An excerpt from Dunga Brook Diary
Dunga Brook Diary, Spring 2011
I’m sitting on my couch with the mac on my lap. Through the ripped screen door I hear the Saturday street sounds of my relatively quiet Pacific Palisades neighborhood, random bird calls, cars wooshing by, a skateboarder practicing, dogs barking in back yards looking for a way back in.
I am looking for a way out. Of LA. For months now. Years really. But especially now in the spring of 2011 because in June Connor is actually going to graduate from Pali High.
Somehow, he is pulling it off. Good for him, he did it in a most impressive underdog coming from the back of the pack way and, to top it off, he wrote a letter of introduction to the ONE college he wanted to go to that was so convincing they ignored his academic past and welcomed him into the fold.
So, here I am in a land that I don’t love (limitless sunshine, relentless fruits and nuts, dead-end career, ridiculously high cost of living, negligible love life, friends with their own lives to dig out from, etc, etc).
Here I am in my rented cottage with the ripped screen door, the missing shutters (I had to pull them down when they went sideways and dropped slats after the last El Nino), the crumbling tar paper roof and plaster facade.
Here I am surrounded by McMansions where other little cottages stood but have since been demolished in the past 15 years I’ve lived here.
Here I am facing life without Connor in a place I have been dying to get out of since the day I moved here 25 years ago when Tim posts a picture of a little white farmhouse and the caption, “Who wants to be my neighbor?”
I don’t know Tim all that well. He is a 20 liner (20 liners is the online poetry group I started with other *Jack Grapes alumni) and we’ve done a few readings together. I met him in Jack’s Method Writing class.
Tim is dark and broody, like Brooklyn used to be. A memorable writer, he’d stand like a broken fighter and mumble his assignments in front of the adoring, mostly middle-aged, mostly female, class while scratching his belly (somehow always visible), looking like he just rolled out of bed at 5pm. Hot.
Tim moved back to Brooklyn years before and I’d followed his journeys through FB posts and through his 20 liner poems. We all spilled our guts elliptically through our 20 liner poems so I knew a lot about Tim and his proclivities, just as I had to assume he knew much about me and mine.
After LA, he went to South America where he bought a nag and lived like a gaucho for a while, then he came back and bought a farm with 9 acres in central New York.
I eat up his posts of pictures of the farm still under snow in late spring, of his vegetables in late summer, of his rusted out farm equipment, all year round.
I look at that little white farmhouse that Tim has posted and it takes me about 3.5 seconds to post back, “ME”.
I don’t think “Where is it?” or “Will I like it?”
This is what I have been waiting for– this little white farmhouse in the middle of who knows where is my ticket out of LA.
..click on https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2741858938116.2133629.1006731279&type=1&l=0abb6dd66b to see my FB gallery of Dunga Brook before and after
..check back to see the story unfold, forgive misspellings, weird phraseology, wrong tenses, confusing thinking…one dreams of an editor to fall from the heavens whose sole purpose in life is to iron all of that out, doesn’t one?
(*Jack Grapes of Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective. I met Jack at his booth at The Los Angeles Festival of Books, I knew right then that I had to study with this jolly man in the shape of a grape with the leonine head of Walt Whitman- sans the full beard and long hair. BEST DECISION EVER. He changed my life. More on Jack later, he deserves his own post, but if you have the chance to study with him, it will, as he says, change your life. http://jackgrapes.com)