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BY Michael

07/01 Direct Link

My god it is raining again.  It has been raining all week in this little pocket of relatively sane weather while the rest of the globe is going crazy with heat and thirst.  Why here?  I don’t know.  I am supposed to be genius about this kind of stuff and I am shouted down at my own fucking poetry slam.  I do not know why the evil overheated weather patterns continue to approach and then swirl over or around the great corrupt state of Michigan.  If it wasn’t corrupt before It sure as hell will be soon as every greedy opportunist turns his developer’s nose this way.

07/02 Direct Link

This is where you begin.

It is customary and

would make the piece difficult to read

if you began it somewhere else

unless you had a specific

rhetorical or artistic reason

for doing so.

 

So that is what we do.

We begin where we are supposed to.

We dress it the way we are expected to

by custom

by law

by rule.

 

And we do so many things that way.

It’s ok.  It is every bit as much ok to follow these conventions as it is to

break them.

Reason or no.

 

I do not got to think about this.

07/03 Direct Link

I’m looking across to where she had been sitting.  The sun has dropped below the window, but there are still those blotches in my eyes.  There is one on the leather where she was sitting and a smaller blotch on the sill like a puddle of water.  I close my eyes and the blotches turn purple and swarm together.  I consider closing that blind but I am dimly aware that it isn’t necessary now, that everything is ok; that the Snake has left and I do not have any new holes in my body, any new holes in my soul.

07/04 Direct Link

She has come and gone and there are no new curios on my desk, no graffiti on my walls.  I am not overdrawn at the bank.  I have not been jailed.  I have not been married in some third-world country to an adoring maiden whom I have never met. I am aware any of these things would have seemed right and normal to her.  That it would have seemed to her wrong of me to refuse them.  I see a flowering of color and light and color over the building across the street followed by a blinding spot of light. 

07/05 Direct Link

The concussion rocks the sky and I am already under my heavy oak desk before I realize that some idiot is celebrating the 4th of July.  Several of them are at it judging from the sounds.  I uncoil pressing my back against the desk.  My temples are pounding.  The office lights up periodically from the skyrockets outside.  Some of the ordinance sounds less than harmless.  Who can tell?  There is a hit nearby and tiles and dust rattle from the ceiling. It occurs to me that perhaps this is no longer the safe place I once thought it to be.

07/06 Direct Link

It is raining again.

Little Sampson Krynite particles

Are rattling off the roof

And piling up in the gutters.

 

This is what passes

for rain in the now.

True it is colorless,

odorless

and tasteless.

 

It is just not wet.

And it will not dissolve.

 

We  had expected to drown

Of suffocate or something

comprehensible

With this Global Warming.

Not to have all the water replaced with

All these silly little

Tetrahedrons.

 

Of the two scientists it was said

that Krynite actually predicted

the particles

and Sampson coined the phrase

“It is what you don’t expect

That will get you.”

07/07 Direct Link

This is where the corn begins to stalk

The sweet suburban lawns

Whispering dark night secrets

As the wind flows over naked

Leaves under starry cool skies.

Here a line of men and women,

the sun already leaning hard against them

explaining the day in graphic detail.

The line stretches line all the way

past the cemetery where the hounds are pulling at their leashes.

O God where is the tiny choir that sang in the church?

Where is the preacher’s broken Bible? 

I think I see them all in the line

Ready to step into the whirling green blades.

07/08 Direct Link

I’m looking across

Which is to say my head is turned so that

I can see

across the space occupying the upper

Three-quarters of the sanctuary.

It is hot in here and the doors are open and everyone

Thinks for the first five minutes after they have sat down

About why there is no air conditioning.

Is there an air-conditioning nuptial package that is an upgrade?

When I was a child churches never had air

conditioning and now the heat only makes you forget

There are whores walking the street outside

As the bride and groom kneel at the altar.

07/09 Direct Link

I stumble in here

half dressed

ragged, and

out of breath.

A plan is essential but

I have lost my timer.

Some sweet sense of an idea had a grip on me

But I lost her struggling

with the computer.  It is

enough to

well consider a fountain pen and notebook…

Mine all mine

I am yelling even as I see the ball popping straight

 into the middle of the sun.

And already I know that that is where it will fall like a jagged burning ball of light

Into a tiny glove that no man could hold on to.


 

 

07/10 Direct Link

There is concussion

Before rocks fly out of the sky

Before their hearts burst

In tinsel purple green orange red

Yellow blue and you cry

Oooh!

As the great living creature

Slowly dangles over

Splat red! Splat silver!

Splat green! Each covering the one before

So quickly that the magician’s hand is never seen

While a scorpion’s tail flickers and crackles

Crooked across the horizon.

 

There is a moment of silence before

A long tail follows a rocket to its zenith

And just before it hits it is framed

By a quintet of giant blooms beneath that crept there unseen.

07/11 Direct Link

There are two lighters

in the bathroom downstairs

and the owner does not smoke.

 

Of course no one else lives here.

 

This could be evidence of cleaning habits

or could point to the dusty burnt out candle

in the corner

which in turn could as well point

back to cleaning habits.

 

The candle is clearly hand made.

Shot through with bits of odd color

And textures, even in its retired state

it has an aura of the mystic

as if the candle maker had inhaled

too much wax

or too much…

What was her name?

Why did he stop cleaning?

07/12 Direct Link

America’s no country

to write about. 

There’s no romance allowed

in the country of coal.

What’s a man to do?

Should he squat and write about the fourteen-hour day?

 

I stand and cipher;

I appraise, I squeal, vibrate, and sneeze. 

I am clouded with steam and smoke,

I am dripping with piss and puss,

and am staked four-square in a valley of excrement. 

I walk on hallowed ground,

covered with eight inches of asphalt

already cracking around the edges

where the stiff new green shoots are shoving their way through,

unaware of the first full frost

roaring down through Canada.  

 

07/13 Direct Link

Last night my eight-year-old Amanda looks at me and asks for a poem for her teacher and for her librarian.  What has she been telling them?  What are they expecting?  What is she expecting?  Something like the Language of Trees where I climb the hill behind my house to bark at the dark green urth in the middle of the night?  Something where I howl at a swollen moon, pregnant with cancerous mice?  It is so difficult to submit to someone else’s expectations.  So much easier to just produce, spew, hone, file, and shape.  So much finer to just secrete.

07/14 Direct Link

There are nights I would rather

just lean into my piano,

touch the keys, taste the notes,

making believe I can smell the walnut

wrapped around the sound board,

steeply leaned against life,

driving long after my reason has run out.

 

And I am sitting in a church pew

In summer Michigan watching my Tommy

pledge marriage to a woman he loves.

 

In my memory I am back

in a tiny kitchen in Ohio

looking at the worn yellow linoleum floor. 

I am six years old, and in the same moment,

in the same instance I am watching my son.

 

07/15 Direct Link

 

At the same moment,

I see him as a baby in a cradle. 

He is thrashing a plastic ring of keys,

a baby toy or rattle, and they fly out of the cradle

landing on that yellow linoleum floor,

 a generation down,

forty years back. 

My father is sanding the cradle

In his workshop

Pausing to feel the grain with his fingers

Eyes gazing out over the cornfield south.

 

Now, the Tommy keys lay

like a crushed butterfly on the kitchen floor.

  

The Tommy himself flutters fitfully in his crib,

and it is, of course,

long past my own bedtime.

 

07/16 Direct Link

Tomorrow will come lunging out of a fog,

rolling me along a highway,

pitching into the dark and frozen asphalt, 

head lamps stripping the broken yellow line around the curve,

breaking the sheen on some new

turgid green stem shoved up out of the road. 

 

I'll shiver behind the wheel, 

sleepy again,  always sleepy,

God,  why am I always so sleepy?  

“Daddy, Daddy,”

 my six-year-old son wonders. 

“Why do I always want to kiss all the girls in the world?”

 

My Tommy is kissing the bride.

His son, one of the groomsmen

Is smiling at a girl seated behind me.

 

07/17 Direct Link

Maybe

It is nothing

more than a single strand of spider’s

webbing

flung from tree to bush

Across my field of

perception.

Stronger than steel

I have been told for many years now

yet I do not see the advertisements

for spider’s web gloves

spider’s web tires or

exotic spider’s web tweeters for your

Very very hi-fi speakers.

 

Almost it moves there, catching a slash

Of light in the breeze

And refusing to break or sag.

It is an idea of tension

Between two events which cannot be seen

And whose beginnings are only whispered

In the daring glistening dart.

07/18 Direct Link

I breathe in.  I breathe out.  In that space of time are placed two tones.  These are followed by a familiar two-note dance.  My mind is wheeling, fluttering in lazy rolls on dry dragonfly wings out over the back deck, glancing off the rusty iron bell there, slashing through the mulberry tree, cutting leaf shards into the air, knocking berries into the tiny pond so far below.  I am climbing, climbing, the breeze drying my eyes, her fingers slipping through my hair, cooling my face. Empty air slips past my belly, and a thousand night skies slip through my arms.

07/19 Direct Link

It’s colder than I would have expected for a July day and I have plucked the heating system to life, choosing that “program” without looking at the settings.  The “hot” days have been so erratic that I have not done a program for the cooling, uncertain what to make since things are so dependent on the humidity and the delta between day and night.  I don’t think I can really make a “program” for air conditioning for this house.  There are too many variables besides temperature and time and those are the only things my smart thermostat takes into consideration.

07/20 Direct Link

I feel that dizzy woolen thing that signals the sugar/insulin imbalance one way or another.  I could check my sugar level.  Probably should stop and check the sugar level.  That would be the smart thing.  I would then be armed with some partial knowledge at that point although there would still be uncertainty attached to it given the conflicting advice I am constantly given regarding what I should eat and what the numbers mean.  One doctor says my numbers are too low to be significant.  Another says they are dangerously relevant.  One says I should eat this.  Another says no.

07/21 Direct Link

They still say my grandson is coming to live with me in two days or so.  My mind is resisting this because I understand life is fickle and subject to change. It will offer things and then take them away, sometimes in very cruel ways.  I have learned to close my brain to certain possibilities until they are undeniable realities.  In this way I am often poorly prepared for events, but I am much better prepared for the things that don’t happen.  It seems to me that you can always find a way to manage the things that do happen.

07/22 Direct Link

A slow pink cement soak
cautiously nibbles
tender shoots along the edge
we construe
behind damp thighs
rifle barrels pressed the wrong way
raw lieutenants whose orders are not
to be questioned.

The cheese gathers itself
pawing through the soggy pink
leaving ragged tracks
pressing the shoots
soiling the thighs
bending the barrels
sending the lieutenants
fleeing
their pants about their knees.

 

The cement hardens

a lighter shade of gray

with swirls of pink.

it has toe prints

and shoots of tender Bermuda grass

begin to break through within

the first week.

Three shots are fired.
No one is hit.

07/23 Direct Link

At work, the apsules are slow to respond. They will be until the sun rises and warms them to 24 degrees C. After that they are quick and we have to stay on our toes to avoid the razor sharp talons.

But we had another twenty minutes and I was looking through ads for a place to stay when I saw the ad: Come live in my heart, and pay no rent. It didn't say anything about pets. Nor did it mention the renovations that would be required. It is always the things you do not expect that get you.

07/24 Direct Link

Finite Numbers

 

The clouds gather

gently covering the setting

sun and they dance out

against the lavender sky.

 

The finite numbers know

their limits and this dance

and they do it well.

 

Whirling in and out of the huffs

of smoke and balanced reckless

leaning out so far above,

head dropping,

looking back, so far back

as the mist beneath them begins to

dissipate

at the last moment to be snapped

back

to seamlessly face a partner

who slowly considers the lazy twirl

back from the brink.

 

just for a moment you are there

face to face gazing into their eyes.

07/25 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:

her evil GPS

Having already deserted her on

Some mis-directed highway

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.”

 

07/26 Direct Link

This is the place, this is the time,

this is the part of the letter

the one that gets written

In the upstairs hallway

where the drywall runs

narrow and parallel

nailed to pine studs

standing dry in the dark now

for thirty years.

 

In the upstairs where we hide the hallway,

where we hide the bodies,

where the dreaming feet pad naked and dry

in the night,

where spiders crawl the splintered wood to heaven,

entering the dark holes

stitched in webs of fear,

transcending love or these delicate fantasies

of safety we have so carefully crafted in each room.

 

07/27 Direct Link

I am no longer in the study.

Today, I have moved out

into the upstairs hallway.

This is the part of the letter that gets written

here, in the hallway.

The floor here is hard on my butt,

even though it is carpeted.

The carpet itself seems to

Kneel down and press

Individual fibers hard against me.

Next time, I am thinking,

we need to buy better carpeting

or better padding.

I am ignoring the begged question

about a better butt.

Even later ignoring the

begged question about whether

anyone understands the phrase

"begs the question" anymore,

or if that matters.

 

07/28 Direct Link

 

I have a new stick

Of Purple Pastel. 

Maybe it is lavender

or

Lie lac.

 

Out here

There is no map. 

Think Pastel Purple 

prose. 

A softening of the fire,

A flicker on the wall

A touch of silk trimed with new lace.

 

I can hear Pastel Lavender

as a bar of music sweet.

She is intimate and lives

in a palace of a powder box.

She drinks candle wax and

breathes incense.

 

Pastel Lilac is spring

singing in an old church with

the windows open. 

 

She is home later,

hanging broken from a jar of water,

gasping for breath.

 

07/29 Direct Link

On the paper,

Pale Yellow becomes swirl,

becomes typhoon,

becomes the crazy

pale yellow whale. 

leaping in a lazy arc of sky,

Pale Yellow swallows the sun

on the way down. 

 

The whale crashes against the water,

swimming hard to drown

the burning thing in his belly,

the thing that wants to rise.

 

The sun glows after Pale Yellow has gone. 

After he drops into darker water. 

Burning pale skull fish hide their lidless eyes. 

The ragged fire settles,

touching the earth who

cries in surprise

whispers hoarse pastel brown,

bellows bloody rivers against the sky.  

 

It is dark outside.

07/30 Direct Link

Today we coax a

pale yellow from the pastel box. 

Sliding it into the tractor hook,

we convoy to the end,

and wrestle it over the side. 

Workmen walk on both sides

Patting the sweet monolith,

hard hats seen bobbing

over the top. 

Clothes coated with a light yellow dusting,

they are scrawling their names on its sides. 

Dusty Dan. 

Hammer Down. 

Chuck Crane. 

Paul Web. 

Art Aloud.

 

Pastel is a pale

reflection of color,

a dream allowing many interpretations. 

It does not force you

like acrylic

or even oil. 

It lies there and

waits for you

to come . 

07/31 Direct Link

This day has slipped beyond morning, but not so much. Daniel comes in off the deck where he is preparing to paint and runs down the stairs.  Perhaps he has forgotten something he needs and has decided to not ask me for it.  I notice that I often ask him to slow down because he will ask multiple questions without pause while I am still formulating the answer to the first.  This must be a form of anxiety in him that produces these questions which do not actually seek answers, questions that seek to live and breed only as questions.