I wake up to house noises
and anxieties of sudden
repairs ripping holes
in the basement
as exotic offspring
and mysterious women
suck my bank accounts dry.
My body is begging for sleep
yet she drags me from
my bed to execute obsolete programs
until the nausea
forces me to my knees.
It is Sunday.
and I me lost in
pre-Easter pink spring
bunny rabbit land
of soft buds and promised new life.
They make the churches out
of brick here in resurrection land
so not just any soul can crawl in
on any given weekend
weeping with dry heaves.
My eyes are gone.†
I can barely hear the chorale.†
I have been staring too
long at this
and they carried
my eyes off as I
danced on a fine wire of current.
It was grace you know.†
Grace taught me to breathe
and grace taught me to sing.†
the fleshy ratchet of brain and bone,
for a breath larger than the forest:†
the soft rise of the Earth.†
This air pulled into my lungs
tastes like music.
It has me on my knees,
pulling the soul out of me.
I have been too long at the tube
this morning and curious
little colored flies have
carried them off as I danced
on a current of grace.†
Arches sliding along
vibrating aluminum wiresó
we pause to sun dance--
It was grace
taught me to breathe,
to sing, and to dance.†
I pause and listen
to the soft rise of the earth.
I pull air into my lungs
and it sounds like Jazz.††
With a capital "J."†
It is music.†
Mumbo jumbo Jazz,
your favorite station for
all the life you can gulp,
you wireless junkie you.
This is the Midnight Word Man
†on Mumbo Jumbo Jazz,
your favorite tin and nail
crystal radio station
for all the words,
all the music,
all the fears,
all the subliminal tap,
all the self-absorbing fear spiraling
up your own asshole
ergots of the nation of Iisondalam
all the poetry, all the time,
all the gulp and gasp,
choking and fusing
holding on for know you can do it
while the bullets zip through the wall
all the rioting arms and hands thrown into the air
like caps on graduation day
for a well-armed populace
and a one-eyed word-man junkie.
It doesnít matter that my eyes are going.
†I can still hear the chorale.†
I only wish I had
stared at more naked wimmen.
I never stared at enough naked women,
Never touched enough
Never made love to enough of them.
If I could do it again
I would not set my standards so high
Because in the end
They were all breathlessly beautiful.
I could not stop staring.
My heart would not stop beating.
I spent too many mornings
and too many late evenings staring at the toob
until curious swarming dots
of fruit flies carried my eyes off.†
I wish I had written more.
I still can.
I am a fucking Trollope.
†but I have spent too many days staring at things I never see,
listening to things I never hear,
and sinking into solemn rivers of ancient religious replica
that bead up on my skin
and run off before I rise
from the mud.
†Psyche gave me grace.†
She taught me to breathe,
to speak in my own tongue.†
She taught me to sing.†
In every beat,
in every pause of muscle,
in every whisper of an eyelash
and I piss on it.
I am listening carefully.†
I hear the deep whisper breathing
of the stones;
I hear the singing of the trees and
the great Halleluiah of billions of souls
rasping this mantra to millions of gods.†
I can feel the soft rise of the earth
waking each morning,
the ripple across the horizon
as the rise rolls on
and around the globe.†
The perfume and stench,
the calm and clatter of this life
has infested my body
†and it sounds like music.†
Music has me on my knees.
It has broken my heart,
and is wringing the soul out of me.
I put Tom on the plane for the UK yesterday afternoon.† His mother was there and a couple of his buddies.† Pictures were taken all around. I suppose I can find a new picture of me on his Face book now, although there is something that causes me to avoid Face book.† The house is predictably empty; the rooms previously inhabited by my son now a museum of his passing through.† This is Easter, hinge day for me. I am to set a velocity going forward.† My first thought is that I donít know the new settings, but I do.
Maybe I didnít know the direction after all.† Maybe, like so many other things, the coalmine canary in me took over and just lay down on the bottom of the cage until it could breathe again. There was one day I began counting the things pressing me to the bottom of that cage and I stopped when I reached ten. I rolled over brushing off the bird seed and began reading the Ďlil Abner strip there.† It was below Dick Tracey and above Orphan Annie and Henry.† I donít know why they called them the funny papers. They werenít funny.
Iíve been thinking about my piano lately. She has been talking to me again. It is often those things I am most afraid of that become the brightest points in my life.† I know what it feels like to touch those keys. It is like these keys, only the transformation is more immediate; the fingers go deeper and bloom in your heart.† It demands a certain abandon, a letting go of other things in life.† I donít think those things matter much anymore.† Some no longer exist. Others no longer have audible voices or perhaps have forgotten I am here.
You can put off a thing one or two days and just the same as doing a thing every day the not doing becomes your life. So that in the same way that you put things into your life you take them out of your life, only it may be that the process of things slipping out of your life is more insidious. I remember the decision I made to return my parents to my life. It was some thirty years ago and I just started calling them every Saturday. It was as if they had been waiting for me.
The moon is nailed there,
like a silver dollar
to the cloth of pearly dark sky,
nearly lost in cloud whispers, trees, and
Butt-parked in a gravel lot
behind the dive shop at night,
I am here because
this is the place I have taken
myself this particular night.
The roofline of the shop angles
hard against the sky,
followed closely by other
lumpy night shadows.
I can see the pitch of the shingle edges,
lapped one over the other.
I hear the lake slopping against the bank.
Insects bucking up to sing,
in pre-spawning kiss.
An occasional car passes on
the highway above,
upholstery-covered sheet metal gleaming
inside-out beneath the moon,
sliding through moist petals of night,
pistoning rage strapped inside the
hard-edged engine block.
I am nestled down here
half way down this bluff
quiet with the insects
frogs and cats
in the night,
window rolled down
parked behind the dive shop.
A wheeze, rattle, and roar breaks
the night as the dive-shop compressor
comes to life, gasping to stuff
damp night air into the pressure tank.
Always the push of hard air
rushing the carburetor
stiffening the hoses,
burnishing the brass.
This new tortured piston greedily
shoves all: the night, the clouds.
It gasps and gags,
drawing in shadows
and sounds of the cars.
It inhales the nutty hardness of gravel,
the slope of the roof,
and the singing crickets by the road.
It coughs and reaches overhead
to suck in the dark looming
branches of the trees,
vacuuming stars from the sky,
and slurping soft lake noises
from the shore.
It presses soft consideration
over my car,
over my boot,
snaking aside at the last moment
to intake an oil drum, a wheelbarrow,
and 350 square feet of backyard sod.
Still hungry, the old compressor
rattles its flywheel like an angry weapon,
and turns its carburetor head skyward
while I, hunter-still,
remain hidden in silence and shadow.
Its hairy thick metal brow moves,
searching, tasting the air.
Leering at the round of light above, it pauses.
We three are locked now in predatory study.
Somewhere beneath the torqued nuts
and milled metal a decision is made.
The shaggy molten head reaches out, neck thinning.
It stretches farther, beyond reaching,
diving like a clean aluminum arrow,
straight into the heart of the sky,
closing its wicked jaws over the moon.
The old motor growls and
with one horrendous inspiration,
it sucks, belches, and
swallows the glowing orb.
It gives a cough
and a dying wheeze.
The flywheel catches.
The compressor stops.
Darkness falls like a heavy
blanket of sky, while silence
spans the night
like an iron bridge.
I have reason now,
to stop and ponder,
to philosophize and
take this home with me
like any other strange story.
Boy chases dog.
UFO captures alien.
Machine eats Moon.
But there is more here:
This is opportunity,
this is myth unfolding.
For this I don't need light.
I don't need philosophy.
Opening the trunk of my car,
I lift out my diving gear
setting the tank boot on the ground
feeling it seat itself in the gravel
and fasten the weight belt
around my waist.
Carrying my gear through the dark,
I find the shop door,
the key already in my hand,
and let myself in.
Tonight, I understand;
tonight I am mystic,
the machine lies against a wall
like a wasted alcoholic
sleeping under its bloated tank.
With a certitude that transcends the dark,
I attach my own,
filling it with the evening,
stars and the moon.
Out by the lake
I dump my wet suit and
dress in fresh darkness
and slip beneath the cold quiet water.
Listening to my breath crawling
through the regulator,
feeling the water seep through my suit,
I dive long and deep,
following the familiar slope
of the muddy bottom.
I hear the bubbles sliding
from the valve now.
Singing like the crickets,
they rise and expand in the water.
I exist in darkness and
gradients of pressure,
while the bubbles rise,
taking the cool of the night air from above,
the crackle of the
rough gravel on the parking lot.
I am darkness flowing into darkness,
angling deeper into the deep water
The pressure popping my ears
streaming the new world behind
with each exhalation
in growing racing quivering pockets of air.
Each one has a sound, a picture.
Sighing like the cars on the road,
tires beading on asphalt,
they run, grow, and glow,
the slope of the dive shop roof,
and the trees scraping its shingles.
Stars rising like carp
spawning in the shallows:
the new night now exhaled in loony bubbles
tumbling like moon puppies to the surface.
And the deeper I go, the farther I see.
I just spent an hour doing ďpaper work.Ē† This reminds me of a manager working mail or email going through piece after piece trying to not handle †any one piece more than once, but knowing that some just need to be put aside for later. I know that some should also just be thrown out but I find that difficult.† I find that difficult becauseÖwhy is that Michael? Then too, I am still sorting through mail being sent to my older son who has recently moved to the UK. Four checks for a total of $317 today. Not bad Tom.
I was thinking earlier that I should take the 3:00 Ativan.† I had the impression that I was rushing through the house screaming some mad pre-verbal chant, my eyes so wide open that my head still hurts. I had the feeling I was on roller skates, the old kind with trucks; not the in-line kind. I think Iím ok now, but the memory of that earlier vision scares me. Knowing that the Ativan will likely put me to sleep while I am now having a fairly productive afternoon puts me off a little too. To Ativan or to not Ativan.
I walk the road
where the automobiles
beat by in endless stream.†
An endless plume:
the combustive communion
fighting their way upstream
The exhaust and fuel mist rises
slowly in the air
like a fog of holy water,
a dark ghost growing
rising above the trees,
spreading out across the state.†
We inhale, and suck in the oily sweat
and begin to cough.†
Out of the cough flies
shrieking, smoldering words
of insanity and lust.†
The first cough out
of a human mind†
receiving awareness in one
flash of inspiration just
as the gasoline mist ignites.
I'm on my way to church, and
I have this vision.
It is a grandfather in
In the same church
who's a man not much older
than I am
whose grandson has just died.†
His grandson has been run over by a school bus and
I see this man in my mind and
I see this man as a†
small dark experience of pain, and
I see the man sitting next to him as
another small dark experience of pain, and
I see the woman in the pew in front of†
him as another dark experience of pain.
The church begins to
fill with shadows of people and
shadows of their lives
close ranks behind them.
These shadows are just portraits of
pain sitting in the pews with
life flowing out of their mouths like a
All humanity is just one assembled mass of
portraits of pain that resonate with one another and
the resonance flows and vibrates against this
cast metal cross which begins to vibrate and
loosen the nails holding it to the wall.†
Where will you be when it flies free?†
When it begins its final descent?†
Bring me your pain.†
I see a small man and
he's just a concentrated packet of pain.† And
I'm large.† I am too large.†
I am too large to be a writer.†
I need to be a lumber jack,
a furniture mover, a World Fucking Federation Wrestler.††
with pain and
absence of meaning.†
The mythology that informs my brain says
the male is large, loping, and
something foggy, while
the female is small and perfect.†
The male is large,
What the fuck force has driven that through the fuses of my brain?†
My laptop is dying.† It started about a year ago when the battery went.† I ordered a new battery and that was that.† At some point, it started informing me that the wireless adaptor was obsolete and needed to be replaced.† It still works most of the time, but you have to coax it.† Then I nudged it off the desk, destroying two of the USB ports.† Most recently I have lost the keyboard. Iím not convinced it is the physical keyboard.† I am using a USB keyboard now.† I think I have about a year left on this machine.
There are times I donít think about being alone, times when I am at peace with it.† I am however acutely aware that the people who brightly talk up the virtues of living alone are all in relatively stable relationships themselves; every one.†† I wonder if you, the one with whom I am supposed to be paired is silently cursing me for my ineptitude at making a life with you, for my inability to identify you appropriately, for my failure to overcome exotic phobias that prevent me from talking to you.† You must be quite angry with me by now.
My grandson calls to spend the weekend with me.† Daniel is fifteen.† I pick him up on Saturday afternoon.† He, like my sons, like my father contains elements of me mixed with surprises.† It is always the surprises I have to sort out.† We are both hungry, so we go to the Old Town in Ann Arbor because I want a burger, but they are not open yet.† We are very hungry so we go across the street to the Fleetwood where Daniel orders the burger that is 50% ground bacon.† Daniel eats a lot of bacon. This is a surprise.
Danielís father has taken a job in the UK.† Daniel has a room in my house.† His father had stayed at my house prior to moving to the UK.† Daniel asks if he can sleep in his fatherís room.† Requests are not always what they seem.† Daniel spends much of Saturday moving into his fatherís room, cleaning it, doing his fatherís laundry, packing things his father left behind.† ďHeís coming back,Ē I say.† ďWhen?Ē I donít know. †We donít know. †It sounds worse somehow than it is. †It is hard being a father.† I understand this.† Grandfather is much easier.†
It is the last day of the month.† Close-out day for 100 words.† How many batches can you close out?† You are limited theoretically by your lifespan, although I can immediately see other options.† Writing by proxy.† I envision a program that spews out random words and logs a batch for me every day† until Roy changes his program so that my program is no longer compatible.† My program dies.† Roy dies.† 100 Words dies.† My father assured me that nothing lasts forever.† Perhaps that is why he is so afraid of death.† Mathematics assures me that everything is certain.