people have misconceptions about Utah
and I blame the media.
seems like half of the world thinks of it like a Frank Capra set
all smiling white people who leave their doors unlocked
and speak impassioned monologues about neighborliness
the men working hard
the women wearing pearls
and the kids, golly gee, getting into occasional scraps of mischief
but doing pretty well on their spelling tests
and only occasionally falling into wells.
the other half thinks of it like a David Lynch set
where everyone looks happy
and the men wear polo shirts and pleated slacks while they mow the lawn
while their women bring them pitchers of iced tea
but behind closed doors,
the men are sexual sadists (and the women like it)
and everybody does heroin
children playing at the dump, torturing rats and drinking cough syrup
and everyone's just waiting to die.
neither is really true.
there are rough parts, sure
and there are nice parts
and there are rough-looking parts that are actually nice
and nice-looking parts that are actually rough
but it's just like anywhere else
and someone did die. very recently.
went to high school with me,
where our lives ran a parallel marathon
until his race ended.
it wasn't too unexpected, really,
but that almost makes it more tragic:
a car accident or a mugging-gone-wrong or a hiking stumble
those all happen in a flash,
ripped-off band-aids taking the skin below with them
and making a new wound, but at least you know it's there,
allowing you to address it accordingly.
something like this always seems to happen in slow motion,
one of those dreams where things are happening around you
at a normal speed
but you're swimming in peanut butter and
that you can't do anything about what you're seeing
then it's too late
and you wake up.
but he didn't.
I've heard first-hand that his parents have the serenity
that comes when you're in the care of the angels
but his siblings are a mess
which makes, I suppose,
since you sorta need the perspective of seeing a lot of people die
in order to accept it as something that does happen
and stop thinking of it as something that shouldn't happen.
it's still sad, though.
it's always sad when people leave,
regardless of circumstance.
I own three things of my grandmother's.
she died coming up on four years ago
and left behind a hole in me that could've come from buckshot.
her 1999 Honda Accord,
a small, wheeled kitchen island,
and a scuffed-up microwave that warms food
about as thoroughly as a Bic lighter would.
someone told me to throw away the microwave.
"Get a new one that works."
but I didn't like that idea.
since I also don't like lukewarm leftovers, though,
I am gonna get a new one.
but I'm gonna rip off the door
and gut its insides, take out all the electronics
put it on its back
and fill it with enough dirt
to grow a little mint plant or two
because even though the microwave's now just a shell
and it was given to me only because of death
that doesn't mean it can't be used
as a way for something new to live.