Last rainy Thursday night I met a man named Random in front of a coffee shop at an Open Mike Night. He and I shared a conversation, and I got a business card from him. I learned that Random is homeless. He wears a gorgeous gray-white afro and a smiling mouth half-full of teeth.
Every man that walked by, he saluted them and said "good evening, Mr. President"...then he leaned over to me and said, "there's lots of unknown presidents wandering around."
His friend named Bob sat down on the bench parallel to me. He wore a highlighter green suit jacket and a purple button-up. Reaching into his bag, Bob pulls out a Barbie doll and a stuffed blue crayon. "Part of my act sometimes," he mumbled. Seconds later he held up a red tie, also hidden in his bag. "Too much?" he asks, leaning over to me, wondering if he should wear it. "Never," I said. "You're wearing that beautiful jacket, so anything after that is a home run." He nodded and fumbled the tie into submission around his neck.
More should be written about these people. I don't quite know what yet. But until then, I should finish my actual paper that is due tomorrow.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The day the earth stood still
I saw death from the top of a hill
in shadowy form it swept above
the rumpled bed of my love
my lover, my love
my river of life
in the dirty dry desert.
I have no need for commitment or wife
yet from the top of the hill
I see you, my lover of life.
The oasis of palm fronds
and figs hanging in clusters from branches.
When the earth stands still
the river no longer will flow
and the roots that we planted
have ceased to grow and
to steam the air within the soil
within the piles of compost and tinfoil and trash.
My cat, Oscar of the Wild, has a tapeworm. He is very cute, but has had a difficult life thus far. He was born in a badger hole in Baker City, Oregon, kicked out by his mom, and taken in by me--who gave him a traumatic plane ride to Seattle. He now lives quite happily. Even more so after the worm is kicked out of his intestine.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
There's this nagging melancholy that infects me around this time of year. It's difficult to pass it on to you in words, unless our gene makeup is similar or there was incest way back in our family line. Our brains can then link and understand one another. It's the "let's drive a car to Joshua Tree and Yellowstone, listen to Talking Heads, climb mountains and hang out at bars and play pool with wrinkly 60 year old men" bug. You know? Maybe not.
A warm, hollow place opens up in my chest, right in between both shoulder blades and lodges itself there. It hibernates till spring, when it finally has a chance to stretch its cramped legs and emerge from its cave. It craves a sort of warmth, one fed by rays of sun and people who feel like home. Home. I try phoning home like E.T., but the connection must not be working.
Was this summer better than I experienced it to be? And where do I belong? This city is great. I love it. But I miss my tent and the stately trees and hitching rides to town. And picking 2 gallons of blackberries in one day. I miss Gorgonzola and eating chard for every meal. Even the Douglas Fir squirrel brothers above me, who were my alarm clock at 7 every morning. What was so bad about all that?
Nothing. But it is easier to idealize that which is no longer the present, especially if it is cut off from you in distance and emotion. It's far easier for memory's sake to remember the good and leave out the bad. Yet if you or I keep dwelling in future or past, the "home" that exists now begins to feel left out. Inevitably, we begin to miss out. I better not let that happen.