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Day 746, July 18, 2022

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Sweet Corn Season A heatwave has settled in  the air wringing a moist towel over a crinoline earth.  Glass drops glisten on the leaves of the rhododendron.  The air inside the house is still.  How can it still be hotter? You ask.  The oil popping on the stove is the soundtrack  to the rain through the screen door.  You can feel walking through the living room,  the air,  in your lungs,  on your face.  The rain is only but a gentle kiss on the yellowed lawns,  the naked rivers.  It is like a day at the fair.  Without the colored lights, rides, and fried dough.  Without, without, without. The air makes me thirsty.

Day 742, July 14, 2022

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Status Update It has been a busy week. These are things I imagine for the summer: recording an album in two days, drafting a poetry manuscript, finishing a short story, transcending my bodily aches and becoming one with the universe as seen through the James Webb Telescope.  It is hard to do these things when you are tired.  My head is filled with things I must remember to do. Tomorrow, I am going to make a potato salad. One recipe appears to have died with its cook, and all I have is my vague memories, less precise, yet more flavorful than the recipes I have found on the internet and collected from my parents.  Once again, I purchased a thing and imagined it to be greater than it could be. A guitar, a Yukon Gold potato, a lover, a side of French fries. How can one match up with memory, fantasy, the machinations of desire? Always, there will be disappointment. When I was a boy, I thought I would become an actor. Even today, I imagine how it might be to play a role. The exhilaration of

Day 735, July 7, 2022

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A July Day in the Town of Washed Out Bridges Today there were clouds that made it seem like rain  in the town of washed out bridges.  There are children playing with bubbles,  and a duo strumming and drumming under the tent,  tunes that make me think of Lucinda Williams.  My wife thinks the singer looks like Oates.  It is strange to be out, and wonderful, but mostly strange, D. says.  There are Korean grilled chicken sandwiches, burgers and hotdogs.  And beer.  It is a July day in a scalloped existence. So different, so strange.  A humming bird sits on a wire and watches over the yard,  head in constant motion even at rest.  I can smell the garlic seared on the grate.  The neighbors are out sampling the wares.  So many people, M. marvels. So many people. Spring in the permaculture garden.

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.