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BY Michael

01/01 Direct Link

Rose closed his eyes.  He could see the smooth wooden dowel moving back and forth in the darkness, the wooden gears ratcheting as if they had purpose.  But what purpose could they have?  He could feel the cell hardening in his back.  They said it was imagination.  He should not be able to feel that.  There was in fact no way he could feel that.  He could however feel it.  He could almost tell time by it.  He knew how much time he had left.  Resting in the dark, he let his mind search his body for spots of tenseness.

01/02 Direct Link

Having made sudden significant

Changes in the flow of my life here

I find myself brought up against the

Absence of things I have left

Behind.

 

I had envisioned this moment

Seated on the train gazing out

The window as the case hardened parts

Of the city flew by.

 

It seems that it is

Always me who has to get

The fuck outta Dodge.

I had never really seen the

Runner in me.

 

I suppose this is because

From where I sit it seems

To be more of a hard

And deliberate walk

In shoes too new

And too tight.

01/03 Direct Link

I had a hard-boiled egg for

Breakfast this morning

Standing bare-footed on the

Cold ceramic kitchen floor

My robe touching shin high.

 

I wasn’t really hungry you see

But they say one must

Eat.  It is a kind of duty.

 

I am condensed now

Having confessed and

Consented to enter into this

Cold-footed life.

 

Here there is no time to wait

Any longer.  Here we are in

The final folds of time

Slipping back and forth

Meeting our various selves

Coming and going

Feeling bright and painful

Little explosions in our head

With each meeting.

 

A day like any other.

01/04 Direct Link

We look

Out upon the world with

Greasy glasses our vision

Clouded with fingerprints

Turkey grease, ear wax, and

Other vivid stains.

 

We live lives activated by

Emotion and seen

Through smears of what we believe

Is there

Of what we understand is possible.

 

We have crippled limbs

That never was

And mourn the loss of perfect loves

That ever lived only in our imagination.

 

The most beautiful woman I ever met

Lived in a 3-walled hut

In a field of stagnant water

And once remarked her greatest desire

Would be to have a whole chicken

To herself

To eat.

01/05 Direct Link

The fog creeps into the room

Deepening the here and

Causing a damp cold.

Out on the plant floor one of the

Machines groans to life

Its vibrations causing an ash

Tray on a nearby desk

To leap to its death on the

Concrete below.

The glass pieces shoot like scared

Bugs beneath pallets

Scales, machines and the desk itself

And the machine groans to a stop.

All is quiet again.

I don’t bother to look up.

I don’t lift my head or look

In my lunch bag for the cheese

Sandwich I know will once again

Have appeared there.

01/06 Direct Link

Matthew cautioned that we should not play with paper dolls.  He seemed to think that, mumbling this over and over as he carefully cut and pasted his pictures.  Yet I have read in other books of prescriptions for various incantations that there are uses to which these things may be put.  Nonetheless Matthew has passed on now and I pause to wonder to what use I might put paper dolls or to what use I might have put a Matthew paper doll with a blazingly beautiful kidney at that time, perhaps a perfect kidney pasted lovingly against a paper side.

01/07 Direct Link

 No he was not perfect. Aside from his broken cancerous kidney.  I am thinking most would agree with me.  However little I know of what passes for thought in the lives of other men and women. Even now there are parts inexplicably out of order, not working quite as designed when I was manufactured, some entire systems which have never been up to spec I believe.  I hang these things about my neck like amulets, bags of bone and straw, dung, and dried flowers. I speak words over them Words that come to me from another life, from another place.

01/08 Direct Link

I don’t always know what the words mean; yet I know their meaning.  When I am weaving a protective spell for my daughter and drawing the lines on her face with the dark mud and speaking the words I know what I am doing.

Well, I am coming a long way here It seems and no doubt I should stop to heal myself.  It is the aphorism that you are to put your own oxygen mask on first.  Then you will be more effective at helping your fellow passengers.  Now the air begins to flow through the cheap plastic tubing. 

01/09 Direct Link

It is winter now.

It is the January of the Michigan winter

When the cold comes alive at night

Stalking across the snowfields in

Large padded furry white feet

Long translucent claws

Lifting the rooftops

Stealing into the cabins

Houses

And apartments

Sliding icy down the walls

And into your lungs.

You cough a spray of ice crystals

And your ears become solid and

Breakable china things stuck

Maybe onto the sides of your heads.

Windows crack and break in the night

And white pine limbs fall frozen

One onto another hundreds of feet

Clearing whole sides of a tree.

01/10 Direct Link

There is not much to

Be done for any of it.  I stay

Inside now anyway.  Something has

Happened and

To think of it makes

My head hurt,

This is the part of the day

When the sleep likes to take

Me, when I sometimes

Take my sugar level to understand whether

It is really sleep

Or sugar pulling me into its sweet embrace.

I have been surprised that way

Several times finding the number

Much higher than it should be.

To me this diabetes is a number.

I should cut a paper doll

Writing a number on its chest.

01/11 Direct Link

Matthew has taken me

To Toronto seeking a witch

To cure his cancer.

He has explained that he cannot

Cure his own

And has asked me to

Trying to convince me that I indeed

Have the necessary components

To do such a thing.

Why I ask

Would I let my friend die

If I had the means to heal him

At a touch?

He closes his eyes

Apparently in some frustration.

Reaching out to touch my forehead

With the last three fingers on his

Right hand.

I experience a flash of pain.

Wake up on the bed in the dark.

01/12 Direct Link

He apologizes.

There must be a reason

You cannot remember.

I certainly did not mean to hurt you.

His voice is gentle.

My head hurts.

My ears are ringing.

We meet the witch that evening.

She is younger than I expect.

We meet in a hotel room.

I sitting at a writing desk while

They talk quietly sitting on

A bed

Occasionally looking at me

At one point, Matthew comes

Over to me saying

“She says she will do it, but she

Wants something

From you.”

“What?” I ask

Looking at the witch.  She is watching

Me.

She is beautiful.

 

 

01/13 Direct Link

I don’t think we should

Do this,” Matthew says.

I look up.  She is standing

Behind Matthew

Holding a long cigarette.

“Let’s go have a smoke,”

She says to me.

I agree.

Outside we lean against the wall.

She is nervous

It seems. 

I take a cigarette

Even though I do not smoke.

She is looking away, brown hair whisping

In the cool breeze and seeming to lose

Her balance she leans into me

Fingers splayed against my chest

Catching her fall.

We are kissing

And my heart is trying to climb out of my

Body to get to her.

 

01/14 Direct Link

It is cold in the place where

I wake up

It is quiet.  The

Slit to the peonies has been

Healed.

All those shrieking apparitions

Have been silenced, 

Their too-big heads slawed off

Littered across purple snow.

I may not have to face them again

At least for a while

Depending on how

Effectively I have shut that place.

There was one in my study this morning.

Who are you?

But there was no answer.

I flushed it out of existence, sealing it

Before it could name itself

Could claim existence

How many more were left behind

On this side?

 

01/15 Direct Link

Who has time to build these rooms these landscapes?

So rich so delicate so wondrous so intricately manufactured

With the patience of a dedicated craftsman?

I walk now down this hall my toes buried in the

Loft of the carpet and my mind touching the rich panel

Of the walls noticing the perfect spacing of the lamps

And the pieces of art along the walls. 

Here is a hunting scene, an oil; the detail is exquisite.

Two dogs have taken to fighting.  Who?  Who but me?

Who else can possibly have contrived this experience?  This random joy?

This senseless pain?

 

01/16 Direct Link

The cold seeps in as if

I were naked.

I cannot get away from it.

Falling asleep I dream of the Toronto witch.

She is spitting mad.

You have sealed me off, she accuses.

I have work for you.

I am not done with you.

What do you mean?

She points to a multi-colored Peony wilting

On the snow.

You were of them?

You thought I was a doe perhaps?

You let Matthew die anyway.

I healed his kidney. He died

Of liver cancer.

My head hurts, ripping itself apart.

I cannot let you back in.

The pain goes away.

 

01/17 Direct Link

 

I had a sense in closing that gap that

I might be leaving people behind

Back there in the other space

And that it was my own ignorance

My own lack or resources or energy

That was what kept them.

I was inadequate to save them.

I did not know that the Toronto witch

Would be sealed in that space

And I still wonder about Matthew

Or the bits and petals of Peony left on the table here.

It was like closing one of those damn

Food freezer bags where you never know if the ridges

Are really properly aligned.

 

01/18 Direct Link

I watched the shadow

Of one of the deer

Leaping across the top of the hill against the first

Hint of light of sunrise this morning.

They have been huddling

In this small patch of woods

In my back yard as the temperature

Drops as if they can draw some warmth from my house.

Seven of them today

Bedded down, ears flicking.

Waldo was there, this his third

Winter with me.

I think the woods there cannot support very many

More of them.  Is it incorrect to feed them

Or to have taken away their food in the first place?

 

01/19 Direct Link

I have learned one thing though

Finally

 People do not always WANT you to share your WISDOM and observations with them

 Particularly if your observations

 Are negative

If I am so smart why did I never know this?

Oh I know

 Because the

 "C"

 In OCD

 Stands for

 ....

 And there I go again

 Waving my hand

 OH I KNOW

 I KNOW

 I KNOW THE ANSWER

 ME!

 ASK ME!

Ok what's the answer?

 Compulsive!

 Blurtage

 Turretsian Blurtage

 Obsessive Compulsive Turretsian Blurtage

The only real cure is duct tape

I blurt therefore I am

 Hence my compulsion to "write"

 Useless stuff.

01/20 Direct Link

My feet are cold down here

In this basement of vague mold

Walled with enough books to fill

A lost dreams happy times bookstore.

 

Matthew is talking as his long iron shears

Slice a limp magazine photo in half

Red dress smiling brunette coming to life.

 

He is talking as he works,

Telling some story about a visit to a friend and a

Subsequent poetry reading.

His ability to recall details surprises me as well

As the facility with which he wrangles the

Language.  Again it is his memory.  He remembers

Everything.  I realize that is how we are different.

 

01/21 Direct Link

I am seeping again into the soft belly

Of sleep

My bare feet sliding through the hard ice crystals

Or re-frozen snow while the wind opens my shirt

And the icy chill soothes the fire on my brow.

I can feel the cold passing through me without touching me

As I climb the hill in the dark

Starlight reflecting off the snow

I can feel my toes

Slipping on the ice

Into the frozen pack below

And still I am climbing fingers

Touching the ground

Touching saplings

Touching the points of stars

Embedded in the ice below.

01/22 Direct Link

The cats broke into my room this morning around 3am.

 Lucky you

They hid under the bed

Free dusting.

They team up against me.  The boys push the door open and then they all come in.

They prefer you to your roommate?

They just like to come into my room.

No accounting for taste.

Takes awhile to get them out once they’re in. 

You have a lock on that door?

No, and the latch doesn't catch.

A chair?  A trunk?

Have thought about all that stuff.

I’ll bet your roommate’s latch works.

Yes.

Must be why her cats prefer you.

01/23 Direct Link

I went to Overture Audio today to sell the Neutrons back to them.  They are getting ready to move.  They didn’t want my neutrons.  I bought them on a whim at an outrageous price there when I went in to buy something else and the guy said, hey I got something better…

It’s true.  I have a problem about buying audio gear.  But I seem to get burnt a lot at that place.  It was ok when I dealt with Keith who is now the absentee owner, but he guys there now don’t seem to care about us audio addicts.

01/24 Direct Link

Sorting through the morning, getting all the pieces the way they should be.  Today is exercise and clean the house day.  I don’t have a cleaning plan, but I know I do the bathrooms today or at least one of them and I suppose that is enough foreknowledge.  It's a starting place anyway.  I should have a list I suppose, but I have so many lists that I lose track of how many, what they are and where I keep them after a while.  Like planning, the lists are necessary, but they are not as useful as one would hope.

01/25 Direct Link

I got my toilet fixed yesterday. It would not stop running so I had Michael Junior help me put a new shut-off valve in.  He came over to shovel the snow off my driveway, but I had already done that, so I let him put in the new fill valve.  All that crawling around underneath the tank and fighting those tiny valves is a job for a young person anyway. You just follow instructions on a pre-printed sheet:  five minute job.  Then I pat him on back and tell him I am proud of what a wonderful job he did.

01/26 Direct Link

 Michael says he is thinking about taking welding school opportunity his new father in law is offering in Ohio.  He says can make 20,000 in a year.  His awe-struck by the amount of money.    It is twice what he is making at Burger king. I think it would be a good opportunity for him, but I also wonder how his color-blindness would come into play.  I imagine color-coded tanks of oxygen and acetylene and color coded air lines and rods in Michael’s monochrome world.  He mentions a one-week class to try it out.  I agree that is a good idea.

01/27 Direct Link

I hear water running somewhere.  It comes on for a few seconds and then it stops.  It is silent.  The silence of no water and I relax.  I become something else and just as I have forgotten about it the water turns on again and I am brought up out of my chair or whatever I am doing.  What is it?  The fill valve has been replaced in the toilet.  What would be acting like this?  Then the well pump comes on.  I listen.  I think.  I imagine the water flowing through the pipes in the walls of the house.

01/28 Direct Link

Michael says that since he stopped smoking pot his mind has cleared up.  Part of his probation is regular testing for drugs, so he cannot smoke now.  He has started wondering about his future. 

I am quiet.  I do not want to adversely influence this thought flow.  I say, “Huh.” 

He continues, saying that he has more energy, that his co-workers have commented that he seems more energetic and aware. 

I say, “Huh.”

Although I do not remember any such moments of clarity brought on by quitting pot. I remember only the return of the seizures that the pot suppressed. 

 

01/29 Direct Link

If I go back into that room you will be there waiting for me with those eyes.  Outside the wind is laying a fresh layer of snow across the wet fields in a slurry of confusion.  I am trying to remember if I left anything in there, if I really have to go back in there.  I know you are there waiting for me to come back in and if I do it will be meaningful to you.  It was a short conversation.  The snow is melting and holding and melting.  I must have said something.  I should leave now.

01/30 Direct Link

Someone visited my garage and car last night.  They left the console and glove box and little door in the dash where I keep my garage door remote all hanging open.  It seems all they took was my garage door opener.  Perhaps I need to start locking my garage door and change the combination on my overhead door.  All the great stuff in my garage and all they took was the door opener.  Are they planning on coming back?  They left footprints all over the driveway in the snow.  I could probably follow them home and ask about their intentions.

01/31 Direct Link

After spending hours visiting six different stores looking for a 9-switch remote for a 40-year old Sears garage door remote I have a new understanding of the person who snuck into my garage taking only my garage door remote.  It WAS the most valuable thing there.  When I finally did find one it cost me fifty bucks.  And now that I think about it, I lost my other one about fifteen years ago under similar circumstances.  I have a neighbor who is a rat.  All I need to do is find the house with the 40-year old sears door opener.