is shining with rain and littered with leaves. One son has vacuumed and mopped
and run out the door to work. Another sits scowling across the sea. But I told myself in the beginning
That no good
deed goes unpunished, so I am not surprised that things have ended the way they
have. I could have written this ending
three months ago, possibly could have predicted the date, time of day and my
own reaction. The odd thing is that the
endpoint is still not clear, but my grandson seems to be getting what he wanted
through all the curves and angles and hook-backs of the conversations with and
about my son, and yes, the conversations about him were designed to flow to
him. I remember saying that was the
plan, and they did so with terrifying efficiency. What else was I to do when I could not
engineer a meaningful conversation directly with him? I knew I should expect some backup of sludge
in the pipes…perhaps I underestimated the amount, but still the end result is
exactly what is required, the transfer of the son to his father. No more waiting or bullshit.
remains the unpredictable variable of the custodial mommy. It was a risk that had to be taken. I know Tom will point out that I am forcing
other risks. I feel they are
insignificant compared to the ones we are taking continuing the current
course. I feel it is important that
Daniel get centered within a relatively healthy family now and not dangle in
the wind another unknown amount of time.
I know there are many who will
say these were not my choices to make. I
say my making them proves that I indeed had them to make.
I wake up at
5 o’clock. I have to pee. I think I have
to pee. I am not sure. I do it anyway, rolling out of bed, finding a
light, my glasses dimly aware of life elsewhere in the house. Is it true?
My old phone is flashing. I have recharged it, of course, and now the
calendar has woken up and has news to tell me about. That is why I put it to sleep in the first
place. I know I am up. I won’t be going back to bed. . What
is with me and mornings lately?
This room is full of snow.
I have lost my drink and my patience.
There is a low bookcase along one wall.
On the top left is a model rocket, at least three feet tall, which
explains the low bookshelf. Two other
items are arranged on the shelf and it is clear now that this is an arrangement
for effect. This shelf is for display,
not for utility or storage; its primary function is display. The second object is a yo-yo with about two
inches of string dangling over the front of the bookcase. The third object is a geode.
Putin's eyesPutin is shorter than I
The early winter wind
over the runway moves his hair
And then passes on.
His hands are out working
but it is Putin’s eyes that draw
They are icy
Impecably dressed, the man
and the resonance of that voice
and the subsequent silence
in his skull
leave no doubt
that he is walking history.
It is cold this evening
and the concrete has drawn into itself
I have never
felt quite so declinated
by a single man,
A single nod.
He is Putin.
I am a mere poet.
In this room, there are lace curtains blooming in
sunlight. Beneath the window sits a
small ornate writing table in walnut.
The drawer has a single brass pull centered in it. It is covered with an embroidered runner, with cutwork roses with ivory
leaves. Sitting on this is a china
fountain gurgling water, trimmed lightly with gold and painted somewhat
incongruously with mauve tulips. It is
not apparent where the power source is for the fountain and after a while I begin
to wonder if it is battery or solar powered since there is so much light through
I am about to make a mistake. I am installing Microsoft office 7 on a
computer that is already using some kind of cloud version of Word and Excel
10. I realize that I will lose any
documents that I have created, oh, in the past 2 years or so due to
compatibility issues. It’s just that the
cloud version keeps coming up in some instances and insisting that I don’t own
it. At other times it says OK, I came
with your PC. I don’t trust it any more
and I have a perfectly sane version of Office 7.
One thing about having a large house is that you never need
worry about being alone. Someone is always moving in or staying for a
while. Sometimes they cough up
rent. There are times I am reminded of
my days back at the university in the dormitory, wandering from room to room,
interacting with the other students. Of
course the difference is that I am no longer one of the students. I am the dad, the grandpa. I am in charge of the menagerie. I am the one
who weekly gets to ask the question, “Are you living here now?”
I’ve started building a new pair of speakers, I think. It is a semi-creative endeavor. I purchased drivers readymade. I am using full-range drivers so I don’t have
to design a cross-over. Cross-overs are
supposed to suck the life out of music anyway.
The box design is not original with me.
I have seen pictures of it before, albeit not with this particular
driver, and definitely not in the way I will be building or using it. So I don’t
know how many creativity points I get for this endeavor. And I’m not completely sure why I am doing
This morning has not been noted by anyone.
She needn’t obey any laws
of morality, man or god;
of physics or
as she shakes her hair and loosens
the cool autumn breeze through her limbs.
A white seed pod lifts from the ground
in nearly a straight line, wavering
fine tuning as the first automobile slides down
but the driver takes no note.
The sun breaks over rooftops
piercing and honking.
Great groaning trees,
turning and polishing leaves,
mumbling, still half asleep.
mist on their wings.
It started snowing while I was in the middle of a
twenty-minute nap. I had known it was
cold outside, knew from the matted frost I walked on this morning when I took
some trash out. Still the snow was a
surprise when I woke up to it. It was my
job this morning to drive Daniel to work, so I got to practice my rusty winter
driving skills, wondering if my tires were still up to it. They seemed to work ok, sliding a little bit
at one stop sign. But I didn’t lose the
car in any corners.
I keep finding dark stuff in the most unlikely places. I don’t know it is dark stuff until someone
else points to me and says, “Mommy, that man is oozing dark stuff,”
“Shush, mind your
manners.” And there I am, out in public,
dark stuff dribbling out my ears, marking my footprints wherever I walk. It would be different were I a dark stuff
booster, or even a sympathizer, but I am not.
I don’t like dark stuff. I think it should be done away with wherever and
however it shows up, and now here I am, oozing dark stuff.
I come back from the grocery store with my brain
smoldering. I don’t like it when my
brain is smoldering. I keep making notes
to myself to do something, to take a chill pill. Michael helps me unpack the groceries and we
make short work of it. He retires to his
video game and main squeeze while I fix a gin and tonic and sit down with some
jazz music. I am thinking that if I am
not careful I will run out of things to do before I run out of day. That is nonsense. What am I thinking?
The new doctor put me on new drugs. They always do. The first thing they do is throw away the
meds you are on and put you on new meds, like a dog pissing on its
territory. I wonder is how many of them
have tried out the fucking cocktails they are feeding me. This one was ok at first. Then he doubled the dose and everything went
wonky. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stay awake. I couldn’t focus on my work. I couldn’t breathe without effort. I called to tell them I was taking myself off
the damn Perphenazine.
It isn’t that I am anti-drug. I had hopes for this doctor, for this
med. It seemed to help a little bit
before it started crushing the life out of me.
Then it was worse than the disease.
They called back almost immediately.
The doctor wanted to start me on a new drug: Haldol. He wanted to see me next week and they were
calling the drug into the pharmacy. I
sat at my desk and cried. I do not want
to be a lab rat for any more of their drug experiments. I did not pick up the Haldol.
Now I have to decide whether to keep the appointment. What do I need the doctor and the therapist for? Maybe for the Ativan. I may as well try getting along without the
Ativan because if I do what I am considering, go outlaw on the medical
establishment they will take the Ativan away from me. I think about all the money I will save. I think about the periodic pain I will
inherit. I think I can handle it, maybe
as well as I can handle the doctors.
Hell my gp wants to stick a flashlight up my ass.
It seems like a dream and I would ask what would be
happening to me to cause me to have a dream like this with all its apparent
detail and confusion, with its amnesic and blurred vision. I am thinking that this is all useless
endeavor. I would say I was angry, but I
have no god to be angry with. I do but I
do not. As I watch it, the anger changes
into something else. It becomes a kind of curiosity, a desire to poke my finger
into life to see if it rebounds, to know its pulse.
I think perhaps I really don’t need anything but some fresh
air and exercise. I really do like music
and I seem to like it enough to want to make it sometimes myself. I remember
myself at seventeen and it is a surprise to me how little I have changed in my
heart given the rabid and peculiar changes in my body. I look in the mirror now and I see an old
man, or an aging man. It seems peculiar
and not attached to me, to who I am hurtling through this barrel of time toward
a certain uncertainty.
There are two ways to view the uncertainty. One is the concrete. In this cradle to crematorium view we exist
for a finite time and an infinitely small purpose. The other view is the
spiritual/transcendental. I know people
will disagree with me but life seems to resonate with the spiritual aspect,
with the transcendental view. People are
simply healthier and happier embracing this perspective. They are also inspired. This view seems to be synchronous with art. It is the view that says we must keep all the
music playing. It is the perspective
that requires that we hold one another.
I think the patterns are more complicated than we realize
and we cannot possibly come to understand them because of an uncertainty
principle that states that the machine cannot completely know itself because
its nature is to require overhead and it cannot have enough memory to
comprehend what it is as long as a portion of memory is dedicated to
overhead. So in death we operate without
overhead and finally comprehend exactly what we are. The concrete view says this comprehension is
akin to shutting the machine off. The
transcendental view says that we escape the limitations of this principle.
It seemed innocent
the first time she cut
into the ancient wood
of the fine old
Sauce for the goose,
But now she looks
At nine notches
Almost daily and
Each one is finely
There is one that
seems to be cut
a little more deeply
than the rest
as if her jaw were set
her feet braced
against the headboard
so that when the stain
it settled into that
cut so deeply
that it left
a darkness on that
can be seen from across the room
Make that three.
Three are bare
that could have been
not notches though
you see how it happens
One even so light
That one day she
he had left a hair and
she reached for it
In a moment of
Independent of her
it is still working,
only it is her.
She remembers the
his penis across her
but not his name.
She has tried to
at least once a year
She looks at the dark
A cloud shadow passes
over the window
There is only
she curls up in it
This is where she goes
Maybe it is where she
for the past fifteen
she won't give this
not even for a real
For her, it all
The sunlight, the dust
in the air.
Maybe she bonded for
to the wrong notch.
This is a dark crevasse
which has captured her
and holds her
It is oblique resin in
never touched but with
There was a thing I was going to write but I have forgotten
what it was. It may have been something
about how that cloud appears to rise in the sky like a great vertical fungus, a
white thing rooted in the earth. This is
what I see. It may have been the ringing
and buzzing in my ears or this soft float of my eyelids as they close against
the late morning light. It may have been
the way Daniel got out of the car at the high school this morning talking about
getting an apartment with Michael Jr.
My father taught me about trees and
there is a way you can crawl into them, and hear them whisper. When I was a boy and we’d go hunting he’d
lean into a big maple and just rest a while.
Then he’d move off and say, “This way,” and that’s where we’d find the
game. Maybe, I thought it was just a
game for the children the way I used to move the stone turtle around the house
at night and watch my children run down the stairs in the morning to see where
it had crawled in their sleep.
The kitchen isn’t my favorite place to work, but I am making
do with it. It is not as easy to drift
off to a nap while writing as it is when I am in the recliner. But the normal venue is having carpet
scrubbing exercises, by me, and I take a long time to shampoo a carpet. The process involves multiple passes with the
machine, while I let the carpet dry in between passes to bring the dirt up from
the pad as the water evaporates through the top of the carpet fibers. It is a lot of work.
are going to be
its mark on
and I have
to let them many
I read into
memory of the
They tell me
I’m not quite
But I’ve put
the garbage out
smells much the same.
I might like
night with my own
Big bare toes
damp leaves across
toward the dawn.
Well I am
In the snow
and rain and
newspapers to the
left main event;
to the right.
things I don’t want.
tight little colorful plastic bags
so I can
pick them up and put
them in the
recycle bin without really touching or
infected by them
sailing the Sun today in
odd zig zag
notions that tickle
of my brain.
I don't know
what it means but there
is a little note
a note I do not read.
What’s it like to be his son?” she had asked. She had kissed me first. They always kiss you first. It is to anesthetize you or something. Then they go for the grubby. They want to know. They wanna touch him. It’s Jesus’ son they want. I was an idiot if I had thought I had slipped
far enough beneath the surface that they did not recognize me. I could feel my
nostrils start to flare in a sneer and stop.
I swallowed the curse on my lips.
There was nothing useful in saying he was a lousy real father