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BY Michael

04/01 Direct Link

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese feels

His world is crumbling.

To put it in a word,

He is old.

 

His once clear complexion

Is covered with dark blue spots.

In the supermarket,

Eager young hands seem

To reach past him more and more

For Colby, cheddar, and

Nacho-flavored dips.

 

He goes for long walks

Alone at night now

Past the noisy bars.

He knows what’s going on

In there,

And with whom.

 

Somehow he doesn’t belong.

He was just an innocent young

Farmer’s cheese

Until he ran into that

Cute little

Penicillin mold.

 

He is afraid

His salad days are over.

04/02 Direct Link

Big Cheese

Big Cheese completely

Fills his fancy desk chair.

Ordered special,

it has power-assisted swivel for those

celebratory spins,

and hydraulic pumps for lifting him

so high

where he likes to sit.

 

His employees always pause

when they come in the door

at the sight of Big Cheese

behind his desk.

 

He is so big

and round

seeming to tower

over them

while his voice booms out.

 

they sit

in lesser chairs.

 

Big Cheese

never leaves his chair.

Sometimes they hear

a strange knocking

against his pencil drawer.

 

it is of course

his feet,

which can’t reach the floor.

04/03 Direct Link

Nacho Cheese

As we enter life

we are given

a fist full of stuff.

What’s this?  We ask.

It’s yer cheese.

 

You may have been handed

a hard little knot of Gouda.

hey, it could be worse.

 

Someone may have

a dripping hand of cottage cheese,

a future of uncertainty and questions.

 

Yours may be a cheese ball

or a party dip.

 

Your cheese may be

Processed

Pasteurized

Sterilized

What fun in that?

 

Someone has a life

that is full and ripe,

that breaks in all

the right places,

that has flavors for

any wine, but that’s

probably

nacho cheese.

04/04 Direct Link

I was looking forward to dinner.  I’d been blue for several days and I planned to order a gin and tonic at the restaurant.  There is nothing like a good gin and tonic to chase away the blues for awhile.  Were I more of a drinker, I’d probably be drunk all of the time, but there is something about the stuff that I cannot tolerate in either large or constant quantities.   Unfortunately, when I went out to start my car, the battery was dead.  I went back in the house, called AAA, and fixed my own damn gin and tonic.

04/05 Direct Link

AAA has been in my driveway for nearly an hour now playing with my car. I told them to replace the battery.  The thing had an obvious bulge in the front, was putting out 5 volts and dropped the current flow by 10 volts every time they put it in the system, but the guy is having too much fun running tests and playing with his equipment. It is original equipment for the 2007 Pontiac, so it is time for the new battery.  I nearly bought a new one this fall just so I wouldn’t have to go through this.

04/06 Direct Link

My coffee usually gets cold by breakfast, and there is a half cup left in the maker that is also cold, so I combine them and warm them in the microwave for my second cup with breakfast.  This is my morning.  The cup is too.  I have five coffee cups that have been carefully culled for this.  They have lids, are dishwasher safe, microwave safe, American made, and cost less than $5.  I avoid the “made in China” logo.  I think they are trying to kill us.  Today is cup five and time to start the dishwasher when I finish. 

04/07 Direct Link

I was talking to a man yesterday who wanted to replace the front steps to his house.  He said that he was going to use the molded plastic wood. That stopped me in my tracks. My ex-brother-in-law made a dock out of that stuff. That plastic stuff is cute. Granted, it is expensive, but very cute. I was gonna make me a girlfriend out of it, it is so damn cute.  Sometimes when I am at the lumber yard, I go look at it and try to think of things to make out of it. I just love the stuff.

04/08 Direct Link

In my refrigerator, in the cabinets, hiding in the pantry: Hobo groceries.  You know what I am talking about.  You find them. Where did this Jar of pickles come from? I don’t buy this brand. Four boxes of Lasagna noodles. They sneak into your home at night and camp out in your cupboards, rusty homeless cans of no-brand green beans with ripped labels.  Sometimes they hide for years. Boxes of plastic spoons.  Birthday cake candles.  Unopened decks of playing cards.  Who buys this stuff?  Package after package of holiday napkins.  Jell-O.  The stuff must reproduce.  Where does it come from?

04/09 Direct Link

You are moving through time the same way you have always moved through time. You don’t notice the little blood vessel popping in your brain, or the change in your thinking, because to you this has always been, but you are different. You were at work looking for a pencil when it happened. By the time you began writing with the pencil, you became psycho country.  You didn’t notice the twang creeping into your voice. It seemed natural. The cowboy boots you bought on the way home were essential. The pick-up truck was needed to help out with the Harley.

04/10 Direct Link

It is warm out just now, nearly 80 degrees.  Tonight it will plunge 42 degrees as the earth turns her face from the sun.  Such extremes of temperature within a day, and yet this is nothing. This is considered temperate and mild for your average planet. In fact were it not for this temperate state of things, we could not live on this planet.  I have taken advantage of the increase in temperature to throw open the windows in the house and blow out the winter stink. I am just not sure that the spring stink outside is any better.

04/11 Direct Link

Give me my daily junk mail from 3-Bureau-Credit. It sounds like a salad you would bring to a family reunion. It sits in its Tupperware at the end of a long picnic table next to a Cole slaw and a perfectly browned lemon meringue pie.  It is a warm day, and the flies discovered the chicken and ham early on. Since the beer continues to flow, the guests do not seem to notice the flies.  The pie disappears, along with the ham, chicken and even most of the Cole slaw.  Even the flies are not interested in your 3-Bureau-Credit salad.

04/12 Direct Link

 A large number of people have high expectations from life.  Perhaps these people have had some pretty heady moments.  But most of life is pretty mundane stuff for most of us, and I think a large number of people have trouble understanding this, particularly those who have had the heady moments.  In the main life is sort of eat, shit, and die for almost everyone.  About one percent of us gets to glimpse god at some point and likely as not they are left wandering around in a bewildered doped up daze the rest of their lives because of it. 

04/13 Direct Link

Everyone needs to play. It may be called entertainment, or relaxation.  Some accept it for what it is and don’t question it.  There are many different forms, everything from yoga to TV to bowling to dancing to reading to playing the piano to recreational shopping.  Some people play without notice, like eating or breathing.   Others look at it, are aware they are doing something, and have to question what they are doing, evaluate it and ask if it has "value".  And of course it is not logical because play is not logical. So the examined life becomes not worth living?

04/14 Direct Link

The therapist calls to remind me of my appointment.  They always call to remind.  That is part of the gig.  But whenever they call, any of them, they are always careful to not ask, "How are you?" That is a leading question, and of course, there are two sets of rules for answering that question.  For normal social interaction you are supposed to be fine. For the doctor or therapist, you are supposed to be not fine. Most likely the question in this uncertain context will confuse you They probably have a sign over the phone:  DON’T ASK...JUST HANG UP.

04/15 Direct Link

It is tax day.  I noticed the darkened15 on the calendar and to check to see what holiday I was missing.  I am trying to remember how many people I did taxes for this year besides myself.  Seven I think. I didn’t make any money and they were all family members or close friends. But, going by my Laws of Life (14.2 -- No good deed goes un-punished.) I will probably be arrested and fined this year for missing some obscure section of tax code that requires me to register as a CPA if I prepare taxes for another person.

04/16 Direct Link

Certain memories stick with you, little vignettes that do not seem to hang together or mean anything. They are small pieces of life that seem to have no significance or emotion attached to them, yet there they are, with entire months around them erased completely.  I remember the back stoop on the 3-room house my parents lived in when I was young. My mother called it a stoop.  It was a three-foot square concretes slab by the back door, the place where the milkman would deliver his bottles.  I remember it carrying heat from the sun far into the evening.

04/17 Direct Link

A Day for Wind

 

She is dressed for the day.

Choosing the winter bite,

The white linen glove.

 

Flags on Grand River slip through her fingers. 

She bends store front glass

And with a smile,

Teases the bellies of passing cars,

Bouncing them in play.

 

She finds joy

In her power.

 

Her hand conforms,

Covering the earth,

Palm scraping in the cold snow

(Does she soil her glove?)

 

Fingers growing soft, molten,

Surrounding with such force

The entire building where I live.

 

Tossing the pines

Like waves of hair,

Ancient limbs grow

Giddy against

Her cheek.

 

Her embrace

Has warmth.

 

 

04/18 Direct Link

Perhaps love

is not the

deep rooted

single-minded

declared flower

I once believed.

 

I see now

a different thing:

a weed growing

crooked, wild,

and desperate.

 

Perhaps a poison

climbing vine

with roots boring

through rocks,

and wrapping

madly around tree

after tree, choking

out the light.  

A thing not

to be touched.

 

Perhaps if you are favored

by a look of love you should

not take it and fly home

with your heart on fire.

 

Perhaps you should get to

a physician, a fumigator, a

hospital, a sanctuary, a

fall-out shelter. 

Could be you should

run for safety.

 

Perhaps.

04/19 Direct Link

It is cold again today.  As I walk my dog, a man walking a spaniel stops to ask if I think we will ever see spring.  May 4, I assure him. He laughs.  Our dogs smell one another and as Chey grows bored with the spaniel and begins showing interest in the man, the spaniel growls and lunges at her.  I pull her away and continue the walk. I have stretched the morning walk to 45 minutes. I have let myself get too slack, and it shows.  The evening walk is 15 minutes. I am not sure this is enough.

04/20 Direct Link

Detroit

 

At the Athletic Club

powder blue cubes of chalk

dust manicured fintertips

that line up shots across the

ancient enameled mahagony.

 

Empty mathematical truths

stretch across groomed carpet

narrowing without ends

into the quiet cush of crystal and

 

the table stomps solid onto

old oak flooring

a reflection

unseen in the haze of dirty windows,

 

a reflection

running out past the security gates

over stained bricks,

and into the vacant streets of a mummified city

 

where weeds shove up waist high

in vacant pushed out homes

 

where Woodward avenue

runs gasoline guzzling

five straight

empty lanes

into the river.

04/21 Direct Link

Yesterday I decided to have a seizure or blackout or whatever it was.  I haven’t had any for about seven years now, and had about forgotten what they were.  I had assumed that they were gone now, but heck, I’ve gone that long before. This one was in a hurry.  It started out just behind my navel, about the size of a marble, rising and expanding at the same time. When it hit my head, it was the size of a balloon and black, tarry wet black popping inside my brain and putting me under.  I didn’t like it much.

04/22 Direct Link

My bed used to belong to a dead man.  Did I say that right?  My bed once belonged to a man who is now dead. I bought it from his widow.  The waterbed.  The frame.  The liner was full of the dead man’s skin cells.  It was a death bed.  There is some odd thing in me that hides certain truths from me, and exposes me too raw to certain others.  There are times, short moments that I can see this clearly.  Short bitter moments that are almost painful, and then current goes on again; the shield comes back up

04/23 Direct Link

Already the day has gone too far ahead of me as I woke up and rolled over into a pool of water.  I did not have to wake up fully to know that the waterbed mattress had sprung a leak at some point in the night.  Without opening my eyes, I slipped my fingers behind the liner to see if it was still dry where it was supposed to be dry.  Yes, no water there.  The emergency wasn’t a water dripping from the ceiling below emergency.  I had time to figure out how I was going to do this thing

04/24 Direct Link

I spent the first hour after I got up with the leaky water bed feeling overwhelmed.  It was the house thing again.  Thoreau.  I didn’t own the house; it owned me. True, it was the water bed, not the house leaking on me now, and that would be a problem wherever I decided to drag a water bed. This was a good argument for not having a waterbed I considered. I would not patch the mattress I knew. I would never trust a patched mattress.  I would order a new one.  So, maybe I should consider buying a regular bed.

04/25 Direct Link

I know me well enough to know that if I let myself fall into the crack of making a decision between replacing the waterbed with a regular bed or a waterbed, I would be sleeping on the floor for a long time.  But I had a lovely bed in the guest room.  I wandered down the hall and looked in.  The last guests had not left it the way they found it.  I had done some cursory cleaning, but the bed didn’t look as lovely as I remembered.  Stripped, the mattress was covered with food crumbs and smelled like dog.

04/26 Direct Link

I got the bed cleaned up, moved into my bedroom and put together in time to sleep on it last night. It took me a while to actually go to sleep on it. It was not the water bed. It was a new idea.  I had to get used to that idea I suppose.  Once I was asleep I slept well and woke up in a happy dream.  But I had a fasting blood test this morning, and the morning did not go well.  I kept finding myself between tasks trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing. 

04/27 Direct Link

I wanted to get an appointment to get a bath for my dog Chey.  I found it far easier to get a haircut appointment for myself.  I called the salon. “Hello?” 

“Hi Mike.”  Not call recognition, they actually know my voice.

“Stephanie, I need a haircut.”

“Well, I’m tied up today, but if you can get here in twenty minutes, Brooke can do it.”

“Brooke’s fine with me.”

Forty minutes later, I was walking out into the sunshine with a new haircut after having had a pleasant conversation with Brooke.

This was not the experience I had with the dog.

 

04/28 Direct Link

I called Pet Smart first, the place I usually take Chey for her Bath.  “I need to get an appointment for a bath for my dog.”

“You have to talk to the groomers.”

“Would you transfer me to the groomer?”

“I can’t do that. They have their own phone numbers.  Can I give you their number?”

“I don’t have anything to write it down with.  Can’t you just transfer me like you always do?”

“I can’t do that.”

“Fuck!”  I hung up.  I know that wasn’t gracious of me. I probably should not have waited so long before eating lunch.

04/29 Direct Link

Next, I called Pet Provisions.  “My dog needs a bath.  Really bad.”

“OK, we can get you in at 6 p.m.”

“Sure.”

“Your name?”

“Cheeseman.  Michael Cheeseman.”

“Oh, Is this for Dallas?”

“No, it is for Chey, but she has been there before too.”

“Hmm, do you have an updated rabies certificate for her?”

“Uh, no…”  My daughter didn’t give me any papers for her.  She just gave me the dog. I wondered why the hair salon didn’t ask for my rabies papers.

“Well we can’t groom her without the papers.”

“I see.  Thank you.”  (I handled this one better.)

04/30 Direct Link

My dog was still stinky.  I googled dog grooming for my area and found one nearby.  Calling their number I got a recording and left my name and number.  They still haven’t called me back. A couple hours later, feeling humble, I got a pen and paper to write down the groomer’s number and called Pet Supplies Plus again.  He put me right through without a pause. They didn’t seem to care about a rabies certificate, but didn’t have any openings for 7 days.  I paused.  Call a week ahead to get a dog a bath? She really smelled bad.