“A: Another Biography” by Caroline Fernelius
A: Another Biography
Strange now to think of you while I walk on the sunny pavement of the arcade winter in Michigan clear winter noon and I’ve been up all night, talking, talking, reading Walt Whitman aloud listening to Miles Davis blues shout blind on the phonograph the rhythm the rhythm and your cold cracked hands in my head as I barreled through the triumphant stanzas aloud and wept realizing how we suffer1
Ten o’clock in Mexico City and I cannot get over Allen Ginsberg and the boys on the metro how they fan their blue legs in the heat one after the other an accordion of youth and attraction spelling sex Texan oil reserves the fine print of becoming and you mommy waiting in the south for what hand gripping pollen soaked table and picking alternately at the cuts at the knee purple radiance your eyes trained on the back door (for what) and thinking now of San Antonio of bars with green plastic awnings and the shootout you stopped by virtue of your very red hair (you said and I said) Dear mommy, I did something bad but I did it for you took an antique hatchet to the woods behind my house destroyed in a singular motion the notion of Midwestern Americana took it to bat with my coffee hands and then it was Sunday and I rested And then it was Monday and I rested some more (Strange then to think of you in Bologna my ears swollen from a trip to the supermarket prepaid phone card back on the apartment desk and black heroin alley on the way back) Strange then to think of you in Paris my collar coming undone on the Rue de Rivoli and a yellow haired woman on the television baring her tiny pink breasts my copy of Lucien Febvre’s Life in Renaissance France an omen you returned unread (O mother I should have known) Strange then to think of you in Boston my hair short and wet in February snow dairy free artisanal ice creams by the bay and a post-it note you Fedexed to my hotel containing simply an equation Read this you wrote and I wrote in response surely Strange then to think of you in Durham the hair on the back of my knees dampening and yelling ghost in the basement of the Social Sciences (SS) Building the fire escape up top structurally unsound a metonym for glory and the heating unit drip drip dripping itself into fugitivity the opposite (not the undoing) of sound Strange then to think of you in Charleston (on this I have nothing else to say) Strange then to think of you in New York piss drunk at the Gramercy Park Hotel and my dying conviction that red velvet curtains could save the world plush negotiators of time and space that bind and bend my companion said no and I hailed the first cab I could get the entirety of Lexington Ave a single brush stroke then of steelredsteel (scrambled city) seven o’clock in the morning and I felt the tail end of tipsy triumphant really fucking sad for the crows (this was the first time I had ever really thought about them) Strange even to think of you in Cambridge o holy, holy night Strange to think of you in LA sad sad city city of duende city of hysteria-born sugarspun centerpieces and the ink the ink leaking everywhere Huntington Beach with its freaks and the fire hydrants stomping out all dissent across the rues and the boulevards (A mortal city revealed then in the string of drunken tail lights across from the Hollywood Hotel) Mother mother, they should have known. Dipped their work boots in sheep’s butter and thought the holy land more than idea only gave it more than idea only gave it their coins their cracked craftsman hands thick vials even of their wives’ menstrual blood took a hatchet to go and you don’t need me to tell you that when they got there everything was all yellow.
1 Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish,” (1957-1959)