The Self-Immolation of Reverend Moore

Wanting something is the wrong way to go about getting it done.

Nobody knew this like Reverend Charles Robert Moore.  He wanted so many things.  The ruling in Brown vs. The Board of Education ended legal segregation in the United States, and the young reverend was fired from his post for celebrating this in the most cautious sense from the pulpit.  He would not make that mistake ever again, to be cautious in the face of injustice. He stood outside the governor’s mansion protesting the executions of 150 prisoners during Governor George Bush’s tenure.  He defied the traditions and doctrine of the Methodist Church by opening the doors of his church to the nascent Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in Austin, but being tolerated by the church was not enough for him.  He stopped eating, and on the 15th day of his fast the bishops acquiesced to his demand that the church accept responsibility for its contribution to the suffering of the gay community, which they did by proclamation.  His faith took him to India, Africa, the Middle East, Chicago, Austin, and ultimately back to his hometown of Grand Saline, Texas where his deepest memories of shame and inequality were born.

Reverend Moore made a mess of his life.  All three of his marriages ended because he could not make room for the comfort and love of relationships that distracted from his desire for justice. His children suffered his absences.

At 79 years-old, in 2014, he was elated by the election of Barack Obama, the first and only black President of the United States, but the hatred and racism that accompanied the moment left him heart-sick and stricken with defeat. His lifetime of wanting had brought him nowhere. He was still in Grand Saline, Texas, a child unable to make a difference. Charlie Moore was a coward, a failure, a loser.

On June 23rd of that year he drove to a strip mall on the edge of town in Grand Saline.  He paced for hours in front of the Dollar General store, while curious watchers noticed him, musing about his circumstances.  They watched him finally open his trunk, pull a foam pad from it and place it on the ground.  Those watching assumed he must be praying, perhaps a Muslim.  He kneeled and lifted a container to his head and poured liquid all over his legs, his chest, and his head.  Being June in Texas it was a steamy afternoon.

As the fumes from the gasoline choked his breath away, he pulled from his pocket a lighter and sparked it.

 

On the windshield of his car, he left this note.

 

Juancho

 

 

In the Yellow House

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWhen I saw the fourth one it all made sense.  He is the dad, and the guy I always see with the boys is the uncle.  They live around the corner from us in a little yellow house.  Uncle drives an early 80’s cream-colored Mercedes Sedan.  He has the powder-blue tag of an antique automobile, but the car is not a showpiece.  It’s a workhorse, the back end caked with diesel exhaust.  Uncle and the boys ride skateboards past our house, making careful turns working down the hill.  I would not call them skaters, because there is none of the culture of skateboarding apparent with them.  They wear no helmets or pads, occasionally just bare feet, and they do not seem interested in tricks or energy drinks. From our brief conversations, the longest of which happened as we watched the utility workers triumphantly raise our pole after the storm, I know they are all ponderers curious about the world.  When I saw them I ran to get my own skateboard so I could sit on it and join them.  Just us skateboard owners.

This is when I met Dad, who is a slightly shorter, thicker version of uncle, and more gregarious.  I don’t really know them at all, but I delight in their company and in watching them work down the hill mostly cautiously.  The smallest of the boys, who looks most of the time like a pair of jeans pulled from the dryer, is the daredevil and the one with a natural talent.  Uncle calls out to him frequently.  “Think about how fast you have to run before you jump off.”  “Hold up, don’t get too far ahead of us.” Blue Jeans loves his uncle, and mostly heeds his advice.  These four guys are family. Serious family. They are intelligent and gentle.  They speak to each other with warm familiarity and kindness.  I get the impression that to really get to know these guys would be a trip into a deep and branching story with cul de sacs of segues into 15th century Tarascan architecture or theories on time travel. Perhaps Uncle and Dad are in a ska band or build model rockets. To me they seem a self-contained unit, not needing much else to enjoy life but to hang out together on Goodwill skateboards on the edge of Indianhead Acres.   I told them all my spectacular story of crashing on the hill around the corner.  I do the thing I do with my arm to provide the visual metaphor when I say it looked like a twisted old TV antenna.  They squeeze their brows in sympathy, but I see it is no cautionary tale to them.  They are just having fun.  Nobody is going to crash. They can probably see, or sense, that I was not just having fun when I crashed.  I was miserable and sad.

The boys are the free-roaming kind.  A month past-due for haircuts and so easily cool I want their nod of approval, to be acknowledged by their feral eyes. When in their company they are polite and look at me, but their true interest lies at the horizon, the treetops, or at my barking dog.  They would like to be her friend, and if they are patient they will be.

I don’t know their story at all, or even their names, which fly from my mind as I hear them, but I find myself occasionally preoccupied with wondering about them, and holding them up to myself as evidence that we are going to be okay, that we all deserve to be okay.

 

Juancho

Normal

There was no light, just sound. It was 1:30 A:M and the frumpy little mess of a tropical depression had found its wings and formed into a proper Category One hurricane by the time it hit the coast down the road in St. Marks. Melissa and the dog were asleep, but the cat and I were awake.  I cracked open the carport door and peered into the night with my flashlight.  The treetops were swirling, the rain a steady stinging spray.  It was exciting. The electricity popped out hours ago with a boom at 10:00 P:M before the weather even rolled in, an ominous sign. Still, I felt prepared.

I heard the first deep cracking of a tree before the burst of wind got to our house and laid 100′ tall mature pines and oaks over as if they would be pushed back down into the earth.  It terrified me.  A life-long Floridian, I had never seen wind like this in person. I knew in my sour stomach we should be somewhere else, but it was too late. I shut the door and went back to our dark bed to wait.  The last forecast I saw called for winds on the back of the eye wall to be in the 90’s.  I believed our brick house could withstand that, but the time for options had passed anyway.  My plan was to rest until the calm of the eye came, then to take a quick survey before hustling the four of us under the house or into the hall.  I awoke to a total calm, only the sound of dripping water outside and sirens competing in the distance.  The storm moved east, and spared us the brunt of the tailing winds. I walked out to the street at 6:00 A.M. and saw my neighbor standing in the darkness, strong and sturdy, looking down the hill to our corner, which I no longer recognized.  Large trees and power lines were down across both roads, and in the dark it was hard to interpret the image. Headlights pierced through, weaving slowly around the debris, I expected it to be the police.  Instead it was my friend Kevin on his way to work, to see how the teen crisis shelter fared in the storm with nine kids, other people’s children, and the staff who look after them. They were all okay. He said they did great.

Melissa awoke, rested and in much better shape than myself, as did the dog. We walked our wooded lot and checked the house on all sides. There was no damage to the roof.  Our cars were fine, but carpeted on one side with fresh green pine needles and dirt.  The briefest exploration of our block determined that this would not be a normal day.  My nerves were shot, and I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything although I knew I needed to get something in me.  I chugged two warm protein drinks.  400 calories. After checking in with friends and neighbors the day took shape around the mission to free Paul and Stephanie, who had a massive tulip poplar across their driveway like a gate.  Melissa rallied me and I immediately felt better having a purpose.  Joe and Dan chainsawed while the rest of us rolled big chunks of tree to the curb.  An hour later the task was done, and thus began the ennui.  Nobody tells you the worst of the storm, should you survive, is the waiting.

The rest of the week would bring lots of sharing, a neighborhood kitchen set up in the park, and the endless tedium of preparing for nightfall.  We didn’t leave our immediate vicinity for 2 days until we heard word that stores were opening and the inevitable outing for ice had to occur.  Then each day brought normalcy to some, while others waited.  Countless offers from friends for places to stay, supplies, equipment, meals came, and continue to come actually, as there are many who are far from recovered still.  That’s what we do in a crisis.  We try to feed each other, to put a dry blanket around wet shoulders, food and drink, a break in the air-conditioning.  All of it welcome and necessary, while the one thing you really want, and the only thing you truly need can’t be had, or given by anyone in particular.  You want normal.  To be cool and full in your own living room, or to hang on the door of your own cold refrigerator contemplating a snack. So you develop the frustration of the ungrateful, for turning down so many well-meaning offers from those that regained their normal.  It is not that you want them to continue your suffering, your inconvenience, with you- well- maybe that is it.  Misery truly does love company, and this past week had its share of miserable.

Maybe those kids at the shelter did so great because their normal was already gone.  For once instead of being the ones without anything, receiving constant offers of everything but the one thing they crave, they saw the whole town coming to join them, and they were happy to have such good company.

During my next disaster?  I will still offer whatever small comforts I can should I be lucky, but my first question will be, “What sucks the most?”

Juancho

El Veintidós (The 22)

 

Enrique

 

I wrote this song in Spanish, based on factual events.  I don’t know the tune because the band I wrote it for, Tocamos Mas,  hasn’t written it yet, but I hope they will.  So Chuck, the Carbia family, and all the fans of two generations of the Carbias’ Latin music, this is for you. Te quiero. -Juancho

 

Click the picture to hear the man himself…

 

 

El Veintidós (The 22)

Hola detective, no esta mi veintidós
No lo envío en el correo
No lo envío en absoluto
Era sólo una radio
En el caja envié
Así que mija puede escuchar la musica
escuchar la musica
escuchar la musica
Puedes ver por ti mismo el veintidos
es abaja la cama in my cuarto
Cade noche y dia desde siempre

Envié mija una radio asi pude escuchar
la musica, la musica que tocamos
más que todos los demás

Es posible señor agente que hice un error
Es posible todo esto es una equivocación
Cuando puse la caja en el correo
tal vez fue el veintidós

Pensé que envié el radio
¿Quizas fue el veintidós?
¿Estoy seguro de que intiende
como pudo occurir?

Envié mija una radio
para que pueda oir mis canciones
disparar en el noche

Así que siempre puede oír mis canciones

disparan hacia la noche.

Translated to English

Twenty-two (The 22)

Hello detective, that is not my 22
I did not send it in the mail
I did not send it at all
It was just a radio
In the box I sent
So my daughter can listen to music
listen to music
listen to music
You can see for yourself the twenty-two
is underneath the bed in my room
like it is each day and night always.

I sent my daughter a radio so she can hear
the music, the music that we play
more than all the others play.

Mr. agent it is possible I made a small mistake
It is possible this is a misunderstanding?
When I put the box in the mail
maybe it was the twenty-two?

I thought I sent the radio
Maybe it was the twenty-two?
I am sure you understand
how this could happen?

I sent my daughter a radio
so she could hear my songs
shoot out into the night.

So she can always hear my songs

shoot out into the night.

 

Temple of Mars

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Lightning charges the sky. My small dog is pitifully smaller cowering behind the toilet, trembling and afraid of the thunder. Three weeks since my last ride, and so much pain and suffering in those weeks they deserve their own name, a season of ugliness. The Dark Time. The Wickedness.

And yet, that is the way of war, that suffering falls hard on the innocent and yet you balance your grieving with the need to fill sandbags and fortify your redoubt against the next attacking wave. Carelessness comes sneaking on the western flank as ignorance attacks head on in its stupid stumbling.

Mars hangs low on the horizon, directing the assault and supervising disruption and destruction as I drive south through the storm unaware that my shoes are not in the back with my helmet. I park last in the line as riders are marshaling towards the edge of the forest. The rain stops and a blanket of steam rises above our heads. I accept a too big pair of shoes, pump a bit of air in my tires and fall in.

Last week in Orlando a fire alarm goes off just before midnight. I am lying wide awake in sweat when it happens so I am standing in the 10th floor hallway in the time it takes to find my flip flops. I board the glass elevator alone and begin the descent, picking up scared passengers at each floor. By the third floor we are packed, and a woman is crying in panic. “We’re going to be OK,” I tell her.

So it is a lie, but the type of lie that gives a little courage in the moment, just a breath of courage to get you to the next moment, and one more breath to the next until you get there, to a place where you are safe. A recorded voice, sickly sweet and calm tells us not to use the elevator.  I invite others to join me on the stairs, one man looks me in the eyes. Nobody moves or says a word. I get off by myself and walk down the concrete stairwell. Firefighters march into the lobby calmly, passing the word that it is a false alarm caused by the broken air-conditioning. I sit with the panicked woman and her husband. She can’t breathe between her sobs.

The forest floor is charred black from fire, so the normally thick tangle of green is gone, exposing us to Mars who can now take his time with us. Filtering towards the front my stale legs are warming, and I think I may not have lost as much as I thought. Two riders are just beyond my reach, but I see them dismount for a log and calculate that if I stay in the saddle I will be on them in seconds. I pull up and throw my bike forward, then I am in the air, legs above my head flying and then down, snarled in a brown weave of dead under-story. I am dizzy, but unhurt, and Bill pulls my bike from the net of vines and sees me back into the saddle. I fall way back as the adrenaline fades leaving me spent.

An old man I know sits in his old man chair listening to the music of his years through stereo headphones. His finger taps the air directing the clave. His brow delights and furrows as he critiques each note. He is not in a hurry, the count is one, two, three, four, FIVE, one, two, three, four, FIVE and the song must arrive at each note with a precise urgency, but not hurry. He is a bass player, and only he can resolve the tune and let the final note ring out.

Mars you bastard. Randy’s tire explodes and I think the roasting ground has melted it, but it is a broken bottle with a message in it that has floated so far into the woods. The message reads, “You must stop here.”

Again, there is Bill, assisting and teaching in a soothing voice. “Let’s patch the breech and re-inflate it, not too much.” A CO2 cartridge kicks back and slams Randy’s thumb into the teeth of his gears drawing blood that seeps around his nail. He doesn’t stop working, just grimly dressing the wound to the tire while his own wound flows red. The rest of us impatiently watch him bleed, eager to be moving.  Off we go. This ride is cursed, yet in some ways also blessed. This ride has become real life, not just play. I look at the strangers around me and begin to see actual faces and hear their unique voices instead of seeing them all as just them.

The sky is unquestionably turning to night, and Mars rises red over the power lines. A gray Lincoln Town Car sits buried to the frame in sand, its wheels spinning freely like a turtle paddling its legs upside down and helpless. A young woman, stress thin, sits slumped over the steering wheel of her mama’s car mewling into her phone, trying to recruit her ex-lover to come save her, despite their earlier fight. We want to help her, but she ain’t leaving. She has chosen her spot to make her stand, and hey, I can relate. We ride on.

Our platoon of riders now broken into squads, I let my guard down. Surely this is the final stretch and I have the legs to keep up. The four of us halt in a clearing and Bill looks up and says, “That must be Mars. Maybe that’s why this night is so weird.” There are no other lights in the sky, and no distractions between Mars and ourselves. We have no choice but to run for it.
Randy’s chain is skipping. I hear him cursing an oath behind me as the other two riders drift away and out of earshot. We can’t see the trail, and we don’t know it anyway, so it comes down to dead reckoning. We find them again, but Randy and I choose the open ground and light over a sure guide through darkness. The ride out is longer than expected, and we are unsure if we have made the right decisions. We call for extraction, but beat the chopper home.

 

Juancho

The intersection

Duane understands there is nothing to be done. Some things can’t be taken back, most things actually, remain where they end up and make their own unsteady way down the dark hallway of the future- hands in front of their inanimate faces just like his own fat damp fingers. June watches him. She wonders if he has any food in this place, and why it smells like some person other than this nervous dork picking at a skin tag on his eyelid.

Well this is what I said I would do. Run everything together.

We spent the weekend at a Days Inn on I-75 in Lake City, mainly for the pool. The Florida Folk Festival, which happens on the Suwanee river just south of the Okefenokee swamp, is always a stifling affair. It is an important part of the charm. If you want to travel back in time to listen to traditional music played in the traditional ways, then you have to get your passport stamped by the deer flies and the heat. Being only tourists, and not emissaries for the event we retreat in the evenings to the concrete cenote bordered by a chain link fence, marked with a faded sign of rules nobody follows. Friday night we presided over a sweet American nucleus of hacking, tuberculous men pinning AAA maps between their elbows, tiny swimmers (and every girl a Disney princess) and an oddly regal tan couple who were certainly northern Europeans, and expatriates for good.

The usher arrived at 10:30 and stood by the gate. He issued no orders, just waited for us to get the hint one by one and ravel up our wears and move along. We asked if we were welcome to take our instruments to the parking lot and rage against the light until dawn. He said as long as nobody called and complained we could do whatever we wanted. So, like hoarders we counted up the free minutes left to us repeatedly, muttering to each other, I have enough here for at least five more songs, how much do you got? We set up next to an idling Kenworth, just north of the dumpster and proceeded to get down to business, trading instruments and recording lyrics in English and Spanish into smart phones, placed on the asphalt.

A man approached us, insistent in his hovering, and following some subterfuge requested if we were in need of prayer. Are you kidding? Pray for me! Chuck said, barn-dooring from the handrail of the camper. Pray for me! Paul said. I welcome love in every form! Why do you want to pray for us? I asked, and he then clarified. We (he had others waiting in the darkness of the stairwell) come to the festival to pray for miraculous healing, for specific ailments or injury. Do any of you have broken bones? Might you be slowly losing your sight? My initial thought was to grab him by the collars and whisper to him the names of those I know who suffer, and warn him that to leach meaning for his life from their pain is an evil thing, and so if we are going to link arms and walk this road together I am going to hold him personally accountable if the effort fails to provide salvation and release, very personally.

Chuck and Paul just kept on singing,

Hey my friend it’s good to see you, been a while since I passed through. I’ve got nothing special to say, but we may never say it again. We had some big ideas back then, still can’t believe you took me in. I still just can’t believe you took me in.

Juancho

Turpentine

It has not flowed like this for a while. A bumper crop. A hundred year harvest. Not riding fast for 46. Not riding fast for a working guy. Not riding fast for a fat guy. Not riding fast for a weekend warrior. I’m just riding faster than I have ever ridden ever. I’m not sure how to explain it, and I don’t really care. As soon as you try to remember your dreams they just go away. Better just to live them as though they are real, because they are, and not question how you can fly, or why you are in class naked on exam day. Just walk your naked ass to your locker and put your Earth Science book away and check for notes from your sweetheart that she crammed through the vents. Never question dreams, just live in them.

You want to roll right now? Let’s go.

Damocles

I’m lucky to have this hit man follow me around telling me he will take me out if I ain’t careful. I don’t know his true identity as I hired him on the internet, but I imagine he is from Walker County, AL as everyone knows that is where you go if you want to contract a killer. One too many steps in the wrong direction and POW, I won’t ever know what hit me. Go ahead and act natural, walk like everything is fine, but know I will be right behind you the whole time so don’t try to run or make any sudden moves he says. At first it bugged me that he was back there watching me, listening to all of my private thoughts and conversations, staring over my shoulder when I check my blood sugar. The number comes in- 96- and I hear him un-cock the pistol and sigh, relieved or disappointed who can tell?

Saturday morning I felt the urgency more than usual, like if Hit Man was going to follow me I should make him work for it. I am the one paying his retainer after all. I met the Hard Man at the park and we tried to scrape that son of a bitch off on every tree in the woods. We plowed through lush carpets of poison ivy and rode the downhills as uphills and the uphills as side hills. We wore his ass out, and even when I bounced my face off the trail and rode out the inertia in a skittering spin down a splintered ramp, the hit man was nowhere in sight. Blood ran out of my arm, but it was well within a healthy range. I tasted it. Nothing but savory.

Juancho

Bikes

All I used to write about was riding bikes. Riding bikes fast. Riding bikes slow. Riding bikes alone. Riding bikes with people. Bikes, bikes, bikes.

I got married. I started a new job where I wear pants and go to a building with other people in it. These two significant events both impacted my understanding of what was fair game to write for the internet at large. If I posted one of my Juancho brand-certified rants would my sweet wife take that as a sign of unhappiness in our relationship? Would the job be concerned about being associated with terms like “sweat-soaked chamois see-through ass-crack window?”

I chickened out. I pulled in my talons.

But that was a long time, and no matter how I tried, these years just flow by like a broken down dam.*

I also started experimenting with fiction, which is really the most truthful of all writing forms, except for maybe poetry which, when good, is so truthful I can’t look it directly in the eye. Writing stories is tough, and it comes to me in pieces and parts without any instruction manual. I would throw away the manual with the packaging anyway.

I look up to a lot of writers and artists. Practical advice is hard to come by, and harder to take. Even when I admire someone’s art that doesn’t mean I can do much with it to further my own. One key exception is a quote I always attribute to Bob Dylan, but that likely has far more ancient roots.

“All it takes to write a good song is 3 chords and the truth.” So, with that advice in mind. Here we go. The truth.

I got the shit scared out of me a few months ago at the Doctor with a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, which isn’t so much a disease, as a state of dis-ease. There is no bug crawling through your body agitating white blood cells. It is actually a checklist, a set of qualifying factors that permit you beyond the velvet rope into an exclusive club of 29,000,000 Americans. How about that? Pretty swank right? Bigger than Costco. The thing about it is that it is a self-inflicted wound, especially for someone like myself who can get any groceries I want and move my body as frequently as I wish. For other of my esteemed fellow club members they get it because they can’t buy hardly anything in their grocery store without corn syrup in it.

I lost almost 40 lbs, I cleaned up my act. Now the blood tests show nothing out of the ordinary. Its like yesterday there was a terrible crash on I-75 and today you can’t even find the skid marks. But you remember the carnage, and it happens to someone every day. It can happen to me again. All I have to do is take my eyes off the road.

So there it is, the truth in all of its freeing and humiliating glory. I’m going to keep writing this story, for Manny’s sake, and Duane’s, and June’s. I’m going to tell you all about my bike rides, every single one. That part is easy because I am a mutant again, basically two giant thighs with eyes on top. At least one thing here at the Big Ring Circus hasn’t changed in 10 years. Bikes are still magical, and they can save your life.

Juancho

*Thanks to John Prine for the lyrical assist

10th Avenue

In 1999 I moved to a place on the corner of 10th Avenue and Yancey Street here in Tallahassee.  This would be the 8th or 9th house I shared with my  buddy Taco, born on this day in 1969.  Both of us were turning 30 that year and it was intended to be a move away from the squalid living of our twenties and to take a step towards adulthood.  The place had a tin roof, white paint worn to the wood, and a kitchen you might find on a very fast sailboat.  In the summer Palmetto bugs treated inside as outside until stomping or ignoring them became equal and fine choices by 4th of July. The landlord’s name was George, but the vacating tenant told us knowingly that he went by “Dick.”  Everyone called him Big Dick because he was a huge man.  Years later, while in his 60’s I saw him carry a full-sized refrigerator out of a house with nothing but a bear hug.

Big Dick owned four houses and a dollhouse-sized cottage on or near the corner of 10th and Yancey.  Within two seasons all were filled by friends and friends of friends, which is what Taco and I were as well.  Instead of taking that affirming step towards adulthood we took more of a lurching step sideways and for 10 years we lived as a family wandering from house to house as easy as room to room.  Vicious competition was our common language.  Darts, 8-ball, 9-ball, ping pong, Dungeons and Dragons (kind of a sub-cult within our greater body host) bicycles, basketball, croquet,horseshoes, bocce ball, mini-bowling and Poker–with strange variations like Boo-ray and Shmoolie– every Thursday night and holiday for about a decade.   The house hosting Poker installed a PVC chute mounted in plywood from the table through the window to the recycling bin.  Whoever got the seat closest to the beer chute would struggle to follow the action on the table while firing an endless line of bottles and cans into the bin.

Within the very nucleus of our compound lived a couple, born in the 1930’s or 40’s  I think.  With a tidy little yard and a small chain-link fence around the property their house was a respectable eyesore among our repudiating hovels. They were from Chicago and retired to town to be near two of their three children, and enjoy life.  Marvin played jazz piano and we would hear him playing through the open windows as we criss-crossed the street following the action from house to house.  Ada would link her arm through yours and pull you in close to tell you about a piece of jewelry she was wearing or to tell you she was really upset about how our government was treating the mentally ill.  For some reason they never thought to say, “Hey guys, maybe you should all get serious about your lives and quit living like a bunch of pirates returned to port after 6 months at sea. Quit wasting time!”

We lived more with and among them, than next to them.  Either would have been welcomed at the poker table, or to throw the dice with the Riders of Rohan, but I doubt they cared for the thick blue cigarette smog in the room .  Good lord, we were animals, which is an insult to animals.

One day Ada came knocking on my door.  I opened it to her holding a tiny kitten cradled against her chest and small bags of food and litter hanging from her elbow.  She offers me this tail-less, black and white weeks-born kitten–“Here is your new cat.” She tells me.  ” Ada, I can’t take care of a cat.  I can’t even take care of myself!”

Ada was not one to moralize. The  irreverently empathetic Ada, who before all things was funny, an absolute riot. But-I will say- and I am free to draw my own saccharin homilies.  I believe Ada saw a good guy, a fiddler watching Rome burn,  who could really use a cat in his life.  

Marvin died a year ago last September, and Ada died yesterday morning.

I sit here now in this new home under this immense Live Oak tree, where I live with my girlfriend from 9th grade, who moved away to Alabama, but came back to get me 2 years after I left 10th Avenue.  After two soggy days of rain the sun is coming out. There is a dog on the couch and that cat is looking out the window in this room.

 

Juancho