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BY Michael

12/01 Direct Link
It is 8:02 PM. To the numbers. I always seem to be tied to the numbers, numbers of one kind or another. I have often thought I should turn my life around and go to the numbers, but life is like a train and a long life is like a long train. It takes a lot of track to turn a long train around. It take a circle with a lot of circumference: Dxpi. and so often we continue doing whatever we have started doing even though it may have been a decision at some point made almost at random.
12/02 Direct Link
It is another day, December 2. And with December comes the weight of Christmas. Oh maybe not on December first or second, but it is already there, squaring up its wreath-covered snowy back, shaking it off. We are on our way there and how many times we have been there and in how many ways because each person does experience Christmas in his or her own way and because there is some uncertain pressure to experience it. It is almost your last chance gone wrong, delivered next door and you are discovered, barefoot on the ice running to catch up.
12/03 Direct Link
Well I haven't had my second Ativan yet today. I could do that if I wanted. I am not sure. Ok, put that thought on hold for a while. I realize I don't know where the "hold" area is. It may not be important, the hold area. If the Ativan is needed, it will come up again. I don't have to worry about it. If it comes up again I will take it, regardless of whether it is the second or the sixth of the day. There is no sense in being uncomfortable if I do not need to be.
12/04 Direct Link
So I apparently have some time to myself here. I don't know how much time. That is the problem with house guests. You have to figure out where your responsibilities begin and end. At least I do. Some people are born knowing these things or they are otherwise trained to know these things. I have to think my way through many of the social conventions simply because my parents were not very social and therefore did not teach me to be social. I suppose I could learn to be social, but there is that awkward bit of anxiety to overcome.
12/05 Direct Link
I get distracted. I think it is the music. I was listening to music. I am listening to music, but the reproduction software was not behaving properly. There was a point in my life where music stopped being hardware and started becoming software. But the natural state of music is software in the first place. Oh I was distracted. There are a number of things on my mind. Most of them are not important in the long run or even the short run. None of them are important in the very long run. That is just the way things are.
12/06 Direct Link
My mind is taken up by things, little brightly colored blocks, by little tasks I could be doing and none of them have anything to do with writing. What I do now has nothing to do with writing. What does have to do with writing? What is writing? What is not writing? I do not know. Books have been written about writing. I have read books about writing and still I do not know what it is. In fact I venture to say that the more books that are written about a subject, the less we know about that subject.
12/07 Direct Link
The sky is a smoky grey outside. It might even be cold. In fact someone at some point today said something about the cold. I was out earlier but I didn't notice the temperature. I did not notice the wind or any little shells of ice over depressions in the ground. Last night I noticed the lake surface roughed up with a kind of soft ice. But even last night did not seem to be very cold. The temperature has to be very cold before I will notice it as being cold. It is just another way that things are.
12/08 Direct Link
Here I am a maniac typing out things and sending them to you. You have brought this on yourself. In my panic I grab sweeping armfuls of stuff around me and describe it here so that -- what? I am not sure. I am rarely sure before the fact. After the fact I find that it has made sense. It is very much as if there is another part to my brain that knows where it is going when I set out here. It knows what it needs and this is the only way it has of achieving its end.
12/09 Direct Link
It is a heavy quiet day

in a series of

similar days

that seem to be measured

by the amount of moisture

on my face.



I have put laundry in the machine and

I understand that nothing happens,

nothing is real unless I

write it down.

So I write

it down there,

carefully outlining my

naked foot against the

gray-painted floor,

cold in concrete.



Next to the foot

I scribe a word:

black and aromatic: Cronus.

I can barely breathe.

I am looking up

leaning on one hand

to catch

a breath of light.

The air is filled with fire.

12/10 Direct Link
I was braiding words into your hair

putting them like putty into your

eyes and mouth.



You giggled,

trying to remain still

as I carefully wrote a line

along your collarbone.



The pen glowed against your skin

pressing a valley,

the walls shimmering

around pools of ink



I wrote over your breasts,

something about green things sprouting

from the rocker panels of junked cars.



Yes, I am within

concentric circles

of areolas

making tiny feet with

big toes

until

fully drawn

I rise up walking across a soft

and belly sweet

tabernacle dome



as ripe sun falls through the trees
12/11 Direct Link
As the sun fruit drops between the trees, and the dusk quietly coats I am drawing up descriptions metaphors and memories. I am dropping new situations and little wind-up toys. haphazardly into this uncertain light and bending over the spring earth my knees dark from my work: planting participles, verbs and nouns. I am drawing in a crowd like one of those sidewalk artists watching those words spread like ink poured on a thirsty groin. I am watching it flood molding it as it grows, puddling up around trees creeping up the side of a house slipping through the windows.
12/12 Direct Link
Doing the 9 o'clock things. Doing things that get done at 9 o'clock. I wonder if I turned on the heat to the mattress pad when I was up there. I should go check but I can spend the entire evening going to check things. It is not that important to have the heat turned on when I go to bed. It is nice. I don't think I did turn it on. I fiddled with the notebook instead. Sometimes I sleep in a t-shirt if I am feeling cold. Sometimes I do if I am just feeling a little overwhelmed.
12/13 Direct Link
It is rare that I sit down to write

without feeling some

apprehension.

But there is also excitement.

I am taking

a blind break shot

and never know

when the ball will leap off the table

and roll across the floor.



Even when

someone has called out,

"Do a monkey!"

and I become the balloon man at

some private carnival drawing yet another

balloon to life to fold squeaking into

this or that creature.



Sometimes I protest that

it simply does not work that way.

But fact is that sometimes it does.

Some poems are written in a single day.

12/14 Direct Link
I think that to me hazel

is the small brown filbert

my father took me to the woods to gather

every year in the fall

when I was small and the

woods were the other side of my world.



Hazel is brown, like the earth

and has the strong sweet smell of a gunny sack.

Hazel is the sun going down cold through

the bare trees as we climbed another fence

to get home.



I know hazel is also green.

It is the moving green of a hedge apple,

of the black walnut hull before

it dreams it is black.

12/15 Direct Link
Yes in my mind hazel shifts into

that darker brown,

that smooth walnut slab that covers most of the buckeye.



But Hazel is meant to be green

the hazel of late summer lawns.



Hazel eyes are staring straight

through you,

lofted out over the horizon.

or pressed into a mirror.

Shifting, they are following the gentle taper of a custom stick.

They may be lying, crying or

simply smiling

still moving straight ahead

looking where they are going

while they snag from

the corner of a quick bank shot.



Look quickly because

now they are gone

and you are not.
12/16 Direct Link
I realize now that I have lost

my way here.

I was dropping seeds

not caring how fertile the ground,

or even what season.

I was just

scattering handfuls in the mud,

in coffee cans,

on the highways, sidewalks,

out back and in town.

I was braiding words into your hair

putting them like putty into your eyes and

in your mouth.



And you giggled

while trying to remain still

as I carefully wrote a line

along your collarbone:



The pen glows against your skin

pressing a valley

the walls shimmering

drops fall ancient

into a dark pool of ink.
12/17 Direct Link
And I sharpie over your breasts,
something about green things sprouting
from the rusting sway-backed
rocker panels of junked cars.

Yes, I am making
concentric circles
on perfect areolas,
drawing tiny feet with
big toes
until
fully drawn,
I rise up walking across a soft
and belly sweet
tabernacle dome.

As the sun falls down through the trees
I'm waiting to see
what comes from your lips when
the words begin to sprout.
what kind of fluff breaks free and
holds sail to the wind,
dropping its own children who are
already
Running laughing with light feet on the ground.
12/18 Direct Link
Already in morning dew
New shoots are pressing aside older leaves.

Descriptions,
Metaphors and memories
Oh they pull like love from me.
Dropping situations like little
Wind-up toys
Replanting,
Tiling the soil
Bending over in the spring sun
My knees dark and chilled from the earth.
Planting participles, verbs, and nouns.

Drawing in a crowd
like the sidewalk poet
watching these words spread like
a colorful mold across the yard,
Ink poured on a thirsty groin,
See it runs in all
directions
It grows, puddles up around trees
creeps up the side of that house
curious fires glowing
warm inside.
12/19 Direct Link
I scheduled a small amount of time here to see what may be lurking in my oil can brain. I wish to see whether there is oil in the can or if it is a dusty, empty can forgotten on the shelf. If I am correct in my thinking, I don't need to come here with a specific purpose. I can bring a purpose if I wish, but I can also come with a blank slate trusting that the slate will fill itself or at least that part of my mind which excels at slate filling will go to work.
12/20 Direct Link
I don't know if it matters that I am tired. Perhaps I won't be able to write. Perhaps the writing will give me energy. It seems odd to me as I think about it that I don't know whether I write better when I am tired or sleepy or whether I write better in the morning or in the evening. It does seem to matter whether there is music. Well I don't know. I know that I like music. I know that I like it well enough to lie to myself about its effects so that I can have it.
12/21 Direct Link
My phone reminds me of my father. I have started taking my recorded books on the phone and am no longer using the iPod. I could load books up on it and give it to my father. He would like that. However It would be terrible because he would complain that the headphones were not good enough. He would complain that he could not see the iPod. All of that he would complain about and that would in general make me miserable. I think I will try anyway. It might be worthwhile. If I could just get past his complaining.
12/22 Direct Link
I had made a list of things to do today. I have done three of the things on the list. I am good at doing the list. I slow down now. I am feeling sleepy again. My teeth are not meeting properly. I can feel them wearing down, can feel the roots ache as I move them around in my mouth. I wonder how large carnivorous animals feel about their teeth. Do they feel their teeth? I remember when MJ knocked out the dogs teeth with the ball bat. I watched it happen. I am sure it was an accident.
12/23 Direct Link
I lost it. It started and then it split into three things and I tried something else which I accidentally erased. I can still see its shape slowly drifting away from me. With some work I could reconstruct it. There is some purple in the sky now. There was not purple in the sky when I began writing and that is already making a difference. The sun was going down then and it was gold. Yes, there was a hint of gold in the air and it was touching everything. And that has now turned to a hint of lavender.
12/24 Direct Link
It is the morning of Christmas eve
I am in my pajamas
flannel on the floor in the kitchen
as my mother balances a drip pan over me.
She is opening the oven and I am in the way.
"Go find your sister," She says.

If I ask they will say Santa will come.
And my brain splits into two conflicting pieces
on that topic, cleaving Santa as neatly
as a turkey wishbone.

I really want to be Santa
when I grow up.
I am even ready to slide down the chimney
though the dark sooty bricks scare me so.
12/25 Direct Link
It happened last night while I was sleeping,
happened again for time folded into time
on the roof
the flagpole cold steel runners
sliding along the skiff of snow
grinding against frozen shingles.

The reindeer there as if they had always been
breathing rolling clouds of winter air
thin, sparkling under the moon.

They say there is a movement from the sleigh
but I heard it not,
only flashing in my mind to the chubby sack
laid out like a blanket in the living room
and he was actually taking his time.
You would have thought he had all night.
12/26 Direct Link
The water had weight. it was wild water, cold and tinted green. I heard it filing my ears as I ducked beneath the surface. I could see the sudden swirl of tiny motes of particles and small leaves, a piece of branch caught in the sunlight, and another with a small wild cherry still stuck on one end. As I descended the sunlight became uncertain while the water seemed to clear. It was hard to tell though because all I could see was the water stretching green all around me and swallowed by an ever darker green as it deepened.
12/27 Direct Link
My children came for Christmas in a complex chronology, toppling over one another. I think Tom and Heather came in from the UK first, bringing Tommy Junior, their five-month old. It seems like they got sick right away. Then I got sick. They took the second bedroom, or the third. Perhaps it was the third. They stayed a week and then left for Florida for a week to visit Heather's mother. There was a period of time there when I wasn't sick and no one was here but Michael Jr. and Heather. They are generally always here, invisibly it seems.
12/28 Direct Link
Daughter Amanda showed up with her fiancÚ Ben about the time Tom and Heather came back from Florida. They went into the fourth bedroom, although there was some confusion as we tried to explain to them which bedroom they did, in fact, have. They came with their two dogs, Bane and the other dog whose name I cannot remember. I am trying to remember, hearing Ben calling his name, hearing Amanda, but all I can remember is them calling Bane because Bane was the dog with all the energy, the one who scooped the box of cream off the counter.
12/29 Direct Link
There was one evening when Tom, Heather, Tommy Jr., Amanda and Ben were all in the living room at once. There were three laptops in use and I remember thinking it was interesting that they were not on smart phones. They were talking about computer games and about books. They had dragged books out all over the floor. Someone said that all my kids turned out to be geeks. Tommy Junior was on a baby blanket learning to crawl. He alternated this with being passed around among us, reaching out for the next pair of hands, standing wobbly in laps.
12/30 Direct Link
Heather was teasing Amanda that we needed a little girl. Amanda seems apprehensive about this. I don't blame her. I would be apprehensive about it were I a woman. She and Ben have been together for about seven years and are scheduled to get married this summer in a ceremony at Yosemite. They are talking about sneaking off for an early wedding though. I am watching Amanda the next day at the grocery store. I have always seen her in my mind as a little girl, but I see now that she is a woman, taking up a woman's space.
12/31 Direct Link
They all left on the same day, all but Michael Jr. and Lilly who will be here for a while yet. It seems that Michael and Lilly were working most of the time the others were here and they didn't find much time to mingle. Tom and Heather had gone to Ohio to show off the baby to my family there and Amanda and Ben left in the early afternoon. Jennifer, my other daughter had called from Florida twice, talking to me for about 90 minutes one time and talking to Amanda for about a half hour the second time.