the life of richie


Posted in was by Rich on April 30, 2009

Died when his heart ‘sploded. Richie memembered him being v. small & quiet, but was told that he could be loud ‘n large when wanted. Perhaps thatis why his heart bursted, –– or maybe it was so he could go be with Dead Grandmother (but not dead schizo gradmutter; t’otherne). Dead Grandmother died when Richie was very very yittle of chanceher. He memembered her being in bed with gray fluffy hair (gray fluffy hair flocculating like clouds mass). Did Dead Grandfadder feel too much his heart that his heart longded to be with Dead Grandmudder so pappap said let us go let me go ok just go away and BLAM! –– ‘sploded!! –– ??

Dead Grandfather had had a doggie which Richie would play with, chase ’round the Dead Grandparents house. Cousin’ld tell that Richie had once filledup his diaper with shavering cream, but Richie did not memember this. There was a picture of Richie and Dead Grandfather and the doggie all together, none of them yuking at the camwa. In the piktur, Dead Grandfodder looks v. tired. Richie looks very unterrible. Doggie looks very doggie.



Posted in is, was by Rich on April 28, 2009

This was written some years ago.

VOICE OVER: A REPORT ON NPR SAYS scientists are engineering mice to exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia. The schizophrenic mice undergo a series of tests to examine their mental state: Their mental state is found to be altered. Researchers hope to shed some new light on the disease afflicting humans, afflicting mice with schizophrenia.

FLASHBACK: THE NIGHT BEFORE Dead Grandmother* appears to Richie as a cat. This is the reality of the dream state, and he does not question it. Dead Grandmother is a cat. (I do not question.) He follows her down the halls of his childhood home, through the labyrinth of corridors where things do not happen and people are never sad.

CUT TO: CAR, ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL he imagines the Grandmother Cat chasing the schizophrenic mice down a hall. Do the mice, like Dead Grandmother, do they too have conversations with George Washington, wandering around their cages in bathrobes and little slippers? Before meeting the Big Cheeseman & escaping the maze, Grandmother gave Richie a fishing game. The wooden fish, skewered with metal hooks, attracted to the magnetic fishing poles (not sold separate); the mechanics of the game are unimportant. What is important is that my Grandmother should’ve given him a fishing game.

“What does it mean, Nanna? Why the fishing game?”

Grandmother just smiled then, at that, slipped back into her rocking chair, surrendering there to a moment of stillness…

CUT TO: SCHIZOPHRENIC MICE IN THEIR CAGES all titter, and when they dream, they dream that they are fish. The fish-mice are seized from the watery heaven just as infants are wrested from the holy wombs, just as sardines are taken from friendly cans. The schizophrenic mice, who dream of being fish, toss themselves upon the bars of their cage.

CUT TO: Schizophrenic Grandmother convulsed as the electric ran through her corpse –– as her conversation with Thomas Jefferson was arrested, and she was pulled, for a moment, back onto the deck of man.

*Living Grandfather’s first wife

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Posted in is, was by Rich on April 28, 2009

Rich does love Starbucks, he must admit.

Every one is so excruciatingly the same. One can go into a Starbucks in South Jersey (where ‘bucks are still scarce), close his eyes, and imagine himself back in New York or London or North Jersey even: is connected to all those other places and Starbucks he has visited in the past, transported to other times and far-off places. The Starbucks here might just as well be a Starbucks on High Holborn in London or Astor Place in New York; or even a Starbucks in some town he has yet to visit –– and here there is again the sense of possibilities gestating, prickling in the ground like seedlings: of possibilities percolating.

It’s a strange and beautiful phenomenon of the Starbucks. Here is the collapse of time and of space.



Posted in is by Rich on April 28, 2009

Such great sadness –– !



Posted in is by Rich on April 27, 2009

momvo n. conversation with mom.

Rich takes a walk & talk with his mom on Sunday after church. They stroll the beach, where mom says she’s walked for four decades now and now is transported, whenever she treads the hourglass sand, back to when she was one and twenty.

Mom obsesses over two women the most: Evil Stepgrandmother and Rich’s sister. The first because she hates her, even though she has given up the Grandfather and is legally no longer part of their lives and living in Florida, far away; and the latter out of love. She begins making plans & provisions should Thelma return to the east coast.

“I found a letter I wrote to her several years ago; I never sent it; I tucked it away in a bureau drawer and found it when I was cleaning recently.”

Rich does sometimes resent the fact that his mom never seems to stress over him. “I’m not worried about you,” is her refrain. In high school, she had vague hopes for her children; for sister, it was mostly the oft-rung tocsin, “Just don’t get pregnant.” It was a manageable goal, and one which sister has accomplished with relative ease.

Mom’s desires for her son have always been less express. “You would make a good waiter,” she’s often said. “Or a model.”

When they pass the fat screaming children in the sand, mom says to her son, “I don’t remember ever having to yell at you or your sister in public; I think you must’ve been very good children. There was one incident I remember when dad made me take away your Smurf collection. I can’t even remember what you’d done. But I told him the punishment didn’t fit the crime: it was more a punishment for me than you.” (How you loved those ridiculous Smurf figurines!)

The black beast of the senile, penile swamplands rears her head again in their peripatetic perambulation: “Do you suppose that woman your grandfather married, that it was some social evolution that makes her so avarice –– so ravenous –– for other men’s properties? Because I heard on NPR that, this one author, thinks that because women were denied property rights for so long, there is something in our psychologies which now longs to own property.” To hold a house deed more than a baby. If only women could uterize houses.

When Rich says he is not sure where he will be in the fall, his mom says, “I can’t think about that!” and he wonders why, and she says, “I’ll be sad to not have you around. I’ve gotten used to you.”

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Posted in will be by Rich on April 26, 2009

To live; to love; to write; what more than this?

To live –– issuing forth from the heart rather than the head ––

To love –– and not in any singular, selfish sense.

To write –– of epic mundane matters.

The world (alive) lush with possibilities, which give breath to the soul. Trascendental; paradisal; Richard will nourish the inner (transparent eyeball) life with drops of divinity.

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Posted in is by Rich on April 23, 2009

Last week in his literature classes, Rich showed his students the American Experience: Walt Whitman program. They sit in stunned silence during the entirety of the two hours: there is a trance worked. The boys seem to be the most turned on by Whitman, to show the most manly attachment; one boy even wrote last semester, “I believe I am Whitman, somehow.” What is it about Walt, that still provokes and compels? What still draws us to his burly, bearded person? Something it is: and the boys more than the girls, although the girls too.

Who is he that would become my follower? / Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?

They are impressed by his arrogance (or confidence), his not-giving-a-shit‘ed-ness, his latitudinarian attitude, his love-one/love-all approach, his kindness to the wounded soldiers –– it is the kindness to the soldiers what really does it. That is where their newfound bromance with Walt is sealed. That could be me. They can see themselves splayed and spilling blood on a field or in a desert, losing limbs, and being taken to a foreign hospital room to hemorrhage and suffer alone. But not alone: can imagine that Whitman would somehow be present, as he somehow becomes present in the room as we watch.

It avails not, time nor place –– distance avails not, / I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence…

Afterwards, as we return to the real world, with a better appreciation for the real world –– for the filth and germs and broken vertical blinds cranked open, slowly and deliberately, to let in the convict light –– students always suddenly understand, too, why there is a bridge connecting New Jersey and Pennsylvania named for Walt Whitman. For that Whitman lived in Camden: and there is something beautiful and sad about this as well.

Camden. During Rich’s first semester teaching, there was a horrible student in his class named Camden, and his mom even remarked, “What can you expect from someone named after the foulest city in New Jersey?”

Rich wants to take his pilgrimage –– longs to go on his pilgrimage to Walt’s house in Camden, New Jersey. Whitman would not have sanctioned sainthood, but we boys of Whitman beatify him nonetheless –– that beautiful, bearded old bugger.



Posted in is, Rich's book club by Rich on April 22, 2009

So it’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which started auspiciously enough: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” But by page fifty-five, the Rube complication seems to be running thin: one can see that the whiskey has just been watered down, and one is not getting drunk, just filling the bladder with liquid, so really, what’s the point, except the production of more piss? By Chapter 15, the gimmick is all: the Emperor has no clothes, the wizard is just an impotent little man hiding behind a dress curtain. Because there is an obvious element of verisimilitude lost –– and, yes, v-tude can still be maintained in zombie fiction, sirrah. But not when the world is not developed enough. How could the Bennett sisters have gone to the east to study martial arts during the Napoleonic wars? Were there no wars, then? –– no Napoleon? –– was he, too, eaten by the unmentionables?? Rich has fallen into a plot hole and cannot extricate himself himself; needs a kindly soldier to help him out. He flings the book into a corner. (Not really; really, he lays it gingerly upon a pile of discarded tomes by his computer. He might try again later. Or not.) Part of what he loves about Austen is that sense of clautrophobia –– the sense of isolation –– of desperation and deprivation. He cannot deal with ninjas; he did not sign up for ninjas.

So he moves on to Lucky Jim by Kingsley, gifted to him by bonny, bosom friend Anne of Lean Fables/Clean Tables/Mean Stables.



Posted in is by Rich on April 21, 2009

Wan thot A’prill with his sure-es so-tuh Rich allowed his high school students, last year, to teach themselves The Canterbury Tales. It was hormoney spring, and they were ripe-seed teenagers, and so some of the lessons got a bit bawdy, a little Judd Apatowish raunch; eh, so what? (Rich had already typed up his lettre de démission; another bookbag in another classroom.) One boy & his group presented “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, but billed it as “Wife of a Bath’s Tale”, and the teacher just smiled at the image (A Wife and her Husband-Bath; what is the wife of a bath –– a sink?) and smiled his gappy-toothed grinnly grin at the boy & his group. They loathed Brave New World (the children), and A Tale of Two Cities, and tolerated Hamlet well enough –– but here-then, with Chaucer, with the sex and the farting, suddenly something they liked to read (what with their teevee shows that showcase so much sex and gra’teww-tuss farting). Maybe one can only read these tales as teenagers/with teenagers. Mayhaps Chaucer, like Whitman, was able to project himself into the future, into the twenty-first century future, and see what teenagers would liken this to; and wrote for them as much as his time and his audience. (Perhaps farting is the great universal, greater than love.)

Tonight he will give his junior college literature students just the first eighteen lines; to read them just the first eighteen lines in Middle English. There is something magical inn the incantation: So prick-eth him nah-tour in hear core-ahj-ez / Thah-nay lon-gen folk to goen-on pilgrim-ahj-ez

He imagines his students impressed, putting aside their own fevers and lachrymal fears for a moment of Chaucer. But, because they are adults, he will spare them the passages on farting. (But, there/their experience will be lessened from the spared farting.)



Posted in is by Rich on April 20, 2009

Rich’s friend Anne comes to visit the weekend. She arrives par train in Philadelphia. Much effusive hugging is had on her arrival.

They brunch and stroll the boardwalk and the beach. In the sand, Anne notes how a rippling indentation looks like one half of a pair of scissors. She sketches in the other shear.


They continue to walk on the beach, barefoot.

Above, a parade comes marching onto the boardwalk. There are over five hundred bassett hounds, the newspaper will report. Rich and Anne watch the hounds and the spectators and the pomp/circumstance from the relative safety of the shoreline. The fantastic clowns & clownish fantasts continue their grotesque procession.

Rich & Anne alight to the boardwalk. There is such sun for April! They poke at their skin to see how they are burning. Poke-pale –– then return to RED. Rich wears his red sunglasses, which are not quite Wayfarers (but who can tell). Everywhere, the smell of people & food & fat sizzles! Funnel cakes stuffed into sucking orifices. Pizza and french fries and deep-fried Snickers bars and cool, rich custard consumed by obese children, blubbering about without sufficient clothing. So many fat people; so many Jabbas.

At the amusement park, Anne worries about the safety of the ferris wheel. Rich points to the wrestling fat people pushing themselves into the cages. The gondolas shake & shimmy when subject to the weight. Anne appears nervous.

Riche et Anne soar into the sunny sky –– look down to the right is the ocean –– look down to the left is the oh-little town of O––. All of the lumbering fat tourists look so small and twee from a great distance. From such great heights, everything looks very idyllic, like looking at more a model of a hamlet than a princeton in practice.

When they return to the weighty earth, Anne and Rich regard the swings ride, closed for repairs. Anne observes, around the top of the ride’s circus-tent-style roof, where crude frescos have been painted on the paneling, there is an image of a man who appears to be ––

Is that man smoking a watermelon?


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