connaissances là-bas, et sans même connaître la langue ou la culture locale ? Cette envie de changement a fait partir Leif Erikson, Christophe Colomb et plein d’autres vers l’inconnu. C’est un trait du caractère humain : chercher à savoir ce qu’il y a de l’autre côté de la montagne. Pour certains c’est un besoin vital.

Je n’aime pas particulièrement voyager, le tourisme ne m’a jamais intéressé. Pourtant j’ai vécu aux quatre coins du monde, et je m’installe en ce moment en Indonésie. Je suis rentré chez moi dans le nord-est des Etats Unis un nombre de fois incalculable, mais à chaque de fois je suis reparti. Pas parce que je n’aime pas chez moi, mais parce que toutes mes expériences à l’étranger résonnaient dans mon cœur. Ce désir d’action était plus fort que moi. C’est juste plus intéressant « autre part » peu importe où c’est.

Quelqu’un à la maison a dit une fois : « J’irai jamais m’installer dans un endroit où je ne connais personne ». L’expatrié sait qu’il y a des gens bien partout, et qui vous attendent pour devenir vos  amis. Il ne s’agit pas bien sûr d’amis intimes, qui nous sont si chers, mais d’amitiés intéressantes qui pourraient se développer, si seulement vous restiez plus longtemps. La question reste ouverte pour vous et pour eux.

Essay for Reflets du temps

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 07 mars 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Essay for Reflets du temps

Asia Air Flight 8501

In a high rise hotel in Surabaya, a quiet week waiting like so much of life, my wife makes miniatures of snacks in clay for jewelry ideas and I download Nordic Noir. A trip to the gym to stay the decline, then I dream more vividly than I live and solve problems there I couldn’t understand awake, and feel stupid against it all. Can a thunder clap blow you out of the sky, fair-weather friend ? On our daughter’s phone I see the portrait of four handsome young men in the virility of youth whose bloated bodies, one by one, are now delivered up, home for the holidays.

Ricker Winsor, Surabaya, Indonesia  Jan. 2015


The Seventieth Year

That I am just now, this month, seventy years old is a surprise to me. Sometimes I recount the many ways I might have died, the recklessness that tempted death. The youth of my generation didn’t think life after thirty was worth living and we hoped to be dead by forty, and some of us were. I survived the snares and traps somehow and I squeezed a hundred lifetimes in this seventy years. Remembering it all makes me tired. Noting the decline of my body makes me tired. And yet, despite the fact that skin hangs on my body in places where it once had a firm grip on muscle and flesh, despite my chagrin when viewing current pictures of myself ; despite all that, this condition of time right now is in many ways the nectar of my life.

There is more subtlety, more nuance to my life now. Before, there was action, libido, and the excitement of taking risks. There was also failure and regret. Most of that has vaporized into the ether but not regret. It does not go away although it is softened by time. Time mixes it into a rich broth by adding nostalgia, melancholy, happiness, and the memory of clear days and the freshness of youth. Out of all that, time creates a unique cuisine, a bazaar of tastes and recollections experienced in the mind.

The mind has always been the locus of greatest entertainment for me. This might be an introvert trait ; introverts generally tend to be happiest in their own company. Joy of mind comes from what imagination adds to what I experience as external reality, a reality I often find disappointing in one way or another. I have come to accept this as part of the human condition. Occasionally I relax my judgmental sensitivity and experience a moment’s fleeting peace.

A Bat

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor, Jean-François Vincent le 03 janvier 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

A Bat

In Bangladesh

He got in through the mesh.

It was a bat

A bat rolled up in a mat.

Was he dead or just in bed ?

Estivating or maybe meditating,


He looked mummified.

I had to clarify.

He was quiet ;

Too long on a diet.

No mosquito no fly

had passed by

while he took his rest

in that comfy nest.


I picked him up.

He felt cold.

He looked old.

I took him up on the roof

and, just for fun,

put him in the sun

to soak up the rays

of that equatorial day.

Une chauve-souris

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor, Jean-François Vincent le 03 janvier 2015. dans La une, Ecrits

Une chauve-souris

Au Bangladesh

Il l’a prise : elle était dans la dèche

C’était une chauve-souris,

Une chauve-souris enroulée dans un tapis.

Etait-elle morte ou juste au lit ?

En train d’estiver ou peut-être de méditer.


Elle avait l’air momifiée

Il me fallait tout cela clarifier.

Nul mouvement,

Au régime depuis trop longtemps !

Nul moustique, nulle mouche ne passait,

Alors que son repos elle prenait,

Dans ce nid qui le confortait.


Je la ramassais.

Froide au toucher,

Elle avait l’air âgée.

Je la montai sur le toit ;

Et juste pour la joie,

Je la plaçai au soleil

Afin que ses rayons l’imbibent et la veillent

Dans l’équatoriale clarté.

Racism IS

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 06 septembre 2014. dans Racisme, xénophobie, La une, Ecrits

Racism IS

About a lifetime ago, in our loft in Brooklyn, my wife and I watched the light streaming in through the big old factory-building windows and saw, floating in the warm slanting beams, a million dust particles bouncing and floating.

« Am I wrong, or didn’t we just finish cleaning the whole loft ? » I said.

« Dust IS », she said, which I though was kind of brilliant.

« Yeah, dust IS », like an element, a part of creation you can’t edit out no matter what you do. It is just there. Racism is just like that.

Why bother saying anything more about it, and, especially, why should a white man say anything ? No matter what a white man says is bound to be wrong. That also « IS ». And yet, this topic keeps coming up and keeps needing to be addressed one way or the other, with essays and editorials and/or with looting, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

« Why can’t a woman be more like a man ? » declared Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. And the white man says, « Why can’t a black man be more like a white man ? » Things would go a lot easier for everyone if that were the case. That’s what we think anyway, most of us, if I can stick my neck out a bit.

Affirmative action, scholarships, a helping hand ; they all were well intentioned ways of giving black people a way into the white world where we would all be more happy. But they, generally speaking, were not having any of that ; not much anyway. It reminds me of that naïve idea we had that if we would just give those Iraqis the ability to vote and maybe a few credit cards they would, lickety split, be transformed into happy, prosperous, law-abiding Republicans and Democrats.

I went to boarding school for the high school years. I went back to the 25th reunion, already a long time ago. When we were in school in the early sixties there were maybe three African American students. Twenty five years later I was standing next to a long-time professor watching the classes of years past parade across the athletic field and saw no color anywhere except for the American flag. And I asked him about that.

« How is that possible », I asked, « after all that has happened ? » And he said, « We can’t get them. They don’t want to come and when they do they don’t stay long. They drop out ». And now we are getting into the nitty gritty because many of them say, in one way or another, « Fuck you whitey ». Simple as that. Racism IS.

I have lived all over the world and everywhere it is the same ; the whiter you are the better it is for you. Nobody wants to be darker. Everybody wants to be lighter in skin color. That is a mysterious fact. And the African group is at the bottom of the barrel, maybe because they are the blackest. A well-traveled white person can appreciate that black is beautiful. I haven’t noticed that black people accept that easily.

An Old Man’s Winter Night, by Robert Frost

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 21 juin 2014. dans La une, Ecrits

An Old Man’s Winter Night, by Robert Frost

All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him

Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,

That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.

What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze

Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.

What kept him from remembering what it was

That brought him to that creaking room was age.

He stood with barrels round him – at a loss.

And having scared the cellar under him

In clomping there, he scared it once again

In clomping off ; – and scared the outer night,

Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar

Of trees and crack of branches, common things,

But nothing so like beating on a box.

A light he was to no one but himself

Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,

A quiet light, and then not even that.

He consigned to the moon – such as she was,

So late-arising – to the broken moon

Indonesia/ Trinidad (VO)

Ecrit par Ricker Winsor le 06 octobre 2012. dans La une, Notre monde, Voyages

Indonesia/ Trinidad (VO)

Indonesia is about as far away as one can get from Trinidad or anywhere else on this latitude. It is on the other side of the planet, about twelve thousand miles away. It is the largest Muslim country in the world, an archipelago of about seventeen thousand five hundred islands. I wonder if anyone has really counted. People in Indonesia speak three hundred fifty local languages but they have agreed on a common one, Bahasa Indonesia, which just means Indonesian language. Indonesia is an ancient place with people reaching back in time as far as we know. Recently there was a little humanoid discovered named Flores Man, “the hobbit”, about three feet high. He survived until about twelve thousand years ago and was around, it is thought, for about eighty thousand years before that. We don’t know a lot about our past on this planet. People have had the brain we have and looked like us going back one hundred fifty thousand years but we have no knowledge about what they were doing. I don’t think they were just pounding the ground with a stick. Indonesia was Buddhist and it was Hindu; and it still is to some degree, but basically, as in many places, Islam has taken over. Why is it growing so fast and why is Christianity seeming to fade in the West?

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