Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 07:09:30 PDT
From _Revenge of the Lawn_
by Richard Brautigan
Out of print, but available as part of a 3 book volume
Pacific Radio Fire
The largest ocean in the world starts or ends at
Monterrey, California. It depends on what language you
are speaking. My friend's wife had just left him. She
walked right out the door and didn't even say good-bye.
We went and got two fifths of port and headed for the
It's an old song that's been played on all the jukeboxes
in America. The song has been around so long that it's
been recorded on the very dust of America and it has
settled on everything and changed chairs and cars and
toys and lamps and windows into billions of phonographs
to play that song back into the ear of our broken heart.
We sat down on a small corner-like beach surrounded by
big granite rocks and the hugeness of the Pacific Ocean
with all its vocabularies.
We were listening to rock and roll on his transistor
radio and somberly drinking port. We were both in
despair. I didn't know what he was going to do with the
rest of his life either.
I took another sip of port. The Beach Boys were singing
a song about about California girls on the radio. They
His eyes were wet wounded rugs.
Like some kind of strange vacuum cleaner I tried to
console him. I recited the same old litanies that you
say to people when you try to help their broken hearts,
but words can't help at all.
It's just the sound of another human voice that makes
the only difference. There's nothing you're ever going
to say that's going to make anybody happy when they're
feeling shitty about losing somebody that they love.
Finally he set fire to the radio. He piled some paper
around it. He struck a match to the paper. We sat
there watching it. I had never seen anybody set fire to
a radio before.
As the radio gently burned away, the flames began to
affect the songs that we were listening to. A record
that was #1 on the Top-40 suddenly dropped to #13 inside
of itself. A song that was #9 became #27 in the middle
of a chorus about loving somebody. They tumbled in
popularity like broken birds. Then it was too late for
all of them.
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