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Day 733, July 5, 2022

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Maximum Intensity Sometime in 1999 or 2000, I took a Greyhound bus to Washington D.C., slept on the floor of someone’s study, and attended an academic conference where I interviewed on a job search. Simultaneously, I was coming down with pneumonia that had me shivering through the night. Unable to sleep, I was somehow able to access the internet and browsed the early days of ebay. My first internet amp purchase was a 1970s Fender Vibrolux. Despite my apprehension, it was shipped, vacuum tubes and all, to my home. That amplifier has followed me throughout my days. The wonderful amp tech, Jim Metz, saved it from a conductive fiberboard (precursor to circuit board). The old Oxford speakers were replaced with modern Naylors, and a few capacitors have been changed out over the years. But recently, the amp has been relegated to the sidelines because of some intermittent noise, a sometimes ringing, like a penny shaken in a glass Coke bottle, and a particularly noisy idle, like a snoring anima

Day 728, June 30, 2022

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Bedtime Symptoms are a sore throat, a little raspy cough, the weight of a day pressing upon the temples. Each day the rapid test says negative. Or it remains silent. The absence of a thing pronouncing its presence. It makes me question myself, am I not well? Perhaps it is because I drank yesterday morning’s coffee too quickly and singed my throat, and maybe the absence of coffee this morning was the pressure building on either side of my head. And maybe I always cough. I don’t know if that’s true. Maybe it has been just these past two days and that is all that I can remember. It is very nearly bedtime.

Day 727, June 29, 2022

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Mirrors I carry memory in the joints of my appendages,  in the knuckles of my fingers,  in the crook of my toes.  I remember pressing my shoulder against foam and steel,  I remember the smell and feel of a sweaty floor mat,  the breath of another boy as we strained,  the willpower to not flinch,  to connect,  to treat one’s body as if it were a disposable thing,  a thing made to be used up until there was nothing left.  Everything is a little more gentle now.  I stretch as I walk,  turn my head,  windmill my arms.  I look like a wind-up toy let loose on the kitchen table.  Back home,  I am so tired I push the cat aside and lie down under the covers  and almost let myself be taken by sleep.  The chickens are counting clouds and eating dirt.  Sometimes I let my arm hang limp like a broken wing  because it is easier that way.  I do not wonder if I will grimace.  I walk like I am pretending to lure a predator away.  I walk like a man who was once shaped by his body.

Day 726, June 28, 2022

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Bird Watching I watched a blue heron circle high overhead.  It seemed impossibly high  for something so delicate and graceful.  Its arc took magnificent breast strokes over where I stood  and then I lost it behind some buildings,  and then it reappeared  like a flight from Heathrow coming in for an approach at Logan.  Give me a piece of sky like this,  it seemed to be saying,  and I will give you your wildest dreams,  if your wildest dreams are eternal peace.  There were no clouds in the sky  and looking up was like looking at a child’s bedroom ceiling,  the surface of a glacial lake,  the wall of a diorama at the Science Museum.  Impoverished,  the news said,  dire consequences,  women turned to drug dealers,  twenty years,  the witness,  a lack of basic communication.  Each wing beat a breath,  like blowing a soft candle out.

Day 720, June 22, 2022

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In Memoriam  When I came home,  the little red girl would come running.  There is something in a well executed waddle  that denotes excitement and joy.  She was happy to see me.  And I spoke to her  as we walked side by side  back to the coop and the run she  so expertly escaped from each day.  There was an elegance to her escapades,  so I could never really bring myself to put a stop to them.  Plus, she was picked on,  the other hens didn’t like her  to pick at the scratch near them,  so she went off on her own,  venturing into the woods under the ferns,  over to Lee and Lil’s house,  out front under the fruit tree.  She slept by herself most nights  while the other girls pressed against one another.  I called her Honey, Sweetie, Cutie Pie,  and just, Hey, girl.  She seems to have left this Earth  at some point today,  leaving nothing but a tuft of feathers  on the ground by the propane tanks,  and a fourth egg in the coop.  Perhaps I would be like that too,  if something came down fr

Day 713, June 15, 2022

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Biological Clock Bodies remember,  even when we forget.  Like a distant lover,  a teasing bus stop taunt,  a few taut words uttered out of a moving car,  can feel it in the fingers,  in the hands,  where the ribs meet the spine,  deep in the hip.  I am reminded that I am clumsy  when I bruise my shin,  scrape my calf.  There are days when one  should be more careful.  I hear people whispering as I close my eyes.  Look, there is the clumsy man.  But I am only clumsy  because my body remembers what it is like  to stack a cord of wood.  My body remembers it has arms like lobster claws,  and for a few days afterwards  my hands feel like mittens.  I am tired today,  because my body remembers.  My eyes recall looking too long at the sun,  studying the tight grain of wood fibers,  counting freckles by candlelight,  that is why I can not see so well anymore.  And my ears,  they remember crickets,  like a field of fireflies,  the peepers.  A tired body is a body that remembers,  and reminds me

Day 712, June 14, 2022

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Don’t Go In the Water The deer break the surface of the tall grass  like seals on the Atlantic sea shore.  Little playful wiggles of the head,  how good it must feel  to be embraced in the dewey morning grass.  A green heron alights on a spindly tree  as if blown there  and together they jostle for space,  a lookout on the crow’s nest,  an acrobat on a wire.  And a moment still,  a great black bear swims in languid strides  across  the street,  stops in the front yard and looks at me.  Its brown snout.  Those dark uncurious eyes.  A dog is barking and a man yells out a warning  in a Boston Irish accent.  Its arms make me think of elephants,  and I can imagine touching the hair,  a matted stringiness  like someone who has been sleeping out in the wild  for many days.  I think my hands would smell  after I touched him.  Linger,  all through the day,  ever faintly,  more than memory.