Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Every little trifle, for some reason, does seem incalculably important today, and when you say of a thing that "nothing hangs on it" it sounds like blasphemy. There's never any knowing- how am I to put it?- which of our actions, which of our idlenesses won't have things hanging on it for ever.

____Where Angels Fear to Tread, E. M. Forster

it's grown dark. __cold.
____________(autumn's last stand)
still. __i avoid going back.
there are two kinds of darkness;
__the night i can deal with.


how i came to have (some of) the ties i have, a LIST:

________- it is narrow, dark blue, thin blue stripes running diagonally. my mother decided that Hallett Cove High School was a bad influence on me. I found myself in a strange department store. Nothing but charcoal pants and white button shirts and leather shoes and blazers. in my sneakers and ridiculously baggy Fila jersey i stood in the middle of the atrocity. what's all this mom? she smiled, handed me a tie she'd selected from a wall full of different designs. this one's yours. mine? how did she pick this one from all the others: how did you pick this one from all the others? She smiled, proud as could be: this is your school's tie. i still have it.

________- i was cocky i admit. it is a quality that swells up sometimes, and i have to watch out, make sure i keep it in check. two weeks, i'm here for two weeks. for an interview- for medical school. should be fine. yeah, the entrance exam was a breeze, makes me a rather competetive candidate. [nod] basically, as long as i don't use the words: pedophile, necrophilia, or chronic-marijuana revealed unto me, i should be fine. Two weeks. I scoured the city for the 'right' tie. It was a ritual. the right white shirt (plain, oxford, no-french cuffs, sturdy collar). What kind of tie am i after he asked. I don't know. I'll know when i see it. It is a bit vague- but that really is the way i feel about it. 5 days of intensive shopping later, i found it. $140 worth. i'll take it please. even behind the counter the young man was like: dude... really? what the hell. you're only gonna get into med school (and turns out, get thrown out contemporaneously with quitting) once. i still love the tie though.

________- she didn't know where i could find one. i'd left my bag in iowa city of all places. now i was in seattle. there was no where else to be. it was the best place to be. the right place to be- and it's a rare thing for qmn to be where it is right for him to be at the time he should be there. now he'd gone and died- my grandfather. that was ok. good. i'm glad he didn't have to go through with the operation, he was dreading that. still, when mom told me over the phone, crying as she called from the Gold Coast, i couldn't breathe for 30 seconds. "baby i have some news __news yes , it's good news ok, i just want you to know, it's news, but it's good news,
"mom what's the matter? [sudden urgency, i can tell something's gone awry]
"good news, yes... news, your fath- no, my, your grandfather passed away this morning."
"you're right."
"it's good news.____and."
"____...and what!, what's wrong with you? I don't have time to sit here on the phone listening to you not saying anything!"
"and i need a tie."
Incidentally, it's thick. not narrow, but not full-breadth. it's dark blue, a check pattern of sorts. It was immaculately tied for the funeral. I'd never felt so bad in all my life at the funeral, everyone asking: how's med school? well... yes... about that. the voice in my head sounded like a self-marketing guide-book. you must look the part q. looks are all that matters. black, fitted D&G suit. 2-button. short jacket. White oxford shirt (yes, the same). Thin charcoal wool cardigan under the jacket- looks like a vest, it's a nice touch. dark blue tie, check pattern of sorts.

______- of course, a man dying has consequences. dreams. conversations, my mom mumbles to herself you bastard, why don't you do something for once, and fix it! speaking to her grandfather with the sort of violent expectation my family is so full of. And me, lost in reverie after reverie thinking about him. about lineage. about heritage. about how he never really told me stories. i yearn for stories, i love stories. i am a historical-story kind of guy. Also, when an old manic-depressive dies- there is a manic dash through the house looking for benzodiazepines. for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. for tricyclics. of course we share, but (s)he who holds has the power. i said i was going to the bathroom. ran up the stairs. my mother said she had to use the bathroom, started in the downstairs cabinet. (my grandmother has her own stash) my sister giggled, she saw it in our eyes. Warfarin? what the fu&* is with all the warfarin? Tylenol. god-damn-vitamin C. (my mother is audible downstairs too: you bastard, you never even opened the Omega-3 i sent you! you deserve this) Finally, i open his closet. the smell of moth-balls, and migration, and ancient languages greets me. i see his hunting rifle- he couldn't bear to leave it behind when they came, he brought it with him. Twice when i was a child he let me hold it, and showed me how to aim. it hasn't been fired in nigh on 40 years. shoe-boxes. i check for pills. only dust and shoes. some letters. everywhere letters. then, full of ties. my eyes widen. ties are everything to me. history around my neck. stories people don't know about around my neck. i take three, but only love one of them.
____12 weeks later, we are going to the resting place of Thornton Chase. I am making a big deal of it, it must be done right i say. no half-measures. My sister is careful to pick something respectful. my mother is harder to coerce, but she finds something too. i stop for a bouquet of flowers, the girls screaming at me as i turn into the Ralph's parking lot. three minutes later they are embarrassed, and a minute after that, complete forget the row. I get out of the car, a little covered in sweat go to the bathroom at the cemetery to wash my face and put on my tie. An intricate art-nouveau pattern. silk. Christian Dior- from the 60's(?), with a little hole no one will notice. I come out from the bathroom my mom... mom? ____mom, what's the matter are you ok? she just keeps staring at me. keeps staring. eyes-wide. mommy? (my sister now) mommy? finally, she cries a few tears, wipes them, and smiles. "where did you get that?
"the tie.
"it was __your ____i got it from... ___you know, that day
[she smiles fully now, i see she's happy]
"that was his favorite tie. when he picked me up from school, i was little, he'd take me for kebab after school- as a treat... __i remember, _he always wore __loved ____that tie.
[she wipes more tears, mumbling to herself in farsi: may God give you eternal life father. may your soul be at peace.]
"i am so happy you have it. some things should live. ___in this world... some thing should live."
[i am looking at the ground now, overcome with the expanse of vastness that is death]

________- of course, how i came to love ties, and revere the elderly is another story. And Jinab one day rang me to say get up here. right now. yes. i know you're not doing anything, stop being annoying. and he was right. i was lying on my yellow-couch with my shirt pulled up to my breast and was scratching my belly, watching the 14th consecutive episode of southpark for the afternoon. i trudged up the stairs, the door was open when i got there. in here. a massive plastic bag, ties everywhere. looked like a scene from snakes on a plane.
"i didn't realize you were responsible for the milan fashion week
"you always look like trash you know that? especially for the Holy Days, it's not right.
"yeah. i suck pretty bad hey?
"totally. i'm telling your mother when she comes to visit.
"dude! that's not even funny.
"pick some ties before everyone else gets here.
"who's coming?
"everyone, everyone wants these ties.
[i look. there are some nice ones. Moschino, from the 80's. very wide. black with white polka dots. i take that. dark blue (this one came before the funeral tie- in fact, i picked the funeral tie because it reminded me of this one) thick, so thick, reasonable narrow, a strange shiny surface to it, Yves Saint Lauren, from the 60's. Made of silk but looks and feels like wool. A light moth-brown plaid.
"good. good. take as many as you like. but for God's sake- wear 'em, ok guy?

and i did. do.


Anonymous said...

strange - to explain to people the knowledge of another's collection (and hard for some to believe)... but: i love your library of ties.

golriz said...

this has to be my favorite quddus-blog-post-that-isn't-a-list-or-notapoem.

i loved reading this. thank you.

golriz said...

okay, so you're right. this is a list.
it's still my favorite post. because your not hiding behind allusions and being a smartypants.
nice work.