Saturday, September 01, 2007

Radio nowhere

Yesterday at lunch Melanie said to me, after she had covered her eyes with her hand, shaking her head, "The vortex has returned. And in record time."

She may be right.

She's referring to the vortex of weirdness that often seems to ring me. I should have seen it ramping up. The man offering me a loaf of raisin bread. The retarded boy whistling at me in K-Mart, wanting to know if I sold harmonicas.

In Carbondale, it was ape-shit bonkers most of the time. A hirsute Romanian who only wore zebra-striped jogging pants, fanny packs, and Deion Sanders t-shirts, who was fond of the poetry of Steve Miller ("Who is this man who sings, 'Really love your peaches / Want to shake your tree.' This is poetry, my friend."). A disgraced podiatrist who had lost everything, thriving practice, a pretty wife (he would, in melancholy moments, confide what he missed most about her: "a pair of warm titties in my back"). Crying Chinese women. Workshop pseudo-death threats. Police interrogation. Meetings with university legal counsel. Rodney Jones.

In Tuscaloosa, despite road-side faith healings and weird passive-aggressions from my boss, things were mostly sedate. A great time and place for me as a writer.

Chattanooga was, well, home. Little in the way of strangenesses.

But here we all are in Carrollton, a fine little town where I wake up to find on my walk to school a prison detail cleaning sidewalks for me. Then, days later, the city ripping three blocks of sidewalk out of the ground, pouring concrete for new sidewalks. For me. Low flying planes overhead doing aerial surveying. A guy in an elephant costume riding by on a motorcycle.

An elderly woman establishing some sort of psychic link with me.

A weirdly solicitous student we dubbed Burlsputin, for his unsettling mix of Burl Ives and Rasputin.

One issue I wish I could talk about but in kindness to another I won't.

Becoming this university's enfant terrible in regards to improving access.

Two hours of wracking pain.

One personal attendant quitting. Her replacement calling herself The Sunshine Lady.


Marc McKee said...

Might not Melanie have something to do with the opening of said vortices? If I remember Houston a-right (and, admittedly, there's no guarantee that I ever will), Melanie was one of a very few folk with the power to open a vortex. If nothing else, she has created one of the best one-line poems I've heard in an age. "The vortex has returned. And in record time" indeed.

Matthew Guenette said...

I'm with Marc, at least you got that great line from Melanie. Hey, at least Melanie is there.

I wish I was there, having had all my life a soft-spot for the vortex.

Shit Paul, you might be staring down the dark ravine of some soon-to-be kick-ass poems...


Paul said...

It probably is Melanie. Dadburn her hide.

John Gallaher said...

It does make one want to revisit the "sur" part of the definition of "surreal," doesn't it?

The television is on behind me, and Goofy just asked Mickey if baby redbird could eat a pogo stick.

Annandale Dream Gazette said...

Must've moved south. C.Dale Young wrote about a vortext on the last day of Breadloaf, 8/29. Maybe it became metaphoric on its way south.

Paul said...

Fried pogo stick. Mmm.

Melanie said...

Now look here. None of you can prove any such vortex opening.