Chaos is an easily detected. thing. We have had rain and I can smell the bad
water sitting in the gutters on the roof.
I have had my testing moved out until next week. I crashed during testing this morning. They gave me a timed test, something with a
bunch of mechanical/physics questions on it—very 1950-ish. I handed it in before the time was up and the
woman gave me a list of occupations, several pages—again very 1950-ish—to go
through and pick out…preferences. I
froze. I cried. They sent me home to come back and try
That was the short version of the story. I am not sure about the long version. I had fifteen days of relative stability, so
I have done well. I have been a little short
on sleep and was having trouble this morning.
I woke up afraid; but I don’t remember what it was about. It seems that this place has a double
diagnosis written down for me. They seem
to specialize in working with mentally ill people. Everything is mentally ill this and mentally
ill that. They are very hard-lined about the fact that you are and they are
A pretty young girl, possibly retarded, chases me down the
hall telling everyone I am her boyfriend.
She stops me and we shake hands.
She tells me her name, which I cannot remember, of course, and I tell
her mine. She has lovely eyes and is
ageless. She seems nice, but is very
forward. This makes me nervous. Her mind
seems laid out in front of me. I can
read every thought. She turns to someone
else saying I am her boyfriend, and a worker takes her away. She is very insistent about our
“relationship.” I never see her
This morning I can’t get off the train. I hold a tablet out the window and write on
that. It does not matter so much that
the script is not neat; I usually cannot read my own writing anyway. I am slow.
Someone passes down the aisle. I
turn my head to follow them. It is a
woman in a grey business suit. She
passes into the next car. I watch where
she has gone, my eyelids getting heavy and closing. I can feel the wind from the open window
against my face, can feel the moisture in it.
I can hear paper rippling in the wind.
My head is dipping. I can feel
the weight of my arms against the open window.
I am supposed to be doing something.
The stick pen has slipped from my fingers.
Am I dreaming what I seem to be doing? This
seems so unlikely of me who tries to multi-task whenever possible, listening to
books on tape while driving, watching movies while exercising, and so on. The crone asked me today if I wanted to go to
work and then she asked why I wanted to go to work. This confused me a bit. It is more that I have decided to try this
thing. I think it will help me avoid the
conductor. I can stay off the train. I
can be at work and watch the train roll by.
Sometimes She sits on the couch and speculates about what I
am. She proposes diagnoses for me. She does not come up with any I have not
already heard. The ones the docs passed recently
were Bi-Polar and Anxiety disorder. In
the past few years, the seizure disorder has been replaced by the anxiety
disorder. Personally, I think they
should just say, “He has the twitch. He has been struck by lightning for
ignoring his destiny so many times that he now has the twitch and constantly
expects to be struck by lightning. He is
afraid to move at all.”
The train pulls into the station in the dark. It is cold and foggy and the steam swirls
around. I am there with my mother and
father. I am taken by the size of the
steam engine. This must have been one of
the last steam engines in commercial passenger use. I am guessing the date to be around 1954. I
remember jumping up on the coupling between the cars, holding tight to the cold
iron. The conductor and my father were
laughing. “You don’t have to sit there,
son. We have a place for you inside.” The conductor said.
Grey sky, winter sky,
moon sky in the morning.
This sky hides her face
and will not whisper this way.
Like an angry wife she walks
we can fall into a hole
or walk off a cliff
but her face will not change.
She will follow us
with heavy air
making the sweat flow
down our backs.
our brains will itch inside
So that we forget to
forget to hunt.
Instead we break like
rotting sticks throwing ourselves
at her feet
begging for a breeze
asking that she will
kiss us with a star
This very night.
My mother and I took the train south to visit my grandmother
in Kentucky. The train came out of the
fog in the night from the south, heading north.
We must have turned around in the night.
My father would, after a week
without my mother, get into his car, a 1935 Ford, and drive all night to come
retrieve us. I understand what he was
feeling, the urge pulling the car forward.
This was before the super-highways.
This was a 50-years-ago car without disc brakes navigating hair-pin
two-lane Appalachian roads in the night with ancient logging trucks rattling
My father bought the ’35 Ford from Tony Neisse for a hundred
bucks. It had a rod knocking. Cars were still hard to come by then because
of the recent war. He had it towed to
City Garage and told them to fix whatever was wrong with it and he drove it for
years. He sold it several times, buying
other Fords, but kept buying it back until one day two weeks after selling it,
he was sitting at Earl Pence’s Service station and he saw it come in on a
wrecker totaled. Soon after, he
discovered the ’56 Chevy.
But now my father is driving the ’35 Ford across the Ohio
River. He has just turned 32. He has been married six years. He has two children, and has lost a daughter to
Spina Bifida after a 3-year fight. Some part of him will never again be right
from that. He is driving to Kentucky for the
woman he loves because he cannot be away from her any longer. It is that simple for him. This truth will twist him many ways for the
rest of his life, but it will remain his truth until the day he dies.
I’m shampooing carpets.
Winter is actually a good time for this because they dry quickly, and
the extra humidity always helps. One wet
carpet will drive the humidity up to 50% for most of the house. I did the living room and then bought a
couple area rugs to protect the high traffic areas. The first pass with the carpet machine is
always gratifying; you get very dirty water.
As the water evaporates, it
carries dirt from the base of the carpet to the top. So it takes 20 -40 passes
over a week to really get a carpet clean.