Look at how red that star is. Oh, I know, my pillowcase was soaking wet. Did you just text me? I never use the hand dryer. You know that door makes a lot of noise when it bangs shut, right? I don’t have any idea what time it is. The insects are happy. I can see Orion’s belt now. Can you imagine coming out here before the road was paved? I don’t know if those people are just getting up or if they never even went to sleep. The river’s gonna feel good tomorrow. Why do you have that rubber band around your wrist? It is not possible to drink enough water. Is your dog dreaming in his sleep?
Man, where’d you find all that kindling? If you saw Orion’s belt that high above the horizon in the middle of September it had to be two a.m. Yeah, I had to wear ear plugs. Can kayaks leave a wake? Something absconded with the chips last night. What’s this spongy stuff? That guy slept in his van. I dreamt about box fans. What time are they picking us up? You can’t use that kind of pen on these notebooks. If it rains on your birthday that’s good luck, right? Those look like chigger bites to me. Almost nobody was wearing a mask. If you saw a reddish star that bright it was probably just Mars. It’ll go back up eventually. That fire’s going good now. Of course I brushed my teeth. Did you hear those ducks going at it in the middle of the night? Well, I’m supposed to wear a biteguard. It was worse inside the tent, believe me. I gargle if I can. Dogs actually shed a lot this time of the year. The whole thing was so stupid. Is he just going to keep going back and forth like that? Oh, that’s a cute mask. It’s amazing those things float. I don’t know, I think it’ll be fun. That was definitely an owl. What’s that movie where they all scramble like hell to get ready for the airport? You’re gonna have to get somebody back out here to take some photos. Hey, how easy is it to tear these things in two? Holler if you want a muffin. Did water get in there? Well, I was looking for my headlamp but it was one of those things where I needed my headlamp to find it. I’m in fine fiddle with an hour to spare. Those clouds do look pretty thick over there. I always travel with a couple of little soaps. Eh, I’ll sleep on the river...
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I deflate into sleep
Letting the air of
There's afternoon sun
When we stride,
When we slumber.
I saw it on the news.
Flies landed all over,
A bug-eyed buzzing
Mist, here to soak up
All of our
When we leave our
Doors open to the
Cool dark night
They make their move
To get in.
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All of the ice machines
In Tucson are empty,
Before they broke
They bade us
We made solid
Will never be forgotten.
They didn't try to
Made no demands.
It's not a strike
When the absence
They just got in.
The next morning the coals were there, buried but lurid, glowing like rare orange gems. Across the distance of a cold night they were still hot despite being abandoned, despite being covered by a heap of fine grey ash as the prior day's fire faded in upon itself. I walked around looking for pieces to add to the fire, to bring it back. I was out at Farm again, waking up chilled from a night in the unheated farmhouse. I was in search of fresh fuel, the arms and legs of trees, fodder for the next go-round. Honey locust, sycamore, cedar. Walnut, hickory, oak. Just-fallen twigs, young limbs, old broken trunks half-rotted away, wet with the promptly melted snow of a Missouri winter. On top of coals prevailing through the wind and dark of night any wood will do...
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Entire poem this way...
Imagine the sound of that comet,
Its tail a contrail split in two,
Dust and fried ice, the Sun
Seething with impotence
As the comet passed it by,
Somehow staying together.
Then I saw it the way I saw it,
Wicked blue morning,
Cows in the field with
Better eyes than me
But there on the horizon
Upside down, breeching, glowing with
An hour before dawn...
I like your socks, someone says to me,
What do you call that pattern, they ask,
Argyle, plaid, paisley?
No, that’s sleep, I say, that’s what
My sleep looks like, circadian rhythm,
Fly by night, circadian constellation.
Is that, they ask pointing, the mark of waking
Or of falling asleep? That, I say,
Is what an instant looks like,
The instant of falling asleep,
Slight as a moonbeam,
The moment of twilight turning to dark,
Of dark to dawn to sunrise.
Then nothing. All day nothing happens,
Solid colors here, all through this part.
Then day becomes dusk, dusk gloaming,
Then it’s night all over again.
Here, the moon sets, I roll over. Suddenly,
A meteor streaks overhead.
You see this brightness here?
That’s another asteroid, then another.
These are the meteor shower socks,
An excellent pair, but not the best.
Best are the ones I made
When the comet appeared.
I was a motheater, loved
Bugs and other caterpillars.
I planted a bunch of
Pills but none of them
Grew. I sought transit across
A star, pinprick on its
After I suggested baking soda
You used instead my cologne
To wash your hair. We
Traded old photos from the fridge
For blue skies reflected on future lakes.
If when my
Brow no longer rises
In steepest tea
Unbarb the wire,
Steady the skreeking gate,
Prescribe my final burn.
Like the jigsaw puzzle suddenly nearing completion the pile was virtually gone. I had used the tarp to drag the piled debris to a new bonfire-to-be in the pasture. After the pile down below went up so easily yesterday afternoon I figured we could easily get this pile ablaze before dark.
The locust limbs split and hauled away, the thorny vines extirpated and lofted onto the pile, the only element of debris remaining where the brush pile once sat was a collection of tree detritus: twigs, leaves, the maroon pods of the honey locust. It was a curious collection, somewhat familiar-looking. I was grabbing at this melange with gloved hands and tossing some of it on the tarp to be hauled away. Doing this I stepped into a depression, wide but shallow. I started to get an inkling that I was disturbing a nest...
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I've been clearing out part of the shed. One of the bays. I think of it as a future café, or perhaps even a place to sleep. I'll show ya. I'm taking certain old items—tire, rim, an old heavy plow, pure iron, the weight—and moving them into a different shed. A junk shed.
Now I'm taking my drill out there to reinforce the structure a bit. This is my playground, my school, my office, my church.
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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...
1. They said
Would be visible
In June but I
Never saw them
Because I never
2. Last weekend,
final day of June.
I was walking Hugo
when I noticed a misfit
Star piggybacking Scorpius. I
thought: that doesn't
Look right. Could that be—
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