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Day 907, December 6, 2022

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Progeny Watching one’s own child, is like reading a different version of a story you once knew.  The circumstances had been different.  It is like dreaming,  something that feels nostalgic even as it occurs,  disorienting.  Like introducing yourself to a pretty lady  and they tell you that you have already met. Or eating a bowl of bingsu on a hot summer day. I am a dog that has been gifted  with a sudden appreciation for music.  I am in love with everyone in the room.  As I sit, I am aware of every change in posture,  every thoughtful provocation,  the way the breathing changes of the man sitting behind me.  The woman to my right seems to have moments of joyful revelation.  I am peering at the diagrams  and I see the illustrations of the universe,  the firing of synapses,  an alphabet of the occult,  a timeline of the Russian revolution,  seismograph readings from Mars, the landscapes of the mind.  Listen there is the caress of a soft animal,  two river stones being hit together,  the

Day 906, December 5, 2022

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Terminal Pursuits  Growing up, anything that was not good for you,  caused cancer.  My mother, the scientist, knew these things.  She would admonish us for eating the ramen uncooked  because it would cause cancer.  Too much French onion soup mix in the sour cream  also caused cancer.  And of course, Slim Jims.  It seemed like everything I enjoyed  and partook in excess,  were terminal pursuits.  I never really questioned moderation,  it was more that we ate these things because  we could not resist ourselves.  It was like my father and his Winstons,  and how mad he got when I took apart his Zippo  and hid the pieces all around the house.  I was equally frustrated when my fingers  were too greasy to open another Slim Jim sleeve.  The shaking frustration of the damned.  \ My idea this morning was to write about the boundary of ice to  Gravel and how the grave grew firm in the frozen earth, But I forgot and wrote about Slim Jims instead.

Day 902, December 1, 2022

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Drifting It is hard to sit in a virtual room,  sometimes  the way weariness wears down the facade  until it is only bone and sinew showing,  and who wants to live like that?  Other days,  my attention is pulled to the email,  the task at hand,  the setting sun,  a cyclist riding down the middle of the road,  a resting flock of geese,  a granola bar in impenetrable packaging,  resisting using a toothpick/flosser while on camera,  the dust lightly coating the telephone except for the receiver,  how warm the headphones keep my ears in a cold office.  Or sometimes,  on a day like today,  the technology doesn’t connect  and I am unable to be present,  am counted as absent.  For a moment,  it is like desperation,  and then  it is relief,  to let go and float adrift  for just a few moments.  It is like the smell of hot coffee.

Day 901, November 30, 2022

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The Rain The rain was coming down in sheets that you could see push their way across the parking lot. It was the kind of rain one sees in hurricanes or during monsoon season. It was a visceral rain that was simultaneously exhilarating and frightening, like a great wave breaking on the beach. I leaned in close to the building, taking as much shelter as I could get before venturing up the hill. I watched a young man struggle with an umbrella before it became fully turned inside out and he wielded its uselessness as one carries an offensive thing, like a smelly stick.  I struck out across the street, and immediately my feet were soaked through, not because I had stepped into a deep puddle, but because all the world had become a puddle and anything exposed to the elements was thusly soaked. I climbed the stairs behind a woman wearing a hooded down coat and pajama bottoms that clung tighter and tighter to her buttocks and legs. I could not make out the repeating decoration, maybe it was som

Day 900, November 29, 2022

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Making Kimbap I made three kinds of gimbap today. One with bulgolgi-chicken, spinach, radish, egg, and carrots. One with avocado, crab, spinach, egg, and carrot. And one with spinach, radish, egg, and carrot. And one with everything, so technically four variations, I guess. Today’s version was much more successful than my last attempt. I followed my mother’s advice on preparing the rice and I think that made the biggest difference. I grew up thinking of it as kimbap, rather than gimbap. It was a special occasion food, something that was packed for summer outings to the beach. I think it was too precious to be wasted on the wanton mouths of children, except for special occasions. So, when I eat kimbap, it makes me think of Nantasket Beach or Plum Island. It makes me think of the smell of ripe seaweed, sand under my fingernails, and lying on my bare belly on the warm pier staring down into the depths where the crab trap sat with a raw chicken wing tied to its center, just beyond where on

Day 899, November 28, 2022

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What We Think About While We Ride Home in the Dark The most wild and crazy thing we ever did in our life.  Was it that wild and outrageous?  Maybe it was not and only felt that way.  Perhaps there are handfuls of those moments,  too exotic to be memorable on these pages without an alias.  I am a broken record when I ride a bicycle.  Sentences repeat and conversations evolve oh so slowly.  You speak and I speak,  then I revise my answer, and I imagine your response,  and perhaps it would not be so terrible if I said it a different way.  Or perhaps it is too much to bear and there is nothing,  only the cold,  the passing car,  the darkness all around.  I start the conversation again,  and it is about cataloging crazy things we have done.  But that doesn’t go well either  and I start thinking about the conversation I will have with my mentee  in the morning.  I didn’t reschedule so I will have to leave early.  I don’t know what to tell her, so the conversation is short.  I wonder if I sho

Day 893, November 22, 2022

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The Bounty of This Earth and This Life Thanksgiving was not always celebrated at my parents’ house. In the early days, before the divorce, Uncle Sam hosted and we would spend the day there, our child selves basting in the lingering aroma of the turkey cooking away and infusing everything with a greasy hunger. I wanted the drumstick, was my mantra, and after some fuss, it was agreed to and the adults found great hilarity in presenting me a plate with the oversized portion.  Korea is such a small country, it seemed everyone was a classmate, or a sibling’s best friend, or an infamous rival, of one another. It was an early generation of immigrants, and like religion that wove Buddhism with Christianity, so too they blended American traditions with their own. A harvest festival, Chuseok, is a human thing, and celebrated with a large bird, or tteok, we are appreciative of the bounty this earth and this life has given us.  We used to have a priest who would bless our cars. Great pains were ta