smokestacks can be
beautiful when the wind
is orange and purple right
It’s 2:25 in the morning. You’re asleep. I’m whispering in your ear while you snore. I’ll speak quietly to not disturb your dream about being chased by an indistinct figure in a hoodie holding a box of Cheerios. There’s a lot of action in your dreams. Let’s keep it this way.
Still, I’m working way more than what I intended when I left the board of Trade 15 years ago. The original intention was to spend a couple of hours running our local radio stations and then skidaddle up to Chicago to continue working in the financial trading industry, to which I was addicted.
“You didn’t realize how much work it was gonna be, did ya?” the wise one sleeping in the next room said.
“Either that or I fell in love with radio all over.”
I love radio almost as much as the blue Polo I bought in the 90s and still wear. It’s a little faded but fits perfectly and has been there through good and bad. Don’t worry, I won’t throw it away.
rolls toward a cliff
in Marin County north
of the gay district of
It’s a perfect scenario, by the way, to write something meaningful that will be there when the three or four of you wake up. I’m sitting at a desk in the guest room. It’s as quiet as can be with the most truck-traveled highway in America a couple blocks away. You can hear the travel of America through glass and curtains. It’s as soothing as it is mysterious.
A couple of you may listen to or watch my “JED in America” segment in the dark outside Purdue. I do a stream of consciousness that either bugs the hell out of you or mildly entertains your first cup of coffee. Either way, I yell “Big truck, big truck” a lot.
I strut and talk a few feet away from 18-wheelers on the way to the highway. It’s small buildings rolling down the road in the early morning - raw, loud, disruptive and dirty.
It’s also beautiful. Sometimes, a driver and I meet eyes. There’s a slight nod. I understand that he – and there’s a couple “she’s” – has just picked up or dropped off a load and is on a long journey. I wonder where they’re going, who will be there on the other side.
Does she have a husband (or wife)? Does he have six kids in a rural county of Kentucky? Does he drive long distance to get away from his wife?
He, or she, is an American doing hard work on long days. I am standing alone in the parking lot of the Purdue Northwest Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center talking on the radio. We are Americans. This message is transferred in a simple nod.
I love you. I
just want you to be for
my kids to see and live
free without me.
Tonight is the memorial for Mark Porter, who died recently at the age of 56. One of his brothers got a message to me to get out the word on the radio today. I will do that.
It’s from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight at “The View” at Centennial Park in Munster. His wife Karen also contacted Alexis to make sure I get the word out. I will do this all morning, albeit with great sorrow.
Mark grew up behind Montgomery Wards in Munster, just a couple blocks from where I grew up behind Arby’s. He lived a few houses down from Pam, whom I dated through high school. We’ve all known each other for going on 50 years.
Mark was also friends with a guy named Chris Klyczek, who died 30 years ago. Chris, Mark and I shared demons. We could put that first beer to our mouths and not stop for a few days or a few years. There were other vices in between that were perhaps more powerful.
The vices themselves are not material on a night when the Borman Expressway hums so sweetly. Mark, too, fell asleep listening to trucks and cars and motorcycles. Lost innocence, but the hum of the Borman lives on.
I will go to the memorial and drink a bunch of beers and laugh like hell reminiscing about Porter. But it will be laughter of the tears of a clown. I had to distance myself from Mark and Chris to survive. I miss both of their snickers, which said –
“Dude, I see you trying to set up a family and be upstanding and all. But I know you. You’re not fooling anyone.”
hand me one more
happy pill to soothe the
soul away. If you’re out,
how ‘bout a J?