A wonderful passage from a good and vexing book, Bill Kauffman’s Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette, in which the well-traveled author goes home again (Batavia, NY), enjoys what’s left, and rails against the forces of globalization that took the rest away. He’s genuinely angry (hint: when Carolyn Chute is cover-blurbing, righteous wrath is afoot), but there are benedictory moments as well, very lovely:

“I suppose it bespeaks my constricted, costive imagination, my utter failure in the dreamworld of exotica, but I fear death because the afterworld may remove me from Batavia. I cannot conceive of a heaven that is preferable to my town; no angels more companionable than my family or friends; no celestial vistas more pleasing to my eye than the wrought-iron gates of the old Batavia Cemetery, the twilight-shadowed outfield fence at Dwyer, the scarlet and orange maples that overhang Hart Street in October. Oh Lord, if it’s all the same with you, I’d just as soon stay here. Batavia needs its ghosts.”


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