Coins Only, Please
I forgot to mention in my previous entry something else that struck a “Ken chord” with me that contributed to my “ken-do-it-iveness” last weekend. In the alley where I found my new (and fabulous) coffee table, I saw a shiny penny gleaming up under the reflection of one of the alley lights. It made smile and shake my head as I reached down to pick up. Filthy, no doubt, but something Ken did unfailingly. It long pre-dated me, but after we got together whenever we’d be walking and he would find a coin on the street, he’d reach down, pick it up, examine it for a moment, then proudly present it to me. It took some time before I gratefully accepted such a random (and again, filthy, offering), but it was one of things that made him “him”, and I grew to love it–and expect it. There have been dozens of occasions since he died that I have picked up a coin, thought of him and our little ritual, and tucked it into my pocket.
Sometime before we met, he wrote a very short piece called “Coins” which I’d like to share here. I think it gives some insight to his audacious creativity. He appreciated thinking about things differently. It, along with a few other pieces–along with other types of media–can still be found on his website. I’ll update it as a memorial site–someday.
by kenan derson
I keep finding money. I walk through the streets and find coins. Supposedly they are good luck. Yet I wonder: how did these coins get there? As my mother would say about the myriad articles I left about the house, “Well, your . . . books . . . or . . . your . . . glasses . . . or . . . your . . . wherewithal certainly didn’t sprout legs and walk out of the house.” And that makes me think further. How does SHE know? How does she know this didn’t happen? My meager little possessions are not where I left them. It is perfectly plausible for things to grow appendages and leave. What, I ponder, what reason could a copper, nickel, or even, even a silver coin have that it would venture out into the world on newly sprouted limbs, only to shed them once it found a comfortable new location? Such as the sidewalk under my feet. The grassy area between the walk and the gutter . . . or even in the street itself where it could be run over by a passing vehicle before reaching its nirvana. Having its legs and pods ripped off. Stranded. It is quite possible too, that coins can only become bipedal once in their lifetime and if they don’t get to their promised land, they have to live out the rest of their existence in sadness. Poor penny. Non-fulfilled nickel. Disparaged dime. Quandaried quarter. Perhaps this is why I find them. Why I rescue them. I quite possibly am bringing them to a new plateau. I nurse their wounds by holding them in my hand. I lift their spirits when I pass them to the hand of another human. I cannot spend them or barter with them though. This would be an insult as if I yanked off their legs on my own self. No. I place them in a vessel on my mantle. My reward from them for my efforts? In their own silent voices the remind me things are okay. So maybe I don’t know the catalyst of their leg sproutage. Maybe I don’t need to know. In fact…I do not. I am satisfied that they simply did make their journey to my feet. I have never misplaced my leg . . . and . . . I’m curious . . . if I ever did . . . would it . . . sprout . . . coins?