This prose poem starts: The blue truck is discernible now as part of the front yard garden. An old Ford with simple carburetor called a farm vehicle from 1965, the all-steel monster filling the end of the driveway against the sidewalk and white picket fence is adorned with gods, figures, wicked and mean creatures of plaster, and perhaps sculpted elves. Mixed among the flowers by the walk, and toward the west where the mountains stand before the ocean begins is a line-up of gods like headstones for memory of previous tenants in this rooming house among the redwood trees. Are these the past lives, the left-behind religious artifacts and special spirits and saints of residents gone sometime during the 30 years this house has been hospitable to people on a journey? Tiki is in stone, (white, black and white about three feet high). St. Francis and Cross is near the gate, about two thirds down the walk way (he looks just fine and there is more than one saint in beige like marble with or without cross). No Benedict. Mary and maybe another Mary and a Martha and unknown but probably carried with them women of deep conviction seem planted like additional memories of gods and past lives adorning the local flowers as remembrances, and left behind items similar to forgetting a suitcase (these with hands in prayer and pink or light pink in color).
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True personal story of living in boarding house...
One hallmark of this audio book, other than the wonderful price, is the reading by A.T. Chandler. He brings the piece to life well. So I think. To say it is better than the print version is another matter, for that asks that a reader fails to bring certain values and meanings of the imagination that are in themselves very special and maybe better than an audio book. I say, this audio book is excellent, no doubt. A.T. Chandler is a superior narrator, no doubt.
The ethos of the place is my favorite character, for it is in the character of this particular rooming hour, caught at the very beginning with all the gods and goddesses of the garden that a chord and theme is struck. God help us all.
There is a kind of emptiness in this rooming house, and it is in the description of their bags and in the guests temporary way of living that I am caught with a favorite sense of the place. But since this is a true story, and I did live there, know many people lived in the rooming house for years.
Frankly, I found the story kind of sad--when I thought about it. This was not the best rooming house in the county. The man who owned it was very nice. The location was great. But it was run down. Too bad for it was in a very class town in Northern California just outside San Francisco in Marin County.
Frankly, again, I wrote this prose poem in one sitting. A.T. Chandler did a very good job of narrating the piece. Some have been critical of the way he did it. I thought his interpretation just right. See what you think. It is a true story, about a real place.
- Peter Menkin