Sunday, September 30, 2007

look-alike singles

So I'm thinking and thinking, staring at the carpet, when mutton chops over there calls out to me, "Hey Robin! Dude, I haven't seen you in a while. How's it been man?" My first impulse was to reply that I hadn't seen him in a while either, and that in fact, I'd never seen him so why was he calling me weird names that only made me think of comic books. But I didn't say it. Instead, though knowing there was no one to my left, right, or behind, I made obvious glances in all directions to give the man ample opportunity to figure out his mistake. It didn't work. "Robin, what's up man?" I looked him straight in the eyes this time and waited as long as I dared to give him one more chance without seeming rude. Unfortunately, he still felt at home with his long lost friend, Robin. Suddenly, I wanted to be funny to help out a bit. "Hey Batman, nice chops. Is that the new disguise?" I thought the words, but managed to conquer the impulse to say them. Funny was not going to be appropriate right now. "I'm afraid you have the wrong man, sir." Those words never developed sound either because I thought them in a British accent and everyone knows that an American trying to sound British always comes off sounding condescending, unless he has taken classes, and I had no classes in British diction, so I left off.

Thoughts and memories flash through the mind much quicker than it takes to write them down, so I still hadn't reached the rude point of my staring when I recalled a time several months ago when I caught a young man smiling to himself as he took a picture of me with his cell phone. Suddenly realizing I noticed, he explained I looked exactly like a friend of his and he just had to send my picture to his friend to show him. Now, a few months later, I have Batman staring me in the face for what seems like minutes, completely convinced I'm his sidekick. We finally reached breaking point and I gave in. "Sorry man, I'm not Robin." "You're not? You look just like him!" "Apparently," I replied. The man turned to the side to let me know he considered the conversation over, but remained gazing in disbelief at my profile. I pretended not to notice.

What is it with me and look-alikes? Is there really more of me out there somewhere? Different human bodies walking around, filling some agenda I don't know about, but ultimately connected to me through looks? What are my other lives like? Am I cool, clumsy, stupid, in a rock band, married? Well, at least I can be sure I'm not married. Marriage is completely about looks, and if one look-alike can't attract the opposite gender, the others certainly can't. But what if one of us does find a girl who wants this look? Is all lost for the rest of us? Are we all in a mad race to find her first? It would seem so, I thought to myself as I walked toward my car and in frustration rummaged my pockets for my keys. My thoughts had begun in light-hearted humor, but had suddenly become solemn. What ever would happen to me if I never found a girl who could love me beyond all the look-alike GQs out there, beyond all the Peter-priesthoods out there. What if no girl ever saw through all the crowing roosters and gorgeous peacock feathers of a billion look-alike suitors to where I was, to where I stood singled out as me and not as my feathers. And the girls who did see me were just the ones who took random stabs at the masses, just happening upon me like happening upon Robin. I couldn't be reconciled to that. And what if she did come and I was too stupid to see her--just her. What would I have to live for? What would make me smile? But then I did smile. For in the wake of no one, there is always some one--and no look-alikes. There is only one me. And I'm the luckiest person alive because I already have me forever. There can be no mistaking that, and no divorce either.

It rained all the way home. And I had me and I smiled.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Come sit on the swing of my childhood
And listen to the stories that made me

Thursday, September 27, 2007

the fish of '98

Sometimes you just have to say goodbye, no matter how much work you put into preserving the thing. Such was the case with the fish of '98. Nearly ten years ago on a day filled with appreciation for free fish, an assortment of salmon and trout lay strewn all about the lawn undergoing a rather unsightly gutting and chopping process. The end of the road for these gutless, headless fish was a plastic and paper wrap labeled "Salmon '98." I say "end of the road" to mean they never managed to aspire to a nobler presentation, like the one they might have enjoyed on the dinner table. The sparkle of fine china, the wine goblets, the adornment of parsley and basil and lemon-pepper, the honor of resting on silver platters--none of this was theirs. They did, however, make it to the compost pile ten years later when the deep freezer in the basement finally gave them up. Today, on a day filled with tears and remorse, the ten-year-old assortment of salmon and trout lay once more strewn all about the lawn, this time undergoing the rather laborious process of scraping and tearing the papery-plasticy-fishy wrap of '98. (The reason here for the term "papery-plasticy-fishy wrap" is necessary only because the chemical process which occurred to create the mesh of the once separate and individually named materials of paper, plastic, and fish, eludes me. The single material derived from the interwoven mesh of these three, I believe, has not been named. Or either it has, but from lack of foreseeable commercial value the patent lawyers were never summoned. Whatever the hindrance, I know of no better way of describing the substance than papery-plasticy-fishy stuff, for it was all one). The material was laboriously scraped from the frozen flesh and discarded to the waste bin. The fish of '98, which stunk even while still frozen, were bedded down in a three foot hole in the compost pile. Apparently fish are the only meat edible to compost piles. Two days later, the earth was hot above the buried flesh. Dad was excited, and well, he had to be. He needed to replace his disappointment at not being allowed to fry up some of the fish and test its salvageability. Mom, with financial motives to keep him alive longer, firmly dismissed his motion and he was forced to find fulfillment in the chemical experiment going on under ground between overly ripe fish flesh and dirt. Two days of fish-strewn-lawn in ten years and three days of night-watch duty to make sure dad wasn't still trying to salvage the fish, and we all slept content that the deed was done. The fish of '98 were dead.

Epilogue: One hour later. Mom filled the deep freeze with pork.

Monday, September 24, 2007

She Won't Come Easy (guitar lyrics for Rachel)

I know a little girl
She walks at night above the stars you see
She skips along until the song of 'good die young' makes others sleep
She sees so differently, life's melody is harmony for her

She--she won't come easy,
she'll make you wheezy if you try.
She--she hums along
with the love of life's song running pure in her veins
She--she knows no reins but the Carpenter's.

I'd give that little girl
full breath to say the things and walk the way you won't
You've never walked that way, your two feet--wheels on track that someone laid.
She sees so differently, life's railroad is the toll road others take

I asked this little girl
what love is like.
She said the moon is bright, not light;
the stars are real, beyond the steel
of starry eyes.
Love sees so differently, Love's truest form out runs the storm of hate--
that mood cheap lovers have once they create
cheap love.

Love's real beyond the daffodil,
beyond the words that poets steal
to write true love in lines.
their love never defines
more than the wedding chimes
can do when ringing in the sound of love,
the call of love;
no gall of love can they foretell,
no tears they see at wishing wells
years down the road
where love unloads
its coins to pay for passage
through the pain--
the pain that is the love of old,
back when the chimes swung ringing,
and all the friends stood singing
of a new love born.

But later torn
the lover wishes she had seen
past starry eyes, the mean-
ing shown on glassy mirrors:
reflection of the stars above--
the real ones, like real love
so far away
through light years pay
of cold and dark and empty
the years that etch their trace
since that first plunge
into the breathless silent night
until, thank God, we feel the light
of perfect love.
It isn't here, but up above.
But still starts here, that seeking of
real stars.

I know a little girl
who walks at night above the stars you see.
She--she won't come easy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ben, do you remember when I lost my favorite hat in Hawaii and started crying in the airport, and you felt so bad for me you bought me a hat in one of the unreasonably expensive airport stores?

Well I remember, and I think of it every time I hear Hawaiian music. You have always been my older brother, but at that moment you were truly my big brother. For that moment not a single particle of you was reserved for any other role.

You were all--big brother,
and that mine
And I remember.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


For the moment you were real.
But the moment was just that--
a moment.
Yet you are worth the past
And I remember.

letter to jared

Last Monday eve while watching a group of mature adult women abandon all reason, self-respect, and vitality, over the image of a burp cloth and "huggies" water sausage, I was prepared to assume my naive position--virgin and barren--as the one to which my ultimate sanity would be in debt. Your wife's baby shower served my intentions of matrimony as hypothermia serves to save a man attempting to sever his spinal chord. I slept well the nights that followed. Tonight, though, I will not sleep so soundly. An announcement I just read on a Washington DC singles listserv has brought again the beat-stick out of me and I currently attempt to disassociate my skull with the rest of me. Jared, I would wait the filling of 10 billion diapers in the terrible company of baby shower guests before I would have myself less than horrified by the manner of this man's speaking. The aging bachelor is sick, and guts himself with shallow and gay speech when he supposes otherwise. I pray I stand yet the middle ground, if still there be some between married and fool. You will kiss your wife, I'm sure, and bless the child she carries when you read what I'm about to show you.*

*Being myself unacquainted with the individual whose writing personality I slighted and having, therefore, no grounds on which to request his permission to reprint his material, I refrain here from reproducing the same, though I in no way withheld the same from Jared, he being one individual and responsible and you being many and irresponsible by nature of your number. It is enough to explain the individual's "manner of speaking" as expressing an over abundance of fluff, gaiety, exuberance, and disconnect with all sense of reality and authenticity. And all this was spent on the topic of Frisbee hour.

Captian of a Soul

I want to write, to bleed and know.
I want to have another go
at yesterday
when things less grey
distilled upon my mind
the kind
and clear,
the things ev'n-tide made disappear.
Give me the solid, the bright, the true,
Not misty wonderings of what to do.
The ship went down
I should have drowned,
It would have been the noble thing.
But I jumped ship
Only to rip
And tear my very being.

(To E.E. Commings: If any horcruxes were created as a result of this tearing, they were unintentional and therefore unknown to me.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bridges burnt

To hurt no more--
No of me, but of others.

A friendship had so healthy and tender
Leaves in us a will to remember.
But friends, instead we hurt will say:
I won't recall that bitter day
When love was pain
And I held shame
For ever going beyond the point
Where bridges burn and none anoint
The ashes to reverse, but time.

And time, the bridge, it does restore
For those once pained to cross back o'er
To happiness and joy and friends
Whose longed for friendship lends
A closeness worth remembering.

And I, the cause of so much hurt;
The builder of bridges, which must be burnt
For closeness' sake,
I'm feeling raked
Over embers of pain I caused,
Over burning coals I lodged
In hearts
Of those I loved.
I would quit this post to which I'm tethered.
I would seek a friend remembered.

Oh, to hurt no more--

Cracked Wood

How could I steal the love from those hands?
So much love.
How could I leech their tenderness--
Extract the softness into my own
when I, though I tried,
could never return the same.
Her affection was new stain
on cracked wood.
My cracked heart
sucked her love dry
with nothing but random surface lines
to reflect the stain--
the lines of my skin
no longer cohesive enough
to bear resemblance
of a love touch.
I struggled to blend the lines,
frantic to reflect her love
in eyes of solid mirror.
But the lines stayed cracked and gaping
while stain flowed through like water.

She's someone's beloved daughter
And I, an unworthy lover,
Make way for someone other
than me.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Letter to Joel

Dear Joel,
You are the coolest Castleton by far and I am 2nd. Seth and Abigail tie for 3rd place. Everyone else ties for 4th and last place. I just thought I'd let you know how the standings sit with your departure. A little while ago, Ben campaigned to try and move ahead of Seth and Abby in the number three spot, but he didn't get enough votes due to unethical bantering in his campaign song. If you ask me, he was mostly riding on the good looks of his vice president, Emily, and charisma of his campaign manager, Denison, to pull him through. His lesson learned, he will campaign with a different approach next time. I'll keep you posted on any change in rankings while you're away, though you don't need to worry about losing your #1 spot for at least 2 years--full-time missionaries earn an average of 13 points per day compared to the 2 or 3 points a non-missionary usually maxes out on. Also, I'll follow the progress of your favorite WWF wrestlers and let you know if "The Undertaker" finally gets beat by "The Sheriff," as you predicted. Good luck learning Italian. I still think it's weird they're sending you to Japan speaking Italian.

p.s. Jared can wakeboard left handed.