Friday, August 29, 2003

dream of rollerskating with poets like you 

before i went to sleep last night my mother called, upset about her cousin's son celebrating his 19th birthday in Iraq yesterday. we have half a dozen family in various armed services over there. she told me that she had started crying at the mailbox thinking about him over there, and a neighbor driving by pulled over, and got out to talk with her. at one point my mother admitted to the neighbor that he told his mother how scared he was over there, and the neighbor said, "well, that's the decision the young man made for himself Carla, it's as good a time as any for him to face his decisions and become a man." it was a good thing the neighbor said that to my mother, because it gave her the perfect opportunity to vent her anger, "WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!? YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW FEW DECISIONS HE HAS HAD IN HIS LIFE! THERE'S NO WORK OUT THERE! AND BESIDES, WHY SHOULDN'T HE BE AFRAID IN A WORLD WHERE WE'RE WILLING TO SACRIFICE YOUNG MEN FOR OIL OR WHATEVER IT IS WE'RE DOING OVER THERE!" it was a great conversation with my mother. i told her i was happy for her to have that opportunity to let it all out on someone who deserved it, some middle class prick, ignorant of WHY many of the young men and women enter the armed services. true, he had other choices. true, no one held a gun to his head to sign his life away. my mother wasn't saying that. the young man has dreams of getting his time in, and using his money for college, and that is his decision. but he's still allowed to be scared for crying out loud!

anyway, my mother also talked about other cousins of her's in Iowa who are trying to raise money to buy the rollerskating rink in Clinton, where she grew up. she found out from my sister's big mouth that i'm about to drive to California with Maggie Zurawski, and wanted me to drive through Clinton, stay with my insane born again christian family, take photos of the rink for her. i told her that was impossible. which it's not, but i'll make it so if need be. anyway, i told her, they have cameras in Iowa, have them take you your pictures and mail them, why do i have to drive out there and do it?

but i had a dream after all this phone conversation that i had made some bad --very bad-- decisions somehow, and was working at this damn rollerskating rink. and i wasn't too happy. but i decided to have a poetry reading series there. and it was almost the Philly Sound revisited, only, it was Iowa. but there were these poets reading, poets from out there, that LOOKED sort of like Frank Sherlock, hassen, Chris McCreary, and even one really skinny guy who looked like Molly Russakoff. geeze, i hope this doesn't piss you off Molly, this is not to say that YOU looked him, a guy, but to say that HE looked like you, a woman. he's was kind of sexy, if that helps. but they weren't the actual poets i know here. and there was that kimball organ music playing that i remember as a kid from the rinks. at one point in the dream my aunt came up to us when we were in the back room where all the vending machines are lined up, and she was angry because this Molly-looking guy had read a poem against the war in Iraq. only now, he really is Molly, because when he's speaking he sounds exactly like her, and he did a great job calming my aunt down with a lot of diplomatic understanding of her feelings, and sharing some snack food from the machine.


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