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7.17.2002 | link |

dead man's things  

i’ve been dusting and packing up boxes . i’ve been pulling things out of their places and setting them down in others. i’ve been piling and sorting and sifting. displacing and replacing and dispersing and rearranging. my days have been defined by my "things." and i’ve been thinking.

two summers ago, my friend j. and i followed some signs to an estate sale near los feliz. it was a small, spanish-style house in the hills and it once belonged to a dead man. all of dead man’s belongings were being divided among strangers at must-go prices. and his house picked apart like a carcass in the desert.

dead man had more wooden kitchen utensils than any one person should ever own. he preferred light blue dress shirts. and velour. he had an ashtray on every horizontal surface. one shaped like a cactus. his back room was reserved for mountains of dusty books and publications.

i tried to piece together the dead man’s story. from what i gathered, he’d been a theology professor. graduated with honors from u.c.l.a. in the early 1970s. his framed diploma (also for sale) said so. i imagined him saying things like: "yeah, i found that zippo at a truck stop somewhere between amarillo and little rock." or: "my old man shot that moose and mounted it on that board himself. that bastard."

that was long ago. dead man is probably now bone and dust. and his belongings reside in fragments on shelves and in closets and attics across los angeles. they’ve already attached themselves to other people’s lives. and other people’s stories. like mine.

and as i’ve been surveying and assessing all of my worldly possessions, i’ve been thinking. wondering if my story will be more than a houseful of a dead man’s things.


let bygones be bygones.

friends, gods, strangers

don't look now, but


nightstand clutter
bust magazine

thanks squidfingers
for the pattern!

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thank you. and good night.