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Monday, April 20, 2009

H.M.

H.M., he's always teaching me new words. Last night it was manjack. Now, what the hell is a manjack?

Manjack or man jack, a term, especially in Caribbean English, meaning "a person," "the average or common person," "everybody," or "anybody."

Go Wikipedia!

I remember when Gene first told me about H.M. That's really all he ever talked about. It was in his room, while he was strumming the guitar, depressed over some girl, but once he got onto H.M. he had fire.

The book was Stand Still Like the Hummingbird. I never finished it until years later. I don't know whatever happened to that book or to Gene. I called him up before I left for L.A. to say goodbye. He had moved back in with his Mom. He was looking for stable work.

I remember that night when we snuck into the swimming pool at 3am after getting drunk for the first time in six months. We stripped off our clothes & stared at the stars & floated in the stillness that happens just before dawn.

I also remember that night he disappeared from the bar. I walked back to my apartment where the car was parked, and there Gene was in his little Plymouth, with the big girl he had been talking to that night, wrapped up in her wild white flesh, his glasses having been knocked off along the way.

And then there was that night he wanted to see that stripper. We drove down to that joint near Tech & I think he was in love with her, or something, & I remember this beautiful black girl giving me her number. That was over 12 years ago, when I had long soft hair. I never called.

But what I remember most of Gene was that he was in love with H.M. & that passion got passed on to me. I remember what I felt after finishing Tropic years later: anger, sadness, & then that stillness, again.

I miss Gene & wonder whatever happened to him & his wild & crazy curls, his intense eyes & furrowed brow. The guitar-playing fool, the water-colorist, my old friend.

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