The universe is expanding nine percent faster than previously imagined. Dark energy is thought to be the cause. I could have told you that—I knew it as far back as when I lived in an Oakland flophouse and drank Ripple with my British buddy Marcel on the shores of Lake Merritt. Other times, at Bill McNally’s Irish Pub, his old school tie would fall into our pitcher of beer, and when I pointed this out to him, he rewarded me with an insane grin and the observation that “We are shitfaced.” 

His girlfriend, Priscilla, was a porcine American. Our roommate was the last American male to contract polio. I slept on the floor on a Japanese mat. For fun, I let horses throw and stomp me. I wore jeans and jean jackets and pursued anorexia. I could never get myself thin enough for sex. My life was expanding away from me at unprecedented levels. I was intimate with constellations of gum spit out onto sidewalks. The Big Dipper seemed far too simplistic to admire.

I went to Israel and prayed at King David’s tomb. I hoed weeds in the fields below the mount where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount. I drank Arab cough syrup flush with codeine. My best friend was a heroin addict. This was in the old days of heroin. Now heroin grows on pine trees in Vermont. I am trying to make sense of my life, but there is no reasonable narrative arc on which to hang it. 

Belonging to clubs gives one prestige. I am a member of no club. That is why I will never be successful. I have lived in St. Augustine, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana, both anachronistic locales. I pissed off all the used booksellers in both those towns—I don’t know why. I alienated the woman who was giving me shelter merely by thinking that she was an alcoholic—she read my mind and was offended. Of course she was an alcoholic—who else would give me shelter? Her couch smelled like dead, lesbian animals. That was before lesbianism was acceptable. 

I found out that my best friend had died of brain cancer and, as a result, almost ran over a black prostitute. That lady was a distant relative of mine. My name is spelled Grabois, hers is Gravois. She lived in a house located under a freeway overpass—it felt very sheltered. After the near accident, she did my laundry at her dry-cleaning shop for free. She told me that she was glad she was black because she wouldn’t want to be a victim of anti-Semitism. I told her that I was glad for her. We drank absinthe that her great-grandfather had saved for a special occasion.