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tijuanagringo
17 February 2017 @ 08:37 am
.

Q: The trolley problem.

A: Abortion.

Discuss and decline. One or other. The.

No, not the red herring, please, NOT THE RED HERRING !  !   !     !       !           !             !

1 2  3   5     7       11           13             17

Nothing is divisible by itself.

This statement is false.

That is all.

Prime.

Rib.

.
 
 
tijuanagringo
28 January 2017 @ 06:10 pm
Where I’m From – a scatterbrained memoir.

I’m From a Pair of Grammar Fascists, no, a Trio.

My Father, My Mother, My Stepfather. They all knew, they all know, how to say “lie” instead of “lay” – or didn’t you know that pedantic and “proper” dialect?  That discriminating difference that only the children of English teachers bother to worry oh-so-redundantly about any more. No? Well, it is a dialect. Yes it is. It is. Is.

Lay down please, Mr. K., the nurse said at the clinic.

I am not a hen, my stepfather said. I don’t lay eggs. If you want me to lie down, ask me to lie down.

No. I lie. Like a dog. What he actually said was DAMNIT I AM NOT A CHICKEN FUCKING HEN

No. I lie again. He did not say FUCKING.

He did say DAMNIT.

We used to say about my second father, that if he calls you : NAME DAMNIT then you know he loves you.

Where I am from, I would gladly have him call me damnit again, just to hear his voice alive and well once more.

But they are gone. Both of them. My late fathers.

I am from three parents.

My mother, my father, and my stepfather.

All of them, each of them, grammar fascists.

My daddy died when I was twenty six. So I remember him very well. But he was only fifty six at the time, ten years younger than I am today, as I write this, where I’m from. He was also an alcoholic. I saw him ripped away from me into the addiction of drugs, I mean his drink and his smoke. Yes, in addition to drinking, he also smoked cigarettes. The back bathroom, attached to his and my mom’s bedroom, always stank of old poop and dead cigarettes. He would come home from the rocket laboratories after spending a hard day blowing things up to see why they could blow up, or why they would blow up, and then go sit on the throne and have a smoke while he slowly took a dump. He would read science fiction.

I miss him. I am from there.

I remember he took me out for a walk one evening in 1956 or then abouts. Pointed to the planet Mars. A brilliant red pinprick of light in the night-time sky. I believe I am from a place where he said mankind will go there one day. Thirteen years later, seven years before my Daddy died, a man walked on the moon. Then another. Walked. And another pair, next trip. Then more. Several. Two by two. They also drove a car. It is still there. They came home. I wonder if they left the keys.

My first father was happy when sputnik launched. He knew it meant that soon he would and could be working on rockets instead of airplanes. I believe he preferred rockets. I believe I am from there. That place in the outer worlds. Where heaven is not just a word. Where the heavens are plural. I used to have a bag of marbles that used to be his. For a while, they were my planets. I told them about Voyager, which he did not live to see. John Glenn rode on one of his rockets. It did not explode.

My mother is also a grammar fascist. I say was AND she is because she is still alive. She complains because her children say lay instead of lie. Ninety seven she will be this year. She was thirty when I was born from her body. She let them cut off a piece of my penis and then she fed me from a bottle. I’m from there. But other than doing to her baby what they told her she had to do to be a modern, independent woman, other than that she was a very good mother. I am from there, definitely. My heart breaks when I think that one day, soon, she will leave me. But at least she did not die thirty years before her time. No. She married an old friend from long ago whom she had not seen in thirty-four  years. They had twenty-nine years and nine months together before he, too, died. Ten years ago this summer.

We all die, and will have died, and that is history. We are born, we live, for long or short or in between; and then, we die. It's all the juicy parts that come in-between. That's what matters.

You are from there. I’m from there.

I am from my mother. That’s what I tell Jehovah’s nitwits when they ask at the door who created me. My mother grew me. Then I was born. That is Where I’m From.

Just don’t ask me to babysit the grandchildren, Mom said, when my son was born. She still says it. She hates the sweatshirt my younger brother and his wife and kids gave her last month because it says Grandmas never run out of cookies or hugggggs so have a Merry Christmas. Ugly horrible Xmas RED Sweatshirt. So cute it makes you want to vomit. They are always trying to please her. She loves them anyway. Don’t none of you call me Gramma, she says. She calls me grumpy when I complain. Here I am. Other than that, she is a loving, generous person. She used to be an English teacher. No wonder she’s a grammar fascist.

I am from there, too. Except that I am more than grumpy. I tell tales, like this one. Yes. Here we are, reading another one.

My stepfather was a genius. He dropped out of Berkeley in his senior year because he said they had nothing more to teach him. A couple years after that, when he was courting in 1940, my grandfather and grandmother sat my mother down and warned her not to marry him. It took him thirty-four years to win her back. My grandparents never went to college. They warned her that he would always shame her. They were wrong. But I am from there. Two years later, my mother met someone else. In New York City. On a blind date. During the war.

My stepfather, meanwhile, went to war and became an Army engineer. He was different after that.

After what he saw. He came home, then invented and patented the inductor, which no one uses, but which could provide millions of gallons of fresh water and electricity, merely through evaporation. Of course it would cost a lot of money to build the damn thing. Build the DAMN thing, already, damnit, he would say if you asked him. Later he also inherited land and bought some more and never had to work again for the rest of his life. His children had trouble at school answering that old question: what does your parent do for a living. I don’t know, they said. He stays home all day and reads books, and goes on vacation. Finally he told them to say he was a property manager. Damnit.

My mother says she did not marry him for his money – what little he had – enough to go to Europe or travel America in a motor home – but then, we both live in his house. My mother says it is the best place she ever lived. Thirty-nine years now, and counting. Thirty years with him, then nine as widow. Soon to be ten. She misses him. We all do.

Yet we are in his debt. If he had not paid off the mortgage fifty years ago, neither of us could afford to live here. The house has a view, you see. You can literally see for miles. Sometimes I wish I really were from here – not having to work, staring at the sunset. Because I still live in his house with my mother. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms.  Comfortable. I’m retired, with medicare and a small social security payment. I also get work occasionally on the internet, translating Mexican Spanish into English.

So I am at least part-time from there. Here. Where. The sun rises.

Well, however, I fear you must excuse me now. I have to fix breakfast for Mom, and then I am and have this dirty laundry to do and wash. I’m from there. Where. Here.

Bourgeois pseudo-trustafarian.
 
 
tijuanagringo
20 January 2017 @ 02:47 pm


20 January 2017

Today the 45th President of the United States (or POTUS as it is fashionable to call him [or her] these days) is inaugurated.

He and his vice-president (as it turns out, both are white protestant men, again) take their oath and swear to support and defend and do their job.

Then, the new president gives his speech.

I watch it all. I listen to it all.

The “inaugural address” is very hard-line. Very much a campaign promise speech. I believe it now, when they said he wrote it himself. It is very true to his entire campaign and all that he promised and spoke.

This is a great moment in history. Well, some of my friends and family would argue that no, it is not great. But it is historical. Tremendously – or terrifyingly, again, my nieces would say, terrifyingly historical. Hysterical.

Well, be that as it may, I still applied for a job with him. I wanted to work at the National Endowment for Arts, which I heard yesterday would be abolished, along with the National Endowment for Humanities.

Oh dear. I turn on my heel and rub my nieces bent noses into the mud.

It is raining today.

I don't even want to begin to tell you what my Mexican friends in Tijuana would think of me (if I told them, and well, I did not even want to tell you, but... the writing, you know, must go on).

I told them (the transition team) that I am a democrat. But I applied anyway. I want to go live in Washington and work for the artists.

You decide for yourself whether I am evil or not. My sea change may be a heel turn, and maybe not.

Here: some of the proof I sent of being a wonderful office worker and artist.





I also told him, I mean them, that I speak excellent Spanish. Maybe they (he) will appoint me ambassador to Mexico.

O sí pues entonces un chingo de changos van a volar de mi culo ja ja ja ja ja ja ja ja ja  .

.

. .

.  .     .

. .

.

 
 
tijuanagringo
10 January 2017 @ 09:34 pm
Fear is the heart of love.
a short story

All night flight. I came here on an all night flight. Only a few months ago it was back in the fall, the autumn, yes, I remember it no don’t tell me I was always here haunting this house – these houses – on N Street, these twin brownstones standing side by side from a hundred years before Citizen Kane and Star Wars no no no I have not been here forever no I only came here last fall, last autumn, flung across the sky on wings of steel don’t be silly humans cannot fly no no no my little poetry man if you came here at all it was by railroad or perhaps you expect me to believe you drove one of those new-fangled auto-mobiles all the way what? You insist on saying you flew here very well then you flew here yes I did I remember it I am not a ghost I am a human being alive and in the flesh yes I am please no…

I have not been here for two hundred years I am not sleeping on the stairwell, the carpeted steps cushioning my head I am not hiding from the ghost, the banshee, the mistress haunting spirit I am not running away from all of the rooms and huddling under a blanket in my giant woolen peacoat no I am not dreaming I am awake no I am asleep I have not been here for two hundred years I only came here last fall on an all night flight – a red-eye flight from the west – Is that what you call it, my little poetry man? The “red eye” why how quaint yes you have much to teach me little man it has been years since anyone slept here and spoke to me no no no – I have not been here for a hundred years or more, not infested this spot of ground since the slaves dug out the first street paths, not haunted these twin brownstones built on top the ruins of a tiny shop and house and livery stable just east off Connecticutt avenue in the mud in 1832, not haunted in this pair of town houses from the days of Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, not this piece of dirt dug down for a basement where the 20th century furnace roars into life and the huge water-heater huddles back somewhere under the kitchen.

Not the first floor either, that splendid entry hall with double doors against the bitter winter cold and steaming summer heat, not the grand front staircase sweeping upwards toward the floors of bedrooms, not the lovely front parlour with its picture window looking out over the street, not the middle sitting room that later owners – the man and woman ghost pair couple who haunts my every waking and sleeping hour – the middle sitting room converted into a 1940s and 1950s downstairs bedroom, not the dining room beyond with its huge swinging door leading into and out of the kitchen, and its sliding service hatch, not the kitchen, either, with its tiny back service stairs leading down and up, its big back door letting out onto the alley where a coach-house used to be the “back-alley” theater behind Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, no, not that. That does not haunt me I am not here I am not dreaming this these rooms are not all empty empty empty I am I am I am I am not no no no no…

Not the second floor, no, with its endless row of vacant bedrooms leading back back back from the front bathroom toward the back, and then the very back bedroom with its opening door into the solarium – that wonderful screened and glassed in porch, where echoes sing toward the outdoors but nothing escapes the windows, no, no, none of those rooms, not the bathrooms with their ancient claw-foot bathtubs where I sit and soak for hours in giant pools of hot hot hot water, not the bedrooms one after another where two generations of upper middle-class girls grew up with their cheaper by the dozen brothers and bureaucratic father and social climbing mother struggling to reach toward her betters and be kind to those below her station but not let them in with her no not yet, no, not that telephone cabinet down the hall where the first “phone” was put in in 1888, no, and not that grand staircase coming up from the first floor rising on up further toward the third, no no no I am not haunted I am not dreaming I am asleep.

And maybe, only, yes, maybe just perhaps the third floor my favorite floor where I sleep when I am not afraid of the ghostly spectre who rules this abandoned bourgeois palace, yes, in the third floor suite of rooms, the front bathroom in ancient style, and then the front room, middle room, and back bedroom, the suite of sleeping and sitting rooms, one with a fireplace and mantle where I dare to light no fire, no, and then the back bathroom rather modernized in 1939 beige moderne, yes, and the windows of the room that let out onto the fire escape metal ladder by which means I first entered this wonderful abandoned palace only a month ago was that all it was yes I have only been here a month, two months, maybe three I flew east from California no I have not been here haunting this brownstone this townhouse I have not been here for a hundred years and more since before when there was only a tiny shack and an old livery stable no I have not been here all that time trapped in the staircases and rooms no no no I only flew in last November from… what? And now I’m back? Oh yes welcome home my little poetry man from out west how wonderful of you to come back to come back east to your ancient banshee mother how sweet of you to come home I have been waiting for you yes I have you you you have finally come home to your old ghost back east yes yes yes yes yes…

So in my dreams I see her come to me and take me, the incubus or is it succubus I don’t know which but she comes first as an old crone, Momma Davis, the ancient landlady of this boarding house from the 1940s and 50s,  from the 1960s and 70s, with her dozen rooms here for rent to students and other petty travelers from far and wide around the world they came to Washingtown D.C. and got stuck in her rooms like flies upon a trap and the great imperial capital sucked all the life out of their bones and Ma Davis locked them up in the walls and drained their spirits of energy and left them alone to go home again to Kansas and Kenya and they hardly knew what no no no my little poetry man it was not like that at all I welcomed them just like I welcome you all my dozens of rooms here full of students and young government workers from Africa and America, no no no it was not like that these whispers in my dreams your wrinkled cheek like a thousand broken furrows across the dust bowl, this ancient, ragged cheek pressed against mine, her lips sucking at my brow drawing out my life and energy while she whispers no no no it was not like that no my little poetry man it was sweet and delicious as young life can be yes yes yes it was and it still is her cracked lips breaking into my ear who knows who knows but one of my boys from east Africa will marry a girl from the midwest and get her with child in the wild and turbulent 60s and that child will grow up to be the first mulatto president of AT&T or IBM or maybe even yes your beloved USA what no of course it is mine too I only meant oh dear little poet man dream on dream on in my empty rooms yes yes yes what room are you sleeping in tonight? Where are you now?

I will find you, yes I will, you cannot hide from me why would you want to hide from my delicious embrace my kiss of history I am so full of life from so many people who have passed by my way and left me with their lives, yes, come to me and tell me your life and I will tell you what all of them told me what you are my little poetry man where are you sleeping tonight? Come, tell me, make me transform with your breath, let the old crone, the haggard woman grow young with change, the aged banshee transform from howling hag into loving, caring mother, prowling the halls of my abandoned boarding house once upon a time it was even more, the home of my youth, three floors of bedrooms and sitting rooms where my brothers and sisters and I grew up a hundred years ago before any automobiles prowled these streets outside where you walk and walk and then come back to tell me what you see. In my dining room and kitchen and parlour, yes, I will find you where are you now my little poetry man I go floating from room to room searching upstairs and down, whispering whispering whispering in the night while sirens howl outside and streetlamps flicker and die. Ah look here you are I lie down beside you, taking into my spell your young body of flesh and blood, incubus of your dream, you are the succubus of my rebirth. Transform me living skin and bone, make me young again.

The middle-aged mother. Woman of feeling and power, of love and protection come to me make me young again and I will tell you secrets and give you power over the outside world where I cannot go but you can wander each day and find new adventures to tell me and feed me feed me feed me yes yes yes yes yes yes… oh yes I am transforming from ancient hag into guardian mother I am becoming my own mother a hundred years ago when all the children ran screaming through the house, upstairs and down, yes yes yes we went running in and out of each others’ rooms chasing each other from room to room shouting upstairs and down until father hollered be quiet you wild rapscallion hooligans and we would laugh and laugh and tumble down the tiny back stairs into the kitchen calling Mother! Mother! Mother!

She was there in the kitchen, yes, she was, just now taking her youngest from her breast and settling that last crippled baby into her crib by the door to be rocked to sleep in the cradle ever rocking rocking out of the cradle ever rocking yes yes yes no. No. This was before they sent her away to be locked up in an institutional “home” outside of town yes Mama had just laid her down for the last time at home and now with tears in her eyes was turning slowly slowly away toward the oven with the giant hot-mitts on her hands, to open it slowly slowly slowly and pull out a huge tray of chocolate chip cookies to set on the stove top and cool cool cool before we could have any we did not know this was baby’s last day in the house that father had decided she must go soas not to take more from us altogether no.

Mother was making a huge tray of toll house cookies from her grandmother’s recipe from back when her great-grandfather had been a lockkeeper on the C&O canal twenty miles outside of town just below Great Falls, yes, and now his descendant was taking out a huge tray of cookies, and then another, bribes for the institutional doctors and nurses out of town far out in Rockville where Momma and Papa would go with the baby in a carriage rented from the big coach house outside our back door but we did not know that in 1910 no we did not know that all we knew was the house was full of delicious, sweet smells and we danced around all eleven of us crying out Mama Mama Mama cookie cookie cookie!

I tell you this, dear poetry man, because I have found you again and can lay myself down beside you and whisper my secrets while I breathe in your spirit your life your essence your living energy so young so sweet so strong and then one of the children steps forward, Virginia the Virgo it is, yes, and she reaches out her hand for a cookie, her young hand so pure, so untouched, so virginal, yes, and when she reaches out for you and me then all my brothers and sisters disappear, and Momma disappears, and Papa in the front parlour harumphing over his evening newspaper with the latest news from New York, they all disappear, yes, they are gone and no no no now there is only this one young girl, the pure, the untouched virgin, lying beside you, dear poetry man and now I am done you may sleep good night and goodbye.

And I wake up. To write this down. God have mercy.



 
 
 
tijuanagringo
04 January 2017 @ 08:05 am
It's a Wayne Gretzy quote:

“I don't skate to where the puck is. I skate to where the puck is going to be. "


One.
I don’t skate. I break my head on the cement wall. There is blood. And pain.
Go back to edit. Sometimes I will go, afterwards, back to where the puck was gone.
That is not writing. That is editing. And that’s okay.
Too.

Two.
So I could be another. There is no possum. It did not walk on my grave. I did not receive a “get out of jail free” chord, even though I wrote about all four topics.
My problem, I believe, or rather my mistake, was thinking I could be a smart ass and write all four at once. There is no hidden message here, nor hear, because I am farting it out loud, right out in the open. Do not go where the fart will be.
Do not go where the fart is going to be. Cut the cheese instead.

Three.
I made myself a toasted turkey and provalone cheese sandwich. It smelled, quite curiously, like dog shit. I got down on my knees and smelled the carpet in the room where I was eating. Then I smelled the bottom of my shoes. Yes, yes, of course I had to take them off my feet. I am not a contortionist. Puck no.
But no. No dog crap anywhere. The aroma definitely came from my sandwich, back on my plate, up there upon the table, in that little room.
For, you see, Once Upon A Time there was a weird man.
He wrote. And drank too much.
His name was Hemingway.
Or maybe it was Bukowski.
Or, like my father used to say, “Mud.”

Four.
And you know what that spiels? Backwards?
D-U-M.
Oh wait. The timer is going off, up on the stove. No more double triple prepositions now.
Yes. Coffee in the old-style percolator is ready.
Definitely retro.
I use the timer so I don’t over-perk it. You cannot edit bad coffee. You cannot drink spilled milk. You should not eat shit.
That’s for fertilizer, not food.
But you know what “they” say. Be where the fuck is going to be.
Now.
So, here we are. Were. Where.
Hope it was good for you too. Some people also enjoy it up the ass.
Well. Okay. Bye.
 
 
 
tijuanagringo
30 December 2016 @ 08:19 am
.

Jantelagen
Sang-froid

Kummerspeck

Possum ran over my grave


.


Oh child

knave of hearts
do not go    gently into that age-ing
cold-blooded                            non-sequitur
you   
                  think ?

Seems Madam nay it is
east of Eden         filthy whore          son
drove his trans-Am        over   my              grave

oh my boy  why so sad a face
efface
that bacon greasy smile of despair

do not smile
on Capri               Axel

the horror   is
                            inescapable

and you are          too proud
                                               to      confess

it

.

(homage @ Munthe/San Michele)

.
 
 
tijuanagringo
12 December 2016 @ 07:35 am
.
Brushback Pitch  : a converse-action
.
Why don’t you slide down a razor blade into a pool of alcohol.
What?
So’s your mama.
Now see here…
You see here.
What?
Yeah, that.
Say what?
You heard me.
Damn. Seems like you want me to shit or get off the pot.
Yeah, man, that’s it. Either you quit bitching or get out of the kitchen.
You the one who’s bitching, or so it seems to me.
Oh, you say so?
Yeah, I say so.
Seems like?
Yeah.
Nay, brother, it is. Get out. Move. Or I’ll –
Hey, umpire, he….
* Pitcher Expelled *
.
.
.
 
 
tijuanagringo
02 December 2016 @ 08:57 pm
My old friend – let’s call him Paul.

We’ve known each other since we were young men. Forty-five years ago. Yes, we are both retired now, although he is more retired than I – I still work part-time as a translator, never gave up my poetry and writing habit (which I began when I was fifteen), and most recently (ten years now) I have begun to create films – or rather, video. Vlogs. Camera work and editing. By myself.

But that is another story, altogether.

What I want to tell you today is a story Paul recently told me, about how he trained his baby son like a dog, many years ago.

Funny how years go by and there are still things we don’t know about each other. Until he told me the story, I did not know he had trained the boy. But, well, part of that ignorance on my part is because I went away to live in Mexico twenty years ago, and did not come back until recently. But that, too, is yet another story. Not to be told today.

Yes. Twenty years ago, when he and his wife of ten years had given up ever having a child, suddenly it happened. She got pregnant. She was forty, he was fifty. The baby was prematurely born, but survived, and has grown up to become a fantastic young man, handsome, talented, intelligent; like his parents, but better than both of them put together. According to my friend, at least.

Anyhow, when the boy was still a baby, and beginning to crawl around (we used to call our children rug rats at that stage – perhaps you millennials still do), my friend Paul realized that soon this child would be up on his feet and getting into everything he could lay his hands on.

“You know, Danial,” he said to me, telling me the story, “I knew that I would have to do something to keep him out of trouble, but that this would be something I would only need to do in moments of need. So I thought about it, and realized that my son, even as a baby, was much smarter than a dog, and that I could train him, like a beloved family’s best friend, to answer and respond to a few simple commands. So I did.”

With love and positive reinforcement and praise and sweet treats, my friend Paul taught his baby son to respond to three simple cues.

One: a whistle from his father’s pursed lips, to catch his attention.

Two: a snap of the fingers to say “Now, son, do this.”

Three: a point of his index finger to tell him to come here or go there.

And so, a year or so after teaching him this, my friend was with his toddler son, in a busy medical office, standing at the reception desk exchanging information with the office personnel, when he felt a tingling sense of possible concern rising behind him. Paul glanced over his shoulder, and saw his son at the table in the center of the waiting room, shuffling magazines around in big circles and beginning to mess with the individual pages themselves, apparently fascinated with the texture of the paper and the colors of the pictures and text.

All around him, the room full of adult patients was beginning to manifest visual signs of concern and worry over this seemingly unsupervised child who was procediing to make a mess of piled up magazines right in the middle of them all.

Paul whistled, caught his son’s eye, snapped his fingers, and pointed to his own feet. Then he turned back to the medical clerk, and continued to provide the information required and requested. In another few moments, he felt his son settle down on top of his feet, and then wrap his arms around his Daddy’s ankles.

My friend glanced back over his shoulder, briefly. Every face in the room was staring at him with looks of dumbfounded awe, and stunned disbelief at what they had just seen with their own eyes. Whistle, snap, and the child had obeyed, happy as a clam just to please his father.

My friend smiled at me a couple months ago, twenty years later, and said, “I was reminded of this just recently, Danial, when Brandon asked me one day if I had trained him to do that when he was a baby.”

“Yes?”

“Yes. Of course, I quit doing the whistle-snap thing after he got to be two or three, when he had learned how to talk sufficiently to carry on a straightforward conversation, and we could simply discuss what to do and how to do it. No more need for emergency commands. But then, not too long ago, he asked me if his early memories were correct, that there had been a time when I would whistle and snap my fingers to call him.”

Paul leaned back. Took another sip of the tea. “Yes, I said. I did.”

“Ah.”

“And do you know what he told me?”

“Uh… no.”

“That for years now, whenever he is with his friends and thinks it is time for them to go, or leave somewhere, he will whistle, snap his fingers, and point to the door.”

“Heh. You don’t say.”

“Yes. I do say.”
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
tijuanagringo
17 November 2016 @ 08:33 pm

I need the struggle to feel alive



Sometimes it is not enough,
those nights in white satin.

All those letters I’ve written
never meaning to send
                                      now
                                                burn
in back of
                                my eyelids
on
              the internet.

What did she do?
Wipe down my
                        server
with her bleach?

I need the struggle to feel alive.

Oh how I love you.

Why did
          you die?



                                                                                q.e.p.d.       Maria Teresa de Jesus Salazar Tovar  1945-2015



.
 
 
Current Location: Mexican border
Current Mood: crankycranky
Current Music: So in love, by Cole Porter
 
 
tijuanagringo
09 November 2016 @ 06:46 am
.

I remember being introduced to ballroom dancing.


It was part of my cultural and social education. I mean, that is, “our” education. For dancing is, and always has been – except for shamans – a community activity. And even a shaman – although she or he dances alone with God – even that prophet is expected to bring back the message and grace and power and then share it with the community we serve.

But, as I was saying, I remember being introduced to ballroom dancing.

Mrs. Fox was her name.

Her lessons transpired toward the end of elementary school, before we advanced into puberty and junior high. All through elementary we had done square dancing in the school auditorium on Lemon Avenue, but this was different. Each boy danced with one girl, and vice-versa.

No more squared-off four-couple swing your partner round and round allemand left and bring her home come to the center and all fall down… wait… turn the record over… okay, there, swing your partner by the hair, trump her kitty and give her a scare, run around screaming and tell me a dare yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.

No. Now I had to stick with one girl, and not pull her hair. We would dance by ourselves, two by two by two. The waltz, one two three. The fox trot, one two three four. The cha cha, one two cha-cha-cha.

But no.          I am not going to do that again.

Instead of talking about that, I am going to introduce myself to you, and ask you to dance, man or woman, may I ask you, please, if I may have this writing dance with you. Can I be your reader? Will you be mine?

She introduced me to the Tennessee waltz.

.