Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

Tybee Island, Georgia

June 2011

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Tybee Island Native

Shallow shadows disappear behind ATV ridges as the empty can beneath your chair duels the offended fiddler crab. Lazy arms droop and startle: the fishermen, the sunners, the guard. Memories collide with your neighbors’ children, racing each other down the shoreline, letting the nylon beach ball get away. The air wafts long and gusty like an inner tube pump. Overhead soar satellite umbrellas’ bobbing skirts. In the distance the tanker sentries back and forth, changing his uniform so no one knows your mother sent him. Ten times just ten more minutes—how much time is left on the meter? Pass me by southern wind and let me linger. Soon everything is fluttering like ladies’ fingers. Daffodil eyes crash into the waters of distant islands. Your elbow finds the sand

and everything sinks

down as the sun remembers

to chase pink Shanghai.

–original poem

{Our friends’ beautiful beach-house where we stayed}

{Our beach-side deck: perfect for late-afternoon sun-naps}

{There are worse places to grow up… ❤ }

{So many adorable, brightly-painted island bungalows}

{More gorgeous Caribbean-inspired colors}

{Lots of interesting found-object yard sculptures–I like this use of colored glass bottles}

{The back river–an ideal place for kayak launches}

{One of my favorite little beach cottages}

{Favorite thing: bicycling on the beach with Dad xxx}

[See the complete album here!]

[Images by Kelly Overvold.]

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Savannah, Georgia

June 2011

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“…She leaned upon her balcony, in the darkness,
Folding her hands beneath her chin;
And watched the lamps begin
Here and there to pierce like eyes the darkness,–
From windows, luminous rooms,
And from the damp dark street
Between the moving branches, and the leaves with rain still sweet.
It was strange: the leaves thus seen,
With the lamplight’s cold bright glare thrown up among them,–
The restless maple leaves,
Twinkling their myriad shadows beneath the eaves,–
Were lovelier, almost, than with sunlight on them,
So bright they were with young translucent green;
Were lovelier, almost, than with moonlight on them. . . .
And looking so wistfully across the city,
With such a young, and wise, and infinite pity
For the girl who had no lover
To walk with her along a street like this,
With slow steps in the rain, both aching for a kiss,–
It seemed as if all evenings were the same,
As if all evenings came
With just such tragic peacefulness as this;
With just such hint of loneliness or pain,
The quiet after rain….”

–from Conrad Aiken’s “Evensong”

[See the complete album here!]

[Images by Kelly Overvold.]

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So I was re-reading some of my favorite Conrad Aiken poems, trying to find one that I could include in my Savannah album from this summer and let me just say that that was exhausting. His poems are so beautiful and so intense. Each line knocks you right over. The best poem, I think, is “The Dance of Life,” a simple almost cliché title that belies the intensity of the poem itself. I’m talking about lines like “…And stars in glorious hells of birth,…” or “…Tremulous, breathless, swaying, burning, / Body to beautiful body yearning,…” Just so. damn. good. Read it. But you know, do it sitting down, or at least with a glass of cold water handy…


by: Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

Gracious and lovable and sweet,

She made his jaded pulses beat,

And made the glare of streets grow dim

And life more soft and hushed for him….

Over her shoulder now she smiled

Trustfully to him, like a child,

The while her fingers gayly moved

Alonge these white keys dearly loved,

Making them laugh a jocund measure,

Making them show and sing her pleasure….

A smile that dwelt upon his eyes,

To see what mood might therein rise,–

What point of soft light seen afar

Which might dilate to moon or star….

A smile that for a second space

Brooded wistfully on her face,

Opening soft her spirit’s door,

Disclosing depths undreamed before:

Passionate depths of half-seen flame,

Young loveliness despising shame,

Desire that trembled to meet desire,

And fire that yearned to fuse with fire….

And lightly then she turned away,

Ironic music rippled gay,–

Subtle sarcastic flippancies

Disguising speechless ecstasies…

“Play something else…” He rose to turn

The pages, while the deep nocturne

Struck slow rich chords of plangent pain,

Beautiful, into heart and brain;

A tortured, anguished, suffering thing

That seemed at once to cry and sing;

Despairing love that strove to find

The face beloved with fingers blind.

He saw her body’s slender grace,

This drooping shoulder, shadowed face;

All of her body, hidden so

In saffron satin’s flush and flow,–

Its white and simple loveliness,–

Came on his heart like giddiness,

Seductive as this music came;

Until her body seemed like flame,–

Intense white flame, so swiftly moving

That it gave scarcely time for loving;

But rapid as the sun she seemed,

A blinding light that flowed and streamed

And sang and shone through roaring space….

The sun itself! for now her face,

Wherein this music’s whole soul dwelt,

Drew him like helpless star, he felt

A fierce compulsion, reckless, mad,

A sweet compulsion, troubled, glad,

His trembling hands went out to her,

Her cool flesh made his senses blur;

While, head thrown backward, sinking dim,

She opened wide her soul to him….

Past his life went whirls of lights,

Chaos of music, days and nights,

Her wild eyes yearned to lure him in

And close him up in dark of sin,

To lure him in and drink him down

And all his soul in love to drown….

Her nakedness he seemed to see.

And breast to breast, and knee to knee,

Tremulous, breathless, swaying, burning,

Body to beautiful body yearning,

In joy and terror, flesh to flesh,

They flamed in passion’s fine red mesh,–

Living in one short breath again

The cosmic tide’s whole bliss and pain,

Darkness and ether, nebulous fire,

Vast suns whirled forth by vast desire,

Huge moons flung out with monstrous mirth

And stars in glorious hells of birth,

All jubilating, blazing, reeling,

An orgiastic splendor wheeling,

Moon torn from earth and star from sun

In screaming pain, titanic fun,

And stars whirled back to sun again

To be consumed in flaming pain!…

In them at last all life was met:

They were God’s self! This earth had set.

Mad fires of life sang through their veins,

Ruinous blisses, joyous pains,

Life the destroyer, life the breaker,

And death, the everlasting maker….


“The Dance of Life” is reprinted from Turns and Movies and Other Tales in Verse. Conrad Aiken. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916.


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Even though I grew up in Savannah, I feel like every time I come back here, I discover something new about this amazing place.

Stay tuned for more!

[Images by Kelly Overvold.]

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This afternoon my sister, her boyfriend, and I ate at Zunzi’s, a South African-inspired, carry-out restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is narrow, wood-paneled, covered in photographs, posters, and signs. It’s hot, crowded, busy, and smells like the grill pit of an African campsite. And the food? Your choice of a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and burgers stuffed full of seasoned, rich, and tender meats including beef, sausage, chicken, and fish (menu available online). The restaurant is owned by couple Johnny and Gabby DeBeer, and inspired by their own mixed cultural heritage: South African, Swiss, Italian, and Dutch.

I ordered a Godfather Wrap, which comes with chicken and sausage: your choice of homemade—very spicy and flavorful—or smoked. I ordered the homemade sausage. The woman working asked if I’d had it before, and when I said no she had me try some first to see if it was what I “really wanted” because it’s very spicy and flavorful. It was absolutely delicious! The wrap comes with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and one or both of two kinds of sauces. One is white and one is orange—a thousand island kind of orange—and they are both creamy, zesty goodness. (I had both on mine.) The wrap itself is enormous. I had to eat it with a knife and a fork. I finished about half of it and took the rest home. The seating is outside to the left of the building when you stand looking at the front entrance. It’s definitely hot, inside and outside, and usually crowded (wait-time averages 5-10 minutes), but if you’re a fan of good South African spicy meats and sauces, you CANNOT miss this place! And to drink, order the African Sweet Tea. It’s light, refreshing, not too sweet, and the refills are free. Smaaklik!

108 E York Street, Savannah, GA 31401

[On the corner of Drayton and York Streets, near the Church of the Ascension]

Monday-Saturday, 11am – 6pm (closes an hour earlier on SCAD’s off-season)


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