Tuesday, October 30, 2007


the house stinks of
mental instability, illness
stinks of newspapers
stinks of reclusiveness
closed curtains, wrapped like
the wings of a bat
the house oozes darkness and

newpapers and periodicals cover
every square inch of tabletop and furniture
through the haze of Print
an old television sits silent

'i'm sorry for the mess,' she says
'i've just been busy with all the paperwork
of customs to france.'

she wears a knee-length winter coat
and a scarf
and blue jeans tucked into pink socks
tucked into moon-boots
and her eyes are black olives
behind her wire rim glasses

i nod and say that i've seen worse and
i have, but barely

she is alone and old
and her family (?) has gone back to paris
after hurricanes katrina and rita

'i've been so busy sending money and clothes,'
she says
'i haven't had time to keep the house up but i will,

i nod and say that i've seen worse and
i have, but barely

she follows us outside
through her garage, in which
a celica with a half-amputated front bumper
and newspapers and newspapers and
newspapers reign supreme

'i'm embarrassed by my house.'
she rifles through sheaves of legal papers
'i had to hire a handwriting expert,"
she tells us,
because They were forging my signature in customs.'
the cost of the expert: 1500 dollars
her peace of mind: priced out of her reach

i go back in and turn down her thermostat
--she might forget about it--
--and she might run up the bill--
--and she might get it shut off again--

she flips through the legal papers and
shows me the forgeries
i know not at what i am looking
--nor do i really care--
and so i nod and say, 'yup.'

lost woman
forgotten woman
in an invisble hovel
and i wonder just
how many of them are out there,
flying under the radar of
news at eleven and
two for tuesday pizza deals?

Monday, October 29, 2007


An 82-yard bomb on the first play of overtime, after Denver kicker Jason Elam had scrambled onto the field and made the 20-yard field goal with one second left in regulation. From the lowest lows to the highest highs, this is why I love sports.

That a 38-year-old quarterback, two time zones away, at the end of his Hall of Fame career, still has the ability to raise the hairs on the back of my neck and birth goosebumps on my arms...that is why I love sports.
*Oh, and it doesn't hurt that I started Greg Jennings in one of my Fantasy leagues this week. ;-)

Saturday, October 27, 2007


We never lose it, do we? Though we stretch out and gray and bald and wrinkle, we are still always the little child from yesteryear. Though we layer Adulthood atop our Ids and our Superegos, we are still little Sally or little Bill, close to tears after skinning our knees.

I went to Hollywood Market today, intent upon picking up (ONLY!) some dog chew-bones, some Liquid Plumr, lunchmeat, eggs and some milk. Of course I gathered much more than that [I can never stick to my list] and I had the young vixen-angel--she was dressed in white with wings--pack my purchases into some paper bags. (Actually, when she asked me if I wanted paper or plastic, I surreptitiously took in her delicate cleavage and smiled and said to her, "Whatever's easier, angel." Got-damn, I'm a laugh a friggin' minute! Hell, at least I got a smile and a blush out of the angel.)

Anyway, enough about the loveliness of young 22-year-old breasts.

When I started towards the exit, I saw an older woman walking into the foyer from the drizzly outside. Actually, I saw her right foot first, and then I saw her left knee and then I saw her posterior and then I saw her midsection and, finally, I saw her shoulders and head as she slipped on the wet floor and skidded to a graceless stop on her knee, on her ass. Public falling. Gotta love it.

Surprisingly, I had no urge to chortle. Rather, I felt empathy for the woman.

I started my cart towards her and said matter-of-factly, "You wanna hand?" Like the world's oldest toddler, she looked up at me and said, "Yes. Thank you." I helped her up and said to her, "They should have a rug down here, or something." Her companion--her mother, maybe?--said, "Yes. They should." "Maybe you should let them know that the floor is slippery," I said. "Yes. Maybe we should," replied the fallen woman.

My duty done, I tucked my Superman logo back into my shirt and continued on, bemoaning the fact that I am wholly unable to stick to my carefully-considered lists.

Friday, October 19, 2007


The man went fishing. He jabbed a worm onto the hook and cast it into the green lake. He caught a leather boot. He was pleased. He went home and sawed the tongue off the boot and scraped it clean of algae. He warmed up the skillet and sauteed some onions and mushrooms. When the onions and mushrooms were caramelized, he gently laid the tongue out, making sure to keep it flat to ensure adequate cooking throughout.

Then the man opened the latch-handle refrigerator and cracked an Olympia. Whilst the tongue cooked, the man sat at the red-checked kitchen table and sipped at his witches' brew. He knew the tongue was done when the sharp acrid cartoon smell waves of Leathered Mushroom slid into his nostrils.

He got up and, with a practiced motion, slid the slop onto his cracked plate. He sat down to eat and all was good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


But I guess it's going to have to be. I have been feeling quite inadequate lately, mainly at work. I just switched departments to the Lines Department (now I'm working with natural gas services and mains) and so there is a lot of training and such because there is a lot of new shit to learn. That is fine. I expect to feel a little overwhelmed, especially because the company (though incessantly preaching, "Safety, safety, safety") seems to think that this is some kind of fucking race to get us to where we fall under the category TMO (trench machine operator). To reach this oh-so glorious pinnacle, we have to go to basic Lines Department training and get our CDL and pass the operator qualification for TMO--in other words, we have to be able to drive the truck and trailer to the job site, with the backhoe, and operate safely and efficiently at the site.

I get that. What I don't get is why, after about three full weeks of actual on-the-job training, we are being pushed through so quickly. When I took my CDL (which I failed) I had only driven the big utility truck and trailer twice. Twice. That's not a whole hell of a lot of experience, you know? To put this three weeks actual on-the-job in some perspective, most of the people in the department had had about six months of experience before they were asked to get their CDL and to pass their TMO training. And some had been in the department for over a year.

So that explains, perhaps, why I didn't pass my CDL on the first try. I had a shitload of trouble backing the thirty-foot trailer, at a 90-degree angle, into a "loading dock," basically eight cones in the shape of a small rectangle, just a little wider than the ass end of the trailer. I chalk that up to inexperience and to the fact that I have never driven a vehicle with a hitch and trailer before I switched departments--I drive a Ford Focus, for cryin' out loud.

That--inexperience--does not explain, however, just why I have been so inept at operating the Ditch Witch and the backhoe at TMO training. Save for one guy who has been in another headquarter's Lines Department for a year and a half and has had much digging experience, we other three (Robert, a girl named Jody from Lansing and myself) are all basically at the same level of expertise. Robert and Jody are doing fine. They have dug their 4x4x4 holes and have moved on to shelving the hole and sloping the hole and on Thursday they will be working on trenching, an operation in which the TMO digs a level ditch about 18 inches in the ground for the purpose of laying a new gas service to a house.

I know what I have to do when I am digging, it's just that the execution, for me, is so difficult. It is both frustrating and irritating and, the last two days, I have left the training grounds pissed off at myself and my glaring ineptitude. I have looked longingly at beer and have quickly looked away. I'm not about to throw away 10+ months of good living just because I am pissed at myself...but the temptation is most definitely there.

At TMO school, there is something called OQing. Basically, it just stands for Operator Qualification, and you can't attain that level until you prove to the qualifiers that you understand the material and are able to meet the basic requirements of the job. My trainer today told me that I won't be OQing on Friday. She and the other trainer want me to continue working on my 4x4x4 holes and my shelving and my sloping and I will be expected to report back to my headquarters on Friday instead of testing my skillz with the Qualifiers. Nice. I feel humiliated and I feel like an inadequate boob.

I am not used to failure. I am used to succeeding. (For the most part and, I guess, everything is relative, no?) So, to recap: I didn't pass my CDL, I will not be OQing for TMO and my Fantasy Football teams are a combined 2-10.

Motherfucking Calgon?! Take me away.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Today--tonight--in a span of about five hours, I saw no less than 13 cop cars. I am ten-and-a-half months without a drink of alcohol. In the past, because I would have had a buzz, the 13-plus cop cars would have had me quaking in my captain's seat and would have sent my heart rate off-kilter and I may have felt a suffocating feeling and I would surely have admonished myself and kicked my own ass and have said to myself, "Adam, you fucking dumbass, why do you do this to yourself?!"

I would have formulated in my mind a scenario in which the pole-ees ossifers were all cocks and were all on power trips and but I would have been gripped nonetheless with a sinking feeling of powerlessness and inferiority. And, let's face it, fear. Not of the assholes, per se, but rather the power with which they sashayed. The power that could crush me like an insect and render my life as I knew it a pile of debt and ashes.

Tonight, though, I had perspective. I saw them simply as men and women doing their job. I saw them as headstrong and cocksure power-trippers and I saw them in my rearview mirror as I drove soberly past them, flipping my middles at their doughnut-crammed front porches.

Yeah. I'm working on my cop complex. :-P

Friday, October 12, 2007


The dogs are quiet and then
the dogs explode into a frenzy of growls and fake-bites and ass-licks and snarls and then
there is quiet once again.

Oliver is an interesting toy to the three
behemoths o' brindle; Ollie has spent
a good portion of his time, here,
on his back, his feet pawing for purchase in the
gray sky and
pushing off 'gainst marbled muscle

And then, he has had enough and the little boy bares
his teeth and charges at the
big 'uns,
with a mewl of Napoleanic hubris.
He comes in low, torpedoing his sharp little teeth
at crotch-level, and the
big dogs skip out of the way, protecting
what they have left.

It is a cartoon of spinning limbs and echoing snarls and
flashing teeth and flapping tongues and then
all is quiet.

And all is good.

(Until Petey starts mouthing off and it begins anew.)

Monday, October 08, 2007


I have to go to backhoe training in Lansing, MI, this week and next. Instead of staying in a hotel, I am going to stay with my sister Melissa and her husband, Matt. This way I can bring my boys instead of having to kennel them. Melissa and Matt are the proud parents of two of Lou's littermates, Pete and Willy.

Lou has visited often. Obviously, this will be Oliver's first time. One would tend to think that a small beagle would be out of sorts, what with being surrounded by 200 pounds of brindled, muscled pit bull/boxer. I will disagree. Oliver is like Rocky Balboa: He never lets up.

Plus, if he starts feeling cornered, I think that he will be more than comfortable pulling out his Humper-mania Card.

This should be interesting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


So...I went golfing this morning, taking advantage of the 85-degree temperature in Michigan. I shot a 113. That, unfortunately, is about par for the course--my course, that is. Anyway, I came home after the 5-plus hour round and let the dogs outside. I went to my bed and laid down and promptly fell asleep for about two hours. That, too, is par for my course. I love me some nap-time.

I awoke at 4:45 and walked outside with a cigarette dangling betwixt my lips. I watched as my boys lay quietly in the grass and dirt and then I called them to me. Dirt. Dirtiness. Everywhere, in every place, they were dirty. Lou had a nice scab on his jowls (courtesy of the sharp-toothed wonder, Ollie) and it had filled with--you guessed it--dirt. As Pink Floyd would say, "This. Will. Not. Do."

So I got up and walked to the outside water dish. I topped it off and I walked back to my unsuspecting children--all lounging, lolling pink tongues--and I cupped some water in my hands and briskly rubbed it into Lou's jowls. Oliver looked avidly on, his tail whisper-wagging and his yellow eyes bright with curiosity.
Lou is a good boy, let no one tell you differently. He took the cleaning with a stoic tranquility that would have made Ghandi jealous (had he been susceptible to emotional currents). I got into it, then, chortling maniacal laughter and cupping and splashing and rubbing and cleansing my boy Lou. He took it well and, after all was said and done, the wound on his jowls was not caked with dirt anymore and so I massaged some Neosporin into it and clicked my heels and headed towards Oliver, the metal water dish in my hand.

Oliver backed warily away and sat down at a safe distance, his tail wagging rapidly underneath his haunches. "Come here, Oliver," I said. He didn't, so I ended up going there. With him, I basically unloaded the water over his head and back and briskly massaged out of his thick black hair as much dirt as I could. I walked back over to the spigot and filled up the bowl again. When I turned around to unleash more Cleaning Vitriol, I saw Oliver on his back, in the dirt patch (Dogpatch), doing his damnedest to unseat any progress that I had established.

There is a lesson to be learned, here, and that is this: When you wash your doggy, you have to be prepared, and armed with logic. Don't be a spontaneous ignoramus and say to yourself, "Well, I reckon I'll just get as much dirt off the mofo as possible," and dump a water dish on the canine. Especially do not take this strategic tack when you are a tail-wag away from the ever-beckoning Dirt Patch of Joy.
On the plus side, Louie showed off his big brother instincts, licking the evil H-two-Omigod-it-cleans! from Oliver's fat neck. What a good boy....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I am sitting on my front porch, smoking a Spirit and enjoying the cool Fall night. It is my kind of weather: dry, invigorating, breezy. The boughs of the oak trees sway with the zephyrs. The moon has made its uncensored appearence earlier in the week, and so now the street is lit only by the street lamps down a dozen houses. They cast all in a slightly unsettling yellow hue. I inhale and expell a dual plume of gray-white cigarette smoke.

I am not but my mood is tense. And I know not why. And but then I see him.

Twelve-and-a-half feet tall? Shorn oblong skull, reflective almost in its lack of color. He (it?) walks (shambles?) in an almost floating gait. From the distance at which I sit, I can't tell if it walks or flies. But it does it so slowly. I should be screeching like a banshee and running to the protection of my hounds. (Oliver is a sumabitch when he gets riled up. And Louie? Well, Louie's got 60 pounds of pressure loaded in his jaws. Lest ye forget.) But I don't. I stay.

And so I sit on my porch, calmly smoking my cigarette and watch as the being approaches. Closer now, I can see that he/it possesses a featureless face. Flat as a shovel, it is, and the "eyes" are crudely-punched black holes. Its nose is a suggestion. Its "mouth" is a dark-ochre slash. It stands almost thirteen feet tall. That is difficult to convey, through print, just how abnormal--and disconcerting--its height is. Consider this: Imagine a man the height of an 18-wheeler walking into your local drug store and buying a pair of sunglasses. Surreal doesn't even begin to explain how I am feeling. It's like watching a tree play golf.

Its arms hang to its shins and I note that at the end of each of its six-fingered hands, four-inch nails (talons?) scrape methodically at the night sky. I can't see its feet. They are--for some reason--obscured, a blur. A tooth loosens in my mouth and I absently spit it out. It bounces off the concrete bottom step and comes to rest on the walkway. The being is two houses down, now, and still I am uneffected. Just curious, truth be told.

The wind intensifies and, through the sighing of the branches, I begin to hear snatches of conversation: "...the oven was off i know the oven was off i know..." and "why did you do this to me?" and "...you to look in the got damned book, it's in the got damned book, you..." and "...lights are brighter than i had thought they would be so bright so brig--"

The being is one house down; and the wind intensifies further. Well.... The sound of the wind intensifies--is a train hurtling down my block?--but there is no overt manifestation of meteorological phenomena. The branches sway just as they had and the newly-fallen leaves spin as they had. The sound, the amplification, is in me. In my head. Between my ears. Behind my eyes. How does one run from Internal? To where does one flee?

I sit. And I wait as the being shambles down the street, not twenty feet from me, directly in front of my house. As it passes me, I smell sulphur and I see cotton-plumps spinning 'round its knees. Its feet are still blurred to me--it ends at the knees and morphs to the concrete of the road. Yet it moves. And as it moves, as it passes before me, it turns its head in my direction, it stares straight at me. Into me.

I am calmly paralyzed on my front stoop. I wouldn't be able to move if I wanted to. Its eyes...nothing and everything. My heart seizes and my breath stops. I am horrified and terrified by what I see in its dusty eyes, yet I am loathe to pull away. Courage or cowardice have nothing to do with it. I cannot pull away. I see Ages in its eyes. I see corrosion and erosion in its eyes. I see the passage of time in its eyes. I see myself naked in a tub, face-down, in its eyes. And I try to close mine, but they will not close. I see...I see. The being speaks not a word to me. It fixes its haunted eyes to mine, and then it slowly turns its massive head back to the straightline.

I finish my smoke and I go to bed.

Monday, October 01, 2007


In about five hours, Melissa will have been breathing on this earth for 46 years. She owns a weblog at this site. Perhaps you would like to shoooooooot on over and wish her a happy Day?

Happy birthday, Melissa, my dear sweet sister. And here's to many many more.