*The Future of Wallpaper* Christopher Jug George

His summer-brown smile haunts me. I sense him now, unlike before, he is closer to me. He is gone.

Tag: St. Paul

When We Were Aliens

We traveled to another planet on a rocket ship. It was strange to finally hurdle through space after staring at  it our entire lives. The beings there led us into a structure. There was carpet on the walls, magazines were shaped in circles, pictures were under a clear substance on the floor, the ceiling was transparent, and they were kind to us.

Carnival Sinatra

 

268078592_8e973cba30When I was a kid there was a man operating a ride at a carnival who looked like Frank Sinatra. I walked up next to him as he yanked down a lever and I was convinced he was Sinatra. The ride kicked into gear and Sinatra reached into his apron and gave me a free ticket. He put his hand on my head, messed up my hair and winked at me. The sky grew dark and it started to downpour. The ride groaned and howled in the wind. It sounded like anyone could die at any moment. A nearby carny worker slipped on a thick black cord and fell to the ground. Sinatra pointed at him and laughed out loud to the point of exaggeration. That had to be Sinatra.

Pictures Invented the Want of Time Travel

We didn’t see any ghosts that day because everything we looked at was real. The woods sat in silence listening to the joy emanating from the people gathered there. The day ended and we had to go home but if I was standing there now I would still see the people I was with. I often have wondered if that’s how ghosts are made, moments like that, because every once in a while there is a day that never leaves you. Then life becomes like that.

When I Time Travel I’m Going Straight to the Seventies

At family reunions in Omaha, Uncle Jim’s house smelled like beer, cologne, whiskey, stewed tomatoes, coffee, mowed grass, cabbage rolls, cigarette smoke, kibbeh, hot concrete, bacon, perfume, and cola. I loved that smell.

Yeti Colliding with Angels/Red and Blue Rooftops (Novella Excerpt, 1998)

My ability to think, evaluate, grow were all degenerating: arboreal, amphibious, human, ghost. I see now, as I begin to recall what exactly happened, that life is so simple, so resolute in the functions that we have, where we place our arms and so on.

I can see the sunset through the front picture window in the reflection of the back window. The sky is purple, beauty looming above me, in reflections, in air, in sight. I’m holding back information because the moment I reveal anything I will be thought of as insane.  Even more frightening to me is the fact that if I start telling you what happened I will have to relive the experience.  There is a knife in these memories, they blindfold me and push me down stairs.

The red and blue rooftops are in black and white. I stand inside a picture from my past reacting to the flash.  The purple sky is gone; there is no beauty to distract me as my future runs viciously through a foot of mud.  I am an elephant crashing down into sleep.  In the darkness I can see the lights of airplanes coming and going, moving across the sky like crabs move across the sand.  I can hear the highway racing all around me, the city lights buzzing quietly in the grid.

A man’s joy, a man’s pain or grasping at life fist over cocktail in hand . . .

I learned how to be funny from my Grandpa. He was a ham. I don’t think there is a better word to describe him because I remember his house in the woods often smelling like ham. He fought his way through many disappointments in life, one of those people whose smile got bigger the more you knocked him down. I get my sadness from him too. I realize now how much that man felt.

The way she looks at me sometimes . . .

Photo by Christopher Jug George *St. Croix River* July 28, 2011

That beautiful lady stays inside of summer. She is wrapped in a shawl of timelessness and is so convincing when she tells me there never really is a now.

An old friend came to visit me even though I didn’t let anyone in the door . . .

Photo by Christopher Jug George *St. Croix River* October 26, 2011

There’s pain in there somewhere, I realize, pain I thought I’d conquered. It poured out of me this past weekend and I started to wonder if  it was real. Had I been guessing when I told myself I was ok? On Christmas Day I was watching 8mm home movies  of people, of family, of strangers, of strange family, of Christmas, some of them I used to know, some I never met, one who disappeared from the world on that very day. They were so happy or pretending to be happy or sad, I couldn’t tell. I forgot what year it was on the street in front of my house and had no concept of time inside my house.  I was lost and overwhelmed and had to press stop. I went outside to feel the present. I found myself on a path cutting through the park that ended in the middle of the road where I was dodging cars and further still, along train tracks then sitting beneath the Summit Avenue bridge watching my dog bark at birds as the world darkened and while sitting there I went further into the woods, where I saw something I thought I’d lost or forgot or made up.  I saw a flash in the distance and even though I couldn’t see it clearly it was enough of a glimpse for me to know I’m not the great conqueror I thought I was . . .

Or maybe I’m still that boy from 1999 who wrote the same thing, in a 12 years ago way, in a novella:

I had to run but all of these people stepped in my path with indiscriminate looks on their faces, faces with no real connection to my current situation but rather just happening to move that foot, inch, or five feet in my direct line so that I was running through them and they were only concerned about tea, or how to get to the Nevesky bridge or what was said about them under someone’s breath, and every large person in the district gathered in one spot and pushed their pianos to that spot with them, and I scaled them swiftly as if I had the ability of the tiger that I saw within my dead Uncle, and next a thicket of thorny bushes that attached to my jacket only to get to a brick wall that I somehow managed to pass through, orange and black stripes flashing through my skin only to encounter every one in the Nevesky Prospect eating dinner in a straight line that adjusted to my path so that I stepped in people’s soup and on their meat and they acted as though they would be disappointed if I didn’t when finally I reached this point of isolation, these woods surrounded by birds . . .

The First Time I Realized Yellow Could be Described as Gold

I’ve been battling forever: with myself, with others, with memories, with life, with death. Fighting in a quiet way, mostly with my eyes and my thoughts. I’ve run from you, I’ve hurt you, I’ve tried to dismiss you, but, ultimately, I just ignored my wrongs, my rights, my gifts, my pain, my struggles with reality and then I think of a day like this one, when I was happy and oblivious. When I realized, for the first time, the world sometimes looked like my dreams and my heart pounded because of how golden yellow could be, how beautiful dying things were, how the landscape rose and fell, and gracefully gave into forever.

Gold River Diana or Life is that Strange Looking Thing Standing in the Middle

Photo by Christopher Jug George *St. Croix River-Gold River Diana* 4/28/10

You are a river, Diana, you are high. You are rushing and taking lives.  I’m not even sure when you took mine.  I’ve been negotiating a merger between the surreal and real  for a long time.  The deal is about to be struck.  I was not here before, I will be gone again.

My brother Jimmy is named after my Uncle Jim. When I was a kid I thought I had a bunch of uncles and aunts. I eventually found out they were all greats so I didn’t know any of them very long. I have known my brother forever.  He made it a point to save my life.

Photo by Christopher Jug George *Brugge, Belgium* October 1996

It was the last year of the century and we were walking the city streets during the good part of that summer. It was our favorite thing to do. We stood in front of an apartment building on Spruce Pl. and I told her that I thought Keith might live there. I pointed at a random window on the third floor and we both started yelling “KEITH!” “KEITH!” I remember her feet leaving the ground on one of the yells and I put my hand on her shoulder to keep her from floating away. I already knew she was going to float away.

Photo by Christopher Jug George *St. Croix River* May 12, 2011

The world tilted to the left that day and no one could walk straight. Horses were running everywhere and the hills lined up outside of houses as if they wanted to get inside. I was hiding behind a fallen tree, afraid to move as my world came undone. I fell asleep there and when I woke up it was the next day and everything was back to normal.

Photo by Christopher Jug George * St. Croix River * July 21, 2010

I wondered why that older lady from across the street didn’t eat any watermelon. Everyone else had red juice all over their fingers and chins. She sat there smoking and scowling. It was like she wasn’t even there. Eventually, her patio chair lifted off the ground and she floated into the sky like Mary Poppins with a frown.

Some people hide their sadness for as long as they can and then the wind blows loudly through the trees on a certain day, in a certain place and they break down in front of you.

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