Thursday, May 01, 2008

word comes tonight that an old friend of mine, michael roe, passed away, back in iowa, probably not far from a place called pilotsville, if i have that right, not too far from kalona and wellman, out in washington county, where i used to live. i didn't know him well, poured concrete with him, maybe, a time or two, but he was friend, and his close friends were also close friends of mine, MC, DW, PW, some of those folks. back then the kalona area had a lot of amish, and people who settled around there but weren't amish, were known as english. but they also had a somewhat closed social world, so those of us who weren't either, but were outsiders, all knew each other pretty well, it seemed, & i'll never forget.

these days my life is a huge stack of papers, as the pictures here and on my work weblog will testify. somewhat timeless, i'm left, late at night, totally beaten by a grammatical jumble that i'm unable to read. yet unable to sleep also, thinking of wellman, the english river, the back roads & buggies, pink porch & muscovy ducks, leonid & nikita. also, still thinking of a recent trip to new york, on which i spent a lot of time on the subway, two bucks a ride, watching how people lived and got back & forth from queens, up on the platform, down in the tunnels, where the tiles neatly laid out into a picture, one of them saying 57th street, all laid out beautifully by some tile-layer, deep underground in a dark cavern, where who knows who will come down the stairs, and nobody even notices it except me, & i wonder why there are no images of it on the googleimage. it is one of the premier sights of all, i was thinking, standing on the cement waiting for the n-train. new york was kind of timeless also- i had no watch, no cell phone, and the town had no clocks, none at all, maybe they thought everyone just had it taken care of somehow. everybody and their brother got on this particular train, and at some point an entire mariachi band complete with stand-up bass and everyone dressed in fine red and blue silk shirts got on, waited an entire stop, then started singing a winsome mexican country tune that inexplicably made me cry. then of course they passed the hat, and i gave, this is not something i can get refunded for back at the office.

in iowa, there were gravel roads with wide turns & hidden dangers like no shoulder, deep mud, snow drifts, buggy tracks. PW got snowed in for five days; i had an old vw, 61, but almost plowed it into a buggy one icy day, road was a solid sheet of ice. we knew some people, both amish and english, who were friendly, but mostly we were on our own, and speaking for myself only here, it was unsustainable, i ended up back in town. learned alot though...lived life to its country fullest...more later, it's too late. my love to michael, and all...


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