Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No news today - Guest Post - Elizabeth Ellen

File this one under obituary. Well, it’s happened again, Robert. Another plant has committed suicide. As I was telling you when you were here last, I can’t seem to keep one alive. It’s hard to say the exact number I have carried out to the garbage can in the middle of the night (I avoid undertaking such exercises during daylight hours when a neighbor might see and make the sort of judgment for which I could not fault him or her, nor offer a defense) since I moved into the house four years ago. Suffice it to say, it is not a small number and that my lack of memory may be serving to protect me against the knowledge of my own bad deeds. That said, you should know these deaths are not premeditated (on my part). I spend an inordinate amount of time picking and choosing each plant fully intending it will live out its full life expectancy with me. It is only after I bring said plant into the house that something seems always to go terribly wrong. And recently things have been going terribly wrong at a staggering rate. There have been four such deaths so far this year (and those are just the suicides). And this latest one, the one that fell (jumped?) tonight, taking a much smaller, healthier plant down along with it, belonged to the newest batch, purchased at Home Depot only a month ago. It would seem, if I am to be honest with myself, Robert, that I have become an example of the worst sort of American, the sort who can’t be bothered to water and feed and fertilize a plant, but who allows it to wither and fade with neglect and mistreatment until it topples headfirst over the balcony where it was sadistically placed in the same spot as the plant that preceded it, then, without sufficient pause, goes and buys another one. It’s wasteful is what it is. And I’m afraid this is just one such example of my wastefulness, a wastefulness that flourished along with my nihilistic tendencies (leanings?) last year as a result of what I self-indulgently refer to as my “year of heartache.” I was bitter, Robert, and in my bitterness waste and wasting seemed not to matter to me. I bought food I knew I would never eat, clothes I would never wear. Plane tickets purchased during periods of lighter moods went wasted as well as I chose to lose money on the unused tickets rather than take the necessary steps (i.e. talk to another human being) to change them (and using them once the lighter moods had lifted seemed inconceivable). And let us not even delve into the area of my squandered talents (i.e. I let another year slip by without producing a book!). All this reminds me of a story my mother once told me about my father (this is another of our American faults – tying everything back to our parents), a man I knew mainly through her stories, most of which were marked by inebriation and violence. It seems that on their honeymoon, which was, I want to say, to Mexico or one of the Caribbean islands, somewhere with a beach, to be sure, my father tucked a twenty dollar bill into his swimming trunks each morning and each morning, without fail, he lost the twenty dollar bill in the ocean. I think at the time she told me this story (I was quite young, six or seven) it was my mother’s intention to teach me something about my father or money or both (previous stories had taught me about violent, alcoholic, mama’s boys, how best to recognize and avoid them). Recently, however, I have been thinking of that story, of my father, and wondering if wastefulness isn’t an inherited quality (the old nature vs. nurture question, Robert). Certainly there are similarities between a man continuing to place a twenty dollar bill in his pocket each morning when history has shown him it will be lost if he does so and a woman continuing to purchase plants and bring them into her house despite a lack of will or knowledge for taking care of them. It’s something to think about, Robert. (Or something for me to think about at least.) You probably think me a dreadful person upon these admittances, and you would be correct in your assessment. I am a dreadful person. I was prepared to say something here about how I want to change or how I will change, how we don’t need to be enslaved to the qualities we may have inherited (or learned) from our parents. But I think such a statement would be misleading. The truth is I likely won’t change. I will likely continue to purchase these plants and continue to tell myself I will be better, that I will remember to water and fertilize and repot them, but who’s kidding who, Robert? I won’t remember shit. I will continue to be dreadful. And the question then is: will you love me anyway? Don’t get hysterical, Robert. That is all I have come here to say. That and this: there is no news today.

elizabeth ellen never really graduated college and thus has no idea when really it is appropriate to use things like "i.e." she does her best with her limited knowledge of the english language. don't hate.

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