Saturday, January 01, 2005
Necessity forces me to pause in this endeavor for a short time.
For a further explanation, join me at Start This.
Please feel free to add your own words to the collations below and finish what we've started, carry on where I've left off.
Normal service will resume shortly.
Thankyou for your support.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
384. His fingernails just a bit long, each finger ended in a tiny white halo. They drummed on the edge of the desk. He should be tiding the office, for as he has always been told, "A cluttered room makes for a cluttered mind." He isn't, he is at his computer again, procrastinating.
He realizes that his hands are placed one key to the right on the keyboard. It's completely unintelligible, but he likes it. It looks like a Scandinavian language. He keeps on typing that way.He had thought about writing a novel; there was a welling in his soul, but he couldn't find a way to have it pour through his fingers. Now he had it, he would write, instead, an epic poem in Alfr3dish.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
383. Through the grey windshield, he saw the grey sky buffeted by a grey wind and full of snow. A sheet of clouds and smog made everything seem still. The only interruption was the sound of airplanes flying by behind the thick grey curtain, invisible to the city. The pilot of the little airplane had forgotten to notify the airport of his approach, so that when the lights of the plane in the night were first spotted, the air raid sirens went off, and the entire city on that coast went dark. It was unlike him to make such an error. It wasn't as if the impending death of the year was giving him pause for concern, but rather he had an unpleasant ache in his head from too much coffee and not enough sleep. He'd make sure to get his head down as soon as he could. The week crawled slowly and certainly toward death.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
382. She curled her fingers underneath her hand before she started chewing her fingernails. I asked her what was wrong. She explained: Reading the post made her nervous, as if someone had seen into her unspoken life. She looks at the number on the palm of her hand. Then she dials. Her British accent tossed my brain over like flap jacks on a scout's griddle; my tongue could find no words. I just smiled at her, hoping to break the tension. She could only give a little shrug.
381. The air so cold, he coughed as soon as he went outside. I had wrapped him up well, little hat and mittens on a string, but still fretted that I might not have protected him well enough; that he may become ill through an error of mine. Swollen glands, sore throat, headache, slight fever--all some kind of mistake.
We set off, I leaned heavily on the pushchair, hoping I wouldn't slip on the ice. The scent of hot sugar and frying dough drifted across the parking lot in the autumn chill and then settled itself around us like a mother's hug. I missed that hug and someone to tell me that I was doing okay as a mother. I often think about how she must have felt when I was first born, did she panic about getting it wrong too? Did her mother give her the reassurance that I lack so badly?
As I walked a thought returned to me over and over: The parents fretted over the coughing baby. Thirty years later, the daughter lay in bed worrying about her parents' persistent cough. Would my son have the same thoughts in another thirty years?
Monday, December 27, 2004
380. Because the snow fell a day late, they walked out that night onto snow that sparkled in the streetlight. They walked down the road, through the woods to the lake, a journey they had taken before, washed new and white. Fog drifted above the waters, enveloping the night in the city's holiday glow. They make a game of acting out their last journey: He follows her and tries to synchronize the rhythm of his steps to the rhythm of her steps. It's a slower, quieter chase, muted by the snow carpet. This time she lets him catch her without a struggle and he holds on tight. Hugging her was coming home. They stay within each others gaze for the rest of the evening, hoping that the morning will be just as glorious. If they don't break the spell, it will. The day will twinkle, sparkle, shoot forth its single bits.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
379. He continued to shower until he finished the sliver of soap. He stepped out, dried thoroughly and talced the necessary. The soles of his feet were persistently grey. He had never known why but always pumiced them to within an inch of their lives in the hopes of uncovering the pink. He dressed with care and left the house.
Should he chance to say what he was doing, he would disguise the saying so as to throw one off the track, describing, for example, a passenger on a plane while neglecting to tell us where the plane was headed, or narrating a dream of the night before when asked what he had been doing recently. Tonight was no exception; he was going to dinner, if he happened to meet her along the way and she happened to join him, well how delightful. Like Rapunzel, she lived in the tower apartment above the street corner and nestled in the tall, hundred-year-old oaks. He, like the prince, glanced furtively at the windows every time he passed by. This evening, however, for the first time in years, he finds his (delicately powdered) courage:
Saturday, December 25, 2004
378. On Christmas Eve, a car drove a Christmas tree home. The driver, hand-picked by the big S.C. for his ability to deal with the treacherous conditions of this bright, white morning, hoped for a safe arrival. Sun stoked, his hand gripped the wheel, tension spiraling into his forearms. When they eventually pulled up outside the hospital, his crew, shaken by the journey but ever professional, roared into action. The dispatch polar bears tumbled into the ward and tried to look inconspicuous. The tree was up, decorated and surrounded with presents in record time. They were in and out with an efficiency surprising for those with claws and paws. A small girl is first awake. She looks at the calendar and realizes today is the day. Her shouts of excitement wake all and a rush to hand out the gifts ensues. The unwrapping and playing begins. The bears, peeking through the window, smile in the knowledge of a job well done. A child, meanwhile, had turned her tricycle upside down and was turning the pedal with her hand to make the front wheel spin.
377. He looked up and saw a piece of red plastic sheeting fall, swaying, to the ground. A sheet of clouds and smog made everything seem still. The only interruption was the sound of airplanes flying by behind the thick grey curtain, invisible to the city. Maybe the plastic had fallen from a plane or maybe he was Chicken-Licken: Vision determines the view. The kindergarten boy took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes as his father cajoled him to go to school.
Friday, December 24, 2004
376. The copper pipe that burst two nights before had a small bulge in its side, ending in a jagged smile, and inside it was dusty with verdigris. There is something still surprising when the green emerges. The blooms would have remained hidden if it weren't for the freeze. I searched for a pattern in the patina; a picture or something written. Instead a batch number, 091004 had been partially obscured.
375. He could not think without a way to write down his thought. He wrote "I need you"; he meant "I need to be loved". Just as quickly it was crossed out. One good sentence is more difficult to write then a host of paragraphs; fewer words do not come easier. He is searching for a particular word; It is a way of saying, I want you, too, to have this experience, so that we are more alike, so that we are closer, bound together, sharing a point of view--so that we are "coming from the same place." It will be a while before he finds it.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
374. She saw her shadow as simply a reflection that had fallen away from her. One had merely to turn around in order to see it. And as you have been told before: A person does not look the same in a mirror as she does.
373. She preferred looking at the Christmas trees without her glasses: in that view, large colorful snowflakes hung in green space, and those lights on the other side of the tree blinked on and off as she moved her head. If Grandma removed her glasses for any length of time it would always end in migraine but, for the sake of a well decorated tree, she felt it was worth it. She sat every afternoon in her chair waiting for her headache, exactly as one might sit on a bench awaiting a bus. After the tree had received enough attention she would leave for a nap. She walked with her eyes half closed, taking in just enough to get her body to work. Her knees made crackling sound when she walked up stairs, never when she walked down.
372. Looking up through the hole in the kitchen ceiling to a tiny patch of pink in the bathroom, he realized that this was the damned's view of heaven. The voice in the dark doorway blocks the image. "Holes are just conduits for seeing, I have learned, so all is well. Everything can be fixed, and we had ourselves a little adventure." As he turned to look at her, he caught sight of an aura around her, light from the sinking sun illuminating. She wore red and the colour enlivened her, infecting her personality. Here was the flickering hue of a devil thinly disguising his angel, with her company damnation might not be so bad after all...
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
371. After walking upstairs, he could hear the water skittering behind the wall. The thunderstorm forced him to keep still, the pressure built up, outside and in him, to the point of unbearable, the brink of scream... The weight shifted, lifted: It stopped raining. Then, 'the calm after the storm'. He had to plug the emptiness in his ears. He spoke loudly, as though in order to be heard above the silence of a library.
370. At a particular time that night, the light fixture began to rain into the kitchen. The rain was so thick he felt he was breathing-in water. They stood, doused and confused. He rushed upstairs to find the source of the waterfall. As he prised up the bathroom floorboards, he could see where the saturated ceiling plaster had given away. He looked down past his shoes, through the floor and through her ceiling. She was looking at the time. "I wouldn't look up," he shouted down as he pressed an experimental finger on to the ragged edge of the hole. Things fell on the floor loudly.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
369. When he opened the door, the house smelled of radiators and curry. His wife and daughter were preparing the food. The daughter's little fingers were stained yellow from the turmeric as she dipped in and out of the spice jars. "I wouldn't do that", he advised, as she raised anise to mouth. Children are not always inclined to choose such paths. She spat out the Star and said, "Too spicy."
368. Glancing in the review mirror, he saw his green eye in the lower lefthand corner staring back. "It's happening." We ran into the house, maybe it was just the street light. I grasped the cold can of Diet Coke hoping the fizzy nectar would send more blood to my brain and allow me to peer, childlike, into the mirror over the sink. "And me. It hurts, God it hurts." He closes his eyes, wishing he could also close his ears. I tried to focus again and still got lost. "It's not the same. A person does not look the same in a mirror as she does."
367. 'The new winter wind surging against the house, the radiators clanking in response, and, alongside his leg, the ragged purring of the cat.' This was all too familiar. Reading the post made her nervous, as if someone had seen into her unspoken life. The phone rings. The ringing echoes out the walls in into the building's stairway. Everyone notices it. She will not pick up. She lost herself between clicks of the mouse. She is lost, staring at the screen, at her reflected self.
Monday, December 20, 2004
365. As they finished trimming the Christmas tree, fat heavy snowflakes scattered to the ground. His daughter, indifferent to the festivities, disinterested even in the temptation of a chocolate advent calendar, snow-suited, rolls over from her feet-kicking-face-down-tantrum. She opens her eyes and stares at the white ceiling trying to remember her dream. She runs into the house and emerges, seconds later, only to throw herself back down on the ground. He moves over to temper the imminent temper. She is lying on her stomach with one eye closed, driving a toy truck along the road she has cleared with her fingers.
Her game stayed with him through the evening; past her bedtime, then his. He fell asleep with images of roads taken and roads not taken, choices made and choices not made, paths explored and paths left untread floating in his mind; branches and sequels had brought him to this moment in time, alone in his bed with the ghosts of personal history snuggled close to his warmth under the great, fluffy comforter.
364. She sat, as serious as an animal, knitting a scarf. She said nothing. He rolled the paper napkin and waited. She looked out the window. -Nothing- she said. He looked at her eyes and followed them out the window. The portrait, a photograph, had been made so that my grandmother was looking just over the head of the observer, into a little distance, not so far as to be a space into which she might seem to be staring, but at some definite object, some noun, just behind one. Picking up the mirror, he placed it six inches in front of the photo. As the napkin fell from his hand, between the two, it held in the gaze reflected, spinning slowly.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
363. He could sense the shape but not the substance of his forgotten idea. The gap indicated that objects or events had been forgotten, that a place was being held for them, should they chance to reappear. However he looked at it, whatever he tried to put there, nothing quite fit: It was not the first time this had happened. Were today yesterday, words would have come cleaner.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
362. The beams of light radiating out of the oncoming cars' headlights that night replicated the rays of greens and browns and yellows branching out from the pupils of his eyes. He switched on the radio to drown out the noise coming from the back, forgetting the tuner was stuck on God FM. The Priest fanned contention by speaking about our need to forgive God, and then diffused it by laughing like Elmer Fudd. He closes his eyes, wishing he could also close his ears. The drive started in fog and ended, six hours later, in rain; he was ready to strangle his sons and toss his wife out the window; instead, he sighed deeply and opened the car door.
Friday, December 17, 2004
361. As his daughter slept beside him on the futon, he typed just over her toes. He begins to type rhythmically, almost making a song, hoping this will make her like his letter. He had thought about writing a novel; there was a welling in his soul, but he couldn't find a way to have it pour through his fingers. He finished the letter, "Pops xx" and dated it: 090904.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
360. Each arm of the aloe had frozen into a shiny green stalk, frozen yet still pliable. He thought it best to move the pot off the sill and onto the warmer kitchen table. The table was filled with traces of coffee mugs. Overlapping semicircles suggesting overlapping conversations. She had been baking again. Anger had burned the chocolate chip cookies: dark, crusty, blackened bottoms, they had been abandoned in piles on the counter, a message which spoke more than she wanted it to. He left her a message in the flour. He wrote "I need you"; he meant "I need to be loved".
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
359. At that point during the day when the sun has almost slipped beneath the earth, when the brightest light huddles across the horizon, when the clouds turn a deep blue against the night and a sliver of moon cuts through the sky, he felt the cold of winter for the first time. He made his way to the Orni hoping that it wasn't quite cold enough to freeze, hopping to remove his socks and shoes. Fog drifted above the waters, enveloping the night in the city's holiday glow. He felt his soles sink in the mud with each step he took. He enjoyed the sensation. The soles of his feet were persistently grey.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
358. He never saw the wet snowflakes coming at him; he only saw them splattering on the windshield. All the traffic lights in the city turned red at the same time. Why? As the time dragged on and the traffic packed-up around him, the impatient were leaving their cars and weaving forward; he joined them. The summer -- blueberries underfoot and a cool Maine fog surrounding all -- was lost to him as he trudged through the bitter city wind.
Monday, December 13, 2004
357. A hill of tan grass; dozens of plump green cedars scattered over it; not a single shadow. She bursts out from between the trees, hair whipped and panting. He follows her and tries to syncronize the rhythm of his steps to the rhythm of her steps. He ran, hard, legs pumping and feet hitting the ground, loud, and pressure building up in his chest, constricting, each step causing a glancing bite. Her sweat was sweet with victory.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
356. As she pet their cat, his purring bounced off the bay window and into the side of her face. He was heavy and warm and she felt herself drifting off. Like Rapunzel, she lived in the tower apartment above the street corner and nestled in the tall, hundred-year-old oaks. He, like the prince, glanced furtively at the windows every time he passed by. He saw her there, sleeping, and hoped that when he climbed her hair she would be glad it was he who kissed her awake. When she woke up, her shoulder felt funny.
355. Flying home through a storm, he tried to string catnaps into a dream. The big car floated down the street as he sat back in the leather upholstery and lightly gripped the steering wheel, hot, humid air blowing in the open windows and jazz music blaring from car speakers. The road stretched endlessly in this reverie and he realized he was going round in circles. His dream was so terribly boring and tedious that he woke up.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
354. As he was leaving the restroom, he noticed that the young boy next to him had dropped his pants to his ankles and was peeing on the floor. His own scent boiled up and forced him to remember stale bananas, smashed peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and the high school locker room following a lacrosse game. He thrust his hands in his pockets and lowered his head, colliding with the dumpy waitress as he shouldered through the door. Things fell on the floor loudly.
353. The white edging of the waves rolled out from under the fog. Slowly the fire caught, each tongue flitting along the bark like a lover's trail along a thigh. The circle of the gold of the flame met the encroaching grey and then held like a wall. The night air smelt of fire and wood.
352. The surprisingly familiar smell of the mouldering paper of the periodicals room. Books surrounded her, words and wisdom from the ages, all bound and stacked and aligned, like the life she'd never had; all of it calling to her as she sat in deep concentration, head down, her blonde hair covering her face, her fingers at her cheeks and temple, the weight bearing down. She stayed bowed in concentration for more than an hour until it leapt out at her from the page, knocking her back in her seat. Her father was born 60 years ago on chap gor meh in the Year of the Monkey.
Friday, December 10, 2004
350. His friend’s voice on the answering machine after so many years apart reminded him of someone he had never met. He tried to picture her face in his mind. She smiled - what a smile! - like fireworks exploding in the darkest night of the year.
348. From above, rush hour was a steady line of receding red and an opposing line of intermittent white. The image strobed through the railings as she moved along the bridge. She walked with her eyes half closed, taking in just enough to get her body to work.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
347. He followed the bleary rearlights of automobiles rumbling thorugh the sleet. Between the rivers down the window a static figure caught his eye. The man was a part of the wall; only his eyes darted back and forth, watching the pedestrians with their Christmas shopping.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
346. At a cut in the road, there appeared a jagged chiaroscuro of clouds hanging low and ominous over the diminishing edge of the city. She had to make a choice; keep going on the same path or venture into this dark new.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Monday, December 06, 2004
344. The black pan glistened on the stove just before the vegetables tumbled into it: the white slices of onion pinstriped in green, and the chunks of red pepper softening to pink on the interior of their flesh. She could never start cooking without an onion, and this one, so immaculately tailored, boded well.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Saturday, December 04, 2004
342. Beneath one maple and on a single patch of lawn, five squirrels on their haunches and eating seeds—their twitchy faces pointing in different directions. Up in the tree, he knew they'd never see him coming.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Thursday, December 02, 2004
338. A dark morning, a heavy rain, the streetlights wavering in wide puddles, and four crows lifting up into a slow lumbering flight. The downdraft from their wings disturbs their mirror-selves watery descent.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
334. The plastic Christmas tree on display seemed so unnatural until he saw beneath it fallen needles of plastic, folded in half. He saw the wood from the tree; synthetic squirrels, hoarding Lego for winter.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Friday, November 26, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
327. Across the midnight-blue sky and beneath a waxing gibbous moon, a ghostly contrail extending into a blinking light. This stretch of journey is safe in its observation, to be unseen is to be unknown.