29 May 2001

Turns On The Radio

I leave for New York in the morning. Moving across the sky from one sprawling mass of concrete to another. Sometimes it feels like a science fiction novel, where life takes place in transporter systems and little glass cubicles in the sky. Human contact is entirely missing a context and somewhere along the lines it just stops making sense.

I feel like it’s in my power, or it should be within my power, to make it start making sense again. To fix what’s been broken feels like an urgent task – all that is mission, but can I accomplish it? It seems like such a reasonable goal…

Something can be done about everything.

06 May 2001

The Bonniest Baby

In 1927 his father was voted the Bonniest Baby in Yorkshire. This was much to the chagrin of the other contending bonny babies and their doting parents, no doubt. I fancy the parents of that bonniest of babies were quite proud and took the prize as a testament to their good parentage and skills in birthing bonny babies. A plaque awarded by the Yorkshire Observer and signed by the chairman and managing directors is displayed prominently on my bookshelf.

That same bonny baby lies incontinent and crazy in a nursing home facility on the peninsula, thousands of miles from his birthplace. I’ve never seen him smile and he’s ornery as a codger. I see the plaque, powder blue scrolls and pinkish script, and I cringe. Sometimes in the morning, without being wholly aware of it, I find myself whispering under my breath, bonny babies suck.

These past few days I’ve been filled with a rumbling rage. I haven’t even left the house but once all weekend, only to go to a movie yesterday. Partly I’m battling the remnants of a head cold. Partly I’m just tired of the world and her ways. So instead I sit home and ruminate, nurturing the seedlings of anger and resentment into a small creature that needs to be fed. This is that moment when everything thing needs to culminate into a big angry growl and someone needs to respond by saying, “you’re absolutely right. What’s happening here is unacceptable and untenable and heads will roll to vindicate the wrongs committed against you.” And just the mere thought of that kind of valor and vindication is plenty to steady my course and stay the raging seas.

I wait and I wait but it’s not forthcoming. So I just look for things and around the house to get mad about. The dishes, the laundry, the dust. Sooner or later I will have my revenge on these things.

This way of life is killing me and I’m such a willing participant at times.

02 May 2001


I went to speak to College students last night. Blah, blah, blah. It was a three-hour night class. By the end of the evening I could feel a scritch in the back of my throat. By the time I arrived home the scritch had turned to a burning ember. In the midst of dreaming about a strange house, painted artichoke green, mustard and eggplant, on the floor high heeled pink satin shoes covered with red fishnet appliqué bore an emblem saying stripper and in a closet three pennies lay on the floor, all donning the date 1972, I woke up parched, gagging and sweating, my throat and body afire. By morning I could hardly breathe and had lost my voice. I thought those students would feel privately vindicated this morning, not knowing how or why. The universe did what they weren’t allowed to do to a guest lecturer in their classroom - tell me to shut up.