-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hank and Forrest driving around townFrom Charles Bukowski's "The Rooming House Madrigals":
I drive my car
through a valley
young girls sit on fencerails
showing impartial leg and
in butterglory sun,
young girls painting
trees in heat
painting old farms that sit like
pools of impossibility
on unplanted ground,
ground as still and insane
as the weathervanes
in the degenerate air;
I drive on
with the girls and their brushes and
their taffy bodies stuck inside my
and I get out
much further down the road
walk into a peeling white cafe
and am handed water in a glass as
thick as a
4 people sit
eyes obsessed with molecules of no
I order a veal cutlet and the
waitress walks away
trussed in white flat linen
and I sit and watch and wait
so dissattached I wish I could
cry or curse or break the water glass;
instead I pour cream into the
I think of the girls and the cows,
stir the cream with a damaged and
not to think or feel anymore
-- C. Bukowski
"I need to go someplace by myself"
"Do you have some extra money?"
"No such thing as 'extra' money, but I'm sure I've enough for you to go
someplace, or just use your card. Where are you going?"
"I don't know. Maybe Dayton or Indianapolis. Someplace close but
"Overnite, maybe longer, maybe not at all. I just need to go and see
when I get there. Do you want me to stay?"
"I want you to do whatever you think is best for you. Unwind,
think, whatever. Just be careful with that car of yours. You should
take a good book to read."
"I've got my clinical notes from work I have to read."
"Yeah, that will be good for R&R..."
"Maybe I'll finish that Maupin book.... Well.... see ya."
Out the window from upstairs I can see her cleaning out her car.
She never cleans out her car
She says she hates it
It's an 88 chevy celebrity
she hopes that by abusing it she can
drive it away (ha!)
Make it wanna leave home
perhaps cause its early demise
She never cleans it out
but she did today.
I don't know if she took a book
I know what she didn't take
She didn't take CODEPENDENT NO MORE.
Saw Forrest Gump at the theater last night
A Moving Picture....
Glad I got to see it
Now maybe I'll finally finish the book.
Forrest had an IQ of 75. He did great things and was a good soul.
He loved one woman, Jenny, his entire life, whether she loved him back
I think maybe it would be better to have an IQ of 75 instead of 160.
God loves idiots and drunks.
Oh well, I am
And I feel like an idiot
Much of he time
Afterwards, 9:30 pm
Would you like to go do something?
I dunno, she said.
Hear some music? Get something to eat?
Have some beers?
I dunno, she said.
through the teen-agers-in-their-dads'-cars dominated streets
of early nighttime white oak, north bend, bridgetown, western hills
she says, where are you going?
I dunno. Do you have any ideas?
She says, Why have you driven to cheviot?
It's a beautiful night for driving. Even better for walking, cool and
breezy. Wanna walk?
I was thinking of that bar you & I & John went to. It's just up the
road, here on Glenway.
I don't remember. Just turn around and go home.
You wanna go home?
I don't want to wander aimlessly, she said
(Although that's a metaphor for our life right now, I didn't say)
Help me remember the name of the place.
I don't know what you're talking about, she said
Yeah you do: the bar where trilogy played. There's also one in Reading.
I should be able to remember... I played there a few times... What is it?
Foley's. She said
Yeah. My brain is shit for remembering this week.
Wanna go there?
I dunno. I don't care.
Maybe a little.
At foley's we have some rolling rock and appetizers.
We try to have conversation
Here in this community of my childhood I remember things I've not thought
about since I lived near here (from the ages of 2 - 8).
Over there, that was the first McDonalds in the suburbs of Cincinnati.
And this restaurant was then a place called LUMS FAMOUS HOT DOGS -
STEAMED IN BEER.
I always wanted to go there,
but my parents didn't want to
I didn't know if it was because they didn't like beer
or didn't like hotdogs
or didn't like hotdogs steamed in beer
or didn't think a 6 year old should be exposed to such things...
But I always wanted to
And never did
And over there at the bowling alley (how quaint, how midwestern)
was a day care center (in the basement) called the rodeo room.
the Alley had a western motif, so everything else around had it, too.
I imagined cowboys and indians bowling steer skulls and tumble weeds
at fence posts and tee-pees
It scared me
But the day care center
I really hated it
I was in grade school
My little sister was not
Whenever we were off school
and my mother had to work
she would take me there to the place
she took my little sister
Of course, my sister had other little kids her age that she knew
I was always the only elementary aged kid in there
I hated it
The teachers (or whatever they were) would always try to engage me
in helping the little kids
in organizing activities
in helping them teach
I knew they got paid and I didn't
I just wanted the hell out of there
I was already a weird kid
That just made me weirder
Not far from there was the neighborhood I moved to when we left the
rural neighborhoods and moved into town. following the road with my eyes
from foleys I can see where it turns and becomes the beginning of the
neighborhood I inhabited from 9-14. Memories of that are often
supressed, too, or at least filed away. When I go there they come
rushing back like a chord from an old song. Like a whiff of cologne
you've not worn in 20 years.
It was there I fell in love with Sheila,
But she was the first to make me feel more than the little boy
longings for a girlfriend kind of feelings. With her I felt sadness,
longing, inconsolable yearning. Her mother, a staid, solid german
woman, forbade me to see her daughter. They were followers some unusual religion (at least to me at that time) and I, apparently, was an infidel. They actually had a meeting of the elders when
she learned Sheila and I were holding hands at school. She came to
school and had us called to the principal's office. Made it clear I was not to see her daughter anymore.
Sheila told me it was because her mother had become pregnant with her oldest sister out of wed-lock and had disgraced her family and the church.
She was worried her lovely daughter might do the same.
So I used to ride my bike the 15 miles to her neighborhood on the river and meet in the woods by a marina. We spent all afternoon there sitting in those huge cement tubes they would eventually bury someplace. Sometimes I'd make my friend Bill ride with me, then ignore the shit out him while Sheila and I sneaked off on our own.
Bill took a lot of shit from me.
He fell in love with her, too.
He tried to approach her after I moved away that summer.
It didn't do him any good.
Someone told me she eventually did get pregnant out of wed-lock...
But not by me
By then I was a 17 year old living in the country, almost about to begin dating the girl
who would become the woman across from me at foleys.
Sheila, I was told, became pregnant by another member of her church named Matt. Who knows if it was even true? I
wished them well, either way.
So it goes.
How did I get to this place?
The mind wanders wild when set free on the paths of our memories.
we tried to talk about childhood and other memories as we sat at the
I felt alone.
I think she did, too.
There was a time when hands would be held across the table.
We opened beers for one another from the bucket of 6 we'd ordered.
Is that the same?
Finish your beer, she said, I wanna go.
Now she is someplace else.
And what should I do?
Megan is camping with a friend's family
Jenni is off with her cousin
I'm here at the breakfast bar wishing I could talk to someone about this.
But what would I say?
I think I should drive back to that old neighborhood today
See what else I can remember.