Sunday, October 18, 2009


The largest ocean in the world starts or ends at Monterey, California. It depends on what language you are speaking. My friend's wife had just left him. She walked right out the door and didn't even say goodbye. We went and got two fifths of port and headed for the Pacific.

It's an old song that's been played on all the juke boxes in America. The song has been around so long that it's been recorded on the very dust of America and it has settled on everything and changed chairs and cars and toys and lamps and windows into billions of phonographs to play that song back into the ear of our broken heart.

We sat down on a small corner-like beach surrounded by big granite rocks and the hugeness of the Pacific Ocean with all its vocabularies.

We were listening to rock and roll on his transistor radio and somberly drinking port. We were both in despair. I didn't know what he was going to do with the rest of his life either.

I took another sip of port. The Beach Boys were singing a song about California girls on the radio. They liked them.

His eyes were wet wounded rugs.

Like some kind of strange vacuum cleaner I tried to console him. I recited some old litanies that you say to people when you try to help their broken hearts, but words can't help at all.

It's just the sound of another human voice that makes the only difference. There's nothing you're ever going to say that's going to make anybody happy when they're feeling shitty about losing somebody that they love.

Finally he set fire to the radio. He piled some paper around it. He struck a match to the paper. We sat there watching it. I had never seen anybody set fire to a radio before.

As the radio gently burned away, the flames began to affect the songs that we were listening to. A record that was #1 on the Top 40 suddenly dropped to #13 inside of itself. A song that was #9 became #27 in the middle of a chorus about loving somebody. They tumbled in popularity like broken birds. Then it was too late for all of them.

{"Pacific Radio Fire", from Revenge of The Lawn, Stories 1962-1970 by Richard Brautigan}

My favourite book of all time. Perhaps

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