the inner

I forgot to shoulder check in my dream last night, then felt stupid that I could have killed someone. Before I woke up I thought specifically I could have knocked right into a motorcyclist and killed them. Eons ago I read a Zen story that stuck with me, about a woman who wanted to study Zen who was rejected because she was too beautiful. So she cut the side of her face with a knife and was then accepted into the school. That’s how I remember it. A lot of stories were blunt like that, metaphors ultimately about hierarchies people adhered to, chasing inner understanding or the acquisition thereof. Mendelson Joe often encouraged me to ride motorcycles if I had any interest. He said I would fly because I was small. Speed held a little curiosity but dying from speed held more. I never rode but did like how connected he was to it. A lot of his paintings featured him riding here or there. Even in his goodbye to the world, last image he left on his website, was riding with strapped guitar to his back. When he lived on Howland, (where the return address was The Howland Institute for the Arts) his motorcycle was stored inside. It took up half the kitchen. One time when he was about sixty-three he told me matter of factly he stopped riding for good. Why? I asked. Because he forgot to shoulder check when he entered an on ramp last week. Simple like that. Twenty years earlier he said, Bob do you know why motorcyclists are better drivers than people in cars? No I answered. Because one accident for us is often death or more serious than an accident for a car driver. I enjoyed the stories about Keith Jarrett getting angry about noises audiences made, stopping the show and demanding they cough now and get it over with. Those stories were always told like that. I wouldn’t know I never saw him. I liked him too much to go. There is something about seeing someone you love that can make a person stay away, keep their fantasy intact but I didn’t mind hearing those stories. Seemed to me it was no different than the zen story or Joe’s code, Jarrett just knew what he needed in order to get to where he was trying to get. If you were offended so what?

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