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25 Things About Me

Another work that turned up in my vast sweep through the vault & files.

25 Things About Me

1. I like to get fired. Time off & something better always seems to come along.

2. I’ve been to 49 states. Lately rethinking my ambition to round it out by going to Alaska.

3. No matter how many times people learn that I’m from South Dakota, they usually remember it as North Dakota. Or Minnesota. Or Idaho. Or Iowa. South Dakota is my favorite Dakota. I love the wild hot wind & the prairie & being from the Mount Rushmore & Little House on the Prairie state.

4. I have every Blind Willie McTell record ever made. But not as many as Edmund Berrigan.

5. My mother was born and raised in Liverpool. In 6th grade I claimed she had babysat The Beatles. My great-grandparents were named Annie Spruce and Bill Woodland.

6. I’m obsessed with snow, Black Hills gold, Derek Jeter, Twin Bings.

7. My father grew up in Berlin, leaving Germany one step ahead of the Nazis, in 1939. The first in his family to get out. And the last. I often feel like the most important event in my life happened before I was born.

8. My cat Dante adored me. He only wanted to be with me. Was Dante’s real name Durante, as I learned from Ron Padgett?

9. The most famous person my old haircutter Carolyn ever slept with was Salvador Dali. And his wife.

10. I have friends named Joy Love (real name!), Pepper, Pansy, and Carmen.

11. My favorite thing to write about is baseball. I’m always amazed at how much more there is to say. My whole life is laid open to me by what I say in the context of baseball.

12. Persimmons! Durian! Twin Bings! Toast!

13. I love my birthday (February 18). I love everybody’s birthday. I love the idea of birthdays. A little free private holiday. I can’t understand “hating” your birthday. There it is and you may as well dig it.

14. After decades of being a sloppy hippie, I came to realize I actually prefer repetition, systems, organization (tho not bosses, see #1). Hence, formal poetry, karate, observant Judaism, baseball, all of which require one to know/follow a lot of rules.

15. I used to be an Olympic-caliber sleeper. That went away when I fell in love with P---- because I was too aware of him every dang second.

16. Fireworks! I also love fireworks.

17. I have more courtesy cousins, grandchildren, demi-sons, and the like than I can count. I love to feel myself part of a giant sticky ball of connections. Though I never ever wanted a kid of my own.

18. When I was a teenager I couldn’t name anything I really liked, & now I’m a mass of adorations.

19. My father is from Berlin. As a young man about town in the 1920s, he saw many fabulous works such as the premiere of the Threepenny Opera with Lotte Lenya & Berlin in the ‘20s was the most cosmopolitan & international city in the world, and he was cultured, well-to-do and the right age to be taking it all in.

20. I always read several books at a time.

21. The best thing I ever wrote was an appreciation of the poet Steve Carey, after he died, for the Poetry Project Newsletter. It’s the one thing I ever wrote that I remain satisfied with. The best line I ever wrote was invisible. It took me one year to get it that way. I do wonder if it only seems like the best line because of my long struggle to get it right. No one ever notices it, but they often compliment the work it’s from.

22. I have gradually lost (not abandoned, I think) my theories, especially about poetry. Though I still catch myself ranting.

23. I try to get rid of all my secrets (not other people’s) but they keep cropping up. There’s nothing I wouldn’t tell if it occurred to me or I was asked. I think. Except—

24. I’m a Yankees fan but I don’t hate the Red Sox.

25. I can’t figure out if I’m a serious person or not a serious person. I can’t figure out if it matters to figure it out. Only now, for the first time, does it occur to me to ask my loved ones the answer. Does not having thought of that till now mean I am serious or not?
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