BY Michael

09/01 Direct Link

What a lovely picture of a Nardastian Star Drive.  Where did you get it?

What are you talking about? It is a jar of lightening bugs.

But it has the standard Nardastian Star Drive fitting.

I give up.  What is a Nardastian Star drive?

Developed by the Nardastians prior to the destruction of their world in the Orion cluster, it allows faster-than-thought travel. While its practical application proved to be more difficult than first imagined it did allow colonization of several other worlds and saved several species from their planet. The Nardastians themselves were not one of the rescued species.

09/02 Direct Link

Can you see the sun sparks

swirling dizzy

into the throat of darkness

that gulps

 swallows hard

swinging its shaggy head

reaching for Halloween moon?


You can see it

already refusing to wait

 for the last child

running for the porchlight

dragging a too heavy pillowcase

as the leaves are sucked

still burning and sparking

down the frozen street,


down into the long toothy

dark maul of winter.


Maybe she moved on us too quickly

this time.

Maybe we were too slow,

backs flat against startled

slammed doors,

wind chimes locked silent

and unmoving.

against a sudden pale brittle landscape.


09/03 Direct Link

My youngest son has a long tradition of putting holes in the walls of my house. Eight years ago I was patching one he had done. He said he had tripped over the dog and his head had gone through the wall. I had heard another story then with more credibility. It is in looking back was I able to discover this rage in him and to understand how long it had been there. I have little idea for its source, be it chemical, social, or psychological.  Still I have a need to see what I can do about it.

09/04 Direct Link

I am breathing normally just now.  I look to see who is banging on the piano so aggressively because…well, he seems to be in such a hurry, and I find it is George Winston.  Yes, I am a little embarrassed.  My music machine should be pumping out something a little more esoteric than George Winston all coked up.  Actually, I have been re-building it.  I have been avoiding something else it seems.  I have decided to avoid it deliberately.  To work in other directions, frantically if I have to. No, not frantically, to let it flow through me is better.

09/05 Direct Link


And I’m tampering

As the light blows through

This room in a thousand

Different modes, filters,




Mozart on the music machine.

I spend so much time worried

About whether this speaker is

Time aligned with that cable

Is compatible with some amplifier

while god is trying to talk to me.


Tap, tap, tap

Excuse me…



How can I be so unclear?

Was it the drunkenness of

A sudden nap?

A day when even my dog ran off

And left me?


Tap, tap

The ringing in my ears

Has become lopsided



The cottonwood

Is turning pink.

09/06 Direct Link

I learned to breathe

So close to my chest

That given enough time

That summer

I could take a breath under water.


I would come up quietly

On the dark side of the pool

To watch you sleeping

Beneath the wild slaw

Of birdsong above.


It did not occur to me

Why I might be holding my breath

What might happen if I let it out

To run by itself.


We were for the sun warming

Damp skin in evening shade

Slow shifting in touch to the

Wingbeat of giant cranes


Fallen deeply into an alien

Time; a different space.

09/07 Direct Link

My son and I were walking the dog, when it happened that it was time again for me to ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He is 32 now.  And it occurred to me that it would be fair for him to ask me too, although it would not be likely for him to do so.  The answer came to me so quickly.  I was not ready for it at all.  I wanted play the piano when I grew up. I thought of the things I would need to do to get serious about this.

09/08 Direct Link

I sit here in a thin soup of weariness listening to a cacophony of piano from Dollar Brand.  It occurs to me that one hundred words is a safe place to put things down; that no one reads what I write here.  I can say things like it bothers me to have Death creeping around the house, bending down bushes and peeking through the windows the way he will.  I can say I marvel at the way our limitations give us the ability to apprehend such beauty.  I can say I am lonely, but that I have been worse things.

09/09 Direct Link

I learned to breathe

so close to my chest

that summer,

that given enough time

I could take a breath under water.


Back and head pressing

into the soft clay,

deep water pulling the

thin thread of air into

my body.


You were sleeping

dark beneath the

wild slaw of birdsong above.

It did not occur to me

why I might be holding my breath,

what might happen if I let it out

to run by itself.


We were for sun warmed

slow shifting hips touching

under the swift shadow

of a giant diving crane:

another startled Icarus falling



09/10 Direct Link

String Cheese looks

Around the corner

Before stepping out.


She is not sure she should be seen here.

She is not sure she can be seen here.

Her hair is all wrong

She is having trouble

Standing up

And her clothes don’t feel

Quite right.


She knows she shouldn’t worry.

According to string theory,

She is too small to be seen,

But what about string cheese theory?

Nobody said anything about that.


And she is not sure she wants be

All THAT small.


She slips around the corner

Hugging the wall.

Looking back she sees

A cat is following her.


09/11 Direct Link

It’s 9-11 and we

Pause for the

Strange memory

Of a jet airliner

Sticking out of the


Of a New York office building.


This is no comedy

No movie

Not just a bad day

To give up smoking

And we find there

Are none

Of us caustic enough

To be left


By the tiny figures


Falling and falling

Down the sides of a tower.


Maybe even now

Not so much a day

For vengeance

As one for heroes

And inestimable loss

For the quiet

Very personal contemplation

Of the truly given

In a jungle

Of unlimited greed.


09/12 Direct Link

Cheesed Off guns the Big

Cheesy block of an engine

In his Grand Prick.

The roar is deafening

And the meaty tires

Tear loose hunks of asphalt

Flinging them down the street.


He cannot believe that

Grunt tried to

Pass him back at the light.

Almost ran off the road.

Served him right.


Cheesed Off accelerates

Over a hill soaking in the

Roar and force of the machine

As two kids on bicycles

Wobble into the ditch.


He lets up in time to make

A stop sign.  A Camaro slides by

Cheesed off laughs.

A small-block. Not worth his time.

09/13 Direct Link

Another symptom that I struggle with Gmail:   I just sent myself a mail intended for another.  I do not understand why Gmail has to be so complicated, so user alien. I am not your average newbie. I worked for decades in the IT industry. I have spent much of my life attached to a computer of one kind or another.  I have written programs in several languages.  I have worked as a network administrator.  I count myself a fairly sophisticated user.  Google, your mail program sucks.  The user interface is nasty.  It is a sorry excuse for a mail program.

09/14 Direct Link

Cheese Fondue squatted

Over his small fire

Trying to keep the tiny

Rodent on a stick

Over the flame as

It danced this way

And another

From the gusts of wind

Whipping across the plain.


His pony nickered

Moving closer to him

Out of the night

Having caught the scent



Cheese could smell it too:

Dusty and too old.

There was something

Nasty evil to it.


He had caught a glimpse

Back up in the timber

Last week.

Steel grey.

Damn thing was too big.

They weren’t supposed

To get that big.


He wasn’t worried though.

He was Fondue.

09/15 Direct Link

I have not taken

My Ativan

I should

For the very reason that keeps me from taking it and that is because my mind is on a particularly hard linear path that I cannot deviate from

Not even to


My hand out

To grab the water off the table

To grasp the container in my pocket



But I lose the thought

There was something there

But there is a bright flame

Burning at the base of my throat

I have to close my eyes against

The flash of

Silence roaring in my ears

dripping across my face.


09/16 Direct Link

I am excited. My son brought home a headset for me that works as a replacement on my VoIP for my tutoring much better than the piece of Korean War surplus crap they gave originally.   I had been unable to find anything compatible. Then Tom mentioned that since one of his functions was managing a call center, he had access to many models.  He looked at mine, confirmed it was junk, and within a few days was able to find a plug compatible replacement. He has to take it back, but now I know what to order off the net.

09/17 Direct Link

It’s  like a big bowl of dust sitting out there about 20 klicks off the south side of the base. It’s what you were hearing. It’s quiet mostly during the day.  It’s a night that it tunes up and starts singing.  Marta we call her.  She is a nearly perfect circle about two kilometers in diameter, and we have sounded her to be about 1.75 kilometers deep in the center. Perfectly symmetrical she is.  There appears to be no lining or material present other than the chalky substance.  We have preferred avoiding much invasive testing.   Well, you have heard her. 

09/18 Direct Link

We have continued observing the anomaly on AmandaLs14 known as Marta. Typically the most interesting observations come at night when the anomaly is active.  The activity is clearly musical in nature even to untrained ears, and it is pleasant even though it is the obvious product of a totally alien technology or life form.  Which, we cannot tell and I don’t think we’ll be able to without some actual analysis of the dust which seems to compose the whole of Marta.  Other seismographic analysis is unable to detect the presence of anything in the area other than the dust itself.

09/19 Direct Link

Tonight, we witnessed the simultaneous rising of both of AmandaLs14’s two small moons over the anomaly known as Marta.  The light given off was quite a bit more than we expected, particularly from Marta herself, which seemed to almost glow from the extra moonshine.  We have noticed that as the number of observers increased, the complexity and intensity of Marta’s singing also increased. Tonight we witnessed what could only be described as two human figures dancing across the surface of Marta.  We recorded as much of this as was possible for subsequent analysis.  We have no theories to explain this.

09/20 Direct Link

At this point work on the Marta Anomaly is at a standstill.  We simply cannot go any further without sample testing from the anomaly itself.  Base Commander Luther Blaine refuses to even discuss what he calls “invasive testing.”  He seems to consider the anomaly a living organism of some kind.  While this is highly unlikely, even this hypothesis must submit itself to some kind of testing.  It is dust, a chalky dust.  All we want to do is remove a teaspoonful or less for analysis.  The anomaly probably loses a truckload in the average windstorm that moves through this area.

09/21 Direct Link

I am out at Marta with two techs tonight. Here to listen as much as anything, We have found that someone must be present for Marta to “sing.”  Leaving recording equipment is not enough.  One of the techs, Reilly, walks over to Marta’s edge, reaches in his pocket, and pulls out a small metal container. Pausing, he looks at me.  I nod.  It is one of those moments.  He bends over scooping up maybe 15 cc of dust, screwing the cap on and slipping it into his pocket. As he is walking back toward me I notice “singing” has stopped.

09/22 Direct Link

Blaine is furious with me and my crew.  He is convinced we have done something to “violate” the planet or Marta.  “You don’t know anything, do you!” he is spitting in my face. “What am I supposed to know?” I ask. Actually, I do know a few things. Reilly gets on a boat for home in two hours with a little metal canister in his pocket. The anomaly has sunk six centimeters in its crater.  The planet’s rotation has slowed by two percent.  Its orbit has begun to decay relative to its sun. Marta has stopped singing.  I am scared.

09/23 Direct Link

Within two days things have gotten bad enough on the surface that we really cannot leave the base for any extended period without gear.  We are not sure exactly what happened to Reilly’s boat.  He was a day out and it just exploded.  “Dusted” was the word the radio astronomer used, as if every piece of it came apart at once. AmandaLs14 has become an unstable world in an unstable orbit with a fatal attraction for her sun.  The anomaly is a blob of goo at the bottom of a mile-deep hole in the ground. Blaine isn’t talking to anyone.

09/24 Direct Link

Within two days things have gotten bad enough on the surface that we really cannot leave the base for any extended period without gear.  We are not sure exactly what happened to Reilly’s boat.  He was a day out and it just exploded.  “Dusted” was the word the radio astronomer used, as if every piece of it came apart at once. AmandaLs14 has become an unstable world in an unstable orbit with a fatal attraction for her sun.  The anomaly is a blob of goo at the bottom of a mile-deep hole in the ground. Blaine isn’t talking to anyone.

09/25 Direct Link

The planetary rotation kept slowing at an impossible rate. I remember it was near dusk and I looked up to see pink in the sky.   I had never seen that color in the sunset here before, and people were looking at me.  I heard a kind of thrumming coming through the wall.  Someone said Blaine was gone and we went to find him, a half dozen of us, following the singing, adrenaline pushing us forward.  He was lying next to the anomaly, arm sliced open over Marta, filled with a delicate pink dust and a rising chorus of singing voices.

09/26 Direct Link

I think this was the first morning it was really cold. It was cold enough that I put a sweatshirt on over my t-shirt, a definite kind of weather statement for me. When I took Chey out for her walk, it was cold and wet.  It seems like it has been raining forever here.  I finished my tutorials around noon and took a shower.  I got a text message from MJ that he wanted to come over and do some laundry and earn some money. I replied that he should call first.  I was thinking about going out for lunch.

09/27 Direct Link

It seems the gentle light would have worked better. The cattle wanted the harsh bortz lights in the evening.  The darker it got, the more they wanted them turned up.  They were not the first species we had encountered this kind of trouble with. We were sure we had found their rightful home planet and that it was now deserted.  It was a nice enough place.  But we had found before that special memory sometimes clung to a place.  The cattle would not sleep here. One thing was clear; they did not like this place we had brought them to.

09/28 Direct Link

I didn’t want to argue.  I could feel one coming on.  I bailed, mumbling something irrelevant about the weather, began focusing intently on the papers I was holding, and started shuffling away.  Hawlie wasn’t having any of it. She grabbed my coat sleeve.  “No no mister, you don’t get away that easily.”  I looked up at her.  My brain was starting to squirm. “Look, these people need help.  You can’t just ignore them.”

I felt myself squaring off. “They don’t want help, Hawlie.  They want to be left alone.  They sure don’t want help that comes with a new god.”

09/29 Direct Link

They say the phases are not necessarily sequential and sometimes you will find yourself facing more than one at once.  They say a lot of fucking things.  I suppose one of those phases is named anger. I don’t completely understand why it is taking so long.  I don’t like that part. Acceptance is a rip.  Accept what? You have got to be kidding.  You want me to accept this?  Like hell I will. You can take acceptance and shove it up your ass with a broom straw pokety pokety poke poke poke.  Ok. Maybe I’m not ready for acceptance yet. 

09/30 Direct Link

It is one of those fall days that remind me of so many other clean and perfect fall days when the air was universally described as cool and crisp. How can air be crisp?  Yes we all know what it means for the air to be cool and crisp in the fall. Is it the sound of leaves sliding dry beneath our feet as we walk?  Is it the bite of ripe apple breaking away from the core? Perhaps it is the tint of light in the air bending hard over the horizon, peering down at us through new eyes.