All Roads Are Crossings (2020)

Where did I put that thing? It has to be in here somewhere. I’ve never brought it back into the house. Maybe I threw it behind the seat? Or maybe the kids were playing with it, even though I’ve asked them to stop. Perhaps I stashed it in the console, along with the sunglasses, the pens, the motion sickness tabs, and this notebook. Or maybe it’s hanging on the rearview mirror, hidden in plain sight, like a rabbit’s foot, a pair of dice, or an air freshener that wore out many moons ago.

~

Things that are crumpled: bedspread, sauteed greens, the economy, mask on the ground, the hours of last night in my memory, recyclables once tipped into the collection truck, an old friendship, the silence, a grounded butterfly’s wing, used latex-free gloves, plastic bag in my pocket that once held oatmeal raisin cookies, my stash of reusable cloth bags now outlawed from use at the grocery, deleted email, used coffee filters, my previous laptop after an unfortunate run-in with the suddenly vital videoconferencing app known as Zoom, various articles of clothing that are now just laundry...

The full essay is here

Rings and Keys in Ste Genevieve

Rental house done
in typewriter theme
boxed wine in the fridge
fuzzy comet up high

Typewriter ribbon
run dry
ink disappearing
into dust
lost as a sinking
creek

Baseball delayed by disease
five planets visible
all-numeric password
my wife and I
driving in the dark
in a very old town
that neither of us knew
to get our eyes on a comet
no one knew would be there

Corona is
a brand of typewriter
of beer
of pruning tool
a constellation Borealis
a fancy word for halo:

That ring we saw during the solar eclipse
that pearly glow

A gaseous envelope
burning hotter
than the Sun itself

I Don’t Know What It Is About A Field—Part Two

Left Tucumcari, New Mexico at 8:40. The woman at the Best Western when I checked out says, "You look like you could use more sleep." Oh, thanks! What a nice thing for you to say. Yeah, I could have used some more sleep. But other guests stirring early, doors clanging, and then someone freaking out when a cat jumped out of the hallway trash can meant it was time for me to get out of bed. That and needing to drive another eight hours today.

I'm on U.S. Highway 54 headed east. This highway takes me all the way to Wichita. Land is mostly flat. Ranch land. Cattle grazing. Mesas in the distance, to the west. Lots of Aermotors. I've realized that's a trademarked name for the old-style windmills.

Lots of empty buildings here. There were lots of them in Tucumcari, too. That town is hollowed out. Abandoned homes. I suppose Tucumcari had its day. Post World War II. Car culture. Route 66. Before passenger air travel proliferated...


The second and final part of the travelogue continues here...

Trip to See My Siblings, Sept-Oct 2019

Game via radio, Chicago feed. Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer, Zach Zaidman. The Cubs take the lead on an Ian Happ double. The regular season is almost over. Can you believe it? Like a wink. Wild pitch, Cubs add a run, it's 3-1.

We say it every year, and not just about baseball, but: where did the season go? Where did the time go? The months like water, like sand, like air. A temperature that will change and what can you do about it? No, nada.

As we drove north-northeast from Springfield today the skies were mixed. To the west, dark skies. Confused, malformed clouds. A blue darkness. We were along the flatness of Illinois. The sky extended as far as we could see in any direction...


North, to Chicago, go on...

Tijuana Exodus & Old Tricks in San Diego

13:04. I'm in my room, 1415, at the Westin San Diego. This is two hours in the room I didn't think I'd have. Because check-in isn't until three o'clock. I'm grateful.

I've looked at myself in the mirror. I look rough! My cheeks are approaching brick red, or burgundy. I stink!

First order of business is a full-on shower. Then some walkin' around, looking perhaps for a notebook store. Then I'm going to that burrito place I went to a year ago. I'm-a get two burritos, one for this afternoon, one for dinner...


Continue with this short travel essay...

Cabin Sessions

I think about our conversation.  Our conversations.  They're like a river.  One river, different river, it doesn't matter.  What we say—it's important to say it.  I'd like to remember everything but once you say something it's in the river, the river takes it on down the stream, we can't look at the river to remember whether we said something.  Did we say it, didn't we?  If it's important enough we can say it again, and it can go into the river again, and it's not wasteful, it's not pollution if we mean what we say when we say it...



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Farm Draft

Every car and truck that could've passed us has done so by now.  Oh wait, here's a couple more.  I will need to make a stop for gas; the tank is about a third full.  I'll stop in Vienna or maybe at that gas station along the jog at 133 and 42.  Two choppers appear, now three.  Low.  Military.  Black and grey.  A fourth.  The Cards and Nats are knotted at two after six innings.  Where are those choppers going?

Bob's Gasoline Alley.  Old filling station signs and alpacas.  Vacuum Museum, exit 195.  This semi I'm tailing is going a little slow but sitting content in its draft takes all of the decision work out of driving, a relief and a condition necessary to the drafting of this travelogue.


Click here for the full account

Baseball Transcription Number 01

J   Players that: there's the category: it's players that we can relate to one another without saying their name, meaning we have a nickname for them.

E   Yeah, it could be physical, it could be a mix of, ah, physical actions.

J   Features.  Physical actions, characteristics, things we've seen them do.

E   Distinctive.  So who was the first?

J   You said "The Licker" ?

E   The Licker...

J   That's Mike Pelfrey...

Full dialogue here...

Meramec State Park, August 22-24

I wrote nothing the whole time at Meramec.  We camped, we floated, we sweated.  Friday I camped with one of my five cousins, Lyle.  He picked me up in his Sierra.  I gave him a quick tour of the house.  His brother had been here, a few years ago at holiday time.  We crawled along Hanley and I regretted having suggested we go that way.  Big Bend, Jack—quit forgetting about Big Bend.

Just getting my camp gear loaded into the truck I was sweating.  He was sweating at work and never stopped.  He must've hauled ass to get to my place when he did—left the mill at 3:50, down 70 to Soulard, fight the good fight along 64/170 to College City—I expected him at 5:30 but he got here at ten after.  I was only a third of the way through a manhattan solidarity said I shouldn't have.  But solidarity lost its good fight.


Continue with this travelogue...