Monday, December 8, 2014

ason Murray

The Reverend Dorothy Enslow

            “Name one good Republican President.”  My grandmother challenged me.  I stood before her only 14 years old, already taller by several inches then this diminutive lady but completely cowed by her power and knowledge. I had made the mistake of saying in a light tone “Oh, I think Ronald Reagan might make a pretty good president.”  How could I know better, I was only fourteen?  My grandmother had been only half listening to me up to that point.  Her challenge once dropped had to be answered.  You did not ignore a question my grandmother asked.  
            “Well,” I said  quickly “ it seems to me that Eisenhower must have made a good president, after all he was a great general.” 
            “Eisenhower was a useless president.”  grandmother replied tersely, “He got nothing real accomplished during the whole of his presidency.”
            Stopped, briefly, because I didn’t have an endless supply of Republican presidents at my fingertips and the only ones that were alive during my life were Nixon and Ford.  Even a 14 year old knew better than to bring them up, I paused to think. 
            “Benjamin Harrison!”  This man, pulled out of my meager hat, belonged to my family tree.  The only grandson of a former president to be elected president, he was not my direct ancestor, as was his grandfather William Henry Harrison, but family is important to women like my grandmother. I felt I had a strong candidate.
            “Benjamin Harrison was a crook.”
            Shot down again. 
            Now I had to think hard.  A general wasn’t good enough, my family tree wasn’t good enough, I had to really reach down deep.  
            “Abraham Lincoln!”  I declared with the surety that comes with knowing that you have the right answer.
            As soon as that name fell off my lips I knew I had misspoken.  Grandmother’s face took a form I know too well today.  Tight lips, enlarged eyes, compressed pupils, all signs that a storm is coming.  I see the same face in the mirror today when someone has pushed the wrong button. 
            “Abraham Lincoln allowed General Sherman to roll through the South, Burning down homes and killing innocent people.  My great aunt’s family had the tragedy of being in his path.  My great aunt was severely ill with Scarlet Fever and her mother plead with Sherman’s men to spare her house.  They drug a mattress from the house and threw it on ground as the only accession burning her house to the ground.  She died soon thereafter.”        
I stood there, proven wrong, but not defeated.  This was the beginning of my transformation into the Kennedy Democrat and the  little gentleman that Grandmother Dotti wanted me to be. Carter was the first Democrat I watched and supported and whose defeat I mourned.
            Grandmother (never grandma) Dotti almost always had it her way.  The way we opened presents on Christmas day, the way we spoke, the way we treated others.  There were always rules.  Who knows from how many generations these rules came, whether they came over with the people who arrived at Jamestown in the early seventeenth century of whether they were written in stone by my Grandmother personally.  No-one tended to disobey Dotti.

            I spent a lot of my childhood at my grandmother’s house.  Between extended visits such as the time my mother needed a place to stay between moving from Bainbridge Island to Whidbey Island, or the two times mother left her second husband, (the second for good) my grandmother always opened her house  We never paid a price with money but often my mother paid a high price emotionally.  My mother was a champion of Southern guilt.  I of course didn’t see what it cost my mother until much later in life.  In my early adolescence I went to Chinook  Junior High which was only a few blocks away so I stayed there frequently.  So often, in fact, I had my own bedroom.  
            It was during this time that grandmother addressed titles.  After having asked her a question which I began with the title “grandma” that she turned to me and said “Jason, in the future I prefer to be addressed by grandmother, or grandmama, or Dotti, but please, not grandma.”  Being that I was a teenager at the time and grandmama felt too childish to me and I couldn’t imagine calling her Dotti she became forever “Grand-mother.  I always figured this was a throwback to the south and the stiff and formal people that raised her.  Our ancestors were aristocratic plantation owning southerners who had money until their side lost the Civil War. I think that my grandmother’s generation simply didn’t want anyone to mix them up with the people who never had money.  This may seem snobby or trite to some but they were very proud people who had to live with the knowledge that they had participated in slavery and lost a war.  

            Grandmother was raised by her grandparents.  Her father killed himself and her mother became unable to take care of herself, let alone her children.  Her grandparents were from a time when ladies didn’t cook, or do the cleaning.  You always had people to do that for you.  Her Aunt married an Astor and lived in a grand house in Chapel hill, keeping up appearances of a well founded family.  The grand house, however, was in disrepair due to lack of finances and they lived for a time on things like dandelion salad when they could find enough weeds on the grounds.  Because of this my grandmother never learned to cook well, and her house while superficially clean always had a layer of dust and a disorder behind the closed doors.  This did not matter to me, children love disorder.  As for her cooking, one of her signature dishes was hot dog casserole.  A dish she came up with during my mother’s childhood when she received 50 pounds of hot dogs as an incentive for buying a deep freeze.  This dish while getting carefully covered sighs from my mother, aunt, and uncles, delighted me.  Her liver, on the other,was the kind of food that could cause starving men to scatter in front of a plate of it.  She would take the liver out of the container, boil it until it was gray, fry it until it was black and dry and cover it with under cooked onions.  To this day I can still smell the aroma of liver and feel the texture in my mouth. 
            A woman with strong religious conviction and strong ties to the church my grandmother followed her husband into the seminary after he died.  She continued going to school even after driving her little sky blue Carmen Gia over an embankment smashing her face and hands.  She had to hire someone to read her lessons to her but she endeavored and was one of the first women to be ordained in the Olympia dioceses.  The ordination was performed in a stone church on first hill in Seattle and of course the whole family came.  She became the Reverend Dorothy Enslow instead of Mrs. Hamilton Enslow.  
            She started out as a chaplain at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue Washington I used to visit her, sitting in her office listening to the documents and communications fly through the tubes overhead.  She had a box under her desk with a large cross on it that was labeled “Bear Aid.”  Opening this one would find a dozen teddy bears Dotti kept for sick children that visited the hospital.  When she finally felt she couldn’t handle the four bedroom 3 bath house in the suburb of Clyde Hill she moved, with mother’s help, to a condo in Seattle and worked at a small church a few blocks away.  As a young adult I visited her a few times in that little condo.  I spent the night on her sofa, cramped and uncomfortable.   I woke up to find my grandmother wearing her clerics uniform of black with the white collar making herself a small breakfast.  Upon seeing me awake she asked if I needed a shower. 
“I don’t really go to church anymore, grandmother.” I replied.
 There was that look again, and I hadn’t even mentioned republican presidents (Reagan was still in the White House at this time and I had long since become an extremely liberal democrat.)
            “As long as you are in my house on Sunday morning you are going to go to church and take communion.”
            I went to church and took communion from my grandmother’s hand that Sunday.  I remember that while my religious feelings had changed greatly and I did not any longer believe in the church I still felt a swell of pride in seeing my grandmother dressed in her robes, on the dais, the sacrament in her hand. 

            Rituals such as going to church were important to my grandmother.  When I was little I remember the pre-dinner snack that grandmother and grandfather shared each having one bottle of beer.  On Fridays however, they split one beer.  Visiting my  grandmother a couple of years after my grandfather had been taken by Leukemia I noticed that she still shared a beer on Friday.  She would Carefully reseal the bottle with the intention of drinking the other half on the coming Friday.  Opening her fridge you would always find carefully wrapped items waiting, slumbering, hoping to be opened and finished.  Most would stay until someone came along and emptied the rotting things from the fridge.  
            The last conversation I had with my grandmother was well into her Alzheimer’s and she could remember me, and even my girlfriend whom she’d only met once, but couldn’t remember which child was my parent. Shortly thereafter she was moved from independent living to a care facility where she could get the help she needed. She died in 1999 after having spent thirteen years of her life with advanced Alzheimer’s.  I went back up to Seattle to attend the inurnment ceremony when her ashes were placed next to her husband’s under St. Mark’s Cathedral, the dioceses headquarters for the Northwest area.  I’d said goodbye to my grandmother years before when she ceased remembering all of us but seeing that little box with her ashes put away in its tiny crypt made her death real. 
 I will always remember my grandmother as the southern bell she was. A tiny strong willed woman who but couldn’t tune her clock radio.  Stern and a little stiff, but still full of such love for me.  She taught me many things, southern gentility and restraint, a love of family and the importance of ancestry.  Many people and experiences contributed to who I am today but my grandmother helped build the foundation.
I still miss her, and probably will till the day I can no longer what it was like to be a child in my grandmother’s home.   
Jason Murray        
North and South
January 20, 2011
I am Southern, I am Northern
I am the Northwest.
We came here before
The country we now pledge allegiance to
Was even an idea.
I am the pursued, the hunted, the annihilated.
I am the pursuer, the hunter,
I am father, I am husband,
I have one hand in a novel
While the other stirs a bubbling pot.
I read Vonnegut amongst the smells of chiles,
and burnt butter.
I am bent over school work as a clock tells me
It’s time to take the dinner out.
This is where I have been, to where
I have come.
From Europe’s second sons,
And religious minority,
To this kitchen, this meal, this paper, this book.

Kurt Vonnegut;  Optimistic Pessimist
Tom Sawyer Goes to the Moon

Jason Murray
Writing 222
Scott Dionne
May 31st, 2010

The bombing started in the outskirts.  To the men in the now mostly empty meat locker, a few American prisoners of war and their ragtag German guards, these were felt as faint rumblings barely heard or felt three stories under ground.   Growing closer they sounded like drums, then like the footsteps of giants and then they rained down right on top of the meat locker.  Great crashing sounds making everything shake like earthquakes and hurricanes at the same time.  Kurt Vonnegut and his companions in imprisonment sat in the dark of the locker of slaughter house five safe from the bombing, unlike the many thousands of citizens of Dresden who died in houses, bomb shelters, wine cellars and simple basements as the incendiary bombs lit fires that sucked the air from the rooms and left many asphyxiated where they sat, teacups still in front of them (Vonnegut, slaughterhouse, 226)
            The American prisoners were given the job of cleaning this mess up.  They had to wade into the wreckage, the broken buildings and the buried basements, the simple bomb shelters and the wine cellars and lift the rotting corpses out.  With bulging eyes and rotting skin these horrors were carried to piles in the center of town and burned ignobly.  Eventually the American prisoners dug only to find the bodies and someone with a flamethrower came and burned the bodies where they lay, a makeshift grave beneath the rubble.  Vonnegut and his comrades, silent at first, began to harden at their task and talk and joke about it.  Their humanity lost in the face of the horror that had been wrought by their own countrymen. 
In his semi autobiographical book Slaughterhouse Five Vonnegut explores his experiences through fiction and science fiction. His character Billy Pilgrim experiences Dresden as he did, arriving in an overflowing city intact and spared the bombing runs that had scarred many other cities in Germany.  As his character sits in the bomb shelter and later sifts through the ashes Vonnegut is right there with him.  Witnessing the atrocity wrought by his countrymen. Billy Pilgrim masks the awful experiences of war, the stress, the death and the continual sound of fighting by disappearing and slipping off to another time and place in his life.  Billy doesn’t do this in a fantasy according to is own belief, he does this in reality having come unstuck in time. Vonnegut explores in this book his survivor’s guilt, his remorse over America’s involvement in the bombing of Dresden, and his clinical depression by using humor, wit, and compassion for the human race. 
Vonnegut is unwillingly thrust upon our world
            Vonnegut was born to Kurt Vonnegut and Edith Lieber on November 11th 1922, sixteen years after the first Vonnegut in the United States as well as Indianapolis died while taking his daily exercise on a cold winter day. So it goes.  He first met his wife, Jane Marie Cox, while they were still in grade school at the Orchard school but he waited until after the war to marry her.  Later in high school he reported for, wrote for and edited the CV /Shortridge Daily Echo.  After high school he enrolled at Cornell University to study biochemistry rather than architecture as his family had expected.  In 1943 Vonnegut enlisted in the army and the army moved him to the University of Tennessee for training in mechanical engineering, something that he didn't use in the army or professionally. 
World War II
The next year, 1944, turned into a big year for Vonnegut.  On May 14th, the day before Mother’s Day, overwhelmed by depression Edith Lieber Vonnegut, his mother, committed suicide overdosing on sleeping pills.  Six months later the Army decided it needed Vonnegut in Luxembourg and he found himself immediately in the battle of the bulge (Kurt).
            The Battle of the Bulge, so named for the bulge it created in the allied line, was the last major offensive by the German army during World War Two.  Hitler believed that the alliance was weak and could be easily broken by a strong offensive push.  The fact that the German army had been in retreat since D-Day didn't matter to him.  Three armored divisions, the Sixth Panzer Army, the Fifth Panzer Army and the Seventh Army hit the allied armies in a surprise attack advancing sixty miles into the allied line.  The allies also experienced the first ever jet bomber attack with the Luftwaffe attacking train lines and rail yards in order to crush the Allies ability to supply themselves.  The initial success was short-lived however since the Germans lacked the fuel to refuel their armored divisions and the First Panzer Division had to abandon their vehicles and make their way back on foot.  Six hundred thousand Americans were involved in the Battle of the Bulge.  The Americans lost eighty thousand, the Germans one hundred thousand killed, wounded or captured.  But Vonnegut said in his letter home to Kurt Vonnegut Sr. dated May 29th, 1945 “but not me.” (Battle)(Vonnegut Letter).
    Like Billy Pilgrim, his character from Slaughterhouse Five,  Vonnegut was in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.  They both arrived in Europe in December 1944 right before the German offensive.  They were both caught behind German lines for five days before being part of the largest mass surrender of American troops during World War Two.  Both Vonnegut and Pilgrim had come to Europe and within two weeks been captured by the Germans without ever having killed anyone.  Billy Pilgrim didn't even have a gun, a decent coat or reasonable shoes.  They and the others were marched 60 miles to a train depot loaded on unmarked boxcars and left waiting for several days. They were bombed by allied bombing raids and froze in the unheated boxcars as they waited to be moved.  Eventually they ended up in Stalag 4B and as Vonnegut was not an officer he was transferred along with others to Dresden for work Duty. So was Billy. Many characters that make brief appearances in his book were people who had made brief appearances in Vonnegut's experiences in Europe. 
Dresden was overflowing with refugees.  As one of the only cities not bombed up to this point the beautiful Dresden overflowed with people.  Pilgrim and Vonnegut and the other American prisoners were housed in a barracks that were formerly a meat locker the name of which in English translated to Slaughter House 5, the name eventually given to the semi-autobiographical novel that was both the birthplace of Billy Pilgrim and his finally his book describing the experiences he had in Dresden.  He speaks of Dresden in many of his writings.  He loved the city.  The beauty and age of the city fascinated him and he wanted to see it for its beauty.  But allied firebombing annihilated the buildings and killed over thousands of Germans.  Vonnegut mentions 250,000 in his letter home (Vonnegut letter) but the number was really about eighteen to twenty-five thousand according to the most recent findings by the Dresden Commission of Historians for the Ascertainment of the Number of Victims of the Air Raids on the City of Dresden on 13/14 February 1945 (Taylor). 
    Slaughter House Five, or the Children's Crusade
    Slaughterhouse Five came out Vonnegut's desire to write about his experience in World War II as well as about the city of Dresden.  He carried the idea around for years first really talking about it during his time at General Electric in their publicity department.  Trying to get some resolution and to prompt his memory he called an old friend that had been their with him.  He visited this old friend, Bernard V. O'Hare, another private that was with him in Dresden.  He arrived to find his friend was hospitable but Bernard's wife Mary was not.  She imagined Vonnegut was going to write another war hero story with parts played by Frank Sinatra or John Wayne in the movie version.  Vonnegut assured her he was not going to do that.  That there would be no parts for Sinatra or Wayne in his book and that he thought he might name it "The Children's Crusade".  The book is dedicated to Mary and Gerard Muller, the cab driver that they met while in Dredsen (Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse, 17-19).
    Vonnegut took twenty-three years to finally finish his "short, and jumbled, and jangled" (Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse, 24) novel.  Why so long?  Vonnegut looked into his head and found it empty of memories of the bombing.  He called buddies from that time and asked them about their memories and found that they were lacking as twell.  It seems that they had buried the memories as well.  the long process of unencumbering his memories and piecing the story together was "an important step in the recovery from PTSD" or post traumatic stress disorder (Vees-Gulani).   Vonnegut struggled with depressing memories, survivors guilt, and PTSD all his life contributing to the depression that was already present in his family. 
    Billy Pilgrim, his main character from Slaughterhouse Five represents how Vonnegut saw many of his fellow soldiers on both sides of the war; propelled along by the circumstances of their individual situation.  Somewhat helpless they are in a way like those bugs in amber the aliens mention to Billy, frozen in time.  Billy is an unheroic hero.  Not too connected to his fellow man he was in a way Vonnegut's Charlie Brown.  He represented the loneliness that Vonnegut often felt, disconnected from his fellow man.  If he tried to tell of the air raid in Dresden as he saw it often people would come back with the awful things that the German's did as a University of Chicago professor did at a cocktail party when Vonnegut tried to do just that.  "All I could say was, "I know, I know, I know." " (Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse, 13).
    Vonnegut caught sometimes in the position of saying "I know, I know, I know." wrote Billy as a valve to release his feelings about the war and his experiences in Dresden.  Vonnegut once said in an interview as Robert Merill and Peter Scholl point out in there essay Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five: The Requirements of Chaos, "Everything is a lie, because our brains are two-bit computers and we cannot get very high grade truths out of them." (Merrill, Scholl).  Billy Pilgrims comfortable lie was that he had come unstuck in time and that everything was unchangeable as if we were bugs in amber.  This allowed Billy to deal with the havoc he had seen his countrymen inflict in Dresden as well as helping him cope with a life that he didn't feel comfortable in.  His fear of change became acceptance of the inevitable. 
    Vonnegut also uses Pilgrim to counterpoint his beliefs.  Billy Pilgrim blandly accepts his marriage, his life, his son fighting in Vietnam.  He sees everything as inevitable so he doesn't fight it or try to change it. 


 Kurt Vonnegut finally got his wish on the 11th of April, 2007.  A fall at home finally ended the "comfortable lie" of his life two weeks after his regular "If I should die letter to his son "Two weeks later he fell, hit his head, and irreversibly scrambled his precious egg." (Vonnegut, Mark).   He passed away later in a Manhattan hospital.  So it Goes.  Ironically his Pall Malls didn't do him in.  Gravity did.  A fact he would have loved.  



Vonnegut, Mark.  "Introduction."  Armageddon in Retrospect.  G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York.  2008.  Print.

Vonnegut Jr, Kurt.  Slaughterhouse Five or The Children’s Crusade.  New York.  Randon House.  1997.  Print.     

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, Inc. 2010. Web. 28th, April 2010.

Vonnegut Jr, Kurt.  Letter to his father.  May 29th, 1945. Armageddon in Retrospect.  G.P. Putnam and Sons. New York.  2008.  Print.

Taylor, Frederick.  “Death Toll Debate; How Many Died in the Bombing of Dresden.”  Spiegel Online International.  02 October, 2008.  Spiegel Online. 2008. Web. 28th April, 2010.

Vees-Gulani, Susanne. "Diagnosing Billy Pilgrim: a psychiatric approach to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five." CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 44.2 (2003): 175+. Academic OneFile. Web.

Merrill, Robert, Scholl, Peter A. " Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five: The Requirements of Chaos."  Critical Essays on Kurt Vonnegut
.  Ed. Robert Merrill.  G. K. Hall & Co.  Boston. 1990.  Print. 
I watched the light go out.
June 23rd, 2014

She just wanted to go
to ride in the car
everytime I grabbed
my keys she knew

She would sit in my way
and look up at me
excited to go-go
she just wanted to ride

This time she rode
happy, standing at
the window in the wind
she pushed the button

Down it went
all the way open
And she flew
for a moment

I found her standing
bleeding, tired, looking
up at me like she did
at the door

Hours at the vet
x-rays, pain medication
and big band aids on
every foot.

She didn’t slip past
this time.  This was
not like all the other times
when she just walked away

I held her head
and whispered to her
looking into her eyes
and I watched the light go out.
**I’ll miss you Rosie**

 Jason Murray 

The Future Plays a Big Bass Violin
In the middle of the 20th century a cut lip changed the sound of swing forever.  Trumpet led bands were the norm and a man named Glen Miller struggled to make his music stand out among all the faces out there.  Then one event changed that.  While the Glen Miller Orchestra was on the way to a gig disaster struck.  The lead trumpet cut his lip and couldn't play.  A clarinet player was then asked to play the lead sound, the saxophone was to back the clarinet's line and the unique sound that made Glen Miller an American Icon was born.  Today we have another sound that stands out in the sea of faces in this music called Jazz; Esperanza Spalding.  Ms. Spalding is taking jazz to new places despite the efforts of some of today's greats to keep jazz "pure." 
            Artists such as Stanley Crouch and his protégé Winton Marsalis feel that jazz reached its isthmus in the late 1950s and that its sound only needs to be honed and perfected.  Scott Yanow states “His selective knowledge of jazz history (considering post-1965 avant-garde playing to be outside of jazz and 1970s fusion to be barren) is unfortunately influenced by the somewhat eccentric beliefs of Stanley Crouch.” (Yanow)  Many jazz listeners cleave to this style and continue to celebrate jazz only in its "purest" form.  The dismissal of the likes of Miles Davis and Sun Ra, along with the entire spectrum of fusion Jazz tries to forget a music that has been instrumental to opening the jazz form to newer musicians.  The problem with this is that jazz in its youth was music of continuous change and expansion.  No one before Louis Armstrong played like Louis Armstrong and no one before Billy Holiday sang like Billy Holiday. Unfortunately if everyone today continues to work on perfecting the sounds of these musician’s jazz will die from Inouye.
         Onto this scene sprung a young woman who is so talented that  old music greats just shake their head in wonder. A multi talented artist Spalding can play many instruments including her instrument of choice the double bass and her newest instrument, the drums which she plays to help improve her line on the bass. (Colapinto)  Born in Portland in 1984 Esperanza took to music at the age of four.  By 15 she was already playing professionally in a blues band in Portland. (Murphy).
Her education was not that of a normal teenager.  She dropped out of high school and took her GED instead enrolling in Portland State University.  Unhappy there she took the advice given her to apply to the Berklee school of music in Boston.  Only three years later she graduated and became one of the youngest teachers in the history of Berklee. 
          A consummate workaholic she has no time for relationships and spends most of her time either on the road, she plays 150 gigs a year or practicing and composing.  She has played with musical greats from jazz as well as the pop artist Stevie Wonder.  (you tube)She has played for the President three times already including at his inauguration and at the Nobel ceremony in Oslo.
            Watching her play is something akin to a participation game.  Feet start tapping, heads start bobbing and those who know the words sing along quietly.  Spalding is a young woman who’s inspiration and direction is driving jazz maybe not away from the likes of Marsalis and his Young Lions but creating a parallel path of experimentation and newness and may be what will bring many listeners back and new listeners in. 

 Colapinto, John.  “New Note”. The New Yorker.  15, March, 2010.
Murphy, Sarah. “Esperanza Spalding”. Berklee college of Music Profiles. Berklee College of Music. April 2004. Web. 06, April, 2010
Yanow, Scott.  “Winton Marsalis Biography”.  Rovi Corporation. Web. 2010.  06, February, 2010.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Friendly Conversation
November 8th, 2014
Jason Murray 

the grocery store is full of people
all bustling and hurrying trying
to get the things for tonights dinner
boxes and cans and frozen food
very little of it will take care and
love to prepare for themselves, others

The endless rows and stacks of shiny fruit
the carefully stacked rows of Kale and
lettuce and cabbage and carrots and potatoes
the meat all cut and prepared and laid out
with the reverence, the seriousness of a
well made brick wall all facing the same way

I am here as well to get my dinner tonight
I wait my turn at the butcher counter 
to get my eight short ribs, bone and fat and meat
then on to produce as I pick out onions and garlic
and rutabaga and beets and carrots and potatoes
all stacked in my cart with the wine and the beer

An elevator to my car and then careful drive home
the puppy sitting on my arm to see out the window
rocking car as I enter the driveway careful not 
to hit the hedge to hard, small scratches evidence of 
past encounters and I am home, is this home 
the kitchen is not mine, the house doesn't always feel 

The orange Le Crueset pan sits on matching flame
the oil inside heating until almost smoking 
I drop the ribs in one by one the sound of the meat 
as it hits the oil satisfying to me, the initial smell
feels a little bitter, a little off but as the heat does 
its job the smell becomes one of familiarity and comfort

The potatoes are roasted, the beets have been diced 
the wine is poured and friends sit comfortably 
plates balanced on laps Coltraine, and Miles, and Adderly
playing on the radio, trumpets going up and down 
the drums in time to our flashing forks as we eat 
the wine replenished when our glasses are empty

Late, too late we sit into the night seeing midnight 
come and go and passing by one o'clock as well 
I drift as they continue talking the familiar smells and sounds 
of friendship and conversation lulling me and the beer 
and the wine drugging me they stay on talking
as I and the children drift off to sleep. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Coffee House 
November 7th, 2014
Jason Murray

wrung out and 
hung out 
to dry
I feel tired
and used up
When will things
be easier
or is that the point
that they aren't 
meant to be 
My mind runs back 
to a day 
when I walked all night
because I had no 
where to go
but I did. 
I sat up and watched the 
sun light up the buildings
blowing on my hands 
to keep them warm
I sat quiet 
in that space 
grabbing a couple 
of minutes of sleep 
in the dark
stealing out at the 
last minute and walking 
some more
wrapped up as warm 
as I could be in my 
feeble coat.
repeated this night 
many years later
This time I had  
a room warm
and a bed inviting
but the keys to enter 
were in another part of town
in my friend's apartment
thrown high in his loft
I stole a few moments 
this time on the stairs
outside my door
why am I reminded of 
these times 
right now
why am I reminded 
of all these things 
in my past 
Why do I see
these memories 
right now
sitting in a coffee shop
with the warm smells 
of coffee and the 
comforting sounds 
of the grinder
is it that I have spent 
so many restless hours 
in the company of others
who just want to be wrapped
in the comfort of the local
coffee house?