Dirty Hands


One of those days late in winter, waiting to catch your wandering attention, when a
single abandoned roller skate, capsized onto its side in the open and empty gravel-floored
garage, watches patiently as if it had grown there. The boy’s thick hands go fat and numb
as his repetitive motions coax the dust from the driveway onto the basketball, into the air,
and back again to the driveway in an application of muscular routine he’s learned to call
“dribbling.” He longs for the swish of the metal chain that isn’t there.
Even as the ball arcs once more from the edge of his “court” towards the darkening
rim of yet another passage, he is aging and does not know if what he has set in motion
will ever find its completion. Something hangs in the air, long past the end of his effort,
long past any understanding he will ever achieve of basketball or weather or the
subjectivity of the part of his life still watching, only watching.
And now his ownerless hands no longer feel what he is doing. Perhaps it’s an
offering. From the window across the street, we join him, watching, and take those hands
from him, simply because we are there and we are thinking of this.
Years later, we do not know what it means to remember this ordinary thing that has
not happened to us. No more than we know what it would mean if it had happened to us
directly. In remembering, we watch ourselves watching and live somewhere inbetween,
partly the boy watching us watch and partly the actions themselves, living in our minds as
if they had no words attached to them, as if the words too moved into the air and back
again to the driveway from the motions of our cold dirty hands, hands which may exist
only in our minds.

Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.

(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)

Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.

Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.