My grandpa used to tell us about a man who had 3 heads who lived in his town & he was always in the kitchen frying something or other & even though it smelled like chicken it was really the bones of children. He was awake every time I saw him, my grandpa said, even late at night & we decided maybe he had 3 or 4 jobs but that’s what you need with so many mouths to feed & then my grandma would make us come in & watch educational television for our own good.
That’s the thing about free will, he told us. You can drag me along, but there’s no way in hell you can make me have fun.
King of Hearts idly playing a game of people
Do you know all these people? she whispered to me & I said no, they’re just here for the free food & she said, But it’s only a dream & I said, I know. That’s why I can afford to do it.
Free Country (aka Confusing World)
Why is the world so confusing? he said & I said it’s only confusing if you believe it has to make sense & he looked at me & shook his head.
I can’t believe they let just anyone have children, he said.
4 things I have learned about soccer that you may find useful. No. 1 If you run too much your lungs burn to tiny little cinders & all you’re good for after that is a low-key desk job for the rest of your life. No. 2 A soccer ball is softer than a rock, but not much. No. 3 If you have a good goalie, you can look around more & see what some of the other teams are up to. No. 4 People on the sidelines yell at you because they know exactly what they would do if they had the ball & were 3 feet taller than the biggest kid on the other team.
Every summer we had a circus & I always got to be the fortune teller. All the girls wanted to know if they’d have babies & all the boys wanted to find out about the Cubs. We had one neighbor who’d been in the hospital who asked me if I could tell her when she was going to die & I didn’t know what to say so I told her not before her time & then she grabbed my arm & said I was a good boy but that’s not what the doctors said & there I was looking in the crystal ball wishing I had more Gypsy and less Norwegian.
A lot of people think he’s kind of formless but it’s only because they keep hoping he’ll look like something they recognize before they get too anxious
she sang like snowflakes on my tongue, bright & sharp with the forgotten promises of spring
I don’t really have any secrets, she told me once. I just forget a lot of stuff.
How old do you have to be to die? he said & I said I didn’t think anybody was ever old enough & that made sense to him since he was still new to the world & remembered how forever had been.
I know I can cook well enough to survive, he said, but I’m grown up now so you can’t force me to eat it
secure in the knowledge that it’s hard to ruin mashed potatoes
this is a trap for under appreciated food groups like woodchucks
There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn’t sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog’ll do that to you, he said.
for a long time, she flew only when she thought no one else was watching
Flying Naked With Jesus
When I was younger, I used to fly a lot in my dreams. I used to dream I was naked too. My grandma said it was all because of original sin & that if I lived a pure life that someday I would be able to fly naked with Jesus & then she looked at me & said many are called, but few are chosen & later on I thought it was a damn good thing too & I gave up pure living for a long time after that just to be sure.
This is where I keep things I agreed to do before I found out how difficult they would be.
I’m not that afraid of death, she said. I was in the 60’s, so I’ve already been through a lot of stuff I don’t understand.
I knew a man in college who grew up in the inner city of Chicago & what he was doing in Iowa I never did figure out. But whenever he would see a jet trailing across the sky, he would stop everything he was doing & he would watch. Once, after a jet was gone & there was nothing left but the white line disappearing like a scar into the blue, he turned to me & said, An airplane is a miracle & I didn’t give it much thought, but now & then, when I am ready to give up hope for human beings in general, & for one or two of them who are bugging me specifically, I will look to the sky & there will be one of those miracles & I will remember it’s all about concentrating on the right thing.