off the starboard wingtip

Sky 8In The New Yorker, journalist Jenna Krajeski wrote about James Dickey’s poem “Falling” and how it reminds her of October.  Or maybe it’s October that reminds her of “Falling,” I’m not quite sure.  After a while the spark of recollection tumbles back upon itself and the initial thought isn’t clear and doesn’t matter so much because both the inspiration and inspired are memories you love equally.  Krajeski talks about a Halloween costume she created that was motivated by the poem, which tells the true story of a stewardess who was sucked out of an airplane exit door mid-flight in the early 60’s.  Witnesses recounted, she was there one moment, gone the next.  The woman continue reading…

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On Being Haunted

Pogo 8If you grew up in Chicago, you learned of John Wayne Gacy as routinely as you did how to dress in layers during the winter. When I first heard of him he was alive, though jailed, mewed like a bird, and waiting to die. There, he was in the middle, in between the words of being and not being, a form transitioning from action to epilogue. There, he became a different type of threat, one that would live in legend and possibility. His legacy would be exhibited as a cautionary tale of over-trust, in baleful stories of warn, then, alone, in nightmares. When I first heard of him I was young, a bit younger than the many of the boys were when Gacy met them and had them to his home for work or to buy an old car, for sex, for unadorned companionship. At onset they shared a continue reading…

Seasons

20140721-134655-49615835.jpgI’ve been on a Roy Orbison kick lately, which makes me think about the end of summer. And it’s July. His music does this to me in the way Tom Waits does and some jazz does, Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” for instance. I once listened to that album through earphones on the El, the Blue Line coming out of Chicago and heading towards the northwest and it was raining and it may have been one of the most cinematic things I’ve ever done, looking out the window, on a train, in lonely weather. Some music doesn’t have linear peaks and valleys so much as it has folds and that’s the music that braids with you in filaments of twine and you feel swallowed, sort of how winter swallows you and you bob there, waiting, existing, anticipating life while alive. continue reading…