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BY Michael

12/01 Direct Link

It is with a small amount of surprise that I enter the December batching to discover that I am coming in on the fifth. Where have I been? I wonder. Then I remember.  I have been sick, and am still recovering. I seem to be susceptible to respiratory/sinus bugs and when I get them, I take forever to recover, so a five-day loss in continuity is not unusual for the worst part of one of these things. Continuity is of course what 100 Words is all about.  Thou shalt write 100 words.  Thou shalt continue to do so daily.  Continuity.

12/02 Direct Link

I am not sure about my new chair.  I seem to have a stiff neck from sleeping in it.  I don’t know if that is because it doesn’t fit me well, if I have not broken it in, or whether it has not broken me in. I have suspicions about this whole concept of “break-in.” They apply it to items such as audio speakers and I am sure it means your brain adjusts for their particular weirdness.

12/03 Direct Link

I write one 100-Word entry and fall asleep.  My son Michael Jr. wakes me up.  He has come over to earn money.  I talk to him about a job as an OTR truck driver, but the job is too real for him or something. He doesn’t want it.  I think I would have leapt at it like a hungry trout after a fly when I was his age.  Of course it is something I could do now if I wanted to.  Why don’t I?  I have no life energy?  Is this true or am I just talking from the flu? 

12/04 Direct Link

I remember the alarm going off this morning.  I didn’t want to get up.  I could feel the congestion clogging my lungs and weighing heavily on my eyelids.  I poked the alarm and lay my head on the Kleenex box sitting on the edge of my bed. It yielded in just the right places, form fitting to my face. I fell asleep for another five minutes.  At 7:05 I woke again, no better off for my five-minute reprieve. I rolled out of bed to face the morning.  It was still dark outside.  Damn daylight savings.  Or was this normal time?

12/05 Direct Link

I have been playing with several different amplifiers, three sets of speakers and a real-time musical analyzer/equalizer.  It is designed to compensate for room anomalies and some speaker problems.  The number and size of corrections that are identified by this thing are rather amazing.  You are almost forced to first try to do what you can by positioning speakers and furniture etc.   Even then, you can have wild disparities between left and right channels. The left channel is down 12 db at 160 and the right channel is up 20 db from 100 to 320 Hz.  How can this be? 

12/06 Direct Link

Drinking some random herbal tea I have found in the cupboard, I am taking a rest, closing my eyes, watching the patterns, listening to the patterns, feeling the sensations.  There is so much going on at any one time that we are not generally aware of. What happens to those perceptions?  Those notions?  I have read that they are stored, that everything is kept forever and that it can all be retrieved through hypnosis.  I don’t believe this. I think we are too limited in our abilities to “keep everything.”  What we do keep is interesting enough, how we choose.

12/07 Direct Link

I could not claim to be

One who could write

The code by which

You walked your life.

 

It seems to be a language

So slippery in the breach

And one too damned elusive

For anyone to reach.

 

Almost as if the

Crooked finger of the daily mace

Marked persons saved or

Damned as they entered the race.

 

And I in my kerchief

And ma in her cap…

But oh no, that is

A quite different rap.

 

It’s not that I want

To rob, harm, or deceive,

I’m just looking for an itty bitty

Point in space to be me.

 

12/08 Direct Link

I am clear space,

a bead of sweat

a candle flame

 

licking the skin.

 

Caressing,

flaming

catching the wisp,

swelling into the room,

 

while a boat slips down the river

into a dark and moist mouth,

light following it quietly

as a slippery substance.

 

Cave dripping noises

fluttersoft wings,

a moan from the distance--

a complaint

heard only as reflection

off some dark coal-streaked wall--

 

And I feel the weight of a fly

on my face,

the stab of a stake in my chest

solidly vibrating,

 

The chill of a damp autumn

blowing over a hill of long brown grass.

12/09 Direct Link

It is frustrating. I can’t make my 100 Word entries.  The site won’t let me put them in.  I check the Advent Entries and I see that maybe one a day are being entered if that many, yet Twitter reports 20 or 30 a day. I submit reports of bugs.  I submit complaints.  I get nothing back.  It is as if there are two sites. I have tumbled into a parallel universe where 100 Words has become defunct and no longer is active. In the other universe it is still active, and people still use it.  Do I continue writing?

12/10 Direct Link

I am on schedule.  For what, it may be best that I do not know.  Men frequently do their best work in the dark. This begs the question about women. I would have to say that they too are capable of performing well when they have no clear idea of the long-term intent of their efforts.  We really cannot know and can at best only go at it in good faith with limited knowledge that if we aim as well as we can that things will turn out well even though this has been proven wrong time and time again.

12/11 Direct Link

I don’t know.  I feel like something is slippery.  I can’t see outside.  I just don’t know.

I probably ate too much of the trail mix with its white chocolate and carob pieces.  I actually found a macadamia nut that had somehow fallen into it.  I do feel a little queasy.

I have this huge plan for the day.  I have this huge plan every day.  It is usually awful, but somehow making it and admiring it helps keep me sane.  That alone is worth the plan.

I have come to realize that I am as authentic as anyone else.

12/12 Direct Link

It is a day for rain and melting snow.  It is a day that I am having trouble getting warm. My body plays tricks on me. You’re well now, it says.  Then it giggles. “No you're not!” and runs away waving spindly little arms. I took the last of the miracle antibiotics today.  But the package assures me that they continue working for 30 days after the last dose. I am closer to well than I have been in a long time.  I can sleep.  I can walk on the treadmill for thirty minutes without throwing up! I can breathe.

12/13 Direct Link

You send me a message asking why I won’t talk to you, at least to explain to you what you are doing wrong.  To be honest, you are just being yourself, and I have no doubt you will continue to be yourself regardless of what I do or say.  You are just a bit too reactive for me. And I am a bit too sensitive to reactive people. I have been noticing it for some time now, on an almost daily basis. You must have noticed my scarcity. Your most recent episode was just a matter of scale; nothing new really. 

12/14 Direct Link

Like a fast and low tennis shot, the question I’d just asked came back, and I found myself with the ball unprepared.  “What was the happiest moment in your life?”  And it was tumbling out of my mouth, this confession of you before I knew how to stop it.  How do I explain this even now given everything that came with us?  Perhaps it was a unique combination of me reaching a point in my life where I finally was willing to accept happiness.  Perhaps we were at some point unique for another even as we were being torn apart.

12/15 Direct Link

The hundred words thing is still broken, the month now at the halfway point.  I now begin to wonder if this is how it ends.  It had not occurred to me, yet it should have. The weak point was the technology all along. It is too volatile, too susceptible to change. It has multiple points of failure. I should know.  I grew up with this technology and watched it evolve to the point where it could no longer be managed or trusted.  The stories we write are true.  It will rise up eat us and then forget who we were.

12/16 Direct Link

My son sits

Next to a

Three-year-old

Girl drinking

Chocolate milk,

Her blue eyes focused

On him soberly.

 

Carefully placing the

Glass on the table

And wiping the brown

Smudge from her

Upper lip she folds small

Hands in her lap.

 

“Do you think my daddy

Would like some chocolate milk?”

She asks my son.

 

He feels caught in a web

Of steel and stolen understanding

Her father, his friend

Has shot himself

Two days earlier.

 

He understands that she is asking

A very serious question

About the nature of existence. 

 

Her small chin shifts.

She waits for her answer.

12/17 Direct Link

I have come home from the grocery store. It is 4:00 p.m. and I have no idea where the day has fled to.  I could give some accounting, but I know there have been some seven hours since I woke up this morning, and I don’t think I could account for seven hours.  Three, maybe four. Five would be a reach.  Seven hours? How? 

I have a plate of crackers and cheese here with some sliced sausage.  The sausage is not quite right to my nose, or perhaps it is the combination of the sausage and the slices of Swiss. 

12/18 Direct Link

We are defined as beings by specific limitations in perception--limitations on the light spectrum we can see, or the size of objects we can see.  These let us see objects as solid and objects that are our size.  They let us see a tree as a “tree.” We are defined by limitations in the way we perceive time as linear which allows us to perceive music the way we do, to perceive it as music at all.  The linear time perception also creates a kind of anxiety in us which gives us our perceptions a kind of emotional bite.

12/19 Direct Link

I take another cracker/cheese/sausage thing, washing it down with diet root beer. I am starting to feel the tired and sleepy seeping into my body.  I just want to close my eyes.  Sometimes I do.  I close my eyes, lay my head back and let my fingers continue typing.  I’m not sure. Tom might be upstairs.  When he is, it is as if he were not here at all so much of the time. I have Pharaoh Sanders on the music machine warbling that the creator has a master plan.  My energy is slipping from me.  What do I do?

 

12/20 Direct Link

We are uniquely constructed to do art, to dance and sing, to feel awe, and anxiety, all those things that contribute to the artistic act. But I am getting off on a different tangent there. Death is part of our definition, one of our perceptual limitations. It is also quite possibly a lifting of that particular limitation. At that point we most likely actually transcend into a being with a different set of limitations (a perception limitation set defining a being.) We would have to learn all over again how to "see," just as we did when we were born.

12/21 Direct Link

There is a lot of evidence that something transcends.  Is birth transition or creation?  If not creation, then we are really part of a cosmic shell game.  Our life experience is authentic.  It is unique. We are created with a unique and significant set of perceptual limitations.  I could say that if a God were to create a life form with a set of limitations whose purpose was to worship him, to praise and sing hymns, he would create exactly us, every hangman and every hangnail. We are perfect hymn singers, cathedral builders, repenters, carpenters, rogues, priests, saints, and sinners. 

12/22 Direct Link

Locked and loaded always seemed an odd phrase to me. You need to load before you lock. Else you are going to run into a world of hurt, and I find I have come to deny such things.  Sure, they exist, but why go looking for them?  Why embrace them?  Why nurture them?  Why cling to them? Why bring one in from the cold, thaw it out, feed it soup, and warm it against your naked breast only to have it fang you? Because you think you are helping someone?  Look well before you rescue that frozen pet.  Choose wisely.

12/23 Direct Link

Mixed Numbers

 

Daughter was coming to town,

another wedding. 

“I’m bringing the Mixed Numbers. 

Can I leave them with you?”

 

What could I say? 

Leave them in the car? 

Mixed Numbers--

brains boiling in a church

parking lot while

Some happy couple…

 

I had visions of them

Bouncing in her car:

Some mis-directed highway her evil GPS

Had already deserted her on

Between here and western Kansas,

 

“I’ve got room in the garage. 

I can park my car in the drive.”

 

I’m thinking

I can hose the garage down

And re-paint it later.

 

“Oh, thank you daddy.

You’re the best.”

12/24 Direct Link

I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time responding to requests from cookies.  The number of advertisers who wanted to leave hooks in me was increasing.  I contacted my Internet Goo. The goo said to accept the cookies.  I asked the goo about Face book and Yahoo, two other things I was worried about. She described what they were doing, which wasn’t comforting. I babbled about 1984. “It’s all about ads,” Goo said. I mentioned I had read stories about police showing up when people typed the wrong thing into their Twitter account.  I haven’t heard from Goo since.

12/25 Direct Link

My desk faces a door wall which faces east, the hill and the small woods there where the deer come out.  The sun has come up over the bedroom deck that marks the top of the frame of sky I can see from where I sit.  My coffee is gone and I have put on decaf.  Dallas wants to go outside, and I let him.  The geriatric golden retriever goes out into the yard and comes back to the door when he is ready.  Then he pretends to be a throw rug until it is time to go out again.

12/26 Direct Link

I am still cleaning up from Christmas Eve dinner.  But I am close to finished.  They are coming back, I’m not sure when.  I am thinking about making another change to my daily schedule.  I am learning that once I sit down in THAT chair, I find it difficult to move: my body freezes up.  It is better to avoid THAT chair.  I have gotten to the point where I tutor in the morning and then walk the treadmill, and then the second dog thing, and then the first hours of other stuff before I sit down there to write. 

 

12/27 Direct Link

Let your life be a

Hardwood carving battered into an

Unforgiving submission

That twisted and split in its own time and direction

 

I had a dream:

Walking over a hill…

 

Now my eyes are closed

Against a purple winter sky.

 

I had a dream:

Walking over a hill

Some place where the sun was shining.

We knew what we were about

And the rest didn’t make any difference.

 

Oh let your life be a carving

Old and splintered

Abandoned in the woodshop

Half finished, dust-covered

To be tossed to the fire.

 

O did I tell you?

I had a dream…

12/28 Direct Link

Whispering that you

Want to come

You slide your fingers

Along the sleeve

Of my shirt

 

And it is the touch

Of those fingers that

Disarms me

That makes me want

To listen a little longer

 

Outside the sun has slipped

Away.  The city lights

Are sweeping the streets.

Temporary trees stand naked

In concrete planters framed

By honk and glare.

 

The last time you called

I was distracted by the click

Of pool balls in the background.

You couldn’t come over

You had your husband’s car.

 

But there was something else

Screwing with my head

Pounding at my heart.

12/29 Direct Link

I hear the clatter downstairs and I do not know whether someone is leaving or someone has arrived. I don’t think it matters much, because the next few minutes will continue as they are regardless.  I had thought to sleep, but that is not what is going to happen. Something is picking at my brain, tickling the back of my skull.  It is not going to let me go. I don’t have a choice. I’m going to have to continue here until I finish, one way or another.  The sun opens an aperture in the sky. It seems to approve.

12/30 Direct Link

I have sold the Klipsch Quartets several times over, and it is just a matter of waiting for someone to pick them up.  Yet, I find I spend more time listening to them, flaws and all, although the flaws do seem small when you add a spoonful of digital equalization. I am sure that in a few years we will discover that digital equalization creates cracks in our eardrums and so on, but right now, it seems to give a nearly credible ability to allow one to take almost anything and make it sound tolerable. The good is made wonderful.

12/31 Direct Link

I got up this morning to start work, stepping lightly over the boys in the floor of my home office.  Lighting the fire, I turned on the computer, only to discover that it could not locate the files it needed to proper load Windows.  Scowling at the boys, whose cups littered my desk, I went upstairs and started my lap.  Calling my first student, I found they could not make out what I was saying.  I would need to take the laptop downstairs and use it with the VOIP phone on the desk.  That was when I dropped the laptop.