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BY Michael

12/01 Direct Link

Chaos is an easily detected. thing.  We have had rain and I can smell the bad water sitting in the gutters on the roof.  I have had my testing moved out until next week.  I crashed during testing this morning.  They gave me a timed test, something with a bunch of mechanical/physics questions on it—very 1950-ish.  I handed it in before the time was up and the woman gave me a list of occupations, several pages—again very 1950-ish—to go through and pick out…preferences.  I froze.  I cried.  They sent me home to come back and try again. 

12/02 Direct Link

That was the short version of the story.  I am not sure about the long version.  I had fifteen days of relative stability, so I have done well.  I have been a little short on sleep and was having trouble this morning.  I woke up afraid; but I don’t remember what it was about.  It seems that this place has a double diagnosis written down for me.  They seem to specialize in working with mentally ill people.  Everything is mentally ill this and mentally ill that. They are very hard-lined about the fact that you are and they are not.

12/03 Direct Link

A pretty young girl, possibly retarded, chases me down the hall telling everyone I am her boyfriend.  She stops me and we shake hands.  She tells me her name, which I cannot remember, of course, and I tell her mine.   She has lovely eyes and is ageless.  She seems nice, but is very forward. This makes me nervous.  Her mind seems laid out in front of me.  I can read every thought.  She turns to someone else saying I am her boyfriend, and a worker takes her away.  She is very insistent about our “relationship.”  I never see her again.  

12/04 Direct Link

This morning I can’t get off the train.  I hold a tablet out the window and write on that.  It does not matter so much that the script is not neat; I usually cannot read my own writing anyway.  I am slow.  Someone passes down the aisle.  I turn my head to follow them.  It is a woman in a grey business suit.  She passes into the next car.  I watch where she has gone, my eyelids getting heavy and closing.  I can feel the wind from the open window against my face, can feel the moisture in it.  I can hear paper rippling in the wind.  My head is dipping.  I can feel the weight of my arms against the open window.  I am supposed to be doing something.  The stick pen has slipped from my fingers.

12/05 Direct Link

Am I dreaming what I seem to be doing?    This seems so unlikely of me who tries to multi-task whenever possible, listening to books on tape while driving, watching movies while exercising, and so on.  The crone asked me today if I wanted to go to work and then she asked why I wanted to go to work.  This confused me a bit.  It is more that I have decided to try this thing.  I think it will help me avoid the conductor. I can stay off the train.  I can be at work and watch the train roll by. 

12/06 Direct Link

Sometimes She sits on the couch and speculates about what I am.  She proposes diagnoses for me.  She does not come up with any I have not already heard.  The ones the docs passed recently were Bi-Polar and Anxiety disorder.  In the past few years, the seizure disorder has been replaced by the anxiety disorder.  Personally, I think they should just say, “He has the twitch. He has been struck by lightning for ignoring his destiny so many times that he now has the twitch and constantly expects to be struck by lightning.  He is afraid to move at all.”

12/07 Direct Link

The train pulls into the station in the dark.  It is cold and foggy and the steam swirls around.  I am there with my mother and father.  I am taken by the size of the steam engine.  This must have been one of the last steam engines in commercial passenger use.  I am guessing the date to be around 1954. I remember jumping up on the coupling between the cars, holding tight to the cold iron.  The conductor and my father were laughing.  “You don’t have to sit there, son.  We have a place for you inside.”  The conductor said. 

12/08 Direct Link

Grey sky, winter sky,

moon sky in the morning.

This sky hides her face

and will not whisper this way.

Like an angry wife she walks

beside us

in silence.

we can fall into a hole

or walk off a cliff

but her face will not change.

 

She will follow us

with heavy air

making the sweat flow

down our backs.

our brains will itch inside

So that we forget to

rest,

forget to hunt.

 

Instead we break like

rotting sticks throwing ourselves

at her feet

begging for a breeze

asking that she will

kiss us with a star

This very night.

12/09 Direct Link

My mother and I took the train south to visit my grandmother in Kentucky.  The train came out of the fog in the night from the south, heading north.  We must have turned around in the night.   My father would, after a week without my mother, get into his car, a 1935 Ford, and drive all night to come retrieve us.  I understand what he was feeling, the urge pulling the car forward.  This was before the super-highways.  This was a 50-years-ago car without disc brakes navigating hair-pin two-lane Appalachian roads in the night with ancient logging trucks rattling by. 

 

12/10 Direct Link

My father bought the ’35 Ford from Tony Neisse for a hundred bucks.  It had a rod knocking.  Cars were still hard to come by then because of the recent war.  He had it towed to City Garage and told them to fix whatever was wrong with it and he drove it for years.  He sold it several times, buying other Fords, but kept buying it back until one day two weeks after selling it, he was sitting at Earl Pence’s Service station and he saw it come in on a wrecker totaled.  Soon after, he discovered the ’56 Chevy.

12/11 Direct Link

But now my father is driving the ’35 Ford across the Ohio River.  He has just turned 32.  He has been married six years.  He has two children, and has lost a daughter to Spina Bifida after a 3-year fight.  Some part of him will never again be right from that.  He is driving to Kentucky for   the woman he loves because he cannot be away from her any longer.   It is that simple for him.  This truth will twist him many ways for the rest of his life, but it will remain his truth until the day he dies. 

12/12 Direct Link

I’m shampooing carpets.  Winter is actually a good time for this because they dry quickly, and the extra humidity always helps.  One wet carpet will drive the humidity up to 50% for most of the house.  I did the living room and then bought a couple area rugs to protect the high traffic areas.  The first pass with the carpet machine is always gratifying; you get very dirty water.    As the water evaporates, it carries dirt from the base of the carpet to the top. So it takes 20 -40 passes over a week to really get a carpet clean.

12/13 Direct Link
I am scared that I will be struck down by the hairy ass blindness of god’s stinking fist again if I try to go the wrong way on his fucking road to Damascus again. Please don’t tell God that I am not writing. I simply cannot take any more of this punishment. I will become whatever he wants me to be. I will preach hairy ass swinging dick Krishna with an AR 15 from the village tower if that is what he wants. Just don’t let him pull another strike-you-down-dead-in-the-road-white-boy. I will write. I will write my fucking ass off.
12/14 Direct Link
I remember the factory. The work there soothed my mind; the Tao of the grease I used to call it as I moved the white grease around the silver shafts, watching it flow in a perfect path that I almost guided with my mind. I realize that this particular sense of guiding the grease was a way of being in the world, a way of being in the present. One who is actively guiding the unrolling of the Present cannot be obsessed with the past or future. One who is riding the Tao of the grease cannot be an anxiety freak.
12/15 Direct Link
Michael’s friend came to plow the snow out of the driveway. It had been snowing for two days now and the wind heaves chunks off the trees across the lawn. “Your dad already shoveled it again,” he complains. I didn’t know who it was when he began his first run up the hill. I have an electric snow blower and I had left the cord in the driveway. “Who the hell is that?” I ranted, running out of the house. But he was already moving the cord. He insisted on plowing it again anyway. He’s having great fun out there.
12/16 Direct Link
Airports seem to be the loneliest places.

In that spew of hurried humanity

I stand outside the crowd and

watch for you.

I don’t think there is anything I can

do to

fix this, nor do I particularly want to.

This ache is all I have to remember you.

so I cling to it as if it were my tomorrow

and not my guarantee of

no tomorrow.



I do little things to

Help myself.

I do not

For example

Write any more poems

To, about, or for you.

I no longer write you

Letters.

None anyway since

The last one.

12/17 Direct Link
A bicycle hangs by its rear tire in my garage. It’s slung on a large red hook gaffed through the spokes. I think the hook is loose. I’ve seen it wobble, and when you brush by closely it swings, lifting its head, neck stiff already from this, to see the spinning of the damp and oil-stained floor below. It can feel the hook grinding out of the plaster and wood, can feel it through its ankles, and it catches its breath with each swing, imagining the sudden plunge and the bash of the hard concrete below rushing through its soul.
12/18 Direct Link
The downtown church has forgotten
12/19 Direct Link
The Poetry Well



Now sleepy, now thinking

thinking I may as well go quiet,

but the poet wants to go into the dark riot,

to draw down into the poetry well tonight.



Flinching as the bucket slaps the water's cheek,

where even now I can see my eyes

dashed against the dome of sky,

already pulling over to scoop liquid to light,



And as my mind moves down,

I draw with a new and clear thirst

the quick bright hummingbirds on the lawn,

the warm sun on my jaw,



And I may as well

seep into the poetry well tonight.

12/20 Direct Link
A bee drowns in a dream of sun.

It pierces his eyes, splashing yellow.

Drowning in the drone,

the grass flowing like a river,

the hardened long dark roads

his belly hung below.



A bee dreams of heavy heads

drunk with nectar.

He dreams of cold clear skies

with stars that move slowly

keeping time from generation to generation.

He remembers his mother’s dreams.



A bee dreams of the float,

the splash of earth so far below,

the crush and light weariness of the long flight,

the scent of the run,

the wild ecstasy of the honey dance,

the queen.
12/21 Direct Link
You intrude. I am so tired of your relentless garble, your presentation of ossified social necessity. If it is true, why do you … Well I suppose it is no good to you otherwise. So were it true or were it not You would be the same. It is a faux truth. It is simply other and it is as brittle and unkind as the shaggy man reaching up from the boarded, frozen doorway, of the naked baby in paradise whose sick mother cannot feed her. You imagine you are warm that you are fed. that you have a life.
12/22 Direct Link
White quiet Covers the pond. Beneath they are held motionless cold bands slipping behind their eyes. Do I hit enter everytime I run out of breath? Am I writing shorter lines because the days have grown so short and like them I am barely moving? I could throw a hot iron out on the ice that would steam and snort and smell of burning laundry until it plunged into the muddy heart of the pond and there glowed spicy orange bringing the pool back to life. The colors and the damp life would leap out to sizzle in the snow.
12/23 Direct Link
White quiet covered the bed where I lay hiding from the cold while the party continues down the stairs. There the tables are nailed to the floor by the weight Of food swimming in oil and starch and the bodies pumped to bursting by comfort and joy. Our wives and mothers beg: This is my body Which is broken for you Eat this; Prove you love me. The bloated lovers and children Litter the rooms While I cover my ears so I cannot Hear their screams for magic ponies I cannot go down the stairs because I am white quiet.
12/24 Direct Link
In a cloud garden the stems are not strong. They are to keep the cloud from flying away rather than to lift it up. Eventually the clouds will grow strong enough to break the stems and drift off into the sky on their own. The clouds seem to wait and lift as a group, so it is quite a sight to see a dozen lifting one after the other, gaining in size as they move into the lighter air. It is as if they are shy to go, but encouraged by the first, another will step out, and then another.
12/25 Direct Link
This vacuum tube is special. It was dug up on the moon. Apparently some sort of power tetrode, it was recovered with some soil samples. While it is similar in design to some terrestrial models, it is not a recognizable product from a domestic factory. It seems to have been designed for a transmitter, but there was nothing with it; just the damn tube. While there are some advantages of tubes over solid state devices, they are not normally associated with advanced technology and certainly with advanced space traveling species. The tube also appears to be unused, perhaps a spare?
12/26 Direct Link
It is Sunday, which means I have to prep for teaching in the morning. I have run out of “lesson plans” for my students so I will have to write a couple new ones. I have some ideas already, so I should be ok. It is not like when I run out of lesson plans and ideas at the same time. Then I am stuck for it. Actually, the way the job is structured, I should not have to do this at all, but when the student shows up unprepared, it is difficult to move forward without a discussion outline.
12/27 Direct Link
It is snowing. I am sleepy again. I can only assume I spend most of the day in a state of sleepy, only noticing it when I slow down enough for it to catch up to me, to slip its arms around me and haul me down. Oh yes. There is nothing wrong with this. Unless there is something wrong with this. I take off my watch because somehow I do not want to be encumbered by my watch should I slip into sleep land. This is important and I don’t know why. There are times when this is important.
12/28 Direct Link
I make coffee at 5 in the evening. It is safe I reason. It is early enough that it will not interrupt my sleep. Surely five hours will be enough time for the coffee to wear off? I could look this up on Google, on the internet. We have so much knowledge at our fingertips now, our minds expanded by so much and, despite our concerns for its veracity, this knowledge is much better than we give it credit for being. Consider in comparison the native knowledge we carry around with us and hold so dear. How accurate is that?
12/29 Direct Link
I looked up the coffee question on the internet and I got answers between 2 and 12 hours or more depending on many things including your age, sex, whether you are pregnant and whether you smoke. The average thinking seemed to be five to six hours, which explains why people feel the need for an afternoon boost at work, unless it is just the blood rush to their stomach to digest their lunch. What does this mean for me and my 5 pm cup of coffee? It means I should not stretch it into a cup and a half at six.
12/30 Direct Link
100Worlds-18

The night crept in on

cardboard box feet,

They were angular and awkward,

like performing drunks on stilts,

swaying backward

catching,

swooning dangerously to the right and

coming back up.

The boxes clomp,

corner to corner,

spanning streets

yet this night is careful to

not misstep,

to touch a life,

or to take out a deck

or doghouse.

One whiskered old fellow peers

ahead into the dusk,

with the stars hanging

heavy and damp on his back.

His flaps wave like unbuckled boot tops.

Tape dangles and catches.

The bottoms are soaking with snow

and beginning to come apart.
12/31 Direct Link
I celebrated the unusually cold weather with two bean and cheese burritos that had been in the freezer for a long time. I microwaved them to perfection, mouth burning in places and still frozen in others, slathered them in medium salsa left over from Christmas and consumed them gingerly. It is dark outside but unusually clear. I can see people moving about in other houses. That only happens once or twice a year. Perhaps it is that my vision is that clear only once or twice a year. Bean and cheese burritos must be very good for my insulin levels.