Something special (Union City)


Tuesday, October 01, 2013


I donít pretend to understand this.

I drove to Union City and parked the car up the block from the Four Star Diner and slowly walked in east.

I wasnít even sure she would be there. But I knew it was a safe place, a public place, a place stuffed with Sunday-going people that might provide a shield.

I didnít want to be anywhere we would not be exposed.

It was instinct. She terrifies me in a way I canít explain. Maybe like Christine Gentile did, the girl who I had a crush on in grammar school, but choked up whenever I actually got to speak to her face to face alone.

This person Ė someone who I should not be afraid of Ė has the same effect on me, but I try my best to hide it.

Frankly, I donít know what she wants, and so I wanted time and space that would allow me to figure that much out.

Iíve been reading her work, poetry and the stuff we both get paid to write. Functionally, sheís better than I am in newsprint, although I tend to go for something different than she does.

Sheís a throwback to the older class of writers, who were more literary.

But her poetry Ė and personal writing Ė stuns me.

In those pieces, there are glimpses of truth she is letting the world see, but in a crafted way, disguising each nugget so that you have to work to find it.

If I read one of the pieces too quickly, I miss these, and later, when I read them again, I come to understand what I missed.

Iíve done poetic analysis on a number of them, the stuff I learned to do back in college, working slowly, deeply into the pieces until I understand them better.

I tend to write out the work of great poets by hand in my notebooks Ė thinking that if I go through the physical act of writing out each word, I someone get into the mind behind the words, so as to understand the logic that led to the creation.

This is usually the first step in the analysis process. Some of her works, especially those longer pieces she wrote last summer about the past are particularly painful, as if Iím living through the same entrapment she conveys. Once, passed those, the writing gets less emotionally intense, but equally sophisticated.

She doesnít post often, and I find myself waiting for the next one to see what will come out of her head next.

I guess thatís one of the reasons why I agreed to meet her, to find out if she is really the same person in person as she is in her poems.

I donít want to detail the whole experience Ė the aborted breakfast, the walk and talk, and the connection with that printer that neither of us expected (the man opening the door just as I was talking about my working once in a print shop), all of it magical and significant.

I just hope I donít blow this Ė because it seems very special to me.


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