Singular/ Plural

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Independence is way overrated. I once thought, Yeah, you come into the world with your mother, at least, but you die alone. Now, I’m not so sure. We pass carrying all of the lives we encounter in our lifetimes in our memories. Those who convey us there going on with their lives.

This seems to be the only true way to know yourself; to know others. We sometimes struggle in the exchange of the self to find, define, re-define who we are as if it, our self, was seeking stability. But, it is like breathing: in and out, start and stop, begin and end. What do we choose to do and what are we doing? Intention, reflex, memory. It’s like breathing.

We divide to rejoin or reassemble, not to destruct or deconstruct, for that is done only to make some other connection or union. And for that we need the other to allow The Idea, The Person, The Impulse, The Creation, to liberate into the world. Sui generiscollapses in on itself, asexual, boring, from nothing to nothing. How else did I come by language, the names of things, the impermanence we take for granted as solid ground? That which was taught us, that which we learned. You, my friend. You. One way or another.

Vapid Acuity

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There were moments when he thought, there are moments when he thinks of returning to drinking. Ironically that is when he felt most in control; each step down the hallway to that dimly lit room was a wrestling move with his conviction, a furtive grope of a self-love so bitter “loathe” was a word written large against the setting sun as to be indiscernible. Just a big book he didn’t have the time or desire to read. That is the way to freedom and he would feel himself falling to and away simultaneously; it didn’t placate his soul, it fabricated it. The days aren’t so empty or boring but necessary now and therein lays the challenge of finding a new move to break into shape, paint it and roll it off the edge into his own sweet inevitable self-realization. Still he recalls with fondness the time in a NY state college town drunk off his ass and throwing a phone through a wall. And he smiles.

Whole ‘Nother Story 

 

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My baby used to make the best orange cinnamon bread. And she couldn’t cook or bake all that well besides. I mean, sure, she made passable stuff, edible meals, frittatas and a Moroccan chicken dish that was tasty, but overall, no great shakes, nothing no one else couldn’t do with a cookbook and a no-stick pan, pearls and a little white, cotton apron with blue fleur de lis on it.  But that orange cinnamon bread, whew, and at first I thought, orange cinnamon bread!? Then I took a bite, then another, and another. Sweet and warm slices unspooling all sticky in my lucky hands on their way to my eager mouth. I heard she still makes it. Just not for me.  But, Time assuages bitterness if you let and Age can give you magnanimity if you do it right. So, I hope it’s true and she still does bake. And the pearls and the apron? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Journal Entries Written On the Back of Cancelled Checks

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$58.41 /Payable to Duke Power Company

1/12/93-

Things to do – Revised! :

  1. Learn Spanish
  2. Learn “Tattle O’ Day” on the guitar
  3. Learn to disappear in Mexico singing “Tattle O’Day” in Spanish

$150 / Payable to Citi Bank

2/23/93-

Ignorance is the disrespect of human decency.

$21.95 /Payable to Mario’s House of Pizza

3/12/94-

There wasn’t a lot to go on. Her eyes went hither and thither, hither and yon, hotter than Hades. I was contemplating overcomplicating a block of wood sitting in the middle of my living room when the thought came to me: “Measure twice, cut once.” I decided to make a zither out of the block of the wood. One of us would need a soundtrack. It would need to be airy, ephemeral and quenching in the profound protracted evanescence of her eyes.

Emigrants & Immigrants: My Paternal Grandparents

 

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Paweł Banas and his father watched from behind a tree. It wasn’t his family’s land, it wasn’t his family’s lake but they were his family’s ducks, if ducks could belong to anyone. And when he and his father saw the Russian soldiers shooting them he knew it was time to leave for America.

There wasn’t an eligible bachelor left in Sandomierz that Mary Szata had not refused. As punishment for her recalcitrant ways her landed family sent her abroad to the newish world of America. There she lived the rest of her days, missing Poland terribly.

How they came to be man and wife I don’t know.  Perhaps, there are documents, fading as I type this, that detail their union. Their last surviving child, my aunt Mary, is 95 years old, at an age when, as my cousin said, “memories become more a source for comfort than facts.”

I wonder why I am so interested in people I never met. Yet, I’ve always been like that. Am I looking for comfort in facts and memories or to elide them in stories?

What is a memory, but an emigrant, an immigrant traveling from somewhere or another to somewhere else or another in the great, domestic, international, dialectic clash of thesis and antithesis, the here and the there to form the now which, sooner, or later, if its lucky, lives forever, or as long as well can tell, in memory?  What did the soldiers do with the dead ducks? Did my great-grandparents regret exiling their daughter?

I don’t know. I could make up a story from those two sentences and argue fiction is greater than truth, but it might be best to let them wander like the Truth. Sooner or later, Truth finds a home.