is still marching on

I found my notebook. I didn’t want to make the losing of it real so I didn’t tell anyone until I asked Inkbot this morning if she had seen it, but she hadn’t. I went to my car and opened the trunk for the forty-fifth time in the past week and took everything out and put everything back in and then just on a whim opened up one of the big boxes of the MSG’s books that I was supposed to sell at a used bookstore months ago but hadn’t yet and the journal was inside.

I packed away my desk toys at work, and I took down my comics and quotes and signs from my office door. Two more days. There are a lot of questions for me. I am trying to field them all, but I’m slowing down, like my batteries are running out but the light is still shining. Fainter now, fainter still.

People are coming into the library, saying, “You’re still here?” and that makes me chuckle sadly. Once the announcement has been made, and the party has been thrown, people just expect it to be over. I can’t blame them. This is sort of like the living together after the breakup part. More than sort of. The library and I are divvying up our things, and I’m trying to focus on how I built it up instead of how I broke it down while picking up every other thing and inspecting it for memory contamination.

A point is reached: that moment when you glance over at the wilting flowers and grasp the murky vase and dump it all out. A second before, you were perfectly happy with those flowers – gardenias, were they? or mums? – and you liked how the vase caught the light in the sun. And a second later, those flowers are dead and the water’s down the drain. Two seconds separate, that’s all, don’t you ever forget it. It’s a breath of time, a sneeze, a glance, a bad choice, a simple lie.

But it’s not all sad. The accordion group staying on campus this week makes me happy. It’s almost like They Might Be Giants are sending me off by proxy. I’ll walk across the street to the dining hall to get some generic pasta entree, and there’ll be 20 people in the conference room, playing accordions, playing them as they have always played them, aware or not of the beautiful absurdity of their instrument.

I wonder how much it would cost to have them parade me down the main drag on my last night there. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t be a bitchin’ way to go out. Twenty accordions and me, belting out “TIME! Is marching ON! And TIME!”

(minute-long pause, the only sound of 42 feet on asphalt)

“Is still marching ON!”


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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.