Block title


So here is the image I described before. Here are a few excerpts from Ms. Karl's Blog: He’s a physicist who has a penchant for rock music. In his parallel universe, he gets to conduct experiments and write songs. In this one he works “in the industry” and strolls the house with his guitar in hand, playing, a faraway look in his eyes. Karl has two kids and a wife, me. We love him desperately. We love him dearly. “Pure science” almost impossible for a non-theorist to conduct in today’s world and a family to support, Karl has decided on Karma. And a business, on the side, to put his two girls through college. That’s Karl. Always thinking. First it was Blue Skies, Bagels and Pies. Then it was Hot Ketchup. Now it’s this. But this one he’s really doing. And he wants it to turn on Karma. I tell him I get goose bumps when I hear there’ll be a Team Hope. That’s mine, I say. I want that one. If we can just get them through college, says Karl. *** Karl doesn’t want me to write about Karl. It’s embarrassing, he says. I say, Don’t tell me what to write about. You asked me to do this, I say. Karl shuffles away. Karl is tired. But I’m not supposed to tell you that. Karl is fictitious anyway, I yell after Karl. He laughs. Okay, you want ideology? I say. I’ve been thinking about loyalty between friends. Since we don’t have any friends. Here. Karl laughs again. You’re the one who put the Obama sign in the yard, says Karl. You’re the one who bought the peace sign bumper sticker, I say. You’re the one who let your hair grow so long and straight and parted down the middle one of your students called it hippie hair, he says. Which I love. Quit changing the subject, I say. Notice how the people here ditch you when they find out your proclivities: equality, social welfare, affirmative action. Maybe they think it’s catching, says Karl. I’m hurt, I say. I don’t want our kids to stick out at school. For what they didn’t ask for. Let’s move, I add. I have to work, says Karl. Put the girls through college. So they can save the world. Too late, I say. That’s what you think, says Karl. *** It’s that you say I’m a physicist, says Karl. That’s what I don’t want you to say. Because I’m not, he says. You got your doctorate in it, I say. Isn’t that enough? No, says Karl. You have to be chosen. You have to have money. You have to practice. Well, then don’t call me a poet, I say. You wrote two books, he says. Rilke never conceded he was a poet, not even at the end of his life, I say. Okay, says Karl. *** We are deep in November and I’m canceling appointments left and right. Karl, I say, do me a favor, por favor? Karl knows what’s coming. Go out and get me some treats? I can’t move, I say, to Karl. Since it’s late, the dogs, too, are in fetal positions on our bed. Karl puts on a T-shirt. Karl goes out. Karl comes back. Balances the still-wrapped straw on the lid. Team Wayward, says Karl. Team Problem with Authority. Team Where Do We Go From Here. *** “Good-bye to Shy.” Our local community college is offering the course. Online. I tell Karl we should take it together. That it will help with his business. And that I’ll figure out why I clam up when I’m in a room with others who do what I do. Karl, I say, you can uncover something about the fragile human psyche that’ll make your Karma T-shirts better. People will snap them up. It’ll be simpler. Being who we really are. Karl thinks this is a good idea except he decides it’s enough to follow me around taking notes. *** Looking up from my book, I say to Karl, I LOVE Kerouac but we just can’t run around like that. We have to focus. You are just getting this? says Karl. He’s right, but I had been looking for inspiration, knowing, ideas. These days we have to extricate the girls from their rooms. Pry them from their computers. Force-feed them healthy food. While the dogs follow us around, room to room, like beggars, our girls we feel completely outwitted by--what is this horrible adolescence?--did we actually live through it? In the beginning, to us, theirs had something to do with schools. But now that’s all gone vague. Now it’s about survival. Have you eaten? we say. Slept? Then, on the worst days: It’s all going to be okay. Go to your art, we tell the oldest who won’t talk. What are you out of? Paint? Canvas? Film? And stumped, to the youngest, the horse rescuer, we say, Let’s just get you to the farm.