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Memphis blister city


The floors are washed. I was in my own world as I swept. A sheet of paper is flapping in the wind in the kitchen, since the windows are open. A train pulled into the station. I went to bed after 1 AM. I didn’t want to disturb anyone but Buk heard me and cried for me to let him out of Emma’s room, I ignored him but Emma got up and opened the door. He raced down stairs. I assumed he thought it was later in the morning. I pulled open the sliding glass door and watched his back stiffen as he prepared to attack a raccoon or an opossum. There was nothing out there, though he boldly stalked the back yard for any intruders. I drank some water and called it a night. The moon was full. It would be a good night to take out the telescope into the back yard, maybe tonight we can set up a fire and sit outside for a little while. It’s still chilly, but the cool air is reassuring that the new ice aged is not about to attack New York, the polar caps are in their diminishing regions and the flowers are blooming on time. Today I will take a run and head over to the gym for a swim and workout. Earlier Ali and I went over our calendars. We made a date when we’d head down to Disney. The next couple of months will be hectic. Between graduations, birthdays, in almost one month Ali will be 40, travelling to San Francisco to present and I hope I can get down to Los Angeles to see my cousin Jason. We’ve talked about it for years. It would be great to meet his wife and children for the first time. He’s invited me to stay over. It means I’m renting a car or flying down to see him. The last time I was in Los Angeles was when the company flew me out there to participate in a cross country drive. I’ve always wanted to drive across the United States, hours on the road, listening to the endless chatter from Gerry the driver or his crooning, he had a decent voice. I knew I was cutting like a hired Kerouac through states I may never get in again, so when the idea was mentioned I jumped at the chance. I have to say, with the group of misfits that we were, we survived though governors kept us at a measly 55 MPH and we barely slept in any hotel or motel for long. It was down for a few hours and back on the highway. McDonalds was the food we ate for the week, each morning we’d stop for breakfast. There were spots we had to stop at to replenish dry ice. One guy had the bright idea that he could replenish the ice as we drove; I told him he could die since there would be no oxygen, nitrogen removes oxygen from the air. Out of the six men who drove with me on that trip, there is only me and the genius who still works at the company. I can tell you I saw Graceland but will never forget the devastating poverty in Memphis, the number of liquor stores with their clumps of unemployed African American men standing motionless - watching the trucks pass their existence.

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