Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Road Construction. Difficult to get to the coffee house. I have been de-beaned! Decaffeinated.

I simply cannot write anything unless I am very jittery or very juicy. (& I ain't speaking of oranges &apples.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I knew a girl who was almost a lady
She had a way with all the men in her life
Every inch of her blossomed in beauty
And she was born on the fourth of July
Well she lived in an aluminum house trailer
And she worked in a juke box saloon
And she spent all the money I give her
Just to see the old man in the moon

On May fourth, 1970, Jeffery Glenn Miller, 20, Allison B. Krause, 19, William Knox Schroeder, 19 and Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20 died on a campus mall in a college in Ohio.

There were protests on campus to demonstrate against Richard Nixon's illegal expansion of the war in Viet Nam into Cambodia. The National Guard were called out. Sometime during the protest the Guard opened fire, killing the four students and wounding nine others. Sandra was walking to class and was over 130 yards from the Guardsmen.

On May fifth I was a seventeen year old high school senior and I walked out of my American Social Problems class in disgust when the teacher would not deviate from his planned lecture of the Cold War to discuss what had happened at Kent. My departure was rather vocal, if I remember correctly, and loud enough to draw the attention of teachers from adjoining class rooms. I alternately lambasted the teacher, a droll cardboard caricature of a man who had a nervous habit of rolling chalk in his hands, and invited other students to walk out with me.

I used to sleep at the foot of Old Glory
And awake in the dawn's early light
But much to my surprise
When I opened my eyes
I was a victim of the great compromise

Well, this was a small town in Western Wisconsin in a county where the cows undoubtedly out numbered the humans. I mention this only to over as explanation why, in 1970, no one else joined me. I left through the back door and crossed the parking lot to park my ass on the steps leading up to the practice athletic field. Maybe there were eyes watching me from the windows. I don't know and really didn't care.

Well we'd go out on Saturday evenings
To the drive-in on Route 41
And it was there that I first suspected
That she was doin' what she'd already done
She said "Johnny won't you get me some popcorn"
And she knew I had to walk pretty far
And as soon as I passed through the moonlight
hopped into a foreign sports car

Well you know I could have beat up that fellow
But it was her that had hopped into his car
Many times I'd fought to protect her
But this time she was goin' too far

In about fifteen minutes the Vice-Principal, a wiry athletic Italian man with the vocal range of a Marine Drill Sargent and the personality of a wolverine, came striding across the lot toward me. Emile knew me. He was also an assistant football coach. I think I was crying when he sat down next to me. He said nothing. I didn't look at him.

Some time, hours it seemed then, he said, "You graduate in four weeks." It seemed like a growl of thunder, only whispered.

"Go home, today, Jim. Come back tomorrow," and he got up and walked back across the parking lot and into the school. He didn't look back.

Now some folks they call me a coward
'Cause I left her at the drive-in that night
But I'd druther have names thrown at me
Than to fight for a thing that ain't right

Now she writes all the fellows love letters
Saying "Greetings, come and see me real soon"
And they go and line up in the barroom
And spend the night in that sick woman's room
But sometimes I get awful lonesome
And I wish she was my girl instead
But she won't let me live with her
And she makes me live in my head

I graduated in four weeks and a year and a half later I was walking around in socks and underwear at an Army induction center in Milwaukee taking my Draft physical. I did not serve and did not go to Viet Nam. But that is a different story.

I still love America passionately but as with all loves, things happen that change the love but not the fundamental equation.

I used to sleep at the foot of Old Glory
And awake in the dawn's early light
But much to my surprise
When I opened my eyes
I was a victim of the great compromise

Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart.

lyrics- John Prine

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Susanne at theEdge of Madness---- In res Media

Greta had already published four novels when I met her. "It's not like it's made me rich," she explained when we got around to the subject of 'what do you do'.  She was short with ocean blue eyes you would want to fish in that were framed with long waving black hair tinged with streaks of premature gray.  She had a voice that reminded me of a moth that would flirt with the flame of a candle but was yet  sensible enough not to fly too close.  I read her books later.  The first was quite good, but the rest, while not terrible, explained why she would never get rich from them.  Our children were the same age and went to the same school and that is how we met.  The sporting events, music recitals, evening art shows.  She was separated, acrimoniously, from her husband who was the Dean of Something or Something at the University and I was as well, though more congenially, from my wife who was striving to be a Something or Something though she was decidedly unsure of what that something should be.  So Greta and I went on a date, drank copious amounts of Tequila and then made love in a furiously passionate manner that later made me think that it wasn't sex at all that we had engaged in but rather a competition of whom could write the best paragraph.  I think fondly still  of the punctuation from that night.

Maybe if Greta had been a dancer or a painter or even a ceramic artist things would have turn out differently but she was what she was and it didn't turn out differently and there is no sense thinking about it anymore than there would be reflecting on how my nose would look better than if I had gotten drunk and and broke it when  ran into that parked car. Some things you cannot change though I think if she had been a dancer she may have broken my nose during that night of carnal adventure.  We never had sex again.  We did kept seeing each other spending nights listening to Oscar Peterson and Artie Shaw and old blues artists.  Sometimes we went to clubs when there were decent jazz groups.  No more tequila.  She switched to gin and I drank beer.  I occasionally had sensory flashbacks on how nice her ass had looked in the candlelight that time and once even suggested we give it a go again. She just grinned and said that I was an atheistic ex Catholic and she was an atheistic Jew and that " We would have to NOT believe in the same religion to make THAT work again.", which had just enough irony in it that I never brought up the subject again though thinking about it did give me a twinge behind the zipper.

more later..... perhaps

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