June 11th, 2008



what was certainly the most important about my tenth year was
moving into the New House
my dad owned the land for two years before we could move into the house
i'm not sure why. . .
but the year we moved in, as it was getting finished
we'd drive there a lot:
it was about a mile away from the house we'd been living in...

one day
my mother was driving that big brown van
and we left the new property
heading into town the opposite way from which we usually went
driving through the first intersection
a car coming from the other direction ran through his stop sign at about 70 mph
-- we didn't have one

he was in an Imapa
we were in a Full Size Van
i was sitting in the way way back, on the couch
trying to get my shoes on
my brother was in the "captain chair" one row up

neither of us had seat belts on
but somehow
he landed on me...
i flew through the air and crumpled below my mother's chair
my sister was in the front passenger chair and she and my mother had their belts on

the experience was like waking up from a dream
it was so traumatizing that we all passed out
and i had vague memories of trying to put my shoes on
and driving through a corn field

obviously that doesn't happen

i woke up first
pushed my brother off me
and opened the door
i looked at my mother up front
and the window was splattered with blood

everyone was silent
so i guessed they must be dead

i guessed i was dead too

so i walked up the muddy tire gashes in the field, past the tall brown stalks of corn
back to the intersection

the old man was bloody and his head was hanging out the window

i crossed the street, not bothering to look
and climbed up the little embankment:
fortunately there was a cemetery there
so i jumped up on a wide grave stone and lay back on it

here i am: Dead.

well... not really
i woke up, again, to the paramedics asking me if i was OK
i said "no"
they asked me about every part of my body and if it hurt
i said "yes"
so i got to go to the emergency room with my mother
but i was fine: nothing wrong with me

my mother had smashed the driver's window with her head
and had glass under her scalp
but was pretty OK
my brother had sprained his neck or something
my sister cut her throat on her seat belt

it was strange to be in the hospital
i'd only ever been in once before to get a hernia operation when i was 7 (right... or 3 or 4 or 6, i dunno)
and that had left me unable to move for nearly two weeks
this time was easy: once the shock shook off me
i was alive and kicking the very same day. . .
but it certainly changed the way i felt about cars.

we took lots of trips when i was a kid
and i always had a strong sense of "coming home"
-- i could sleep better there... and knew my "Place"
but when we moved into the new house
i never again felt "at home"
everything felt odd and wrong to me
...it was nice, i suppose, having my own room now
but it seemed so bland
-- i've always had the feeling of "new" things being too clean and lifeless
i like Lived In things...

there were many set backs on building the house
i took to referring to as the "Barbie Dream House"
because it had so many nonsensical architecture styles together
and seemed so badly built as if it were made of plastic
but the house was HUGE
and on 9 acres of old hay fields
that we then set about landscaping into a more "suburban" look
(as my dad grew up in the suburbs of Detroit)
... 9 acres is a lot to landscape.

on the land was an old barn (how old? i'll never know)
but it was mostly filled with hay
(we'd push them around and create tunnels, secret rooms)
and had a thick rope hanging from the top cross-beams
we would climb a mountain of hay bales
then jump off, swinging out through the barn

i even loved enjoying my body climbing up. . .

i was miserable at sports
hated competition
but loved doing things with my body

through my whole life
my father pushed both my brother and i into sports
i was awkward, shy and insecure
and i shyed away from competition
because i didn't like being the loser... nor did i like making others the loser
-- it never seemed like Good Clean Fun to me
by the time i was ten
i had so badly failed at Football, Soccer, Basketball and Baseball (all the good American Sports)
that my father started to give up on me

it took me years and years to be able to see this
but it was in this period where both my father and i developed a relationship of
Trying to Please one another
-- we were both really bad at doing what made the other happy
so we'd fail miserably
and then resent the other for not being pleased
and resent ourselves for being so bad and what we thought we should be able to do well
Namely: being a Father and being a Son

at age 10 i had really given up on my father
and it made me more free...

i dropped competitive sports for a bit and started Tae Kwon Do
-- this was a huge change in my life
because it stopped me from feeling like a victim
placed my power back in myself
-it's where i started stretching and simply daily self-health
like pushups and meditation (yes, even then)
Also, my teach told us we should always call any man we respect "Sir"
so we and he knows that we respect Him and are putting ourselves below Him
in order to receive his teachings

i really liked this idea
not because i wanted to be submissive, not at all
but because i wanted to learn from someone who was genuinely competent and excellent.
(years later, the older gay men i would start friendships with would always freak out when i called them "Sir" -- i'd try to explain, but...)

Also, this year
my brother and i stayed with my Godfather and his wife for two weeks
(these were my favourite Aunt and Uncle)
it was the longest we'd been away from our parents
shortly before i turned 10
i noticed i was getting fat
(everyone in my family was fat, so it wasn't a big deal)
i looked down one day in the shower and realized my belly was getting so fat i could no longer see my penis
and i realized i had to do something

instead of stopping eating so much and doing nothing but playing Nintendo all the time
i just became more aware of when enough food was enough
and taking breaks to walk and stretch and do pushups
the Tae Kwon Do came right in time. . .

but up at my Aunt's
we learned how to pour beer without a head
she had a keg in her fridge downstairs
(year's later she would join AA and i mourned the loss of her jovial personality... of course, being her nephew and not her husband or kids i never saw her extremes of drunken rage and hang overs... good for her she got it under control)

she was appalled at how all we ever did was play Nintendo
and we never read books
but our father told us Books were for Sissies!
(later understood he's severely dyslexic and probably came up with that one for protection)
so she locked us in separate rooms of her house for hours a day
with stacks of books
"you don't have to read: but that's all you CAN do"

so i did
Hardy boys, i think it was
not so great stories
but i loved escaping into another reality

when i went back to school that year
i started skipping lunch to read Greek Myths in the library
then go into fantasy novels
(and my father gave up all hope in me)

but before we leave behind entirely that little house in the cornfields
what about the other little things i've forgotten to mention?

like playing in the cornfields for hours every summer
bored and disgruntled at times
picking hard ears
and throwing them at the passing cars

going to explore the empty farm houses around there
through the broken glass
and rotten boards. . .
everything in decay

why did this happen to the building?
where is the family that used to live here?
Neil stepped on a nail that went clear through his foot...

and playing with one of the boys who lived further down the road
past the edge of the corn field
with some horses in pasture...
one year they got a Colt
who was very feisty and would chase us around
(we'd keep near the fence)

but there are sink-holes in the ground
for some reason. . .
and there were a few in that horse field
-- we'd run for them and jump down in them
the colt would snort
and try to reach down to bite our hair
-- the older boy, Peter, would talk about girls
we'd listen, entranced..
somewhere secret
somewhere dangerous
with stories from the future
glimpses of a life we might later know...