They approached him as if his mind were a cactus, when it was really a colorful old bus on its way through the desert. “A Sad Mistake” Songs and Letters, January 7, 2008 Night I picture a man with a typewriter in his lap, sitting on an old wooden chair beside a rusted mailbox, a field of wildflowers behind him. There is paper in the typewriter. Looking down from […]
Tag Archive for ‘Memory’
For the first time in ages, I wound my father’s wristwatch, which I keep on my work table next to his brother’s old briar pipe. The trusty Hamilton started ticking immediately. The tiny secondhand, set in a circle built into the face where the 6 should be, started making its way around. Now, several hours later, I see the watch is still running — as am I, apparently, though I […]
I have not been myself lately, said the wind. Nor I, said the mountain. The shepherd boy, who had been listening, took up his flute. When he was an old man, he put it down again and died. And the wind rushed, and the mountain blushed, to the depths of the canyon. Nothing I said to my mother, I said to my father, “I have nothing to do.” To […]
You made the sky purple,
the boy drawing with me in second grade said.
But which boy? And what was his name?
After the grapes were all in and the raisins were picked up, boxed, and hauled away, my father’s attention turned to fall cleanup and house-painting chores. Always busy, everything in its right time and season. Oil-based, lead-based work. Paint thinner. Fumes. Open windows. Worried flies. The kitchen walls, the washroom — they stand out, as does the hat rack his older brother built before he was killed in the war. […]
It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s old, it’s heavy, it’s made of wood. It’s simple, it’s worn, it’s scarred, but it still shines when the light is upon it. She bought it many years ago from a retired school teacher eight miles away in the next town. In the Thirties, before the Second World War, she and one of her girlfriends walked to that town from our town along the railroad […]
And what of school? I remember our sturdy little desks in rows, bright, flat crayons, and how their taste resembled their smell, jars of glue, the heavy-paper mess, girls with long straight hair and curls, their fragrant dress, the playground, races, marble games and spinning tops, climbing bars and tractor tires stood up in the ground. And, not far off, in a cloud of dragonflies and dust, a country graveyard […]
I wake up and it all seems so familiar. I suppose that in another life, I was a buzzard on a fence post. And in another, I was the fence post. But where? Was it here, or on some other earth? An Accident of Birth On some days, I was born in a scorching valley, to write with a cactus spine that ends in lines of clotted blood, about […]