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Showing posts from January, 2022

Day 567, January 20, 2022

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The Possibilist I sometimes imagine going on a long walk. The way I used to take the dog and hike the old roads and trails on Brushy Mountain. I would follow deer paths along the ridge, discover cellar holes and stone hitching posts. I once spotted a screech owl, and in the blink of an eye, lost it again. I once thought I had stumbled upon a dead man, but he was just a retired philosopher, napping. I imagined walking over the horizon and continuing on the Robert Frost or the M and M. I might just happen to keep walking. There was a Buddhist monk who traveled through this town with a bowl for alms and nothing else. Or maybe he had a campsite somewhere. But he walked all his days. Until he fell ill with Lyme. It seems almost like cheating, how being in motion can allay the mind, let me simultaneously marshal attention to something precise and specific as a dinner conversation with the kids at the old oak table and the kitchen with the green vinyl counters. They had no faith that this wor

Day 566, January 19, 2022

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The $1200 Volvo Children of this Earth. Dogs afraid of dinner on the stove. A broken down Ford Galaxie on the highway. A flat tire on a Volkswagen Rabbit. A failed temperature gauge on an old Buick. A flat tire on a different Buick. Waiting as the clouds of coolant wafted their toxic smell from under the hood of an old Volvo. I once had a pet turtle that lived in a miniature landscape. We set it free in a tributary of the Charles when its shell seemed to be going soft and started to smell. Once, feeding ducks, I saw a drowned cat at the base of the concrete wall. And always, the eyes of a doomed deer haunt me. I should be more careful. I should be more callus. I used to talk to trout clipped into the stringer as they lolled over the side of the boat in their final hour of life. I once shot a rat at forty paces and it did not die peacefully. It is a harsh world. It is a forgiving world. It is a changed world. Dystopia smells like duck cooking on the stove. I have forgotten an alphabet,

Day 565, January 18, 2022

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Perfect Cold It is cold, like remembering an old car. There was the dog that used to steal frozen eggs out of the neighbor’s compost. My friend who would step outside to toss a pan of boiling water into the air creating snow. We are fragile simple creatures, the way a flashlight shone suddenly on a foot is perceived as heat. How something as thin as a surgical mask can feel as warm as a palm placed over one’s lips. We used to wear winter hats so we could smoke with the windows open. There is a tax for stupidity. There was a man whose bedroom looked out over the moderate city. I felt like anyone could look up and see me for who I was. My favorite winter was when I was younger and the snow was less heavy and not so frozen. My favorite winter was when standing outside felt robust and ruddy, the way life feels when you drink straight from the aluminum sap bucket, thirst never quenched quite like that forever after. The cigar that was laced with something and then we were lost in an unerrin

Day 560, January 13, 2022

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 Bad Days Good days feel like any other day. Bad days are like the hollow feeling before tears come. We live in two separate houses. In one we are nudists, in the other, we are not. I specialize in writing two chord songs. Every sentence of mine ends in a diminuendo. Today, I was a hollow balloon tethered only to small bite sized chocolate bars and an incessantly refilled cup of tea. Someone rode a skateboard outside the office, the rackety clack against the giant pavers. Back and forth, back and forth, and then, today, they were just not feeling it, and were gone. My heart goes out to the disappointed skate rat, such a short ride. Missing something more than just the sheen of granite surfaces. The routine has become so desolate I just want to scream. But I am not the screaming type. On death defying rollercoasters I break out in uncontrollable laughter. I suppose that is why I am laughing now, that or I just can’t hear you and thought you said something funny. 

Day 559, January 12, 2022

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Electric Socks  This morning, a Facebook memory appeared at the top of my feed. It was a photograph someone had posted from a high school party. It was a room I have no memory of being in with heavy dark drapes around the windows, a stone mantel fireplace with a painting hung over it. There are a lot of 80’s era hair styles, and lying in repose, nearly in the lap of a cute high school girl, is me.  Not only do I not remember that room, I don’t remember ever being so intimately close to a girl in high school, except for a handful of moments, as I was bumblingly awkward and clueless. And yet, there I am, looking happy, comfortable even. It is strange. I used to think of my memory as nearly infallible and precise. I could remember conversations, occurrences, moments, with surprising fidelity that still shock my parents. I remember the time a police officer came to our house in Quincy after a break-in. My father detailed the missing camera equipment, and then I talked about a missing color

Day 558, January 11, 2022

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Diffusion Eventually, you will forget everything except the slights.  There will be runny noses,  an irksome rash,  somebody will cough behind a surgical mask.  Who makes light of such things?  Waiting in lines,  people standing in closed stores,  an empty campus.  I wear my optimism like a shield  to protect everyone else from what is inside.  Suddenly,  it is too cold,  it is winter,  it is the day my foot broke the frozen surface of a wheel rut  and plunged shin deep into the crispness,  and for a moment it was like nothing had happened at all,  like I had moved faster than the rate of diffusion.   There was a cold night when I almost gave up,  my heart always to eager to please,  that dangerous innocence of childhood,  as delicate as a ripe fruit just waiting to be bruised.  I was beginning to think I could not bear it.  There are four things that give me pleasure on a cold winter’s night.  A glass of juice on ice.  You will remember arriving at the conference  and hearing people w