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BY Michael

10/01 Direct Link

One more time

The Alchemist awakes

Turning green to gold

From base elements:

Fire, earth

Air and water.

 

I am thinking today

Of the number of times

I have witnessed this.

I am disobediently

Crawling back through

The tube of time

 

To my earliest memories

Of this event

To great trees

That no longer exist

 

I am now remembering them one

By one:

The touch of deep bark

A smooth brown nut

A careless sweep against a blue sky.

 

I am hearing them rattle and cackle

In the wind.

I can still feel their great hearts

Rocking in the earth.

10/02 Direct Link

I’m crossing a line now

Both as a writer and

As a human being

It may be

I’ve been a line crosser

All my life

 

Line crosser

Line stepper

 

I didn’t know that line was there…

It pissed me off

That someone thought

They could put a line

In a place like that…

How could I not

Cross a line like that…

 

Given enough time…

And it seems I have been

Gifted with time

 

Now I must open this gift

Understand its colors

Corners and uses.

 

I must gentle it like a

Raggedy assed mixed metaphor

And use it well.

 

10/03 Direct Link

What is it with

These poem things?

 

They exhaust me so.

I wind up like some fancy

Major league pitcher

On the best fall day ever

 

And throw that thing

Twisting and turning

Down the twin lasers shooting

Out of my eyes

 

Freezing in place at the release

Watching it go

Controlling it with my mind

As it flies to the plate at

A hundred miles an hour

 

And feel the slap of the recoil

As it hits the catcher’s mitt

STRiiiKKKeee! The umpire reaches

As the shock wave rolls over the stadium

 

And I’m done.

Good for one pitch.

10/04 Direct Link

I know what you want:

Someone to

Barefoot into the snow

Some winter morning

Because life feels so damn good,

 

Someone so full

Of the spark and joy

You never have to worry

Where your next jolt is coming

From

 

I do that sometimes

But to be honest

Often as not

I wake up scared

 

And oh hell I’ll

Go fucking catatonic

Before I’ll face the

Possibility

Of disappointing

Someone like you.

 

No, I didn’t fall

Downtherabbithole

I was born there

And I have ripped my

Damn bootstraps off

Trying to get out.

 

I’m really sorry.

Different people.

You.

Me.

 

10/05 Direct Link
Vicky

My dad doesn't say much

unless we are walking the cemetery.

Then he

writes,

a constant stream with

 

thoughts crammed

together

 

defining the pace at which he walks

which is a half beat faster than his normal speech,

a quarter beat slower than mine,

and

oh God, how I could go on with that.

 

We always start at the gate.

Same gate.

I climbed over the iron upright spikes threatening my balls

When I was 10

8

6:

you choose.

 

We always start at the gate.

 

The corner posts have collapsed,

gate fallen inward,

the gilt replaced by aluminum paint.

 

 

10/06 Direct Link
Vicky II

Walking the cemetery,

my father’s eyes follow

a constant stream

that no one else sees.

 

It darts deep through

A rocky glen in Kentucky

 

running gemstone cool

in the summer.

 

It is crammed

with beautiful leaping fish

and the colors that run in yellow poplar.

 

A tiny bright blue-eyed

blonde girl is running

half falling over the leaves

to get to him.

 

Sometimes,

back in the woods

I see him pause

reaching to catch her.

 

This life runs so thick,

the water so fast

there really isn’t time to sort

 

the flow,

the eddies,

the why.

 

The stream just runs.

10/07 Direct Link
Vicky III

We always start at the gate

 

walking clockwise,

first past Vicky:

 

My sister’s grave. 

 

He'll always mention

Vicky,

 

who was buried there

Christmas eve,

 

It might have been snowing

that day,

the damp sod quickly picking up a sheet of ice,

sleet snow, angling down over the tent,

wet against the side of your nose.

 

A doll-sized burial vault?

 

She was three years old.

 

This year, there is a small blue spruce growing there,

with little red ornaments on it.

 

Bows.

 

And Vicky herself

 has become a tiny red ornament

growing painfully

out of the family heart

every snowy season.

 

10/08 Direct Link
Vicky IV

We’re past the gate,

past Vicky,

 

walking clockwise,

on the tar and stones

and badly poured gutters.

 

It might have been snowing,

close to evening with the cold

seeping in the way it did

the night

I ran away

in mid-winter.

 

Shout me twenty frozen farms

past that cemetery.

 

I’m twelve?

shaking, hands numb,

standing at a farmhouse door begging

to come in.

 

I can taste the heat

swirling around that

old man’s grey trousers,

can see the Seigler oil burner

cooking in the living room

where his wife has paused

her rocking,

 

“What’s he selling?” she asks from within.

 

10/09 Direct Link
Vicky V

We’re past the gate,

past Vicky,

past the farm house.

 

I can breathe again.

 

We are two men

walking the clock,

each soaked in our own thoughts.

 

Turning the corner he mentions "mother and dad" and

"David," 

his brother.

 

The road

curves to the right there and the spatters of conversation

will turn to hunting, or carpentry. 

 

Some of the trees in this cemetery

have turned to toys, furniture, and violins

 in his careful hands.

 

In the back, the headstones thin

to cattle and corn fields, and

the wind blows

cold again,

reminding me

that I will miss him

terribly.

 

 

 

10/10 Direct Link

  It seems to have crept up on me of its own accord.  No I did not say it was driving a car.  Well that was your interpretation. I am not shouting.  Why don’t you just leave me alone?  I did not ask your opinion.  No, I was talking to myself.  Why Not?  That’s certainly not true.  There is nothing wrong with talking to yourself.  I was not talking that loudly.  Yelling,  I’m not even yelling now.  How can you say I’m yelling?  I think you are just spoiling for an argument.  That’s right.  You’re going to attack whatever I say.

10/11 Direct Link

Keep my hands to yourself

Don’t let them wander

From the place

They’re safe.

 

Keep your eye on mine

When it’s dark outside.  

Don’t turn your head

To whispers that

One is enough.

 

Don’t go dancing

With somebody else

Let’s spend the night.

Holding each other up

Until we’re sweaty and

Too tired to move.

 

Let’s sit close together

All the way home

In the glow of the

Dash lights under

The eye of the chrome.

 

Let’s share one pillow

As we fall into one dream

And remember to be

Fearless for each other:

Just

Keep my hands to yourself.

 

10/12 Direct Link

It seemed to him that his head was too big, mostly, and that it was too warm.  He had left work early.  It was Thursday, and work just did not appeal to him anymore.  He closed down his computer, and packed his bag, quietly leaving.  No one else in the work area looked up or said anything.  Bill left early today.  Bill Blue took off early again today. It wasn’t like it seemed to matter. The idea seemed to press against him.  He paused, considering unpacking his bag and staying another forty minutes. What was he going to do anyway?

10/13 Direct Link

Bill swung the backpack over his shoulder and walked out into the aisle. He wondered about the backpack, with the laptop and papers in it.  Odds are he would come back to work Monday with the thing never opened.  But he knew that one must be seen leaving work with work, prepared to work. It was the rule, even though no one ever did anything with the crap they took home.  Well, maybe some of them did.  He tried to imagine someone actually working on a program or a reference table from home.  Even writing a proposal.  It didn’t fit.

10/14 Direct Link

He slid through the elevator doors just as they were closing, not interrupting anything.  Here he was, Bill Blue riding the elevator, standing, facing the rear or the elevator, facing the fake paneling, the metal pegs along the top for hanging pads on.  The elevator slowed for the third floor.  Bill turned to face the door. That was the rule.  You had to face the door.  He remembered his boss introducing him to the attorney general in that elevator and the conversation turning to the executioner. He had told the attorney general he would like to be the executioner.  Why?

10/15 Direct Link

The elevator doors opened.  Two women got on. They stopped talking as they saw him, turning to face the front, their smiles fading.  The one on the right swung her head to flip her hair across her face, and her hair immediately returned to its original placement. She was dressed in black.  Her hair was black.  She was round. She was a series of arcs from the same circle it seemed, her stomach, her ass, her breasts, her head, her eyes, her smile, and even the curve with which her hair was cut.  Had she done this for some effect?

10/16 Direct Link

The other woman was black, but she was dressed in red.  She was all angles, pleats, and ruffles. Her hair was curly.  Her arms and legs stuck out of her dress like attachments out of a Mrs. Potato Head. There were a hundred different angles, curves, and lines to her face alone, Bill realized. He looked back to the first woman.  They were both pretty. How could they be so different?  He felt the elevator settling on the ground floor.  How had they gotten him to say he wanted to be the executioner? That wasn’t what he meant at all.

10/17 Direct Link

The elevator doors rattled open, and the women got out, turning toward the parking garage. Bill did not want to follow them. He knew how this would go. They would walk slowly.  They would be talking. He would not be able to get around them.  He would be following Bill Blue would be following two women into the parking garage.  “Fuck you!”  He said to himself angrily, turning left as they turned right. The round woman turned her face to look at him. He ducked. He didn’t realize he had spoken out loud. The black woman looked at her friend.

10/18 Direct Link

Bill dove around the corner. “Shit!” He slammed his fist into the wall.  He looked up and down the corridor. It was empty.  It was still early. He went to the vending machines and looked in.  Junk.  Nothing but junk.  He thought about a Mars bar. He pulled out his wallet and took out the last dollar bill.  He would have to wait until those women actually cleared the parking lot. He did not want them to see him again.  He smoothed the dollar bill against the machine and offered it to the mechanism. The machine snapped up the bill.

10/19 Direct Link

The machine dropped the candy bar into the metal tray.  He pulled it out thinking about how long he might have to wait.  Christ they might stand around their cars talking before they left. It could be forever.  He might as well leave.  What if they had parked next to him? He should have left at his normal time.  He had fucked up.  Again.  He went to sit down at one of the tables in the tiny empty break room and looked out the smeared windows at the complex. He heard the sound of the machine eating another dollar bill.

10/20 Direct Link

Bill Blue froze at the sound of the Candy machine.  He looked around. He was alone in the break room at a quarter to five. How was he to explain that to anyone?  What was he doing here? How was he to explain it to himself?  It was those two women. He didn’t want to run into them…maybe they were gone by now.  What if they weren’t? What if they were driving out as he walked into the parking garage? Someone came around the corner from the candy machine. He recognized her.  Dorothy, Dorothy someone from Accounting, walking toward him.

10/21 Direct Link

Dorothy from Accounting was spooning a glob of yogurt from a small plastic tub into her too small mouth.  Dorothy seemed smallish all over to Bill.  Her waist was very tiny.  Her neck was way too thin. She seemed to always wear the same blue dress.  It was made of some dense cloth, almost like hemp. It suddenly occurred to Bill that maybe it was hemp, that maybe Dorothy was a stoner. Maybe that was why her eyes seemed to bug out all the time, why she never changed her dress. She walked across the break room straight toward him. 

10/22 Direct Link

She seemed to be able to walk across a room in a straight line no matter how much furniture was in the way. Bill had noticed that some people could do that. He wondered why he couldn’t. It seemed to him that he was always twisting and turning and walking fifty yards to get across a twenty-foot room.  He watched her, expecting a table to glide through her hips, but what happened was that she picked a path that was clear or became clear as she got close to it even though he could not make it out she approached.

10/23 Direct Link

Dorothy from Accounting paused at his table.  “You getting ready to leave?” she asked.  Bill glanced at the stub of his candy bar.  “Close to it.  You can sit down. I won’t hurt you.”  “Thanks.  I wasn’t too worried.”  Dorothy slid back a chair, and holding her knees together, dropped her bottom into it and swiveled under the table all the time holding the yogurt in front of her. Bill considered that it was a rather athletic move on her part, that he would have set the yogurt down and leaned all over the table getting down into that chair.

10/24 Direct Link
10/25 Direct Link

I did take a nap earlier, but something woke me up.  I think it was an unexpected transient in the music I was falling asleep to.  Tom called.  Grandson Daniel needed a copy of Catcher in the Rye for school and the Ann Arbor library was out of them. They had them at the Brighton Library.  Would I go get a copy? Sure.  I thought about the likelihood of my getting this library book back and went to the used paperback bookstore.  No Salinger. I went to the big chain store in the mall and got a copy for six bucks.

10/26 Direct Link

I still want to take a nap.  My body wants one. I can feel it.  Michael Jr. came over to take a  shower.  He was going to interview for a “second job.”  He asked if he could wash his shirt.  He asked if he could store his bed and TV here because the place he was going to stay fell through.  I thought about it a while and agreed.  He asked for the title to his truck and I gave it to him. There is an underlying current of anger. I will not let him move in with me.

10/27 Direct Link

My youngest son calls asking where to go for a Social Security card.  I tell him I don’t know. It seems to me that it is as easy for him to sort this out as it is for me to do it.  I feel he is a little upset at my answer.  I stick to it.  Later that day I will call him again, suggesting that the library has computers for the public to use to look up information and to find places to stay. I will hang up on him as he starts to ask me for something else.

10/28 Direct Link

I am sleepier with the five hours,

but I do more than I could with eight

or nine.

 

It’s that longer night

I seek.

 

Is this the mania my wife

cautioned about

when she learned how much I was doing? 

“You shouldn’t write so much,

It’s not good for you.”

 

She is gone now,

and I write when I want.

 

Even when the hours glow small.

Even when the night is huge

With hairy paws

Hanging like some constellation

Fallen to life over the house.

 

It hugs the roof

Nuzzles the chimney

Sighs happily,

Absent mindedly

Ripping loose another shingle.

 

 

 

 

 

10/29 Direct Link

I am craving something; like sleep; like vitamin Q; like brainwave Zeta-R; Like crazy man or the smoke slowly rising in the woods over the hill. These are all pieces of reality.  The light switch on the wall over my sister’s head is the thing I remember most the day I left telling her, “Your boys are about to burn your house down.” It was on the radio before I got home…the gasoline fumes exploding in the garage…the gases holding the doors shut against their escape, Charlie’s head still smoking three hours later as he sat on the EMT tailgate.

10/30 Direct Link

I am craving something; something like sleep, like vitamin Q; like brainwave Zeta-R; like crazy man or the smoke slowly rising in the woods over the hill. Something that cuts through half haze, smoke, and fog. These are all pieces of reality.  It was in Ohio and I was driving a two-lane through fog so dense that I kept going slower and slower, unable to see the pavement below me. Getting out, I took one step forward off the pavement onto unseen grass.  I was parked across an intersection, a T in the road, my front wheels off the road.

10/31 Direct Link

I am craving something; something like sleep, like vitamin Q; like brainwave Zeta-R; like salt or serotonin. I want to rise in thin air and float over the woods to inhale the smoke slowly rising in the valley, to pass through this.  It was Ohio and I was drunk and driving a two-lane through fog.  I needed to take a piss.  Pulling over, I got out, took one step and there was nothing beneath my feet. I landed in the river.  Gasping, I caught a glimpse of the car lights on a bridge through a hole in the fog above.