I gave myself permissions. I wasn't logged into my account and couldn't under new conditions, so I found a way to enter information using old logins and passwords. I created a new identity and invited myself to join in. I followed a link and logged in anew. I started to type with this new identity of mine and found a new voice. I created a new persona and redefined who I was. I said things--or wrote them, rather--that I might not normally have. I put new pronouns in front of attributions and inserted active verbs. I started to say things that came into my head, new things I hadn't thought of before. I went back and read what I wrote and found the earlier new me captivating. I was finally getting someplace I had never been before. Before I left a comment on a posting that I'd earlier typed, I re-read what an earlier me had wrote and took notes. Then I began to formulate an argument against what I'd said. And it went like this: This isn't the real you. You don't belong here. This may not be what you want to hear, but I think the old you was better. Go back, give up your permissions. Let the old you back in and speak from the voice you'd started out with. Don't confuse what's new with good. Old you is the same you and one we we're all used to. Before I submitted the comment to the post I'd mentioned I thought about the circular motion that was transpiring in front of me, and I couldn't help to wonder: I jjust read what I wrote. Why not post? Publish.

There's a(nother) bird in another airport

After being ushered down the hall in the A corridor, and pointed to a room, and after going down a narrow hallway, first bending right, then left and arriving in a small room, where I'm told "hold up" for the shuttle that will take me to the B gate, I wait.

The short ride on the shuttle bus tours the tarmac—the strip of casinos in the background—weaves around the the round exterior of gates, construction crews all around. It was short but strange, taking a shuttle bus with seven or so people (a soccer camp kid, a grandmother, an islander among the lot) was. When it arrived I thanked the driver, "just doing my job," her non reply indicated. Through a shoot, up some stairs and down another hallway, I was in the B gates wing. Sitting and standing, stretching and slot-machine watching, I notice something that's become sort of a regular happening for me, but one I find ironic and poetic. A simple sparrow does a lap around the round wing of the corridor before finally perching atop a gate's B-14 sign. How did a bird get into an airport, a deep dark corridor that took a shuttle and a series of mazes for me to arrive in. A bird in flight. A flight soon to be taken. Both sharing the excitement of something new.


Last year, after the summer games ended so did analog television. Coupons were advertised for converter boxes and if you wanted to watch free TV you needed to buy one. I bought a box around this time at Goodwill. It was a VCR. I'm not that out of date. I've had TV most of my life and cable on certain occasions. But for the most part I've gotten by on paying for electricity and positioning rabbit ears. I still do. For a reason I'm still not certain of, one channel still comes through the analog air waves and to my set. It is the CW. Five on the dial, though there is no dial on my TV. Yessir, Channel No. 5. Or as I'm referring to it, The Channel. Anything on The Channel? I ask. There always is. Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Life Unexpected, One Tree Hill. Seinfeld reruns. King of the Hill, all my shows on The Channel.


Wednesday was my day off and one of her first days of school. I wanted to sleep in but I normally don't so I woke and got up anyway. I silently did as she asked, put things into the car to take to her studio. I ate a bowl of cereal, put shoes on, put her bike in the trunk. When she said it was time to go I put my wallet in my pocket and my keys in my hand and my glasses on person. I waited for the next instruction. I didn't say anything. I waited for what was next.

Once we got going I had to tell her we needed gas, the car did rather. We said little as we drove first to get gas, and then downtown to her school. I parked the car in backwards and unloaded her bike, and then we took her things inside.

She calmed her nerves once we made it indoors. She returned her book and we were early for a presentation. She apologized for stressing. I said it was nothing. She showed me around the building. I had never seen the school. It was new and impressive. There was much to notice.

Still, there was time to kill so I suggested coffee. She doesn't drink coffee but agreed to accompany me. When we went to the car two badges were hovering--it was time to move the car from the loading zone, so I pulled out of the loading zone and around the block. I didn't have to work and she didn't have to be in a lecture for another half hour, so we drove a bit then stopped.

I pulled to the side of the road near a coffee shop I wanted to get a cup of coffee at, and she got out first to pay the meter. I pulled forward then back, to get the spot just right and noticed in my rearview a biker peddling the opposite direction. When I stepped out she had the parking receipt in her hand.

Did you hear him? she asked. She knew I hadn't. He told me you should be a meter-ologist.

And I said, what? I didn't get it at first. Then I did.

It was funny. How had he come up with it? It was stock, I thought, a re-run.


A while back my car battery died. I got a jump from a friend, but it wasn’t the battery. Some sort of alternator problem.

Then it was my (i)pod’s battery that died, and I let it be. I didn’t listen to it for like a week. I never plugged it in, just left it dead.

My cell phone's battery died. Well, I didn’t have time to recharge it. I had to go to work. You have to plug in phones. And wait for it.

Sometimes I think I have a battery inside me, I don’t always know what charges it. Sometimes it’s time. Sometimes it’s food. It could be caffeine. Sleep sometimes, I think, is what charges my battery. But sometimes I’m not always right.

I’ll often wake up with too little sleep. I’ll want to get up, have energy to burn. Battery power unspent. Other times I'll feel depleted.

I have to let battery die before recharge.

By (the way) the numbers

For $5.32 my former land lord, J. & K. Kolb, certified an envelope sent to my new address.
My previous address had a refundable security deposit of $700.
Plus a $250 refundable pet deposit.
Backstory: my landlord gave my rooomates and I an ultimatum to pay an extra $350 a month.
Or to move out within 30 days.
This was on July 1.
In 14 days we found a new home.
It's 10 blocks east.
And seven blocks south.
On moving day we rented a U-haul for $41.83.
We woke up a 9 that morning.
And moved until 1 p.m. -- I called out of work.
At the former place, I picked up 245 cigarette butts.
And 164 styrofoam peanuts -- don't ask.
I filled up six trash bags.
And made four loads in my Volvo station wagon.
I sold the washer and dryer for $60.
I pulled 85 weeds.
I replaced two sets of blinds.
And two screens for two windows.
By the first of the month I was ready for checkout.
Note: A landlord has 30 days to repay deposit or explain what's taken out.
J.K. Kolb replied to me on the 18th of last month. Subtractions were as follows:
$66.00 materials, $150.00 - To replace broken mirror/closet door in main bedroom.
$97.93 -missing window blinds
$44.90-missing hose and reel
$111.00-broken doggie door
$85.00 material, 50 labor -replace and recode missing garage door openers
$150.00 rebuild wood gat a dog run entry, chewed by dog
$29.98 -replacement of broken towel rod in bathroom
$140.00 -labor paid to JDK construction to install blinds, doggie door, and towel rod
$31.43 + $15.50 -unpaid garbage bill, charge to pick up full bins
TOTAL = $971.74
"Thank you again for being residents of our home at 1824 SE Taggart St., the letter declared."

"Catch you later," K.'s final words to me in person.


Summers over, and all I found out was what's possible.

Well, it's possible to have one's rent hiked up to-- and possibly more than--33 percent, causing one to move (I to move anyway).

I suppose it's possible to spend three months away from girlfriend.

It's possible to drink nearly everyday without exceeding (sometimes exceeding) and still function as a person. It's possible to walk the dog every morning.

It's possible to think about but do no school work everyday. It's possible to work five days a week and still not be able to save money.

It's possible to start to read five books, continue to read them, and still be reading all of them (or think you are). It's possible to wane one's responsibility and have others give up on you. It's possible--but not yet proven--to win them back.

It's possible to own a car but not drive it everyday.

It's possible to regret stuff.

It's possible to believe in hope.

It's possible to believe it's bullshit.

It's possible to believe it's both.

It's possible to have friends who are girls that won't be girlfriends.

It's possible to eat a burrito six out of seven days a week.

It's possible to drink a bottle of wine in a night by yourself.

It's possible to ruin a ping-pong table by leaving it out in the rain.

It's possible to be in debt for years and years.

It's possible to read Sometimes a Great Notion (I still believe).

It's possible to find non-pleated pants that fit at Goodwill.

It's possible to get a good haircut for less than 20 dollars. I

t's possible to get published.

It's possible to finish a master's degree (or think you can) in the fall.

It's possible to grow a (protest) beard.

It's possible to spend the whole summer working in the Blue Room of Powell's.

It's possible to spend the whole summer without putting on a swim suit.

It's possible to spend a day reading the Sunday Times--or most of it.

It's possible to ride your bike through: Saturday Market, the Bite of Oregon, Flutag, the Obama Rally, the Blues Festival, Rose Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival, concerts, movies in the park, but not attend any of them.

It's possible not to see a movie in theaters (oh wait, there was the dollar flick Forgetting Sarah Marshall I saw with my brother and father in Albuquerque).

It's possible to miss the bus twice.

It's possible to reunite with high school acquiantences after 10 years.


McCain made the wrong choice. I shouldn't care but do. Don't know why I care. There are more important things. I can't think of any. I think of many (Gustav is flooding the once flooded.) that I can't put into a sentence (just did). What's with me tonight (any night)? I'm here (have been here for years). I'm not here (not always present). I think of things that I shouldn't (I'm alone) but can't share. I put headphones on and that helps (other voices, noises) block out the deranged thoughts. It doesn't help. Music makes me think of other things I don't want to think of. I take headphones off. I put them right back on. I put another song on (skip). I start to say things aloud (to myself, to the world). I speak out loud. I picture people from long ago (how long?), images I make up in my mind. I picture myself (not the reflection I find in the mirror), I picture me then (it makes me cringe) and me now (cringe again). I wonder what happened (I know, I didn't know). I wonder what will happen (and I'm frightened). I'm here. I close my eyes and breathe. I think, 'I'm alive. I'm here. I'm now.' This simple thought weighs. It feels like a pulse: Control. Out of control. I don't have control of it. And I worry. And I want. And I wish. And I get depressed. And I'm uncertain. And now my mind has calmed. I'm content to be what I am, where I am. I'm sure. I calm my breathing: In. Out. In. Out. Breathe: Here. Now. Here. Now. Breathe. I close off everyone in proximity. I'm here alone in thought and don't want anyone else around me. This. Sure. Type. Thoughts. But alone. Very. And make 'em public. Whatever public is is. But also private. Thoughts to share.


To get to the park I wake up.
I get out of bed and go downstairs.

And put shoes and socks on, my shoes,
shorts and a sweatshirt this day—it's cool, not hot.

To get to the park I use the bathroom
I drink a pink glass of water.

I put on my dog’s leash, on her collar,
and a plastic bag in my pocket, an indication of Walk.

To get to the park I go out my front door.
and take a right on the sidewalk, our sidewalk.

I pass houses and apartments—my neighbors.
I notice Direct TV satellite dishes.

To get to the park I cross a main street.
I walk to a median, then to the other side and safe.

I pass Subarus for sale, and empty bags of fast food.
I walk to another corner, thinking about last night.

To get to the park I take a left, there.
Roadway not improved, the sign says and I read.

I walk up the sidewalk until it ends.
The gravel road, an overgrown alley seems to make sense to me.

To get to the park I walk three blocks of this.
It will be a surprise if I ever see another soul.

I’ll walk through stop signs, never needing to stop.
(Sometimes for my dog stops to eat some grass or just sniff.)

To get to the park I go through a schoolyard.
It’s like the park: it has grass and playground equipment, basketball courts and soccer goals.

But a bit further is the real park, the one I woke up for.
To get to this park you must get to the park.


The first day there were

I picked out the biggest

It’s trunk had a stand-in

I walked right up to it;

My body fit perfect,

The view from there was great

Second time it was a

That drew me to like a

Cause nothing beats a good

Little later my butt

Still, I sat and looked out

And I could see many

‘Today it’s this one that’s

The next day I’m feeling

I go to the park any-

And pick one to fit my

Tall this tree, too, it

Branches hang like a hound’s

A certain amount of

Surrounds the circumference

The bark goes vertical

Willow-like weeping, and

I walk around every

And say, this one, this day

When alone I need some-

I choose a tree in the

And make it my own tree,

I walk home; I leave it

Everyday a favorite


I was sitting in the waiting room when I started to count: Phones and Frames.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the 10th grade. I was driving by that point— sometimes at night– and my mother agreed with my opthamologist hat I should have eyeglasses. My vision was affected by an injury I got at summer camp. But that’s not this story. With my first written prescription in hand, my mom and I, we went to the mall and picked out my first pair (one). They were silver and black, had round lenses, and gave me a new look. I was Eddie Bauer. I lost those pair in no time, maybe a month. Usually, when I left the house there was a pocket-check: glasses, wallet, keys, pager. But one morning I couldn’t find them. I looked hard but couldn’t. My mom took me to get another pair—thanks, Mom. I got the same frames (two). They were a brown but the same size and style. A few days later, well, I found the original silver and black pair, so I had a back up. I still have both pair those glasses; they’re in the top drawer of my childhood dresser. I saw them the last time I was home.

I took one of those pair—maybe both—to college with me. I wore them some, but didn’t worry about seeing that first year in college. I sat in the back of lecture halls; I didn’t pay too close attention.

One night in my second year of college, I flipped over a catwalk backwards and landed on the cement. I hit my head. Because of the fall, my eye doctor rechecked my vision. And before I went back the next semester my mom said I should get new glasses. You have to see where you’re going, it pained her to say. I picked out some new black frames (three) for my white face. They were oval, and I took care of them best I could. I started seeing better after that.

After that semester I got a cell phone to compliment my Calvin Klein frames. I went with the Samsung 8700 (one), and was told by the salesman that it was the Furby of cell phones.

A bit later, I was adjusting the sides of the glasses—they were crooked from me sitting on them—as I was on the phone. The person on the other end was talking but I couldn’t hear her. The side of the oval glasses frame broke in my hand. The earpiece on my Samsung went out. My phone was dead, my glasses were broken. As quickly as I had had them both, I learned for the first time that I could lose it all in a matter of an adjustment, or a telephone conversation, or a fuzzy trend.

A replacement phone was sent to me so fast you could say it sprinted. I singed up for insurance as if I knew this type of thing would happen. Furby insurance. I waited, however, to get new glasses. I could live without them, I convinced myself. Plain ole me was the brand new me. I struggled seeing what my professors projected and by the end of that semester, I knew if I was going to graduate college I needed new glasses.

So, I got new specs (four), a new look. But then I picked up this dog, and this dog picked up my pair of glasses and took them outside to munch on them like a rawhide bone. Another set of frames was lost. The day before I went on a road trip I got a new pair of glasses with my somewhat dated prescription. These new frames (five) I loved the best. They were the same brand as the first pair(s) of John Lennon-like specs I had, but these were different, they were more Buddy Holly than Lennon I still had the same phone at—the refurbished Furby—so apologizing to whom I left was possible.

I wore the Buddy Hollys for about a year, during which I got a new phone. What the fuck is a Furby? people would say when I described my phone. The joked wasn’t funny anymore. I got a new phone with new games and more minutes. I was set with my Kyocera (three).

But what good is a cell phone if you don’t have anyone to talk to? Then, my glasses broke at the bridge of my nose. It was another adjustment mishap; I don’t learn. Luckily, I found the same frames (five)—a slightly different shade—Online and had Lens Crafters put the lenses in for me free.

The truth is I hated my phone. Kyocera is Korean for crappy. I went back Online and fell in love with new phone. It reminded me of an SUV I had seen on TV, the Extera. I couldn’t afford the Extera, but I could afford the SANYO. I bought it (four) and got a factory rebate on the deal—it really felt like buying a car.

I had the SUV of cell phones and glasses frames that I felt comfortable in. I was single and I met new people who called me. This one girl started calling me a lot. I was calling her some, too. One night I spent there at her apartment. When was leaving in the morning I thought I forgot my glasses. Driving home, I wore sunglasses. When I went to switch to my eyeglasses I couldn’t find them. I picked up the SUV phone and called the girl to ask her to look around her room and under her bed to see if she could see my specs. No luck, she said. I could talk on my phone, hear just fine what was on the other line, but I was having a hard time believing what I was hearing. I couldn’t picture myself without those frames.

My prescription was too old, so I couldn’t just walk in a get new glasses. I had to get a new one, but my original eye doctor retired. I went to a new doctor and got new frames (six). I didn’t like my new frames as much as my old, but I got a good deal them. That said, my phone was working fine.

Not to detract, it was at this time I moved to Portland. On my phone I could talk to the people I moved away from and the people I would meet.

The first female I met in Portland would call my SUV phone, and come over late at night. I’d take off the specs I didn’t care for and we’d kiss. One morning I woke up next to her and put on a jacket that I hadn’t worn since I had moved. I put my hand in one of the pockets and I found my old frames, the famed frames I thought I’d lost (five).

That girl ended up removing me from her phone—another story— but hey, I had those glasses.

There was an ice storm that winter in Portland. I happened to go out the night it came. Luckily, I went out with my back-up glasses (six), and I left them the bus. I had the back-ups, the frames I loved, the Buddy Hollys. I still had the SUV cell phones.

One night, after I packed my bag for a trip I was taking I went out for a drink. I was riding my bike home from the bar and I crashed in to a parked car. I lost my glasses in the spill. But the next morning, before the flight, I went to the scene and found them. They were (slightly) scratched, (a bit) bent, but I felt lucky to have them.

The screen on my phone cracked that night and digital ink spread. I had to get a new phone (five), replaced later with a new provider and phone (six), an LG. Those frames finally broke for good—another story that takes place on New Year’s Eve—and I had to get new glasses (seven). Those broke quick, a stooge kicked me in the head with a soccer ball. I replaced them (eight and nine) with a two-for-one deal. And that’s where I’m at now. Added up: phones and frames, six and nine.

Like this? Want to contribute a story? Click here

I saw this ad on

$1150 / 2br - Alberta Arts bungalo for rent

I replied as soon as I saw it:
Would love to check out this bungalo. Feel free to give me a call or email back.
I got back:
Do you want to schedule a time to see the home?
So I said:
Yes I would. The ad says after the 15th. I'm free in the morning/early afternoon on the 15th, 16th or 17th.
Let me know when.
I have scheduled showings at 9 and 9:30 on the 15th. Anytime after that will work for me. What time would you prefer?
I wrote: can meet at 10 on the 15th so long as you are already over there. Unless you need more time between, I'll be there then.


That’s great, see you then. Please call if you need to reschedule. (503) 515-xxxx.
Followed by:
My 9:30 cancelled, would you be able to meet at 9:30? If not let’s keep the 10am.
Are you still available at 10 or can you make it at 9:30 tomorrow?
(I went to visit Maggie in Eugene and didn't get my gmail until later)
Sorry to get back to you late but I think I'll only be able to get there at 10.
(Then, I met Grant and checked out the house. I liked it and wanted to move. To spare details, it's great: location, rent, yard. I filled out an application and went back to pay a money order.) And, I wrote him this follow up:
It was good to meet you and see the house this morning. To further my interest, I put in your door my application and money order.
(He wrote back)
Thanks Carson,
I faxed your info to PVRS [?] this afternoon. FYI I am expecting one other applicant, and together with your application I don’t expect to hold an open house this weekend.
Thanks for your interest and I will keep you informed of my progress
(Then he wrote)
The other application did not come in so I am going to hold the open house tomorrow, looking for one more application. We received your credit info and that looks fine. We are waiting on your employment confirmation as well as previous rental confirmation.
Your application says you are looking for a July move in, would it be possible to move that up at all?
So I said:
I put July on the application as an estimate. I would like to move earlier, and as we talked about anticipate some overlap between my current house and the new place. So sometime in June is realistic.
And now I wait...


Pvrs is still working on your report as well as the other applicant. I may know more tomorrow and will let you know as soon as I do.


Tired, humble, still unsure of myself, I sit at my desk and wonder when the last time I wrote was, when I wrote something really profound, something I was proud of. I wonder when the last time I read a good book, why I've stopped doing both, what I'm worried about, what's keeping me from doing the things I love. I concern myself with things outside of these things, I'm depressed for reasons that keep my from doing things that might get me out of this depression, though, there are other things that prove to be the cure for this. Still, I wonder what the ultimate cure is. When I'll be healed. I sit alone with the BBC in the background. Heidi in the closet waiting for the lights to go out. But I can't sleep. My body's tired but my mind won't put it in the rack. I'm not done.

I'm excited about stuff. There's much to look forward to. I rub my tongue across my front teeth and they feel rough. Fuck, it's plaque. How did this build up? I wonder. What's become of my dental health? I worry. There's this part of me, though, that's comforted by this feeling. Like I'm in control of things in my life that somewhat seem out of control. I can't control plaque. But I can tame it. There's a grasp, all I have to do is brush.

Like I can check out these books and make time to read them. I can set down my laptop and set myself in front of it to type on it. I can close the door behind me and write, write, write. Still, I wonder why. Or what it is that will mean anything. Who will read it, who my audience is. Does that make it feel better. No. I'm writing, reading for myself. I'll brush my own teeth, thank you.

The BBC rattles off market numbers. Ratios. Up. Down. Down, mostly. I rub again my tongue to my teeth. They feel smooth in the front but rough behind. I'll go brush them when I feel like it. But will it matter? "The earlier you start flossing the longer you'll have your teeth," a voice from the past tells me. And my thoughts rattle off: advice. My fingers dance across the keyboard as I get bored and tired and still and achy.

I reach for water, to hydrate. I swish around the water through the gaps of my plaquey teeth when I think about someone that's not here. And also the one that is here, the one that will remain here until there is no here that's recognizable. Then, I think about the content, the things to read and see and speak of and that's when I realize: I'm brushing for me. It's such a selfish gene.


Some hurtful things have happened as of late, I tell Heidi. She's in the closet where she likes to be. I'm fine with that and talk to her from the bed or the chair. The radio is on but for the most part the house is empty of noise and clutter.

My front two teeth still hurt for one. Last week I fell on my face, see. My front two teeth--I'm lucky to still have them--went into my lip and my lip was all bloody. The sidewalk also hit my lip, the outside--there's a scrape. Basically, think of my lip as the meat being squished between the white bread of my front teeth and that of the sidewalk. Flattened like ham-and-cheese in your back pack. That hurt but that's not all. My knee is bruised and the scrap on my nose is still healing. I'll be all right, though, when these teeth can bite down again. You don't need to know how or why I feel. I was running, not with you, for no good reason, really, when I came to a sudden stop. A halt, if you will.

There was another blow, too, I tell Heidi. I'm not a good student, so I won't graduate this term like I told you I would. I slacked off a bit. I didn't take pride in my work as of late. I stopped going, emailing, showing up for things; I stopped talking to people in the program. And now I'm realizing that I couldn't do that and finish, but it's too late. Understanding this, thinking about this in depth has been depressing. It hurts like something I can't always describe. It's an emptiness that suggests utter failure. Like it's a precedent set and I'm stuck with it for a long time.

My personal space was invaded, Heidi. When we were sleeping the other night someone went into my car, he or she went through my things. They didn't take anything--I have nothing of value in there--but they scattered stuff and left the door ajar, leaving the impression that they were there and they could come back at anytime, could have of mine what they want. And that hurt.

So I've been sad, you know? And I should get over this things. I mean I'm not taking it out on you but in a way I am. It's my lack of self-worth that leads me to mope around, not talk to you more often, not take you out, not share stuff (I am telling you all this depressing shit). Still, you know what I need to consider is that my mood--affected by these things--has an effect on others, affects others you might say. And while one of my faults might be being self- centered at times, my greatest gift is to light up another's life. And I can't do that like this.

I'm a mess, I think as I straighten my room up. Heidi's still in the closet, sleeping. She wakes to lick her paw or the carpet. I get things in order: to keep, to read, to recycle. To throw away.

Saving the Life of Another

We're sitting at the bar talking, Barry and I, and he's telling me about how he went to India.

There, one day he was sunning himself on a rock island in the middle of the Ganges when people on the banks started yelling at him, "Save the boy," they yelled in their native tongue. "Fetch him." He didn't understand and didn't see what they were referring to. What he didn't see was a small Indian boy being sucked under by the currents.

Barry stood still for a moment. And waited. For things to pass. He looked down river but didn't see what the commotion was about. He stood. Still.

A woman on the bank Barry knew wanted him to dive in after the boy. She wanted him to be the hero. But he wasn't that. He didn't even see the boy. Also, "I don't have the hero complex," Barry told me at the bar.

So he stood, Barry did, on that rock. And watched water. Barry watched and waited as the boy went under.

Another woman Barry knew from his travels also watched what was going on. From the other bank, this another woman saw Barry and the boy. But she, not knowing that Barry didn't even see the young child, wished Barry to remain on the rock. Not to jump but to just be there. And not put himself in harm's way. Just stay where I can see you, she must have thought.

The fate of the boy's was his own and not Barry's. If he'd die it was because he needed to die, and not because Barry, who'd remain, couldn't rescue him. Don't do it, Barry, the other woman on the other bank must have thought.

In the end he didn't, Barry didn't even see the boy. Instead, he stood on the rock and realized there was a boy. And that that boy got swept under. He saw people jump in the river after him. But he, Barry, he didn't jump. He stood and waited.

And later he was told by the girl on the bank, "I'm gland you didn't jump in after him.

"I was thinking the whole time, I hope he doesn't jump in the river after that boy."

She knew that if Barry dove in, that he might also die, that they could both die in the Ganges. She must have thought that Barry diving in the river trying to save the life of the boy would probably cost him his own.

Barry didn't even see the boy at first. Or he would have dove in, he says, sitting at the bar.


We came from cells, she said.

I didn't think too deep about it. She would always try to say shit like that. Like she wanted to connect with me on a deeper level. I guess it was me. At the time I couldn't think of anything except what was right in front of me. What I was doing, the day-to-day. But women would bring up things they thought was mind blowing: how we grow, how we can know one another, connect, think outside our skull. Shit like that. I didn't pay attention half the time. Half the time I was thinking about the office case I was in charge of or what I was going to make for dinner. Where I left my wallet.

Cells? Is what I said.

Yeah, inside your mom your cells spit. You developed into a baby. And look at you now, Jim. Grown to the age she probably was when she had you. How old are you?

Thirty-two, I said. And my mom had me when she was nineteen.

Women always think I'm younger than I really am. I guess it's nice. But the truth of the matter is that I don't feel like I'm 32, or don't act it. So I usually don't say how old I am. Or most times I lie because I can, lying comes easy for me. But this time I told the truth because why-the-hell not.

Oh, was all she said at first. And there was a pause in the conversation. I was kind of hoping it would be over, that we could just be quiet for a while, then she went on.

Well, next year, I'm going to be twenty-four. Same age as my mom was when she had Beth.

Beth was her older sister. I wanted to meet her just then. Wondered what she looked like. Was she more mature? Would we have more in common?

Huh, was the noise I made, hoping that the conversation was going to cease or become something beyond age. Like she might stop talking. And might start taking her clothing off.

I'm ready too, she said instead. To settle down, to start a family. I mean, I'm looking for that someone...special.

And she actually giggled. I felt turned off. Annoyed almost. I wasn't interested in her anymore. And wanted to be alone. I got depressed about where I was and who I wasn't with. I stood up without saying anything and went into the kitchen and turned on the stove top.

I mean, aren't you? I could hear her call from the other room.

Aren't I what? I yelled back, pretending I didn't understand what we were talking abut. Trying again to get her to stop talking altogether.

Never mind. She trailed off as water came out the faucet.

And I thought she would stop, so I went back to her on the couch after I set the kettle on the burner.

Instead she smiled sadly and I became interested in her again. But she wouldn't look at me, and I knew that if I was going to get her clothes off I was going to have to make her feel better about this. So it was a dilemma for me. I reached for the tip of her chin and said what came to mind, You deserve someone special.

a short breath came out her nose like she knew what I was saying was true but that she knew, too, that that person was not me. She got it, and that turned her sad smile into a knowing smile. She leaned in and accepted my touch and she kissed me. Appreciating my honesty, or my whatever. Hoping maybe I could change. As if a future realization would be that she didn't deserve someone better than me, but that she might as well just settle with this older man because he listened to her sort of. He got her enough.

I pulled away from her when I heard the kettle whine.


Last Friday I took an exam. Now, I’m waiting for the results.

The test, administered by Nichols Miller of the Office of Foreign Language in room 364 of Neuberger Hall at Portland State University was at two o’ clock, and the results will tell me whether I am proficient in the Spanish language. It will also notify me as to which degree I will obtain come June when I'm finished with this master's program.

My first question (not on the test but to myself) was: Does it matter? Am I taking the test to make sure I was a master of arts? Do I not want to be a master of science? I think I just want an MA over an MS because I have a BS (in BS?) not a BA and want to add some variance to my resume. But two bucks. Forget the fact that I had borrowed $32,166.00 for this degree. Eh, what's eight more quarters ($2).

For those unaware the language proficiency exam is held the first Friday of the month, it's two dollars, and you have two hours.

I had less time-- and barely two bucks. I had to be at work at 3 p.m. And the test didn’t actually start at 2, but at 2:15. Nicholas wrote on the board 4:15. I thought, I have to leave before three.

I check my email awaiting the results. Nicholas said he would get them to us on Tuesday morning. It's now after noon and I don't have an email from him.

In the meantime I'll give you some background. I took Spanish in high school. I had a Ms. Justiz, who said, and I can still hear her, "You haf to do it," and in college-- Don Kurtz was my favorite teacher--I took him twice. You should also be aware that my girlfriend of one year, who's last name begins with and Fer and ends with a nandez, speaks Spanish more that proficiently, she speaks it fluently. Also, I’m from New Mexico. I should speak it. But I can't. I don't, after all of this, I don't think I’m proficient, is what I'm trying to say here.

You should also know of the formula. The proficiency exam is graded based on a formula. Though it's not a math test you have to do some calculations to know if/how you'll pass (to find out if I'll pass keep reading, if you are still reading, you'll find out soon enough). Anyway, it's not that hard to figure our. Wrap your mind around this: Total answered minus incorrect, divided by three. Thirty-three to pass. You aren't penalized for those left blank. At least not like you might normally be on a scantron exam that you are used to. It's been so long since I've taken one of these!

I battle with the thought of getting an MFA. If I have the MA, that place in my mind that wants a writing degree in the arts, the one that's questioning my next step will be satisfied without the F, but with an S and not an F, a whole group of untrustworthy thoughts enter this future-plans department.

I'm sending Nicholas an email, reminding him which test I took and asking when the results will be ready. I also email the Office of Graduate Studies and tell them I can't say for sure which degree I'm applying for because I don't have the results of the language test. I don't hear from anyone. I close my laptop and walk my dog.

This morning I check my email and don't have any messages. So I'm waiting, and wondering: Do I deserve a Masters of Science? What was necessarily scientific about the program I successfully(?) completed? I mean, what about it was more scientific than artistic? Do I feel like a master of science? In publishing? A scientist in writing? I haven’t written a science paper since I was in undergrad, back when I was a bachelor.

I check my email again and have a response from Nicholas.


You completed 62 questions of which 28 were correct. Your formula score was 16.6;
unfortunately the Humanities section of Spanish requires a score of 33 so you did not
pass. You may take the test again the first Friday of May, on the 2nd at 2:00 p.m. If you have further questions please contact the FLL office.


(Pinche Espanol)


'Leap into more books,' the sign said
I get it now

It was/is leap day/year
I've been thinking of hopping a lot:

something hopped into my head
into the hopper, say,
or Hip hopped

I got the spelling down
There's hoping and hopping
Depends on the puddle

Hop on top of something
That rhymes
So that's cool

Hop on Pop
That's what my Dad used to say
when we'd play

Leap into more books, the sign no longer says
Because it's March

And We have to move along
to something else


Let’s go back a ways to Fisher Avenue. I can’t remember much about school, except the following year. I took Rose to kindergarten, and while waiting for registration, she began to cry. I waited and waited and she kept it up. So, I said, “Come on, Rose, let’s go home.”

We went.

Arriving home, Mamma said, “What are you doing here?”

I explained.

And she said, “Go right back and finish registering.”

That was that.

Mamma was a graduate of Horner College, and qualified to teach in the New York State schools, and she did that after all of us five kids were in schools.

Another thing I remember about Fisher Avenue was that I fell down the stairs and cut my chin and that caused a loss of a lot of blood. And, finally the doctor came and sewed it up. That’s one thing.

And the other thing was, one of the youngsters was—I don’t know which one it was, I don’t remember now—but, she crawled out of the bedroom window, which was over the porch roof, and she climbed out of that, got on the roof, and she sat there looking around until somebody saw her and then sort of kind of got things organized and got her back into the house.

Now, we belonged to the Ridgeview Congregational Church, and on my seventh birthday the minister, William Danna Street, gave everyone on their seventh birthday, every child a Bible, which I still have today.

There was quite a few other things down there on Fisher Avenue: Both houses, both 120 and 122, were built sort of on a slight slope. And they could accommodate a cellar door, which opened straight out like a kitchen door or a front door. And one of the other things I remember, was the fact that the Aunties used to buy half a dozen—half a case—of eggs at one time, and put them in crack filled with water glass. That’s the first I’ve heard, and the last time I’ve heard of water glass in many years. But, that was evidentially very good preservative mixture.

Well, we left Fisher Avenue and moved to Rathmound Avenue and that was few years later. And, Rathmound Avenue had several events that were sort of not too happy.

Ruth got scrabbling around somewhere on the kitchen floor. And it wasn’t a very good floor, and she got big splinter in her leg and they had to get the doctor to get it out of there because it was a terrible thing. Well, the very next day, the owner of the house—it was two-family house, really, side-by-side—he immediately tore up the kitchen floor and put a new floor in, which was quite a help to us as well.

And it had a back yard, and we had a croquet set. And we were playing croquet, and I swung the mallet, and the head came off. And, instead of being careful of how I swung it, it happened to be right at Rose, my sister Rose. And it hit her in the mouth and broke one of the front teeth off, which was a bad thing as far as I was concerned, and I guess it was for her too.

But, I don’t remember anything else much about that.

PART 2.2

This is some more 107 South Broadway:

I got up into the first year high school, and by that time Mamma was a substitute teacher, and I was the only one up to that point that didn’t have her as substitute teacher, in one of the classes. But, I finally got one; I got her in study hall. And, of course, I had to behave myself, being called down once or twice by the other teachers to say, “what would say if you cut up like that in your mother’s class.” Well, I had no answer to that.

But, uh, the freshman year there wasn’t much going on. I wasn’t too big to go out for any high school sports or anything like that. But, at the end of my freshman year I took an examination for entrance into the New York State Nautical School, which was on the ship, the Newport. And they were supposed to call us to duty in May sometime, and, of course, I didn’t go back to school, then knowing when I was going to get out of there. But, they evidentially found out that it’d be better to wait until the school year was over. So, it wasn’t until June that we got a call to come. Well, it’s like everything else, you get into a new school you need a uniforms, you needed clothing, and there was no money involved in the thing, but you sort of had to make your own. And you were allowed only 50 dollars, is what you were allowed. And we immediately got on board, and the ship pulled out into Long Island Sound and up into Gardener’s Bay, which was near the end of it for the sort of shakedown. Well, Newport had had her boilers condemned for being unsafe, and they were only allowed to generate 50 pounds of steam. Well, that was enough to run the generators. So, we continued on that, and then onto the cruise. And the cruise that year was to take us to Grave’s End Bay. But, in the meantime we had small boat drills on Gardener’s Bay there, and I didn’t have enough sense to keep covered, and I got a terrific sunburn. And the sunburn was such that I had to sleep on mess bench, which was narrow enough between the shoulders. I had to do that because of the fact that the burn was so bad that it was like sheets of skin coming off. Really a bad burn. But anyway we got hardened to that and most of the skin came off on the way. We had split the crew, the cadets, the deckhands and also the engineers. The deck didn’t interest me, so much as the engineers did. Because we had a triple expansion engine there as an auxiliary, but not being able to generate enough steam to run it. We made the cruise on the sail.

Now, the Newport was a barkintine (sp. 214) rig, which was a square rigger and mammoth, foremost, I mean, and a fore and aft and a main and a mizzen. We did alright. We had a skipper, who was very good sailor. We had a boatzan, who was very good at handling all sails and so forth. Well, of course we had to learn all the gear and the post and where they were and the bland pins had to sort of a number on them. There was no number, but you had to learn where that pin went, where the hallus (222), where the out-hauls, clue lines went, and all that business. And they really drilled -- tried to get you to learn that fast because they were going to sail then. Well, after, must have been a week, two weeks, I think it was, we pulled into Grave’s End Bay, which was sort of a protocol to London. And we got a chance to go a shore there. And one of the things on the way (laughs), which I think I must have started it myself, I got the barber to cut my hair all off. It was some crazy thing. When some of the other guys saw that, they got it done. Well, the skipper didn’t like that at all because he thought it be sort of a signal of a combat ship or a ship that had a bunch of renegades on board. But it wasn’t that, it was just the fact that he didn’t like that, and I don’t blame him now, of course. It was a crazy thing to do.

But anyway, we go into Grave’s End Bay; they split they ship’s personnel into two different groups. Because they had to have a group on for emergencies in case something happened, in case something came up like either a fire or a wind store or some such thing where we needed a crew to handle it, the operations. So that happened, and we what we saw was typical English port, so to speak (246). And we didn’t see too much. Although we did get a good idea of what it was like there. So, we left there and went across the Bay of Biscay. Went down through the Channel and back down through the coast of Africa to the Bay of Biscay. That was the most treacherous runs that we had, cause the wind was blowing stiff all time and the waves were pretty high. We all got a little touch of motion sickness, so to speak (laughs). And we got across it to a point, to a port they call Pelos, Spain. Pelos is a port that Columbus set sail from many years before on his discovery of the new world, so to speak. And there is sort of a spire or a monument there. But nothing much else, however, some of the guys went a shore – we all went a shore a little ways – but, didn’t go too far. But some of the fellas found a gin mill, and they got a little too much of it. So that was nothing as far as we were concerned; it didn’t bother us any. So from there we went on down around the coast to the Canary Islands. And Canary Islands was the Tenor Reef (273). And there we took on water and we took on coal because she was a coal fired, hand fired, boilers, they had two boilers in it, and we took on a little supplies as well. And from there they decided the routine would be down across the southern route towards South America. The southern route took us through the Doldrums (281), and boy we were in the doldrums there for a while. And instead of the log line going stern, she went athorpchips, indicated no travel at all, no headway. Well, we were in there a couple of weeks, and finally we got to a point where there was a little headway and that brought us around to Bermuda. Well we stopped in Bermuda then; we didn’t do too much because there wasn’t… I don’t really recall exactly why we stopped there; we stopped anyway. Then we went up the coast. We got a good breeze up the coast until we came into port into New York.

We stayed on Bedlows Island. That was the place, instead of staying in a regular birth somewhere, they shuddered us over to Bedlows Island. Well, you know, the Statue of Liberty is on Bedlows, and there wasn’t much else over there. Except, there was sort of an army detachment there and there. And there was nothing to do on the island except climb up into the Statue’s head and look and see what you could find. Well, that sore of acted as exercise as well for us guys. We also had some classes there, and the classes were not very much except for the fundamentals of engineering: the pumps, and engines and the boilers – the boiler stuff was mostly safety. And, later on I took, I went to school for that, again. I went to McCounties Institute. But, after I got off in October, the second cruise – I went on two cruises in that. The second one, they had replaced the faulty plates on the boilers, which they moved the boilers out into the navy yard – we were stationed in the navy yare for awhile while they were fixing the boilers up. While we were in the navy yard, we were builded on the Pueblo, which was the navy receiving ship there. And I was playing the bugle at the time so I shared the buglers job – buglers calls riverlay (323) and taps and whatever else was necessary – with a another fella as long as we stayed there. Well, we were a work crew, we got the boiler’s in boiler shop; we did the chipping and scrapping of the boiler plates to put them in shape to where they were good enough to back in the ship and build the steam up to 125 pounds. That’s when they put the engine – the triple expansion engine – in service as an auxiliary, and that gave us guys, who was in the black gang, a chance to run and also a chance to feed the boilers.

And there was several things you have to be careful of in regards to lubricating that engine. It had what they called Steverson Link Motion (339). That particular type of link motion, you had to feel the pillow box and the cranks as she turned and feed it by hand. Well, I caught my finger – I still have that in there – I caught me finger in one of the shins which was not trimmed correctly and ripped a big piece out of it. Fortunately, the doctor on board stuck it back on (laughs). It healed up alright; there wasn’t any problem there.

Another incident on the second cruise, we took a fellow by the name of Bridgeman, who was the publisher of Brooklyn Daily Eagle, on. And also the skipper had his wife and three children on. So, they had passengers ride on that. But, in the meantime, poor old fella, Bridgeman, died. And the doctor had to, you know, take care of the body and we put him in the freezer there for awhile until we could get to Bermuda. And, when we got to Bermuda they had him embalmed, and they put him on – and we had to stand to watch on the gun deck, cause they put the coffin on the gun deck, and they had the guard all the way up the coast until we got into New York again. And they removed the body for proper burial.

And the kids of course. He had two sons – Resinberg, the skipper –had two sons and a daughter. And the three kids were, they weren’t allowed to mingle too much, but they were having a lot of fun. They were pretty well supervised there. Resinberg was quite a skipper (384). Not only was he a skipper, but he was also, he was a civil engineer. After that trip we found out that he supervised, or was a resident engineer on a project when they built Columbian Presbyterian Medical Center, in the heights there.

There are a couple of items that I left out, that I guess, in the previous.

In August 1922, uh, I went to the CMTC, which was the Coast Artillery Core of the Army, to Fort Hancock as a reserved reader. And, there were three courses: the red, white and blue course. Of course the first year I took the red course. And that lasted for a month, in August 1922. And we came back from August, and went to the high school. And there was a point there in the high school that there was no -- as I mentioned -- there was no organized athletics, but there was a football team. And which I went out for football in the fall, and I went out for basketball, and also baseball in the spring, and also got a bid to belong to Phi Lambda fraternity in high school. In that time fraternities were legal, and they were like a club so to speak. And they got as many people as they could as far as athletes concerned to join up, which included, of course, initiations and stuff of that nature. That’s before I went on the Newport in ’23.

That Newport cruise – two cruises there were – and, as I mentioned part of it before, there was a bunch of cadets, and also a professional crew to operate the ship; the cadets didn’t know enough about it.

Also, I might mention in high school, the organization in high school, they had a field that was away from the school. And we used to walk; we very seldom had transportation except for walking to the Burke Foundation, where we did practice on their field there. And that, also, the equipment wasn’t so good. And a lot of times we’d went and practice and scrimmage and which the football team they didn’t have enough helmets to go around. They did have enough pads, padding and so forth (laughs). When we used to go in the game we used to swap the helmets. The fellow that came out used to give the fellow that came in – the substitute – his helmet. So, there’d be some protection there anyway. And that went on all season. We used to walk from the high school, where we’d change clothes, and went up to the Burke Relief Foundation to do the practice thing and so forth, and then back. Day after day. And we had some games, and, of course, we’d follow a team, a high school team that was unbeaten – 11 or 12, or maybe there was 16 men. Both ways. And they were unbeaten that year. And, of course, the fellows graduated, and the coach left. And (laughs) we were left as a bunch of kids that they took (laughs) their revenge on something. They beat us every single game that year. But, that didn’t make much difference.

The basketball team was the same. We didn’t have too many good basketball players there. But they did have, more or less of a iffy schedule, which went on alright.

Then baseball started, of course, in the spring, and that was the year that I was going to go on the Newport, which was the New York State Nautical School at that time. And right now it is known as the New York State Maritime College, and it’s a four-year course. When we took it was only two years. But, we finished the two years in a little less time on account of a reorganization taking place at that time. But, today that school is a four year course in engineering, and also deck management and all the marine side of the whole business. And, it’s quite a school now; it’s a college, really, recognized by the New York State curriculum, so forth.


Ah, see, what else?

Cross Street School: there was no grass around it; it was really bare. Schools at that time did not have any landscaping so to speak. They was sort of boxy type and red brick front and back and sides. And they were sort of common type of architecture. There were two stories to it, and they got most of the grades in that type.

One of the things while we were in Cross Street School, we worked after school. And I worked with a couple other kids from school on the Daily Reporter. Those fellas used to run –- it was a hand folder so to speak –- and, there was several treacherous angles, and which you gotta be careful you didn’t cut your hand on the paper. And it really happened. It was a funny thing, but that was it. So, used to run the folder, fold the papers, and then stack them to different routes that they had. And one that I used run it sometimes. But most of the time I had a route that used to supply the stores in town. I had made a little money then, so I finally bought a bike and put a carrier on it, and delivered it that way. And, of course, having the stores, the competition wasn’t much in a sense that when you delivered five or ten papers or more to a store, you built up a volume. So, they had a contest there, and I won a second or third prize and was able to take my pick of certain prizes, and of course, what did I do? I picked a gun, a Daisy air rifle, which consequently got me into trouble right away cause I started to shoot at a squirrel in a back yard, but it was in somebody else’s backyard. And, that didn’t last too good. That didn’t do me any good either.

So, another time, around Easter time: we had, somebody had given us a pair of Belgian Hares. Rabbits. And nobody said anything about one of the rabbits being pregnant. Finally, one day we built a hutch for it –- a little box and all that. They didn’t go for it because they usually dug out. But this time we got up one day and looked, and there were a bunch of little rabbits in there. Well, we made the mistake of trying to help the mother out by placing them in a certain area close by. But then, see, eventually they all died and it was a sad situation there. But we had no experience in taking care of these animals, so eventually wherever we got them from, I don’t know, they took them back and put them back in the store.


Another couple of years went by, and we moved from Fisher Avenue School to a post road school. We all went there. And I remember one thing about that post road school. I was in the sixth or seventh grade, I don’t know which, but I had a teacher by the name of Ms. O’Rourke. She was…very…she wasn’t too heavy. She was kind of thin, but a real true Riesman. But I had trouble with one of the fellows in the class, he was cutting up and raising the devil. And she got a hold of that guy and slammed him against the board, black board, and gave him a roughing up. Really, I was surprised that she had the power to do that because he was a big husky guy. But, that kinda sorta put us on notice to behave ourselves and so forth, which I guess I wasn’t too good at it at that time.

Then the next thing, I think, the folks must have build two houses, 107 and 109 South Broadway. And which they rented 109 to the Wellers; that was two sisters and a mother there, I think. And we occupied 107. We were all school-age there, and we went to the cross-street school, the grade school. And we walked there; there was no other transportation, no junior high, no eighth grade; eighth grade was in the high school on Main Street. So, the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth were in the high school. Only one, that’s the only one there was at that time. There was no athletic programs in the high school. No softball, sort of stickball there was. Being a short piece of broom stick, sharp at both ends, it looked like a fat cigar, played like baseball. Threw, the puck so to speak. up and you swung the broom stick to hit. And so forth and so on, and that was sort of like what stickball became later.

One of the things else along there, we used to have a can with wire on it that we could swing. We built a fire in it and a got a fire going pretty good and used to put a potato in it and roast it. When it was done we used to eat the potato.


Let’s go back a ways to Fisher Avenue. I can’t remember much about school, except the following year. I took Rose to kindergarten, and while waiting for registration, she began to cry. I waited and waited and she kept it up. So, I said, “Come on, Rose, let’s go home.”

We went.

Arriving home, Mamma said, “What are you doing here?”

I explained.

And she said, “Go right back and finish registering.”

That was that.

Mamma was a graduate of Horner College, and qualified to teach in the New York State schools, and she did that after all of us five kids were in schools.

Another thing I remember about Fisher Avenue was that I fell down the stairs and cut my chin and that caused a loss of a lot of blood. And, finally the doctor came and sewed it up. That’s one thing.

And the other thing was, one of the youngsters was—I don’t know which one it was, I don’t remember now—but, she crawled out of the bedroom window, which was over the porch roof, and she climbed out of that, got on the roof, and she sat there looking around until somebody saw her and then sort of kind of got things organized and got her back into the house.

Now, we belonged to the Ridgeview Congregational Church, and on my seventh birthday the minister, William Danna Street, gave everyone on their seventh birthday, every child a Bible, which I still have today.

There was quite a few other things down there on Fisher Avenue: Both houses, both 120 and 122, were built sort of on a slight slope. And they could accommodate a cellar door, which opened straight out like a kitchen door or a front door. And one of the other things I remember, was the fact that the Aunties used to buy half a dozen—half a case—of eggs at one time, and put them in crack filled with water glass. That’s the first I’ve heard, and the last time I’ve heard of water glass in many years. But, that was evidentially very good preservative mixture.

Well, we left Fisher Avenue and moved to Rathmound Avenue and that was few years later. And, Rathmound Avenue had several events that were sort of not too happy.

Ruth got scrabbling around somewhere on the kitchen floor. And it wasn’t a very good floor, and she got big splinter in her leg and they had to get the doctor to get it out of there because it was a terrible thing. Well, the very next day, the owner of the house—it was two-family house, really, side-by-side—he immediately tore up the kitchen floor and put a new floor in, which was quite a help to us as well.

And it had a back yard, and we had a croquet set. And we were playing croquet, and I swung the mallet, and the head came off. And, instead of being careful of how I swung it, it happened to be right at Rose, my sister Rose. And it hit her in the mouth and broke one of the front teeth off, which was a bad thing as far as I was concerned, and I guess it was for her too.

But, I don’t remember anything else much about that.

Part 2

I attended the White Plains Grammar School System from nineteen-five to 1919. Then I went from White Plains High, as a freshman, from 1919-1920. Following that, they sent me to Newton Academy, which was a military background, at 1920-1922, then back to White Plains High School in 1922 or1923, where I went out for football, basketball and baseball.

Now, August of 1922, I went to army CMT- Sea Coast Artillery Defense System, which was a 30-day red course. There was a white course and a blue course following, but that was the end of that as far as I was concerned.

July 23rd, in ’23, I attended the New York State Nautical School, which was run on the U.S.S. Newport. And then to graduate October 16, 1924. From there, the first job I had was on the Leviathan, the U.S.S. Leviathan.

November 1924 to May 1925 as an oilier. Where we made five round trips from New York to Sherbet, South Hampton and back. Then I got off the Leviathan because it was so big that I missed the small complete J. Say or operation of a small inter-coastal, which I wanted the American Hawaiian line on the Ion, was on it from May 25 to November 2, 1925. That was the New York City to Seattle round trip, where we went through the Panama Canal.

In December 1925 to March 3, 1926, I worked for the New York Central Railroad in their power plant at Port Morris Bronx. From March 26 to May 29 I was in the Edison Distribution Station System. And from May 1929 to November 1929, Barrot Airways. Then I played in a dance band from November ’29 to July 1930.

October 28, 1930, started in the Metropolitan Life home office engineers division. And I retired October 1969 after 39 years.

During the War, I enlisted in the U.S. army ordnance, December 1942 which was called to active duty March 22, 1943 and was in it ‘til November 11, 1945. I spent about a year overseas in ETO and returned to the Met December 1945 to continue employment there. We were lucky to be able to be taken back by the company when we left.

This was an outline – approximately -- of what happened up to that time. Well, we’ll go into to the details later when I can get together some of the information during the times that we started. That’s all for now.


It’s dry and cold and because of this my arms itch, precisely on and around the shoulders. I notice, as I lift my shirt’s sleeve to scratch, that I’ve concentrated on the tattoo that’s on my right shoulder.

The tattoo is a symbol, a signature, initials really. They are of my grandfather, who died just before I moved to Portland. Last month he had a birthday; he would have been 103. I remembered it and decided to call my grandmother; well into her nineties, she is still living. It was a sweet thing to do, I was told by my mother. The thing was it felt sweet but it also created a another feeling, one that won’t be satisfied with a scratch. It created a pressure in a place that’s somewhere between my left nostril and my left eyeball. You might call it the tear duct. The pressure I feel there isn’t me crying—though I’d like to—it’s just a pressure that feels tender and real.

A while back I pulled out a Radio Shack brand cassette tape recorder from a box that was my grandfather’s, Poppa, we call him. I listened to his life story—the first part of it anyway -- as told by the man himself, William Keil Jr.

Tape 1, Side A is marked in his handwriting JAN 05 to WWII. I decided that I would transcribe what I heard and have typed it. On the tape were written APR-MAY, JUNE ’99, the months of recording.

I guess the best way to begin this is to say when I was born, which was January 25, nineteen five to William Keil Sr. and Frieda Schneider Keil. And we lived at 113 East 83rd Street in New York City.

I was baptized May, 28, nineteen five in the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Shortly thereafter – I think it was about a year – the family moved to White Plains, where they had built two houses, I believe. Number 120 Fisher Avenue and number 122 Fisher Avenue. We lived at 122 and our aunties, Aunt Anna, Aunt Bessie and Aunt Phoebe, three of Pappa’s sisters, lived next door, 120.

The family increased to Rose, Ruth, Marian and Edward. And we moved from Fisher Avenue to Rathmond Avenue and then to South Broadway, 107."


Everyone knows that Custer died at Little Bighorn. What my novel presupposes is, What if he didn't?

-- Eli Cash


I bought a car battery and that worked for a while. Truth is I don't (or didn't, I should say) know much about the batter/alternator relationship. I was relieved when my Volvo fired up when I replaced the battery. It wasn't just that I found out last last night as I was trying to make it to the train station, but more on that in a minute.


Someone just told me it was almost the end of this decade. Actually, it just turned 2008, so I guess he's wrong. It' more like, it's almost February. And if you are counting that means Tal is moving out soon. And if you don't know who Tal is you are not alone, which I am right now if you want to know the details. By alone I don't mean single and I don't necessarily mean by myself in this room. It's just that as I'm rat-ta-tap-tapping on these keys and as I squint my eyes to make the blur in my vision go away it's just that I don't notice anyone around. No one paying attention, you know? And maybe it's just sometimes. And maybe it's just that I'm not paying attention to others that are paying attention, maybe no one is getting the attention they wish to get. So I'm certain: that this mere element-- me feeling alone and whatnot --is some simple sign of mine that changes are underway. Don't know what or where or when or how regarding, say, just that I feel different. Somethings up. That's all I know and that's all I'm saying cause I don't know what else to say on the subject. Honestly. And that's that. How's that image up there look? You going to email me? Because people do that. They also call. I call. But not often. I mostly talk to people I run into. I light up, usually, when that happens. Especially if it's unexpected and I want to hear how they're doing. That happened this weekend. But doesn't often, often enough that is it seems. That's the truth and I'll go now.