Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Willing to Be Lucky I Ran the Perimeter Road

Near Fannie Mae on Wisconsin heading for Hilltop yesterday morning I drove through a puddle of spilled nails. Yesterday afternoon I took the car to the Goodyear Tire store on Arlington Road in Bethesda. I thought, I'll go goad myself in the Apple Store by playing with an iPad - if you got pung yesterday from an Apple Store in Bethesda, that was me, be still your heart - during the 90 minutes my car hung on a rack.

The Apple Store is directly next door to the yoga store where an absolutely horrific murder, attempted murder, double rape occurred last Friday night. I knew this in the back of my head, but remembered when I rounded the corner from Goodyear and saw, on both sides of Bethesda Ave, those trucks television stations have that beam live footage to the local affiliates. Hardly anyone was standing around, I thought they were done doing whatever. I looked at the flowers stacked on the sidewalk against the yoga store's doors and windows, thought, I hope they catch the motherfuckers who did this, then entered the Apple store and played with an iPad for half an hour.

When I left the Apple Store the block was full of cameramen, producers, microphone holders, and familiar faces to DC local news viewers, including the fool sent out during snowstorms with the yardstick. Everyone was silent, focused (literally) on a man and a woman grieving, crying, consoling, hugging, in front of the stack of flowers in front of the store. I watched for five minutes, then, walking large and wide around any camera angle, went to Barnes and Noble where I again couldn't find anything to burn a Giftmas gift card on.

After ten minutes I thought, why the fuck didn't I take photos - since the experience had started percolating in my head - and headed out into... show over. The huggers, the reporters, the crowd watching both were gone. Trucks were winding-in their satellite dishes, the sappers were re-spooling cables.

I don't mean to suggest anything other than I haven't stopped thinking about the incident since. I can't imagine synthesizing all the multiple and refractory meanings since new ones occur to me as I type this sentence. All I know: when I dropped my car off, got the estimate of $350 dollars, and walked out of Goodyear to kill time, I'd never have bet I'd been blessed with the serendipity of driving into a puddle of nails.


Robin Becker

Once in a cradle in Norway folded
like Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir
as a ship in full sail transported the dead to Valhalla

Once on a mountain in Taos after making love
in my thirties the decade of turquoise and silver

After your brother walked into the Atlantic
to scatter your mothers ashes his khakis soaked
to the knees his shirtsleeves blowing

At the top of the cottage in a thunderstorm
once or twice each summer covetous of my solitude

Immediately following lunch
against circadian rhythms, once
in a bunk bed in a dormitory in the White Mountains

Once in a hollow tree in Wyoming
A snow squall blew in the guide said  tie up your horses

The last night in the Katmandu guest house
where I saw a bird fly from a monk's mouth
a consolidated sleep of East and West

Once on a horsehair mattress two feet thick
I woke up singing
as in the apocryphal story of my birth
at Temple University Hospital

On the mesa with the burrowing owls
on the mesa with the prairie dogs

Willing to be lucky
I ran the perimeter road in my sleep
entrained to the cycles of light and dark
Sometimes my dead sister visited my dreams

Once on the beach in New Jersey
after the turtles deposited their eggs
before my parents grew old, nocturnal


  1. I did a double-take over the Devo song too, thunder.

    So what you're saying, Dog, is that this whole thing was staged? Isn't this just the sort of thing Jayne Mansfield's lovely daughter and the rest of the Law & Order SVI unit would stage to try to draw out sympathy for the victim, induce guilt in the perp, maybe even a return to the scene, etc., etc.? Notice anyone or anything suspicious in the crowd gathered round? Anybody taking pics of the crowd (not the incident)? Say, you're about 6 ft tall, aren't you? Anybody catch your license tag pulling out of Goodyear? I'm not paranoid or conspiratorial or anything, I'm just saying maybe that's how cops think. 'Course it could be just serendipity that the crews were there just at the moment the relatives chose to come by to grieve at the shrine.

  2. Which is creepier, that it *was* staged or that the camera crews staked out the place hoping for that shot?