Sunday, May 25, 2008


Born: Hudson, Ohio, August 24, 1944
Died: Sarasota, Florida July 15, 1974

I tried to write about you with a pen, but a typewriter
keeps up better with my thoughts. But then I don’t
know if this is fair – anyone can write with a typewriter.

Christine: there is only one short film clip of you.
You are wearing a blue blouse, a long gold necklace,
and you are asking, Is It Really Necessary To Have
Another Hospital?

I think of you at the children’s hospital, playing with
puppets, and wondering what you are saying, and
wondering what the puppets are saying.

Christine–you were born on the day
that the Allies liberated Paris.

1944: Dave Davies was born. Joe Frazier was born.
Klaus Nomi was born. George Lucas was born.
Barry White was born. Booker T. Jones was born.
You were born. And yes, Sirhan Sirhan was born.

Five years after John Brown was born,
his family moved to Hudson, Ohio: 1805.

1944: Edvard Munch died. Max Jacob died.
Wassily Kandinsky died. And you were born.

In 1944, Harold Arlen wrote
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.”

In 1974, Nick Lowe wrote “(What’s So Funny)
About Peace, Love and Understanding?”

Your bed at home, Christine, is small,
brightly decorated, with ruffles, yellow
and checked–the bed of a teenage girl.

Christine–What happened to
your compromise button?

Whenever you entered a room, everyone’s eyes
turned towards you, and you walked through,
slowly, but no one came very close.

It’s hard to be on television
and not be a star.

It’s hard to be on television
and be a star.

I think that you liked asking questions
on television, and you were afraid to
answer them sometimes.

The Doctor said: If you don’t become pregnant
in a year, you will never be able to conceive.
But first, Christine thought, First, I have to bake
a cake.

Sometimes. Always.

I hope to become a lady with little spice–

“Long, slim, and beautiful.”

Herons, Vultures, Alligators.

–a mother, a housewife, and a
good friend to all my acquaintances

You hold out your hand. Like a man.
Who are you. You go home. You’re a woman.

Christine–why don’t you
like surprises?

Jean said: Christine, I don’t think the film
is going to roll. You are on your own.

Christine smiled. She had a bag
of hand puppets next to her leg.

Christine–Shay asked: When you meet
a good looking man, why do you say,
You ought to go out with Shay?

Christine–I would have thought you
would have swum out in the ocean
as far as you could go

Sarasota. North Lemon Bay.
Mullet, and schools of other fish.

Siesta Key.

Sarasota: voted ‘The Meanest City in the Country”
by the National Coalition For The Homeless.

The Ringling Brothers.

Yellow Bluff. Cuban fishermen,
in fish camps along the Bay.

Boston. You left before Jonathan wrote,
“When you get out of the hospital / let me
back into your life...”

On Thursday you sat on George’s lap.
You were almost flirting! And George just
wanted to know if you were OK. George
almost wanted to ask you out. But you don’t
like to answer questions. You had already
decided what you were going to do.


“At every action, no matter by whom performed,
make it a practice to ask yourself, ‘What is
the object in doing this?’ But begin
with yourself; put this question to
yourself first of all.”

On Monday you had a cup of coffee
with your mother. You work a black and white
print dress, you jumped into your yellow
Volkswagen convertible. Your hair almost
reached your waist and it was a
sunny day in Florida.

Your chocolate poodle,

Christine–Dan stood over you, leaned down,
and with a rag, water and razor blade, cleaned
the desk off as well as he could.

Christine, you never had a boyfriend.
I think of the time you made a nice cake
for George, and he said No, thank you
– I can’t.

The Sheriff said: To do it right, use wadcutter
target bullets in a .38. And don’t shoot
the temple, shoot behind the right ear.

Christine, there’s nothing
like a good pun.


Every day, five hundred people
would watch you. 500 sounds like
a lot, but it’s not a lot.



The cameraman looks up,

Presses the controls.

Fade to black.


GENTLE BEN? Wait! How?
What happened?

Where is Christine?

The kids say: I want to see

Jean looked at you through the camera.
Oh no, Christine, not another bad joke.

“These men are all talk,” John Brown said.
“What we need is action - action!”

When his body was laid to rest in a pine coffin,
the noose was still around his neck.

I have a nifty idea, Christine said.

Laurel School for Girls. You formed the
No Date Wonder Club. It was so much
fun, you said. Everyone said it was fun.

“Though men may hinder you from
following the paths of reason, they can
never succeed from deflecting you
from sound action...”

If there is anything that leaves
a sour taste in my mouth, it’s failure

Christine–please come–

Every day you waited behind your desk
for the prayers to end. Your eyes were closed,
your hands were steady, it was time to look
into the camera.

“When you reach out your hand and
nobody takes it, there’s something
wrong with your drumbeat....”

Christine–can’t you
take a compliment?

“A wadcutter has a flat or nearly flat front,
which acts to cut a very clean hole through
the target, making it easier to score and ideally
reducing errors in scoring to the favor of the shooter.”

I still believe in wine and roses...


George said: “I think she’s
getting better. I really do.”

“I don’t think,” the psychiatrist said,
“that she’s that serious about death.”

Jean said: Christine–

Your hair flew forward and covered
your face, as though by a gust of wind.

“I realized as I was sitting there,
tears were running down my face,
dripping into this red mess that
was on the table...”

I don’t think the film is
going to roll.

You are on your own.

Christine smiled. She had a bag
of hand puppets next to her leg.

Christine reached
inside the bag.

There is one question
I need to ask you–


One hundred and twenty people
stood near the water’s edge
in the Gulf of Mexico.

One woman
was in a bikini.

Gordon didn’t understand
what had happened.

I have some news.

Christine, I don’t think
the film is going to roll.

Christine smiled.

Gordon said

Her body began to shake

The telephones began to ring

I would like to have, just for one week,
someone I really loved, who really loved me...


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful...the hundreth time was a charm.

Anonymous said...

A haunting and thought-provoking tribute... Beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

I think it's fantastic. Thanks for writing that and sharing it with us.

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