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I have been four days sick. Outside into the sub-freezing air, I actually feel better. I suck the cold air into my lungs and imagine it is killing the germs there. It is dark out now so I will be sucking in the dark and the dark will in some mysterious way cure me of this cold. I think if I can be sure enough of it I can make it so. Well there are always mysteries and as science says that magic is just an absence of proper science, magic says that science is an absence of proper imagination.
I have the cold. The cold has me. My life has become all about an aching diaphragm and a chapped nose. It is about a waste basket full of tissues, the cough, and burning eyes. It is decisions about which cold medicine to take and considerations that it may be a good thing to cough or to have a runny nose. Why would my body have evolved a runny nose were it not a good thing? It is about being tired, the blessed relief of falling asleep covered with multiple blankets. I can't get warm and I wake up sweating.
I was born on a snowflake farm in Kansas. Or else, they say, on a cloud in the sky. Reaching out as I fell, icy air rushing between my still-damp fingers tumbling from the giddy high space, a crystal wheel spinning end over end over end , the sky passing mother clouds and the moon flying by and I am falling. Falling is me, my arms forming as I slice the air over the woods and the banks of snow. Watch for me. I am coming now, gliding lightly onto some small frozen pond, bumping into my brothers and sisters.
On my back on the ice gazing at the moon mother moon My eyes are cool, clear soaked in blue and I feel the snowflakes fall now against me, my head hard against the iced pond. Thinking makes it so and I stand now crystal skates already on new feet slowly circling, feeling the curved blades bite. I already know this push and lean, the movement now, the edges of the pond flowing by under the pale light, the colors in the darkness and sensation of speed gliding now behind a frozen water fall and out onto the unmarked snow.
This is not a warm mothering night. My son asks for some cold medicine. I give him cold medicine. It is only fair because I have given him the cold. This is how my mind works. Tomorrow I will go buy us both some more cold medicine. This is how the mind works in the temporary being that is me. All beings and objects are temporary. The difference between being and object is life? Like all other assignable qualities "life" quickly reaches a point where we are unable clearly to distinguish a thing as a life form or an object.
I was listening to some singing by the choir of the Mt. Angel Abbey tonight. This kind of music reminds me of the entrails jars at the King Tut exhibit. I saw it years and years ago in Chicago, and I still remember the stains on the stone. There is no warm mother there for me. There is gin. There is also a recently acquired mantra that says, " I am not afraid". I say, "I am not afraid," and I find I have a higher quality of life When I face the stained stone walls I am not afraid.
I sit here in my blue shirt, my feet shoved into shoes. I am only about an hour behind now. Everything I write now reminds me of a series I did several years ago called 100 Suicide Notes. Ok I have typed my 100 words. I could be done, but I want to type something different. I am typing my vision quest...moving along lines way above the water. I am exploring the possibilities in a blank document. And If I stay here long enough I will be granted a vision. I know this is true. it is how it works.
After the shower, there comes a multitude of things. Why did I start after the shower? Why not include the shower. Simply have to start somewhere and I started after the shower. Perhaps that is where my day began thinking about an ESL session on the difference between your left hand and your right hand. How are they the same? How are they different. They are the same in that both have thumbs that point forward and inside. They are different most likely in that one has better fine motor skills than the other. I can obviously teach about anything.
I went out and blew the driveway again today. It wasn't that bad, but it gets worse if you don't keep up with it. It has been snowing sideways most of the day without very much accumulation. Now the legs of my pants are wet of course, from the snow blasted back by the wind. I can feel the dampness creeping up my thighs. It is why I always wear a hat when blowing snow. You always end up throwing it up into the wind at some point and blowback can ice your face pretty quick in almost any temperature.
I will take a free time. I will take a time to write with no burden of having to write anything significant. I will simply give myself to the blank page. It is the hour of fear, and perhaps if I take this free time, the fear will find a new place to feed. This is when I begin to get tired and when the fear comes to feed, but the writing may drive it away. The writing is odd that way. It takes my mind and re-orders it in such a way that the fear cannot take hold easily.
Once again I have forgotten what I was going to write. I think and then it comes back to me. How many poems I have inside me. I wanted to write a poem about the poems coming out and about how I only had so many poems and then I was done. I was also to write a poem about the hollow at the base of the spine, but I had to look up the name for that. I am reminded of some brittle crustacean. Now that I have done that I am too freaked out to write poetry.
I imagine poems
packed tightly inside me
like so many children waiting
to be born,
The final sum already written
in some place too small to be seen.
And as I live I am counting
these children rather than days
because I can lose track of a thing as
simple as a day.
Looking ahead to the possibility
Each day that passes without giving birth
is one more poem denied a life.
and so I guide them one at a time
through the clanking clatter of wheels and gears
and I lift them
into the shout
Jollife lay his phone on the side of the Kleenex box. He was briefly aware that the platform was not too steady and his phone could be pitched off onto the floor. A bad cell phone was one more thing he did not need today. He had wrecked his car on the way to work and the crash was bad enough that his laptop had been destroyed. He himself was still sore in a number of places although the emergency team had pronounced him fit to be released. He had briefly wondered about whether he should to go to work.
He reasoned he would be sore for a number of days to come, He finally made it to work, only six hours late. Six hours and no computer. They would bring him a new one, that was not the same thing. There would be programs and data to load. He wondered whether the bruises would go away before the pain of the new computer went away. Then there was the other thing. A passenger jet landing two hours before he arrived had dumped a body out of the wheel well. The jet of course had then run over the body.
He had spent his first 90 minutes on the phone to the Airport in Manila. The investigation was off to a stuttering start. The officials on that end of the line were just not as concerned about a hopeful stowaway as he was. Certainly it was a matter for investigation, but there were thousands of desperate people who wanted only a chance to start anew in the United states. Of course they would investigate, but could he not understand they had other important matters to attend to? But he had to go. Three FBI agents were in his waiting room.
He watched the car leaving thinking he was only a little jittery. The visit had gone better than he had expected. He had worried too much about it. He had always heard that other people were too wrapped up in their own lives to pay any real attention to yours. He guessed that maybe this was so, even for the twins. He had been afraid they would react to his Spartan lifestyle and his obvious lack of cash but they seemed not to notice. They had only made one reference to the small house and it was a positive one.
It is a place on your back
nestled deep in the lower curve,
the depression in skin
my fingers moving
down into the tender valley
and following the spinal ripples there.
Here knuckles press and I can
feel a latch give way
hear the rumble of the machinery
see the opening hardwood door
where the wind steps in
My eyes slip up the slope to where the
grass grows, feathering to the breeze
and the sun stares hot
down on me.
It is quiet
I bend over against the incline to climb
up and over your side.
Well here it is, Wednesday and I am sitting in my Brother-in-law's chair with cold feet. I think I have cold feet both in the literal, physical sense and in the metaphorical sense, although I have never really been able to make the connection between being reluctant to do something and having cold feet. Perhaps it is a reference to dancing and someone declines an offer to dance pleading cold feet. It gets picked up. People with warmer feet run with it. This is how the language changes. I wonder how many phrases I may have introduced into the language.
My sister is sitting next to me. She is wearing socks and house shoes. I have on my street shoes and I wonder if perhaps I should take them off. Of course she would never say anything and I continue to wear street shoes in her house because nothing gets said. I could ask, but she is reading happily just now and I wouldn't want to disturb her. She is one of those women who keep a neat house and I visit just to mess it up it seems. There must be some acceptable way I can balance this equation.
She has had surgery recently and has lost weight. She is also looking older and this is one of the things that bother me about visiting home. It is as if I were checking in with the grim reaper. My mother looks older. My father looks older and even my little sister looks older. To make matters worse, both she and her daughter work in health care with older patients and I get to hear all the stories. They have macabre senses of humor. I just listen to them and cringe. It seems the aging is worse than the dying.
I go with my mother to the Post Office. She drives. She is 90 year old now and drives fairly well. She arguably drives better than I do because I have totaled most of the cars I have ever owned. I don't think she has ever had an accident. She knows where all the potholes are and expertly dodges them. She squires her 1982 Buick around town cautiously, asking me if I want to drive. I decline. The car doesn't have a scratch on it and I don't want to be the first to add one to its pristine paint.
This cannot possibly be a poem There is nothing in it that can become poem. It refuses to sprout in this barren rusty bucket stagnant leaf scratched-over farmyard. The pain that lived in that house: What did she think while the sun was shining while the grass refused to grow while the chickens were scratching and moaning in a dusty front yard where the mud had baked into the steps and the foundation and you could not tell where one stopped and the other began? Where inside an old manís eyes flickered from deep in the darkness of his bed.
Light and darkness.
A sense of things
passes on the road.
You are the light and
I feel the sun splitting me open,
my brain on fire,
spitting, sparking, and sizzling while
darkness feeds at the window,
covering this rite
under flamenco, passion, and soul.
Your whisper comes urgent
at my ear,
"Are we dancing?"
I have your dress
on the floor,
our bodies old
as gulps of air searing
muscles deliberate with
tease and roll.
You turning slippery,
This has an ending;
pulling bits of insulation out of your hair.
Oh hell it is a day like any other except that I have been toying with concepts of quantum mechanics, particularly with reference to meditation. I have read elsewhere that the brain is a quantum computer. Some writers mention that the sense of smell is based on quantum states of matter and I remember Vivekananda writing on meditation and smell. I think about the nature of seeing and I realize that there is not anything in here to solve the death question. It makes life more interesting however and it throws a whole bunch of new unknowns into the equation.
It is a day like any other. Well not exactly like any other. It is a day similar to any other in certain respects and perhaps it is like that in too many respects. I have high expectations and one demands that each day be unique and excellent unto itself. You would not have to think about this very long before you realized that you want some uniformity to your days, particularly when it comes to expectations, because it is the uniformity of days one to the other that allows us to move ahead at all, to get things done.
Siri thinks that I can talk on the smart phone while I walk looking as if I am not if I wear the new hands free. She seems to have been correct as I stand on the balcony looking out over Parking Lot C, as I stand and look out over paved fantasy. I'm glad to meet you here. We have much to talk about. Be careful there where you walk. The floor is covered with tomatoes. After everyone walks across the tomatoes I will have to mop. It will be interesting to see how many tomatoes will be left.
There is a bucket of roses by the door. It is a green bucket filled half way up with water and the roses stay there all day with all their peculiar thorns. Someone must put them there, must maintain this bucket of roses, but I never see anyone near it, never see anyone touch a rose. It seems that in this life we are given so many buckets of roses and we are expected to do something with or about them. Initially we are given to know nothing about our roses. We may not even be familiar with roses themselves.
How did I get six days behind? How can my day have so many hours in it? Questions. Questions. I am sure I have answers. I had answers. I put them somewhere. I did that to my coffee this morning. I took it with me up to my bedroom for a change of socks and left it in the master bath. It wasn't until I started a fresh pot that I remembered where I had put it. Sometimes I think I drink too much coffee, but if some recent studies are to be believed you cannot drink too much coffee.
There is an orange glow in the corner of my window. It is a lamp attached to the garage over that way. I saw him this morning, unlimbering his snow blower. We all have snow blowers. Even I have one. I used to have a little electric that had been bashed up pretty badly. Recently I bought a gasoline model, a Toro, from a friend. I think she paid over twice what she charged me for it and had used it maybe twice herself. It is a nice little machine and has electric start which I use once a year.
"What is it? Are you saying you are afraid?"
"I'd have to be an idiot if I didn't have some apprehension."
"But we have sent animals through and retrieved them successfully."
"We don't know what happened to them. We don't know that the animal that came back was the same animal that left."
"They are genetically identical."
"That doesn't mean anything and you know it."
"Perhaps you would like to talk to a priest?"
"I don't think so. I just don't think you have any useful answers to my questions."
"Nobody, but you are the one asking questions."
We crawl on our bellies up to the crest Keeping our heads low we rise up enough to see the herd picnicking below us. it's the words! We have been tracking them for days. It is exhilarating to see them up close for the first time. We are careful not to alarm them. They normally have a keen sense of our presence, but today the picnic has them excited. We face the usual dilemma: counting them shows the herd to be 105 at this time. You take a handful of small punctuation marks and slowly skirt north of the herd.
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