I arrive at an American address. Over the last couple of months, I've suggested hubski, Amazon, and Abebooks send mail to me here.

The outdoor mailbox has been emptied by others and stored for me. I look on every counter and in every cupboard and finally find the bounty in a bottom desk drawer.

Whoowhee! humanodon and _refugee_ both sent copies of Poetry Magazine. One of these is "The Q & A Issue." It seems that most of the poems are followed by questions by the editors and answers by the poets. One poem is called "Lark & Merlin." I had to look up the merlin. It is a hawk-like bird that mostly feeds on other birds. This surprises me. It shouldn't. Big fish eat small fish. The poem is about love with lines like this:

  my lover, the assassin
  is beautiful

  she has come to kill me
  and I concur
Love seems to be a theme, of course. The other journal is very new (January 2014), and has these lines:

  If you can't feel love in life you won't feel it in death, nor
  Will you feel the tulip's skin, nor the soft gravel

  Of childhood under cheek,  You will have writhed
  Across the page for a hard couplet, a firm rhyme, ass

  High as any downward dog . . . 
Note to self: feel the love in life, feel it in the rain, in the mail, in the birdcalls, in the plumbers banging and cursing. (Plumbers are here doing a reno.)

I was so eager to get the poetry books out, I forgot to look in the envelopes for a note. I do that now.

humanodon sent a "fond, not fondling" greeting and refugee sent a note of her current state of mind-time capsule.

There was also an envelope from wasoxygen containing what seems to be the scraps of paper from the top of his desk for my contemplation, complete with highlighting, math, and dog drawing; and a postcard of happier times on the Titanic, before it sank.

But would we be remembering happier times on the Titanic at all - if it hadn't sank? If I were the Titanic, how would I want to be remembered?

This contemplation of powerful ships that sink too soon led me here. Scroll down to paragraph 7.

The upside of actual tangible artifacts is that they have a presence. Their tangibility means that I will pick them up, carry them, hold them. They will find their way to me more randomly. I don't have to consciously seek them out. The postcards can be put up on the wall or fridge, the books will find their way to a shelf where others will be exposed to them.

The downside of tangible artifacts is that they have a bulk and weight. Like all things, they will eventually be tossed into time's tunnel as will this electronic note sent out to the hubskiverse.

Aside from bills and flyers, what have you received in the mail so far this week, month, year?


So there's an object that has haunted my life.

My father bought my mother a calculator in 1980. Many an hour was spent in the back of a volkswagen, waiting in parking lots (back when you could do that shit without a criminal record), messing with this calculator. Because, you see, "by pressing on this special key it played a little melody."

Casio made a line of "melody" calculators that had major notes assigned to the number keys. It was far and away the most awesome thing in my mom's purse from 1980 until 1985, when she lent it to one of her burnout hitch hiker friends who stole it, the fucktard. And ever since, it has haunted my dreams. It's no exaggeration that my taste in music is largely due to the effects of running square roots of random eight-digit numbers until you were left with 1.00000whatever, as evidenced at about a minute 30:

Anyway. It took me about six months to figure out what the model number of that ancient, 34-year-old calculator happened to be, and to wait patiently on eBay for one to show up for less than three hundred dollars. Last week, I bought one out of Turkey for $35.

Unfortunately, that was only five months and three weeks into my six month journey, because the one I bought was a UC-365, not an ML-80, which doesn't have the aggro square wave synth on it and DOES NOT DO SQUARE ROOTS. Yeah, it's still a cool little gadget but my quest must now continue.

If nothing else, I now know that one of the most formative pieces of my youth was "tarantella napoletana."

posted by lil: 1682 days ago