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These chimes have been hanging
here in this window and have been
following me around to the point
that I do not remember who first
gave them to me.
That means they have truly become mine.
They left with me when I moved out to the apartment
and followed me to Canada
Now they are back here again.
I talk to them and it is the wind
That speaks back through them
whispering of loosening leaves
telling me I can now see farther into the forest.
It is a taunt.
That is all.
So much of life is a taunt.
Itís a day like any other day.
Iím sure it was.
It just felt different
It was the
My eyes creeping out
The side of my head that way.
Out of order.
Out of bounds.
Out of the way.
While that cool purple shadow
crept across the lawn like some
flowering fuzzy buds,
their children, dogs,
and their imported domestic-branded
I had meant to write
that has grown small running naked now
just over the far horizon
on the inner dome of my skull.
I feel the air from the fan swinging across my legs and I have to start work in about an hour and a half. This starting work thing leaves me with a small rush of angst like I am being pushed face-first into a board. There is an end point to the work and I look to that already in a sense of promise. It is not that the work is hard. It is not. Or that I am not competent. I am. It is just the ongoing rush of time barking at my heels and dragging everything along behind.
This planting is made up of two trees, cedar I think, that have been badly trimmed. But they take turns rushing past one another, the one growing taller and then the other, as if they were two runners alternating the lead, which is not the way runners would take such a race. But it is how these two trees are at it and they will be for the next few years until they run too reckless and too far and someone grubs them out to replace them with smaller, more manageable plantings. This is what it means to be decorative.
How long should I wait for this battery before I give up and order a new one? It was only a seven-dollar item--a rechargeable battery for my wireless music player. I had bought a new one but it lasted only a couple weeks before giving out. I sent a note to my eBay retailer complaining and was promptly informed a replacement battery would be sent out. That was 9 days ago and we are into a long holiday weekend here. I know the answer to all this. I write my vendor again if I don't get a battery Monday
The car, no the van...it was a van, a full-sized van, maybe a custom job. It was parked and empty, facing the park. It's tired dash was covered with a fine slick of sticky oil and dust. The odometer showed 123,000 miles, perhaps not so much for a vehicle that had traversed the country east and west three times and north-south twice, moving up into Canada and across there as well. It had not been to Alaska and perhaps if such an entity had enough consciousness to have regrets the missing trip to Alaska might have been one of them.
The van was parked over a mud puddle in such a way that the driver had to slide off the seat and down into the water to exit or enter the vehicle. Perhaps this was something they should have thought about. The puddle was a crater in the asphalt, the shore rising into steep dark and jagged cliffs. When the wind came waves would rise up against the black walls, the muddy water splashing and beating against the rock, battering out pieces over time. It was clearly no place for ships between the rough waters and the jagged cliff face.
I was sitting on the basement floor, trimming the duct tape patch for the furnace filter. You would say I should not be sitting in the floor the way my mother would say in the floor as if a person could be rising up out of the concrete, stiffly held there. I remember walking barefooted in wet concrete when I was young, remember the rough heavy feeling against my legs, a weight that I could almost lean against. Pulling my feet out they would have a coating of concrete that would wash off in the garden hose, pink and new.
There are other places I could go, places other than here. I could, for example, walk over and play the piano. It is a smallish piano, a Kimball console with a fixed bench. No such fancy as an adjustable bench for this man who is one of smallish financial means. Although I have been told that, when new the Kimball fetched a price that I probably could not afford now even though there have been decades of inflation. When you look into a piano, there is really not so much to it. You might wonder why they cost so much.
I was just looking at a basket of apples, set before me on the floor, a big wooden basket of apples, a full bushel of apples. And at the top of this idealized basket of apples lay one apple, a striped and speckled red apple that still had a bit of stem attached, with a single apple leaf. The apples leaned into the basket pressed one against the other their surfaces rubbing with fresh apple friction. Fresh apple friction is full of apple juice that squirts out into your mouth and dribbles down your chin when you bite into it.
It is a dull day. Even the sun has been dulled into somber earth tones that filter though a cloudy sky. I think it is cool outside, but I like cool. I like cold. I like its bite and the feel of a cold surface against my forehead. I have been known to take cans of soda out of the refrigerator and press them against my forehead before opening them. It feels so good. Maybe it is because I have this chronic sinus blockage and likely inflammation that causes my head to feel so hot so much of the time.
Writing a good 100 words entry gives you a kind of psychological lift. I type the word life instead of lift and I wonder about the psychological life. Would it be one where a person read heavy books all the time? I think about Freud, but there is not so much to think about. I have not read the man. What, a tall goatee of a man striding about in a top hat? That is what comes to mind when I think of Freud, which is not very often at all. He is not the subject of a good entry.
It is too hot to write. I can hear the dogs barking across the park, barking from the house of dogs, their hairs flying in a spray of dog smell. I can hear the train horns and the screech of its wheels rolling by on the rails. There is the clatter and rumble that soaks up all the dog barking and I see large shadows moving by against the dark blue sky. The train rolls away. There is a kind of padded silence followed by the chiming of the clock. The dogs have gone away, obviously taken by the train.
I have been writing too fast. I slow deliberately and close my eyes, feeling the dark pressing in on me. It gets too late too quickly and as an older man I have become even more sensitive to this passing of time. One of my Korean students said the other day that when you are twenty life goes at twenty kilometers per hour and when you are fifty life goes at fifty kilometers per hour. In the past I had thought the formula was a little more tricky than that, but nevertheless the end result was the same. It accelerates.
I have no focal point in mind just now. I glance toward the piano and that is where I have been spending much of my time lately. It is a difficult mistress, requiring endless hours of effort for the slightest of smiles. Perhaps I exaggerate. Perhaps it is a forgiving mistress who is free with her smiles requiring the slightest of effort for a reward. I think the harsh thing that sits with me concerning the piano is that I will never be that good, that I never was going to be that good. But then I never had that illusion.
The frog was attached at the corner of the page. It was a flattened frog, a kind of idealized version of frogness in its green with a red tongue sticking out. I am sure it would have been just as effective a frog without the tongue hanging out, but nevertheless there was a tongue. You were asleep. You slept while I played the piano and you would wake up when I stopped. No matter how badly I played you slept happily, waking only when I quit. Your daughter used to play. You must have happy memories associated with the piano.
I don't know if you grew up
in a castle
or a tin house
with paint turned
chalky under the sun,
with windows that rattled
when you waved the door
shut behind you
down metal steps.
I donít know if your
parents lifted you up
or squared off one
against the other into
little corners of squid
that squirted into your
following you to school.
I donít know
if you grew into quiet
or were hollowed
by terrors you
did not understand;
cravings you could not quench,
a young girl watering
her breasts with tears.
Iím hanging here
bleached out over the snow
My eyes closed against the
bright radiance below.
If there is nothing in this world save
saying it makes it so then
there is no madness unless we
give the name to the act.
There are times when it all
appears to be beauty, and then it flashes
Like some old stuttering
movie projector never quite
catching up to itself.
we are left hanging
to fill in the missing spaces,
to write our own ending
while the film dissolves
leaving a brilliant
blanket of snow.
I hear the voices of the night. The ratt of the motorcycle taking it through the gears, the call of voices in the distance. A voice now clear that turns slowly away, no longer to be heard. No longer to be heard. And I am thinking. Yes I am thinking of that state of no longer to be heard, that forever long darkness that clouds even the imagination. It scares me. Yet it seems peaceful, nearly a state of grace. I can almost get used to the idea. Almost. I said almost. Perhaps in another thirty years I'll be ready.
I could write about the train, about how it is different each time it passes. This time it has a rattle and a high pitched squeal that makes my teeth hurt. It fills the open door wall and then it gets quiet with a long groan and the rhythmic clank and clatter. It is going slower perhaps, trying to put me to sleep now. Are the long screeching sounds the scrape of braking wheels against the track? But it keeps going, slowly lost into the night, dying away like a gong. I can hear it long after it is gone.
There are so many pieces of music to listen to. Well there are. So many pieces to play. I used to think there were so many books that no one could possibly ever read them all. It seemed useless to write more. But that is not why we write, is it? It is not why we read, why we listen, why we bang out things on the piano. There is another reason, perhaps more than one. To be sure there is the urge to catalog, but there is that other thing, that way of being, that sense of being transported.
I was sitting at the table beneath the tropical plant. It may have been a tree by then. At what point does a plant become a tree? Even an oak starts as a sprout, a seedling, a...what? Sapling. My father called them saplings and he probably still does. His mind seems sharp, sharper than mine about those things. It takes me awhile to recall things that he seems to have at his fingertips. I have to put the thing aside for a moment while something in background searches the files and brings it to me. It is like a puppy.
It is dark, dark outside and it is dark in here. It is dark around the tops of my eyes where my heavy eyebrows droop in perpetual shade. It is dark in the corners and in little rivulets along the carpet. The windows are squares of darkness that show nothing but what is lit in the rooms. It is dark cricket-singing mosquito feeding drippy darkness outside, but I already said that. Darn dark inside too. Possibly dark inside my mind, the imagination running old crusty pipes across the skull that drip and drizzle into the darkness of the brain pan.
It is getting late here. Soon I will complete my entry and I will...what? Maybe a book, but more than likely I will creep back into the piano. Once was I wrote, but now I creep into the piano, my fingers slipping a little sticky along the keys, dipping into them, dipping into the action, clumsy against the wood and felt there, up to my elbows in piano. What is there in the piano? It is limited. It really is. It takes forever to carve out one new tune, and by then I have forgotten the two I composed before.
It may be late here. I will try to find access and will I perhaps with reserve? Will I with aversion? Will I in darkness swim the sticky water back into the piano? Where once I typed, but now I crawl. My fingers slip one little sticky along the stem to dip into the document that is clumsy against the wood, dressed with felt there, my elbows up to piano, waving it around my head. What is piano now? It is within piano limits. It takes for eternity to snip out a new cutting. How long for an entire village?
I'm cooking chili just now. The weather is cool enough for chili. And she asked me to make some. I am of course worried that it will not turn out good. Turn out well? I suppose in this case either would work well, just with different meanings. She is sleeping now. She has not been feeling well for the past couple days, caught a bug from her granddaughter I think. Possibly she got a second bug from me a couple days earlier. I am surprised I haven't come down with the granddaughter bug yet. Maybe it is the vitamin C.
He was cooking up something with the car, shiny new metal pieces going on under the hood. I wondered if he was going to cut a hole in the hood for a new air scoop or something, but I think holes in the hood is something that was more popular a few decades ago. That would be when I was young and I spend probably too much time dwelling on not being young. I know you are supposed to enjoy life and not think about growing old, but knowing a thing and being able to actually practice it are different.
Heaven help my heart the girl sings. I think that is what she sang. I don't always know for sure because my hearing is not that good. It never has been that good. She says I should get a hearing aid and I suppose I should consider it but it is one of those things I am afraid of. I have chronic anxiety. I don't know if the hearing aid is part of my generalized anxiety or something else. I just wonder if I am going to have to spend the rest of my life with this angst.
I will begin playing the piano in another ten minutes or so. She seems to like it when I play the piano. At first I wasn't sure whether it was something she just tolerated to make me happy, but she genuinely seems to be ok with it. I think she likes music. This is a good thing because I too like music. Our tastes are not identical, so I am currently listening to show tunes. This is ok though. My own fault. I taught her how to hook her iPhone up to my stereo using Bluetooth and she loves it.
I should probably Facebook more often, but there are other things needing my attention. Things like this. Not Facebook. Why won't my spell check let me type Facebook? Is it supposed to be two words or is it my 2007 version of MS Word? The last time I checked I was left with the impression that I could not MS Word. They lease it for a hundred bucks a year. I suppose it is not so bad. I have music subscriptions I pay more than that for and MS throws in a nice chunk of cloud space with their deal.
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