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Vertical Prose


landing in the desert @ 11:59 am

airplane cough

felt very tired
even kinda nauseous
which i don't usually get on airplanes...

tired...

but i was very happy to be back in tucson
even in a tired kinda way

my friend Dan had to circle round the airport about five times til all my bags came in
.. i did a couple of laps with him

when we got back
i got to see the beautiful amazing sunset
"pink meat" he said

the wind blowing
the cactus...

in the south-west part of town...
i've never stayed out here
very strange...

the night settled in with conversation
smoke
fire in the chemania

watching
listening
feeling self conscious
feeling dark

it got cold, quick
i put on the franciscan habit Leo made a long time ago
washed, shrunk; gave to me

two other guys showed up
one very tall
had his stomach cut in half coz he was too fat and wanted to be thinner
(oh great)
he sits down and starts grilling me
pressing questions on me
but questions like
"oh, so you're not afraid of anything, hugh? what are you afraid of?"
which i've been getting asked a lot lately
so i've been thinking of it
but there was no context to this conversation
so what was i supposed to say?
the entirety of existence?

on the fifth time
i tried to get him to give me context
and he started "asking" questions
that was basically him telling me that he had me all figured out:
i was running away from everything
i was dressed like this coz i was scared of people
and i wanted people to stay away from me
but when people actually did meet me they found i was really nice

which is great and everything
but wrong
-- i've never worn the habit outside of the hermitage
i brought it with me on this trip as a turtle shell ( a traveling comfort-zone )

he tells me he's trained in psychoanalysis



he says
maybe if i cut my hair and trimmed my beard
people would like me

i try and explain to him
that i don't what people to like me for looking like everyone else
there are plenty of people who look like everyone else
i specifically like looking different
and want people to like me for who i am
not for being one and the same of the great masses of Yes-saying.

i realize he's a fool
so
as the night goes on
i mostly ignore him
but find
when i am talking with him
i'm being mean:
"well, my hands and feet have been cold since the surgery"
(he got half of his stomach cut out so he could lose some weight)
'yeah, if you start torturing your body you should expect it to revolt against you.'
he stares at me
' maybe you should consider walking, and eating differently... or you could be buhlemic..'
i try and keep my mouth closed
and that is the whole problem with today
i'm saying things that are pretty violent
even though i'm not saying them with that intent or intonation
the reality of the message is one of invasion and injury

i've done it a few times

why do i keep acting like i'm tired tired tired?

i must be tired tired tired
and no amount of supplemental rest is going to take care of it
certainly not when i'm awake at midnight like now
when i should be sleeping
coz i'll get disturbed to consciousness before i sleep for 8 hours
on a couch?
ugh.
 

Character Sketches: Margaret @ 02:35 pm

i had a two hour lay-over in Las Vegas

i had got kinda nauseous on the flight up from LA
lots of turbulence
air
packed flight
South West

Ugh.

i was reading "the Motion of Light in Water"
when an old woman came and sat beside me

i felt invaded
there were so many empty chairs...
ah... alright...
just don't ask anything of me, alright Lady?

in the middle of the chapter i was reading
she said something

i responded

she said something

i responded
and
before i knew it
i was in a conversation
and had lost the page...


she was born in 1926 in Pennsylvania
and shortly after
taken to BudaPest
and raised there

what happened?
she was trapped there for a long time in her youth
forced to speak Russian

but she got back to america (1946)
and lived in New York
Long Island?

she taught herself to read and write english
because of the man she was in love with
using the dictionary to figure out the words

he was of german decent..


he was murdered... (eventually)

she had five children
four boys
and a girl.

one was a Fed Ex deliver... he was also murdered

one was a Cop-- he will not take her into NYC

the daughter lived in Tucson

Margaret has terrible arthritis
so moved to AZ to live with her Daughter
who then moved to Silver City, NM

she lives with her there, now
in a trailer.

this will probably be the last flight back to Long Island
her back hurts her too much.

she would love to see BudaPest again
speak the language again...
but she doesn't have enough money...

"after you get married and have kids
it's hard to find the money"
she says

"travel while you can, see the world: before you get married"

she gives me a handful of candy
she gives me an orange.

i go back to reading
but notice she is bored sitting there by herself
jabbing her cane into the carpet
i tell her i wish i had a book to give her..
and then i suggest she get up and walk around

we watch eachother's things while we go to the toilet...


when she's back
i'm reading
occasionally staring out at the beautiful Nevada mountains
snow along the ridges...
i am occasionally caught up by talking with her again
being excited
and struck with the fact that i agree with most of what she says
happy to share with her what i feel and think
and find it funny that i relate so sanely to a 78 year old who was raised in Europe
- we understand eachother
... in this foreign land.

we introduce ourselves and shake hands as they call the time for boarding
she shakes her head and comments over and over
"why do they get up and stand in line? the plane isn't going to leave with out them... they're not getting their any quicker..."
like i would shout at the students corralling themselves before class started
ten minutes
counting down
waiting for the bell
i would stand on the bench
and scream nearly the same thing at them

they would stare at me
then look at the clock
shift their books and bags
and talk to their friends

when the line is moving
she leaves me

though i see her when i finally board myself
sitting near the front
in an aisle seat
(little charmer, i'm sure she always gets what she wants)

i sit in the back by the window
and after we're at 10,000 feet
and i've written for a while
i get a bit lost looking out the window

the sun is beaming down through the clouds like angels as we descend into Tucson...
 

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