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BY Michael

07/01 Direct Link
“Did you turn off the gas?”

“What gas? Was I supposed to do something?

“The gas on the stove. Did you remember to douse it before coming to bed?”

“I’m sure I didn’t have it on.”

“We might suffocate. I don’t want to wake up dead.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I don’t want to wake up dead.”

“There’s a pilot. The pilot will take care of it.”

But the skillet. There was a skillet. It might burn.”

“I wasn’t even cooking. Were you?”

“No.”

“So, what’s the difference? What’s to worry about?”

“The gas. I’m worried about the gas.”
07/02 Direct Link
In a pit. There’s no other way to describe it. Now (always now whenever he comes to interrupt, to explain, to show off, to admire himself. It always has to be now. He cannot wait. He has no patience, no awareness of anything but himself.) Now, oh now (and it always has been now, that’s all he knows. Poor devil, stuck in the now like that. Suppose it’s enough to drive anyone to ink.) Now as I feel the electric function climb my spine. Now while my eyes tear at the spontaneous overflow of chills and sweat. Now it forms.
07/03 Direct Link
Now it forms. Now the first letter forms itself very slowly as the first strokes in a carefully planned painting. Now they glide across the first line and I see the characters emerging from the longhand, alien as they were when I first saw them in whatever grade of school they first show children those things. It was definitely a pit, although as far as pits go it could have been much worse. Historically there have been. Relax a minute. Think about pits. Let me drop some names, Milton, Poe. No this pit was rather slow when compared to those.
07/04 Direct Link
An antelope asked a very angry question. Actually it was unusual for an Antelope to ask a question at all. There are no recorded instances of antelopes asking questions. I know this to be fact because I Googled it and was able to find no mention of such a thing. There was, however, one question about how to spot a bad roommate before moving it. This could well be a question asked by an antelope, but it did not seem to be the case. Indeed, it could be a question asked by anyone. It could very well have been me.
07/05 Direct Link
Beer battered bees can make good pets. Well, that is how this paragraph starts, and it presumes to start an argument. It makes a strong statement and this is what Sheridan Baker said to do in his book. It was a book about expository writing, although I forget the title just now. All I can think of is "The Elements of Style." I know that that was not the title of Sheridan's book. It was the title of Strunk and White's book. I could go to Google to find the title of Sheridan's book. But I am out of words.
07/06 Direct Link
The colors of the sky were mostly blue and white when I went out for my walk. It is a small town, small enough for a visiting stranger going for a walk to cause some comment, so a police cruiser followed me around for the first hour or so as I walked through town, turned around, and walked back again. It is so small that you have to walk all the way around it go get your ten thousand steps in. Sometimes I have to augment the walk by walking several laps around the small cemetery near my parents home.
07/07 Direct Link
The dog is lying on the floor nearby. I think we have come to terms. It was difficult when I first started staying here. I am at my sister's house because she is on vacation. She lives next door to my parents. My father is in a nursing home for some rehab. None of us are completely sure why he is there or how he got there, but he does seem to be getting better. He is doing very well for a 92-year-old man. I watch him and think about what my life will be like when I am 92.
07/08 Direct Link
But back to the dog. I am taking care of a dog and two cats. The cats are not too difficult. The dog has been a pain. He would bark whenever I was teaching, so I had to put him in the garage. When I put him in the garage, he went out through the pet door and ran off, chasing pedestrians. He is a very large dog, so this is a problem. When he comes back in again, he eats the cat's food, dish and all. You can see the kind of problems I am having with this dog.
07/09 Direct Link
The dog and I were not getting along well at all at first. He ran off one night and my niece Molly called to say she had him. My mother went to Molly's with me to get the dog. She says she is the dog's friend. He was supposed to have been retained by an invisible fence, but I can see no sign of a shock collar either on him or in the garage where these kinds of things are kept. It seems to me that he just is a big smelly beast who does what he wants to do.
07/10 Direct Link
When we went to get the dog I took the only leash I could find. It was one of those red retractable leashes that people use for toy poodles. I could tell it was not going to work for a full-grown Airedale. I put the leash on him and he promptly pulled his head out of his collar and ran off. My mother went after him. "Come Logan." Logan came. Outside, she said, "Pee, Logan." and Logan peed. Apparently Logan was trained, just not in any way I was familiar with. I made up with him by giving him bacon.
07/11 Direct Link
I can hear the rumble of some machinery outside. I am tempted to go see what it is. It might be a motorcycle. Perhaps Bill next door has a motorcycle. It could be a Harley. It has that syncopated beat Harleys have. It could be a truck too, maybe an older truck not hitting as evenly as it once did. Yes, an older truck. A helicopter hovering over the house? Yes, I should go investigate, but I would have to put on my sandals and get out of the chair. It is such an ordeal. There, the noise has stopped.
07/12 Direct Link
It is darkish in here. It is darkish over at my mother's house too. Suze keeps it dark in our house even. I have come to realize that I like lots of light indoors. I can't seem to get enough light. Maybe it is because I have heavy eyebrows and they shield my eyes from light. I have bushy eyebrows too. It might be time for me to trim my eyebrows so I can see better. It is a small job that I have to do every two weeks or so. I use the beard trimmer set to Number 3.
07/13 Direct Link
Oh I think I wish the house to be sold, but I am afraid. I am afraid of so many things but one of these things is that we will run out of money. That we will run, run out of money. Not that we will run out so much but that the income someday will not be enough, not be enough. I have little idea what Not be enough is. I should be more worried about being too blind to read, or write, or find my way to the damn piano. Now those are things truly worth worrying about.
07/14 Direct Link
I can see legs running in the park. It is always such a surprise to me how pliant younger legs are, and it reminds me of course of how pliant my legs once were. Yes, I can remember running and leaping for god’s sake. Who could envision me doing that now? Although I do just that sometimes, just because. I don’t really know why. Maybe it is an activity that I imagine will fend off the inevitable. Somehow. Somehow. There is a hive of hornets, a hornets’ nest in the cast iron bell on the back porch of the house.
07/15 Direct Link
The park lies beneath the early evening shadows like a pair of drawers laid out on the bed. Neatly pressed. Freshly laundered and oh there I go again getting the pressing ahead of the laundry.

I am watching the temperature. It is 69.9 outside and 73.4 inside. My goal is to get it closer to 69.9 inside. To that end I am enduring the low buzzing of a fan.

I have left you downstairs with the TV and have come up here to scrape spare words off a plate onto the screen.

It will not matter.
Just will not matter.
07/16 Direct Link
I need to start my day I think, although I am enjoying the music this morning. I am not enjoying the commercials. I paid for a subscription for Pandora so I wouldn't have to listen to commercials and I still get them. But, I get past the commercial. I get past the Norton that will not work. I get past the busted toe. I get past the knowledge that death awaits me and that I will never be included in the Best 500 poets list. Yes, I even get past that. There's not much more to get past after that.
07/17 Direct Link
My morning was filled with techno-gadgets that would not work. It doesn't take many non-working techno-gadgets to ruin a day. All these things that are supposed to serve us are in true Thoreau style turning around to make slaves of us. Norton drops an upgrade on me and I spend six hours with a suspiciously low-IQ Norton tech trying to fix my problem. At the end he removes the new product from my PC and re-installs the old product. Problem fixed? I migrate to my laptop to find that Norton has dropped an upgrade on it that will not run.
07/18 Direct Link
It was the low-flying insects over the hedge outside. Belly's barely off the leaves and the brittle stems left from my pruning. We are prone to do pruning in this life. We do so much pruning and things of that ilk that you wonder what we were about given that we are about to end at some prescribed time. True it is a time we are not allowed to know, but we are temporary beings and we carry on as if this were not true. This is how it seems to me. Why don't we just give up and quit?
07/19 Direct Link
I suppose we don't know for sure that things just end when we die, that we just gradually dissolve particle by particle and get absorbed by the universe. Actually that is what some people believe. Others believe this but also believe we have a soul that survives the dissolution of the body. But when I question these people they say the soul has no memory and possibly no consciousness as we know it. It seems to me that these things are important and that if the soul has no memory or consciousness then it is of limited utility.
07/20 Direct Link
Then there is always fishing, the fish dangling from a hook on a line at the end of your pole. It is summer and you are sitting on the steep bank of a lake on which the sun is shining mercilessly. You are protected however by the shade of trees around you and this shade reaches out into the lake where you are fishing. A tree branch stretching over the lake out ahead has collected a large number of bobbers, hooks, and lures and enough line to reach across the lake and back. You have avoided this limb so far.
07/21 Direct Link
I am still thinking about this being dead thing. Some people posit a heaven, but when I ask what heaven looks like they give me vague answers. It seems that the cultural knowledge of heaven has suffered in recent years and while people are not as keen about harps and golden cities, they haven't construed anything to replace it. Back to molecular dissolution and absorption into the universe. Actually at that level your perception, were you allowed to have any, would be much different than your perception is now. Or perhaps there is a "chunk" of thinking energy that survives.
07/22 Direct Link
Back to the fishing. When I was a boy I loved to fish. Many of my fantasies were about fishing. I remember the first fish I ever caught. It was at some kind of barbecue gathering at the lake near our home. It might have been a church group. My parents did that sort of thing when I was young. I caught a sunfish and laid it on a log in the sun. Later on when I went to get it to show my father, it had dried up sadly. I wailed to my father that my fish had melted.
07/23 Direct Link
Now that I am older I do not care for fishing as much. To be honest, I don't like to hurt the fish. I used to take my children fishing when they were young, but I would break the barbs off the hooks so as not to hook the fish so badly. My children didn't like this because it made it harder for them to catch the fish in the first place. Those nasty barbs were on those hooks for a reason and were I a man trying to survive by my fishing I would surely have barbs with hooks.
07/24 Direct Link
With fishing comes the cleaning and eating of fish. While my friends in Korea catch the fish and slice them up to eat as raw sashimi, we Westerners are more of the catch and release club. If we do want to consume the fish, to merge with it, then we have to scrape the scales off, something which in my experience requires a board and a back yard where you can scatter scales like raindrops. Then you most likely filet the fish so you don't choke on bones. I can remember as a child eating non-filleted fish. It was tricky.
07/25 Direct Link
With fishing comes the cleaning and eating of fish. While my friends in Korea catch the fish and slice them up to eat as raw sashimi, we Westerners are more of the catch and release club. If we do want to consume the fish, to merge with it, then we have to scrape the scales off, something which in my experience requires a board and a back yard where you can scatter scales like raindrops. Then you most likely filet the fish so you don't choke on bones. I can remember as a child eating non-filleted fish. It was tricky.
07/26 Direct Link
The sun is in my eyes and I might be mumbling again. Sometimes I mumble without noticing. My left eye won't open. I couldn't breathe without difficulty when I woke up so I took an antihistamine. I need so many meds to get through the day. It makes me worry. It is easy enough to be confused without having a med messing with your brain. But then what is the brain but a mess of chemicals mostly gone astray. The pharmaceutical companies continue to pump out pills and capsules while the intake of the pump continues to suck up cash.
07/27 Direct Link
I was walking down the street and the sun was glinting off the concrete in the sidewalk. It is odd that we say walking down the street even if we are actually walking down the sidewalk. She passes through the room and out onto the deck where she sticks her head up under the tiki umbrella and begins struggling. "Do you need some help?" I ask through the screen but she does not hear me so I go outside and crawl under the umbrella with her, pushing it up an up until she can get the pin into the shaft.
07/28 Direct Link
She is out there and I don't know whether to go out and join her or not. I can smell me on my bathrobe, the combination of the laundry soap and my own odor which is so changeable. Why do I smell one way sometimes and other ways at other times, but I don't have time to even ask the question before my brain gives me several answers, all pointing in the general direction of "That is what you are designed to do." She is listening to that Indian preacher, Ravi something or other. The last name begins with Z.
07/29 Direct Link
I've been breaking a lot of basic composition rules lately with my 100 words entries. This paragraph stuff is straight-forward really. I used to teach composition at a local University. I taught the paragraph. It is a three-part thing. You have a topic sentence to start the thing. Then you have the body and you finish with a conclusion. The paragraph is supposed to have unity. You are not to wander from topic to topic within a single paragraph. It is to be a tight little nut sitting all shiny on the mantle for people to look at and marvel.
07/30 Direct Link
Soon I will have to start thinking about breakfast. I suppose that means I am already thinking about breakfast. When I think about breakfast I think about the smells of scrambled eggs and meat shaved off the muscle tissue of some slaughtered animal. It is really best if I don't go down that path right here. It is Saturday anyway and on Saturday I fix oatmeal with the crushed hearts of nuts and Craisins. I doctor it with real cream and honey. It is a lovely Saturday ritual and the meal does seem to stick with you through the day.
07/31 Direct Link
She is lying there telling me how she pulls off moles and I am thinking maybe whack-a-mole or mole-catching cats. Some cats will take on moles and some will not. My mother has a cat that brings home rabbits and possums. It brought home one squirrel but gave up on squirrels after that. A squirrel can be a mean little critter. My brother-in-law had a mole cat but got rid of it. Just got shut of the cats. Then he had moles and an upset wife so he had to get another cat. The new cat would not whack moles.