Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Seventy

Posted by ilbebe on January 17, 2012

Last night I had a great conversation with two friends I have come to know via my dear friend Jenny Bradley over the past two years. The topic of conversation ranged all over the place; SF vs. Oakland, ex-girlfriends that live near you, landlord issues, Royal Times in Arcata, and the nature and manner of coincidence. It was prompted by me noticing Z had a copy of Slaughterhouse Five, Or The Children’s Crusade that he was reading when other people in our party went out to smoke. Interesting, very interesting, I thought. Then he said he picked it up at the library because he went in to pick up a book he had requested and just noticed it lying on a return cart he walked past on his way from the front door to the circulation desk. And thus the lot thickened…

The conversation then turned to how babies are born, and Ary talked about how funny it is that we’re born with soft spots in our skulls so that we can pass through the birth canal. I guess I’d never really thought about it before. Ary said that his Mom carried him for almost ten and a half months. I’d never heard of that happening before. Then he invited me to run a finger along the center of his head. I remarked that the ridges that resulted from the hardening of the soft spot seemed to me to be evidence of contractions.

“No,” he said, “They’re more like calcium deposits.” Something I’ll have to keep thinking on…

Anyhow, he made the comment that we are born “unfully” formed, and this reminded me that I wrote a poem about my father about five years ago called Fully Formed. I’d like to share that with you now. You may expect more poetry than prose in the next few posts as I move towards a greater economy of language. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am going to.

A man’s head, fully formed

Fifty-five years of age and

In as good of health as I’ve seen

A bust of Hegel in the courtyard of a museum

A hundered and eighty years old and

Made of Stone

The right lower jaw and neck taken

Away by vandals who

Reject his dialectic view of historical determinism

After forty years of smoking

he switched to chewing

It cost him his jaw, his voice

After thirty-eight years of drinking

he switched to tea, tonic water

Cost him his liver, made his skin yellow

After thirty-four years of opiates

he switched to asprin, ibuprofen

He had frequent numbness below the waist

After fifty-five years of racism

he switched to classism

Hated age-ism, fought it at every juncture

Cost him three quarts of blood through

A three-quarter inch hole in his back

There is no best way to remember

Other than to remember why

he looked

the way he did

the last time I saw him

fully formed

Before

My sisters and I

Paid

Someone

To set his spirit free

and

his

soul

on fire

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2 Responses to “Seventy”

  1. Remember when someone stole McKinley’s thumb?

    • ilbebe said

      Oh yeah. What were the ransom demands? Can’t remember, but I know they gave it back and it was reattached.

      Remember when someone stole the Los Bagels A-frame sign that sat outside the depot and said they’d return it when they got a toaster? And then Los Bagels said that they didn’t have a power outlet rated strong enough to plug in a toaster? And everyone who heard that was all like “Buuulll-shit”?

      Arcata had the best thieves.

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