One aspect of our society we should hope never succumbs to speed, convenience or economy is the habit of exchanging Christmas cards. The real paper ones sealed inside envelopes, bearing stamps, and dropped in mailboxes.
Unlike the rotary phone, black & white televisions, and phonographs, inventions that became consumer goods which progress raced by and rendered obsolete, printed cards delivered via surface mail, bearing stamps, contained in covers carrying the sometimes nearly indecipherable scrawls of well-meaning senders who held the recipients in worthy esteem, are worthwhile remnants of our less instantaneous time.
They reflected humanity. Ours. Continue reading Christmas Prisms
Hear music as ether. Good ether.
With zero apologies to Marcel Proust, music not madeleines better allow ourselves to re-immerse ourselves in the past and fully revivify it. Not so much live music at that as tunes sound engineers have massaged down to their last notes. To me, too much concert music sounds ragged. Live performances allow bands license to mess with the perfection which either narcotized or motivated me in the first place.
I generally prefer my ether unadulterated and exactly the way I’ve come to favor it. Continue reading Good Ether
Three Augusts ago I resided at ease in suburban splendor. So much so I took several vacation days to visit Kewpie in Miami. She’d been laboring on film shoot. Warren joined us.
When she wasn’t eye-rolling on-set shenanigans or prima dona outbursts, we treacherous three gamboled along South Beach. Had I known my carefree days were short, I would’ve behaved way more carelessly.
Hmmm. Just might suggest that as my epitaph.
Two years ago, Quarropas, the old hometown, remained somewhat recognizable. That was if a long-time resident squinted. By this time last year, it was less splendiferous since every soul making that loaded word “home” a desirable refuge had died away.
August 2014 marks my first year in Las Vegas. Continue reading Shoulder to the Wheel
Here’s a question that indelibly colors its speaker: “Where you at?”
Having lived in Metropolitan New York, I’ve doubtlessly heard it. Now relocated to Las Vegas the phrase echoes frequently. It insults my ears. It diminishes the level of regard the speaker will be held.
“Where you at?” sits among the worst of first impressions. Continue reading Bloody Mouth
This post follows Phony Gold and Our Patrimony. Language and characterizations reflect the times, people and places.
Without Waymon our two-family home shrunk. That’s a statement I couldn’t attribute to his wife Camille, or sons Richard and Junior together. Combined my aunt and cousins lacked my uncle’s single vitality. Waymon’s subtraction multiplied emptiness.
Although obviously gone, one truly became aware of his absence after the funeral. Esteem him, fear him, my uncle lived 93 years. He’d known a lot of people. Not all of whom went before him.
The significance of Waymon’s death was such that even mother made a pilgrimage to our old modest homestead. Certainly acrimony ruptured my parents. However, that happened in 1966. So long ago time had blurred its sharpness.
Continue reading She Humanized Him
In their reckless haste to denude Waymon and Camille’s portion of our house, my cousin Boopy and her husband Dim overlooked “the pen.” To them, the instrument must’ve been among the most meaningless of trifles. Like all those photographs of her family.
The implement was more than an expensive writing tool. Boopy’s grandfather Waymon bought it for a single use, a distinct purpose. He’d paid attention to the processes which granted blacks greater inclusion into American life. All of them affirmed through signatures. What he had in mind was no less momentous than those bills enacted. Continue reading Our Patrimony
This is a piece of what shall become a lengthier whole. The language and characterizations below reflect the times, places, and people.
Were the Debutante a proper mother throughout the 1970s into 80s, our family would’ve suffered milder disruption. Surely being present in her daughter Boopy’s life, instructing the girl, might’ve made the child impervious to Dim.
While I blame Richard for his premature avoidable 1990 demise, Boopy was the one who pulled down our home in 2005. She performed this by marrying Dim, a rancid example of puerile white trash. Then she let him willingly lead her disastrously astray. Who could’ve foreseen their nuptial the lowlight of 1993?
Had Junior, heir to Richard’s spare, not succumbed to emphysema in 1999 our family presence in Quarropas does not dissolve. It would’ve helped us had he taken a woman better than the Debutante as his bride. That alone should’ve improved the likelihood of his leaving a worthwhile successor.
The Debutante didn’t necessarily need to remain Junior’s wife. Even from afar some maternal instinct alone ought’ve sufficed for her to guide Boopy and deflect catastrophe.
Wife? Nope! Mother? Pah! Continue reading Phony Gold
Ideally this post would flog Properly Stirred, the 2013 Slow Boat Media short-story compilation. The three interludes feature Paul Knox, a man who enjoyed his pleasures (okay, more than his fair share of pleasures), yielded to the demands of age and status, believed himself to have contentment, then got bushwhacked.
Better than a redo, Knox reverts throughout Properly Stirred. While not indulging in irresponsibility, he must no longer conform. Paul Knox has achieved an enviable state. He’s been released. And he returns to situations and conditions which had earlier occupied him to happy ends.
Continue reading Down Time
Mother died in January 2013. Since it was winter, I didn’t pull a Meursault. Even if I had random murderous urges and revolver handy, I couldn’t. What two strangers would be strolling on a North Atlantic beach in winter? One? Okay. But two? Please. Continue reading Cool Tours into Evening
Unlike morally smug, ethically deficient conservatives and the Scripture misinterpreting evangelicals who enable them, the rest of us have had no hand in our own conception. Randomly created, we are born. Inevitably we die. If we’re lucky we begin enjoying semblances of control several years into seeing first light until our mortal forms lose vigor, and blindness begins the cascade rendering us past tense.
I read somewhere sight is the first of our senses that extinguishes; hearing the last. Maybe it’s apocryphal but Lillian Hellman yelled final tender endearments to Dashiell Hammett just as he succumbed on his deathbed. Seems right. The two writers were true to their beliefs as well as one another in a fashion that flouted convention.
Besides, who among us wouldn’t prefer going out hearing how we were adored? Loving phrases over a corpse comfort mourners but do the dead derive any benefit from them? Doubtful. Continue reading Our Time on Earth