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May 11th, 2007

my etchings are in memory

"and the church on the corner
marked the time for the mother
who was giving birth to a child across the hall

and I waited, half in anger, half in sadness
for an answer
to the call for help I had written on the wall"--old Be Bop Deluxe song



I'm bathing in memories tonight, the somber/joyful Mr. Bubble of the soul. I remember that people wore corsages and boutinierres--one color if one's mother were alive, one color if one's mother passed away. A man played "Amazing Grace" at my wife's mother's funeral with a set of bagpipes. I remember the day my wife and I announced our engagement to her, at a small strip center Colombian restaurant in Kansas City. I'll never forget the smile of pure, unalloyed joy she gave us--that joy that comes with good news for someone you love, someone who loves you.

I'm standing in the rain with a beloved nephew, soaked to the gills by a rainstorm, prior to a forgettable and yet quite jolly vampire slayer movie involving Mr. Jackman and Ms. Beckinsale. I'm marching in a May graduation ceremony, slightly ungainly in cap and gown, to receive a law degree important enough to me that I wanted to actually march in graduation.

I remember being in my 20s, and reading Brett Easton Ellis' "Less than Zero", while bathing, and the nice smack it made when, after the last page was devoured, I spontaneously threw it against the wall. I experience a late night plane ride from one California cityt to another, on one of those small commuter planes, surrounded by ambient noise/sound, debating theology. He sent me a book later, with which he disagreed, but which he thought I might find intriguing--casual strangers meet us and they are so often angels unawares, to whom we are supposed to minister but from whom in fact we usually receive ministry.

Memories can be as old as consciousness or almost new--today I listened to an mp3 of someone at Librivox, reading from "The Waste Land", and yet in the ennui of poetry abuot ennui I wished he were reading Prufrock.
I got a myspace message from a new friend in south Australia who wrote me because we have much commonality in our ideas and interests, and I marvel at how this kind of interchange is not only possible but frequent and sometimes saving.

I remember being 15, and playing in my first postal chess touranment, which taught me how far I had to go to become at all competitive, and thus was very good for me. I saw a water mocassin on the hiking trail the day before yesterday, or a least the bottom 2/3rds, as he was slithering away. I remembered similar cottonmouths on White Oak Lake, swimming, seemingly smiling, hissing, alive.

I remember prickly pear on well-marked trails, and veering off a trail, into cacti and cedar. A late night telephone call "I'm getting married!", and my quick assurance to the bride-to-be, whom I once hoped would be my bride-to-be, of "best wishes!" (or did I "err", and say "congratulations"? I hope I was not that petty, as we both would have noted it). It's a small world, it is, and within it lie so many million memories, siging inside one, longing to get out, indelible, romantic, ineffable, even fading.