Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Complicatedness.

Nov. 22

November is getting wiser. What else can it get? Colder, wetter, rawer. Clearer tomorrow, then milder. It takes these weather indices more seriously than most. The other months call it "Mr. Weatherbee," after the needle-nosed principal in Archie Comics. It has an owlish appearance, with the N suggesting owl horns, reinforced by the ov (see the eye and beak?). 

November would like to hang out with March, who understands its wild, cowboy ways. But its place is here, between October, old pumpkin puss, and December, the lucky month, stripped clean and wearing lit-up finery. So Nov contents itself with squinting at the bitter landscape, rolling a cigarette and expertly cupping its flame against a crosscutting wind. It hosts innumerable migrating birds, claiming to possess negative energy, conducting crows in "the classical canon."

I'm not sure what any of this means. But it doesn't hurt to keep writing, just the same.

It's 10:30. I'm falling asleep at the table with a carton of black raisins and a pain in my side from sitting sideways. I'm a vagabond in my own home, careening from one necessity to another—stretches to writing to crossword puzzle to dishes—and then it's time for bed.

I think I heard a mouse. Or maybe an aural hallucination. I sometimes dream that I and LBJ's younger daughter run the country. Our slogan: "It's a Hal/Luci Nation. You just live in it."

Not true. A little dream voice just spoke in my head: "No complicatedness."

Nov. 23

Back at Kickstand, waiting for a mug of chai, which finally arrived. Painfully slow myself, I am not very tolerant of slowness in others, or at least with service providers.

Ditto the screaming child.

Maybe it's my back, which has been very cranky this morning while doing chores.
I am at the long table. Pear ginger scone and chai nearly gone. I like the long table. People together but apart. Dark scratched wood. Mead-hall for bus passengers. 
There is a small scale-model bicycle on the window sill. Leaning on its kickstand. That angle and location must be pretty exact to support the bike. Kind of a keystone. Why is Pennsylvania the Keystone State?  How did the Keystone Cops get their name? These are bus passenger questions.

The window reveals a steady flow of furrowed clouds, driven by the wind, as in "Ghost Riders in the Sky," a stirring pop myth from 1948, sung by, among others, Vaughn Monroe, who (probably apocryphally) got into a fight with my dad. He was drunk...rude to my mom...not sure if punches were thrown...makes a good mead-hall story, anyway.

Haven't found the kernel of truth yet. What can we learn from the clouds? The inevitability of evaporation? The group journey—random but yoked together, like us at this long table?

Each day throwing a new configuration of energy and weather at us. How to use it? Just observe it? Build from it? Tune into it, as we are each radios?  Adios, muchachos.                                                       

Monday, November 25, 2013

Strange Fruit

More jottings from my notebook, Micrographia (a.k.a. Mike):

November 20

November is in its late period. The balmy day two days ago is a goner. Now we are bundling up. And trees are leafless, for the most part.

It should be this way for this leg of the orbit, but we still take exception to it as if we're hard done by.

Leaves look confused on streets and sidewalks. They shouldn't be equivalent to candy wrappers or baseball cards; they belong on the ground, the earthy ground. But we've co-opted it with our tarmac and cement, so lie they do, in drifts or singly, like panhandlers or castaways, no longer sure of where they should be, somewhere between the terra and the tree.

I kept pushing ahead a coffee/scone/treadmill plan like leaves being chivvied along by a blower—the prejudicial wind of writing stuff for work instead. Move along, exercise, there's nothing to see here. Finally I went outside for the gloaming of the day—the long lingering light diffused by the memory of long-gone sun. It really lasts a while, that blue to yellow zone above the horizon, lasts like a cowboy song, or the last shot of an Italian movie before FINE appears on the screen. While I sat on a rock watching the tree reflections on the pond go in and out of high-def, depending on current or wind, a different drama was unfolding to my left in the baseball field. 

Some kid was trying to get up the nerve to jump off the bleachers, from the sound of it—something daring. He kept revving up himself up, then backing down with a moan and a curse. His will for self-preservation seemed to be winning. I watched the steady light of a bright planet peering through the network of a tree. Two predilections so different—his to jump or not to jump. Mine to sit and sift the physical world through a sieve of significance. Both of us coming away with fruitful fruitlessness. I hope he has a good supper waiting for him at home, and appreciates it. 

Nov. 21

Back at the Kickstand Café, sitting at the front-window counter with a mug of Mark's Chai tea and a raspberry/almond muffin, feeling lucky. Looking out at a dazzling day. November has done its tonsorial work. Or as the trees quip: "You kuh-lipped us!"  

It's my sister Dory's birthday today. Birthdays resemble laps in a race. Or tree rings. I just watched a kid cross the parking lot—about 9 laps along. Each lap used to seem amazingly long, between one new calendar and the next. Somewhere in the race, the consciousness of the lap is overtaken by daily experience, especially the repetitions, the patterns. You start taking the laps for granted. The sameness outpoints the differences. This makes the days flip over faster. The week becomes a zoetrope of days. Movement and change become apparent more than earned. It's Thursday because Thursday must follow Wednesday.

(On the other hand, I saw a squirrel earlier on a railing, scratching itself with the low sun silvering its fur and I briefly imagined a friendship with the squirrel—it allows me to stroke it and even purrs in a squirrelly way, rougher than a cat, then confides in human speech, or speech I can understand, the secrets of nature; what it all means, the seen and the unseen.)

This Thursday should be strikingly original—completely different from any other Thursday. A distinctive plaid, a wooden tunic, a coat of mail (literally made of letters and postcards and envelopes with postmarks sewn together). But time insists on rhythm, which requires patterns, regularity: dawn prying night open, dusk pulling the day closed like a shopkeeper pulling down the steel mesh over the windows. The sun can't be everywhere at once. It has appointments in Hong Kong, Sumatra, New Zealand, Archangel, Nairobi, Mumbai, all those far-flung places I used to troll for on my shortwave radio. We turn, the planet turns, to allow this even distribution, ceding a Creole night for a Maori day.

But what makes a day different? 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hae Old, Ober

Recent pennings drawn from a new graph-paper notebook I am calling Micrographia (which is also a small-handwriting symptom of PD.):

November 19

I am sitting in the Charlie Card store, waiting for E-917 to be called. I am discouraged that they are mainly calling C numbers, with an A thrown in. A "D" would be nice. I am here to get my official Senior Charlie Card, entitling me to a subway fare of $1.00 instead of $2.00. Ah! They called a D. Anyway, it will make me a senior citizen in the eyes of the MBTA. This shouldn't be as shocking as it is, because I've been sneaking up on 65 for a year—or has it been sneaking up on me? (In any case, we met each other three weeks ago.) And people have been giving up their seats for me far longer than that — a courtesy that has gone from amusing to expected and sometimes required.  But this card is a new badge of old agehood. I'm not fooling anyone now.

There was an E! And 915 to boot. But now they're back to the C's. Funny how age matters, in a casual him/her versus me way. I'm more seasoned than him. She's in the prime of life. He's feebler. I'm ennobled by age. She feels freer than me. I disdain her callowness. Etc.

Should be soon. E-916 just got his picture taken. I'm trying to relax my hat hair...

Have I been here longer than is fair? On the other hand, it's affording me more writing time.

Any time now. I'm not getting any younger.

(Of course E-917 was called just after I wrote that punchline. But there was a further punchline! The Senior ID card bore the name HAEOLD OBER. I thought about having it redone, but decided to adopt HAEOLD, which sounds more like HOW OLD? than the derisive HAR! OLD! would have. And in Scots/English, hae old means "have old", which is probably good advice: "Hae old, Ober.")

Three city observations: Serial uproar of dead leaves flying and scattering in the wake of outbound D line train;

Pigeon shadows wheeling around me over and over like a crazy clock on the Tremont Street walkway along the edge of Boston Common;  

Three guys hanging around a Davis Square trash can, high-fiving each other's mutual appreciation of singer Barry White.