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BY Michael

09/01 Direct Link

We are engaging the two-star set-up menu.  This menu contains three items.  There is a small titter from the back of the classroom.  The instructor pauses.  He is aware that his instructional equipment is antiquated, that he is teaching no one anything they do not already know.  He is aware that every student in this fourth-grade class already has bio-implants with capabilities far exceeding anything the school’s computers can do, and every one of them know more about how to use them than he does.  Most of them who care to have already hacked his personal files.  He is aware.

09/02 Direct Link

He hears the clink of the cutlery on the heavy stone wear in the kitchen.  It is followed by a scraping sound, the tines of the fork sliding across the plate surface.  He hears the chair being drawn back across tiles and the plate scraped into the trash and slid heavily into the stainless steel sink.  He wonders over the years how many plates will slide over the bottom of that sink and bounce off it.  It will of course not wear out.  Some bored owner will replace the sink long before it wears out.  It will die of fashion.

09/03 Direct Link

He hears the clink of the cutlery on the heavy stone ware in the kitchen.  He thinks about the word cutlery.  Cut-ler-ee.  He thinks of a knife slipping through a side of beef on a butcher’s slab.  Cutler-ee.  He thinks of his Korean students who do not know what the word means, nor how to pronounce it, even though many of them are better at English than his American college students.  Englishee.  He thinks of swords and those his son has in the armory upstairs.  He thinks of his father and things he makes of steel, copper, wood and brass.

09/04 Direct Link

Daniel comes down and asks me something.  I rearrange the words in my mind and put them in context and interpret for him.   “You want to know if I will drive you to work today or tomorrow.”

“Yes,” he says.  He has some kind of speech disorder that has not been diagnosed for some reason.  I wonder about this.  Is it because Language is my business or I am fussy?  No.  The things he says do not make sense.  Is he speaking a dialect of English that I am just not familiar with?  Maybe.  I need to pay more attention.

09/05 Direct Link

Daniel comes down and asks if I will drive him to work this weekend.  Of course I will.  Almost everyone I mention this to will protest that he is taking advantage of me.  I do not understand.  He is my grandson.  It is a beautiful day for a drive.  I am not busy.  He does not do this very often.  There is a very good chance that when he calls his boss it will be too late and she will not have work for him anyway.  He will be gone again in a few months and I will miss him.

09/06 Direct Link

Out of somewhere I catch a stray odor of coffee, fresh coffee.  I want some.  I want to get up and make a pot of coffee.  Coffee with real cream.  But I have already had coffee today.  More coffee will only complicate my life.  It is already complicated enough.  I think of the stray odor.  It was more of coffee beans, freshly ground.  Has that puff of coffee molecule been floating around my house since I made coffee this morning?  Lurking near my chair to tempt me?  Wait, what’s that?  I smell pancakes.  Fresh pancakes with butter and maple syrup.

09/07 Direct Link

My eldest daughter is in tears.  She is leaving the state, moving to Florida.  She is packing while she manages a throw-away garage sale.  She is in flight.  Running.  She openly admits it.  She thanks me for understanding, for not criticizing her for leaving this way because for god’s sake if anyone seems to need her now it would be me.  We all need to embrace a new future sometimes I tell her.  I remember my own flight from Canada some six years before.  I am thinking now I did not run far enough.  I did not really go anywhere.

09/08 Direct Link

You have a message.  It is going ding ding ding against the dusty bell pan of your skull.  She is not showing up. There is no metaphor in this lifetime in which she shows up.  Envision a new life for yourself and get on with it.  Heap everything into a pile into the back yard, pour kerosene onto it and light it.  Tell yourself whatever you need to tell yourself.  Use your daughter as a fine example and put on a new pair of running shoes and start running.  Take only what you can carry.  Here the well is poison.

09/09 Direct Link

Yes it is a fine thing to resolve to envision and to embrace a new future, but it is a more difficult thing to actually do it.  It is daunting when you know your greatest enemy is your own mind which will not always support you, which like a bad leg will crumple beneath you without notice, which like a badly trained horse will suddenly bolt in the wrong direction, which like a mixed metaphor will cloud your mind and confuse you with multiple images so that you are unable to properly focus on the one that is important.

09/10 Direct Link

I have got Daniel’s cold now.  It has taken about a week for it to pull me down.  Over that week he has gotten much worse.  I think his version is worse than mine which surprises me since he seems so much younger and stronger.  Perhaps it is the smoking compromising his respiratory system, although it seemed to me that when I smoked it killed the colds and they waited around for the periods when I was trying to quit smoking to drag me down.  It was always when I was not smoking and exercising regularly that I got sick.

09/11 Direct Link

Daniel’s father showed up to visit last night.  I was almost sorry I made him come.  He was clearly being torn between three different lives, and none of them was going to show him any mercy.  My son had grown up to become me.  It makes me wonder if my father ever looks at me and feels any empathy.  The whole father son thing is a difficult journey no matter how you take it.  I don’t think I know any fathers who are “naturals” at it.  Even TV dads are learning to be bad as the script writers become better.

09/12 Direct Link

David called. He invited me to join him for dinner in Ann Arbor.  Daniel’s father was a no-show again, so I invited him along.  He was reluctant at first, on the pc with his girlfriend, talking head to talking head, “hello grandpa.”  I talk him into it by telling him David was in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds.”  Turns out this is one of his favorite movies.  What I don’t tell him is that David was an extra for the crowd scene at the end.  I let David sort that out when we get to the restaurant.  Details, Grandpa.

09/13 Direct Link

Well yes, it’s there, acting itself out around the edges of my mind, the mortality play.  It stumbles along the curbs there, where the road crumbles and the grass is not trimmed.  I do not let it occupy main stage very often.  I am familiar with the plot.  I know the lines by heart.  I have seen all the alternative endings, and I know in my old-man way that the real ending, the one you actually get, is always the one you never expected.  For me this is a nearly brutal thought, since I was expecting peace at the least.

09/14 Direct Link

It seems appropriate, given that the assured end is the one I have not anticipated that I should anticipate as many ends as possible.  I should write 100 deaths.  However I am reminded of my series, “100 suicides” which was when I learned I had regular readers and that some of them took me more literally than…well, I was notified by a number of people that my series was disturbing.  So I don’t think I finished the 100 suicides series.  I am not sure how far I would get with the 100 deaths series.  Maybe there are no longer readers.

09/15 Direct Link

This was to have been my day off except that it is not a day off because I have work to do.  Well, it just occurs to me that you are never actually given a day off; you do actually have to take them. 

So how does this scribbling take place when your mind is a blank?  Does this mean you have grown stupid with old age?  Does your desire to sleep all day coincide with a general physical and mental decline that gently lowers you into a low heap of compost to be raked out over a grave plot?

09/16 Direct Link

 

Well yes there are the leaves.  There are always the leaves, the cough cacophony of leaves heaving across the landscape in a swirl of scattered colors.  Every year that I have known, I have known the leaves and the snow and yet I have not known every year and all these years that have come and gone and some have come without leaves.  There are some that will come again without leaves and many more that will come again without my sense of these leaves.  Is that what I will miss most?  The sudden rush of wind through the leaves.  

 

09/17 Direct Link

My son sits on the couch.  Is he wearing khakis?  He is, isn’t he?  He is leaning forward now.  The grandson takes the piano bench.  Well that is how people tend to arrange themselves in here, when they come into this room.  I can predict the arrangements they will fall into in any given room depending on where the first person sits and the order of entry into that room.  There are rules to follow.  I must have been here first, in the recliner facing the window.  I spend a lot of time here, just like my father in that.

09/18 Direct Link

My son sits on the couch.  Is he wearing khakis?  He is, isn’t he?  He is leaning forward now.  The grandson takes the piano bench.  My son is talking to him urgently about his “grounding.”   What does he know about grounding my grandson complains.  He has never grounded anyone.  He is trying to come in here one day every three months and be the dad.  All he does is get in the way when you have to be the real dad the rest of the time.  I have to be careful here.  The situation is not optimum for me either.

09/19 Direct Link

I don’t have to go to the store today.  I could make it another day without picking up that prescription and those garbage bags.  There is even a fair chance that Daniel may wheedle a trip into town out of me when he gets home.  I know he wants to go to the bank and to get some new shoes.  Well he wants many things as we all do and it is wanting that drives us all I suppose.  Perhaps we do not need to check our pulse to see if we are alive, but only whether we still want.

09/20 Direct Link

The clean nose between the blue eyes

makes the long dive without hurry

and he

Does not know

the egg scramble flurry

while a tiny plane repeatedly

Buzzes close over the house

The coffee pot bubbling and

I cannot breathe

I cannot breathe

And the house rots around you

And the house rots around you

Cannot get ANY of this shit into a nursing home

Fuck the eye of a needle

 

There is clarity somewhere outside of all of

This

Nasty chemical pushing and shoving

And hands all over me

Oh a place where eyes look and do not see.

09/21 Direct Link

Well,

he didn’t know, clearly

As he stared down into that

Egg scramble flurry picking out pieces of

ham and wet shroom

wondering if the boy was still sleeping

or if he had actually

finally snuck out sometime during

The morning while he was napping

because

he had been out late…

getting the boy of course.

A school bus grunts by in close formation

 and

I cannot breathe

And the house rots around you.

I laugh at the asshole with his airplane.

He will never get that thing into a

Nursing home.

It will be towed from the parking lot.

 

09/22 Direct Link

A pain shoots through my

Forehead like a bright red handkerchief.

I can hear the constant drone of some

Neighbor’s machinery.

Gathering leaves

Gathering leaves

And the house rots around you as you

Sleep, boy.

 

Yes, it is the season for tree burning and

They are all on fire.

I have seen this all

Before.

Know the way the red bleeds into the

Yellow into the green

Like a blushing wound.

the boy comes down the stairs

fresh from sleep.

What’s up?

I am what, already nine hours into

my day.

but for him they are waiting at the door.

 

09/23 Direct Link

He follows the voices

Out the door

Pheromones and sunlight

And is gone for a long time

Through the eye of a needle

I follow in my mind.

 

He comes back to make arrangements

For the evening.

A homecoming game. 

I am working tonight but he has a ride.

He gets my wallet and we split my money.

Yes, it is the season for tree burning and

They are all on fire.

I have seen this

Before.

Know the way the red bleeds into the

Yellow into the green

Like a blushing wound.

My grandson goes back up the stairs

 

09/24 Direct Link

My phone rings

As the boy paces the

House with a pop tart.

The call is from New York

And I am thinking

It is my daughter, but

There is no connection

Only an attempt.

 

My windows are open

My eyes are closed and I am thinking

My son should be here to watch

The boy.

I am not sure, but that the memory

Of him being drawn out the door

Into the pheromones and sunlight

may pass

through the eye of some needle.

I return the New York call.

Someone wants to give me a quote

For auto insurance. 

 

09/25 Direct Link

It is still judgment time in the morning

This time I spend waiting for a verdict

How am I today?   How will the day go?

It does look like a lovely day out there

But it is still

One of those days when my mind seems to slide

Over things rather than fastening on them

But I have been sleeping a lot lately

MJ may be here

He was sleeping in the family room when

I went to bed but

he would be working now

And

Daniel went home with Tom last night,  but he would be working now too

 

09/26 Direct Link

 

I think MJ left Tyler yesterday. He started thinking, do I want to be "here" five years from now.

She reacted to his thinking by packing his things and setting them in the street. Sometimes a partner can polarize your thinking at a key time. I think she actually wants to keep him. But he is waking up and going through some changes and she has chosen to fight it. And they are changes that could benefit her. Things like better job and career thinking. It is causing her to hang on tighter to the status quo. She is scared.

 

09/27 Direct Link

Sometimes I get a sense of being attached to the children as I watch them moving in and out of my life

As if they were pieces of me sent out into that flux and stream.

I feel oddly multiplied

 Multiplexed

 Connected and re-connected

 As if I am "out there" in a dozen different manifestations sometimes

 And it is exhausting

 Just holding onto the strands

 It had never occurred to me that it would be that way

 

Still remember the first time holding tommy and they poked him with a needle

 And I yelled

 And cried

 I was so startled

09/28 Direct Link

Again with the children

Sometimes even with

Strangers walking the

Road in sunlight I feel

The warmth of the sun

On their shirt and the

Breeze pressing

Small hairs on their face

And neck and a million

Small cries of delight and pain

Passing through their minds

Or even small animals

Chasing one another through

The grass,

I am there

That brain,

That bead of an eye.

A single leaf pulsing on a tree

Passing through to the limbs

Reaching

Resting on the structure

 listening to myself on the radio

 enchanted by the time delay echo

of my own voice.

 

09/29 Direct Link

About the body chemistry

Each one feels a bit different.

I will fix a small freakbast

 and dart my stay.

Two choices

 each lead to two or more

 rapidly expand into

 a thousand possible days

 only one of which I can climb into

if any at all.

 Knees buckle at the weight of a thousand possible days

 trying to carry them all at once

 and not drop a one.

Rather you choose

To thread a needle at a time.

To do only one day.

To not wait outside

With your camel train of a thousand

Fly-blown

Rotting and unspent days.

09/30 Direct Link

Mj is moving in, yes.

He is staying busy

Not thinking about what he is leaving

Because there is pain in that for him

So he is staying busy.

Michal is strong and is becoming father

To Daniel I see and he has the energy for this

And the time for this

And the two of them fall together easily.

There is much synchronicity in this if I let it happen.

There is much to be concerned about if I were to

Allow myself to be concerned, but what I see so far

All seems to accrue to the good.