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Kevin W. Grossman - Santa Cruz, CA (USA):
April 01, 2001:
This book has traveled hidden in backpacks across dry golden vineyards at
harvest time, proving once again that wine and poetry are best left
in aged oak hearts.
And Jack, I almost forget to tell you that on my way
to work this morning I saw a man in a gold Lexus
stop and pick up a ragged hitchhiker singing filthy blues while rifling
through his dusty backpack for this same tattered book.
Later, I drank straight from the bottle, sitting cross-legged on my patio,
trembling and smoking cigarettes wondering what to write. My thumbs ached.
This book has neither heroes nor words.
April 04, 2001:
This book was trapped in Nathanael West's trunk as he blew through
a stop sign near El Centro, California. This book had been
grieving over Fitzgerald's death the day before, and it had wept freely
huddled next to this unwritten script about newlyweds, success, hope and other
thin silver linings sewn lovingly throughout the seams of the mythical American
This book, long dead and buried in dust, fossilized inside the bowels
of a weather beaten mobile home, atop a high living room shelf
riddled with planes made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans, old Brownie
Target Six-16 cameras, and nicely framed but faded black and white desert
photos. This is where 81-year-old Henry "Haps" Collins lives, the tow
truck driver who had hauled away West's totaled car to the wrecking
Haps lives alone along a lonely gravel strip road just outside Bakersfield.
Haps never married. Haps is diabetic and he lost his
left foot ten years ago due to poor circulation. Haps smokes
Pall Mall Reds, unfiltered. Haps sits on his rickety porch every
evening, drinking iced tea with gin and eating macaroni and cheese while
watching the sunset. Haps can't read or write.
Haps sleeps his last night with the American flag and God under
his pillow, and dreams of flying over Zion National Park. This
book won’t be found for another millennia.
This book defined truth and betrayal, and I had shoved it under
the broken futon leg to prop it up for balance, my bags
packed, car full of half-things. I sat weighted, absorbed by a
cobweb in the corner of the family room, and her backyard howls
made the grass bleed. Fool's gold dust floated weightless down around
me in fervent shafts of morning sun, and I felt her eyes
pierce my sagging back. I thought it best to leave this
April 05, 2001:
This book just won't shut the hell up and I have to
April 06, 2001:
This book of incantations she cradles in her arms rocking to and
fro on the kitchen floor and chanting, “I am. I am.
Boiling water jumps out of the pan above her head and hits
the stovetop hissing. Her baby daughter cries and rattles the bars
of her playpen in another room. The answering machine on the
counter is full of strange digitized messages, foreign and angry. Unopened
mail teams in tumbled stacks threatening to fall to the floor.
Someone is screaming her name from somewhere else, but her rocking doubles
and her eyes are closed. She holds this book so tight.
“I am. I am. I am.”
April 09, 2001:
I didn’t know this book was loaded, he told the homicide detective
sitting across from him at a table in a pungent interrogation room
that smelled of consternation. I only wanted to scare them a
little, to make them understand why it’s not okay to make fun
of me. I don’t give a goddamned who the hell they
think they are, but they can’t make fun of me like that.
I only wanted them to feel insignificant like I do when they
tease me and shit in my mouth. I was really angry
but I swear to God I didn’t know this book was loaded.
I only wanted to scare them. I didn’t know what
I was doing until it was too late.
The detective whistled, shook his head and picked up the book.
Son, this book holds 5,000 live rounds of retribution and caustic hateful
words, and you mean to tell me you didn’t know it was
loaded and that you didn’t know what you were doin’? I’m
not buyin’ that load of crap.
You knew exactly what you were doin’ the day before last when
you took this book out of your backpack and entered the cafeteria
at approximately 12:15 p.m. where you opened fire on over fifty students
oblivious to your petty insignificance and murderous intention. No son, it’s
quite goddamned clear you knew what you were doin’, and yes, it
is too late. The detective slammed the book down on the
table and left the room.
I didn’t know this book was loaded, he mumbled. I didn’t
April 10, 2001:
This book is the only place we’re truly free from the livid
flies that swirl around our jaded eyes.
April 11, 2001:
Poppa and cousin Verlin beam upright and proud looking around the campground
clubhouse full of lost family found, forty plus – aunts and uncles,
nieces and nephews, sons and daughters, first cousins and once or twice
removed, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
This book is their lineage, handmade and carefully researched, and it lay
open on the center folding table for all the family to see,
to study, to learn of kin past, things forgotten and things never
known. Personalized copies will be taken home so each one will
always remember – each one will always leave lost legacy behind.
This book is warm to the touch and smells of autumn.
April 12, 2001:
This book described in detail the alleged events of September 18, 1981.
Sometime around 10:15 p.m. that evening I had supposedly been sitting in
my hometown McDonalds ravaging a Big Mac, large fries and coke, while
bragging loudly to my fellow freshmen football cronies about gettin’ naked and
doin’ it with Linda Kimple late one night in August when she
had been babysitting the little Souza boy who lived on Whitendale.
This book described us as “faux men with little hands in laps
wrestling adolescent erections.”
Linda had supposedly been sitting behind us with her cheerleading sister clique,
giggling about so-and-so and did-you-know when she overheard my brazen claim.
She got up quickly, spilling her Sprite on the table, her face
sizzle red, her friends silent, my friends silent, Sprite dripping onto the
floor. She walked over to where I sat, I turned to
look up, and she slapped me across the face spitting “You Sonofabitch!”
I had forgotten about this book until being recently scorned by an
unrelated betrayal of confidence. I decided to visit my hometown library
to seek out this mythic book of lies. Walking towards the
information/checkout counter, I stopped to feast on the lovely bottom in tight
black Capri pants filing cards into a large stack of books.
When she turned, I recognized her immediately. Her nametag read “Linda
Her face revealed no recognition – probably my beard, my gray, and
the past. Instead, I decided to ask her where I would
find “Living, Loving and Learning” by Leo Buscaglia and “Outrageous Acts and
Everyday Rebellions” by Gloria Steinem. She wasn’t amused.
April 13, 2001:
This book is beauty lived in moments to extend our dream.
April 14, 2001:
This book was chained to a pedestal next to a copy machine
in a dimly lit corner of the university library, fifth floor, and
all three elevators were out of order.
I cursed the world one hour before the library closed, spending nearly
$100 dollars photocopying all 1,000 pages because it couldn't be removed from
the library, and my paper on "Copyright Law: Socioeconomic Contusion and
Other Barriers to Entry" was due the next morning.
This book was for reference only. I thought maybe it was
the word of God.
April 16, 2001:
This book recreates everything we know, everything we experience - subjective memories
lost at sea and we're never quite sure what's going to wash
up along its paper shores.
Look - the bones of spring and pallid hearts.
April 18, 2001:
She keeps this book of funky sway (or whatever the hell it’s
called) on the nightstand shelf on her side of the bed.
This book redesigns our home (but I really think it consumes it
for it’s own rejuvenation and self-actualization).
This book is full of meandering chi, inviting entrances, clearing clutter, open
space, bright colors, red ribbons, well lit rooms, spring bouquets, fun-filled smiling
photos, fresh extended space, long hot herbal baths, positive affirmations, essential oils,
dragons, phoenixes, heaven luck, human luck, earth luck, Chung Kwei portraits, healing
gems, love crystals, and so on, and so forth, etc.
My space (my office, my odor, my cave, my cocoon, my room,
my realm, or whatever the hell you want to call it) is
this book’s nemesis. My space is closed off clutter full of
eclectic things, books and boxes of broken words. I lie to
myself facing the computer and the sliding glass door to the south
and dream of red giants and firestorms.
This book of funky sway is scared of me because my space
is black hole chi. However, my space consumes the bleakest void
and in turn expels light. Go figure. (I don’t know
what the hell I’m talking about anyway. Sweetie, please close the
April 20, 2001:
David and his sister Devon found this book while randomly perusing authors
"Pi - Pinch" in their local library. This book is called
"Elementary Entrepreneurs" by T.M. Pillingham.
They checked it out after reading chapter three, "Corner Carnies," and eager
to make a quick buck or two decided to hold their own
neighborhood carnival complete with ring toss, baseball throw, weight guessing, dime pitch,
water balloon toss, lawn darts, and fortune telling. Quite an undertaking
for an entire group of people, much less two mind you.
They canvassed their native quarter with handsome handmade flyers one Saturday morning
announcing "Come to the Fun - Carnival at 1:00," prepared all the
games, and dug the prizes out of their forgotten unwanted toy boxes
in the garage. To their disbelief the neighbor folk arrived in
droves at exactly 1:00 p.m.