RIP oakland-A’s colorway yankees hat, purchased at one of the ubiquitous hat and sneaker stores on 5th ave in brooklyn, oct 2015, lost at sea sept 2016 somewhere near bogart, georgia. i bought you on the weekend two good people got married, and i left you on the roof of my car while driving away from a raceway minimart. preceded in rest by size 8 1935 cleveland spiders hat, survived by many brothers and sisters. i commend you to your rest.
disclaimer: it’s 1836, big son can talk to wolves, the wolves pretty much just swear at him, the inkstain is the united states, the narrator is big son’s brother
Big Son he rode out often some like an explorer in search of navigable waters He werent canoeing after the passages to the Orient or the cities of Cibola but for something to do with himself Some significance to prop him up Big Son were not much for contemplation He did not do well in quiet reflection or solitaire On these cutting outs he were often riding out to talk with the wolfs He cared for them after a time Cared for the socials
Now one such instance Big Son come back from the wolfs smiling Even the bay were grinning He told that the time of this occurence he were faced off with a special bold and cussed wolf Not content to whisper contemnation from the safety of the shadows But to step out into Big Sons clearing and denounce him in the open Saying in his wolf way F this and F yours and G D your Inkstain America and such I never heard any wolf speak so it is down to the honor of Big Son as to whether any of this were ever said or heard or drunk up into a dream
My brother he said I seen the line of civilization marching across the land like a great leech as wide as half the world.. But more inspiring more democratic than regular leeches This were the very jaws and teeth of the inkstain and it left back a type of slime or grease after it And he told how as it come forth everything went more orderly, more likely behind the earth come greener and trees stood up military dress The leafs got themselves more orderly
My brother said then right in the mist of a terrible wolf sermon the line of the Inkstain The big long leech swept over that creature and his whole aspect temperanced The wolf seen the light of mans reason Said to Big Son Mister I must apology for my nature I am a wolf I cannot do any other wise but I do appreciate coming into your Inkstain keenly The wolfs teeth cleaned up Gone from piss yellow to hotel linen And that wolf he danced off back to his proper place in the cheek of the wood Where Big Son could hear his curses take on a more cheerful tune Still curses and scabrous but more in the type of a proud drunk boast than the Dog Dockstatter line of talk
Big Son even in the teeth of such portents he had an eye for another interview To know if the big leech of the Inkstain herself had any talking in it Now that she were burst out of inside the maps and minds of her citizens So he rode out after the sweeping line of civilization and barked Hallo.. Hallo.. How do you do.. My compliments Fine to be here in the cool of the woods and out of the sun.. and other bowing and scraping He turned the big bay up to where the Inkstain trucked westward He and the bay danced between trees along the very frontier Half in a nation and half out And he felt a worm up his backbone Like a wash of whiskey but nothing in his mind at all Although his eyes did blink some He said he called out to that Inkstain And all he heard back was his own words But scrambled some like light off broken glass
mostly putting this here as a proof of life shot for myself when i go back and ask what was august 2016 like
places i bought gas
(noteworthy MLB relief pitchers born there)
Baldwin Park, CA (mike munoz)
Brawley, CA (sergio romo, rudy seanez)
Colorado City, TX
Deming, NM (wade blasingame)
Gallup, NM (willie adams)
Memphis, TN (george sherrill)
Newberry Springs, CA
Ozark, AR (mutt williams)
Tucson, AZ (tom wilhelmsen)
Tuscaloosa, AL (brandon medders)
CLEAVE to Jehovah your God.
in the way of dramatuss persony the mainest of the players is Cleveland herself and from whence that name derived Truly it is a disappointment to myself and others that the city were only called after the boss Connecticut surveyor who up and fled east as soon as he sketched out the mere bones of a place But we might skip past old Moses Cleaveland as a dead father and a father lacking grit at that and examine his name
I looked in Websters and it tells to CLEAVE is To stick to adhere to hold to In the Psalms bones cleave to flesh Men cleave to wifes Most names come from the days of Saxons and Angles and signify the trades what men of those days held
So a Cleavelander was a man who attached himself firmly to land or maybe the land the dirt attached itself to him This Our Cleveland is the cleaving together of Cleveland and Ohio city The Cleaving together of a people into a settlement The Cleaving of an Inkstain on the map out of a million lives.
Thou didst CLEAVE the earth with rivers.
Already I am beside myself because Websters book give two meanings of Cleave and the second one misbehaves Now for a word to have two meanings that is squarely in the nature of words for example LAND could signify any number of related ways The earth itself The people or nation who work that earth Also a person could LAND on their rear end if they was to fell from a tree.
But where the confusion enters is that CLEAVE has got the second sense To part or divide to split or rive To open or sever by force Cleveland is Cleaved Cloven Cleft by a river The Cuyahoga.
I am not a scholer of tongues and I would like to speak with one Where might I write to them because these meanings seem to be entirely at war with each other What might it signify to be named Cleaveland in this other meaning of it To have as your trade the breaking up of lands and peoples I suppose The Cleaving of an country out of what come before.
A position regarding names.
At the bottom of every matter in this history I find a quarrel Even in the meaning of the name of the place Thought on the two Cleaves and tried to reason out how to break up is the same as to stick together and the only honest example I get is the BRIDGE itself That bridge meant to Cleave us one way but Cleaved us the other And then the Second Cleaving resulted in a Third which was mainly the same as the first intended
I consider that the Bridge War of 1836 as a whole was about the condition of being kin Of being together Of coming out of one womb without any politicking in the matter and the discontents dammed up behind that Do not mean to trouble this telling with poetic talk but this notion come to me That we all come out of a womb and we only move farther apart That womb is as close as kin get and you spent the rest of your days with one foot going back toward it and the other heading the opposite direction until you in the end Cleave yourself.
2nd half of 2015 uncollated personal humanity
I moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to get an MFA in creative writing. I lived in a house in a graveyard across the river from campus. The first month was lost in novelty and huffing the rich scents of the one-time middle-four-figures stipend the university gave us to get set up in Alabama. I abandoned a lot of materiel when I left Cleveland at the end of July, silently essential implements like vacuum cleaners and incidental furniture, after abandoning a lot of material in Brooklyn. In leaving two places within one year, I abandoned or never occupied a sense of complete belonging. Not knowing where in the grocery store reside the things you want. More knowing where in the place you live reside the people and vortices that sustain you. It’s easy enough to proceed without a sense of belonging although it is also easy enough to drive a car until it runs out of gas.
Grandma died, went home for funeral. Got depressed re: alien corn, general feeling that life was a new pair of shoes that did not entirely fit. Participatory ethnography of bad habits, old and new. Continued making new friends. Wondered whether I was too old for any/all of this, determined that I had no practical options re reversing direction of space-time. Which led me to October.
Officiated wedding of friends. Basked in radiant practical operative love. Self-lectured about being in school to write and to put own ass in gear re personal implementations of telos re caulking seams in sense of self.
Like October but with Thanksgiving. Attempts at writing and being human continued with typical rate of success.
Stressed over emerging demands of grad school (it turns out you can’t just poke at a weird bunch of fiction and then get a graduate degree at the end, you have to do some actual thinking and working). Met emerging demands after some whining.
I wrote 30 postcards to my mother for her 60th birthday. My sister sent the other 30.
For three days I went to New Orleans. As I walked past a washeteria on Prytania Street, a man in a green shirt said a pinched high sweet accent “You can go on and do what you want but when we get you, this is what we’re going to do to your ass.” He wasn’t talking to me. New Orleans is broken/fixed, bones peeking through skin, beautiful/ugly &c. I want to go there again and fail to see everything again. I saw the jaw bone of a hog killed in self-defense by two Confederate soldiers near Port Hudson, Louisiana. I saw Jefferson Davis’s robe and slippers, and a crown of thorns that the Pope made by hand for the ex president of the Confederacy. I saw a hologram fridge magnet that showed Robert E. Lee knelt in prayer. I ate banh mi in a bleak strip mall. I lost $1 in a video poker machine in a cafe where I got Vietnamese iced coffee that tasted like butane. During the Vietnamese food interlude I received and transmitted information on the phone about my mother being in the hospital with abdominal pain, just two days after she turned sixty.
I drove back to Alabama and packed up my stuff in the graveyard house. For four days I looked after three old black dogs, aged 14, 14, and 12 years respectively. Dogs this old take very short walks. Sometimes dogs this old stop in the middle of very short walks and look at you with their rheumy eyes. I frequently ascribe human-wise thoughts to the expressions of dogs. When these dogs stopped in the middle of walks their eyes said I forgot what we were talking about.
The civil authorities of Western Alabama, even in the relative congestion of Tuscaloosa, have austere ideas about streetlight placement. On the dawn walks the sun pushed up behind the broad prairie of chain retail to the east of town/university and the sun helped me see where I was going and more importantly it helped me see the dog poop I was duty bound to collect per social norms. In the hasty December dusk, that same sun hurried out toward Mississippi. So I walked the black dogs in the dark. I had to bring my cellphone on the walks, to use its flashlight to discover the poops of my charges. Otherwise I went to the gym and watched Netflix and ate at Waffle House. The first time I went to Waffle House a strung-out lady came in at 6 am and asked for plastic bags. I finished dog-sitting and moved all my stuff into a new apartment which coincidentally is very close to the Waffle House. I subsequently ate there a second time, the third time in my life to date.
I drove back to Ohio in stages. I saw my sister and her family. I shopped at Ikea with money I would probably have done better to save. I drove on to Cleveland and looked at newspapers from 1836.
In 1917, you are born, a fine baby. Really the only thing wrong with you is the third eye.
The midwife says Oh that’s just a baby eye, we used to see those all the time before they put iodide in the salt. What a hoot.
Your mother is reassured by this.
Your father takes a short performative breath and asks Will we be charged extra for the third eye. He says that No one asked if we wanted a third eye.
The midwife says No it’s cool, the baby eye is free. It’s like baby fat. It will just melt away, close up by the time the kiddo is 12 or 13. Sometimes before they’re 10. Everything they see through it will be forgotten. It will even disappear from any properly formatted digital photos. If you do choose to have an oil painting or sculpture made of the child, that won’t update automatically. You’ll have to bring it in and in all likelihood it’ll be out of warranty.
So it does cost extra, your father says with a thin vinegary smile.
photo (c) peter holliday
Deserter 105 could not stop blinding cyclopses. The other men were running down the shore, fleeing to the hollow ships. Odysseus gesticulated wildly come on come on dude hurry, but 105 still struggled to lift the giant stick, its sharp burned end fouled with eyeball bits cooked like egg. The other cyclopses could come get a piece, he screamed to his departed shipmates.
Deserter 106 walked naked from the bushes to ask the princesses for help. The guards stabbed him infinity times.
Deserter 107 left the island of the beautiful sex goddess after seven years of beautiful sex. He stole some of her shit on the way out.
Deserter 108 felt bad about his body and excused himself whenever sex or nudity or princesses were discussed. The guards stabbed him infinity times also.
Only the priests had knowledge of the calendar but Deserter 109 went through the temple garbage and found a printout of the sacred dates, brushed away the coffee grounds. Deserter made a Google Calendar and invited everyone to celebrate the holy days. Everyone subscribed but the priests took away Deserter’s computer privileges.
When the shepherd communities began to rise like bread into permanent villages they needed a heart. The shepherds chose as their heart a sacred fire guarded by economically disadvantaged virgins. Deserter 110 was the poorest of the virgins. She was behind on her bills and desperate. She sold the eternal fire on Craigslist. She forgot to take the ad down.