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BY Michael

03/01 Direct Link
He woke up from the dream. His father had been in the dream. Dean had been in the dream. They were both dead on this side of life, but they lived on in the dream. His father and mother had come to Michigan to visit him and he was still living with Dean in the house on Ashley. He wasnít home but Dean had found empty rooms for his parents and they were sleeping when he got home. Perhaps they were dreaming in another life. Perhaps it was a life where he was dead. He had no way of knowing.
03/02 Direct Link
Who would care that he had written anything about Dean? Perhaps Matthew would, but Matthew was dead too. Matthewís funeral had played to an overflow crowd in a giant church. He didnít know if Dean even had a funeral. His fatherís funeral had been a small affair. His father had lived in a small town and he had outlived all his friends and brothers and sisters. There were his children and his grandchildren. There were a few curious people. There were the men from the Masonic lodge. There were the men from the American legion shooting rifles into the air.
03/03 Direct Link
He brushed little short hairs and crumbs from his bologna sandwich off his shirt. The little short hairs were light brown. They were his, left over from shaving or from trimming his beard this morning. His hair used to be red. Now it had turned to this light brown color. His mother had told him that his father ate bologna sandwiches all the time. ďMustard or Miracle Whip?Ē he had asked her. But she kept on talking. She had not heard him. He was cold. It seemed he had said that before. He got his hoodie out of the closet.
03/04 Direct Link
He was dreaming again. Maybe this was the beginning of 100 dreams. He dreamt a large flat field covered with carefully cultivated grass. In the middle of the field was a tower. It was a tall and narrow tower, built on a lean. It sat on a round concrete pedestal. The top of the tower was not flat, but built in a curve, almost an inverse sine wave. But something was wrong. As he got closer to the tower he noticed that it was small, maybe ten feet square at the bottom, not really big enough for a normal person.
03/05 Direct Link
She asked him if he wanted an egg salad sandwich. He thought a moment and said heíd like a half of one. She went back into the kitchen and looked at the two hard boiled eggs she had. She realized she did not remember how to make egg salad. She went back and asked him what went into egg salad. ďPickle relish,Ē he said. ďAnd mayonnaise,Ē she said. ďOr would it be Miracle Whip?Ē ďMy mother would use Miracle Whip,Ē he said, but the only difference is that the Miracle Whip is sweeter. ďI think Iíll use mayonnaise,Ē she said.
03/06 Direct Link
She brought him the egg salad. ďItís a little runny,Ē she said, handing him a napkin. He looked at the sandwich. It was indeed a little runny. He saved the file he was working on and put the plate on his chest. Taking a bite, he marveled at the differences in their palates. She liked spicy food and sour things. He liked his food plain. When he made chili, for example, he took care to season it a little on the hot side so she would like it. He finished the sandwich without dribbling any egg salad on his shirt.
03/07 Direct Link
He was thinking about the way his brain held things. It did not hold real things. It did not even seem to hold accurate pictures of things. A thing could appear from any angle, but it did not really appear at all. There was more of an idea of the thing. The idea could be inspected, but it was as likely to reveal something of its own imagination rather than any detail of the real thing. He concluded that his brain was easy to fool, or perhaps he was easy to fool because there did seem to be a disconnect.
03/08 Direct Link
His head hurt, but he was working another blank document. He sat under a single bulb, identical to the countless single bulbs hanging over the countless identical steel desks set in rows that seemed to run to the horizon. The ceiling was high. On some days he imagined he could see clouds drifting overhead, the wires to the bulbs piercing those clouds. On some days some of the other desks were occupied. On some days none of the others were. Occasionally they were all occupied with men and women working, some on computers, some on typewriters, some writing by hand.
03/09 Direct Link
The workers never seemed to talk to one another. Were they workers? He wasnít sure. Was he getting paid? At least he didnít recall seeing anyone talking, and no one offered to speak to him. But then he had never tried to speak to anyone else. And if they were workers, they didnít seem to be doing a lot of work. A woman to his right leaned back in her chair and stared ahead over her computer screen. A young man to her right angrily ripped a piece of paper from his typewriter, wadded it up, and threw it away.
03/10 Direct Link
My neighbor named his dog Hitler. It is still just a puppy, a Doberman of course, but I can see trouble down the road. I donít necessarily see trouble from the dog, but rather from the neighbor and his training of the dog. I mean, what kind of man names his dog Hitler in the first place? You can see the puppy out in the mudlot playing with the manís son, a boy of maybe 10 years of age. The kid already has his own shotgun, but I donít think this dog is a hunting dog. Kid needs a retriever.
03/11 Direct Link
She started to open the oven door. She couldnít figure out why it was making such a weird noise. She guessed it was the phone ringing. Itís raining, so she figured she would not be doing much outside. There were some frozen places out in the yard. The blueberry muffins were done. She liked having them for breakfast in the morning. She lost her phone again. She has trouble with her phone. But she has 24 blueberry muffins which she will take to her daughter this morning. Twenty-four muffins would last a long time if you didnít give them away.
03/12 Direct Link
She got her dog back from the vet. The dog had a new incision that was bothering her. She didnít think the dog needed the operation, but her daughter had authorized it after discussion with the vet. She had a lot of eggs but she didnít like eggs any more. It was spring of the year, the time when the hens were laying the most. She expected rain was what you got in the spring of the year. She didnít know if Fred would be able to mow the grass soon. He has been sick for a while. She worries.
03/13 Direct Link
She was not going to do anything outside today. It was time for a spring cold and she did not want one of those. She needed blood pressure pills. She didnít like her phone. She was going to throw it out one of these days. It was free and you had to watch out for anything free. She hadnít had any breakfast yet, but she was going to have a blueberry muffin. He son called but she didnít know anything today. She worried because he had not had breakfast yet. She was going to try to feed her dog today.
03/14 Direct Link
She was the only one on the hill today. She was the only one she could see so she must be the only one. She felt lonely. Saturday morning people stay in bed for a long time but she could not stay in bed for a long time. She was trying to nurse her dog back to health but her dog seemed to be enjoying poor health, laying on her back with all four feet sticking up in the air, wearing the sweater her granddaughter had made for her. She was going to make some chicken for her this morning.
03/15 Direct Link
She was supposed to keep the cat out of the house, but it was over laying in the chair. There wasnít anything she could do about it. It was a hard thing. She needed to get out for some exercise today. If you didnít move you just got crippled up and couldnít move. Thatís what had happened to Dora, ten years younger than she was and now in the nursing home. She couldnít do anything else with her husband but put him in the nursing home but he was 94 and she wasnít strong enough to take care of him.
03/16 Direct Link
Fred had a can of beer in her refrigerator. He left it there about two years ago. She didnít know what she was going to do with that stuff. She didnít drink it herself. Maybe Fred would come over and drink it some day. He came over to mow the grass, but didnít usually come inside. Sometimes he would come over to do little chores, like putting salt in the softener, but often as not she didnít even know when he was there. He came and went silently, like the cat. Sometimes he came over for a piece of pie.
03/17 Direct Link
Fred had a can of beer in her refrigerator. He left it there about two years ago. She didnít know what she was going to do with that stuff. She didnít drink it herself. Maybe Fred would come over and drink it some day. He came over to mow the grass, but didnít usually come inside. Sometimes he would come over to do little chores, like putting salt in the softener, but often as not she didnít even know when he was there. He came and went silently, like the cat. Sometimes he came over for a piece of pie.
03/18 Direct Link
I hear your phone go ba-ding! I think that is the noise it makes when your daughter messages. You pick up the phone and begin typing, one finger stabbing and the phone making little clikkety-clack noises with each poke of your finger. Three weights hang motionless inside the clock. Only I know they are not motionless. They are moving so slowly, dragging themselves down along their cords. There are so many things that seem one way but get imagined in another way by me. There is the sky covered with gloom and rain. It is only a curtain over space.
03/19 Direct Link
You say that the city is seeking a millage increase to continue funding the police department at its current level. I think they were looking at 3 mills annually which would come to something like two hundred dollars for us. We think about city hall with all the police cars parked out front and the police cars prowling the town and neighborhood constantly. We think we already have too much police department for this little town. It could be handled by Andy Griffith and Barney Fife we think. Will there be a vote? No, there is just a hearing tonight.
03/20 Direct Link
I turn on the heat to my chair. It is not really a heated chair. Were one available when I got this one I would have chosen it, but truth is I bought this chair at the Salvation Army store some years ago for eighty-five dollars. The source of heat is an electric lap blanket that I cover the chair with before I sit down. I was visiting my mother and sat down on one of these blankets. It only took one sitting to convince me. When my Sister gave me a fifty-dollar gift certificate for Amazon, I bought one.
03/21 Direct Link
I think about the little things to be done and I feel guilty. I feel guilty a lot but it is not as bad as feeling anxious, or panicked. I received a phone message maybe last weekend from one of my Korean students, Sohn. He had moved to the United States and was at a large university maybe a half hour from here. He had asked before he came if he could contact me and I had said yes. He left a text message. Now I am supposed to respond and show him courtesy and hospitality and I simply cannot.
03/22 Direct Link
My inability to socialize is not limited to Sohn. I am unable to contact, or meet dozens of individuals. I cannot make calls, even to my children without great difficulty and awkwardness. It is as if each social contact is a great weight that I cannot possibly lift. So I feel guilty and am unable to do anything about it. To be true the guilt itself is a weight, but it is not a weight I have put there through action of my own. It is a kind of default value. I wonder if this is how I will be.
03/23 Direct Link
You are lost in your computer, maybe Facebook. I know I always assume Facebook, but often as not you are shopping for bargains or looking up the answers to questions that have shot through your brain. You have questions and you want authoritative answers. Iím not sure about some of the answers you find on your iPad, but I assume on average they are as good as anything else. You had some other things you wanted to do, some of which required my participation. I am glad to have you distracted for now. There are things I want to do.
03/24 Direct Link
I worry about the stairs. I worry about the stairs leading up and the ones leading down. The ones leading up go to my office. The others go to the basement to your office. They are fourteen step flights. I worry about one of us falling down them. I know you do too. I have to be careful not to make a sudden noise while navigating the stairs because I know it will startle you into thinking I have made a miss-step. And I do lose my balance a lot. I fell down the stairs at my house a lot.
03/25 Direct Link
It is a lazy kind of day. That is what you declared and I was willing to accept it. I had things I wanted to do, things I had been putting off too long, and my list of ďimportantĒ stuff to do is way too long. The things I wanted to do are not on the ďimportantĒ list of course. I no longer want to do stuff like building speakers. Well, I have at least given up on those things as impractical at this location. You see I canít operate a radial arm saw in the basement of this house.
03/26 Direct Link
The rain dibble dabbles this dreary world. It could be snow. I would prefer snow. Rain can fill up the yard and come into the basement. That freaks you out and you freaked out freaks me out. I wonder what I would do on my own faced with water coming into the basement. I suppose I would do some of the things you want to do. Drainage for the downspouts. Drainage for the window wells. Like you I would debate the merits of hiring the work done or doing it myself. I would talk to the condo board president too.
03/27 Direct Link
I rub my hands together. I am not sure whether I rub them together because I am nervous or because they ache. Perhaps they ache because I rub them together so much. When I am typing I do not rub them together, but when I have finished a sentence or a phrase, or come to a pause, there I go, rubbing my hands together. My hands used to shake all the time, but that caused too much trouble, so I took to rubbing them together instead. So it is something I do rather than something that is done to me.
03/28 Direct Link
He was at the end of the board. The sounds of the pool echoed all around him. He wondered why all pools were like this. There was no material on the walls or ceiling to absorb sound. He assumed it was because of the high level of moisture. Any sound absorbent material would give mold a place to grow. It would be strange to be in a pool where the sound did not echo. There must be a place like that somewhere. Outside? He tried to remember swimming in a lake or in the ocean. He could not remember it.
03/29 Direct Link
He was at the end of the board. The sounds of the pool echoed all around him. He thought about the dive into the deep water, how it would fill his ears and nose, how he would bend his body to roll him back to the surface. He thought about swimming in lakes, about swimming in the ocean. They were such dirty places any more, full of waste and bacteria. How could anyone consider swimming in anything but a properly chlorinated pool? Yet the pool was contaminated. Everyone knew that. You opened your mouth to breathe and gulped that in.
03/30 Direct Link
It was too wet to plow; too early in the spring for planting. He remembered a time when he would drive down to Turnerís grocery, just below the grain elevator and sit around the pot-bellied stove and swap stories with the other men. It was a small grocery/hardware store that carried everything from bread to motor oil. There were two gas pumps out front with a small awning over them. They were gone now. So was the awning. The current owner of the building probably knew nothing of the buildingís history and would be surprised to find gas tanks beneath.
03/31 Direct Link
March has thirty-one days. We were taught that in school. Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one. Excepting February alone. Whose days number twenty-eight, and in a leap year, twenty-nine. All that rings familiar except for the number twenty-eight. That rings as unfamiliar in my brain, yet it must be correct. I think of all the other things I learned in school, many of which are no longer true or just simply no longer taught. I could go back to school and start over and learn everything again. I could just play the piano.