March, as I recall, is the month for ice.† This is how things seem to me. As I look out the window this morning, my eyes are met with a white glare.† This is protective adaptation: the coloring and its crystalline form. It has evolved this way over thousands of years to allow it to last longer under the sunís punishing rays.† The glass-like structure and bright color help it reflect the light and heat rather than absorb it.† This way the snow is able to last longer into the spring.† It is amazing how nature manages to preserve itself!
Watching the boards for
for the 5:45
Come and Already gone.
I thought I had
wipers in my eyes,
when your call
like an extreme idea.
And Iím illegally crossing the median of my life,
running just like Harrison Ford
in a darkening jewel night.
Cutting to the scene where I watch
you slip down the smiling stairs.
And in some other place
we are still kissing.
I am pressing you backward
over a cold ironwork.
Your cocked right hand
holds a cigarette,
while your left fist
around my heart.
I set the timer for one hour. My feet are cold and damp. My fingers are tingling. I have been walking the dog and the sun is going down. The temperatures are dropping and the ice is beginning to freeze again. As I started down the driveway, I had trouble maintaining my footing on the sloped driveway.† I think next year I will invest in something with better tread for ice for these walks, if I am still living here then.† I still struggle with that.† Itís the nature of selling these days that it takes a lot of work.
My dog is autistic.† That seems to be the general agreement. I am curious, and look up the word.† I am not surprised to get something other than what I am expecting. In three different dictionaries, I get three different definitions.† A common thread is the phrase, ďa tendency to view life in terms of one's own needs and desires.Ē† While this could apply to my dog, it could also apply to me I think, and I wonder if this is what people mean when they throw the word around. It wasnít what I meant to say about my dog.
Still, I wonder how to describe my dogís behavior.† I read more about autism.† There is mention of ďstereotyped behavior patterns especially as exhibited by a preoccupation with repetitive activities of restricted focus rather than with flexible and imaginative ones.Ē† Yes, this is my dog.† It is also me to some extent. That keeps coming back to rattle the bars of my own cage. †But it is also not me.† †There is repeated discussion of inability to form relationships because of excessive focus on oneself. I think about my dog, about myself.† I think about the odd relationship we have.
At the risk of drawing fire from minority special interest groups, I continue my line of inquiry with respect to my dog and autism. I continue catching myself in the net. †ďAbnormal introversion and egocentricity; acceptance of fantasy rather than reality.Ē† Wow.† But that could be point at anyone I know it seems.† I notice a reference to autism caregivers.† I wonder if there is someone who could take care of my dog for me.† A quick phone call flashes through my mind.† There is a woman on the line.† Her voice is cold. ďNo, we do not accept dogs.Ē
It is the time of year when the cold bores in relentless.† There is a trick of your mind that tells you the snow should not be still piled so high in the yard, that the ice should not be over the pond in the morning, that it should not be so cold.† Your body tells you that it has sustained enough of the cold, that if you do not feed it some sun, it will fold up on you, go to sleep, and not wake up.† You walk like a heavy lidded zombie. Your brain is clogged with winter.
The timer has fallen over on its back.† It is looking at the ceiling, faithfully ticking off the time.† We are not sure how the timer fell over. Perhaps it was pushed.† Yes, we suspect foul play.† The timerís support has been moved, allowing it to fall over.† We prop the timer back up and call for a mechanic.† It is most likely someone in the house.† We call everyone together in the parlor.† We will question them one by one until the culprit finally breaks down and confesses.† It will be quite dramatic.† The dog is starting to sweat.
The piano bench has migrated from the piano to a position next to my chair.† At first this seemed like a good idea, but it seems to me that what I need is not a chair with tables surrounding it, but a desk.† I have a desk upstairs, a wonderful desk.† A solid four-square chunk of oak, all I would need to do would be to bring it downstairs.† Alternatively, I could go upstairs and clear the study of the debris clogging it and use it for its intended purpose.† I look at the things surrounding the chair and wonder.
I have to be careful
When nursing at the perfect
Curve of the pond.
I have to go slowly
As the morning bleeds bright.
There is a need
To not take in the
Of the air all at once
To not caress too
Much morning moisture
From my cheek.
Iím just an excitable boy
And if the furnace turns on
At the same time the children
I need to remember to check
To remember to breathe.
Together it is too much.
Always I am madness
Wanting to suck it all in
The phone rings. It is too loud, or it is too early, or perhaps you have used me up.† I donít answer it.† I donít understand this not answering of the phone.† I close my eyes and am greeted by a vision of a tall rocky structure slowly breaking off and falling into a mad rushing river below.† Well, I donít want to talk to you. I attach no particular emotion to it, other than a certain weariness of trying to explain to you that your insistence is not sufficient purpose for me to answer your calls. I donít believe.
I woke up at 5:30 this morning or perhaps 4:30 and then 5:30.† I woke quite suddenly.†† I attributed it to the antihistamine I took the evening before. I was feeling all gadgety and got up.† I had rolled off the pseudoephedrine because it had quit working for me. Obviously, it is working again.† I can breathe marvelously.† And I am sure I will be wanting to go to sleep early tonight. Eventually my body will begin to adjust to it.† There will be a period of time where I can both breathe and sleep. Things will be good then.
Of course I can talk to people.† That is not the point. Interaction other human beings often feels almost violent to me. I can listen to John Coltrane.† He is not really aware I am here, but I am listening to him.† This is different. He does not want to drag me out of my home and beat me with bricks and clubs. Some musicians even wish to do this.† I can go to the drug store for antihistamines and execute the transaction successfully most of the time. I can do my own grocery shopping.† It is not so bad.
Chey, my Border Collie, is hiding downstairs. We will go for a walk soon. A rescue dog, She took on the name Shy Shy.† Everybody likes her. Nobody wants her.† My daughter, who has a dozen Border Collies, brought Chey to me said she thought we had a lot in common.† She said Chey wasnít useful as a work dog because she was too playful, and that she was too nervous to be kept with the other dogs. I see Chey when it is time to eat, or walk.† Lately, Iíve been finding her by my bed in the mornings.
I finish my oatmeal and set the bowl aside.† I make the oats with walnuts, cranberries, cream, and honey. It reminds me of the bread I used to bake.† I used a heavy stone-ground whole wheat flour, nursing a muddy mixture for six hours before adding the final amounts of flour, salt, and oil.† The salt and oil were held because they retarded yeast growth.† I stopped baking my bread after I found loaf of honey whole wheat at Great Harvest that was practically indistinguishable from mine for less money than mine cost to make.† I still question that decision.
My piano has been sleeping for quite a while. I have been afraid to wake her.† I am careful to not touch her shoulder as I walk by, even though I feel the tug, string to string.† Last night, I even looked up the phone number of the piano tuner, but I didnít call. I have it written down.† I just donít want to start that up again. I donít want to wake up those feelings in her, only to find that I am falling into an obsession, an illusion perhaps, that my reality cannot support.† I let her sleep.
Dear desperately seeking a hot single man.†† Just a suggestion, since you are married.† Why donít you find a nice hot married man?† Iím single, have been through the married woman wringer, and Iíve watched my son struggle with the same issue.† Iíve learned a few things.† You and your partner(s) will all be a lot happier.† Infidelity is its own worst punishment in any case, but it works best when couples stray with couples and singles stay with singles.† Your hot single man needs more to sustain him than you can possibly provide. You need a hot married guy.
Just when you think you cannot write another word your fingers take over and start dancing across the keyboard and do it for you. You really didnít have to worry.† It was already there, lined up in the back of your head like paintings waiting to be painted, like babies waiting to be born, like possibilities to be explored. What you have to do is simply pull that battered conquistador helmet off the shelf, buckle it under your chin, and dodge into the undergrowth.† It is there waiting for you, waiting to take you down.† Did you bring your gun?
I see you did bring your gun. What a lovely gun it is!† I am truly sorry I wrote something that upset you.† I didnít mean for you to take it personally.† Well, yes, I can see your point.† Itís just that, I suppose you touched a nerve, possibly a tender nerve.† Wait a minute now.† You have to understand.† It takes a very special talent to touch a person that way, to elicit that kind of response.† Yes.† Yes, damn it!† Iím saying you are quite good.† There is no need for a gun.† God you need a pen!
I have come to understand finally that we are all busted and useless and too insecure to even be bitter about it. Well, most of us.† Possibly finally.† No doubt there are some of us who are cycling on the outer rim of the happiness galaxy just now and who are feeling just fine about things.† There will always be those people. Yeah. And there is a good chance that this is not my final understanding on these things.† There is always the possibility of new information or insights tomorrow, or even five minutes from now.† Itís all relative. Sorta.
First there was the snow.† I had two feet in my front yard.† It may have melted for a couple days and then it rained. It rained for three days.† It rained hard. The ditches became holding ponds.† Two days later the water is gone. The road is dry.† Where did all this water go?† Is Woodland Lake ten feet higher?† Are all those fancy houses at the bottom of the hill under water now?† Maybe I should go take a look on my next dog walk.† Maybe we had a tsunami right here in Brighton and I missed it.
By signing this document and agreeing to enroll in Commodity Usurperís Advantage Points plan I understand and agree to the following terms and definitions:
1. †† †Words used in the agreement have the following meanings unless specified by Commodity elsewhere in writing or otherwise.
Plan means the Advantage Points plan or its replacement as defined by Commodity.
ďI,Ē ďMe,Ē and, ďMineĒ are the person signing the document, not Commodity.
ďYouĒ and ďYourĒ means someone else, not ďIĒ and not Commodity.
The Agreement does not modify your mortgage unless otherwise specified by Commodity in The Agreement or elsewhere in writing or otherwise.
My piano sleeps,
In gentle mahagony purr.
I have been afraid to wake her.†
Avoiding a touch,
stroking her fingers
even though I feel
string to string.†
I even looked up
the tunerís number,
but I didnít call.
I have it written down.†
sometimes, playing deep
into the night
I would suddenly bend down
to kiss those keys.
I just canít start that up again.
I canít wake up those feelings,
only to find that I am falling
that my reality cannot support.†
I let her sleep.
It is 3AM and I cannot sleep. ††It may be that I will not sleepóthat I have not been designed to sleep or given permission to sleep.† These things are not clear to me.† I am only a character in a fiction subject to the whims of someone who considers him or herself an author, someone who may not even let me live, someone who may cast the idea aside before the end of the first page.† All I know is that I am not sleeping, that it is early morning, and darkness fills the hole in the window.†
The shades are pink, echoing colors of the sun settling its affairs somewhere off to the west. It always does that; goes off in the evening by itself to take care of business, to go pink and lavender.† We watch it shimmering there at the edge of the world, but are told that even then, all we are seeing is a refraction of light through the atmosphere, that the sun itself is hidden from sight.† Well, I am here to tell you that a refraction of light through the atmosphere is all you ever do see. Get used to it.
Thin ice covers the pond
Broken with lines, vectors
Runes, ridges, and patterns
That seem to point
That dark ice is like some
Deep painful dream
From which you rise
Following the trail of your own
Silver bubbles rising in the light
Dancing against the ragged bottom:
The toothed maw of the pond
Waiting to suck you into the dark
Watch, the slow tilt of some fish
Trapped against its cutting edges.
Lean a little further.
Study the lines and patterns
Learn the meaning of
And my mind
Takes off in four directions
Leaving me nowhere
Landing hard on my ass trying
To pick up at least one set of reigns
As the ideas recede in a flurry of horse shit
over the horizon.
I wonder if I could have captured them
By writing them down
And then slowly executing them one
At a time.
But someone was talking to me,
Or, was that one of them?
I remember the looks of one of them
A grey dappled quarter horse
With a brown saddle
I was to send a poem copy
To a friend.
As I leaned over the side of the bed this morning, I noticed that my dog Chey was starting to give off an odor.† I wasnít quite ready to take her to the groomer, so I took her into the shower.† She is a patient dog, given some of the things she has to put up with.† I showered while Chey waited patiently.† It was crowded in there.† I sluiced some strawberry shampoo down her back, lathered her up, and rinsed her off.† Reaching around the door, I grabbed a towel and laid it over her for the first shake.†
Lately Iíve been watching a lot of TV. Actually, Iím not sure thatís what it is when you watch an entire series on Hulu or Netflix, but thatís what Iíve been doing.† This is odd for me, because I didnít used to even have a TV.† Then I got a girl friend who liked TV.† Next thing I knew I had a TV.† I still have the TV, but lately Iíve noticed that watching it makes me unaccountably sad.† ďListen to music,Ē a friend suggested.† While this suggestion seems odd, I do think Iíll be putting the TV away now.
Why would the suggestion to ďlisten to musicĒ bounce off me like that?† I listen to music as much as twelve hours a day. It is more that I donít listen to music with my forebrain.† I donít sit and listen to music.† I listen to music with my back brain. I let it pin me down to keep my brain from flying off in too many directions.† It anchors me. I donít ďlistenĒ to it.† Yes, I do ďlistenĒ to it.† Maybe I should try another experiment.† Maybe I should try shutting the music off and see what happens.
I read and re-read the email from ATT about my service agreement changes.† I couldnít understand what they were trying to tell me.† Were they taking away my email address?†† Were they going to start charging me for it?† Surely, if they were going to take away my email address they would send a more succinct communication about it than this.† It would be invidious of them to bury it in paragraph five of this thing which seemed to be deliberately written to be contradictory and confusing.† Still, it was from ATT.† This wasnít a spoof; that much was clear.†