Tuesday, July 20, 2004
A voice behind me calls "Craig!" It's a strange, high-pitched, old man voice. And it scares me, like I'm a kid again, hiding from my crazy uncle.
Looking around, I see him sitting behind some bales of hay, and I walk toward him to realize he is the poet James Broughton.
I start to say something like, "Why are you here?" or "But Jim Cory says you died." He interrupts, smiling, pointing to my left hand and saying, "Part of you misses Iowa, it's that part of you, that part of you there."
"My left hand?"
"Your left hand, it misses Iowa."
I am looking at my left hand, touching it, poking it, while Broughton giggles.
Then he lurches forward, grabs my hand, kisses it, then he jumps out the window, flying away. Without hesitation I jump out the window after him and start to fall, and I'm thinking, "Oh shit, this is really going to hurt!" But it doesn't hurt, and it's the only dream I can remember having where I fall, and wake up before I hit the ground.
My left hand is broken. I can see James Broughton in the air, in the distance, becoming a dot moving through the sky.
Last thing I recall is standing there, holding my left hand in front of my face, moving the broken bones around, watching them move under the skin. But it didn't hurt.
When I woke, I pulled James Broughton's book Little Sermons of the Big Joy off the shelf, a book I had the extreme pleasure helping edit. The day it came back from the printer I remember saying to Jim Cory and Janet Mason that I was proud of us helping spread the word of this big voice few have paused to hear. The book felt like a sermon of the worldly on its way to conquer...something, and I'm not so sure what.
Let me share one of my favorite pages from this remarkable little book:
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complaint
Try a little flaunt
Call for comrades
who bolster your vim
and offer you risk
Corral the crones
Goose the nice nellies
Hunt the bear that hugs
and the raven that quoths
Stay up all night
to devise a new dawn
Not sure if there are any copies of this little chapbook left. But if anyone reading this is interested in buying a copy, let me know, and I'll contact Jim Cory to find out. My e-mail is CAConrad13@AOL.com