Wednesday, July 05, 2006

i was driving home from denny's at two in the morning in omaha along 80 west when the mustang passed me going 100mph (how could i tell? i was draining the trooper at 60) and following it at breakneck speed came the motorcycle. and the low lights of february in nebraska glowed in tungsten light against that glassy blacktop, and we thought nothing of it and then came upon the wreck just less than two minutes later. his helmet was thirty feet from his bike and his legs--i cannot forget his legs--disjointed like a broken doll's. the driver of the mustang was weeping and there was no hope in that scene. you don't forget things like that.

i could swear a bum lived beneath that towering oak next to my childhood home in evanston, illinois, but my parents don't recall--i watched him from atop my plastic rocking horse with the springs that sang in every lurch and swing. the bum was brown like the bark of that oak, and moss grew in his beard, and he came and went, but i knew his home was that oak tree. the library was only a few blocks away and my father would feed the squirrels as we walked to and fro that sanctuary of books, library paste, a window seat on the second floor, tucked in the shelves of children's books.

my first boyfriend in college was gay. he was the kindest boyfriend i ever had in college. he broke up with me beneath a fountain on campus at night, and walked me to my dorm, and told me that it wasn't me--that if i had been a man, he would love me. it was the most romantic way i've ever been dumped in my life. a year later, he was an alcoholic. i don't know what happened to him. i think he went to dominican republic for a semester. maybe he's a preist. i hope he's living a beautiful life.

my last roommate in college was crazy. she's a lawyer, now. oddly enough, she is also an alcoholic.

the most beautiful memory i have of the nursing home i worked in for a year was the death of an old man in a dimly lit hospital room, his wife holding his hand, the mylar balloons drooping in a melancholy manner, the flowers i brought sighing in a contrived fashion, and dear gerald telling me as i wept 'we knew it was coming, dear.' he died right there in front of me, a painful smile on his face, pulmonary disease, a nebraska farmer, sixty years a smoker. what withered hands, what a weathered brow, a prouder death i've never seen.

my father listened to arlo guthrie and classical guitar. my mother listened to the beatles and the oakridge boys and beethoven. i grew up in a home with records piled upon records, and the scratch of the needle against the empty grain, and the sounds of silence, and that folk hope of the sixties. dad had a crush on joan baez. and i think i had a crush on dad with his guitar and banjo and that mandolin that now hangs abandoned in the basement of my parent's home, next to rosa rita--the orange transsexual my mother bought from some artist in chicago when she was single. it's worth some money, but it always frightened me as a child. an orange woman with hairy armpits. do we abandon memories? do objects grow dim with age, their worths diminished, their sentimental values declining?

summer camp: i swam better than any other girl scout and was permitted to leave the shallow end of the lake. i was the only girl scout who was not attacked by leeches. the s'mores tasted so much sweeter that night round the campfire as i huddled to myself with my private victory.

a communist from ohio named each one of his marlboro red's after leaders. stalin, lenin, marx...we smoked them in a concillatory manner at the coffeeshop, one after the other, discussing philosophers and political theory until the highschoolers filtered in smacking gums about musicians of note and the weekend's greatest party. it puts it all in perspective; i'd leave the coffeeshop with my own reds, locked in their mysterious politics, hoping for a better world, climbing steep hills of pavement back to my tiny apartment, head shrouded in bandanas. i smoked pot to the empty sounds of the growls of my stomach, nursing burnt coffee and wishes for a transcendant kindness.

a buddhist studying to be a preist living one floor beneath me supplied me with most of my pot. he was very kind and very optimistic about humankind; his only furniture was a mattress and a small refridgerator. we smoked up platonically and listened to the chants of the dominican monks. i hope he is a world traveller, now.

michael has the grace of an angel with all the forbearance of a grizzly bear. he was a union steward for the teamsters' in history, when he rumbled 'round a steel mill in a train. i could not be safer than when i am in his embrace, knowing his working class hands and his first rate mind will accomplish more than what my pithy brain can beat out in this lifetime. there is knowledge in his cooking and his smile, and his brevity, and his laughter, and there is love there. so much more love than i ever knew existed is right there, wrapped in hot flesh.

when the leaves behind our apartment bend up in the wind right before the rain, i know that green, green, verdant hope will burn into my memory, and will become a part of this chapter of my life, and i will never forget the color of this particular dream of life. as i age, i file these things farther and farther away until they spring up again, neglected and sorry for loss. i'll simply fall down this steep staircase of tangible memory as i grow older.

what a wonderful life i've lived.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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    What I Live By:
    We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"

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