I began writing a poem as soon as we were headed for Buffalo. A poem about how much I missed Buffalo. It had been an amazing journey full of ups and downs. Much of it had been great. But I was ready to be home. Buffalo, NY, the source of what little strength I have.
Decent poem. It'll be nice to go read out some time and see what the Buffalonians think of it.
Buffalo welcomed me home to the very best of its ability. I had messages on my answering machine from Anna Walsh that said she had gotten lots of orders for our poetry books while I was away. She was rather desperate to have some more copies to sell.
On the drive home Birdie and I decided that even though we had missed the Wednesday nigh highs and lows at the Housing co-op, we should drop in on Thursday just so that we could see the fine people there. We ended up having a fine time there and I watched many interesting conversations.
The next morning I remembered that I had gotten a cryptic message from Mike Niman while I was away. Mike Niman is a columnist for the big alternative weekly newspaper here in Buffalo. His email said check page twenty of last weeks issue. I had asked at the housing co-op whether anyone had a copy floating around. They suggested I check the website. So I checked the website. There on page 20 of last weeks issue, a review of my novel Relations that went out to some 60,000 people who read ArtVoice in Western New York. It was a great review too.
There was no food in the house. And not much money for food. But I decided to take what money there was down to the food co-op and get some real food. I had been missing my food. Getting to select my own ingredients, my own portion sizes, etc.
Earlier in the month I had been to Opus. Opus: An awesome touchy-feely wandering city filled with loving young people. A fun place to visit, but I could never live there. I need the elders so bad. I need to have friends that can look me in the eye and say "I've been alive for 64 years and one of the most important things I've learned is..." and that kind of thing. A lot of my Opus friends get really sad when Opus is over because the love vanishes. This year I went to my 3rd Opus. Every year I come back from Opus and try to bring some of the pleasantness back from Opus. I don't notice the change from day to day. But over time, changing what I put in, had radically altered what I get back. I have loved my city to the very best of my ability. My city, in turn, loves me back.
I had three different people come up to me and congratulate me on the review of my book in the ArtVoice before I'd had a chance to get any shopping done. One was my friend Lucy and I asked her if she knew where I could get my hands on a copy of last weeks ArtVoice and asked her if she might have a copy. She suggested I check out the library.
I ran into my friends Quinn and Janet. They're a really awesome couple that I totally love. They run the martial arts and yoga center in the community. I got some OpusLike hugs and conversation from them. Quinn told me he'd just read my novel and wanted to know when book 2 was coming out. I told him the good news about how book 2 was going and how I'd written the first two chapters on the road. And I probably went on at length, repeating myself, about how book 2 was goint to be. I have a tendency to do that. And so in the middle of our conversation he started rubbing my chest. That was pretty weird, but hey, you know, whatever right? I kept on talking to Janet and stuff and she and I both tried to keep from giving him the wierd eye as best we could. Then he explained to me that I had shaving remnants, little beard trimmings all over my shirt. My t-shirt that said "100% Conscious." I had just been explaining to Janet about how I don't believe in 100% conscious and how I was just wearing it because it was a shirt for my friend's website. Quinn apologized for getting "all motherly on me" but he said he didn't want me to walk around with a 100% conscious t-shirt not knowing that I had beard hair all over my shirt. And we all laughed about that a lot. Like laughted ourselves silly. And that's pretty much what most days are like for me here in this part of Buffalo.
I finished getting some good food and catching up with a few more people. I got home and I had received my first real mail from Opus People. That was way cool.
Birdie volunteered to go to the library to look for an ArtVoice with me and meet Anna Walsh. The library was closed because our stupid county is totally broke. Anna Walsh wasn't home so we left some books for her and went back home.
Today's the last friday of the month so I went downtown to ride the Critical Mass: a nice leasurely bike ride with 60 to 70 good friends. I can recall the frustration I had a couple years ago when I tried to get all my different factions in Buffalo to be friends. I could get my friends to be friends with my other friends. But now, as I looked around Critical Mass. So many friends were there. The housing co-op people were there. Mike Niman, the guy who wrote the review of my novel in ArtVoice was there. People from the MAP community center were there. All kinds of people were there. Lots of shiny happy women with beautiful bike riding muscles were there. And we all just rode our bicycles around and smiled a lot and daydreamed and such.
Then I got the feeling that it might be around the time I volunteered to cook dinner for the residents of the Art-Activists co-op (a shared living space for authors and artists that I'm determined to start up here.) Yeah, there's only one other member that's staying now that the other establishing member is leaving, but hey, we can still enjoy a good plate of "Orange" while were here together no?
After dinner I went to go visit an old friend from my old job (that I quit right before Opus). We had been reading my autobiography and we left of at Chapter 15 (just where it starts getting good).
I was coming over the crest of a bridge. I wasn't paying much attention. I had my music loud. I was going too fast. All of a sudden I sensed something coming toward me very fast. I looked up. All I had time to do was make that wierd noise that I always make when I'm startled. And then we colided. Head on collision at top speed. Our vehicles became two twisted chunks of metal. And we slammed into one another really, really hard. If our vehicles had been cars and we'd collided like that I'd be dead. But we were on bikes. So we just looked at each other confused for some moments.
I was worried that he was going to be pissed. But nah. This is Buffalo. He started making sure I was alright, I started making sure he was alright. He retrieved his shoes from our locked wheels. We went about figuring out how to get out bikes untangled from each other. We didn't have to exchange insurance companies. We didn't have to wait for the cops to show. Instead we just exchanged names. His name was Tom. And then we each appologized about what we were doing instead of paying attention. And then we marveled at how hard we had colided into one another. And then we laughed about it. Just had a real loud and geniune relieved laugh and wished each other well several times.
And then I went to go read my book to Richard. And tell him how I'd missed him.
It's so good to be home. All of my personal stuff is falling apart. But I can deal. I got a city full of people that love me. I think I'll go read them their poem on Monday.