A Walk with Tom Jefferson1988Is it long as a noodleor fat as an egg? Is itlumpy like a potato orringed like an oak or anonion and like the onionthe same as you go towardthe core? That would besuitable, for is it notthe human core and the restmeant either to keep itwarm or cold dependingon the season or just whoyou're talking to, the resta means of getting it fromone place to another, for itmust go on two legs downthe stairs and out the frontdoor, it must greet the sunwith a sigh of pleasure asit stands on the front porchconsidering the day's agenda.Whether to go straight aheadpassing through the ranch housesof the rich, living roomspanelled with a veneer of fakePhilippine mahogany and bedroomswith ermined floors and tangledseas of silk sheets, throughadobe walls and secret gardensof sweet corn and marijuanauntil it crosses several setsof tracks, four freeways, anda mountain range and facesa great ocean each drop ofwhich is known and likeno other, each with its ownparticular tang, one suitableto bring forth the flavorof a noodle, still anotherwhen dried on an open palm,sparkling and tiny, just rightfor a bite of ripe tomatoor to incite a heavy tonguethat dragged across a browcould utter the awful words,"Oh, my love!" and mean them.The more one considersthe more puzzling becomethese shapes. I stare outat the Pacific and wonder --noodle, onion, lump, doubleyolked egg on two legs,a star as perfect as salt --and my own shape a compoundof so many lengths, lumps,and flat palms. And while I'mhere at the shore I bow totake a few handfuls of waterwhich run between my fingers,those poor noodles good forholding nothing for long, andI speak in a tongue hungeringfor salt and water without salt,I give a shape to the air goingout and the air coming in,and the sea winds scatter itlike so many burning crystalssettling on the evening ocean.
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