Thank You Zine
- 5.5" X 8.5"
- 12 PAGES
- TRIPLE-STAPLE BINDING
- PUBLISHED BY SSK PRESS
- SIGNED & DATED BY ARTIST
- LASER PRINTED ON 32lb PREMIUM PAPER
- : ) DRAWING ON INNER COVER BY ARTIST IN PERMANENT MARKER
- HEAVY-WEIGHT VELLUM COVER WITH EMBOSSED EMBELLISHMENTS ON FRONT AND BACK
It was before the war. I can still remember the last image I saw before it was announced. I was still in school, studying the back of a woman I thought I loved when the television was turned on.
Ten years later and I'm running around those same streets. The buildings have long been cleaned up now. It's 5 in the morning, the sun has just started to rise and that soft blue light only inherent in a New York dawn is flooding every corner of concrete. I get on my bike and ride up 6th Avenue.
On 34th Street Edgar is barely waking. I come by with half a sandwich for him and we watch the sunrise move from its beginning blue to a glistening yellow. We both smile and it isn't long before I walk away, get back on my bike, and ride further towards the park. People are already starting to lay down their towels on the lawn; 7am now and a flock of birds moves off in the distance. Winged schools of fish moving through that sky just as blue as that water from years ago. I find my normal spot in Sheep's Meadow underneath a lone tree by the westside entrance, take off my shoes and lay down. I use a book as an eyeshade and go to sleep for a few hours until I'm awoken by what seems to be a Dolby engineered lamaze class- a crescendo of runners breathing in 2/4 time. I wonder if Monk made compositions to the patterns of breathing, or perhaps Satie- a brief thought, but one worth mentioning for it will follow me throughout the rest of the day and eventually occupy a brief blip of space today. It's a bit before 11am. I find my bike on 67th Street and walk it a few blocks down, staring at the sets of trees that line every lane.
Two years later and I'm walking somewhere in LA. Different trees and a different street. The sun is falling instead of rising when I remember that memory of living in New York. A deep melancholy runs over me as cars speed by with the debris of small leaves, each passing vehicle pulverizing the bits of those leaves till they're no more than small fragments of dust along the crease of the curb. I sit down, studying the abstract shapes of the twigs. From what I remember the street is Rossmore, but I could be wrong. It was near that small strip of green where the golf course is. I pull out a piece of paper and write down a few things I don't have the courage to tell her. Another car comes careening by and I throw the paper in its wake, watching the wind carry it up and over the fence. A small sentence floating in the wind.
I get up from the curb and start to walk towards the bus stop until I hear someone calling me. Through the fence I hear his voice. It's getting progressively louder until I can hear his breath. I-I found your paper, he stutters for a moment taking in small breaths. I was sitting on the green and saw your paper, you ok?
The fence has a grated vinyl sheet over it, covering its holes and obscuring my view. I had discovered an outdoor confession booth. We talk for a moment and I hear him sit down, joining him and doing the same. And in the span of an hour a volley of memories exchanged from one person to another, without any visuals but the cars passing on the street in front of me. I never found out what he looks like, but still see the face I invented for him in my mind: he is thin, a small amount of stubble with one of those turned in chins. An invented image of his face to match his voice; a tender calm while he told me that Maria was sick, his two children living with his mother, himself an alcoholic. I remember this. But I can't see it, see him. Just as fine, to see that fence, its woven vinyl obscuration and that street with its multitude of cars moving north and south as those trees occupy space just like those others on 67th street did 10 years ago. How is it possible to be in the present when one has a memory?
Our conversation ends, and I walk the sidewalk-less street a few blocks north to Melrose. I sit down on the floor, waiting for the bus, staring at Sunset above- not a person smiling, everyone staring at a collection of lights hanging about 30 feet above the street. A red light blinks to green, and all the eyes change their course and direction of view toward the street: its ambling asphalt and rhythm of ribbon stretching past that boulevard called Sunset and toward the real thing. And I sit there, mind muttering the words said and spoken from that nameless and faceless man whose words reached beyond the woven vinyl, a question: what has happiness contributed, what event or change in our world besides a state of being?
I sat there and thought about his words, a smile on my face.
And at that moment I could think of nothing but how lucky I was and am. I thought about everyone I've ever loved, left and been close with. It takes at least an hour to get anywhere in Los Angeles by bus. Normally I'll stare out a window, but as I got on and sat down I instinctively pulled out a pen and paper and began writing this and that. The this being what you are reading now, and the that being the zine above.
Thank you. If I knew your name it would be in here too.