Archive for April, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 29, 2011 by sethdellinger

New TurningArt on my wall.  “American Dreams Red Orange” by Chris M. Clark (a Philadelphia native!)

Posted in Memoir, Prose with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2011 by sethdellinger

Trying to remember your childhood is like reading a newspaper through cheesecloth.  Where have those moments gone?  Did they ever happen?  Or was elementary school like one long road trip by yourself, all moments straining into one, the mind collapsing all but the most essential rest stops into a generalized hodge-podge…….

…….it seems to me that for the first few years of my life, at least internally, I prided myself on being a “good boy”.  This seemed like the ideal to reach for, the ultimate thing worth being.  And so it seemed notable to my young mind to remember (forever) the first time I was told I was otherwise.  On the way out of my Kindergarten classroom to go to recess, I ducked under the easel instead of walking around it.  “Seth!” Mrs. Reed scolded.  “Don’t be a bad boy!”  How crestfallen was I!…..

……..I remember but don’t remember meeting my mother halfway along the route that we walked home to school on and telling her I had pooped my pants while at school.  The problem with this memory is that I have no idea if it is a real memory.  Was it a dream?  Was it a fear that I thought of often enough to make it seem a memory?  Or did it happen?  I have no memory surrounding it, just the meeting with my mother, where Big Spring Avenue meets Main Street, right by the fountain.  It is a significant memory, and yet……

……even in Kindergarten, there were supermodels.  Ours was Mary Hoover.  Lord knows how she got the job.  I can’t even picture her now.  But she was who we all desired.  One day at lunch, she must not have known I was sitting close to her as she detailed a list of all the boys she liked.  My name was on the list.  As soon as she said my name, I laughed out loud.  I remember a mortified look crossing her face.  I have no memory of interacting with Mary Hoover before or after this moment, ever.  She was not in school with me in later life.  I have never wondered about her until this moment that I am typing this…..

… sister and I are walking on the paved path that leads from the playground to the school, at the part when it is just starting to go uphill and turn slightly (right by the end of the right field fence of the Teener league baseball field).  It is terribly early in the morning; we are about to be at the school.  My sister is crying inconsolably.  I am very young.  I don’t know what to say to her, how to help her.  I remember touching her shoulder, saying something.  This memory is clear, crisp, and still, to a degree, painful.  I have no memory before or after.  I don’t know why she was crying.  I’m still sorry I couldn’t help…..

…….I don’t pine for a return to my childhood.  I had a good one; as good as anyone else’s.  I just want my memories.  I just want to know what the hell happened.  I had thought I knew, but when I try to confront the memories head-on, they run away, disappearing into a contrived mist.  Is this just a facet of childhood, or will I be wondering, 30 years from now, just what the hell happened when I was in my thirties?  How much do we lose, and where does it go?

The Lost Andrea Pictures

Posted in Photography with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by sethdellinger

What is now many years ago (five? six?  fuck…seven?) my friend Andrea and I spent a lovely day together doing this and that in the middle of a lovely, blistering hot summer day.  We took with us a disposable black-and-white camera and took many jolly photos.  That disposable camera promptly became forgotten in the bottom of my messenger bag for half a decade. 

Shortly after moving to Erie, I found the camera and had it developed.  What a stunning, bizarre feeling, to see these images from one day so long ago, all of a sudden.  And I was stunned, too, by the quality of the images.  At least for my taste, these are some terrific photographs (taken by both Andrea and myself).  And I am pretty much in love with how the black-and-white prints look after being scanned into my computer; there is a timeless, classical quality to them.  Here are some of my favorites of what I’ve come to call “The Lost Andrea Pictures”:


I See My Face in the Hillside

Posted in Prose with tags , on April 26, 2011 by sethdellinger

Bicycling.  The wind in my face, just a pleasing stream of confidence, of fresh wet springtime movement.  Rounding a bend, near the houses near the lake near the park, I see my face in the hillside.  Not some almost-intangible imagined likeness, as in that cloud looks like a cigar, but my actual, real face.  My cheekbones as blades of grass.  My eyebrows as craggy rock outcroppings.  My hyacinth eyes.

This may have been a dream.

Stopping, breathless, to ponder the sight, it vanishes, and is replaced by another face.  The face of a stranger, yet no less vivid than before.  It flits back and forth from male to female, teenager to elderly and back to middle aged.  It smiles, then winks at me…or is it crying?

I pedal away.  Look over my shoulder from time to time.  But it is gone.  No face remains.  I am sad at the loss of the stranger, but sadder still to not see my face yet again; how rare and beautiful that moment, to see myself in not a mirror or a silly bloated photograph.  How exquisite to feel so real.

Posted in Photography with tags on April 25, 2011 by sethdellinger

Monday’s Song: Robert Earl Keen, “Feeling Good Again”

Posted in Monday's Song with tags , on April 25, 2011 by sethdellinger

This song makes me so emotional, I can barely ever listen to it.

Feeling Good Again

by Robert Earl Keen

Standin’ down on Main Street
across from Mr. Blues
in my faded leather jacket
and my weathered broke-in shoes.
A chill north wind was blowin’,
but the spring was comin’ on
as I wondered to myself
just how long I had been gone.

So I strolled across old Main Street,
walked down a flight of stairs,
stepped into the hall
and saw all my friends were there.
A neon sign was flashin’ “Welcome, come on in”.
It feels so good feelin’ good again.

My favorite band was playin’
an Otis Redding song.
When they sang the chorus
everybody sang along.
Dan and Margarita
were swayin’ side by side.
I heard they were divorcin’
but I guess they let it slide.
And I wished I had some money with
which to buy a round.
I wished I’d cashed my paycheck
before I came to town.
But I reached into my pocket,
found three twenties and a ten.
It feels so good feelin’ good again.

There was old man Perkins
sittin’ on his stool
watchin’ Butch and Jimmy John
talkin’ loud and playin’ pool.
The boys from Silver City
were standin’ by the fire
singin’ like they thought
they were the Tabernacle choir.
And I wanted you to see them all,
I wished that you were there.
I looked across the room
and saw you standin’ on the stair.
And when I caught your eye
I saw you break into a grin.
It feels so good feelin’ good again.

Audio poem: “Pirouette”

Posted in My Poetry with tags , on April 25, 2011 by sethdellinger

 Year written: 2009
Collection:  White Sugar Man

Click the gray arrow to hear the audio version.


Beyond the house, the moon,
cresting the single pine,
is pale with listening
to branches creak, needles


in the bedroom, I rest
waiting for her return,
my mind whispering, Sleep,
the sun will bring her home.

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