Last night about eleven I got a call from a young guy from whom I bought a guitar a year or two ago. "You said if I ever wanted to buy it back to give you a call," he said. I didn't remember that but in any case I told him I gave the guitar to my daughter. "Now I feel embarrassed to have called you," he said. I told him it was fine, and that I would ask my daughter if she wanted to sell it. I didn't even think she liked it that much.

"I love that guitar!" she said. "But it's his guitar and now I'd feel all guilty to keep it."

"Nonsense. If I'd known you loved the guitar i wouldn't have told him I'd ask you. I mean, you never really told me you liked it that much. You were kind of "Whatever. Yea I like it."

"I told you I liked it."

"Okay. I'll call him and tell him you don't want to sell it."

"Not now. I don't want to be here when you do it."

"What is this? The Silence of the Lambs?"

From all this I got a couple of things, one of which was that this was a really nice kid who sold me the Alvarez, and he was really needing money when he sold it. I gave him a little more for it than he asked, just a kind of keep the change transaction. The other was that I have no idea when my teenager really likes something I give her. She explained that she was reserved about the guitar because it was my guitar.

"But I gave it to you so it's your guitar." I was feeling exasperated with her. "Don't you understand that I have no excuse to buy another guitar unless I can pass something along to you and make space? You want me to look bad?"

"Is that why you bought me guitar lessons? So you could shop and hide your purchases at my house? I think that's some kind of mental illness isn't it?"

"Probably hereditary."

Now I'm all happy because I gave her something she really likes. She could have told me she liked it but when she didn't want to sell it, I knew she finds it something special. I also got her a mandolin. "There was this girl dressed up as a witch, and she says, 'Oh, you've got a mandolin.' I said, 'Yea but I don't know how to play it much.' So she sits down and starts showing me how to play it for an hour."

"I noticed you're improving but you sound like a witch on the damned thing."

In the other room the pug is snoring. He is a pug of good bloodlines, an honest to god alien being, who cries like a little baby sometimes. Offer him a biscuit and he might ignore it. Set it on the coffee table and in a little while he knocks it off onto the floor. He will trot around with it in his mouth, and cry, because he wants to bury it and he can't find a place.

He lifts his leg up like he's pissing when he takes a dump, so that from a distance he appears perfectly innocent.

"You want to pick it up go ahead. All I'm saying is you don't have to."

There's something about pugs that's just different. I was walking him yesterday morning and this woman is crossing the street with a black pug. I wanted to let them visit but she had a bug up her ass and marched off dragging her pug. Piglet tried to drag me across the street after them. And then all the way down the block he would stop and pull toward the street.

Pugs love other pugs

There is a pug day on the first Sunday of the month at Alta Plaza Park. That's the cover story. It's more likely a gathering of the aliens among us, the temple guards and counselors.

Joseph Henderson had a black pug. When Joseph talked he held Charley in his lap, and I thought the pug was a medium, the way a cat is a medium for a witch. He was always content to be right there with his master. When Charley died, Joseph dreamed that he came in the door to his bedroom, and he was the same except he was a white pug.

"He had just come to tell me it was all right."

The pug was a gift to Jasmine from her mom. Virginia is staying here at the apartment while finding a place to live. that's why Piglet is here, along with Susie, the clawless cat, and Blue, the orange tabby. Why Blue? Because when he was a kitten he was named for his blue eyes. Of course they changed, but his name didn't change. He'll always be Blue.

I have five frames of reference for this Christmas (things that can be framed). One I can't talk about because it would give away the gift. The second is a series of mandala cards I got in Prescott from Victoria Page. When Virginia saw them she wanted them for her Christmas cards to send to co-workers at her new job. I am always happy to help Victoria sell her artwork, because I really like her artwork. She gave me the cards as a gesture when I brought some glass to San Francisco for her daughter, who is an artist working in glass and design. Buy something from her and you'll be a happy consumer.

The third frame is for my father's certificate for crossing the equator, and being initiated into the mysteries of the deep. The last time I was with my parents, dad was talking about the mysteries of the deep, giant squid and whales, and he was remembering the war, when he was a marine machine gunner in the South Pacific.

He doesn't talk about it much, still. But he talks about it more than he used to. I think he's always had a great fear of the part of him that killed people, because he was raised with the fire and brimstone sermons about heaven and hell. I told him that the part we push away as the bad part is the part that gets saved if the Self has to choose between it and the good part we so aspire to be. It's a matter of which one has more survival value and more energy.

I reminded him of the Ancient Mariner's only getting out from under the spell of the Albatross when he blessed what was fearful beneath the surface of the ocean:

Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water-snakes :
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire :
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam ; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things ! no tongue
Their beauty might declare :
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware :
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The self-same moment I could pray ;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.

So ... the framing of his certificate of crossing is his gift this year ... finally unrolled and behind document glass, a moment in time when he crossed the line between the hemispheres. And there is the fourth frame, which is an electronic frame in which photos are viewed, for my mom.

I feel like Prospero on his island, now, with the ships coming to bring the events of my past into some negotiated settlement. And with Christmas comes my move into my sixtieth year. Already I see the old man coming forward, and the young man moving back, to provide more light behind the eyes.

There was one more frame, and it will be a frame for this impression of Harriet Tubman. I am giving the (linked) biography of Tubman to my daughter.

Posted: Wed - December 12, 2007 at 05:33 PM