Bernt OlsenThis is my grand­fa­ther, Bernt Anker Olsen. We call him Pop. He was born in Nor­way in Octo­ber of 1912. When he was 15 he applied for a posi­tion on a boat, lied about his age, and began his sail­ing career. For quite some time he was mov­ing rice from Hong Kong to Bangkok, or some­thing like that…I can’t be sure…on a British com­mer­cial ship. When the Japan­ese attacked Pearl Har­ber, his ship was con­sid­ered the Enemy and he was taken cap­tive and was a POW in Japan from 1941 until 1945. He wrote a small book about his expe­ri­ences here. Dur­ing this time his brother, Rolf Sig­urd Olsen, my real grand­fa­ther, the father of my father, died at sea. When Bernt was released from this impris­on­ment, he stopped in Brook­lyn on his way back to Nor­way to visit the widow of his brother and even­tu­ally mar­ried her. Her name was Beat­tie Olsen, and she died 1 week ago. On Mon­day morn­ing I will be in Bay Ridge, and we will remem­ber her dur­ing a Catholic ser­vice, and then we will gather on the 69th Street pier and empty out her ashes out over the East River. She always wanted to be with Rolf at death, the brother of her hus­band of almost 60 years.

I am com­ing home from the bar, after a shift of serv­ing death, and I am tired of it all. I want to live in a house with my chil­dren, the first of which shall be named Anker, regard­less of sex. The days are grow­ing shorter now…this is my dear friend Austin’s wis­dom a few sol­stices ago: June 21…it’s all down­hill from here, the days dwin­dling, dimin­ish­ing as we speak.

It is too late to blather, the sun is ris­ing, and I still have a bar towel hang­ing from a pant loop. My woman is beau­ti­ful, and as much as I roman­ti­cize a bul­let in the head some­times, I’m the hap­pi­est I’ve ever been. Really, when I think about it, noth­ing is stop­ping me.

Wel­come to my world.