Tag Archive: Personal


Time

Time

I feel like a hypocrit because I ask my students to write about the most EXTRA or non related things (related to their lives) on a daily basis. Studies have shown that those people who are immersed in a language or have to actively use that language are just far more fluent in that language and in others. I feel that this fluency is because there is a need to be understood. Not necessarily fit in; everyone, even in their most precious memory of memories would love to share memory, and everyone loves when that memory is possibly or actually shared beyond the details of a calendar date.  If you read  the poem “The Day She Died” by Frank O’Hara,  you would understand what I mean.  In the poem, O’Hara describes everything he did until he read a newspaper that informed him that one of his favorite singers died.   When you are old enough to recognize the importance of a person, you can recall where you were when you learned that they weren’t.   I was 20 and working at IHOP when I learned my friend David died.   I was 22, when a person I barely knew told me that my friend Steven had died.   Steven had made my life in New York City possible.

Steven  was Steven.   Dirty, nasty, kinky, all those incorrigible terms that on some online profile he probably used about himself betray that in actual reality he had  a heart of gold.   The details of how we met are seedy, but how we became friends involved tales of my life, and stories about his mother.  The only caveat about factoring me into his life was his Shelty – a cruelly aged bitch he named “Sherrie.”  (Though if you told me Sherrie had been around before JFR or FDR, I’d be hard pressed to argue the opposite.)  Time and life, and Steven and I made choices, and just as crucial and important was Steven’s sex schedule, suddenly it was not, and he and I found ourselves on separate islands on this island.

The parts of his life that occurred while I was busy establishing my own life  were told me to via internet and  phone, and I could not move, and thus I remained naked in bed with a partner whom Steven didn’t care much for.  Yet, my partner read my body language and ironed my slacks and looked for a pen when I suddenly needed one for an address.  Time tells me this story wants to consume more adjectives on Dan, or about my trip on the LIRR, or METRO North to some  funeral home/chapel in Long Island unreachable other than by car.   There is a vacuum where the details about how far out I had to travel and how lonely it felt being there with his coworkers;  I had slept on his couch for 5 months but  walking into the service I could see no one that knew me.  But then emerged  his mother,  and that November before I moved here,  I had met his mother.  She had read me some of her poetry.  She coined a new word….”lonlicholy;”  To be lonelicholy is to be somewhere between meloncholy and lonely.  Lost but not so lost that you would trust a stranger.   She knew of everyone there, and had recalled their names and Steven mentioning them,  but she remembered me.  And we held each other’s hand as we remembered him.  I wanted to tell her I couldn’t be who I am without him but I didn’t know how much he told her about what he did.  Or who he did.  And all that seems more personal than necessary.  It is of those small details I would love to share that it seems as if those are the hardest to not.

As time has gone on,  I think the same thing about TJ (and our Real World: Paris audition tapes, and of Robert (who let me sleep on his couch when I was literally powerless beyond other thing’s) and I think about Paul’s mom whose home and family I felt welcomed into on holidays when my family was miles aways.  When thinking about  the unfortunateness of  time, I think about my cousin,  Samantha, and  how I would have spoiled her a little more during her visit.  In my head runs the memory that she Spiderman hit on her, and that I was able to say to her “this is my favorite building in New York”  moments slightly before.   It was a Saturday night, or more particularly early Sunday morning when I heard she had been shot.    I had just seen the Avengers movie.

Funny how time and memory goes….. by.  It has been almost a year since my brother died, and I still don’t now how how to include it in my life experiences.   Because the past year of my life didn’t happen according to my notebooks, journals and Facebook.  Sure, there are photo albums dedicated and chronicling the last few days and the time that I spent with him and my family.  But my mind doesn’t allow me to reach for the words or power to make that a year ago.   Even though I’ve asked Chris to help Samantha into the afterlife, how they be can be in the afterlife has so profoundly affected me.   Even now, I realize I can’t talk or conceptualize how to fit Christopher’s passing into this.  Because for him to die is for the part of me that has been reserved for “brother” or “my brother”  to be lost.

When I fully embraced teaching earlier this year, I now realized that it’s because I needed something else.   Upon closer look,  this  “something else” is something is blatantly specific.   It has been for a lot of my life.  In Portland, in the hospital room,  my brother’s ex-girlfriend, and a lot of his friends in fact kept pointing out or saying to me, that he told them I was the smartest person he knew.   Somehow, and in so many ways, I know he felt that.    During my senior year in college, the Professor who taught a class on the works on Nathaniel Hawthorne impressed me by his seemingly unsinkable knowledge of Hawthorne and literature.   In fact, it intimidated me.   I eventually became so stressed when trying to write my final paper, because I felt that I couldn’t bring a new insight;  in response to my nervousness, and falling confidence he said to me “Mr. Bufford, every good teacher knows how to prepare their lesson.   They also know that every lesson can be someone else’s question.”  It wasn’t until this exact second that I type this that I realized that he used my teacher name.   I wrote an overly long, thusly researched  paper (which I’ve kept) that received an A.   It relates to nothing and is the key to everything.

Time has betrayed me. My own hands have betrayed me. I have not done as I teach;  where is the daily writing or the great poems I have typed into my iPad, Pod, and Phone?   I want to make sense of things but sense everyone agrees that we can’t or that in due time perhaps we will.    And I’ve done what I can, and I have tried to ignore events. But I’m over it.   That is, I have failed myself in regards to daily writing.  I have failed myself in terms of communication, and utilizing its potential.

So call the next few posts “Summer School.”  Or at least I will.   With all that’s been going on in the world, I have had an opinion that has been wasted by not showing it’s tangibility.  How can I stand by the words I say, if I don’t say them to empower them.   Some of them will hurt.  But as a soldier with a map with mysterious dots that have been noted but not labeled…well what he  does, I try to avoid .   Looking over my notes, and my thoughts about the last year, I realize that I will never be able to put myself or the situations that have occurred in the past year aside.   I worry everyday that somewhere inside me is the rare cancer that ate my brother away.   Or some ailment that changes my mothers suffering from one thing to another.

I remember watching the episode of South Park titled “You’re getting older” and actually crying.   Of the things I can remember, I can remember everything and nothing about this undying time, where I’ve felt so alive, and feel as if there’s nothing to show for it.   I didn’t go to law school, and I still only know a fraction about Leiomyosarcoma.   I know more about cancer, HIV and AIDS, opportunistic,and inopportunistic infections, reoccurrence of cancer, firearms, Art History, Forensic Science  the inner workings of Housing Code of New York City.  I could tell you how to teach the hell out of any lesson you want to teach.  But what does it mean if I am always projecting it.  If I am always wanting to be available and making myself available?

I don’t know.   I don’t even know if my tooth brush is as coarse as it needs to be but I know I need to brush my teeth.   This, could all third draft to hide my venomous first few.  Or it could be a warning salvo.  Or it could be a plea.  I don’t know.  It’s 7  am, and I’m not fighting alcohol or subcentral.  I’m just  glad to be here, and I wish I was doing as much as I should be with this time.

Either way. Exect some new piece of work from me everyday for the next week.

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Selection (Jury Duty#3.5)

Selection (Subtitled: Jury Duty#3.5)

Day 2.  Easy metal detector line.  Not-so bad weather.  Things were going way too swimmingly.  Yes, swimmingly….ever notice that whenever someone uses “swimmingly” that things are probably anything but.

Right off the bat, I check in, take out my Ken-Ken, basically trying to settle my ass and forge an ass-groove in the seat that would so allow me to attain a semblance of comfort.  5…10..43…55…minutes go by; those were the intervals I had awoke after nearly falling or have fallen asleep.  Then the nice lady in charge of calling names announces that lawyers are calling for a panel.  No idea how they randomly select names, but I and 19 other people get called, and are directed to a small courtroom.  Therein lay  2 (two) judges and a lawyer and on the table in front of them is one of those things used at Bingo halls for scrambling the tiles.  Cut to the Bingo-Name drawing,my heart and mind screaming and beating “No…No…No…not me…”, and my fingers crossed as if I were swearing I hadn’t (insert random inappropriate thing a child lies for here.)  5 times my heart got relief; It was the number 6 name called that did me in.  It’s like mommy, daddy, teacher, preacher, etc. finally had evidence.  So I, with great trepidation in my heart, walked to the little area where the first five prospective jurors sat with doe eyed “Damn it all to hell” written on their faces.

 

 

It’s Friday Night…I’ll get to it….

 

[Chester Kent]

ChesterintheRye.com