Just got word from Gunt Petersons’s daughter that he passed away last week - this on the heels of young Tracy’s demise. A few of you might remember that Gunt was an old army buddy of mine - we were in Nam together. After 40 some years as a heavy smoker, he developed throat cancer and had to have his larynx removed. He was here undergoing therapy to learn how to speak with an electronic voice box. His daughter said he had recorded messages to several friends and sent this one to me.
My birthday is coming up soon. I’ll be T-minus 19. When you get to be that old you start spending more of your idle time contemplating Death and Tracy and Gunt have just exacerbated this tendency.
Please forgive the crudeness of this piece but I’m still recovering from the mini-stroke of the past year and the brain and the hand are not yet fully connected where the guitar is concerned. I felt I had to do something - there’s a great nothingness where she use to be.
question posted to my blog
from the Ithaca NY police department
unidentified woman dead
at the bottom of a cliff
wondering if I can identify
I click the link -
bright sunny day
green green at the bottom
of a wet granite wall
and a little woman
curled up in a nest of bush
dfa t-shirt (that’s why)
one shoe missing
holding a can o’ Loko
eyes wide open
I know her …
shoulda been a star
sounded like joplin singing
Piece of My Heart
goosebumps and whiskey
now just another twinkle in the
black black sky
One night when I was still living with the San, Bujimi took me to the camp of a group of Taureg nomads who were passing nearby. Bujimi seemed to be aquatinted with several of the men. They passed around a skin of fermented camel milk and told stories and laughed until they were giddy. But at some point a couple of the Tauregs pulled out guitars and began playing. The sounds that they produced were mesermizing. I had never heard anything like it until I discovered Tinariwen about ten years ago. Their new album Tassili is a welcome addition to their oeuvre. This particular cut features a guest guitarist, Nels Cline, who is best known as the lead guitar player for Wilco, but who also has numerous solo projects that are worth checking out.
Since I’ve been back, I’d have to say that things at Marta’s have been comfortable - lot’s of fresh water, cold air, Neutella, and cheese puffs. But at the same time they’ve been weird.
Marta has taken up full time with her VCU creative writing teacher. She gets to call him “Buddy” but he’s made it known to me that he prefers that I call him “Richard”.
Pretty much every evening she’s either staying over at his house or he’s staying here.
When he stays here - now this might just be my imagination - but it seems he always manages to wake up and come into the kitchen at the same that I’m eating breakfast. He’s never wearing more than a pair of boxer shorts and he’s always scratching his belly.
“Morning, ol’ chap”. (He always calls me “ol’ chap” - what’s with that?)
Always - he opens the refrigerator, opens the milk, smells it, puts it back, grabs the orange juice, walks over and stands beside me so that if I turn my head I’m eye-level with his crotch, and then he always asks me - always, “So how’d you sleep last night?” And, always, before I can answer he says, “I slept great. I had an absolutely wonderful sleep.” He’ll then take a swig of juice straight from the carton and burp. He’s comfortable in doing this, I guess, because it’s just us guys. However, if we were lions on the Kalahari and he tried this stunt, I would at least attempt to rip out his throat.
What have I been doing you might ask? Not a whole lot. I take out the trash and wash the dishes. There’s not much yard work to do what with the heat like it’s been.
I’m watching a lot of TV and I’m still trying to find Tracy. I have a real bad feeling about Tracy - she always stays in touch.
Hey, how about those assholes in Congress? How the hell did they get elected? Oh yeah, we voted for them - we’ll, y’all did anyway.
I finally got in touch with Marta today. She was in the car with that creative writing teacher from VCU - not that it matters - not sure why I even mentioning that. I could here classical music playing on the radio …
Anyway she says I can come by today while she’s at work to get my stuff. Finally!
under the overpass I met my best friend mrjoey
sharing a jerky and a wild irish
the stories of mrjoey makes me cry
well it might be the mrjoey stories of dropped babies and missed trains
but it might just be
might just be the sun going down on the great state of Richmond Virginni and all the Massas in their cut lawn homes in Windsor Farms on this good wednesday thursdayfriday night dinner time with wine and tapioca pudding.
I find it hardly breathable under this overpass - under this over - ha! Ha!
Don’t judge mrjoey’s eye
don’t look good
don’t look good
it always closes up puffy up when he tilts his head back so’s he can knock back here under the over smelling like mildew and cat pee
makes the wild irish taste not good like it should…
like it should …
Got me fiddy with the sign at boulevard and broad till it came to fight or flight and I decided to flight today
flight away to the under the over where I meet up with my best friend mrjoey
my best friend got hisself half a hat he found behind the Rite Aid and it makes him look important for the sun going down
mrjoey says it’s prayers for the sun going down red and orange and blue and purple like a squinty wink at the trains heading out of town
heading to who knows where
even MrEinstein don’t know that.
This is Gracie and Jimbo Emory. Gracie cuts hair at the salon where Marta works. We’ve gone out for drinks a couple of times and they seem ok. Every once in while I think I’ll catch Gracie giving me the eye - could just be my imagination. And Jimbo … he’s got a Tumblr blog called timjerry that’s kind of interesting. He can come off a little arrogant sometimes, like he’s some kind of whoopee-shit artist who has a deeper understanding than anybody else of how the world works. But he’s listened to a good bit of music and we usually end up talking about that while Marta and Gracie bitch about their customers. It’s usually a pretty good time. They’re coming over for a cookout on the 4th - beer and ribs, mmmmmm!
Marta’s actually studying to become a citizen. Her goal is to take her oath next year on the 4th. She takes Independence Day very seriously.
As long as there’s beer and ribs I’ll stand and salute whatever she wants.
“The Tree of Life, very much like poetry on celluloid, is a wondrous meditation on the nature of being. With what film critic A.O. Scott calls “disarming sincerity and daunting formal sophistication,” the film explores not only who we are and where we came from, but also the costly and often painful features of our being human: memory and desire, loss and grief, estrangement, regret, and reconciliation. These realities are at the film’s core, and a conventional storyline about the sudden death of a beloved son and brother provides the platform for their remarkably unconventional treatment.”—Debra Dean Murphy (via azspot)
Went to the neurologist early this week and endured a barrage of tests. She (Dr. Emily Horowitz - think Dr. Enemy Horrorwitch) had me sit at a computer and click at colored lights. She had me squeeze balls. She poured pennies on a table and timed how long it took me to pick them up. She even donned the rubber gloves and had me do the coughing thing (wtf?). And when it was all over she said I was fine.
I said, what are you talking about? I’ve been playing guitar for over 45 years and now my left hand cannot make the simplest cord. This is something that used to be automatic - beyond conscious thought - something that easily met Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule - and now it’s as if I never held a guitar in my life.
She said, Mr. Too, you had a mini-stroke. A tiny part of your brain was destroyed and can never be recovered yet you can stand here without falling on your face. You’re not drooling and I can easily understand your self-centered protestations when you talk. You’re a very fortunate man. If the outcome of this event had been any different I can assure you that your ability to play a musical instrument would have been one of the first things on the table if bargaining it away were an option. Besides people your age need a hobby. You’ve got crossword puzzles, suduko, or learning how to play guitar all over again - your choice.