Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I miss my cross-country knees

I miss the runs
exploring the day
letting it wake
Not in any hurry
neither me nor the morning
Not really going anywhere
letting my mind wander
I miss morning runs.

Knees creaky now
Worn out by rugby
No longer the springyness of 16
Miss those long runs
miss that personal time
As the day awakens

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jim first said he loved me in March

Newest piece I wrote -- 2nd draft with help from my wife Lanna.

This one is being critiqued on my last class of my creative writing class at MECA which I really enjoyed.

Here it is.


Jim first said he loved me in March, I loved him too, and could see it in his sweet heart, he mentioned how much he loved late April in the Sierras. That he had a week off to see the high waters of Kings Canyon and how much he would love if I went. I was used to big trips with my exes to the big cities I grew to love New York, Tokyo, London, Paris or even just wine country around the corner.

Backpacking? Carrying everything on my back? Being in nature, being with bears, being away from good restaurants, martinis, wine, the woods, really? Look at the prices of this stuff $200 for a little tent, and all of this equipment to be superlight, water filters, dehydrated food. With all of this money we could eat our way through Italy, have fresh Sushi in Japan, and he wants to be alone in the woods with bears, and wolves and scary things?

I love him. I love him. He’s awesome, he’s a catch. I love him.

Its done. The week is off from work. Jim has packed all of our bags, the bags that will carry all our stuff, all of it. No car, no fancy resteraunts, just what we bring on our back. I am scared. I am petrified. I am just smiling and saying how much I am looking forward to this. A week. A week in the woods. A week with nature.

I am used to seeing in the high corn of Iowa. Not the mountains, not the Sierra, not the deep woods. A week. A week with nature. This pack is heavy. We are starting at 5,000 feet. Really heavy. He wants to go up to the ridges, we are going to be away from all our stuff for a week. Everything about my city, all of my creature comforts, my warm bed, nice comforter, nice kitty. Will have to wash clothes in streams, will be sweaty, gross. No hot showers. Goody!

Then we get there. It’s beautiful. I have never seen Jim so happy. He’s beaming, only time I have seen him this happy is after sex. But he’s just giddy. Maybe I will like this, maybe I will. Especially after we set up camp and get rid of most of the stuff. But going up, up, up into the mountains terrifies me.

So I get the pack on. I put in on in the apartment and it was too heavy so Jim took stuff out. I even wore backpacks to work to get used to it, but it was heavy and huge and $350 – I could have bought a nice dress with that. But it fit me – and it was even pink. And then I tried to carry Jim’s packup. I didn’t weigh 30 pounds – more like 100. This made me happy, this made me smile, this made me kiss him.

“What was that about,” Jim wondered.

“Oh this feels lighter now that I tried to carry your bag, I love you.”

So they went up, the sky was blue, it was cool, and still only 8am. I still can’t believe we left the city at 4am to get here. I forgot there was a 4am.
So they went up, and up. New hiking boots, only taking only little romps through local parks. Need to break them in, he said. And least he knew to bring some nice win on these little adventures. Couldn’t bring too much of that up here. Just a little vodka and some Kool-aid, weight you know.

After a mile, the bag was heavy, and Jim said, “Its only a mile further up to camp, lets set up a camp pretty low, we don’t need to put on a bunch of miles today, lets get used to the altitude.”

I needed to rest. So I just did. “Hold on, Jim, let me stretch out my back, and get a drink.” It was pretty here, she still had some non-filtered water, and still can’t believe there was a shovel for a restroom up here. I love him, I love him, He’s a catch, I love him.

And we kept climbing, and set up tent. I was tired, but it was beautiful, he was beautiful. He was doing the work, he was setting up the tent. He was carrying the bear boxes, with our food, he was cleaning. We had a stream, there was a place to wash, it was beautiful, he was beautiful with his shirt off. I love him, I kissed him, I think I want to marry him.

We made camp, made a tent, made love, in the woods with just the sound of nature. I loved it, I love him, I think I am going to like it up here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The hills were alive with green

The hills were alive with green, on this beautiful September morning in central New Jersey. The leaves just beginning to change color. The kids were starting school, the parents off to work, the demons quiet. Fall was always a nice time in Hopewell, it seemed quieter, stabler, then the hot and humid summer.

Cars getting stuck on 518, people being off to work , contractors working on projects, from the roads to the roofs.

But there was something strange about that old house on the Sourland mountain, always occupied but filled with terror. The Lindbergh baby was there and dead in the 20s, the place was national news, and the ghosts have always filled the neighborhood.
The house was once a mansion, with beautiful gardens, animals from around the world, and gorgeous artworks. The gardens were overgrown, the driveway filled with weeds, and the remaining artworks covered in grime.

Its owner, Jim Pendergrass, was a hermit, only rarely seen in town. He had been widowed 3 times, and since his third wife, Margaret died, almost no one has seen Jim. He once was a man about town, getting nice meals, getting too many drinks, getting his share of DUIs. But Margaret death 10 years ago of cancer, took the spirit out of him, something haunted the man. His eyes had become gaunt, almost lifeless, his sight worsened, his gait slow and sad.

The townspeople wondered why Jim had not left the place with the bad memories, where their son, William had jumped from a third floor window, survived and then hung himself in the basement. Where their daughter Jennifer, got away from Hopewell has fast as she could, got out of high school and joined the Marines, shot while on patrol in Serbia.

194 Long Hill Road stunk of death, of scandal, of memories Jim couldn’t shake. He cried a lot, kept looking through pictures, was but a shell of a man. Until he heard that Avenda, the cancer drug his wife took when just diagnosed with a melanoma, may have killed her. When he found out Merck pharmaceuticals of nearby Whitehouse Station, had made the drug, falsified the trials, and starting reading more about the case, he got his energy. The energy for revenge, the energy to take away from their lives what the drugs had taken away from his.

“Those sons of bitches,” Jim thought as he read, “they knew this drug could be a killer and they said it would create miracles, I now know what I can do.”
Forget lawyers, forget hitmen, the house has an arsenal under lock and key, Jim had been a marine himself once, he may be 60 now, but what he learned in Vietnam could revenge his beautiful Margaret’s death. And who would think a sad, slow, old man with weak knees could be an assissin.

Yes, yes, I thought, revenge is a dish that will warm my heart. Their families need to know the loss, I know, blood is warm, death is cold, jail is just waiting.
Why do these songs of bitches, need some fine or some freaking little jail sentence, what they need to get is some pain, some hurt, some loss, for all they have inflicted.

The knew Avenda didn’t cure melanoma. It is supposed to be a cure, not supposed to spread the cancer. They are sons of bitches, they are scoundrels, they need to know that some pains aren’t curable.

Life goes on, but the hurt never goes away. I need to know stories, I need to find out what they did, I need to restart my life.

Jim’s estate had money, most of which he put in a trust, doing good works no one knew about in town. Trying to cure cancer, trying to help the families afflicted.
“I may not be able to do much anymore, but my foundation can do great things.”
He believed in medicine, he believed in progress, believed in ghosts , and knew that physical pain didn’t last as long as emotional scars.

He knew he needed to leave this house with all of its pain, but had no idea where to go.
This is where his wife lived, this is where his life was.
There is where it can begin again.
He knew of the sins of his grandfather, he knew of scandal, he knew his life needed to begin again.

Anyone have any thoughts of how to continue -- feel like there is more here but curious what y'all think. -- Edmund

I have no taste

I have no taste
makes shopping cheap.

Rice cakes tastes the same as steak.

Water tastes cold as does Natty Light, why not?

Tastless comedies as good as classics
Dr. Strangelove naaah White Chicks just as good.

A 1985 Bordeaux, no need Thunderbird is just fine.

It sure is cheap to be a man with no taste.

Across the tops of cities contemplating jazz.

Across the tops of cities contemplating jazz.

The rooftops of New York, old buildings with grand roofs.

Jazzmen practicing, knowing the way in, knowing the sound.

Practice space, naah, who cares, this is SoHo this is out there, this is Tribeca.

The artists like the music, said it helps them paint. Be abstract. Be different. Be unique, be themselves.

The whole neighborhoods are cooking with a boho slaint. Poor kids, dreamers, artists.

New York – big, huge, a dream.

A place of wonder. A place where if you can make it there you can make it anywhere.
Cheap lofts. Old tenaments. Lots of space, high ceilings, old, really old.

Chipped paint, rusty walls, rusted metal.

Found objects, cheap paint, make do. Hope to impress someone, hope to sell something. Don’t come here to just wait tables, wash dishes, do the dirty work.

No the is a place to dream, perchance to love. The big apple, the big, rotting, crazy, manic apple.

These were places of horrors, of heat, of low wages, of manipulative bosses. Dirty lower Manhattan. Sure there was Warhol. He was famous. Then shot, then faded away. The factory making crap, had his name wasn’t really his.

There was Jackson Pollack, mad man of the Hamptons. Crazy man, poor man, not beloved until later. Much later, after death. Things which he would have sold for a meal, a month’s rent, now worth thousands, millions.

The dream of being remembered. The dream of being something, anything, not just some farmer’s kid destined to live his life on a tractor, in fields of shit and pesticide.

The was a time of dreams, many broken in drugs, in despair, in lost hope.

It brought cool to the neighborhood, brought money, brought excess, bought out the artists. Bought out the jazz men, bought out the soul.

The little dump of a shack in the Hamptons torn down. Huge mansions come up, ostentatious wealth, hedge fund traders, bragging with their money, but empty.

The artists New York. A dream. A dream still out there. A place that is no more.

Funny how that works.