The period you are describing was like from birth until I was 10 or so. It is a story he told me, shortly after moving to a big loft in Tribeca. He ended up all the way in Little Italy, where he basically gave up and started to try to wind his way home. So I am going to instead tell you one story, and ask you to trust that it is representative. It is easier to find an apartment for your body than one for your car in lower Manhattan. He told me he drove around and around, in increasingly wide orbits around his building, being turned away from one garage after another like the Virgin Mary. This country is only about 5% more visibly crazy than it’s always been. And they all have parents, and many of them have kids. And if Trump loses, they won’t all Rapture up to Heaven or something. I also cite the history of this country, to this day. Like me, you grew up hearing about one atrocity after another. That is loss and regret, with which I am already well acquainted. What I am now digging is that the permanence of the past is a double-edged sword. They happened, and neither life nor Earth nor humans nor white people nor even I can undo them. What is different is that this latest little boost seems to have, temporarily, crested over the threshold of your denial. They weren’t just born; they are all old enough to vote. If so, she’s confused; that’s dogs they are thinking of, not people. I know that I make mistakes and commit bad acts that I can never undo. You don’t seem to remember…” “I do remember those things. As he moved his funny-looking car back and forth, one of the men watching him from in front of the social club walked up. The man in the track suit inquired as to Mitchell’s business, and Mitchell told him: just moved to the neighborhood (or, at least, the next neighborhood over), needed to get a long-term parking space, looked all over, couldn’t find even one. But at some point the man asked him, “Where exactly do you live? And the man said, “There’s a big garage right by you,” and Mitch said “Yes, but he said they were full.” And the man in the track suit told Mitchell, “That would be Sayeed. Mitchell was one of my only friends who owned a car—who drives in Manhattan? So the day he moved in, he got in his weird-looking Euro car and drove around his ‘hood, looking for a parking lot where he could get a monthly thing going. But he got caught up in all the tiny streets down there and ended up trying to make a K-turn in a cul-de-sac in front of one of the local social clubs. America has been on the verge of a President Trump for as long as I can remember. In support of this position I cite the millions and millions and millions of grown people who have recently gone into a little booth and consciously cast a vote for Donald Trump. All that stuff that happened—it all actually happened. That is a terrible thing for me to say about you, but you would be able to see it if we were talking about someone else, in a different time and place. Pretending that they were not said, and/or explaining them away, did not make them go away. I certainly could be wrong, but it sure seems that way. We watch out for each other on this block.) My neighbor laughed and apologized and explained. I also know that I suffer losses from which I will never recover.
I appreciate that.” In hindsight, I made a point of meeting up with you early in my trip this time, as if to allow for a second visit, which is rare. As always, your aide/protector is nearby, out of sight. “I would like to read you some things.” “OK.” And a poetry reading follows. After a half hour you read me a poem about the start of what will become an unhappy marriage. This clearly set Sayeed off, but he didn’t say anything. " data-medium-file="https://adambalm.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/0981243-r1-028-12a.jpg? w=203&h=300" data-large-file="https://adambalm.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/0981243-r1-028-12a.jpg? w=450" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-365" src="https://adambalm.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/0981243-r1-028-12a.jpg? w=203&h=300" alt="Mitch church 2005" width="203" height="300" srcset="https://adambalm.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/0981243-r1-028-12a.jpg? This morning, it occurred to me that I will not be as good at being 65 as I would have been with the benefit of his example. He didn’t know he would only have 55 years here, but he acted like he only had 55 years, and in hindsight that was a sweet play. Here and there, across many walks of life, people are feeling his loss extra today. Some years, the little Lent between his birthday and his death day hits harder than others. But he did it like it was the right thing to do and, turns out, it the right thing to do, for him. But you are probably not one of them, and I doubt my ability to reduce to the written word what made Mitch Mitch. Artists and criminals and Tai Chi masters and businessmen are out of sorts, like me.