Monday, August 18, 2008

Half Life

During my recent extensive and ongoing cleaning marathon, I discovered a copy of the last genealogical update compiled on my Old Yankee Family by my gay uncle. He, only only a dozen years older than I, has shouldered the moth eaten mantle typically born in clans such as ours by one of the Maiden Aunts or Eccentric Bachelor Uncles. There's always at least one. This is fortunate, as I am far too lazy for the task myself and my cousin R. is far too involved with her 4x4 and softball league to have the necessary time. I suspect no Keeper of the Name will be found in my generation, and curatorship of the boxes of photos, letters, documents and disks of files will pass to my brother Henry's third boy: kittenish, doe eyed, "creative", and who at age seven - upon glimpsing the disco ball which dangles from the rear view mirror of my car - immediately pronounced it to be "fabulous".

Anyway, the factoid relevant to this post ( rather than say a much juicier one; like that a horrific house fire which consumed all members of one branch of the family [save my future great great grandfather who was away] has recently been determined to be the murder-by-arson conclusion of an Appalachian blood feud rather than the accident he always claimed it to be) is that over the last one hundred and fifty years or so, death greets male members of my family in the eighty sixth year of their age. On average. Many in fact lived well into their 90s, but a few less sturdy and resilient succumbed earlier, bringing down everybody's numbers.

Forty three more years to go!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I Love Bratwurst

I really do.

Friday, August 01, 2008


"You should do something with your drawings", he said.

His eyes scaled the piles of loose and overlapping multi layered sketches - on shopping bags and bar napkins and take out menus and sales receipts; and the heavily worked thick lined diagrams on coarse brown paper scoured with feverish intent - some so emphatically rendered they could be "read" through their backs with the finger tips: legible, though incoherent Braille. His eyes scuttled across where they had settled into the lees of messy tabletops and eddies of cluttered corners like fall leaves swept by a down pour. The disorder made him stiffen. Before though, from the far side of the room, I had seen him tentatively extract a few and examine the marks that covered them.

"Do what?"
I smiled and winced, lifted my pencil and slid a dog eared magazine over the one in front of me, eyes lowered and hand cupped to conceal the shiny graphite burnishing my right fingers and palm.
"They're done. No one will ever see them - even you only look at it all as a landscape. Just wrinkled papers everywhere."

He frowned.
"No. You should put them all together. Together. Make a book out of them or bind them or something."

I thought about it. One, under my coffee cup, was scribbled with several song titles to down load, a cell phone number and e-mail address, and colored pencil describing changes to a store front I regularly pass: cobalt glazed brick newly scraped mostly free of soot and black paint and now paired with the orange brown of rusting steel and some dull aluminum.

Considering the paper further (remember: call P.!), I saw that the aluminum would have to be changed to stainless steel - unpolished, yes, but still with more reflectivity. It would sparkle in the raking light of late afternoon just before the street lights came on.

"Yes." I removed the coffee cup. "Maybe I should gather them up."

I found a white pencil and added highlights to the edges of imaginary openings cut through imaginary steel.
"That sure would make it a lot easier to throw them all away."

I smiled again, and dug through the desktop sediments for the pink eraser - though it's harder on the surface than the white, it doesn't smear as much - and set upon the paper to correct it.
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