I invite you to live in my world, my life, my superconductor under my short brown hair. Words scare me more than switchblades or machetes. Words like walnut, raisin and cashew. Because of my body's willful rejection-the tendency to rash, regurgitate or blister I must needs say I know thee not oh proteineine food-beloved of athletes, hikers and politicians everywhere as the main ingredients in trail mix.
You see me here lying in the dirt, no coxcomb to shield the unwavering sun, no water to juice my spirit. I am the great test. What to do with me? In 1994 Wiley asked that. But not of me. She pointed her mouth on high and blurted about me, to Yahweh or some other name, What am I going to do with you? I know that might sound like I'm a foot tall and in a cage. I didn't know much then. How could I? I thought the Philistines were the name of a defunct baseball franchise. Also I had a piece of babka stuck to my molar and Vanessa had charmed by wiping her thumb on my wrist veins. What am I going to do with you? was a synonym for I love, fuck, eat, squirm, sit and bleat you. It turned out Vanessa had to get her teeth cleaned, never to return. Nincompoops around the world unite!
Speaking of children I have one. Her name is Tiramisu and she lives in Utah, near a town that has caramel colored rock or so she told me in a letter. Her mother is working nights so Tiramisu has a bunch of study time on her hands. She asked me why she had to know the exact date of the Boston Tea Party to pass exams. My heart, I don't know, I replied, all this comes from very high up. Senators and brothers of senators and maids of senators and people who went to Harvard have standardized these tests. In a different era under a different yellow emperor you might not need to know of Benjamin Harrison but instead, Miss Lonelyhearts. Patience Tiramisu, patience. I want to visit you. They say the buses can take me to you in three days. I could come in the night so your mother wouldn't know. We could listen to the nightingales. They have them in Utah, don't they? We'll gossip. Talk of who's in, who's out. I'll introduce you to peppermint schnapps and we can get randy. You know your great grandfather Harold distilled the stuff. He had a limp and could rattle off cubed roots like the days of the week. He never met a person he didn't like. Wait a minute. Can that have been true? I meet people I don't like all the time. Never mind now. We'll have so much fun. How about fishing? 'Member that old poetess? I caught a tremendous fish-Oopa-maybe your mormonified curriculum doesn't allow for contemporary verse. This is what I'm talking about. I need to be there with you. To instruct. See what's what. Home schooling. And fishing.
Tiramisu, I have so much to tell you, so much to share. But we fight against time. Forget talk about the evildoers, time is our most potent enemy. Time waits for no one. He's a pissed off, shoddy drip if you ask me. No compassion, no sense of tradition or antiquity. Like a goddam shark. I caught a tremendous shark and lectured him on Helen of Troy and T-Mobile's family plan. Like a long-legged fly the fisherwoman's mind moves on the stream.
Look Tiramisu, when I get out of here I will be teaching creative writing. I'll drive a Camry and belong to the rotary club. (My favorite shape has always been a circle.) My new wife will set up fantastic dinner parties and her recipe for crab cakes will floor them. I caught a tremendous crab- No, I'm not hearing that same mellifluence. The hard cr- can't compare to the -sh of fish, right? Look at me, even by mail I can teach. I'll be dipped in-
Daddy's coming and that's no baby talk. We'll start in Europe with the art museums-not to disparage Utah, but it's not the same. First famous sculptures-the David, oh yeah ha-ha-he. Uh-oh, I'm getting a little too loud for the other residents and anyway the laundry key is ready for me.
One last bit of advice Tiramisu. Prepare for my homecoming! (Though I don't have a home there, we'll find a motel, no worries.) Again don't tell your mother. Expect me before the first frost. I'll have the Norton anthology of American Literature (or British if you like) and two strong poles. According to my friend, the venerable Kirby Newhall, even in October they are still biting at the Salt Lake.