November 16, 2013


William wanted to watch the Chuck E Cheese robot band up close. It seemed to be his preference given that all the blaring games were too big, too confusing in their reasons for spitting tickets. In our front-row perch we were siddled up close to the birthday boy, a school friend of Williams who was turning four today. Up next to him was his dad, who has been struck quickly with an intractable illness that means he is not long for this world. I was close enough to hear things the dad was saying quietly to his son, petting his hair, just devotional, while his giddy little boy mowed through his party pizza, saying things this little boy may not remember but things I know as a parent are the most important things you say to your kids--things freighted with impossible weight that they hopefully will not full grasp until decades into adulthood. And then he asks him, wet eyed, "Can I give you a kiss?" and the boy smiled big and offered his face to his dad and I had to turn away and bury my face in Williams hair so as not to sob. On the ride home, I cried, embarrassed by the riches of our good health, our good luck. William cried because sometimes it is hard when someone gets a present and you do not.

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October 27, 2013


There was a two year span, perhaps, of late nights in my teenage Minneapolis bedroom where my neon dreams of adult life to begin was limned entirely by Lou Reed's Transformer. I couldn't find Velvet Undergound records on vinyl (used vinyl was my shopping medium, affordable on $5.15/hour record shoppe minimum wages) and by the time I did hear V.U. I knew 25 other band's records by heart that aped them in a way that was more meaningful to me. I was a punk 16 going on 17 in 1993, I hated anything that happened in the sixties on principle. But, Lou. He was crude, lucid, simple, sentimental, shy of proper adulthood but yet opening the door on underground existence that was beyond childhood, beyond protection. It made sense and it made me hungry for the thrall of the wide world; beyond.

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