This is a greeting I picked up when I was younger, a carry-over from a desire to be a cowboy.2
2 Documented in old family films, my sister3 had dressed me up in a summer dress, floppy hat, and cowboy boots. My response to my mother’s off-camera question of And what are you? I’m a cowboy.
4 My mother, discovering the travesty, went out, and bought a second blue-and-white parakeet, replacing the old one in hopes of sparing my sister.7 When my sister arrived home, she looked into the cage at the duplicate parakeet and asked, Where is my bird?8 I believe the bird’s name was Sky. Where is my Sky?
5 My mother and father had brought us up from Baltimore shortly after my brother9 and I were born.10 My sister is the only one of us who remembers the something of the apartment, or studio, or townhouse, or row house. There were checkerboard floors. There was a hanging bed. There was a turtle who wandered outside.11 My mother and father fixed it up one year, the year my father was mugged on Christmas,12 when he still talked to his father.13
6 My father was cursed with cats. When he was young, he had a dog,17 and we had
7 Hayley died when my father was away one year. Actually, she grew sick. My mother dragged her to the car and loaded me and my brother into the backseat. We . We drove to the Humane Society. On the way back, there was just a colorful Mexican blanket in the back.22 with a lump underneath There was a new garden in the backyard shortly after.23
10 See date above.
11 Our whatever had a balcony, my sister tells me.
12 My father tells me this story on occasion. My mother is inside with gifts and groceries. My father is by the car. A man approaches him and draws (what he draws, I don’t remember- maybe he drew a pretty picture). My father had heard about several muggings where the victim had been killed.26 My father draws a box cutter24 and slips on a patch of ice. The man takes his change.27
14 I: 5:32 AM. My brother: 7:06 AM.282011; 2011;
16 11th September, 1990.
17 Hope, whose proof of existence now lies in the chewed corners of one of my father’s books.29 She passed away shortly after my father left for college and before he learned of the coming draft. That is to say, as my father saw Vietnam coming, he lost Hope.
18 See, left thigh.
21 There are numerous animals behind the small apartment where my father now lives. He often sits outside and feeds scraps and peanuts to the squirrels, the birds, the cats, , the rabbits. He tells me often that there is nothing cuter than a groundhog baby. Just balls of fur, he says.30 I hope
22 My mother, when she was younger, traveled throughout Mexico. She tells me that she and her sister, young, blonde Americans, often experienced rude hands from crowds of men. In the states, my mother found herself drawn to Arizona. Once there, she fell in love with named and then with the land. She flew back home to announce to her family that she was moving there for good. Something happened when she came back (sickness or debt or family) and she could no longer return. On the trip to say she was leaving, she became trapped. She met my father shortly after.
23 Manner in which I would like to be buried. Also fitting:
25 My brother was always an artist.32 Growing up, however, the desire to design video games started with a love of video games.33 It was what we had. We played ever-more-complex-and-violent titles.34 Our bonding had nothing to do with talking. We sat and played videogames. When we bond today, we work out,35 we drive,36 we play video games. We are not talking brothers.37
30 The last time I saw him, . It was a cookout before I went back for college. I had not been home in five months38and would be home again for three more. My brother was there, and my sister and a boy who is awfully kind to her.38 My father made me an avocado sandwich and cooked ham and bacon for the rest.39 It was hot. I wish I could
32 When looking for schools, he applied for MICA. He ended up getting into the top handful of portfolios, and they wanted him badly. He didn’t want to go to an art school, however. I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without seeing a pair of combat boots, he said.
36 2001 Jeep Cherokee.
37 During one drive, I turned to my brother and said, I’m trying to figure out which way of living is right. With me, I am much more open about things. I wear my heart on my sleeve. With you, you keep things to yourself, never bothered. Which way do you think is right? Looking ahead at the light, my brother said, I guess we’ll find out in eighty years.
47 I do not think the day itself had much relevance, though I do remember wanting to mention it to a girl.50like the work. I’m used to
51 My father began working in a theatre when I was in middle school. This was after along series of bad luck. The economy did not do well and my father was unlucky, and unluckier, and unluckier, and eventually ended up as a grounds keeper at a college. He started helping out in the theatre. Then they discovered that the grounds keeper helping out was an artist. One day, he showed them the spirit of red. After that, he made their sets for them. Time spent with my father was time spent working in an old theatre. The actors never could. I typically had a bias against actors.55
52 There is currently an event at the theatre called the National Music Festival. It runs for two weeks straight. At all hours of the day, classical music fills the theatre, and the lobbies, and the space outdoors. If we kept the theatre open, I’m sure the musicians would play all night. We usually act as chaperons to the theatre, sticking around late into the night until no one is left. My friend suggested something for when there is nothing to do but to wait for the musicians to finish. He suggested going up onto the catwalk above the stage and just sitting, listening. He said it was nice.56