BY Michael

02/01 Direct Link
You are doing your taxes this morning. I must be careful to not disturb you. I must realize that questions you seem to throw out are only rhetorical and you do not actually want me to respond. I will offer random words of encouragement at what seems to be appropriate times. This situation will not last so very long. It is my taxes that will take several hours this year and I may end up taking them to a professional before it is over. I have never done that before although there have been times I think I should have.
02/02 Direct Link
It is groundhog day. How I became aware of that I don't know. I have been for several days now. Across the country in towns, villages, and cities groundhogs will have their lives disrupted as humans try to communicate with them. Nobody is going to see a shadow around here today. What I should be more aware of is the lunar new year because I get three days off work for that. It may be next week. It may be sooner. To verify I need to turn on the desktop upstairs and check the holiday calendar stored on that machine.
02/03 Direct Link
I hear the radio and air compressor while the man works in the basement. Jim is his name. He is making a room in the basement. There are wood chips and sawdust on the floor. This morning he took a broom and a dustpan down to clean up a bit. I took a waste basket down putting a plastic liner in it. Plastic trash can liners are an ecological problem I am guessing. It is hard to win these days. At least we don't have to worry about starvation. Not yet at least although that could happen with little warning.
02/04 Direct Link
The snow is falling straight down and it seems to be in a bit of a rush to get to the ground. It, like us, is passing through time and space with an assured destiny. I watched a PBS special the other night about President James Garfield. Most of his story was about his death, his assured destiny. He wasn't president very long and it took him a long time to die. There is something to be said for dying suddenly in your sleep. I can see that that might be something to be grateful for provided you were prepared.
02/05 Direct Link
It is not so much that your body begins to fail as you get older as it seems that everything begins to fail at once. It is not just your eyes or your teeth or your knees, but all of those things at once with more thrown in to boot. It is your body, your whole body and that is the overwhelming part of it. Your life becomes a whirlwind of doctors and specialists, of lab tests, x-rays, MRI's and stress tests. Everything hurts at once. You get tremors and scary pains. It becomes difficult to maintain a stable demeanor.
02/06 Direct Link
It doesn't feel like a day for anything here. What it feels like is Saturday. Memory takes me back to the dorm in Ann Arbor and shopping on South University on a winter day for Christmas for my mother. I buy her a large acrylic hourglass. It was probably something I couldn't afford. She still has it some fifty years later even though the acrylic is starting to form bubbles from decomposing. I thought that stuff was supposed to last forever. It is like my father says after all. Nothing lasts forever, not you, not me, nothing. Sobering that thought.
02/07 Direct Link
It occurs to me that by addressing this to different things or persons that I will alter the contents. I could say, "Dear Suze" or "Dear Harold," and my contents would be different. It is still early in the day, a Monday. I have finished my shower. I have trouble getting myself into the shower. I thought about it today and it has something to do with putting my head under water in a small space. I am pretty sure that is the issue. This is interesting because I have no problem putting my head under water in a pool.
02/08 Direct Link
We were going to watch a movie last night but we never got around to it. We watched TV and I rubbed your feet. I rub lotion on your feet every night. You enjoy it and it seems to be a little soothing for me. We also ordered a Jet's pizza, a Hawaiian pizza. You like Jet's pizza. I have mixed feelings because while it is good stuff, it is hard for me to chew because my teeth are messed up. I am not sure what is wrong with them. They just don't seem to fit in my mouth properly.
02/09 Direct Link
Today is Monday and that is laundry day. Well it is laundry day for you because you do most of the laundry. That is just how things work out. Sometimes I do my own laundry on Sunday but I never do any of your laundry or the bedding. Yes I feel appropriately guilty about this. I have been reading C. S. Lewis' Surprised by Joy. I am amazed at how much of his life he remembers. It occurs to me that this is most likely because he kept a journal. So I decided to make myself a journal entry today.
02/10 Direct Link
Arms reaching, fingers digging into the keys, I am reminded of my first piano teacher, Sharon March, making me lift my arms and push my fingers into the keys. I wasnít sure what Sharon was about, because everybody knew Jerry Lee Lewis could play standing on his head, and he sounded just fine. Oh, but I am sleepy. I became sick suddenly this weekend, perhaps a small warning Friday night, worse Saturday, full-fledged by Sunday evening. Even now my voice is pathetic and I have a wretched cough. And I ache. I stayed home from work, which I never do.
02/11 Direct Link
Sept 5, 2005 The sun is bright, filling my apartment with light. That is one thing about this place for sure. There is plenty of light. I found myself deciding between ground floor where it was dark so my eyes would rest more, or this apartment that is full of light so I could see better. I opted to see better and it truly works. Now all I have to do is get furniture up three floors. The first test of this will be this week if I can talk Michael into turning loose of some of my old furniture.
02/12 Direct Link
The snow is shoveled in piles in the parking lot outside. It snows in Minneapolis, and it stays all winter it seems. It piles against the sides of the lot until, like us, it inevitably melts. I think about that sometimes, the inevitable melt, the merger with the universe, our atoms slowly dissolving, suddenly turned to energy millions of years later, swirling in the stuff of the universe which itself will--what? The news talked this morning of some guy blown 300 yards from his house trailer. He rode a tornado Dorothy style and landed, knocked unconscious and apparently unhurt.
02/13 Direct Link
I walk with sore toes across the Mall of America. It seems to be all chain stores, as if a Darwinian notion has crossed the country wiping out all the less effective economic entities. I walked the mall for about an hour. In that time I was able to walk nearly the whole thing. Iím guessing a full hour inside the mall would do a complete circuit. I have the window open again today, because it is too warm in here. I got myself lunch at the mall, Caesar chicken salad. It was good, but Iím a little hungry now.
02/14 Direct Link
Why isnít Baker Bobís open at 6 in the morning? It is so close, just across the street. I had to go to Macís again to get my coffee. Macs is across two parking lots. And there is so little room. Yes, I know, I bought coffee yesterday, but I didnít buy creamer. Also I needed something to eat, however weird it might be. I had hoped to get something from Bob along with a cup of coffee, but I was left with the hopelessly weird at Mac, a slippery bran muffin. There is something about slippery bran that bothers me.
02/15 Direct Link
Iím in my chair, squinting from the sparkle off the pond writing for my redemption. Iím wondering what Iím going to do, but I already know. That is part of me, part of the package, and a part that I am having difficulty understanding myself. It is translating itself these days as a hard-walled boundary that says I have to take breaks between. What is a long drive? I know for sure that a 8 Ĺ hour drive followed by a hard day followed by a 9 Ĺ hour drive is too much. So I wonít do that any more.
02/16 Direct Link
Iím worried about Michael. Iím worried that he needs more supervision, more support. The TV shelf is bending, even with two tops. I believe the grit on the wood floor is from me walking around with my shoes on. I will start taking them off at the door. That is all. Iím still thinking about the riveróabout its roll and curl. I feel a little empty, a little sick to my stomach. Maybe it is just the morning thing. I donít feel anxious though. Not like I do in Brighton. I sleep better here. The river is out there.
02/17 Direct Link
The wash is in the machine. The first wash I have done in Almonte. I am finally on cool down I think. I bought a curtain for the front window. I took the second phone I bought back to get one identical to the one I have at home. The last one just didnít have the range to get from one end of the apartment to the other. This one and it has the answering machine the first one lacked. It also gives me an extra handset at the base along with speakerphone. All this for an extra ten bucks.
02/18 Direct Link
The windows are open. Watching the sun hit the bricks on the building across the street, the floppy old-town architecture. I always wanted to live in an in-town, up the stairs, kinda apartment. Hadnít planned on the railroad-car layout, but it works. I can hear the kids downstairs on their skateboards. They will continue until around 10 and magically disappear. There isnít much noise from the bar, but the iron works restaurant is supposed to have a live band Sunday. I can hear the falls from here when listen. I wonder if I will be able to hear the band.
02/19 Direct Link
Outside on the tiny balcony, the loop of wall between my tiny balcony and the neighborís is visible. My balcony seems solid with a nice rough surface, but it is scary. It is high above the street, with nothing but concrete below. The doorsill is high and deep, to keep out snow, I wonder? I am still trying to sort out the shape of our apartment, to catch the shape and the design. There are some things in any apartment that are designed a certain way, and you really cannot tamper with them. You have to ďdecorate within those constraints.Ē
02/20 Direct Link
Iím feeling fragile this morning. It would take very little to push me over the edge. Iíll just have to take care of myself. Canada is good for me. It is a place to hide and recover. People cannot get to me here. Next week in Michigan will be hell. Almont is akin to me going into the hospital, only better. 1. I have more freedom 2. I have fewer intrusions to deal with 3. Hell, itís spring 4. I have hardwood floors, (Which I intend to cover with a rug) 5. I have absolutely no comfortable place to write.
02/21 Direct Link
Blink blink. The cursor is blinking at me. Fifty years ago there was no cursor, at least not in my world and fifty years ago I held a higher opinion about my writing. Now I seem to be afraid to look at it, but then I am afraid of many things these days. I am afraid of mortality. I am afraid of my teeth (See mortality.) Would I be afraid of my teeth were I immortal? Possibly not because fear of pain is a different thing from fear of mortality. At least I think I see them differently. Always have.
02/22 Direct Link
George Washington had wooden teeth. Who could possibly carve something like that? They must have been made of hardwood, possibly oak. This is something suitable for Google. Google says that while George had a number of dental appliances made of different things, none of them were made of wood. Ivory, brass, lead, and human teeth were some of the alternatives given by Google. How did he manage with stuff like that? It seems like an insurmountable obstacle to daily living. George was 67 when he died. I should be happy that I can still eat steak with my original equipment.
02/23 Direct Link
It's ok to spend the time staring at the screen. I don't have to be typing during my writing time. It just feels weird to not be because it normally comes so easily to me. That was correct? The use of the adverb there? I am getting a little wobbly on my English grammar rules in my old age. I am just forgetting stuff. Now is the time for me to start reviewing basic grammars, but I don't think I will. There are just too many other things to occupy me. I can't think of what they are of course.
02/24 Direct Link
The primary elections are bearing down on us. Trump seems to be poised to win the Republican nomination. It is a frightening possibility for me. I see him as a bully and a demagogue. It is frightening for many people but his followers see him as a messiah. They are committed to him. There is no turning them away. The question is whether he can take all the marbles in a general election. The likely Democratic nominee is Hillary and she is a badly damaged candidate herself. I think she would be preferable to Trump. My companion thinks the opposite.
02/25 Direct Link
The trees reach
Like a painting against the sky
The sun bleating through branches
And bouncing off the snow
My heart flips within my ribs
And I feel the solid chin beneath my skin.
I am happening this way
Happening in this space.
Life is a sudden comfort: peace and joy.
And then it is taken away
The reaching trees turning to perhaps.
I can never find another reach.
Can never go back home
Into the comfort of familial arms.
We must stumble ahead, pushing the
Clinging branches out of our way
Faces turned into the wind
While trees reach.
02/26 Direct Link
I am borrowing
From coronerís reach
Against the solid lean of time.
The snow reaches over my head
The dark peace comforts me and
My broken mind can rest here a moment
Before moving my feet against the slush and crust.
The lines are moving farther out with each pass
And I think I should guard against such
We craft forlorn sentences when nothing else
Will do.
Will do without.
Will do within.
Where will all this carry you?
When will you cry out?
Isnít it like trying to read the Bible?
Isnít it like crying out to God?
02/27 Direct Link
It is a slow boat
a slow coat
a slow awakening.
The past is never far behind,
yet it trails in a winding path
that leads into places we have no
right to promise.
It is a slow boat that leans
against the tide,
a slow coat that cringes and conforms
to every ridge and splinter
to every crack and crevice.
It is a slow awakening that follows
and never quite becomes aware
that is bound within such limitations
and faulty perceptions.
Why can't we rise?
Are we even aware
that we don't know?
The mind is set to cancel.
02/28 Direct Link
It's in the brain drain hairs hanging from wax in most any kind of drain. It's the squirrel coming down the tree. The political facts I cannot explain. I hear your mumbling the essence of curl, the click of the latch and The whirl of the microwave. These things cannot move. The spaghetti in the scalp the dangle starry from the cup and the tail arched over the small back. What is the lifespan of this small rhodent? I'm thinking four years at best. Life is a hurl into perhaps. It is a senseless lurch. I wonder where we go.
02/29 Direct Link
I am on the phone with my father. Hanging from the earpiece by my fingernails. Why don't I fall? I am in the bedroom staring out the window as he complains that they removed him from his seat in the dining room because he was being disruptive. Perhaps because the women were making too much noise. He seems to be confused as to who was doing what. I am pacing the house carrying the phone and it seems that someday I too will be shoved into a warehouse to wait for the end. He says he wants to go home.