It is Uncle Wally’s birthday, as well as Dr. B’s. Both these men were profound influences on my life. I think of Uncle Wally and his cigars and the old-fashions my cousin Kenny would fix with a hunk of cheddar cheese in it. I think of Dr. B and his laugh and his obsession with pornographic novels. He would give me a lawn and leaf trash bag, filled with them. It finally occurred to somebody in his family that this wasn’t healthy, and they gave him some pills to deal with the obsessive/compulsive behaviour. He died not long afterward.

Uncle Wally was also a man of his appetites, whiskey, cigars, and, at one time, politics. He was big into Republican politics, even ran for Congress way long ago. He was an attorney and he told me lawyers were “parasites”, because they don’t create anything original or new. He was right. His own father, my grandfather, could build a house with the knowledge in his head and hands.

Yesterday, for the first time since the pandemic, I ironed some shirts and trousers, even a couple of bandannas. By the end, I was hot and sweaty and tired, but also deeply proud of those starched shirts and the creases I ironed into those trousers. It was after midnight when I finished. I used up an entire can of spray starch.

Before I went to bed, I showered and shaved around my beard, then trimmed my beard back a little, so I would look more “presentable”, as my Mother would say.

Mother had a birthday too, on 6 July. She was 102, although she’s been dead since 1995. She was the High Priestess of Crazy in my family, chronically depressed. I absorbed her depression, like a sponge takes in water.And I would drink alcohol, so I could soak up more.

Finally, on 10 July, 1994, I quit drinking. A new world opened up for me. It took me years to face my obsessions, all of them little reservoirs where pain was stored. Porn, as with Dr B, was big for me. These little distilled experiences , penned by authors, who could turn words into tumescence.

Now I read “erotica” where the longing turns into mental pictures and poems, where the characters want to connect, and share a life , if only in the moment of a fuck.

Dawn is here , another day of heat and sweat, with water to replace it.. I haven’t slept long enough. I will sleep some more. I will hope for a day where I wear my starched clothes and look powerful, with gravitas, filling the clothes with every inhalation into my lungs.

Bedtime, y’all.