01/01 Direct Link
The dog is chewing his bone. Somehow he keeps sneaking this bone inside the house. It never has mud or debris on it because he is always gnawing it. This morning he is curled on his bed, at the foot of my bed, going to town. His teeth scrape the bone, a primal urge to break into marrow. Long runs of enamel on bone alternate with short stabs of forceful gouging. He is hours away from breaking it, yet he still tries. The repetition of his mouth clamping and unclamping around the bone grates on me, I make him stop.
01/02 Direct Link
Last night’s toothbrushing turned into a debacle. As I pulled the toothbrush from the bored, elegant, faux bronze toothbrush holder, behind the swivel mirror cut in a wall recess, something knocked over. I heard a *tink* of glass and barely saw a flutter of movement as something dropped from one of the hidden shelves. A crystal crash and fluid splashed on my arm and to the floor. Dabs of greasy liquid sprinkled the toilet and bathtub. “What the fuck?” I tried to ascertain what had happened. A white lid with spikes of brown glass was captured by the skin drain.
01/03 Direct Link
He was pulled over a couple days ago. The cop walked up directly and asked for his papers. He handed them over, well enough, and asked what was wrong. The cop said his rear lights were out. The next day, being a determined and law abiding young man, he spent an hour disengaging wires and twisting bulbs in and out. Two days later he was pulled over by a cop. This police officer was fat and swaggered slowly to the window. More threatening, angry, brisk, the cop warned him sharply. The next day the young man checked, the lights worked.
01/04 Direct Link
The smell of wet diapers clings to me. The children were sleeping, thirty in all, or at least they were trying. A teenage girl walked around the room, telling them to close their eyes or stop wiggling. I remember resenting the adult authority. I grew up in pandemonium. I was lucky if an adult was around to monitor me. Usually the adult was my mother, shook up and freaked out or drooling and vacant. She was a body, sure, but more a variable to be wary of. Time was well spent avoiding her internal conflict. I still work to avoid.
01/05 Direct Link
It’s a warehouse room with particle board work benches, trays of screwdrivers and wire cutters. There is nothing mysterious about it. Giant cardboard boxes sit below large whiteboard signs indicating what goes in each. Some volunteers stand at the work benches dismantling computers while other volunteers haul dead computers to a corner of the room, refilling the pile from which those at the work benches take. The computers are already skinned and have been pilfered for anything reusable. What is left is fully recyclable refuse – steel, drives, power boxes, plastics, multicolor wires. It is a simple game, pulling them apart.
01/06 Direct Link
He keeps bees, five little shacks, hutches I should say, cured wood nailed together into a cube with slats all around for the bees to shuttle in and out. He doesn’t like honey. He knows that people driving by tend to be from the city, heading to the beach, and they like honey; they like things sweet and organic, all natural. That’s what he put on his sign, “natural honey”. City folks ate it up. They’d curb quickly, reduced from twenty over the speed limit to five and then fork up the long gravel drive. Five, eight dollars a jar.
01/07 Direct Link
Cowboys and rope burns, she tucks one finger under the bridge of the saddle and kicks deep into the flank of her horse. Larry said Stardust has a hitch in her giddy up. She didn’t want to think about it. She loved Stardust. She didn’t want to kill her but knew putting her to pasture was pretty useless. Martha let Shadow Dancer click across the paved road and bound into a tree lined trail. Salmon berries and salal, thimbleberry and the tiniest, sweetest strawberries loitered in cliquish clusters, disdaining the pine trees and their incessant droppings. Shadow Dancer plodded forward.
01/08 Direct Link
Aw crap, the day is over and I have so much to do still. Synthesizing information and stuffing my face to make up for lack of reasonable meals during the day. The only thing that cheers me up is Eddie Murphy doing Buckwheat, Barbah ob Dabhil. Comic relief is just what I need. Trivial, skimming along the surface, easy to consume, easy to forget; I am ready for frivolity. After half a bag of corn chips, an apple and a microwaved potato mental stability returns. Breakfast really is the most important meal of my day when lunch and dinner blow.
01/09 Direct Link
Jenny kept looking at the light, direct contact, and with every blink swirls of patterned impressions leapt like Coho, out of the pools of imagining behind her eyelids, tattoos of a tribal memory long gone, but she didn’t wonder. There was no curiosity. At home, family gone, the young Jenny ate fried egg and grape jelly sandwiches, the early addiction of a soon to be diabetic, and her solitary fixation on the light would have been ignored anyway. She was not in a family to talk of these things. She didn’t have the language, her folks were always tired. Sparkle.
01/10 Direct Link
He tells me over the phone that it is snowing. I have no concept of what this means. How much snow? Is it sticking? Can you make it home? There is something about the way he says it. I can’t quite get at the subtext of his voice, there is a layer, a secret, like he is placing coins over my eyes and waving me down a river. Released. I say, I suppose that means I can’t come to you either. He says, Yeah, it sucks huh? I think, There it is again. What exactly is it he’s not saying?
01/11 Direct Link
He sits there farting. Wafts of resinous stench filter past his nose hairs, the molecules sink into the porous pockets of his nostrils, roaming the deep chamber of his head, going from one end of his body to the other, recycled. I catch a whiff and want to vomit. What the hell was he eating? I imagine the cavern of his asshole, that asterisk where all his anxieties and frustrations reside and consider him a sorry excuse. He’s no celebrity with a daily enema and diet of pear skins. His coarse hair and broad features excludes him from that caste.
01/12 Direct Link
He sits there farting. Wafts of resinous stench filter past his nose hairs, the molecules sink into the porous pockets of his nostrils, roaming the deep chamber of his head, going from one end of his body to the other, recycled. I catch a whiff and want to vomit. What the hell was he eating? I imagine the cavern of his asshole, that asterisk where all his anxieties and frustrations reside and consider him a sorry excuse. He’s no celebrity with a daily enema and diet of pear skins. His coarse hair and broad features excludes him from that caste.
01/13 Direct Link
The tour bus kept going. Jessica wanted to see the view but she had an aisle seat and her neighbor’s pith helmet filled the window frame. She knew she should have taken the morning tour. The air conditioner whirred, breaking the illusion that they were gliding ghostrly through desert, toward the sinking sun. “Sure is hot,” said her neighbor. Jessica nodded. She didn’t want to tell him her story, afraid that he’d draw the same conclusion all her friends back home did and call her Webica. She didn’t enjoy web craft but she was efficient, good. Everyone shuffled to one side
01/14 Direct Link
Shop naked, the advertisers say, because the staff can be unhappy and no one will know. We can pay less, exclaim the businesses, because all the staff does is receive orders and box up your purchase. That way your purchases cost less, well, in theory anyway; we won’t actually cut the costs. Have to watch those profit margins, you know. Yes, shop naked. Enjoy the luxury of the American life style. Don’t worry about interacting, don’t worry about being judged. Our staff is so remote. And calling is simple and pleasant as phone sex. Pick up the phone. Click Send.
01/15 Direct Link
Your daughter is rocking in her chair, isn’t she, so beautiful, so turned in to her self and away from you, away from the world. The window filters, barrier to the rain. Curtains perfectly tied, elongated and rumpled to either side. Don’t you wish you could connect with her? Eighteen and so beautiful, hair chopped from her eyes. The Christmas cactus that never bloomed, hopefully tended to, stands beside her, reaching for light. Don’t you wish you could see it, that place she’s found in herself? Some days it seems that she’d let you in. Some days she is calm.
01/16 Direct Link
“Due to the inclement weather we will be opening later.” Damn, a message machine. Couldn’t they have specified a time? How can I figure whether or not to hike to the store and buy chains if I don’t know if the place will be open? I should call at ten. Eight probably was too early to know. It is still snowing. I wonder if people will be okay coming over the pass or will I watch reports, video of cars sliding gracefully into cars. Pirouettes. Arms stretched inside the car, braced against the steering wheel with fingers splayed delicately.
01/17 Direct Link
Today is crappy so no fiction in my 100 words. I’m stressing! Unemployment is not down with my mfa even though I made it clear from the beginning that it is free-form. Part two of this stress is the snow. How can I find a job when it is dangerous to exit the house? Maybe I exaggerate. I can’t drive in it though. The max is running but the place I need to get to is a 2 hour ride away. Half hour in a car, 2 hours on public transport; how is that right? I’m tired of this shit.
01/18 Direct Link
What is the name of a young woman, who is cramped by society expectations so much so that she rebels, never returns to the office grunt life, and becomes a clown? Not just a clown on the street twisting balloons but a clown with an accordion playing Coalminer’s Daughter with two clown-garbed friends on a national circuit that catches the imagination of women everywhere. The makeup is more than greasepaint it is a stab at the generations hidden under foundation and lipstick. Rebellion as grotesquery, rebellion as fun. Because it is so profound she remains nameless, illusive. She worries, still.
01/19 Direct Link
He woke up with her cold. He knew when she sniffled and leaned to kiss him last night that he should have pulled away. The hazard was facing her wrath. She was easily insulted. And to have not returned her approach at bedtime and turning away into his sleepy world would have meant not just one day of glowering but two or more. Sleeping on it, she would have hated him in multiple ways, the insult refracting through her memory. Turns out, either way he was screwed. His nose plugged and eyes dry indicated that she’d passed unhappiness to him.
01/20 Direct Link
I haven’t bathed in days. I have that buttery smell of over worn jeans, crusty socks, my pits emit a bouquet every time I swing an arm, and my teeth are slick with slime. I keep eating jerky, buffalo and deer gunned down by some guy up North, some guy who has nothing better to do. What I should be doing is chopping wood. Instead I’m hunched over a model car, carefully affixing a decal, exact-o blade poised and ready to flick out any bubbles. Man, the guys had better dig this shit. I’ve spent 28 hours on it already.
01/21 Direct Link
What are they saying? I ask my mother. She is silent. I can almost hear her mind whir and click as she assesses the risk of telling me. Some part of her still surviving recognizes my voice, can tally the years we lived together, all the times I pulled her mind away from its self-threatening habit. The usual, she says. They tell me not to eat anything, that I don’t deserve to eat, the food is poison. They tell me I am a horrible person and should be ashamed of myself. I nod even though it doesn’t benefit her, understanding.
01/22 Direct Link
One more application and I forget to click off my “signature”. I worry the HR person will read my blogs, find me frivolous, inconsiderate, too artistic for whatever job it is I applied to. So far, management, human resources, food service, office slug, tour guide, receptionist, teacher, day care worker, delivery driver. My average is over one application a day. One and a fraction, mathematically speaking. Two call backs, a couple emails and still waiting. Hopes high, explanations rehearsed, suit pressed and ready. Just give me a chance, all I need is one decent job. Looks like I’ll get two.
01/23 Direct Link
Her hair is close to god. Dog like, in a way. You know, perky at either side of her brow. Earish. She’s waiting, head tilted, smelling of petunias (a rather unpleasant smell for a human to have). She wonders if the interview will go over. You know, will she get hired. She scratches at a sticky mat of bang rubbing against her cheek. When her curling iron heats up it smells of sulfur, years of hair product black and tacky in the mouth of it. A man walks by, eyeing her hair, smirking, and she knows she won’t be hired.
01/24 Direct Link
"Don’t you wish you were away?” She asks me, holding a red ceramic bowl filled with sliced green peppers. She balances the bowl on her hip and opens the fridge. She looks so beautiful as she slides on a metal rack. “You remember Daddy?” I ask. She reaches deep in the fridge. What does she see? Is she reaching for light? That is not the light I’d hoped for, dome light showing off her crooked tooth as she says, “What should I do with this left over pumpkin?” indirectly, to the room, as if I’m not there. I hate her.
01/25 Direct Link
“Rocking in mom’s chair.” “Yeah. I remember mom’s chair. Do you remember how dad laughed?” She pulled away, down the length of the kitchen to the sink. “Before,” she whispered. “Before it happened.” She turned to me, “tell me what they were like again.” “Well,” I scraped a chair from the kitchen table and sat while she scrubbed potatoes and piled them on the counter. “Dad had a thing for chainsaws, choppin wood, crushing beetles with the heel of his boot.” “He did?” “And Mom was totally into Steppenwolf. Her hair braided in a bun. She made the best donuts.”
01/26 Direct Link
“Where’s the coffee again?” I was just a kid. I kept my hair long and braided. My mom and his wife were in a room upstairs. Mom and I were visiting, out of state, on the road. Mom said they were our second cousins. It was weird but I was supposed to think of them both as family. “It’s up there,” He said, watching me follow his finger pointing. “Yes, that cupboard. Is that what you call it? Cupboard?” He seemed to think that other states called things by different names. Earlier he’d asked if we said sofa or couch.
01/27 Direct Link
Curling into blankets, I was only 6, first grade nightmares of persecution in the school bathroom mingled with fevered sweat from the pox. Everything itched. The blanket was soothing at first touch and then grew increasingly hot. Dampening, miserable, heavy head with the spots across cheek and brow, one on my lip scabbed because I couldn’t stop from chewing the itch. I called to my sister, “I’m cold.” She was angry, dragging a ratty blanket. She tossed the blanket on me and felt my forehead. “You’re real sick, huh?” I nodded and closed my eyes, an itch on my eyebrow.
01/28 Direct Link
I don’t like using the freezing ray because then I don’t get coins from my kill and if I don’t get coins from my kill then I can’t buy the protective / magic stuff that I need to win the game. So I don’t hit the baby with the ice cream cone because if I do then she’ll drop the cone and I’ll step on it and get the freezing ray powers. Then every time I punch my fist will shoot out ice and make my opponents burst. Then I won’t get the coins and hen I can’t be protected.
01/29 Direct Link
I am crazy about you. Your hair twisted up like that, the way your cheek dimples, the flecks of light refracting from your eyes; you drive me wild. Day after day I dream of slight touch, just a drift over your hand or maybe the tip of your shoe contacting my leg under the table. I want you here with me. I want you to look through my telescope, map the stars with me, so I can tell you how beautiful you are. If you were here right now, I’d prefer you naked, relaxed, with a glass of bubbling champagne.
01/30 Direct Link
He fills the tub with hot water, not too much. He doesn’t like water. He would never bathe if given a choice. 35 and afraid. His kids think he’s crazy. “Daddy, why won’t you go swimming with us?” He can’t explain it. It wasn’t like he grew up in a desert or never saw an ocean. He lived in a world of swimming pools, lakes, reasonably distanced trips to the ocean. The tub reaches ten inches of water depth and he turns it off, sinks in groaning. Showers give him palpitations; all that water pounding relentlessly, until he panic attacks.
01/31 Direct Link
It’s true. I shouldn’t have been honest. Honesty doesn’t pay in this world. The sky is lavender today, the usual shade of black velvet illuminated by search lights. Copters are buzzing overhead and I imagine satellites are rotating to my destination. I’d better change course. I don’t want to end up like Jimmy. Jimmy with his brains splattered horizontally across his home’s vertical siding. Why they have to be so diligent about this stuff is what bothers me. I tried to be good. I tried to stay out of it but when Yolanda called what was I supposed to do?