ream the medicine cabinet, fill penny rolls for the coffee exchange, throw out old prescriptions and that old slide rule, already obsolete, then it’s off to the office supply store for carbon paper and metal bookends, return editions and LPs to the public library before the art stack goes to my ex-wife’s aunt where I’ll hear how her latest opening went screwy . back home, have a beer, phone my lover, take a call from the watch repairman warning if I don’t pick up her metronome they’ll sell it off, so once more out I go, how ’bout you?
thinking the cleaner bag full I discovered the rubber drive belt had snapped meaning a trip to the shop and the next day was Sunday as she had left it all the same, dust and sweep, wet mop, and rinse, move tall stacks about, sort items but what if we don’t? refill the trash can, love, after all, would expose this . honestly I won’t quit so simply whatever past is mine . pay dearly, of course, for these revelations. so make room for more labor . brush and chop, returning to the same spot rather than scurry onward
at last, reducing the list drawn into this homestead with the ash of that upbeat tone of previous years, a forced smile, wishful thinking, or pure resolve no longer the Yule Letter, high school classmates, even college . ashram . Binghamton or teachers . other writers . Iowa. Western Reserve . Baltimore . former loves . Old Order elders . what do these people mean now in context? So, sincerely
I am surprised how much the seemingly disjointed distillations of the prose-poem experiments I’ve been publishing here still capture my experience of my first years in New Hampshire some 35 or so years ago. All the hope, confusion, redirection that accompanied the upheaval.
And so much that evaporated, for the better, after meeting the woman I adore.
The weekly series continues, all the same. As I say, thanks for the memories, to all those who have been companions and positive influences in my zig-zag journey through life.
What are you thinking and feeling, looking back and looking ahead?
still wondering why I’m amazed what one discovers in each move, why, unpacking is almost like Christmas, even the delights of discovering the workings of another’s mind, like Evelyn’s neat way of wrapping electrical cords to appliances (Mennonite heritage appears in curious ways) moving forward, rather than sideways or backwards on ice, your friend who made it thus far and nothing much broke
still owe you that tango but don’t know if you were a better cartoonist than editor or publisher all we have is that moment of dancing between the line we’ve drawn on the beach defying the tide where we swim more freely than birds in flight, then before the last note Zippers
guys generally do the old zip in, zip out, knowing what we want before setting forth, grab only that, where most women look and look and look maybe even find a great bargain so the rare day I actually enjoyed being waited on, asking questions, getting directions from clerks who sensed they weren’t even going to get any income from me but what the heck, gave them something to do and someday I might even be back even though I didn’t find that much of what I was looking for who knows . authentic India incense (sweeter, more potent than the others), so it’s grins
losing everything would have been a disaster (fire, the author’s deep fear, can engulf a building in five minutes – thirteen, we counted) and then once outside, realizing smoke in a neighboring apartment was turning to flames within the building no explanation why the threat of losing my worldly goods didn’t upset me as much as the basic ineptitude that causes delays like that to happen goodbye, manuscripts, notebooks, early drafts, letters, addresses . a writer’s constant fear against the slow art itself, you know, civilly
the summer I thought we’d vacation out West we instead moved there to a new workplace just as I’ve dreamed the parking brake won’t hold the car in place some things don’t change that much and once again, there goes our hard-earned cushion, this time, six steps later, it’s New England and a more faithful spouse, all the same, just as we paid off the barn-repair loan, I was mistaken to think I saw the end coming
what did I know beforehand?) unpacking, making each room orderly, scrubbing and waxing floors, vacuuming, reorganizing files, going to the laundry with all my woven possessions, running errands, and without warning things fall into place