Let’s not call it an obligation


Who cares what the neighbors think, you’re right, we do, we do our best but we’re not about to spend more money just for some extra silence.

We don’t know how to act when being considerate is a material concern.

If only noise were like hot air, rising instead of emanating, shaking the whole structure. We’d just put all the loud up top and stop worrying about irregular schedules and whether others are sleeping while we’re waking.

It’s difficult to develop a new skill when we’re aware of so many factors of resistance to our progress outside of the ones inside us. Practice is hard enough without having to tip toe, to supplicate, when might it be least disruptive, but that’s probably the best bet, the most highly recommended course of action, the surest path to proficiency, the easiest way to express some degree of natural talent.

Let’s just keep kindly trying.

one in one’s own illuminated cone

Exclusive cheeseburger, bonus miles, be with you again shortly, home by 8:15. The Prayer of Saint Francis, a buzzer beater. I’ll write cards this trip but not if I can’t find stamps. By coming here from there we’ve merely traded winds.

Bending at the hip, spending $3,000 on purchases, imagine.

Dream of backlit destinations drawn in so close the eyes can’t focus, not this calendar year.

Containers for one-time-use only.

Never considered a workspace an amenity.

Imagine having a coffer, imagine filling it with plastic, imagine being taken inside, a carbonated hiss in reverse.

what they do with me

digital collage line drawing of salt or something under a hanger-like shelter

Much of the writing I do (not much to speak of) is inspired by the writing of others, aspiring to be better than the bad, maybe even as good as the good. None of the writing so prompted succeeds. Much of the writing about writing (mine and others, much too much) is deception. Writers are liars.     It’s unclear whether you’ve become more active, or if we’ve grown more aware of your activity.     There’s a red sticker on the rafter, claimed at auction, there’s a red caution tape, keeping out, there’s a sturdy tape measure, extended, bending earthward, there’s a machine beeping, stealing the silence, there’s a shadow on the carpet, easier on the stomach than the horizon.

When you die I’ll have all your things. When all my things die I’ll not.

Everything is piercing, crushing, unfolding so slowly.

There’s a firm short hair, perfect for nibbling, gnawing, there’s a reminder in the corner of my window, so many reminders.     Insider Training and Code of Conduct Training has somehow made it’s way onto my list of goals for the day. Getting out of here has to happen first.     The location field has lost all meaning, assigned names and numbers never physical. Concrete referentiality is a crutch I’m reluctant to return. Something to touch an undeniable attraction, delays plastered     Typed commas in a query      Happen faster.

Many anticipated events call for forgotten skills. If only I could have held it all, all this time. Vocalization needs to be relearned.

Stabilizing, appreciated if not for the best.

The sounds haven’t stopped, there is movement. How much comfort is too much, how little struggle is enough. Groups are gathering and dispersing. Someone suggests we get lickety.

We all want to know when. A quadrant of my mouth is a rock, still very effective at what it’s needed to do.     Some flaws should be patched, others embraced.

Behold this Monument to my Effort

It’s a dance they have us do, by law, in fact. One of the two steps is more imperative, by which I mean enforced, so you can wind up a ways off in one direction if you let them let you slide. One step, the truly necessary one, comes like clockwork, can be counted upon. There is a right time. The second step is something we’re told to ask to be asked to do. I tend to avoid bothering, which is why I’m way over here, having stepped so many times this way without ever stepping back.

When, on a whim, under the weight of neglected responsibility I do at last ask, they insist upon immediately performing each missed step in succession, under scrutiny, with additional attention paid to form. They even get in my way, sending obstacles, competing vectors, angle-defying lines. I do it, though. I triumph. The increased difficulty contributes to the accomplishment. It may not be perfect, but it meets every criterion, of which there are many, many of which are spitefully imposed. I do the dance that they insisted I do while exerting every effort to prevent me from doing it.

Thankfully, because of the assumption of my entertaining failure, my unexpectedly adequate performance is documented in somewhat thorough detail. This record is shuffled and filed, but thankfully I have secured and will continue to bask in the glory of a facsimile, a testament to my neglected yet persevering ability to do each part of an involuntary physical expression.

Connor’s Kipper Snacks

sketch of grandfather and grandson eating herring

His was a loving scowl, a knowing joke, almost constantly crabby, otherwise, endearingly, singing. A voice, a tone, tuned to resonate in your bones, that warm feeling without the stasis. Even the breaths were suspenseful. Always a head of hair. Craning limbs with impossible joints and reach could easily catch anyone trying to run past, chasing dachshund, brother, dinner. In his orbit you had no choice, didn’t want one.  A giver of gifts, a gatherer, an insistent snorer. Just barely at home here, apparent in a belonging somewhere kinder, slower, fuller of riches. Attended, tended to, though subjected to some cruel fates, as a general rule his generosity was returned. Never alone no matter how much he seemed it. He had this thing with herring.

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