. . . could barely hold up my corner of the coffin . . . so I used two hands . . . and various other memories lately . . . I'm all over the place lately . . . you are really forced to sum up your life when you have to move -- when you see all your stuff boxed up in front of you -- and the stuff of those who have moved on without their stuff -- and you have to update your resume etc.
My nephew saw a guy get shot and killed. My brother-in-law held the guy as he died. I wish I was joking, but no -- about a year or so ago this shit happened. My nephew was nine years old. It was such a shock, I never wrote anything about it then. I’m not always in a reality kind of mood or mode on my blog . . . I mean -- this was like some shit you’d see in a TV show.

My nephew had been playing outside, and he noticed a commotion. Two guys were having a fight. One guy really beat the shit out of the other guy. The guy who got beat up ran in his friend’s house. He knew where his friend’s dad kept a gun, and he went straight to it. He got the gun and ran outside. The details are a little unclear at this point. Apparently the guy tried to say that he was simply holding the gun, and the other guy advanced on him, and he fell back, and the gun went off -- or some shit like that. What is certain is that the gun was in his hand when it went off and fired a fatal shot into the guy who had just beaten his ass.

When the commotion started, my nephew realized he should probably go inside the house. He started to go in, but not quickly enough to avoid seeing that shit. He probably was wondering what was going on, he lingered, he was curious, he took his time going in, looking back over his shoulder . . . Before he got in the house, the shot went off, and my nephew saw the whole terrible thing. After the shot, the guy with the gun ran right by nephew, looked right at him. Everybody knows everybody in that neighborhood, everybody knows everybody's business.

It’s not the worse neighborhood in Portsmouth, Virginia, but it is sketchy -- one of the worse, I guess. I would hear gun shots and sirens when I visited. There were rumors that the cops were watching the block because of various drug dealings and so on. People seem friendly enough most of the time. Things just flare up, you know?

So my nephew saw the whole thing, and then my brother-in-law yanked my nephew inside, and my brother-in-law went out there. He ran over to where the guy was laying, and he screamed for somebody to dial 911. He got down next to the guy, and was trying to tell the guy to hold on, hold on, but the guy just faded. The ambulance got there too late. They tried to work on the guy, but he was gone.

The cops came, and my nephew and brother-in-law were the only ones who would talk to them. There were about ten or twelve people standing around who saw it. They were all very scared. Aparently the guy with the gun was in some kind of half-ass gang. And of course, there was the bullshit whispered and sometimes blurted out about my nephew being a snitch or whatever, and some of the other kids wouldn’t play with him. That all wore off, though, and the guy confessed, so my nephew and bro-in-law didn’t have to go testify . . . but now my nephew is not doing so well . . . I think it has all sunk in, and he’s not doing well . . . not very well at all. . .


That memory is there in my head, entrenched, quite an uneasy coexistence -- it is like a person you encounter every day. You know the person is there without even looking: like at the coffee machine in the morning at work, you are getting coffee, and they are nearby, at the refrigerator, two feet away, putting away their lunch. You know the person is there. You don’t look the person in the face. The memory is like that person whose face you don't look into -- no need -- you know they're there -- you know where they sit in your little company -- you know that memory is there, you don't have to replay it, you don't have to question it, you don't have to engage it every single day -- you just know it's there . . .
Wondering how long I'll be okay with the starving artist wannabe in low output low income mode routine -- I mean -- if they put a gun to your head and told you to form a rock and roll band, you might write a song about a death sentence and an electric chair powered by solar energy, a cloudy day and the governor calling with second thoughts, but he's placed on hold . . . and you end up hiding in a dumpster outside the recording studio, quietly placing cell phone calls to taxi cabs, you suddenly realize that their guns were all made of latex . . . but do this: with the microphone -- somebody wants to take it from you -- talk them out of taking it, and then hand it to them nicely. Usually they wipe down the machine between sessions, but it's been so busy. Here's a song they just added to the karaoke machine memory bank: it's about the steady steady squeak that drove the busboy crazy. He said it sounded like a tiny voice, his kindergarten sweetheart. Saddened, he realized his madness was incurable. He decided to steal a U-Haul truck and load it down with books at every single Friends of the Library book sale he could sneak into. He’d read in the truck by flashlight. If he couldn't be sane, he reasoned, he could at least be book smart.

. . . moving to Kissimmee, Florida. Disney and shit . . . so busy