April 8 2015 Roman Numerals

I complained about forgetting Roman numerals. I was a classics major! But you can’t keep it all in your head for your whole life. Roman numerals were edged out by something else, maybe all at once, quickly. In some of the walls the bricks give way to smooth, much older slabs of stone with Latin inscriptions, often including numbers. The Latin wasn’t bad, in fact I could regularly puzzle out meanings, ideas even, if they were there (which mostly they were not), never poetry or emotion, just the language of monuments. Maybe the time I memorized an entire Charlie Parker solo, and could sing it, Salt Peanuts, I think, and then the Roman numerals were just gone.

I will try to memorize the call numbers of the radio station we played unceasingly in the Roman apartment. Anne Murray, the Carpenters, Earth Wind and Fire, Boz Scaggs, Dire Straits, Christopher Cross, Diana Ross, Barry Manilow. Some DJ or algorithm aligning perfectly with my memory of of my first clock which was a clock radio. The first emanations, the shuffling click when tiny number plates flip down on their mechanism, a kind of whir, and then a flip. A small orange light illuminated it from the side. F——lip.

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