May 28th. Days short of June, yet solar heaters are blowing. 84° F, and steamy.
Sidewalks are teeming with tourists.
Mid afternoon Manhattan traffic is locked bumper to bumper, snaking up Sixth Avenue.
I skipped breakfast, had a meager lunch, and I’m longing for a sugar fix. Chocolate. Now.
Waze estimates 25 min to get uptown to the office.
My Thumbs are on the keyboard.
Should it be ‘Hi’ or ‘Hi!’? I’m not feeling ‘Hi!’ I’m not a ‘Hi!’ type. I’m more like a “Hello” or a “Hi” guy. Or maybe it’s ‘hi’. “hi’ makes me approachable, less prickly. Yet, it’s hard to alter the brand, callus layered on callus. ‘Hi!’ would be inauthentic or soft, and both just won’t do. Dad’s the tough guy. There’s an image to uphold. A Brand to burnish.
Would have preferred ‘Hi Daddy!’ But ! is good. She’s happy to hear from me.
DK: I’ll be in your building in 30 min. I’ll buy you coffee. Me, a warm chocolate chip cookie.
RK: Can’t Dad. I’m in the middle of something.
At two a.m.
the sky is patent black
and I stand at the center of all my mistakes.
~ Jill Alexander Essbaum
- Photo: p-alefoxx.
- Poem: Memory’s Landscape from Jill Alexander Essbaum, from “Miserere Mei,” The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume.
In fair weather,
the shy past keeps its distance.
Old loves, old regrets, old humiliations
look on from afar.
They stand back under the trees.
No one would think
to look for them there.
But in the fog they come closer.
You can feel them there
by the road as you slowly walk past.
Still as fence posts they wait,
dark and reproachful,
each stepping forward in turn.
~ Ted Kooser. February 16. An early morning fog.
Susan finds an abandoned baby bird on the lawn in the backyard. She has to protect it. To save it.
She cups it in her hand. She calls out to me to help.
“Put it back.”
I don’t get a response. A few minutes later she has the bird in a clear, plastic container. Where did she find that? (Note to self: Cache of Bird paraphernalia is growing.)
“Look at how cute she is.”
I glance at it. I’m gulping the flashback: What’s with you and birds? It was a different mother then. A Robin. Also, trying, to protect her young. The irony not lost on me.
“What do you think we should do?”
“I think you should put it back.” She’s getting attached. This will end badly.
“But it can’t fly!”
Zeke is circling. He’s sniffing wildly. His eyes are full. His breed and his blood, the Vizsla, was trained for generations to look up. To flush. To retrieve. It’s all about Birds.
“Its Mother can’t find it either. Go put it back. Near the trees.”
She ignores me. (Again.) I see her cupping the bird. Bobbing its beak in water.
“Come on birdy. Take a drink. Then we’re going back.”
That was Thursday.
Birdy had reappeared near the fence yesterday afternoon.
“No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all. There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention.
“Well, get used to that feeling. That’s how your whole life will feel some day.”
Chuck Palahniuk, from Invisible Monsters
Charles Michael Palahniuk, 52, is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. spent his early childhood living out of a mobile home in Burbank, Washington. His parents, Carol and Fred Palahniuk, separated and divorced when he was fourteen, leaving Chuck and his siblings to spend much of their time on their maternal grandparent’s cattle ranch. Chuck graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism. He entered the workforce as a journalist for a local Portland newspaper, but soon grew tired of the job. He then gained employment as a diesel mechanic, spending his days repairing trucks and writing technical manuals. It was during this time that Chuck experienced much of what would become fodder for his early work, including working as an escort for terminally ill hospice patients and becoming a member of the notorious Cacophony Society. He was the author of the award winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film.