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BY Michael

04/01 Direct Link
It Figures #23

Get Your Act Together
dances on a sunny street
behind his table of books
and tapes.

He moves like
a faceless wooden puppet,
not quite finished
and too loose at the joints.

“Batter batter batter,
SwING!”
he calls as you pass by.

Huh?

And just then
he slips long nails into your jacket
into your wallet,

saving
the longest and grubbiest nail
for that tired and hungry
place in your soul where
Hope still lives.

“I know you,”
He says, eyes too bright.
“This is what you need.”

And from nowhere,
he’s offering a
plastic garden rake.
04/02 Direct Link
It Figures #24

Suppose the world were
Nothing But Net.

It’s been done, you say?
Oh yes, that movie.

But that movie,
all of those movies,
always leave a little
R/T crowd around
to struggle against
the evil of the net
if for nothing else.

But let’s suppose
it’s already been done,
that there is no little R/T crowd,
and that solar blare in the sky
is just some hexadecimal
slipping through a register.

The anxiety you are feeling
is merely a broken pointer.

What would be the difference?
well, there would be a re-set button,
I think.
Re-incarnation anyone?
04/03 Direct Link
It Figures #25

Neil was pacing, making me nervous. “When will it be done?” He asked.

“We need three weeks.”

“Three weeks? Who do you have working on it?”

“Ignorance.”

“Ignorance. Can’t Ignorance work any faster than that?”

“She’s working on your other projects too, Neil.”

“Isn’t there anyone else who can work on it?”

“Ignorance is good. You like Ignorance.”

“Yes, but I need this work done.”

“Three weeks. She needs three weeks.”

Neil walked in two tight circles and came back.

“What about Bliss? What’s Bliss working on?”

I looked up from my keyboard.

“Neil, Ignorance IS Bliss.”
04/04 Direct Link
I’m sharing a handshake with Pablo. Hands with flowers. These are two hands and they are written in such a way that they cannot be hands from the same person. They are hands from two persons, at least. Because, even with two persons, something is wrong. The fingers curled around the top appear to be upside down with the pinkie on top. Is there a third person here? The right hand cannot be reaching that far. I think I am not meant to ponder on this, but to just glance and understand. To look too closely is to create confusion.
04/05 Direct Link
Before the last note passed your lips my eyes were closing. Lids falling, slowly erasing the pond, the glass, the room, and leaving only brief shadow memories of what that life was. I was defined most probably by myself, somewhat loosely and frequently by pain. I was target for my own arrows. I was--what did you call it—lawless imagination. I was a future much too narrowly defined by its past, a victim of history. And I may still be lawless imagination. But a note has passed your lips, and so many things are now just things from before.
04/06 Direct Link
About The Size Of It has concerns. College educated, About The Size Of It realizes that using a pronoun with out specifying an antecedent, creates ambiguity. Furthermore, anytime you begin a phrase, or even someone’s name with the word “About” you also create ambiguity. So About The Size Of It is a walking double ambiguity. And unlike a double negative, a double ambiguity does not cancel itself out. About The Size Of it can expect to spend her life searching for meaning in her life. She’s defined by ambiguity, and that’s about the size of it.
04/07 Direct Link
It Figures #27

Clear As Mud
Is not very clear at all.

He is down, looking up,
And even the thin covering of ice,
His winter lens,
Has been shattered
By a boot print
And no longer helps to resolve this world.

Clear As Mud
Has arms
Pinned behind him
Deep in the frozen pond
In even More mud and slush.

And had he teeth
He would grit them
At the thought of
The plants growing from his back,
The insects and frogs burrowing there.

Perhaps it is better that Clear as Mud
Is not very clear on these things.
04/08 Direct Link
It Figures #28

Like Watching Paint Dry
Lives in the middle of a
Hot and dry day,
A perfect day
For watching paint dry.

Outside, around the back
Of a concrete block house,
He sits on a workbench
A shorty,
Rocked back by oil-soaked work shoes,
Watching white paint
Circle from a damp blue
To a hard oxide white.

He’s wearing white coveralls
A white painter’s cap
And smear of white paint
Across his right cheek.

Behind him
Bright green grass
Grows wild across the yard
While thousands
Of yellow dandelions
Stand up, raise their fists,
And shout “Encore! Encore!”
04/09 Direct Link
It Figures #29

You look at
A Fish Out of Water,
And the thought
That he doesn’t belong
Sizzles across your brain
As you watch him
Slowly wave his fin
And gape his mouth.

There’s no little black button
To make this boy sing a
Country and western song
Because this is not discount day
At the dollar store.

This is the real Barbie
With fallen arches,
A six-week-old dye job,
And a water bra.

This is the CIO without an I
The CEO without an E
And the COO with an
Oh
My.

This fish is out of water.
04/10 Direct Link
It was snowing, and I simply lost control of the car on the country two-lane blacktop. Large hardwood trees lined the sides of the road. The car was rear-wheel drive. No such thing as anti-lock or traction control. I fought it, pulling out of the right slide only to go into a left, pulling out of the left only to go into a right, and repeating the whole sequence until I finally gave up and let the wheel go, the rear-end of the car slewing completely around and then flying off the road into the darkness and through the trees.
04/11 Direct Link
I lost my license once over the seizures. So I went to Ohio and got a license there. Later I re-applied here without checking the seizure box. You’re not supposed to check the seizure box. You’re not supposed to say yes when the officer asks if you are on any drugs. You’re not supposed to say yes when the therapist recites the litany, “Have you had any thoughts of harming yourself or anyone else?” They do it almost in a whisper, as if giving communion, and in their eyes is absolution for the lie they know you are telling them.
04/12 Direct Link
It Figures #30

This Two
Pauses at a doorway
Too narrow
To let them pass.

They have gotten one foot across,
One hand into the new space,
And two shoulders wedged
Tightly in the doorframe.

They look
At one another in confusion.
Ok, intelligence is not their
Strongest suit.
They may even be void in it.

But they are persistent as time,
Backing off,
Coming in again,
Hands bouncing off the sides,

Trying yet again
Cracking a head.

There is a way
They can be configured
To work it,
And they will get it.

In time
This Two shall pass.
04/13 Direct Link
I’m feeling blank right now. Catatonia is on its way. I can tell. One of the signs is that my eyes lose focus, and even when I have become aware, I have a hard time focusing visually on anything. It’s a weird feeling, and I prefer to just close my eyes and type under the door. I can still get messages out, but I am clearly working from another part of my brain. It has a limited storage capacity. What is feeding it? Where is it getting its information? I feel like I am taking dictation from under the door.
04/14 Direct Link
It Figures #31

Thick as a Brick
Lays in the sun,
Soaking the heat
Deep through layers of hardened clay.

He is an Ohio brick
With “Ohio” molded on his face.

Made in Ohio
Layed in a street in Ohio
By a WPA crew
And then rescued for a garden
In that same city,
And finally moved one more time
To a sidewalk in another place,
Still in Ohio,

This brick is not as well traveled
As some Ohio bricks.
But he doesn’t mind.
He is happy to be still
In one piece and
Thawing out
From the Ohio winter.
04/15 Direct Link
It Figures #32

Bottom Line
Is not double-declining balance,
Is not double-entry accounting
Singing in perfect economic harmony,
Is not the double set of books
Double-dealing handshaking
With digits crossed.

Bottom line is not
The final answer
The clear conclusion
Setting your GPS navigation,
Locking in the coordinates for life

Bottom Line
Is a plumber’s crack
Sweating beneath your sink.

Bottom line is a threadbare thong
Lost in four hundred pounds of gristle
And gum.

Bottom line is the dink dink
The double-u of two buns
Underlined with a wink.
Bottom line is what you live,
Not what you think.
04/16 Direct Link
It Figures #33

Flat Out
Limps along the freeway shoulder,
His once sleek
And perfect circle now
Crushed and lop-sided.

It taunts him as he goes
“Lop, Lop, Lop.”

He is no longer moving
At the speed of thought
The world a blur of color,
A rush of wind.

The highway, the shoulder,
The world
Has a new and sort of interesting
Detail to it.

There are bits of glass
And rusted bottle caps
Mixed with the stones.

Cracks run everywhere on the pavement
And the trees along the road
Are bare along the bottom.

He can see
In there.
04/17 Direct Link
It Figures #34

Puppy Love is done for the day.
He is curled into his
Round brown bottom
On the ragged and torn rug.

He is dreaming Her.
She leans over to gather
Puppy Love into ecstasy.
He falls into the arms
Of a dream of Her,
And now his heart beats
Bright into his eyes
And he is leaping
Stretching for Her,
Her cheek, Her hair,
Her mouth.
Nuzzle and lick and lick
And consume all the taste
All the aroma.
He can hear Her blood
He can feel Her eyes.

Puppy love is a flower
Detonated in adoration.
04/18 Direct Link
My laptop power supply has been shorting. I’m hoping it is in the cord. This morning I ordered a new one off eBay, Twenty-four dollars, including shipping included. That’s not too bad, if it works. It is the wrong model number, but it has the right voltage, amperage, and polarity. I can fit a different plug if that is wrong. I don’t know for sure that I need a power cord for my laptop, but if I wait until I am sure, it will be too late. Besides, a second would be nice. I could leave it at my desk.
04/19 Direct Link
I’m, taking the dictation work from under the door this morning. It looks like they have spilled something in there, because a puddle of water is easing out from there, and not dictation work. I can see light sparkling on it from the other side. I can make out a reflection. If I wanted, I could probably look closely in the reflection and see what is on the other side of that damn door. One would think I am almost required to, if the thing on the other side is willing to leave a reflective puddle of water for me.
04/20 Direct Link
I spend a lot of time journaling lately. If that were all I did, I could be concerned, but I do many different kinds of things over the space of a year. I could make a “writing plan,” to ensure maximum utilization of me as a resource, but a plan could not be based on any real understanding of what I am, of why I do what I do, and why sometimes I gravitate to one medium or another. I know that right now I am trying to sort some things out, and that is leading me to this form.
04/21 Direct Link
It Figures #35

Dust Bunny
Is a spun wad of apprehension.
He’s afraid that he’s not
Real,
That he is only a dream
Dreaming a dream of running
Dirty across the floor.

Dreaming of sleeping
Under your bed.
Dust bunny may be just a wish of vapor
A curl of shadow seen only
From just the right angle.

He is afraid
He is only a trick of light
And not really there,
A product of someone’s imagination
Subject to annihilation
Upon being forgotten.

Under the furniture,
Always in the bedroom
Hiding
Afraid to be seen,
Yet
Terrified to not be.
04/22 Direct Link
It Figures #36

A Bird in the Hand

The only boy in my High School
To have a tattoo was Ronnie.
He smoked
Combed his hair straight back
And always wore
A jean jacket.
He was ahead of his time
And didn’t know
He was supposed to wear leather

His tattoo,
In the palm of his hand was a bird,
Not a hawk, or falcon, or eagle
But more of a sparrow
And that, not well rendered

You could ask Ronnie about
His tattoo
About the bird in his hand
But it would just make him stutter.
Nothing else did.
04/23 Direct Link
It Figures #37

Two in the Bush
Crouches
Down by the road,
Where I let the bushes go.

They grew thick
And taller than I
At the corner
Totally enclosing a section there
Dark, dense, and wooly.

And it is not clear
Whether Two in the Bush
Found it comfortable,
Or had somehow gotten trapped there.

You could see him as you walked by,
Parts of him;
Maybe an eye,
A flash of beard,
Or a rounded back.

He startled dogs
And children
And at night, we took extra care
to lock the door
On that side of the house.
04/24 Direct Link
They are coming to inspect the windows today, looking for leaks where the clouds get in. A cloud trapped in a window is, after all, a sad thing. I imagine I will be here when they come with their long-handled cloud and leak sniffers, making fine adjustments on the consoles as they sweep the windows. They were here last year, finding and replacing two leaky windows. I remember thinking they picked the wrong window in my bedroom. “It’s not leaking,” I said. “The cloud is in the other one.”

“The sniffer doesn’t lie,” said the red-haired lady operating the wand.
04/25 Direct Link
I want to go home. I worry about my father, who seems ok. I worry about my mother, so says she is ok but who seems to be lying. I am afraid something will happen when I am not there, and they won’t tell me. Like when my grandmother died.

I want to go home. I even try sometimes, but I can’t seem to make it all the way, and when I do, I wake up panicked in the middle of the night and drive back to the apartment where I live. I want to go home, but I can’t.
04/26 Direct Link
I put my record cleaner on Audiogon today. A Nitty Gritty 1.5, it is a large box with a brush and a vacuum. It was the last piece of lunatic fringe audio equipment I bought before leaving the house. I was thinking I’d like to clear $300 after the ad price, shipping, and money transfer fees, so I asked for $385 plus shipping, knowing what would happen. Within ten minutes the first nibble comes in. Can you make me a deal and ship to Chile? Thirty minutes later, “Would you take $350?” Yeah, I think I can live with $350.
04/27 Direct Link
He had wanted to go for a walk. He was full of things he had not done, that had somehow piled up behind him to the point where he felt the weight of the parts slipping down from the top shoving him out the door.

But it was raining. Not just a little rain, this was a monsoon. He stopped at the door, feeling the spray from the deck on his ankles, trying to see through the fog of rain. He turned around, walking a tight little circle in his room and came back to the open door. Still raining.
04/28 Direct Link
And I sleep again for several hours. It’s still Saturday, and it is beautiful outside, but all I can do is sleep. This is a bizarre sickness that has overcome me. I say overcome because it feels like it has been chasing me for months and has finally pulled me down to gnaw on me. Normally, I don’t like to sleep. I resent the intrusion, the time taken. But now I welcome it like anesthesia before a surgery. We are like new lovers who only want to find new places to do it; the couch, the kitchen, and the balcony.
04/29 Direct Link
Junior leaned over the fender of the truck, his head under the hood, socket wrench dangling against the header, “Dink, dink, dink.” He was tired, exhausted from staying up all night, drinking with friends, and then walking in the morning mist, talking with David. Sometimes the talking was so good he just didn’t want to do anything else. But now his body was in pain. His head hurt. He closed his eyes a moment, his belly over the cool metal fender of the F150. He breathed. He heard the rattle of the socket wrench bouncing through the engine compartment. The flat splat as it hit the drive.
04/30 Direct Link
Maybe it was the baby. He felt that part. The pull there. It reminded him of the fairy tale. What DID Rumplestiltskin want with a baby, anyway? There was the girl too, as intricate a person as he had ever met. She had filled him with wonder. He couldn’t ask enough questions, and there always seemed to be another level to climb to, a new layer to peel away. But he wasn’t wanted there, really. That was clear. The thing was that he missed her. He missed her sparkle. He missed the baby. That would go away eventually, he supposed.