Fit to unravel: a meditation on the cardigan

The way we are now it’s alright

So don’t tell me it’s the last night of our young lives

The way we are now it’s alright

So don’t tell me it’s the last night of our young lives tonight

– The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan”

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Losing Che

I know the smell of Cuba, of revolution.  I’ve never been there, but I swear I know it.

It’s Sharpie markers. It’s phony Cuban cigar smoke. And it’s the vaguely humiliating stink of being rich and white that rises up off you like a dead-meat odor when you stare, bewitched, into the eyes of a dead man who probably would have hated everything about you.

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A January Visitor

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2014? Is that you? Oh my goodness! Hello, hello, yes, yes. Have you been here long?

Oh, my, of course, yes, you have, haven’t you? Almost 24 hours you say? Well, this is awkward, isn’t it? But you see, I have my excuses. I was so terribly busy this past month on vacation in Mexico City and then doing battle with strange tropical viruses and editing deadlines and I totally spaced the fact that you were on your way at all.

That sounds terrible doesn’t it? And you just standing there all this time waiting for me to notice you and all. You should’ve rung the bell again. You should’ve yelled louder!

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On Unmaskings and Dressings Down of Various, Terrible Sort

Day two of my June writing experiment, “30 for 30 in under 30,” in which I write thirty randomass essays with minimal editing, to be finished in under 30 minutes.

(FYI: I pulled this together from a few pre-written bits.)

I really dig those moments in life when the universe hiccups and you are allowed to peer behind the proverbial curtain. To see the hidden bits of daily life, be they shameful or comical or nonsensical.

Like when you are watching a movie, and, just for a moment, you spot the boom mike bobbing up and down in the top corner of the screen.

Or like when a politician doesn’t know his lapel mike is on and he goes into the john and takes a super long and loud piss and it gets broadcast all over the building, to pretty much everybody’s glee.

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Jesus was a Bootlegger

Once when I was in the fourth grade, I stayed the night at a friend’s house on a Saturday night and ended up going to church with her the following morning.

Her church fascinated me instantly.

It was at a busy intersection in a seedier part of Portland. Cigarette butts littered the parking lot. And the people were definitely a little rough around the edges. World-weary, you could say, clutching cracked little pleather purses and wearing clothes with holes in them and stuff like that.

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If You’re Afraid of the Dark: A Paean to the Maybe Apocalypse, with accompanying poetry and art

When I was a kid, like many kids, I hated the late, late nighttime. There was just something about its oppressive heaviness, the frightful manumission of all those strange shapes and shadows relegated to corners by light of day, the way the sallow shaft of light from the bathroom’s bulb twisted the objects of my room into hungry oblong monsters.

To help alleviate my apprehension, my mom bought me a little picture poem book: “If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow,” by the fantastically talented Cooper Edens.

I slept on the top bunk of my white bunkbed with that little book under my pillow for a good couple of years. And when the house grew dark and quiet and my pint-sized demons emerged, I’d pull it out and read it to myself, over and over, until I felt a little better and the theoretical beasts were soothed and it finally felt safe to close my eyes.

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Magic Box

Is TV a force of good or a force of evil?

Here at the beach, for the first time in quite a few years, I’ve got a TV of my own, complete with an extended cable package. (The installation man was either throwing me a bone or snoozing on the job, because we only pay for the basic … little favors.)

I’m watching it right now, in fact. It is noisy and querulous and full of flashes of color and pattern.

For years before this, I prided myself on my wholehearted snubbery of the magical box. I spent my evenings reading and writing and calling up old friends.  I baked. I watched sunsets. I got quiet and I thought about the day ahead.

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