Sunday, October 19, 2014



I found it last Tuesday morning on my way home from a counseling session with my bartender, waiting at an intersection for the light to change. I do not know how I knew it was there, it being, of course, invisible; but a slight pressure against my heel, like the nudge of a favorite puppy, made me bend down and pick it up. Almost knocked down by a passing ambulance, I quickly put it in my pocket, with keys, switch-blade, and nitroglycerine tablets, and navigated wildly across the street, against the light by this time. Thinking that those other objects might scratch the THING, I moved it carefully into another, empty pocket. I remembered it being warm and unusually light, so I hurried homeward to find out exactly what I had been gifted with. Checking it occasionally, I realized that its feel and weight kept changing: at one time it was so heavy my pants seemed on the verge of dropping. (What a spectacle that would have been, with cruising cops always slowing down when they see me strutting!) When at home I finally took it out of my pocket, it felt like a cool cube of jell-o. I wanted to rinse it off in the kitchen sink; but it would not leave my hand until I turned the water off. It didn't feel stuck, it just wouldn't leave; and for a split second I thought I could feel a slight cactus stick. Over the next few days I tried many things with it. I sprinkled flour on it, to help me determine its real shape, dabbed it with white-out, sprayed it with a touch of paint; but everything I put on it just dissolved and disappeared, while in my hand I could feel it writhing, tossing and turning, as if it were very unhappy. Why, then, I wondered, did it stay with me? The first night, before retiring, I wanted to put it in an ashtray, so as to be able to find it when I woke; but it jumped right back into my palm, and let me know, via violently unpleasant contortions, that the ashtray was out. When I substituted a lovely antique saucer, left behind by one of my transient bedfriends, it accepted the change and apparently settled down for the night. When, during the day, I wrapped it in a bright red bandana, it felt comfortable in my pocket, while I was walking hither, dither, and thither, or discussing the Iranian situation with a bargirl. When I tried to wrap it in something like a used Jack-in-the-Box napkin, it seemed to go into a rage. I deeply regretted my inability to share it with anyone else; but there has already been enough talk about the wandering of this octogenarian mind. (What do people expect? That's what old poets do.) Why did it stay with me? I kept wondering about that, so much so that I completely forgot to start working on my every-third-day blog post. This morning, like a bolt out of the blue (or early-morning gray), I KNEW what it was! I wanted to tell it so--but when I reached into and fumbled around in my pocket, there was no trace of it. It had fled, as if being unhappy at being found out. Well, then, what was it? It was SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT!

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