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Terry is sitting in the sun on the deck eating something with Dallas. While that may be an ambiguous sentence, it is quite possible that Dallas is eating with her. I have set my tiny laptop up on the dining room table with a monitor and a mouse. Next step is I add a keyboard. I am sharing the table with my daughter's sewing projects. She doesn't know it. Even though it is a large table, I had to clear a lot of material, pins, and spools of thread to make room for my 15-inch monitor and my 8-inch laptop.
Driving home today I am watching the noise, dust, and coordinated movement of summer road construction. I haven't been driving well lately. An orange barrel took away my right rear-view mirror last week, and I keep running off the road. I am thinking about this as I contemplate this scene of bulldozer that crosses the continent. A group of men are watching a group of men who are waiting on a man in a road-munching machine who is waiting for me to drive by. I am hoping they wait until I do and don't decide to just move things along.
I have an artifact which I believe to be truly unique and which is probably worth hundreds of dollars on E-bay. It is a little plastic box with a handle attached to a little round cage inside. It looks like a hamster exercise wheel. In gold letters the front proclaims "Mary Gin."
Fairly common I the 60's it's purpose is to separate the dry leaves from the seeds and stems. You fill the tumbler with raw material, close it up, and turn the wheel. The leaves crumble and fall into the bottom. The seeds and stems stay inside the wheel.
Memories leave and return, volatile wax vapors burning off the candle. Condensed like carbon off the flame tip, in a residue that only reminds you of the flame.
Are they encoded messages for which the key has been lost? A computer file deleted, but still on the disk waiting to be found?
And if lost and regained, suddenly there, that which was previously not, how can they be trusted? How when the memory of remembering is only a memory that may not have been there the day before itself, and we may have forgotten that we once did not know?
Sometimes, sitting here at my typewriter, I imagine I am a piano player in a bar, quietly improvising tunes, a pianist in a bar hiding behind my Steinway, my Cool-Rays and my loosened tie, stroking the keys and loving my work to the tune of heartbreak.
It would seem that with nights like that I wouldn't need sleep. Soaking endlessly in that dream-stuff, I'd go on playing into the day and back again into night. They'd call me the piano machine. "He goes in there and forgets to come out," they'd say. "You've got to go in and get him."
Names have a way of getting away from me. I rarely forget a voice, but I can't seem to hold onto a name for more than five seconds. I couldn't even remember my own middle name until well after I was ten. And names are important for people. I've read that the most pleasant thing a person can hear is his or her own name. It makes sense, although I can think of some other more pleasant things to hear. "I love you." "Hello, I am Ed McMahon and…" "We've decided to double your pay. You're working way too hard."
"My wife is coming home, so I have to clean the house. And I need to do shopping and fix dinner for the kids."
"Sounds like a whole afternoon of work to me."
"Yeah, and I have to wash the comforters at the laundromat, and it is already noon and… Jesus, there is no way I can get all this done. How can I write under these conditions?"
"I know. Sometimes I find it hard to breathe under these conditions."
"Well, I've given up on breathing. I save about 15 minutes a day that way, so I getta sleep in."
The construction gang showed up early today. I think they're finished now. You can hear the bang-slamming of their tools and materials hitting the truck. My neighbor has a new well right next to the old one which they didn't remove. There was something fishy about the entire job.
They started two weeks ago. I overheard them arguing about a "well", but some days it seemed they were digging a septic tank... And they hauled in this truck the size of a house trailer and left it for days with no one coming to work. Maybe they were just confused.
My father is scheduled for knee surgery in two weeks. The family and doctors have been at odds for year over whether he should have this procedure done. There was concern all the way around that he was too old. But they did not understand my father. He was not born to sit in a chair all day and stare out the window with one blind eye. He had announced that he was finished with living and was ready to go. We knew the only thing that would bring him back to life was to give him his legs again.
"Five Minutes," she promised. She is chronically late. It runs in her family. This was the third time she had promised five minutes. She couldn't get out of the computer, couldn't turn the job loose. I used to be that way. Part of me still is, but I know I can't. I have been convinced that I cannot. I have been convinced in the way a tornado convinces you that you can't hide in a house trailer. I have been convinced in the way a deer can convince you that you are never safe on a motorcycle. I am convinced.
It was a sunny slumber in Ohio. Dandelions swished the lawns. My sister was sliding down the road and I was taking apart my Ford. I remember der frankfurter once tabulating me he had porked two thousand mice for it. I didn't think it was worth twenty dollars by the time I got it. I can't quite renumber my congresswoman as she was then. I can, but the image is quickly replaced by Sponge Bob Square Pants. Both of them are my fault. She still has a quanity of cookies, but they seems artificial, blended with a veneer of chocolate.
When I was young we had a majestic old willow tree. Planted by my grandmother about 50 yards from the house, it lived out by the road tangled in the electrical lines and covered an area about 40 feet across. The thing was a monster. Beneath it's silver and green canopy we could stand, sheltered from the sun and unseen by parents, hidden in the ground sweeping branches. It forked close to the ground and was easy to climb. So it's brittle branches became the home for our forts and our aerial play. It was one of our favorite toys.
Only Public facilities, such as fountains, are considered separate from religion here. And the definition of public facilities is so narrow, that only some fountains really meet the definition. The result is to give religion so much authority that the priests virtually rule the country. I had not realized how important this division was until I visited this country. The rule of law is subject to the interpretation of a thousand priests, similar to our country, but the difference is that each priest is executor, lawmaker, and judge and jury. Absolute power is given to people whom are sometimes fanatics.
Yesterday I installed my first toilet. I have roofed, plumbed, carpentered, and played the electrician. I have installed sinks, built decks, and framed doors, but never a toilet. I was always intimidated by that large piece of porcelain. Now I see it is easy compared to a tub or shower. Mine doesn't leak a drop and was done in a few hours, including a new brass supply line. Now I'm looking around fiercely for some new challenge. Well, I need to put down some baseboard, and some of that needs to be scrolled around cabinets and tile, but ah…child's play.
There are too many CD's on my desk, the polycarbonate kind. It is a sign of the nature of my life. These things should be catalogued and filed. Instead they are randomly shuffled into piles of papers, bills, certificates of bleed, and what all. There is too much life among us. There is way too much of what passes for life but is transient mirage. You have to wonder if it matters though since life itself is transient mirage. You either believe and live, or you give up, give in to the mirage. Those are two of your three options.
The sound of Plexiglas is a dear thing. Depending on the thickness and width of the plane, its nature can fill a canyon, pale and dusty. This is where I take a quiet morning. This is where the sun fills up the bottle beyond the curtain. This is where I hide from yesterday and wonder how I can do the same for today. This is where I negotiate the nature and sound of Plexiglas, where the valves are clear and beautiful, where the valves will grow dusty inside and break brittle. This is my covenant with you. Take these words.
I am cut into.
Cut in two.
Cold bones spill
Out over my chair.
A cloud has passed over my eyes,
Over my brain.
I have lost touch with the
Time. I have I just want to hide.
I have lost my insides.
You know I want to be not
This leak and spiny
And clings like dark
Death. You know I want to
From the hole
From the ache
From the empty verse tangled
In bailing twine.
And you know why
I can't walk why I can't
Carry this memory by
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I'm not anxious about the surgery. I would be if it were someone else. That visual makes me sick, but I don't mind getting sliced myself. That's a little odd, because I do not do internal procedures. I go to a child's dentist. I passed out the first time I ever put in contact lenses and the first time I shaved. I am terrified of doctors of all sorts. But surgery doesn't bother me. I think that is because it is a thing removed. It is a thing taken away by sweet drugs and recovered from by even sweeter morphine.
I have my Amanda home from the dentist now where they have taken out her wisdom teeth. Lying on the coffee table in the family room, the teeth are in a little brown paper envelope. We showed some mixed emotion when they asked whether we wanted them or not, so they sent them home with us to be safe. Or not. Amanda had said definitely no, but I reminded her of those little plastic treasure chests that her mother kept her baby teeth in. She now has a half-dozen little boxes but can't figure out which teeth belonged to whom.
There are far too many empty pages in here. I believe it is because you are not putting forward enough effort. Let me break that down. I believe means I know a thing and I act as if it were true whether it is actually true. What I believe has no bearing on what you believe or what is actually true. You are not putting forward. Forward is the operative word. It connotes aggressive action, not passive acquiescence. The word, enough. Perhaps you are putting forth some effort, but it is insufficient. I wish you to put forth more effort.
In this dream, I'm walking up a long winding dimly lit hallway in the old house. I've lost my way again. The wall paper pattern is faded, but appears to have been tiny roses at one time. The wainscoting has been painted a faded peeling green. Pictures hang dressed in endless frames on rusted and warped wires. Askew the wall runs in sudden and curious angles and vertiginous elevations, while the pictures maintain their plumb. Although I can't be certain. In this world what is and what is not plumb. One of the frames is missing: the frame of reference.
It seems that the heart of the house is often connected with heat, although it is not always the warmest or coolest place. And it can move. Ours moved two years ago when I replaced the furnace. It used to be in the atrium. That was the place people would instinctively go. It is still the dog's favorite sleeping place. But something happened with the new furnace. The airflow changed in the house, and the next thing I noticed was that Amanda and I were finding the corner of the dining room when we needed the heart of the house.
It is a dark well-trained evening
With the radio news
Where poorly trained soldiers kill civilians
In that country far.
Aren't poorly trained soldiers?
Civilians with guns?
Well-trained civilians with guns are soldiers.
A soldier is a civilian
Trained poorly or otherwise
To kill other civilians (often known as soldiers)
Trained poorly or otherwise.
A war is thought to go well if our trained civilians
Are better trained than theirs
We are too better trained
In which case it is bad form
And we are left with shreds of reportage
Of poorly trained civilians
Killing other poorly trained civilians.
The Halloween party was last night. No one knows how many showed up. They had a band at one point, and then threw the band out. A forgotten cymbal rests in a corner of the family room. Daughter spent the day cooking with two friends. Four crock pots of Sloppy Joe and enough beverage to fill the bathtub. They were everywhere, camped under blankets in the crawlspace, wandering the basement, encamped in Junior's shag pad, overflowing the family room, plinking on the piano in the living room, gathered in the garage, and running barefoot in the rain across the lawn.
Amanda is home now from the dentist where they removed her wisdom teeth. She is feeling a little tender, sleeping in the corner of the house, in the place that we all know as the heart of the house. The heart of the house is the place in the house we go for comfort. It is the place where when anyone is very sick, they instinctively go to. I went there myself when I had appendicitis. I just knew I was sick and needed to find a safe and comforting place. So I went to the heart of the house.
I had picked up my son Tom at the Detroit Metro airport and brought him home. He's just started a new job. At home we traded toys. I bought a repeater for my router. It seems to work beautifully and do just what it is supposed to do, which is to increase the range of my router. We struggled with it for over an hour before we did what I would have done earlier-- call Belkin Tech Support. Belkin wireless equipment may be a little awkward at time, but they have the best Tech Support I have ever worked with.
I've been listening to Leonard the past couple days and he reminds me why I used to write poetry. I have always been aware of him, but it wasn't until I began listening that I realized how pervasive his influence was and still is. He makes me wonder if I could ever write poetry that good, if I could ever write poetry that bad. Still the man is able to touch with his words and I suppose that is all anyone can do at best. If you can touch with words, then you have succeeded at this thing called writing.
There is no echo on this mountain. There is no place for it to grow. The snow swallows everything. The snow has swallowed the biggest rock, the daylight sun. It has swallowed the lodges and groves of trees. At night the snow swallows the stars from the sky, cold tongue licking the belly, greedily slurping down points of light, inhaling thousands at a time, popping planets like chocolate covered raisins, Quiet snow, lovely patters that all dissolve into white on white, the princess of excellent notions, the excitement of trees, buried quietly, behind banks piled higher than God's own tower.
My head aches, and my soul is sore. My daughter Amanda pulls the Vibe into the driveway as the wind blows leaves, boxes, and t-shirts across the lawn. A runaway basketball makes a drive down the street. Maybe it is the dental work I had yesterday? The day before? It must be yesterday. Today is Saturday. My calendar says so. But that doesn't explain the sore soul. The wind doesn't explain it. My daughter doesn't, and neither does the calendar. Still, the calendar seems the most likely explanation, and I look at it, at it's neat lines, and self-confident logic.
I fall into the blank space in one of my echoes. This, a place that has already been mined, cleaned out and is ready for me to start all over. Startal over. Startle over. Startled lover. Start led Lover. Star Led Lover. Star locked. Star crocked. Star crossed lover. Star crotch lever.
The beings are disorderly, storming the sewage works. Yelling, shaking signs as if they were crazed. They want to be higher and they wanna be paid. The sewer works manager spreads his arms and says please.
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