i'd fallen asleep in the late hours of the early morning seconds after managing to drop a book to the floor and blindly overlap two flannel blankets to cover my long frame. the hard headrest of the couch suddenly lost its edge. darkness.
an hour before, at around three am, a friend andrew had come over to the house after some online chat to share some books. we traded non fiction, prose, and classics and all the while i reveled in having a soon-upcoming four days off of work. i started reading allen ginsberg's poems.
earlier still at ten p.m., i'd retired to my room for a rare pre-midnight bedtime after leaving work that night due to dizziness and nausea. pseudo sleep swung restlessly in the webs of fuzzy consciousness and my body lay hot and dormant in bed until suddenly, like the changing of a red light to green, my mind cleared and my body stretched. i was suddenly wide awake at midnight.
now today, this new morning and sometime around nine am, i awoke under the red flannel on the couch to the spinning of a tingly sensation that still rested at gut level. two lonely clouds puffed quickly across a blue sky and i lay and looked through the window and wondered if the clear skies meant brutally cold winds or if perhaps the sun was warming the entire valley. i reached for the phone and called in sick to work while the stale troll continued a nasty poking and slippery dance at the top of the inside of my stomach.
work understood my condition and i walked into the kitchen where the other boys were already starting their breakfasts. toast and nutella doesn't cut it on a morning like this and, seeing the upturned spine of poems on top of the pile of books by the couch, i grabbed up their pages and did what any sensible and sick soul would do on a morning of new books and illness..
i went to the organic market for chicken soup. the bright skies proved warm and a simple hoodie was adequate for the short walk. cars made glishing noises across the wet highway and the humid mountain air expanded thick and full in my lungs. this is january and the snow is having a mini meltdown in the canadian rockies. the people at the coffee shop greet me by name and i take my usual corner window seat. they gave me a deal on soup and coffee. for the next three hours i would sit here, reading the entire ginsberg poetry book and beginning a different bob dylan biography. allen ginsberg is the important name to remember here. remember allen ginsberg and his random arrival at three a.m. this same morning.
determined to avoid a motionless and boring sick day, i hopped on the bike and found great pleasure in the memories of the smell of air such as this. if this air were spring in the midwest, our baseball team would have pulled on our dirtiest cleans and run outside for the year's first day of long toss in the dampness of the nearest field or parking lot. i was riding to the tea house now though. i pulled out bob dylan again and sat at the only open table in the shop. i soon gave up this table of four to a group that came in once i saw a solitary open chair in the same window berth where i'd sat with my keyboard during last month's weekend gigs here. i relocated.
two other people were in single chairs here too. a man with a silver goatee leaned over some papers held by a woman with dark hair. they were talking and critiquing poetry and then suddenly i heard the word ginsberg. allen ginsberg's ''howl'' sat on my lap in this moment and i leaned in when the lady mentioned that she was very interested in reading ginsberg. i handed her the small book and we introduced another. he was a local writer helping her with poetry.
we talked and he told about meeting hunter s. thompson and jon krakauer. 'into the wild' and 'gonzo', a thompson documentary i'd started watching two nights before, came up as well and i was buried in information of local writers' groups and conferences and the places for the best creative writing programs at universities in the states. this man writes novels and for various fernie publications and holds his own writing workshop at the old elevator restaurant on tuesday nights. i was invited to bring some poetry or short stories tonight. i brought both. hours later, we sat around a table in the library room of the upscale restaurant. a third generation pilot began the night by reading pieces of her developing novel. the others managed goblets of merlot and i sipped the best free water i could afford. it came my turn and i read the simple and earliest beginning of a short story that i had.
it was admired and approved by the writer and other novice novelist and i was greatly encouraged for an old poem written towards the end of senior year. i'd brought some of my oldest material to this meeting. i figured it a logical place to start in this mentorship process.
now tonight in this moment i'm on the same place of the blue corduroy couch in the house. two new books, lent from the writer, have joined the pile on the floor and i'm still blown away by the incredible pace and events of the past twenty four hours.