Sunday, July 04, 2004

Recalling Hieronymous Bosch

Once upon a time in high school (for me, that’s the Sixties) a friend of mine and I were going to get windbreakers and have some lines from a Bob Dylan song inscribed on the backs. We were loners, but we were together on this. We were misfits, but agreed this was a sufficiently haughty way to express it. Something like that. We never both got sufficient money at the same time to waste any on that project and I eventually saw that we wouldn’t. So I used a laundry marker to write it on the back of my red windbreaker. It was supposed to say,

"In ceremonies of the Horsemen,
Even the pawn must hold a grudge."

I couldn't write that small with the marker and yet keep it legible, so I just used the second line. I must have caught hell for such oddity from schoolmates who seemed to me at the time to belong more to the Fifties than the Sixties, but I don’t remember much of it. I only vaguely recall my own stubbornness and unwillingness to give up the idea. I wouldn’t be much attracted to the idea any more. I never did much follow what later become an almost unconscious fashion trend, shirts and pants bearing various ads, logos, and messages. I don’t want to advertise beer, ball games, Dylan, or Hieronymous Bosch on my person. Maybe on this blog, but that’s the limit.

The friend who was going to go along with me about the song lyrics stayed in touch in varying and then lessening degrees for another 20 years, then drifted away on the breeze. No word in about 15 years now. Long-time friends are great—still, the longer you live, you’ll find, the more holes in time there are for them to disappear into. And for you yourself to disappear into, too.

If I could keep making friends at the rate that the old ones keep falling off the planet, I’d be okay. Instead there are more and more holes, and it’s pretty clear that I’m rapidly losing ground.

p.s. Happy Birthday, July Johnson and George Knaak

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