Quotes to like or puzzle over: “There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real.” ― James Salter, All That Is
SF with Joel, in 1997? I was living in Delaware, OH, working for Nationwide Insurance. The company was supposed to pay for my trip at a training session and I had asked Joel to come with me. It was cancelled at the last minute, so Joel and I decided to go anyway. We had a great time wandering about, exploring and taking photos. We stayed at a great little motel next to the tenderloin area.
We of course did the Beatnik tour, saw Allan Ginsberg’s apartment, as well as all of the old places: Grateful Dead apartment house, the Purple Onion, visited City Lights bookstore, and went across Jack Kerouac Alley to Vesuvio’s where we drank and ate.
The inscription on the wall reads: “when the shadowof the grasshopper falls across the trail of the field mouse on green and slimy grass as a red sun rises above the western horizon silhouetting a gaunt and tautly muscled indian warrior perched with bow and arrow cocked and aimed straight at you it’s time for another martini.”
This episode has resurfaced as I’m still cleaning and clearing which causes photos to reappear. If you look closely at the inside of the bar you will see a photo of James Joyce on the back wall.
Today is my son’s birthday. It hurts my heart to say that. It’s so easy to picture him here, to see him grinning and laughing. If he were here he would play with the dog, and the cat. He loved animals and was very good with them. He was great with computers and became a computer programmer. He wrote code. And he liked that. He loved Queen and sometimes I play many of their albums. Sometimes I can’t bear to listen to any. Bohemian Rhapsody can tear my heart out. Sometimes I have to listen to it so I can know something—I’m not sure what. But something pounded into me makes sense because you travel somewhere else with grief. He was beautiful.
“It’s funny the day you lose someone isn’t the worst. At least you’ve got something to do. It’s all the days they stay dead.” —Steven Moffat
You just want to take everything back. You want another chance so you can do things right. And you say over and over again: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. You want him to know that, you want him to know, so bad. That you are sorry.
I used to get drunk and cry and drink and cry and drink and write and cry. I didn’t care about any life here, in this world. I wanted to die. That I didn’t was a surprise.
Squeek was his cat. He had gotten her just before he died. He knew he would die, he just didn’t know when, or that it would be that soon. It took a very long time until suddenly it was done.
I made this for him, or to represent him, or for something, I don’t know. I made it after he died. And there it is. I would give anything to hold him once again, to kiss his fat baby cheeks, to have that time again. Those times, those days, those summers and winters, that boy, my son. Stay with me, comfort me.
Inspired by the Caterpillars Don’t Become Butterflies post from Mitch Teemly, I went back into the archives to find this series of beauties from 2009. These photos were sent to me by Tara Pohl. A friend of hers (nameless? credit?) had taken them while she was living in Ohio and I in Colorado. This is the kind of thing that still gives me chills. Or as my son used to say, skin shivers. And boy would he have loved this. His birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Joel. I hope you, like the Butterfly & the Locust, have completed your metamorphosis into the splendor of the Universe. I love you. I miss you.
I love this little guy, struggling so to become what he already is.