Sunday, March 30, 2008

When is the last time I was outside the city limits?

Not recently enough so it readily comes to mind. Perhaps a glimpse into my refrigerator would reveal clues. I'm back and while there are some Trader Joe's frozen items, they are encased in crystallized ice and are not recent purchases. All else was purchased within a quarter mile of my apartment. I think it was two weekends ago. A Sunday. I had taken a bus to the Hampshire Mall in Hadley to buy an inexpensive DVD player at Best Buy. Hey, I'd buy locally owned but I no longer know of any stores nearby that sell DVD players. I scored. $39. My father lives in Amherst and I called him up to see if he might want me to come visit. He was on his way to the very mall I was patronizing to pick up my half-brother Tom and his 6th grade friend Suzie who had been playing video games at what I think is still called the Dream Machine video arcade. When Tom isn't playing video games at home on his computer, he's playing them at the mall. My dad rounded us all up and said I could come over if I wanted but he and his wife were watching golf and it was serious. I asked him if he'd give me a lift back to Northampton and he paused long enough so that I rescinded my request. He dropped me off at Amherst Books where I kept one eye out the window for the bus and another on the new poetry books. Dean Young's new book, Primitive Mentor, was out. Everytime I go to Amherst, I vow to buy a book of poetry, and one always finds me. Dean had submitted a poem to Drive By Poets, my public broadside project, and he was a funny and smart dude. Like Jim Tate and Russell Edson, Dean makes me feel like my weird inner world can't be as deviant as I fear compared to theirs. They feel like they're goofing around but then they stick in the sword with a great last line. Scooter the cashier was there. I'd had dinner with her and the store's owner and his wife and my friend Mo at Joe's Pizza. Mo and I had run into them and we decided we all knew each other well enough to eat together. I had forgotten Scooter's name in the interim, between Joe's and the bookstore, and sheepishly asked her to remind me. "Scooter." How could I have forgotten that. My fear of early onset Alzheimers was stoked anew. When I mentioned I was going to buy Dean's new book, the only other customer in the store, a striking tall long-haired woman of maybe 30, looked up and said, "I love Dean Young." At moments like this I realize that I am in a movie. But unlike a John Cusack or Jason Schwartzman, I have not been prepared with clever lines from a script. To be continued.