BY Michael

04/01 Direct Link


The bright yellow penny roll came to a stop near a row of rusty mailboxes at the bottom the hill. The doors whomped open and for a moment the world was still. You could hear a robin cry in the brush. The spring sun glistened off the muddy road. And then the spill: dozens of pennies rolling out onto the road, spreading left, right, and straight up the hill. They were talking, yelling, scuffing and some were already throwing rocks into the weeds. Penny Novel pushed Penny Ante into a puddle and ran away. Everyone knew Novel liked Ante.
04/02 Direct Link


I am under the headphones this morning so I don't wake anyone. I'm getting wave beat distortion as the battery fades. I don't know why I call it wave beat. That's just the word that came to me when I called. It's something I must have known at some time.

The music ends, and I reach into my computer to dial up a Legrand/Grapelli. Not long ago you needed a lot of stuff to make music. Now all you need is a used laptop and a pair of headphones. But you know I could never leave it at that.
04/03 Direct Link


It's late this morning, even with the bouncing of the clocks. I could write my congressman, but it's hard to buck an idea proposed by Benjamin Franklin. I think we're stuck with this daylight savings thing. It's ten A.M by yesterday's reckoning and no one has stirred in the house except me and the dogs.

I am wondering if I should have said "I and the dogs."Of course, I should. The rule that is throwing me is whether it should be "the dogs"first, or whether that is just for people. "Except the dogs and I." That works.
04/04 Direct Link


It is a Cannonball Adderly morning. That's not that way I planned it. Julian Is what came up on my CD player this morning when I started to write. It must have been somewhat difficult for a jazz musician to go by the name of Julian. Fortunately, like other jazz musicians, he gathered a working name: Cannonball. I can imagine how. At least I imagine my version of the story by imagining what a cannonball morning would be for me, plunging through an endless list of things to do, papers, dishes, and pet fur flying unnoticed by my ears.
04/05 Direct Link


I got four hours sleep last night. I didn't feel like going to bed. That has been the norm for me lately with the manic stage. It's gone on for three weeks but now is starting to break. I'm starting to break, falling down that dark muddy slope into "severe clinical depression." They have a DRG for me.

My mother called this morning. They are worried because they pushed a little too hard last weekend and knocked me off my balance. They do it again this morning. There is nothing to start the leak like someone expressing sincere concern.
04/06 Direct Link


I finally slept eight hours in one night, eight and one-half to be exact. Didn't Felini do a movie called Eight ½? Wasn't there a beautiful scene of a BSA motorcycle ride through the countryside?

I've had many motorcycles, but the BSA Lightening is still the most bewitching memory of a bike I ever owned. Several years ago, I bought a Triumph, the Lightening's close relative. The Triumph was a terrible disappointment. It was not the machine that had lived in my 19-year-old heart. Riding it, I kept thinking, "Thank God they don't make them like they used to.-
04/07 Direct Link


I washed my cell phone this morning. I spun-cycled it. Twice. And I dried it. I carried the little thing upstairs and laid its parts out over my desk. I planned to dry it out with my spray air, but the can was empty. What else are cans of air for except to spray all over the place? So, into my wife's study for her air. Ha! The seal was unbroken. Women do not understand how to use these things. Unfortunately that didn't work.

So how do I tell my wife I used up her can of spray air?
04/08 Direct Link


I lost my bearing somewhere this morning among the drugs, the nausea, and the depression. I brought the drugs in too late, not realizing the time until the nausea set in. By the time I got to them I was already seeing the waves breaking on the shoal outside depression bay. The last few days have been that way. I'm paying for three weeks mania. I knew I was going to have to. One would think that at least the mania would be fun, but it's not. You stay awake for weeks on end, and it feels like it.
04/09 Direct Link


The boys are moving, slowly waking the house. I heard the thumps downstairs first, rattling the support beams of the house, the cough, and the bark of the dog. There were shifts and movements too deliberate and heavy to be anyone else. These boys start slowly.

They come up the stairs blinking, recoiling from the light and looking around as if they have never been here before. Of course, they haven't. They have spent most of the night rearranging the place, but only they are surprised when they see what they have done. The rest of us already know.
04/10 Direct Link


My car was half dead when I started for Ohio. Michael was going to take me, but decided to sleep in instead. He got up long enough to put the worn-out battery back in my Chevy. This was my third attempt in the past two months. I keep thinking I'm ready to travel.

It was a beautiful morning, windows down morning and I breathed easily. I was almost out of the town before I crashed, making a wide u-turn in a filling station and running for home. I had made it ten miles. Ten down and 390 to go.
04/11 Direct Link


The morning was sounds. It was the quiet hum of a refrigerator singing a 60-cycle vibrato. It was the insistent rush of water through the house plumbing and out to the sprinkler. It was the piercing whistle of a small bird, hard-eyed on the flow. It was the muffled rub of dogs nuzzling the idea of a small bird. The morning was the sound of sunlight splashing down, bb's hitting the road like darts of ice melting into the quiet hum of a refrigerator, slipping down the hill into the lake with the rush of water from the grass.
04/12 Direct Link


This morning was blue. Indigo pigment dripped from the ceiling of sky in molten globs hitting houses, trees, and cows grazing in fields. It was blue in a mist that hung to windows like deep cut dust. The morning was blue misty eyes awake too early on a pillow, drinking in a blue-rimmed sun. Blue was ankle deep as we crawled from blue sheets, pulled on blue robes and dragged steel blue camisoles from bedposts painted with violets that were blue as we wondered through the blue tint of windows. Blue, a tear was working its blue way home.
04/13 Direct Link


This morning is red. It is the webbing against the red inside my eyes because I cannot sleep again. The nurse tells me not to worry because when my body needs sleep it will take it.

My psychiatrist says, "Just nap during the day and you will be refreshed.-

My therapist warns, "Do not nap or you won't have REM sleep."

I have my own idea. Nevertheless, today I called my doctor. I got the answering service. Please, I said, I need to be put to sleep. I am thinking I should have used a better choice of words.
04/14 Direct Link


I was going to tackle pink today, just to get it over. However, the morning dictates otherwise. This morning is rosy. I got nine and one-half hours sleep last night and woke up feeling stretchy and luxuriously drowsy. The day was already bright, my clothes fit, and I remembered what I had to do. I also got it done it the right order. I picked up for the maid cheerfully. It's probably that med the doctor gave me to put me to sleep. I don't care. Actually, I do care. This morning I got up and kissed the bottle.
04/15 Direct Link


It was a plaid morning, this way and that. I had decided the night before to return the Aversion. I was at Circuit City early with the idea of dumping it and ordering a Dell. That was before they told me about the 15 percent re-stocking fee. It was just a shock to get me into another of their computers, and it worked. Now I have a Compaq, and aside from some flimsy pieces, it is acceptable. It has a lovely music card, which I still bypass in favor of a 24-bit external, but at least it does that.
04/16 Direct Link


Yellow morning waking me too brightly
Into the dense cotton sheen of its
Yellow Teeth, strong, hungry, and carnivorous
Yellow morning following the clay along the
Riverbanks wide and long as the eye can see
Yellow morning walks in sandals carrying
A stick over its shoulder
Yellow has a beard and wears a Cincinnati Reds
Baseball cap
A yellow sky, where yellow trees
Grow dense and small across the river
Where they
Bend in
Yellow understanding, branches touching
Intertwining in ageless yellow love
Yellow morning pulls me raw through
A thick yellow stucco windo
With no yellow glass
04/17 Direct Link

The sky turned chartreuse this morning. We knew something was wrong: how often do you wake up to a sky of brilliant chartreuse? My mother was the first to notice it. What did they say? Red sky at morning or red sky at night? Nothing was said of a chartreuse sky. Then the tornadoes hit, not one but three. One of them I could see winding our way out over the cemetery, tall, thin, and ugly. It looked like something dripped and congealed from a grave. I didn't get to see more of it. We hid in the cellar.
04/18 Direct Link

I thought the winter had killed my violets. I don't normally plant things, but I had planted violets on the slope around my favorite mulberry tree. It was a hard winter for both violets and me, and I didn't see them this spring.

I was climbing the hill after the dog, leaning forward to balance my weight against the slope when I was startled by a green sheen on the floor of the woods. Lifting my eyes I picked up another color. Violet. Violets were everywhere, dotting the woods, sprinkling down the hill, and dancing around my mulberry tree.
04/19 Direct Link

It's trying the white thing this morning. It's April 23 and snowing again. The snow is solid and sideways in the wind, but it is meeting with a hard end on the ground. The ambient temperature out there is 34 degrees. It snows regularly in Michigan this time of year, but people here are always surprised. It was eighty degrees last week. "How can this happen?" They ask, or "Who could have predicted this?-

I could have. I do, explaining patiently that winter here never really stops until my mother's birthday, May 4. I'm pretty sure that's a coincidence.
04/20 Direct Link


Today we have a black morning. I'll not be sending these 100 words to my friends.

The air is heavy, and I can't see things. Black seeps deep into my abdomen, and I feel it chewing my legs. I'm tired, I cannot focus, and tears crawl down my face with no reason, slipping from black into black. I see black when I close my eyes, a black double hung window, torn into the black outside, with a black roller shade shredded and floating into the night. I don't understand how I see all these things, black floating in black.
04/21 Direct Link


I did not start out to write a series about colors. It was an accident. It was mutiny. Frequently, when you are writing, a piece will take off and go where it pleases and not where you plan for it to go. You have witnessed this anarchy here as what I wrote slowly resolved itself into 100 colors instead of 100 mornings. I will not tolerate this behavior. This series will be about my mornings, as boring as they may seem. It will be that way because I am the author and I am in control. Really, I am.
04/22 Direct Link


It was dry this morning, but a light rain was already beginning to fall. I fed the dogs Dallas and Legend and went outside with them for their morning rounds of the yard. I followed, with my homemade scooper, gathering an amazing amount of shit. I shouldn't be surprised at the volume two dogs can create, but I usually am. I don't really feed them too much. My daughter and wife, in their need to control body weight, work out their frustrations in the dogs, insisting they be kept starved. They aren't overweight themselves, but that's how things are.
04/23 Direct Link


I've bought a box of pastels. A therapist suggested that they might help soothe my brain to the point where I can drop out of hypomania. Alternatively, they might help prevent it in the first place. Everything "helps." Nothing fixes. It is rule number six or seven.

I have been dropping slowly anyway. I dropped too fast at first, but since I have been sleeping, the slope has become much more gentle. I just need to slow down they tell me. Think, talk, and live more deliberately. Do one thing at a time. It's harder than you would imagine.
04/24 Direct Link


The pastels are still in my car. Many things are in my car. There's stuff I've bought and forgotten about. I should go take an inventory. That would be a good exercise for tomorrow. There are at least two days worth of mail. And there lay my box of pastels.

I am curious what their entry into my life will mean. I am color-blind, sometimes. I think I can see colors, but the optometrist says I cannot. My wife says I cannot. My children say I cannot. I'm not allowed to see colors? So, what is it I see?
04/25 Direct Link


I am contemplating the pastels, which are still in my car. I find their presence in my car a soothing thing. They must be working. Perhaps I should leave them there if that is where they work best. Why bring them into the house where they could become a deadly colorful infestation?

I'm also contemplating "color blind." Some days when I take the test, I don't get any of them right. But on other days when I take the test, I get half of them right. It seems that on some days I am less color blind than others.
04/26 Direct Link


The pastels are still in the car. I'm beginning to feel good about that. They sit in the passenger seat when I run errands. I have started buckling them in. (They are soft pastels.} I should turn off the air bag, because they are so short. But I might forget to turn it back on when one of my teenagers is with me.

More likely, Amanda would be driving my car and not know the bag was off. Molly might be riding with Amanda, and they wouldn't know about the air bag. I wouldn't want Molly to be hurt.
04/27 Direct Link


The pastels are still living in my car. I am still color blind, sometimes and sometimes not. This is what happens with my eyesight altogether. There are times I see pretty good. Other times I can't focus at all, and my eyes just hurt. I attribute this to the macular degeneration the ophthalmologist says I have. He says I will go blind in twenty years if I live long enough to enjoy it.

I have dreams I am blind. My eyes have turned to ash and have bugs in them. I wonder if I ever dream I am dead.
04/28 Direct Link


I brought the pastels in this morning. It was cold in the garage. I've left them imprisoned in the plastic bag I carried them home in. I had the clerk bag them separately, thinking to protect them from the heavy candles I had also bought. Now I know why I did that.

They are on the table next to my writing chair, plotting. These colors are determined to take over my 100 mornings. But I won't let them. They are mere subjects, objects, predicates. I can make them a lowly articles or redundant adverbs. Just let them try anything.
04/29 Direct Link


Today I am taking the pastels fromthe bag. Yes, I am freeing the little devils. The bag is a lovely one from Michael's Crafts and Gifts. A moment of embarrassment here for having been caught buying them there. The Mr. Mom in me is really taking over.

Out of the bag, the box is positively alluring. The cardboard is soft to the touch. There is a wondrous pastel of a bird in flight on the cover. The box proclaims that there are 24 of the little buggers in there.

My Border Collie chews his bone into the carpet.
04/30 Direct Link


I plan to open the pastels today. Doubtlessly you've been wondering why I'm taking so long. Perhaps you don't give a damn about my damn pastels. (Sometimes I feel that way.) I think there are several reasons I could use to explain, but I have a100-word limit.

Writing is like raising a child. Even a baby has a mind of its own, but you can steer it somewhat. Naturally, some parents are more permissive than others. By the time it is a teen, you can only clothe it and supply money.

I guess I won't open the pastels today.