Now that I’m nearly grown up sometimes the acid rain from years ago burns my eyes reminding me of how far we’ve travelled first together then apart forever connected and I won’t insist it is more bitter than sweet. There was and remains too much good through all of it.
I went out with the infinite. We swapped spit in the backseat of a jalopy. Explored ourselves while ignoring the movie. Walked home from the parkinglot, falling all over each other. Detoured through the park. Dallied on a bench.
This is not the person alone in the room. He woke early, before dawn although it was summer. The thought of talking to other people was not something he had to ruminate on. He knew if he did not leave his room, or if he walked down the steps of his building, closed the gate behind him, and then walked down the block along the busy morning street that people used to get from the sleeping neighborhoods to the south to the steam plumes and dawn glistening towers downtown that no one would say to him as much as good morning. He was himself an individual. He looked at his hands. Uneven fingers. Fingerprints that were not shared by anyone else. In his bones, DNA that was his own, and he kept all of this to himself. This is not this person, but the opposite.
His “Good Day!” was always overcast. - Ramon Gomez de la Serna
& yes, he was from Seattle. & yes, the sun was shining that particular Friday in the season of lilac blossoms and a full bloom Empress Tree, Princess Tree, Paulownia tomentosa, stolen from central and western China but an invader here loving the lack of competition for what sun there is, shaping purple hanging bell blossoms and leaves in whorls of three. We sit under it, take fotos, are there if we think about it, Lakewood Park.
& by good day he meant, in Seattle nice, courtesy and not much else, will wait for your street crossing, will not honk, “a city of the mind . . . a city of geeks. People here . . . totally blow you off ” the newcomer’d say in The Times. But not at the stop sign beyond the Empress Tree. Not at the four way stop where you go no you go no you go & the guy from Chicago goes knowing your M.O., knowing driving the car “is personality enshrined.”
Service Dog I could be a Schnauzer, a Black Lab, or a Dalmatian, but I’d prefer to be a German shepherd, and you could name me after a Greek god or your great grandfather or that punk/funk band you really like. When we go out, I would start wagging my tail like a pendulum in heat and you could dress me in one of those neon orange vests with the silver stripes (maybe neon yellow on special occasions) that says in big block letters: SERVICE DOG.
GIs came home after WW2, raised hell for a while, then found a wife and looked around for a house. Markets provided prefabricated house kits, delivered to your lot. Pre-fabs. Buy them on the GI Bill. Put them up in a few days. Crackerbox houses. Square, plain, two bedrooms, kitchen, bath and living room. Plywood. A few of them are still around. Crackerbox houses.
Between blankets and sleep, sleep and death rolls hard red apples, day old bread, liverwurst, fingerless gloves, frayed shoelaces, nine pregnancies, six live births, red-brick walls, tarnished forks with bent tines and a topless jelly jar where flies procreate. My thighs wake to cold.
Not snow-cold children pray for with carrot nose snowmen sledding down hills. Not ice cold cubes clanging against sides of a sparkling tumbler swishing an orange rind, maraschino cherry, barrel-aged rye, and a sugar cube. Not chills or sneezes.
I walked up the pavement and there, much to my delight, was a tienda, a store selling beer and wine and hard liquor, jammed full of people. I bought a big 40 oz. can of Tecate’. There was a quaint little park almost directly across the street from the store. I sat down at a bench, intending to pull out my weed and pipe and have a little toke to go along with my beer.
In Salem, the winter fog settles at sundown like gauze, blinding and oppressive, a cold, wet blanket of Fuck You For Being Here. On such an evening, I imagine John Fahey in some shithole welfare hotel, perhaps the Holiday Lodge on Hawthorne.