By Robert Burns 1759—1796
Some books are lies frae end to end,
And some great lies were never penn'd:
Ev'n ministers, they ha'e been kenn'd,
In holy rapture,
A rousing whid, at times, to vend,
And nail't wi' Scripture.
But this that I am gaun to tell,
Which lately on a night befel,
Is just as true's the Deil's in h--ll
That e'er he nearer comes oursel
'S a muckle pity.
The Clachan yill had made me canty,
I was na fou, but just had plenty;
I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent ay
To free the ditches;
An' hillocks, stanes, and bushes, kenn'd ay
Frae ghaists an' witches.
The rising moon began to glow'r
The distant Cumnock hills out-owre:
To count her horns with a' my pow'r,
I set mysel;
But whether she had three or four,
I could na tell.
I was come round about the hill,
And todlin down on Willie's mill,
Setting my staff with a' my skill,
To keep me sicker;
Tho' leeward whyles, against my will,
I took a bicker.
I there wi' something did forgather,
That put me in an eerie swither;
An awfu' scythe, out-owre ae shouther,
A three-taed leister on the ither
Lay, large an' lang.
Its stature seem'd lang Scotch ells twa,
The queerest shape that e'er I saw,
For fient a wame it had ava:
And then, its shanks,
They were as thin, as sharp an' sma'
As cheeks o' branks.
"Guid-een," quo' I; "Friend, hae ye been mawin,
When ither folk are busy sawin?"
It seem'd to mak a kind o' stan',
But naething spak;
At length, says I, "Friend, where ye gaun,
Will ye go back?"
It spak right howe,--"My name is Death,
But be na fley'd."--Quoth I, "Guid faith,
Ye're may be come to stap my breath;
But tent me, billie;
I red ye weel, take care o' skaith,
See, there's a gully!"
"Guidman," quo' he, "put up your whittle,
I'm no design'd to try its mettle;
But if I did, I wad be kittle
To be mislear'd,
I wad nae mind it, no that spittle
Out-owre my beard."
"Weel, weel!" says I, "a bargain be't;
Come, gies your hand, an' sae we're gree't;
We'll ease our shanks an' tak a seat,
Come, gies your news!
This while ye hae been mony a gate
At mony a house.
"Ay, ay!" quo' he, an' shook his head,
"It's e'en a lang, lang time indeed
Sin' I began to nick the thread,
An' choke the breath:
Folk maun do something for their bread,
An' sae maun Death.
"Sax thousand years are near hand fled
Sin' I was to the butching bred,
An' mony a scheme in vain's been laid,
To stap or scar me;
Till ane Hornbook's ta'en up the trade,
An' faith, he'll waur me.
"Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the Clachan,
Deil mak his kings-hood in a spleuchan!
He's grown sae weel acquaint wi' Buchan
An' ither chaps,
The weans haud out their fingers laughin
And pouk my hips.
"See, here's a scythe, and there's a dart,
They hae pierc'd mony a gallant heart;
But Doctor Hornbook, wi' his art
And cursed skill,
Has made them baith no worth a f----t,
Damn'd haet they'll kill.
"'Twas but yestreen, nae farther gaen,
I threw a noble throw at ane;
Wi' less, I'm sure, I've hundreds slain;
It just play'd dirl on the bane,
But did nae mair.
"Hornbook was by, wi' ready art,
And had sae fortified the part,
That when I looked to my dart,
It was sae blunt,
Fient haet o't wad hae pierc'd the heart
Of a kail-runt.
"I drew my scythe in sic a fury,
I near-hand cowpit wi' my hurry,
But yet the bauld Apothecary,
Withstood the shock;
I might as weel hae tried a quarry
O' hard whin rock.
"Ev'n them he canna get attended,
Although their face he ne'er had kend it,
Just sh---- in a kail-blade, and send it,
As soon's he smells't,
Baith their disease, and what will mend it,
At once he tells't.
"And then a' doctor's saws and whittles,
Of a' dimensions, shapes, an' mettles,
A' kinds o' boxes, mugs, an' bottles,
He's sure to hae;
Their Latin names as fast he rattles
As A B C.
"Calces o' fossils, earths, and trees;
True sal-marinum o' the seas;
The farina of beans and pease,
He has't in plenty;
Aqua-fortis, what you please,
He can content ye.
"Forbye some new, uncommon weapons,
Urinus spiritus of capons;
Or mite-horn shavings, filings, scrapings,
Distill'd per se;
Sal-alkali o' midge-tail clippings,
And mony mae."
"Waes me for Johnny Ged's-Hole now,"
Quo' I, "If that thae news be true!
His braw calf-ward whare gowans grew,
Sae white and bonie,
Nae doubt they'll rive it wi' the plew;
They'll ruin Johnie!"
The creature grain'd an eldritch laugh,
And says, "Ye need na yoke the plough,
Kirkyards will soon be till'd eneugh,
Tak ye nae fear;
They'll a' be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh
In twa-three year.
"Whare I kill'd ane a fair strae death,
By loss o' blood or want of breath,
This night I'm free to tak my aith,
That Hornbook's skill
Has clad a score i' their last claith,
By drap an' pill.
"An honest wabster to his trade,
Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce weel bred,
Gat tippence-worth to mend her head,
When it was sair;
The wife slade cannie to her bed,
But ne'er spak mair
"A countra laird had ta'en the batts,
Or some curmurring in his guts,
His only son for Hornbook sets,
An' pays him well.
The lad, for twa guid gimmer-pets,
Was laird himsel.
"A bonnie lass, ye kend her name,
Some ill-brewn drink had hov'd her wame;
She trusts hersel, to hide the shame,
In Hornbook's care;
Horn sent her aff to her lang hame,
To hide it there.
"That's just a swatch o' Hornbook's way;
Thus goes he on from day to day,
Thus does he poison, kill, an' slay,
An's weel paid for't;
Yet stops me o' my lawfu' prey,
Wi' his d--mn'd dirt:
"But, hark! I'll tell you of a plot,
Though dinna ye be speaking o't;
I'll nail the self-conceited sot,
As dead's a herrin':
Niest time we meet, I'll wad a groat,
He gets his fairin'!"
But just as he began to tell,
The auld kirk-hammer strak' the bell
Some wee short hour ayont the twal,
Which rais'd us baith:
I took the way that pleas'd mysel',
And sae did Death.
teaching a wild creature to feed from your hand is a feat maybe maybe not Mom taught me from a young age then never let go in June 2013 the estate will cease all the coats hats shoes scarves skirts dresses blouses belts purses from Ultimo Saks Neimans wherever steaks from Gene and Georgetti’s Gibsons whatever will be consumed and she will be forced by the bank to resign her condo on lake shore drive and go live with her sister and i will be left with nothing
nothing feels better than fighting back gathering the strength courage to do that to fight until there is no daylight
the world is a mysterious place it is Sunday December 26th 2010 6AM pitch dark outside in several months daybreak will come earlier a remarkable surprise yet always been this way in several minutes firmament turns light i open eyes stretch legs look out window pink blue gray blue morning skies tree tops mountains watch flock of birds maybe 30 or 40 flying back and forth east west why do they do that how would you like to be one of those birds flapping around searching from above at the earth hmmm what if everyone had a penis and vagina feathered wings fin distinctive tail floppy or pointed ears what if you could share breakfast or lunch with Kim Gordon Patti Smith work on poem with e. e. cummings James Joyce William Faulkner paint with Mark Rothko Anselm Kiefer play football with Payton Manning Drew Breeze jam with Jimi Hendrix Keith Richards race with Secretariat sniff with Lassie mix with Max Ernst Georgia O'Keefe Donald Judd meet with Gandhi and J.F.K. make love with Charlotte Gainsbourg Kate Moss dinner with John Lennon Friedrich Nietzsche dance with Albert Einstein Isadora Duncan share a smoke with Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) Sam Shepard last drink with Sylvia Plath Virginia Woolf then go to sleep next to Sphinx Pyramids wake with Cleopatra Mata Hari on Bali beach look up at tiny puffy clouds that resemble strange script do you understand the possibilities mysteries of everything
old is lecherous but i’m still trapped in childhood hurting wanting to be grown-up
i think i said i don’t know how to talk i was speaking to this jerk greedy landlord trying to negotiate between 2 different spaces long distance and i meant to say i can’t talk right now i’m in a restaurant or shop but instead what came out was i don’t know how to talk he was insulting me bullying hollering at me on cell phone accusing me of dickering about price lease and it slipped out my terror from Dad my childhood fears repression inability to negotiate i froze fumbled finally uttering i don’t know how to talk then disconnected
i’m running scared gasping for breath heart pounding yearning praying crying for love beauty happiness success i’m smart creative powerful yet inept too shy or fearful to know how to properly spontaneously speak in person
what if consumerism is realized as a mental disorder a method to suppress genuine hunger with fetish products
what if money is identified as disease actual legal tender found to source fatal viruses
what if humanity is discovered to belong to an alien predatory race independent from Adam and Eve or monkeys
what if all knowledge is found to be deceptive invention concealing real world truth
what if existence is a chess game or trial enacted by higher forces and your every thought feeling recorded in eternity
what if progress is the enemy and primitivism the remedy
my whole life i’ve learned about infidelity my mom sister dad uncle i don’t understand i’ve never been unfaithful to a girlfriend (one is enough one is more than i can handle) why do people speak those vows then get married only to violate themselves their mates maybe that’s why i am afraid to ever get married infidelity is the most painful betrayal to find out your partner with all your shared secrets compromises them with someone else oh god
April 19th 1995 a bomb explodes in Federal building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people injuring 759 what are Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols thinking did they act alone there are so many lunatics running around out there so much misunderstanding disenfranchisement in America
Arlington Street Asheville North Carolina June 1995 Odysseus and his dog Farina keep mostly to themselves something is wrong with his voice he sounds hoarse when he speaks it is uncomfortable to talk he goes to free clinic and waits half a day elderly doctor attempts to stick long metal instrument down Odysseus’s throat Odysseus gags coughs elderly doctor becomes irritable he warns Odysseus to quit smoking Odysseus wonders what it would be like to be loved possibly married in loving positive relationship to know all the endearing enduring connections between caring couples other people manage it why can’t he? he thinks i’ve never been a good provider nor placed enough value in money i believe in freedom and love i chose to make art and pursue a life of self-discovery experiment dang i am wrong from the moment one’s work hangs in a gallery the artist’s integrity is compromised individuality becomes commodity typically people who buy paintings have so much money they scatter a trifle on art the artwork provides the consumer with a look of ‘soul’ to be shown off to their envious friends the artist becomes needy pet of dealer and client maybe converting one’s spirituality into commercial merchandise is like making deals with the devil he thinks about Native American artists whose work is immediately esteemed and utilized in their culture he has spent his whole life seeking validation in art world he wonders how many other unknown artists feel similarly useless discarded he considers i’m forty-five years old now and i don’t have a penny to show for all my troubles i still believe i have much to give insights to reveal but no practical plan for survival i don’t know how i’m going to get through this existence the world wants young promising talent not some older painter striving for another chance women want nothing to do with an impoverished aging dreamer my dog loves me she knows who feeds her i’ve got academic degrees a long resume of legitimate shows i know how to use a computer solve problems fix toilets sinks strip and paint serve food and liquor but i can’t land a decent job i never learned how to properly market or barter my work and i’m not interested in the position of sacrificial lamb i want a home and female partner like other men have i want to be needed respected loved a creative member of a community instead of an expendable outsider working menial jobs for minimum wage what good are paintings if no one looks at them what good are noble values in a corrupt society the world runs on money and greed not freedom and love
script on screen life is but a dream a b c d e f g gee whiz g-chord g-spot geezz script on screen row row your boat h i j k ellemenoh pee oh please baby pee for me let me watch you stream merrily merrily merrily script on screen q arrest tee you vee double you x why zee
last night i watched a woman answering questions about penis size she spoke about the toilet tissue roll test for years i’ve been thinking my penis is rather undersized (compared to studs on porn sites) this morning i took the test undid the roll from wall and stuck my erection in the hole at first i had trouble getting it in so i guess my thickness is healthy then i slowly managed to shove the entire head of my cock out the other end by that time clear pre-cum was dripping from my penis hole pressure from my hand gripping tissue roll felt surprisingly arousing i began fucking the roll squeezing pushing in deeper jerking almost bringing myself to orgasm i passed the test the toilet tissue roll appears kind of twisted indented
what will happen next hoping for heartbreaking story with happy ending man masturbates while woman urinates both watch each other intently what is so fascinating
Asheville is small yet monumental by luck or fate he hooks up with Tim Calaprese a gregarious loving soul Tim loves women and wine and dogs particularly Farina he owns a beat up old house on steep hill overlooking downtown Asheville Odysseus rents a room for $200. a month Tim is a wine salesman and gone much of the time Odysseus is critically destitute he goes to Salvation Army they provide bed-sheets towels he sells tent and camping equipment to hippies on Haywood Street for several weeks he and Farina live on convenience store hotdogs he gets job prepping house exterior to be painted his boss tells him he is a good worker after a hard day’s work the boss lays him off he gets hired as a waiter for the dinner shift in the restaurant of a resort hotel he is weary of waiting tables but needs cash in the mornings he takes Farina to Beaver Lake to swim then they go back to house paint on the porch many mornings are overcast with fog around noon sun comes out warms afternoon Odysseus loves Blue Ridge Mountains he paints a series of mountain scapes while listening continuously to Palace Brothers Pearl Jam Pavement Sebadoh Steve Earle occasionally he works on story about the clone sometime in 90’s DNA has become a factor and he needs to incorporate detail into story
on stormy afternoon in July as thunder echoes through Blue Ridge Mountains phone rings Odysseus is suffering from severe attack of food poisoning it is difficult to reach receiver phone keeps ringing it is Penelope her voice sounds shaky she says doctors have diagnosed her with leukemia it is startling shock she is only 43 years old his stomach rips he needs to run back to toilet telephone cord is not long enough Penelope says it is urgent Odysseus return to Chicago to see if he can be bone marrow match for her he tells her he will drive up immediately after food poisoning passes Penelope becomes irritable he can feel himself leaking between his legs hangs up immediately runs to toilet spends most of night in bathroom brief naps in bed in the morning he hears someone knocking at door he does not know who it is he cannot leave toilet he hears footsteps enter house call his name Odysseus are you there where are you it is Penelope and Sean he flushes toilet comes out to greet them what a weird surprise why didn’t you think to give me some notice he questions as he lies down on bed Penelope and Sean want to take Odysseus to hospital he tells them they are overreacting food poisoning will soon work its way out of his system Penelope asks if there is anything she can do Odysseus answers Farina hasn’t been out for a good walk in days Please be an angel and take her up the street there’s a field there she likes Penelope calls come here Farina let’s go for a walk Farina follows they depart out door Sean sits down at foot of bed he forcefully speaks Odysseus i know you you like to skew the facts to fit your own purposes then hammer me for whatever make-believe you can cook up when are you going to finally start being a man live up to your responsibilities Odysseus questions what facts are you talking about i’m sick as a dog now is not the time to have this talk Sean challenges yes it is you listen to me your sister is sick and needs your help Odysseus replies i’m heading to Chicago as soon as i’m well enough to travel Sean insists that’s not soon enough we’re taking you to a hospital Odysseus stands from bed Sean stands up facing him they stare each other down Odysseus goes to slip on jeans Sean stands in the way Odysseus tries to step around Sean shoves Odysseus back unto bed Odysseus stands shoves back fistfight ensues mostly Odysseus throws wild punches Sean blocks as they violently jostle out door Sean trips on wet porch falls breaks rib Odysseus grabs his pants car keys flees Penelope and Farina watch puzzled as he drives off day after incident and departure of Penelope and Sean Mom calls insists Odysseus return without delay to Chicago he answers i’m on my way Odysseus packs car with Farina drives north he feels pressure of his family envisions himself as piece of living meat whose sole purpose is to supply Penelope with bone marrow momentarily imagines his family as predators Mom is the real killer she knows how to delegate murder Dad had been a killer for Mom Penelope has learned from Mom how to contend Odysseus is weak link he taught himself to brave harshest conditions yet is no competitor he is worker bee stupid dreamer all alone in greedy predatory world more than anything he loves and wants to help Penelope he is annoyed by nervous tension of family
how much Porno can a man see
and still call himself
"jesus can walk on water
but can he walk on oil?"
"probably, but would he want to?"
WITH APOLOGIES TO RICHARD FARINA
i've been on Holiday so long
it looks like Work to me now
i've been a shit-head so long
i'm feeling i must be a saint
and who-so-ever would strive
to fulfill his HUMAN DESTINTY
should probably know what that is
Dad’s passing spans 18 months beginning with lung cancer surgeon removes left lung for 6 weeks he receives radiation treatments Dad gains strength everyone gives thumbs up within several months doctors discover cancer spread to tumor in brain head shaved tumor removed skull resembles stitched baseball Dad lapses into twilight state body shrinks everyone knows his life is ending doctors and family wait for cancer to attack vital organ only matter of time in january 1991 iraqi scud missiles launch at israel Odysseus in lobby of movie theater when he hears news calls Mom from telephone booth she asks if he is ok nothing could prepare him for horror he feels witnessing Dad slowly die Mom Penelope Odysseus quite vulnerable during this time dependent on trained intensive-care nurse to watch over Dad at home administer drugs monitor condition nurse able-bodied to guide or carry Dad to bathroom assist in his goings cleaning him Mom hires several nurses who each borrow money from her and Penelope Sean each nurse never repays loan and steals jewelry from Mom other belongings from house once a week Odysseus takes Dad out to lunch accompanied by nurse Odysseus places cap with bulls insignia on Dad’s bald stitched-up head Dad nods gives high-five Odysseus talks about feats michael jordan and entire team perform Dad avid fan Odysseus drives Dad nurse in toyota to favorite lunch spots Dad has no appetite no words but manages frail smile in august 1991 Odysseus has first one-man show at prestigious gallery run by Keith Sandler Keith published Odysseus in college literary magazine decade earlier 17 large color field scapes hang on two long walls Dad too ill to attend opening never sees show in film documentary shot at gallery by Sean Odysseus explains “the work is about opening up possibilities clean slates for new worlds rawest moment of narrative very beginning of story all we are presented with is stage i’m scared of story right now suspicious of story don’t even want to deal with story once story starts then everything gets messed up all these things happen at this point in story it’s just this exciting stage full of possibilities full of potential the very beginning and you don’t know what is presented yet” near end of Dad’s struggle in late summer Odysseus asks Mom and Penelope to allow him to visit father alone in hospital they reluctantly consent Dad lying semiconscious in bed Odysseus holds back tears looks at withered father Dad breathes inconsistent occasional fluttering eyelids Odysseus begins to talk aloud about their lives together wonders if Dad reached his goals? does he feel fulfilled with life? is he prepared for death? Dad is 71 years old does he feel cheated of time? did Odysseus disgrace Dad or make him proud? Odysseus feels guilt suspects he may have embarrassed even shamed Dad wonders if Dad deep in his heart believes Odysseus is sad disappointment? he forces words out of his mouth “Dad can you hear me? Dad i love you Dad forgive me please for not becoming what you wanted me to be Dad” phone rings suddenly who could be calling at solemn moment? Odysseus lets it ring but ringing will not stop unwillingly he answers “hello?” “Odysseus don’t do it! Don’t hurt Dad!” it is Penelope calling worried he might commit some murderous act Odysseus and Penelope snap at each other for moment he hangs up thinks what a tragic breach of trust realizes no one not Penelope Mom Chris anyone in family honestly trusts him he wonders if Dad overheard angered remarks with Penelope what a sad way to die hearing your own children quarreling Dad dies august 31 1991 same date cousin Chris’s son Maynard celebrates 3rd birthday Mom’s brother Karl comes from california to help family discovers Dad took out undisclosed $15,000. loan to offset lack of earnings Dad typically overextended himself Karl pitches in to compensate for borrowed money after Dad dies Schwartzpilgrim house falls apart Mom weeps for many months they were married more than 50 years Odysseus feels sorry for Mom all alone in big house she invites family for dinner but it is never same Odysseus’s inheritance is old toyota with 80 thousand miles Dad said he wanted to buy Odysseus new volvo Odysseus is grateful for car which allows him to drive Farina to lake in dream Dad is sitting in back seat bandages wrap around his head same way doctors dressed him after brain tumor surgery Odysseus driving toyota looking for parking space there are none to be found they drive around block several times Dad suggests “try driving around the block one more time maybe parking space will open up” Odysseus answers “no i think we need to go few blocks further” Dad says “Odysseus you’re in drivers’ seat now but try my way one last time” they drive around block find parking space right in front of house Odysseus wakes up confused asks aloud “Dad is dead right?” it is not easy losing a father forgiving forgetting
late summer 1984 Odysseus thinks he sees girl resembling Bayli walking large black dog on armitage street he and Farina still puppy follow girl and her dog to oz park as he nears yells “Bayli?” she looks around replies “Odys? oh Odys! i can’t believe it’s really you it’s so good to see you i’ve missed you so much how’ve you been?” “oh god Bayli i’ve missed you so much too how are you? are you still married?” she answers “we recently divorced he turned out to be real jerk secretly borrowed money against mortgage to our house to buy cocaine he’s a drug addict we lost everything i’m staying with girlfriend from work then moving this weekend to north carolina where my parents now live” he gazes at her thinks how grown-up lovely she looks she wears tight black jeans tank top beneath short red leather jacket black pointed boots they chat while Farina follows Bayli’s big black dog he invites her to his place nearby to look at some drawings she agrees tells him thrift-store shirt he is wearing is very cool he offers it to her on the way they pass gare st. lazare Bayli says “i love this place Odys i’m starved haven’t eaten all day let’s stop for a bite let me take you to lunch” he says “i’ll have a cocktail” they tie dogs to parking meter go inside sit in booth drink several screwdrivers smoke talk Bayli orders steak and fries Odysseus orders bloody mary madonna’s “like a virgin” plays from bar speakers Bayli comments “there’s still innocence about you Odys i can feel it you’re like child full of gullibility wonder how have you managed to survive?” his eyes glance down speaks “oh Bayli if only you knew the truth it hasn’t been easy” he nibbles one of her fries explains “i’ve struggled Mom and Dad pushed me into commodity markets that was total disaster i’m trying to get back to my true self stumbling every step i’ve made some new drawings you’ll see let me take some water out to the dogs i’ll be right back” they hang out at gare st. lazare for hour talking ordering another round of drinks later when they arrive at his place dogs race up stairs Bayli peers around at drawings on walls “Odys you’re a real artist i’m astounded by your work you’re better than i ever imagined i wish i could say same for myself my life is in ruins man i married physically abused cheated on me stole 10 years savings $260,000 i need to go home to my parents rebuild my life starting from scratch” he kisses her lips they embrace she smells like vanilla he slides hand between her thighs in nurturing voice she says “slow go slow Odys” they tear off each other’s clothes he recognizes her knobby knees he so loves notices her bush has grown fuller labia longer Bayli has matured into superb lover he adores way they relate over time Odysseus has drawn many sketches of Bayli yet he neglects to show her his thoughts run wild with lightness this afternoon he is so thrilled he dismisses all the things he wants to tell her his mind drifts in world of fantasy forgetfulness he fails to comprehend what Bayli means to him in numb dumb way in passion of moment Bayli is just another piece of ass another colorless girl passing through his life he looks at her his most perfect ideal woman admires her body yet cannot see her does not realize brain does not register speaks her name Bayli the most beautiful sound his ears can hear but it is just another name how can this occur? they make tender passionate love then he asks her to model she consents he positions her lying down on her back with arms legs outstretched like she is floating he positions her on her knees with hands cupped then clasped like she is praying he positions her curled up on her side watches her get dressed leave go to her parent’s home in north carolina why doesn’t he beg her to stay rebuild her life with him? why does he let her go? what is he thinking? that is just it he is not thinking and for 2nd time it costs him love of his life there is no one to blame but himself when did he become so empty?
what kind of man am i to walk the streets in search of love? once i was loved by beautiful sweet woman who was content just knowing i was happy Bayli was pure honest loyal i thought her a child yet she is more woman than i have ever known thought because she came so easily i could easily get better i let her go the one person in whole world who really loved me made me happy kept me in light i told her someday when i am recognized artist with money respect i will come for her until then we both need time to build towards our destinies it doesn’t matter what i told her she’s gone what kind of man am i to walk the streets in search of love? how do i hold myself responsible for my own stupidity? i’ve had such incredible women offer themselves to me and turned away slamming door on love what kind of man am i to stalk the streets in search of love? i’m going to get so drunk i won’t be able to recognize myself in mirror
there is so much about life he does not understand powers influences insights secrets repetitions patterns relationships mysteries so many things to learn remember so many things to forget every morning he wakes with hope faith no matter how challenging threatening or bleak the odds he feels confident in the possibilities optimistic in his abilities desires believing in his quest for love success happiness yet every night alone in his empty room he comes undone again
Dad’s dying generates beginning of Odysseus’s awakening from his long deep stupor Dad was so heavy-handed intimidating his reign of terror is done next several years blow by like chilling numb wind off lake michigan dreams seem more real than existence Odysseus continues painting writing bartending drives Farina to beach daily it takes a while for him to realize he is freed of shackles Dad’s tyranny and it is all right to answer to himself alone in june 1994 news reports genocide of 800,000 people murdered in rwanda in july Odysseus feels trapped in identity he can no longer endure after struggling for years to achieve stature as accomplished painter he realizes he is nobody perhaps simply troubled artsy son of well-to-do Chicago socialites Jenny and late Max Schwartzpilgrim his discontent goes beyond family he feels shame disappointment with himself desperately needs to make changes to his life knows he cannot do it in chicago weary of all the sins damage he has made suffered in that city he wants to find somewhere less corrupt stressful more down-to-earth knows all to well how to get in trouble wants to find someplace where there is no trouble somewhere quiet dull preferably beautiful Odysseus liquates ashes to ashes clears altar of every dust flake sells paintings art supplies books music cassettes clothes vintage collection other possessions at sidewalk sale makes out with nearly $6000 whatever he does not sell he gives or throws away he is used to giving or throwing himself away he is 44 Mom protests but her disapproval packs no punch without Dad he says his goodbyes to family friends packs up toyota and with Farina steers away from chicago he leaves behind many destructive friends acquaintances people who will never dig their way out of wrecks they are buried in leaves behind history of minor misdeeds abuses disappointments scenes happenings he feels shame regret about he leaves behind practice of familiar patterns certainties faces names who recognize his talent problematic self never again will he benefit from questionable reputation nor will phone ring many times daily and never again will there always be someone to meet up with or gathering to go to he leaves behind support system of loving family friends fans whom he will miss greatly he lets go the character he was to become someone different hopefully better they drive on aimless odyssey without thinking searching with no place in mind listens for scenery to call to him inwardly the journey is the meaning he drives up streets down alleys through 4 corner towns bypassing most cities whenever he sights a lake he pulls over treats Farina to a swim sometimes swimming together they sleep in tent or stay at inexpensive motels that allow dogs while driving he often feels overwhelmed by diverse raw beauty of American landscapes lush forests spectacular mountain ranges sweeping valleys winding 2 lane highways along coastlines he points out sights to Farina but ultimately he wishes for another pair of human eyes beside him