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BY Michael

03/01 Direct Link
Iíve been sleeping poorly. For decades I slept happily on a waterbed, but when I leapt out of the marriage (Thatís an interesting way to put it, isnít it?), I wound up with a $400 regular bed. While you might think, as I did, that four hundred dollars would be enough to buy a decent mattress set, it doesnít seem to be. The price point of $400 in a mattress set is carefully designed with punishment in mind, punishment of anyone naive enough to think they can buy a bed for less than a grand and actually sleep on it.
03/02 Direct Link
Some things happen in life that change your perceptions and your politics. My son recently turned 18, and within 6 weeks he had a motorcycle. Iíve ridden motorcycles for 40 years. He hasnít. He still doesnít know how to muscle his 140mph Ninja around a tight 15 mph curve. He doesnít have insurance, a license plate, or a motorcycle operatorís license. Even when he acquires those things, his body wonít know for years what to do in an emergency while his brain is frozen in astonishment. Suddenly, Iím for some new laws about how bikes are sold to new riders.
03/03 Direct Link
Iím driving to Ohio today. I wasnít sure Iíd be stable enough after the weekend, but the toad thing that was munching my brain has gone away. Still, Iím not looking forward to this trip. Iím taking my daughter, and I will need to drive to Lansing, maybe another 40 miles each way to get her. I could cancel the trip. Just call and say Iím not up for it. Everyone would accept that. OK, Iím scared. Iím afraid I will push things too much, and wake up with that thingís snout stuck into the back of my head again.
03/04 Direct Link
My dishwasher was leaving slippery puddles on the floor, soaking through several towels. Ringing them out in the sink and replacing them while the thing ran, I managed to keep ahead of it. Melissa the apartment manager suggested food might be stuck in the seal. She would send someone over to investigate. ďNo, thatís ok,Ē I said. ďIíll try something.Ē

Sticking my head in, I found the seal coated with un-dissolved dishwasher soap, so I went over it with a toothbrush, and then tried it out on some nasty candle wax dishes. No leak. Clean dishes. At least for now.
03/05 Direct Link
There is a pile of wood in my living room. I bought a used waterbed. Iím not sure it wasnít a manic episode. I wasnít sleeping well. After I bought the waterbed, I started sleeping better. I havenít put it together, but I did turn the mattress over on my bed, and Iím not sure what to attribute the sleep to, the turned mattress or the pile of lumber in my living room. Do I go ahead and put it together now? I mean if it is the pile of lumber helping me sleep, then I shouldnít touch it, right?
03/06 Direct Link
I reviewed the draft of the poem book with my agent yesterday. She had the pages tabbed, categorized, and laid out in a three-ring binder. There it was, few pieces I was terribly fond of, but on the whole no particularly better or worse than anything else I had ever written. She was enjoying arranging the poems and titling the book, I could tell. Looking through it, I was struck by flashes of memory, writing those poems, and living the moments that created them. I felt a distance too. It was already something from the past, something no longer me.
03/07 Direct Link
It is a beautiful sunny day over snow. I should go out today, take up my allotted space in life, but my schedule doesnít allow it. Well, to think on it, I did go out. I had my annual physical with my general practitioner this morning. Everything is fine, he said with a smile. I am getting better, and this leaves me wondering how he could possibly know. I have been told this before. But he is the doctor. If he says Iím fine, then that is the story I must believe according to the cultural system I swim in.
03/08 Direct Link
Piano notes slip out of speakers along the wall, and flow through the air. They bring with them the clip of wood hammer on steel strings, and the touch of someoneís hand. They seem to bend in the air, though, and come straight into me. That is the way it is with music.

Music is in my hair and I close my eyes to type, feeling the touch of vertigo that I am not sure. I donít know whether it is caused by a momentary loss of balance, or whether it is already there, blanketed by the things I see.
03/09 Direct Link
I set the waterbed up last night. I think I made a mistake by buying a used one. I already have put an additional 200 bucks into the 100-dollar bed, and it still is a little odd. I suppose it will be alright by the time I dump $400 - $500 into it. This is more than I really anticipated spending. The frame is more ďusedĒ than I expected. The mattress seems small. It doesnít completely fill out the frame the way I expect it to, and it is shallower than I remember them being. I need a new mattress.
03/10 Direct Link
It Figures #1

Fingers to the calculator,
numbers dancing in his head,
flying off the keys,
bouncing in the air,
and landing on different keys.

Eyeshade askew on his forehead,
hair shoved out over bloodshot eyes,
as he hammers the total key.

Blam! Itís there!
Kerrect Mistah!

It Figures spins
loop-de-loop
in his old woode
n bankers chair,
a victory lap
for the old boy.

He rips off the tape,
wads it with glee
and slams it onto the wastebasket
with his very best hook shot.

Look at the calendar:
March 9.
Outside it is snowing,
the sky
casting out 9ís.
03/11 Direct Link
It Figures #2

Theyíre there.
He knows it.
A Dime A Dozen
can feel them,

as if there were
a chain linking them.

When he moves
he feels the hesitation
and pull in the ranks

He can sense their shadow,
but he turns
and they are not there.

He pauses,
drawing himself
up to his tall thin
dime height.

Maybe they arenít there.
A dream?
A hallucination?

But why
does he feel every step
echo eleven times?

Why at the coffee shop
whenever A Dime A Dozen
rolls in,
why does this man
start pouring a dozen
cups of coffee?

03/12 Direct Link
It Figures #3

But Seriously
is tied up in knots,
not nice clean
Boy Scout square knots
or sheepshanks,
but horribly twisted
mazes of looped, gnarled,
and tortured self.

He excels at knots.
And at the end of every thought
every move, shift, jiggle or step,
But Seriously
stops
to think.
to worry,
and to tie yet another
loop, wedge, hawk,
or hoopie-doo into his
anxious existence.

He wants
to go talk to someone
about this problem,
but he canít get out
of his apartment.

But seriously
there was surely
something serious
he was supposed to do
today,
wasnít there?
03/13 Direct Link
It Figures #4

The Plunge is walking,
or something close to that,
down a sunny street in Los
Angeles,
muscles popping on muscles,
head leaned forward.

And it really is more
of a parade
as he shifts his
oiled chest sided to side
balancing each step
with the sway of a
square jaw.

The Plunge is walking.
On display,
self-conscious
avoiding every eye
just as every eye
avoids him.

He is alive,
immersed
in the tension and movement
of each muscle.
Oh how he feels them,
How he toys with them as he walks,
basking in
sun and
kinetic
self-adulation
03/14 Direct Link
It Figures #5

Like The Wind
stands in the dark,
stands leaning into the damp,
into the
cool and warm breath
of spring wind.

Pushing in hard
from the south,
from the west,
grasping her hips,
it turns her,
loosens her hair
strand by strand

and plants wet
kisses across her face.

Like The Wind rolls
her face
breathless,
eyes closed,
drinking each nuance
each caress.

The wind doesnít slow her.
It lifts her
pressing her forward
in endless dizzy embrace.

She lives inside
this mad heap
drinking this rash breath;
a witch in the night,
she loves the wind.
03/15 Direct Link
It Figures #6

Although Works Like a Dog
is just a puppy
he is already
driven by hard values.

He rolls from his bed
searching the sleeping house
for work he must do.

Rounding
through the childrenísí bedrooms
he chews on blankets
proudly dragging them from the beds.

Driven from his work there,
he returns to the family room
knocking over a large rubber tree
and chewing on a TV cord
until the tingle in his teeth begins
to make him nervous.

Works stretches and yawns.
Itís still early,
but work must be done.

He goes in search of shoes.
03/16 Direct Link
It Figures #7

Gentle As A Lamb
is gentle
only on the inside
if at all.

He needs to be cared for.
To do this
you must be gentle
yourself.

But not to worry.

Because if you donít know how
he will teach you what you need.

He will teach your fingers
how to move,
will teach your own mind to soothe.

He will show you how to lift
the fragile legs,
to lift the spring-fed life,
to calm the beating heart.

Gentle is not necessarily that himself.
He merely is.

But in taking care of Gentle
you become that.
03/17 Direct Link
It Figures #8

Pig Out catches himself
in mid-snort.

He looks around,
checking to see if anyone
might have heard him.

Of course not.
he is out here by himself.
The field is empty,
and itís damn cold too.

He is angry
and confused,
trying to work through it

What do they expect?
Heís a pig!
Of course heís a hog.
Heís good enough
when they want his points.

But now.
heís a hog and
thatís bad.

They want his hogness
but not him.
They put him out here,
out of the game,
because he acts like
what he is.
03/18 Direct Link
It Figures #9

Raining Cats And Dogs
knows how he got his name.
Well,
he has a pretty good idea.

sitting in the spring sun
near the bandstand,
he has his shirt off,
his tattoos soaking up
the sun.

A tabby on his shoulder
rolls its belly to the sky
and then turns to playfully
pat at a sleeping dog
left to lie on Rainingís back.

He closes his eyes,
dark turning red.
Lying back, he feels the sun
and a cold breeze catching up against his side.

It will be raining soon.
The rain follows him
wherever he goes.
03/19 Direct Link
It Figures #10

Smokes Like a Chimney
has re-invented himself.
newer, more efficient,
he is merely a PVC vent pipe
stuck out the side of the
old brick tower.

He had his teeth
professionally cleaned
and replaced his ash trays
with boxes of gum.

Still he remembers those days
of dark smoke gasping
about the mouth of the tower.

He remembers the taste,
the burnt tongue,
the soothe of swilled liquor.

He remembers Goody Two Shoes
who told him she wouldnít date
a smoker
ever.

He remembers seeing her two nights later
in a bar
sucking down a Marlborough Light.
03/20 Direct Link
It Figures #11

Whatta way
Blind As A Bat
has
to darken up the night.

He stands to shave
in the bare morning
in the spiked shower light,
hot rods like
sparks flying from a welderís cage

All the colors of sunset
hide behind a single lash,
and there are times
he is deafened by the shout.

Blind As A Bat
has put away his cape.
theyíve revoked
his license to fly.

Whatta way to
darken up the night,
storm flowers
scratching his face.
Weir dogs sniffing cold and
hard against his cheek,
screaming into the hollows
of abandoned eyes.
03/21 Direct Link
It Figures #12

Flat As A Pancake
and maybe a little crispy
around the edges,

heís sore
And feeling soft,
vulnerable in the middle.

It was the damn syrup lady.
He hadnít expected her.

He was ready for the
flatware,

ready for the rip and
those things that follow,

but not this,
not that saucy smile
that dark hand on her hip,
not
the sweet way she
covered his chest.

And now
just when he was ready
for the three-minute lifespan,
he finds he has a heart
that has been touched
and taken,
that wants only
another moment with her.
03/22 Direct Link
It Figures #13

Full of Hot Air
floats above the city,
lazy, yawning into a yellow sun.

Turning on his side,
noticing the trees
and buildings below--
should he count them?
There are too many.

Heís just trying to get comfortable.

Nose down, he sees his reflection
in a swimming pool below,
pauses to reflect
noting the clouds above
and that strange orange thing in the sky.
(That would be him.)

He paddles his short thin arms and legs
but doesnít make much headway.
Heís bored.
Heíd like to get down.
But he canít.
Heís too full of hot air.
03/23 Direct Link
It Figures #14

A Few Fries Short of A Happy Meal
is feeling out of place.
Sunday morning is
a bad time to be here.

Maybe he should have
done the drive-thru after all.

There is so much noise,
and the air feels dense.

The long lines
are hungry,
ill-tempered,

and all he wants
is a few more fries.

The salt itches along his side,
and he has burned his finger.
He was trying to get someoneís attention.
What did he need?
Was it a napkin?

No, I donít need ketchup.
I want--
I just want a few more fries.
03/24 Direct Link
It Figures #15

Light wakes as a child
each morning,
rolling from her bed,
rushing to see what she will be.

Today, we find
Light as a feather,
her vane curled out
among the stars,
each barb another system,
each barbule a city,
and all creation is infused
with Light.

She squeals with joy
to finds this day;
streaming with the traffic,
darting from city to city
shining out the suns,
splashing effusive greetings,
darling smiles,
air kisses,
sky to sky,
while body guards
flank dark heavy shoulders
to keep her
not so close.

She is, after all,
a star.
03/25 Direct Link
It Figures #16

Old As The Hills
squats in late March
Kentucky sun.

Stones bake hard
on her shoulderís crust.
Hands gnarled roots
dig nail knuckle deep
planted
high on mossy hips.

Her teeth
are thin slivers of enamel
all along the gum line.

I donít know;
what do you see in such a face
mottled with centuries
random splot
and covered with hair grown wild
taking hold and re-rooting
again and again?

Can you discern an expression
in lips gone so lax?
Has the nose chipped,
dropping a 6-ton rock on the highway below?

Do the eyes still shine?
03/26 Direct Link
It Figures #16

Cold As A Witchís Tit

Well, it would help,
you know,
if she would wear a bra.
That little black crepe outfit
she picked up
at Gifts Ďn Gags
doesnít do a lot
to keep a body warm.

Perhaps she could consider
a little padded number
complete with
ďdouble AĒ battery pack
and heating harness,
available from the local
witch accessory shop?

But I suppose it is part
of a Witchís shtick
to not have much
warmth in those mammary hands.

When flying late
over October moon,
what breeze flows down her top
at say 5500 feet?
03/27 Direct Link
It Figures #18

Sharp As A Tack
creates a stir
as he spins down the street.

He primps and poses
at every gal he meets.

He tilts the guys,
glancing down that long-stem pleat
Putting them level
with the point of his feet

They are all impressed
by the Zoot of his suit
and his marvelous
bright yellow fedora
with the deep tan band,

by the way he
dances:
spinning on point
a single two-toned shoe.

you should have known him
when I did,
when he was just another tack,
when all he could do
was stand on his head.
03/28 Direct Link
It Figures #19

Lost In The Ozone
fell asleep in his chair,
reading the newspaper.

Coming home from work
he had purchased
the snappy new air ionizer,

placing it near his chair,
turning it on.

Waking later
the paper sliding off
but not onto the floor,
just off, off into the smoke.

He heard it flutter for a while.

Everything was smoke,
moist cloud.

And he thought the
Iím-still-dreaming thought,
but
he was awake.

Leaning over the chair
he felt it tip as if on gimbals,
or worse:
suspended in this cloud at
whoknowshowmanyfeet.

He was lost
in the ozone.
03/29 Direct Link
It Figures #20

Like a Dream
moves in slow memory
and soupy time,
crowded in pastel
flowing like dust.

She swims without breath
giddy high above
a perfect city that towers below.
A slow stroke, and a glide,
she is learning to fly
while watching
a perfect present tense.

Slipping from scene to scene
on padded and powdered feet,
with hooded eyes
this gentle bird
speaks to her own echo.
Yet all is silence.

There is no danger
in this mystery.
She is hugging warmth
and folded blossoms to herself.
Everything is unique,
And she is just what she wants
03/30 Direct Link
It Figures #21

Hasnít a Clue
stumbles in the dark,
falling to the ground
while a willow root
still clutches his shoe.

Lying on the ground
steam wafting from his ear,
he can feel his chest
breathing against the earth.

Hasnít a clue slowly sits up
rubbing at the dirt covering
his front
he lifts his hurt foot
and feels his sock
limp and torn.

Tugging on the toe
he pulls the sock off
feeling the cool air against his foot.

He is bewildered,
lost, and
overwhelmed.

There was something
he was supposed to do,
something important.
What was it?
03/31 Direct Link
It Figures #22

All Hell Broke Loose
this morning.
He stood barefoot
in a ploughed field
behind the broken barn,
shoulders against the sky.

What will he do now?

He is stocky
and wears an orange plaid shirt,
cuffs rolled back,
his fists balled,
wrists up.

He looks like a bare-knuckled fighter
standing huge in that empty field.
His skull is thick, sloping to bushy brows
that express
Confusion.

He looks around,
lower lip curled in an angry pout.
Nothing.
His arms relax.
He walks back into the barn,
taking care to
prop the broken door back against the side.