Wednesday, July 26, 2017


My mother asked me if I remembered
The time we got drunk and cheered for the Cowboys.

“It was our first playoff without Staubach” said I 
“I cooked a roast, there was beer in the fridge” said she. 
But there hadn’t been enough beer for a game that close. 
I went to the corner store at halftime.

By the time the fourth quarter started we were down 
Fourteen points with two beers each left.
 How could I forget the way that she howled 
The way that I screamed and danced 
When Pearson put us ahead with forty three seconds left?

We didn’t make a tradition of it, 
The way we made a tradition of playing 
“BugBite” when I was a boy 
The way we sat together at church, 
Me holding the hymnal 
While she sang In The Garden 
Saturday night and Chicken Spaghetti 
Roast beef with homemade giant bread 
Shopping for school clothes 
Meeting the new girlfriend 
The way she called me Stephen when I was in trouble- 
“Wait till your father gets home”- 
And Stevie when I was not. 
We didn’t make a tradition of getting drunk,
 Mom and I, 
(I wish that we had) 
And I‘d never heard her howl like that. 
There was no way of knowing 
Mom would die a few years later. 

The summer had been hot, 
Now the January days were crisp and blue, 
We had no way of knowing that Danny White
Would take us to 3 NFC championships in a row 
And lose them all.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


When I was about 9 years old I would sneak up to dads room. I’d open the top drawer of his bureau, move aside the three stacks of handkerchief's, and pull out his .22 caliber revolver with the 9” barrel. I’d feel the heft of it in my hand, aim it at the window, feel the resistance on the trigger. 

One day while doing all that I accidentally discharged the gun. Right onto the wall behind the bureau. 
It didn’t leave a real big hole in the wall, less than the size of a dime. It took a week or two for dad to notice it. 
Dad had taught me about guns. It wasn’t the first time I’d fired it. It was the first time I fired it unsupervised though. I knew better than to do what I’d done. But lifes lessons with me are usually hard learned. Dad didn’t whip me. He didn’t even move the gun. But he took the bullets out. From time to time Dad would get a far away look on his face and tell me how sometimes he would wake up in a cold sweat thinking about me and that gun.
I think about that gun every now and then, especially when I’m tempted to do something that I know better than to do. 

It was weird last night. I was shifting from one dream to another. In a moment of lucidity I thought about that gun.
And I did something I’d never done before. 
Quite on purpose, I dreamed of the house in Detroit with the bureau and the gun. I walked up the stairs. There was the weird purple wallpaper. Take a right at the top of the stairs, and into the master bath, with the tile, glass and mirrors. Then into mom and dads room, with the big wall of windows looking into the backyard, and the fireplace at the end of the room. Turn right, and there is the bureau. 
I’m nine years old again, and have to look on tippy-toes into the top drawer. 
I move the handkerchief’s. 
There it is. Dad’s old revolver. 
I pull it out and wonder what would happen if I put it to my head and pull the trigger. 
Its just a dream, right? 
Or would the whole world change- now-then-everything in between- with me not in it? 
I looked at the gun. Felt its heft. Aimed it at the window, felt the resistance on the trigger. 
I put it back in the drawer. 
Better not risk it. 
Better not risk changing the whole world. 
Besides, I’m supposed to know better, even if knowing better hasn’t always stopped me.

Monday, July 24, 2017


There was a great golden maned lion that killed an elephant and brought it home for dinner. He dragged it into his den, proudly`.
The wife took one look at it and said “You cant keep that lyin’ there”
And he said “But honey, its not a lion, its an elephant”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Years ago a girlfriend and I drove from Niagara Falls to Texas. Driving through Pennsylvania was gorgeous. Living down here in the south, we tend to think of the northeast as just one big city. But its not that way at all, is it? The big city is the exception, even in New York, is it not? Head north from the city, and see the Hudson. Head west and behold, the Finger Lakes!
So yes, driving through Pennsylvania farmlands, over rivers and streams, both large and small, and past vineyards on the eastern slopes of mountainsides that enjoy the morning sun was very nice. So too were the green fields with perfectly placed golden bales of hay, as though arranged by a great painter. But first…
But first we had to get out of Buffalo.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


I saw a story today that reminded me of the 9th grade, when I discovered Black Sabbath.
I was in my room, listening to Ironman and mom cracked open the door and peeked in.
"What is that you are listening to?" she asked.
"Black Sabbath mom"
She looked concerned, but only said "Oh my".
I said "Some people say they are satanic, but I dont think so. What do you think mom?"
She scrunched up her face. "I think they might be" she said.
"No mom, I mean do you LIKE them?"
"No, not too much Stevie" and she closed the door.

And here is the story, as gathered at Alive On All Channels:

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir
by Sherman Alexie~

“And then after your mom was done singing in the choir,” Pernell said, “I saw your mom rolling in the aisle and speaking in tongues.”
“No way,” I said. “She was probably just speaking Spokane.”
My mother was one of the few tribal members who were still fluent in the old way of speaking Spokane.
“It wasn’t Indian talk,” Pernell said. “It was her Jesus voice.”

There were quite a few Spokane Indians who fell in love with Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. I think it’s rather easy for a universally damaged people like Native Americans to believe wholeheartedly in miracles, in the supernatural. But I’d never thought of my mother as a Spokane who’d go that far.
“I’m not lying,” Pernell said.
“I believe you, Jack,” I said, though I hoped he was mistaken.
When I got home from school, I immediately asked my mother if she’d been speaking in tongues.
“Yes,” she said.
“Weird,” I said, and walked downstairs to my room.

I figured my mother was pretending to speak in tongues. She was just acting, I thought. It’s like a one-woman show, I guessed. My mother had always been so dramatic. And what’s more dramatic than an Indian woman rolling down the aisle of a little reservation church?

I tried to put it out of my mind, to allow my mother to freely practice her religion as much as she allowed me to fully practice my nonreligion. But, a few weeks later, I crawled out of my Sunday-morning slumber and walked the mile to her church.

And there she was, along with the white couple who led the church and a few dozen Spokane Indians, throwing books, magazines, and music albums onto a bonfire.
My mother and her fellow indigenous Charismatics were chanting something about the Devil—about the evil of the secular world—about all the sin-soaked novels and porn magazines and rock music.
I was grossed out.
On opposite sides of the bonfire, my mother and I made eye contact. But I think she was so deeply entranced—so hypnotized and self-hypnotized—that she didn’t recognize me.
I hurried home to make sure my small personal library of books and records was intact and unburned. And, yes, all was safe.

Later that night, at the dinner table, I told my mother to leave my stuff alone or I’d burn down her church.
“You’re a sinner,” she said, and pointed her fork at me.
“And so are you,” I said, and pointed my fork right back at her.