Booming Hallelujahs
"Ah, love, let us be true:" Rinse & Repeat

     The first rule about fight club is, you don’t talk about fight club. And that’s a lot like where I work right now. So, rather than ramble about that, I’ll tell you something softly candid, and sentimental for Springtime. But, there was a person who worked there until this afternoon, who I’ll never forget wore a trench pea-coat, with a single pin that read, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” - It’s funny the things we know we’ll remember about someone. 

     I’ve always liked Gatsby… the story of man, and a girl, and a green light that he could touch with his fingertips if he stretched out his arms to try, and it didn’t seem silly, or impossible about the possibility that he could touch his dreams, or recreate the past; it’s just so simple - one need only dare, boldly, easily, with a lightness that anyone standing outside that dream could never envision. But then, all who stand and stare, and think foolish of those who dream boldly, seem that shortsighted, and impossibly blind to their view of the promised land, to all those ready to size up a matter of such importance based on practicality… such meager measure for possibility. So, I’ve been really looking forward to the new movie coming out soon with a fresh take on one of my favorite books. At first I thought I would be disappointed. (I do not believe there will ever be another actor nearer to the character Mr. Fitzgerald had in his head when he wrote the thing than Robert Redford. And, the movie made back in the 70s, I believe held more of a sadness and subtlety to it that I think will always hold more true to the permanence, and torment of the tale, as it was written. But…). But, I see that this is going to be a very different Gatsby; more jangled, clanging nerves, louder music, more razzle dazzle. The harder part for me to get around to admitting, is that when I heard the thirty seconds of the song by Lana Del Rey, “Young and Beautiful” on the radio, I teared up. I know it’s silly, but I am reached deepest, and truest to my core, through my ears. And, so, when I heard that sweet beautiful ache in the tone of her voice when she sings the words, “will you still love me when i’m no longer young and beautiful,” the colorations shivered through and through me, and I thought, “Oh, god, they’re really gonna give this thing a shot! - Hollywood’s gonna try to really hit this one out of the park… like they care!” 

     I started wondering where they will use the song, and I remembered Romeo and Juliet, back in the 90s, with the song Baz used by Des’ree - those full, slow warm piano chords and even-paced vibrato crooning vocals, and the raised crescendo and sweeping strings trickling upward at the end - and how they used that song to illustrate Romeo getting the breath knocked out of him as he sees Juliet for the first time, through the fish tank. I didn’t respect that directorial version of the movie the first time I saw it, but it sunk in later.

     Of course, I was brought back to a moment, plenty of years back, now, when I was waiting on a girl I was dating at the time. I was waiting at the bottom of the bent staircase of that house, that was like all of the staircases in our neighborhood, just about, and all of our parents always used that wall space at the turn to go up the second half of the staircase to the top floor to put family pictures of all of us. It was routine suburban decor. They were always pictures of the girls just before they turned into the darling aching beautiful heartbreakers that slept in rooms just a few doors down from the tops of those staircases, where they went to sleep at night with a yawning lightness, while I stared at the ceiling and dreamed of ways to make them mine. 

     I could hear a hairdryer… and above it, she was playing that song. That song, you know, from the movie that epitomizes the starcross’d lovers! That song… and where was I - at the bottom of a balcony!! My heart was already half-way bounding up the stairs when she called down to me, over the hairdryer, the iconic love song, and my heart beating in a way that moved my shirt. 

     I say all of that about my heart hitting the back of my shirt, and my heart racing up the stairs. But, actually, I was standing there grinning, grinning with my hand on the banister. I was grinning because I knew all of this was happening, felt it all hitting me…like some maddened cartoon wolf who can smell every ingredient caught in the air from a pie cooling on a kitchen window sil. There I was sheepishly grinning like a wolf, as she called down, once soft, then louder to be sure I heard.

"matt…MATTT! It’s Ok. You can come up, it’s ok”

     When I got to the end of the hall to her room, she was sat down on the floor, just beside the doorway, in the middle of what had to be a dozen hairbrushes, staring into a long skinny mirror. She gave an upward smile at me when i came into view, as if she didn’t know that I knew she looked like a little darling. I sat a few feet away, and watched as she put the finishing touches on herself, done up as a picture. Then, a few minutes later, she stood up and took a red coat of a hanger that hung on the doorknob, and put it on. And later that night we stood on the sidewalk of a small town bar, and when we kissed she would suddenly jolt herself up to her tiptoes to give this extra volt of tenderness. It threw me off balance the first couple of times - that’s the truth, now.

     It was like that for a while. And then it wasn’t. The sparks flew, but never caught. Now, it is Springtime again. We never really fall in love more, or fall out of love, or love less, with the freshness of hope that is in the change of air with the coming of every soothing autumn and when you catch your first breath of wisteria, and it sets loose a flurry of lavender petals in the breeze. And there it all is, like hope, like new love, like the green light, and when you see it as if your fingers are touching the edges of that light, and your dreams might be about to hit you, carried in on the next breeze, breathed in with your next breath. And these moments, like love, come again, sailing in on glory, easily drifting in, just as it please, and in no damn hurry.

     I am convinced you can never unlove. You can attach a lot of ugly things to it, pin the past to a wall and throw darts at it, and call it hate, and say “I hate now what I once did love so.” But hate is also love, set in an opposite direction. Once I had an acting professor tell me that in college he was cast as Romeo, and, wouldn’t you just know it, a woman he hated intensely was cast as Juliet. He went to the director, and told him, “Of course I want this part… It’s Romeo. But, I absolutely hate who you’ve cast as Juliet, so I’m afraid I’ll have to turn down the role.” The director looked at him and said, “Do you hate this woman? - or just strongly dislike?” My professor leveled his glance at the director and said, “hate.” And the director said, “Phew! Alright, we’re still a go for our cast the way that it is.” And I imagine my professor climbing that balcony, night after night, and playing “hate” as sugary sweet and scathing as ever it could be done, with levels of malice possibly detectable through a clinched-teeth smile, and I have all certainty that it worked like gangbusters, and the audience could never tell he would rather stab who he was about to kiss, and winded

     So we love, and love again, and all those loves are true… and forever. Somebody told me today, “Stay golden, Ponyboy. Or, is it gold. Stay Gold” - that cool greaser quote from Johnny in The Outsiders. And I said, “Yes, it’s gold. Stay gold… because nothing gold can stay,” and I linked him the poem:

Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower,

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf

So Eden sank to grief

So dawn goes down to day

Nothing gold can stay.

It’s true, the gold in nature must fade (catch it on the flipside) but I’ve seen that bright color set in for good on the hearts of those who are steadfast to near impossibilities; those who have “a romantic readiness” that is rare, but truly, truly Gatsby gold. :P

Train Tales: Stories for directly ON the tracks

Funny things I remember, from the Falls, out of those brisk airy adolescent times. I remember so many trains, the ones we caught and rode on out of town just for something to do. The one Big Time we rode one clean out of the state, and got off, after the four-hour tour, on something like Old Dixie Road somewhere near Birmingham, Alabama, right next to I-20, because the tracks more or less followed the highway West, dipping into cool glades of forests where the black swaying silhouettes of trees we were whirring by had these clusters of starry fireflies going off like staggered camera flashes, and they looked like yellow diamonds coming unruffled from a velvet jeweler’s cloth, and we were all awestruck. And that’s a whole story that will never leave me alone, and I never want it to – It means so much, tells so much, about innocence, and things that are gone. That’s a story I’ve written before for a class, but I never finished it, and I can’t go back to it yet because it isn’t done with me.

     There are stories that are almost forgotten, until they come up, hysterically, over cocktails at friends’ houses. Once, there was (there is still) this jacket, an Abercrombie & Fitch black corduroy coat with fleece inerior I got as a freshman. It was huge, and heavy, hanging down over your shoulders with the weight of the thing, and it was grungy, and warm… it’s still the one my sisters take from me every winter to wear, and try and steal it for a shield from every future winter season. One night, I was wearing that jacket, and me and good old Teal went up to the train tracks to kill some time. We went up there that night because my dad had these old paint cans he wanted me to get rid of when we cleaned the basement. Now, I could have put these cans in a trash bag, and set them out for the garbage collectors to pick up with the rest of the household trash. OR, we could take them up to the train tracks, and dispose of them in a way that would be altogether more fun and artistic, both! So, we hauled the paint cans up to the crossing and down the tracks, to this place out of view of the road where there were these two sort of signal towers. They rose about 35-40 feet high and were symmetric, and stood facing each other on opposite sides of the two running lanes of track. The plan was, of course, to throw the cans at a passing train… just, these two towers would give us a little more umph because we’d be throwing down like, just a bit – and anyway, what were you doing that was so damned much more fun while we were doing this thing!? ;) So, we were each up on our respective perches, in the dark of the witching hour, with our paint cans divided up equally, and a train started around the bend, blasting its horn for hell; and I started to get excited that the moment had come. The train came booming down the tracks, and with it that thick gusting whooooosh that sent our hair back off our foreheads and whipped our shirttails like flags, and I was grinning like a wolf as I held the loop handle of the first paint can in my right hand and started to whirl it backward to bring it back around hard against the nose of the train, and I was grinning like a wolf!!

     It was right about the time I did this, and had got my can of paint at the top of my arch, and was about to let go downward, that I caught, just out of the corner of my eye, my friend WAVING his hands over his head like you see in air traffic control, as if to say, desperately, “NOOOOOOO!”  He was too late, of course. We never did discuss properly that we ought to throw the cans ahead of us so the paint wouldn’t come busting out of the cans, and right back at us with the momentum of the train… and since we were throwing more or less toward one another, well… It was, admittedly, an oversight. Sure enough – WHACK –  the tinny crunch and globular bubble-burst of the can hit the roof of the train, and sent a respectable Jackson Pollack thwop allll up and down, and across, even, my buddy Teal’s tower. “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit” was all I could get out as I watched the paint splash bullet-points of contact on Teal, too, as he ducked and tried to cover himself. I thought he would be mad, and call me a damned idiot for doing something so obviously idiotic. But, as the train kept barreling on past, I saw him come out of his cover position, stand straight up, and then, immediately, throw his hands across his stomach and hunch back over laughing. I laughed too. And we were both laughing ourselves to pieces, and the towers were shaking from laughing so. Then, we recovered. He made a sign that he was O.K. and made a gesture as to how we ought to throw the rest of the cans, and we let loose.

     Now, that is one of the most discreet of the train tails. It was just the two of us killing time one night. The rest of the bunch must’ve been away at school, or someplace that kept them from being there with us. And, that jacket of mine, the one that is still warn today… Teal was wearing that jacket that night. He must’ve forgotten his, or something. And still, if you look at the right pocket of that jacket you can see a bit of worn spackles from the exploding paint can. I can’t help but have that image of him trying to stop me, and then it cuts right to his laughing himself about to death. It always makes me smile.  

For the Fall (and a mental dusting)

     Sometimes the summer months leave me with a head full of what feels like dust motes for what seems like an age… just grainy rays of swirling sun-colored dryness moving in and out of the shadows, becoming invisible and then visible with irrelevance to anything. Because these are times that are bright yellow and all of the oxygen is gone in the stillness, so you have to gulp and pull for it, and it becomes a thing that must be endured until the seasons break; and then it feels like I’ve shaken off a long thoughtless stare into things like dust motes, into a hope that feels close to nostalgia. Fall always brings nostalgia. I don’t know why memory slows in the summer. I remember now that I always remember various school days in late august, and those slow lavender infinite twilights I sat and watched darken when I was a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool in silence and solitude because it was the time of season that the pool had been done and done by the neighborhood kids ‘til even they tired of the games, and so I sat there thinking, “Here comes the new autumn. What will it bring?” There was always a freshness gusting around and breaking up all that stillness, and I was always thankful.

     Keeping as strictly as possible to my outings of only Twilight and Starlight this past summer, to avoid the heat, I didn’t go to a pool once, and it didn’t bother me. I did go night swimming once, in Athens, as it should be, after a dance party, downtown on an open air patio, and that was as it should be, too. And, then on the long walk home, while the sweat almost dried into my clothes, I had a long conversation with an old friend about old autumns in that fine city. And on that walk we passed by some apartment complex pool, and it wasn’t even a question whether that was the thing to do. It just was. It was one of those long talks, too, the kind I miss eversomuch, and I wonder now if they are ever even had with all of my friends I used to have them with who are now married – and I wonder what revelations are had between husband and wife, behind the closed doors of their new houses, in the great span of time in which I am not there for. We talked about God a little… God now, and God then. God and Women: They are always popular topics of conversation, a check-in of sorts, because they are the enigmas – How are we making sense of things so far? They are the possible needle points of compass.It’s good to revisit certain questions from time to time, the ones that will never stop rattling around, and if they do, it must mean that some central incessant engine room in a certain wing of our mind has run itself to death, or been shut down voluntarily to commit to some complacency, reduction ad absurdum, that leaves one the wheres of which we have all seen happen in someone we know, and we are never sure whether it is good or bad, but just that it is a setting of the sights toward a dawn opposite hope, to shiver under the stars wayward, and see whether the winds will run us ashore upon some sandy new frontier… or, There be Dragons.

Oh, this little bit about dancing.

     Somewhere, in the late hours, a dance floor is missing my feet! It’s a hit hit with us, the dance floor. I’ve embarrassed the hell out of myself more than a time or two, or twenty… thousand. It’s fun and easy to grip a floor smoothly. I’ve seldom been the follower, but if it I do, I do it with easy independent grace. I’m usually the bare-breasted front runner in this eternal gasp for our soul.  How can one do it otherwise? There are the others; the second and fourth back, typically, that follow the sound of the piper, along with myself, down to the circus; and it’s the sound of the fight that brings us on down, on down the three or four elongated square steps that lead to the sound of our liberation! I’ve always been a vertical dancer; compared most commonly with Snoopy and Ellen, and I like that. The only way to set it free is from the heels. Don’t let those legs be lead, set them free, bitch. And the feet, well, they must be altogether weightless, and wiling to dizzy themselves to death - and mine are. If we can dine with the devil, it had better be a dancer’s party.  Oh, and I’ve agreed to work the day shift for three solid weeks. I had better stop now before it becomes a story… before, “Lisa thinks I’ve got a girlfriend.” Oh, I’ll get along to bed, in a minute or two. ;)

Today’s half a morning in November

     Today, I set out to run a few errands, just a few payday essentials to get them out of the way so that I wouldn’t have to do them later. It’s blustery today in Georgia, not too cold, but there’s a nip, and the red leaves are swirling everywhere around through the gray. I sort of wandered into a Barnes and Noble on the way back. I thought I might buy, and read, Les Miserable. I’ve always wanted to. I love the story. Valjean, I’ve always loved how he persevered in goodness, though constantly beset and bedraggled by egalitarian powers that he could not change. (You see, I was so mad when I left. I had just found out that I have to pay something in the range of $1500 for two tickets, an expired tag (my fault), and driving on a suspended license (which I didn’t know about, and might have been the fault of the county clerks office for misspelling my name in the system, so that when I tried to pay the ticket, they told me there wasn’t one to pay, in person, at the courthouse.) So I was just a tad Eor’y when I set out this morning. Which, hilariously enough, if you total that sum with other ticket fines this year, could total up to as much as 1/6 my total annual gross income. Impressive, I know. It was, just… a tough blow, but one that must be endured, just the same).

     But, when I start looking around at the classics - I do so love the classics - it is a lot like grocery shopping while high. So, I started scrolling through the unread titles with that gentle fondness, the sweet slow memories of the other great works that, when you read them, seemed they chronicled your life; there was your life before you read them, and then there was your life after - new eyes. I saw a copy of My Antonia, by Willa Cather, sort of tucked away. So, I grabbed it, and when I did, I noticed that it was misshapen. The book had just been cut wrong through the press. The top edge had a sharp incline running away, upward, from the binding, waaay off square. In truth, I’ve never seen a book this awkward looking ever make it to the shelves. I thought, maybe all of them are this way. But I checked the other copies and they were all as square as they were supposed to be. And so, immediately, like any silly-old-boy, I wanted that book. I wanted it because it was broken. I wanted it because it was imperfect, flawed, and seemed like the way a little boy in a cartoon might find the book he was supposed to find, the one that might save him. It’s silly, and ridiculous, I know, I know. But it isn’t important that it’s silly or ridiculous. It’s important that something can cause that feeling, and that you can let that feeling happen… and not feel silly or ridiculous, just lucky, i guess.

     Things like that fill my head with all of the thoughts that I like. I went to sit down and preview the book, and my attention span did what it does after ten pages, and it took the feeling of what I was reading and connected it to my stare out the window. The leaves were tumbling, and then I thought to myself, “leaves are always tumbling. People always say they’re doing that. Think of something better.” And there were a lot of leaves tumbling, so I thought of gymnasium full of little children tumbling and doing different things at different corners of the building, just like the leaves were all doing their own different things at different corners of the parking lot. And I smiled, and thought it was silly, but I smiled anyway. The book is set in the West, and thought I’ve been there often enough, I always consider there being only The South, my home, old Dixie - and then there is this North, which is, I consider, at best a social hemisphere, and at worst bleak, and cold. My country, to me, is viewed as a few booming metropolises scattered to the four winds. There is that large chunk at the very southernmost tip, where people are weathered and proud, and that large state to the very tip of the west where the dreamers once went, and many hurried back to wherever they came from, and where they insist upon the delusion that their college football teams are as good as ours, but they never will be ( ;-) to you SoCal girls if you’re reading this).  I bought it, the book, of course, and re-bought a copy of The Beautiful and the Damned, and a copy of David Copperfield, which I have not read because I’ve always been kind of pissed that Dickens was paid by the page, and so was inclined to be garrulous and long-winded. I bought them, and then I drove back, and sat in the car when I got there to listen to the end of a song, Telepath, by The Church. There are these whirling starry guitar parts at the end of that song, like you didn’t know it, but it’s setting you back down on the ground, and retreating back from whence it came. And the red leaves were just swirling swirling everywhere. One flew in my window before I finished my cigarette, and flicked it. And I suppose I just wanted to write all that because I haven’t in a while. It isn’t much, but it’s only the tale of a half-morning anyway.

Digital Post-it Prophecy

     It’s 8:30am. I slid my time-card through the digital punch-in-out box about an hour ago. Work went slow, grinding through the hours at first, until I had a couple of cups of coffee around 3 or 4, and then my slow soggy thoughts started to sparkle, and the rest of the night I was a veeery good employee. I’m unwinding now, watching a movie, and all of the characters in it are having good times, like, crazygonutz. And now, before I even get to sleep, I can feel the weekend, that Mr. Hyde crouched ready to surge into my veins, like it does every weekend. At the beginning of every week, I am wise, repentant, able to reform, to learn from the terribly recent mistakes. My Mondays, of late, are mournful. My Sundays are nearly Somnambulatory. But my Fridays and Saturdays are my solemn consistent attempts at a new manner to fly gracefully, yes, but not too close to the sun, as has become the habit. All is well, and I feel I have a fine view of all that can be seen perfectly, for a little while. It seems that discretion has been met, and I close my eyes to the setting of a guest room, or couch… and I wake up on the ground… metaphorically, that is. True, this isn’t every occasion. I am well-behaved enough when I hang out with certain circles, the Marrieds or the Sophisticates. Oh, but there are so many circles, and with certain activities I am eternally DOOMED! Let me run a few of these down for you: College Football - Georgia wins = Happy Fail. There will be too many toasts to turn down… and I’ll lead a lion’s share of them. Georgia loses = saaad fail. And I’ll likely bet you that you can bet against me and earn a respectable living, as a gambler with a lucky horse. Dancing: win/lose. This is about as charming a time as you’re like to find me. Indeed, I am likely having suuuuch a good time, I might seek you out, and insist that you share in this “last glorious night of our lives,” together. And I get distracted, and forget to do things like “eat,” or other sensible alternatives, like, “going to bed.”

"Alright, I’m going to bed," one says, wisely.

Me?! Oh, no, I couldn’t… not possibly.”

"Goodnight, then," says my wise friend. Bedroom door closes.

Then, Me: [whips out cellphone, and begins calling everyone else in the general proximity].

     Curious text messages can be found the next morning, often enough. A few weekends ago, I found one that read, “Now. nownownowNOW,” like some child demanding his toy. It was supposed to go to my younger sister - we banter back and forth during Bulldog games, when we are not watching them together, and this text was made as an attempt to share the moment, THE crucial moment, where Georgia must score, or lose. (We didn’t score then, if I recall. But, then, we did… but so did they, and the bastards edged us for the second year in a row). The text conversation ended between the two of us in “fuck,” and “aww. hurts.” Anyway, BUT, my childish-sounding text went to, not my sister, but a girl I had been amiably texting throughout the afternoon. I did my best to explain the situation to the woman involved - I was red-faced, to be sure - and she responded, “It’s ok. I don’t ask questions anymore. I just accept your weirdness.” I sat and looked at that, wondering how I ought to take it. Then, I regained all dignity (all that could be summoned) and decorum of speech, and blubbered back something to the tune of, “Thank you. It is sweet of you to overlook such foolishness,” somewhat sheepishly. I have to be sheepish sometimes, or I think I would be dead, at the hands of possibly a rougher roughian, or certainly in jail if I couldn’t run with truly surprising speed, and think up a lie quick as a fox.

     But, again, dear reader, if I didn’t make it clear earlier, everything begins in elegance. Truly, it does. When I leave the house, I am clean and pressed, and polished as well as one can be. I think I am taller on weekends… I am sure that I walk as such. Just last weekend I attended a wedding that began at 12:30pm. - Trouble, right from the start!! I requested “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and it was the only song I danced to. So far, so good. Then, we well-dressed rascals, off to a bar. Then, somebody ordered a tray of chicken nuggets from chick-fil-a, and hurried to leave and bring that tray to a gathering at a friend’s house where we could watch the boxing match. *my man lost, and it was controversial, to boot.* When we arrived, I saw those people that lived there had on their comfortable house clothes. I was jealous. So, I grabbed a somewhat wrinkled, lightly - well, maybe more - ensemble from the trunk of my car. When I went back inside, feeling free, I was the momentary joke of the oh-so-damn-funny maryjanes out back. “Matt…” I walked around to them, “…WHAT HAPPENED?!! Are you ok?! And then they fell to pieces about it. It was a bit funny, though. The emblem on your shirt does not account for the point that you look as if someone through you in a dumpster… and you decided to have a roll-about in it. I laughed along.

     So, here we are again, Weekend? What’ll it be? There’s a concert, an all-day affair, Saturday. I don’t have tickets to it now, but when I wake, I may. There’s a bid in the air. Or, do you have something special in mind?

… And the bravery begins to bubble anew.

Bring it on, bitch! I shake my fist at you!!!


Can’t stop laughing.

Wooo-boy, this one got me pretty good.


Can’t stop laughing.

Wooo-boy, this one got me pretty good.

It’s nothing… really.

     To be honest, it really isn’t anything. I just felt like throwing something out there, about writing… what it should do, what works for me, and why. It’s just a lightly tossed line, like a basketball thrown backward, towards somewhere you think the net is.

     I read what people write on this little digital diary, this nice little notepad we all share, and I read some lines that shift my soul all around - flip my heart like a hotcake. And, if you’ve done that, I’ve likely let you know by showing some interest in that connection - suddenly, I’m SO glad you’re out there, and I want you to know it, and I want you to feel rewarded by the point that I am discerning on such issues. I’m so lucky to know some of you well, (and some really pretty girls in there, too. And, talent?- psht, enough to act like they don’t even care ;)). Sometimes I feel that hand in the dark, and I’m so glad I’m not alone. But, then, there are sometimes where I just think, (and don’t any of you go getting all upset. We writers… we are so damned touchy, always… can’t tell us a thing - Can’t tell us a cow’s horns are crooked ;))

"I don’t care. No one cares. I don’t want to know how you feel.” You felt “lonely,” you felt “sad,?” The only thing worse than those worn passages are the pointy-worded Thesauruses that rake their vocabularies across your ears. I want you to tell me how I feel, and I don’t think in too too many syllables… not anymore. They are there, the syllables, and I’ll use them on occasion, but not to speak of how something really is. Icing. It is mere icing. If all of your syllables cannot make a melody, they sure as hell don’t mean a damn to me.

     That’s why I read. Veritas! I want you to tell me what I’ve always known, what I’ve always felt. I want you to articulate the wonderings I can’t. Help me… Jesus, Help me!! “Show me fear in a handful of dust.” I have a cryptic stenographer that stands with a hammer and chisel at the walls of my heart, and his eyes gleam only for the moment he hears the words he knows are already on the inside of that heart, and he longs only to engrave those eternal affirmations on the outside, where they were always meant to be. I know (from that upbringing I’ve mentioned) that it is written, “The words of God are written on the hearts of men.” I can tell you that the words “So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past" are also written there. They are there as if they shone in light upon the back of my eyelids, and more, sooo many more. I know them when I hear them, and I am never mistaken. 

     I want a prophet, someone who’s watched the whole roulette game of life played through, and can tell me which bullet already has my blood stained on the tip of it. There are such mellifluous sorcerers, my emotional exorcists. I’d like to say that I’m in a fever to find you, and indeed I used to be. But now I know that I’ll likely trip right over you. It is written. And I can walk dizzy, and blindfolded, and close my eyes, and stop my ears, and chant lalalalalalala, I know that which I need will find my senses somehow. “Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission and for my sins, they gave me one.” “The horror. The horror.”

     And, now, after writing this, I know I’ve gone too far. Because I love to know how those people, who are my friends, who I “follow” on this, how they feel about their days. It makes me feel close to them, when I’m not in real proximity. And, now, I’ll also admit that perhaps I was just feeling a bit agitated myself. You see, I’m on a sort of family vacation, New Smyrna Beach - it’s just north of Miami, i think - and I’ve been the only one up for hours. I found some trouble a few hours ago. There was some fight, and I believe it involved a few strippers and a missing handbag. Anyway, there were lots of cop cars, and I got to go stand around and talk with all the other speculating storytellers on the sidelines. But that died down, and we all had to leave, and I came up here and started writing this. It’s an awful mean thing. I’m not a mean person. Suppose I’ll hit post on this, and then probably delete it tomorrow. Guess I’ll get some sleep, and wake up to cheer on the women of the US world cup team in their match versus Brazil! I was right sad that Germany lost today. Ah, well. 

We’ll call this “An Introduction” (a little tease of a tale)

     My grandmother sometimes uses parables, in the style of Jesus, to get across her points to me. I, her grandson, am one of those vestiges of her life, one of her ambitions, quivering embers of lost dreams. And her advice is, to me, like one of those quilts knitted by the elderly so that part of what is her love will always keep her dear ones warm. In these endeavors she is merciless, and does not tire, and will succeed. It is like the iron backbone in that 5 foot frame will shoulder a weight with such seemingly superhuman strength you would be shamed to not do the same yourself when she passes you the stone, as if it were  a feather. The furthering of the Fussell name is among the most sacred of her loves. It sounds comical, something from that smooth atavistic antebellum that lingers from a time, that may be gone with the wind, but the wind is still here. It has not left. It is still here, swirling about, and will never be gone nor forgotten as long as it does what it does with our hair, and cuts through rocks too big to be moved with men and ropes. I do more than indulge; I sit quiet, and I listen. I listen for some of that colloquial jazz to fly out. Sometimes insecurities and idiosyncrasies bleed through the conversation, and tell you everything. I listen for those involuntary vernacular tells, and when they appear, shining and rare like gems, I feel like a lucky prospector, and I ease in my chair for the cherished moment.  Sometimes I think the old storytellers could make the hands on the clock stop all commerce just to hear what was to be said, and truly stop time.

     One of my favorites is when once we argued over something, probably having to do with moral fiber, and she told me, “Matthew, you just don’t believe a cow’s horns are crooked!” Cows horns are, of course, undeniably crooked. Thus, she gave in rhetoric as simple as 2+2, a way of saying, “what I say is true, and you can believe it, and be right with me, or you can disagree, and be hopelessly wrong.”

     Lately, another one has been rattling around upstairs, making me smirk to myself when i think of it, and think of how she tells it. It’s the story of a man, who, while hiking at the top of a mountain, comes across a snake. The snake can’t move, because the top of the mountain is too cold for him, and he begs the man to take him down to the bottom, where it is warmer, so he can move about. The man doesn’t expect to be taken so easily. “Why should I take you down to where you can move? Once I get you down, you’ll bite me!!” The snake says, “Oh, no… I promise I won’t.” So, the man accepts the snake’s promise, and starts carrying him down. Once, the pair get almost to the bottom, the snake begins to regain his mobility, and having it, he uses it to bite the man who saved him and brought him down. The man asks, “Why did you bite me!? You promised you wouldn’t, and I saved your life!!!” The snake just looks at him and says, “Well…I’m a snake.” (There’s an even better version where the scorpion begs passage from a frog across a lake. And when that pair get near the other shore, the scorpion stings the poor frog right on the head, sinks his own boat, and they both drown. So senseless.)

     I think of these stories when I think of the women in my life, and why it is I keep such poisonous company. “Coochie-coochie-coo, my dear black widow spider. You will never bite the one who loves you so.Oh, you do, true, have legs for days, and eyes, a bundle, just for me!”

     Speaking of spider webs, i guess that brings us to the story intended. (I don’t give a damn much if i rattle or ramble a bit before we begin). The story includes that germ of thought, and that 5 foot frame, and it’s true, too… though I’m almost ashamed to begin.I’ll start right at the tail of a night filled with liquorish cocktails I’ve long sworn off, and darling professions of love and faith over cigarette, a few years ago…

    (I’ll try and get really started this week, if I think i’ve got it)


Life feels better after a manicure and a pedicure.

Somehow, marriage doesn’t seem so drab with this dynamic duo! BLING BLAM!!


Life feels better after a manicure and a pedicure.

Somehow, marriage doesn’t seem so drab with this dynamic duo! BLING BLAM!!