Archive for memories

where do your memories go?

Posted in Writings with tags , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by scottsplatter

Where do your memories go?

Snatched by rodents that creep in the night,
Or the bellies of cats that tame the rodent blight?
Down the hole at the creek where stones forever fall,
Or the pipe in the basement that peeks from the wall?
Do they hide beneath leaves when the eaves fill with rain,
Or slip out of view on a boxcar train?

Well, I made you a new one today at the lake
With a pebble, a toad and a green bellied snake.
I left it with you by the old porch swing,
But the drink in your hand may have clipped its wings.
It was good I think, as far as memories go,
Nearly as good as that pig with no nose.
But you lost that too as I now recall,
He was in the carnival tents that arrived last fall.

Where do your memories go?

Perhaps they are waiting for you out there,
In a stump, or a trunk or the cushion of your chair.
The one where you sit with a drink in your hand,
Sour on life and the ways of the land.
I think you will find them if you look one day,
Because none of mine have gone away.



I wrote that half asleep a few months ago over morning coffee and just stumbled across it again. Not sure where the undercurrent came from honestly. I was pleased with how it turned out though. I think I was inspired by watching Neil Gaiman read The Day The Saucers Came. Video/audio isn’t great, but the poem is.


The School of Rats

Posted in Rumination, Writings with tags , , , , on August 2, 2009 by scottsplatter

There was a drain in the floor that the rats came through when the creek out back flooded. It was futile. When the creek flooded, the basement flooded. The waterline disguised ten inches up from the cement floor in crumbled mortar and dust painted a subtle history. Some storms were worse, some not as heavy, but over the last 83 years or so, ten inches was the average. The rats came before the water and you’d catch jolts of them darting about in the dim light from the stairwell. It was a sign to get anything worth saving off the floor. There wasn’t much in the way of hiding places in the basement, not after the first spring.  If  the water took longer to recede than they had endurance, they drowned.

Not many rats stand more than 10 inches high. Sometimes I’d sit on the steps and watch them cling to the porous brick down there, tails jerking to avoid the water and maintain a sense of balance. The hope was that the tornado roared through on the front end of the storm, so you could ride it out before the rats came.  After the storms were gone and the heat of summer consumed the standing water I cleaned up their dead.

Stomachs sunken and mouths agape, there was a fireplace shovel that I’d scoop them up with. It was in the basement when we moved in, the house never had had a fireplace. It was nice of the previous owners to leave it for us. I left one rat there in the basement to see what would become of it. To my surprise it never drew insects or skeletonized. It just grew more sunken and agape. Not nearly as gross as I had anticipated. He sat in the corner through most of the summer before I got bored with the experiment and buried him in the garden. He’d earned a proper burial. I hadn’t learned rat anatomy, but I had learn that you earn your burial.

Shake Hands with Kevorkian

Posted in Rumination with tags , , , , on May 9, 2009 by scottsplatter

This popped into my head this morning as I was making the second pot of coffee at 6am on a Saturday… I’m still working on that coffee so if this is incoherent forgive me.

When I was younger I worked for a mental health crisis center, I think from the time I was 16 to 19 or there abouts. The Michigan Association of Suicidology was hosting a talk by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and I convinced the agency I worked for that someone, me in fact, should be there. This was in about 1990 when Kevorkian was a big deal, and they agreed.

So I but on a button down shirt, and made the 3+ hour drive to Lansing to see Kevorkian with one of the volunteers from the center that wanted to go as well.

“Black Coffee” off the “Rise Above” compilation just came on… that record benefits the West Memphis Three, and you should check it out. It’s Rollins and friends covering Black Flag songs for a good cause.

Anyway, we got to this municipal campus , City Hall or something, and made our way inside. I assumed there would be a sizable turnout and went inside not sure what to expect. There was no buzz, no electricity, just bureaucrats shuffling around on their way to do bureaucratic things. There was a nondescript door with a photocopy of a simple text sign announcing the presentation. There were people using the room when we got there so we had a seat in the lobby and waited for something to happen.

An old man came in, he had on a cheap suit and a worn floppy hat, and he was carrying a K-Mart bag that looked to have about  five jars of Planters peanuts in it. My friend and I looked at each other and debated whether or not is was Kevorkian.

“It kinda looks like him.”

“That can’t be him, look at him. Whoever it is, he likes peanuts.”

“No Shit.”

I think we decided he was someone with a basement desk under the humming fluorescent light and a plan to make the world pay one day, after he’d had his peanuts.

The room cleared out and we filed in and took our seats. There were only about 15 or 20 people there, psychologist types. We took a seat and I got out my note pad. I probably wondered if my Subhumans shirt was showing through the collar of my button down, or whatever it happened to be that day. My friend and I were cleary 20 years younger than anyone else there, if not 30. I am pretty sure I was the only one with dreadlocks, certainly the only one with dreadlocks that were black, grey and purple. No one told us to beat it though.

They let us sit for a few minutes before they introduced him, and then he entered the room. He took the floppy hat off his head, shoved it into his bag of peanuts, tossed it under the table. 

He said “Hi I’m Jack Kevorkian.” Then he let it rip for some two hours.

It was a great talk, he covered his bases, and convinced some doubters I think. Even I was a little concerned that he’d done a few of his procedures in the back of a van, but he really did seem to take due dilligence when deciding who to help and who not to.

When it was over I went up to the table and thanked him and shook his hand.

He was a nice guy.