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B4 is shopping,
Placing a can of Progresso
Soup in her cart.
Actually 4 is placing the soup.
B is chatting happily with the man
On the other side of the aisle.
4 is praying that B will not invite him home
4 is, after all, numeral,
B is only a letter.
B can try to make a word out of herself
All she wants by tagging along,
But 4 knows
Who is Who
And what a “B” is.
Nonsence. Simple childish nonsense.
She shakes her head and shoves her cart
On down the aisle.
You are talking and I cannot understand. I try, but it’s like a foreign language. No, it is more as if it were an alien script; a rasp, a choke and a gurgle that fades back into your throat, which escapes again only to wrap back around your head instead of coming my way. I tug on my ear and look at your mouth, trying to see if I can improve the reception by lip-reading. No, it is as if you are actually strangling and not talking. I look at you more closely. You appear to be expecting a response.
You’ve been driving that blacktop every day with a silk rope around your neck. You’re not a square peg in a round hole, because you know they have square holes, and you don’t fit in those either. You fell in love with a beautiful woman who smiled for money, and now you will beg, steel, or burrow for the stuff because you can. There is a problem. Just because you can do that doesn’t mean you are made to do that; doesn’t mean you will not be struck down blind on the road to Damascus every day of your life.
Irrational numbers stalk the streets and highways at night following bubbles of swamp gas like holy rolling prophets into the blind alleys of crush and self mutilation. They stumble over the broken portals into daylight, their eyes forgetting to adjust. Their clothes are ragged. They are unwashed. They are moving in a growing wave, sweeping the earth like a large magnet, drawing others from their homes, and places of work. Joggers adjust their path to follow them. Children drop their toys. Doors are left open; computers left on; and meals are left cooking. It becomes a giant migratory “V” moving across the continent.
I must have been cold this morning. I turned on the heat. Inside, the temperature was down to 65, which wasn’t that bad. I looked at my 100-word ticket stubs, but none of them were useful. One had grown to 500 words. I chucked them all starting over. Zoe and Lisa were up not too much after me. Zoe was bouncing around with a letter she wanted to take to the mailbox. It was a letter for me. Lisa took her to the mailbox and settled on the couch to make out a grocery list. I struggled with 100 Words.
At four AM Jack is reeling in the twilight on my back deck, spilling vodka on the lush growth of deadly nightshade that crawled the eight feet to get there this summer. “Women will mess you up!” He says with such vehemence that the recoil almost knocks him over. I am old enough to be his father, and I think he is looking for advice. But what? Aside from my renters, I live alone and have no relationships of that kind myself. I glimpse something deep in my brain scurrying around a corner. A whisper: Maybe you’re already messed up.
He was up early, throwing words at the paper, his mind wondering what drove the sense in the words, and what kept him cognizant and somewhat agitated at the same time about the space key that did not reliably produce a space in his text. He thought about his lovely fountain pens, and this brought him a memory of his friend Matthew the last time he had been visited by him, dancing in the clearing in the woods, calling up some ancient magic, throwing words into the ground in a place could not go to retrieve them. Or could he?
I finally retired The Frankenstein last night. It wouldn’t start on the first pull. It wouldn’t start on the tenth pull either. Actually it did start and coughed a little bit and then stopped. It was a simple decision, something I had meant to do over a year ago: a short drive to Home Depot for a nice electric model. However I ended up bringing something home that looked a lot like The Frankenstein. Frankenstein II? Bride of? Son of? It starts on the first pull. It has all its parts. It has never been run over by a car.
Michael Jr. called last night asking about wireless routers. Did I have any lying around? Of course I did. What did it cost to buy a new one? About fifty bucks actually. It seemed his G/F Tyler had been visiting grandparents in Florida and was coming home with a new laptop. They were in the market for a new router. I explained that they just plugged it into their modem and plugged their existing desktop into the router to set up wireless. Around 6 pm they were on their way over to get my router. They must have gotten lost.
I don’t know why I pulled off the road in tears when you asked if I didn’t want you to go. I knew I was going to and I hated that. I hated that you were going to ask. And while it may have been true, it was not true because the question had a deceptive twist to it. The words themselves forced a certain reaction. I could not explain the real problem. The only thing I could have said was that it was a different thing than you were thinking. It was an animal with wings instead of scales.
I didn’t remember checking for mail when I got home. I thought about it for a while before I remembered throwing the advertising circulars in the trash. I rarely get any mail that makes it past the curb cart. All my real mail comes through internet. The only real mail I get is when I order something off the internet. I get Woot Shirts. I also get bills from my doctor who is not technically literate enough to bill me on-line. I have to actually write a check, put a stamp on an envelope, and mail the thing to him.
He found hot smoking holes in the ground when he got there. He wasn’t sure what he expected, crossing the road in the rain and walking into the woods where he had not set foot for thirty years. The holes were of odd shapes, thrown deep into the sod around the ashes of the campfire. The fire was out, the ashes cold, and the wood soaked, but the holes in the ground where Matthew had thrown the words while dancing were still smoking. He couldn’t make out the words from the shapes of the holes. “Le…” one of them began.
It was 9/11 and I didn’t write my entry on 9/11. I wrote an entry on 9/11, but it wasn’t about 9/11, and I wondered about that. It wasn’t until later in the day, 8:58 PM, to be as precise as I am able that I realized it was the anniversary, and 8 minutes away from 9:11, 9/11. Cute. People are still dying over it and I made cute of it. I lashed my self mentally as well as I could. I was tired. I had spent the day doing other things for other people. Life is about complicated stuff.
I have finished King’s “Duma Key.” It is a chunk of a book, and somehow I was frequently able to put it down. It is another of those books that confirm my theory that his editors are intimidated by him and will not do what is needed to make his books stronger: give it back and tell him to cut it by 30 percent. Don’t let him get away with publishing everything he writes down like that. In the long term it is not going to benefit him. I don’t think he’d appreciate it if he realized what was happening.
The girls seemed disappointed that I had gone garage sailing without them. I was surprised. I had mentioned garage sales several times this morning when we were out and got no responses from them, so I assumed they were not interested. I would much rather have had company. I get contused out there looking at things that I think I need or might need in the future. I am not sure. It may just be something I am going to have to throw away and I may be wasting my money. I feel more comfortable having someone to encourage me.
The Bingo numbers are playing roughly in their cage today. Two of them are fighting over I-24. I-24 is complaining loudly because neither of the other two numbers will let go of its spindly arms and the pen is beginning to turn. I-24 is afraid of what will happen if it gets picked and falls through the hopper while the other two are still holding on. It has visions of two fingers plucking it forcibly loose from the works, of losing limbs, of consciousness slowly ebbing as someone in the back of the hall croaks Bingo! What are the odds?
The personable salesman was close to convincing Tom to buy from him, whatever he bought. After he dropped me off and went home he texted me pictures of a Cadillac SUV that he had been talking about earlier that week. Tom likes Cadillac’s. He is soft in the head for them. But he’s been shopping for a month now. Yesterday, he called saying he had pretty much decided to buy a jeep we had seen. This is difficult for me. When I need a car I usually go to a dealership, panic, and buy the first thing they show me.
I have come up with a new plan for 100 Words. I like it. It is based on numbers. I am worried about it because I am not sure when I will run out of other things to write about, which is what my writing plan calls for. The idea is to empty out my 100-word generator and then move into the new plan. The 100-word generator is not emptying out. It keeps filling up. Maybe I should open up a new 100-word account. Then I would once again be writing as two 100-word personae. Should I have said that?
I was up at 6 this morning. I had left the lights on all night, and by morning they glowed like daylight. It was odd to look out over the deck into the woods and see that it was still dark outside. Now I start this thing and I do not even know where I am going. But I am amazed. I am fear and astonishment. I am a disciple of imagination. I am dirt and loss; worship and cost. I am certain that I have begun without knowledge of destination and that I will arrive somewhere. In good time.
Rocking gently in the belly of the narrow string of time that my life runs on, never knowing the length of the string, the spot that is frayed beyond holding my weight. Thoughts drifting like a cork on the lake. Blue sky dropped in my wake. Splash and gone. I am thinking the next book I read will be the old grammar I used to teach from. I’ve forgotten too many things about this, Things that I should know, that should be second nature to me. I wonder the worth of a grammar rule that doesn’t stick to you naturally.
The house is quiet as I start writing my entry this morning automatically, without the usual preamble or shuffle, I do it without dancing, and without consulting the magic 100 words generator. I do it even without my coffee which has finish brewing but which I have not retrieved. I am on a wire fastened to the tent poles a hundred feet above the crowd and there is not even a whisp of a net below me. However, no one seems to notice this. A peanut fight has broken out directly below. A young child begins crying. An elephant farts.
I wonder what my father is doing now. I imagine him resting in Ohio, looking out over the brown yard, rain caressing the window pane. He is drifting into a dream of the virgin forests he grew up playing in, trees brushing the sky, broken logs thick as he was tall. He hears a whisper. He imagines it comes from a tall elm to his right. He begins to climb it. Twenty feet, thirty, forty feet in the air he finds himself sitting in a crotch, his ear pressed to the trunk. The voice is no longer a whisper.
I got my hair cut this morning. Not the normal lady. They switched. The new girl was nice; but it was strange, like dancing with a new partner. She kept trying to strike up a conversation, but didn’t know the entry point. I didn’t either. Stephanie, who normally cuts my hair, doesn’t have this problem. A hair care specialist is almost like a long-time spouse that way. Not that Stephanie would be spouse material for me. She is a completely different person from me. I find it odd that we are as comfortable as we are in the hair dance.
The new Pandora Station I set up did not become what I expected. Like a piece of writing, it found its own life, its own voice. I suppose if I had wanted to listen to six hours of Gato Barbieri I could have dialed into Rhapsody, or even opened my own collection of recordings for that matter, but what I got was something completely different, with very little of the seed material I had suggested. But Pandora did understand that I was looking for something edgy, something that explored boundaries, and she has been giving it to me this morning.
She hangs on the wall
in the lovely wooden cradle
He bought for their anniversary,
for two weeks.
Breeze whispers through strings
Losing their tune
as the moisture rises
His ears are that sensitive to Her
She watches him.
When will He take her in his arms?
Has He given her up for the electric
He keeps in the bedroom?
He won’t look at her when He comes in.
Where are the strums?
notes pulled from deep imagination?
The longing spaces between those notes?
Where is the laughter?
The sudden kisses across her groin?
The speaker project is stumbling along. I have sustained a couple injuries, and it is taking much longer than I had expected. I got the drivers from Fed Ex. They were prettier than I thought they were, and bigger. I thought I would stuff them into an old pair of DCM cabinets I had just to see what they sounded like. Somehow I knocked one of them off the workbench. The cast iron frame landed flat on the concrete breaking in three places and tearing the surround. It was ruined. I had to order a new one. Another hundred bucks.
My daughter Amanda called this Morning, possibly in response to the text note I sent updating her on my life. “You know rescue dogs aren’t all that bad,” she said.
“Sure,” I said, irony oozing through my voice.
“Legend was a rescue dog.”
“He was?” Legend and I had bonded in the first ten seconds. But then he was a puppy himself.
“Maybe you need to tell Jenny you want a 50-pound dog or a Lab,” She said.
“I did. I told her 40 pounds, but she might not be talking to me after my response to the Rat Terrier.”
Maybe I was rushing things with the speaker project. I wanted to hear the drivers so I was trying to shoehorn them into a pair of old DCM cabinets half the size of the cabinets they were designed for. The DCM’s were built REALLY well. It was very difficult to get inside them. It was not a simple matter of taking the old drivers out and putting in my new ones. For one thing my new ones were 2 inches bigger. I finally settled for cutting the entire baffle board out of the DCM’s, that in itself no easy task.
The DCM shells I was using for my speaker testing may have been better used by rebuilding them. It was a long-ago small company in Ann Arbor that made a good speaker when that seemed impossible to do. This little box was one of their last decent models. I’m not sure what happened to them…new owners or someone stopped listening. It was one of two pair I had bought used for MJ. Both pair were now destroyed. It is a given that anything you lend or give to MJ gets destroyed. He has a perverse sort of reverse Midas touch.
The last Day of September has crept up on me. I’ve had to do leaves twice so far. I have almost finished a rough-out of one of the speaker cabinets minus baffle board (the front board that actually holds the driver). The cut I got on my head from the drill saw is nearly healed as well as the one I got on my leg from dropping the plywood sheet on it. I think I am probably going to finish this project, but I will say at this point that I don’t see how it could possibly be worth it.
The Tip Jar