If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



SC



_____________________________






Monday, December 30, 2013

The Well-Fed Mouser


Pray tell, fat cat, sprawled on my bed, what is that scritch, scritch, scratching I hear in the attic, overhead? Do you think that maybe… do you think you might… get up to investigate before we run plum out of night? Or is that too much bother, with your belly so round? Is it easier to ignore such a mouselike sound? And wait for me to get up and in a huff say, “Crap! Don’t worry yourself! I’ll go set a trap!”     


Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Upside of Upgrades


My new computer is a custom job, all crazy, kid-cool. Its face is about as sleek, I think, as a box with an on-off button could be: black with just a hint of chrome—very Bauhaus, though I’m guessing that’s not the appropriate term. You turn the corner and one side is almost perfectly clear, they say, so I can see that the fans, of which it has three, are running, although, I’m kind of thinking that it’s more so computer people can show of their handiwork to other computer people, who might actually know what computer bling looks like. For me it’s just another woodland diorama, with wire and soldered doo-dads for branches, in which I will forever be searching for a hidden tree frog. But how could I possibly care about all that cool stuff, when in the center of said clear panel, with two laser-cut, black metal swooshes, thin as paper, radiating from it as if it were the very wind source of a cat-five hurricane, is the chromiest chrome fan ever, which, when doing its business, lights up and turns the dark underside of my desk into a discothèque, worthy of a younger and thinner and Angel Flight-wearinger John Travolta? How can I? I ask. How? I can’t. I’m mesmerized. I’m hypnotized. My feets are on the floor. And… Oh dear god! Am I doing it?  Yes! Yes I am! I’m, ‘Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah, Staying alive, Staying alive…’ Because that, after all, is how old cats roll. Cha-ching.  


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to Me...

 

One of six gifts. All of which I plan on opening. 


On a whim, I wished Siri… my phone… a Merry Christmas. “You could un-scrooge Scrooge,” she replied, as if I had been the only one on earth so considerate. “Merry Christmas to you too, Steven.”


It’s a wondrous world we live in, kids. Fill every inch of it with love.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Computer's Acting Up...


... so I figured I'd better wish ya'll a Merry Christmas before it croaked entirely.

                                                     Merry Christmas!





Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Sum of It


Maybe you have a dog. Or a cat. And maybe you have showered it with affection and watched as it lay there content as can be, and thought to yourself how you loved it as much, if not more, than anything you could think of on earth, or otherwise, and that, from the looks of it, the animal was thinking the very same thoughts as you. But then your dog or cat stood up and walked off, plopping itself back down three feet away from your bewildered heart.


This is what it is like to love the one I love.

 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Here's What I Do...


I cut wood, because, after all, I am that much of a man, wink wink, and I don’t wear my boots, and the chainsaw spews chips onto and into my low-topped shoes where they fix themselves by the thousands in my socks, which I then throw into the washer, who, magically displaces the chips from my socks into my underwear—a tedious task I’m guessing—but nonetheless this is why I itch sometimes… down there… in case you wondered.  


            

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...


You’re trying, so very, very hard, to just let people look the way they look and not to comment in any way shape or form about their odd shapes and forms. You’ve done it your entire speaking life and you worry now that it has righteously screwed your Karma. Not that you ever said anything aloud, to anybodies face—that’s just plain rude. But isn’t thinking just as bad as doing? It was with adultery. Anyway, you’re hoping that this new leaf of kindness you’re trying so desperately to turn over will set things right with the Universe, and that the sunshine of success might finally warm your weary backside. Then the teller at your bank looks like this…


                                               

 
…only, with makeup, and the strong possibility of being related to Fernando Valenzuela.

     How in the hell can you ignore this?

     You can’t!

     You won’t!

     Fuck Karma! You say, handing the teller your deposit. This woman looks exactly like Mr. Toad, for god’s sake!

     You go on, as Mrs. Toad processes your transaction, scrutinizing the details of her downturned mouth, bulbous eyes and complete lack of neck, trying to convince yourself that it’s your job… sort of… to notice things like this, your duty, for crying out loud, to write about it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you tell yourself. Take advantage of it! You don’t have to mention any names, you say. It will make people laugh! And laughter, after all, is the best medicine! I can heal the World’s woes with my satire! You exclaim, almost out loud. Karma should be grateful!

     “Can I do anything else for you today?” the teller asks, and you find yourself wishing for a juicy, green fly to circle her head, once, twice, three times, but that’s as good as looking a gift-horse in the mouth, now isn’t it, so you stop this greedy thinking and say, “No… no… that’s all,” and you thank her, because after all, she has made you very rich indeed.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baker's Ray-Gun Mouth


Baker got into a cat fight and then disappeared for two days, and apparently didn't eat even a mouse the whole while, because when he came home he was starved and ate so fast and furiously that bits of his feed were shooting out of his mouth like sparks from one of those Japanese ray guns you used to be able to get when I was a kid. Those guns were cool.



I wish there was an app for sparks. My phone needs sparks.         







Thursday, November 7, 2013


Humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit. Without doubt, these dreamers do not deserve wealth, because they do not desire it. Even so, a well-organized society should assure to such workers the efficient means of accomplishing their task, in a life freed from material care and freely consecrated to research. -Marie Curie, scientist, Nobel laureate (1867-1934)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Americana I


We stand in line, four deep
now five,
the backbone of the Nation,
growing impatient
for another shot at the lottery,
our smokes and beer.
The Pakistani boy is alone
and apologizes for the wait,
though none of us bitch.
Rather, we sympathize.
We’ve been there, we say
we’ve done that.
We’ll see you tomorrow, buddy.








Friday, September 27, 2013

My Dear Friend,


          I have wondered how your garden faired this year without you. Did the love of your life rise that first warm morning after and spread the seeds you so carefully collected? Or did the winter of your passing settle so deeply into her bones that the season came and went unnoticed? I too have turned up the icy scar, plowing along, another ring added, and stand among my own neglect, wondering who will bring her firewood?                                                                                            

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I cut work...



Cut some pancakes...


Cut some logs...


Cut some grass...


Cut some boards...


All in all, not a bad birthday. 


Friday, September 20, 2013

In the Sunlight of Yesterday


She said that she had wanted once to be cremated when she died. Then she discovered that they had to remove any artificial joints, pins and fasteners, before the incineration. Both of her knees had been replaced. She had an artificial hip as well, and a steel rod that ran the length of her back. “I thought it was the way to go,” she said, “until they told me that.” She sat at the nook there in her yellow on yellow kitchen, in the house she had lived in for well over fifty years. On the table, freshly baked banana bread cooled. The house smelled of spice. “Why, they’d be cutting on me for days,” she said, rolling out foil to wrap the bread in to. “Besides,” she went on, “I just couldn’t stand the thought of some big black man’s hands digging around inside of me.” The image made her shudder. “I told them they’re just going to have to bury me, and that’s that.” She laid a loaf of the bread on to the foil and began to wrap it, folding the corners neatly, as if it were a gift. “I made an extra,” she said, holding up the foiled bread, “For you.” In the window behind her, an old magnolia stood, richly green. A breezed moved through the tree, stirring shadows in the kitchen that, until then, had lay still and unseen. “Don’t forget to take it with you when you leave.”


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Box of Dog Snacks...


Feeding Instruction Number Four...

                  "Monitor your dog to ensure treat is adequately chewed prior to swallowing."


Seriously?
Do you even know a dog?



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Midway


He did not feel old. Sore and stiff, yes, but not old. The stiffness, he knew, would work its way out as soon as he got moving. It wasn’t his age. He’d seen younger men complain about how they ached after doing half the work he had done that week. It was the natural reaction of any body at any age to such labor.

     He didn’t doubt he needed a day or two of rest, time to let his joints and muscles recuperate. But at present, a good night’s sleep was all he could offer, and that was scarce. He worried though, that if his life went on like this—and it seemed it would—that he would be crippled as an old man, confined to a chair or bed.

     But then, too, he thought, it could be just the thing to carry him beyond a hundred years.

     A hundred years. Imagine.

     He did not feel old at all.

 
 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On Not Remembering


He would not have remembered. The day would have moved along as any other, had he not looked at the World’s events, something he rarely did. Even as he stared at photographs of the new Tower, rising in glassy defiance, it was slow to register. Today, he thought, it was today. He had shut from his mind, long ago, the more horrific images of those who chose to jump. They tore too deeply at his gut. But he saw now the flames, the spire of smoke, the absence on the skyline. He would not have remembered. The day would have moved along as any other. But he carried the day with him. He felt its weight, silent as a stone.                                                


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vying


          It didn’t matter to the dog that its feet were sopping wet, the cat either. What mattered was the smallness of his lap, a place the dog was far too big to be arranged, though he would try and try again, if only to remind the cat who the lap belonged to.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Advantages of a Small, Small World...





Knowing no Better


Theirs was the only movement. Nothing else dared stir. Even with the sun set, the heat was oppressive, thick. Their silhouettes cut lazy swoops in the evening sky, dark blades thrown silently into the late August heat. Knowing no better, he called the birds night hawks. It suited their graceful rising. Like loosed souls, he watched them be carried, upward, into the rose and gray blooms, the cicada singing their passing.

Night hawks, he would call them, knowing no better.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This Morning


     In his sleep, the long fever broke. When he woke and went to the back door to let the dog out, he was startled by the change, by the cool air that greeted him. After so many weeks of bearing it, you expect the oppressive heat, the perspiration, the air laden with water, thick and hardly breathable. You begin to think that this is how things have always been and will always be. You adapt.

     The sky was perfectly clear, the sun just rising. The dog held its nose high, sniffing, as if in an unfamiliar place. He breathed in deeply too, the new, crisp air; shivered. Through his veins it felt as though some warm and electric liquid pumped. His body sang with possibilities. Thank you, he said, as if he had carried the month-long heat in his own body, as if the morning was a gift, a second chance at life.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Gain


     He had acquired a dog. For now, anyway. It was the neighbors. They left it behind, or so it seemed, when they sold and moved from the trailer on the hill above him. He didn’t mind. It was a fine dog: loving, well behaved, clean. It surprised him how ideal a pet the animal was after living where it had, in the squalor and drugs of that trailer. He refused to give his neighbors any benefit of doubt, credit for the dog's good nature, guessing instead that they couldn’t beat the kindness out it.

     The dog was a male of mixed breeding, red with a hint of black saddle. It had the knot of a bloodhound on the top of its skull and the manipulative eyes of a Labrador. It slept on his bed as he wrote, snoring softly at times and bear-like at others, but soundly and contented.

     He had acquired a dog. For now anyway. And he didn’t mind at all.


Friday, August 9, 2013

On Being Startled

    
     At times, his size would surprise him when he looked in the mirror. Fat hadn’t crept in around his middle. Nor had he put on any awkward mass lifting weights. It was just that, at times, he expected a boy of ten or eleven to be staring back at him, and the man he found instead startled him some. He would squint at this man, cautiously, as if through a keyhole, admire his lean muscles; flex them, as if he had just been transformed—as if he were still a boy, assessing his future.         

Thursday, August 8, 2013

     They were close enough now he could hear the falling. For weeks, it had only been the faint hum of the saws that let him know they were there; the passing by of trucks, loaded down with logs. They had started at the back and moved forward, working their way out of the old woods.
     Why he could not separate his heart from the sound of those trees hitting the ground, he didn’t know exactly. He’d fell his fair share. But each he had mourned, and every stick was utilized. This… This was slaughter—carcasses stacked like whale, like buffalo. No one would kneel before these giants and apologize, send their spirits off with song.
     Perhaps that was the pain he felt. Not the loss of the trees, but the lack of respect in taking them, the carelessness, the separation. How could they live with themselves, these men, doing what they do? They couldn’t possibly have hearts. He hated that he was unable to stop them, that he was helpless against their greed. Perhaps it wasn’t pain at all he felt, but fear. Fear, that in the nearing end, he would be little more than a tree.                                       

Saturday, July 20, 2013

On Tall Grass and Bad Luck


It all seemed so perfectly timed. Finally, a weekend had come with no work or chance of rain, and five minutes into cutting grass, which was nearly to his knees now after two weeks of neglect, his mower began to sputter.

          It was hard not to wonder as he limped the mower back to his shop, if some being beyond his being was tampering with his tools, with the weather, in an attempt to teach him that none of it—the lawn he strived so hard to cultivate—really mattered. It was hard, too, not to wonder if there was no being beyond his being, that his bad luck had not been conspired at all, but merely parts on a mower finally giving in to wear, rain that had overstayed its welcome. Either way, none of it truly mattered. Unless, he thought, it was properly told.




Saturday, July 6, 2013

On Answering the Door Last Night


I left the tuna salad on the counter uncovered, expecting the knock at my back door to be James or Mike—something incidental, something brief. Through the nine panes, however, I was greeted by another neighbor: the woman who lives in the dilapidated trailer on the hill above me to the east. Her apologies began as soon as I opened the door. “I don’t know if you remember me,” she said.
          This was only our second meeting. Our first had been at the front door, later in the evening. Maybe it was the rain, which had fallen steadily since early that morning, but she seemed to be washed in the same gray as our first meeting, wearied somehow by the onset of night.
          Of course I recognized her, I told her.
          “I’m sorry to bother you…” she went on, “but I heard you were interested once in buying that trailer I live in.”
          I had been interested. The land the trailer sat on was originally part of my property. I had already lost it twice to higher bids. The trailer, now, was really more than I had time to deal with. I certainly didn’t have the money.
          “My mother past away at three o’clock today,” the woman told me, “and I need to sell that place to have her buried.”
          Her frankness, I could see then, was an attempt to get the words out between waves of sorrow, and nothing I could have prepaired for when I left the tuna salad on the counter, uncovered.   
          She went on, breaking down at times.
          In truth, she wanted to be away from the place, rid of it. Her mother had died in the living room. She couldn’t live there anymore. She would take whatever I offered. As long as it was enough to bury her mother and move on. She trusted me to be fair. I was a good man, she said. She could see that by how I kept my place.
          I wept when I closed the door. I had never been in such need, until then, in the greyness of our second meeting. 

          

Thursday, June 27, 2013


He didn’t care for their shitting on his porch. They didn’t care for his passing so close to their young. But it was he who had built the eves wherein the swallows came to nest. In turn, it was they who kept the insects at bay, making evenings tolerable, sunsets worth watching again. There was sense in their compromise, man and bird.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Good Sense



As their investments mounted, the owner’s interest in restoring the old house quickly declined. “We love what you’ve done to the place so far,” they told him, when the house was dried in, its new roof gleaming in the afternoon sun. “We just think…”

     They were kind enough about it, phrased it in such a way that he could almost agree: Spending so much on a place that can’t be lived in or really use for anything at all, didn’t make good sense. It didn’t, either. Acts of love rarely do.

     This is how the past is lost, he thought, loading his tools, discouraged, as much because the owners didn’t care as he couldn’t afford to care. He had a money pit of his own. “I’m sorry,” he told the old house before he left, pressing his hand to its cool brick, listening again to the songs of slaves forged into the clay, the echoes of war, the cries of birth and death.

     How much they were alike, he thought, two faulty old structures, fascinating in all they had survived, unsound and unable to make their own repairs. Fascinating, but not worth the act of charity that might save them from ruin. Good sense. They would never make good sense.

    

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Whole

 
When Brent returned from the office, the six two by tens he had ordered were already loaded into the bed of his truck. The boards were neatly strapped, Brent saw, and Gilbert the yard man was tacking a red flag to their ends with a staple gun, the Yard’s old Yale towmotor burbling patiently behind him, forks raised and stinking of diesel.

     ‘This all you need?’ Gilbert asked.

     ‘That’ll do it,’ Brent replied, handing him the yard bill. ‘Thanks Gil.’

     ‘Not a problem,’ Gilbert said, climbing back aboard the towmotor.

     From behind the towmotor's tattered seat Gilbert fished out clipboard  onto which he secured Brent's bill.

         'Ya'll stayin' busy?' Brent asked.   

        'Not bad...' Gilbert replied, returning the clipboard. He pushed a lever that lowered the forks with a hiss. Gilbert turned off the Yale's motor then and reclined in the seat as if both he and the day were exhausted. '...considering.'

     They had been suffering a heat spell now for nearly two weeks; triple digit temps,unbearable humidity. Nobody wanted to work. Gilbert stared out over the neighboring pasture and barn lot, to the rising sun, which was just cresting a faraway line of richly green trees. He removed his cap and slowly ran his free hand over his thinning scalp, glistening with persperation.

     ‘Gonna be hot again today,’ Gilbert warned, adjusting his cap back.

     Brent leaned against the cool metal of his truck. He looked to the sunrise, which seemed to him somehow dulled by the moisture already thick in the air. Then turned back to Gilbert, perched luxuriously there on the old towmotor, still transfixed by the dawn.

     If some were the canopy, glorious and green; some the limbs, trunk, taproot and so on; then they were the feeders, Brent thought, he and Gilbert, the tiny hair-like roots, forever mired in clay, struggling daily for the most meager of sustenance, so distant from anything celebrated as to be forgotten.

     Brent had never been content as a feeder, with simply being integral to the whole. He had crawled his way to the surface dozens of times over the years, but was always pruned down or mowed over before he could become established. He wondered if Gilbert had ever seen the sun, so to speak, ever had the desire to bloom in spring. Gilbert always seemed so content with his place in the system, grateful even.

     Maybe this yard job was Gilbert’s spring, Brent thought, his glorious canopy.

     ‘It sure is,’ Brent agreed, sweat building on his forehead.



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Measuring for Floors


“He didn’t like anyone messing with his things,” she tells me of her late husband as I measure his bedroom. She is eighty-six, attached to a cane she calls, “Hoss”.
        
          They had separate bedrooms, one at either end of a narrow, carpeted hall. Hers, which I have already measured, was bright and spring-like, while his is a darkly paneled trophy case. If this had been from the beginning, I didn’t ask—not her, not her son. She had been a nurse at one time, owned a convalescent home. Late hours might have made the separation a necessity. He had had a stroke, too. Maybe he had become bedridden—impossible to sleep with. She mentioned that he had lost control of his mouth and drooled terribly. Maybe she had built this shrine in his final days to help him, and her possibly, hold on to those things that had been best about him.

          In the hallway separating the two rooms, I run my tape along the baseboard. She stands behind me in the doorway of her late husband’s bedroom, Hoss, her cane, planted firmly in front of her. “He liked everything just so,” she says. There’s no sorrow in her eyes, no reminiscence. She wears the smile of one who has seen plenty of slow dying, one who knows the odds are stacked against her now and that the bedroom she sleeps in is separated by much more than a carpeted hallway.

          “You stay out of my room,” she says, imitating her husband’s stroke-contorted voice. “That was the last thing he told me.”

          She closes the door behind her.

   “He didn’t like anyone messing with his things.”                                                                              

Sunday, June 9, 2013

On The Deck


          In the end they stayed until seven o’clock, as they had feared, the deck incomplete. Boards for the handrail had been ordered wrong and with no lumber yards open, they had no choice but to load their tools. They would finish on Monday. The younger of the two, the one who had bid the job and ordered the handrails wrong, was none too pleased, cussing his mistake as they picked up. ‘It happens to the best of them,’ the older said, ‘We’ll still do alright.’
         They had hoped to finish in a day. The money was still good, but that would have sweetened the deal. They seemed cursed, however, to always underestimate material, time. For them, there were no perfect jobs where everything went as planned.
          Their completed work was always perfect though, beautiful and bragged upon. In some sense this was a reward. But it was a reward quickly forgotten in the midst of these frustrations, these perceived inadequacies. They climbed into the truck, the older driving. ‘I need a beer,’ the younger said, adjusting the air to cool his sunburned skin. ‘I hear ya,’ the older replied. And it was in that direction they went. 

                                                                      

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Catching a Lizard with Grass: Fuzzy Picture Tutorial




 Find a tall stalk of green grass... three footish.


Clean off the seeds...


Loop the cleaned end.


Make a noose by looping the end around the stalk,
securing it with a slip not.


Find a lizard.


Slip the noose over its head.


Tug gently...


And voila'

Friday, May 10, 2013

So...


... I’m restoring this old house. Like, 1829 kind of old. Real crusty. I’m thinking of starting a new blog to document the process. I know, I hardly write at the blogs I have. But, I really need to make the effort public, see if I can’t stir up some interest in the place. Some interest with money. Maybe add a PayPal link for small donations. Something.
Morrison House
         












    
     The folks who own it (members of the original family, no less), are putting up a pretty good chunk of change and I’m donating labor to some extent. But I don’t know that it’ll cover the entire restoration. We’ll see.
     Anyway, that’s one of the things I’ve been up to. One of the reasons I haven’t been posting much. Plus it’s spring, and the damn grass needs cutting every fifteen freakin’ minutes. Weak apology, but hey, work with me. I’m a busy dude.