Thursday, September 7, 2006


so I had one of the most interesting, entertaining 72 hour periods of my life this past weekend. which probably explains both my lack of writing for a few days and my deluge today. Lyli and Scarleht burn their crazy joy in our sunny yard this Thursday morning like none before it as I sit groggily transposing notes into more notes with a narrative line:

Eamon and I arrive home saturday evening and tidy the house for our lovely guests joining us for dinner, wine and a night in the country. Pasta with vodka sauce, wide ranging conversation, the shy, sly smiles that light up a night, a light bending through the curvature of wine and this glass that holds it. She smiles at me while attaching safety-pins to her everything and I know it's true. Fast-forward a few hours to naked bodies, smeared with blackberries and soot, dancing around a bonfire free and ecstatic under the shooting stars and deep dark open. Fast-forward to the morning after, breakfast and fond touches and smoke and into the city shining.

Meet my father at noonish at Last Word Books. We take a roundabout walk down Eastbay and up San Francisco street to get my girls. Talk turns around our little lives, dipping serious and rising smiling. We talk about familial familiar relationships, respect, this public stage I've made of parts of my and our life. We decide that sometime soon we will talk to my mother about the three of us attending some group counseling from an old family friend in Walla Walla. We talk about fractured families, healing processes, past mistakes, regrets, solutions. It is hard and heavy and good and warm.

We make it up the hill, hang out with Steph for a few minutes and then drive to Priest Point Park, the girls quickly asleep. Now our talk turns to business, economics, our joint book empire we are slowly building, barely maintaining, drowning in. Dreaming of bookshelves, we try to stay small in our endeavors to puzzle together a future that can hold us all. The clock ticks, back downtown to meet my father's parents for lunch. They are aware of Steph and I's separation for the first time and I know this and am nervous. Safety-pins walks up as my grandparents approach and I almost burst out laughing at the absurdity of synchronicity and its ridiculous timing. Safety-pins meets and greets three generations of my family hours after the blackberry bonfire. I blush beneath my beard and our paths part again. Into lunch with the fam at The Urban Onion.

Good food, good talk. My grandmother broaches senstive subject numero uno in the best way possible with a simple "Do you think there's ever a chance you and Stephanie will get back together." And I stop sweating and relax and everything after is good good gravy and quality time. We deliver the ladies back unto their mama and proceed downtown in my green 1982 volve station wagon affectionately nicknamed "Puff".

To nap or not to nap? That is the question. And the answer is a big fat NO. Time enough to sleep when you're dead. Time for some bacchanalian bonding with father and friends. Faster Pussycat is playing across the street at the 4th Ave Tav and we have lent them the back of the bookstore for their pre and post parties. Thusly everyone with our crew has a free ticket, free drinks, free food... all night long... and it's only 6 pm. Olympia, we might have a problem. Olympia, we might have several problems. Fast-forward thru $19.00 buck-hunter binge with odd assortment of Oly Heads, thru crazy band performance and ceaseless banter, fast-forward up 4th avenue with croquet mallets banging every street sign we can, fast-forward over the bridge and up to Rob's house, thru three bottles of wine and a game of croquet and lots of laughs back down said hill and back to 4th ave tav for some end of the evening libations. Quick run to last-minute gas station for beer, sweet blood. We open Last Word Books for 45 minutes or so in the dead of the night, watching 6 cop cars messing with the drunk and homeless but not us, enjoying cans of olympia in the open doorway of a radical bookstore open and empty at 2am, my father dozing in the chair outside. Truly we are blessed. Truly we are kings.

Back up the hill to Rob's to "retire" for the evening, Rob steals an american flag off a street lamp, Eamon and my father to sleep on respective sofas. Rob and I, another story. We find some gasoline in the shed and proceed to burn said flag, waving over our fair city of Olympia while singing America the Beautiful and Glory, Glory Hallelujah with two wierdoes who wander by before having an impromptu barbeque on the sidewalk of Harrison street until a very nice female police officer arrives, rolls her window down and says something along the lines of "could you please not do that?" Astonished, we politely clean up our mess and go to sleep. Rob and I on his bed, books on a shelf, covers scuffed.

Awake a few hours later and drive out to the Nisqually to pick up some of my mother's things. Amy Goodman interviews Pete Seeger on Democracy Now and we listen, enthralled. Back to Oly to grab Ben, Rob and Eamon, some orange juice, bacon, sausage, champagne. Dash to farmhouse, too much to do, too little time. Eamon whips up an excellent breakfast for all as we run around trying to get all the book work done and still have a good time. Rob digs through 25 boxes with my father in the barn, an experience I know he will relish. We eat and talk books until my pops has to head back over White Pass to Walla Walla.

Our coherence goes rapidly downhill as our sheer enthusiasm skyrockets. We chat about families, children, partners. Conversation shifts to typically taboo topics from a masculine slant, at least, things groups of guys don't normally talk about as openly as we did: sex talk with me boyos on the porch, mimosas, etymyological dictionaries, rock 'n roll, intermittant housework. Will shows up to hang out for the remainder of the evening and we talk silly under a rain of bottle rockets and absurd male bonding. Our words resound against the trees: Scooter subculture, kesey, cult films, blackberry vines and bare legged women, tattooed tramps, Eamon sings Long Black Veil, us: the apes of Oly. We hoist our rag and talk boisterous blood. After that bout of naked dancing a few nights back I've decided to call my "privates" my "publics" instead. Public Pubis. Publis Republicus. Rob and I decide repube should be a word. Would like a t-shirt that reads: This is me on brevity; or: Me: Brevity. "Euphonium? What's That? Playing the clarinet on ecstasy?" My virus aids others. Games Theory. I discover my name means "cloud, shadow, to shield, to twist, to turn obliquely, the coverer." I go mouse hunting with an empty bottle of port wine and emerge victorious. The night devolves and I melt into a wildness running in my own veined alleyways.

Tuesday I run errands, food co-op, post office, bank, write rent check, pick up girls and come back to the farmhouse. Eamon and I work on some of the piles of books littering virtually every room of the house for twelve hours, making a small but concertedly thorough dent. An easy decompressing day. I have not been this social in quite some time and now it explodes in me as I exchange one extreme for another to remember who I want to be by allowing my contemporary self to meet my past selves. Slowly, slowly, I discover what pieces I will use to recraft my self into the dream I have of me.

Wednesday we are in to Olympia, Eamon to work on the bookstore's taxes, me and the ladies to hang out with Heather (my supermamaofthreefriend) and Rowan (her 3.5 year old daughter). Lyli and Scarleht watch Rowan climb trees with obvious awe. Heather and I talk about failed relationships, lost loves, food preservation, bukowski, schooling, uschooling, soup stock, coffee, cigarettes, poetry, all of the above in the age of anarchy. Our girls play in the front yard as we grow to know each other better, two similar souls on this brave new landscape of twenty-first century parenting, looking outward.

Up to Evergreen. Another no-nap-whatsoever day. My ladies run around red square as I sit and journal about the weeks relentless progression of events and hearts and hands and good food. Eamon arrives shortly before Bill Ransom, who was our poetry professor at Evergreen, mentor and source for printing presses, who oddly enough will be moving in with us on Tuesday nights at the farmhouse! I have yet to wrap my mind around this one yet... I just can't believe it's happening. Imagine if your mentor/writing-teacher from the bulk of your college education just up and moved in with you! I'm quite excited.

Scarleht - "One People!" (she's already a genius)
Lyli - "Leaf Down! More Leaf!"
L - "He's Riding a Skateboard!"
both - "I see you Papa!" (in response to me asking them to stay where I can see them)

my pen dies, so I stop taking notes. See Daniel, Ronin's papa. Get to hang out with Lauren, who's watching Obi, for a short hour and a half. Nice to watch the girls play with other kids, however hesitantly. I am blossoming to this. I was afraid of it for a long time.

Fast-forward to present thursday night:

Good day with the girls today home for a full one for once. We play outside most of the day, read books, eat cereal, soup, tortillas and hummus and squash. They help keep the living room clean, have a little picnic with their stuffed animals under the tree. I ruthlessly hide over half of their stuffed animals, claiming they have gone on some extended vacation. My new life adopts some regular rhythms I enjoy the pace of very much. After the ladies fall asleep I sweep up her safety pins and sigh, write, be.

No comments: