Ramblings Of A Man Named Joseph Carro

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The Magic Rock

Posted on August 29, 2018

I meet many strange people who seem to gravitate toward me for some reason. Perhaps it’s because I have a friendly face and relaxed mannerisms. Perhaps I’m easy to talk to. Perhaps it’s an energy I give off. In any case, Portland has no small share of strange souls who happen to come into contact with me, and the man with the magic rock was no exception. I only had ten minutes left of my half-hour break at work. I had just finished eating most of a rather dry turkey panini when I stood up, stretched, and walked to the condiment bar nearby to get a couple of napkins. Upon returning to my seat in the cafe, I noticed a young man with baggy…

The Jacket

Posted on August 26, 2018

I remember the morning very well. My wife (at the time) and I were house-sitting for an older couple in a bright and spacious home in Old Orchard Beach here in Maine. Before we left for the day to her parent’s house in Limington to celebrate the holidays with them, we each decided to give each other a Christmas gift. She handed me the package and I remember slowly tearing the paper from around a box, the kind that clothes are usually wrapped in, and then pulling out a faux-leather jacket. I smiled, thanked her, and kissed her on the lips. “Thank you,” I said. “A leather coat? So cool. Haven’t had one of these since I worked at Timberland.” She smiled and waited…

A TAPESTRY OF DYSFUNCTION

Posted on August 24, 2018

Jesus’ Son By Denis Johnson 133 pp. Picador, $9.28 In this collection of short stories, which reads far more like a novel than a story collection, Denis Johnson takes us on a journey of addiction, sex, and violence through the eyes of an unnamed central protagonist. This character moves through a Cubist-like narrative structure, dealing with things like grisly car-wrecks and drug deals, but in the disjointed and almost-passive way that only an addict truly could. The way that the story is constructed keeps the pacing relatively interesting, and despite Jesus’ Son being called a collection of short stories, the eleven gritty tales instead feel like eleven chapters of a book, half of which reference one another or are informed by one another throughout…

The Fading Photo

Posted on August 24, 2018

The night before our wedding, I was surrounded by my brothers and by good friends I considered brothers. My heart was smiling like it had never smiled before. My face hurt from trying to keep up with my heart. You were at your sister’s and you had an early morning of wedding prep ahead of you. Besides, it was bad luck to see the bride before the wedding ceremony. We didn’t want any of that because we’d had enough bad luck already. I told you I’d miss you, you told me not to stay up too late and that you loved me with your entire being. We texted each other emojis, and I stayed up for a long time even after you’d stopped texting…

Why Empire Records Couldn’t Happen Today.

Posted on August 23, 2018

If you’ve never seen Empire Records, please let me preface this opinion post with another opinion – GO SEE IT. It is to the 1990’s what Breakfast Club was to the 1980’s, and I really mean that in the best way possible. Trust me. It’s about a corporate music store attempting to take over a smaller, individual music store but that’s only the surface plot. It’s actually got a lot going on. You won’t necessarily have to have seen the film to know what I’m talking about, but it will definitely make a lot more sense. But I’m going to largely be dealing with the surface plot here. The reason I’m making this post today is because as I was introducing my wife Peyton…

The Silver Lining

Posted on August 22, 2018

Some have called me a ghost in the past. The way I walk about Portland, often when nobody else is around, reveling in the quiet streets and the old buildings. I certainly feel like a ghost at times. I moved down Congress Street, wearing a new coat and my leather gloves. The night was cold, but thankfully not as cold as it had been the last couple nights. But it was still cold. I was walking to meet some friends at a bar. As I neared a lingerie boutique called Etain, I noticed a man sitting sprawled out on the sidewalk next to it. His legs were splayed, and he just sat there, looking defeated, his head bowed in silence. I walked past him…

The Lobsterman

Posted on August 17, 2018

The rain was falling hard, and so I ducked into a dimly-lit bar. It’s the same bar where I stare into the painted face of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a face painted by the same man who is supposed to be my biological father. Longfellow’s white bearded visage hangs to my right on the far wall, while an etching of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tombstone looms directly over me. My bartender’s name is Jasper and he is one of my customers at work, who I don’t immediately recognize. He’s tall, lanky, with short dark hair and a well-manicured beard. He sees me trying to peer over the counter at the beers on tap. It’s an “Oktoberfest” buffet of choices. I ask Jasper to recommend one to…