Friday, November 27, 2009

Fitzgerald's Grave

It's a short walk uphill and south from the Rockville Metro Station, in a peaceful church cemetery that rises above Rockville Pike. Fitzgerald's grave. I got dropped off by second cousins after an early Thanksgiving celebration with my great uncle in Rockville Center with some time before the next. I called my mom. Rockville was deserted. A few cars in front of the Multiplex Movie Theater, the sky gray, overcast, balmy for late November. I crossed the Pike with the flashing Walk sign and began climbing the rise to the church yard. "Have you ever seen The Omen... you know, with Gregory Peck," I asked my mom. I found the gate in the fence next to the front entrance of the old church, let myself in. I walked out to the point, the statue of Mary rising above overgrown Arbor Vitae, and then back toward the church steeple. We were still talking when I came upon it. I set my bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pape down on the top of a headstone. "I found it," I told my mom.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." The Great Gatsby. Across the marble tomb. I read it aloud to her. He was forty-four. This was a good year for me to come. Being stuck a writer, he rowed on at writing, and what endurance, what perseverance it must have taken. Against a current, a tide, yes, indeed. A writer, constantly coming to terms with life, experience, the past, with all that claims the mind.

From a headstone one gets a sense of the bravery life takes. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. The name suggests the Irish need (embracing America as they did) for the community that art, music, tales of living, the joys poetic prose itself brings, the bravery to keep on doing that when it is no longer rational or a good idea, as long as it is the truth. What can you do. "Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy," he said. He kept with him that burning desire for discovery, studying something carefully enough to be able to, if one had to, write about it, on through to the end.

A gravestone set lets you know that this person, these bones below, was real as you and I, just as full of grounded juice. You never know what to expect within, from yourself, when you stand before a grave.

The leaves are scattered about, the grass wet, windblown, verdant beneath them. Pennies placed carefully and orderly on top of the headstone, some heads up, some tails up according to some plan of homage and Abraham Lincoln's touch, holding in the wind, some withered bouquets of flowers, browned, like those pressed in books, still wrapped in wet plastic, one bunch having fallen from the tomb, a votive candle half filled with rain water above the pink red wax. Some empty tea candles in little glass cups, the ring of a bottle on the dark green marble (from Connemara?). Each gesture meaning something, from passers by who've gone out of their way out of a devotion. The gifts do not say why exactly they have been left. Just that "I have been here, to pay my respects, even though I did not know the man."

For a moment, surveying the scene, a stand of old trees darkened by an earlier rain, the cemetery yard ringed by an old black steel picket-railed fence, you felt the tucks and rolls of the land extending out into the periphery back before the shiny glass office building was placed just so, before the vast parking garage and high-rise office building down the hill were built. You found a sense of what it was like being the first human being laying eyes on primeval land. Gentler, the churchyard's touch upon its surroundings, a retirement community's seven story building rising at a safe distance from it. You get a whiff, in between the modern, a peek at the lay of the land as it rolls and extends away from Rockville, the Potomac pouring unseen in the wooded distance over Great Falls. Farmland, horse country. The steep-rising strong brick Federal farm houses of the Civil War era that dot here to Gettysburg, down to Richmond and beyond.

Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

Fitzgerald, prone to alcoholism, was beset with an armada of emotions, as Hamlet before him, and out of them he spun a magic and also a wisdom that pertains to this day.

After I walked around the little church, St. Mary's, the oldest Catholic church in Rockville. There is the new church, built in the Sixties, looking exactly as you'd expect it. A two-story dorm for the nuns, completely quiet, not a light on, a few icicle decorations on the inside of windows before black curtains. I came upon two rabbits, one male, one female, wandering and grazing in the green grass at the edge of little walkway. They kept calm, sensing the odd protection of a sanctuary, contrasted with further surroundings, a glimpse of the metro train's lit windows sliding past heading south just beyond the old red brick train station with eaves overhanging to protect the forgotten activity of comings and goings. No nuns to be seen. The parking lot, small, a sign for "Clergy Only," and "Priest."

As I walked away, texting, a man came up the Pike's sidewalk. "Can you help me out so I can get a goose?" He was carrying a soft clear plastic zippered case of pillows and sheets, it looked like, holding it to his chest. He stood and stared at me. Sure, man. I pulled out a few singles I had on hand for the Metro, handed them over to him. He said thanks blankly, indifferently, and I walked on, coming back to the present time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In cat terms my cat lives alone. She’s a runty calico and doesn’t get along well with other cats, nor with dogs, as we discovered when I dog-sat my brother’s young lab bitch. (There were clear messages she, the cat, did not like the intruder’s presence, frightening down to the very core of cat’s bowels.) She is a fussy eater. And I agree, no one likes to eat alone. I’ve found she eats a lot happier if while she crouches over the bowl I stroke her sides, as if to approximate for her the presence of her litter mates nursing, or, if you watch nature shows, the lioness’ greedy competition pressed side by side, growling, at the opened flesh of the beast brought down in the hunt. When I brush her sides so when she eats, the purring is immediate and loud, and food that was unworthy minutes ago becomes juicy and rich again as the still-pulsing liver of fresh prey. Her face doesn’t quite emerge covered with fresh gazelle blood, but one senses a smile and general satisfaction as she looks around, as if to say, "I am very pretty."

You would understand my interest in the matter if you saw all the times I’m adding a touch of water and stirring the Fancy Feast she has licked about then turned away from, leaving me the unpleasant choice of what to do with the rejected, as we put too much stuff down the drain, balanced with the aromatic trash bins of a Washington summer. Maybe she just thinks she's hungry sometimes, after being out all night, takes a bite and realizes she's full. Who knows?

Opiate of the Masses

The Sunday New York Times Book Review Section has an interesting piece, the cover story, Stephen King’s review of a new biography of Raymond Carver and the recently available edition of Carver's stories restored to their original forms before the heavy hand of editor Gordon Lish. (The New Yorker had an excellent piece, including correspondence between Carver and editor, some time ago, along with observations by Tess Gallagher, and a bit of background on the editorial relationship that brought Carver’s work to light.)

Mr. King’s piece is in keeping with the kitschy way the Book Review seems to want to treat matters of human sensitivity, here using a sprinkling of white trash language, as if to claim that Carver’s own sensitivity must be placed, anchored, specifically in white trash American. The mannerism is as if to say, human problems only exist if they are placed within some story that makes them very recognizable. We only get sensitivity, the great capacity of humanity to love and understand, as a negative photograph, existing largely, maybe exclusively, in situations we’re already supposed to be aware of through viewing the news, thus our need to take interest in them. We get the story of the extremes of human experience, the political prisoner under the oppressive regime, the victim of addiction, incest, incredibly strange family situations, twists of poor justice, etc.. We don’t get too much in the Book Review of the poor humdrum run of-the-mill persons like you and I trying to get through life. We don't get too much of that person's sensitivity, which we might speak of generally as part of the innate poetic imagination.

So, I think it fair to say, poetry is something of the first battle lines of the human being’s sensitivity in the Post World War One world we inhabit of mass economy, mass forces, mass debt, personal insignificance to the broad forces of history. It doesn’t have to be poetry necessarily; it could be some prose reminder of what living life is like, without having to touch on some extraordinary situation where things are obviously happening, like murder or being tossed into jail or becoming a drug addict.

It is certainly fair to, through the biography of Raymond Carver, touch upon alcoholism and struggles that are perhaps a little out of the ordinary for a lot of Americans. It’s fair to relate his personal stuff—demons, we like to say, to spice things up a bit and make reading about something more obviously worth our time—to his manner of writing.

Mr. King, having been an alcoholic himself, has the right to bring in this experience here. And Mr. King is a sensitive guy. He really is. (Read his book on writing.) But of course he’s also not shy to suddenly bring out a knife at someone’s innocuous high school prom and have blood pouring everywhere and over everything. (Sells books. Gave him his first break. Took him out of poverty.) And so, as you must with Carver, King mentions the outsized struggles with his subject’s behavior under the effects of alcohol. He hits his wife “upside the head” with a wine bottle. Horrible, would be an understatement.

What a reader might have found interesting is, here in this piece, the AA meeting’s self-recognition of the abusers habit of ‘people pleasing.’ I guess it makes sense. The subject goes through great lengths to please other people, or pretend he’s doing so. And all along he’s not pleasing something basic within, and so he drinks, drinks in a great fit of not-being-able-to-take-it-any-longer and to now will seek his own pleasure, in effect just dimming the lights so he feels some form of pleasure addictively without addressing any real need. It shows a personal weakness, Mr. King tells us, rather quickly. Mr. King works his math: Carver’s personal weakness leads to Lish’s editorial abuses. Being a horror-story teller, Mr. King then focuses on the horrors of having such an editor, and we can’t blame him for this choice in concluding his own take on the general matter.

It’s a little scary, when you think about it. An individual could so bow to please the wishes and wants of other people, that he/she endangers the self, so that the self, left so alone and hurting out of unmet wants, resorts to the numbing of booze, indeed, drinks alone. With Carver, the writer, it is a strange story to fully reconcile. The writer brings us moments of heightened sensitivity that reek of caring for other beings, a sadness taken in upon seeing the grim fall of another person, an awful seizing fear when he feels swept along with a group of people falling. Difficult to reconcile the writer with the person who subjected his wife to etceteras of work, suffering, abuse, all the while he was writing.

And then he quit drinking. He pulled himself together. He got a little better about being aware of his own needs, we somehow get from off-camera. Or at least put the end to a destructive habit.

We all know the famous AA saying about fixing the things one can fix, and knowing the things one can’t, the granted strength to distinguish the two. (I should know it better, I guess.) There’s a certain poetry to it you have to like.

It would indeed be frightening to look back on your life and say to yourself, you bent over backwards to please others, and all you had was your bottle of wine to come to at the end of the day, and that though desperately wanting to succeed at family stuff and relationships you lacked something to carry through with it.

But you might also be able to say that your work, of writing and poetry, was work for the benefit of the human race, that you were able to bring the general reader to a moment of sympathy, empathy, understanding of otherness, of a moment in time, a feeling, a poetic comprehension. You might step back from Mr. Carver’s particular problems to take in something cruel and impersonal about modern life. About how we no longer recognize and care about the small things that defeat a person, but exclusively the big ‘serious news-worthy’ matters of awful history, oppressive regimes, the skewed ends of the potential of some and psychopaths to do evil. Despite the private details of his life, Carver was a writer reminding us of regular personal stuff, not the incomprehensible the modern eye seems bent on drifting toward, whilst numbing the eye with materialism and fashion. (No wonder the economy is so screwed up, for being unable to register the needs of people, decent jobs, affordable housing, not being ripped off by powerful banks and health care providers, etc., etc., etc..)

Shakespeare, writing in Elizabethan England, wrote of the same issues, particularly in Hamlet, I suppose. Such a thing is man, how capable of the finest sensitivities, and yet… Here we have that sensitive being so well fleshed out and fully inhabited. A telling drama unfolds, not unlike our own.

Is poetry the opiate of the masses then? A celebration of that which is no longer consequential to us?

Anyway, this reader, of Carver and occasional book reviews, wishes that Mr. King had explored some more of this 'people pleasing' tendency. Maybe I feel the need in particular because I who write must go and tend bar tonight for a living, which in some ways is the ultimate of the alcoholic pleasing others. The mind goes off on many tangents. How could a self-centered prick like Hemingway have come up with a sensitive moment, or is he just interesting to the reader who falls for selfish people? Why can't one have a conversation with the opposite sex about basic human stuff without being regarded suspiciously, 'you're hitting on me?' thus sadly derailing whatever intellect might have been brought along. Is 'people pleasing sensitivity,' or the greatest weakness? Some poets like their wine. Some overdo it, maybe, and some don't. Some, through life, gain a handle on what it is to be human, enough to be empathetic with fellow beings.

Mr. King puts Mr. Carver, the individual, in one of those boxes that organizations like AA are wont to. The weak person. But where does that leave us, if we are to broaden the picture out away from Raymond Carver? Are writers and poets, artists, musicians prone to be so? is there something incapable in them of dealing with everyday life without resorting to their own brand of naval-staring? Should they just shut up and move on and get along with it? But then where does that leave us in our estimation of the obvious usefulness of poetry, short stories, novels and the like, as far as our own being able to get through the day and retain our sensitivity and humanity? The approach of Mr. King, to lump Carver so, while it may be reasonably accurate, is not very reassuring.

Carver, a weakling, showed in his stories that people need help. Mr. King's review does leave us with a commentary on the quality of the help people actually do receive.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's the finest addiction there is, writing a poem every day. It's healthy. You say one wise thing and a door opens to more of them.
I'd been looking at it the wrong way. You don't go and study poetry, you go and do it. Your friends will accept that of you.
Writing of any sort has a learning process, periods of doing studies. So if I were to write something putting myself down or being gloomy about something, it's simply part of the larger process. It's part of gaining perspective on something that is more meaningful, deeper.
And if you don't write a poem everyday then you get too worried about grocery lists and stuff.
Write a poem and you get that "getting and spending we lay waste our powers" thing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I would think there would be a reluctance when a real poet takes up the form. I'm being an ignoramus, but I'm not drawn to the floods of poets out there today, promoting themselves. I would think that if you're really drawn to it, you wouldn't have need of advertising the fact. Life proves to us how inconsequential we are. That we are born as babies is proof. Only those who would remind us of the underlying reality of our own insignificance beside the enduring cycles of nature play by the rules well enough to be listened to, though I know this sounds extreme.

That there are so many who write out there today seems part of the whole Big Bang theory, the drifting outward of all matter and Universes into the cold irrelevant depths of space, where ultimately even atomic matter itself falls apart and disappears. Where once there was but one Ernest Hemingway, today there'll be a thousand, and tomorrow ten thousand. Keats covered the bases of being Keats, if we could stop and listen; we don't need four million of him. But on the other hand, even that doesn't hurt, or matter, because it's all the same, and doesn't make a difference. Even our little solar system, that home of great significance here, having been born will one day fall apart. The sun knows this, and wanes in enthusiasm, and even our clouds thicken. And even because of the very great insignificance of this fact, it will take an infinitely long time, because ultimately even the end is insignificant, hardly worth mention. And what the hell, it keeps us alive today, and when the time comes we'll build a space ship, stock it with wine and music and people, and go off to somewhere else equally insignificant or maybe just vanish.

If you were to write, write about real things that happen to you, things that are important, that had their effect upon your life. Do it well, and then put it away somewhere. Then go out into the world and try humility. Be humble. Earn a Byzantine halo, a lotus position, an inner electric cross.

Lincoln's gone. Everyone wanted to be a poet, a rockstar, a leader, bust out with their own great opinion, their vanity as generals, back then in his day, but he was the main one who cared enough to think and figure how to say something useful. So they snickered at him and his own poetry, called him a baboon. Well, it is worth noting that many in fact did get his poetry, agreed with it, even in some form of suspension.

We all might try to sound like Lincoln today, but the world is as it is. But unless you really do get his strange philosophical basis, such as he earned from life's experiences that suited his karma, you'll be just sounding like his cadences, but hollow.

Learn from Lincoln the lesson of his life as he taught us with his life. From nowhere's river's bank he came, then rose, maintained honesty, and then, duty done, circumstances took him, the bed too small, in a room too small, to die in. Then there was the funeral train. A grand vault, overdone. Well, what can you do? You can't blame them for wanting the Memorial for him, a way to remember his virtue, two fine speeches, declarations, on either wall, Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural. Good. No doubt about it. But a quiet country graveyard, forgotten, a simple stone, either alone or next to the grave of a woman he'd loved as a young man who'd died young, he would have preferred, in keeping with his melancholic anonymous poetry. Good for a chuckle anyway, for him, now and then, leaves fallen in the graveyard. "Ha ha! I got you," he'd say, dead, and then noble silence again.

People want recognition. Human nature. So are there claims of self-importance in writers, of which I too am guilty of. But nothing really matters that much. The published... what? They are better than you?

A real poet worthy of the practice and the title would have a great reluctance to draw attention to himself. If a poem represents that learning about poetry, then it stands a chance of being okay. But you wouldn't be a poet of any merit if you chose to be one out of vain reasons and pride or feeling that you are great at it. You'd be a poet because life forced it on you, maybe not quite as dramatically as say, the brothers JFK left behind, but because you had not so much choice.

That state, you can feel free to paint, as how you anonymously slip into a bookshop on a Friday night, grab two volumes recommended by an old friend and mentor, and walk out alone up the street. I would think it would be a really odd feeling to be out on the sidewalk, still anonymous, and see your own book stacked in the window, promoted. You'd be reminded of how honestly you became a poet.

"The world has enough angst in it," my mother said to me yesterday. "Write about wine." I agree. I don't find real talk of poetry as angst, but rather nature, and life, and therefore, joy.

How did Vonnegut put it? My name is Jan Janson. I live in Wisconsin...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dying Gaul

Fool country boy,
Didn't you know?
It was best for you simply
to surrender
to their will.
Wave the white flag.
Yes, you tried to, maybe,
in your own way,
but it had too much rebellion in it,
or they didn't understand.
They didn't get your meek accepting
listening silence,
for the bow that it was.
You loved what they brought to you,
taught to you,
and you ever smiled in their very presence.
You were in fact the perfect student
with an ear that loved the poetry,
read it well, and also
everything she said.
Just that you had troubles
getting your papers in.
You held in things you wanted to tell her.
It was all tied together.

It's a Catch 22 anyway.
A glass of wine to ease the pain
of serving people
perpetuates the necessity to have to go on
doing so.
The waitress, pregnant, will leave early tonight,
leaving me to clean up
and count the money
all alone.
Lock the door.
Mount the bicycle,
and ride home,
to no one.
It's a nice ride home anyway.

I read a line from Larkin today.
It kept me company.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


oh, the ode to joy swelled in him.
it rose up his back, and filled his cranium.
a rising flooding wind,
(thank you dostoevsky.)
it made his hairs stand on end.
he played it to, within, himself,
over and over and over again.

achieving an expanse of imagination
equal to Berlin itself.

The greatest concert hall
and conductor,
verging on intimidation,
'should we try it?'
The meek do best.
Though, to Von Karajan's credit,
we might have some gratitude.

one two three four five
six seven
eight nine ten and one and four,
one two three four five six seven
eight nine ten and ten and more.

Four and five and six and seven
eight, nine, ten and nine and four.
one two three four five six seven
eight nine ten and one and more.

In and out, he knew it.
It kept him company.
He knew it as a statement of
something very important.

And yet, there is not a single record,
of the maestro humming this folk song
to himself.
He must have let it sit
under our noses,
as if indicated by the small hairs
on the back of his hands
or however else he could have gestured
to his fellow human,
not to care if less was thought of him.
Smiling, even at that.

One two three four five six seven
eight nine ten and ten and more.
Four and five and four and three and four and five and two and four.
One two three four five and six and four and
Four and five
and one.

Six, five and four!
Seven, six and five!
twelve eleven six and seven
six, eleven, seven, four and three and four and three.

ten and eight and ten and eight
six four or five six four or five
seven seven eight and eight
and ten and nine and ten and nine.

Freude, schoener Gotterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium.
deaf to him,
a part of his childhood.

one two three four five six seven
eight nine ten and ten and more.
Lincoln sat on a Persian rug,
his legs folded,
almost lotus style.

The rug, it seemed to him,
and in the darkness,
the pattern seemed to him
like stars below him,
so that he felt like he were hovering
above the firmament.

Real Persian red,
with black,
and in the night, without light,
except candle flame,
like the black above.

They didn't have rugs like that,
back in New Salem,
or Illinois.
He sat there,
and sang a song to himself.
Of which we have no record.

But hovering above,
not really,
above the rug,
he felt good,
about his ideas, and who he was,
and where he was.

His thoughts,
unlike ours, were light,
agile, responsive as the axe
taking apart a good dry log, sinews force,
eye's good shine,
crinkle of a smile.

I am Lincoln.
I have been here forever. And will remain.
I've waited on people, in taverns,
and endure, equally, being President.
Many have died, because of me,
but here, on this rug,
I know why.
Persians have been making rugs,
just so I would feel
all that would be deprived of me,
the sense of floating,
stars and all the changing light and colors of
the firmament, residing below me.

His face shows him so.
It made him an easy target.
But coming up with things
was easy for him,
and his eyes were bright,
and he knew it, humbly,
and honestly, about himself.

His ghost now walks about.
He hovers very sadly,
How could people be so?
How could people be so?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Poets fuck up.
They use language differently.
They get misunderstood.
Poets speak from understandings,
From Children's books.
From Richard Scarry, Huckleberry the cat,
About a town, the people, professions, identities,
All pictured in the windows of a big house,
Amidst the sunny functions of a day.
Even the poet gets his own little upstairs window,
And you feel he is special.

They are hopeful creatures, poets, of the children’s book sort,
living within their simple
Happy understandings.
Remembering a book mom and dad read to them
When they were small and infinitely fresh,
Happy beliefs they do not part with,
Having no clue how to.

This is why Scandinavian countries get along,
Their happy children’s stories
And those stories a bit grown up.
Vintage Danish erotica style.
Dickens' hopefulness, Marx's thoughts.
Irish songs and tales process the day’s events, along with wine.
The stories we tell our children offer how we all can get along,
A fundamental belief in what’s good.
Saturday Night Life. A beer ad from an old Life magazine.
We’d be nowhere, or in Hell,
in a Police State,
without them.

But the shrewd adults, let’s call them that,
take advantage of the poet, most every time.
So are you victimized,
Outsmarted, your generous words dismissed,
If not thrown back at you.
They have kids, you do not.
They get rich, you get poor,
Even when you provide them the most essential service there is.
Good for them. Thanks a lot.
They cannot listen to the tale.
No one told them as well, when they were kids.
Not their fault. What can you do.

Fuck ups are chain events, one thing after another.
Because of this, that. Because of that, this.
Because of another, oh, then this.
Like Jesus’s life. Also a children’s tale,
But for all of us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why is it that tea made yesterday, while welcome upon rising to do yoga and the day, just isn't the same as fresh? Do the little caffeine genies and anti-oxidant angels fly away as the brew cools? Yes, fresh tea, is so much better, so much more soothing, so more cleanly to one's ills, causing a welcome burp, steadying the hand's nervous shake. (Sorry. Too much information.)

Mad Men ii.

Yup. I was right. The bloody foot from the John Deere tractor, guess what, was indeed a precursor to, as we all knew somewhere, a very bad sad awful low incomprehensibly unexpected jarring sickening day to even remember.

We have to say, Madmen used the TV coverage of the day, far more than one might have thought, and with great effect, and better than even the History Channel does. Where did they get all those clips? Usually you just get Cronkite, taking his glasses away, after looking up at the clock, the word, apparently official, from Dallas, ... But here we had the precursor, not just the newsflash something was up, but step by step, an ominous, President face down in the car, according to eyewitness.

How moving, though, the punch from the old black and white clips, somehow rendered here on real old TV sets so you can get an idea of what it was like to watch.

That is a real television achievement, truly. Where clips have been seen of the coffin being taken off Airforce One, the weird lights, the lift, jarring and enough to get all the personal point across, even before the dumb ambulance arrives with Bob holding Jackie's hand, everyone numb, awful, the metal quality of the box a body is in, death of vital force, here we got walked through, quite well, what it may have been like to be watching the tube that day, and the day after, and the day after that.

Not heard yet, where the drums tapping in the still air.

All of this is obvious. All of this we expected, somehow would fit into our plot of Ancient Rome and New York. It was done well.

Or, rather, it was simply shown. The coverage of the day capturing all that was going on. Moment to moment. Even Oswald, being shot, and the later commentary by news people.

The news is, in strange rare circumstances, just told to us, by people equally as shocked as ourselves.

The horrific really came across, perhaps leaving us more shaken the day after, the day after the numbness and raw tears.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Mel's an emotional guy. You can see it in his eyes.
He rants like a child, I'm sure, sometimes. (Well, we know that, don't we.)
He's a dad, to a new kid.
Wish him well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I am too polite to come across with much more than the obvious in first meetings shouted over the DJ's records. Or maybe it's just my ancient value system, dull to modern ears.
But the world is over-marketed, to the point of being sterile, were it not for the inherent vitality that pops out in the creature.
A book gets judged by its cover.
"You're forty-four. Oh."
(Should'a lied.)
I drank too much anyway, after having been stuck with the great strain of working a bar on a holiday, my own personal bully, the booze sometimes, keeping my creative side stultified.
The night ends. Walk up U Street, finally get a cab in the pouring rain, one of the two wild and crazy guys.

To risk sounding like later Tolstoy, I have met the eyes of forty-thousand strangers, asked of them what they might like, waited on them. Washed their feet, if you will. If the salt of the earth loses its savor, what then? But I know it's not much of a life, for you, I mean. That I understand. Fair enough, your skepticism. And yes, I thought I was tougher than I actually am, that I could handle it, that I wouldn't get so sucked into it, or that it was a writing life, when really it wasn't so much. Yes, I should have been a teacher, of some sort. That might indeed have been more useful to people.