Things I really should be doing

‘Waiting.’ | Greyhound Bus Station, Huntington WV | march2023 | photo

photos & text by douglas john imbrogno

I should be meditating. I should be writing a new chapter in my ‘sorta memoir.‘ Or polishing an old one in the 20-year-old project, finally, almost, but not nearly done. I should not be eating pretzels & pepper jack cheese after 10 p.m. I should be sleeping. I should not be posting yet another black-and-white Instagram photo. Another hour lost to likes, not to long-game writing.

I should also, please, not respond to another timeline observation with an observation—spurring the sodden drunk-like desire to re-cogitate further. And to perform. I should take a long break from the clever riposte. The witty, not mean—but not quite not-mean—verbal parry. I should be editing—or trying to—a monk’s draft article he sent me, whose imperfect command of English-as-a-second-tongue will mean more than a bit of a slog. I should be waiting, just like Lawrence Ferlighetti …

‘I Am Waiting’ (excerpt) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier
and I am waiting
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder …

Where I live my life

‘Walk That Way.’ | Downtown Huntington WV | february2021 | photo |

My ‘Life of the Hero’ dreams gone deeply, fundamentally awry, I settle into a long, multimedia documentation of the sundry towns where I have landed. And, also, to which I routinely roadtrip. I accept, now—finally—this mission of Life of the Village chronicler. A cashiered, local newspaper editor, turned wannabe fabulist-memoirist. A Campari-swilling, cigar-toking admirer of Great Blue Herons, especially when they spook into flight in front of me, their great, kite wings billowing skyward in the wide marshlands where I go, to hide from all this human racing. Our communal affliction. After all, there is a reason we call it ‘a racing mind.’

The Influencers

‘When You See a Camera, These Days.’ | Charleston WV | september2021 | photo |

So many people trying to influence me and you, us and them. Thirsting, too, to be a professional Influencing sort. Then, there are those special, thieving influencing types—the world-class, Stygian politi-crooks. And that one guy who has sucked up way too much of America’s crucial oxygen, for far fecking too long. (To borrow from the Irish, and thank you very much, mate.) Just feckfeck-feck-FECK him, you know. And Happy Indictment Day to you, too—and do you mark the holiday?

I was in the marshlands this afternoon, on a day of wind so strong all the branches looked to bend nearly sidewise. My green ballcap, snatched off my head, tumbles 50 yards fast, that-a-way. I race to get it back. The wind blows open my jacket like a pickpocket rifling for my wealth, what little I possess . (I possess enough, no complaints.) Heading home, the gale is still so strong I buzz up the car’s windows. I often keep them down, cherishing the cool blasts of air on my face and head, which scatter all hot thinking.

I spy a black Ford pickup in front of me, am briefly annoyed. Here is another of his dour, mad acolytes (in both senses of the word), responding to the latest news. ‘Let’s go …’ I look again. ‘Let’s go Sharks T-ball …’ The day grows even better. Since the solitudinal Afternoon of Wind has already lifted my spirits, up there with the red-tail hawk, ambulating on a thermal. Home again, I make a meme of what happened. (I suppose that future chroniclers—or perplexed great-grandkids sorting through my too-many words—may need to know about ‘Let’s Go, Brandon …’ So, here’s a sense-making link.)

Me & You

Then, the day is done. And I am vexed by a slog through an after-hours, allergic, twitchy restlessness. Up from the bed. Favorite pillow clutched in one hand, reading glasses in the other. Conjuring a steamy, ceramic cup of spearmint tea, lit white with extra-creamy oat milk. A cat dreams out her current life in a darkened easy chair. What are we to do with these overclocked minds? Brows knitted tight as a grandmother’s afghan in her lap, threads running this way and that.

I consult my digital draft of fresh epigrams, a follow-up to a first, self-published chapbook of them, pushed out at the back end of the prior century. A very limited edition. Is there anything there I may leave myself with? To leave you with—if you have accompanied however many of us remain, this far down into this page. After all, it may be just me and just you. Or even, just me. So, then, here are two. And, so, good night. Good day. Good afternoon, depending.

‘Parallax.’ | 31st Street Bridge, Huntington WV | december2022 | photo |


You may say
what you please. But,
please, no platitudes.

It is in poor taste
to don borrowed


When in



PARADIGM SHIFTING: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Life in the Trenches of Poetry: In this 1995 profile, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti forecasts “the revenge of the white man” taking place in contemporary politics, while reflecting on an epochal career as a poet, artist and essential figure in the rise and spread of the Beat movement.

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Errol+Hess says:

Thanks for the reminders of my lives in Huntington from 1962 to 1974.

Douglas Imbrogno says:

We aim to please. PS: What was the work you were doing in Huntington in that era, Errol?

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