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Jun 30, 2007

June 30th, 2007

Twice now I've had a close encounter with the same robin while outside having a cigarette. The first time, the bird came whirring around the corner of the garden and quickly halted in the wood chips only a yard in front of my feet. Equally startled by each other's presence, the robin puffed out its chest and ruffled its feathers, took to the air in a near-backward direction; and I, if I once had wings I'd since forgotten how to use them, so I remained at my post in the wake of the robin's flight, and watched it until it flew from view.

The second time, standing in the same spot, the robin darted through the air and flew but a foot from my head, and then again from view. I suppose the bird could have mistaken my hair for a nest: the color of dry mud, the consistency of small, molded twigs or straw. Surely something precious as a few eggs could know it as home, and grow there.

Jun 29, 2007

June 29th, 2007

This here is a work of masterpiece, just along the country road on the way to work, a house where a Hmong family lives and toils over the land for part of their sustenance. Out in their backyard a couple of acres cut into patches of differing vegetables: beans, corn, tomatoes, and most likely more. Each year spilling sweat and blood under the sun to till the earth, plant a seed into the mud. Mud composed from the dust of things once living, of grass, of trees. Mud soaked with the flesh and blood of humans, earth fertilized with feces. And at harvest, more than just one reward reaped.

In Dog Years

I was a
very bad dog
last night alone
in bed I
sniffed your scent
clean from the
sheets and then
realized when you
were last here
I forgot to
piss on your
leg, my claim,
which in turn
explains that musician
and your night
of passion in
the absence of
my marking, it
could've steered him
away, so now
I think of
red heat and
of fire hydrants
and of single
days that seem
to last as
long as seven.

Jun 28, 2007

June 28th, 2007

The wind makes waves of the tips of cornstalks. The plants shimmer a pale green in the afternoon sunshine. They are too dry at this point in the year; dust from the gravel at the roadside shifts like sand in the wind, for long it has been since our last strong rain.

I look out over this all and imagine having lost something dear to me, whether a favorite item, a photograph, a letter, or some other talisman. Try to trust that the natural rhythms will prevail, and that an emotion in the moment is forever married to the memory of the moment. What is greater in the end, the memory itself, or the vacant space now filled by it where there once was something tangible?

This is the crow at the side of the road picking at the carcass of a squirrel whose body was crushed under the tires of a vehicle. Focus on the squirrel, the crow, and their significance to one another. In one's death is found sustenance for life in the other.

I can almost hear the heartland creak, cry, and groan for a cool rain.

Jun 27, 2007

June 27th, 2007

There are mornings when nothing at all seems profound. It's also not that anything under the cloud-rimmed sky makes sense. It just is, and the energy riding on the wind is strong enough to carry neither questions nor answers. This is taking a break from flight, from trying to wring water out from a dry rag.

A dust-colored moth creeps along the sidewalk, and disappears into the grass. The butterfly with the orange lining on its wings stops to rest amongst the woodchips; with precision she lowers, then draws up her fragile wings in one mechanical motion, preparing once again to sail the currents of a summer breeze.

Jun 26, 2007

June 26th, 2007

There is a certain patience that is bred from the Midwestern landscapes. The shifting seasons, the world constantly in motion, there is the necessary waiting for summer's warmth, spring's renewal, fall's harvest, or winter's chill. Being in the midst of the vibrant changes can be somewhat humbling. Anticipating the inevitable, yet never really knowing fully well when it will come. Having to wait, having to remain calm, having to let things grow on their own, in their natural cycle.

Jun 25, 2007

June 25th, 2007

What I've learned in my studies of this world is that I love all persons, those gone before me, those present, and those yet to come, simply because they've all had one thing in common: the pure potential to be loved, and that in and of itself is enough.

Jun 23, 2007

June 23rd, 2007

Sometimes the day flows by too quickly, like the tail end of that shooting star that you barely saw out of the corner of your eye. Like that last hour spent laying next to a lover before sleep closes in when the morning brings only departure. The opportunity has passed; next time, remain awake.

Other times life surrounds so thick one can float in it. Everything is as it should be. The days pass cleanly, the sun hangs over the horizon just long enough, the evening sky is lit up bright by flashes from a thunderstorm. Earthworms slip out of the wet earth and begin their slink across the cool pavement, risking death to bathe in nocturnal floods.

These two modes married, and each day, learning more about the love to learn.

Jun 22, 2007

June 22nd, 2007

White blossoms began to appear on the Japanese tree out in back of my office building during the week I was away. A new cycle begins on this warm summer morn. Buds of hope. Not much wildlife to be seen today, and my pair of eyes without the strength to seek them out.

Jerry approached at the bar last night, saying how much of an animal I am in my youth.

"The world would be quite dull without animals," he said to me. "Like giraffes, and birds...," and he trails off.

So it would be. He told me a story about a man at the group home where he lives who feeds the squirrels from his bare hands; how the squirrels will sometimes run up to Jerry, stare at him, but he simply shakes his head and shows his empty palms and apologizes to them.

Great shepherds of this living earth we are, it would be nice to think, as mere humans. But this is not even remotely the case. In the greater equation we play a rather insignificant role, which is always important to remember. Without our presence, within and outside the space of our absence, this world would keep spinning just fine.

Jun 21, 2007

June 21st, 2007

A shard of my heart flies to Philadelphia tonight. This was literally the longest day of the year, Summer solstice, my love, but as my mood betrays, this day was the shortest of my experience. The sun held fast and long over the horizon, casting across fertile land the year's most stretched shadows.. Finally, the fifth night, and we've had to say goodnight.

Consciousness non-existent here in this bar while the thick beats from the rap music vibrate deep within my rib cage pumping much faster than this aching heart. Right now not enough nicotine to stay the night of restless sleep. Tossing and turning in the ghost of a memory so real I touched it this morning when I awoke. Yes, life can be a random crock-pot of shit, my darling, and also full of that stubborn substance that drew us to one another.

Jun 15, 2007

June 15th, 2007

All the philosophical and intellectual gurus should be so brilliant that they're harmlessly unaware of their abilities. This would make things easier. This would make sense. No preachers, no shamans, no wise men. Only kind men.

Jun 14, 2007

June 14th, 2007

I stood outside at the corner of the sidewalk where on one side it meets with the grass and the other it meets with the woodchips. I stood in the very place where two days ago I held the phone to my ear and received the bad news in disbelief. How the world blurred, how my hand shook violently as I raised the cigarette to my lips. Everything became a dull din. And today, how everything has kept moving, that persistent spinning of the earth, the lilting wind, the chatter of birds. With blessed resilience the sun shines over this land, and how beautiful the naked sky looks. I stood outside at the corner of the sidewalk and had two morning cigarettes, one for the morning itself, the other for all things lost which still hold some promise of recovery.

Jun 13, 2007

June 13th, 2006

Bid the earth crack open where it had been stitched together. Unheavenly fire licking out of the split earth, scorch all that is green. Let the flames wrap their fingers around the curves of the terrain, sucking up lakes and rivers until their beds are dry. Consume the earth. This center of our life floating through space, burning, rivaling the Sun, just another great fireball. Reduce everything to its root, to dust. New life will emerge, and surely at the first moment whatever is borne will be smarter than all of it.

Jun 12, 2007

June 12th, 2007

Again I mourn for the death of silence. So tiresome it is how quickly each and every space in this world can be filled with some sort of body, illusory, auditory or otherwise. Again the grunting engine of a motorcycle violently jerks me out of slumber, and slowly it becomes harder and harder to accept this static.

Jun 11, 2007

June 11th, 2007

Vehicular Animalslaughter. It's too early in the day, too early in the week, for death. Then again, death waits for no one.

I take Lakeshore Drive to work each day. It's a scenic journey alone the shoreline, the roadsides peppered with maple, pine, and evergreen trees. This morning I witnessed a squirrel crawling down the trunk of a maple, and into the road. It crossed the oncoming lane safely, saw me coming from the other direction, and quickly darted back towards where it came from, and ended its life underneath the driver's side tires of a maroon minivan. It's twisted spine unraveled and it did one final turn on the pavement, it's black eye opened wide, then all movement ceased.

I'd like to think that I've come to the point now where I no longer have to worry about dodging traffic, but rather that it has become instinctual, that knowledge of safety.

Jun 8, 2007

June 8th, 2007

The storms the weather people promised never came. At least not to this place. As they often do when nearing the lakefront, they dissipate, the cells shred apart. And how I love thunderstorms, the roar, and the potential for destruction in a shift of the wind.

I stood in my bathroom late last night, listening to the thunderclaps in the distance, looking into the mirror. The scar underneath my lower lip seemed more pronounced. I must've been seven or eight when I got it at the water park. When reaching the bottom of a slide with my father on a rubber tube, my momentum sent me springing forward, and I planted my face into the back of his head.

How that scar has grown over the last sixteen years, grown with me. How it's difficult to quantify how much more I really know, now that I am where I am.

Jun 7, 2007

June 7th, 2007

My parents both want to know what I'd like for my upcoming birthday. Yes, uh, I'd like the last year of my life back? Where the hell has it gone? The months have been filled with hours of work and professionalism that demand due amounts of mental focus and attention. Creatively stifling.

Just the other morning the birds, as if on cue, started singing at 4am, just after I'd been roused by a migraine. How desperately I wanted them to cease, yet how immediatley I accepted that there was nothing I could do. Against my nature I shut the window and attempted a few more hours of peace. Last night, no disturbance, no birds, a sound rest. And for that I am thankful.

Jun 6, 2007

June 6th, 2007

It is with great anticipation that I await a friend's visit. Each morning when I rise the thought settles upon my mind as a bird perches on a naked branch. Comfort. Sleeing each night I squeeze the pillow and try to crawl into the innermost recesses of my mind where I can find her, simple, pure, enigmatic, and content. Stay the chirping birds; stay the gurgling cycle. Leave me in my resting bliss.

Jun 4, 2007

June 4th, 2007

Such inconsistent weather we've had this past week. Suddenly the sun retreats on those warm, temperate days without warning, clouds move in, and the wind roars. Birds halt their chatter. The dogs cease their barking. Now June, some consistency is what I yearn for.

I commented to a friend who grew up in Mississippi that we Wiconsinites must drink the most in the nation because of our crazy weather. Alcohol will fill in for consistency. No matter what it's doing outside, whether the weather ruins any prospects of activity, or encourages it, the liquid in that little bottle's going to get you drunk. We laughed it off.

Jun 2, 2007

June 3rd, 2007

I've seen the man around town for seven years now. He looks like a young Ozzy Osbourne with medium length black hair and an etched face. This man though is in his forties, homeless, certified insane by society. I'd heard many rumors about the man, and where he came from. In a city of sixty-thousand he is quite visible to everyone, walking up and down the street, passionately arguing to himself, smiling, concerned; yet no one approaches close enough to hear his words.

I wondered when or how it gets to that point where one can walk down the streets of a city unaware of the world around him, talking and gesturing as if he were in company. Was it something that could be pinpointed, like drugs, or was there something much more disconcerting to explain? It makes me sick how the homeless are simply fixtures in the big cities, as mirrors are to bathrooms. And what do these men and women reflect?

There is another man, old, skin and bones, who'd bike around and rifle through trash containers, looking for aluminum to trade in for cash to trade in for cigarettes. Food he could find in the bins. When he couldn't collect enough cans for cash, he'd pull a scissors from his back pocket and cut off the ends of cigarette butts from public ashtrays, and stash the remainder in his front shirt pocket. I told myself that the next time I saw him, I'd approach him and offer lunch, and a pack of smokes.

I haven't seen him in years.

Jun 1, 2007

June 2nd, 2007

A fog hovered low to the ground all the way to work. The road weaves towards the lake, then back inland, the fog thickening and dissipating each quarter mile. The visibility wasn't bad, maybe a half of a mile, not quite clear, slightly obscured, like the waking minute after coming out of a dream.

A man in a silver car traveling in the oncoming lane turned his headlights off, then flipped them back on again, signaling to me that I should engage mine. I switched them on, then quickly off, just to let him know that I had headlights too. Hopefully I didn't ruin his morning.