Thursday, March 22, 2007

When Our Spirit Is In Shadow




My grandfather was named Charlie, never Chuck or Charles. When things got bad, he wasn't above pulling up stakes and starting over, usually in the middle of the night by the light of a lantern. He didn't think about what the neighbors thought -- I doubt the neighbors thought much of anything since he was the kind of badass that you did not mess with -- he'd soon shoot you as look at you. You little bastards, he'd say to me and my sister, his only grandchildren, a term of endearment of sorts. I was not a badass; I feared damn near everything about the outside world and indoors wasn't much better -- the internecine politics of all the houses of my childhood were enough to give anyone an ulcer. Anything bad that happens to you is your fault should have been stitched on a sampler pillow along with the dirty one in the trailer that said, God Loves You.

When people talk about legacy, I think about mine and laugh. You will not be afraid; you will be the last one standing. I sucked that philosophy down just as I did my Dr. Pepper from the gas station Flinstones glass I always used. I wasn't sure if I was in training for kindergarten or the Vietcong. Of course, this background suited me well -- if it takes twenty years, it takes twenty years, if it takes thirty, it takes thirty. We will not be defeated. You will lose yourself to find yourself. You will die to this world. This world will die to you. Make a way where there is no way. Or as Charlie would have said, Get out of my fucking way. Of course, I've cleaned it up. If I'm ever going to knit it on a pillow, I'd better use as few words as possible since I only know how to use a needle for one thing, inflicting pain on myself or others. Sometimes it's the same thing.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"I've waded through water and I've waded through mud/ To come to this place they call the bucket of blood." Stagger Lee

Cocktail Hour

Drinking movie suggestion: Hustle and Flow

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Thursday!

20 days until The Sopranos airs!

14 comments:

Songs from somewhere said...

I've seen the needle and the damage done...

the walking man said...

The world would be a poorer place if there weren't people like Charlie in it. Then all of the wannabees would wak around thinking they were the right example of action and stamina.

You are right, ten years twenty years , thirty years whatever just as long as you keep saying get out of my fucking way because I already paid my dollar.

Jesus Brooks if you only know how to use a needle two ways I guess I'll bring a bag of ten and show you at least ten different ways to use 'em. Two of which you already mentioned, I particurly like sticking one in my blind eye and let it hang there, it really freaks out the badasses of the new millenium.

Sean Connery said...

I hate needles.

W.D. Snodgrass said...

See my poetry collection--"Heart's Needle."

Julianna Skiff said...

I knew that I could relapse into the needle world if if I went with Christopher on the Sopranos but I couldn't help it.

Rodney Dangerfield said...

Hey Michelle, I'd like to needle you on that bar, if you know what I mean, and I'm not talking knitting, if you know what I mean

Kafka said...

I used needles to great effect in "In the Penal Colony."

Al Pacino said...

The psyche of the addict is exposed in "The Panic in Needle Park."

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've borrowed this basic philosophy: "Lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way."

Bottom feeder said...

That's a very funny line, Michelle--"I wasn't sure if I was in training for kindergarden or the Vietcong."

Susan Miller said...

That sounds like some getoutofmywayism. Don't worry...we don't have meetings for fear we'll hurt each other.

Good Friday to ya', Michelle.

Santayana said...

To substitute the society of ideas for that of things is simply to live in the mind; it is to survey the world of existencies in its truth and beauty rather than in its personal perspectives, or with practical urgency. It is the sole path to happiness for the intellectual man, because the intellectual man cannot be satisfied with a world of perpetual defeat, change, and imperfection. It is the path trodden by ancient philosopers and modern saints or poets;not, of course, by modern writers on philosophy, because these have not been philosophers in the vital sense; they have practiced no spiritual discipline, suffered no change of heart, but lived on exactly like other professors, and exerted themselves to prove the existence of a God favorable to their own desires, instead of searching for the God that happens to exist. Certainly this path, in its beginnings, is arduous, and leaves the natural man somewhat spare and haggard; he seems to himself to have fasted for forty days and forty nights, and the world regards his way of living afterwards as rather ghostly and poor. But he usually congratulates himself upon it in the end; and of those who persevere some become saints and some poets and some philosophers.

Uma Thurman said...

I was needled good in "Pulp Fiction."

Charles Gramlich said...

Growing up, everyone called me Charlie. My family members still do, but everyone where I work know me as Charles. It's not something I encouraged or discouraged. Just worked out that way. My fiance laughs every time one of my family members calls and asks to speak to "charlie."