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haircut, no. phone, yes. she spoke two languages. i'm stuck on one.
then the rain and the walk home.
no old white men attempting to stab young blacks today. it is the sabbath for some.
now it's dishes, taxes, and sweeping. and i'm hoping to work on one of the five:
street preacher, jackson and state
rob playing piano
and spyro eclipse is always peaking at me from behind a boulder, on that barren, dirt plain of his.
i should have a drink ready for her -- museum patrons can muffle the prettiest of souls.
today i walked to the library to spend my lunch hour. on the way i saw an old man with a mohawk. was he homeless?
inconclusive. he was dirty, but he had also recently had a haircut.
i thought of my grandfathers with mohawks, but they both passed in the eighties. their faces/hair have blurred.
i thought of my lone living grandparent, my grandma. with her red hair shaved into a mohawk, wearing her photochromic lenses. during the war, she was a WAC or a WAV.
i didn't find out she dyed her hair until i was a teenager.
Henderson had recently spent months in an isolated interior African village. he had yet to change clothes. his beard sprouted with health from his face, displaying shades of white, blond, red, black, and purple. when he arrived in Athens, though exhausted and overcoming a fever, decided to hire a car and driver to visit the Acropolis.
sitting in the backseat, resting in his soiled pants, Henderson noticed the driver staring in judgment at him via the rearview mirror.
"There are reasons for it all," said Henderson.
paraphrased and quoted from
Henderson the Rain King
read March 2007
very important text messages from my old phone:
-jason january 2005
"6pack genesee listening 2 chopin america seems pretty good right now"
-jason april 2005
"penguins get crosby!"
-sean july 2005
"i was talking about where you can meet us you maneater"
-rob august 2005
"wake up grg october is good"
-jason october 2005
"i was in an elevator with wolf blitzer. i asked him about the so poor so black comment and he hit me in the face"
-will january 2006
"grg wake up february is good"
-jason february 2007
"wake up grg its march"
-jason march 2007
last night i dreamed that i watched the video for bjork's new single, not yet released. in it, she paraded over meadows, quietly singing a beautiful song with a smile on her face. she looked very young and i could feel the warmth of the sun within my sleep. she continued walking slowly over hills of tall grass, and into a lush valley lined with groves of flowering trees. the song was unnamed but i did catch the length of the track: seven minutes and two seconds.
at work, i checked and her new single runs four minutes, thirty seconds.
three weeks later, the haircut. a woman and a man cut hair in the barber shop -- their (i think) kids run amok throughout, sweeping the hair with small brooms and laying their palms on the spent hair to see how much will stick. they turn over their palms, look, and smile.
they interrupted his cutting at least twenty times while i sat in her chair. he is patient, and helps them with their straw and their black construction paper airplanes. the modern king kong played on the television.
and a portrait of clemente hangs above the register. cash only please.
i suppose i should think and plan less about writing and do more writing. but to be honest, i enjoy the planning almost as much as the writing.
presently i am attempting the large sketchbook approach. a sea of blank white paper. i can get out the ideas in black ink. and i can use small or large print -- it's really up to me.
at times i get lost, staring at the lines of ink. i want them to transform into drawings i have in my head, but i just can't seem to get my hand to follow my brain.
each day after writing the words, i count them at least twice -- sometimes thrice -- to be sure i have precisely one hundred. the initial count is done in my head; the second is out loud.
how many times have you been told: "read it out loud to get a better understanding."
though, my friend pat once told me that people who count out loud or move their mouth as they read or count silently were dimwits. he may have even said: "mouth breathers can't count in their heads, and vice versa."
i must admit at the time i couldn't disagree.
at a party, i met a girl nicknamed "the girl who cries." she has a reputation for crying in public places. she didn't seem overly sensitive within the initial five minutes of entering the room. then, someone inquired as to the origin of her nickname, drawing laughter. she became quite defensive.
then she nearly cried, leaving about seven minutes later.
i imagine "the girl who cries" is a nickname one wouldn't aspire to attain.
i wonder: have others tagged me with a sobriquet? if i was on the periphery of my circle, i'd think of myself as "the quiet kid."
both of my grandmothers made quilts, two of which i possess now, ten to twenty years (possibly more) after each was made. i'm not sure which grandmother made which quilt, though at one point in the past my mom surely told me. now, creation's credit has faded into an amalgam of both dolores and roberta. i like it this way because when i lay eyes on either quilt, i think of them both.
there won't be any more quilts from grandma: one has died and one is incapacitated.
when the quilts grow ragged, how do i relinquish the tattered materials?
those summers, when i was little, i played every game the pirates played, careful to keep exact statistics of each game. in my family's yard, the cubs came to town; next the reds. when it rained, we played two the next day. and so on.
even then, at eight, nine, and ten, i understood it wouldn't last. soon, i'd be older and my parents would be less immortal and i wouldn't be in my front yard anymore. i breathed in that air and noted the warmth of the sun-bleached plastic bat.
what a melancholy way to play wiffle ball.
riding the train to work, i turned the page and the headline kicked me right in the stomach: Kurt Vonnegut dead at eighty-four.
i had not thought in him in a few weeks. i had wondered in the past how i would hear about him dying and if CNN would cover it. would it be just a few words scrolling across the bottom of the screen? would i hear a co-worker mention it in front of the microwave? a text message from tom?
instead, in black in white letters, on the page. there in my hands.
i didn't know how i was related, but his name was greg too and he had red hair and he built houses for a living. that year, i watched him build my grandma's new home next to ours.
he measured things and cut things and i rode my bike around the spacious concrete foundation. he allowed me to lay chalk lines too. i won't forget the red dust.
sometimes when no one was looking, i'd place a rock inside a pipe or behind a wall and know that no one in the world would know it was there except me.
i met margot in the street one cold, wet day. she stopped me to ask about the neighborhood. how is the commute downtown? is it safe? how long had i resided on ohio street?
while we talked in the sprinkles, she dropped her keys. after fifteen seconds passed, i picked them up -- she hadn't noticed she dropped them.
while we talked, tears fell out of her right eye, rolled down her chin and fell to the sidewalk. she explained to me that "i really love the view from the second floor apartment right there."
margot is our new upstairs neighbor.
as i wrote the previous entry, our doorbell interrupted.
it was my landlord, paul, and margot, the new upstairs tenant.
he wanted to show her what our green painted walls looked like. margot explained:
"the color i chose was green. but it is so, i don't know, easter egg. you know what i mean? but this, no, now this, this is lovely. this is very restful." then she apologized for the noise she would be making when the movers arrived on the 24th.
paul looked around: "this place looks great. a woman's touch. you know what i mean?" he laughed.
in my lifetime, the hits keep coming.
reagan assassination attempt. (something is wrong on television)
budd dwyer televised suicide. (parents: have your child leave the room)
multiple post office shootings. (evolution of a joke: go postal!)
columbine. (trench coats)
virginia tech. (again? no surprise)
i don't have anything momentous to write concerning these things -- this is just the quick list of gun-related events off the top of my head, that had a significant impact on my brain as i continue to live.
also april sixteenth: my parents anniversary, starr gets a new job.
what will it be next week?
"who is ready? who is ready to succumb to the power of the lord, our angel, jesus christ?" he yelled from the corner of jackson and state.
"who will step to the edge of humanity, lay themselves at the feet of our most glorious glory, deprive themselves of all these earthly treasures, treasures of sin and gratification, all in the name of his only begotten son, our angel of light?"
"who will take my hands, pronounce the agony of sin, and plead for their eternal soul?"
then i walked into barnes and noble to buy a magazine and a cookie.
smiling in her bright yellow dress, she stepped off the bus on the last day of kindergarten, saw her mother and the summer waiting in the sun, tripped, and fell on to the warm blacktop, shattering her left arm.
i had yet to break a bone; i wasn't expecting the audible snap of the marrow. i didn't care much for her, but i felt empathy seeing her sprawled on the pavement.
though, admittedly, i'd always felt jealousy creep in when the others would have their cast signed.
i didn't see her that summer, and forgot her soon after that day.
occasionally, on fridays, they will bring in a couple twelve packs and around two o'clock, the email will go out: "take it easy this afternoon, and have a beer or two."
you should see them make a break for the kitchen, myself included! then they sit, refocused for the final few hours of the week, content.
we throw toy footballs and paper airplanes and laugh, explaining our plans for the weekend. soon enough, it is five and we're off.
and then i know it's true: those extra years and dollars spent in graduate school were worth every penny and second.
chris farley, tim meadows, myself, and starr were in the sketch.
we were playing an absurd board game called "goose pickle;" it was difficult to keep from laughing throughout.
the gag: chris, tim, and myself, knew how to play the absurd game. starr did not.
we moved our pieces around the gameboard, answering questions and performing stunts based upon what was written on small cards taken from the pile.
chris read: "what is the horizon number of a red rose?" we all giggled.
he answered: "i guess... one thousand." everyone laughed hysterically.
according to starr, i awoke laughing in bed.
the history professor works for years to garner his or her credentials.
the train operator graduates high school and passes a drug test.
the history professor interacts with 100-200 students per semester, roughly 400-500 per year.
the train operator assists hundreds, if not thousands, per day in traveling from one point to the next.
the train operator takes the history professor to the university. the history professor instructs the train operator's daughter at the university. they each buy their groceries at farmer jack's.
at times when i ride home on the train, i doze off and dream about these things.
the day jason turned twenty-two, he, tom, and myself sat in my bedroom and made plans. it was one of those college era discussions that touched upon truth, mortality, camaraderie, and where we would drink beer that weekend.
both tom and i sensed that jason was building toward something as we talked. he gathered steam, and as he approached the climax, became apoplectic in manner.
jason calmed himself, and with purpose pointed to his head stating "i love this." then he motioned toward his chest with a clenched fist, saying "and i love this. and i don't intend to quit."
this afternoon i saw him walking out of the train station; i had seen him numerous times over the course of my four months in chicago, always wearing gold sweat pants.
i never saw him seek help from anyone. he just tried not to freeze while passing the time, his hood always covering his head. with his gold sweat pants.
by now, his gold pants were dark with months of winter and dirt. his hood was down, and his hair stood straight out from his head. he possessed confidence, and the whitest eyes i've yet to see on a man.
each day at the beginning of work, i open six tabs in firefox. the second tab is always set to wikipedia. i also drink one cup of black tea.
here are the entries i visited on this particular day in april:
John F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Ice Hockey World Championships
List of United States cities by population
Chicago White Sox
The Paris Review
"more water, more water," she said excitedly. "that will fix everything. you need more water."
the man stared at the detached arm he held in his hand. the area around his shoulder felt warm, painless. fireworks began to fill his chest and mind, comforting him.
"yes, let me drink some water," he said while smiling. he gulped water from the styrofoam cup, tasting the leftover coffee. the moderator fainted moments later.
the woman now looked less sure of her own advice. but the man appeared less concerned, and began to hum.
they hadn't expected the debate to conclude like this.
i remember when my dad, my grandma, and myself helped my aunt move to virginia beach. my dad drove the blue pickup, and i sat in the middle. grandma and i played games on a tablet and read books during the ten-hour drive.
my grandma packed lunch for us. it was cold fried chicken held in a tupperware container. we stopped at a rest stop, and ate sitting at a wooden picnic table. i remember thinking they had a different kind of wind than pennsylvania, and that the cold fried chicken was the best fried chicken i had ever eaten.
in the late seventies and throughout the eighties, we would drive seven hours to my grandparents' home in ottawa. we drove north to buffalo, travelled across the peace bridge, and merged onto the QEW, counting down hours.
in canada, there was a weeping willow tree in their front yard. the backyard opened up onto Rice Lake.
we would run inside, brushing past my grandma in her brown, red, and white robe to my grandpa. he sat in the dining room, watching american television and the Canadian Football League while smoking Raleighs. he greeted us with miniature 3 musketeers every time.
10:30AM: the three men were black with grease and up to their waist in the car's engine. one was near forty, one fifty, and one over eighty. they spoke spanish.
as i ran by, the eighty-year-old man stood by the car, ignoring the others and staring at me. he wore a yellow button-down shirt and khakis. there was a grease smudge on the bill of his cap. one hand rested in his pocket, and the other held an open can of budweiser.
the man looked satisfied to be drinking that cold beer in the hot early sun.
this is a test, to be examined again next month:
A -- reddish-pink
B -- yellow, gold
C -- pink
D -- brown
E -- blueish-silver
F -- brown
G -- reddish-pink
H -- black
I -- white
J -- gold
K -- brownish-red
L -- whitish-silver
M -- white
N -- white
O -- white
P -- green
Q -- blueish-white
R -- blue
S -- green
T -- brown
U -- gold
V -- green
W -- brown
X -- gold
Y -- gold
Z -- gold
zero -- white
1 -- white
2 -- gold
3 -- red
4 -- green
5 -- blue
6 -- brown
7 -- red
8 -- gold
9 -- black
(i know the numbers will be the same; they always have.)
i wonder if i will complete another month?
when i began, i did not expect to finish. i thought it would resemble most of my other writing endeavours: big plans, few culminations.
i liked the challenge of finding a subject to write about every day. and i enjoyed the restriction of limiting myself to one hundred words. i like to think it will make me a more discerning writer, even if only for my journal.
i wish my friends would complete a month -- i would love to read their entries. because i'm a word voyeur.
here, it all comes together.
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