Termites make didgeridoos but they can't play them.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Perfect pair of shoes

And if it weren't for the word, I don't know where I'd be. Not that word. Any word, though some are better than others. The word of velvet the word of stone the word of brittle yellow pages. The dust and the bone ash and the fine root hair. You think someday the sun will break, it will blow out, rain shards of egg-colored Bakelite. This sun of broken green bottles and clear glass, the dried up Wild Irish Rose, smelling of angry bees. This sun of enormous slides and swings and filthy chained tires under 395, the highway. Brick and algae, mold and slate and slugs, the things that give deceitful comfort in memory’s hard-spiked box, this shattered sun plinking and rattling, cooler than you'd expect, a dirty yellow hail slowly turning black, tumbling us into blindness, drifting under ten thousand typewriter keys, nothing but word dust after all.

And then it seemed that life should consist of more than chewy brown loogies, like lung dust wetted with worm jizz and worked into a gritty paste, so I quit smoking. It's Saturday afternoon and my wife is dreaming. Paint her with cinnamon and paint her with oil. An accident of limbs and breath. Pile her high with rabbits, the deep fur and bright eyes. Bring her the fresh, sharp sheets and smoothed off regrets, I wish I could. I wish I could bring her, right into her dreaming, bring her a dolphin riding a manatee. I wish I could bring her the perfect pair of shoes and leave them where she would find them. I mean the perfect pair of shoes.

Of course they will have style, style too fresh and original for my words to describe. But these shoes will also make her feet smell like fresh strawberries and feel like liquid satin on clean, soft skin bathed in spring sun, rolling, limbs akimbo just after. These shoes will match every item of clothing in her closet. These shoes which I would sneak into her dreaming will be on sale. There is only one pair and it fits her--both feet, each shoe. Every other pair was destroyed by funky dream fire. These shoes she will find and bring home from her dreaming to flaunt, these shoes will make me eat my words. "You did," I will say. "You found them. You were right. The perfect pair of shoes." "And they were on sale," she will say.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mary and I got married

I can't remember if I mentioned that. September 29, 2006. Small, as we are. Cloudy, bit of rain. Grateful for all the folks who made it. Some pictures...


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Went to Mexico just for the McDonalds

Slowly loading a few other images here....We actually didn't take many pictures.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dead Bigots and A Brief Vacation Reading List

Just took an hour and a half to get my hair cut...heard an old man commenting on the mystery of white people adopting "colored" children. As I writhed uncomfortably, thinking about all the razors in the room, my barber caught sight of the smoke starting to seep from my ears and changed the subject to the recent death of the Great Fat Bigot Himself, Jerry. I was able to talk about how the old intolerant, self-serving, hypocritical fucker will not be missed--now grant that I have no idea if Falwell was racist, but he was certainly intolerant--and hope that got the message across. I was afraid for a minute I would be finishing my haircut at home.

So, the books I'm taking with:

Dress Your Family in Courduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez--and no I haven't read that yet, really!, why no I haven't, so piss off--but I am looking forward to it.

Some Cicero, On Moral Ends, as I was supposed to read it for a class years ago

A blank journal, huh.

I may well find some awesome trash at the airport or in Mexico. What I especially look forward to is reading local phone books and neighborhood papers once I get there and yes I can read enough Spanish to get it on. God help me when I speak though. Terrible accent and mind-lock and every tense ever invented fighting for primacy and leaving old squid paste on my tongue such that when I open my mouth horrifying clouds of disarticulation pour forth. Anyway, yeah.

Got this habit of reading phone books from my dad. I don't travel often so it doesn't much come up, but Larry, if we found ourselves in a sterile motel room in some warmed over vacation town would prop himself with phone book on his lap and do strange things...not depraved, but definitely strange...the kinds of things an anthropologist or geographer might get away with, but he was neither. I suppose an urban planner had every reason to do these things without embarrassment, but who even knows what an "urban planner" is? Anyway, Larry would read the yellow pages, giggling and sighing and saying, "Son of a bitch" in quiet tones, blowing smoke and flipping pages and possibly wishing his son were not sharing the room with him. Still, here was Larry, giggling, "Twenty-four gun specialty stores, holy shit." Pages flipping, "Oh ho! Bill's Taxidermy on Montero Ave., established 1927. More taxidermists than the last town I was in." Smoke and silence and air conditioner peace eventually stillness leading to something about maps and rail yards rivers and orchards and time, always time stalking us both, though I can't remember Larry ever facing time.

"Owen, there are more grocery stores in this town than car washes...Son of a bitch."

So I'm looking forward to reading the phone book, if they have one and I'm sure they will, when I get to Mexico.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Irritating blogger

Ok, blogger is slightly irritating at the moment. Was trying to change photo in profile. Won't accept anything. So this was the one

or maybe this


One of these days I have to post something that makes sense. Something with a beginning and an end and a good bit in the middle. Maybe even read it before posting. No, seriously. That might not be today. Today will mostly be cleaning, fretting, running around and, in some way, sweetly grieving. Mary and I are going to Mexico just as Minnesota is fatly and sweetly and brightly and richly rolling out spring. I hereby dedicate the last five minutes of my life to the adverb, its long legs and whimsy.

Last night with the dog and the stars and an unsteady Earth spinning too fast while I breathed in tide pools from oceans never visited, suddenly a nighthawk. Something about those birds. The first, at least my first, this year. Maybe later I'll sift around in my head and try to remember every one.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fish heads, rotting chicken and the Most Beautiful Smell of Sexed-out-Linden

Here she is here is that May 7, 2007. Here she is and finally I can smell the pollen, the limpid, languorous plant-sex on the air, hot and heavy. But she isn’t, not this air, not this pungent, olfactory soup of beguiling sweetness, she isn’t that hot or heavy yet. Is it a boy or a girl?

Ambiguity is ok when it’s not even the same kingdom. I can’t discriminate what wetly commandeers my nose. But. I can’t believe it, there is linden already. There are cherries and Siberian crabs and real cherries, these wild women growing on the banks and slopes of the railroad cuts, the Virginia cherry and the pin cherry, mad women smelling of cosmic cheese and elf breath. There is the sun, just enough, and the heavy breath of water, and she knows what the fuck spring is about. I can’t believe it.

I tasted her this morning, outside the Comcast building, which isn’t exactly, but we’ll call it that and at least the owner had the sense to plant these rose family matriarchs, hardly native but hardly caring, this is their light, this mist and twilight light at noon suffused with gelid lead light, this is their gravid space, this space of ageless lust and wonder. This, and the low river crying for water. The pregnant air teasing.

Come! Come! Waiting for the rain, another day, and I can’t believe the lindens are blooming. They call them basswood around here.

Walking with Donny, I think I was about ten, god knows, he says, he says. I say, I love the way the lindens smell. He says, “Jesus Christ, it smells like a French whore.”

Well, I wish, I wish I’d said, “Jesus Christ, I’d like to meet that whore.” And who wouldn’t?

But I didn’t say that. Besides, I don’t think that even a sophisticated gay man such as my uncle Don would suggest Linden, the blossom alone, smells like a French whore. If it did, lord, I’d still like to meet that woman. He must have been smelling spring in my city, that Washington, D.C., and we were a half block from Hayden’s, on 7th, just before Independence, and you know what’s coming, if you’ve been there, you know you can already smell the crepe myrtles, you can smell the rotting chicken in the 55 gallon drums behind Eastern Market.

The spring, the spring in Washington, Jesus. They shouldn’t let men be teenage boys in D.C. That just shouldn’t happen. And god help the young women, I’ve no idea how it hits them. The cherry blossoms and the hyacinths and the lindens and the sodden maple blossoms red and spent and swollen and blown in drifts along the bricks. The electric green grass ready to wilt already. The marble sweat and the moldyc copper roofs the steaks burning at Mr. Henry’s the old beer and fine scotch pissing on the sidewalk from the Hawk and Dove, the sodden newsprint from Trovers, come on, come on, the junipers and the yews the limestone and the moldering ghosts at the Library of Congress and your nose is in there, in the perineum that is 2nd St., S.E., there is St. Marks--it welcomes you—and there is the space shuttle and there is fifth grade and there are women and women and women you’ve known. What are you supposed to do with them all, with every bobbing breast and perfect thigh just misted with sweat and spring heat clung to by batik and patchouli and lemon and there, at the Tidal Basin, with the crabs and the cherry blossoms, where even the breath of the earth, the cool musk of the soil itself for god’s sake, even the heart of the earth is a dark eyed woman, a woman of blinding light, a woman of ripe simmering heart and just baked bread, a sweet child’s kiss and another funeral you missed. Jesus, what are you supposed to do with a city like that?

Somehow this will comeback to boxwoods, or maybe it will come back to lavender, or maybe it will come back to Yoo-Hoo, I think it will. I think it will come back to rotting children, I meant to write chicken, and chlorine from the natatorium. I think it will come back to Old Sam pissing in the shrubbery and the zoo smell of metal railings and the old pee smell of alleys and the pure psychotic death smell of protein in hot sun, that smell of chicken in the summer. Cause before you know it this spring will be gone. And sometime soon Eastern Market will be repaired, rebuilt and restocked and re-loved and re-walked and somewhere, at least I pray to god, somewhere there will be a child with tiny sandals, there will be a child wondering at the awful reek of these extra bits rotting in the sun, the chicken and the fish, there will be a hand so small holding in wonder and fear, there will be a brief journey into the sun, through the forest of knees and swaying hips, the broadcloths and polyester, the flowing prints, the black skin and cocao butter the white thighs with blue vein crepe, these knees and thighs and crushing brush, that hot rancid breath breathing the cheeses and the crab cakes, please Jesus bring that on back and don’t change a thing, bring back those tiny fragile fingers and that love bring back that love of sidewalks and raucous voices. Bring back the summer and the grocery sack bring back the magic in the bricks and fumagatory green paint and heavy brasses. Bring back the breath of a dead snapper's eye and the hot delicate, cool-genital-tingling sheen of a reclining scallop, bring back the Christmas trees and that was where Christmas trees came from and bring back the Virginia and the Maryland and the tidewater accents bring back the coveralls and the fish heads and the strange nasal speech that was so at home so much more at home. That was home, there with the homemade bread and that was just where the bees lived and the red wine in plastic cups with the fundraisers, that was where we'd buy our bananans and there everybody wanted to tear it down, and yes Rosalie, yes my mother, I do remember, I do remember that day in the VW Bug and the standing down of the mayor and the Jim Mayo, god rest his soul, and so many souls to rest, but there was the red wine and the summer nights and there were the dances and the plays and the fragrant leather feet, the making of a community art space, the black paint and the white paint, the folding chairs and that is how it's done I guess, you were always there to show me that, there is always a way to get it done so I don't worry about it, I know they will build it , the South hall again, and probably flush with cash and without counting a single penny, mostly that seemed to be it, red wine and hungry people and folding chairs and the white and the black.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Eastern Market burned yesterday


I found out when I got home this evening that Eastern Market burned last night, or early this morning. Quite a blow. An electrical fire I guess. Everything destroyed. Every chicken wing, spider mum and block of aged Irish cheddar, every rat turd and mouse hair and beautifully painted, perfectly aged sign. In other words, everything that made the market look and feel timeless, everything that made it feel worthy of the products it carried, all gone. Anyway…I am glad my father Larry didn’t have to see this happen.

I’m not sure what he would have felt but I can’t help but see him running from the house in Fresno when Bongo died. That bizarre, high-pitched wail, “Bongo, oh Bongo no, no.” No, seriously, it was really high-pitched. It was kind of creepy to tell you the truth. If Larry were here I would tell him that. I would tell him that I kind of wondered what the hell was up with that. If there were an element of the put-on, of the I-am-not-sure-what-to-do-or-to-say so, I am going to over-act my role. I don’t know. It seems like a lousy thing to accuse a guy of, but it is not as if I think that he wasn’t really upset by what happened to Bongo, it is more that—and as I said, I would kid him about this if here were alive—shit, I understand, I accuse, and maybe only myself, because there is something in that defensive, self-conscious action I know too well. I can relate to that bullshitter. My beautiful dead dad.

But how can you claim that someone is full of shit at the scene of traumatic death. Bongo’s death was awful. There was the burning asphalt, the blond with the cat eyes, the one I loved at the time. There was the blood, but not so much, coming from his still mouth. There was the collapsing bubble of the school bus’s passing. There in the hot sun, in that awkward space between normal and seriously fucked up—and one day we really have to get used to the idea that seriously fucked up is normal—or maybe we don’t…But there the blond and the suddenly motionless, suddenly-without-light Bongo and I knelt in the road and here comes running Larry with that silly cry.

I have mentioned before, though I doubt you would have heard or read, but I have mentioned before the elaborate burial this dog received. So, I won’t elaborate much now. There was the six foot hole in the orange orchard and there was the royal red blanket of his and there was the burning of pine needles in the cool, sandy hole. There was the self-conscious, self-indulgent self-importance of the living overdoing it for the dead. And there was Larry, Larry of the peculiarly effeminate cry, going to a meeting and missing the burial altogether. Of course Bongo wouldn’t have minded. He was a dog. And, he was dead.

So somehow when I imagine Larry hearing the news about Eastern Market, I see him running across the lawn in Fresno these eleven or twelve years ago crying out, “No!” But then I imagine how pissed off and worried he would be. Where would he sell his photos? And I am so glad he didn’t have to know this. I feel horrible for the vendors, and for the employees of Market Lunch and the various inside businesses. They are just screwed for a while.

This is a horseshit effort at explaining even a fraction of what that market has meant to me, of the central role those worn bricks and silly pigeons have played in my life. But honestly, the first thing to mind when I heard was the image of my dad squealing strangely.