Thursday, November 24, 2005

What Am I Thankful For

Today I am hungry.
Today I am hungry to be loved.
To be loved you are hungry too.
Loving you are hungry to be lovingly loved.
Loving you are hungry too to be loved.
Many of you are hungry and not necessarily in want.
The many are thankful for being full and loved.
I am thankful for being empty and unloved.
I am today not so much hungry as wanting.
Wanting I am lacking nothing.
Today many people everywhere are thankful.
What the gray clouds want and need I do not know.
Being loved and thankful are thankless activities.
I am thankful for the book being red and the cat.
I am hungry today like a ghost hungers for substance.
I have memory of once being a hungry ghost but now I am full.
I am no longer hypnotized: now I am toothy, juicy and succulent.
I know what I want and what I want to do.
I am wanting to go out so I go out. I count my blessings:
I have Seventy-five dollars until December first.
I can buy anything I want as long as it does not cost
Seventy-six dollars. I decide since I am hungry and
want to be hungry like the other millions of
thankful people to go to Whole Foods and
buy groceries: Thanksgiving Day food:

June 20, 1676

"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."

I take my
digital camera and take pictures of
the sky, of
City Hall,
the gray clouds,
street signs,
and my cat,

I catch the bus to California and Van Ness
and walk up the hill to Whole Foods. There are many
people buying food. It is only 8:15 a.m. but there
are many many many people buying food. Wine is
stacked everywhere filling every empty corner and
available aisle space. Hundreds and hundreds of
boxed pumpkin pies are stacked next to . . . well
you get the idea: food and drink are the major
must have hungry-for gotta-have I'm-starved-for items.
As I pass the Odwalla cooler, I find I run into
an invisible wall of "hypnotic-remembered-emotion" ---
an invisible door to an "obsessive emotional" corridor opens.
I've entered a nether world where wish-fullment
meets pecans and brussel sprouts and candied yams --
And, like out of some 1950s sc-fi/noir grade B movie:
A woman next to me makes an "I'm lonely" gesture: she
holds (too tenderly, it seems to me) a container of
pre-made cornbread stuffing (about $20 a pound)
and while I'm standing next to her considering
the delights of tapioca pudding (too wishfully)
she smiles, smiles a hungry smile. I sense she's about to launch
into a conversation about "the holidays" and I turn my
interest to the food now being delivered to the
steam-tables. Warm food in glass cases.

For the people who were shovelling away on the housetops were jovial and full of glee; calling out to one another from the parapets, and now and then exchanging a facetious snowball -- better-natured missile far than many a wordy jest -- laughing heartily if it went right and not less heartily if it went wrong. The poulterers' shops were still half open, and the fruiterers' were radiant in their glory. There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chesnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. The very gold and silver fish, set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl, though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race, appeared to know that there was something going on; and, to a fish, went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement.

The Grocers'! oh the Grocers'!

A dream come true. De-boned turkey: $10.99 a pound.
bubbling gravies, succulent pies, buttered potatoes
all for the having. all for the buying. all for the eating.
I picture myself sitting down to dinner with Thomas Wolfe and Dylan Thomas.
Look Homeward, Angel!! it's A Child's Thanksgiving in Wisconsin!!
every year everybody in the U.S.A. gets to be seven years old again.
pass the warm bread! slather me with golden butter! more stuffing please!
I fight the memorable conscious rapture as well as the
unconscious cloying forgetfulness ---
both interwoven into emotional memories of nearly five dozen
Thanksgiving-Past situations and wonder to myself: What ARE you doing
here? I just want some food that "feels like Thanksgiving" --
I decide I really don't want to spend 7 dollars for
cranberry relish or 6 dollars for a container of turkey gravy.
I decide I like being hungry and remember I promised myself
I'd work on the Jim Sorcic memories this weekend.
In the back of my mind I picture myself opening and closing
memory drawers, containers of bits and pieces of this and that.
Looking for Jim Sorcic, looking for objects with names,
events with relational combinations, for sparks and flickers
of what once was, the color of things, the texture of moments.
So while part of my mind is set to the task of locating
a few hundred memories of Jim Sorcic, Milwaukee, 1969, scraps of 1970,
San Francisco in 1974, what did he wear, who did he live with why is he
important, where did he live, his poems, his big-breasted wife,
his daughter, our favorite drugs of choice, ours days together
working on an "Underground Newspaper", our "speed kills" split;
his split with Milwaukee, joining up with me in San Francisco,
a series of joinings and splits; re-joinings, re-combinings:
Only facts can express a sense, a set of names cannot:
dancing, midnight sex in black leather and tickling hair, etc
and all the rest of it not remembered but felt in its unfeelingness
in its remembered unfeltness, its nastiness, its purgatorial misery:
the problem arises, creative in its lusty taunt and tease:
how are you going to put this all together. And why:
redemption? purgation? put to rest? Thanksgiving?

I buy a pound of scalloped Gold Yukon potatoes;
take some pictures on the way back home
of the sky and streets of San Francisco.

-- Jeff Wietor


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