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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pop Quiz No. 1

Someone just told me, "You should take consolation in the idea that there's a higher power." I hope I don't offend anyone by admitting here that I've never believed, though for a time I tried. And that if I did, belief would be the opposite of consolation.

Tonight, I have a certain strain of piano music playing in my head, and before I navigated the stairs in the dark, consolation was the idea of sitting on the stoop to have a smoke, a dark blue sky, a warm breeze, stars and moon and these rambling hills around me, and the stucco buildings scattered like pieces of broken shell.

Instead I found consolation under a gray night sky, the slick-wet street, and the same piano I mentioned above made less melancholy (for some reason) because across from the stoop is an empty building, its interior walls now rubble in the back of a truck. More precisely, it was in the particulates of rain haloed in the street lamp, just heavy enough to fall.


Tell me about something so beautiful, it hurts.


Blogger Karen Little said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:48 AM

Blogger Karen Little said...

hmmm... something so beautiful, it hurts...

at the end of october i went to a friend's birthday party and, naturally, the theme was halloween. my boyfriend (very new at the time) came with me, wearing jeans and a cricket shirt and his old high school cricket hat (half a cricketer...). so there's a photo of him wearing this silly hat and a huge smile. whenever i'm angry with him, i look at that photo, and i don't feel so bad anymore. it's dumb and super corny, but i get such a warm feeling inside whenever he smiles like that. it is so lovely to me that it hurts.

4:49 AM

Blogger ginab said...

seems you've written something so beautiful, it hurts.

memory music. music memories. the reason I return cds.

"'mornin sunshine," said Pa, to his freckle-faced daughter Laura.

5:29 AM

Blogger wallycrawler said...

The first time I saw my little girl . My heart sank , it felt like I was punched in the stomach . Then a wave of fear hit me . "WHAT AM I GONNA DO NOW" ! That feeling soon subsided as soon as I looked at my wife's eyes . I thought that feeling of fear and pain was abnormal until I talked to a couple of guy friends who had children . Everyone of them felt the same way .

Also the first time I saw my ex dance . WOOOO ! But the pain came much later .

7:00 AM

Blogger Sergio I. Gajardo Ugás said...

Que buen blog ... un gran saludo desde Chile y visita mi blog

Sergio Gajardo

9:25 AM

Blogger purplesimon said...

I read a book by a chap called Stuart Browne called Dangerous Parking.

It made me cry. Lots. And just when I thought it couldn't make me cry anymore I finished it and turned over the last page.

This book is something so beautiful it hurts. A lot. You can find it on Amazon.

Also, anything written by Charles Bukowski or David Mitchell (try number9dream).

Ditto on the beautiful/hurts theme.

9:30 AM

Blogger edbury said...

A few weeks ago I was more strapped for cash then usual. I woke up (Sunday) and decided to empty my bank account getting to Haight street for a sandwich. I drove up the coast alone and without a radio. I sat in silence and ate my veggie-ham and cheese (yellow mustard). I stopped off at a friend's on the way home. We sat on the porch and drank glasses of lemonade without saying much except hello and goodbye.

The perfect day. I won't have another like it until I start to forget how perfect it was.

9:40 AM

Blogger matty said...

I've two photographs.

One is of a person with whom I've fallen deeply in love, but it is not returned in the same way. ...story of my life. But, in this photo, this person is waking up and I captured a smile. That picture and the memory of that moment fill my heart with joy and sorrow.

The other is of my Grandmother. Really she is the only person I had when I was growing up. When I look at her face about to tell me to stop taking her picture my heart fills with love, warmth and sadness that she is no longer here.

Both pictures and both memories are beautiful for me and both break my heart. There is no pain worse than that of love lost. None.

But, I would not have wanted to miss either person or moment for the world. Heartache or not.

Hang in there, my friend.

10:42 AM

Blogger crabcake said...

Ok. I'll play but the writing I promise you will be sub-standard.

When I was 7 and my sister 4, my Dad left us. My mother worked a split-trick as a bartender to pay the bills so she was never home. She'd leave at 10 in the morning and wouldn't get home till after 1 am most nights.

The neighbors wanted nothing to do with us because back then a divorced woman was considered right up there with a prostitute. We weren't even allowed in their yards to play with their children. (truth) Family didn't want us because they had their own lives to live so we stayed alone all the time.

But we were never frightened because we had this big mutt of a dog that stayed by our side constantly. When school would let out that big black mutt would be in the school yard waiting to walk me home.

The night I looked up and caught a strange man looking through our living room window my dog rose from my side, hackles raised, teeth bared and charged full bore for him almost knocking herself out in the process when her head hit the window.

Every night she slept on our bed with us, her ears perked up at any odd sound. In the morning she would kiss us all over the face till we were good and slobbery and fully awake.

Two years later my mother had to sell our house because she could no longer make the payments. They did not allow dogs where we were going. A woman who I had never seen before came and put a rope around my dogs neck and dragged her away. That sweet old dog put up a good fight. She pulled against the noose with everything she had trying to get back to us and when it became obvious that she could not she began to whimper like her heart was broken.

I loved that dog. She was my friend and my protector and she wanted my sister and I when nobody else did. I still have her picture. She didn't look like much on the outside. But inside, ahhhh inside she had the heart of a Lion. And even the finest work of art could never measure up.

11:37 AM

Blogger ing said...


It's the uniform. What he's wearing on the outside, the unfamiliar, maybe enhances the thing about him that's so familiar it's part of you, too?


That Laura Ingalls Wilder quote: ouch!


I've heard that about having children and I've always been curious. I'm afraid that if I had a child, though, the pain of their leaving would be too hard.

sergio i. gajardo:

Mil gracias, pero no hablo español.


I'll check for the Browne book.


Too lovely for words or for music. I can't ever seem to clear either thing from my mind.


I know what you mean, but there are some photographs I simply can't look at any more. I'm glad I have them, though. I like knowing they're there. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


That made me cry (I had a dog & I still see her occasionally). I'm putting a link to you in my sidebar, okay? You should post that picture on your blog.

12:09 PM

Blogger crabcake said...

Ing, thank you for the link up!

I will post the pic. Soon as I end the Olga saga. LOL!

You know ever since I've been out on my own I've always had a dog. I really think that's probably why.

I had friend tell me this weekend that dogs don't really feel love. I love this guy. He's a big, funny, teddy bear of a man but he is all wet on this one. They absolutely do feel love and anybody who's ever been loved by one knows it.

12:35 PM

Blogger jungle jane said...

Actually Crabby that fucking made me cry too. Mind you, I am in a similar headspace to Ing at the moment so i guess just saying hello to me would make me cry.

Matt is right. the pain of love lost just utterly blows...

Ing i sent you an email via Gina B....

12:45 PM

Blogger Moonpie said...

Sorry about this one I'm such a bloody tree huger!
When I was in the Lake District last summer I came across and amazing old oak tree, it had so much energy radiating from it that it made my heart beat fast and my hands shake. It was a bizarre experience. The next day I went back to sit under it again and I was overcome with sadness. It's difficult to explain but when I looked up at it's branches it was so beautiful it did actually hurt.
Crabcake, your story is so sad, just like Dorothy Gale and Toto.
Ing, sorry to hear what a shit year 2005 was for you, I hope 2006 will be much better. Listen to Jon Anderson, he's an angel!

4:48 PM

Blogger lryicsgrl said...

My obvious answer is the birth of my children. Sounds cliche, but for me, it is true. Especially the birth of my youngest. She came ripping through my body at precipitous speed, no time for an E block, no time for the Dr. to put on his scrubs. Out she came in all her perfectness (not a word). It was literally so beautiful it HURT! I would have given anything for an out of body experience!!
BTW, Ing, I have that same fear of children leaving.
Life and love is risky business, isn't it?

6:52 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

Other than you helped me with a very important project...Thanks for reminding me how much it means to sit and think in the rain.Back in the day when I could smoke weed without overthinking, I could smoke, open a book of old photos and time travel, the real thing! Save the being able to pick horses and the right stocks.However in the day I could with the help of the weed travel back to anytime that was documented with a photo. Now I just drink beer and pee outside when I have the freedom to do so...Kind Regards JW
Now if that does not bring tears to your eyes then I will not accept the $50.00 prize!

7:53 PM

Blogger lryicsgrl said...

came back to read the other comments.
i'm weeping too Crabcake!

btw, it was VERY well written.

8:00 PM

Blogger ginab said...

Thanks Jane. You're too clever.

8:08 PM

Blogger JopySchmopy said...

My grandfather died in early 1991. To my nuclear family he was never really grandpa, as he was not my mother's biological father. He simply adopted her, and when he had his own daughter with my grandmother, he treated her a little better than he treated my mother. Anyway, he wasn't exactly Noel Coward -- he was simple and a little dull and didn't have friends and this funeral was shaping up to be very dry, a real no-tears affair. He was plenty old, so there were no feelings of devastation or loss, no sense of being robbed. I was one of the speakers. I got up there, said a couple words, and then I glanced over at my grandmother, who was leaning forward, straining to hear me, her face washed over with pain. There she was, the one person who really cared about this man. She looked lost and alone seated next to my parents. She was his friend, and this was it. This was the end. I couldn't go on, and not because of grandpa, but because of grandma. I tried to continue, but I broke down and slumped to my seat, which of course caused everyone else to break down, and there were, finally, tears at grandpa's funeral. The priest allowed everyone to sit there and cry for a while. Love and pain are things that everyone deserves.

7:46 AM

Blogger matty said...

Oh, cupcake's comment just floored me.

11:08 AM

Blogger ginab said...

I'm on the floor, too.

2:12 PM

Blogger ing said...


Sometimes I think my dog loves me, but sometimes I think she loves food better. Even if she loves me second best, though, she loves.


I cried this morning because a customer thanked me for handing them a bag (luckily, nobody was around to witness this).


I love trees. When I was a little girl in Everett, Washington we had a tree in the front yard that in the autumn was full of red berries. Birds would eat the berries and become intoxicated. "It makes them dizy," my mom said. The birds would fall to the ground, where the cats could get them. So I guess I associated this tree with death.

But since we lived on a busy street in a pretty rough neighborhood, up in the tree was the safest place. I used to wedge myself in its fork and read. And then sometimes I'd put down my book and look up at the sky through its branches until I felt dizzy.

It was thrilling to be in the arms of a tree.


And I also have a supreme fear of the pain of childbirth. I don't know if I could take it.


And you can fly
High as a kite if you want to
Faster than light if you want to
Speeding through the universe
Thinking is the best way to travel

--The Moody Blues


It makes me wonder, though -- maybe he was neater than you ever got to find out, your grandfather. Maybe your grandmother loved him for some very specific reasons?

It would be awfully sad if nobody cried at his funeral. It's tough to be elderly. I hope to god I don't die alone.

5:01 PM

Blogger J to the fucking C said...

Hey what's up baby?

I gotta story for ya.

One time a baby was born by a virgin. (that's me)
The baby was the son of God and shit. (that alone should make you want to cry, I mean, talk about havin' some shoes to fill)
So anyway, this kid had to die for all of you assholes and he knew about it his whole life.
We're not talkin' about a quick shot to the head either, oh no. We're talkin' about some serious bullshit here.

Anyway, this story can go on pretty long so I'll just leave you with a taste. ...but why don't you go burn one down over that tale.

6:25 PM

Blogger ing said...

Jesus, Jesus. I hope I didn't offend you with my post.

I have a buch of questions, which I shall present in a rapid jumble: So you were a virgin? How long did that last? What is it like giving birth? Did it hurt?

I'm pretty scared to do so myself.

I'm sorry you died and all that -- my condolences.

Peace, bro.

6:43 PM

Blogger JopySchmopy said...

True about grandpa. On holidays he'd come over and my dad would say, "Hi-ball, Edgar?" and grandpa would always say, "Beer, David." He liked baseball and the Statler Brothers -- even "Flowers on the Wall."

I guess I was drifting toward the need for tears at every funeral, and something about how everyone is loved by someone. You won't die alone, Ing. I checked the Tarot. Dying alone -- see Charlotte's Web.

6:55 PM

Blogger jungle jane said...

I know Jesus is supposed to be this unique spirit thingy but BLIMEY he sounds just like someone else i know...

7:08 PM

Blogger ing said...


My grandfather liked to talk about the Huns and the Japs, spittle a-flying. He favored John Phillips Souza and Benny Goodman and bowling and gin. Every Christmas, his wife (I mean, Gran'maw) would mail my brother and I an identical check for five bucks. I think he was cremated. My father is still devastated by his death.

I do wish with all my heart for tears at every funeral, but tears are for people with kindreds. You know?

I won't argue with the cards. Thanks for checking.

Charlotte's Web is the best book about death that I know of (2nd is Grandfather Twilight). But I can't help feeling sorry for Charlotte -- how many eggs was she carrying, there at the end?

Peace out.

You figured it out. I can't fucking believe it! You figured out that Sally Field is Jesus Christ! All from closely observing her speech patterns in Smokey and the Bandit! Which you were watching again, weren't you! And you told me you were depilating!

Peace out!

7:50 PM

Blogger ing said...

Jane, you genius! You have found the cure for a broken heart!

8:10 PM

Blogger Mike said...

Last spring I saw the most beautiful rose appear from my neglected shrubbery of a bush. It was perfect and I had to touch it, make sure that it was real. As I reached for it the sharp thorn protruding from its stem punctured my skin and blood trickled down my hand and arm. It was beautiful, and it hurt.

8:13 PM

Blogger josh williams said...

I liked the Moody Blues lyrics I used to smoke the weed and listen to them, still a fan. Nothing on disc all vinyl. I resisted posting lyric after lyric. That is my gift to you and you should be moved to tears because it aint easy for me not to be compulsive. JW

8:17 PM

Blogger ing said...


Tears that you listened to the Moody Blues while you were all burned on weed?

You may post those Moody Blues lyrics here, Josh. This is a safe place. But please don't light any incense on my blog. And yo, how 'bout ironing those Guatemalan wrap pants?

8:38 PM

Blogger ing said...



8:39 PM

Blogger Bill the Apostle said...

looks like someone's going to hell

8:55 PM

Blogger ing said...

Really, Bill? Well, let me know when he gets there. And while you're at it, could you get me a cold one?

Thanks much,

9:30 PM

Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

San Francisco rain

10:52 PM

Blogger matty said...

Ing -- Jesus not only spoke to you, he posted it on your blog!!!! Wow!!!

11:16 PM

Blogger jungle jane said...

Ing, i like to think i am a quiet achiever. The cure is progressing well - i just need more hearts. so far i have your ashes and matt's whole heart (although it appears he wants it back in spring).

hang in there buddy, help is on the way.

i hope that was beautiful enough to make you cry...

5:47 AM

Blogger ing said...


I'm sure Mr. Kreutzman is very flattered, but he told me he'd rather we call him "my leige" than "Jesus."


I see you've been offered three hearts, as long as you can figure out the Australian postal problem. If you really do find the cure, I'll cry one last time and then never again.

7:41 AM

Blogger ginab said...

bill the whatever looks more like a, not that I've ever seen any of those...

my grandpa holding a fostered infant, whispered and cooed, and jollied his legs to kicking, his laughter to bubble, and my mom to woo. To woo-woo, abandoned infant boy.

8:09 AM

Blogger ing said...

I haven't seen one either, nope.


4:50 PM


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