following angels
August 28, 2002 06:11 AM

I have this thing in my car.

This car I've had forever. Really, forever. It's the only car I've ever had.

I collect things in it. It's a mess, a huge terrible mess. It's still filled with board games and dirty towels from when we moved two months ago. They're not even in the trunk anymore, not after my dad tried to stuff an entire gas grill into my trunk before I drove back from Maryland weeks ago.

the shriners loaned us cars
we raced up and down the sidewalk twenty thousand million times

The car is accidentally filled with everything you can imagine.

My rearview mirror, though. That's deliberate. It's a shrine to memory. It is: a feather (seagull), a faded fabric rose, a dead white balloon, a pair of wings that say "space camp", an old sticker to let me get on the naval base.

It looks like trash.

It is. In fact. Almost everything I've been.

It is summer and winter on the beach. Watching the sun cycle; on the right stretch of sand, you can see both over the water. Sand on the floor, in your teeth, your hair, your seats. Gathering plastic bottles full of sandblasted stones because you're small and you're supposed to.

It is growing up without growing away. Cliched as that sounds. Claiming your family's identity as your own. It's sticky.

It is feminity. It's that first time a waiter calls you ma'am. And wine at dinner. It's everything with hollandaise sauce.

And it's colliding pasts. All the things the people you love were before they knew you. It's where they're from, those places that become where you're from.

And it's art. It's moving forward. It's flight, the actual implied in detested poetry. It's being not alone in a community of artists, a community that may be more conceptual than supportive, but still a community. And the possibility of art to mean something to real people.

In total. It's places I've been and places I'm going. It's the potential of tallying yourself; a moment of still life that imagines being older as an encyclopedia of yourself.

these things happen to other people
they don't happen at all, in fact

But it's nothing collected from that period I'm most nostalgic for. No relics of that. They were stored elsewhere, not tucked accidentally here and there. And it's the here and thereness of this shrine that makes it most compelling. It's a sense of having travelled.

I need a scanner now (why don't I have one already?). I need to share this, to memorialize memory.

I know where the next iteration of this site is going.

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