Archive for April, 2014

Where Did You Go, Where Have You Been?

Posted in Memoir, Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2014 by sethdellinger

Where did you go, the you that was there before?  The you that I tried so hard to be like?  You’ve settled in now, haven’t you?  Settled in for weekdays, Pampers, “the grind”.  You’ve all-but disappeared into it.  And that’s fine.  So have I, in my own way.  I look at the cubicle-dwellers, the 9-to-5ers, the mortgagers with judgment.  I judge them for a life spent in the cattle chute, but I’m the same, in my own way.  I wake up to an alarm five days a week, dash my utility bills off monthly in tidy little envelopes, take extra long showers and even bubble baths to de-stress from the rigors of a world I can’t even begin to understand.  I’m in the grind, too, in my own version of a cattle chute.  You were beautiful once, even more than you are now, supple like sand underfoot right after the wave withdraws, and I’ve never been a model but I had that nice little six-pack of abs and that 90s-era skater hair.  Who could forget the smell of your own hair in my face, your feet akimbo in the air.  We must have been dank and gorgeous like John Sloan’s Wet Night on the Bowery, everything akimbo in the air and musty and frivolous.  But who could look back and want that time again?  There was so much pain and we didn’t know a damn thing.  Who wants to not know a damn thing?  But then we wake up in this world, in this present-tense, and wonder where our beauty escaped to.  How did it siphon off?  We’re always so safe here, so comfortable.  When was the last time you felt real danger?  It is important to feel real danger.  What proof have you that you are alive?  What new horizon can you actually imagine, aside from the top of your stairs, or the local pizza parlor?  Dammit we were gorgeous but now it’s just about not forgetting umbrellas and digging out of debt.  Who ever heard of digging out of debt?  Does the field mouse understand what an interest rate is?  How about the barn owl, how much does it know about 401(k)’s?  What in the world is going on here?  What does any of this have to do with living?  Remember once, you and I were racing each other back and forth through my parents’ front yard–I guess it would have been my front yard, then, too.  And it kept bothering me when you would beat me because I was young and an idiot and full of the uncertainty of a scared animal.  I hated that you beat me again and again but I tried not to show it.  Then we laid in the grass and kissed deeply and for a long time, everything about our bodies sweet like warm milk just out of a cow’s insides.  Then we laid there and looked into the blazing-bright sky and, as young people are known to do, talked about the clouds, and what they looked like, and what held them there.  And then I asked you, Am I the funniest person you know?  I needed you to say yes to that, without any pause, but you didn’t say yes, you were honest, and it killed me inside.  Oh to be that young when such a small thing mattered so much.  Who wouldn’t love to hear, nowadays, near the midpoint of things, that you were the third funniest person you had ever met.  What a compliment that seems now!  These bits of personal fire are rare now, rare like two sweet bodies laying in the country grass, rare like paid-off debt.  Down the chute, down the chute, we all just keep going down the chute.  And what can we do?  Try and hop off?  What are the options?  Become a vagabond, wander the cities and towns, begging for whatever work there is and move on, like Richard Kimble searching for that one-armed man?  Or move to some commune–assuming they still exist–and paint or grow potatoes but also share your washcloth and help raise other peoples’ bratty kids?  No thanks.  The cattle chute’s the only way to go and still have your own place to poop every day, and there are so few comforts in this animal life as it is, you’ve got to keep the ones you’re able to find.  So slide, slide, slide we will.  But damn if one doesn’t miss the days before you knew you were on the cattle chute, the days with your hair in my face, where did you go, where have you been?

Some video of a bike ride from Pennsport to Center City

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by sethdellinger

I rode my bike into Center City today, and I had the idea that it might be interesting to take some video along the way, documenting the slow change in the city from sprawling neighborhoods into “big city downtown”.  It’s a neat idea, and one I hope to pull off better than this someday.  With some preparation, planned shots, and less wind, this could be an intriguing socio-political concept.  As it is, it at least shows you what it looks like to ride your bike from Pennsport to Center City.

On a nice day (like today) this ride takes me about 20 minutes and covers about 2.5 miles.  This is NOT my commute to work; it’s about the same distance, but a very different route.  My apologies for the wind noise for the first minute or so; it goes away.




The Scent of Bitter Almonds, and etc, etc.

Posted in Rant/ Rave, Snippet with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by sethdellinger

1.  Nothing says “I’m a boring person” quite like posting pictures of your alcoholic beverage to Facebook.  Seriously.  You went out to a bar or club and you think the interesting thing that is supposed to happen is the drink itself?  Uninteresting, repetitive pictures of the person you’re with, or even another selfie, are more interesting than a beverage in a glass.  We’ve got the whole internet, and you want us to look at a beverage.

2.  I’ve brought this up before, but I just have to keep digging at this one.  Why are there two kinds of screws and screw drivers, ie flat head and Philips head?  I’m not over here like, meh, there should only be one kind! I am confident there are very good reasons for there being multiple kinds of screws, but I just for the life of me can’t figure out what those reasons are.  Anyone with any insight, please comment!

3.  War is terrible, but man, for a nation so young, we’ve had two very interesting wars!  I’ll be damned if the Revolution and the Civil War aren’t two of the most amazing stories ever told.

4.  With Philip Seymour Hoffman dead, the greatest actor of this generation (ie the generation currently the correct age to play the most interesting parts in the kind of films that get made the majority of the time) is James Franco.  Discuss.

5.  I get pretty tired of taking the trash out.  I mean, we really just have to keep doing this?

6.  Look at this picture of my dad and sister on vacation in Brigantine, NJ in 1980.  What’s not to love about this picture?  I want to sit on a porch listening to that radio, wearing those socks, next to a child dressed like that:


7.  I recently asked a few friends of mine which baseball team they would like, if they had only to consider the teams uniforms/ colors and logo.  Where you grew up and your previous loyalty should be not considered.  I got a few interesting answers—Billhanna said the Astros, which was a damned good answer.  My answer?  The Marlins or Blue Jays.

8.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez died this week.  He is one of my (and many others’) favorite novelists.  His most famous book is “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, which I love, but my favorite book of his is “Love in the Time of Cholera”, a book about a man who is obsessed/in love with one woman for his whole life, and dedicates his whole life to being with her.  It sounds creepy, and at times, it is, but what I love so much about it is that it is the only work of art in any medium that I have ever encountered that treats the obsessive side of love with the tender and insightful kind of care that most people reserve for “romantic” love.  It is a game-changer of a book.  Here is the first sentence from that book: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.”

9.  I understand you didn’t ask for my postcard or letter in the mail, and I understand, in this day and age, you’re not really sure how to respond to such antiquities.  I really don’t care too much.  Ideally you’d send a letter back, but I’m not expecting that.  You can ignore it.  That’s fine, you didn’t ask for it.  You can text me a response, which is the main thing people do, and that’s fine, if a bit gaudy.  But please, please…don’t post a picture of it on Facebook.

10.  What about this?


Do Not Enter

Posted in Photography with tags , on April 18, 2014 by sethdellinger


City Solstice

Posted in My Poetry with tags , , , on April 15, 2014 by sethdellinger

Standing here at the ATM, I have been thinking

about the mall: how the city

might be enclosed like one, like in those old

sci-fi movies—

one large clear plastic bubble, everything contained:

how I could still see the sky but stay warm,

unlike now:  and at the angle of these buildings

the sun, just free of winter, as always

would wash out the ATM screen

and I would still need to cast my shadow

across it to know what buttons to push:

what season it is:

how, then, each year

I could buy a real Xmas tree

and my friends would say

it seems so real it looks fake.

Speed Dial

Posted in Memoir with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by sethdellinger

Just a few minutes ago, I went into my basement searching for a specific book which I had not heretofore been keeping upstairs.  I had no idea where it was.  While searching for it, I opened a bunch of boxes that I probably hadn’t properly explored in years…stuff I just keep lugging with me from move to move.  In one, I came across an old cigar box that I had entirely forgotten about.  This is it:



This box is the earliest version of boxes I have today, in which I keep just about everything…tickets, programs, invitations, etc.  Well there were things in this cigar box that just blew me away!  Things I have ZERO memory of keeping, and I have no idea what made me think of keeping them at the time, but now they are incredible to see…old paychecks, school class schedules, appointment cards, etc. (And, paul, I found the ticket stubs to the two Seven Mary Three shows we saw together!)  Anyway, most of it will be only interesting to me, but I might post some of it here from time to time, as it suits me.  But this one thing seemed worth posting now.  Here is the little card that was on the phone in my bedroom in high school that showed what I had set as speed dials…I couldn’t help but post this and then tag the people who appear on it (those who I am in contact with on Facebook)…what an interesting snapshot of an era for me.  And how interesting that I had the movies on speed dial even then (it’s hard to read, but #8 says “Movies”) And my grandma? (number “zero” says “Gram A.”)



Posted in Photography with tags , , on April 10, 2014 by sethdellinger


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