Swimming Lessons

from the Hugo Literary Series "Love is the Drug" 2007

     I first took swimming lessons at the pool in Chesterville two years after the summer of love. We lived in a small cow-centered patch in a country with snow pack in the yard until June, and the references in “White Rabbit” and the corduroys of Haight-Asbury would not penetrate into our consciousness until 1969. We wouldn’t grow our hair into David and Susan Patridge shapes or see long-haired high-school graduates with the flat stomachs and serious facial hair until 1974. I was young enough then, not even pre-teen, really, to be mostly unselfconscious about anything but my body, and I was with a lot of other kids of similar temperament who would spend most of the summer and much of the next holding onto the side of a pool whose concrete edges were finished like sandstone so that it was good for traction and for scraping your legs lifting out of the pool. (...)


Do It Again

from Seattle Magazine, July 2007

     In summer the straight lines hang back. In their place is the heavy rotation of fun – running, melon-swallowing, whatever. Logic, your mind – these you stow in the back seat. When it’s hot and you are under the black locust tree observing that the grass needs a shave and so do you it can also come to you that the future isn’t going to arrive via syllogistic reasoning.

     My black locust moment came in 2003 when I lost my job. My boss, twisting in her heels, invited me into her office, closed the door, sat down and began to cry. That was April. By May I was standing on my back lawn, the tops of my feet tan, my face and chest likewise. Trance documentaries about art played at the Crest Theater. I read late into the night, made lists, planned a basement rewiring project. (...)