Closing the Loop on Romero
Note: There is a part of me that says that to even attempt to do this is folly, because it may not make any sense to anyone else at all, and then there is the part of me that says…try…
It occurred to me to write this as a short story but I don’t think there’s really any other way to do this.
Buy the ticket take the ride.~ Hunter S. Thompson
You know that old Humble Pie song, ‘Thirty Days in the Hole‘? I’m not quite sure how to word this but the subject of this post goes back thirty years for me. I was thinking my next post needed to be some mind blowing piece of prose or something out of my next collection of poetry and prose but that isn’t where this loop closed. There can be moments in a persons life when they can actually look at it and as though they were pinning locations on a map, and say It was here, it was right here that this happened. It was right here that the world changed. Some of those locations form a kind of loop in the fabric of time, creating a lesson in quantum mechanics that I don’t know can be explained or understood if one has not experienced it, a connecting of dots that forms a circle, completes the loop. The magic of time zones, as it were, quantumly speaking.
Twelve years old, 1981, seventh grade. I was a good kid about then. If I had an academically weak area it would have been English, that goes back to the boring details of third grade and Mrs. Nunez, Portuguese, former Catholic School teacher diagramming sentences and slapping my desk with a yard stick while I looked out the window. ( Incidentally, not that it matters but it’s kind of cool, my saving grace that year was that we had a really awesome teachers aid, a hip 70’s chic with a groovy fro happening, her name was Mrs. Wolf, really.) So English class was not my favorite.
Seventh grade, and I do know I’ve told this story previously, I don’t remember what they called it but it was the Advanced English Class, because even though it wasn’t my best subject at the time, I still got into the advanced class. It was the class that everyone wanted to be in because the teacher was also taught at the college level and the rumor was there were cool things happening in there, not like bongs hits or anything but just that it was pretty progressive for seventh grade.
Initially, I was not impressed, one of the first assignments was a Steinbeck novel, I think it was actually “Cannery Row” and I had a hell of a time with it. In such cases it was my habit to consult several sources, something akin to cliff notes, and then sort of re-write a summary as book report. Mr. Sanderson went to Berkley, wore socks with his Birkenstock’s, these gigantic Starsky and Hutch sweaters, drank hot tea in class and I suspected he smoked a pipe in the evenings. I interrogated him at one point about several of these things, because he pissed me off and we thus became engaged, Mr. Sanderson and I, in a Mexican Standoff. No stranger to such conditions of war, I had set about trying to plan my end game by gathering information so as to determine how to better create future book reports without doing any actual work. See, that’s what the really smart kids do. I did not do this in any other class or subject, I did my work and got excellent grades, only in English was there this avoidance. As I’ve said, I do blame Mrs. Nunez.
The point of contention was Jabberwocky poems. “Twas brylyg ?” What the hell are you talking about Mr. Sanderson, just what the hell are you talking about? Upon discovery that I had not yet, in my youth, read any version of “Through The Looking Glass” better known as “Alice in Wonderland,” Mr. Sanderson wanted to know what the hell I was doing in his class. I wrote my Jabberwocky poem and…he said he didn’t have it. Then he said that I must not have turned it in. Oh really? The Mexican Standoff was on.
So it wasn’t going well. I didn’t like the class. Some of the girls were swooning over Mr. Sanderson and I just did not see it. I was probably on my way to either getting kicked out of there or asking to be put in a different class but I was trying to hang on long enough to get to see the movies that had been rumored to be the big draw of getting into the class in the first place.
Two films. I had never heard of either one of them before. Les Diaboliques and Night Of the Living Dead.
I remember trying to pay attention, trying to absorb those films, for reasons that I could not explain and probably lacked the maturity to understand at the time. I had never seen anything like them and I knew that something was changing. I couldn’t get my brain around it then, but looking at it now from the other side, from the place of the loop beginning to close…I think that was the year the hole opened up.
That was the year I missed seven months of school, nullifying the Mexican Standoff I was engaged in with Mr. Sanderson and putting me on the path to future ‘alternative’ high school and writing ‘serious’ poetry. That was the year I turned thirteen, that was the year…that lead to…
Mr. Sanderson grade it quick.
George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, les diaboliques, The Pearl, Go Ask Alice, Randy Mantooth, Samuel Clemens, The Waltons, Plum Creek, The Edge Of Night, The Police, Saint Germain, Dick Clark & Wolfman Jack, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, Outsiders, Def Leppard, and my dishes are dirty, Christine, Blue Oyster Cult, The Shining, Meatballs,Sledge, November Rain , Don’t you love her madly? I dreamt this once.,Jack Kerouac , The Last of the Mohicans, President Reagan shot.., We interrupt this broadcast… Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, atlas shrugged , it’s criminal, The greatest of all the henges!, INTERMISSION bills balls To Live and Die In LA, Confidential, Take a cookie.. and go to The Velvet. Welcome to Earth. out of Augusta Blue Feather, Tagore, red, white and blue, September 11, What’s in Your HEAD? O Pioneers, Eli, don’t read this poem, #27, for your own joy, Hell and High Water Wyatt I am rolling. Scorpio The Irish Morrigan It’s not about a Great White What if I say I ‘m not like the others?, Who are those guys?,Don’t talk to strangers. temporary heroes Conjunction Junction, You know, the thing. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Everything Dance with the guy that brung ya. I can still hear you saying…, Still In Love With You. . faithfully . Jesse’s Girl. one plus one is one.
there was no actual map for this.