Posts Tagged ‘Incomplete’


November 22 2011

A. When will you come home?
B. C’mon.
A. What? I just want to know.
B. You know.
A. I know.
B. Don’t make this hard for you.
A. I’m not.

A. Everything!
B. Gmm?
A. …what?
B. You said something
A. What?
B. You said ‘everything’.
A. Huh.
B. You just, popped up, and said it
A. What’d I say?
B. ‘Everything’.
A. Everything the word.
B. Yes.
A. Oh.
B. It’s not seventy years later,
A. Yeah.
B. so it couldn’t have been everything everything.
A. Only seventy years?
B. Yep.
A. Huh. I thought
B. I did too.
A. Well.
B. Going back to sleep?
A. Not just yet.
B. Ok.
A. How about you
B. No. I can stay up.
A. Good. It’s less lonely this way.
B. I can imagine.
A. Not that watching you is exactly ‘the pits’
B. No?
A. No.
B. Hmm.
A. Is that too
B. No. I’m just trying to figure how pleased I should be that I’m not a boring sleeper.
A. Well, I wouldn’t go that far…
B. No?
A. I mean, it’s not like you’re sleeptalking, or sleepdancing or sleeptryingtogetwithme
B. That’s good.
A. Eh.
B. That’s bad?
A. It’s not bad, it’s just , you know, not not boring.
B. Then why watch me?
A. It’s just nice.
B. Nice but boring.
A. Not everything has to be exciting; sometimes what you want the most is something boringly nice.
B. Like rice, or ambient music;
A. or oak trees, or church;
B. or a conversation with your parents,
A. maybe your parents,
B. definitely my parents.
A. Well then it’s settled:
B. my parents– boring but nice.
A. The ideal way for parents to be.
B. I’m not complaining.
A. *stifle*
B. What?
A. *chortle, snort*
B. What’s so funny?
A. I can’t stop picturing that your parents are Brian Eno and a bowl of rice.
B. Hm.
A. You’re talking to them at an island; all three of you relaxed, casual. Real pleasant, mostly.
B. Which island? Are we standing on water…
A. No, like a kitchen island.
B. Oh.
A. Brian Eno is there in his Steve Jobs turtleneck. The bowl of rice is porcelain and single portion sized.
B. It’s hard to imagine that I was once able to be carried in a bowl so small.
A. Brian Eno’s baldness is graying and so is the rice.
B. Does rice gray as it ages?
A. It’s becoming visibly crumby, and increasingly congealed.
B. What about the bowl?
A. Fading– like a book left out in the sun. Slowly, but by now significant enough to notice.
B. Sad.
A. Yeah.
B. But we’re all happy, though?
A. Yes. I mean, I think so. Boring but nice– remember?
B. Yeah. I was just worried about what occasion has brought us back together.
A. Hmm. That’s true. I didn’t think about that.
B. Is it Christmas?
A. No.
B. Oh.
A. I can’t rule it out, but the sky is so sunny and looks so warm; there are no decorations up
B. and bowl of rice is a decorator
A. exactly
B. Yeah, you’re probably right. Well, if it’s not Christmas, and it is sunny and warm out, so it’s probably not Thanksgiving
A. No turkeys, no cornucopiae
B. Then that means it’s probably not a holiday.
A. Yeah.
B. Which means that it’s probably
A. a wedding or a funeral.
B. Mm.
A. You don’t really go back for no reason.
B. What need is there, when our conversations are so nice
A. but boring.
B. Hm.
A. Hem.
B. Are there gifts?
A. Gifts?
B. Like, wedding gifts? Are there wedding gifts lying around?
A. Hmmmmmm, no.
A. But that could just mean it’s someone else’s wedding; it doesn’t have to be yours.
B. I was thinking maybe one of my siblings.
A. Aren’t they all already married?
B. Yes.
A. So why would it be them.
B. I don’t know. Do we know for sure when this is?
A. You look like you look now.
B. Sure. Ok. But I don’t really go around drastically changing my appearance all the time.
A. True. It’s what I like best about you.
B. Thanks?
A. But I can just sort of tell, I think.
B. That it is now?
A. That it is close to now.
B. Well no one I know is getting married for, like, two years. So
A. But no one you know is dying, right
B. As far as I know
A. Maybe you’re just visiting — you don’t seem too distraught.
B. You can’t be sad all the time, even during a funeral trip.
A. True.
B. Although, if we’re that relaxed or casual, it’s probably not anyone in my immediate family…
A. True.
B. And Brian Eno and the bowl of rice– they’re not wearing anything particularly funereal, right?
A. Well Brian Eno is wearing a black turtleneck, but I think he always wears that in this version.
B. And the bowl of rice?
A. Is… a bowl of rice.
B. But she’s not in a special black mourning bowl?
A. No.
B. Huh.
A. You seem happy, so I don’t think it’s a funeral. Or at least, well.
B. At least well what?
A. You’re definitely not funeral sad, I’m pretty sure, and your parents aren’t sad.
B. Just pretty sure?
A. You’re a hard read. I’m pretty sure you’re not funeral sad but what evidence do I have to corroborate that interpretation.
B. You don’t.
A. Right.
A. And if it can’t be a wedding, and it’s probably not a birth?
B. Hm. Not if it’s one or two months from now.
A. So, maybe it’s a birthday?
B. Hm.
A. No?
B. I don’t know. My uncle’s birthday is next month, but I don’t see me coming home for that.
A. Well… it’s just a picture I saw, right
B. Yeah.
A. One in which your parents were replaced by nonsense objects.
B. That’s true
A. Maybe we shouldn’t read too much into it.
B. Mm.
A. Right?
B. Mm
A. *snort*
A. *snort, sprrtr, tss*
A. Hee heehe
B. Whaat?
A. Now I can’t stop picturing a young, long-horseshoe-haried Brian Eno going to town on a small bowl of a rice.
B. Oh, stop
A. Teeheeeheeheee he’s really giving your rice mom the business
B. C’mon
A. Baahehhahahaaaheeha *snort, snort, inhale*


Unfinished and Abandoned, Incomplete: The Jerry Palotta Story

November 23 2009

Meriden: the Amazing True1 Life Story of Jerry Palotta2


Absolute Beginners, my parents became so right out of high school. Barely. Art and Judy Palotta, their names a perfect match, to added young Gerald in 19. We lived in Meriden, Connecticut. I grew up there.



Complicated, my least favorite word in the English language. No good has ever come from complications. The best songs, the best literature, the best films, the best TV shows have always been deceptively simple. Crisp, clear, easy to comprehend. Pretense is a tense best left unused. Complicated is an ugly, fettered, fetid, flea-bitten, flimsy excuse of a term. A cop out. A crutch. It’s why you weren’t , it’s why When you get a toy, “It’s Christmas.” When you get a smack, “It’s ‘Cause I love you, and want you to grow up right.” But when your father leaves, “It’s complicated.” I wanted to know when he was coming back



Easily Fooled, I believed her. Every night before sleeping I would place a necklace of bells (stolen from a stuffed reindeer) on my doorknob, assuming that the first thing he would do would be to come and kiss me and I could know the second he came back. The bells never rang. On holidays– well, Christmas at least, and once my birthday– we would receive a brown paper package with no return address. Inside of which would be a toy, usually more age appropriate for the six year old boy he left behind than the 7, 8, 9, or 10 year old I became. After missing five years, we got one last package about two months after I turned 16. The box– still absent a second address– was dinged and damaged, dotted with redirects delineating the route it required to reach our new home. Inside, wrapped in the same roll of Christmas paper I remembered from past gifts, was a pair of tan leather driving gloves. I still wear them to this day.



Grew Up Hard? Hardly. My mom soon remarried– about a year or two after dad’s departure. Her husband, my stepfather, was a perfectly amiable and absolutely acceptable gent. 13 years older, but without the immaturity that a 37-24 year gap usually entails, Kenneth was as decent a man as you could hope for. Though I never thought of him as my father, after a somewhat rough settling-in period, I only had positive feelings about the guy. He provided for both my mom and me, as well as the two half-sisters I was soon blessed with.3 No, I was a sheltered Siddhartha until I hit high school. Until I met Juliet Katherine Leschowitz. Juliet



I Thought I’d Write to Juliet. It felt almost pathetic– here I was, now 13 years later much-lauded, [Canterbury Award winning] (and newly wealthy) writer at the peak of his powers , and instead of taking advantage of the, ahem, [opportunities at my disposal], I’m penning (secretly, even!) love letters to my high school/college sweetheart. but there was one big obstacle blocking my path to being her Romeo– Romeo. Yes, Romeo[–Romeo] Alfa, inventor of the Alfa Romeo, whom Juliet had been seeing since the previous summer. (The man, not the car).4 He was, not surprisingly, a pompous, arrogant man. To her credit, Juliet was aware of this, but she found his machismo amusing and assured me that for all his bluster he was a ‘mewling kitten’ in private. If anything, she confessed, she wished he would be more [pompous and arrogant] when they were alone, as his slavish devotion and surfeit of coos and cuddles and other soft attention were growing wearisome. This was indisputably a sign. Unfortunately, I was (once again) too eager, too effusive, too… eediotic to take appropriate, slow, tactical advantage. I immediately stuffed an envelope with a dozen alphabets– each cataloguing the ways I feel, times we shared, her looks I still remember…


Kentucky Cocktail, Southern Mash, , I turned to bourbon to drown my heartbreak. I drank Mint Julep after Mint Julep, just because it sounded like her name.5 She’d not written back for three months since. Even two days after I’d spent all day staring at the mailbox. Wondering after a week if she was ok, I called [Alice?] to see if anything had happened. Something had happened, alright, she said, the twist in her voice confirming she’d at least received it. Or so I thought. As with most outwardly confident, secretly smothering boyfriends, Romeo Alfa wasn’t the trusting kind. Suspecting something was different, he’d taken to opening Juliet’s mail. To be fair, Romeo wasn’t wrong. I had been up to something. [Still, that doesn’t justify felonious behavior!]

But why hadn’t she written back? I asked Alice, and she replied with me least favorite word in the English language. “It’s Complicated.” And thus [the levees broke/began my bender/ ]



My Home Town: Meriden, Connecticut. This is where we would see each other for the first time in over a decade. Having drank, and spent, and otherwise misbehaved myself broke and broken and friendless, I decided that now was as good a time as any to finally return home.



Of Pressure you know not until you’ve sat waiting both to pop the question, and then to hear its response. Exponentially so, as I was skipping all the normal steps, hoping our history was enough. If I was wrong I would be wrong knowing there was no other way I could have been. Still, it was stupid and impetuous, and displayed all the maturity that I had yet to gain. It reinforced every opinion she’d had about me when we were in High School, revealing the shocking lack of growth I’d undergone since. It was foolish, And it worked.


Q. It’s generally one of the hardest letters to write for. X would be harder if not for the fact that people X-pected you to improvise your way around it. Ditto Z. J can be tough, and since no one thinks about how hard it can be, you don’t have the advantage of the previously mentioned ’empathy benefit’. Depending on the subject,6 J can definitely be harder than Q. Luckily, in life, I have my Juliet. I’d already alphabetized her exquisite qualities[properties], all our private jokes and precious moments, so many birthdays, and even my proposal– the old bag of tricks wouldn’t do this time. I had to come up with something special, something better.

[in [year], I married [name] [my third and final wife]. It was a small [Quiet] ceremony but a ceremony nonetheless [no wedding so far?]. Our only [expenditure] fancy flourish a string Quintet These were those vows:]


Rainbows. When I look into her face, a crimson

outline in which I place all [orange][-x][ginger]

yearns, [all] delicate delight[s]: a golden

grail, a guiding

b agave? Cerulean?

I darkest denim? Some monastic/monastery mood?

v[aricose] light and hum? Royal hue?

rainbows (when I look into her face). [a string quintet / quiet]




When I look into her face, a crimson

outline in which I place all ginger

yearns, each delicate delight: a golden

grail, that guides me right.

because/but when I [ ], and [ ] fall into a

I lapse into some deep monastic mood

verily I return to [light, and hum a] royal hue

rainbows, when I see her face A string quintet


Two Of Us, for all eternity, ‘[un]til death



[tu Two of Us, for the rest of eternity, then bound






X Or Y? It didn’t matter. Just the idea that we might not be able to have a child was more awful than any thought I would care to imagine. And yet when the results came back, our worst fears were confirmed. Juliet was

Now I’ll be brutally honest with you– noting only that my mind has turned 180 degrees since– the notion of adoption always seemed like nonsense to me. Not morally wrong, not by any means, nothing could be nobler. But I had my doubts about the whole process, with very strong doubts about the concept. The idea that you could genuinely love a child that was not actually your own in the same way (or anywhere near) that you could love a kid that you yourself created seemed absurd to me. Nice– a very useful and utopian self-deception, but ultimately unbelievable.


Yue Er Wan Zhao Jiu Zhou [was playing when we deplaned in Beijing [footnote: double cop-out here, both re-using the letter Y and using the title of the song as a song straight up– but it figures importantly into the story]].




1True in the sense that I truly just made it up. Or that his aim was true? No. Then I would have to re-mix.

2I ditched this when, checking the internet to confirm what little facts I actually used (is his name Jerry Palotta (close: Jerry Pallotta); he was the alphabet book one, right? (yes)), I found that he wasn’t the New England-based Childrens’ Book Author who was born in Meriden. It was (instead) Tomie dePaola aka “The Strega Nona Guy”. So I stopped.

In addition to this, although mostly moot after the Meriden rug got pulled out from underneath me, I got too attached to the song titles I chose without checking to see if the songs were worth a damn/sounded good together. They did not sound good together (or at least were inappropriate). So I stopped even more.

There are a few chapters missing and a lot of words. Eh.

3Emily and Daphne, sweethearts both.

4Although, unsurprisingly, he did drive one– so I guess you could say both were true.

5A nasty drink. Death is that much less a mystery now, now that I know what embalming fluid must taste like. However much I love mint, it has no place being the dominant mix in an alcoholic beverage. I don’t know how those [white-suited] equesters and their floppy-headed wives do it. I really don’t.

6When you don’t have a Jellyfish, Jaguar, or Japanese Beetle to fall back on…