Showing posts from November, 2021

Day 523, November 30, 2021

Tucson, Arizona On the evening of December 8th, it was late, after dinner, and we were at Uncle Sam’s house. The younger kids were asleep, and I was keeping myself company with the little transistor radio with fiddly reception so you always had to hold the antenna just so, or hold the antenna just so while adjusting the station dial with your thumb until the station came into focus across a field of static, distortion, and garbled alien communication.  I didn’t know much about the Beatles except that John was my man. My father had two non-classical albums in our house, one was Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book,  the other was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I remember playing with the cutout insert. I don’t think I ever succumbed to the compulsion to take out a pair of scissors. I was never good at cutting straight and probably would have botched it. I also knew my friend Andy’s dad had every Beatles album ever pressed. After the divorce, Andy and his dad moved away to Cambridge in

Day 522, November 29, 2021

I Dream of Excuses We knew it was going to happen,  like snow falling from a roof,  the ginkgo tree’s day,  a sad wobbling chicken,  the collapse of a Halloween pumpkin,  the car that gets louder and louder,  the ache that continues unabated. There is an eagerness to inevitability.  The way a spouse eyes the last French fry,  how a dog scratches the door,  the words to an email I have forgotten to write. I dream of excuses.  All the while, the pallor becomes more complex.  It is hard to read the fine print in a moving car.  I am sorry it has been so long, I have been ill,  I was traveling, it was the holidays,  I couldn’t find a chicken,  the steps needed fixing,  I was trying to pretend the world is not changing,  becoming a new dangerous thing . I wonder if you will forgive me,  I wonder if you will love me,  I wonder if you harbor unspoken words  that will remain unspoken and eat at your insides  like a chocolate Easter bunny. In time we will spend our days listening.  Like after th

Day 511, November 18, 2021

Forgetfulness The ability to continue,  the inability to continue.  A quiet house  where even the dog  stays curled into a cashew on the couch.  It is unseasonably warm,  which will make each subsequent day  all the more painful,  so easy is it to forget suffering  and cold thighs.  The geese are raucous.  I imagine the apologies I will make  for not being present,  for still catching up,  for not catching up.  A day like today people are reborn  or at least eat lunch outside  and think about the long legs of summer.  A day like today makes one close one’s eyes while walking  and pretend paths are revealed with each step.  And still there are the pangs,  the labored breathing of the pandemic,  the effort of tying to emote enthusiasm or care through a face mask.  If I carried beads, I would run them through my fingers.  If I listened to Mozart I might listen to Piano Concerto No. 21.  If I recited poetry from memory I might recite Neruda’s “Keeping Still.”  If I wore crop top shirts, I

Day 510, November 17, 2021

How it Begins It begins with the ending,  the loss,  a whispered conversation of men talking so quietly,  that he must lean in close,  their heads almost touching.  They are almost like old friends,  but really they are like fallen leaves,  and have only landed near each other,  the lamina touching,  the dampness of the earth reminding them of earthworms.  The whispered conversation becomes inaudible  and it is one man nodding as if in agreement,  but really,  he has ceased hearing the conversation,  he has stopped trying to listen,  their heads are drifting apart and  one man is remembering what he has lost.  The mind can play with time  and make him believe he is not such an old man,  that he is once again useful,  desirable,  that he could protect someone  or win someone.  That he could take a lover,  or more than one.  That he could eat and drink  without remorse.  For a moment  it seems he could strike the other man down  and walk away as one might drop a piece of trash  and prete

Day 509, November 16

Routine Sometimes there is a strange confluence of issues that affect a person all at once. I had wallop of multiple health issues all come to a head that included a bout with shingles, the flu, and a few other things as well. Finally, after a round of antibiotics, two weeks at home, and lots of rest, I am back and slowly building myself back to the person I imagine myself to be. I haven’t returned to the bicycle yet. Maybe Thursday or Friday I’ll try a ride. And I’m only doing the pushups of a man half my age, but even so, it feels good to be moving again, to be coughing far less, and blowing my nose only periodically. Strange things go through your head when you are sick in a pandemic. All the stories of ambulance rides, long-term complications, loss of taste, foggy brain, they all mix with cough syrup and flu medicine to leave one nearly delirious. I even reached into the COVID emergency box and tested out the oxygen meter my daughter had me buy in the first wave.  But I was lucky.