little league sign-up\nrecycling stickers sold\ntrash sticker sold\nthe fire department guys hang out\nthe cops hang out\nthe nearest bench to the bus stop\ncouncil meetings\nthe office of the code enforcement guy\na mail box\n\n[[where everyone really buys their trash stickers]]\n[[how fire department guys hang out]]\n[[one of the cops]]\n[[the saga of the bench]]\n[[why they know where the code enforcement guy’s office is]]
You have to ask him two questions: \n\n1) What do you do for a living?\n\n2) What’s the secret of your success?\n\nHe answers the first, “I’m a comedian.”\n\nHe blurts out halfway through the second one, “Timing!”\n\n[[always new|a kiss]]\n[[the answer to his every question|a kiss]]\n[[the question to his every answer|a kiss]]\n[[why he likes to make her laugh|a kiss]]\n[[it isn’t all about the timing|a kiss]]\n
You know it’s a good snuggle when the cats come to nail it down. Two people pressed close under a blanket, and a few cats to nail everything in place. You couldn’t move even if you wanted to, but, luckily, you don’t want to move. Good things happen here. Breath patterns sync up, the barrier between one person’s hand and the other person’s hip melt away, too warm becomes just right, and there’s no room in this tightly wrapped package for fear or worry or loss or even emptiness.\n\n[[what you get if you distill a good snuggle down to its most concentrated form|a kiss]]\n[[a story about two people pressed close|a kiss]]\n[[everything in place|a kiss]]\n[[luckily|a kiss]]\n[[the melt away of barrier|a kiss]]\n
Look at the tattoos on other people, find ones you like, ask them who did the work. Word of mouth and personal experience are crucial when the decision you’re making involves permanent alterations to your body.\n\n[[a time not to be shy|a kiss]]\n[[a story about personal experience|a kiss]]\n[[a poem about words and mouths|a kiss]]\n[[a series of decisions|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between involved and committed|a kiss]]\n
All sorts of things go with the mushrooms, if you ask her! But this night it happens to be chicken breast tenders that he got on sale. Lightly dredged in flour, pan fried with a squirt of lemon, and then topped with an equal measure of mushrooms. OK, maybe a few extra mushrooms. A couple more please. And a second helping of just the mushrooms.\n\n[[goes with mushrooms|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all about the mushrooms|a kiss]]\n[[more, please|a kiss]]\n[[the world of things she never gets enough of|a kiss]]\n[[a few extra|a kiss]]\n
Everything that doesn’t happen exactly the way she wants it. She gripes the way everyone does at her age, and, honestly, probably less than most. She’s a good kid, and all the minor annoyances of living with a teenager never cloud that fact for them. At her worst she was never more than inconsiderate. There was one extended stretch of it that was all-around frustrating, but, even that didn’t last very long.\n\nPart of the reason any child gets spoiled is because no one has the heart to tell them how unfair the world really is. We re-live the bliss of our own ignorance in watching them come to the realization as slowly as possible. We would save them from the truth, if we could, but we can’t, so we forestall it by protecting them from the knowledge.\n\n[[the way wings unfurl|a kiss]]\n[[another part of the reason|a kiss]]\n[[the slow revelation|a kiss]]\n[[the truth|a kiss]]\n[[the knowledge|a kiss]]\n
Because the ache that makes and breaks you in and out of love feels like a fist has wrapped itself around your heart and is alternating between clenches and tosses. The spring that winds up is in the center of your center, the heart of your heart. \n\n[[the ache|a kiss]]\n[[the break|a kiss]]\n[[the in and out of love|a kiss]]\n[[alternation|a kiss]]\n[[the center of your center|a kiss]]\n
For as long as he can remember he’s wanted to open a chain of restaurants based around a single concept. Each restaurant represents a different country’s cuisine, and going to that restaurant is as precisely like going to that country as possible. Down to the last detail. The servers should speak the foreign language, the menus should be printed in that language, if possible you should need to change your money when you come in the door, every ingredient should be as authentic as humanly possible. To dine at the restaurant should be like getting on a plane and flying to another country for a vacation that lasts as long as the meal. Total immersion. Total attention to detail. Expensive, but, the cheapest vacation you’ll ever take.\n\n[[the best laid plans of mice and men|a kiss]]\n[[what he’s done instead|a kiss]]\n[[total immersion|a kiss]]\n[[attention to detail|a kiss]]\n[[the shortest distance between two points|a kiss]]\n
At the very end of the walkway that runs from the side door of the house to the sidewalk are a few morning glory plants. They tend to be slow to grow, but they turn out all right in the end. They make tight little firecrackers that pop like the Fibonacci sequence, or, the way popcorn pops. Little purple bangs that send them off to work and school in the mornings. Occasionally a blue one. She’d planted a bigger variety of colors, but only the purple and occasional blue seem to have made it. It’s enough.\n\n[[slow to grow|a kiss]]\n[[little firecrackers|a kiss]]\n[[the way popcorn pops|a kiss]]\n[[occasionally a blue one|a kiss]]\n[[enough|a kiss]]\n
Uncle Peck lived to be 99 years old. When he heard the news, he said to his own father, “Wow, that’s really something, to have lived that long.” His dad said, “Well, not really. That’s too long. He’d outlived everyone he knew, all his friends, and everyone in his family born before him. That’s no way to live.”\n\n[[the quality vs.quantity conundrum|a kiss]]\n[[just when you think you have it figured out|a kiss]]\n[[that which lasts, stands alone|a kiss]]\n[[the way to live|a kiss]]\n[[really something|a kiss]]\n
He has outgrown his interest in total sensory overload. For much of his life he considered it an avenue worth pursuing. He thought it was fertile ground for mind expanding, for mapping new territory in art, and in consciousness. Linearity would become multi-threaded simultaneity which would lead to the new state of non-linearity. The way to get there is by going headfirst through the portal of sensory overload. At least that’s how he imagined it, fool that he was.\n\n[[sense and memory and sense memory|a kiss]]\n[[an avenue worth pursuing|a kiss]]\n[[where it all leads|a kiss]]\n[[the portal|a kiss]]\n[[fool that he is|a kiss]]\n
Decay into disorder, the increase of chaos, the tendency of systems to collapse if more energy is not put into them, the way a house gets messy in a week, the dishes pile up in the sink, the retaining wall falls, plastic handles that brittle in the sun and break, compost heaps, dust, ash, culture, the arts, love, life, the fade of photos, sound diminishing into distance, smoke in a shaft of light.\n\n[[a downward spiral|a kiss]]\n[[an inward spiral|a kiss]]\n[[a waveform collapse|a kiss]]\n[[the dissipation of influence|a kiss]]\n[[contraction to a point|a kiss]]\n
Lines. Strings. Threads. Questions. Answers. Histories. Responsibilies. Duties. Honor. Face. Trust. Vision. Ethicality. Morality. Principle. Guilt. Hope. Pride. Beauty. Longing. Ache. Want. Words. \n\n[[what it means to be tethered|a kiss]]\n[[a story about coming untethered|a kiss]]\n[[naming a nameless thing|a kiss]]\n[[the singular place of the knot|a kiss]]\n[[how to keep tethers from tangling|a kiss]]\n
The shades of green. The winters so cold and dry the cheeks would go numb in seconds. The lakes. Rahn’s hill. That 5-speed bike. Hot dish dinners. Walleyed pike. Grandma Pearl’s lentil soup. Loons. Dragonflies. Ice skating.\n\n[[as many shades|a kiss]]\n[[a hot dish side dish|a kiss]]\n[[like the whoosh of ice skating|a kiss]]\n[[a thing which shifts but has no gears|a kiss]]\n[[what Minnesota was missing|a kiss]]\n
The mirror will never tell all the promises made to it. Many are wordless and exist only in that space between the lock of eyes and the glass over the silvered surface. Some are mumbled, some escape from clenched teeth, some are communicated by a light passing touch, some by the fleet of a smile.\n\n[[how to seal a promise|a kiss]]\n[[how to speak without words|a kiss]]\n[[beneath every silvered surface|a kiss]]\n[[what you can say with a touch|a kiss]]\n[[what you can touch without saying|a kiss]]\n
The first time they saw the kittens the mother kitten was between them and the kittens and was glaring the look of certain death at the intruders. The kittens were rambunctioning obliviously behind her. The kittens never saw them. They saw the kittens, they saw the mother, and the mother saw them, and, the mother made sure that they saw the mother see them.\n\n[[drawing a circle around the things you want to protect|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of placement|a kiss]]\n[[building a defensive structure|a kiss]]\n[[seeing the scene where the seer is seen|a kiss]]\n[[a charm for protection|a kiss]]\n
People talk about the difference in audio quality between CD and LP. Between digital and analog. But neither one of them can hear the difference. They can tell an LP by the occasional hiss/pop, but, they’re not audiophile freaks who braid their own speaker wire. They like music and have no real preference for delivery method. Digital, analog, streaming, it doesn’t matter to them.\n\nTheir true preference is for live music, live theater, live poetry readings. All recordings are equally secondary.\n\n[[betwixt the twain|a kiss]]\n[[the truth lies between extremes|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes the best choice is none of the above|a kiss]]\n[[what does matter to them|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather was a carpenter. His grandfather’s brother was an electrician. They helped build each other’s houses, and lived across the street from each other. When his grandfather was having some trouble with a washing machine blowing a circuit breaker, Uncle Eddie came over to take a look at it on a day his grandfather was out on a job site. Uncle Eddie spent several hours up to his elbows in effort but got it fixed. Because he knew his grandfather would ask, he asked Uncle Eddie on his way out what the problem had been and how he’d fixed it. Uncle Eddie said to say that he’d walked in, genuflected, and walked out; and now it works just fine.\n\n[[building a home|a kiss]]\n[[up to elbows in effortless|a kiss]]\n[[circuit maker|a kiss]]\n[[daily maintenance|a kiss]]\n[[a question worth asking|a kiss]]\n
He calls it that, but he means it emotionally not physically. He comes from a long line of people who hold it in, who keep quiet, who can have an argument that spans decades, one line uttered each holiday gathering. He festers. She is turned inside out, has her nerve endings on the outside, feels everything completely, fully, like there’s no skin between her and her nerve endings, and then she powers through it and it’s done. She feels intensely, and moves through. He still holds every grudge he ever formed. She holds none.\n\n[[popping the balloon]]\n[[grudges he holds]]\n[[he plans, she plunges in]]\n[[what she tells him when he really gets going]]\n[[a story about forgiveness]]\n
He’d been out snowmobiling and ice fishing all day. No matter how cold a day is you can usually keep warm by keeping moving and getting a bit of help from the sun. But when the sun goes down and you spend a half-hour sitting on a fast-moving snomobile, it can get really cold really fast. His feet got numb. Really numb. His dad had to carry him into the fish shack because he couldn’t stand on his numb feet without falling down.\n\nHis dad got his boots off, but left his feet in the socks. And then his dad gently but firmly, steadily rubbed the numb feet between his warm hands, alternating between left and right. Never rubbing vigorously, because that would have hurt when the feeling started coming back into the feet.\n\nThe feeling did start coming back into the feet, and the first feelings were painful, and then more painful, and then burningly painful, but because his dad never looked worried and kept working his feet with confidence there was never worry to the hurt. The burn of the pain turned gradually into the burn of warm and all was well and warm in his father’s hands.\n\n[[where the days go|a kiss]]\n[[strategies for keeping warm|a kiss]]\n[[moderation and modulation|a kiss]]\n[[gradual changes|a kiss]]\n[[the myth of the directionality of motion|a kiss]]\n
His mother had a good friend she met in high school, roomed with in college, shared an apartment with after college, and kept as a close friend her whole life who was a dancer, then a dance instructor, and then a multi-level marketer. \n\nHis last memory of her is the scene she made in the funeral parlor over the flowers the florist had brought. They were not at all what she’d asked for, what she’d been promised. She was adamant and vocal and we all process grief in our own particular way.\n\n[[the twist and turn of motion|a kiss]]\n[[past performance is not an accurate indicator of future results in games of chance|a kiss]]\n[[the limitations of any metaphor for explaining human behavior|a kiss]]\n[[rational is an arc|a kiss]]\n[[the tension between the particular and the general|a kiss]]\n
More times than he can count. Many weekends in a row. Sometimes weeks that clawed apart. The back and the forth and the forth and the back became blurs in between the moments of focus and the moments of bleak and blear.\n\n[[more time sthan he can count|a kiss]]\n[[in a row|a kiss]]\n[[back and forth|a kiss]]\n[[forth and back|a kiss]]\n[[a moment of focus|a kiss]]\n
Start with two bottles of a pre-made bloody mary mix.\n\nAdd, diced: one red onion, one green pepper, one cucumber peeled and seeded, one avocado, a few stalks of celery, one medium tomato. If you’re so inclined, a cup of cocktail shrimp makes a nice addition. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.\n\n[[a tried and true recipe|a kiss]]\n[[how to read a recipe|a kiss]]\n[[if you’re so inclined|a kiss]]\n[[a nice addition|a kiss]]\n[[a dollop of garnish|a kiss]]\n
They’d been watching some other documentaries and the Netflix suggestion algorithm popped this one up. He figured what the heck, and when it came they watched it. There were some issues with the even-handedness of the presentation, but, it was worth it for the story and the footage they’d never before seen.\n\n[[what amazed him most]]\n[[what she loved]]\n[[how they normally decide what to watch]]\n[[why they like documentaries]]\n[[singular feats of achievement]]\n
He has made her laugh every day they’ve been together, usually more than once, and usually before breakfast. Often in the shower. It seems there’s always something funny. Bodies are funny by nature, and the confined space makes for lots of opportunities to invent reasons to say things. And English is so good at making most anything sound dirty. That’s his ace in the hole. So to speak.\n\n[[why he makes her laugh]]\n[[why there is always something funny]]\n[[bodies are funny]]\n[[two things that always work]]\n[[when she rinses her hair]]
Nobody knows where the time goes, but baby, when it’s gone it’s really gone, gone, gone. Remember this: on their deathbed, no one ever said, “I should have spent more time watching television.” The only thing any of us have to give is time. You can’t make time, you can only take time. \n\n[[gonesville|a kiss]]\n[[a currency for the exchange of time|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you can give away and still have|a kiss]]\n[[give and take|a kiss]]\n[[better than television|a kiss]]\n
Testing, testing is this on? Ahem. Check check. Erm. Yeah, ok, hello, this is Danny’s heart, broadcasting live to Jenny’s heart, come in please, Jenny’s heart, do you read me?\n\nUm, yes, I’m right next to you.\n\nOh. Right. Well, see, the thing is, well, what I wanted to say was, ok, ok, it’s just that. Yeah. Y’know?\n\nYes, I know.\n\n[[but they weren’t always that close]]\n[[lost conversations]]\n[[the deep end he went off]]\n[[a story she fell in love with]]\n[[when she asks for stories now]]\n
Ah, what a fun game to play, if money were no object. If money were no object, they’d turn the front balcony into a sun room. Wall it out, window it up, screen it in, and let it be a place for plants and her morning writing, year round. Looking to the back yard and the patio appeals to the nature girl in her, to be sure, but, looking out over the neighborhood as it percolates to life would suit her even better, he’s sure of it. And because she’s his favorite writer, he would love to make that happen for her, and by extension, for him.\n\n[[another fun game|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of place|a kiss]]\n[[for her|a kiss]]\n[[and by extension|a kiss]]\n[[for him|a kiss]]\n
more scars than he can remember to count\na bald spot starting to happen\nhe’s getting as big as his grandfather\nhe snores\n\n[[the scar on his right arm]]\n[[the oldest scar]]\n[[what he tells the barber]]\n[[the metabolism shift]]\n[[the bully’s secret]]
It was a crazy late night at work, it involved a gigantic Sombrero. It was a snowstorm. She was following him in her car. They were coming down the mountain from the turnpike when a boulder the size of a soccer ball rolled out in front of him. He was able to make it home, but, the next morning the snow was bloody with transmission fluid. The rock had torn the underbelly of the transmission case so completely that it would take 13 weeks and six thousand dollars to fix.\n\n[[the goal at the end of his work day|a kiss]]\n[[how to forget about the damage to only things|a kiss]]\n[[what it feels like to slide on snow|a kiss]]\n[[home is|a kiss]]\n[[when gears shift|a kiss]]\n
Used tissues. It’s her allergies. She’s the Kleenex Queen. They find them everywhere. In the pockets of clothes in the laundry. Tucked into the sofa between cushions. In the back seat of the car. In the places where cat toys end up. On the countertop. Everywhere but in the trash.\n\n[[one place they’ve never found them|a kiss]]\n[[tucked|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of pocket|a kiss]]\n[[a between|a kiss]]\n[[everywhere but in the trash|a kiss]]\n
buttons, dead credit cards, CDs and DVDs, used gift cards, paper clips, beads, beads, and more beads.\n\n[[a gift without a card|a kiss]]\n[[another kind of closure|a kiss]]\n[[a fastener|a kiss]]\n[[holds more than paper together|a kiss]]\n[[the ideal rosary|a kiss]]\n
The closet in the guest room is really just a sheet covering a storage space that is packed like soma blocks or a game of jenga or a steamer trunk before an around the world trip. It contains everything in the house that no one can actually throw away though they know the thing is likely of no further use. It’s the purgatory zone before the final purge. A waiting room on the road to the trash heap.\n\n[[a fitting together of pieces|a kiss]]\n[[a puzzle in three dimensions|a kiss]]\n[[it contains everything|a kiss]]\n[[a waiting room|a kiss]]\n[[the opposite of out of sight out of mind|a kiss]]\n
Decorating your house for other holidays (except Halloween, which she hates anyway for other reasons) is a complete fabrication of the corporate structure. Companies who make cheap plastic crap have created the entire market for putting up decorations for other holidays. Nobody in their right mind would want these abominations, but, when forced to walk past them on the end-caps and after a long, sustained assault from projected light devices, the weaklings begin to cave and crumble and give in to the disquieting urge to first buy them, and then, egads, display them. Sing the Doom Song, it’s over for us as a culture. The Fall has begun, and it looks like Easter decorations, it looks like 4th of July decorations, it looks like Valentine’s Day decorations.\n\n[[how we’re led along|a kiss]]\n[[the deception of small increments|a kiss]]\n[[how far you can get in five degrees of separation|a kiss]]\n[[the right mind|a kiss]]\n[[the right brain|a kiss]]\n
Oh, footsie, you are so sneaky and surreptitious. You’re no fun to play alone, or with only one other person at the table. You’re only fun when there’s other people present to keep the conversation above the table going in ways the conversation below the table can ignore, punctuate, repudiate, or augment.\n\nOh, footsie, you are so salacious. You can turn a boring evening of board games and diet soda into an intrigue.\n\nOh, footsie, you are so possible at all times that even when you aren’t employed, we love just knowing you’re there. Waiting. And absolutely guaranteed to work. Low tech is the best tech.\n\n[[oh|a kiss]]\n[[text and subtext|a kiss]]\n[[tame, tempt, tease, taunt, tangle, toungle|a kiss]]\n[[so possible at all times|a kiss]]\n[[100% reliable|a kiss]]\n
When she rinses her hair he doesn’t make any jokes at all, ever. He stands in awe and silent appreciation. He’ll put his hands on her slippery ribs and follow the hourglass down to her hips and wonder how he got so lucky. Her eyes are always closed against the water so she never sees him shake his head “wow”.\n\n[[the language the body speaks|a kiss]]\n[[how he got so lucky|a kiss]]\n[[the things he takes seriously|a kiss]]\n[[actions speak louder than words|a kiss]]\n[[that eyes are closed when we kiss doesn’t mean there’s no seeing|a kiss]]\n
He likes to talk in the voices of critters. And not just because it makes her laugh (though that is certainly a great positive encouragement). What he said, in the voice of a firefly, was, “Big whoop! I can do that with my BUTT!”\n\n[[he likes|a kiss]]\n[[positive encouragement|a kiss]]\n[[a big whoop|a kiss]]\n[[when she laughs|a kiss]]\n[[the voice of a firely|a kiss]]\n
The thing about baking is that it has less room for improvisation than other types of cooking. It’s more like chemistry than cooking. It’s very precise, very exact, and doesn’t lend itself as well to creative substitution. The mother is very good at things intuitive. The daughter is very good at the minute, the particular, the measured.\n\n[[the case for precision|a kiss]]\n[[the case for improvisation|a kiss]]\n[[evidence of chemistry|a kiss]]\n[[an intuitive leap|a kiss]]\n[[one particular|a kiss]]\n
That fist in your stomach right before you go out on stage or putting your last $50 on the table and waiting for the dice throw or that dream where you’re falling and falling and falling or hitting “Send” on certain messages or waking up and not knowing where you are or what time it is or when the red light goes on or walking into a house that’s been broken into or getting that phone call in the middle of the night or or or or\n\n[[whisk it all away with|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of energy|a kiss]]\n[[the right way|a kiss]]\n[[the wrong way|a kiss]]\n[[the third way|a kiss]]
They keep a running list of films their friends recommend, and regularly add to their queue. But on any given night the way they decide is about the same way they decide on where to eat. Someone will make a suggestion based on what they own, have from Netflix, have available on-demand, or what’s avaiable online. The other will disdain that suggestion, and make an alternate suggestion. And so on. Repeat. Until they oscillate into an agreement. She’s almost always interested in a comedy or a romantic comedy. He’s almost always interested in a man movie. They usually end up watching something funny or drama.\n\n[[a decision tree|a kiss]]\n[[one-degree of separation|a kiss]]\n[[decisions, decisions|a kiss]]\n[[oscillation and agreement|a kiss]]\n[[the almost of always|a kiss]]\n
He complains when she keeps her feet to herself.\n\nShe complains about the length of the nails on his toes.\n\n[[when she keeps her feet to herself]]\n[[speaking of heels]]\n[[cold and hot]]\n[[to paint or not to paint]]\n[[footrubs]]\n
Hovering constantly at a distance just beyond embarrassingly close but never further away than a three minute wait is a fleet of vehicles ready to take her anywhere. No one else has any kind of plans that could possibly be affected by any of her actions or inactions. Elves rustle through in the night and pick up all discarded, ejected, or forgotten items. Anything of anyone’s is hers to borrow, and unavilable for anyone else’s use without prior notice. If you use up all of a staple ingredient, you don’t need to tell anyone, it refills in the night. A distance of a half of a block is too much to inconvenience a friend with. A distance of 145 miles is a trifle for a parent.\n\n[[not that we were any different]]\n[[could be worse]]\n[[it may be chemical]]\n[[why she isn’t driving yet]]\n[[the most common ejected item]]
He is looking past the color of her eyes, into what’s behind them. Her irises are always in his peripheral vision, and peripheral vision is black and white. It’s not that he isn’t paying attention, it’s that he’s focussed so intently elsewhere in her eyes.\n\n[[what he sees in her eyes|a kiss]]\n[[first, the eyes close|a kiss]]\n[[where he forgets everything|a kiss]]\n[[where forgetting is a kind of remembering|a kiss]]\n[[if he could see in the dark|a kiss]]\n
They have no idea why all the shouting in this neighborhood. They are quite literally surrounded by it, in an alternating pattern of yeller, hermit, yeller, hermit, normal person, hermit, yeller, yeller. And these yellers will yell at anything, for any reason, and don’t have any sort of progressive scale of hostility. Every offense from the tiniest to the largest results in the same top-of-the-lung and profanity-laden yelling. They go from zero to maximum volume instantly. In addition to being annoying, it’s sometimes jump-in-your-seat scary. \n\nAdults to adults, adults to animals, adults to kids, kids to adults, kids to animals, you name it, there’s no interaction exempt from the yelling. \n\nThey often talk about how exhausting it must be to carry on ostensibly normal interactions in such a fashion. And how frustrating it must be—when you start out screaming profanity at the mildest provocation, where do you have to go from there, escalation-wise? If you start at 11, what can you turn it up to?\n\n[[echo and reverberation|a kiss]]\n[[modulation of frequency versus amplitude|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of gradual development|a kiss]]\n[[an interaction exempt from yelling|a kiss]]\n[[on starts and ends|a kiss]]\n
He went to the dentist when he absolutely had to, but, he didn’t have any insurance. This was not the first time he’d had to go to the dentist to have uninsured work done, but this was the highest ticket item of his adult life. When the bill came he started thinking about what sort of payment plan would be possible. He wasn’t looking forward to having that conversation with them. As it turns out, he never got to have that conversation with them. After 35 days he got a letter demanding full payment at once or they’d begin collection proceedings. He telephoned and left messages asking for a call back on eight separate occasions and never got a call back. But he did get a Sheriff at his door with papers saying they’d be back in ten days to start confiscating and auctioning off his possessions.\n\nNo payment plan. No returned calls. The Sheriff after less than two months. Not going back to that place. \n\n[[when all else fails|a kiss]]\n[[not the first time|a kiss]]\n[[a bill that never comes due|a kiss]]\n[[as it turns out|a kiss]]\n[[one thing they could never take away|a kiss]]\n
He’s never owned a brush. He remembers carrying a comb way back in grade school for a while but for most of his teen, and all of his adult life he hasn’t brushed or combed his hair with the help of anything other than his fingers. No matter how his hair is cut, he washes it with whatever shampoo is the least expensive, towel dries it, and combs it into place with his fingers. No muss, no fuss.\n\n[[what he wins with his slightly unkempt look|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes, before she fixes his hair|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes, after she fixes his hair|a kiss]]\n[[a list of better things to do than style his hair|a kiss]]\n[[the ultimate goal of all cosmetics|a kiss]]\n
There’s a scrap of paper with a note to her mother that she wrote when she was just learning to write. It reads: “I’m gonna get dose darnd cats.”\n\nThere’s a cassette recording of her saying her name over and over and over and over again in a variety of distorted ways.\n\nThey both (mother and daughter) have the complete memory of a song the daughter made up and sung about mommy falling on her butt, composed after mommy actually fell on her butt after slipping off of a rock.\n\n[[sending notes|a kiss]]\n[[learning to write|a kiss]]\n[[over and over again in distorted ways|a kiss]]\n[[a complete memory|a kiss]]\n[[made up and sung|a kiss]]\n
He doesn’t understand cheating. Winning by cheating isn’t winning. He’d much rather lose honestly than win by cheating. Except at thumb wars.\n\n[[another thing he doesn’t understand|a kiss]]\n[[winning without cheating|a kiss]]\n[[the flaw in the competitive paradigm|a kiss]]\n[[he’d much rather|a kiss]]\n[[honestly|a kiss]]\n
He has a picture of her blowing bubbles out into the street. He loves this picture. She may not even remember it. Her eyes, her smile, the purse of her lips, the light, the bubbles, the way her hair and the air have conspired to tentacle her neck, all of it at once. The word that springs to mind is emblematic. When one particular instance can stand as an accurate representation of a whole class of instances. \n\n[[his favorite picture of her|a kiss]]\n[[the purse of her lips|a kiss]]\n[[the light|a kiss]]\n[[the word springs to mind|a kiss]]\n[[the mind springs to word|a kiss]]\n
They say personalities are like onions, layers and layers and layers. But they don’t say what happens when you make it through all the layers—you end up at the center of a pile of discarded layers. They say it like it has meaning in and of itself, but it doesn’t. The metaphor breaks down because it has only initial explanatory power. OK, he is more than his surface. But what’s at his center? If he is an onion, the question becomes what is he after you’ve disassembled his layers? Ready to be battered and deep fried, sure, but that’s breaking the metaphor.\n\n[[the personality metaphor he prefers]]\n[[the problem with all metaphor]]\n[[the onion he’d be if he got to pick]]\n[[they]]\n[[other things that break down]]
While the poem waits to appear he writes other poems, other stories, other plays, other ideas, other attempts at showing off so that she’ll notice him and fall further in love with him.\n\nFeats of derring-do performed with all the confidence he lacks in her love for him. See, I’m confident! his every action says, because if she noticed he’s confident she’ll love him and he’ll always be afraid she doesn’t love him because he’s not worth loving because he lacks confidence in what’s blindingly obvious, that she loves him.\n\n[[the engine that drives this play|a kiss]]\n[[showing off|a kiss]]\n[[a feat of derring-do performed with confidence|a kiss]]\n[[his every action|a kiss]]\n[[what’s blindingly obvious|a kiss]]\n
One day when he at the grocery store buying trash stickers for a pile of cardboard boxes at $1.75 a pop and pressed wood fireplace logs for the chimnea at $4 a pop, he realized, Heeeeey, what if I just burn my cardboard and pocket the cash? \n\nThis reminded him of the story of his grandfather’s neighbor. The neighbor reported in the course of one conversation that he’d recently spent $600 on a riding lawnmower, and that he’d spent another $600 on a health club membership. His grandfather said to the neighbor, “Why not just use a push mower and give ME the $1200?” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.\n\n[[one day|a kiss]]\n[[the course of one conversation|a kiss]]\n[[a story about staying healthy|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things money can’t buy|a kiss]]\n[[on burning and ash|a kiss]]\n
His most common sauces now are reductions. When he cooked commercially, and roux was always at hand, his most common sauces were roux thickened. But now he finds the overhead involved in making a small amount of roux to thicken roux enough for two servings of most sauces simply isn’t worth it. Especially if it’s a garnish sauce. Having one burner on the stove whose temperature control is broken in the full blast setting doesn’t hurt any, either. That makes reductions happen lickety-split, and lickety-splitter for two garnish servings.\n\nThis suits his changing tastes, too. It’s not just about the expediency. Reductions are distillations and concentrations. They’re lighter, leaner, and really saucier. Roux sauces are thicker, heavier, and more like gravies, really. \n\n[[the removal of everything non-essential|a kiss]]\n[[a solution is deemed elegant if it solves multiple problems at once|a kiss]]\n[[it’s not just about expediency|a kiss]]\n[[distillation, concentration|a kiss]]\n[[sauce, saucy, saucier|a kiss]]\n
The elegant stinkhorn is also known as the Devil’s Dipstick. It looks like a neon red penis with its tip dipped in a sticky slimy kind of excrement. And smells about the same. It’s truly nasty smelling. Flies love it. It’s an assault to every sense and sensibility. She loves her some mushrooms, make no mistake about it, but, definitely not those of the elegant stinkhorn variety.\n\n[[truly|a kiss]]\n[[every|a kiss]]\n[[sensibility|a kiss]]\n[[definitely|a kiss]]\n[[variety|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather died in his favorite chair, with his remote control in his hand, wearing his bathrobe and slippers, right after he took a nice hot shower.\n\nThere is no good way to go, but, his certainly appeared to be one of the least bad ways to go. \n\nGone is still gone, though, and he was only 65 at the time. Who among us wouldn’t trade more years for a less pleasant way to go?\n\nWe say that now. \n\n[[the here|a kiss]]\n[[the now|a kiss]]\n[[the this|a kiss]]\n[[the how|a kiss]]\n[[the yes|a kiss]]\n
She has a real thing for dishes. She collects them, or, maybe it’s more accurate to say they collect around her. She loves the delft blue plates, she loves to prowl resale shops for interesting plates from the 30s, 40s, and even 50s. She has acquired most of a set of plates, cups and saucers in a Deco pattern that makes her happy. The variety is endless, the styles diverse, it would be difficult to summarize what kind she likes. It is probably the most quirky collection of tastes she has. He could say with 50% confidence if she’d like any given dress, with 90% confidence any given book, 90% confidence any given recipe, and about 5% confidence for any given dish. He loves her for this, too.\n\n[[collects around her|a kiss]]\n[[difficult to summarize|a kiss]]\n[[how you can tell he loves her|a kiss]]\n[[how you can tell she loves him back|a kiss]]\n[[but let’s face it, 100% confidence is 100% boring|to the right of the kiss]]\n
There’s an album that’s “music you can see” and is done by the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. It’s an entire album of the kind of music that would serve as the soundtrack for a cartoon.\n\n[[her growing collection of miniature instruments]]\n[[the soundtrack to their life together]]\n[[shows his grandfather used to watch on TV]]\n[[an idea for an animation]]\n
The ability to turn bills into cupcakes, rejections into wallpaper, allergies into laughter, the broken into joy, the daily into a reason to live.\n\n[[a gift|a kiss]]\n[[a wish|a kiss]]\n[[a lift|a kiss]]\n[[a hope|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of prayer|a kiss]]\n
Success, or, even completion of a long-standing goal. Why is that? Get a poem published, and there’s a let down. Get a book published and after the joy fades (and it fades crazily fast) the self-doubt kicks in. Get praise or accolades or win a prize and it feels great at first, but then, the self-doubt creeps in. The validation never sticks. Maybe that’s a good thing. It keeps the ego a manageable size, and fires up the engine of time-to-make-something-else.\n\n[[completion of a goal|a kiss]]\n[[the place where self-doubt goes to die|a kiss]]\n[[a prize beyond appraisal|a kiss]]\n[[the validation|a kiss]]\n[[the engine the engine|a kiss]]\n
neither a butcher nor a candlestick maker\nknees and elbows\na laugh that lights up rooms\nthe randomizer\nan eye for composition\na love of working small\n\n[[a story about pants]]\n[[things she’s really good at]]\n[[what her superpower would be]]\n[[how we imagine she sees the world]]\n
He was driving through Ohio on his way to visit her back when they were courting and a song came on the radio that he felt belonged in the soundtrack to their life together. That was a Julie London song. It was followed by a Theresa Brewer song. That is the music of their life, of billowing curtains, cool breeze off the patio, a tomato toastie lunch made with a tomato from their own garden, laying back on the grass and looking up, reaching out and finding the other person’s hand already on its way to your own.\n\n[[the way two lives intertwine|a kiss]]\n[[the way two twines interlive|a kiss]]\n[[their life together|a kiss]]\n[[their own garden|a kiss]]\n[[reaching out and finding|a kiss]]\n
Every window is a cat window, of course, but there’s one window in this room that they prefer above most others in the house. It looks out on the back patio area and the back yard. It looks out on the Bird Zone, also, neighborhood stray cats have it as a part of their cruising rounds, also there’s always bugs and bees and flies and such. And very few of the things that cats don’t like to watch—no kids, no motorcycles, no traffic. And almost always a breeze.\n\n[[a story with windows|a kiss]]\n[[some windows are better than others|a kiss]]\n[[variety as a view of life|a kiss]]\n[[and almost always|a kiss]]\n[[a breeze|a kiss]]\n
Butter from the dairy up the road is an order of magnitude better than butter from the grocery store. It’s more butteryer. Most likely it’s a higher fat content. All they know for sure is that has a cleaner, brighter taste and a texture that’s closer to velvet. \n\nMilk from the dairy is terrific, too. They tell people that the skim tastes like 2%, the 2% tastes like whole milk and the whole milk tastes like half and half. The heavy cream from the dairy has a plug of semi-solid goodness at the top. \n\n[[we have it backwards in this society, we splurge on the big ticket items and skimp on the staples; if we splurged on the staples our lives would be richer by far|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes it’s the imperfections that make something perfect|a kiss]]\n[[take no ingredient for granted|a kiss]]\n[[question everything, even the act of questioning everything|a kiss]]\n[[what rises to the top|a kiss]]\n
He says he has no regrets. He has things he might have done differently if he knew then what he knows now, but, we don’t get that luxury. He believes that he has always made the best decision possible given the information he had at the time he made the decision. This is how he sleeps at night. No regrets, Coyote.\n\n[[the slipshift of referent under the crust of tokens|a kiss]]\n[[a study in luxury|a kiss]]\n[[the best decision he ever made|a kiss]]\n[[when he sleeps he dreams|a kiss]]\n[[actions speak louder than words|a kiss]]\n
The house next door, which is really a warren of low-rent high-turnover apartments. Tenents and the landlord have been known to conduct long, wide-ranging conversations about the living conditions in alternating red and black Sharpie marker along the entire side of the structure.\n\n[[also hiding]]\n[[the landlord]]\n[[a story about one of the tenants]]\n[[writing on walls]]\n[[pretending not to listen]]
Invisibility, or, if that were unavailable, the ability to blend in so as to never be noticed.\n\n[[what her mom’s would be]]\n[[what his would be]]\n[[what Mango’s would be]]\n[[why Lucy Bob doesn’t need a superpower]]\n[[the downside to not being noticed]]
Thousands of comings at goings up and down the stairs. A few fights, and stomping ups. One lonely broken walk down. A surfing slide on a cat. Heels and toes and on its favorite mornings, afternoons, and evenings, it’s seen the last primps before lovely ladies depart for the dress-up do.\n\n[[when it got taken down]]\n[[a little known fact of mirrors]]\n[[a fortunate use of this mirror]]\n[[promises made to it]]\n[[a million dollar idea]]\n
When things are called what they aren’t, there’s a word for that. The word is “advertising.” Another word for advertising is “lying.” Think about it—why would a company with national distribution chains fully established pay millions of dollars to tell you something true. They wouldn’t. Everyone would know it if it were true. They pay millions of dollars to influence your buying decisions and there are two ways to do that. The first is to make positive associations in your subconscious mind. The second is to misreprent. Put those two together, and you have advertising. Look at any advertisement and imagine that the opposite is probably true, and you will be a much better informed consumer.\n\n[[misdirection|a kiss]]\n[[slight of hand|a kiss]]\n[[deception|a kiss]]\n[[red herring|a kiss]]\n[[bait and switch|a kiss]]\n
Probably about 50/50. On the one hand, they’re sticky dots, how many different kinds and sizes can there be? On the other hand, the dispenser is made by a major brand, so it’s entirely possible that the size is unique to their device. Sad, but true. The dots aren’t really cost-prohibitive, though, and in all honesty, his procrastination runs deeper than his concern about guessing right or wrong.\n\n[[the varieties of variety|a kiss]]\n[[the link between variety and verity|a kiss]]\n[[the movement to bring verily back into common usage|a kiss]]\n[[in all honesty|a kiss]]\n[[talking about one thing and meaning another|a kiss]]\n
Imagine if Lewis Carroll’s Alice met James Joyce’s Finnegan over William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch if it were told to a young Bob Dylan and prepared for the page by E. E. Cummings.\n\n[[the aspect of Alice|a kiss]]\n[[the flavor of Finnegan|a kiss]]\n[[the non-linear of Naked Lunch|a kiss]]\n[[the unfurling sprawl of the young|a kiss]]\n[[a concern for the underlying structure|a kiss]]\n
Fence posts. Concrete parking spot blocks. Garbage cans. Garage doors. Ash cans. Downspouts. Mail boxes. Entire bicycles, wheels and all. The driveway in places. Important (and often mis-spelled) messages.\n\n[[marking time not space|a kiss]]\n[[the use of space to mark time|a kiss]]\n[[in between the red is white|a kiss]]\n[[so much depends|a kiss]]\n[[an unpaintable thing|a kiss]]\n
The two options in this area are:\n\n1) build your house over a coal mine\n\nor\n\n2) build your house in the flood plain of the river\n\nEither way you’re taking a risk of coming home one day and finding your house has vanished.\n\n[[what happens in a house over a coal mine|a kiss]]\n[[what happens in a house in the flood plain|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between a house and a home|a kiss]]\n[[how you build a home|a kiss]]\n[[after everything else has vanished, what remains|a kiss]]\n
baking\nmaking jewelry from found objects\nskewering the pretentious\nholding it all in\ndoing the hard things good friends do\nmixed media collage\ntexting at the table after being asked not to\nwaiting\n\n[[baking skill may not be hereditary]]\n[[a partial list of parts]]\n[[a tough nut to crack]]\n[[the hard thing she did as a good friend]]\n[[one thing she waited for]]\n
He asked his Uncle Peck once why he’d never been married. Uncle Peck replied, “Gosh, I guess because all the women I wanted to kiss didn’t want to kiss me, and all the women who wanted to kiss me I didn’t want to kiss.”\n\n[[where circular reasoning will get you|a kiss]]\n[[so much depends upon|a kiss]]\n[[a whole life built around the seed of|a kiss]]\n[[fate, sealed|a kiss]]\n[[what happens when you meet someone you want to kiss who wants to kiss you|a kiss]]\n
When he gripes it’s usually when he’s gotten cranky because he’s been maneuvered into a situation where he either has to do something unreasonable, or, tell the person asking him to do the thing that they’re being unreasonable. He hates that.\n\n[[the way to uncranky him|a kiss]]\n[[a situation he doesn’t mind being maneuvered into|a kiss]]\n[[something reasonable|a kiss]]\n[[something beyond reason|a kiss]]\n[[he likes this|a kiss]]\n
The reasons are becoming legion. At first it was most likely she was staying her her dad’s for the week. But now that she has a social life, it could be a million different last minute things. She could be at the mall, at a friend’s house, at the lake, out driving, out walking, or just plain out.\n\n\n[[when will she be back]]\n[[where they drive]]\n[[what’s unfair]]\n[[where the money goes]]\n[[what she’s looking forward to]]
It’s just how he’s wired. He can’t help it. He has lists of lists, and he’s not even aware of most of the keeping track his brain does. It is just always working in the background, chewing through items, reviewing, remembering, thinking ahead, planning, looking for points of convergence, ways to maximize efficiency, things that could go wrong, things that could go right, things that could go better if this happens before that, or if this is delayed until after that. It’s a kind of mental juggling of all the data he can hold in his sub-awareness at once.\n\n[[reviewing|a kiss]]\n[[remembering|a kiss]]\n[[points of convergence|a kiss]]\n[[the ordering of experiences|a kiss]]\n[[it feels like fluid dynamics to him|a kiss]]\n
Baking doesn’t have the same time of field of play for creativity that other forms of cooking do. There is room, but it’s a different kind of room. Other cooking is spontaneous and improvisational. Baking is chemistry. A rookie cook can wing in some extra herbs and maybe get lucky on a stir fry. In order to reach the point where you can have any shot at all of a successful experiment with baking you need to have completely mastered the chemical properties of the parts you’re putting into play.\n\n[[the field of play|a kiss]]\n[[where there’s chemistry|a kiss]]\n[[a different kind of room|a kiss]]\n[[in order to reach the point|a kiss]]\n[[practice, practice, practice|a kiss]]\n
He remembers driving together with his grandfather. He had a regular “saw route” he would drive on a weekly basis, picking up and dropping off saws and knives and lawnmower blades that needed sharpening. After the last turn, up the long, long block to their house, his grandfather would often let him drive. Well, not really drive. He’d sit on his grandfather’s lap and put his hands on the wheel. But his grandfather would control the gas pedal and the brake and would also be holding the steering wheel by his fingertips at about the seven o’clock position in case anything got going wrong. He’d also occasionally jerk the wheel, or goose the throttle, or tap the brake and say things like, “Whoah, what’re you doing!” It was a giggle-filled thrill every time, nothing serious about it. In his memory now, all those trips, all those fake drives up the street, all the laughing, are all condensed into a single memory of a single trip.\n\n[[nothing serious about it|a kiss]]\n[[all those trips|a kiss]]\n[[all condensed|a kiss]]\n[[a single memory|a kiss]]\n[[a single trip|a kiss]]\n
His 7th grade math teacher wrote on his report card: Based on course work alone, this should be an F. I’m giving him a D-minus because I have no doubt at all that should he ever need to learn this material he will have no trouble doing so.\n\n[[the difference between knowledge and understanding|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between understanding and wisdom|a kiss]]\n[[she was right|a kiss]]\n[[and he was wrong|a kiss]]\n[[and in the end, it made all the difference in the world|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather used to make sauerkraut (among his many canning endeavors). And he really fermented it, in an enormous earthenware jar. He’d say that to make sauerkraut right, you couldn’t tell when it was done, your next door neighbor had to come over and tell you it was done. This is true for two reasons. First, because as it slowly ferments, it gradually get stinkier, such that you yourself stop noticing it. And second, because it isn’t really more than just pickled cabbage until its fermented has reached the point where your neighbor can smell it.\n\n[[a story about methods and madness|a kiss]]\n[[the process of putting things into forms that will keep over time|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that require the help of others|a kiss]]\n[[this is true for two|a kiss]]\n[[reasons|a kiss]]\n
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think there’s only two kinds of people in this world, and everyone else. There’s only 10 kinds of people in this world, those who know binary and those who don’t. There’s only two kinds of people in this world, those who compost and those who burn. There are only two kinds of people in this world, those who like chocolate desserts and those who like fruit desserts. There are only two kinds of people in this world, those who are reading or have read these very words, and those who haven’t. There are only two kinds of people in this world, those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. There are only two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both wrong. There’s only two kinds of people in this world, me and everyone else.\n\n[[two kinds of people|a kiss]]\n[[if you choose not to decide|a kiss]]\n[[the easy lure of duality|a kiss]]\n[[the third way|a kiss]]\n[[all generalizations are false|a kiss]]\n
Extra blankets, pillows, and sheets. A vague scent of camphor, a hint of cedar. In some intangible and impossible to explain way, it also contains (though that’s the wrong word) an aggregation of lost moments that combine to form something like two years worth of forgotten moments.\n\n[[a dance around the idea of extra|a kiss]]\n[[a net for catching the vague|a kiss]]\n[[contains is the wrong word|a kiss]]\n[[lost moments|a kiss]]\n[[combine to form|a kiss]]\n
For a performance of madrigal singers that they were catering the menu consisted entirely of period-appropriate foods. Bulgar, for example. And Joseph had found this ancient recipe for pork loin stuffed with sausage in a very particular manner—the recipe described the finished product, but we were left to improvise how, exactly, to accomplish it.\n\nThe description of the finished product suggested that after stuffing, and roasting, the sausage casing would dissolve, and when the loin was sliced there’d be this lovely white pork loin oval with a coin of sausage magically in the center of it, as if it’d grown that way.\n\nThey made a lot of failed attempts at stuffing the pork loin correctly before they hit on the right procedure.\n\nThey took loin length ropes of sausage and pressed them straight on sheet trays and froze them solid.\n\nThey then took whole pork loins and brand new, never used, guard removed steel for sharpening knives and pushed it through the pork loin to make a kind of pilot hole.\n\nThey they took the frozen ropes of sausage and inserted them into the pork line via the pilot hole made by the steel.\n\nThe only way to make this work was to put the loin down on a hip-height table, start the sausage into the pilot hole, grip tightly to either side of the loin with your hands, and gently push the sausage deeper and deeper into the loin. Any other method broke the sausage every time. The most difficult part was not laughing, and, keeping everyone else out of the kitchen while it was being done to prevent them from laughing. What a sight.\n\n[[reverse-engineering|a kiss]]\n[[knowing the end result is not knowing the whole process|a kiss]]\n[[how you get there is as important as where you’re going|a kiss]]\n[[finding out how to get there|a kiss]]\n[[you do what it takes if the goal is worth it|a kiss]]\n
If it isn’t a poem then it’s something else. The author intended it to be a poem, so, the author will have failed. But, in failing there is often another kind of success. If the author failed to make a poem, perhaps the author succeeded in making something else entirely. \n\nThomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”\n\nand, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”\n\nand, “I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill.”\n\nIf it isn’t a poem, what is it? Words are useful for pushing the clay of thought around. Useful distinctions allow a finer grain of control, they’re like carving tools. Useless distinctions do not allow a finer grain of control, they are like shovels. If it isn’t a poem and it can’t be described by a term with at least the degree of descriptive power the term “poetry” provides, then it’s time for a new term.\n\n[[circumlocution|a kiss]]\n[[tautology|a kiss]]\n[[ex nihilo|a kiss]]\n[[reductio ad absurdum|a kiss]]\n[[illegitimi non carborundum|a kiss]]\n
Under his chin, under his beard (it’s been said that men who wear beards are hiding something) hides what is now just a sliverchip of a scar from when he fell face-first off of a toy truck on the sidewalk in front of the first house he lived in. He remembers nothing of it. The first scar he remembers gettting is now almost invisible, disguised as an age wrinkle under his right eyebrow. It’s from a hockey stick. He could skate before he could walk, and part of the reason for that is because if you skate with a stick you’ve got a tripod of support instead of just two legs. But with a group of kids that young on the ice with sticks it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that someone might accidentally get flicked by one. \n\n[[hiding in plain sight|a kiss]]\n[[another kind of falling|a kiss]]\n[[the fickleness of memory|a kiss]]\n[[the parting of reasons|a kiss]]\n[[in the visible, indivisible|a kiss]]\n
When he was 10 years old he was trying to cut open a globe with a pocketknive. Prying into the seam along the equator, which was reinforced with an inner belt of thicker cardboard, he wiggle-waggled the way wrong way and the pocketknive V-closed on his finger. Blood everywhere, and a near pass-out from shock. And that was just his mom’s reaction.\n\n[[when worlds are cut open|a kiss]]\n[[prying into a seam|a kiss]]\n[[reinforced with an inner belt|a kiss]]\n[[wiggle-waggle the right way|a kiss]]\n[[a near pass-out|a kiss]]\n
Bad translations are done by people who don’t know any better, by definition. They persist because they are done in order to be presented to people who know even less. \n\nA little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.\n\nTo be fair, translating poetry is a unique challenge. It’s hard enough to translate factual material from one language to another, but when you add sound, meter, syllabics, rhyme, entendre, ambiguity, symbolism, allegory, connotations, denotations, and even the very shape of words into the mix, there is necessarily going to be a lot of slop, a lot of leg that gets lopped off trying to get the dead horse into the hole in the ground.\n\nThat’s no excuse for some of the horrible things he’s seen happen in translation, though. It’s because translators are afraid that to leave something untranslated would mean admitting failure on their part. The reality is that it would be much more efficient in the long run to simply add those untranslatable terms to the language so that we would be enriching rather than enfeebling the process.\n\n[[translating poetry into another language is as hard as translating experience into poetry|a kiss]]\n[[if you know, going into it, that total success is impossible, why go through with it?|a kiss]]\n[[why make the effort?|a kiss]]\n[[why try?|a kiss]]\n[[why do the dishes, they’re just going to get dirty again anyway, right?|a kiss]]\n
the chimnea on the patio\nthe candle on the piano\nthe flambe of the cherries jubilee\nthe grease fire in the oven (put out with baking soda)\nthe fireworks on the 4th of July\nthe house down the street\n\n[[his revelation]]\n[[the photos on the piano]]\n[[the cherries jubilee story]]\n[[where they watched from]]\n[[what she found after the fire]]\n
For years there was a piece of paper folded up and taped closed that said “Do Not Open Until...” and it had a date that was originally many years in the future. So long, in fact, that she herself forgot what was inside it. Even though it sat, collecting dust and discoloring, on the ridge of the molding that is eye-level for the last three steps of coming down the stairs from the bedrooms. It got seen every day, for years.\n\n[[a folded up piece of paper|a kiss]]\n[[forgetting what’s inside|a kiss]]\n[[a ridge|a kiss]]\n[[eye-level|a kiss]]\n[[every day, for years|a kiss]]\n
The ability to turn leftovers into specials, the ability to turn anything language into something naughty, the ability to produce an endless supply of ideas, the ability to do everything at once. And perhaps a snore that shatters glass.\n\n[[a special without leftovers|a kiss]]\n[[turn language|a kiss]]\n[[something naughty|a kiss]]\n[[an endlessness|a kiss]]\n[[even though he snores|a kiss]]\n\n\n
The tin lizzy was a go-cart made to look like a Model A Ford, sort of. It had a lawnmower engine, solid rubber tires and wood spoke wheels, seated two people, had hand brakes and a hand throttle, and was the star of every Pet Parade it appeared in. It put put putted his mother, her sister and her brother through two decades of fun. It was painted blue and gold, the high school’s colors, because it often found use in various school events, too.\n\n[[simple vehicles can travel great distances|a kiss]]\n[[it’s not the miles, it’s the years|a kiss]]\n[[rickety, ramshackle, right|a kiss]]\n[[how is never as important as why|a kiss]]\n[[why always comes after what|a kiss]]\n
He has learned to tell the barber that he can trim the thinning spot just like the rest of his hair—he doesn’t need to do the courtesy of leaving it longer over the thinning spot in a vain and doomed attempt to cover it up. The barber is just trying to help, sure, but, there’s no sense in it. Anyone vain enough to be worried about thinning hair should be vain enough to realize how foolish all attempts to hide it look. It is what it is, and he’d sooner start shaving his head than make any move in the direction of the combover.\n\n[[the learning process|a kiss]]\n[[a simple device for establishing importance|a kiss]]\n[[the thin and the thick of it|a kiss]]\n[[no one’s looking anyway|a kiss]]\n\n\n
One of her favorite hotel moments is the afternoon they spent lounging on the bed nibbling on olives and cheese and bread. It lasted forever and was over in a blink.\n\n[[a loaf of bread, a jug of wine|a kiss]]\n[[a story of and in nibbles|a kiss]]\n[[time is not time in this place|a kiss]]\n[[in the blink of an eye|a kiss]]\n[[do you spend time or buy it?|a kiss]]\n
Morning. Noon. Dinner time. Evening. You name it, there’s enough houses with enough dogs that are barkers that there’s pretty much no escape. Welcome to Barking Town.\n\n[[morning|a kiss]]\n[[noon|a kiss]]\n[[dinner time|a kiss]]\n[[evening|a kiss]]\n[[you name it|a kiss]]\n
Amish Guy was barely there long enough to get a nickname, but he was so distinctive looking that the nickname came quick. He could be seen standing out in front of the place smoking his pipe. He didn’t have the garb, but he had the beard and the look. And if they’re pretty sure that place is a kind of halfway house for people being re-introduced into un-state-supervised living, he really stuck out like a sore thumb. Usually the people had a sort of 2 a.m. at Denny’s look to them, whereas Amish Guy looked, well, like an Amish Guy.\n\nHe was only there for a fleeting couple of weeks, but he’s remembered.\n\n[[barely there long enough|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of halfway house|a kiss]]\n[[the fleeting of time|a kiss]]\n[[the mechanisms of memory|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of the fade of images|a kiss]]\n
The last word of each line is an echo, which, if read in a downward fashion says, “I just saw the neighbor girl being carried piggy back by her boyfriend. Remind me to say yes when you ask again.”\n\n[[an echo of an echo|a kiss]]\n[[things are not always as they seem|a kiss]]\n[[in love things are more than they seem|a kiss]]\n[[because she said when, not if|a kiss]]\n[[things that can be read in many directions|a kiss]]\n
Big Night\nThe Station Agent\nMan on Wire\nThe Hold Steady: A Positive Rage\nWatchmen\n\n[[he wanted her to see it]]\n[[his mom wanted them to see it]]\n[[Netflix suggested it]]\n[[saw them live, wanted more]]\n[[it’s tough to summarize]]\n
A higher priority right now is getting the house a lot better insulated and heat efficient. The house bleeds money during the winter months at a rate that they have to reduce or they’re going to go broke. Some months he wonders if it wouldn’t be cheaper to just light dollar bills in little piles to heat the house.\n\n[[a primative form of heat generation|a kiss]]\n[[the best way ever invented to fend off the cold|a kiss]]\n[[the problem with trying to impose an quantitative ordering on qualitative things|a kiss]]\n[[the way a lot of little things adds up|a kiss]]\n[[insulation is not what makes a house a home|a kiss]]\n
born in Ramsey County hospital outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, 10 years\nvarious suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, 20 years\nKokomo, Indiana, 6 years\nNortheastern Pennsylvania, for the rest of his life\n\n[[a Minnesota memory]]\n[[a Chicago memory]]\n[[a Kokomo memory]]\n[[a Pennsylvania story]]\n
He believes that you work in order to have money in order to buy the things that will improve your life. Saving money is fine, as far as it goes, but, he doesn’t see any point in saving money at the expense of enjoying his life. He loves his work, and plans to work until the day he dies. He wouldn’t mind putting a little away to be able to do some traveling, but he has no interest in accumulating more money than he can spend. \n\n[[and besides, the best things in life are free|a kiss]]\n[[a short course in life improvement|a kiss]]\n[[as far as it goes|a kiss]]\n[[what brings him the most enjoyment in his life|a kiss]]\n[[the economy of scarcity doesn’t apply to things you can give away and still retain|a kiss]]\n
What I need now is a blue cup of water and my shit towel.\n\nI don’t need to read any damned instructions on a fireworks.\n\nSpraypainted in red on the side of a house: Tenent’s Only.\n\nGet the hell down the steps and GO get the HELL down there and make poopie. Hurry up.\n\n[[why all the shouting?]]\n[[what we think happened with that firework]]\n[[also spraypainted red]]\n[[what the cop told them]]\n[[when the neighborhood is quiet]]\n
He grew up in the state of Minnesota, in the United States. Minnesota is famous for the number of lakes it has, and for how cold its winters are. He spent winter vacations ice fishing. Ice fishing is so important in Minnesota, and it stays so cold for so long, that people set up entire villages out on the ice. Fish shacks that slept four, six, eight or more were clustered around the lake, general stores were set up, even a makeshift post office. They’d spend the whole week or two weeks out on the ice and never need to come off the lake for anything. With so many people out there doing so many loud things (driving snowmobiles and trucks, power-augering holes in the ice, and just generally being social)the quiet would never really become complete. Until night time, when the whole lake fell asleep. \n\nHe was 8 years old. He woke up one morning about 3 a.m. and went outside to pee. It was about 20 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the air was absolutely no-wind. The moon was not bright, but the stars against the white of the snow on the ice made it bright enough for him to see, barely.The ice was frozen four feet thick. The lake was about two and a half miles across at its longest, and about a mile across at its narrowest. It had been below zero for weeks. The ice was freezing deeper and deeper, which caused pressure in the ice to increase to a point that would create fissures, and occasionally ruptures. Usually this happened near shore, but could, and did, occur anywhere on the lake. He stood out on the ice, and just as he was about to go back into the warmth of the fish shack, he was overwhelmed by the total silence around him. It felt like the air around him was pressurized and pushing in on him, like even his thoughts were muffled. He could hear the urgent rasp of his breath (and see it in dense plumes). His steps made twist-crunch sounds on the snow, but if he stopped and held his breath he was the only thing alive in the whole cold universe. His heartbeat chanted lub-dub in his left ear. \n\nHe felt the crack before he heard it, subsonic. A pressure crack in the thick ice had formed and started to run. Low and grumbling, it came towards him. It took a full twenty seconds for it to pass off to his right, like a train. The glacial groan Doppler-shifted subtly as it went. \n\nIt was gone. He was alone once more on the silence of a frozen lake, in the middle of a wilderness, with only his lub-dub heart. In between the beats there was nothing. Nothing.\n\n[[the opposite of being alone|a kiss]]\n[[what can be done with silence|a kiss]]\n[[dense plumes of breath|a kiss]]\n[[occasionally ruptures|a kiss]]\n[[in between the beats|a kiss]]\n
They met through their words, first. She saw his when someone who wasn’t supposed to shared a work-in-progress with her. He saw hers by way of explanation/excuse. Months passed. Then a chance encounter in type led to a series of email conversations that have never ended. When these writers wrote they read between each other’s lines and there were no lies. They read each other closely and the rest is, as they say, history.\n\n[[what he said the first time he saw her in person]]\n[[the reality of the situation vs. how others interpreted]]\n[[the love/hate relationship with blogging]]\n[[how to be a writer]]\n[[ways they’ve written to each other]]
Never. They love their no-right-angles house. They might trade it for a different old house, but, they’d never trade it for a new house of any kind. OK, maybe for the free palatial mansion on the private island, but, within the realm of the possible, there’s no new house they’d trade for their old house. It’s got character, and it suits them. It’s not too big, not too small, and it reminds them of the imperfections that make the daily worth participating in.\n\n[[right angles are over-rated|a kiss]]\n[[everything is a trade-off|a kiss]]\n[[the realm of the possible|a kiss]]\n[[the imperfections|a kiss]]\n[[the worth of participation in the daily|a kiss]]\n
When he was about ten years old he was camping with his father’s new wife’s family. One of the boys was about his age, one of them was a couple of years older. They were playing with BB guns in the woods, and were not happy with how non-lethal the BBs were, and decided to take out their unhappiness on a big, fat toad they’d caught. They carried the toad to the concrete slab of the boat launch and fired BBs into it from inches away. Over and over and over again. He’d been somewhere else when he heard the noise they were making at their killing. When he came over to find out what they were doing he felt full on revulsion for the first time in his life. \n\nHe tried to get them to stop, but they just laughed at him and kept at it. The sound was sickening.\n\nSometime a personality defines itself by what it is. And sometimes it defines by what it is not, by what it refuses to be.\n\n[[if only there were an antidote|a kiss]]\n[[compassion is not weakness|a kiss]]\n[[weakness is not compassion|a kiss]]\n[[what makes a man|a kiss]]\n[[the definitive defining moment|a kiss]]\n
He doesn’t understand vegetarians. Why do they hate vegetables so much that they kill and eat them to the exclusion of everything else? He figures if we weren’t supposed to eat animals they wouldn’t be made out of meat. But what he really doesn’t understand is people who will eat a hamburger but won’t eat a heart or a lung or a kidney. What’s the difference? Once you’re eating dead flesh, how do you rationalize only eating certain cuts of it? Ridiculous.\n\n[[how the position of the light affects the shadows cast|a kiss]]\n[[the exclusion of everything else|a kiss]]\n[[not all chains of connection are logical|a kiss]]\n[[a story about the difference told through regular reminders of the sameness|a kiss]]\n[[the structure of rationalization|a kiss]]\n
The bully was no bully at all, just a little guy who’d learned to lead with some aggression to keep from being taken advantage of for his size. He tore the railing off in a fit of frustration. The railing was a pipe that sheared off so cleanly the edge was scalpel sharp. When the next person came rush rounding the corner and glanced his upper forearm against it it made a laceration so deep it wouldn’ve required stitches, if it weren’t for the fact that the bully pulled him into his room and applied butterfly bandages and antiseptics like a trained nurse.\n\n[[things are not always as they seem|a kiss]]\n[[learning to lead|a kiss]]\n[[seems are not always as they think|a kiss]]\n[[a different kind of fit|a kiss]]\n[[if it weren’t for the fact|a kiss]]\n
Her eyes. Her yes. Her hands, her lub-dub heart, her breath slipping into the shallow of sleep. The play of smoke in a shaft of light. A well-turned phrase. A well-phrased turn. The gloaming. When he thinks of her. Text messages from her. Emails from her. Looks from her. Her. How easy it is to turn almost anything in English into something dirty. When the outside air is below zero, dry, and the sun is blazing the world colorless. Squirrels. When she melts into him. \n\n[[of turns and phrases and wells|a kiss]]\n[[when he thinks of her|a kiss]]\n[[how easy it is to turn|a kiss]]\n[[the result of living in a world with so many opportunities for smiling|a kiss]]\n[[what makes her smile|a kiss]]\n
It’s one of the greatest feelings he’s ever known. It’s as close to flying as he ever wanted to get. First it’s the speed, then it’s the wind, then it’s the blood in your muscles, then it’s the stride that becomes effortless, then it’s the breath that punctuates the sky, then it’s the incandescent warm from within that hints of immortality, then it’s the atavistic lymbic music of a biological machine doing that which it optimized to do. then there is the thought that is no-thought, the wordlessness.\n\n[[the moment of effortlessness|a kiss]]\n[[the incandescent warm|a kiss]]\n[[the biological machine|a kiss]]\n[[the thought that is no-thought|a kiss]]\n[[the wordlessness|a kiss]]\n
Mango likes to lick the insides of plastic bags. Mango isn’t very bright, but she is very clever. Someone broke a wine glass. The pieces got picked up and put in a plastic grocery bag, the handles tied together. The bag got left out on the counter in case another piece showed up. Mango got up on the counter. And figured out how to nose the bag open enough to get her head inside. In the process of her cleverness she got her head and one leg/shoulder through one of the plastic bag’s handles. When someone came into the kitchen, Mango bolted because she knew she wasn’t supposed to be up on the counter. Because her head and one leg were through the handle of the bag, when she leaped off the counter she was followed by the half-open bag of broken glass. The crash so close behind her when she landed launched her at full-speed through the house, each bounding step just narrowly ahead of her shattering follower. She eventually stopped running when the sound of broken glass had dimished because the bag was finally empty. \n\n[[Mango and the counter]]\n[[the plastic grocery bags]]\n[[it’s like a classic nightmare]]\n[[the clean-up]]\n[[how long before she was back at it]]
Some other style of glass might not have experienced the total shatterdemalion breakdown these did. But these were fancy, super-thin-walled, and stemless. The price of grace is fragility, or, perhaps, there is a certain fragility necessary for grace. These glasses were graceful and tough enough under normal circumstances, but just not made to survive the slide, the fall, the concrete steps. \n\n[[another kind of implosion|a kiss]]\n[[where all trade-offs overlap|a kiss]]\n[[the price of grace|a kiss]]\n[[the grace of fragility|a kiss]]\n[[when structures break down, what can be made from the pieces|a kiss]]\n
Her mom bought it for them. A more appropriate gift is impossible to imagine. It is a geeky enough machine to appeal to him, and fluffs out the joydrops with sufficient aplomb to appeal to her. Though they’ve never actually had the thought, it could be said that their combined goal in life is to function in the world in a way that could be considered analogous to the way a bubble machine does.\n\n[[something else that appeals to him|a kiss]]\n[[something else that appeals to her|a kiss]]\n[[sufficient aplomb|a kiss]]\n[[like a bubble machine|a kiss]]\n[[their combined goal|a kiss]]\n
The other fence repair they need to make is on the other side of the yard. At some point in the distant past, when the church up the hill was a going concern and the strip of land that runs alongside the driveway was used as overflow parking, someone had backed a pick-up truck (by the height of it) into the fence and bent the top pipe inward far enough to crimp. They need to get that fixed, fence a ten foot stretch (with a gate), and fence a three foot stretch (closing off access to one side of the house) and put in a fence to close off access to the other side of the house, and then the backyard will be completely fenced in and ready for the dog she wants. And the duck.\n\n[[ways of enclosing things|a kiss]]\n[[a going concern|a kiss]]\n[[things that bend but do not break|a kiss]]\n[[a story about fences and gates|a kiss]]\n[[how to fix what ain’t broken|a kiss]]\n
cupid’s bow\nthe things that keep your mouth from fraying at the edges\nkinda wormy lookin’\npuckery pink pleasures\nsmoochers\n\n[[birds don’t have lips]]\n[[another way to keep your mouth from fraying]]\n[[a worm memory]]\n[[an image of lips]]\n[[different kinds of kisses she gives him]]\n
Inspiration is breathing in. Exhalation is breathing out. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in the clean, breath out the dirty, breathe in the light, breathe out the darkness. Breathe in inspiration. Breathe in, in inspiration. \n\n[[class in meditation from high school]]\n[[inspiration and writing]]\n[[the power of positive thinking]]\n[[a constant source of inspiration]]\n[[how to be inspired]]
He calls it Judo teaching, because she has a real gift for taking a student’s misdirected (sometimes downright hostile) energy and redirecting it (with no loss of momentum) in more productive directions.\n\nOther teachers in similar situations would feel the need to put a sudden HALT to the student’s misdirected energies. Tear them down and get them to start from scratch along the better path.\n\nShe just pivots and points and they’re off. \n\nOf course, this is just an analogy, what she really does is much more complex. \n\n[[a real gift|a kiss]]\n[[redirection|a kiss]]\n[[no loss of momentum|a kiss]]\n[[the better path|a kiss]]\n[[just an analogy|a kiss]]\n
The silvered surface of a mirror is very thin and fragile. If the piece of glass that’s silvered is scored and broken to cut it to shape, the newly exposed edges need to be re-sealed. If the edges aren’t properly sealed, a creeping blackness will begin at the edges and spread blotchily throughout, eventually making the mirror ugly and completely useless.\n\n[[his grandfather used to say that lips were for keeping your mouth from fraying at the edges|a kiss]]\n[[an exploration of fragility|a kiss]]\n[[closed systems need not be simple|a kiss]]\n[[sealed with|a kiss]]\n[[another kind of promise|a kiss]]\n
It looks very old. It never ran right, usually not at all. He commented on it from time to time, she said it’d always been that way. He vowed to look into it, maybe take it to a clock repair shop to have it worked on, out of respect for its antiquity. Eventually, after a couple of years, he did. He pulled the clock off the wall and found it’s a cheap AAA battery movement. Even replacing the battery didn’t help, because the movement is too weak to pull the hands around past 8. The clock just dies at twenty minutes to nine while the batteries bleed.\n\n[[Plan B]]\n[[benefits of a broken clock]]\n[[when the pendulum moves]]\n[[a fact about time]]\n[[the importance of fighting entropy]]\n
The outermost dock post was a pipe that was bent out towards the middle of the lake. If you trimmed the wicks right on a pair of M-80s you could light the short one and drop it in the pipe then light the long one and drop it in the pipe right after such that when the short-wicked one went off it would launch the long-wicked one out over the lake. Best-case it would make a BOOM that bounced off the lake and echoed with a force easily ten times what you’d expect from an M-80. Worst-case it would land in the water out in the lake and blow up silently but with a dramatic KA-burbling of water. If you were a sibling, you didn’t want to be out in a boat at about M-80 shooting range or you were risking being shot at.\n\n[[bent out toward the middle|a kiss]]\n[[all in the timing|a kiss]]\n[[with practice your aim will improve|a kiss]]\n[[a matched pair|a kiss]]\n[[big bada boom|a kiss]]\n
The chair cushions are somewhere in the forgotten chambers of the basement. They are nice cushions, but, when it rains they soak up and hold onto the water in a way that makes sitting on them, even after a couple of days of sunshine, an unpleasant experience. First they make a noise not dissimilar to flatulence, and then follows that up with a sound like a bladder has suddenly let loose, and then, when you’re standing up to deny all this, it becomes apparent that you also look exactly like your bladder has let loose.\n\n[[how many times this happened]]\n[[other unforseen patio upkeep issues]]\n[[what will happen to the cushions now]]\n[[the chairs without cushions]]\n[[why he voted for this set]]
The kitten that got there first took more risk for only a very small advantage in feeding. The kitten that came last took the least risk, but, was able to eat the least amount of food. The kittens that arrived in the middle got nearly as much food as the first kitten, and much more than the last kitten, and had significantly less risk.\n\nThe end result over time is that the bold kitten grew strongest, the middle kittens grew to be healthy, and the timidest kitten remained slightly undernourished.\n\n[[virtues aren’t the opposite of vices, they’re the middle ground between opposing vices|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of finding the balance|a kiss]]\n[[of course, no one really thinks in these evaluative terms at the time, the act takes primacy over the theory|a kiss]]\n[[in an economy of abundance, there’s always at least some|a kiss]]\n[[fortune favors the bold|a kiss]]\n
They came home from dinner out one night and there were cop cars and an ambulance out front of the building next door. Turns out one of the tenants had gotten themselves beaten up pretty badly. The attackers beat him bloody with his own guitar.\n\nThe landlord of the place (the slumlord of the place) made a point of coming over to the fence the next day and gumflapping the propaganda version of the night before’s events. According to him, the Internet was to blame. The tenant had been in a chatroom for enthusiasts of guitar making, and had foolishly mentioned the prescription pain-killers he was taking for a legitimate medical condition. And the people who came and beat him up with his own guitar were people from the Internet, coming to steal his prescription medications.\n\nThey believed the story about as much as you do.\n\n[[one story, many versions|a kiss]]\n[[the primacy of perspective|a kiss]]\n[[the point at which the objective breaks down|a kiss]]\n[[foolish enthusiasm|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of belief|a kiss]]\n
The kittens ended up all over the neighborhood, running wild and occasionally individually circling back to where they were hatched. They still see the black one and the mostly black with a little bit of white one. The others migrated further away and are living happily ever after out of view. That’s their hope, anyway.\n\n[[circling back|a kiss]]\n[[the magnetic pull of home|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of happily ever after|a kiss]]\n[[when you close your eyes and hope|a kiss]]\n
Make a mirror with a built-in digital camera that could be manually triggered, or, better, was motion activated and would take and store pictures every few seconds while it was in use. It would be a boon for home security, and, would be a great set of images to review occasionally, looking for good ones that you didn’t suspect were being taken at the time they were taken.\n\n[[a series of snapshots|a kiss]]\n[[a narrative of fragmentation|a kiss]]\n[[being caught unawares|a kiss]]\n[[frozen moments|a kiss]]\n[[rememories on a reel|a kiss]]\n
His father had a bad stretch of health that was brought on mostly by a lack of any one physician overseeing his total care. A mix of medicines fought with each other and took it out on his body. He’s better now, and, while that’s a good thing, it’s also a bad thing. Because he’s better know he thinks he’ll be better forever. The son wishes he’d recognize that he’s more likely to get worse at some point than he is to live forever. Instead, the father continues to live as well as alone in the middle of absolute nowhere. He’s better. For now. It’s the tomorrows that worry.\n\n[[a mix of medicines|a kiss]]\n[[better now|a kiss]]\n[[the myth of forever|a kiss]]\n[[the tomorrows|a kiss]]\n[[the thing about todays|a kiss]]\n
They’ve been planning the next trip for too long. It’s a paradox. Their lives are so full that there’s hardly ever room for doing things on the spur of the moment, so they have to plan things far ahead. But planning things far ahead is difficult to do when trying to organize a group to go anywhere. The reality is that they end up with a life fully scheduled by things easy to schedule and only occasionally are able to fit something random in if the stars all line up. They love it when it happens, but wish it could happen more often.\n\n[[the best laid plans|a kiss]]\n[[a paradox|a kiss]]\n[[lives so full|a kiss]]\n[[the reality is|a kiss]]\n[[they love it when it happens|a kiss]]\n
About a year after his grandfather died, he was in a grocery store and saw limburger cheese in the dairy case and remembered how much his grandfather had loved an occasional limburger and onion sandwich. Having never eaten one himself, he figured now’s as good a time as any to have one, in memory of his grandfather. So he bought the limburger and he bought a Bermuda onion, and he bought some rye bread. When he opened the cheese he thought Wooof! That smells like a foot, a really nasty foot. He wasn’t sure he could go through with it. But he sliced the onion, and its noxiousness cut through the cheese fumes and he built the sandwich. Then he took a bite. And he learned that something magical happens when you put these two powerful pungeants in the same bite: they meld and fuse and become something new. Like peanut butter and jelly, like rum and cola, like cookies and milk, something happens that makes it work.\n\n[[how his grandfather died]]\n[[the bad ground beef story]]\n[[the corn from the garden]]\n[[the tin lizzy]]\n[[the dogs]]
The only appropriate response is to feel the loss of leaving and being left and begin, as soon as possible/practical to look forward to the next meeting again. It sounds easier than it is. So much is easier said than done that one begins to wonder, until faced with a thing easier done than said.\n\n[[to feel the loss|a kiss]]\n[[and begin|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between the possible and the practical|a kiss]]\n[[easier said than done|a kiss]]\n[[easier done than said|a kiss]]\n
If his personality had to be an onion he’d have a hard time choosing. Garlic, probably, because it’s got a thin skin, but doesn’t peel down the way the metaphor would like it to peel down, and it’ll roast to a sweet goodness, its absorbed into the skin if touched, and it oozes out the pores for days after its ingested. It comes on strong chopped, minced or crushed.\n\n[[sweet goodness|a kiss]]\n[[absorbed into the skin|a kiss]]\n[[released through the pores|a kiss]]\n[[melts in the mouth|a kiss]]\n[[the linger of breath|a kiss]]\n
The gloxinia did pretty well for a little while, but then it just didn’t do well on the shelf in the window where it ended up. Maybe it didn’t like having the shelf above, maybe it didn’t like the light, maybe it got over watered, maybe it didn’t get enough water, they were never really able to figure it out. \n\n[[a litany of maybes|a kiss]]\n[[the task of keeping something alive|a kiss]]\n[[so many variables and fools that we are we imagine we can control them all with intuition|a kiss]]\n[[but the container remains to remind|a kiss]]\n[[what can be made from the pieces|a kiss]]\n
We are different people in different situations, and each of those different people is part of a complex collective of personalities in potential that manifest through time and place and are collected together along an arc of time which presumes a narrative because of how our awareness stitches individual moments together into the appearance of continuity.\n\n[[experience is not fluid, it is sporadic|a kiss]]\n[[continguous episodes are not necessarily continuous|a kiss]]\n[[who we are is a matter of where we are and who we are with (or without)|a kiss]]\n[[who is a movie not a photograph|a kiss]]\n[[“be” is a verb|a kiss]]\n
Yes, the girl in the poem came back. Again.\n\n[[his girl|a kiss]]\n[[his poem|a kiss]]\n[[his yes|a kiss]]\n[[his again|a kiss]]\n[[her yessness|a kiss]]\n
She has recently developed a strange attraction to miniature intruments. It may have started with wanting to make her own cigar box ukelele, or, it might have been the toy piano he said it was okay to buy after one particularly nice bonus check. Now she daydreams of concertinas and kazoos, castanets and the performance of a full but tiny orchestra.\n\n[[a strange attraction|a kiss]]\n[[it may have started|a kiss]]\n[[with wanting|a kiss]]\n[[bonus|a kiss]]\n[[a recurring daydream|a kiss]]\n
The year after the pool died there was nothing there but the bald, mostly flat spot where it had been. \n\nNow there’s two “square foot garden” plots in which she grows tomato plants, peppers, several lettuces, and carrots. They grow more than they can eat from those little plots, and that’s saying something because they’re so busy all the time that no one is giving the plants their proper tending. \n\nSeeds are astonishing.\n\n[[you plant a seed|a kiss]]\n[[in fertile ground|a kiss]]\n[[give it water and sunlight|a kiss]]\n[[patience and attention|a kiss]]\n[[and you harvest a bounty|a kiss]]\n
It’s small, perhaps a quarter the size of his pinkie fingernail. It happened while he was slicing tomatoes on a commercial meat slicer. If you use the plastic guard, you can only go so far. If you use your fingers you can get another one to two slices per tomato. This was in the days before the metal mesh gloves, and also the very reason why metal mesh gloves were invented.\n\n[[half the size of a pinkie fingernail|a kiss]]\n[[only go so far|a kiss]]\n[[where greed gets you|a kiss]]\n[[the very reason|a kiss]]\n[[a story about slicing thin|a kiss]]\n
“Just lucky, I guess.” She doesn’t buy this. She secretly suspects he’s played all the sports enough to attain some level of mastery. \n\n[[lucky|a kiss]]\n[[she does buy this|a kiss]]\n[[no secrets|a kiss]]\n[[enough to attain|a kiss]]\n[[a story about a guess|a kiss]]\n
Standing in the long driveway alongside the house, which is nearly at the top of the hill, looking down over the valley at the fireworks as near as the next door neighbor and as far as across the valley, and all points in between. He stood behind her, holding her, as they both watched and ooh-ed and ahh-ed.\n\n[[at the top of the hill|a kiss]]\n[[down over the valley|a kiss]]\n[[the spray of fireworks|a kiss]]\n[[points in between|a kiss]]\n[[ooh, ahh|a kiss]]\n
Dominating that room is an old coal stove that doesn’t work anymore, but everyone asks if it does. It’s big enough to heat a room ten times the size of the room it’s in. They can’t imagine what it was like when it was in active use, the person must have felt like they were in a sauna and the rest of the house must have frozen in the winter. It’s a beloved useless hulk though, and, they’ve never seriously considered removing it in order to make the room 30% larger. It’s wicked cool to look at, and the cats seem to like it.\n\n[[big enough to heat a room|a kiss]]\n[[they imagine|a kiss]]\n[[central sources of heat|a kiss]]\n[[beloved and useless|a kiss]]\n[[a permanent fixture|a kiss]]\n
The truth about lies is that we all tell them, we all believe them, we are all able to make it through our days because of them. From little lies to big lies, anyone who claims they don’t tell lies and/or that they don’t believe any lies is the biggest liar of them all.\n\n[[how to make it through a day|a kiss]]\n[[the be cause of because|a kiss]]\n[[from little|a kiss]]\n[[to big|a kiss]]\n[[of them all|a kiss]]\n
Mulch replenishment happens at an astonishing rate. Mulch seems to evaporate in the sun, after first fading from the rich lovely dark tones you loved when you bought it to the full range of colors present in cat vomit. He doesn’t understand where it all goes. It’s too heavy to blow away, not even the skunks would actually eat it, and the stuff isn’t cheap. He secretly suspects it’s made of some material that actually sublimates.\n\n[[a parable of replenishment|a kiss]]\n[[a map of the things he understands|a kiss]]\n[[a map of the things he doesn’t understand|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things too heavy to blow away|a kiss]]\n[[he secretly suspects|a kiss]]\n
She wrote down every gift she ever gave, every gift she ever got, every card she ever sent, every card she received. She kept track of what she ate, and all the calories. Blood sugar levels. In the glove compartment of her car was a notebook that contained an entry for every gallon of gas she ever put in the car—each entry included the date, the location, the mileage, the price per gallon, the number of gallons and the total amount paid. Rubber-banded into the back of that book was a stack that contained every receipt. She kept track of every medication she took, every person she visited, every person who visited her. It was either her way of recording, or her way of remembering.\n\n[[writing it all down|a kiss]]\n[[keeping track|a kiss]]\n[[seeing the shape of the record|a kiss]]\n[[details, details|a kiss]]\n[[a way of remembering|a kiss]]\n
The birdfeeder is located right outside the window over the kitchen sink, so it and its visitors can be watched while washing dishes. It’s got a metal hat, a blown glass cylinder for a body, and a metal bottom that is connected by a long center bolt to the hat. The blown glass is a clear base glass with cobalt blue frit streaks in a densely packed lazy upward spiral.\n\n[[the peoplefeeder|a kiss]]\n[[the center bolt|a kiss]]\n[[a densely packed|a kiss]]\n[[lazy upward|a kiss]]\n[[spiral|a kiss]]
The street was dark and empty. It was snowing. As she drove away, he was drawn into the middle of the road to keep line-of-sight on the dwindle of her to the last possible moment. It was snowing. He watched through the rear window of her car for the last glimpse of her. It was snowing. He stood in the street, immobile, after she’d rounded the corner out of sight. It was snowing. Muffle of a city being emblanketed.\n\n[[drawn into the middle|a kiss]]\n[[the first possible moment|a kiss]]\n[[the last possible moment|a kiss]]\n[[all possible moments|a kiss]]\n[[what a moment means|a kiss]]\n
Kosher salt is another relatively late in life discovery. How he managed to avoid the knowledge of it in the years he was cooking professionally is a mystery.\n\nIf you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal, it’s just salt?” then you’re either in for a real treat, or, you’re a person who eats to live rather than lives to eat. \n\nSalt is the most basic of all the spices and seasonings around the world. Food without salt is like life without food. And just as there’s a wide range and variety of foods, there’s a wide range and variety of salts. Iodized salt is the iceberg lettuce of salts, the polyester of salts. There’s sea salt, Kosher salt, fleur de sel from several different unique regions, and they all have different characteristics.\n\n[[how knowledge is avoided|a kiss]]\n[[a story about a mystery|a kiss]]\n[[basic as in at base, not as in without variation|a kiss]]\n[[with variation|a kiss]]\n[[on the range and variety of a basic essential|a kiss]]\n
Certain kinds of blinky lights are still tacky, even in this near-tack-free zone. It’s the health hazard ones that could give passing motorists epileptic seizures that are the most noisome. \n\nThey also both draw the tacky line at red, white, and blue design motifs ported over into other holidays, especially Christmas, which he sarcastically refers to as $mas.\n\n[[the importance of having boundaries|a kiss]]\n[[the effects of keeping within those boundaries|a kiss]]\n[[when it’s appropriate to ignore those boundaries|a kiss]]\n[[how boundaries shift over time|a kiss]]\n[[how time shifts over boundaries|a kiss]]\n
lipsticky glissness\nlipsa partly\nmoist of breath on\nbreath on\nher sparkleskin\nhis bristle a thistle\n\n[[words that might describe the shade of lipstick she prefers]]\n[[words their mouths could be forming]]\n[[humiditease]]\n[[the benefits of breathing]]\n[[other interactions of light and skin]]\n[[why he’s self-conscious of his mouth]]
The lie about truths is that there are any truths at all. There are rules and conditions but this is not the same thing as truth. We are brought up to believe that truth is beauty and beauty truth, we are taught that truth is worth seeking, we are made to believe that truth is something that can be found because it’s fixed and knowable. The truth will set you free, the truth is out there, the truth is told we’re told when it’s closer the truth to say that the truth is in the telling.\n\nAll of life’s great truths are paradoxes. All generalizations are false. \n\n[[worth seeking|a kiss]]\n[[something that can be found|a kiss]]\n[[unfixed, unknowable|a kiss]]\n[[the telling|a kiss]]\n[[the way paradox encapsulates but does not contain|a kiss]]\n
He has a congenital heart murmur. Which means he was born with a heart that occasionally adds in extra sounds as a result of turbulent blood flow sufficient to produce audible noise. A noisy heart. A sloshly heart. A turbulent heart. It’s an innocent murmur, though, and is of no risk.\n\n[[circulation and recirculation|a kiss]]\n[[improvisation upon a rhythm|a kiss]]\n[[a story about turbulence|a kiss]]\n[[something extra|a kiss]]\n[[what makes his heart skip a beat|a kiss]]\n
Who doesn’t love picking a dandelion gone to seed and blowing the white parasols out into a breeze? That’s the best analogy he can come up with to try and describe what it feels like when she smiles at him. It’s as if his heart were a dandelion gone to seed and her smile the exhalation that disperses the habituations that have encrusted him and kept him from seeing the color of colors.\n\n[[out into a breeze|a kiss]]\n[[what it feels like when she smiles|a kiss]]\n[[the heart of his heart|a kiss]]\n[[dispersal|a kiss]]\n[[the color of colors|a kiss]]\n
There’s a step down. The radiator doesn’t work. The window doesn’t have a screen. The door doesn’t close all the way. The light switch isn’t inside the room, it’s on the wall over your left shoulder as you face the door going in. The floor molding has a tendency to fall off.\n\n[[a step up|a kiss]]\n[[a source of heat|a kiss]]\n[[an open door policy|a kiss]]\n[[the light|a kiss]]\n[[making perfection from imperfection|a kiss]]\n
Her hip is a perfect fit for his relaxed hand to fall against as he sinks into sleep. He can hang on without effort and let go with ease and feel, every time, that melt together where the boundary between becomes blurred.\n\n[[a barrier bridge|a kiss]]\n[[how to hang on|a kiss]]\n[[how to let go|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of sinking that isn’t sleep|a kiss]]\n[[melt|a kiss]]\n
Jackpot. How did I get so lucky? She really loves me. Don’t let it end. Yes.\n\n[[another way to spell yes|a kiss]]\n[[how he got so lucky|a kiss]]\n[[each time it ends|a kiss]]\n[[a story about making it last|a kiss]]\n[[a love poem|a kiss]]\n
Sometimes he does, but not on purpose. There’s just no upside to doing something she doesn’t like. Rule #1 is keep momma happy, if momma is happy, everybody is happy. He was born at night, but not last night.\n\n[[how to keep her happy|a kiss]]\n[[Rule #2|a kiss]]\n[[at night|a kiss]]\n[[in the morning|a kiss]]\n[[at lunch|a kiss]]\n
It’s a koi. Expertly mottled to hide the tattoo that it covers. The eye is masterfully done, as are the whiskers, the scales, and the tail. The koi has a reputation for swimming against the stream and stirring up the complacent bottom.\n\n[[to hide|a kiss]]\n[[swimming against a stream|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of stirring up|a kiss]]\n[[a thing that stands for another thing|a kiss]]\n[[the impermanence of the permanent|a kiss]]\n
For the popcorn. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Well, it’s not actually an exaggeration, it’s more of a synecdoche. The popcorn stands for the whole class of things that make the going to the theater experience worth the price. The smell of the popcorn more than the popcorn itself, since the theaters all make the stupid mistake of serving up popcorn that isn’t even fresh most of the time. Come on, how hard is it to make popcorn frequently enough that it’s always fresh? The bigger screen is nice, the total immersion, the inability to hit “pause”, the crowd sense, all of these things contribute to the actual meaning of “for the popcorn.”\n\n[[a bit of an exaggeration|a kiss]]\n[[worth the price|a kiss]]\n[[the essence of the thing|a kiss]]\n[[the overall experience|a kiss]]\n[[text and subtext|a kiss]]\n
Roses are over-rated, the lazy man’s choice, they’re the iceberg lettuce of the flower world, the polyester, the pasteurized process american cheese food, the opposite of everything a real flower would aspire to be.\n\n[[the upside to choosing substance over style|a kiss]]\n[[the junction of aspiration and inspiration|a kiss]]\n[[an unreal flower|a kiss]]\n[[another thing they agree on|a kiss]]\n[[what every flower aspires to be|a kiss]]\n
Most of them will go unlistened to, but, they are nice to have around regardless. Some may become craft projects, some will end up at the Salvation Army store in a binge of weekend cleaning, some will get taken by her daughter when she moves out, some will be given away as gifts. The really good ones and the really odd ones will stay a permanent part of their collection.\n\n[[if a story is told in the digital forest and no one is there to read it does it still have a happy ending?|a kiss]]\n[[the process of being defined by what you’re surrounded by|a kiss]]\n[[some may some will some is the sum of all somes|a kiss]]\n[[everything that can happen will|a kiss]]\n[[the permanent collection|a kiss]]\n
''Midway''\n\nWe’re at the Bloomsburg County fair, my girl tells me: “I\nwant that little yellow stuffed duck, Danny, and I am\nnot going to leave here without it. Now quit your sipping\nand win it for me.” I take two brand new dollars from\nmy wallet and whisper confidentially to the\ngame’s third-shift barker, “How much for the duck?” Her coffee\neyes blink up, she says, “Little one? Two bucks.” A sly cup\nof the hand, a drop, a pass, and I’m the owner of\nthe little yellow stuffed duck. “Pardon me, is this your\nduck, lady?” I ask. My girl grins to wink her right eye.\n\n[[the last word of each line|a kiss]]\n[[another true story|a kiss]]\n[[a drop, a pass|a kiss]]\n[[can you put a price on happiness?|a kiss]]\n[[the legend of the grin wink|a kiss]]\n
Under the cabinet is a two-person table and two chairs (all three painted white, like the cabinet) that they occasionally use to eat breakfast or lunch. But not often. The cabinet looms so large over the table that you can’t really sit at the table without tilting your head about forty-five degrees off of vertical. Not a very comfortable way to eat. Or, you can sit with your chair sideways, but then you have to have your head half turned constantly in order to converse with the other person. Also not a very comfortable way to eat.\n\nBut the table just seems so happy there that they leave it, and, struggle through a meal there just so it doesn’t feel too lonely.\n\nMostly the table is there for decoration, to hold the fruit bowl and the napkin holder, and because it contains a drawer that is the house’s official junk drawer.\n\n[[accomodating gestures|a kiss]]\n[[life is messy|a kiss]]\n[[the things we do to avoid the lonely|a kiss]]\n[[there’s no dancing in a life without whimsy|a kiss]]\n[[things can be over sorted|a kiss]]\n
He calls daisies her cheering section. They are one of her (many) favorites. Smiling happy faces that turn themselves to follow their sun. At home in a crowd but sometimes found alone, as well. Bumblebees go drunk at the knees to be around them.\n\n[[something to cheer for|a kiss]]\n[[the turn of faces towards warmth|a kiss]]\n[[the turn of faces towards light|a kiss]]\n[[drunk at the knees|a kiss]]\n[[around and around them|a kiss]]\n
The chairs without cushions are plenty comfortable, two of them even rock. The only real drawback is the diamond mesh pattern that gets press-molded into the clothing and skin of people who sit in the chairs for more than a few moments. The impressions go deep, but just short of irritatingly so. It can be itchy as the blood comes back into that compressed flesh, but no permanent harm results.\n\n[[another kind of drawback|a kiss]]\n[[press-molded|a kiss]]\n[[into the skin|a kiss]]\n[[more than a few moments|a kiss]]\n[[the impressions go deep|a kiss]]\n
A friend of theirs who is really into The Hold Steady told them about a really cheap and nearby show so they all went. It was the best live show they’d seen in recent memory, maybe ever. Didn’t know any of the music going in, but knew coming out that they’d be familiar with all of it soon. The DVD came with a CD of live music, so they figured the DVD was video of the concert that was recorded to make the CD. It wasn’t. It’s more of an extended promotional film, with shots of the band on tour and short clips of various performances, hijinks and brief interview answers. Worth watching once, but not likely to be watched again.\n\n[[what’s always lost in the translation]]\n[[the music / lyric separation]]\n[[planning the next trip]]\n[[the guy jumping on her toes]]\n[[where their musical tastes overlap]]
The path gets overgrown because they’re both too busy to properly tend to it, and, because they’re both too busy to spend much time treading on it. So the path gets overgrown.\n\nBut, they’re working on that. They’re learning to say “no” to the things that take them away from their time together, and away from tending their paths, both real and metaphorical.\n\n[[a proper tending|a kiss]]\n[[some of the wyas they’re working on that|a kiss]]\n[[their time together|a kiss]]\n[[their paths|a kiss]]\n[[both real and metaphorical|a kiss]]\n
There was a wooden bank in the basement, below the wheel of fortune built around a bicycle wheel (it made a noise like a clothespinned playing card in the spokes, but it wasn’t a card in the spokes, it was the picker in the nails around the perimeter). The bank contained nothing but bicentennial quarters, and was nearly full. It took both hands to pick up, it was so heavy. It would break a toe if you weren’t careful. His grandfather built it, and filled it. It was (and is) bare three-quarter inch plywood, but every edge where wood comes together is tongue-in-groove. Like everything he made, it’s well-made. Many would say over-made for what it is; they would be wrong.\n\n[[wheel of fortune|a kiss]]\n[[things that don’t fit in a bank|a kiss]]\n[[impossible to over-make|a kiss]]\n[[breaking open a bank|a kiss]]\n[[both hands|a kiss]]\n
It should be called the Tree from Hell. Holy rip those things can multiply and grow faster than bamboo. Figure out how to run cars on them and all the world’s energy problems will be solved in a single summer.\n\n[[only thing worse]]\n[[when things are called what they aren’t]]\n[[they’ve gone too far]]\n[[the frustrating part]]\n[[entropy]]
Oop, lookout, outa the way, comin’ through, skunks on the prowl people, watchit, watchit, mmm grubs.\n\n[[you probably need to hear the voice]]\n[[the Cooper’s billboard]]\n[[the duck on TV]]\n[[the bit of fuzz that started it all]]\n[[funny on demand]]
You’re not done until you’re done cleaning up. You clean your tools and put them away, you clean your work area, you clean your station, you wipe it all down before you can relax into pride in your work. You can’t take pride in something unfinished and you’re not finished until everything is returned to the start state. And then you start again.\n\n[[beginning middle end|a kiss]]\n[[middle end beginning|a kiss]]\n[[end beginning middle|a kiss]]\n[[the start state|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of starting again|a kiss]]\n
He copes just fine. Maybe a little too well, even, judging by his waistline. He’s not starving, he’s not going hungry, he’s not even getting a bit peckish as a result of her preferences. He waits until she’s got an evening class, or her job takes her out of town for a couple of days, or he’s traveling on business, and then he ticks off the items on his list of things he wants but hasn’t had in a while. Mexican food, pizza, and Chinese food tend to head the list. Steak, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Thai food are others that sometimes make it to the list. She’ll have Long John Silvers with him once a year, but that’s her limit. His is more like twice a year. Coping is just a matter of planning ahead, and that’s something he’s really good at.\n\n[[he’s a listmaker|a kiss]]\n[[or, more accurately, a maker of nested lists|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of saying it right|a kiss]]\n[[the conviction that it’s better to fail to say it right than to make no attempt at all|a kiss]]\n[[something he’s really good at|a kiss]]\n
The photos on the piano have a way of gradually being changed out, slowly, almost imperceptibly over time. There’s a visual spray of them, like a field of wildflowers in bloom. One changes out, then maybe another. And without his noticing it, it’s phased into a new mosaic of their life together.\n\nShe has no idea how much he loves her for this.\n\n[[the accumulation of gradual changes|a kiss]]\n[[the process of blooming|a kiss]]\n[[pastiche, mosaic, collage, can bricolage|a kiss]]\n[[one way he hints at how much he loves her for this|a kiss]]\n[[then maybe another|a kiss]]\n
A wedge of a wooden room, a narrow louvered door and a ceiling that angled down at a steep slope, the room could only be entered sideways, by making a quarter turn to the left. Along the left wall were shelves his grandfather had custom-built himself to hold his own canned goods. Tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, relish, sauerkraut, ketchup, pickles, okra, cauliflower. Hundreds of jars. It smelled of cedar and dust and vinegar.\n\n[[angled down a steep slope|a kiss]]\n[[similar to a wedge-shaped room|a kiss]]\n[[also from the garden|a kiss]]\n[[cedar, dust, vinegar|a kiss]]\n[[custom-built|a kiss]]\n
a bathroom\na guest room\na daughter’s bedroom\na master bedroom\n\n[[how to recognize the bathroom]]\n[[hanging in the window of the guestroom]]\n[[on the molding of the doorway to the daughter’s room]]\n[[what flipping the bird means in the master bedroom]]\n
Moving into her own apartment. She’s been looking forward to it for years, in some ways training for it her whole life. Can’t wait to arrange everything the way she wants it in her own space. And is taking the cat Mango with her when she goes, because an apartment without a cat can never be a home. \n\nAll she needs now is a job. Though to get a job she’ll need a car. Though to get a car she’ll need to get her driver’s license. Though to get her driver’s license she’ll need to spend time away from friends and practicing.\n\n[[first things first|a kiss]]\n[[the arrangement of a life|a kiss]]\n[[a place for everything and everything in its place|a kiss]]\n[[details, details|a kiss]]\n[[what’s important is the big picture|a kiss]]\n
Some kinds of inflection just don’t translate into the written. He has a knack for improvising appropriate voices for animals doing things that make you question what the hell they’re thinking. He puts words and voice together to indicate what he thinks they might be thinking. It’s always unplanned, totally unscripted, and usually pretty funny. The voice suits both the animal and the nature of its thoughts. If you ask him to repeat it, you’ve got about a 50/50 chance of him being able to do on demand what he so effortlessly was able to ad lib.\n\n[[a list of things that don’t translate into the written|a kiss]]\n[[another thing he has a knack for|a kiss]]\n[[what he thinks|a kiss]]\n[[matching form to content|a kiss]]\n[[matching content to form|a kiss]]\n
The list is ancient and legion. In first grade, the librarian who wouldn’t let him check out the “big books”; in fourth grade, the bully who forced him to fight back; the roommates who left in the middle of the night the day before the $1200 phone bill arrived; the drunk at the open mic who used half his time to ridicule a previous reader’s work; and on and on it goes. Today may bring another.\n\n[[how he’s learning to let go|a kiss]]\n[[the best revenge|a kiss]]\n[[how he forgets|a kiss]]\n[[smooths all feathers|a kiss]]\n[[not on the list|a kiss]]\n
He’s only half-joking when he blames the neighborhood’s stray animal levels on her well-intentioned supply train. She’s certainly not the only one in the neighborhood putting out food and water for the increasing population, but, their house has definitely got the cat equivalent of the hobo mark on it somewhere. They’re always seeing animals popping by with a look of expectation on their faces.\n\n[[the importance of planning ahead|a kiss]]\n[[a route|a kiss]]\n[[a secret language of signs|a kiss]]\n[[with a look|a kiss]]\n[[expectation|a kiss]]\n
''Kiss''\n\nHas the hard k of\nfuck suck lick cock,\nthe s of\nsex slip slide soft\nand, of course, the i of\nI light life lift.\n\nSomething isn’t right.\n\nThe i should stay in,\nin with its wish, its sin.\nThe s is safe\nsure still squalid so\nThe off note is the k.\nClose call, closed, cold.\n\nWhen I glisten to\nthe way the word tastes—\nglitter glimmer glints\ngloss glow glide glass glimpse—\nyour lips touching mine\nis a\ngl\niss.\n\n[[mouthing the words|a kiss]]\n[[wording the mouths|a kiss]]\n[[made up words|a kiss]]\n[[in with its wish|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between poetry and prose|a kiss]]\n
He voted for this set because it was all powder-coated metal, so all-weather durable, and, plopping down hard unbreakable, and still comfortable. Two chairs actually rock a bit, and they all have arms. Plus, the cushions just lashed into place, so they could be easily replaced if they got sun-weakened or just old.\n\nHe didn’t want a set they’d have to bring in every winter, or a set they’d have to replace in two years, or a set that would need to be cleaned by anything other than the occasional rain. He’s no fool, and figured on having to replace the umbrella a few times over the course of the life of the patio set, but he wanted to be, overall, as low maintenance and long lasting as possible.\n\n[[that which endures|a kiss]]\n[[unbreakable and still comfortable|a kiss]]\n[[lashed into place|a kiss]]\n[[sun-strengthened, or just young|a kiss]]\n[[the goal of all his plannings ahead|a kiss]]\n
It spits a lot of slippery out in front of it. So, it’s important to put it somewhere exceptionally non-skid, like on sidewalk concrete. Putting it in the storefront doorway on the inside, on the linoleum, creates a surface with the friction equivalent of wet ice on wet ice. Kind of a dangerous combination: a device that spits out hypnotizing sparkly bits that cause people to gaze up and away and not at where they’re walking, and, also, spits out a substance that makes the floor trickyslippy.\n\n[[the importance of traction|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between a surface and a sure face|a kiss]]\n[[hypnotizing sparkly bits|a kiss]]\n[[following things to their source|a kiss]]\n[[a treatise on risk vs benefit ratios|a kiss]]\n
She dreams in symbol stew. Fresh, original, metaphorical in a way that most writer’s can only wish to be. When she relates the events of her dreams it sounds like she’s talking in code about a secret of the universe that would be dangerous to reveal she knows, except to others already in the know. She follows the communication of every dream with “What does that mean?” More often than not they don’t know what it means, exactly, but they know for sure that a grand battle, arrangement, or rearrangement of archetypes has occurred.\n\n[[his dreams|a kiss]]\n[[talking in code|a kiss]]\n[[a secret of the universe|a kiss]]\n[[others in the know|a kiss]]\n[[what that means.|a kiss]]\n
The kitchen. The bedroom. The living room. Hotel rooms. The front sidewalk. The back yard. An art gallery. A garden. A sidewalk. \n\n[[the dip as a lead up|a kiss]]\n[[the dip as a follow up|a kiss]]\n[[it’s a bit like a carnival ride|a kiss]]\n[[it’s a bit like reaching for the brass ring|a kiss]]\n[[it’s a bit like falling|a kiss]]\n
You can think yourself happy. Meaning, you can think yourself into being happy. \n\nWe don’t get to choose everything that happens to us, but we do get to choose how we respond to it.\n\nThe power of positive thinking is not about putting on some fakey veneer of lying joy. It’s about feeling the moments of living to their fullest, the ups and the downs. It’s about sitting down on the floor, among the broken pieces, and weeping, and then asking, “Now, what can we make from the pieces.”\n\n[[thinking himself into another kind of happy|a kiss]]\n[[call and response|a kiss]]\n[[a moment of living|a kiss]]\n[[that full feeling|a kiss]]\n[[what can we make from the pieces?|a kiss]]\n
The neighbor who helped helped without being asked to help, but his help was welcome. \n\nYou could chuck a brick from his backyard to their backyard, but they’re barely on speaking terms. They’re on waving terms; as he drives up the long driveway that runs parallel to their house on his way up to his house they’ll each nod and/or wave.\n\nThis is not because of any unfriendliness between them, it’s just because of the very modern tendency (he blames television, but, then, he blames television for more than even Satan himself could possibly be responsible for) to insulate our lives from our neighbors the same way we insulate our houses from the cold. \n\nThere is no lonely like cold, and there is no cold like lonely. We are wise idiots.\n\n[[a very ancient tendency|a kiss]]\n[[always better than television|a kiss]]\n[[the opposite of the impulse to insulate|a kiss]]\n[[where fear of intimacy begins|a kiss]]\n[[a sparkness in the dark|a kiss]]\n
A really good BLT. or, barring that, a BLT that doesn’t suck. Easily the sandwich he’s seen her order in restaurants most often, though, at other points she typically only steals bits and pieces of bacon. She’s more into the toast and the lettuce and the tomato. She’s not a big mayonnaise fan, it’s okay if it’s not all glommy.\n\n[[the second most ordered sandwich]]\n[[what she orders more often than sandwiches]]\n[[other foods she steals bits and pieces of]]\n[[how he gets the mayo right when he makes her sandwiches]]\n[[double-decker or triple-decker]]
The northern hardwood, for sure. No contest, no comparison. It burns clean and down to nothing, making those surprisingly lightweight coals that murmur the secrets of the ancients into the night. Everything else is a joke by comparison. Lumber scraps would be a distant second. They could burn northern hardwood in that chimnea every night and all summer long and never need to dump the ash. They could burn anything else for, at most, a week before the accumulated ash would need to be dumped into the compost.\n\n[[sparks, and heat, and light|a kiss]]\n[[the release of trapped sunlight|a kiss]]\n[[the best kept secret of the ancients|a kiss]]\n[[things that are lighter than they appear|a kiss]]\n[[a story about burning down to nothing|a kiss]]\n
His hands feel puffed tight all the time. It’s particulary bad right after work, and about bedtime. It’s best in the mornings, but even then it isn’t good. He’s been working, working on ways to reduce the keystrokes, and making steady—if slow—progress. So many words, so little time.\n\n[[right after work|a kiss]]\n[[about bedtime|a kiss]]\n[[best in the mornings|a kiss]]\n[[working, working to increase|a kiss]]\n[[steady—if slow|a kiss]]\n[[so many, so little|a kiss]]\n
gloxinia\ndaisies\npeonies\nmoonflower\ncrocus\nlilacs\n\n[[significance of gloxinia]]\n[[significance of daisies]]\n[[significance of peonies]]\n[[significance of lilacs]]\n[[learning the names of flowers]]
They couldn’t catch them, they were too wily. They could scoot and shimmy and wriggle through places that the humans never could. They could never get them all, and, it didn’t seem right to break up the family if they could only catch one or two.\n\n[[some things aren’t meant to be caught|a kiss]]\n[[they could never get them all|a kiss]]\n[[better to keep them together|a kiss]]\n[[the one thing they can consistently catch|a kiss]]\n[[the kinds of places a human can go|a kiss]]\n
There’s more reasons to pitch a tent in your own yard than not to. It gets you OUTSIDE, but you’re safe from all the bears of the wilds. You get all the cool air, the ground smell, the moonlight, and most of the stars. You get sounds and all the great sleeping bag and canvas smells of camping without having to leave. Plus the tent gets aired out and stays fresh. Flashlights and snacks and you can go inside if it gets too cold out, or you need more batteries for the cassette player. More grown up than a sofa cushion fort, but without the need for real grown ups to be around. A very short trip into freedom and independence, with really none of the responsibility. The only thing missing was the fishing and the fire.\n\n[[what it means to be young|a kiss]]\n[[the center of a Minnesota boy’s universe|a kiss]]\n[[safe from all the bears|a kiss]]\n[[when the batteries run down|a kiss]]\n[[a very short trip|a kiss]]\n
His name was Pat O’Mally, but we called him Patty O’Furniture. He didn’t like that. He told the story of driving home from southern Illinois to Baltimore one holiday break. He was attempting to make the drive straight through and ended up driving too tired. He said when he woke up his car was upside down, in a ditch, and his rear wheels were still spinning at 75mph due to the cruise control. He had no recollection of how he got there, or how long he’d been there.\n\n[[misnomers|a kiss]]\n[[a story of driving home|a kiss]]\n[[when he woke up|a kiss]]\n[[the loss of recollection|a kiss]]\n[[waking up alive|a kiss]]\n
There were many flat tires, and none of them were good, but the worst one was the time he picked up his car from the tire place on his way to work and 2.5 miles later found yet another sharp-toothed pothole. $225 he didn’t have at the time and it lasted for 2.5 miles. That one really hurt.\n\n[[how to survive financial crisis|a kiss]]\n[[there were many, and all of them good|a kiss]]\n[[where his mind goes on his drive to work|a kiss]]\n[[the reason he came to this pothole place|a kiss]]\n[[lasts longer than 2.5 miles|a kiss]]\n
There was a flood there many years ago, the result of the laziness of the rich. There are high water marks on buildings, there’s a museum devoted to the loss and the damage and the stories. He carried her piggy-back through a crosswalk and a bus driver honked at them, smiled and waved. There’s an inclined plane with a note slipped under one of the floor boards.\n\n[[lost in the flood|a kiss]]\n[[the stories|a kiss]]\n[[evidence of two people in love|a kiss]]\n[[the smile and the wave|a kiss]]\n[[what’s on the note|a kiss]]\n
It’s hard to say for certain, because he doesn’t often speak of those grudges. He holds them, usually forever, but he doesn’t talk about them, he doesn’t talk smack about the people he holds grudges against, and he doesn’t even really dwell on them, either (okay, initially, during and immediately following the incident that creates the grudge there’s a definite dwelling that happens (“let it go,” she’ll tell him a hundred times before he does, but then he does, for all practical purposes, but he can go from zero to fully cranked about whatever it was even years after she has completely forgotten the incident or the grudge or even the person)).\n\n[[a declaration of permanence|a kiss]]\n[[a dwell on the positive|a kiss]]\n[[things he remembers and she forgets|a kiss]]\n[[things she remembers and he forgets|a kiss]]\n[[he doesn’t like to let go|a kiss]]\n
Mutt Doin’ was the name his dad gave to the little neighborhood boy who kept coming around one summer. He had a bit of a speech impediment, and while polite as could be, seemed not to be the brightest bulb. He’d come over most every day and ask, “mutt doin’?” which was how he pronounced, “How are you doing?” \n\nMutt Doin’ told jokes almost constantly, and they were all the same format. All jokes started: “How come does a (noun) (verb)?” And the punchline was always: “Because it’s a (noun)!” They never made any sense. Mutt Doin’ giggled everytime.\n\nIt was the summer he first remembers setting out to write a story on his own initiative.\n\n[[how most children begin|a kiss]]\n[[a cure for certain speech impediments|a kiss]]\n[[the point where all memory comes together|a kiss]]\n[[how this story begins|a kiss]]\n[[how this story ends|a kiss]]\n
The walls have been redone to a powder lilac shade of purple his mother would have loved (she was a big fan of purple). This is a relatively new paint job. She goes on a tear about once per quarter and paints a room, or tiles a floor, or tears out some carpeting, or or or, and the list goes on because when you own a house it’s like owning the world’s largest Mod Ken doll. He never complains because she makes the house into a home in ways he would never know where to begin to start. He loves their home and loves having people over to visit it. It’s not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s clear that they live there and that they love each other. Not an easy thing for a house to communicate.\n\n[[creating ambience from each small decision|a kiss]]\n[[ways he would never know|a kiss]]\n[[where to start|a kiss]]\n[[their home|a kiss]]\n[[communication by other means|a kiss]]\n
His dad’s brother spent several years working as a teacher in the bush of New Guinea after getting fed up with being a teacher in the American public school system . He used to send back cassette tape recordings of himself as letters home. In one he talked about having made a dinner for some friends. The dinner included on the menu and onion pie, “made pretty much like an apple pie, only with onions.” He said it was really good, but, had the unfortunate side effect of making everything else that was cooked in that oven that night taste like onion pie.\n\n[[letter’s home|a kiss]]\n[[lines of words tie families together|a kiss]]\n[[everything overlaps|a kiss]]\n[[flavors in proximity mingle|a kiss]]\n[[the blend is inevitable, plan for it|a kiss]]\n
gasoline shimmer on water\ndetails from memory\nwords on the page\nconditioned wet hair through fingers\negg yolk egg white\nheld hands\n\n[[images of oneness]]\n[[his mom’s theory of memory]]\n[[what “death of print” people forget]]\n[[the fried egg sandwich]]\n[[places they hold hands]]\n
the salad at dinner\ndrying the dishes\nthe laundry\nthe thank you notes\nthe letters to family\nthe mail run\nthe gardening\nfeeding the neighborhood strays\nthe catbox\nsome of the backrubbing\nthe deciding\nintroducing the feature\n\n[[why he loves her salads]]\n[[his story about doing dishes with his dad]]\n[[why she’s great at the letters]]\n[[things she’s growing]]\n[[she’s on track to be a crazy cat lady]]\n
It will get put back in the cabinet a few times by mistake, and get taken out and not used a few times. Then it will sit for a few days on the counter next to the sink, in the purgatory where an alternate use is contemplated (such a waste of a good glass, maybe it could be a bud vase or a paint cup or, but no, it’s just not quite right) and then it will get wrapped in a plastic grocery bag and put in the trash.\n\n[[habit being so strong|a kiss]]\n[[a few times|a kiss]]\n[[a contemplation of alternatives|a kiss]]\n[[waste not want not|a kiss]]\n[[cycle and recycle|a kiss]]\n
Ever since a revelatory side dish of potatoes in Germany, his preferred way to cut most vegetables is irregularly, or, on a rotating bias such that there’s maximum variety in surface. This leads to maximum variety in doneness during cooking. This leads to maximum variety in flavor during the eating. In America we value the homogeneous, the consistent, the McDonald’s hash brown of perfectly even goldenbrowncrispness. The potatoes he had in Germany ran the full, complete range from still a tiny snap of almost raw in the center of one piece to burnt to a crips on the outer ege of another piece—all in one forkful.\n\nIt was a better experience to consume the full range of flavors the potato can produce than to consume only a centrally-mandated ideal.\n\n[[maximum variety|a kiss]]\n[[breadth does not preclude depth|a kiss]]\n[[depth by means of breadth|a kiss]]\n[[in defense of the full range|a kiss]]\n[[the richness of range includes the center, but is not limited by it or to it|a kiss]]\n
The bamboo that covers the chain link fence. A bird feeder. The driveway up the hill to the church. The pile of rubble from the gutting of a house across the way. The side of the neighbor’s house. The church steeple with its anti-bird spines poking the sky. The sky.\n\n[[parallax|a kiss]]\n[[everything is in front of something|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between a window and a door|a kiss]]\n[[a way across the way|a kiss]]\n[[the sky, the sky|a kiss]]\n
He thinks, he plans, he broods, he percolates, he perambulates, he wonders, he whispers, he makes lists, he thinks many moves ahead, he writes, he reads, he researches, he grows stronger, he inflates to fourteen times the size of a normal human, he...oh wait a second, this is getting out of hand.\n\n[[percolation|a kiss]]\n[[one of his favorite lists|a kiss]]\n[[a constant source of wonder|a kiss]]\n[[how many moves ahead|a kiss]]\n[[the size of a normal human being|a kiss]]\n
Doing dishes with his dad, his dad was washing and he was drying. He tried to hand a plate back to his dad with a mildly snide comment about the washer doing a lousy job. His dad replied, “A good washer does his best, a good dryer does, too. It’s a good washer’s job to wash well. It’s a good dryer’s job to catch anything the washer missed, and swipe it clean without saying anything.” This stuck with him.\n\n[[working together|a kiss]]\n[[the harmony of complementary roles|a kiss]]\n[[this also stuck with him|a kiss]]\n[[his best|a kiss]]\n[[without saying anything|a kiss]]\n
The submission process is broken. We are currently in a world where it is normal for a person to make a submission of poetry or fiction to a publisher and then wait 6-12 months for a reply that may or may not ever come. Publishers routinely say things like, “We will reply only if interested.” and then not include a time-range for that reply. It’s a marketplace that favors the prolific, and the shot-gunner. The shot-gunner is the person who sends out huge numbers of submissions indiscriminately. Publishers hate this, they say, but the entire process they’ve established as the norm encourages the behavior they dislike. Bad all around. \n\nIf you’re going to be open for submissions at all, the reasonable way to do it is to indicate a period of time for review shorter than the gestation period for a human baby. Any fixed date is better than no date, and if the ability to reply exceeds the capability of the editorial staff, simply say that if no reply is received within x number of months you may consider your manuscript rejected and feel free to send it elsewhere. Instead, some publishers insist on “no simultaneous submissions”, say they will only reply to submissions they are accepting, and don’t specify a time after which the manuscript can be considered rejected. A cautious writer, therefore, would need to devote about a year and a half to waiting before re-sending any given manuscript to another publisher. Absurd. \n\nEven more absurd is why this is the case, and why it will continue to be the case, and it is a why that no one wants to talk about because there is no easy solution. Why are submission requirements so abusive? Because they can be. Why can they be? Because there are more submissions than publishing opportunities by such a large margin that publishers simply don’t care. They don’t need to care. Why are there more submissions than opportunities? Because there’s more writers than publishers. Why are there more writers than publishers? Because there aren’t enough readers to support more publishing enterprises. Why aren’t there more readers?\n\nThat’s the question no one wants to deal with. The answer is simple: reading, art, and live theater need to be more compelling than television, video games, and other forms of entertainment. Until it is more compelling, the situation will not change.\n\nPeople talk, too, about how the Internet has created a whole slew of new writers, and has made publishing so simple that anyone can do it—so now we have created a whole glut of new writers, but, that technology has not created a corresponding increase of new readers. A lot of new writers into an already overcrowded marketplace, and not a lot of new readers. That’s pouring gasoline on the fire.\n\n[[how parameters shape content|a kiss]]\n[[a way out of the waiting|a kiss]]\n[[no easy solution|a kiss]]\n[[a blindspot in the financial view of publishing|a kiss]]\n[[using the new like the old isn’t new at all|a kiss]]\n
They also use the TV for playing the occasional video game, but that’s it. They don’t get (nor do they “get”) broadcast television, and don’t have cable, and don’t miss it a bit. There was no withdrawal, but, they do notice whenever they’re in a place with televisions everywhere that it’s impossible for them to tear their eyes away. It’s like if you don’t have any caffeine for three weeks and then have a cup of espresso—the lack makes you realize how inured you’d become and it hits you like a table corner to the solar plexus.\n\n[[get it, got it, good|a kiss]]\n[[no withdrawal|a kiss]]\n[[they do notice|a kiss]]\n[[what the lack makes|a kiss]]\n[[and it hits you|a kiss]]\n
When his grandfather died he left behind a half dozen feather pillows. It seemed a shame to let them go to waste, so he did some research and found a dry cleaner that was able to take the pillows, open them up, fluff and UV sterilize the feathers and remake them into two king-sized pillows. \n\n[[cycle and recycle|a kiss]]\n[[the fight against entropy|a kiss]]\n[[opening up and looking inside|a kiss]]\n[[what can we make from the pieces|a kiss]]\n[[carrying things forward|a kiss]]\n
While it can be said that all cats, by definition, look catlike, Stella is the closest to the shared hivemind average of the universal notion of catness. She is the Platonic ideal of cat. She’s lightfooted, sleek, big-eyed, expressive, long, lean, calico, and able to disdain from any distance. When you get that creepy feeling on the back of your neck that you’re being watched, it’s Stella watching, with those glow-in-the-dark cat eyes. You’ll never hear her coming, you’ll never touch her if she doesn’t want to be touched (and often even when she does want to be touched), but she’s the prettiest one, and she knows it.\n\n[[the universal notion|a kiss]]\n[[the point at which measurements of distance break down|a kiss]]\n[[an archetype takes shape|a kiss]]\n[[all you will ever need to know about beauty|a kiss]]\n[[the be, hold her|a kiss]]\n
A recurring theme in their lives. Her and her mother both have a fondness for them. They work their way into his poems, and hers. They appear in poems. They arrive on Thank You notes, and in frames as Christmas presents. They are grumpy grackles and a crowd of crows, they are commas, they are a clutch and a clatch and a clique.\n\n[[another recurring theme|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes feathery|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes grackly|a kiss]]\n[[always a kind of a comma|a kiss]]\n[[also packaged in flocks|a kiss]]\n
One of the left lower molars had a blowout. He was working a job with no dental insurance when an abscess began. First it was like a tiny bump, like a pimple, on his outer gum. Then it began to feel tight. Then it hurt to bite down too hard, and the bump grew to be both sides. He thought the swelling seemed to diminish after he endured some intentional biting down. Turned out the biting down was pulverizing the root. When he finally had to deal with it, the dentist looked at the x-ray and said, “Wow, I’ve never seen anything like this before, it’s like it exploded.” So they dug out the shards and put in a bridge.\n\n\n[[why he left that job]]\n[[why he’ll never go back to this good dentist]]\n[[who he told about the pain]]\n[[a memory of a root canal]]\n
There’s only one right way to make a fried egg sandwich, and here it is.\n\nUntoasted gommy white bread.\nKetchup on bread.\nPepper on ketchup.\n\nOne egg fried in medium-hot butter (not so hot the edges get brown, not so medium the pan don’t sizzle), the yolk just broken by the poke of a finger, and that’s all, egg flipped gently once right before the halfway done point.\n\nOne slice of good melting cheese.\n\n[[it’s all about the ratio|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all about the order|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all about the ingredients|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all about the timing|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts|a kiss]]\n
There was a time when he was pretty sure you had to give birth in order to learn the secret of cutting the bread without tearing it. When he was sick his mother would cut the crusts off. He was never a Peter Pan or Jif guy, he was always into the crunch of the real peanut butter, anybody who’d trade that taste for the supposed convenience of not having to stir deserves what they get. He was a grape jelly or strawberry jam man for a long time, but has grown to be an almost exclusively orange marmalade adult. Like the Rueben, it’s not about bulk or brute force, it’s about balance and proportion.\n\n[[one of the few things better than a PBJ|a kiss]]\n[[the secret to cutting the bread|a kiss]]\n[[deserve what you get|a kiss]]\n[[about balance|a kiss]]\n[[about proportion|a kiss]]\n
He believes you stick to your principles even when it is difficult or disadvantageous to do so. In fact, he believes that principles exist specifically to instruct us in how to behave when we’re placed into difficult situations. If everything was easy there’d be no need for principles. He sometimes feels like he lives in a world where it’s okay to make compromises in your principles if there’s enough money involved, or, if it’s an unimportant enough of a circumstance.\n\nBut he does understand that all this talk of principles happens on full stomachs.\n\n[[the difference between believing and knowing|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between need and want|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between difference and between|a kiss]]\n[[the between difference|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between|a kiss]]\n
When tomatoes are in the sweetspot of their season, this is the best way to eat them:\n\nSliced fairly thick, between two pieces of bread, with mayonnaise and a liberal sprinkling of salt and of pepper. A soft bread is best.\n\n[[the sweetspot of their season|a kiss]]\n[[this is the best way|a kiss]]\n[[best in season|a kiss]]\n[[some things know no season|a kiss]]\n[[some things are good in season or out|a kiss]]\n
She’s great at the letters because she’s genuinely interested and is completely sincere in her thanks, and her questions, in her telling of stories and her asking for stories from them. It can’t be faked, and she doesn’t need to try.\n\n[[another thing she’s great at|a kiss]]\n[[genuine interest|a kiss]]\n[[her questions|a kiss]]\n[[the telling of stories|a kiss]]\n[[the asking for stories|a kiss]]\n
At this point, he probably won’t fix it. What would be required would be to pull up all the pavers, pull out all the pea gravel, and start over. If it were dangerous, he’d fix it in a heartbeat. But since it isn’t, they’ll just keep it the way it is and chalk the experience up to the quirkiness of home ownership on a middle-class wage. They both agree that imperfections are the stuff of character. It’s what makes it interesting out there. Leave perfect to the magazines, they prefer a house that gets lived in.\n\n[[the perils of starting over|a kiss]]\n[[in a heartbeat|a kiss]]\n[[the places where they both agree|a kiss]]\n[[a catalog of imperfections|a kiss]]\n[[a house that gets lived in|a kiss]]\n
They both find real people more interesting than fictional people. Theater has its place, it has a particular tool set that can be used to illuminate aspects of reality that are otherwise difficult or impossible to reach, but, nothing beats the humor, the drama, or the joy of the real. \n\n[[the difference between real people and fictional people|a kiss]]\n[[the place of theater|a kiss]]\n[[a light shone|a kiss]]\n[[impossible to reach|a kiss]]\n[[the really real|a kiss]]\n
They saw a house that is much worse than theirs when they were driving one of her daughter’s friends home. At the crest of the hill, where the road sweeps to the left, there’s a house on the right side that is in very real and imminent danger of falling down. You know that slightly concerned feeling you get when you look at the leaning tower of Pisa? How it’s unsettling but you have to keep looking? This house made you want to turn tail and run rather than stick around to look any longer. It’s positively teetering.\n\n[[brink|a kiss]]\n[[edge|a kiss]]\n[[balance|a kiss]]\n[[tip|a kiss]]\n[[tumble|a kiss]]\n
Your life passing by, just out of reach. The really important things. Your own hollow eyes staring back. Artifice stripped bare. How short (and sweet) life really is.\n\n\n[[his life|a kiss]]\n[[the really important thing|a kiss]]\n[[the short and the sweet of it|a kiss]]\n[[the art in artifice|a kiss]]\n[[just in reach|a kiss]]\n
After he does the unthinkable, the impossible, the insane, the legendary, after he succeeds in doing what no one else had ever done or will ever do again, instead of leaping off and saying “tada!” and running away dancing with joy at not being caught, instead of getting down on his knees and kissing the stable surface, instead of doing what any normal human being would do, he turned around and went back out on the wire and performed. He didn’t just cross back, he performed tricks. He laid down on the wire, and paused. He knelt and executed the most graceful sweep of one free arm, a sweep that in one gesture indicated the scope of the achievement.\n\n[[the thinkable|a kiss]]\n[[the possible|a kiss]]\n[[the sane|a kiss]]\n[[the legendary|a kiss]]\n[[the simple gesture|a kiss]]\n
He has a long term love/hate relationship with blogging. He loves the ease of publishing, he loves being able to share with her immediately, he loves how it aids in forming the habit of writing. He hates how blogging has made millions of new writers and no new readers, he hates how difficult it is to effectively control who can and can’t read the blog, he hates how comments are filled with either self-promotion, vitriol, or vacuous blather.\n\n[[the ease|a kiss]]\n[[the share|a kiss]]\n[[the habit|a kiss]]\n[[the long term|a kiss]]\n[[the relationship|a kiss]]\n
You save all of the organic matter you trim, weed, mow, clip, or cut from the work you do. You haul it by hands full and bags and barrow loads to a place out of sight, but in the sun. There it sits, and under the weight of its own slow inertia it compresses. That compression generates heat, that heat aids in the breakdown, that breakdown and the worms and bugs that the decay attracts slowly turn that heap into fertile soil fit to be spread as the bed for new growth. The cycle of growth and decay, growth and decay.\n\n[[by hands full|a kiss]]\n[[out of sight, but in the light|a kiss]]\n[[there it sits|a kiss]]\n[[the compression generates heat|a kiss]]\n[[slow inertia|a kiss]]\n
There was another golf club about a mile up the street from theirs. Joseph was standing at the bar, near the phone, watching over the dining room and tending to incoming reservations. A patron got up from his dinner and came over to Joseph and complained about the price of a glass of a particular kind of wine. He said, “Eight dollars? I can get this same exact glass of wine up the street for six-fifty.” Joseph picked the phone off its cradle and asked, “Would you like me to make a reservation over there for you? I know the manager, I’m sure I can get you in.”\n\n[[how to be happy where you are|a kiss]]\n[[it’s not about any single part, it’s about the whole experience|a kiss]]\n[[what comes around|a kiss]]\n[[goes around|a kiss]]\n[[the whole world goes by if you stand in one place long enough|a kiss]]\n
The daughter has a tiny gap between her two top front teeth. It is barely noticeable, which makes it beautiful. You don’t notice it, you only notice that this smile is interestingly different from any other smile you’ve ever seen. But you don’t know why.\n\nShe would like nothing better than to have the cosmetic dental procedure that would make it disappear. Being different means being ugly means having no friends means the world is unfair.\n\nBut she’s so beautiful it’s like she said she wanted to have a pentagram branded onto her forehead.\n\n[[an aggregation of small things|a kiss]]\n[[everything has a gap|a kiss]]\n[[lines of reasoning|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between the same and different|a kiss]]\n[[the shifting sands of perception|a kiss]]\n
the best way to separate egg yolks from whites is to use your hands, let the white slip between the middle and ring finger\n\nsupercool any ice bath by adding salt to the water\n\nlet the meat stand for at least 5-10 minutes after taking it out of the oven\n\ncleaning off a floured surface with a damp rag is much easier if you sprinke salt down after the dry wiping of most of the flour\n\ncut celery will last 10 times longer if stored in water\n\nan oversalted soup may be salvageable by tossing in a couple of whole peeled potatoes to sponge out some of the salt\n\nif you’re not sure after sniffing it, the chicken is bad\nif you’re not sure after sniffing it, the beef is fine\n\n[[what he says about a cook’s hands]]\n[[a baked item he was good at]]\n[[what he misses most when cooking at home]]\n[[the change in his view of eating alone]]\n[[the most important thing he learned from cooking]]
The three tests of a relationship are:\n\n1) Take a long car trip together. Long = several days. If you can survive a long car trip together without getting on each others nerves or running out of things to talk about, you’ve got a good chance of making it in a long-term relationship.\n\n2) Wallpapering a room. But that’s really a metaphor for accomplishing any complex task which involves both people in concerted, coordinated action over an extended period of time. If you can work together in close proximity through a process in which a certain amount of error is inherent without blaming each other or getting too mad to complete the project, you’ve got a good chance of making it in a long-term relationship.\n\n3) The week before the wedding. If you can survive that without any hurt feelings, outright violence, or repressed hostilities, you’ve got a good chance of making it in a long-term relationship.\n\nThey’ve come through all three with flying colors.\n\nIt’s worth adding a fourth and a fifth when creative personalities are involved.\n\n4) Both people are able to work at the same time. Not necessarily together, but, there’s no conflict between their working methods. For example, if one needs the other to be there when they create, and the other can only create when the other isn’t around, that’s going to be an insurmountable problem. But if a state of simultaneous creativity can be accomplished and maintained indefinitely, they’ve got a good chance of making it.\n\n5) Both apply for the same grant or submit to the same competition or event or publication and only one is accepted. That’s a doozie. Make it through that and you’re golden.\n\n[[survival strategies|a kiss]]\n[[a metaphor for accomplishing a complex task|a kiss]]\n[[concerted, coordinated action|a kiss]]\n[[always be willing to add to the list|a kiss]]\n[[life is too short to stay in an unfixably unhappy relationship|a kiss]]\n
The daughter was baking and made a reach for it, her fingers a little slippery from ingredient handling. She bobbled it and it fell and broke. It was a blue and otherblue glazed clay stylized crock that looked almost hand done. It had no matching creamer. It probably could have been glued back together, but they all figured it for an opportunity to buy a new one, instead.\n\n[[the replacement]]\n[[when they normally use the sugar]]\n[[first rule of the kitchen]]\n[[her fingers]]\n[[the dropsies]]\n
In high school, at a party, when he realized everyone was turned looking and listening to him telling a funny story. It was positively surreal to be standing in exactly the place he didn’t want to be (the center of a roomful of attention) and be so apparently comfortable there. Apparently comfortable. His ability to speak extemporaneously and publicly is completely unconnected to his comfort level. That he’s really good at it is not equivalent to it gives him pleasure. That it looks easy doesn’t mean it is.\n\n[[turned. looking, listening|a kiss]]\n[[a funny story|a kiss]]\n[[the center of a roomful|a kiss]]\n[[where he feels most at home|a kiss]]\n[[attenuation of attention|a kiss]]\n
two drunken dervishes dancing\nthe play of smoke in a shaft of light\nthe lungs of the daily\ntwo long-lost hands almost grasping\nlazy tongues falling asleep\nseaweed\n\n[[how drunk is like love]]\n[[an abandoned project]]\n[[inspiration and exhalation]]\n[[more words that begin with gr]]\n[[why fall when we can float?]]\n[[a story about making a beach]]
There’s no right angles in the place. Even if your eyes were closed, you’d feel the pitch to the floor. It’s quite obvious in many places, but, nowhere more than in the small window over the sink in the kitchen. The wood trim around the window is true level around its outside edges. But the inside rectangle that holds the window is set to level relative to the sub-floor. So it’s a box inside a box and the inside box is rotated clockwise by about 12 degrees.\n\nThe contractor who redid the house in between its previous owner and its current owners redid the floors such that the main level of the house is now actually four levels, with one or two steps in between them. He said that before he did his work you could set a pencil down and watched it roll from the back of the house to the front of the house without ever slowing down.\n\n[[where geometry breaks down|a kiss]]\n[[a box inside a box|a kiss]]\n[[what true level is in relation to|a kiss]]\n[[a feature, not a flaw|a kiss]]\n[[without ever slowing down|a kiss]]\n
They fed the kittens bits and pieces of their leftover meal. Luckily for the kittens, that night was salmon on the grill. And they put out a dish of clean water, too. The boldest kitten and the timidest kitten kept their eyes on the people while they ate. The other three, once they’d decided it was safe enough to come out, gave their total attention to the salmon bits.\n\n[[bits and pieces|a kiss]]\n[[what happens when you feed a small, hungry thing|a kiss]]\n[[what boldness and timidity have in common|a kiss]]\n[[eyes on the people|a kiss]]\n[[once they’d decided it was safe|a kiss]]\n
Not enough hours in the day, plus, she doesn’t really like her feet, so a poem about them would be a tricky topic to attempt. It’s not totally out of the question for all time, but, the correct angle hasn’t presented itself yet, and it may never. A poem that exists always in potential.\n\n[[a paraphrased quote]]\n[[tricky poems]]\n[[while the poem waits to appear]]\n[[his theory of forms]]\n[[poems in potential]]
The stack of dirty dishes that always follows. He does his best to keep cleaning as he goes, but he’s the kind of cook who ends up using every pot and pan and utensil and cutting board in the house by the time he’s done.\n\n[[he does his best|a kiss]]\n[[as he goes|a kiss]]\n[[he ends up|a kiss]]\n[[by the time he’s done|a kiss]]\n[[a story about onions and butter|a kiss]]\n
one more one more one more\nboom shaka laka boom \nwhen you get in the weeds, keep mowing\nagain sst\nyes yes yes\nwill is a muscle\n\n[[repetition]]\n[[an unbegun project]]\n[[things you learn as a cook]]\n[[other ways to say yes]]\n[[progressive resistence]]
He would say it’s because she has too many layers on. She would say it’s because she doesn’t have enough layers on. \n\n[[where their differences overlap|a kiss]]\n[[what they mean, despite what they say|a kiss]]\n[[a story about staying warm|a kiss]]\n[[a story about layers|a kiss]]\n[[conflict resolution|a kiss]]
He’s got a pretty good track record of recommending movies and books she’ll like. He’s batting nearly 1.000 on books, more like .800 on movies. This one worked out to be a sort of a surprise. He thought she was bored by it because she fell asleep partway through the watching. Turns out she was just sleepy on the sofa and snuggled in. She watched the rest of it the next day, without him, and really loved it. Great throughout and a perfectly done final scene.\n\n[[when he guesses wrong]]\n[[her bedtime]]\n[[the best part of snuggled on the sofa]]\n[[the sofa]]\n[[nailing the snuggle down]]
The peony, for sure. He has other favorites, but, if there was to be only one flower in his world, it would be the peony. He loves everything about it, the fists it makes when it buds, the way the ants are there to greet it and usher it in, the shredded paper explosion, the sweetsweet smell, how they fall over in a rain, how the petals all fall at once when it’s done. \n\n[[the surface of a sure face|a kiss]]\n[[his world|a kiss]]\n[[at the very center of the bloom|a kiss]]\n[[the sweetsweet|a kiss]]\n[[petals|a kiss]]\n
They’re beginning to suspect that the church is a massive liability for somebody and may burn to the ground under suspicious circumstances that will be investigated by the company carrying the insurance on the place. \n\nOr maybe it’ll fall into a sinkhole one night. That does happen with some frequency in these parts.\n\nEither way, they don’t see a lot of prospects for it being developed, re-occupied, improved, or even upkept. It’s only a matter of time before something reduces it to rubble.\n\n[[or maybe|a kiss]]\n[[the tension of indeterminacy|a kiss]]\n[[a lot of prospects|a kiss]]\n[[a matter of time|a kiss]]\n[[the illusion of frequency|a kiss]]\n
His mother was trained as an artist, but left college a few credit hours short of a degree because she got pregnant with him. All growing up she worked in the accounting department of an insurance company. She was not happy. He would ask her why she didn’t just go do what she wanted to do. She would reply that she had responsibilities. He was 12 years old when he realized that HE was those responsibilities. He left high school at 16 to go to college. The first thing he did when he got to college was call home. He told his mother he was safe, and then he told that she was on her own now, and could do whatever she wanted. At that point in her life, what she wanted to do was become a minister. The following semester she enrolled in seminary. She went on to get her doctorate of divinity and worked the rest of her life as a minister.\n\n[[why we don’t all go do what we want to do|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to be safe|a kiss]]\n[[points in lives on lines|a kiss]]\n[[the shortest distance between two dreams|a kiss]]\n[[the rest of lives|a kiss]]\n
All they wanted to do was maintain a shared to-do list. They both have iPhones, how hard could that be? It was a nightmare. They tried a dozen different software solutions and none them them was easy enough to use, worked well, organized things sensibly, or offered a reasonable kind of sharing. In the end, they gave up on it and went to an analog solution. Paper and pen win again!\n\n[[the want of all and the all of want|a kiss]]\n[[try and try again|a kiss]]\n[[easy enough|a kiss]]\n[[a reasonable kind of sharing|a kiss]]\n[[an analog solution|a kiss]]\n
The grapevine is there to help hide the ugly of the chain link fence. It has tended to move down the fence, towards the sidwalk and the street. The reaching out ends of its new growth have that bifurcated curl that’s out hunting for the next place to take hold. The grapes start out as hard little marbles and then grow bigger, softer and riper all summer long. First it smells like nothing, then it smells like something you’re not sure what, and then it smells like grape juice, and then it smells like wine.\n\n[[to help hide the ugly|a kiss]]\n[[hunting for a place to take hold|a kiss]]\n[[like something you’re not sure what|a kiss]]\n[[time is the reason repetition is emphasis|a kiss]]\n[[smells like wine|a kiss]]\n
One package of crimini (baby bella) mushrooms. One Vidalia onion. Splash of white wine. Bacon fat. Bulb of garlic. Kosher salt. Fresh ground pepper. \n\nBig mushrooms should be quartered, mediums halved, smalls left whole.\n\nCut ends off Vidalia, cut in half crossways to facilitate the peel off of the outer layer. Place both halves flat middle side down. Cut the half in half longways then again crossways. You are cutting the onion into 8 total pieces. \n\nClean one bulb of garlic into individual, peeled cloves. Nip each end off. Slice into four slices per clove, nice and thick.\n\nCook a pound of bacon in the oven. Place the drippings in a skillet. Heat to sizzling. Add the garlic, stir once, add the onions, stir to coat, add the mushrooms, stir to coat, add Kosher salt and pepper to taste, add a splash of white wine and cover.\n\nIn about five minutes the mushrooms will have thrown off a considerable amount of juice. Pull the lid off and simmer quickly to reduce the wine and mushroom juice to a clinging consistency.\n\nServe generously atop the steak of your choice. Go ahead and put out a steak sauce, but you will not touch it.\n\n[[Kosher salt]]\n[[garlic and bacon fat]]\n[[peppers]]\n[[timing]]\n[[bacon in the oven]]
They were watching the local news channel and there was a bit about some swans that landed in the area on their early spring return north from their wintering in the south. While the camera was focused in on the stately, unnoticing, statuesque swan, a male mallard duck weeble wobble walked right through the shot and he said, in what she understood to be the voice of the duck, “Ha, haha, suckuh, the human eye follows motion.” \n\nBecause all you could look at was the zaniness of the duck stealing the show from the classiness of the swan. Upstaging at its finest.\n\n[[patterns of migration|a kiss]]\n[[the eye takes in more than what’s within its focus|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between motion and emotion|a kiss]]\n[[how far you can go with a weeble wobble walk|a kiss]]\n[[where doing animal voices will get you|a kiss]]\n
In the form he learned it, this joke depended on a bit of regional knowledge. But many other versions are out there that have similar (but less awesome) punchlines without the regional reference.\n\nDominick, one of the most feared crime bosses in all of Chicago, was having domestic difficulties. His wife wasn’t too keen on Dominick’s activities, and she threatened to call the police if he didn’t mend his ways.\n\nDominick called up his best friend, Artie (who, as it happened, was one of the best assassins active in Chicago).\n\nAfter much deliberation, the pair decided that the lady had to go.\n\nArtie, of course, offered to perform the job for free, but Dominick wouldn’t hear of it. “You’re a professional,” he said, “so it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t pay you for your work.”\n\nEventually they agreed that—as a favor to a friend—Artie would do the job for a dollar.\n\nTwo weeks later, Artie arrived at Dominick’s mansion. He ran into the house while Dominick was pulling out of the garage in the morning, and he searched the house for his target.\n\nHe found Dominick’s wife sitting in the study. He snuck up behind her, pulled his trusty piano wire against her throat and strangled her.\n\nAs Artie bent over the body to get his piano wire, he heard the maid running. She’d seen him.\n\nArtie sighed and chased her down. Then strangled her, too.\n\nAs Artie bent over the body to get his piano wire, he heard the butler running. He’d seen him in the act.\n\nArtie ran down and then killed the butler with his trusty piano wire.\n\nUnfortunately, when he emerged from the front door of the house, half the police force was waiting for him. Not a good day for Artie.\n\nThe newspaper headlines the next day read:\n\nArtie Chokes 3 for a $1 at Dominick’s\n\n(Dominick’s was the name of a Chicago-area chain of supermarkets).\n\n[[layers upon layers upon layers|a kiss]]\n[[butter dippedness|a kiss]]\n[[the teeth pull, the lips slurp|a kiss]]\n[[it’s about hunting for the center, no the center of the center|a kiss]]\n[[a better way to resolve domestic disputes|a kiss]]\n
Ice soothes the burns. Skating on a windblown smooth stretch of a 4 mile lake. Graduated aluminum gallon pitcherfuls poured onto end-of-the shift griddles. Beardcicles that form around the mouth after spending long hours working in the snow. Hand-augered holes, two feet deep. Skimming the slush. The pressure crack that starts at one end of the lake and dopplers its rumble way past, close but not under. Backyard rinks.\n\n[[how many burns]]\n[[what it’s like to skate forever]]\n[[pride in work]]\n[[that auger]]\n[[why that cracksound wasn’t scary]]\n
The day they first met. When he laid his eyes on her his first thought was “Jackpot!” Her hands were cold, her smile was warm, her body felt like it was built to fit in his hands.\n\nThere was a hallway and walking towards each other, there was an eruption of grins and a hugging spin.\n\n[[the sound a jackpot makes|a kiss]]\n[[his second thought|a kiss]]\n[[his third thought|a kiss]]\n[[after the walking towards each other|a kiss]]\n[[a hugging spin|a kiss]]\n
She’s been getting thinner, to the point where she can now only be described as frail. She’s always been prone to sitting there just staring. Not off into space, like you might expect of a cat, but, usually staring at the wall. From a few inches away. But she’s been caught doing that more and more. She used to love to be picked up and held close, cradled on her back. She’s started grousing at that, lately, and they suspect it has to do with old bones. She’s been getting up a little earlier every morning. Or, has started trying to wake up the Hairless Ones a little earlier every morning. But, in the end, she is a cat, and it’s his theory that they’re all defective in some way, it’s what gives them their personality, so it’s pretty hard to tell if these are signs of falling apart, or, if she’s just being a cat.\n\n[[the frail, the fragile, the breakable|a kiss]]\n[[understanding the inexplicable|a kiss]]\n[[the magic elixir of life|a kiss]]\n[[one reading of the signs|a kiss]]\n[[falling together|a kiss]]\n
It’s more squirmy and less funny. More wriggly and less giggly. More un than comfortable.\n\n[[the way to say sorry for touching the beetles|a kiss]]\n[[the one time it’s okay|a kiss]]\n[[when she laughs he wants|a kiss]]\n[[the beetles are the door to|a kiss]]\n[[instead of touching the beetles|a kiss]]
Stone deaf. She can’t hear a thing. Claps, whistles, speaking, shouting, rattle of the treat bag, nothing. She can feel vibrations in the floor, or, if you have a deep voice and boom near her, but, there’s no auditory reaction. Snap fingers right next to her ear and she hears nothing. Other than that, she’s fine, though, she is definitely getting older. A bit frailer. But she remains the sweet one, and has simply taken to spending most of her sleeping and waking hours in the kitchen, just so she’ll be there in case food time happens.\n\n[[we all gravitate into the most efficient orbit around the things that sustain us|a kiss]]\n[[the breakdown of communication|a kiss]]\n[[in the kitchen where words fail|a kiss]]\n[[the heartbeat of getting older|a kiss]]\n[[a hologram explanation of frailty|a kiss]]\n
When he guesses wrong it’s usually a man movie that he likes too much to realize it’s actually a man movie. \n\n[[the beauty of imperfection|a kiss]]\n[[where instincts will take you|a kiss]]\n[[better an enthusiastic mistake than a lackluster success|a kiss]]\n[[when he guesses right|a kiss]]\n[[how to see the forest for the trees|a kiss]]\n
He was good at making the stuffed croissants. There was always a stuffed croissant of the day on the lunch menu at his first real kitchen job. It was part of his job to come up with what today’s would be, and, to make them. The picking of the ingredients wasn’t the hard part, there was always ham and cheese, or turkey broccoli and cheese, or chicken salad or or or. There was always something. But there was a feel to working the dough that varied from day to day, ingredient set to ingredient set, batch to batch.\n\nThe dough came in frozen in unproofed triangles. You’d take out as many triangles as you wanted to make croissants and lay them out flat on a sheet tray to thaw. Even this wasn’t as simple as it sounds. You had to work backwards from when you wanted to cook them, and factor in the ambient temperature of the kitchen (which could vary wildly depending on the weather), and the rest of your schedule that day, because when the dough was ready, you needed to be ready.\n\nWhen the dough was perfectly thawed you’d build them. And you had to be set up to build them one right after the other, you were your own little assembly line and it had to be efficient or you’d never get them right. Croissant dough is pretty elastic when it’s within a very narrow temperature range. But try to ply it when it’s too cold and it tears. Try to ply it when it’s too warm and it tears. Ply it when it’s perfect and you can stuff them with just about anything, even things with sharp edges, roll them up, coil into a loop, and pinch the ends so that an egg wash will seal everything in there to bursting. Screw it up and all the cheese ends up on the sheet tray, and nobody wants that.\n\nWithin the time range of proper thawing, the heat of your hands can adjust pliability or being your undoing, so there’s a definite feel to how much working of the dough to do before you stuff and roll. It’s all in the touch.\n\nBaking them’s the easy part, if you get them folded up right.\n\n[[simple as it sounds|a kiss]]\n[[to work backwards from when you wanted|a kiss]]\n[[coil into a loop|a kiss]]\n[[the heat of hands can adjust pliability|a kiss]]\n[[folded up right|a kiss]]\n
Unsure of whether they were going to need a permit to blow bubbles or not (stranger things have happened), they fired up the machine the first time and walked across the street to where the cops and the firemen were congregated and asked: is there any problem with us blowing bubbles out into the street? It didn’t hurt that she was the one who went over and asked. Who could say “no” to a pretty girl wanting to make bubbles appear in the summer air? Who, indeed. So far no one they’ve ever met.\n\n[[when asking permission is easier than forgiveness|a kiss]]\n[[it didn’t hurt|a kiss]]\n[[who could say no?|a kiss]]\n[[bubbles in the summer air|a kiss]]\n[[bloom shimmer pop|a kiss]]\n
They tan the old-fashioned way. They go out somewhere without sunscreen and get fried to a crisp. Then, several days later, what’s left is a kind of tan that deepens on the arm that rests out the window of the car. But laws of physics and optics be damned, there’s no way on earth to get the space between knee and ankle to take on even a hint of color.\n\n[[what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted|a kiss]]\n[[different paths to the same destination|a kiss]]\n[[what’s left|a kiss]]\n[[laws of physics and optics be damned|a kiss]]\n[[on ways and wills and the power of persistence|a kiss]]\n
The paint in the basement rooms has crackled and crazed dramatically. Islands of paint have pulled away from each other to such an extent that it draws the hand to it to feel the width and the depth of the channels. It’s like the way mud in riverbeds dries, that mud crack pattern of complex polygons. There’s math in those patterns, the mind senses it and aches to understand.\n\n[[where math can be found|a kiss]]\n[[the ache to understand|a kiss]]\n[[the hand is drawn|a kiss]]\n[[inexorable compulsion|a kiss]]\n[[draw, reach, grasp|a kiss]]\n
First they thought there was one, a quick flash of white wobbling its way up the sidewalk at a quick but unhurried pace, like someone long familiar with a path. Later they heard more noise than one creature could make scritching around in the deep, deep grass on the other side of our fence. One night while he was waiting for the fire to die in the chimnea, two skunks with their tails up like bumper cars came crashing unconcernedly down onto the patio. They never saw him, and he didn’t give them any reason to see him. A third didn’t come down to the patio but was visible up the hill a bit.\n\n[[other evidence of the skunks]]\n[[the deep deep grass on the other side of the fence]]\n[[what the skunks were saying]]\n[[the possum on the fence]]\n[[one night the scritching wasn’t the skunks]]
None of the tricks for avoiding the tears really works, just be quick about it and don’t bring your hands anywhere near your eyes. Go for speed and look for shortcuts. With scallions, learn to lop off all the ends of a bunch at once (leaving the rubber bands in place can help with this), and all the tails, too, and then chop the whole bundle. Speed is more important than accuracy with onions. \n\nWith round onions, cut the top off then the bottom off, then cut in half across the rings to make peeling the outer skin easy.\n\nDon’t bother washing leeks before cutting them, you’ll never get all the grit out anyway. Just cut them and then rinse the cut pieces carefully, and individually.\n\n[[his favorite way to cut most vegetables]]\n[[ways to cut round onions]]\n[[what he misses most about cooking in a restaurant kitchen]]\n[[the first sign of old age]]\n[[an onion pie]]
Mostly she only keeps her feet to herself when they’re in bed for the night. On the sofa, watching a movie, she loves to put her feet in his lap, because usually he’ll rub them. At a fancy dinner she’s been known to play a bit of footsie. It’s really only when she’s trying to snug in for the night that she tries to keep her feet to herself. But she really shouldn’t. She knows her feet are cold and is afraid to put them on him. He’s hot and wishes she would put them on him to cool him off. Reflex reactions are slow to unlearn.\n\n[[furl and unfurl|a kiss]]\n[[learn and unlearn|a kiss]]\n[[curl up and spread out|a kiss]]\n[[the day the day the day|a kiss]]\n[[sweet dreams|a kiss]]\n
off the rack clothes hang well on them\nbroad enough for her to hang well on them, piggy-backed\nhe wouldn’t mind it if they were a bit smaller, but only a bit\nhe stores his stress at the base of his neck, right between them\nunder his short sleeves he keeps two or four tattoos\n\n[[about his hands]]\n[[a poem he wrote about a piggy-back ride]]\n[[what he has to be stressed about]]\n[[more about the tattoos]]\n
tang toungled\nthrustluscious\nmumbletumble\nthumbpushsoft\nfluttershudder\ntrumble\n\n[[disassociations]]\n[[where the mind goes]]\n[[the places where words fail]]\n[[counting backwards from yes]]\n[[recurring threads]]\n[[mantras]]
the loop, the ring, the hoop, the sing\n\nthe Möbius strip and the Klein bottle\n\nwave crash beach\nwave crash beach\n\nthe letter O, the letter H, the letter I, the exclamation point\n\nOh hi!\n\n[[an image of twoness|a kiss]]\n[[an argument for diversity rather than unity|a kiss]]\n[[oneness is overrated|a kiss]]\n[[a thousand arguments against oneness|a kiss]]\n[[the roller coaster beats the merry-go-round.|a kiss]]\n
Who knows where the money goes, but baby it’s gone, gone, gone. Ten bucks here, twenty bucks there, the occasional paycheck from her part-time job, they all evaporate into shoes, shirts, chain restaurant split meals, and nights spent just driving around to be driving around. Money as well-spent as money can be, truly. If ever he seems begrudged, it’s really the hint of envy creeping in. Ah, to be young again and know the luxury of boredom.\n\n[[gone, gone, gone|a kiss]]\n[[the process of evaporation|a kiss]]\n[[other methods of concentration|a kiss]]\n[[haecceity|a kiss]]\n[[the luxury|a kiss]]\n
They saw a heron (not their first, they seem to be strange attractors for herons, a rare bird in the area, but often to be found within range of where they happen to be), and paddled the boat over to where it landed, on the far side of the lake. Paddling is slow going, but, with a clear target in view the time passed quickly. They paddled plenty far upwind of it so that they could drift down to it, hoping the lack of noise and activity would delay the heron’s flyaway. He got out his camera and started taking pictures, and was able to continue to take pictures until they were close enough to have hit the heron with a tossed piece of popcorn.\n\n[[where they happen to be|a kiss]]\n[[range and distance and the folding of both space and time|a kiss]]\n[[a clear target in view|a kiss]]\n[[time passed quickly|a kiss]]\n[[proximity is not clarity|a kiss]]\n
Her bedtime is gradually getting earlier and earlier. Approaching the summer solstice it can sometimes even still be light out when she hits the jammies and starts entering snuggle mode. She denies this vehemently. He jokes about it relentlessly. The truth is somewhere in between. She does get up early and does more before 7 a.m. than many people do all day, it’s just that his natural sleep cycle runs later. He’s not a night owl, and doesn’t need (or even want) eight hours of sleep, but, midnight is his preferred bedtime and hers is more like 9 p.m. That’s a big enough difference to be notable.\n\n[[gradually getting|a kiss]]\n[[the elliptical approach|a kiss]]\n[[the shifting locus of truth|a kiss]]\n[[the mesh of rhythms|a kiss]]\n[[an exercise in noting differences|a kiss]]\n
Over the bed is a ceiling fan and overhead light that she hates. The chain for the light has as its pull a bluebird. When they’re ready to pack it in for the night, one will ask the other to flip the bird, which means to sit up in bed and pull the switch to turn off the light.\n\n[[unwinding the day]]\n[[the migration of cats]]\n[[the best parts of his days]]\n[[what the bed really needs]]\n[[what the bed doesn’t need]]\n
His grandfather always had dogs in the house, usually more than one. He remembers Pookie, Pookie Two, Pookie Sue, Buffy and Ruff. They were muttweilers, probably schnauzer and toy poodle blends by the look of them. The original Pookie he doesn’t remember much, Pookie Two was dumb as a box of rocks, Pookie Sue was sweet as they come and loved it when you put your foot under her lower hips and lifted her up and down, see-saw like, with her front legs as the fulcrum. Buffy was too smart for his own good, and got hit by a car. Ruff was smart enough to stay away from cars, and smart enough to pull helium balloons down from the ceiling by the string, then pull the string down a little at a time (hold down with paw, reach up for another length, hold that down with paw, repeat) until he could get his teeth on the balloon to pop it. \n\n[[methodology|a kiss]]\n[[the systematic approach|a kiss]]\n[[the balloon that goes pop at the end of the adventure|a kiss]]\n[[mission accomplished|a kiss]]\n[[persistence pays|a kiss]]\n
a trumpet vine (in bloom)\na lilac bush (done blooming)\ntigerlilies (in bloom)\nferns (flourishing)\nmoss (doing well)\nan awkward mix of pea gravel and pavers\na table, six chairs and an umbrella\na slightly too small grill\na chimnea\n\n[[what the trumpet vine is hiding]]\n[[what the smell of lilacs helps him remember]]\n[[the story of the pea gravel and pavers]]\n[[where the chair cushions went]]\n[[things they’ve burned in the chimnea]]
Stick a cabin out there and make it a writer’s retreat, available for only that one stretch of a couple of weeks in May/June when they’re all in bloom. Increase the cost of the cabin if they want to help you harvest the blooms.\n\n[[the abundance of excess|a kiss]]\n[[the excess of abundance|a kiss]]\n[[anything worth doing is worth overdoing|a kiss]]\n[[the product of a mind set to reeling|a kiss]]\n[[inspiration is where you find it, and the sum of the word’s roots mean a taking in of breath|a kiss]]\n
Left to their own devices, they’d hardly ever see each other. He’s more of a late night person, she’s more of a morning person. Jobs help normalize things a little bit, but they’ve both sacrificed a little on either end in order to have more time spent together in the middle. Still, most every morning she’s first up, but not by much, and he’s last in, but not by much. \n\n[[their own and owned devices|a kiss]]\n[[another kind of compromise|a kiss]]\n[[meeting in the middle|a kiss]]\n[[there are no little things|a kiss]]\n[[the bridging of differences|a kiss]]\n
Walking towards the house from the parked car can be a disorienting experience. Something looks not-right with the house but it’s hard to say exactly what’s off. It isn’t just a tilt, there’s a pitch forward and a counter-clockwise twist. It’s as if the hill has it’s hat on funny.\n\n[[an orienting experience|a kiss]]\n[[simultaneous perception along all axes|a kiss]]\n[[there’s nothing wise about the clock or counter clock|a kiss]]\n[[it isn’t just a tilt|a kiss]]\n[[a pitch forward|a kiss]]\n
Bee Guy (and his girlfriend and their dog) are back in town, actually. For a year or so Bee Guy & Co. were gone from the area, but not really gone. They’d see him (his mullet and lope are identifiable at long range) occasionally on the other side of the river, in the next town over. He hasn’t moved back into the compound next door, but he’s back in town. They see him a couple times a week, lately, walking groceries back from the store to wherever he’s living now. Whether there are bees at his new place or not, they’ll never know, but, he’ll forever be Bee Guy in their eyes.\n\n[[orbital geometries|a kiss]]\n[[situational gravities|a kiss]]\n[[talking about one thing as a way of illustrating parallax|a kiss]]\n[[how far you can go without going anywhere|a kiss]]\n[[when a loop is not a loop|a kiss]]\n
skip trip lips tick sticky sweet like sweat, the moist sure of moisture is your core choice your more voice your or or or vice.\n\n[[kissness]]\n[[another]]\n[[sigh lent]]\n[[vocalizations]]\n[[where the time goes]]
a kiss
Nope, borscht is doubly out. Not only does she not like cold soup, she doesn’t care for beets, either. And he’s never had it. It’s possible he never will; unless they find it on a menu somewhere.\n\n[[doubly in|a kiss]]\n[[she does like|a kiss]]\n[[she does care|a kiss]]\n[[a thing they find together|a kiss]]\n[[it is possible he will always|a kiss]]\n
His view of money is that it’s meant to be spent. Saving money is like putting Easter candy in the freezer so you still have it in the Fall. It’s a kind of bleak pessimism that presumes there’ll be no opportunity to acquire new candy before the Fall. And, he’d go one step further and say that people who have a hoard of Easter candy in their (literal or metaphorical) freezers are more apt to be keeping a spying, theft-worried eye on their freezers than to be on the lookout for more candy opportunities.\n\n[[would you put off a kiss to save it?|a kiss]]\n[[his theory of superabundance|a kiss]]\n[[one step further|a kiss]]\n[[more candy opportunities|a kiss]]\n[[a saver does not savor|a kiss]]\n
The overall cost of the solution should be minimal, especially in comparison to the amount of value it will add to the living experience. Having a door that never opens is a low-grade and constant negativity, and you don’t want that in your living room—you don’t need to be a devotee of feng shui to figure that out. And it’s not just the value of being able to open the door, it’s not just the value of improving airflow in the summer (they have screens for the storm door outside the problem door), the real benefit they’re looking forward to is easy access to the front balcony. That will be like adding a small room onto the house for half the year.\n\n[[adding value to experiences|a kiss]]\n[[on living and rooms|a kiss]]\n[[when doors open|a kiss]]\n[[little changes, large effects|a kiss]]\n[[open is to architecture as yes is to kiss|a kiss]]\n
Uncountable. No matter how much experience you have, no matter how good you are, when you’re working towards an ongoing and interlaced sequence of deadlines, in the company of others, around multiple sources of burn, you’re going to get burned. Plan on it, and count on it, but don’t plan on being able to count them. Just ice it and get on with it. Most of them don’t even scar.\n\n[[an ongoing and interlaced sequence|a kiss]]\n[[in the company of others|a kiss]]\n[[losing count|a kiss]]\n[[the lasting marks|a kiss]]\n[[worth counting|a kiss]]\n
All of them, she never met a mushroom she didn’t like, but that’s not really helpful, is it? She’d never had a morel until she met him (the morel is his favorite mushroom), and now she loves them, too. She likes the crimini, the shiitake, the enoki, and the truffle. She like the chanterelle, portabella, and the button. As long as they’re fresh. She doesn’t go for the canned mushroom at all, ever.\n\n[[mushroom dishes]]\n[[one consequence of not liking canned mushrooms]]\n[[how he’s preparing these particular mushrooms]]\n[[why they’ll never go mushroom hunting together]]\n[[a few other foods she doesn’t like]]
hunger emptiness hollow \n\nhooooOOOOwl\n\nreutchy\n\nboxed in and strung out\n\ngonesville\n\nwell up\n\n[[how to fix want|a kiss]]\n[[wonderfuel|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between want and need|a kiss]]\n[[whishpurr|a kiss]]\n[[yessness|a kiss]]\n
mmmmmmmph\nlamination\ncheese melting on a burger\na Dali clock on a spoon\nthe soft crash of two flocks of fireflies\nfalling onto a bed you’ve driven 12 hours to find\nthe thump of a ripe melon\n\n[[things he loves about the way she hugs]]\n[[a piece of paper between layers of plastic]]\n[[what else to put on a good cheeseburger]]\n[[a trip they made the Rodin Museum]]\n[[a short poem about a firefly]]\n[[things he did to stay awake while driving]]\n[[why he no longer makes cold melon soup]]
It turns in on itself and rises upout in a spiral of watch and meta-watch and meta-meta-watch and meta-meta-meta-watch all tethered to the herenow the her now the he now the h now.\n\n[[things that tether]]\n[[moments of turning in on]]\n[[meta]]\n[[how attention wanders, wonders]]\n[[the difference a space makes]]
The writer depends on the ants and the peonies and the metaphor their actions can make. The writer needs to talk about one thing in order to talk about another thing. Compare, contrast, equate, extrapolate, infer, suggest, connect, correlate.\n\n[[pointing one direction and going another|a kiss]]\n[[the tangled web we weave|a kiss]]\n[[the equi of valences|a kiss]]\n[[drawing a circle around a truth that can’t be pointed at directly|a kiss]]\n[[what the writer hopes to find at the end of his or her writing|a kiss]]\n
After the rain there’s no way to make it up or down the sidewalk without becoming positively drenched on whichever side the bamboo is on. Even if the bamboo has been cut back recently, it’s still going to hold buckets of rain and release them at the slightest touch.\n\n[[becoming positively|a kiss]]\n[[that its inevitable and inexorable doesn’t mean it’s regrettable|a kiss]]\n[[hold|a kiss]]\n[[and release|a kiss]]\n[[the slightest touch|a kiss]]\n
There’s a crazy amount of yelling in their neighborhood. One neighbor yells at her dogs while they’re being let out, and only speaks to her husband in yells. The family across the street yells at each other, in all possible combinations: mother at father, father at daughter, daughter to her own son, you name it, they yell it. The neighbors in the compound seem to be of two distinct types: yellers and creepers. Too loud or suspiciously unseen and unheard. And that’s just the nearby humans. The neighborhood is awash in the shouting matches going on between several different warring canine factions.\n\n[[normal as a function of context|a kiss]]\n[[a dichotomy of types|a kiss]]\n[[a meditation on the relative merits of silence vs. communication|a kiss]]\n[[the limits of what can be communicated|a kiss]]\n[[frequency modulation and amplitude modulation as metaphor for interperosnal relationships|a kiss]]\n
He likes the Zipper best of all. It goes around like a ferris wheel but instead of having a wheel, it has a post and at the end of each post is a wheel, and each car on each wheel is freely rotating. So you get the flip action of a double pendulum. You can always tell how good a ride is by how much pocket junk is sprayed on the ground beheath the ride. The Zipper was a trove of lighters and keys and sunglasses and coins.\n\n[[the flip action|a kiss]]\n[[a double pendulum|a kiss]]\n[[freely rotating|a kiss]]\n[[and where it stops|a kiss]]\n[[that feeling of being at the top of the ride|a kiss]]\n
He was 43 years old before he discovered that butter on a piece of crusty bread topped with a very fatty cured meat product like sopressata is one of those flavor pairings that is mutually augmentive to the extent that it makes something wholly new. Like peanut butter and chocolate, or cheese and apples, corned beef hash and vinegar, or milk and cookies. It’s non-intuitive, for sure, that adding fat to the already fatty meat would work in the way it does, but, it sure does. It ranks right up there with butter on a saltine.\n\nHe’s never (knowingly) had ghee, but he’d like to rectify that situation. \n\nHe’s also never had Tibetan butter tea, but he’d like to try that, too.\n\nAnd butter made from raw milk, but, you don’t want to get him started on the whole raw milk thing.\n\n\n[[the process of discovery never ends|a kiss]]\n[[a favorite pairing of his|a kiss]]\n[[mutually augmentative|a kiss]]\n[[like peanut butter and chocolate|a kiss]]\n[[like milk and cookies|a kiss]]\n
His dad’s Uncle Peck (his great-Uncle) used to tell stories about when he was a kid what they’d do with the neighborhood cats.The most benign was rubber-banding penny candy paper bags to their feet like paper booties. The most vicious was tying two cats together by the tail with a length of rope and then tossing the rope over a clothesline so the cats would fight each other until one could get down.\n\n[[his reaction to these stories]]\n[[the nearest he’d personally witnessed]]\n[[what he says about how people treat animals]]\n[[why Uncle Peck never got married]]\n[[what his dad told him when his Uncle Peck died]]
Who are they, and who do they tell so that we find out? There must be a layer between we and they, or we would never know what they thought without knowing who they are. We can ask how they are, but it is more important to know who they are telling and how we are finding out. This is not a paranoid ramble, or a clever comedian’s joke, it’s a serious question.\n\nThey is a kind of projected collective wisdom, we imagine, and are safe to imagine, until we consider the mechanism of the delivery of this wisdom. We don’t get it directly from others, we get it mediated by a layer whose motivation is profit and control and the control of profit.\n\nAdvertising is lying. Television is brainwashing. The corporations do not have your best interests in mind, nor the best interests of anyone but their own profits. You can trust no one who experiences financial gain by your trusting them.\n\n[[you have a choice, right now, between reality television and reality reality|a kiss]]\n[[a thousand Facebook friends isn’t worth one thousandth of a kiss|a kiss]]\n[[the only thing in this world worth being addicted to|a kiss]]\n[[the cure for every addiction|a kiss]]\n[[how to break the cycle|a kiss]]\n
You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals. Watch closely, and it’s like a window into their most closely held belief structures about their place in the world and the places of others. Watch closely, and pretend that the way they are treating the animal is the way they’d treat a person weaker than they are. Watch closely, and imagine this is how the person will treat you in your joy and in your moments of need.\n\n[[watch closely|a kiss]]\n[[a window in|a kiss]]\n[[an extended meditation about place in the world|a kiss]]\n[[a moment of joy|a kiss]]\n[[moments of need|a kiss]]\n
Because there’s always something to talk about. As long as there’s something to talk about there’s language, and as long as there’s language there’s opportunity for incongruity, ambiguity, surprise, misdirection, misstatement, pun and wordplay. \n\nAnd there’s always people to talk about. People are funny by nature, and talking about people is opportunity squared. Now talk about what people say and it just keeps getting easier and easier.\n\nIf you can’t think of something funny to say about what other people said, you’re not paying attention. He spends most of his time purposely not saying all the funny things that leap into his mind while people are talking to him.\n\n[[a roster of things to talk about|a kiss]]\n[[an experiment with language|a kiss]]\n[[how direction becomes misdirection|a kiss]]\n[[when a statement is a misstatement|a kiss]]\n[[a small selection of the funny things that leap into his mind|a kiss]]\n
When he first arrived, they didn’t know anyone in town except for two co-workers. One of the co-workers played on a women’s softball team and was having a game the night of the day they got into town. They went to the game and while sitting in the bleachers behind home plate overheard a conversation. \n\nThe first guy says, “What do you want to do when this is over?”\nThe second guy says, “Dunno. What do you want to do?”\nThe first guy says, “Dunno. We could go beat up some faggots.”\nThe second guy says, “Mmokay.”\n\n[[other culture shocks involved in moving from Chicago]]\n[[overheard at a convenience store a month later]]\n[[the house]]\n[[an unusual aspect of a factory town]]\n[[the smoking policy]]\n
a countertop\na hallway\na stairway\na living room\na life\n\n[[everything on the countertop]]\n[[also in the hallway]]\n[[what’s upstairs]]\n[[movies they’ve watched recently]]\n[[an unused balcony]]\n[[the recent obsession with LPs]]
He was in his forties and long retired from professional cooking before he, quite by accident, discovered scrumptiousness of frying thick sliced garlic in bacon fat. The smokey salty fatty added to the garlicky, especially the sweet garlicky that comes when the garlic begins to slip past golden into carmelized, is a scent and a flavor not to be missed while here on Earth. It’s a heady swoon of goodness. \n\nGarlic cooked this way can be folded into other dishes, or, if allowed to drain on some paper towel for a few minutes, be placed in a dish on the table where pasta is happening as a sprinkle on to taste garnish.\n\n[[the punctuation in his life story|a kiss]]\n[[taken with meals|a kiss]]\n[[you eat three meals a day and still hunger for more in the morning|a kiss]]\n[[the machine needs fuel|a kiss]]\n[[there is no such thing as garnish|a kiss]]\n
The skunks will eat that cat food you put out for the neighborhood strays you felt sorry for. They’ll drink up that water, too. They’ll rustle through your garbage looking for edibles, too, and they have sharp little claws, so they can really get in there. And they’re not quiet about it, either. They’re skunks, nobody messes with them, and they know it.\n\n[[interconnectedness|a kiss]]\n[[unintended consequences|a kiss]]\n[[sharp little claws|a kiss]]\n[[really getting in there|a kiss]]\n[[the long view vs. the short view|a kiss]]\n
One of his customers has a side business. He has a 40 acre field of peonies. They bloom like clockwork the week of Memorial Day. What a thing to see! 40 acres of peonies all in bloom! What an assault on the eyes and the nose! He’d fall down drunk on it. \n\n[[the peony poem]]\n[[what’s keeping him from going]]\n[[another use for a peony field]]\n[[another trip he wants to make]]\n[[sensory overload]]
They suddenly found themselves with a free evening and next day. They bee-lined it for the shore and stayed in a place whose windows looked down on a tight cluster of boardwalk amusement park rides. But that amusement park was the only thing between them and the sand.\n\nThey got in late and just got unpacked and went to bed. But the next day they spent all their time walking the sand. It was in the fall, after the busy season, so while they didn’t have the place to themselves by any means, it wasn’t just crawling with beachgoers. It was long pants weather, no going in the water weather, but the sun was shining and at one point they napped in the sand. And woke up feeling like they’d been on vacation for a week instead of half a day.\n\nEach time they leave the shore it pulls them harder and harder to stay.\n\n[[they suddenly found|a kiss]]\n[[the epitome of spontaneity|a kiss]]\n[[between them and the sand|a kiss]]\n[[like the sun shining|a kiss]]\n[[the pull to stay|a kiss]]\n
Building snow forts by rolling together snow blocks or hollowing out the throw from the plows. The relative warmth inside the windbreak of the tunnel. Spending all day in the snow.\n\n[[how long the tunnel could get]]\n[[other forts from his youth]]\n[[what you think about inside a fort]]\n[[ways to stay warm in winter]]\n[[the other side of the street]]
Her breath is so bad she doesn’t need a superpower, she already has one. The ability to clear an entire room with a yawn. It’s like opening a restaurant dumpster that’s been sealed against the July heat.\n\n[[a superpower everyone wishes they had|a kiss]]\n[[the anti-yawn|a kiss]]\n[[a story about breathing|a kiss]]\n[[something cats can’t do|a kiss]]\n[[a heat like July|a kiss]]\n
“Jackpot!”\n\nHe felt like he’d just won the lottery. And in many ways, he had.\n\nFrom the geometry of her limbs he knew she was going to carry his heart with care.\n\nFrom the way she watched the world as she walked he knew she would look out for him and help him see both the beautiful and the ugly around him.\n\n[[how he feels today|a kiss]]\n[[all the money in the world|a kiss]]\n[[a study in the geometry of surfaces|a kiss]]\n[[how she looks out for him|a kiss]]\n[[the beautiful around him|a kiss]]\n
He smiles easily, and often. He laughs and likes to hear others laugh. He feels awkward in groups and, ironically, his defense mechanism is to become gregarious. He can tell a joke, and knows how to let someone else tell one he already knows.\n\n[[what makes him smile]]\n[[laughs he likes]]\n[[when he first noticed this defense machanism]]\n[[not all smiles are happy]]\n[[how smiles are like ideas]]
forgetting in larger and larger patches\ngoing to bed before you’re tired\nwaking up tired\nminor injuries take noticeably longer to heal\nmetabolism shift\nthe days go slower and the years go faster\nrandom shooting pain\neven the cops look like kids\nmaking that noise when lowering to the sofa\n\n[[memory strategies]]\n[[the cure for waking up tired]]\n[[the cure for the metabolism shift]]\n[[a story about a battery]]\n[[his grandfather and the chair]]\n
She’s a very sensory person, in general, and when hugging has a tendency to tuck her nose in tight to his clavicle and inhale deeply through her nose. She melts into him from something in that scent. He has no idea what it is. He hopes she never stops finding it.\n\n[[a story about a tendency|a kiss]]\n[[where all the nerve endings meet|a kiss]]\n[[tucked in tight|a kiss]]\n[[a story about melting into and out of|a kiss]]\n[[no idea|a kiss]]\n
Written in something other than pencil is a much larger story. That the lines stopped when her father moved out, that the lines haven’t been painted over, that in the mother’s handwriting are the cats’ names and heights marked in the same way but where she’d’ve had to kneel to write them, the skid mark that has accrued over the years from coy cats rubbing their cheeks on the door frame, all this tells more of the story than the lines and numbers in pencil.\n\n[[written in something|a kiss]]\n[[a much larger story|a kiss]]\n[[imagine a world where everyone had to kneel to write|a kiss]]\n[[in the same way|a kiss]]\n[[accrued over the years|a kiss]]\n
It was a movie she suggested in an email about two years before she died, and he finally got around to adding it to the queue about two years after she died. Turns out the film has connections to the local area, too. An excellent, character-driven movie that he watched alone, first, and then suggested she watch. They watched it together a couple nights later and she liked it, too.\n\n[[what else they use the TV for]]\n[[where they differed in opinion on this movie]]\n[[what this movie had in common with another movie they loved]]\n[[the local connections]]\n[[what he wanted to do when the movie was over]]
Twenty minutes, tops. This is not a cat with any kind of fear. Once her heavy breathing had slowed down from the exertion of the chase, she was back to her old bold tricks. All cats are independent, but this cat has a real stubbornness to her. If she’s settled in on your lap and is happily keeping her underside warm with your body heat and you try to get up, or even just re-position yourself to get blood flow going back into your thigh, this cat’ll growl at you as if to say, “Don’t even think about it.”\n\n[[at the intersection of stubbornness and independence|a kiss]]\n[[how to happily keep the insides warm|a kiss]]\n[[when you stretch time to its breaking point|a kiss]]\n[[body + heat|a kiss]]\n[[as if + to say|a kiss]]\n
He remembers seeing a model of a human adjusted for size based on the number of nerve endings per square centimeter. So, the more nerve endings there were, the bigger that part of the body would be. This was supposed to provide a visual analogy for the way we see ourselves, or, rather, for the way we experience the world through our sense of touch. This person had enormous fingertips and very large hands, almost no back, tiny heels and elbows, but most exaggerated of all was this person’s lips. They were so outsized that one wondered how he could walk or hold his head up straight under their weight.\n\n[[the map is not the territory|a kiss]]\n[[nerve endings are also nerve beginnings|a kiss]]\n[[the way he sees himself|a kiss]]\n[[the way he sees the world around him|a kiss]]\n[[sense of touch|a kiss]]\n
She helps him learn the names of flowers and trees, and never gets tired of his asking. She’ll tell him again even when he hasn’t asked, in a way that is reinforcing rather than condescending.\n\n[[his ask|a kiss]]\n[[her answer|a kiss]]\n[[the gain in again|a kiss]]\n[[the reinforcement of repetition|a kiss]]\n[[things that rest on the tip of the tongue|a kiss]]\n
The problems of translation of language in general and poetry in particular have always been very interesting to him. He’s done some work on some non-traditional strategies for translation. It’s an area of ongoing interest and concern for him.\n\nHe loves when digital technology is used to improve things, not just merely re-present them in a different format. He prefers the augmented to the merely ported over.\n\nHe read somewhere that Issa wrote over 20,000 haiku, and that only about 5,000 have ever been translated into English.\n\nHe doesn’t speak Japanese.\n\nHe read about several poets who do translations in collaboration. Robert Hass does Issa, and Coleman Barks does Rumi in much the same manner. They get scholarly (nearly literal) and annotated translations from someone who speaks both languages but is not a poet, and then they attempt to smooth these (informed) texts into poems.\n\nShe has a friend in Tokyo. They have done some projects together, some involving translation of contemporary Japanese poetry into bi-lingual editions.\n\nSo one day he asked her friend in Tokyo if she would be interested in working with him on translating some of the 15,000 untranslated Issa poems. He gave her a few links to some resources on the web.\n\nShe replied that she’d be interested, that Issa was also her favorite of the haiku poets, and, that before they started on the 15,000 she thought it might be a Good Thing if they were to fix some of the TERRIBLE translations that are already out there.\n\nHe had no plan at that point other than just doing some translations, figuring that once they had demonstrated to themselves that they had the ability to work together, they would in the process have accumulated a number of translations that they could then use to try and figure out what to do with them—a book? a website? a concert tour? who knows? \n\nThey started in on translating while having this conversation about the terrible translations that have already been done and everything just sort of came together in his brain. \n\nWhere the bad translations went wrong was almost exclusively at the point at which there was a word which didn’t have a one-to-one correspondence between the languages and/or words where there was a large set of cultural associations.\n\nHere’s one example:\n\n\nmusai ya(ie) to notamau youna hina kana\n\nwhich has been translated as:\n\nlooking like she’s enduring\nmy crappy house...\nthe doll\n\nBut here’s the thing. “hina” does mean “doll”, sort of. \n\nHis Tokyo counterpart writes:\n\n''How shabby here!\nHina dolls might say\nAbout your dwelling\n\n1.musai ya --> shabby house, that looks poor, narrow and cheap.\n2.hina dolls --> hina dolls on the pedestal, steps for displaying hina dolls. We never display hina dolls directly on the shelf or chest.\n3.notamau --> say something to someone: an old expression for when the upper class person says something to lower class ones.\n4.youna --> seem, look like, as if hina dolls seem to say ...\n\nThis haiku has humorous and ironical taste, because the Japanese people would like to have a gorgeous and expensive set of hina dolls with the dolls’ house (pedestal or glass case) even though their own house is narrow and poor. Hina dolls are for Girl’s Festival on March 3rd, parents buy a set for their daughter. Normal set of hina dolls has 15 dolls on 7 pedestal steps which is very big and bulk in a small room.\n\n[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinamatsuri|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinamatsuri]]''\n\nSo, to translate that as “doll” is terrible. It loses all of that notion of family pride and sacrifice and, and, and.\n\nAnd he got to thinking about this, and it really bothered him. Then he figured out why it bothered him.\n\nNormally what we do when there’s a word in another language that we don’t have our own word for is pretty simple. We use the word from the other language. No problem! The number of instances is HUGE in English. deja vu, gesundheit, jihad, and on and on. In principle we have NO problem taking a word from another language and using it in our own language if we don’t already have a good word for the thing we want to talk about.\n\nSo why is it, in poetry—of all places!—are we so unwilling to do that? It makes no sense. It’s almost as if the poem is already so compact of a linguistic construction that the translator feels they will have failed in their task if they leave any part of it untranslated. But, of course, this only makes the problem worse in the future. Because other translators will STILL not have this word in their vocabulary and will be forced to make other (or similar) bad translations. \n\nWhereas if translators were able to introduce NEW words into the language by this method of non-translation, all future translators (and readers) would benefit from the fact that this word is now KNOWN. It’s now a part of our language.\n\nSo that’s what he wants to do. And he wants to use a web presentation to make this possible.\n\nThe idea is this:\n\nThere’s some basic site navigation, obviously. But on any given poem’s page the presentation works in the following way.\n\nWe’re talking about not just haiku but the haiku of Issa and not just the haiku of Issa but the haiku of Issa as translated into English at the moment, but this basic structure can work for all poems translated into all languages, he thinks.\n\nLots of whitespace around the poem\n\nPoem in the original appears at the top. \n\nBelow that, the poem in its translation.\n\nWhere there are words which are untranslated, a visual clue is given, and the reader may (if they choose to) mouseover the term and explanatory material will subtly fly-in to the surrounding whitespace. That material may be images, text, or even links out to additional reading, depending on the nature of the term. When they mouse-out, the additional material fades away, leaving them with the poem, again, though now they can read it with the new understanding of the untranslated term(s).\n\nAnd here’s where it gets really good.\n\nThe project could be constructed to allow readers to contribute (wiki style) to both the translation process (oh I wouldn’t have translated it that way, I would have translated it THIS way) and to the augmentative information (this is a much better picture of a hina doll), and even allow for additional languages. So his default is “to English” but if someone else were to review the Japanese and the English, and wanted to add a translation into, say Finnish, too, that could be added.\n\nThe original poem becomes the “main” entry around which everything else is attached. Each poem can also then become a kind of Rosetta stone for languages. To see one poem in many, many translations, each with augmentative information where necessary to ADD the trouble words from the original language into the target language. Everybody wins!\n\nAt least in theory. They’re making good progress on the translations, his next job is to work on the presentation. \n\n[[he’s attracted to ideas that are small but scale|a kiss]]\n[[he needs to learn to be attracted to ideas that depend less on the involvement of unreliable others|a kiss]]\n[[he believes the world can be made a better place by very small gestures as well as very large ones|a kiss]]\n[[language is like the word cleave itself—you can be cleaved both to and from another person, and language can bring you closer or drive you apart|a kiss]]\n[[everybody wins|a kiss]]\n
A flower he remembers from his childhood. The side of their house had two (too) enormous bushes: one white, one purple. The scent of the lilacs is so singular in his memory, it calls rushing back the experience of nights camped out in a tent and sleeping bag in his own summer yard. He saw lilacs from time to time at other parts of his life, but didn’t get to sit with them as they relaxed into the gloaming again until he came to live in her home. Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.\n\n[[a list of things that grow larger in memory|a kiss]]\n[[the singular|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to rush back|a kiss]]\n[[from time to time in other parts|a kiss]]\n[[home again, home again|a kiss]]\n
She either grrs or she giggles or she squirms or she runs away (without really running away, what she really wants is for him to catch her). Part of the reason he gropes is because he can never be sure just what her response might be. He doesn’t like the dark looks that sometimes come his way, but, those few are worth it for everytime she gives him the look that makes his heart leap in his chest like a startle of birds.\n\n[[squirm isn’t always away|a kiss]]\n[[when he catches her|a kiss]]\n[[he can never be sure|a kiss]]\n[[everytime she gives him the look|a kiss]]\n[[a startle of birds|a kiss]]\n
Oh the upstairs bathroom door, so many stories, so little time. The door doesn’t latch. And it doesn’t stay open. So there’s a problem. It wants to be closed, and, it doesn’t stay closed. People who live in the house know how to make the door stay open (you have to be sure there’s no fat towels behind it (thin towels are fine), and nothing hanging from the hook on the back of it, and then you have to gently hold the door onto its balance point. It’s a graceful move, requiring only about three seconds by someone experienced with the maneuver, but it’s essentially impossible for a rookie to execute. So the door is regularly closed when no one’s actually in there. And it doesn’t latch or lock, so, people who’ve been there a few times are used to seeing it closed when no one’s in there, but people who’ve been there a lot or live there are used to seeing it closed when no one’s in there. A bad mix.\n\n[[so many stories|a kiss]]\n[[so little time|a kiss]]\n[[doors and windows and gates and decisions|a kiss]]\n[[a graceful move|a kiss]]\n[[a snapshot of three seconds from all angles|a kiss]]\n
Two things: it was character-driven, and, in the end, nobody really gets what they want, but you still feel good about it. It’s too easy to say they get what they need, but, that’s close to the effect. They get enough. They get something else instead what they wanted that is just as good or maybe better. They get something which doesn’t immediately appear to be what they wanted, though upon closer inspection it is. None of these quite get at it, but, that’s what makes it work. There’s a striking of a note and a step back to allow it to resonate rather than a spoon-feeding of a triteism.\n\n[[show don’t tell|a kiss]]\n[[how much is enough|a kiss]]\n[[close to the effect|a kiss]]\n[[a thing that escapes easy definition|a kiss]]\n[[resonation|a kiss]]\n
Their first time at James was during the week of their honeymoon. They spent a week in Philadelphia and ate at seven of the finest restaurants in the city. James was Wednesday and, as it turned out, was the favorite for both of them from the week. Everything about it was just the way they like it. Romantic, not too noisy but not too stuffy. Service prompt without being intrusive. Menu interesting without being weird. Of the 7 places they went, they’d definitely go back to three of them, and James will be the first they return to.\n\n[[the importance of romance|a kiss]]\n[[a story that takes place at the intersection of their preferences|a kiss]]\n[[just the way they like it|a kiss]]\n[[everything in moderation, including moderation|a kiss]]\n[[how they feel about returnings|a kiss]]\n
It’s made of a really funny composite material that seems like it might be something like chipboard with a thin veneer of something else, possibly a kind of paper, even. At any rate, anything you put on it that could possibly sweat even the tiniest bit of condensation will leave a permanent white spot on the otherwise navy blue surface.\n\n[[under the veneer|a kiss]]\n[[a catalog of terms for moisture|a kiss]]\n[[the process of lamination|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between a surface and a sure face|a kiss]]\n[[something, something, at any rate, anything|a kiss]]\n
The door they really use is the side door. There are three doors into the house. The side door, the basement door, and the balcony door. If you approach the house from the sidewalk the first door you see is the basement door. But it’s not conveniently accessible because neither the front sidewalk nor the side of the house sidewalk really connect with the concrete slab in front of it. You can see the balcony door from the sidewalk, but you have to walk up the side sidewalk past the stairs that go up to the balcony and then sweep aside some overgrowth to perform a switchback to go up those stairs. By the time you make it to the stairs to the balcony the side door has just come in view. You have to keep going up, up, up the side sidewalk, through the bamboo jungle and up two sets of steps. Then you’re there.\n\n[[the bamboo jungle]]\n[[the visitors]]\n[[the bike in the brush]]\n[[after the rain]]\n[[the migrating mailbox]]
In the winter, when the whole valley is under a dampening coat of snow, there’s a deadening of the nearby sounds, and a brightening of the faraway. The whole acoustic make-up of the space is shifted in a way that makes you think if you could project your voice properly you could whisper into your own ear.\n\n[[a story about the way sound travels|a kiss]]\n[[the collapse of time and space|a kiss]]\n[[a brightening of the faraway|a kiss]]\n[[open loops|a kiss]]\n[[closed loops|a kiss]]\n
The bamboo was planted in order to help hide the chain link fence. It does a good job at that. But it likes to grow bushy more than it likes to grow upwards. And it holds the rain and dew like mad. So there’s no way to come up or down the sidewalk without geting the side of your body soaked and spattered if there’s been any kind of precipitation. \n\nFunny thing about bamboo in a temperate climate: it’ll brown out through winter and look dead as can be come the spring thaw. But the leaves don’t fall off and regenerate. They turn back to green from brown. It starts at the part of the leaf closest to the stalk, and works its way out. By June there’s just little brown tips that you’d think mean the leaves are starting to die, when in fact it means that the leaves are almost finished coming back to life.\n\n[[planted|a kiss]]\n[[thaw|a kiss]]\n[[regenerate|a kiss]]\n[[turn back|a kiss]]\n[[back to life|a kiss]]\n
One lazy, sleeping in Saturday morning in Spring they were lolling in bed when the dog barking jackhammer began. It was relentless from the get go and was tinged with that special energy that says, “I can go like this for hours!” They resigned themselves to getting out of bed and cutting their lazing short. But one neighbor did what they’d only dreamed of doing and yelled out the window a “shut up!” so nasty and vehement that the dog stopped mid-bark. For one whole bark. And then continued on like it had never happened. They silently cheered and went in to shower.\n\n[[the long linger|a kiss]]\n[[the sleepy shnuffle|a kiss]]\n[[the breeze that makes you want to tuck in just a bit tighter in one spot, a bit looser in another|a kiss]]\n[[the thickly sighed|a kiss]]\n[[that place between awake and dreaming|a kiss]]\n
The mushrooms are particularly good this time of year, so his goal is to let them be mushrooms in all their mushroomy goodness. The other ingredients are there just to help bring out the range of flavors the mushroom contains. The salt will draw liquid out of the mushroom to be combined with the wine and reduced to thicken and concentrate the flavors, the shallot will be the counterpoint note that the mushroom song wraps around. When every ingredient is at its peak, it’s best to keep things simple and let the stars shine.\n\n[[nothing is anything without something to compare it to|a kiss]]\n[[good ingredients need only to be given room to be|a kiss]]\n[[describing one thing in terms of another|a kiss]]\n[[stars don’t really shine|a kiss]]\n[[mushrooms aren’t really stars|a kiss]]\n
You look for places where the light peeks in and consider whether you need to close them off or leave them open.\n\nYou hear your own heart beating.\n\nYou listen for people sneaking up on your fort.\n\nYou sleep and dream of being invincible, indestructable, and immortal.\n\nYou think about how to make the next fort even better.\n\n[[where the light peeks in|a kiss]]\n[[you leave them open to breathe|a kiss]]\n[[sneaking up|a kiss]]\n[[invincible|a kiss]]\n[[an even better fort|a kiss]]\n
Meta is that which is beyond, or outside, or further. Meta is a modifier capable, in a fit of self-reflexivity, of modifying itself. We talk about language using metalanguage. We talk about metalanguage using metametalanguage. We talk about metametalanguage with metametametalanguage. There is no end to it. This has rather astonishing implications if you take the time to consider it fully. The infinite is not a very large number, it is something actually unconnected to the number. It is is-ness.\n\n[[you can go so far out it becomes in|a kiss]]\n[[a fit of self-reflexivity|a kiss]]\n[[we talk about|a kiss]]\n[[there is no end to it|a kiss]]\n[[isness|a kiss]]\n
She writes most everything in longhand, first. He writes nearly everything on the computer. His hand gets tired if he has to handwrite anything longer than his signature, and his handwriting looks like he writes with is feet. Her handwriting is lovely and slanted and sloopy. He is secretly jealous.\n\n[[they have their own private word|a kiss]]\n[[interface|a kiss]]\n[[one of many things he writes about|a kiss]]\n[[one of many things she writes about|a kiss]]\n[[slanted and sloopy|a kiss]]\n
Someone told her once (and she’ll never forget it, it haunts her) that there will be a loud CRACKBOOM right before the house falls into the hole. Like a gunshot, but it’ll be the house breaking free of its moorings. You don’t generally think of a house having moorings. Or needing them.\n\n[[once is never enough|a kiss]]\n[[the persistence of certain images|a kiss]]\n[[the image of certain persistences|a kiss]]\n[[a story about moorings and tethers and the lines that hold lives together|a kiss]]\n[[CRACKBOOM|a kiss]]\n
Cold, and with a suction to it that was unnerving. You’d step and the bottom of the lake would grab hold of you, like it didn’t want you to leave. It was claylike at the bottom bottom of the step, and silty midway up the step, and a barely felt cloud of loose particles at the top of the step. It was cold, even when the water was sun-warmed. It was cold like a fish’s eye.\n\n[[you can never step into the same lake twice|a kiss]]\n[[or is that the same river|a kiss]]\n[[or is it a puddle|a kiss]]\n[[a method of understanding issues of scale|a kiss]]\n[[a dissertaion on the lens|a kiss]]\n
she makes yum yum noises\nshe leans her weight into him, falls into the hug\nshe laughs every time he does the dip move\nshe snuzzles into his neck\nshe’ll sometimes lay the oomph hug onto him\nsometimes she collapses entirely and hangs on for dear life\n\n[[his favorite kind of hug]]\n[[places he’s done the dip move]]\n[[what he thinks each and every time they hug]]\n[[the kind of laugh she laughs for the dip move]]\n[[why he likes it when she hangs on]]
If you succeed in blending in so well that you’re not noticed, you may accidentally also succeed in having no social life. It’s a textbook example of the old saw of be careful what you wish for, or you will surely have it. Luckily, it turned out that she’s a late-bloomer, not a social butterfly trapped inside a steel coccoon.\n\n[[blending in|a kiss]]\n[[being noticed|a kiss]]\n[[a textbook example|a kiss]]\n[[an old saw|a kiss]]\n[[luckily|a kiss]]\n
Colon cancer and stomach cancer, mostly. With a little COPD tossed in for fun. He quit smoking years ago so hopefully the COPD won’t show up, but, his dad’s dad was never sick a day in his life until he got stomach cancer and was 7 weeks from diagnosis to death. They’re not sure exactly which cancer killed his mother, but there was stomach cancer involved. His half sister (same father, different mother) got taken out at 45 by a competition of cancers.\n\nThey say life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% mortality rate, but it sure seems to him like cancer is as ubiquitous as the technological lifestyle.\n\n[[so hopefully|a kiss]]\n[[the meaning of life|a kiss]]\n[[the life of meaning|a kiss]]\n[[ubiquitous rhymes with|a kiss]]\n[[embedded in the technological lifestyle|a kiss]]\n
Better than flowers is chocolate, for sure (not that there’s anything wrong with flowers, you understand, just that chocolate is a bit better if there’s only funds or time to acquire one). And olives and cheese followed by chocolate and flowers? That’s the real deal right there.\n\n[[in the shape of a flower|a kiss]]\n[[buzz buzz buzz|a kiss]]\n[[he likens himself to a drunken bumblebee|a kiss]]\n[[the real deal|a kiss]]\n[[right there|a kiss]]\n
He had the same tooth broken twice by the same person, a year or so apart. The first time he was in the process of kissing his own girlfriend when his best friend at the time thought it would be a good idea to hit him in the back of the head with a pillow. It was not a good idea. His teeth hit her teeth, and her teeth won. That time it was just a wedge that sheared off the inside of his tooth. Barely visible to anyone else, but it felt like a massive change to the inner geometry of his mouth, at least if you let his tongue tell it.\n\nThe second time they were working together as shift managers in a commercial kitchen. His best friend at the time thought it would be a good idea to check his reflexes by flipping a metal spatula in the general direction of his face. It hit at exactly the wrong angle and finished the job the pillow had started. It took off the whole bottom two thirds of visible tooth. That wouldn’t be a fill job, that’d be a major bit of reconstruction, complete with pins.\n\n[[strange attractors|a kiss]]\n[[a good idea|a kiss]]\n[[if you let his tongue tell it|a kiss]]\n[[time and time again|a kiss]]\n[[an exploration of odds and probability|a kiss]]\n
The mirror is at the foot of the stairs. On one side of the stairs is the kitchen. On the other side of the stairs is the dining room. Because there’s wall all the way down one side of the steps, there’s no direct view from the kitchen into the dining room. This mirror is placed perfectly to allow a person in the kitchen to see a cat on the dining room table, or, to allow a person in the dining room to see a cat on the countertop in the kitchen. It allows conversations to continue without shouting between smoothies, too, but that’s secondary.\n\n[[angles and lines|a kiss]]\n[[reflections and deflections|a kiss]]\n[[the way through is around|a kiss]]\n[[the way around is through|a kiss]]\n[[with a perfectly placed mirror you can see everything|a kiss]]\n
If it’s a really great burger, you probably need to wipe your elbows. You’re also going to end up smearing your thumb, index and middle fingers around on the plate in S motions trying to snarf up the last of the slippery bits that managed to work their way off the burger.\n\n[[if you’re going to do it, do it|a kiss]]\n[[pleasures of the flesh|a kiss]]\n[[follow the nerve endings|a kiss]]\n[[S motions|a kiss]]\n[[the working of the way, the way of the working|a kiss]]\n
He lived in one place that was the forgettingest. Eight out of ten times he went down the two short flights of stairs he’d have to turn around and go back up before he’d gotten to his car. There was always something. Sometimes more than one thing. It was maddening. The frequency with which it happened made it worse not better.\n\n[[where his mind was|a kiss]]\n[[the connection between forgetting and remembering|a kiss]]\n[[always something|a kiss]]\n[[more than one thing|a kiss]]\n[[a story about frequency and periodicity|a kiss]]\n
Toes are almost never okay. Almost. There’s a couple of cases where it can be okay. During a foot rub, if you’re firm and grabby, it can be okay. Don’t try the light touch, though, or you’re liable to get a heel to the jaw by reflex. Also, biting the big toe can be accomplished certain lazy sleep-in mornings when it’s sticking out from under the covers and it wiggles at you.\n\n[[almost always okay|a kiss]]\n[[a time and a place for firm and grabby|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between a light touch and a touch of light|a kiss]]\n[[flex and reflex|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all in the timing|a kiss]]\n
The front two rooms of the basement are the original house, in all it’s squalid glory. \n\nBefore she got the urge to purge they were filled with all the things you can’t bring yourself to throw away over the course of ten years. A push lawnmower, tires, furniture that could be re-finished, half full cans of paint from three re-decorations ago, perfectly good sinks, an axe head, a broken futon, storm windows and screens from window units that no longer exist, that sort of thing. \n\nThen she called a haul-away service and had both rooms emptied, almost completely. \n\nNow they don’t know what to do with the space. Something could be done, should be done, but, whether or not it ever will is open for discussion. Anything they do will likely cost more than it’d be worth, but, it is a lot of space to leave wasted.\n\n[[a break with the past|a kiss]]\n[[not all breaks are clean|a kiss]]\n[[not all cleans are breaks|a kiss]]\n[[a room holds more than the things in it|a kiss]]\n[[the everyday is more important than the someday|a kiss]]\n
wood rose\n\n[[why he can never remember the name]]\n[[one of the reasons he loves her]]\n[[his favorite flower]]\n[[her favorite flower]]\n[[they agree about roses]]
What she sees, she’s not sayin’, but there’s always the urge to guess. Ghosts, maybe. The firings of rods and cones. All the secrets of the universe. Things too small, too fast, too fleeting for us to see. Nothing at all.\n\n[[maybe may be|a kiss]]\n[[things too small|a kiss]]\n[[things too fast|a kiss]]\n[[things too fleeting|a kiss]]\n[[nothing at all|a kiss]]\n
Think of two people sitting together on a sofa. How much do you know about their relationship by looking at the space between them?\n\nThink of one person saying something important to another person and how the space between the saying and the reply makes a difference.\n\nThink of everything you can’t fit in your arms, and everything that you can.\n\nThink of the space made in your curiosity when your mind goes “Oh!”\n\n[[think of two people|a kiss]]\n[[how much do you know about their relationship|a kiss]]\n[[think of one person|a kiss]]\n[[between the saying|a kiss]]\n[[everything that you can|a kiss]]\n
Text messages, IRC, AIM, email, letters, through secret codes in poems, via postcards, via postcards sent to third parties, in blog posts under their own names, in blog posts under created names, in prototype projects, in dreamed languages, in potato prints, in letterpress, in inkjet, in laser printer, in chalk, in soap, in fingers on steamed mirrors, in lipstick, in smoke, in ash, in crayon, in glue and glitter, in sticks and leaves, in sand, in dust, in days, weeks, months and years.\n\n[[the words they wrote|a kiss]]\n[[what the secret codes spelled out|a kiss]]\n[[where it all leads to|a kiss]]\n[[what you can write in soap|a kiss]]\n[[what you can write in years|a kiss]]\n
He didn’t care for the ending, she thought the ending was fine and appropriate. He felt it didn’t wrap up very well, and she saw that as a statement on how life doesn’t really wrap up very well. They agreed to disagree.\n\n[[his favorite beginning|a kiss]]\n[[wrap up and wrap around|a kiss]]\n[[a statement on how life doesn’t really wrap up very well|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between appropriate and appropriate is more than inflection|a kiss]]\n[[when they agree to agree|a kiss]]\n
Grampa Tubby was sitting in his chair in his room watching television while Gramma Nayna was talking on the phone to their next door neighbor Carol and making dinner. Carol says, “I hear water running, are you making dinner?” Gramma Nayna says, “Yes, I am.” Carol says, “What are you making?” Gramma Nayna says, “Guppies.” Carol says, “Guppies!? Really? Wow, you must have to make a LOT of guppies to feed Tubby.” Gramma Nayna says, “I do, I do.” Carol says, “How do you cook guppies?” Gramma Nayna says, “Well, first I fillet them...” Carol says, “You FILLET the guppies?” Gramma Nayna says, “Yes, I do.” Carol says, “Wow you must REALLY have to fillet a lot of guppies to feed Tubby.” Gramma Nayna says, “I do, I do.”\n\nCarol found out later that they weren’t guppies, they were crappies.\n\n[[how to get it wrong and still be right|a kiss]]\n[[that which speaks louder than words|a kiss]]\n[[two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do|a kiss]]\n[[how their love story began|a kiss]]\n[[how their love story ended|a kiss]]\n
There are plates on the wall to the right of the refrigerator, and there’s one much-abused and soon-to-break plate in the stack of usable/microwaveable plates in the cabinet. She wishes for more but has been known to become sidetracked down patterns more 40s and 50s quirky. Slightly Deco, but, with a touch of whimsy that Deco always tried to hard to have to actually have.\n\n[[if wishes were fishes, beggars would ride|a kiss]]\n[[when she closes her eyes and wishes|a kiss]]\n[[sidetrack is the best track|a kiss]]\n[[patterns more quirky|a kiss]]\n[[a touch of whimsy|a kiss]]\n
You can’t blame the dogs for barking their fool heads off. They’re dogs, after all. You have to blame the owners. What they really don’t get is how maddening it must be for the owners, who are closer to the never-ending barking, so it’s got to be louder, right? Or maybe they put the dogs out and then leave town for the day? Or maybe they’ve got their TVs turned up full blast and so they don’t notice? Who knows, but, the bottom line is that as annoying as the dogs are, it’s the owners who are at fault. In a country where there’s already too damned many laws, they think this is one legitimate function of local government—to regulate public nuisances, and to enforce those regulations. It’s cruel to the animals and cruel to the neighborhood that has to listen to them.\n\n[[let it go, she says|a kiss]]\n[[go to your happy place|a kiss]]\n[[think of something better|a kiss]]\n[[take a deep breath|a kiss]]\n[[relax, breathe|a kiss]]\n
The hand made has a way of humanizing reality. If you spend your time surrounded by the extruded and the mass-produced, you will find yourself feeling extruded and mass-produced. If you spend your time surrounded by the hand made and the individual, you will find yourself feeling like a unique individual, which you are. \n\nYou don’t have to get crazy about it. There’s no reason to remove all plastic from your life, for example. It can make enough of a difference to simply be aware when you are adding a physical object to your surroundings that you may have a choice, and when you have a choice between adding something extruded and mass-produced or adding something hand made, you should make an effort to add the hand made.\n\nA bowl for the dining room table, let’s say. You could buy a plastic bowl, easily, and cheaply. Or you could buy a hand-turned wooden bowl, or a hammered metal bowl. If you choose the hand made product you support a (probably local) artist, and you add beauty to your surroundings. The accumulation of these small-scale decisions will have a large-scale affect on your overall well-being.\n\n[[humanizing reality|a kiss]]\n[[at the center of the sensation of surrounded|a kiss]]\n[[making enough of a difference|a kiss]]\n[[the choice to be human|a kiss]]\n[[the accumulation of small-scale decisions|a kiss]]\n
The workaholic is like an ant, in that the workaholic is not obviously aware of the result the world sees his labor bring. The workaholic isn’t trying to open peonies, the workaholic is doing something else entirely. Some might say this is like looking for orchids with a rototiller, but this is not how a true workaholic works. A true workaholic is more interested in being at work than in the result of the work, or even in the nature of the work itself.\n\n[[if at first you don’t succeed|a kiss]]\n[[opening a peony|a kiss]]\n[[something else entirely|a kiss]]\n[[looking for orchids|a kiss]]\n[[the nature of the work itself|a kiss]]\n
I know, I’ll drive 12 hours there in order to spend a half hour together and then drive 12 hours back.\n\nI know, I’ll spend more money than I have. \n\nAnd then, spend more than I know is going to arrive anytime soon.\n\nHmm, I’m totally broke and wildly in love, so, yeah, I better buy a car that’s beyond my means. I’ll be leaving this job, soon, anyway, so yeah. Cool.\n\nIf I ignore major decisions, they’ll eventually decide themselves.\n\n[[and it all dissolves in|a kiss]]\n[[even bad decisions can end well|a kiss]]\n[[elements of chance|a kiss]]\n[[no regrets, Coyote|a kiss]]\n[[the rhetorical answer|a kiss]]\n
The sink was in bad shape when he first got there. It had a couple of actual cracks in it and the vanity it was built into was particle board and long past its useful life. Because the nook it was in was on the narrow side, they decided to have something custom built to fit there. It worked out okay, but, just okay. He’d hoped the guy who built it would have built it to fit the occasionally notched space, but, instead he built it to fit the minimum available space. It’s well built, cherry, and all around fantastic, but, it leaves a lot of wasted (and kind of ugly) space in the cubby. They also decided to go with a heavily discounted “vessel” type bowl—the ones where the whole bowl is above the surface of the supporting table/vanity. They found out why it was heavily discounted. It looks great, but, the drain holes in it are slightly undersized to the point where their smaller than the normal suface tension of the water, so it’s a constant slow drain. Looks good, works okay.\n\nBut, all complaining aside, it is far, far better than what was there.\n\n[[incremental improvements|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of communicating expectations|a kiss]]\n[[better than okay|a kiss]]\n[[modern love|a kiss]]\n[[far, far better than what was there|a kiss]]\n
The white ones. No, the pink ones. No, the magenta ones. No, the white ones. Definitely the white ones. Or the pink ones. Well, really, the magenta ones. The white ones. The pink ones. The magenta ones.\n\nThe ones in bloom.\n\n[[choices, choices, everywhere choices|a kiss]]\n[[a study in the futility of decision trees|a kiss]]\n[[the philosophy of all of the above|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of the word bloom|a kiss]]\n[[it’d be like trying to decide which was your favorite kiss|a kiss]]\n
The problem with the dryer is a lint screen that has become so completely gummed up with dryer sheet gunk that no air can pass through it. So, it takes about three times as long for a load of clothes to dry—which is three times as much gas bill.\n\nOf course these things aren’t a standard size where you can just go pick one up somewhere, and who has the time to take it out of the dryer and then drive it around to various appliance shops hoping to find a store that happens to have the right one? Neither one of them, that’s for sure.\n\nAdvice on the internubs is all over the board. He’s going to try boiling it in a vinegar and water mix to soften the gunk up and then gently brushing the screen with a mushroom brush to see if that’ll get it gone. No sense buying a new one if you can learn how to keep the old one clean.\n\n[[to turn a problem into an opportunity|a kiss]]\n[[a story about slower being better than faster|a kiss]]\n[[reasons not to trust the internubs|a kiss]]\n[[some systems seem designed to fail|a kiss]]\n[[some systems seem designed to succeed|a kiss]]\n
Some nights there’s a funk in the damp air that is unmistakably skunk.\n\nThey seem to be in the yard hunting for grubs because there’s a lot of little nose holes, and the mulched path past the patio looks like a band of elves has been playing rugby on it.\n\n[[a story about mole holes]]\n[[another yard visitor]]\n[[the path gets overgrown]]\n[[mulch replenishment]]\n[[what else they’ll eat]]
The best parts of his days are the mornings and the evenings, the time he spends within reach of her. He loves to reach over and feel the softwarm of her skin. He loves showering together more than anything. He loves the process of tangling their days in playing out the threads to each other at the crest and dip of day’s end. He loves waking up to the light of her eyes in a frowsy smile.\n\n[[the best of the best|a kiss]]\n[[within|a kiss]]\n[[reach|a kiss]]\n[[the softwarm|a kiss]]\n[[the process of tangling|a kiss]]\n
The was a time, in the maelstrom of movement that followed the meltdown of his first marriage, when there was no discernable routine to anchor him to his days. Everything was changing too fast, and that’s not an environment he can create it. Put an artist in an environment they can’t create in and things start to burst from the pressures. He became obsessed with revision, because he could always revise, and he put all of his writing into a version control system that would allow him to preserve every change. \n\nHe constructed his digital world such that his home machine became a window he could peer into from anywhere, so that no matter where or when he was, he had the ability to return to any work in progress at the point it was when he walked away from it. The geekiness required to accomplish this was prodigous, but, it kept him sane in a time with precious little sanity to it.\n\nHe’s slightly better now. \n\n[[the calm in the eye of the storm|a kiss]]\n[[the place of peace in the center of the madness|a kiss]]\n[[the happy place|a kiss]]\n[[the fixed core that holds the whole armature together|a kiss]]\n[[hang on to your bootstraps, here we go!|a kiss]]\n
Who doesn’t love the scallion? His grandfather used to eat them from the garden, dipped in salt like a radish. Olive oiled and grilled they garnish a steak. Chopped they beat chives hands-down to top a sour creamed baked potato. Lovely in most salads, they add color any place you might use a white onion: tuna salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, even cole slaw. With their bristly little beards, these may be the most charming of all the onions.\n\n[[how to make the perfect baked potato]]\n[[also from the garden]]\n[[the tomato juice]]\n[[a substitution he requests]]\n[[the rhetorical answer]]
Progressive resistence means it keeps getting more difficult, weight keeps being added, means you start out easy as you can in order to get started and then you keep increasing the challenge. Will is a muscle that can be exercised the same as a bicep, a tricep, or a latissimus dorsi. You start small, with something manageable, like, moving a finger, or a limb or walking to the next room and you keep working from that established base of success by asking more and more of your will. The key is to be gradual and consistent. Most people fail because they push themselves too hard too infrequently. It doesn’t work that way. \n\n[[progressions outward and inward|a kiss]]\n[[start out easy|a kiss]]\n[[keep increasing the challenge|a kiss]]\n[[something small to start with|a kiss]]\n[[gradual, consistent|a kiss]]\n
He’s really hard on his feet, and always has been. He’s got callouses that should be dealt with on a more frequent basis. It wouldn’t kill him to abrade them down to sane proportions once in a while with a pumice stone. But in the morning he’s on auto-pilot, and old habits die hard.\n\nAnd, to be honest, the feeling of using a pumice stone is kind of weird. It’s like right on the sparkling edge of maybe it’s about to sort of lightly almost hurt.\n\n[[he’s a creature of habit|a kiss]]\n[[the nature of indefinable sensations|a kiss]]\n[[old habits die hard|a kiss]]\n[[new habits are formed slowly but surely|a kiss]]\n[[the trick is to try to replace all your bad habits with good ones|a kiss]]\n
crank the air conditioning or the heat\nrolled down all the windows\nturned the music WAY up\nshouted along to the music\nshouted at himself to STAY AWAKE\nslapped himself in the face\nswore at himself that he’d die if he didn’t stay awake\nbit his thumbs hard enough to wince\na mouthful of water not swallowed\n\n[[how many times he drove this way]]\n[[a story about someone else falling asleep at the wheel]]\n[[what made his heart leap every time (and still does)]]\n[[why the mouthful of water worked]]\n[[would he do it again?]]
His mother was not a dancer, in any normal sense. She was short and heavy for the majority of her adult life. But she was light of heart and had a grace of motion that always made him think of her as a dancer in spirit, if not form.\n\nShe was a very accomplished finger dancer when her hands were on the steering wheel of a car and a peppy song would come on the radio.\n\n[[the inability of words to capture even the simplest things|a kiss]]\n[[the limits of duality|a kiss]]\n[[an arabesque of sorts|a kiss]]\n[[form and content|a kiss]]\n[[the division of appearance and actuality|a kiss]]\n
Hundreds of thousands of miles, hours and hours of life. Persistent sensations of motion in the peripheral vision. The discovery that a wallet in a pant’s pocket will make for back pain over a long haul. There’s little in life scarier then waking up behind the wheel of a car on cruise control and realizing you’re now in a different lane.\n\n[[a better way to spend an hour of life|a kiss]]\n[[persistent sensation|a kiss]]\n[[a swerve in the stomach|a kiss]]\n[[a story about waking up|a kiss]]\n[[a discovery|a kiss]]\n
He’s been making a mailing to mark his mother’s death. He’s been working on it for two years. Not constantly. More like he’s been putting it off for two years. But making slow, slow progress. Each card needs four sticky dots to complete. But the stupid sticky dot dispenser likes to eat about every 25th dot, so he ended up being a couple cards short of finished. The box is on the counter so he for sure gets the right kind to fit his dispenser. \n\n[[odds it’s still on the counter]]\n[[odds he’d guess wrong]]\n[[the real reason the box is out]]\n[[the mailing]]\n[[how to hide procrastination]]
To the dump, they’re pretty sure. They’ve seen the trucks go by on trash day and on recycling day and it’s always the same trucks. And if people get it wrong, the guys still pick it up. It all goes into the same trucks. \n\n[[a story about being sure|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things they’ve seen|a kiss]]\n[[it’s never the same|a kiss]]\n[[his thoughts on right and wrong|a kiss]]\n[[a cycle a cycle a recycle|a kiss]]\n
There is value in contrasts. Two of the same thing provides no additional interest. Contrasts allow us to see one thing in relation to another, and this is how meaning is made, this is the engine of understanding.\n\nThe action of discernment can only occur where there is sufficient contrast.\n\nIn a more practical sense, they get along well because they are not the same. They have the right set of things in common and the right set of things not in common. Most of their core values are very similar—most significantly, they both have similar notions of where the boundaries are between the public and the private. Their notions of right and wrong are similar (probably no two are identical). The class of things to which they’d both say “I wasn’t raised that way” are also very similar.\n\nBut they disagree in enough other areas to keep each other interested but not angry. A little good friction.\n\n[[negotiating the boundaries|a kiss]]\n[[the give and take of a lively exchange of ideas|a kiss]]\n[[the boundary between the public and the private|a kiss]]\n[[in common|a kiss]]\n[[a little good friction|a kiss]]\n
The tattoo artist had him pegged for a wolf or a bear. When he decided on the koi and the phoenix his stock went up once. When he recognized the Jay-Z coming through the speakers, his stock went up a second time. He suspects it may have gone up a third time when he gave the artist the freedom he needed to be enthusiastic about the process.\n\n[[working the stock exchange|a kiss]]\n[[wolfishness|a kiss]]\n[[bearlike|a kiss]]\n[[the freedom needed|a kiss]]\n[[a process to be enthusiastic about|a kiss]]\n
That damn car had more flat tires and rock damage in his first two years in Pennsylvania than he’d experienced in all the cars he’d owned in all his life combined and multiplied by five.\n\n[[the big rock]]\n[[the worst of the flat tires]]\n[[the driving, the driving, the driving]]\n[[but he didn’t blame the car]]\n[[how he kept from going nuts with the miles]]
To wait, and to reach when the moment was right. To wait, and to reach when the moment was right. To wait, and to reach when the moment was right. To reach, and to wait when the moment was right. To reach, and to reach and to wait and to wait.\n\n[[wait for|a kiss]]\n[[reach for|a kiss]]\n[[wait and reach for|a kiss]]\n[[reach and wait for|a kiss]]\n[[the brass ring|a kiss]]\n
There’s an unused, original chimney that runs up through the living room floor. It serves as the visual delimiter between the living room and the dining room. Where it comes up through the floor is a jagged sort of hole that has never been properly trimmed out, so there’s a cat-toy width gap on each side of the box. Eventually, every cat toy finds itself on the express elevator to the abandoned room in the basement. Fortunately there seems to be a near infinite supply of cat toys.\n\n[[what falls between the cracks|a kiss]]\n[[the limits of delimiting|a kiss]]\n[[a map of the path of a typical cat toy|a kiss]]\n[[a story that begins at play|a kiss]]\n[[approaching the near infinite|a kiss]]\n
When Stella wants to be loved, she’ll voice her interest from just out of reach, and rub her head and the sides of her face on furniture legs. If you reach out to pet her, she’ll pull away, meow again, and rub something a little further away. If you ignore her, she’ll rub her way closer, closer, and then head butt your hand. If you then try to touch her she’ll skitter away and start the process all over again. Eventually, after several of these foray-and-retreat cycles, you’ll be able to pet her a little, a little more, and then if you happen to have picked the right way to be rubbing her this evening, you might get a minute or two of rough ear rubbing in, or light back stroking, or easy cheek petting. And then she’ll shake her head, come to her senses and fickle away.\n\n[[the collapsing orbit of love|a kiss]]\n[[the slow implosion of flirtation|a kiss]]\n[[the gravity of want|a kiss]]\n[[getting where you’re going by fits and starts|a kiss]]\n[[eventually|a kiss]]\n
When he was cooking for a living he worked at several places with the same boss, Joseph. A sense of humor is a must in the restaurant business, it’s a meat grinder of hours. One night as they were planning specials for the evening at a private club on a golf course his boss suggested, deadpan, that they do sauteed kidneys on a bed of braised leeks. He replied to the suggestion, “Just to see if anybody gets it?” They ran it. Many patrons ordered it, but none got the joke.\n\n[[Joseph sells a cigar]]\n[[Joseph sells a glass of wine]]\n[[signing the checks]]\n[[the gutter guys]]\n[[the stuffed pork loin]]
You know the nightmare, where you’re being chased by something terrifying and no matter how fast you run, no matter how you feint, juke, or jink, the thing never loses ground on you. But it never gains, either. You can’t stop running but it becomes so utterly frightening that you wish the thing would catch you, just so the interminable wait can be over. And then you notice in the background sound behind your panicked breathing that the sounds of its crashing steps are growing softer, softer, and then the dream you’re in has already shifted while you weren’t noticing.\n\n[[the thing never loses ground on you|a kiss]]\n[[but it never gains, either|a kiss]]\n[[the dream you’re in|a kiss]]\n[[if only it would catch you|a kiss]]\n[[while you weren’t noticing|a kiss]]\n
The landlord/slumlord is one of those guys who is pushy because it gets him what he wants. He understands on an intuitive level that when someone appears to have an edge of hostility to them that people will take a step back and begin by trying to appease them. He then steps into that space vacated by the step back. He’ll say inappropriate things in order to keep you off balance and unable to respond appropriately. He knows that the best way to manipulate a person is to respond emotionally when reason is asked, and to respond with reason when emotion is asked. He’s loud, and rude, and creepy. When he tells you stories about how strange other people are you get an itching at the back of your neck that makes you think he’s really talking about himself. They avoid him as much as possible, but it’s hard to completely avoid a guy who’ll patch a bit of your sidewalk unasked because he had some extra, though you can’t see where he used any of his own anywhere.\n\n[[a primer in getting what you want|a kiss]]\n[[the sound the bell makes when you arrive at the intuitive level|a kiss]]\n[[the cycle of response|a kiss]]\n[[what we talk about when we talk about talking about talking about himself|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of self|a kiss]]\n
The first one fell apart from sun-rot, though to be fair they’d gotten it second-hand. The one they bought to replace it was blown to a twisted wreck by a sudden windstorm (it also blew out screens in the house and sent her jammie pants and jammie shirt on an adventure down the street). This one is designed to minimize the risk of being lifted by the wind (tiered into vents that bleed off the gusts), and seems more resistent to sun-rot, though that’ll probably be what kills it in the end. They tend to forget to let it down when it’s not in use, and they also forget to bring it in for the winter.\n\n[[he grandfather used to say, “Whether it’s cold or whether it’s hot, we’re going to have weather whether you like it or not.”|a kiss]]\n[[by gust and by breeze, lives move along like bumble bees|a kiss]]\n[[lifted by the wind|a kiss]]\n[[more important things|a kiss]]\n[[forget, forgo, forgone, forgotten, how forgetting happens|a kiss]]\n
Everything, and the hard way. He realized at one point in the core meltdown of his financial life that he’d never seen his parents pay a bill, never taught how to balance a checkbook in shool, never given any instruction, direct or indirect, in any aspect of managing a crucial aspect of a modern life.\n\n[[everything|a kiss]]\n[[the easy easy|a kiss]]\n[[one of many points|a kiss]]\n[[how to balance|a kiss]]\n[[the single most important aspect of modern life|a kiss]]\n
Why do we say “fall in love” when it’s more like “float in love”, it’s a rise not a sink, it’s a lift not a crash, an expansion not a crush.\n\n[[bubbles]]\n[[kites]]\n[[dandelion seeds]]\n[[bobbers]]\n[[holding your breath under water]]\n
His grandfather’s compost heap was a thing of beauty. It had a reek to it that was sweetly, strangely attractive. It was obviously rotting organic matter in timbre or tone but it had a promise of growth to it, a humidity you couldn’t mistake, and on some days the heat it generated could actually begin to smolder and if the wind was right, it could catch fire. To put out the fire you’d have to go out with a pitch fork and turn, turn, turn the dead matter over on itself so there was a layer of the moist rotting between the heat and the dry new clippings on top. When you stood on it to do the turning it had the boggy uncertainty of steps that feel like they resonate outward, slowly.\n\n[[a thing of beauty|a kiss]]\n[[a promise of growth|a kiss]]\n[[heat enough to smolder|a kiss]]\n[[and catch fire|a kiss]]\n[[outward resonation|a kiss]]\n
From the flat roof of that garage, if you hung over the edge, and a friend sat on your legs to keep you from being pulled over, you could drop a cinder block onto an entire 5-roll master roll of caps sitting on the concrete slab at ground level.\n\nIt’ll make a noise loud enough to get you banned from ever going on the roof again.\n\nThe lesson you’ll really learn will be to stay off the roof when anybody’s home.\n\n[[the combination of hanging on and being over the edge|a kiss]]\n[[force multiplied by distance|a kiss]]\n[[a little trouble goes a long way|a kiss]]\n[[rule-based systems, and how to beat them|a kiss]]\n[[greater than the sum of its parts|a kiss]]\n
Salads. She eats like a rabbit, basically. A slightly carnivorous rabbit, if you can imagine such a thing. A slightly carnivorous rabbit with a sweet tooth. A slightly carnivorous rabbit with two sweet teeth, really. OK, a slightly carnivorous rabbit with two sweet teeth and a weakness for comfort food. And sausages.\n\n[[the exceptions prove the rule|a kiss]]\n[[the breakdown of all rule-based systems|a kiss]]\n[[exercises for remaining intellectually limber|a kiss]]\n[[sweet tooth and comfort food|a kiss]]\n[[the danger in becoming too category-based|a kiss]]\n
sibilence soothes as it seduces, language is slipperly, and English in particular is rich in the ambiguity that makes it irresistibly easy to twistangle anyall phrases intwo the twining that legs and arms and lips do.\n\n[[the b in sibilence|a kiss]]\n[[slipperly knot|a kiss]]\n[[twistangle|a kiss]]\n[[intwo twining|a kiss]]\n[[and lips do|a kiss]]\n
In a small suburb of St. Paul, mostly, but they also spent a lot of time up north around Brainerd.\n\n[[home feels like|a kiss]]\n[[in the center of the silence of a blanket of snow|a kiss]]\n[[it was all preparation for|a kiss]]\n[[that boy today|a kiss]]\n[[he never dreamed it could be like this|a kiss]]\n
Because every couple of months during the summer she needs to go down there to get the code enforcement guy to come out and mow the lot next to theirs and send the bill to the owners of that property. It used to be a church, but the diocese closed it (rumor has it the building that is the church proper was declared unsafe). The property got bought by some people who run a rent-a-construction-sign-holder-person business out of one of the back buildings. They’re never around, and never mow, though in the dead of night they will occasionally drag a couple of bags of garbage down and leave them at the edge of the property, down by the curb, unstickered (so never to be picked up and hauled away), for several weeks until he or she gets fed up with the ugly and drags the bags back up their hill to the side of the building where the business is.\n\n[[a story about the responsibility of ownership|a kiss]]\n[[another kind of church|a kiss]]\n[[a poem about taking care of business|a kiss]]\n[[a story about being around and around|a kiss]]\n[[a civics lesson|a kiss]]\n
There is no known cure for the metabolism shift. At this point, he’s resigned himself to acceptance as the only realistic strategy. His body just changed shape in his 30s and no amount of exercise or dieting seems to have any effect. If he eats nothing but celery and peanut butter and water for a month, nothing will change. Conversely, no amount of sloth or hedonism seems to change it for the worse, either. He’s just settled into a state that is not what it was, and not what he would prefer, and there’s not a thing he can do about it. \n\nHe’s considered going on a fast, just to do something dramatic, but, to do that well and healthily would require a certain kind of block of time that just hasn’t presented itself yet. \n\n[[one consolation|a kiss]]\n[[reasons why he doesn’t mind|a kiss]]\n[[the geography of self-image|a kiss]]\n[[it can be okay to lack control|a kiss]]\n[[at the crossroads of the inner and outer self|a kiss]]\n
The first root canal he had was when he was in his teens. He remembers them draining his sinuses with a siphon and an ice bucket, and the description of the assistant that each sinus was the size of a fist. \n\nHe remembers sitting in the chair, tilted back, an IV inserted, an assistant telling him to count backwards from a hundred and himself saying, “one hundred, ninety-...” and that’s the last he remembers before waking up hours later.\n\n[[the amble of memory|a kiss]]\n[[tilting back|a kiss]]\n[[learning to let go|a kiss]]\n[[waking up|a kiss]]\n[[counting backwards from 2|a kiss]]\n
Up and to the left is an unfinished painting in colors done from a photo in black and white. It was painted by his mother, and it’s of his half-sister and her father on a merry-go-round. His half-sister is a little too small to ride the horse, so her father is standing beside her, holding her on. The unfinished quality of it only serves to enhance the feeling of captured motion.\n\n[[how the mind remembers|a kiss]]\n[[the metaphor of the merry-go-round|a kiss]]\n[[spinning in place|a kiss]]\n[[holding on and being held|a kiss]]\n[[the unfinished quality|a kiss]]\n
A new headboard. Right now it’s got a black powdercoated tubular canopy-esque but canopy-less arrangement that squeaks in the way cheap shoes do. It’s annoying and doesn’t do the mattress justice at all. It also has the net effect of making the bed look like it’s way too big for the room when it’s really only a little bit too big for the room. It’s awful and needs to be replaced, and they will, as soon as they’re able.\n\n[[right now|a kiss]]\n[[making do|a kiss]]\n[[the net effect|a kiss]]\n[[the steady march of incremental improvement|a kiss]]\n[[and they will|a kiss]]\n
They sometimes collaborate, but usually their collaborations are of a back and forth, you work then I’ll work, type as opposed to a let’s both work on this at the same time type. They do editions together—if it’s something that can be made easier with two people helping each other they’ll do that more often than not. They can read together and revise together, but any writing they do together is going to be together only in the sense that it could (sometimes) happen in the same room.\n\n[[a favorite collaboration|a kiss]]\n[[let’s both work at the same time type|a kiss]]\n[[easier with two people|a kiss]]\n[[more often than not|a kiss]]\n[[together in the sense|a kiss]]\n
At first there’s no laugh, and often she’s even dubious at the beginning. He sweeps her back and she lets go and when her head falls back at last she always finds a throaty laugh that tells him he did it just right. Again.\n\n[[at first|a kiss]]\n[[she lets go|a kiss]]\n[[she always finds|a kiss]]\n[[he did it just right|a kiss]]\n[[again and a gain|a kiss]]\n
Peonies are his favorite flower. He says, “I love a flower that blooms so hard it falls down.” He knows the ants aren’t really required for the buds to open, but loves the myth that they do. The house he grew up in had peonies in the front of the house: white, purple, pink. Peonies were conspicuously absent from his life in his adolescence, and early adult life. He found them again in the back yard of her home.\n\n[[he says, he knows, he says he knows|a kiss]]\n[[the power of myth|a kiss]]\n[[the myth of power|a kiss]]\n[[going away is necessary for there to be a return|a kiss]]\n[[for the buds to open|a kiss]]\n
From their house, they can only see the furthest outside edge of the decking around the pool, and the occasional bob of a wildly laughscreaming head bouncing upout of the water. They can hear much, much more than they can see. But they can’t make out much of the details of the sounds, if there are even details to be heard. Once in a while they can tell it’s a game of Marco Polo. But most of the time it’s just screaming in splashy delight.\n\n[[perspective and point of view|a kiss]]\n[[that sensation of being a bouy|a kiss]]\n[[details may be overrated|a kiss]]\n[[call and response|a kiss]]\n[[water calls us home|a kiss]]\n
Sorel boots and choppers. The boots were indestructible, waterproof and warm in sub-zero temperatures. The gloves were two part: a knit wool liner for warmth and a deerskin overglove for durability. He took both for granted until he moved to other parts of the country where people had neither. It was then he realized how much his father’d loved him.\n\n[[warm as boots|a kiss]]\n[[a thing not to be taken for granted|a kiss]]\n[[a knitting together|a kiss]]\n[[how she thanked him for the boots he bought her|a kiss]]\n[[insulation against another kind of cold|a kiss]]
He inherited the shape from his mother’s father (like a ham). He inherited the color (copper) and skin (translucent enough to show the veins) from his own father. The knuckles are deeply lined but not calloused. There are all the scars you’d expect from over forty years of a life. He’s beginning to feel the effects of decades of keyboard use.\n\n[[the complete oval scar on his right index finger]]\n[[the upside-down swoosh scar on his left index finger]]\n[[the inverted V on his right thumb]]\n[[the two embedded bits of graphite]]\n[[the effects of decades of keyboard use]]
There were two fireplaces in that house, one upstairs and one in the basement. His grandfather did a lot of things for income, and one of them was saw sharpening. Many of the saw-sharpening tools had a bin to catch the metal filings. The metal filings could be pinched between thumb and forefinger and when sprinkled over a flame (or tossed into a fire) they would go off like free-falling sparkler bits, in different colors depending on the composition of the particlar metal.\n\n[[catching and being caught|a kiss]]\n[[sparkler bits|a kiss]]\n[[sprinkled over a flame|a kiss]]\n[[free-falling|a kiss]]\n[[many different colors|a kiss]]\n
bacon\navocado\nsauteed mushrooms\nin-season beefsteak tomato\nred leaf lettuce\nVidalia or Bermuda onion\nsliced pickles\nmayonnaise\na toasted bun\na fried egg\n\n[[the best french fry dipping sauce]]\n[[a yummy tomato sandwich]]\n[[how to tell if it’s a truly great burger]]\n[[the fried egg sandwich his mom used to make]]\n[[a trick with red leaf lettuce]]
We lie to ourselves about all sorts of things, but most often they are lies of ommission rather than lies of commission (though both, of course, are possible and available to us). Lies of ommission are when we put things out of our minds so that we don’t think about them, or, don’t think about them too much, because, thinking about them too much would require us to change our lives to remain consistent with the set of core values we would like to believe in (as long as it isn’t too inconvenient).\n\nThe lies we tell ourselves most often are rationalizations which allow imcompatible behaviors and beliefs to co-exist.\n\n[[one sort of thing|a kiss]]\n[[the interlock of ommission and commission|a kiss]]\n[[how lives change|a kiss]]\n[[a core value|a kiss]]\n[[a model for successful co-existence|a kiss]]\n
''feets''\n\nmy feet\ntook a vote, and decided,\nunanimously, to strike\nout on their own\nif the following conditions are not met:\n\ni am no longer to look down on them.\n\nall socks with holes\nare to be mended or disposed of\nimmediately.\n\nthis-little-piggy is to be declared\ntheir national anthem\nand\nmust be sung, on demand,\nwhere circumstances allow.\n\nthere will be more dancing\nand more massage,\npreferably in conjunction,\nthe latter to follow the former\nin a timely fashion.\n\na committee is to be formed\nto look into the callous\nsituation; i am to abide by\ntheir recommendations.\n\nthe barbaric practice\nof tearing nails\nmust stop forthwith\nand henceforth\nall maintenance shall be performed\nwith the proper equipment.\n\nweekly,\nall coverings are to be removed\nand a minimum of an hour\nof intimate contact with\n(in summer)\ngrass, dirt, or sand\n(in winter)\nEpsom salts, lotion, or silly animal slippers\nwill commence.\n\nfootsie is to be restored to its\nformer place of glory.\n\nlastly,\ni am to return my body\nto a limberness that will allow\nthe toes to be reunited with\ntheir oldest and best friend,\nmy mouth.\n\n[[Epsom salt]]\n[[the callous situation]]\n[[the search for summer sandals]]\n[[instead of the slippers]]\n[[footsie]]
She’s only half-joking when she threatens to invite them in. She’d become the crazy cat lady, if he let her. She’d deny this, of course, and say she only really wants one more. Maybe two. But that’s it. And that’s how they got to four—one at a time.\n\n[[another word for invitation|a kiss]]\n[[the process of becoming|a kiss]]\n[[of course|a kiss]]\n[[but that’s it|a kiss]]\n[[one at at time|a kiss]]\n
This is a story that unfurls in many directions at once.\n\nBegin with [[a kiss]].
The house on Lakeshore Drive. It had two enormous lilac bushes in the side yard, one white and one purple. The memories of that yard are myriad. From pitching a tent next to the lilacs to the peonies and the oak tree in the front yard, from the line of trees marking the back of the lot, to the flat roof of the garage. Even the field next door, the dragonflies, the silver-painted pipes of the clothesline.\n\n[[why pitch a tent in your own yard]]\n[[fun under the oak tree]]\n[[the ants]]\n[[from the roof]]\n[[how to watch dragonflies]]
He went to an alternative education high school. It was the kind of place that didn’t really have an organized curriculum. You’d contract with a teacher what you wanted to learn, how you wanted to learn it, and how you were to be evaluated, and then go from there. There were student-taught classes. There were teachers taking student-taught classes. \n\nHe took a class called “Careers”. It was taught by a guy named Norm. The class consisted of sessions in self-hypnosis and meditation. Norm’s rationalization (he was paid by a grant to be a career counselor) was that you couldn’t get a job if you didn’t know where your head was at.\n\n[[the shape of collaboration|a kiss]]\n[[what you learn when you learn how to learn|a kiss]]\n[[the center cannot hold|a kiss]]\n[[the face of interface|a kiss]]\n[[be here now|a kiss]]\n
another is an other is a not her no that takes it too far two far gone is the line betwixt us twain thus she is not another is not a not her is her is here i she re re replete with repeat, one might say rerepetition if one were so declined.\n\n[[where the line blurs|a kiss]]\n[[compunctuation|a kiss]]\n[[compactuation|a kiss]]\n[[twixt us twain|a kiss]]\n[[re re replete|a kiss]]\n
He can get her to eat water chestnuts. They’re good in stir fry dishes, and they’re good in tuna/chicken salads in place of celery (which she’s no big fan of). It’s not like she’s going to go out and buy a case of them or anything, but, she’ll eat them. She likes the texture, the crispcrunch, but has mixed feelings about the flavor, the aftertaste, maybe, something anyway keeps her from admitting to a full on like.\n\n[[she knows what she likes|a kiss]]\n[[he knows what she likes|a kiss]]\n[[he knows what he likes|a kiss]]\n[[she knows what he likes|a kiss]]\n[[they balance each other out|a kiss]]\n
He got her a breadmaker for Christmas one year. Unsure if it was going to be something she’d really want to use, he didn’t buy the top-of-the-line machine. There may have been an issue with how it proofs the bread. Or it may have something to do with a certain creativity in measuring ingredients. At any rate, the breads that came out of it are affectionately referred to as Shumpy. We refer to them now in the past tense only.\n\n[[where the breadmaker ends up]]\n[[two things better in Europe than America]]\n[[creativity and baking]]\n[[a kitchen gadget appliance that works]]\n[[another bread story]]
Not very well, actually. She doesn’t buy it. He’s not entirely sure he buys it himself, but, it does usually get him out of a conversation in which he’s being taken to task for overt hedonism. It’s the old deflection trick.\n\n[[very well, actually|a kiss]]\n[[you can’t buy what’s freely given|a kiss]]\n[[he’s entirely sure|a kiss]]\n[[taken to task at hand in hand|a kiss]]\n[[it’s the new deflection trick|a kiss]]\n
Nothing. Nothing at all. But it was clear that something had been in there at some point. There was no other reason for it to be there. It was clearly a hole cut in the floor. It would have held snug something about the size of a shoebox. His guess is that this was where the money was kept, but it had been found and removed before the house was sold. The question remains if the family found it or if the contractor who bought the house found it. Sure, the lady could have removed it herself while she was still alive, but, that’s the least interesting of the options (thus, the most likely to be true and the least likely to be imagined).\n\n[[unraveling a mystery|a kiss]]\n[[stringing together the facts|a kiss]]\n[[where points on a line lead|a kiss]]\n[[where logic breaks down|a kiss]]\n[[when the true and the imagined meet|a kiss]]\n
Because in a previous life he was a chef for 10 years in private clubs and hotels, so the meals he makes are usually scrump. He can often be heard declaring (after tasting a dish in progress), “You may say whatever you want about me, but I can cook.” \n\n[[in this life|a kiss]]\n[[we do not live on bread alone|a kiss]]\n[[a dish in progress|a kiss]]\n[[the fine line between confidence and over-confidence|a kiss]]\n[[benefits of cooking for pleasure vs pay|a kiss]]\n
Twice. \n\nThe first time was the day after a night rain shower, and, it was funny and just the two of them, so, no harm done, and they thought it was “lesson learned”, meaning, they learned that a couple of hours isn’t enough time for the seats to reverse their sponge effect.\n\nThe second time it was several many days after a rain and they had company over for a nice dinner on the patio. The first person to sit was a guest, and all were mortified. Well, mortified until the laughter started. It turned out all right, but, that was it for those cushions. If they couldn’t be depended upon to dry out over the course of several days, they really couldn’t be used outdoors. \n\nWell, they could have taken them out and brought them in before and after every use, but, really, two cushions times six chairs? Not gonna happen. Into the basement they went.\n\n[[second time’s the charm|a kiss]]\n[[lesson learned|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that turned out all right|a kiss]]\n[[one thing they can depend upon|a kiss]]\n[[gonna happen|a kiss]]\n
They’ve tossed around all kinds of plans for those two rooms, but, it’s going to take a pretty hefty chunk of change to turn them into anything even remotely like a livable space. They talked about turning it into an apartment they could rent, but neither one of them is very interested in having someone else in the house. They’ve talked about making it into a workshop/studio for their myriad art projects, into an office for him. They don’t really need any of these things, so, it’s a pretty low priority to spend a lot of money to create something they don’t have much of a need for, anyway. Still, there’s so much space there that it’s tantalizing to imagine what could be done with it.\n\n[[livable space|a kiss]]\n[[in the juggle of priority|a kiss]]\n[[they’re lucky|a kiss]]\n[[and they know it|a kiss]]\n[[what if|a kiss]]\n
posing as the Venus de Milo\nwith words projected onto her body\naccepting her Guggenheim\nthe smile at their 50th wedding anniversary\nasleep in the shade at the shore\nwriting at her desk in the morning\na second time at the restaurant James\nthe way her eyes light up when a student gets it\n\n[[the words he’d want to project]]\n[[the odds of their having a 50th]]\n[[a perfect trip to the shore]]\n[[the first time at James]]\n[[how he decribes her teaching]]
His grandfather had a La-Z-Boy chair (actually, he had a series of them, but, the point is there was always one), in his bedroom for watching TV, and for falling asleep in. It rocked a bit, but not too far, that action was limited by how close the back of the chair was to the foot of the bed. The little bit of rock to it made it easy to get into and easy to sit in and hard to climb out of. His grandfather could get out of the chair by himself, it just took some planned momentum-building pre-rockings and a gymnast’s sense of timing to do it. It was usually easier to call out for the nearby grandson to come and help him up and out.\n\n[[a synecdoche for synecdoche|a kiss]]\n[[easy to get into|a kiss]]\n[[easy to be in|a kiss]]\n[[hard to get out of|a kiss]]\n[[methods of building momentum|a kiss]]\n
It’s a phoenix, but, not the typical claws coming at you fire everwhere eagle looking phoenix. It looks more like a lizard and a parrot with plumage like a peacock. A twisted ball of unfolding bright colors. He loves it.\n\n[[not the typical|a kiss]]\n[[fire everywhere|a kiss]]\n[[plumage|a kiss]]\n[[unfolding|a kiss]]\n[[he loves it|a kiss]]\n
He didn’t used to get jazz. Then he suspected he just wasn’t smart enough to get it and resented it. Then he thought it was like post-modern poetry where the whole point was that you weren’t supposed to be able to get it and then he found it distasteful. In middle-age he has come to understand that jazz isn’t all foreplay and no sex. Jazz is a soundtrack to a different way of experiencing the world. A way which recognizes the existence of structures but doesn’t necessarily imbue them with larger meaning. Jazz is a complex reaction to a complex world view. And some days it echoes his emotional state perfectly.\n\n[[get it got it good|a kiss]]\n[[the whole point|a kiss]]\n[[a different way of experiencing|a kiss]]\n[[recognition of structures|a kiss]]\n[[a complex reaction|a kiss]]\n
Call his mom and talk to her about it.\n\n[[what he was able to do, instead|a kiss]]\n[[what fills the void|a kiss]]\n[[what we talk about when we talk about talking about it|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between what you want and what you get|a kiss]]\n[[life goes on|a kiss]]\n
One dentist somewhere along the way suggested that instead of a retainer he could accomplish the same end result by steadily applying outward pressure with his tongue as often as he could remember to do so. It wouldn’t be as fast, but should work. He’s been giving a try for going on 30 years now. So far, nothing.\n\n[[one where along the way|a kiss]]\n[[end result, steadily|a kiss]]\n[[a memory of steady pressure|a kiss]]\n[[a measure of slowsteady progress|a kiss]]\n[[so far, something|a kiss]]\n
a man old enough to know better\na woman who looks like her daughter’s sister\nshoulders shoulders\na bear of a hug\na melt of a hold\n\n[[how he got here, a geography]]\n[[who is the daughter?]]\n[[his shoulders]]\n[[her shoulders]]\n[[other ways to describe the hug]]\n[[her knees, her hip, his grip]]\n
You’d think the answer is “no one” but you’d be wrong. Certainly, the vast majority of the people who went by seemed to be suddenly whooshed back to childhood and giggled and tried to catch a few in their hands. But, there was always the occasional negative nabob who cranked by and said something like “oughta be a law against it!” or “somebody’s gonna get soap in their eye!”\n\n[[more questions than answers|a kiss]]\n[[certain certainties|a kiss]]\n[[whoosh|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes it’s better not to think|a kiss]]\n[[on the occasion of the occasional|a kiss]]\n
three cats taking turns in the windowsill\noutside the screened window the butterfly bush in bloom\na pear tree doing its crooked best\nskunk dug grub holes in the earth\n\n[[the fourth cat]]\n[[the rest of the patio party]]\n[[peonies]]\n[[the skunks, at night]]\n[[even further left]]
In fits in starts in flits in parts in sits in darts in bits in hearts in kits in carts in frits and tarts in writs in smarts in circuits in aparts in minutes in departs in limits in sweethearts in gambits in restarts.\n\n[[the cycle of circle|a kiss]]\n[[the connection between sound and sense|a kiss]]\n[[after winding, the slow unwind|a kiss]]\n[[on the nature of momentum|a kiss]]\n[[restarts|a kiss]]\n
When the clubhouse was being built there were a couple of gutter guys that Joseph referred to as the Moron Twins. He couldn’t understand why gutter guys wouldn’t work in the rain. The only way to locate someone on the construction site in pre-cellphone days was to shout out their name and wait for them to shout back. One time he shouted out for Joseph and Joseph shouted back, “I’m over here with the Moron Twins.” which was the first time these two had heard what he called them. They looked at each other blankly, and then one of them replied, in a befuddled drawl, “Oh...we’re not twins.”\n\n[[how to know if you’re paying attention to the right details|a kiss]]\n[[calling out to be found|a kiss]]\n[[a convergence of the analog and the digital|a kiss]]\n[[defining what we are by what we aren’t|a kiss]]\n[[the said defines the unsaid|a kiss]]\n\n\n
If Bobby breaks they will certainly mourn his passing, but, he’s only a thing, and as much as they love the things they’ve accumulated and surrounded themselves with, they know they are only things. They are not the important parts of their lives. They’ll replace Bobby after he breaks, because the function that he serves is worth replacing. If he breaks, he will almost certainly break because he was loved and used. If Bobby breaks it will be an opportunity to have another story enter their lives. It’s the stories they value.\n\n[[the important parts|a kiss]]\n[[another story|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between price and value|a kiss]]\n[[a treasure hoard|a kiss]]\n[[the key to opening the cache|a kiss]]\n
Go outside and shovel, go outside and make a snowman, go outside and sled, go outside and skate, go outside and build a snowfort, go outside and snowmobile, go outside and make snow angels, go outside and listen to the crunch under your boots as you walk, go outside and run until you fall laughing into the snow.\n\nCome back inside and you’ll be as warm as you can stand.\n\n[[if you stay inside|a kiss]]\n[[the only angel he believes in|a kiss]]\n[[skate without skates|a kiss]]\n[[fall laughing|a kiss]]\n[[as warm as you can stand|a kiss]]\n
Back in the 80s he lived in the Chicago area. There’s a really great radio station in Chicago at 93.1 FM called WXRT. A few times that summer they played “Memphis Thing” by Rob Jungklas, and he would always crank it when it came on. Actually, it’s still a song they play from time to time, as their February 2009 playlist online included it. Anyway, that was the start. He loved that song.\n\nWhen Napster came along he spent one summer giddily going through his memory hunting for songs he loved and hadn’t heard in a long time. “Memphis Thing” was one of them, and it was added to many mix CDs he made for himself over the years.\n\nAfter the death of Napster this process of hunting down music he missed continued. In order to get a copy of “Voices” by Russ Ballard, he bought a copy of “Lost Hits of the 80’s”, and got, as bonus bits of goodness he also wanted, “I’m an Adult Now” by The Pursuit of Happiness, and “Lunatic Fringe” by Red Rider. At the time he didn’t make the connection that the song “Make it Mean Something” was by the same guy who’d done “Memphis Thing” but that song also got a lot of play.\n\nOver the years many things happened. He got divorced, and for about six years he fell away from music. Everything seemed to get pulled into that gravity well of emotional wrenching—old songs were all connected to that Bad Time, new songs were all not of that time and that was enough to bring the thought of them paradoxically back to the gravity well. Strange, but, that’s how it goes. Or how it went. \n\nThen, slowly, over time, he gradually started letting music back into his life. Not much music made it across the gap. Poi Dog Pondering’s album “Pomegranate”, some Webb Wilder, a few others, and “Memphis Thing” because it absolutely positively always got the good juju going.\n\nBrian Wilson’s “Smile” really broke things open, though. The story behind it resonated, and the music itself is just insanely good. A perfect album in a world with precious few perfect albums. \n\nShopping for new music he would sometimes look up “Rob Jungklas” and would see the “Arkadelphia” in iTunes but for whatever reason just never pulled the trigger on the purchase. Money was tight then, and the sure thing seemed to take precedence; greatest hits albums, and other known quantities for a long time.\n\nThen, and there’s no definite reason for why, one January day he bought “Arkadelphia” on CD from Amazon. It’s an absolutely amazing piece of work. “It gets in your blood” one review online says, and that’s the truth. After two days of listening to nothing else, he ordered “Gully” and “Work Songs for a New Moon” on CD, also from Amazon. “Gully” shipped directly from Amazon, “Work Songs” came from a third party vendor. But didn’t come right away, the first shipment got lost in the mail, apparently, and it ended up taking six weeks to get it. By then, he had already gotten it on vinyl, and bought “Closer to the Flame” on vinyl as well. This created a bit of a problem, as neither of them had a record player anymore. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. They’d been wanting to start buying vinyl again, anyway, at the prodding of a good friend of theirs who is something of a music superfreak, so they decided to buy a tuner/amp + record player + iPod dock + speaker set-up for the house. There is definitely something to be said for vinyl. But that’s another story.\n\n“Gully” is every bit as good as “Arkadelphia”. Both CDs are in danger of melting from near-constant playing, and it’s likely that the only thing keeping them structurally intact is alternating between them. The older two albums are good, but, don’t resonate with our current sensibilities and emotional/intellectual/psychological needs as much. What Rob Jungklas accomplished with “Gully” and “Arkadelphia” is at times stunning. It is also a source of inspiration and reflection on the mechanisms of metaphor and the relationship between form and content. It also just plain kicks ass.\n\n[[the long view|a kiss]]\n[[the short view|a kiss]]\n[[the view from the inside out|a kiss]]\n[[the view from the outside in|a kiss]]\n[[a hand hold in time|a kiss]]\n
I missed you. Thank you. I love your eyes. I’m glad I found you. Right now is the best part of my life. I would rather be with you than without you. Can I get that for you? I was thinking of you today. I like your hands. You make me smile. Your laugh melts me. Every time I see I have a message from you my heart leaps. I hate leaving you, even for a few minutes. It never gets any easier. \n\n[[speaking indirectly|a kiss]]\n[[indirectly speaking|a kiss]]\n[[words that mean more than they say|a kiss]]\n[[it’s the little things|a kiss]]\n[[there are no little things|a kiss]]\n
There are no right angles in the house. Many people, once inside, will laugh at how obviously slanted things are because a few of the windows have been installed with their bottom edges parallel to the floor but had their trim installed parallel with true level. The difference is huge. The contractor who bought the house from the original owners re-did the floors to be a series of tiers: back room, upper kitchen, lower kitchen and front room. He said that before he did this it was possible to set a pencil down in the back room and have it roll all the way to the front room. She loves this house for all its wonkiness. Not because of, and not in spite of.\n\n[[what’s under the house]]\n[[a story about the lady who used to live there]]\n[[a problem with the windows]]\n[[other things that feel right when not completely level]]\n[[proofs the contractor was cheap]]\n
The first piece of art they bought from this artist hangs in the hallway upstairs between the front bedroom and the middle bedroom. It’s a huge canvas that contains a blown-up photograph screen printed in several passes/colors of what appears to be pre-digital radio. It’s mostly black and white with small accents of color. It may be a kind of statement about tuning in, and by extension the paying attention to detail and details. \n\n[[tuning in|a kiss]]\n[[by extension|a kiss]]\n[[the paying attention|a kiss]]\n[[detail|a kiss]]\n[[and details|a kiss]]\n
He named it once after a particularly whirlwind set of comings and goings. He said it’s like looking at the world while riding on a merry-go-round, you can make some sense of it by stitching together all the glimpses, because you know how the cycle works, but the knowing doesn’t keep it from being a dizzying experience, and the knowing doesn’t make it any easier to maintain a relationship with any single point.\n\n[[his favorite carnival ride]]\n[[what she told him at the Bloomsburg Fair]]\n[[the best part of the merry-go-round analogy]]\n[[what makes it worse for him]]\n[[what you see in glimpses]]
The people there now are running a business that rents signage and labor for road construction sites. They provide the guys not actually doing the construction, pylons, and such. And there’s also a cage-fighting training facility going in. He remembers going to a restaurant once, years and years ago, when he lived in the Chicago area, that was in a converted church. The salad bar was on the altar. They’ve both thought (and talked about) how great it would be to put a stage in and turn it into a theater. A school, a library, heck, it would even be cool to convert some churches into homes.\n\n[[merge ahead|a kiss]]\n[[years and years ago|a kiss]]\n[[the conversion of a place of conversion|a kiss]]\n[[the space is defined by its function|a kiss]]\n[[the function is defined by the space|a kiss]]\n
No food, that’s for sure. No god, no country, no philosophy. No piece of land, no amount of money, no firmly held principle. \n\nHe who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. He who dies is done. \n\nThere’s some family that’s worth dying for, certainly. It’s not something anybody likes to think about, but, if it was one of those situations where somebody had to stay behind to hold the flood gate so that the others could escape, he’d do it for a very few people, all of them family.\n\nOf course, hypothetical questions yield hypothetical answers. What any of us would really do when placed in a life or death situation can only be guessed at, and not with very much certainty. We know what we think we’d like to hope we’d do, but we don’t know what we’d really do until it’s done.\n\n[[what would any of us really do|a kiss]]\n[[we like to think we have choices|a kiss]]\n[[what we think|a kiss]]\n[[we’d like to hope|a kiss]]\n[[we’d do|a kiss]]\n
They wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe they’d travel a little more, but that’s about it. They’re content with their lives and don’t want for big things or small. Quite the opposite, actually, in that they’d resist increasing the size of most any part of their lives. They don’t want to do more, they just want more time to do what they’re doing.\n\n[[the thing about change|a kiss]]\n[[the expression of contentment|a kiss]]\n[[you can’t make time, you can only take time|a kiss]]\n[[when opposite attract|a kiss]]\n[[what they’re doing|a kiss]]\n
oooh bubbles\nhahaha\nbubbles!\nlook, look, look!\nwhat the hell, goddamned hazard\nwhee!\n\n[[where the bubble machine came from]]\n[[they checked with the cops]]\n[[how far the bubbles go]]\n[[who doesn’t love bubbles?]]\n[[one unusual aspect of the bubble machine]]
We all know that a rhetorical question is a question for which no answer is expected. A question like, “Who knew?” or “What the hell?” or “What’s wrong with people?”\n\nBy extension, a rhetorical answer is an answer for which no question has been provided. An answer like a fist-pumping, “Yes!” or decisive, “Right.”\n\n[[the force of expection|a kiss]]\n[[the implication of discourse|a kiss]]\n[[the limits of dialog|a kiss]]\n[[the persuasiveness of example|a kiss]]\n[[the requirement of the other|a kiss]]\n
Luckily, there’s only a few kinds of food she doesn’t like. It’s easy to keep track, and it’s easy to find alternatives, and it’s even easy to go to a place that specializes in the kinds of things she doesn’t like because there will still be things on the menu she will like.\n\nLuckily, she does like sausage.\n\nLuckily, their busy schedules allow for the occasional meal apart, which he uses to get his fix of the kinds of food she’d prefer not eating.\n\nLuckily, there’s no secrets about which things she likes and which she doesn’t. She’s not shy about sharing her feelings, there’s no guesswork needed.\n\n[[it’s amazing how lucky the persistent are|a kiss]]\n[[the apart only improves the together|a kiss]]\n[[how he knows she likes something|a kiss]]\n[[a ramble about likes and dislikes|a kiss]]\n[[it’s the little things|a kiss]]\n
He’s a grid-based thinker. He likes patterns, and finds himself drawn to them, and a drawer of them. Regularity and repetition and the beautifully complex shapes that can result from incremental drift. Visual represenations of the Whitney Music Box strike very close to how his brain works, only those are simplifications into the three dimensions of length, width, and time. His mind works with all four. \n\nPoetry is a kind of pattern recognition, though it’s hard to explain just how. People use terms like resonance, metaphor, echo, and gestures towards to try and communicate this recognition of the pattern of experience that matches a linguistic representation in an astonishing way.\n\n[[regularity and repetition|a kiss]]\n[[the beautifully complex|a kiss]]\n[[incremental drift in action|a kiss]]\n[[how his brain works|a kiss]]\n[[a simplification of a simplification of a simplification|a kiss]]\n
They liked those glasses so much they re-ordered their replacements within an hour of their untimely demise. And ordered enough extra that another catastrophe wouldn’t leave them glassless again. Of course, in all the months and uses that followed, not a single of these glasses has been broken, chipped, cracked, or otherwise lost. Figures. Typical. Ain’t it always that way. Such is life. \n\n[[things are meant to be used|a kiss]]\n[[a thing is just a thing|a kiss]]\n[[life is too short not to surround yourself with as many positive choices as you can|a kiss]]\n[[glassless again|a kiss]]\n[[or otherwise lost|a kiss]]\n
Absolutely, wholly, and unreservedly. It was a total success as a fun family thing to do, even if the movie itself was slightly less than a total success. Everyone loved the book, and, they had the shared experience of both book and movie to talk about and compare and contrast. They have a solid history of deconstructing artistic events after experiencing, and this just added to that. An all around good thing to do.\n\n[[a story about bringings together|a kiss]]\n[[the big picture|a kiss]]\n[[shared experience|a kiss]]\n[[compare and contrast|a kiss]]\n[[a good thing to do|a kiss]]\n
Before anyone else was serving skate wing, he was preparing and serving it dusted in flour, lightly sauteed, and topped with the sauce made when the pan was deglazed with Grand Marnier. \n\nCherries Jubilee is a favorite dessert for both of them.\n\nHe saw Café Diablo made one time, and loved the smell of it, and the presentation of it, but never got to taste it.\n\nFor years liked to make a green bean dish with whole smokey almonds and a honey and Jack Daniel’s glaze.\n\nA port poached pear is one of life’s true delights, if done right.\n\nWhite wine is the perfect addition to more dishes than he can count.\n\nThere’s a hollow in the center of very large strawberries that can be filled with a liqueur if you have the right touch and a hypodermic horse needle and syringe. A dip in chocolate seals it up nicely.\n\nChristmas at his maternal grandparents always meant rum balls and Harvey Wallbanger cake.\n\n[[where you are if you’re both ahead of the curve and behind it|a kiss]]\n[[if done right delights|a kiss]]\n[[filling the hollow space in the center|a kiss]]\n[[sizzle and pOp|a kiss]]\n[[as time goes by|a kiss]]\n
you live quite a bit longer\nyou can learn to sync your rhythm to another’s\nlaughter\nyour chest hurts less\nplants will be grateful for your exhalations\nbubbles and balloons and dandelions\n\n[[an analogy he uses when she tries to get him to eat right]]\n[[other things you can sync]]\n[[his favorite joke]]\n[[sounds her heart makes]]\n[[flowers with some significance to them both]]\n[[things people say when the bubble machine is running]]
There are a lot of footrubs in their lives. He likes to squeeze her feet while they’re on the sofa reading or watching a movie. She likes to lotion him up during the dry heat of the furnace months. \n\nMost of the time she’ll try to parlay any kind of touching into a back rub. Sometimes it even works.\n\nHe thinks she doesn’t even really want the rubbing as much as she wants the complete attention. Or maybe it’s the same thing.\n\n[[the small gesture|a kiss]]\n[[the attention and the detail|a kiss]]\n[[it isn’t the thought that counts, it’s the action|a kiss]]\n[[we communicate best by touch|a kiss]]\n[[the rub, the hug, the brush, the touch|a kiss]]\n
don’t touch her knees lightly, it’s okay to squeeze\nshe bruised her hip on a desk\nhe cheats at thumb wars\nhe can open jars she can’t, if she loosens them first\nhe holds her too tightly more often than she admits\n\n[[other notes on touching her]]\n[[how she bruised her hip on a desk]]\n[[other things he cheats at]]\n[[the man’s job]]\n[[the woman’s job]]\n
by car by bus by train by walking by running by hopping by skipping by reading by writing by singing by dancing by rolling by tumbling by falling by floating by whispering by shouting by dreaming by acting by losing by winning by going by staying by laughing by crying by eating by drinking by fasting by praying by cursing by damning by and by the by and bye-bye and buying and selling and by all means available to you.\n\n[[but one thing is for sure|a kiss]]\n[[when it isn’t about the journey|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you can by but not buy|a kiss]]\n[[a discussion of the gerund in poetry|a kiss]]\n[[a meditation on finding your way|a kiss]]\n
Simple but good. \n\nWhite bread, gotta be white bread for this one. He’s tried it on other breads, and the only other one that even comes close is Beefsteak rye bread. But white bread is the winningest winner.\n\nCan be with a slice of American cheese or without, as you prefer.\n\nIn a small saute pan, put a pat of butter. Get it to sizzling temp. Crack in two eggs. Poke the yokes with your finger to allow them to ooze.\n\nThe trick to all egg cookery is don’t get it too hot. You don’t want it to stay sizzling, that’ll get you brown edge-bits that taste metallic. When the whole mass will stick together, give it a wrist flip and turn the burner off. Let it set while you prepare the bread. Squirt ketchup to taste on both sides of the bread. Pepper both sides liberally. Place fried eggs on bread. Let set for about 30 seconds so the egg can steamwarm the bread.\n\nDon’t skip this step, it’s a magic maker.\n\n[[simple, but good|a kiss]]\n[[the trick|a kiss]]\n[[patience, patience|a kiss]]\n[[don’t skip this step|a kiss]]\n[[a magic maker|a kiss]]\n
grope grab grapple grace grip gripe grant grow \n\n[[when he gropes]]\n[[when he grabs]]\n[[when he grapples]]\n[[when he grips]]\n[[when he gripes]]\n
the color of her eyes\nwhich are the keys to the house, which to the studio\nhow many tablespoons in a cup\nalways something on the way out of some houses\nhis mother’s birthday\nwhether there’s a back-up butter in the freezer\nto shave\n\n[[how he could forget the color of her eyes]]\n[[the forgettingest apartment]]\n[[a day he doesn’t forget]]\n[[why you need a back-up butter]]\n[[the forgetting door]]\n
an ice cube melting in slow motion\nthe separation of the oil from the solids\neasy to burn by itself, hard to burn with onions\ngrowing old feels this way, some days\nstill two sticks left in the fridge, a pound in the freezer\nnever learned to make beurre blanc\n\n[[ice in his life]]\n[[similar images of separateness]]\n[[a few kitchen tricks]]\n[[signs of growing old]]\n[[a small sampling of things he keeps track of]]\n[[a recipe for beurre blanc]]\n
Usually he washes and she dries. Not because she’d rather dry than wash, but because drying means putting things away. Not because she likes putting things away, but, because he doesn’t want to put anything away in the wrong place. She likes everything in its proper place. And nothing out of place. When things get put away they should stay there. Forever. Household perfection is total stasis. An impossible state, to be sure, but, an ideal she yearns for nonetheless. Rather than fight this (or more accurately, get caught in this crossfire), he washes. And likes it just fine.\n\n[[the definition of roles|a kiss]]\n[[the ongoing of maintenance|a kiss]]\n[[the primacy of place|a kiss]]\n[[the dynamic of stasis|a kiss]]\n[[rather than fight|a kiss]]\n
Just like how some children will rub their thumbs and forefingers together and say “gink” when they’re thirsty, or, call a peanut butter and jelly sandwich “peebor”, she calls the ticklish zone along the sides of her ribcage her beetles.\n\nNo touching the beetles!\n\n[[it’s not a matter of ticklish, exactly]]\n[[does he touch the beetles?]]\n[[the evolution of the PBJ]]\n[[mutt doin’]]\n[[a theory about peanut allergies]]\n
She has the sweet tooth, he doesn’t. He’s not anti-sweets by any means, but, he skips more often than he indulges. He has also been finding that the older he gets the less interested in sweets he’s become. But a freshly baked cookie can always entice him. \n\nShe’s got the sweet tooth. It’s not the always-have-dessert-in-the-restaurant kind of sweet tooth, she’ll often skip that. But she’ll get the crazy nibblies. It starts out with just a mild hankering for something small and sweet. You know, like a couple of semi-sweet morsels from the back, or a quick spoonful of ice cream. And the next thing you know, empty containers.\n\n[[he thinks she’s all the sweet he can handle|a kiss]]\n[[compulsions|a kiss]]\n[[urges|a kiss]]\n[[indulgences|a kiss]]\n[[tiny morsels|a kiss]]\n
Well, yeah, she still gets her snacks. She’s the sweet one, after all, and they go out of their way to make sure she doesn’t get gypped just because she can’t hear the shake of the treat bag. They’ll go find her and lure her in. Or wait until she’s there to have treat time. It’s the least they can do, she put up with a lot of costume-wearing while the daughter was growing up.\n\n[[a tentative map of the need-centric universe|a kiss]]\n[[the way out is the way in|a kiss]]\n[[the distance between the least an the most|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between everything you have to do, and everything you can do|a kiss]]\n[[what it costs to care|a kiss]]\n
realitease, eccentricitease, possibilitease, eventualitease\nI eye\ntwo to too \nglint glimmer glisten glitter gloss \nshiftle driftle \nsure face surface\n\n\n[[the key to tease]]\n[[homonymity]]\n[[gliss]]\n[[effervescense]]\n[[under neath and inbe tween]]\n
They were in a hotel room. She decided she wanted a kiss. She decided she couldn’t wait. She decided he was near enough for one quick lunge. She was right on all counts. Her only mistake was in calculating how far out the corner of the desk was. It caught her with a thwack, but didn’t slow her down at all, just tripped her spinningly up enough that he had to catch her. It was a good catch. Worth the bruise.\n\n[[another hotel moment]]\n[[another physical slip up]]\n[[an inaccuracy she told him soon after]]\n[[what he thought the first time he saw her]]\n[[this hotel’s town]]\n
The trick to making fried rice, well. the trick to making GOOD fried rice, is to use rice that was cooked yesterday and refrigerated overnight. If you try to use freshly cooked rice, it’ll just get all gommy and bleah. Good fried rice doesn’t stick together, each individual grain gets a nice even coating of oil and soy sauce. \n\n[[the trick to making a good relationship|a kiss]]\n[[separate but together|a kiss]]\n[[grains of rice|a kiss]]\n[[timing is everything|a kiss]]\n[[things that stick to each other|a kiss]]\n
To fix it is going to take a complete tear down, rake out, and rebuild. It can’t be turned at this point, it’s like a matted and unruly shag of hair filled with thistles that can only be shaved off and re-started from stubble. It’s a pile almost ten feet high and eight feet square at the bottom fenced portion and who knows how wide above the fenced portion. It’s a muffin of branches and weeds and waste. The bottom edge of the fence has no real access point to the bottom of the heap, an essential part of any compost. It has been pried out so that a shovel can sort of get in under there, but, it’s a struggle to get a shovel full every time. It should have a plank fence about three feet up, for strength and so that one plank can be hinged to allow easy access to the good dirt. It should be fence above that, and the fence should be angled outward so that the effect is of a funnel, wider at the top and narrower at the bottom. Maybe next summer.\n\n[[the equation for volume|a kiss]]\n[[the relation of mass to volume|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of form in shaping content|a kiss]]\n[[the dependence of content on form|a kiss]]\n[[the postive effects of starting over|a kiss]]\n
Out of sight, out of mind, truer words were never said. They sit out on their patio and the trumpet vine hides them from view. They pretend not to listen to the conversations that occur in the driveway and the building right next door, but, it can’t be helped. They pretend not to listen by continuing to talk through the yells, the barks, the profanity. They pretend not to listen by being awkwardly silent through awkward silences. They pretend not to listen by not laughing out loud. They pretend not to listen because the people on the other side pretend they can’t be heard, even though they can be heard up one block and down the other.\n\n[[the insight of in mind|a kiss]]\n[[truer than words|a kiss]]\n[[it can’t be helped|a kiss]]\n[[the futility of pretence|a kiss]]\n[[the definitive ice-breaker of their every awkward silence|a kiss]]\n
The bench is where everyone stops to adjust their phone while they’re mid-argument, or sits to take a break from walking back home with a week’s worth of groceries, or sets things down long enough to round up their ranging herd of children, or sits to belt out improvised versions of “What a Wonderful World” whose new lyrics are a profanity laden indictment of the war in Vietnam. Sometimes the bench breaks, and gets wrapped in police caution tape until a welder can come out to fix it. In many ways, it’s the center of the local cultural universe.\n\n[[where everyone stops|a kiss]]\n[[setting things down|a kiss]]\n[[wonder and worlds|a kiss]]\n[[strange attractors|a kiss]]\n[[another kind of center of another kind of universe|a kiss]]\n
People who hide money live lives of fear. Money is meant to be spent, that’s what validates its existence. To drive a car with the windows up and the air conditioning off on a summer day because rolling the windows down or running the air conditioner would both decrease the gas mileage and thus increase the amount of money spent on gas is just plain silly. If we can’t buy climate control, why the heck are we working? Dying rich misses the whole point of living.\n\n[[the opposite of fear|a kiss]]\n[[an economy based on items you retain no matter how many you give away|a kiss]]\n[[why the heck we’re working|a kiss]]\n[[the whole point of living|a kiss]]\n[[my kingdom for|a kiss]]\n
The boxes are sitting on the floor of the back room, adding their collective weight to the always impending sense of chaos and clutter that room seems to cultivate. \n\n[[dominating that room]]\n[[the card catalog]]\n[[the cat window]]\n[[the changes over the years]]\n[[the curtains]]
The gold standard against which all his fictions are measured is a story he told her at bedtime via chat when they were states apart and hiding from their own individual relationship rubble raindowns. \n\nIt was a story, made up on the fly, about the adventures of a piece of fuzz named Stella. The story, alas, is lost now, so it grows in glory with each remembering. She says that story is why she fell in love with him. He believes her.\n\nIf he had the original story memorized, she’d be just as happy to hear it over and over and over again as she would be to hear something new.\n\n[[a story made up on the fly|a kiss]]\n[[how shared stories connect us|a kiss]]\n[[why he fell in love with her|a kiss]]\n[[things that don’t diminish in the retelling|a kiss]]\n[[something new|a kiss]]\n
He can always make the bear roar face and count on it getting at least a smile out of her. And once the ice is broken, there’s a hundred ways to get her to laugh once she’s already willing to smile.\n\nThe second he’ll never tell anyone, not even her, because she’s not even aware of it, and he doesn’t want to jinx it, because as much as he pooh-poohs superstitions and the supersitious, the knowledge that he can always make her laugh is a tiny gem too precious to gamble.\n\n[[the secret at the center of it all|a kiss]]\n[[start small, and keep working|a kiss]]\n[[a story that makes her smile every time|a kiss]]\n[[a sackful of tiny gems|a kiss]]\n[[too precious to gamble|a kiss]]\n
It’s important to remember that the bobber isn’t just riding out there on the surface doing nothing but looking sporty in its red and white suit. It’s tied to a line on the land (or in a boat) at one and, and the other end descends from it, weighted by a sinker, to the deeps below, and at the very end of that line is a baited hook.\n\n[[rememory|a kiss]]\n[[underneath the surface|a kiss]]\n[[the weight of the sinker|a kiss]]\n[[at the very end|a kiss]]\n[[the hook|a kiss]]\n
Aside from being right twice a day, a broken clock has other benefits. It takes attention away from the minutes and lets you make memories instead. When the clock’s hands never change, you are able to look at the clock for its beauty rather than its utility, and this helps you look at other things in the world for their beauty rather than their utility. There is beauty in utility, of course, but there’s more utility in beauty. People forget this easily, and a broken clock helps to remember.\n\n[[minutes|a kiss]]\n[[memories|a kiss]]\n[[beauty|a kiss]]\n[[utility|a kiss]]\n[[the clockworks of memory|a kiss]]\n
Smiles are like ideas because they are a thing you can give to someone else and still have. You give them away with no loss to yourself of anything. Or as Thomas Jefferson put it so eloquently:\n\n“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.”\n\n[[the curious case of the quantitative vs. the qualitative|a kiss]]\n[[and what is an idea for a smile?|a kiss]]\n[[the borderblur between give and receive|a kiss]]\n[[an extended meditation on boundaries|a kiss]]\n[[a thing like ideas and smile|a kiss]]\n
His niece asked his mother a serious question. She said a boy in school had told her that she couldn’t get into Heaven if there were things she hadn’t forgiven in others. She asked if this was true. His mother replied that forgiveness isn’t something you do for the other person, it’s a thing you do for yourself, it’s a letting go. And nobody knows for sure how to get into Heaven, least of all people who are lucky enough to have lived lives in which nothing unforgiveable has occurred.\n\n[[a serious answer|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you do for the other person|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you do for yourself|a kiss]]\n[[his idea of Heaven|a kiss]]\n[[luck|a kiss]]\n
The power of perspective is that when you literally look down upon the valley of others you can end up looking down on them figuratively, as well. And that’s the problem.\n\nThe high ground is a concept deeply embedded into our psyches, it is not just survival it is de facto evidence of fitness to survive. Possession of the high ground is authority.\n\n[[a trick of the light|a kiss]]\n[[the consequences of a torus-shaped universe|a kiss]]\n[[perspective is paradigm|a kiss]]\n[[allusion as illusion|a kiss]]\n[[one possible solution to the problem of the other|a kiss]]\n
pOp\n\nbubbles! \n\nlike pinwheels and kites and caps and firecrackers and tickling there are some things that make kids of us all each and every time they happen\n\nfizzies fuzzies foozles\n\nwhen she laughs just right his whole body effervesces.\n\n[[smurp|a kiss]]\n[[what is it about a kiss that encloses so much|a kiss]]\n[[each and every time they happen|a kiss]]\n[[scintillation|a kiss]]\n[[when a body effervesces|a kiss]]\n
There’s a report that claims that the adolescent brain is missing the physical structure in the brain that’s responsible for thinking ahead, which is crucial to the ability to make good decisions. To make good decisions you need to be able to visualize ahead to possible consequences. Teenagers may not be mentally self-centered, they may be physically unable to be otherwise until this part of the brain develops.\n\n[[physical structure|a kiss]]\n[[a good decision|a kiss]]\n[[visualize this|a kiss]]\n[[possible consequences|a kiss]]\n[[physically otherwise|a kiss]]\n
No, not really. He really believes everything in moderation, including moderation. Excess leads to doom. The virtues are not opposites, they are the middle ground between extremes. But a life lived in complete moderation would be extremely boring, so to avoid that extreme, it’s necessary to modulate your moderation.\n\n[[belief is overrated|a kiss]]\n[[hypothetical questions yield hypothetical answers|a kiss]]\n[[a live lived|a kiss]]\n[[in complete vs. incomplete|a kiss]]\n[[over under sideways down|a kiss]]\n
There is a wrong way, a right way, and a right now way. \n\n24 hours from now it’s all going to be sewage, anyway, so don’t get too crazy about it.\n\nThere’s nothing so important that it can’t wait five minutes. If you know what you’re doing, you can do a LOT in five minutes.\n\nWhen in doubt, add garlic.\n\nIf you can’t fix it with some combination of garlic, white wine, or Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, throw it away, it probably can’t be fixed.\n\nIf you suck the nitrous oxide propellent out of a couple of cans of whipped cream, you get in trouble. But if you suck it out of all of them they think the case is defective and send it back.\n\n[[the sliding scale of urgency|a kiss]]\n[[a little perspective|a kiss]]\n[[one thing that can be done in five minutes|a kiss]]\n[[combination and recombination|a kiss]]\n[[think big, be big|a kiss]]\n
When they’re not in use, which is most of the year, the air conditioners live in the basement, on the dirt floor, next to the water heater and the furnace, across from the washer and from the dryer. The cats are not sure what to make of them.\n\n[[the stairs to the basement]]\n[[what the basement needs]]\n[[the problem with the dryer]]\n[[the front two rooms of the basement]]\n
The big garbage cans everywhere that made it easy to chop a lot of ends off things and then just knifeblade sweep them away in one swell foop. Some things were a chop and a flick (into the trash), a chop and a flick, over and over, and everything stayed neat and tidy all along.\n\n[[the curved gesture of the arc|a kiss]]\n[[loose bits of debris rub his sense of the tidy the wrong way|a kiss]]\n[[clean as you go|a kiss]]\n[[ongoing upkeep keeps the ongoing going on|a kiss]]\n[[as the day is long|a kiss]]\n
Lines and dates and numbers written in pencil to mark the growing height of the daughter as it approaches the marks of her parents. \n\n[[written in something other than pencil]]\n[[the tallest mark]]\n[[the paint]]\n[[what he remembers about his own parents’ divorce]]\n[[the nature of time]]\n
The Philadelphia Museum of Art\nThe Franklin Institute\nLevy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia\nWidener Memorial Foundation Gallery\nThe Barnes Foundation collection\n\n[[the dance of art and romance|a kiss]]\n[[hypothetical questions yield hypothetical answers|a kiss]]\n[[the purpose of art|a kiss]]\n[[the function of art|a kiss]]\n[[why you don’t want the barrier between art and life to break down|a kiss]]\n
From the time he was 10 years old until the time he was 16 years old he lived with his mother and grandfather in the house his grandfather built. In the back yard of the house there was always a burn barrel. It was a 55 gal. drum that would need to be replaced every few years due to rust through. Once a week or so someone would need to do the chore of taking care of the burnables. Any organic trash went into a huge compost heap. Any plastics or metals went into the regular trash. And any burnables went out to the burn barrel. Most people would’ve preferred being on burn barrel duty during the summer. But he loved it best during the winter. You could kick snow up on the side of the barrel and watch it spit and vaporize, sometimes the metal would be so hot it wouldn’t even get wet, it was just go from snow to vapor on contact. The fire kept you warm. And there’s nothing like the smell of a fire when the air temperature drops below freezing. Nothing like it. And watching the floating cinders pinprick the sky to issue their fleeting, hot, living challenge to the cold, dead, white light of the stars.\n\n[[context, that which surrounds and provides meaning|a kiss]]\n[[everything in its place, and a place for everything|a kiss]]\n[[from snow to vapor on contact|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that keep you warm|a kiss]]\n[[fleeting, hot, living|a kiss]]\n
like a declawed cat paw stretching out\nlike jazz hands come to rest\nlike gently hanging on for dear life\nlike a bird on a wire\nlike a cold hand cups a hot cup of cocoa\nlike towel folds right out of the dryer\nlike putting down the pen after the first draft\nlike a radio playing 40s music off in the distance\n\n[[how his mom sang along]]\n[[birds on wires]]\n[[a recipe for hot cocoa]]\n[[a difference in how they write]]\n[[the music on the radio]]\n
He has an interest in singular feats of achievement. Typically it’s for things which simultaneously create and exhaust an entire node of creativity (like E. E. Cummings), but, also the record that will never be broken (like Wilt Chamberlain). The untoppable, the thing that can only be done again, never done better.\n\n[[the focus of all interest|a kiss]]\n[[simultaneity|a kiss]]\n[[create and exhaust|a kiss]]\n[[an entire node|a kiss]]\n[[never done better|a kiss]]\n
The paint underneath is beginning to show its age, to lose its elasticity, to show the effects of a long time spent as an uncleaned surface in an active home. It’s not enough that anyone else would even notice it, just like no one notices the steep minimalism of the markings themselves. But if you stand and look closely, it is clearly a totem out of time.\n\n[[underneath it all|a kiss]]\n[[the loss of elasticity is intimately connected to the act of inscription|a kiss]]\n[[the effects of a long time spent|a kiss]]\n[[a steep minimalism|a kiss]]\n[[a totem to time|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather was also a big fan of having fun with his dentures. He loved to pop them partially out so that it looked like he had a cartoonish overbite. He’d then adopt the posture, facial expression, and mannerisms of a bumpkin. He’d bug his eyes out and grin and wave with too much enthusiasm at passing drivers. He’d do it standing in line at a fast food joint to say a bodacious “Uh hyuh, hyuh hyuh.” To the people in front of him in line. It’s a feature, not a bug.\n\n[[reasons not to take things too seriously|a kiss]]\n[[other fun you can have with faces|a kiss]]\n[[the first thing you’d lose in a world without humor|a kiss]]\n[[the flower of enthusiasm|a kiss]]\n[[the intersection of comedy, drama, and history|a kiss]]\n
The steamer trunk was in the garage at his mother’s house and was part of the moving truck full of things he inherited when she died. He remembers the steamer trunk from his years of growing up, though. He doesn’t know where it came from, originally, but, figures it was likely a grand- or greatgrand-parent’s at some point in the past. It’s not a top-of-the-line trunk or anything fancy like that. The lock no longer works, but it’s got all its fittings and metal corners and makes a good table and place to store extra linens.\n\n[[on the trunk]]\n[[in the trunk]]\n[[why the trunk needs coasters on it]]\n[[over the trunk]]\n[[under the trunk]]
Banks foreclose on them. But what no one will tell you is that banks really, really, really don’t want to foreclose on them. It makes sense if you think about it. Banks aren’t in the business of owning homes, they’re in the business of lending. After two years of abject poverty while he tried to keep up with the payments (which kept getting higher as various non-resident clauses kicked in), he finally gave up, gave out, and gave in to the realization that foreclosure was his only option on the house that wouldn’t sell—at any price, even to the “we buy any house” sharks. He telephoned the mortgage company and begged them to forclose. Begged them. It took 14 months of adamant refusal to pay, and constant begging. Up until the morning of the auction they’d’ve stopped proceedings if he’d’ve agree to pay any amount on it. Banks don’t want your house. They want your money.\n\n\n[[something banks will never understand|a kiss]]\n[[it doesn’t make sense, no matter how much you think about it|a kiss]]\n[[a poem about want|a kiss]]\n[[the give of take and the take of give|a kiss]]\n[[what no one will tell you|a kiss]]\n
When the pendulum moves, it has a noticeable tendency to wander on the z-axis, meaning it moves away from the wall and back towards it. This happens because the movement and the pendulum are so shoddily made that precision was the first thing discarded in the name of lowering the cost. It’s loose fitting and too long for the movement to really drive, and in a house where the wall isn’t plumb, the pendulum’s swing becomes more of a drunken waggle than a crisp tick tock.\n\n[[time passes at the intersection of to and fro|a kiss]]\n[[length and breadth and depth add up to time|a kiss]]\n[[becausality|a kiss]]\n[[what you can catch with imprecision|a kiss]]\n[[how to stop time|a kiss]]\n
Firefly watches\n4th of July\nunimpressed.\n\n[[where he was when he wrote it]]\n[[what he used to write it]]\n[[is it a haiku?]]\n[[what he said before he wrote it]]\n[[how they spent the 4th of July]]
The lady who used to live there, according to the rumor, was loaded with money even though she lived on the cheap. Supposedly, she kept her money hidden somewhere in the house. When they pulled up the carpeting in the upstairs hallway they found a hidey hole cut in the floor, and closed back up with wood screws, just outside the front bedroom door.\n\n[[when they told the daughter they were pulling up the carpet]]\n[[what was in the hidey hole]]\n[[what they did to the floor after the carpet was up]]\n[[the truth about people who hide money]]\n[[the nail]]
Sure, anything is possible. But to re-visit it at this point would probably involve one of two things, neither of which is very likely. One, would be for him to willingly immerse himself in a large block of time he’s walked away from. The other would be for him to turn it all over to someone else, completely, to give it a new unintended life. He doesn’t want to go back there. And he doesn’t like giving up control. A rock and a hard place. An abandoned project.\n\n[[the space between the probably and the possible|a kiss]]\n[[to re-visit, at this point|a kiss]]\n[[the benefits of immersion|a kiss]]\n[[the binary of delegation|a kiss]]\n[[an intended life|a kiss]]\n
First he puts on what he considers to be an absurdly paltry amount. He then uses the edge of the knife to scrape off any mayo that can be scraped off, leaving her sandwich with just the mayo that remains trapped in the bread’s crumb. He applies his own mayo in more of a casual slather.\n\n[[the importance of getting things right|a kiss]]\n[[when quantitative becomes qualitative|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of taking meals together|a kiss]]\n[[two slices makes one sandwich|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that are better if you make them yourself|a kiss]]\n
She is a constant source of inspiration for him. He could write 10,000 words about the look in her eye the last time she smiled. He daydreams the geometry of her movements. She’s his favorite writer, his favorite poet, his favorite person in the whole wide world. She dreams in a symbol stew that most artists would give their left leg to eat. His problem is never finding inspiration, his problem is finding the time to act on all the inspirations she provides. \n\n[[the source|a kiss]]\n[[a daydream|a kiss]]\n[[the map is not the territory|a kiss]]\n[[la vie quotidienne|a kiss]]\n[[all the inspirations she provides|a kiss]]\n
Once bitten twice shy is what they say, but, when you’re going for speed and efficiency you get burned sticking your hand into the same fire over and over again. This V scar is the result of a second attempt to slice tomatoes on a commercial slicer without the use of the guard. He kept the index fingertip out, no problem, but you have to push that tomato with something. He used the meat of his thumb and got bitten. Again.\n\n[[never bitten|a kiss]]\n[[never shy|a kiss]]\n[[what they never say|a kiss]]\n[[the same fire, over and over again|a kiss]]\n[[when again is a gain|a kiss]]\n
His mother. She was famous for liking several things in addition to purple. Doves. Martin Luther King Jr. Chicken Subgum Chop Suey Chow Mein. Scissors. Annoying dancing hamster toys. Cheese toast. Writing down minutiae in Big Fat Notebooks.\n\n[[how famous she was for liking doves]]\n[[her sister’s explanation for the scissors]]\n[[what was it with the hamsters?]]\n[[a story about the cheese toast]]\n[[what kinds of minutiae]]
A spectacular view of the valley. On a clear day you can see for miles and miles, over and beyond the Susquehanna. Of the city you can really only see the signs announcing the banks that have vacated their buildings. The roofs of houses spread out before you like the sweep of a welcoming Paul Bunyon of an arm, and it looks for all the world like we’re all one big happy community of friends. Until the sirens start.\n\n[[the windmills in the distance]]\n[[in the winter]]\n[[higher up the mountain]]\n[[the power and the problem]]\n[[sound carries in a valley]]
Bee Guy lived next door for a very long time, which was unusual because most of the people don’t stay very long next door. A month or two, maybe three, but Bee Guy was there for almost two years. He hated bees, apparently. He had a spray bottle filled with something caustic and he would spend entire afternoons attempting to spray individual flying bees with his spray bottle set on “stream”. The process involved flailing and dodging and sprinting. They never knew exactly what was in that bottle but it did serious harm to the peonies. At first they didn’t make the connection. The peony bushes developed these dead brown thin stripes that cut across bushes and leaves in a most unnatural fashion. And then they realized that all the stripes led back to the driveway next door where Bee Guy would spend his afternoons. Whatever was in that bottle killed what it touched almost instantly, and, it took three years for the peony bushes to fully recover.\n\n[[where’s Bee Guy now]]\n[[the miracle]]\n[[the shame]]\n[[what they also lost]]\n[[the bees]]
They take walks together and he asks her the names of flowers. He has trouble remembering them but he keeps asking and she keeps answering and slowly he’s learning. He loves this. He wishes he knew the names of every tree and plant and mushroom he could ever hope to find. He sometimes imagines what it would be like to live in a world where he knew the name of every lovely thing.\n\n[[the names of flowers|a kiss]]\n[[trouble remembering|a kiss]]\n[[she keeps answering|a kiss]]\n[[slowly he’s learning|a kiss]]\n[[the name of every lovely thing|a kiss]]\n
A typical date for them involves a nice dinner out somewhere, sometimes a movie, too, but usually not. They prefer to watch things in the comfort of their own home, snuggled up on the sofa, pinned down by cats, rather than in a sticky-floored amphitheater filled with the hum of hormonal teenagers.\n\nIf it’s a fancy date or a daylong date they’re likely to go to a museum somewhere before the dinner.\n\n[[the cumulative effect of small affections|a kiss]]\n[[the tendency to be drawn back to a center|a kiss]]\n[[before they have dinner|a kiss]]\n[[after dinner|a kiss]]\n[[at some point during each movie|a kiss]]\n
You can always put on more layers against the cold, but you can only take off so many clothes and then it’s still hot. \n\n[[the right balance|a kiss]]\n[[adding layers|a kiss]]\n[[removing layers|a kiss]]\n[[slipping outside the notion of layers|a kiss]]\n[[her response to the platitudes she disagrees with|a kiss]]\n
Keep it shut a bit more. His dad liked to remind him that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason: we’re supposed to use our ears twice as much as we use our mouths. Even that is missing one important point. In between twice as much listening there needs to be a gap where we neither listen nor speak, we think. \n\n[[a good way to keep a mouth shut|a kiss]]\n[[one important point|a kiss]]\n[[between the ears and the mouth|a kiss]]\n[[a gap|a kiss]]\n[[where thinking stops and starts|a kiss]]\n
Christmas dinner always begins with “crackers”. These are not saltines or anything else edible. They’re apparently a British tradition (they told him when he first started Christmasing with them). It’s a three-segment tube, you hold the outer two segments one in each hand and when you pull them apart sharply a pop about like the cap of a capgun cracks and inside is a paper crown, a fortune, a joke, and a toy.\n\n[[the names of things and a story about naming|a kiss]]\n[[inside is a|a kiss]]\n[[paper crown|a kiss]]\n[[a fortune|a kiss]]\n[[a story without end|a kiss]]\n
She thinks she’s old and fat and flabby and saggy and ugly and scarred and fat and fat and fat.\n\n[[what he tries when she feels old|a kiss]]\n[[his response to her feeling fat|a kiss]]\n[[proof she’s not flabby|a kiss]]\n[[not because of, but in spite of|a kiss]]\n[[a rag, a bone, and a hank of hair|a kiss]]\n
Sitting on the patio, on a perfect summer evening, warm with a cool breeze. The sun was just down and the fireworks were beginning in earnest against deepdarkblue sky. The fireflies were just coming out, searchlighting for love.\n\n[[warm with a cool breeze|a kiss]]\n[[fireworks in earnest|a kiss]]\n[[searchlighting|a kiss]]\n[[a perfect evening|a kiss]]\n[[intermittent light|a kiss]]\n
Thick sliced, satueed with shallots, a bit of butter from the dairy, a pinch of salt, and no pepper. A splash of white wine to help steam out the good good juices.\n\n[[butter from the dairy]]\n[[shallots]]\n[[why so plain]]\n[[what goes with the mushrooms]]\n[[cooking with alcohols]]
Nobody knows. But she loved them to no end. Got the girlie giggles watching their mechanical dances and listening to their chip-voices singing the cheesy pop songs. She’d run them non-stop until the batteries died. Everyone would shake their heads in indulgence, but nobody understood the attraction. Nobody but her.\n\n[[to no end|a kiss]]\n[[non-stop|a kiss]]\n[[indulgence|a kiss]]\n[[understanding attraction|a kiss]]\n[[nobody knows|a kiss]]\n
the lips seem to him too thin\nwhiskers grow too close to the creases\nthere’s a tiny whitish imperfection only he sees\none tooth hides from the others\nfillings fillings fillings\nhe’s never liked his smile\n\n[[other ways of describing lips]]\n[[things that prickle like whiskers]]\n[[a few of his other imperfections]]\n[[a more detailed description of the tooth that hides]]\n[[and a bridge]]\n[[he likes TO smile, however]]
When you hold your breath under water the effect is buoyant. That air trapped in your lungs saves your life, and, it’s lighter than the water so it tries to pull you up, up and out. Float is better than sink, the air in your lungs tells you. It doesn’t say get out of the water, you fool. It says let’s ride spiral floatingly under the sun and feel the pulse of the ocean of experience.\n\n[[holding your breath for a short time is fine|a kiss]]\n[[holding another’s breath can even be okay|a kiss]]\n[[the effect is buoyant|a kiss]]\n[[also saves your life|a kiss]]\n[[floatingly|a kiss]]\n
The bike in the brush is another piece of repatriated junk her daughter the Artist has pulled from a heap somewhere and brought to rest as an inconvenience to be tripped over or an eyesore to blight. She has a real knack for bringing home the most useless things. It’s almost a hoarding reflex, except it’s not that bad and the things all have some measure of artistic interestingness. But she forgets what she’s brought and when the things become too much to bear they’ll find themselves back on their path to the trash or brought back to a thrift store and she usually doesn’t even notice they’ve gone. Though their absence is always a marked improvement to the area. Out of sight, out of mind.\n\n[[everything in its place|a kiss]]\n[[the place for the out of place|a kiss]]\n[[a place that isn’t a place|a kiss]]\n[[putting the place in replace|a kiss]]\n[[a place for everything|a kiss]]\n
He has only come to an appreciation for shallots late in life. He was always a fan of the Vidalia, when his stomach was younger he loved the Bermuda, he is on again off again with leeks, they have so many chives in the garden that he forgets about them, and he recently had a run in with a scallion that’ll probably put him off of them for a good long while. The shallot is the new go-to onion in his kitchen activities. It’s got a piquancy that’s both subtle and strong. It blends and melds but always holds its own. It is unlike any other onion, and at the same time it is like all onions combined. \n\n[[what experience teaches us|a kiss]]\n[[subtle and strong|a kiss]]\n[[blends and melds|a kiss]]\n[[holds its own|a kiss]]\n[[unlike any other and like all others combined|a kiss]]\n
quick she once looks twice\nflipsmile near corner hereandgone\nthere’s a lightlaught that can’t quite\nbe heard but I know she knows I know\nshe knows it’s thereandgone\nagain\n\nshe wants me to chase her upup the stairs,\nand I will, soon, as soon as soon she soon\nturnsback with that mperfect pout that\nmanages to somehowsmile, it’s the eyes, I think\nI fear I act I react I go I run I can catch\nher easily but there’s no fun in that\n\nshe takes moresmaller steps to seemlike\nthere is more going on here than is really\ngoing on here when in fact there is really\nmore going on here than is going on here\nas it is as we are as it should be\n\nI catch her finally where I always catch her\naround about by the closet where the house\nalways was, is still, and will always be a\nnarrow no-escaping cul-de-sac with only one\nway out: the wild leap across the bed which\nby some quirk of physics and glitch in timespace\nalways lands her not past, not over,\nnot out of my clutches but squarelysmack\nin the middle of the rumbledsheet bed\n\n[[near corner hereandgone|a kiss]]\n[[again is always and all ways a gain|a kiss]]\n[[mperfect|a kiss]]\n[[the more going on here|a kiss]]\n[[one way out|a kiss]]\n
She loved the angle of the story that talked about how after he’d accomplished his amazing feat, he’d gone off and had an affair, and that affair had split him and his long-time love interest irrevocably. But, even split, the woman remained strangely in love with him.\n\nWhat she loved wasn’t the infidelity, wasn’t the break-up, and wasn’t even the remaining in love. It was the strangely that she loved. Not the details, but the fact. Life is messy, and she gets caught up in the strange patterns it leaves.\n\n[[a story about angles|a kiss]]\n[[an amazing feat|a kiss]]\n[[the strangely|a kiss]]\n[[not the details|a kiss]]\n[[the fact|a kiss]]\n
The odds that it will get fixed anytime soon are somewhere between slim and none. It’s just not a high priority on either of their lists. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s an occasional thorny problem, but, largely of little consequence to them. It would be tidy, it would be useful, but, because it isn’t an everyday nuisance, it takes a back seat to all of the nuisances which do occur every day.\n\n[[the space between slim and none|a kiss]]\n[[a list of lists|a kiss]]\n[[in sight and in the mind|a kiss]]\n[[of significant consequence to them|a kiss]]\n[[a daily occurance|a kiss]]\n
Her fingers are noticeably long, thin, and delicate. Remarkably so. They seem built for detail work or the piano or magic or conducting an orchestra of light. Rodin would have gone mad for them. When people see them for the first time, they look at their own as if they’ve just discovered, after a lifetime together, that their own hands are ugly and brutish. They are otherworldly without being alien. One half expects to notice that there’s simply an extra joint or some equally elegant improvement.\n\n[[detail work|a kiss]]\n[[or the piano|a kiss]]\n[[or magic|a kiss]]\n[[conducting an orchestra of light|a kiss]]\n[[a lifetime together|a kiss]]\n
The world is not going to suddenly (or even gradually) revert back to vinyl. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. The technology has changed, and it’s additive. The old remains as well. To wish it were otherwise is to wish in vain. It is what it is and they’re okay with that. Not freaks for preservation, not railing against the now, and not standards bearers for the new, either. They like vinyl with its set of benefits and drawbacks. They like CDs with all their set of benefits and drawbacks. They’re here for the music, and the rest is for the freaks and the geeks to hash out over flame wars.\n\n[[suddenly|a kiss]]\n[[gradually|a kiss]]\n[[it’s additive|a kiss]]\n[[it is what it is|a kiss]]\n[[everything old is new again|a kiss]]\n
Those kids end up growing up and becoming parents themselves. That’s the way of the world. But because of that foster family, and because of that damned pool, it’s a safe bet that a goodly number of those kids end up having better lives than if they’d ended up in another home. It’s all guesswork, of course. There’s no way to say whether any set of circumstances is ultimately better or worse, since choices and events are one-way and necessarily unique. Without hope, why get up in the morning? Fun just may be the real-world manifestation of hope.\n\n[[the world has many ways|a kiss]]\n[[guesswork|a kiss]]\n[[the deterministic limits of initial states|a kiss]]\n[[a manifestation of hope|a kiss]]\n[[why get up in the morning|a kiss]]\n
At night, in bed, after the charade of reading in bed that lasts mere minutes, she’ll curl up next to him and they’ll unwind their days to each other. Yarns pulled from days of threads and stitchings and seams and seems and needles and remnants and scraps and patches and whole cloth and always the weaving, the weaving. The sound of his voice is a place where she relaxes into sleep. He’ll pause to ask a question and hear the sleepbreathing sigh of yes and know she’s off on her own, laughing and safe, making the symbol stew of her dreams.\n\n[[mere minutes|a kiss]]\n[[wind and unwind|a kiss]]\n[[to each other|a kiss]]\n[[seams and seems|a kiss]]\n[[the pause to ask|a kiss]]\n
She’s terrified of picking something deadly. She likes mushrooms, but, not enough to die for. In an attempt to get her to change her mind, he got a copy of a book that would “demystify mushrooms.” It was 1300 pages and riddled with cautions and unknowns and did more to mystify the little fungii than to demystify. In the end, he agreed with her, the joy couldn’t possibly be worth the risk.\n\n[[his original mis-conception]]\n[[what this story exemplifies]]\n[[what’s worth dying for?]]\n[[the difference between ignorance and stupidity]]\n[[another option or two]]
The problem with plants in the house is cats in the house. And cats in the house will eat plants in the house if given an unsupervised half second or so. Actually, “eat” is probably the wrong word for what they do. They just like to chew on them, tear at them a bit to find out if there’s any catnip like reactions. Or maybe they just hate anything being as perfect as they are and they feel compelled to mar it with tooth marks. Who can say? You’d go mad trying to imagine what goes on inside a cat’s brain.\n\n[[an unsupervised half second|a kiss]]\n[[the right word|a kiss]]\n[[as perfect as|a kiss]]\n[[compulsion|a kiss]]\n[[some things may be better left unimagined|a kiss]]\n
They got their first patio set as a hand-me-down from friends. It was way better than nothing, but, it was pretty far past its prime, too. \n\nThey were as glad to have it and as they were glad to replace it. \n\nThe best thing it did was get them to see the back patio as an area they could spend time in, if it were only improved a little bit here and there, it could really turn into a prime location for entertaining and relaxilating. A few pavers here, some pea gravel there, a grill, a chimnea, and now if they could just put a door in where a window is now, then it’ll really be something!\n\n[[the most important things are the things that start other things happening.|a kiss]]\n[[everything is a first thing|a kiss]]\n[[if you’re constantly changing a thing, when do you enjoy it?|a kiss]]\n[[emjoyment is a process not and end-state|a kiss]]\n[[never finished|a kiss]]\n
lub dub\nlub dub\nlublub dub\nlub dub\nlub dub\nlub dudub\n\n[[what her condition is called]]\n[[his condition]]\n[[other sounds her heart makes]]\n[[why the heart is the seat of love]]
He is a grudge-holder and many relationship mistakes have been made because of that.\n\nHe’s got cuts and burns and scars from mistakes made in the kitchen.\n\nBut for the most part, he has no regrets—no decisions he made that he would say, today, were wrong based on the information he had at the time of making the decision. Knowing what he knows now there are things he might have done differently but that’s not a luxury we have in this world. All that can be done is to try and do the best you can with what you have. \n\n[[for the most part|a kiss]]\n[[decision tree|a kiss]]\n[[a luxury we do have in this world|a kiss]]\n[[the best they can|a kiss]]\n[[what they have|a kiss]]\n
His favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven (strips laid out as close as possible without touching, on parchment paper, in a 375 degree oven), and he’ll do it this way every time if there’s time. If there’s not time, he’ll do it in a pan, or if there’s really a rush, he’ll chop it and cook the pieces in a pan. She can make bacon in the microwave and it’s not too bad, but he’s never been able to pull that off. \n\nBacon in the oven is slow, but, you get a good evenly cooked finished product without most of the mess of pan frying. Unevenness in bacon thickness and oven hot spots will get you a range of doneness, “evenly cooked” refers to the way the bacon tends to lay nice and flat when cooked in the oven, as opposed to the wiggly wriggle of the pan-fried strip.\n\nThis, of course, is an exercise in splitting preferential hairs, because no matter how you cook it, it’s bacon in all its bacony goodness.\n\n[[the each and the every of time|a kiss]]\n[[slow but sure|a kiss]]\n[[recourse to a course of course off course|a kiss]]\n[[an exercise in splitting hairs|a kiss]]\n[[there’s no wrong way to end up at a beginning|a kiss]]\n
She makes a throaty laugh that he only ever hears when he dips her just right. He always dips her just right. Sometimes it escapes early in the dip, sometimes late in the dip, but it always works. Every time.\n\n[[almost always works|a kiss]]\n[[hardly ever causes a laugh|a kiss]]\n[[can lead ot a laugh|a kiss]]\n[[is sometimes the perfect foil to laugh|a kiss]]\n[[how hearts laugh|a kiss]]\n
The guy jumping on her toes was just a drunk college student, but, it was both rude to jump on her toes, and it was beginning to affect her enjoyment of the show, so, he very carefully jounced himself into position such that every time the guy was about to lurch back to toe-stomping range, he’d get an accidental elbow in the ribs. It worked for as long as it needed to, because, in the inevitable Brownian motion of a crowd, they ended up dispersing apart.\n\n[[even lurch and jounce can achieve subtle results|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that affect her ejoyment|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of positioning|a kiss]]\n[[inevitable motion|a kiss]]\n[[the containment of dispersion|a kiss]]\n
They were entertaining, it was time for the food and drinks to be transported from the kitchen to the patio. One of their guests loaded up the empty space on the bread board with the gaggle of freshly poured wine glasses. The board carried fine in two hands. In one hand, stepping through the screen door, the far end with the wine glasses was much heavier than the near end with the bread. The board tilted. The board was slippery with cornmeal crumbs from the bottom of the bread. The glasses crashcaded down the concrete steps and broke into winewet specks of glass. The guest was mortified, they were just glad he was okay—glasses are only things, after all.\n\n[[what kind of wine]]\n[[how much they liked those glasses]]\n[[another mitigating circumstance]]\n[[how they cleaned it up]]\n[[the trip from the kitchen to the patio]]
Because he has no money and they both know it. It isn’t true that if you do what you love the money will follow. It is true that if you do what you love the money will cease to be important.\n\n[[no money|a kiss]]\n[[they both know|a kiss]]\n[[it is true|a kiss]]\n[[doing what he loves|a kiss]]\n[[doing what she loves|a kiss]]\n
In a cabinet in the kitchen are four broad, shallow dishes, perfect for serving pasta or certain kinds of stew. The bottoms of the white dishes are trimmed in olive green and decorated with earth brown drawings of mushrooms positioned precisely over their latin names in black. This is definitely a girl who loves mushrooms.\n\n[[even as a child]]\n[[dishes, dishes]]\n[[under the cabinet]]\n[[also in the cabinet]]\n[[on top of the cabinet]]
Every Christmas Nana makes date nut bread, zucchini bread, and lemon bread. They’re small, dense loaves and they’re served with butter and cream cheese. Usually they’re made a couple weeks in advance, frozen, and then thawed before serving (this actually makes them better, somehow). Sometimes there’ll be a teaser of one bread or the other at Thanksgiving, but, for the most part these breads are exclusively Christmas. The zucchini bread is pretty straightforward, the lemon bread is both sweet and tart, but the date nut bread is the one that runs out first every year. It’s the molasses, he’s convinced. It’s a deep dark earthy sweet that never tires the taste buds.\n\n[[when repetition becomes tradition|a kiss]]\n[[the relation between predictability and anticipation|a kiss]]\n[[somehow sometimes someone someway someyes somesum|a kiss]]\n[[how many Christmases can you possibly have left?|a kiss]]\n[[taste each bite|a kiss]]\n
Frisbee, bowling, straight pool, tennis, chess, ice skating, basketball. Plus a range of video games and board games. He tends to do better at most video games, she tends to do better at most board games.\n\n[[after Frisbee|a kiss]]\n[[during ice skating|a kiss]]\n[[before video games|a kiss]]\n[[one sport at which they are equally matched|a kiss]]\n[[better, better|a kiss]]\n
The carpet is also used as a boogie board, of sorts. After surfing down the steps on a cat that’s twisted itself around your ankles to accelerate your descent. As you flail about to keep from completely crashing and/or crushing, you’ll hit that carpet going so fast it’ll skid out and skip you off the wall before you stop.\n\n[[the twistangle of affection|a kiss]]\n[[redirection without loss of momentum|a kiss]]\n[[a thousand kinds of impact|a kiss]]\n[[crashing and/or crushing|a kiss]]\n[[a flail about|a kiss]]\n
When Stella got out, they were sure she was gone for good. She’s the baby bunny killer, the mouse bringer, the only one of the four cats who’d stand even a remote chance of survival outside of the house. She wasn’t any more afraid of the outside than she was of the inside. Which means she was wary of everything, cautious in a survival-instinct kind of way, and fast enough to catch a bird if she needed to. They figured she’d be back in an hour, or not at all. After a week had passed, they were settled into the funk of having lost her forever.\n\nThen, through the side window in the kitchen, one afternoon, she heard an unfamiliar pitiable mewling in a familar voice. There, huddled hiding underneath one of the neighbor’s cars was Stella. Pleading for someone to come over and get her so she wouldn’t have to figure out a way back into the house. She was dirty and skinnier, but mostly no worse for the wear.\n\n[[what you lose when you become a loner|a kiss]]\n[[when there’s no difference between inside and outside|a kiss]]\n[[what need can make us do|a kiss]]\n[[the start and end of every adventure|a kiss]]\n[[a metaphor for coming home|a kiss]]\n
Music in his own life runs rich but in fits and starts. He loves music, can remember music from specific stages of his life, in many ways identifies or connects certain musics with certain life segments, but there are gaps. There are gaps in everything. He doesn’t remember much music from his gradeschool days, it was about 7th grade when he first remembers being musically aware. Junior high and high school all have music weaving throughout them. This song is that night and these were driving those roads and still today he can be transported in time by music. College had its own weavings. Early adult life too. It’s because music was ubiquitous, everpresent, always on always around always there, a running soundtrack.\n\nThen there’s a big gap following his divorce. That was a time without music, when all the old music depressed him and all the new music was totally unfamiliar. The truth is he was in a place where music couldn’t go, anyway. But music found its way in, eventually and now he’s out and has a life with a soundtrack again.\n\n[[fits and starts|a kiss]]\n[[connecting segments|a kiss]]\n[[there are gaps|a kiss]]\n[[music weaves through|a kiss]]\n[[the running soundtrack|a kiss]]\n
And a goat. And chickens. And another dog. She says no more cats, but, he suspects that all it would take is the right (which is to say any) opportunity.\n\n[[we all have our personality quirks|a kiss]]\n[[a way to test a suspected theory|a kiss]]\n[[the right opportunity|a kiss]]\n[[any opportunity|a kiss]]\n[[it should really be opportwonity|a kiss]]\n
Stella loves the windows, whether they’re open or not. She likes the high ground of the upstairs windows as much as the street level of the basement window. She likes to watch the goings on more than she likes to find a hidey hole. If things get loud, she’ll bolt under a bed, but, in general her favorite places are windows, open or closed.\n\n[[the look out|a kiss]]\n[[the look in|a kiss]]\n[[the look|a kiss]]\n[[the see|a kiss]]\n[[the watch and learn and remember|a kiss]]\n
Details, complexity, character development, nuance, sub-plots and secondary story lines. You know, all the good stuff.\n\n[[neither god nor the devil is in the details|a kiss]]\n[[the paradox that says the simple is complex and the complex is simple|a kiss]]\n[[characters develop based on actions not discourse|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes you need distance to discern divergence|a kiss]]\n[[there are no secondary story lines|a kiss]]\n
Lucy Bob is the likely culprit most of the time. Any of the cats is able, willing, and occasionally guilty, but, Lucy Bob is the most likely to be the repeatingest offender. She has a delicate stomach. Actually, she horks down her food too fast every time and as a result ends up puking it back up almost every time. She likely consumes twice the food of any other cat, just trying to get enough to stay down to keep her going.\n\n[[able|a kiss]]\n[[willing|a kiss]]\n[[occasionally guilty|a kiss]]\n[[the repeatingest|a kiss]]\n[[just to keep going|a kiss]]\n
What’s that up in the road, a head?\n\n[[the infinite variety of inflection|a kiss]]\n[[how something as small as a space between letters can change everything|a kiss]]\n[[the solution to the knot of communication|a kiss]]\n[[trapdoors and solipsisms|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between what’s said and what’s meant|a kiss]]\n
He’s a very grid-based thinker. Patterns appeal to him, and regular, repeating, symmetrical patterns appeal to him most of all. He finds comfort in predictability, pleasure in the geometric, and the geometric progression. He knows he only has to store the pattern in his mind, rather than store a complete map of the territory. It’s more efficient this way. Less to remember. Build it up from parts, as needed, rather than lug around a complex construct. Loops are a special kind of grid, to him. A loop is a grid that wraps.\n\n[[one sure way to short-circuit his thinking|a kiss]]\n[[he finds comfort|a kiss]]\n[[pleasure in the geometric|a kiss]]\n[[the pattern in his mind|a kiss]]\n[[a grid that wraps|a kiss]]\n
His theory of forms is simple. Some ideas are sonnet shaped. Some ideas are haiku shaped. Some ideas are shaped like more sestinas than there are particles in the known universe. The trick is not to write in form, the trick is to be so intimately familiar with the form that you are able to recognize when you have an idea that is appropriate for the shape of that form. Matching form to content is where the magic happens. Trying to whang an idea into a form that doesn’t fit it is a recipe for disaster. When it does fit, form and idea blend in such a way that the point where one ends and the other begins becomes a meaningless distinction.\n\nFirst, have something to say.\n\nSecond, say it as well as you can; being familiar with a wide range of forms will help you in this.\n\nThird, be open to the possibility that it may be said best through a technical innovation, a new form.\n\nToo much contemporary writing starts with technical innovation and tries to back its way into having something to say. It doesn’t work that way. \n\n[[the shape of this idea|a kiss]]\n[[a simple theory of forms or a theory of simple forms|a kiss]]\n[[where the magic happens|a kiss]]\n[[the point where one ends and the other begins|a kiss]]\n[[it works this way|a kiss]]\n
One of the favorite whipping boys of contemporary linguistics is Benjamin Lee Whorf, who put forth the notion that the language we speak shapes the reality we experience. This is a concept that many people feel instictively to be possible, probable, and even desirable. As a theory, it feels good. Of course, that doesn’t make it so. It also doesn’t make it not so.\n\nThis theory was completely discredited by his peers on the basis of his examples, in particular the number of words for snow that are in the Inuit language vs. the one word “snow” in English. The critics argued that having the vocabulary or not does not change the physical reality of the item in question.\n\nBut bad examples does not equal bad theory.\n\nEvery example refuted was a concrete noun, not an abstract noun. A language that cannot discriminate between similar types of snow is fine for a culture that has no need to discriminate between those types. But imagine the kind of people who would speak a language which has no word for war, no word for peace, no word for property, no word for god, or that uses the same word to mean hello, goodbye, and I love you. The absence or availability of abstract nouns has a more profound effect on that language’s speaker because abstract nouns have no physical reality to be independent of. They are things which come into being through terminological agreement.\n\n[[how to think a thing that has no name|a kiss]]\n[[the power of the mouth to speak a thing into existence|a kiss]]\n[[things you miss if you get too caught up in theory|a kiss]]\n[[the practical limits of a mind to understand itself|a kiss]]\n[[is a thing said if no words are used?|a kiss]]\n
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Instead of paying for all the pavers it would take to cover the patio area, he got the bright idea to space them out, several many inches apart, and fill in the gaps with less expensive pea gravel of a complementary color. It looked great on paper, and saved a goodly bit of money. It looked great when it was finished, and he congratulated himself on his genius. Then they brought out the patio furniture. The problem was that the feet of the chairs essentially dove through the pea gravel to the ground below. They wouldn’t rest on the pea gravel. So sitting on the patio is a constant battle to keep all four feet on a paver. It’s not the end of the world, but, it’s sufficient proof that he’s not a genius when it comes to patio planning.\n\n[[how he’ll fix it]]\n[[why he might have thought of it]]\n[[his views on saving money]]\n[[has anyone been hurt yet]]\n[[his limitations]]\n
There’s two reasons why the carpet remains unstained. The first is her diligence in cleaning it quickly, and using a foaming spray cleaner that gets all the nasty out. The second is the color and pattern of the carpet are such that the visual evidence of stains is minimized by dint of optical occlusion.\n\n[[ours is not to wonder why|a kiss]]\n[[reasons presume an unwarranted importance|a kiss]]\n[[visual evidence|a kiss]]\n[[by dint of|a kiss]]\n[[occlusion, illusion, and others sleights of hand|a kiss]]\n
The corn from the garden was so plentiful that they’d be able to eat their fill in-season and his grandfather was able to cut off the cob, blanch, and freeze enough to keep them in corn the rest of the year until the next crop came in. \n\nCorn his mother cut off the cob and served in a dish with butter, salt, and pepper is a food he remembers with the same fondness other people remember peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off. It was the act of love as much as the food itself.\n\n[[value independent of scarcity|a kiss]]\n[[planning for abundance|a kiss]]\n[[places where less is not more|a kiss]]\n[[the mesh of memory|a kiss]]\n[[the act of love|a kiss]]\n
On top of the cabinet are a couple of decanters, one that has about a half a glass of vintage port left in it, the other is empty. \n\nAt one time he was a bit of a vintage port fanatic, but his interest in it has waned over the years. He keeps the decanters in case an interest in brandy comes along. Better safe than sorry.\n\nThere’s also a large serving bowl in the same pattern as the four shallow dishes in the cabinet. It’s too big to fit inside the cabinet, so it hangs out over the edge just a little bit.\n\n[[wax and wane|a kiss]]\n[[ebb and flow|a kiss]]\n[[back and forth|a kiss]]\n[[this way and that|a kiss]]\n[[dosey do|a kiss]]\n
He hates running up against his limitations like anybody else, but, he doesn’t beat his head against them. Nobody can do everything, and, he sees it as a life-task to make collaborative relationships with people whose skill-set is complementary. The goal is to find people who can do in 10 minutes what would take him 10 hours who have something that would take them 10 hours to do that he can do in 10 minutes. Everybody wins, and time isn’t wasted. So, he sees his limitations as opportunities. Like writing poetry in form, it’s a challenge to turn a restriction into a benefit.\n\n[[a most productive collaborative relationship|a kiss]]\n[[everybody wins|a kiss]]\n[[pockets of time unwasted|a kiss]]\n[[like writing poetry|a kiss]]\n[[the goals|a kiss]]\n
Martin Briley’s Salt in my Tears\nRob Jungklas’s Make it Mean Something\nA one-sided clear vinyl dance-mix EP of a song off of Brian Wilson’s Smile\nJoe Cocker’s Sheffield Steel\n\n[[college music]]\n[[the long Rob Jungklas story]]\n[[the special resonance of Smile]]\n[[the cassette player in the Nova]]\n
Know why Abraham Lincoln never used this finger? Because it’s mine.\n\nHow Long is a Chinaman.\n\nWhat’s that up in the road, a head?\n\nHe also loved to do Santa’s Trap Door\n\nAnd to take a baby’s hands and rub them along his own whiskery cheeks twice followed by some mock-slapping to the rhythm of “Nice Grampa....nice grampa...slap slap slap.” Babies were horrified the first time, and giggled like crazy every time after the first.\n\n[[the limitless source of joy|a kiss]]\n[[resolving the ambiguity of statement and question|a kiss]]\n[[the difference a comma can make|a kiss]]\n[[that feeling of the bottom dropping out|a kiss]]\n[[the power of repetition|a kiss]]\n
Depends on who you ask, there’s a lot of disagreement about what, exactly, constitutes a haiku. At one extreme there is a very strong case for the idea that it’s impossible to write a haiku that isn’t in Japanese. At another extreme are the people who would say if the poem can be spoken in a single, easy breath it would qualify. As with most things, the truth is likely neither extreme, but incorporates elements of both.\n\n[[a lot of agreement|a kiss]]\n[[a strong case for an idea|a kiss]]\n[[a single easy breath|a kiss]]\n[[elements of both|a kiss]]\n[[a gesture towards truth|a kiss]]\n
The best way to hide procrastination is in overwork, especially if you’re a workaholic, anyway. People will just think the issue is your normal state, and not really an issue at all. You’re not putting it off, you’re just really busy, like always.\n\n[[security through obscurity|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between an easy lie and a difficult truth|a kiss]]\n[[feeding into expectation as a strategy for misdirection|a kiss]]\n[[like always|a kiss]]\n[[like all ways|a kiss]]\n
The sunfish in that lake would come right up to the side of the boat and would eat from your hands if you were patient and didn’t make any quick or sudden movements. \n\n[[good things come to those who|a kiss]]\n[[patience is a|a kiss]]\n[[slow but|a kiss]]\n[[it’s all in the|a kiss]]\n[[the secret to happiness is|a kiss]]\n
Well, it’s not impossible, but, it’s not very likely, either. He’d be 92 and she’d be 89. If they make it, chances are he’ll still be playing grab-ass with her and she’ll still be able to melt him with her smile. They’re definitely going to give it their best shot. But it’s not about the quantity of life together, it’s about the quality.\n\nOne thing is for sure, if they make it that far, they won’t be skimping on the butter in the buttercream frosting on that cake.\n\n[[how to stay together for 50 years|a kiss]]\n[[chances are|a kiss]]\n[[a confusion of breadth and depth|a kiss]]\n[[their best shot|a kiss]]\n[[one other thing is for sure|a kiss]]\n
She’ll walk around on the dining room table and eat the flowers that take her fancy. If you storm in and try to shout her off the table, she’ll walk lazily to the edge and step down onto a chair. If you walk away, she’ll be right back up again.\n\nIf you try to block her way to someplace she wants to go by putting your foot in her way, she’ll press on and power past you.\n\nIf you try squirting her with a squirt bottle to train her to stay off the counter top and stop licking the butter, she’ll just lower her head and bear down into the stream coming at her while she continues doing what she isn’t supposed to be doing.\n\n[[eating flowers|a kiss]]\n[[where saunter meets sass|a kiss]]\n[[press on|a kiss]]\n[[and power past|a kiss]]\n[[like licking butter|a kiss]]\n
soap suds dishes dishes water\na glass with a chip in the rim\nwine glass walls are thin\ndon’t leave the ring on the windowsill\nonions in butter is home\n\n[[where do all the dishes come from?]]\n[[the last time the glass was used unchipped]]\n[[a story about the wineglasses]]\n[[other things on the windowsill by the sink]]\n[[the perfect onions and mushrooms to go with steak]]\n
Parts of the film were shot on location in a nearby small city, and there are people known to them both who worked as extras in the film. They discovered this fact after they watched the movie and were recommending it to others who not only knew the movie, but remembered when it was being shot.\n\n[[on location|a kiss]]\n[[a discovered fact|a kiss]]\n[[proof of the small world conjecture|a kiss]]\n[[the way memory works|a kiss]]\n[[when it was being|a kiss]]\n
the top of the hourglass\npretty much always in need of a rub\nsensitive at the clavicles\nget cold easily when bared, or only covered by one or two layers\neven under the weight of the world, tough enough to lean on\njust right for vintage dresses\n\n[[her beetles]]\n[[the thing about her body that amazes him]]\n[[how his hand fits against her hip]]\n[[does he get cold?]]\n[[how she turns inside out]]\n
She’s not a big fan of the bamboo shoots. Really, if it’s a canned vegetable she’s not very likely to like it. Even hearts of palm or baby corn. You can get her to eat the occasional canned artichoke heart or artichoke bottom, but, that’s because they’re artichokes, which is one of her all time favorite foods. She’d prefer to eat them fresh and steamed, of course, but, if they’re scarce she’ll settle for the canned version in a pinch.\n\n[[the gravitational pull of preference|a kiss]]\n[[the artichoke as metaphor|a kiss]]\n[[the eating of an artichoke as metaphor|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things for which there is no substitute|a kiss]]\n[[some things should never be canned|a kiss]]\n\n\n
Hands down, the best way to eat cookies is fresh out of the oven with an ice cold glass of whole milk. But, because you can never know exactly how many cookies you and those within aroma-wafting distance are going to be able to consume this ideal way, it’s important to have a cookie jar to store the over-production. Eating homemade cookies from a cookie jar is the second best way. But, let’s face it, there aren’t that many bad ways to eat cookies.\n\n[[a debate between simple pleasures and complex pleasures|a kiss]]\n[[because you can never know|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of planning ahead|a kiss]]\n[[methods of storing delight|a kiss]]\n[[arguments of degree and arguments of type|a kiss]]\n
There’s a nail in the middle of the hallway that works its way up out of the wood over the course of several months. It needs to be pounded down about three times a year. When the carpet was there, the weave of the carpet was tight enough in relation to the width of the nail’s head that the nail was never a problem. Now that the carpet is gone, the walking on the boards causes just the right flex for a couple of different nails to squeak, and for this one nail to fight its way free. Usually the way they know it’s time to pound the nail down is when someone tears a hole in a sock in passing.\n\n[[by gradual degrees a story is told|a kiss]]\n[[pattern is repetition|a kiss]]\n[[the ripple effect of one small change|a kiss]]\n[[the way they know|a kiss]]\n[[imperfection as announcement|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather used to spend as much time “putting up” the garden goods as he spent growing them. He’d blanch then freeze dozens of bags of beans, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. He’d can huge batches of stewed tomatoes, ketchups, tomato sauce, and the best tomato juice the world has ever known.\n\nA teenager and tomato juice are not the best pairing, so it was only after his grandfather’s death that the full awareness of how good the tomato juice was discovered. \n\nHe remembered pulling jars of various things out of the room under the stairs where they were all stored, and the tomato juice always looked decidedly unappetizing. It would always separate in the jar, so there’d be a heavy, almost grainy looking darker red in the bottom three quarters of the jar and a top layer of thin, pinkish water. It was kind of gross, actually.\n\nIt wasn’t gross at all, though. If you shook that jar up and opened it and drank from it what you found was like sticking a straw into a perfectly ripe home grown tomato. \n\n[[putting up what’s grown|a kiss]]\n[[sense and memory|a kiss]]\n[[the locking away of sections of time|a kiss]]\n[[what we miss in the timing|a kiss]]\n[[you can never go back|a kiss]]\n
1 tablespoon minced shallot\n2 tablespoons vinegar\n4 tablespoons wine\n maybe some salt depending on your taste and the butter you’ll use later\n\ncook until most of the liquid is gone, then gradually add, 1 tablespoon at a time\n\n6 tablespoons of butter\n\neasy-peasy. And easy to remember, 1-2-4-6\n\n[[a prediction]]\n[[variations]]\n[[patterns of recognition]]\n[[his most common sauces]]\n[[more butter related gaps in his experience]]
They painted it white. Carpet is nice on the toes, of course, but the white wood suits them better. It’s brighter, more open, and easier to keep clean. They both trend towards the minimal, the simple, the less before the more. Though neither minds a little excess when it comes to localized pampering.\n\n[[how contrast heightens|a kiss]]\n[[the trend toward the minimal|a kiss]]\n[[the less before the more|a kiss]]\n[[a little excess|a kiss]]\n[[localized pampering|a kiss]]\n
It can take a while to notice a cat is deaf because cats don’t really listen to you anyway. Under normal, everyday circumstances, there’s no real functional difference between a hearing cat and a deaf cat that a human in the house could discern. Cats may as well be deaf for all they care about what humans say. Now the sound of a can opener, that’s a different story altogether.\n\n[[you know the story|a kiss]]\n[[the rest of the story|a kiss]]\n[[a story about a story|a kiss]]\n[[the same story|a kiss]]\n[[a different story|a kiss]]\n
They aren’t saying anything, they’re just barking their fool heads off. There’s four or five houses that have barkers, and two of them are adjoining. And the two dogs just yell at each other, back and forth, constantly, for hours on end. \n\n[[not the dogs’ fault]]\n[[one particularly dumb dog]]\n[[one particularly frustrated person]]\n[[times of day]]\n
Don’t pee on those, peonies.\n\n[[another just like it]]\n[[fun with dentures]]\n[[driving together]]\n[[sauerkraut]]\n[[the guppies]]
Mango, for all her ingenuity, is completely flummoxed by curtains. She can never figure out how to get behind them (to between the curtain and the window), and, if she luckily ends up behind them by the blessing of a breeze, can never figure out how to get back on the living room side of them.\n\n[[sometimes deftness is more effective than force|a kiss]]\n[[the overlap of folds|a kiss]]\n[[a fold of overlaps|a kiss]]\n[[between the curtain and the window|a kiss]]\n[[the opportunism of luck|a kiss]]\n
He was at the store to buy two things: trash stickers to put on a couple of bags of cardboard packaging that had accumulated in the basement, and, burny logs for the chimnea. \n\nA story his grandfather used to tell popped into his brain. He’d say, “I was talking to the neighbor and he was bragging to me about having just spent $300 on a new riding lawnmower, and another $300 on a fancy health club membership. I asked him why he didn’t just give me the $600 and mow his lawn with a pushmower.”\n\nFrom then on, he burns the cardboard.\n\n[[cycle and recycle|a kiss]]\n[[waste not want not|a kiss]]\n[[a story that popped into his brain|a kiss]]\n[[in engineering this is called an elegant solution|a kiss]]\n[[a story about a forest and some trees|a kiss]]\n
saying the most important things\nexplaining the motivation for mistakes\ndescribing the flavor of fiddleheads\ndreams\ntranslation\nsaying I love you\nin the hidey hole of self-doubt\n\n[[the most important things]]\n[[mistakes he’s made]]\n[[the first time he had fiddleheads]]\n[[her dreams]]\n[[a strange thing to bring on self-doubt]]
The trip from the kitchen to the patio is more roundabout than it could be should be later on would be. At the time of the event in question, you had to go out a side door, down several steps, up a tiered and crumbly concrete sidewalk choked and overgrown with bamboo, bleeding hearts, chives that looked like they could be a new carnivorous variant, and the subtle undertone of pornographic exhalations from the occasionally visible elegant stinkhorn.\n\n[[round and about and roundabout|a kiss]]\n[[a round and a bout and a round a bout|a kiss]]\n[[the event in question|a kiss]]\n[[the question in the event|a kiss]]\n[[could be would be will he would she|a kiss]]\n
Start with as large an Idaho Russet potato as you can find. Pierce it with several deep stabs of a fork. Rub it in olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.\n\nBake for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Turn potato topside down and bake for another 30 minutes or until tender when poked with a knife.\n\nLet stand for several minutes.\n\nCut open in an X and pinchpush the ends to erupt the fluffy goodness. Top with butter, cheese (try boursin, or asiago for a change), bacon, and scallions.\n\n[[the key is in how you start|a kiss]]\n[[the key is in the process|a kiss]]\n[[the key is in the overall plan|a kiss]]\n[[the key is in the combination of ingredients|a kiss]]\n[[the key is in the presentation|a kiss]]\n[[the key is in how it ends|a kiss]]\n
Mango goes where Mango wants. All of the normal ways you might think of to keep a cat from going someplace don’t work with her. If you tell her to “get down” she looks at you like, “I see your lips moving, but I can’t hear what you’re saying.” If you yell at her, her first reflex motion isn’t to back up, it’s to hunker down. If you start to walk towards her because you’re going to push her off the counter-top she keeps licking at whatever she was licking at and watches you out of one eye, timing your arrival down to the last possible lick. If you fill a squirt bottle with water and try to shoo her away with the spray she’ll keep moving forward into the spray if that’s what it takes to get what she wants.\n\n[[the payoff of persistence|a kiss]]\n[[the brass ring of singe-mindedness|a kiss]]\n[[the reward for dedication|a kiss]]\n[[the goal of commitment|a kiss]]\n[[the point of focus|a kiss]]\n
The timing is important, of course, but the thing to remember is that the steak timing should dictate everything else. For two, these onions and mushrooms will take about 15 minutes of cooking time (assuming everything’s been pre-prepped). So he knows to start it at the first flip of the steak under the broiler (7 minutes of broil, flip, 7 more minutes of broil, take out of the oven, 7 minutes of resting under a tin foil tenting, serve). The thing to realize is that the mushroom/onion mix won’t suffer too much from being done a few minutes early and standing. But when the steak is ready it shouldn’t have to wait for the topping to be done. Better to err on the side of making the topping wait than making the steak wait.\n\n[[timing isn’t everything, or the only thing|a kiss]]\n[[the thing to remember|a kiss]]\n[[take care of the big things and the little things will take care of themselves|a kiss]]\n[[the thing to realize|a kiss]]\n[[the order of things|a kiss]]\n
She brought the sunscreen down and put it on the counter, planning to bring it with when they went to the lake. She left it on the counter. But the paddleboat they rented had a canopy, so it worked out fine.\n\n[[bad paddleboat]]\n[[heron]]\n[[the place was packed]]\n[[when summer’s over]]\n[[how they tan]]\n
He’s sure when he was her age he was a handful and a half for his own mother. We are all at the center of our own universes, and the ability to realize how our actions and inactions affect others is learned only late in life, only by making our own mistakes, in our own way. That it’s understandable doesn’t make it any less irritating, though. Nor should it. It’s pretty much the only revenge our own parents get—watching it happen to us the same way it happened to them.\n\n[[at the center of the center|a kiss]]\n[[actions and inactions|a kiss]]\n[[our own way|a kiss]]\n[[a realization|a kiss]]\n[[payback|a kiss]]\n
Next to those bushes was the front stoop, a semi-circle set of steps that no one ever used because no one ever went in or out the front door. The side door was the entrance closest to the kitchen, and closest to the driveway. The front entrance was only for show. The concrete of the steps had some stones throughout it that weren’t the usual white, sharp-edged gravel but were more like a yellowish, smooth, pea gravel. Over the years of not being used, the cement had weather worn away and the rough of the stones was hyperevident. Great for traction, but brutal to a knee scrape.\n\n[[the primacy of proximity|a kiss]]\n[[entrances and exits|a kiss]]\n[[an examination of the stones left after the erosion of time|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between a door and a window|a kiss]]\n[[traction, action, tracks and inactions|a kiss]]\n
As it turns out, not that many places. A few. They both have a pretty wide range of likes, so that helps, but, they definitely have less in common than out of common. She can listen to things that make his teeth itch, and she describes one of his favorites as “that plaid music”.\n\n[[but they can dance|a kiss]]\n[[in common|a kiss]]\n[[out of common|a kiss]]\n[[common denominator|a kiss]]\n[[uncommonality|a kiss]]\n
Tough call. It’s either the grilled cheese (never the grilled cheeze, though, she has rule against eating any product that is intentionally mis-spelled to end with z), or the turkey club (which, let’s face it, is a BLT + turkey). If she’s hungrier than a BLT it’s the turkey club, if she’s not quite as hungry as a BLT it’s the grilled cheese. \n\n[[the inevitable breakdown of rule-based systems|a kiss]]\n[[a parable of the bloom of options|a kiss]]\n[[the perfect blend of salty and melty|a kiss]]\n[[face to face up to face it|a kiss]]\n[[matching the appetite to the meal|a kiss]]\n
At the Turkey Hill across the street. Easy in, easy out, open 24/7, and it’s the same price without any of the bureaucracy. Plus, you can pick up some Cheetos and Gatorade at the same time! Hard to argue with that. Of course, the downside is that they sometimes run out, so you’re stuck holding the bag. And you always risk being trapped between the principles in a domestic dispute or a drug deal, but, hey, that’s part of the charm of the place.\n\n[[the exact opposite of bureaucracy|a kiss]]\n[[plus|a kiss]]\n[[a story about risk and reward|a kiss]]\n[[when money is no object|a kiss]]\n[[the charm of the place|a kiss]]\n
One day, at the bottom of the unmowed strip of hill, but not at the curb, was a pile of contractor trash bags filled with carpeting. They had no trash stickers on them, and, they weren’t at the curb. They stayed there for days, then weeks, then months. Finally, in a fit of rage, he dragged them each up the hill and put them in front of the door to the church outbuilding that the culprits used to get inside. Two weeks later the bags were back, at the curb, and stickered.\n\n[[one day|a kiss]]\n[[desperate times call for desperate measures|a kiss]]\n[[what goes around|a kiss]]\n[[home to roost|a kiss]]\n[[the right thing to do is always the right thing to do|a kiss]]\n
Parties always seem to start and end in the kitchen. Part of that is pure geography. In their house, when you walk in the door you’re standing in the kitchen. And the only way out is through it. But despite the geography, people do seem reluctant to spread out into the house until they’re forced out of the kitchen by sheer numbers, and, as the various groupings begin to collapse at the end of the night, the diehards end up in the kitchen—and that last fact has nothing to do with geography, because the diehards didn’t end up in the kitchen because they were trying to leave. Quite the contrary.\n\n[[start and end|a kiss]]\n[[pure geography|a kiss]]\n[[standing in the kitchen|a kiss]]\n[[the only way out is through it|a kiss]]\n[[sheer numbers and various groupings|a kiss]]\n
She found out pretty quick that some boys are looking for girls that aren’t as smart as they are (or as they aren’t, as the case may be). She told the boy that he was acting stupid, and exactly what she didn’t like about how he was behaving, and the next day he broke up with her. On her birthday.\n\n[[some boys|a kiss]]\n[[acting smart|a kiss]]\n[[rule number one|a kiss]]\n[[boys eventually learn|a kiss]]\n[[girls know all along|a kiss]]\n
Bamboo, grapes, black-eyed susans, bee balm, swiss chard, poppies, daisies, chives, carrots, mint, basil, tiger lilies, blueberries, peonies, wisteria, wood rose, lamb’s ear, morning glory, and more. Always and in all ways more.\n\n[[cultivation|a kiss]]\n[[like daisies|a kiss]]\n[[a story about blooming|a kiss]]\n[[and more|a kiss]]\n[[how grows it|a kiss]]\n
Now that he knows how simple it is to make a beurre blanc, he’ll be a lot more likely to make it (or variations of it). But not in the summer months, it’s too hot for a sauce like that in the summer. Not to make it, because butter out of the fridge would work, but too hot to eat. It’s not a light sauce by any means.\n\n[[everything is simple once you know how|a kiss]]\n[[the right thing at the right time|a kiss]]\n[[the like in likely|a kiss]]\n[[a safe bet|a kiss]]\n[[giving weight to the weightless|a kiss]]\n
The best part? Come on, it’s snuggled on the sofa, what’s not to love? It ranks right up there with walking hand in hand on the beach and laying on your backs on the lawn looking up at the stars for sheer entertainment value. It’s not a thrill a minute, it’s more a relaxing into the slow bliss of yesness.\n\n[[what’s to love|a kiss]]\n[[ranking the qualitative|a kiss]]\n[[sheer entertainment value|a kiss]]\n[[the slow bliss|a kiss]]\n[[yesness|a kiss]]\n
A guy walks into a bar with a duck under his arm. A drunk at the bar says, “Hey, you can’t bring that pig in here.” The guy says, “This isn’t a pig, its a duck.” The drunk says, “I was talkin’ to the duck.”\n\n[[another of his favorites]]\n[[a couple of his grandfather’s favorites]]\n[[ways she’s tried to re-tell it]]\n[[she wants a pet duck]]\n[[she doesn’t want a pet duck]]
There’s a physiological difference between how the brain processes reflected and projected light. \n\nDo you know any of the studies done on television viewing? How it doesn’t activate the logic centers of the brain, but rather activates the emotional centers? People don’t think critically when they watch television, they are passive receivers and smart television advertising doesn’t even try to make logical comparisons. It attempts to associate positive imagery with branding. Same thing.\n\nYou don’t have to spend very long looking at message boards, email listservs, blog comments, or twitter feeds before you come away with the realization that the trend in digitally mediated interactions is towards less and less meaningful engagement. There are always exceptions, of course, but for the most part, it’s been and continues to be a disappointment if you’re looking for sustained contemplation vs. eye candy.\n\nJust look at the language used to describe Internet use—surf, browse, instant message, chat. Not explore, delve, immerse, converse.\n\nYou get more meaning from a life lived awash in reflected light rather than projected light. Live theater beats televison every time, for richness of experience.\n\n[[the release of stored energy|a kiss]]\n[[meaningful engagement|a kiss]]\n[[if only life had a sustain pedal|a kiss]]\n[[delve, immerse|a kiss]]\n[[the richness of experience|a kiss]]\n
Ignorance is curable, stupidity is not. Ignorant means doesn’t know yet, but is capable of knowing. Stupid is forever.\n\nSome people are ignirate. They’re all pissed off about something, but new information may make their anger go away.\n\nSome people are stupidiots. Not even right about the wrong thing, and definitely not worth wasting the breath trying to learn ’em.\n\nCould there be anything stupider than being anti-intellectual? I mean really, think about it.\n\n[[knowledge is not wisdom|a kiss]]\n[[they say experience is what we get when we didn’t get what we wanted|a kiss]]\n[[there are many ways of knowing|a kiss]]\n[[empathy is real|a kiss]]\n[[if ignorance is bliss, and good things come to those who wait, you should be able to have a pretty good life by just sitting around doing nothing, right?|a kiss]]\n
In addition to the music there’s the books. Her father was a voracious reader, so there’s really no way to learn him through all he read, but, there’s the books he loved (Arthurian legends, James Clavell), and the books he was reading in the months before he died (a binge on some Great Books, the one he left unfinished was Emerson’s collected writings, before that was Thoreau). But they’re both voracious readers, too, and so these titles are added to the stack of planned must reads. All things in their proper time.\n\n[[an example of the emptiness of secondary sources|a kiss]]\n[[any is better than none|a kiss]]\n[[that a thing is known to be ultimately futile is no reason not to attempt it|a kiss]]\n[[all things|a kiss]]\n[[in their proper time|a kiss]]\n
When he sees it he thinks of his mother and of the leaping dancer joy she brought to the world, the flutter of a skirt was her giggle, the precision of her language the turn of the ankle, the whole pirouette of her life still visible in the shadow of the sun.\n\n[[the leaping dancer joy|a kiss]]\n[[the flutter of a giggle|a kiss]]\n[[the turn of language’s precise ankle|a kiss]]\n[[the whole pirouette|a kiss]]\n[[the shadow of the son|a kiss]]\n
He yells back. With escalatingly greater force, volume, vehemence, rancor, and bile. The kid gives back twice what he takes, at least until they get out of earshot. There’s no way to really know. They seemed to have achieved some sort of shouting equilibrium. The air rips and drips with the hostility. You’d think they were cats trapped in a pillowcase being thrown overboard, not a mother and son.\n\n[[the kaleidoscope of interpersonal relationships|a kiss]]\n[[how things can spiral into control|a kiss]]\n[[we can guess, but never really know|a kiss]]\n[[the symmetry of equilibrium|a kiss]]\n[[the antidote to hostility|a kiss]]\n
dark brown purple\nmahogony\nwine stain on brown pants\nJapanese maple leaf\nsteamer trunk trim\nborough building accent bricks\nred leaf lettuce edges\n\n[[another lady who liked another purple]]\n[[a story about a Japanese maple tree]]\n[[where the steamer trunk came from]]\n[[what goes on at the borough building]]\n[[her favorite sandwich]]
We have a very low-level assumption of decidability, it may even be built into our grammar. A thing is or is not, there’s a very binary-ness to our thinking (at least in English, others refer to this is Western thinking). We have trouble with notions that a proposition may be undecidable. The very notion makes some people unconfortable to consider. \n\nLife is messy. Any world view that doesn’t take into account that there are things which both are and are not is going to run face first into some messy realities.\n\nIs it a poem? Is it art? Is it good? Do you love me? Are you happy? What is the meaning of life? Can an omnipotent being create an object so large they can’t lift it?\n\nThere is a school of philosophy that refuses to recognize the validity of undecidable questions. This misses the point, entirely. Many undecidable questions are moot or uninteresting, but many undecidable questions are the most interesting questions that can be asked if the goal is understanding human nature.\n\n[[this is|a kiss]]\n[[this is not|a kiss]]\n[[you are|a kiss]]\n[[I am|a kiss]]\n[[who are we?|a kiss]]\n
The truth about people is that we’re all the same. We all have hopes and dreams, we all want a better life, we all feel overworked and underpaid, we all feel unappreciated in our talents, we all love to laugh and play and smile, and while there is a huge range of what music we can and do like, everyone likes some kind of music. Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone longs to be beloved. Everyone wants, everyone needs, everyone has the ability to ease the pain of others.\n\n[[to laugh|a kiss]]\n[[and play|a kiss]]\n[[and smile|a kiss]]\n[[and love|a kiss]]\n[[and beloved|a kiss]]\n
The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia is small but well worth it. They were both most impressed with the hands. The hands in the finished sculptures were breathtaking in their exprssiveness, and the museum is littered with study after study after study of hands. Everywhere hands. And more hands.\n\n[[why they were in Philadelphia]]\n[[other museums they visited]]\n[[one thing they both hate about other museums]]\n[[the other thing they both hate about other museums]]\n[[proof of how expressive hands can be]]
Nothing is so important that it can’t wait five minutes.\n\nIf you really know what you’re doing, you can do a LOT in five minutes.\n\nAnd, anwyay, 24 hours from now it’s all going to be sewage anyway.\n\n[[methods of assigning importance|a kiss]]\n[[the elasticity of time|a kiss]]\n[[the sure loop of expand and contract|a kiss]]\n[[a poem about how you know if you really know|a kiss]]\n[[why no one can ever remember if it’s god or the devil that’s in the details|a kiss]]\n
Jackpot!\n\nHe still thinks it every time he sees her. He tells her that she’s the total package. She doesn’t believe him, thinks love is blind. \n\n[[the four armed bandit|a kiss]]\n[[every time he sees her|a kiss]]\n[[she doesn’t disbelieve him|a kiss]]\n[[what the blind do in the dark|a kiss]]\n[[he thinks too much|a kiss]]\n
She was a toddler being placed into her crib. Her parents said something like, “There, that should hold you.”\n\nWise beyond her years.\n\n[[a manifestation of the urge to escape|a kiss]]\n[[shhh, goodnight|a kiss]]\n[[the light of precocity|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to hold|a kiss]]\n[[a thousand ways out|a kiss]]\n
When she was about two years old she was in the bathroom with her mother, getting dressed and fixed up and ready to start the day, when she said, without a hint of malice, just pure honest inquisitiveness: “Mom, how come you look so stupid in those pants?”\n\n[[quirks of that bathroom]]\n[[other media containing the daughter’s gems]]\n[[how that honesty pays off later in life]]\n[[where was Edna during all this?]]\n
the bite but the sweet but the crunch\nbermuda, vidalia, shallot, garlic\nmince, dice, chop, rings, wedges, curves\nbaked, fried, grilled, sweated, carmelized\nthe metaphor\n\n[[a story about a limburger and onion sandwich]]\n[[don’t forget scallion]]\n[[some tips for cutting onions]]\n[[a story about braised leeks]]\n[[extending the metaphor]]\n
When he was growing up in Minnesota the family had a deaf cat named Screech. He’d been deaf at birth and never learned how to meow properly. Whenever he’d try to vocalize it came out like a godawful screech. Hence the name. Cats are famous for being willing to go after a little laser dot, because something that small could be quiet enough they wouldn’t hear it. But Screech would go after the ball of light made by a flashlight, because everything that moved in his world was silent, regardless of size.\n\n[[what the name of the thing matches the sound of it|a kiss]]\n[[chasing points of light|a kiss]]\n[[where belief in the impossible can lead|a kiss]]\n[[everything that moved|a kiss]]\n[[was silent|a kiss]]\n
Oh, they’re suckers for the Girl Scout cookies, for sure, though they do keep becoming less and less inside the same sized box. The cookies keep getting smaller and the plastic inner tray packaging keeps expanding to maintain the same outer box size. A deception whose every increment is so minor as to be not worth the mention, but whose combined effect over a lifetime is dramatic. The pull of tradition and the gloss of the cause keeps everyone quiet about it, but, it’s definitely reached the point of mention. The profit motive begins every downward spiral it seems.\n\n[[range of variety within sameness|a kiss]]\n[[incremental changes|a kiss]]\n[[combined effects|a kiss]]\n[[over a lifetime|a kiss]]\n[[the seams of the seems and the viral of the spiral|a kiss]]\n
Some smiles are social. They are outward. They are appearance. They are show. They are fake. They are expected. They are delivered. They are courtesies. They are saying one thing and meaning another. They are one of the thousand little lies we tell every day in order to survive in the company of others. They are second-nature. They are unthinking.\n\n[[where the outward and the inward meet|a kiss]]\n[[saying one thing and meaning everything|a kiss]]\n[[a lesson in addition|a kiss]]\n[[first-nature|a kiss]]\n[[thinking about unthinking|a kiss]]\n
Stella, the cat he refers to as Love-Me-Don’t-Love-Me for the way she is a caricature of coy. She likes to climb inside the dollhouse and step gingerly through and around its people and furniture and fixtures and find a way to sit or lie inside without knocking anything over. It isn’t generally possible.\n\n[[Stella’s favorite hangouts]]\n[[when Stella wants the rubbin’]]\n[[Stella’s sister]]\n[[when Stella got out]]\n[[Stella is the pretty one]]\n
taking out the trash\nhauling out the recycling\nchanging the light bulb\nfixing the light fixture when the pull chain comes out\npans that need oven cleaner\nmoving the furniture\ntouching the ground meat\nthe dinner entree\nanything else she decides she doesn’t want to do\npaying the bills\nmost of the backrubbing\ndriving the car\nrunning the open mic\n\n[[a revelation he had regarding trash]]\n[[where the recycling in their town goes]]\n[[how to tell he’s not an electrician]]\n[[ground meat for what?]]\n[[why she lets him make the entree]]\n[[what she dislikes most about letting him]]
The very first words out of her mouth were, “She was never really very supportive of you, was she?” Like she’d seen it coming. For a while. But she didn’t say it in a judgmental fashion, just an observation. She would have liked to have stayed in touch, but, that didn’t happen. A shame, maybe, but not a surprise. \n\n[[words and mouths|a kiss]]\n[[lip service and support|a kiss]]\n[[a story about seeing it coming|a kiss]]\n[[what you need to stay together|a kiss]]\n[[that space between question and answer|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather grew one of the most extensive home gardens he’s ever known. Corn, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, peppers, potatos, tomators, lettuces, cabbage, pumpkins, hot peppers, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, the list seemed nearly endless. It spoiled him on fresh from the garden produce, and now he’s a tough consumer at the local big box grocery store. It’s a constant disappointment how pathetic their produce is. They mist it constantly so that it looks glistening, but he’s actually starting to suspect that they buy on the cheap the produce other stores reject.\n\nHe’s learning to appreciate what he has while he has it, instead of waiting until it’s gone.\n\nHe’s also learning to take the steps to get what he wants instead of putting up with what he doesn’t want. In all things, it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.\n\n[[breadth can be its own kind of depth|a kiss]]\n[[a little of this, a little of that, pretty soon you’ve got a meal|a kiss]]\n[[a concern with not wanting to waste time is not the same as in interest in speeding through|a kiss]]\n[[an appreciation for what he has|a kiss]]\n[[how to get what you want|a kiss]]\n
The sofa is the red that she loves it and a velveteen texture that holds the cat hair and lets you draw in it with your finger and reflected light from certain angles and she’d love the sofa or she did love the sofa or the sofa was loveable while it was new or here’s what happened you see it’s a great color and a great fabric but it isn’t really all that well made and so the upholstery is starting to get natty and tatty and ratty and well she can’t like a thing that’s falling apart.\n\n[[that she loves it|a kiss]]\n[[a spirograph of ors and ands|a kiss]]\n[[here’s what happened|a kiss]]\n[[a thing that’s falling apart|a kiss]]\n[[a thing that’s falling together|a kiss]]\n
Cobalt blue is one of her favorite colors, in all likelihood, but, the longer he knows her the more he suspects that she loves color more than any particular color. The bright, the deep, the rich, the contrast, the mood, the flavor, the tenor, the timbre, the instigation, the correlation, the blend, the action, the traction, the faction, the flow, the jab, the stab, the catch, the clamor, the clatter, the wail, the riot, the reach, the splash, the plash, and the play of it all.\n\n[[what is the color of a kiss?|a kiss]]\n[[the more he knows about her|a kiss]]\n[[the more he suspects|a kiss]]\n[[that she loves|a kiss]]\n[[color for the sake of color, color itself|a kiss]]\n
The solution is to take the door off its hinges, cut it down by the height of a threshold, install a threshold, and re-hang the door. Which is to say, start over from scratch and do it the right way.\n\n[[a story about doors and windows|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes a door is just a door|a kiss]]\n[[is a door that never opens really a door?|a kiss]]\n[[starting over from scratch|a kiss]]\n[[the right way|a kiss]]\n
The cats love the basement now. Well, Stella loves it mostly, but the others do, too. Stella loves to sit in the casement of one of the windows that looks out on the sidewalk that leads to the door of the house. It’s the preferred pathway for the neighborhood boy cats on their tour of the premises. They come right up the walkway like they live there, and then just keep going up into the back yard. Stella also likes that spot because it gets sun through most of the day, when there’s sun to be had.\n\n[[a poem with many exits and entrances|a kiss]]\n[[of pathways and preferences|a kiss]]\n[[a tour of the premises|a kiss]]\n[[the prize for being bold|a kiss]]\n[[that feeling of sitting in the sun|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather built a bookcase in the basement workshop. It was intended to go in his mother’s room (his grandfather’s daughter). It was magnificent. One-piece and huge, a monument to the love of books. The corners were all rabbeted. It was a bookcase to last a thousand years. It also wouldn’t fit out through any of the doorways he himself had built. There was no way to get it out of the basement. So he cut the bookcase into a bottom two-thirds and a top third and made it so they fastened together with a system of holes and pegs. It became more wondrous rather than less.\n\n[[a carefully built magnificence|a kiss]]\n[[to last a thousand years|a kiss]]\n[[improvise, adapt, overcome|a kiss]]\n[[fastened together|a kiss]]\n[[more wondrous|a kiss]]\n
Here’s the letter of explanation he wrote to accompany the mailing:\n\nMaybe you’re family, maybe you’re a friend, maybe I know you through work, or poetry, or mail art or blood, or maybe because you expressed your condolences when my mother died, or something else entirely. I’m writing to all of you at once because of the logistics involved in attempting to catch up with the sheer volume of people I’ve fallen out of touch with over the course of the past two years. Some of what follows may make no sense to you, just skim those parts. Better to say too much than not enough, it’s always easier to edit down than to pad out.\n\nEnclosed you will find a memorial card I made for my mother, who died two years ago today. Two years. The poem on the back was written after one year. I was not done grieving, then, and I’m not sure I’m done now. I’m not sure you even ever get done. I’m not sure of much, honestly. A year is often considered a “normal” grieving period. I don’t know why it’s taken me twice as long to get this finished. Maybe I loved my mother twice as much, maybe her loss hit me twice as hard, maybe it’s because I was waiting to be over it and you never get over a loss like this, you only learn to live with it, maybe it’s because the most common mistake we all make is confusing the quantitative with the qualitative. \n\nIt did take a year for me to be able to write anything new, and that piece is what I was able to write. It’s more of a poem to be heard than a poem to be read on the page, but, better to read it than not know it at all.\n\nIt was written in response to a letter of invitation from the lovely folks at the Swiss United Church of Christ where my mother was employed at the time of her death. They were having a one year remembrance service and asked me if I would like to contribute something. I wrote this piece, and sent it along with a note indicating that I would understand if they didn’t want to use it—I am pretty sure it’s not what they were hoping to get. And I apologize to whoever was charged with reading it in my stead.\n\nThe other side of the card has some stories, too. The image on the right is a version of one of many self-portraits my mother drew during her life. This was, I’m pretty sure, the most recent one (though that’s not certain or even really that important—it’s not why I picked it), and it’s my favorite of her self-portraits. The original is 18" x 24", done on cheap drawing paper with a marker. My friend Pat, an amazingly talented artist, helped by photo-reducing the original and then touching it up for screen printing purposes. He also made the screen itself, and helped to pull the prints along with his girlfriend and I. They helped make quick work of it, and for that I’m grateful.\n\nOn the left is a copy of my favorite photo of my mom. She was a Dean’s Foods Girl when she was little—that’s a local dairy, and being the Dean’s Foods Girl meant appearing in some local advertising. A photo shoot was done, and there are many great pictures from that photo shoot. I have several, other members of the family have several, all framed and proper. This picture, though, only ever existed as a wallet-sized picture. I used to see it floating around, and over the years it had gotten torn in one place, creased in another, and coffee-stained. It was an “out-take” kind of a picture. It was the last photo of the day. She has clearly had it with all this posing business and I imagine this as her response to someone saying, “Please, can we just do one more?” one too many times. I took this picture and had it digitally restored and had these prints made so that you can see my favorite picture of her.\n\nUnderneath that photo is a page out of one of her many, many notebooks. She was crazy about taking notes. She kept track of everything. Gifts received, gifts sent, cards received, cards sent, blood sugar levels, calorie intake, pills prescribed, pills taken, nurses who poked her in the arm and at what time and depth. In her car I found a notebook that recorded not just every gallon of gas she’d put in it, but, where she bought it, on what date, how many gallons she got, what the price was per gallon, what the total price paid was, and what the car’s mileage was at the time. And rubberbanded into the back of this notebook was every single receipt, as well. You name it, if it can be kept track of, she probably did, and usually in a little, fat, spiral notebook. I tore the pages out to show how she was torn out of my life. The lists were a part of her worth sharing, for sure, but what I was really trying to share was a bit of her handwriting. Because it’s a very personal thing and can give a notion of character like nothing else really can.\n\nThe card is purple because that was her favorite color.\n\nThis is the first piece of mail art I’ve sent out in two years, and likely to be my last, with the exception of two projects that were series that I plan to finish. Once those limited editions are done, mail art will be completely done. It became a matter of priorities. I genuinely believe there is a huge value in participating in the mail art network, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, but I no longer have the resources available to keep up with it. \n\nThank you for helping me miss my mother.\n\n[[where the time goes|a kiss]]\n[[where the trick of voices leaves you|a kiss]]\n[[shards of personality|a kiss]]\n[[writing it all down|a kiss]]\n[[maybe maybe means both instead of either|a kiss]]\n
The other side of the fence is the property of the church on the hill. Rumor has it the church on the hill got declared unsafe. It is over a mine shaft, after all. Someone has rented out one of the back buildings, but, they don’t think mowing this plot is their responsibility. Neither do the property owners. So about twice a summer she goes down to the borough building and rattles the code enforcement officer’s chain and gets him to come up and threaten a fine if they don’t mow it. Then they do the bare minimum job. So the grass over there gets deep enough to hide all sorts of things, and after certain types of storms it can look like crop circles have struck when they look down on it from the second floor.\n\n[[what you can put in a church building]]\n[[the carpeting]]\n[[they’re beginning to suspect]]\n[[the two options in this area]]\n[[though, to be fair]]
His mother used to make a cookie that he remembers well, but, not well enough to re-create. He knows it was no-bake, it had peanut butter and powdered milk and possibly honey, but he doesn’t know the full ingredient list, or the proportions. She’d roll them into quail egg sized orbs and refrigerate them. They might have been rolled in granulated sugar after they set up. His memory is fading, it’s been so long since he had them.\n\n[[an exploration of the limits of his memory|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between creation and re-creation|a kiss]]\n[[what can we make from the pieces|a kiss]]\n[[so many cookies, so little time|a kiss]]\n[[priorities and distractions and where the time goes|a kiss]]\n
He’s never been to Seattle, but he’s wanted to go for as long as he’s been flying dual line stunt kites, which is a long time. He read somewhere that the beaches in the Seattle area are the best for flying kites because the wind blows out to sea at a nearly constant twelve miles per hour, which is perfect for kite flying.\n\nHe’s only had one close chance, when he was in line to be the guy who went to the trade show the year it was in Seattle, but he didn’t get picked to go, even though it was his turn. But he’s not bitter.\n\nHe’d still like to go, if the opportunity presents itself, but it’s not even in the top ten list of places he most wants to travel to next. So many places to see, so little time to see them. Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, his dad in Montana, Iceland, Australia, Argentina, anywhere in Russia or China, Rio de Janeiro, these are all places higher up on the list. \n\n[[the many measures of want|a kiss]]\n[[the result of the artificial imposition of a hierarchical structure on qualitative data|a kiss]]\n[[more important than travel to anywhere|a kiss]]\n[[no matter where you go|a kiss]]\n[[there you are|a kiss]]\n
Glassware is important in the same way that silverware and pillows and mattresses are important. They’re everpresent in our lives, and come into contact with our bodies so often that it’s worth making the effort to ensure that these are things we like, things we enjoy, things that make us happy.\n\nGlassware can make you happy? Yes, definitely. Sometimes its the heaviness in hand, sometimes it’s the wall thinness against the lips. Usually its something inexpressable. \n\n[[everpresent in our lives|a kiss]]\n[[contact with our bodies|a kiss]]\n[[yes, definitely|a kiss]]\n[[against the lips|a kiss]]\n[[something inexpressable|a kiss]]\n
If she lays face down on a bed, he can almost always get her back to pop in at least one place by simply pressing his weight through his palms pressed to either side of her spine. It’s a matter of hitting the right spot, at the right time. He starts at her lumbar and works up, one handspread at a time.\n\nHe can also usually get the easy one by reaching around her like a hug and grabbing the back of his right hand with his left and pulling in at the spot on her back that’s right at his arms out level level. This usually makes her melt into him.\n\n[[almost always|a kiss]]\n[[pressing through|a kiss]]\n[[a matter of hitting the right spot|a kiss]]\n[[at the right time|a kiss]]\n[[one handspread at a time|a kiss]]\n[[another easy one|a kiss]]\n[[her melt into him|a kiss]]\n
She’d charge out, and then stop just outside the door and hunch low to the ground and wonder what the hell she’d just gotten herself into. Her boldness exceeds her own comfort level. She’d barge out and then a slight wave of panic would fix her to her spot. She’d tentatively begin to explore, but she’d be startled by every moving thing, from breeze blown bamboo to flutterby moth to sound of car door closing halfway down the block. And then she’d feel entitled to be outside anytime she wanted, having once been out there.\n\n[[the reward for boldness|a kiss]]\n[[riding the wave|a kiss]]\n[[like a flutterby moth|a kiss]]\n[[having once been|a kiss]]\n[[the world outside reflected in the world inside|a kiss]]\n
Were we speaking of heels? Maybe this should say speaking of non sequiturs. Well, we were talking about feet, and it’s not far from feet to heels, since heels are part of feets. The bottom of the heel and the middle of the back are rumored to contain the least amount of nerve endings per inch. \n\nHeels are so often forgotten, but they need love, too. A little pumice once a week in the shower would do wonders for them. Once a winter month a little bit of lotion would thrill them. They don’t ask for much, it’s the least we can do to not forget them entirely.\n\n[[the lips and fingertips contain the greatest amount of nerve endings per inch|a kiss]]\n[[we take for granted unseen support structures|a kiss]]\n[[an ode to things often forgotten|a kiss]]\n[[paying attention is more of an investment than an expense|a kiss]]\n[[speaking of non sequiturs|a kiss]]\n\n
Funny on demand is a completely different kind of funny than the funny he is able to manage from time to time. This doesn’t stop her from saying “say that again” or “tell me a story”. She keeps hoping it will work, and, it sometimes does, but only because of coincidental timing. Asking for something funny from him has a way of slamming shut the doors of funniness. He doesn’t create on demand well at all. But he can create to a schedule, create by habit, create in an organized and consistent fashion. But he doesn’t like the way creating on demand feels. It gives him none of the pleasure he turns to acts of creativity to feel.\n\n[[from time to time|a kiss]]\n[[say that again|a kiss]]\n[[tell me a story|a kiss]]\n[[reframing the question|a kiss]]\n[[the pleasure he turns to|a kiss]]\n
Two layers of carpeting. There’s the stain-hiding ugly pattern of the tight weave carpeting throughout most of the apartment, and then there’s an oriental rug on top of that. The oriental rug was, in a previous life, in place where it needed to have a slot cut into it to go around a heater pipe. From a second stint near the entryway to a public space the fringes on it have become a permanent dingy gray.\n\n[[what two can do|a kiss]]\n[[a fascination of patterns|a kiss]]\n[[the absurdity of the notion of previous life|a kiss]]\n[[a danger inherent in fringes|a kiss]]\n[[edge and fold|a kiss]]\n
It was on a 4th of July a couple of years ago. All the other cats were hiding behind toilets or behind basement stairs because of all the explosions. Edna was just chillaxin’ in the middle of the living room, purring away like it was just another peaceful, quiet night. \n\n[[why it can take a while to notice a cat is deaf]]\n[[other signs of Edna’s age]]\n[[how being deaf has improved her life]]\n[[another deaf cat]]\n[[a bad hiding place for cats]]\n
He listens to the music first, she listens to the lyrics first. He sometimes doesn’t notice the lyrics at all. She always hears both. \n\nYou can like the music and not the lyrics. You can like the lyrics and not the music. Just like you can like the person and not like the poetry. Or like the poetry but not the person. There is overlap, but not to exclusion. There are gray areas. Life is messy. All generalizations are false. There is paradox and there are mitigating circumstances and all talk of morals and ethics takes place on a full stomach.\n\n[[it’s not a race|a kiss]]\n[[some dichotomies are false|a kiss]]\n[[entanglement|a kiss]]\n[[the choice between exclusion and inclusion|a kiss]]\n[[divide and conquer or embrace|a kiss]]\n
In a heartbeat. No regrets, Coyote. It was worth every inch, every mile, every hour, every dollar, every gallon, every moment of irreplaceable time. \n\n[[also in a heartbeat|a kiss]]\n[[unregrettable|a kiss]]\n[[every inch|a kiss]]\n[[every moment|a kiss]]\n[[time stops|a kiss]]\n
The cookies inside are typically a good mix of storebought and home made. By unspoken agreement there tends to be one or two wrapped and sealed treats, like biscotti or a convenience store package of Oreos in the bottom, so that Bobby can always be counted on to deliver in an emergency. If there is such a thing as a cookie emergency. He does sometimes get totally empty, and that creates a sadness that permeates the house to such a degree that it doesn’t last for long. An empty Bobby is a reason to bake.\n\n[[a good mix|a kiss]]\n[[purists go hungry|a kiss]]\n[[the comfort of the dependable|a kiss]]\n[[if there is such a thing|a kiss]]\n[[reasons to bake|a kiss]]\n
One day between lunch and dinner while Joseph was covering the bar between bartender shifts, a member came in from the golf course and bought a cigar from a display on top of the bar. \n\nWhen he want to light it, Joseph stopped him by saying, “I’m sorry, there’s no smoking in the clubhouse.” The member replied indignantly, “You’ll sell me the cigar in here but you won’t let me smoke it in here?” \n\nJoseph immediately replied, “We sell condoms in the men’s room and we ask that you don’t use them in there, either.”\n\n[[how a simple thing turns into a whole story|a kiss]]\n[[how a simple thing turns out of a whole story|a kiss]]\n[[the changes at the point of transaction|a kiss]]\n[[the give and take of back and forth when we hem and haw over this and that|a kiss]]\n[[circular logic|a kiss]]\n
We can only guess, at this point in time, so far removed, but we can make an educated guess. It was summer, they were pouring for a group, so it was likely a white wine. Almost certainly Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Except the guest who dropped the glasses is a big fan of sake, so it could have been sake, as well. Why does it matter, when this is an cluster of words about the breaking of glasses. Mere proximity is insufficient to warrant meaningful connection. Probably.\n\n[[the difference the wine makes|a kiss]]\n[[the limits of conjecture|a kiss]]\n[[almost certainly|a kiss]]\n[[almost certainty|a kiss]]\n[[all most certain taint tease|a kiss]]\n
Plan B is to completely upgrade the movement with something more suitable to the job. It looks to be a pretty simple thing, shouldn’t be more than a few minutes work, once he locates a decent source for movements. But, like many simple tasks, it sometimes feels like it’s going to require a lining up of the stars to make it happen. It never seems to percolate to the top of the priority list. Part of the reason is that the clock is hanging there for purely design reasons, and its lack of funtionality doesn’t have any negative impact on that decision. It looks good there, whether it works or not.\n\n[[the right tool for the job|a kiss]]\n[[a pretty simple thing|a kiss]]\n[[a lining up of the stars|a kiss]]\n[[the top of the priority list|a kiss]]\n[[whether it works or not|a kiss]]\n
The basement of his grandfather’s house, the house where, with his mother he spent the years after the divorce. The basement was always the coolest place in the house in the summer. His grandfather had built the house himself, and the basement had a full carpenter’s workshop, sharpening machines, a chin up bar, a dart board, a speedbag, a roulette wheel, a poker table, a bar, slot machines, its own stove, fridge and entrance, and a half bathroom that his grandfather always described as being “for our half-assed relatives.”\n\n[[the room under the stairs]]\n[[the bookcase]]\n[[the wooden bank]]\n[[the filings from the sharpening machines]]\n[[when Uncle Eddie fixed the washing machine]]
The problem with most magazines is signal-to-noise ratio. Too many ads, too little useful material, and they arrive too infrequently to satisfy over the long term. When you’re interested in a topic at the magazine level of coverage, you’re looking for breadth not depth, this is the interest they exploit to get you to buy it off the newstand. But a subscription is essentially a long-term commitment to a superficial treatment of a topic of interest. And a long-term interest has a low probability of remaining superficial. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but, in general this is the premise at work. High churn rates vs. long-term supporters. The real trick is to get someone interested enough to subscribe before their interest wanes or they discover that the magazine will lack the depth they will quickly come to seek.\n\n[[breadth|a kiss]]\n[[depth|a kiss]]\n[[range|a kiss]]\n[[focus|a kiss]]\n[[a long-term interest|a kiss]]\n
A lot of people stay away from red leaf lettuce because the leaves are too sprawling and thin, but, this trick’ll make you wonder why you ever used iceberg on a sandwich.\n\nTear off a single leaf.\n\nHold it in both hands such that the inside is up, the bottom is towards you. First pinch the thick part of the center stalk until it splits. Now gently pull the halves apart until the leaf is split about a third of the way up.\n\nNow take one split tail in each hand and bring one over, one under, to pull the basically rectangular leaf into a circle.\n\n[[a picture is worth a thousand words|a kiss]]\n[[underlying structures|a kiss]]\n[[improving on success|a kiss]]\n[[don’t be afraid to make mistakes|a kiss]]\n[[try, try again|a kiss]]\n
Because it’s silly, and it’s fun, and in some ways the exception proves the rule. That he is so staunchly against cheating makes his own cheating at something so small as thumb wars a kind of funny he can’t resist.\n\n[[serious fun|a kiss]]\n[[the exception and the rule|a kiss]]\n[[something so small|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of funny|a kiss]]\n[[the resistdance|a kiss]]\n
At a previous place where they’d worked together Joseph commented that he write his own name three times on every paycheck. He made it out to himself, signed it himself, and then flipped it over to endorse it.\n\n[[a tight spiral|a kiss]]\n[[spinning in place|a kiss]]\n[[rules of logic create paradox|a kiss]]\n[[the context of purpose|a kiss]]\n[[the purpose of context|a kiss]]\n
Christmas decorations cannot go up before Thanksgiving.\n\nChristmas decorations must come down before the first week of the New Year is over.\n\nWithin that zone, anything goes.\n\nOutside that zone is just tacky and wrong.\n\n[[couch day]]\n[[the breads]]\n[[the crackers]]\n[[well, almost anything goes]]\n[[decorating for other holidays]]
The conversation goes like this every time:\n\n“Sounds like they’re murdering each other over there.”\n“It’s just kids playing.”\n“They’re shrieking their heads off.”\n“Heh, yeah.”\n“It’s been going on for hours.”\n“That pool has turned a lot of lives around.”\n“Yeah it has.”\n“But they sure are loud.”\n“They sure are.”\n“Oh well.”\n“Oh well.”\n\n[[when you pursue a converging spiral of agreement|a kiss]]\n[[they say compromise is the art of no one getting what they want, but, then, who are they anyway, and who do they tell so that we hear about it?|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of a life turned around|a kiss]]\n[[what around has in common with a round|a kiss]]\n[[the choice between joyless perfection and joyful imperfection|a kiss]]\n
a snowman cookie cutter\na tiny, tiny vase filled with miniature origami swans\na bee painted and kiln-fired into glass\na crystal and cobalt-swirl paperweight\na chunk of sawed off fused glass\ntwo cobalt blue glass shot glasses\nan egg shaped vase filled with pebbles and shells\n\n[[what else you can see out the window]]\n[[who painted the bee]]\n[[the mysterious appearance of the chunk]]\n[[cobalt blue]]\n[[pebbles and shells]]
Chop, dice, mince. Slice, half then slice, quarter then slice. Thick slice, medium slice, thin slice, shave. Grate, puree. With a Vidalia, don’t cut it at all, just lop off the ends, peel, and eat it like an apple.\n\nHis go-to way to cut round onions is what he was taught as the “Chinese cut”. To do the Chinese cut, you take a round onion and cut the ends off, then cut it in half across the rings, and peel the out layers of skin off.\n\nNow you have two peeled halves. Take one half and place it on the cutting board top (or bottom) side down. There are three flat surfaces on each half, the half circle where the top was cut off, the half circle where the bottom was cut off, and the oval where the onion was cut in half. The cut in half flat should be perpendicular to the cutting board, the top and bottom parallel.\n\nCut thin wedges, rotating in a counter-clockwise fashion, such that the middle of the knife is always in the middle of the onion, and each wedge is about 1/8" at at the outside edge of the onion. You end up with strips of onion that are as long as an onion is tall, each wedge cut will come apart into as many wedges are there are rings.\n\n[[no matter how you slice it|a kiss]]\n[[easier to do than describe|a kiss]]\n[[a thousand ways to do it right|a kiss]]\n[[the orientation of a host of planes in multi-dimensional space |a kiss]]\n[[it can make you cry or melt in your mouth|a kiss]]\n
It seems an endless task, keeping up with the dishes. Especially when he cooks; he tends to use every pan in the place. And they do like to entertain. She sometimes maintains a veritable array of drinking glasses. The daughter is learning to bake. The kitchen may be the beating heart of the house.\n\n[[who washes who dries]]\n[[a story about all those glasses]]\n[[if they had a million dollars]]\n[[where parties start and end]]\n[[the thing everyone who visits the house comments on]]\n
They watched from their upstairs bedroom window. They looked down the street which is down the hill which was also, luckily, downwind, as the rage of the flames tore through the roof and blasted showers of spark and clouds of smoke into the night. Nothing makes you feel the depth of what you have like watching someone else having it taken away.\n\n[[a metaphor for our relationship to fire|a kiss]]\n[[a map of what they have together|a kiss]]\n[[a house is not a home|a kiss]]\n[[how to hang on|a kiss]]\n[[how to let go|a kiss]]\n
Who can say for sure? Anybody who claims to have the answers is certainly a liar. Maybe it’s about control, but not in the big social sense but in the small attention sense. Maybe it’s about making external the internal desire to fend off death as long as is humanly possible, maybe it’s just fun to push anothers buttons as a way to demonstrate to everyone concerned that the buttons are known and still in perfect working order.\n\n[[uncertainty has its merits|a kiss]]\n[[maybe it’s about control|a kiss]]\n[[attenuation of attention|a kiss]]\n[[making external the internal|a kiss]]\n[[perfect working order|a kiss]]\n
The laugh of sudden recognition. The laugh of surprise. The laughter of babies upon discovery of something as obvious as their toes. The run-on giggle his mom could slip into if she really got going; it fed on itself or fueled itself, it was a giggle that was like dancing with a gorilla—she couldn’t stop when she wanted to stop, she stopped when the gorilla wanted to stop. Laughter through tears. The laugh she makes just for him.\n\n[[slow, gradual recognition|a kiss]]\n[[the oh of surprise|a kiss]]\n[[a story he never got to tell his mom|a kiss]]\n[[it fuels itself|a kiss]]\n[[like dancing|a kiss]]\n
Everywhere and nowhere. They’re not the type to cruise, they’re not hanging out in parking lots, that’s a boy thing. They drive around and talk. No particular place to go. It’s not about getting anywhere anyway, not any real place. It’s about not getting anywhere, it’s about going.\n\n[[how far you can go without going far|a kiss]]\n[[you can’t make time, you can only take time|a kiss]]\n[[how patterns in life are discovered|a kiss]]\n[[it’s not about getting anywhere|a kiss]]\n[[it’s about going|a kiss]]
whoosh slosh mmgurrgle whoosh whoosh\n\n[[the reward for listening so close|a kiss]]\n[[close your eyes and listen you’ll see|a kiss]]\n[[hearts sing hearts dance hearts|a kiss]]\n[[steady now, steady|a kiss]]\n[[methods of changing heart rates|a kiss]]\n
No one. No one at all. He even tried to keep it from himself. He was in a powerful state of denial over it because he was living paycheck to paycheck and spread way too thin for oral surgery to be in his immediate future. He tried to will it away. He tried to Advil it away. He tried to push it away. He tried to lie it away. \n\n\n[[a powerful state|a kiss]]\n[[the immediacy of the future|a kiss]]\n[[if at first you don’t succeed|a kiss]]\n[[things fall apart, some centers do hold|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that you shouldn’t keep to yourself|a kiss]]\n
It’s a barf mat, basically. Most mornings some cat or another will have left some sort of regurgitated present for her to find. Sometimes it seems more comes out of the cats than goes in.\n\n[[the likely culprit]]\n[[why the carpet remains unstained]]\n[[why there?]]\n[[other uses for the carpet]]\n
One reason to suspect the cilantro is that her mother is actually allergic to cilantro. She doesn’t seem to be allergic to it, herself, but, who’s to say that dislike isn’t a kind of allergic, or the body’s awareness of a slight allergy or potential for allergy. The body is pretty smart if the mind can let go long enough to let the body have its way. Though, letting the body run the show completely is probably ill-advised.\n\n[[the opposite of allergic|a kiss]]\n[[the body’s awareness|a kiss]]\n[[when the mind lets go|a kiss]]\n[[the body has its way|a kiss]]\n[[what’s the worst that can happen?|a kiss]]\n
The Hobart dishwasher, the commercial rolls of cling film and aluminum foil, the over the stovetop gas broiler they called a “salamander”, the convection oven, and the always ready deep fryer/broaster.\n\nBut he doesn’t miss the hours of the job, he doesn’t miss the stress, he doesn’t miss the caffeine shakes, he doesn’t miss the smell of grease that couldn’t be laundered out of his clothes or showered off of his skin.\n\nEvery decision is a trade-off, and none of the things he misses about that business, nor all the things he misses combined, is enough to make him wish he’d chosen differently when he chose to quit the restaurant business. No regrets.\n\n[[the convergence of divergences|a kiss]]\n[[the divergence of convergences|a kiss]]\n[[an exercise in making decisions|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things that impinge|a kiss]]\n[[the myth of miss|a kiss]]\n
The meal with the moths will never be forgotten. They’d driven up to the lake for the weekend and arrived very late. His dad made dinner in the back of the truck, on the Coleman stove, by the light of the Coleman lantern. It was Hamburger Helper, Beefy Noodles. The moths were drawn to the lantern. By the thousands. The people were all tired and hungry and there was no going to bed without dinner, and there was no making something else for dinner. Between a rock and a hard place. His dad kept saying, “It’s more protein.” You could try to pick the moths out of the muck of the noodles, but it was no use. Their wings and bodies were so soft compared to the Hamburger Helper bits that you’d just end up smearing the moth without removing it. \n\n[[how memories are made|a kiss]]\n[[how personalities are built up|a kiss]]\n[[formative experiences|a kiss]]\n[[as singular as lantern light|a kiss]]\n[[between a laugh and a tear|a kiss]]\n
The cop told them all kinds of stories about the near- and actually criminal activities of their neighbors. Nothing in specific, but, he made it clear that there’s a lot more illegal things going on within a stone’s throw of their house than they’d ever wanted to imagine. And he said it’s only been getting worse during the time he’s been here. Not what you want to hear from your local constabulary. \n\nIs it better to know or to not know? Sure, ignorance is a kind of bliss, but, knowledge is also a kind of power, and what if it’s the power to keep your family safe? An informed caution has got to trump an ignorant bliss. And a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, because you can’t live your life in a state of perpetual panic, either.\n\nHe told them more than they needed to know. He’d rather have too much information than not enough. She would wish for a little less information, but, in the end would probably take too much over not enough in this area, as well.\n\n[[the way all kinds of stories begin|a kiss]]\n[[a meditation on the arc of purview|a kiss]]\n[[life is that which is lived|a kiss]]\n[[too much information|a kiss]]\n[[is not enough|a kiss]]\n
You need a back-up butter because you don’t ever want to run out of butter. In the middle of a cooking frenzy you could easily go through a stick or two in mere moments. And let’s face it, without butter you’re screwed. No toast in the morning, no sauteed anything, no cookies, no roux to tighten up a sauce, and you’d have to eat your vegetables plain! Outrageous! Perish the thought.\n\nAnd because butter freezes so well there’s really no excuse not to have a pound or two as back up.\n\n[[about the only thing you can do without butter|a kiss]]\n[[in the middle of a frenzy|a kiss]]\n[[mere moments|a kiss]]\n[[a thought that won’t perish|a kiss]]\n[[okay, one excuse|a kiss]]\n
Well, she used to, anyway. Then Edna got older, and frailer, and needed thyroid medication put in her food, and then Mango figured that food was fair game. Now they have to lock Edna in The Friskies Lounge (the half bathroom just off the kitchen) in order to keep Mango away from Edna’s soft food.\n\n[[the only constant is change|a kiss]]\n[[the more things change|a kiss]]\n[[the more they stay the same|a kiss]]\n[[how place relates to nourishment|a kiss]]\n[[too much is never enough|a kiss]]\n
He doesn’t bother with turning off the circuit at the breaker box before he starts fiddling with wires and unscrewing things. This means he has a marked tendency to get a good jolt of household current at least once per repair operation. You’d think he’d learn, but, it’s rare enough that he needs to fix something electrical that he simply forgets in between instances.\n\n[[the turn of off and on|a kiss]]\n[[fiddling with wires|a kiss]]\n[[a good jolt|a kiss]]\n[[proof he’s not incapable of learning|a kiss]]\n[[in between instances|a kiss]]\n
He’s really a creature of habit, loves a good routine, and feels out of his element in a constantly shifting schedule. He doesn’t mind constant change as long as there’s sufficient notice. He can do any number of things with notice enough to plan for them. He gets out of sorts when everything is left to the last minute. He’s a planner, a brooder, a simmering connector who can be very good at putting things together when he has the time to worry them all out. On the fly his talents are diminished to the point of being nearly useless.\n\n[[a story about predictability|a kiss]]\n[[where he feels most in his element|a kiss]]\n[[a simmer about connections|a kiss]]\n[[putting things together|a kiss]]\n[[diminished to a point|a kiss]]\n
The cut was long, it was deep, it was clean, it was made by a metal edge so sharp he didn’t feel it until he noticed blood dripping from his pinkie finger and rotated/lifted his hand to follow the line of blood back to his elbow area. When he walked back to the sharp he’d run past he found, sure enough, little bits of arm hair left there as proof of his passing. The metal gleamed like an artificial smile.\n\n[[the delay between action and reaction|a kiss]]\n[[what momentum means in practice|a kiss]]\n[[following trails we didn’t know we were on|a kiss]]\n[[sure enough|a kiss]]\n[[what we learn by going back|a kiss]]\n
The bamboo along the fence has become a bit of a jungle. Bamboo grows like a weed, and sends out runners, so it spreads like mad and requires constant attention to keep it from getting out of control. She loves the sound of it whispering in the wind. She loves the way water droplets bead up on the leaves and sparkle like jewels in the sun. He doesn’t fuss about it because how much he dislikes it is minor compared to how much she likes it. Which is to say, he only slightly dislikes it and she likes it quite a bit.\n\n[[a point of balance|a kiss]]\n[[on the tendency to sprawl|a kiss]]\n[[give and take|a kiss]]\n[[if they agreed on everything|a kiss]]\n[[the god’s eye of a relationship made by mapping the aggregation of the angles of deflection of momentums of desire as they wrap around points of importance|a kiss]]\n
Write.\n\nA writer writes. Simple as that. If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer. If you are writing, you are.\n\nHow to be a GOOD writer is a completely different question. \n\nFirst you have to be a writer.\n\n[[why we like truths to be simple|a kiss]]\n[[how we miss the obvious|a kiss]]\n[[another way to say the same thing|a kiss]]\n[[a completely different answer|a kiss]]\n[[before you can be a writer|a kiss]]\n
The father of Trouble Boy. Called Shit Towel because of something they heard him say one night.\n\nThey and a couple of friends were out on the back patio which is largely hidden from view by the trumpet vine and other shrubbery. A lull in conversation occured just as the family next door was returning home. As they were walking up their driveway half the neighborhood heard the father say, “All I need now is mah shit towel and a blue cup of water.”\n\nNo plausable explanation could ever be conjectured for what this could possibly have meant.\n\n[[the power of words to name|a kiss]]\n[[where his mind went in the lull|a kiss]]\n[[returning home|a kiss]]\n[[words carry|a kiss]]\n[[the inability of words to explain the simplest things|a kiss]]\n
He’s a bit of a stickler about what it takes to call a thing a poem. He doesn’t think everything which claims to be one is one. Much of it is simply line-broken micro-fiction or micro-memoir. There are also things out there that aren’t called poems that he would argue are.\n\nFor it to be a poem, to his way of thinking, it needs to be doing something unusual with language which increases or compounds meaning. The language needs to have been bent, broken, twisted, torn, forged, wrought, cajoled or taunted into doing more than normal language does.\n\n[[his way of thinking|a kiss]]\n[[something unusual with language|a kiss]]\n[[compounds, not confounds|a kiss]]\n[[a song about plasticity and pliability|a kiss]]\n[[oh language, you are so slippery|a kiss]]\n
The whole patio is an upkeep issue, when you get right down to it. It’s carved out of a berm, so there’s a stone wall that keeps trying to bulge into the party. There’s a lilac that’s gotten too big for its britches, there’s a butterfly bush that needs its own ZIP code, there’s a trumpet vine that just keeps getting more and more magnificent, there’s a mat under the gravel and pavers that’s a near total failure at keeping out the weeds. The bleeding hearts keep to the shade, and are still not a problem, but, it’s only a matter of time.\n\nWith all its faults, though, they wouldn’t trade an hour out there for four hours anywhere else in the world.\n\n[[a story about the importance of ongoing upkeep|a kiss]]\n[[how quickly things and sprawl out of control|a kiss]]\n[[the center of a place|a kiss]]\n[[a matter of time|a kiss]]\n[[a world where everything is a trade-off|a kiss]]\n
He likes to say:\n\ncogito, ergo, sumo\n\nand claims it means:\n\nI think, therefore I wrestle with my thoughts.\n\n[[taking thought to the mat|a kiss]]\n[[he also likes to say|a kiss]]\n[[unspoken languges|a kiss]]\n[[he stakes his claim|a kiss]]\n[[he claims his stakes|a kiss]]\n
Hot soups he leaves to her. She’s got the gift for making soups that taste like you’ve just gotten home after a long day of traveling. Chicken soups, vegetable soups, occasionally the cream soup but mostly broth soups. The occasional Stewp, which is a soup so thick it eats more like a stew.\n\n[[unwrapping a gift|a kiss]]\n[[like coming home|a kiss]]\n[[after a day of traveling|a kiss]]\n[[the only thing better than soup|a kiss]]\n[[a dish they make together|a kiss]]\n
Nobody owns anything they can’t take with them. They’re all being paid union wages, so they’re making a very good living, but they also realize that the job they have today could be gone tomorrow. So instead of buying things like houses and property, they buy things like third and fourth cars, boats, motorcycles, big screen TVs. Things they can take with them.\n\n[[something no one owns|a kiss]]\n[[something everyone would like to own|a kiss]]\n[[a very good living|a kiss]]\n[[the wages of sin|a kiss]]\n[[the biggest screen TV|a kiss]]\n
There are a lot of memory strategies out there, he just can’t remember any of them. Something about rooms in a house kind of rings a bell. Something about visuals based on homonyms is sort of fuzzily out there, as well. And if he tries really hard, he remembers the instructions on a bottle of Ginkgo Biloba that said to improve memory simply take one pill six times a day. He put the bottle back, because he was sure he couldn’t remember to do that.\n\n[[positive reinforcement|a kiss]]\n[[develop a routine|a kiss]]\n[[create a place for everything|a kiss]]\n[[use cross-references|a kiss]]\n[[focus on one thing at a time|a kiss]]\n
There’s a secret room at the front of the house. It’s half the width of the house and square. You don’t notice it from the inside, because the front room seems to be room-shaped, and it is. But over in one corner is a door that’s on the same plane as the entry door. From the outside, it’s more conspicuous. The porch off the living room overhangs the basement entry door, and forms the roof of the secret room. There’s a window in it that’s so overgrown with recycling permit stickers, cobwebs, and grime that no light gets in or out of that secret room. They opened the door once, to be sure there wasn’t a fortune in gold hidden inside. There wasn’t. There wasn’t anything in there. Just an empty room. Some secret.\n\n[[room shaped room|a kiss]]\n[[negative space|a kiss]]\n[[four walls is not a room, a house is not a home, without something inside|a kiss]]\n[[what fills many mansions|a kiss]]\n[[some see a problem, others an opportunity|a kiss]]\n
Mango, she has a thing for shoes, it’s kind of weird. She likes sticking her head in people’s shoes, she likes laying on shoes, she likes sniffing shoes, she likes sitting on shoes. For reasons other than this, he affectionately refers to her as Satan.\n\n[[a problem with curtains]]\n[[she’s bold]]\n[[she wants the bird]]\n[[she lets Edna have some of her own share of soft food]]\n[[Mango is the crazy one]]\n
Most of the magazines go to the magazine racks in the bathrooms of the house to die. They start out on counter tops and end tables and coffee tables and nightstands. But they all end up in the bathroom. And then, when the teetering stack falls on her foot one too many times, they’ll be carted off to the trash for their final goodbye. For a while they saved them in Rubbermaid tubs as possible future collage material but now that their supply of collage material now exceeds several many combined lifetimes of possible use, the trash is the only realistic option.\n\n[[the illusion of motion within a closed system|a kiss]]\n[[accretion explained|a kiss]]\n[[saving bits and pieces for later use|a kiss]]\n[[possible futures|a kiss]]\n[[combined lifetimes|a kiss]]\n
When the chunk appeared on the windowsill he was only mildly surprised. It was a piece of hand cast glass that had been sawed on enough sides to form it into roughly a 1 1/2" x 2" x 1" squarish log. The character of the glass was immediately identifiable as having been made by an artist friend of theirs. \n\nHe’d never seen a piece exactly like this one, but, he’d seen pieces similar enough in overall composition to sure of its source. He realized, hefting its weight in the palm of his hand, how this is one goal shared by all artists—to create a body of work that is simultaneously diverse enough to warrant exploration by artist as well as viewer, and, similar enough in style to be uniquely identifiable as having been done by only one possible artist. To cause a person to say, I’ve never seen anything like this, and I know who must have done it.\n\nSuccess in a sawed-up chunk of glass.\n\n[[exactly like this one|a kiss]]\n[[there is no repetition, only emphasis, only emphasis|a kiss]]\n[[simultaneously diverse|a kiss]]\n[[to cause a person to say|a kiss]]\n[[a re-definition of success|a kiss]]\n
a microwave\nBobby Duppy\na GE fan from the 40s\na cobalt blue flower pot filled with pens, pencils, scissors, emory board, and markers\nnapkin holder, empty\nsugar bowl, no lid (recently broken)\nvitamins\ntube of sunscreen\ngrinder of sea salt, of pepper medley, of tellicherry pepper, and of Italian herbs\nempty package of sticky dots\na small stack of bills and receipts\n\n[[the Bobby Duppy story]]\n[[the flower pot story]]\n[[the sugar bowl lid story]]\n[[the sunscreen story]]\n[[the sticky dot story]]\n
His family used to have a lot on a lake in northern Minnesota. No building on it, just a lot where they could camp. There was a dock there, though, and one summer they decided to rake the seaweed out from their shoreline and make a beach. His dad had this crazy rake device that was heavy, and metal, and painted silver, and welded together as a custom creation of pipe and rod. It was like a rake only wider and double sided, and instead of tines it had more like fat barbs. A rope tied to the end. You’d wade out and drop the rake in, then walk back to shore and drag it by the rope as far as you could. Which wasn’t far. You’d end up having to go back in and drag the chockfull rake through the cold silt of the bottom back to the shore. There you’d pull off the seaweed and slop it on a pile, and go back out for more. You could only pull a couple of times and the silt would kick up so bad you couldn’t see where you’d pulled and where you hadn’t. On calm days if you waited a half hour it would be crystal clear again. It looked like shaving a face.\n\n[[the bent dock post]]\n[[the meal with the moths]]\n[[the large mouth bass he caught]]\n[[the sunfish in that lake]]\n[[how the bottom felt]]
There are a lot of problems with living forever. All your friends end up dead, for one. The love of your life, too. Eventually old memories will need to give way for new ones, and what happens to personality and sense of self when these deep underpinnings begin to break apart and dissolve? You could postulate a living forever where everyone is immortal, and memories never fade, but, that presents its own set of problems. Where do you put all these people, how do you feed them, where does their garbage go, does their memory access remain as fast and as accurate? There are drawbacks to never forgetting, as well.\n\n[[what if forever moves inward instead of outward?|a kiss]]\n[[give way for the new, the next, another|a kiss]]\n[[sense of self|a kiss]]\n[[deep underpinnings unpinned|a kiss]]\n[[would you rather live forever or fully in the now?|a kiss]]\n[[there are trade-offs in every decision, this is why they’re called decisions|a kiss]]\n
He worked in the kitchen of a restaurant that had a forgetting door. It was the door between the kitchen proper and the store room. 10 times a day or more someone would come walking through the door with their face in a purposeful set and as soon as they crossed the threshold their face would go as blank as their mind. They’d say some variation of “what did I come back here for?” and be unable to answer their own question until they’d crossed the threshold back the way they came.\n\n[[a remembering door|a kiss]]\n[[a purposeful set|a kiss]]\n[[the persistence of memory|a kiss]]\n[[a parable of doors|a kiss]]\n[[a variation of “what did I come back here for?”|a kiss]]\n
If you like the spicy hot of peppers, you can add to this recipe just about any fresh chopped pepper you like along with the onions. He’s done this with fresh cayenne, fresh habenero, and fresh jalepeno with good success. \n\nIf you decide to add a hot pepper, it’s good to serve a baked potato with sour cream along with the steak, so that the heat of the pepper can be modulated by switching to bites of sour creamy potato.\n\n[[the nature of recipe is alteration|a kiss]]\n[[the consequences of decision|a kiss]]\n[[decisions of consequence|a kiss]]\n[[sequence and modulation|a kiss]]\n[[a sequence of consequences|a kiss]]\n
The really act-of-creation work they both do apart. Writing is an essentially individual and solo performance. They can edit together, they can revise together, they can rewrite together, but they write alone. They both think that part of the reason why writers like to form groups is because what they do is so intensely anti-social that they need the social aspects of the group in order to keep from becoming misanthropic hermits.\n\n[[they really|a kiss]]\n[[they can|a kiss]]\n[[they both|a kiss]]\n[[they do|a kiss]]\n[[they need|a kiss]]\n
Up and over and across and down the sound carries. Fireworks that go boom go BOOM. Music drifts in from too far away to tell where it’s from. The percolation of swimming pool systems lulls miles to sleep. The delay is great enough on cool crips days that a dog can yell at its own echo for hours on end.\n\n[[not the pebble, not the lake, the ripples|a kiss]]\n[[up|a kiss]]\n[[over|a kiss]]\n[[across|a kiss]]\n[[down|a kiss]]\n
At first he listened to music. After he’d grown tired of everything he owned and everything everyone he could brorrow from owned, he started listening to books on tape. After he’d heard everything he wanted to listen to from the library and borrowed from friends and family, he got two shoeboxes of tapes his mom had made while attending lectures on the way to her doctorate. When he was through listening to those he was through with the job. Too much life was being lost to the turnpike.\n\n[[his favorite music|a kiss]]\n[[lost to the turnpike|a kiss]]\n[[time is the only thing any of us possess|a kiss]]\n[[priorities|a kiss]]\n[[why you don’t want to be the richest guy in the cemetary|a kiss]]
Inspiration is the magical dust that gets kicked up when you scrape your pen along the paper while writing. If you sit around waiting for it to come to you before you start writing you’ll be waiting a long time.\n\nThe greatest trick he ever learned is so non-intuitive that many people find it goes against their grain too much to implement consistently, but he swears by it. When you know exactly what you’re going to write next, stop writing. Walk away. Do that other stuff you do with your life. When you come back to write again, you will know exactly what you want to write, and will waste no time sitting there contemplating the blank page that’s just as blank as when you stopped. This starting at full-speed makes it easy to get to the next place where you know exactly what you want to write next. Stop. Walk away. Repeat every day of your life, as needed.\n\n[[a long time|a kiss]]\n[[another great trick|a kiss]]\n[[the other stuff|a kiss]]\n[[improving on the blank page|a kiss]]\n[[starting at full-speed|a kiss]]\n
The symbiotic relationship between the ants and the peonies, whatever the truth of it, meant that Spring brought ants into the house. No matter how much you tried to (gently, gently) shake them out of the blooms of the cuttings, there would always be two or three that would skitter out from the heart of the bloom in the moments after you placed them in the vase, on the table in the kitchen. Busy about their work, they’d missed entirely the larger goings on of the cutting, the shaking, the walking, the washing, the stem-trimming, the arranging. The beauty of the blooms of no consideration to them, but there we are, just as chemically drawn to the flowers as the ants themselves.\n\n[[an argument for the fact that all relationships are symbiotic in nature|a kiss]]\n[[whatever the truth of it|a kiss]]\n[[what shakes free from the careful action necessary to keep the bloom intact|a kiss]]\n[[the heart of the bloom|a kiss]]\n[[the chemical draw to the center|a kiss]]\n
The bedroom closet is a bad hiding place for cats. It seems like it should be a good one, it’s filled with all sorts of dark hidey holes that smell like the people who open the cans of food, but, it’s a door that spends about half of its life lazily open and half of its life closed shut tight in frustration over the way it sat lazily open. A cat that wanders in at the wrong time could spend an entire day in forced hiding. And no one would hear them meow.\n\n[[the lure of the familar|a kiss]]\n[[the funny thing about doors: they open and they close|a kiss]]\n[[an object at rest tends|a kiss]]\n[[the right and the wrong of time|a kiss]]\n[[at the place where open overlaps with closed|a kiss]]\n
He doesn’t cheat at anything else, but, she calls the fact that he always wins at sports “cheating,” though she knows it isn’t. But he really does cheat at thumb wars.\n\n[[sports they’ve played together]]\n[[what he calls the fact that he always wins at sports they play together]]\n[[how he feels about cheating]]\n[[why he cheats at thumb wars]]
It wasn’t the car’s fault. Low profile tires are great for handling performance, and lousy for durability on bad roads. In retrospect he should have bought for comfort, not for speed. A cruiser instead of a roadster. But this was not a rational purchase, anyway.\n\n[[where fault goes to die|a kiss]]\n[[comfort vs. speed|a kiss]]\n[[handling performance|a kiss]]\n[[all decisions involve trade-offs|a kiss]]\n[[another irrational thing|a kiss]]\n
What will probably end up happening is that they’ll do nothing but wish for the door to be fixed until there’s a handyman there to do something else, something more pressing and urgent, and they’ll ask him for a quote to do the door, as well. It’ll probably be too reasonable to pass up, and they’ll get the door fixed as an added bonus.\n\n[[the predictive power of probabilities|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes the thing to do is nothing|a kiss]]\n[[John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”|a kiss]]\n[[life isn’t really about the shortest distance between two points, it’s about which choice leads to the better story|a kiss]]\n[[all in good time|a kiss]]\n
The recurringest of themes for them. It’s their shorthand super sekret code and contains within it the very seed of the oak of their relationship. It started with a poem that fit and hasn’t ended yet. It’s been incorporated into other phrases and condensed down to abbreviation and survives porting to all shared platforms. It’s robust you might say, as an expression of love should be.\n\n[[recurringest|a kiss]]\n[[contains within it|a kiss]]\n[[their relationship|a kiss]]\n[[hasn’t ended yet|a kiss]]\n[[expression of love|a kiss]]\n
When he was in his early teens his dad had a yard filled with moles. And his dad went to war against them. The moles had dug all sorts of near-the-surface tunnels. The yard was riddled with them. His dad would stomp down a part of the tunnel and then set a mole trap over the stomped down part, so if some unfortunate mole came by and tried to push the ceiling of the tunnel back up he’d get stuck by the trap’s spears. The dog, Riley (half Irish Setter, half short-haired Golden Lab—hair the length and texture of the Lab but the color of the Setter), loved to help hunt the moles. Whenever his dad would find a hole leading into a tunnel he’d say, “Riley, check that hole!” and Riley would run over and stick his snount deep in and check for recent activity. His dad could tell by Riley’s reaction how fresh the hole was.\n\nIt became such a fun game for Riley and all concerned that eventually you could say, “Riley, check that hole!” and point just about anywhere and he’d stick his snout in and sniff to check. Snow banks, piles of leaves, it didn’t really matter. He’d check it if you wanted him to check it, and make you feel glad you asked.\n\n[[near-the-surface tunnels|a kiss]]\n[[a riddle of tunnels|a kiss]]\n[[a fun game|a kiss]]\n[[make you feel glad you asked|a kiss]]\n[[generalizing from the specific to the universal|a kiss]]\n
When you first begin a walk with someone you love there’s sometimes a need to get the steps in sync, and the best way to do that is to double-up on one of the steps, take two quick rights in a row, or two quick lefts. The trick is always to do it so deftly that the other never notices its been done. They just presume you’re always naturally in step. It’s accomplished by a moment of weight shifting out of sync with the stride, it’s a shuffle so awkward it’s smooth when done right. Two wrongs that make a right.\n\n[[first begin|a kiss]]\n[[to get the steps in sync|a kiss]]\n[[the best way|a kiss]]\n[[the trick|a kiss]]\n[[so deftly|a kiss]]\n
Instead of the silly animal slippers, in reality he wears a nice pair of gray Thinsulate slippers with tan Ultrasuede bottoms and edging. They’re very comfy for walking around the house, or even out on the back patio. But for just sitting around they’re about 11 times too hot, and he’ll toe them off when he’s not in transit.\n\nHe’s got a shirt that only he and Elvis can get away with, but, other than that he’s pretty conservative in his clothing choices, despite the fictional liberties he takes in his writing. \n\nIt’s important to remember from time to time that the author is writing fiction. No matter how close to real life it seems in the case of many authors, what makes it fiction is a willingness to let the story depart from the facts whenever it needs to be truer or even just a better tale.\n\n[[fictional liberties|a kiss]]\n[[it’s important to remember from time to time|a kiss]]\n[[close to real life|a kiss]]\n[[what makes it fiction|a kiss]]\n[[departure from fact|a kiss]]\n
What he finds so odd about bad translations is that this is not the normal way that English works. Normally English isn’t shy at all about taking from some other language any words it needs but doesn’t have. The list goes on and on and on. Cafe, kindergarten, siesta, sushi, gestalt, menage a trois, mafia, glasnost, apparatchik, kowtow, klutz, shtick, gloaming. \n\nEnglish has never been shy about this practice at other times, why do translators of poetry shy away from it? If we have the word, or an economical way of expressing what that word means, fine, translate it. But if we don’t have that word, and don’t have a good way of expressing all that that word means, then we should recognize that it’s better to leave that word untranslated and include appendix information to explain why the word went untranslated. \n\nIn this way the language would grow to include these words and future translations could omit the appendix information. We’d learn it. And then we’d have it to use forever.\n\n[[authority hates to be undermined|a kiss]]\n[[don’t question the top down model|a kiss]]\n[[thinking for yourself is hard|a kiss]]\n[[we fight so bitterly because the stakes are so small|a kiss]]\n[[when I want you’re opinion, I’ll give it to you|a kiss]]\n
From the sound of it, after that genius quote, we think he lit a firework that was lying on its side on the ground when it was the kind of firework intended to be launched from a re-usable mortar tube. Instead of launching up, it sounded like it went a tiny bit out, parallel to the ground, and then made a sharp left turn into the ground where it flared and then burst, showering the spectators with molten debris.\n\n[[things that go boom|a kiss]]\n[[fireworks, as metaphor|a kiss]]\n[[hold that thought|a kiss]]\n[[when things launch in unintended directions|a kiss]]\n[[the lighting of the fuse|a kiss]]\n
Writes, or works on projects, or sits on the porch step, or plays video games, or reads, or geeks out. He has no shortage of things to do when she’s not available. It’s one of the reasons they get along so well.\n\n[[what he writes|a kiss]]\n[[what he thinks about on the porch step|a kiss]]\n[[the goal of all geeking out|a kiss]]\n[[a shortage of things|a kiss]]\n[[a list of reasons they get along so well|a kiss]]\n
Have you ever tasted fiddleheads? Their flavor is impossible to describe with any useful accuracy. The first time he had fiddleheads was in Toronto, visiting a friend. They’d been blanched and then sauteed in butter with some salt and pepper. Simple. The taste is unlike anything else. And like everything else. It’s like every vegetable. All combined. But what good is that as a description?\n\n[[useful accuracy|a kiss]]\n[[visiting a friend|a kiss]]\n[[simplicity|a kiss]]\n[[and like everything else|a kiss]]\n[[and like nothing else|a kiss]]\n
To sync heartbeats takes time, and patience. You have to start with the breathing. It works best in a spoon position, or, with one person lying face down head on the chest of the other lying face up. You both have to be able to feel the heartbeats, and relax, and let the natural tendency of biofeedback to bring them in line with each other. It will take time. It will be time well spent.\n\n[[start with the breathing|a kiss]]\n[[feel the heartbeats|a kiss]]\n[[fingertips, eardrums, lips|a kiss]]\n[[the natural tendency|a kiss]]\n[[time well spent|a kiss]]\n
Another option they’ve considered is growing their own mushrooms. What could be fresher! But they don’t really have a good space to do that. The basement is really cat territory and laundry chemicals only. A stump rubbed with mushroom starter wouldn’t do well down there. Stainless steel doesn’t do well down there.\n\nYet another option they’ve considered (well, he’s considered, she’s still too dubious of the idea to classify her thoughts as strongly as “considered”) is to go out mushroom hunting with someone who knows what they’re doing. They do have at least one friend who is a mushroom picker and still alive, so, it would seem he knows what he’s doing. A possibility, yes, but pretty low on the scale of likely to happen.\n\n[[it’s important to have options|a kiss]]\n[[high on the scale of likely to happen|a kiss]]\n[[a treatise on the classification of thought|a kiss]]\n[[is it really hunting if the thing you’re after isn’t moving?|a kiss]]\n
The tiny bathroom is decorated with a mixture of rejection slips, poems from students, and notes of encouragement, all of which have been Mod Podged in place on the walls. It’s a random and slightly overlapping assault on the visual cortex, and wholly appropriate for the location. Humbling, encouraging, contextualizing, and points worth pondering all.\n\n[[random and slightly overlapping|a kiss]]\n[[the collage as a method of meaning making|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between collage and brocolage|a kiss]]\n[[the play of juxtaposition and chance|a kiss]]\n[[small doses of ponder|a kiss]]\n
he wants to talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\n\n***\n\n''he'' wants to talk to you today about repetition\nhe ''wants'' to talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants ''to'' talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants to ''talk'' to you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk ''to'' you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to ''you'' today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you ''today'' about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you today ''about'' repetition\nhe wants to talk to you today about ''repetition''\n\n***\n\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\nwants to talk to you today about repetition he\nto talk to you today about repetition he wants \ntalk to you today about repetition he wants to\nto you today about repetition he wants to talk\nyou today about repetition he wants to talk to\ntoday about repetition he wants to talk to you\nabout repetition he wants to talk to you today\nrepetition he wants to talk to you today about\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\n\n***\n\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\nhe he wants to talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants wants to talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants to to talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk talk to you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to to you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you you today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you today today about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you today about about repetition\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition repetition\n\n***\n\nhe he wants wants to to talk talk to to you you today today about about repetition repetition\n\n***\n\nhe he he wants wants wants to to to talk talk talk to to to you you you today today today about about about repetition repetition repetition\n\n***\n\nhe \nhe wants\nhe wants to\nhe wants to talk\nhe wants to talk to\nhe wants to talk to you\nhe wants to talk to you today \nhe wants to talk to you today about\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\n\n***\n\nhe\nhe wants\nhe wants to\nwants to talk\nto talk to\ntalk to you\nto you today\nyou today about\ntoday about repetition\nabout repetition\nrepetition\n\n***\n\nhe repetition wants repetition to repetition talk repetition to repetition you repetition today repetition about repetition repetition\n\n***\n\nhe he repetition repetition wants wants about about to to today today talk talk you you to to\n\n***\n\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\nhe he he he he he he he he\nwants wants wants wants wants wants wants wants\nto to to to to to to\ntalk talk talk talk talk talk\nto to to to to\nyou you you you\ntoday today today \nabout about \nrepetition\n\n***\n\nhe wants to talk to you today about repetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto talk to you today about repetition\n\nhe wants wants \nto to to \ntalk to you today about repetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto to to \ntalk talk talk talk \nto you today about repetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto to to \ntalk talk talk talk \nto to to to to \nyou today about repetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto to to \ntalk talk talk talk \nto to to to to \nyou you you you you you \ntoday about repetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto to to \ntalk talk talk talk \nto to to to to \nyou you you you you you \ntoday today today today today today today \nabout repetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto to to \ntalk talk talk talk \nto to to to to \nyou you you you you you \ntoday today today today today today today \nabout about about about about about about about \nrepetition\n\nhe \nwants wants \nto to to \ntalk talk talk talk \nto to to to to \nyou you you you you you \ntoday today today today today today today \nabout about about about about about about about \nrepetition repetition repetition repetition repetition repetition repetition repetition repetition \n\n[[he wants|a kiss]]\n[[to talk|a kiss]]\n[[to you|a kiss]]\n[[about repetition|a kiss]]\n
The role of meat in a healthy diet. How irresistable sweets are. Whether flavored coffee is any good or not. The existence of a god. How long it’s healthy to hold a grudge. Their taste in music has a lot of overlap, but, also has a lot of wide divergences. Good movies. But really, that’s about it. And that ain’t bad.\n\n[[sweets for the sweet|a kiss]]\n[[a flavor no coffee has|a kiss]]\n[[the proof that gives him pause|a kiss]]\n[[why hold a grudge when you can hold one of these|a kiss]]\n[[and that ain’t bad|a kiss]]\n
Loaned out to someone. All their favorite books end up being purchased over and over again because they loan them out to people who re-loan them out to others, and so they end up picking up another copy so they have it around to re-read or to loan out to another person they think would love it.\n\n[[anything worth doing is worth doing again|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you can give away and still have|a kiss]]\n[[over and over again|a kiss]]\n[[read, re-read, repeat|a kiss]]\n[[the theoretical basis for the gift economy|a kiss]]\n
Because she doesn’t like bananas, there’s no banana bread for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Instead, there’s date nut bread, lemon bread, and zucchini bread. His favorite is the date nut bread. He’s not sure if she has a favorite, she likes all three with equal gusto, it seems.\n\n[[the importance of having alternative choices|a kiss]]\n[[the illusion of choice within a closed system|a kiss]]\n[[the choice of illusion within a closed system|a kiss]]\n[[man does not live by bread alone|a kiss]]\n[[even holiday bread|a kiss]]\n
Probably the one that got her was stomach lining, but she’d been fighting a couple of different kinds. The year previously she’d gone in for a regular physical, feeling as good as she’d felt in many years, and it was all downhill from there. They spotted some colon cancer and wanted to go right in and get it out. They thought they succeeded, and were going to start her on cautionary chemotherapy as soon as the incision wound healed. The incision wound never healed. That became an area of concern pretty quickly, and a lot of new technology was brought to bear on it, but then they decided to go ahead and start the chemo anyway. And it just sort of skittered and slid out of control steadily for the next few months. Six days before she died they sent her home from the hospital because of her “improvement”. \n\nWe like to think we know so much. We really don’t.\n\n[[uphill, downhill, around hill|a kiss]]\n[[why you don’t wait until all the stars line up|a kiss]]\n[[bringing technology to bear on problems we don’t understand|a kiss]]\n[[improvement|a kiss]]\n[[about the only thing we can know|a kiss]]\n
Without you, everything will be the same, and everything will be completely different. Others will step in to do the work that needs to be done, the world will be a better place without your involvement. You won’t be missed. Why would anyone else care about you, if you don’t care about anyone else?\n\nThis, of course, is not true at all. Everything depends on you, only you can make the kind of contribution to the world that you can make. No one else can make it for you, and, no one else will. \n\n[[everything the same|a kiss]]\n[[everything completely different|a kiss]]\n[[the work that needs to be done|a kiss]]\n[[truth is not beauty, beauty is not truth|a kiss]]\n[[why|a kiss]]\n
The frustrating part is that short of a 55-gallon drum of RoundUp, nothing is ever going to completely eliminate the Tree of Heaven from their yard. Nothing. That’s pretty bleak and humbling. We’re not talking the inexorable juggernaut of a hurricane force wind here, but we’re still talking about how magnificently powerful Nature is compared to the imagined might of puny humans. We’ll tame the cosmos, right after we figure out how to cure anything caused by a virus, and, are able to keep Tree of Heaven out of yards.\n\n[[the seed, as metaphor|a kiss]]\n[[the metaphor, as seed|a kiss]]\n[[small ideas can have big results|a kiss]]\n[[what we’re really talking about|a kiss]]\n[[a map of the shape of hubris|a kiss]]\n
The trumpet vine is also hiding the patio from curious eyes. It doesn’t do anything to cover sounds, but, it does provide a fairly impenetrable visual wall, straddling the chain link fence between the two properties. \n\nBetween the trumpet vine, the butterly bush, and the lilac, they’ve got almost complete visual privacy. And near zero audio privacy. \n\n[[the side effects of sensory isolation|a kiss]]\n[[the permeabiity of barriers|a kiss]]\n[[at the center of a bouquet|a kiss]]\n[[how to pretend you’re all alone|a kiss]]\n[[the openness of enclosure|a kiss]]\n
It’s faulty thinking to argue that because entropy is an inexorable force of the universe we should do nothing to resist it—the resistance is futile, and ultimately doomed.\n\nOf course it is, that was never the question. A life is defined by its resistances to entropy, and all things inevitable, in the same way that figure and ground are components of the same whole. If you choose not to fight, you choose to lose.\n\nYou wouldn’t say, “Why bother washing the dishes, they’re only going to get dirty again, anyway?” Well, you might say that, but you’re immediately recognize the fallacy of the statement. If you want to keep eating, you need to keep doing the dishes.\n\n[[the shape of tautology|a kiss]]\n[[the calm in the eye of the doom|a kiss]]\n[[the question|a kiss]]\n[[where figure and ground meet|a kiss]]\n[[a course in ongoing maintenence|a kiss]]\n
He likes the kind where she goes “oomph” and he picks her up and spins her around and she melts into him like he’s a lattice and she’s a vine.\n\n[[he likes|a kiss]]\n[[after this kind of hug|a kiss]]\n[[before this kind of hug|a kiss]]\n[[never in the middle of this hug|a kiss]]\n[[she melts|a kiss]]\n
The whole business with the headphones and the commentary has gotten way out of hand. At first it seemed like it might be a fairly nice thing to try if it was an exhibit you wanted to see several times; sort of like the director’s commentary on a DVD, in that it’s definitely NOT what you’re going to want to turn on the first time you see the thing.\n\nNow it’s as if we’re the only ones in the exhibit who aren’t wearing the headphones. They move through like cattle. Stop and look closely at all the picture being talked about. Move to the next one. Stop. Listen. Look. Stop. Listen. Look. Somehow form your own opinion. Right.\n\n[[a fairly nice thing to try|a kiss]]\n[[worth repeating|a kiss]]\n[[as if we’re the only ones|a kiss]]\n[[stop, and look closely|a kiss]]\n[[lather, rinse, repeat|a kiss]]\n
you want more\nyou can get so much it makes you feel queasy\nit impairs your judgment\nyou feel like the only one but you want everyone else to feel it, too\nthere are hundreds of ways to get there\nthere are books written containing the recipes\nthe next morning your head may be pounding\nclothes have a way of ending up in piles on the floor\n\n[[what it means to want]]\n[[queasy]]\n[[bad decisions]]\n[[ways to get there]]\n[[how to make the pounding stop]]\n
Later. Duh.\n\n[[other ways to say I love you|a kiss]]\n[[a story about growing up|a kiss]]\n[[the way we learn to think about others|a kiss]]\n[[what can be done|a kiss]]\n[[what cannot be done|a kiss]]\n
The house was bungalo-style structure built in the early 1900s by a guy who owned a lumber yard, and it showed. Blonde oak everywhere. Built-in fireplace with a 14 foot mantle. Oak colonnades between the living room and the dining room. 3/4" oak flooring. It was lovely and amazing and needed a little work, but, with that little work could have been worth twice what they were asking. In any other town, anyway. The house ended being an albatross of epic proportions. In the end, even the sharks wouldn’t eat it. \n\n[[difference between a house and a home|a kiss]]\n[[needs a little play|a kiss]]\n[[lovely and amazing|a kiss]]\n[[worth twice what they were asking|a kiss]]\n[[in the beginning|a kiss]]
Mix A-1 Steak Sauce with mayonnaise. The ratio is a matter of viscosity not taste. Start with slightly less volume of mayonnaise than you anticipate needing for the fried potato product of your choice (Tater Tots are a particular favorite of his, but this’ll work on all known instances of french fried potato), then add A-1 until the mayonnaise has about the consistency of a good salad dressing. It’ll be tan instead of brown or off-white. You will not be disappointed.\n\n\n[[the mixing of two to make a third|a kiss]]\n[[the magic of ratio|a kiss]]\n[[anticipate needing|a kiss]]\n[[all known instances|a kiss]]\n[[the meeting of expectations|a kiss]]\n
You can’t make time, you can only take time. The amount of time you have available in any given day is a fixed and known quantity. There is no more and no less available. The time must be taken from one thing to be given to another. Every decision is a trade-off, and, in the end we all always decide to do the thing that we believe is best for us. The reasons may not be obvious.\n\n[[a moment in a millennium|a kiss]]\n[[a millennium in a moment|a kiss]]\n[[the elasticity of time|a kiss]]\n[[give and take|a kiss]]\n[[the interconnectedness of reason, reasons, and reasoning|a kiss]]\n
If someone told you that you could live to be 250 by hitting yourself in the head with a hammer for 20 hours a day, would you do it? Of course not. What’s the point of prolonging a life devoid of the things you enjoy? That’s doubly foolish.\n\n[[how this flies with her]]\n[[what’s it really about]]\n[[does he really believe this?]]\n[[problems with living forever]]
The second largest piece of furniture in the room is a huge card catalog from an library that closed. It’s chest high and drawers to the floor and as wide as it is tall. Each drawer is now labeled with things like “scissors” or “paper clips” or “rubber bands” or “stickers” or “extra words” or “cat toys” or “even more tape”. She loves it and wouldn’t part with it without a fight. He likes it, but would part with it for the right price if it were his, which it isn’t.\n\n[[the limitations of catalog systems|a kiss]]\n[[you can never have too much storage|a kiss]]\n[[even little things need their own place|a kiss]]\n[[things that hold more than they hide|a kiss]]\n[[the boundary between together and apart|a kiss]]\n
The daughter does hold things in, and compresses them. She’s good at hiding it when something is bothering her, and when it does become apparent it’s nearly impossible to get her talking about it. It makes her uncomfortable when her feelings are known. So it tends to take a consistently insistent kind of cornering to get her to open up and talk about what’s bothering her. She’s a very private person.\n\n[[a kind of compression|a kiss]]\n[[how not to hide|a kiss]]\n[[when feelings are known|a kiss]]\n[[a consistent insistent|a kiss]]\n[[known|a kiss]]\n
He helped a non-mechanically oriented friend of a friend replace the battery in their car. He’s not exactly Mr. Goodwrench, but, he can change a battery with confidence, and he knew enough to bring the old battery with him to the store to recoup the core charge. The battery counter at the auto parts store was way in the back of the place (yeah, that’s where you want to put the place where customers need to lug 50 lbs worth of lead and acid to and from, good thinking), and the trade-out was handled without a hitch. New battery in hand, and a coupon for the core charge to be redeemed at the front of the store at the check-out register, off they went.\n\nWhen they got to the register, the pimply-faced high school kid said of the coupon, “How did you want that back?” Probably meaning, cash, store credit, apply it against the one we’d both trip over if we were paying any attention, or what? To which he glibly replied, “S&H Green Stamps,” thinking he’d made a funny. \n\nInstead, pimply-faced high school kid delivered the crushing rejoinder, “Huh?” This was the first time he realized he was getting old.\n\n[[how did we get here? day by day.|a kiss]]\n[[moments of epiphany|a kiss]]\n[[if life changing moments are so often tied to the mundane, why do we glamorize the freak incident?|a kiss]]\n[[the magic elixir of life|a kiss]]\n[[the first time but not the last time|a kiss]]\n
The side of the building is a veritable palimpsest of hand lettered signage. Spray paint and Sharpie markers are the agents of choice. The larger the letters, typically, the more likely it is to contain an error on the scale of “Tenent’s Only”. The trash cans are spray painted with the word “trash”. The fence posts are spray painted red for visibility, though, they need repainting fairly often as bumpers keep scraping them clean. The telephone pole at the base of the driveway is almost completely covered in (broken) reflectors. Parking space delineations are painted on the building itself. At one point, an entire argument took place in alternating red and black Sharpie along the entire side of the building. The landlord left a condescending nastygram about cigarette butts in red Sharpie, and a tenant replied sarcastically in black Sharpie the next day. Over the course of the next week it became a scribble-fest of the ignirate versus the stupidiot. Eventually code enforcement got an anonymous tip, and the fest was brought to a close by a couple of mandated coats of paint.\n\n[[marking our territory|a kiss]]\n[[the map is not the terrain|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between repetition and emphasis|a kiss]]\n[[of spirals, upward and downward|a kiss]]\n[[making private conversations public|a kiss]]\n
His mom used to sing nonsense sounds during most of the lyric line, then chime in a half-beat late with the end words, typically the rhymed words. \n\nLala lala lala ... blue. \nLala lala lala ... you. \n\nAnd she sang with her hands, by doing the jazz hands with her fingers while keeping the steering wheel tucked into the crook between her thumbs and forefingers.\n\n[[rhymes with this|a kiss]]\n[[sing along|a kiss]]\n[[the end words|a kiss]]\n[[a story about jazz|a kiss]]\n[[in the pause of every ellipsis|a kiss]]\n
Almost nothing. For all they both likely agonized over how it would affect him, he remembers almost none of the emotional content of the split. He doesn’t even remember moving out, he just remembers being moved out, and, he remembers making the trips to visit his dad on the weekends, and later, once per month. He remembers one extremely awkward moment when he was being asked to sign a statement to a judge saying where he preferred to stay, but he no longer remembers if he did or didn’t sign it. He thinks he didn’t but doesn’t know for sure.\n\n[[almost something|a kiss]]\n[[the fleet feet of memory|a kiss]]\n[[the slipperiness of the present tense|a kiss]]\n[[he remembers|a kiss]]\n[[he rem embers|a kiss]]\n
''When You Ask Again''\n\nMy cell phone rings, it’s another call I\ndon’t want to take. Why don’t bales of cash just\ndrop from God into poets’ laps? You saw\nme wince at the number, said nothing. The\nring hung in the air. At last a neighbor\ndoor slammed, a boy shouted after a girl.\nShe’s never coming back. Again. Being\nthis near their wreckage is our thought carried\nto its logical conclusion. Piggy\nbanks break open the way a strong back\nsnaps. I want to read the girl “For Tess,” by\nRaymond Carver, say Tess is really her,\nand the poem was written by her boyfriend.\n\nThe bird chirps that follow their fight remind\nus to move again, to speak. You tell me\nyou love me for my money, we laugh to\nexplain away the pause. I want to say\nsomething else, but don’t. Your fingers spell “yes”\non my lips. I am about to turn when\nthe half tilt of your head tells me that you\nare mine more than hands or words can say. “Ask\nme,” your body beams, “Ask me, ask again.”\n\n[[the last word of each line]]\n[[why it’s funny if she loves him for his money]]\n[[did the girl in the poem come back?]]\n[[what he’s learned about paying bills]]\n
Her sister suspected that she kept multiples of most everything most everywhere as a hedge, or a dodge, against the fact that her vision was beginning to fail. By having anything you might normally have to use your eyes to hunt for always close at hand, she avoided having to admit to anyone (even herself) that she was no longer able to hunt with her eyes for the thing.\n\n[[multiples of everything|a kiss]]\n[[against the fact|a kiss]]\n[[the failure of vision|a kiss]]\n[[always close at hand|a kiss]]\n[[a hunt for a thing|a kiss]]\n
What can you do when there’s a bajillion of the teeniest, tiniest splinteriest shardicles of wet glass on your sidewalk? There’s really not many available options. They swept the wet steps into the bamboo, and called the wine and the glass a loss for dinner and a gain for the soil.\n\n[[when there’s nothing else to be done|a kiss]]\n[[the solution to all known problems|a kiss]]\n[[one always available option|a kiss]]\n[[when the glass hit it made this sound|a kiss]]\n[[wet swept sweat wept|a kiss]]\n
Inertia, basically. He wants to go, would love to go, probably could go without much trouble, it’s just hard to do anything without planning it far ahead, and it’s not the kind of thing that seems like you’d need to plan ahead for it. So it hasn’t happened yet. Stupid inertia. It seems to set in with time and age and responsibility. The force required to redirect a mass with momentum is considerable. And the daily tasks of their world are definitely a mass with momentum.\n\n[[an object in motion|a kiss]]\n[[tends to stay in motion|a kiss]]\n[[an object at rest|a kiss]]\n[[tends to stay at rest|a kiss]]\n[[an explantion, not an excuse|a kiss]]\n
Sometimes you’ll be drying your hands off at the sink, or, clipping your nails, and you’ll hear a sound coming from behind the shower curtain, coming from the tub. You’ll think there’s something wrong with the plumbing and pull the shower curtain back to investigate, and there, sitting in the tub doing nothing in particular, will be a cat. The cat will look at you like, “What? Just sittin’ in the tub. You gotta problem with that?”\n\nSometimes the cat’ll be in there licking at the water around the drain that’s left behind by the last few drips from the faucet as it shuts off. But more often than not, they’re just chillin’ in the enclosed space.\n\n[[you’ll hear a sound|a kiss]]\n[[how to think like a cat|a kiss]]\n[[the rips left behind|a kiss]]\n[[more often than not|a kiss]]\n[[the attraction of enclosed spaces|a kiss]]\n
He was in a convenience store and heard a person say to another person, “I dunno, he was speakin’ one of them terrist languages.”\n\n[[the language we all speak|a kiss]]\n[[a minor convenience|a kiss]]\n[[the solution to ethnoegocentrism|a kiss]]\n[[to know is to|a kiss]]\n[[on the difference between la langue and parole|a kiss]]\n
The breadmaker ends up in the pantry, on the floor, under a stock pot serving as storage for a sack of Idaho potatoes and a net bag of sweet onions. It probably won’t survive the next bi-annual Thrift Store purging. Coming soon to a Salvation Army store near you: Shumpy, The Little Bread-Maker That Couldn’t.\n\n[[man does not live by bread alone|a kiss]]\n[[sweeter than onions|a kiss]]\n[[what potato eyes have seen|a kiss]]\n[[the come and go of soon|a kiss]]\n[[the reward for those that could|a kiss]]\n
It breaks his heart that so many of the conversations they had (some in this very manner) were lost to the upgrade of cell phones and the ephemeral nature of messages sent by SMS. Emails can be archived, but there’s no simple way to keep SMS, even less so in the early days of text messaging.\n\nHe’s a hoarder of texts, and hates to lose anything said in writing, even drafts and alternate versions of works in progress. He would save it all if he could. Every last character. Revisiting texts is, for him, like revisiting the mindstate of the time of the writing.\n\n[[stitching his heart back together|a kiss]]\n[[a net to catch the ephemeral|a kiss]]\n[[the uniqueness of different versions of the same thing|a kiss]]\n[[a work in progress|a kiss]]\n[[how to save it all|a kiss]]\n
The living room / dining room used to be an eyesore of an unfinished project. Exposed hand-hewn beams which looked okay, and unpainted, hand-cut-to-fit drywall between the beams. It looked monastic. And she hated it. So they painted it all white, which brightened up the rooms beyond description. Re-painting the walls yellow instead of tan didn’t hurt any, either. It was like turning a small hovel into an airy great room.\n\n[[what it means to make|a kiss]]\n[[the blurred boundary of living spaces|a kiss]]\n[[it’s about the light|a kiss]]\n[[the opposite of monastic|a kiss]]\n[[transfiguration|a kiss]]\n
It’s a very short list. Or, rather, it’s the empty set. There’s never been a movie that was better than the book.\n\n[[the full set|a kiss]]\n[[because words let us form our own visuals|a kiss]]\n[[imagination is more potent than imagery|a kiss]]\n[[text shows, images tell|a kiss]]\n[[passive reception vs. active engagement|a kiss]]\n
Bananas and anything banana flavored. Red meat. Mexican food in general. Melty ice cream. Beets. Anything too eggy, like egg salad or a three egg omelette. Pizza is okay in moderation if veggie-heavy and meat-scant.\n\n[[experiencing the world through the mouth|a kiss]]\n[[some live to eat|a kiss]]\n[[some eat to live|a kiss]]\n[[we all scream for|a kiss]]\n[[everything in moderation, even moderation|a kiss]]\n
The only problems with the patio are that it’s a tad too small for the 6 people the set will seat, and, it’s not very convenient to get to, because you have to go out the kitchen door, which is the side door, and up the side of the house through a thicket of bamboo and chives and fern to reach it.\n\nTurning a window into a door will solve the latter problem, and that’s a project they have planned, it’s just waiting on the person they know who can do it.\n\nMaking the patio larger will entail some digging. Originally, the back of the house was slightly angled into the hill of the back yard. The space that’s there now was dug out of the side of the hill (and is maintained against filling back in by a rock wall), and goes as far back as a lilac bush and a row of boxwood. To get more room in that direction would be both a lot of digging, and, would mean relocating the lilac and the boxwood. He has another plan. There’s a wide stripe of undug hill to the right of the patio, which currently serves as the ramp up from the side of the house sidewalk (and the patio) to the back yard. He thinks they can gain all the space they need to make the patio comfortable by digging out that ramp of hill and putting in a set of steps. That’s a two-day project, he figures, which means it’ll probably take two weeks and eight trips to the hardware store—and still be worth it.\n\n[[carving out a space in which to live|a kiss]]\n[[nothing is as simple as it seems|a kiss]]\n[[how projects spiral out of control and back|a kiss]]\n[[the success will be in having done it together|a kiss]]\n[[worth is in the finished product|a kiss]]\n
You know this is true. Bodies are funny. C’mon, butts? Armpits? Noses! What could be funnier than noses? Well, yeah, genitalia, but, no laughing about that...well, at least no pointing and smirking, that’s totally forbidden. And there’s ''nothing'' funnier than //anything// you’re forbidden to joke about.\n\n[[better with a smile|a kiss]]\n[[is nothing sacred?|a kiss]]\n[[this is true|a kiss]]\n
The one window of the guestroom has thin white curtains. Hanging from the curtain rod is a window decoration that used to hang over his mother’s kitchen sink. It’s two long-skirted dancers, legs akick, arms reaching, one hanging from a short line on either side of a balancing stick. They move just a bit, but are not exactly a proper mobile. The window faces North, so during the day the dancers are always darkened to the eye the way people backlit by the sun turn out underexposed in photographs.\n\n[[when he sees it]]\n[[his mother the dancer]]\n[[his mother’s friend the dancer]]\n[[another former mother’s kitchen item]]\n[[the closet in the guest room]]\n
He has no idea why he can never remember the name, except that he has a lifetime problem remembering names of all kinds. Flowers, people, trees, historical places and dates. He has a great memory for other things, though. If he reads something in a book and needs to go back and find it, he’ll know which quadrant of the spread he’d seen it in (upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right) and which third of the book (front, middle, end). He remembers ingredients in recipes, but not orders of instruction. He remembers how to get places by not by which roads he went.\n\n[[an idea of why|a kiss]]\n[[call and recall|a kiss]]\n[[a spatialization of memories|a kiss]]\n[[the first ingredient|a kiss]]\n[[by which roads|a kiss]]\n
He’s always had a good sense of balance, and still does. He used to have a good sense of direction—which is to say he always knew which way was North, and if you know that, the rest is easy. He thought the two were related, connected, even possibly simply different aspects of the same perceptual ability. Until he moved to the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, where he lost all sense of direction. It’s just gone. He fumbles and guesses but never feels the same sense of confidence that used to come naturally. His balance is unaffected.\n\n[[if you know this, the rest is easy|a kiss]]\n[[related, connected|a kiss]]\n[[where he lost all sense of direction|a kiss]]\n[[another name for proprioception|a kiss]]\n[[what good is knowing where you are|a kiss]]\n
Omelettes, however, are one way she doesn’t mind eating eggs. As long as it’s not too eggy. She likes the stuff more than the eggs. Sometimes she likes an egg white omelette, and sometimes he’ll even make it for her. Sometimes she wants the stuff of a 3 egg omelette in a 2 egg omelette, but that isn’t quite right. And a 1 egg omelette isn’t right either. What she really would prefer, in a perfect world, would be a 1 3/4 egg omelette, if such a thing were possible.\n\n[[what he charges her for a specialty omelette|a kiss]]\n[[how much change he gives her back|a kiss]]\n[[the stuff, more than the eggs|a kiss]]\n[[getting it right|a kiss]]\n[[a perfect world|a kiss]]\n
This is not about creating art in a void, which isn’t possible anyway. This is about creating art from an absence, from the experience of being inbetween, from the eye of the hurricane, from a center of empty that surrounds, from the place at the end of the diving board right before the jump when the breath has been taken in and the muscles are about to tense, from here this now this almost this soon this maybe this you.\n\n[[impossible anyway|a kiss]]\n[[being inbetween|a kiss]]\n[[the center that surrounds|a kiss]]\n[[right before the|a kiss]]\n[[this maybe|a kiss]]\n
The commercialization of Major Exhibits has gotten way out of hand. It was one thing when you could stop in the gift shop and pick up a Monet print or a tie or a t-shirt. But the last exhibit they saw the museum had constructed a temporary gift shop as a gauntlet you had to run to achieve exit from the exhibit. Does anybody really want a blow-up of Frida Kahlo’s bloodstained from the crown-of-thorns face on a coffee mug? The merchandising, and the way it was forced on them, turned a good trip to the museum into a depressing one.\n\n[[the difference between out of and in hand|a kiss]]\n[[what everybody wants|a kiss]]\n[[a good trip turns and turns|a kiss]]\n[[you catch more flies with honey|a kiss]]\n[[will they go back to the museum?|a kiss]]\n
Some thumbs are green, some thumbs are brown, some thumbs are covered in tomato juice, and some thumbs are blue. He’s never been much of a grower, but does okay with house plants. She has great results with flowers and most vegetables. His success comes from patterns of habit, her success comes from attention and compassion.\n\n[[what grows at the intersection of their skillsets|a kiss]]\n[[the astonishing math behind combinatorials|a kiss]]\n[[patterns of habit|a kiss]]\n[[theme and variation|a kiss]]\n[[the success that comes from attention and compassion|a kiss]]\n
It got that way gradually, over time and through time and in time. There was a divorce, and during that time all time folds in on itself and streamlined things fall of of rails and unstreamlined things drift off into their own orbits. It always needed to be dealt with and it was never more important than all the things above it on the list of things that take time. This is the closest to truth you’ll ever read: there is no way to make time, you can only take time. Everything you do neglects everything else.\n\n[[gradually|a kiss]]\n[[over time|a kiss]]\n[[through time|a kiss]]\n[[the fold of unstreamlined things|a kiss]]\n[[all the things on the list|a kiss]]\n
He had an idea for a permutational sound poem project that he never began. The basic idea was to take the structure:\n\nboom shaka laka boom \n\nand turn it into performable stanza like this:\n\nBooM Shahkah LahKah BooM\nBooM\nBooM SHoo\nBooM SHoo Koo\nBooM SHoo Koo Loo\nBooM SHoo Koo Loo Koo\nBooM SHoo Koo Loo Koo BooM\nBooM SHooKoo LooKoo BooM\nBooMSHoo KooLoo KooBooM\nBooMSHooKoo LooKooBooM\nBooMSHooKooLoo KooBooM\nBooMSHooKooLooKoo BooM\nBooMSHooKooLooKooBooM\nBooM Shahkah LahKah BooM\n\nand then replace the vowel sounds systematically.\n\nand then do all possible permutations of all sounds in all locations within the phrase.\n\nThat ended up being a 12 megabyte text file—that’d be about a 6,000 page book. So the performace of it would be impossible. The recording of it would be a lifetime project. \n\nIt was a good idea, but, not that good.\n\n[[another of his ideas|a kiss]]\n[[a stanza he’d like to perform|a kiss]]\n[[a story about his fascination with permutation|a kiss]]\n[[from small things momma big things one day come|a kiss]]\n[[an idea that good|a kiss]]\n
He grips her tightly when he puts a hand or hands to her body. His default touch is too soft for her, she doesn’t like the light touch, she says it tickles if he’s too light. She doesn’t want him to crush or bruise, it’s not like she likes to be touched all that rough, it’s just that it needs to be of an intensity above lightly. Grabby, gropey, grr. \n\n[[in the grips he imagines|a kiss]]\n[[that sweet spot between light and rough|a kiss]]\n[[what she wants|a kiss]]\n[[speaking of intensity|a kiss]]\n[[above lightly|a kiss]]\n
They call them modern tumbleweed. She loves the scene in American Beauty that’s the film of the bag in the gentle alley cyclone. This is the second cat they’ve had that loved to lick the insides of exactly this kind of bag. They’ve discussed making a series of photographs of plastic grocery bags stuck in trees and bushes. When he shops he asks them to bag heavy, and he doesn’t care if the things that aren’t supposed to touch each other touch each other. He wants as few bags as possible to carry in. But they save the usable bags after every trip (they have a special hanging cloth bag just for holding them) because they require an endless supply of them for use in cleaning out the cat boxes.\n\n[[a love story about the ephemeral, the transient, and patterns of repetition|a kiss]]\n[[a series of snapshots|a kiss]]\n[[the things that are supposed to touch touch each other|a kiss]]\n[[following the thread of what they require|a kiss]]\n[[endless supply|a kiss]]\n
Rahn’s Hill was on the other side of the street. The Rahn’s had a house on one lot whose backyard sloped down to a small lake. They owned the lot next to them, as well, and there was nothing on it but a wide, steep slope down to a lake that froze solid for most of the winter. Everyone in the neighborhood would come to Rahn’s hill to slide down whenever there was fresh snow. You’d slide down the hill and out onto the ice, halfway across the lake.\n\n[[a slope|a kiss]]\n[[a slide|a kiss]]\n[[a whenever|a kiss]]\n[[an out onto the ice|a kiss]]\n[[halfway across a lake|a kiss]]\n\n\n
The dismissive peck. He gets this one when he first tries to get her unhedgehoggy by asking for a kiss. It’s a kiss that says, fine, here you go, now go.\n\nThe bedtime goodenough. This one is more substantial than the dismissive peck, but, it’s still a little too matter-of-fact for him and he’ll rarely settle for just that.\n\nThe okayalready. This is the one he gets after he grexes about getting the goodenough. It’s a pretty good one, and he’d never complain about getting one.\n\nThe One. Sometimes, usually when he’s not expecting it, he gets The One. It’s the kiss where her lips feel just like they make his knees feel. Like anything could happen, if you can just keep your balance.\n\n[[a study in kisses|a kiss]]\n[[a cycle of kissness|a kiss]]\n[[a twirl through kissology|a kiss]]\n[[a twistangle of kissling|a kiss]]\n[[the way her lips feel when she gives him The One|a kiss]]\n
He wrote it on his iPhone. He’s past the age when he thinks a good idea, even a small one like a haiku, will be remembered until he finds a pen and a piece of paper. Plus, he hardly ever writes with pen and paper anymore. It hurts his hands to write even a couple of words, his handwriting is astonishingly bad, and unlike many people, he has no problem reading text on a screen.\n\n[[at precisely the right age|a kiss]]\n[[a very good idea|a kiss]]\n[[astonishingly good|a kiss]]\n[[like many people|a kiss]]\n[[plus|a kiss]]\n
Trouble Boy from next door brought them over to make a little newborn kitten observation center. Then got lazy and left them.\n\n[[why they think it was an observation center]]\n[[other lies we tell ourselves]]\n[[his grandfather’s view on lies]]\n[[the truth about lies]]\n[[the lie about truths]]
They fell in love miles and lifetimes apart, through words and words alone.\n\nThe first time he saw her he said to himself, “Jackpot!” He still says it every time he sees her in some new kind of light.\n\nBoth their hearts are defective. She has mitrovalve prolapse, and he has a congenital heart murmur. Lub dub. Whoosh. Their hearts became close by shrinking, one word at at time, a distance that took 12 hours to drive.\n\n[[only words|a kiss]]\n[[some new kind of light|a kiss]]\n[[a song for defective hearts|a kiss]]\n[[where you can get one word at a time|a kiss]]\n[[what is distance to words, which travel at the speed of sight|a kiss]]\n
Higher up the mountain you’ll occasionally catch glimpses of wisps of smoke from the mine fires that still burn in the sides of the mountains. Sometime they even flame up and out and set the brush on fire. Then they settle back down to their slow coal smolder.\n\n[[banking the coals|a kiss]]\n[[glimpses of wisps of smoke|a kiss]]\n[[slow coal smolder|a kiss]]\n[[warm to the touch|a kiss]]\n[[that which radiates outward|a kiss]]\n
At the back of her mother’s yard is a two-car garage with a finished attic. The attic is filled with all the trappings and odd effluvia of community playhouse prop mistress and is storage central for a coop from which two daughters have flown. \n\nWhen the recent obsession with LPs hit, her mother suggested they go look in the attic, she was pretty sure they’d stored all their old records, not gotten rid of them. An entire afternoon and 4 milkcrates later the mountain had been culled and the gems transported back home. The 80s are alive and being re-lived, and playing her father’s old favorite jazz albums has been a rich, if indirect, way of getting to know the man he was and for her will always be.\n\n[[another way of getting to know her father]]\n[[music in his own life]]\n[[the CD vs. LP debate]]\n[[how his views of jazz have changed]]\n[[what will happen to most of the LPs they brought home]]\n
And really the thing to remember is that she’s not coming home at 2 a.m. tattooed, multi-pierced, stoned, drunk, and/or pregnant. Or not coming home at all. She’s a good person, and they know it, and they try to tell her so at least as often as they tell themselves.\n\n[[another thing to remember|a kiss]]\n[[a reason to come home|a kiss]]\n[[they know|a kiss]]\n[[they tell each other|a kiss]]\n[[for better or worse|a kiss]]\n
The purge process is important to creativity. As is the accumulation process, the storage process, the pathological hoarding process. The purge process is the kick start of it all, though. It’s the starting over, it’s the new hope, it’s the getting rid of the old to make way for the new. It’s a breaking loose, a breaking free, a break out, a break from the past. It is non-gradual, it is a kind of violent, it is destructive, it is non-reversible, it is decisive, it is action.\n\n[[the illusion of reversibility|a kiss]]\n[[the process process|a kiss]]\n[[the kick start|a kiss]]\n[[not all breaks are free|a kiss]]\n[[is spinning in place motion?|a kiss]]\n
It’s his right lateral incisor, and it’s pitched inward and twisted a tad clockwise. At one point in his early teens his mother offered to get a retainer made that would gradually ease it into its proper place. He didn’t want a retainer, and didn’t mind the tooth’s position all that much. \n\n[[another plan]]\n[[the broken font tooth]]\n[[the daughter’s gap]]\n[[what he took for granted when he was a teen]]\n[[how he knows the name of the tooth]]
After the laughter is gone, there remains the babbling brook sound of the pool’s filtration system. It seems to involve a kind of burbling near-fountain procedure that murmurs into the afternoon, the evening, and the early morning. It creates the kind of white noise that makes sleeping easier as long as the dogs of the neighborhood aren’t bark bark bark bark bark bark barking. It’s the kind of sound that smooths out all the rough edges of the day, presses down the creases in understanding, and wipes clean all the blackboards of the brain.\n\n[[after it’s all gone, what remains|a kiss]]\n[[a burbling near-fountain|a kiss]]\n[[the smooth edges of the day|a kiss]]\n[[wrinkles in time|a kiss]]\n[[the eraser|a kiss]]\n
The original house. The current house’s living space was built atop the first two-room house. The original house is now the basement. The two rooms have recently been emptied of decades of accumulation, and the back room of the basement, which serves as the laundry room, still has a dirt floor.\n\n[[plans for the two rooms]]\n[[the state of the paint]]\n[[where cat toys go to die]]\n[[the secret room]]\n[[who loves the basement now]]\n[[what’s under the basement]]
The cushions were just too much overhead. They were really comfortable, but, that means that they were thick with padding. Thick with padding doesn’t drain quickly after a rain. And untying two cushions per chair (a back and a seat) times six chairs before and after every rain was just not going to happen. They tried it once, and just never brought the cushions back up. It’s a bit of a waste. The cushions sitting alone in the basement, while butts above are being waffled by the iron webbing of the chairs, but it is what it is, and to fret about it would only be adding to the waste.\n\n[[they gravitate towards the simple|a kiss]]\n[[suck it up and deal|a kiss]]\n[[let’s move on|a kiss]]\n[[life goes on|a kiss]]\n[[this too shall pass|a kiss]]\n
(for Jennifer)\n\nby Dan Waber\n©2013
a thistle\na feather poking through a pillow\nwhen warmth comes back into nearly frozen digits\nhair brush bristles\nthe choke of the artichoke\njust after you say something you wish you hadn’t\n\n[[a story about feather pillows]]\n[[a memory of warmth coming back]]\n[[why he doesn’t own a brush]]\n[[a joke about artichokes]]\n[[regret]]
People who talk about the death of print and the death of the book are forgetting that the technology is on track to improve upon print and the book by becoming it.\n\nThe time is coming, and coming fast, when electronic paper will be as thin as actual paper and a binding can contain all the processing power necessary for one book to contain all possible books. It will have pages that turn which can be loaded with whatever you ask. It will be exactly like a book in look and feel but will allow you to interact with it in the extended ways of the digital. Touch a word to define it. Pinch the page to bookmark. Touch-drag to highlight. Change documents at will and return as easily. Automagic linking to footnote-grade information. This book is coming, and then what will they say about the death of print?\n\n[[what comes and becomes|a kiss]]\n[[what forms and informs|a kiss]]\n[[what holds and upholds|a kiss]]\n[[what lasts and outlasts|a kiss]]\n[[what turns and returns|a kiss]]\n
The George Foreman grill; that thing is awesome and they love it. They have used one to death and upgraded to the next size larger. It makes a good burger, quick, no muss no fuss. Does a great job on fish, too. Can even deal with some steaks (though he’s grown to prefer the oven’s broiler for that). Squash and zucchini come out great on it, too, if you olive oil them up a bit before putting them on.\n\n[[occasionally, while waiting for the grill to heat up|a kiss]]\n[[finding things to love in the daily|a kiss]]\n[[the relation between heat and tenderness|a kiss]]\n[[when he cooks|a kiss]]\n[[when she cooks|a kiss]]\n
Nothing, really, though you could read lots of things into it if you wanted to. As Freud is rumored to have said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” So, by extension, sometimes a Japanese maple tree is just a Japanese maple tree. He hated to leave it behind because it was a gift from his mother. But he did leave it. And never looked back.\n\n[[one antidote for reading too much into things|a kiss]]\n[[the locus of the rumor mill|a kiss]]\n[[and sometimes a kiss is just a kiss|a kiss]]\n[[every leaving is also an arrival|a kiss]]\n[[on gifts and loss|a kiss]]\n
Just about anything can pop the balloon, because it’s not over-inflation that causes it, it’s a breach of the surface tension of the film. It would be wrong to suggest her method of feeling means she’s always popping, like a psychological sheet of bubble wrap. It isn’t like that. The surface tension of personality holds it altogether. There’s just never any dangerous high-pressure build-up that ultimately ruptures when containment becomes impossible. It’s healthier her way, he’s sure of it.\n\n[[even this|a kiss]]\n[[soon after the pop|a kiss]]\n[[a breaking of surface tension|a kiss]]\n[[a thing he’s sure of|a kiss]]\n[[prime cause|a kiss]]\n
The lady who owned the house sold it to a contracter who fixed it up for a quick turn-around. He fixed the pitch from the back of the house to front by making it into three leveler planes on the first floor and two on the top floor. \n\nHe updated the electrical, but, by running conduit and mounting blocky boxes on the wall rather than pulling wire behind the walls and recessing the outlets and switches. The switch for some rooms is outside the room itself.\n\nThe downstairs has a bathroom so small many people have to sit with one foot out the door.\n\nSome closets and rooms don’t have actual doors. Most doorways are trimmed in 1" x 4" instead of molding.\n\n[[the semi-awkward counter]]\n[[a two-tiered bathroom]]\n[[exposed beam ceiling]]\n[[how the tiny bathroom is decorated]]\n[[would they trade it for a new house?]]\n
He sticks his toe in the water, she splashes. He measures and makes jigs, she grabs the stamp and prints. He calls in the professionals, she’ll give it a go herself. He researches restaurants in the area prior to the trip, she walks out of the hotel and wanders the city until she finds a place. He measures twice and cuts once, she eyeballs it and cuts once. \n\n[[and when they’re done|a kiss]]\n[[he looks for reasons|a kiss]]\n[[she feels for opportunities|a kiss]]\n[[he keeps track|a kiss]]\n[[she loses count|a kiss]]\n
It was the default go-to gift for pretty much everyone. When in doubt, you couldn’t go wrong buying something with a dove on it. A purple dove was even better. A purple Picasso dove was better still. A purple Picasso dove on a Martin Luther King Jr. dancing/singing hamster and you’d’ve hit a home run.\n\n[[gifts and giving|a kiss]]\n[[when in doubt|a kiss]]\n[[good better best|a kiss]]\n[[better still|a kiss]]\n[[something everybody knows|a kiss]]\n
You don’t get to eat straw mushrooms, ever, because they’re never really available in this country any other way. He likes to add them to easy stir-fry meals, but she’s just not into them.\n\n[[the other stir fry staple (for him) she doesn’t like]]\n[[a stir fry staple she does like]]\n[[the trick to making fried rice]]\n[[other foods he can never find in this country]]\n[[his idea for a chain of restaurants]]\n
Daisies, but, it’s a close race every time. She is a lover of flowers in general, which is not to say that she loves all flowers. She has definite likes and dislikes, but the list of flowers she likes is much bigger than the list of flowers she doesn’t. He took a photograph once of a swarm of daisies all turned to praise the sun and titled it Her Fan Club.\n\n[[how the daisy looks to the bee|a kiss]]\n[[the relationship between the specific and the general|a kiss]]\n[[the list of flowers she likes|a kiss]]\n[[at the center of a swarm of daisies|a kiss]]\n[[to praise the sun|a kiss]]\n
A scattering of framed snapshots in a motley assortment of sizes and styles. A clay ramekin filled with foreign coins. A box of incense. Three out of a set of four fused glass coasters. A partially used spindle of DVD-R discs. A charger for a camera battery with a charged battery in it.\n\n[[the feeling of being surrounded by tokens of love|a kiss]]\n[[a twist like smoke in a shaft of light|a kiss]]\n[[snap shots|a kiss]]\n[[piecing together fragments|a kiss]]\n[[fragmenting together pieces|a kiss]]\n
It was common when spending social time with co-workers or friends for there to be loaded weapons on countertops, coffee tables, &c.\n\nA good home-cooked lunch in a diner might cost $6 with beverage and tip.\n\n“Redneck” is a term of pride not derision.\n\n“Jeet” and “yont” are words.\n\n[[the best way to handle a loaded firearm|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between home-cooked and home cooked|a kiss]]\n[[today’s special|a kiss]]\n[[more common today|a kiss]]\n[[when words fail|a kiss]]\n
Mango likes to lick the insides of plastic bags. She’s not afraid to jump up on counters, either.\n\nSomeone dropped a wine glass, and it broke.\n\nNana cleaned up the pieces, and put them all in a plastic bag. She didn’t tie it closed and put it in the trash just yet, though, because she wanted to wait to be sure all the pieces had been found.\n\nSo, sitting on the counter top was an open plastic bag filled with broken glass.\n\nMango sneaks up on the countertop and stealthily slips her head, and one front paw up to the shoulder through one handle of the plastic bag. She commences, from this entangled position, to lick the inside of the bag. Someone in the other room hears the plastic being licked, sees the Mango on the counter top, and makes a racket for her to Stop it!\n\nStartled, Mango jumps off the counter, with the broken-glass-filled plastic bag around her like a superhero cape in bizarro world. Two-tenths of a second after her front paws hit the ground, she goes from startled to terrified because she hears, mere inches away, the CRASH of a large pile of glass. She bolts, tearing through the house in an effort to outrun the crashing of glass that keeps following her no matter how she jukes, feints, or tumbles. It won’t stop following her! \n\nBut, it does gradually get quieter and quiter until the glass sound has been replaced by the flapping of a bag in the breeze of her panting. And the house is now shot through with shards of glass pretty much everywhere.\n\n[[this entangled position|a kiss]]\n[[the crash of a large pile of glass|a kiss]]\n[[to outrun the crashing|a kiss]]\n[[quiter and quieter|a kiss]]\n[[moments of excitement punctuate the days|a kiss]]\n
They didn’t burn the plastic binder covers, they didn’t burn legal documents, they didn’t burn letters of personal correspondence, they didn’t burn the binder clips. They didn’t burn the memories, but they burned the words. The words. They burned all the words.\n\n[[at the center of every conflagration|a kiss]]\n[[some spaces are defined by absence|a kiss]]\n[[“If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”—Leonard Cohen|a kiss]]\n[[an exercise in hanging on to memories|a kiss]]\n[[they’re only words, after all|a kiss]]\n
Outside the door is a small hall table with some photos on it which tend to need dusting, one of those bouquet of sticks stuck into fragrant oil things that’s long since evaporated all its stink squeezings, and a vase filled with rocks and pebbles and shells from various trips to various beaches. Above this table is a photo of her father in Ireland, his hands in his jacket pockets, standing on a rock in the middle of three sheep doing much the same (but laying on the rock instead of standing hands in pockets). The sheep seem not to notice. Her father seems rooted to the spot, like he’d love to be able to stay.\n\n[[some photos|a kiss]]\n[[various trips|a kiss]]\n[[various beaches|a kiss]]\n[[things that come in waves|a kiss]]\n[[things that are rooted to the spot|a kiss]]\n
Do you say the glass is half full or do you say the glass is half empty?\n\nYou could be asking to have it re-filled.\n\n[[seize the day|a kiss]]\n[[theory vs praxis|a kiss]]\n[[cutting through Zeno’s paradox|a kiss]]\n[[there is no try, only do and do not|a kiss]]\n[[stop, look, listen|a kiss]]\n
She’s still good at being the sweet one. Maybe even better now, because there’s a bit of the sympathy factor. She’s still good at sticking her whiskers up sleeping noses to let them know it’s time to wake up and bring on the soft food. She’s still good at finding the sunbeam and stretching out in it. She’s still good at purring on a lap. She’s still a little too good at winding between a person’s legs while they’re walking down stairs.\n\n[[the sunbeam|a kiss]]\n[[stretching out in it|a kiss]]\n[[how humans purr|a kiss]]\n[[a little too good|a kiss]]\n[[a tale of winding between|a kiss]]\n\n\n
There were bushes in the front of the house on Lakeshore Drive. White, pink, and magenta. They were snugged in close and got the right amount of sun and shade. He remembers the diligant ants, and remembers finding out later in life that the flowers will actually open without them. It saddened him slightly, it would be a better world if the peony depended on the ant.\n\n[[next to those bushes]]\n[[which color is his favorite]]\n[[another thing that should be true]]\n[[what the writer depends on]]\n[[the workaholic]]
If you said there was two you’d be right, if you said there was four you’d be right. He had two older tatoos that he didn’t want any longer so he had some cover-up work done to overwrite them. The oldest was on his left shoulder, a not-very-well-done version of one of the three Greek words for love. The other was an abstract design drawn by his ex-wife. It was time.\n\n[[the new left shoulder tattoo]]\n[[the new right shoulder tattoo]]\n[[why his stock went up with the tattoo artist]]\n[[the best thing to put on a healing tattoo]]\n[[how to select a good tattoo artist]]
Something. Anything. There are only two reasons for nothing: decision or apathy. If a decision has been made to sit/stay/be in this nothing then the nothing will remain until the decision is made to break the nothing with something, or, with anything. The other option is apathy, or, an inability to make the decision either way. Equilibrium. Adding a catalyst to an ongoing bidirectional reaction at equilibrium will not change its state.\n\n[[two reasons|a kiss]]\n[[a decision tree|a kiss]]\n[[break the nothing|a kiss]]\n[[ongoing bidirectional reaction|a kiss]]\n[[the other option|a kiss]]\n
Pretty good, since it has been there long enough to become part of the scenery. She’ll eventually ditch it in one of her cleaning fits (they come a few times per season), and he’ll be glad that it’s gone (he loves the home she makes of the house more than he doesn’t love that she changes things, because she always changes things for the better), even though if left to his own devices it’d be years before he’d get rid of it.\n\n[[persistence and pattern|a kiss]]\n[[the scenery changes, the scenery remains the same|a kiss]]\n[[the ebb and flow of experience|a kiss]]\n[[a creature of habit|a kiss]]\n[[the comfort he finds in the consistent|a kiss]]\n
Her father painted the bee. It was a test piece in his self-directed learning the art and craft of stained and leaded glass. Late in life, learning to retire, he was having fun making light bend to his whim and his will. And he was good at it, too. Just enough artist in him to be original, just enough craftsman in him to meet the exacting requirements of the medium, just enough child-mind in him to have whimsy, just enough life-experience to have the weight of meaning.\n\n[[a test piece|a kiss]]\n[[when light bends|a kiss]]\n[[just enough|a kiss]]\n[[the weight of meaning|a kiss]]\n[[the wait of meaning|a kiss]]\n
He used to think that eating was mostly done alone, on break, between shifts, when you could manage it, what you did after you were done feeding everyone else. He knew the people he was feeding were typically not eating alone, but only on some far-removed intellectual level.\n\nNow he hates to eat alone, and finds it one of the loneliest things a person can do or watch happen. Though, his own social circle is so small that he’ll typically eat alone before he’ll call someone else to eat with him if she isn’t around for some reason. Not always, though, but more often than not. She’s having her influence on him, he’s just slow to change.\n\n[[the kind of around he likes her|a kiss]]\n[[the universal ideological solvent|a kiss]]\n[[how her influence has affected him|a kiss]]\n[[the best parts of his life|a kiss]]\n[[some people eat to live, some live to eat|a kiss]]\n
When his mother was in the first grade, she came home with a report card that read: “M. refuses to skip. Says she doesn’t know how.” \n\nShe knew how. She just didn’t like the idea of doing it on demand. You skip for other reasons.\n\n[[grading on a curve|a kiss]]\n[[life experience|a kiss]]\n[[the line between theory and praxis|a kiss]]\n[[the very definition of spontaneity|a kiss]]\n[[other reasons|a kiss]]\n
pause\ngap\nspace\nwait\nhold\nemptiness\nlack\nwant\nneed\n\n[[a story about silence]]\n[[making art from the gap]]\n[[what he does while waiting]]\n[[the half glass of water]]\n[[the cure for nothing]]
The first sign of old age, for him, was not needing reading glasses, or making the old man noise when rising from (or sitting down into) the sofa (though both of those are nipping at his heels). It was when restaurant raw onions started giving him heartburn and other tummy troubles. He used to have a cast iron stomach that’d withstand just about anything that could make it past the teeth. Not any more. He’s fine with onions that he cuts himself just before consuming, but if the onions are raw and were cut earlier in the day, or worse, the day before, he can tell by their smellingsalt scent that eating them would be a Bad Idea. He wishes it weren’t so, but knows better than to try and fight it. \n\n[[first signs will find you even if you’re not looking|a kiss]]\n[[a velvet bag filled with his wishes|a kiss]]\n[[what stays the same through all the changes|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to used to have|a kiss]]\n[[it’s that were so|a kiss]]\n
He looked it up on the Internet. The extent of his dental knowledge before that was: molars, canines, and bicuspids. And he was a little fuzzy on bicuspids. But when something in you breaks forever, its natural to want to know its name.\n\n[[a map of the internet|a kiss]]\n[[the extent of his knowledge|a kiss]]\n[[the process of naming|a kiss]]\n[[when something in you breaks|a kiss]]\n[[its natural to want|a kiss]]\n
There’s a billboard for a local seafood restaurant that makes use of that disturbing trope of the happy animal that’s on the menu. Seeing cows shilling steaks with big grins on their faces, or chickens just happy to see you come into the fried chicken place, and in Cooper’s case, it’s a lobster, lifting the lid of the pot with one claw and declaring in Comic Sans delight: “Come on out to Cooper’s for a Free Lobster on your Birthday!” To which he mocked extemporaneously in falsetto: “Hey everybody, come on out to Cooper’s for a Free Hot...Bath? Heeeeeyyyy, waitaminute.”\n\n[[the difference between a trope and a meme|a kiss]]\n[[missing the obvious in front of us|a kiss]]\n[[truth in advertising|a kiss]]\n[[that moment of realization|a kiss]]\n[[out of the boiling water and onto the plate|a kiss]]\n
The curtains are sheer and orange like a mandarin orange peel. They change the light in the room and give it a citrus cast. The walls are yellow to go along with it, and the kitchen next door is lime green. Nobody getting any visual rickets around the back of the house, that’s for sure.\n\n[[a story about rooms and light and shadows|a kiss]]\n[[a light about stories and shadows and rooms|a kiss]]\n[[a shadow about light and stories and rooms|a kiss]]\n[[a room about shadows and stories and light|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to be sure|a kiss]]\n
It never gets easier, never. The first leaving felt like the latest. It’s like taking off a leg, it’s like shaving half a head, it’s like a numb tongue, it’s like a shout to a canyon that doesn’t echo back, it’s the slow tear of a bandage coming off, it’s like not enough salt, it’s like too much salt, it’s like a plant that hasn’t been watered, it’s like boiled bacon, it’s the door in the dream that won’t open won’t open won’t open.\n\n[[the first leaving]]\n[[the only appropriate response]]\n[[what he learned]]\n[[how much time together is too much time together]]\n[[the plants he waters]]
Vegetarian Times\nBon Appetit\nGourmet\nThe New Yorker\nPoets & Writers\nSmithsonian\n\n[[his view of vegetarianism]]\n[[the problem with most magazines]]\n[[the problem with the New Yorker]]\n[[other door-to-door purchases]]\n[[where most of the magazines go to die]]\n
She has now entered the age of entitlement, and it’s been ushered in by the thundering silence. She can no longer hear people telling her to get off the coffee table, she can no longer hear people telling her to get her head out of their water glasses, she can no longer hear people telling her to get off of the dining room table. You name it, she can’t hear it. But she can still feel the front door open and, and can feel the vibrations from when the Smoothies walk down the stairs and head into the kitchen where the soft foods lie in wait for her. It’s a good thing she’s the sweet one, or they’d never put it up with it. When he does the cats’ voices saying things, most of the time now Edna is saying, “Sure is quiet in here. Oh well.” On the upside, she is napping better than ever, and, for a cat, that’s saying something.\n\n[[one benefit of living in your own private universe|a kiss]]\n[[the silence at the center of it all|a kiss]]\n[[other ways of making sense of the sensorium|a kiss]]\n[[if an arch supports more weight than twice the column, this is the cement at the keystone|a kiss]]\n[[sure is quiet in here|a kiss]]\n
They have no idea. They’ve never spent too much time together. It’s theoretically possible, of course, but it hasn’t happened yet. This is partly due to how well they get along, and partly due to how many activities and responsibilities they each have that keep them away from each other. They have complete individual lives and when they’re together they spend most of their time actively involved in catching each other up on what they’ve been doing.\n\n[[an idea|a kiss]]\n[[not enough time together|a kiss]]\n[[how well they get along|a kiss]]\n[[when they’re together|a kiss]]\n[[time actively involved|a kiss]]\n
The cure for waking up tired is coffee, coffee, and if necessary, more coffee. Oh, sure, he could go to bed earlier, but why do that when the world contains an effectively unlimited amount of coffee, of coffee, of coffee? \n\n[[anything worth doing is worth overdoing|a kiss]]\n[[a natural stimulant|a kiss]]\n[[what kept him up so late in the first place|a kiss]]\n[[a working definition of impetus|a kiss]]\n[[a celebration of superabundance|a kiss]]\n
There’s the Y, of course. The O of surprise. The J of the jawline, the L on the left hand, the S of a wondering hand.\n\n[[how they write the sentences of their life|a kiss]]\n[[a form of punctuation|a kiss]]\n[[a punctuation of form|a kiss]]\n[[how to spell love|a kiss]]\n[[how to spell yes|a kiss]]\n
Let it go. Seriously. You really need to learn to let it go.\n\n[[going, going, gone|a kiss]]\n[[he’s learning, slowly|a kiss]]\n[[a story about letting go|a kiss]]\n[[a story about hanging on|a kiss]]\n[[a poem he wrote about actions and consequences|a kiss]]\n
Under the basement is an abandoned coal mine. The whole area is either in the flood plain, or, above a coal mine, or both. It’s not uncommon for whole houses to be swallowed up by a ruptured seam. They have mine subsidance insurance on the house, but that’s small comfort when climbing into bed for the night. If it were just the fact of being over a mine, the risk would be negligible. But human greed being what it is, after the coal barons took as much coal as they dared, scrapers would steal in and remove the support pillars, and scrape higher into the ceiling than was deemed safe by an industry notorious for having dubious estimations of what was safe. And there are mine fires that continue to burn and smolder throughout the area, further eating away at the husk that holds them safe above the hole.\n\n[[below the surface of every sure face|a kiss]]\n[[a meditation on the fragility of each day|a kiss]]\n[[a story that caves out|a kiss]]\n[[the husk that holds them|a kiss]]\n[[safe above the hole|a kiss]]\n
The reality of the situation is that they met after his divorce was final, and, after her divorce proceedings had begun. But it was near enough in time to both events that the dirt-loving nature of people in general was such that people preferred to imagine that they’d met while one or both of them was still in a functioning relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. \n\nFact is, they met each other at the one point in their lives when neither one of them wanted to have anything to do with another relationship. The worst possible time ended up being the best possible time. Go figure.\n\n[[the reality of the situation|a kiss]]\n[[it was near enough|a kiss]]\n[[one hallmark of a functioning relationship|a kiss]]\n[[nothing could be closer to the truth|a kiss]]\n[[the one point in their lives|a kiss]]\n
He caught a large mouth bass casting with a popper off the dock into the lily pads off to the left. It was the biggest fish he’d ever caught at that point in his life. They thought it was going to pull him in, and tried to help him, but he didn’t want the help. And he fought that fish and he won and when it was landed he couldn’t wait to cook it up and eat it up. While his dad cleaned it, he dreamed of the Best Way to eat the Biggest Fish he’d ever caught. He wanted it pan-fried over the fire, served with peanut butter and american cheese. Everything he loved all in one place. Lesson learned. Not all Best Things combine in favorable ways. It was awful. Disgusting, even. He couldn’t eat it, and, it couldn’t be salvaged. Greed mocks the greedy.\n\n[[cast and reel in, cast and reel in|a kiss]]\n[[the biggest catch of all time|a kiss]]\n[[a story about getting pulled in|a kiss]]\n[[lesson learned|a kiss]]\n[[everything he loves all in one place|a kiss]]\n
He read the graphic novel a few times in his college days. Loved it. Recommended it a lot. Years passed. He came into their lives. The movie started getting hyped as being nearly finished. He knew he’d want to see it, and found out neither of them had ever read it. So he bought it for them for a Christmas present so they could all read it before the movie came out. They did and liked it and when the movie hit they went to see it. The verdict: close but no cigar. One scene unnecessarily (and untrue-to-the-book) overviolent, and the whole story line that she liked the best 99.9% eliminated, present only in cameo.\n\n[[why they still go to theaters]]\n[[what always gets lost from page to screen]]\n[[is he glad he made it an event?]]\n[[the list of movies that were better than the book]]\n[[where the book he bought will end up]]
The sofa in the living room of the house on Lakeshore Drive had cushions that could be used to build a pretty great fort.\n\nCountless tent/bed forts.\n\nIf you went to the very end of 73rd Place, past the brush at the end of the dead-end, there was a huge open space that had an abandoned building, and several stands of trees. There was a tree fort in one spot one summer, and a living room inside a canopy of arcing bush branches another summer.\n\n[[building a permanent fort|a kiss]]\n[[the open space|a kiss]]\n[[a place to hide|a kiss]]\n[[past the brush of the dead end|a kiss]]\n[[a canopy|a kiss]]\n
Ever since he can remember he’s wanted to tour the Cheetos factory to watch them make the crunchy ones. The poofy ones don’t interest him at all. At this point in his life he’s seen enough television shows about factory food making that he has a pretty good idea of how they do it, but, the desire doesn’t really stem from a need to understand the how of it. He just wants to watch them being made, for no rational reason.\n\n[[the irrationality of interest|a kiss]]\n[[the compulsive urge towards interestingness|a kiss]]\n[[a pretty good idea|a kiss]]\n[[where desire stems from|a kiss]]\n[[looking for reasons in everything will lead you down many dead ends, rabbit holes, and culs-de-sac|a kiss]]\n
curve shape sure lithe bend stretch reach yes lift turn laugh dance elegance flow question symbol daisies blue glass whisper snurg hedgehog open walk sunshine heart beach words birds snuzzle knead spin dip blend write smile idea curious gloxinia genius dreams surround meaning perfect she her girl girly woman hips lips eyes ache lean fall catch carry alpha omega moon sun stars have hold how why here now yes\n\n[[curve shape sure|a kiss]]\n[[spin dip blend|a kiss]]\n[[surround meaning|a kiss]]\n[[fall catch carry|a kiss]]\n[[here now yes|a kiss]]\n
Tricky poems tantalize as much as they taunt.\n\nSome poems are written in a single sitting, and present themselves whole to the poet.\n\nSome poems emerge over time through a careful process of revision.\n\nSome poems never emerge, they just stay there, simmering simpering scintillating below the surface. Always on the tip of the mind’s tongue. Always the glint of the brass ring just out of reach. Uncatchable, a mirage, heat shimmer over asphalt, never taking a final satisfactory shape. Hundreds of attempts made to write them and as many discarded wastes that didn’t even come close. Even getting close would be enough, after so many failed attempts.\n\n[[a thousand attmempts|a kiss]]\n[[the trail|a kiss]]\n[[getting close|a kiss]]\n[[dogged determination|a kiss]]\n[[so many failed attempts|a kiss]]\n
He can understand the challenges of being an absentee owner of a property. It’s difficult, at best, to perform even the most basic and routine functions from a distance. And it’s hard to find a good manager who can take care of things without just taking you to the cleaners. You have to be there to make sure, because it’s not what you expect, it’s what you inspect.\n\n[[be here now|a kiss]]\n[[the most basic and routine functions|a kiss]]\n[[a collection of things that require presence|a kiss]]\n[[you have to be|a kiss]]\n[[there|a kiss]]\n
Well, not totally unused, but largely unused. Once or twice a year someone (usually selling magazine subscriptions or afterlife options) will scare them by appearing at what is technically the front door. It may not even be solid enough for full-time use. They do decorate it with garland and Christmas lights each year, and this summer she did add two freshly painted chairs so that it doesn’t look so abandoned.\n\n[[magazines she’s subscribed to]]\n[[Christmas decoration rules]]\n[[one non-obvious thing that is working against the balcony]]\n[[the door they really use]]\n[[what you’d see if you stood on the balcony and looked out]]\n
It implies a brass ring that is worth reaching for and is reachable. He supports this notion. She’s his brass ring, he reached for her, and he got her.\n\nHe loves the notion of the brass ring, too, because no one his age or younger has ever seen an actual brass ring, but the metaphor is so compelling that it carries on in awareness nonetheless.\n\n[[by implication, by extension|a kiss]]\n[[round and go round|a kiss]]\n[[when he reaches for her now|a kiss]]\n[[reaching, reachable, reached|a kiss]]\n[[the flickering of lights as they pass by|a kiss]]\n
In the right kind of winds, certain kinds of kites can be flown for hours staked, and unattended.\n\nBut the flight of a kite is a living thing, and is best accomplished with an eager and interested set of hands tending to the line. It’s a dance, and while some people can dance alone and make it look fun, dancing is for two.\n\n[[the tension of wind against paper|a kiss]]\n[[tending to the line|a kiss]]\n[[a long list of dances|a kiss]]\n[[the opposite of alone|a kiss]]\n[[a story about dancing|a kiss]]\n
At the first restaurant they went into after they moved there they asked where the smoking section was. The waitress looked surprised, raised one eyebrow and said, “Hunny, it’s awwwl smokin’.”\n\n[[why he doesn’t smoke anymore|a kiss]]\n[[why he doesn’t miss smoking|a kiss]]\n[[why he’ll never smoke again|a kiss]]\n[[why he’d rather cook than go out|a kiss]]\n[[a different kind of smokin’|a kiss]]\n
He has the toaster oven his mother used to make toasted cheese sandwiches. A toaster oven is a funny thing. It’s not exactly like a broiler or an oven or a toaster. It is very much its own thing. He hasn’t used to to make cheese toast, yet, but it has seen some use. The moment hasn’t been right. Years have passed. It is a thing outside of time. It may be better in memory than it could ever be in reality now that reality has changed forever.\n\n[[a thing unlike other things|a kiss]]\n[[a moment that has been right|a kiss]]\n[[inside of time|a kiss]]\n[[the melancholia of memory|a kiss]]\n[[foreverness|a kiss]]\n
The paddleboat was not comfortable. Which is like saying that Hades can be a trifle warm. The distance from hip to pedal was all wrong for both of them, and it was impossible to paddle in anything remotely like a leisurely manner. You could paddle like mad until you got a cramp or your foot slipped off and your leg shot out of the hip joint. Or you could drift in awkward plastic discomfort. Cramps and blisters all the result of a badly designed little boat. They had a fine time, despite it, though. It’s what they do.\n\n[[understatement as a literary motif|a kiss]]\n[[all right for both of them|a kiss]]\n[[options and choices and decisions, oh my|a kiss]]\n[[a fine time|a kiss]]\n[[it’s what they do|a kiss]]\n
I am proud of you.\nYou are beautiful in every kind of light.\nThe spark behind your eyes pulls me in.\nI’m sorry.\nI shouldn’t have said that.\nI didn’t mean it.\nYou’re right.\nI should learn to be more forgiving.\nI would be a better person if I were more like you.\n\n[[louder than words|a kiss]]\n[[brighter than the sun|a kiss]]\n[[a pull like gravity|a kiss]]\n[[before speaking|a kiss]]\n[[learning how to bend without breaking|a kiss]]\n
A good question, and a tough one to answer. Or slippery, anyway. It becomes problematic trying to defend the notion that anything specific isn’t a poem, though, clearly, there is much that is not. It started out as a poem, but then it grew to include other elements, though the way it works as a whole may correct for that. It’s the intention of the author that it be a poem. That may be important. It at least provides a stick to try and measure against. As her mother once said, we shall see what we shall see.\n\n[[what if it isn’t a poem?]]\n[[one thing it needs to be doing for him to consider it a poem]]\n[[who decides]]\n[[the assumption of decidability]]\n[[the context for the quote]]\n
One mid-Autumn evening they were coming home from a night out and there, straddling the top pipe of the chainlink fence, big fat and pink, was a possum working his way down the grapevine nibbling at the ripest ones. They slowly walked past without overtly noticing him, and he didn’t move the whole time. Just froze there, balanced on the pipe, tickled by bamboo leaves, a plump grape held in his mouth. They saw him a couple of more times before he decided there was too much traffic at this place to justify the grapes.\n\n[[the bamboo]]\n[[the grapevine]]\n[[the morning glories]]\n[[the elegant stinkhorn]]\n[[the birdfeeder]]
Buying local makes so much sense when you stop for a moment to think about it that it’s clear that the reason it has to be explained at all is because we have been indoctrinated into not thinking about it at all.\n\nAll it takes is a simple reversal of a basic thought process. Most of us buy things that aren’t locally produced because those non-local items are less expensive. We think to ourselves, “Why should I buy local, when it costs more?” And what we should be thinking is, “Why is it cheaper not to buy local? Where are those cost savings coming from? What is the true price of this so-called savings.”\n\nThe profit motive is not interested in doing the right thing. It’s interested in doing the profitable thing. They are not equivalent.\n\n[[the making and breaking of sense|a kiss]]\n[[processes of thought, and their directionality|a kiss]]\n[[cost is not price is not value|a kiss]]\n[[motives and motivations|a kiss]]\n[[there’s no reason to spend millions of dollars in order to advertise the plain truth|a kiss]]\n
He’s pretty sure at least one of the dogs is so dumb he’s actually barking at his own echo, often for hours on end. Their house is situated about halfway up the valley side, so, a good sharp bark on a clear crisp day can take a good long time to come back. And it won’t lose much in volume, either.\n\nHe believes, with cartoonist Gary Larson, that if we could understand the language of dogs, we’d realize that what they’re saying is, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” and nothing else.\n\n[[who hasn’t barked at their own echo|a kiss]]\n[[we criticize in others the thing we fear most about ourselves|a kiss]]\n[[in the interval between call and response|a kiss]]\n[[what carries like sound|a kiss]]\n[[one way to say more than hey|a kiss]]\n\n
The food dish that magically appears on the porch whenever he isn’t looking.\n\nThe water dish that magically appears on the porch when it gets over 90 degrees.\n\nThe curious Mango and the sexy Stella who like to peep out through the screen door.\n\n[[what the dumb boys don’t realize]]\n[[he’s only half-joking]]\n[[she’s only half-joking]]\n[[what Stella’d do if the door were open]]\n[[what Mango’d do if the door were open]]
No, he never gets cold. He’s like the anti-cold. He’s a furnace, a swelter, a core meltdown, a hunka hunka burnin’ love. Born and raised in Minnesota, he feels most at home during the winter. His hands and his feet are always warm. He is often too warm and asks her to please put her cold hands and feet on him to cool him off. \n\n[[things he misses about Minnesota]]\n[[what he says about warm vs. cold weather]]\n[[the best boots and gloves]]\n[[where abouts in Minnesota]]\n[[why she’s sometimes still cold in bed]]\n
The tallest mark is her daughter’s father. It is tallest by far, but shorter than his own would be if it were present. But, of course, it isn’t present and never will be. This is a place where he won’t be making his literal mark.\n\n[[we do what we can|a kiss]]\n[[with all we can muster|a kiss]]\n[[and in the end we hope|a kiss]]\n[[what little we do|a kiss]]\n[[is enough|a kiss]]\n
The house continues to torque and twist and settle and the windows are not happy about it. Some of them can no longer be fully closed at the top or bottom because the rectangle has become a full-fledged rhomboid.\n\n[[walking towards the house from the parked car]]\n[[how long the house has]]\n[[the sound they’ll hear first]]\n[[what his 7th grade math teacher wrote]]\n[[a worse house]]\n
//The Archetype of Ta-Da//\n\nThis is an open ended project—it would be a series of short Flash films (or Java animations, or or or) all featuring the same character.\n\nThis is going to take some explanation, and very little of it will be linear. Just some broad brush strokes of a concept, and your ability to connect the dots.\n\nConcept:\n\n“coyote” is a similar character, but Ta-Da is not Coyote, or Loki.\n\nsimilar in that Ta-Da is potentially archetypal, cross cultural, universal.\n\nTa-Da is the bellyflop\n\nTa-Da is that lock or shock of hair that springs up or out\n\nTa-Da is the first tree to turn bright brilliant red in the middle of a mountainside of trees that are all still green.\n\nTa-Da is a flamboyant bow before the crowd accompanied by the sound of ripping pants.\n\nTa-Da is the dive into the empty pool\n\nbut Ta-Da is not just silly or comical, Ta-Da is the spirit of boldness incarnate, and Goethe tells us:\n\nWhatever you would do, begin it now. Boldness has a greatness all its own.\n\nTa-Da is the one ear of corn that’s 8' above the genetically engineered carpet-even height of the rest of the field.\n\nTa-Da steals the stone from the masters hand while the master is still explaining the challenge\n\nTa-Da is the running squirrel\n\nTa-Da was Minnesota Fats, not Willie Mosconi\n\nWhat does Ta-Da look like?\n\nMaybe he’s a walking jangle of letters in the shape of a person, but with swagger for sure.\n\nMaybe he lives in a world where all the objects are composed of their spellings:\n\n{{{       c}}}\n{{{       o}}}\n{{{      ooo}}}\n{{{     ooooo}}}\n{{{     ooooo}}}\n{{{   r ooooo r}}}\n{{{    rooooor}}}\n{{{    rooooor}}}\n{{{     rooor}}}\n{{{       N}}}\n{{{       N}}}\n{{{       N}}}\n{{{       N}}}\n\nMaybe he himself is made up of the letters T a d a\n\nMaybe he walks around and his shape is defined by the limits of his never quite stopped motion.\n\nTa-Da is like a jangle of springs wound too tight and occasionally Ta-Da BOINGS into being in just the right, or sometimes just the wrong, place.\n\nA series animated cartoons with this character of Ta-Da. You see Ta-Da all around you, every day. The key would be for there to be as much latitude as possible in what Ta-Da looks like, so Ta-Da can look like anything. That’s why the original thought was a jangle of letters in a world built out of letterforms. But it doesn’t have to be that. It just needs to capture this essence of the character of Ta-Da in some way that would allow Ta-Da to be recognized in a wide variety of situations. Always different, always identifiably the same. He goes “sproing”, and is slightly unkempt.\n\nTa-Da is Gene Wilder’s Willie Wonka when you first see him and his cane gets stuck in the sidewalk and he falls...into a somersault.\n\nTa-Da is the emcee who pulls back the curtain with a sweepingly proud gesture to reveal the set crew still at work setting up.\n\nTa-Da is a bit of Popeye and bit of Crocodile Dundee.\n\nTa-Da is what it means to make a crazy wild guess and be right.\n\nTa-Da knew it all along.\n\nAndy Warhol once said: Nothing looks cooler than someone completely unafraid of looking uncool.\n\nTa-Da is beginner’s luck, beginner mind.\n\nTa-Da is irrepressible.\n\nTa-Da doesn’t always win, but Ta-Da never gives up.\n\nThe key is this Ta-Da-ness is something we see all the time, and it’s this mix of bold, confident, foolish, often right, sometimes wrong, always enthusiastic.\n\n[[beginner mind|a kiss]]\n[[boldness has a greatness all its own|a kiss]]\n[[always different, always identifiably the same|a kiss]]\n[[slightly unkempt|a kiss]]\n[[Ta-Da|a kiss]]\n
Couch Day is an official family holiday. It’s the day after Christmas when everyone sits around on couches and reads from the stack of books they received as gifts. It could be called jammies and couch day. Another Christmas tradition is that all the ladies get new jammies. But that’s not why it could be called jammies and couch day. It could be called jammies and couch day because on couch day everyone knows that no one is going to leave the house, so, there’s really no reason to wear anything but the new jammies. It could also be called loafing day. Or do nothing day. Or total relaxation day. Or luxuriate in the loot day.\n\n[[the calm in the eye of the storm that is life|a kiss]]\n[[a moment of pause|a kiss]]\n[[right before the bell rings|a kiss]]\n[[inspiration means breathing in|a kiss]]\n[[giving thanks is giving back|a kiss]]\n
A two writer relationship is a tricky thing. Writers are funny about all aspects of their writing process. There are a lot of idiosyncracies spread out like light bulbs across a floor and accidentally stepping on any of them while the other is trying to work can be an explosive and lacerating experience. It’s as if all writing occurs in streaks, and the old adage that you need to respect the streak becomes the rule of the day. If you think you’re writing well because you haven’t changed your socks, you are. If you think you’re writing well because you hold your breath after each comma, you are. If you think you’re writing well because the sun is just right in the window when you hit 20 solid minutes of no one talking to you, you are.\n\nTo make a two writer relationship work, each has to make way for the other. And make a little extra way, too, just to be safe.\n\n[[a tricky thing|a kiss]]\n[[make way|a kiss]]\n[[and a little extra|a kiss]]\n[[just to be safe|a kiss]]\n[[and maybe a tad more|a kiss]]\n
They were on their honeymoon. They got married right after Thanksgiving (her favorite holiday) and spent the week after in Philadelphia, on a gustatour of the seven of the city’s finest restaurants. They wanted to spend the time together, not on a plane, not on a tour bus, not traveling. That could wait. They’d waited long enough to be together. \n\n[[how the honeymooon began|a kiss]]\n[[the nature of time|a kiss]]\n[[why they waited as long as they did|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to wait|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between waiting and wanting|a kiss]]\n
water filters, the bank balance, how much soda is left, how much charcoal they have, cereal, which windows are open, poetry submissions (in), poetry submissions (out), her birthday, their anniversary, mileage, gas prices, restaurants she likes and doesn’t like, the parts of this project, the parts of all his other projects.\n\n[[which windows are open]]\n[[on submissions]]\n[[the charcoal’s days may be numbered]]\n[[people he has grudges against]]\n[[why he keeps track of so much]]\n
they share their writing projects in-progress\nthey work together\nthey work apart\nthey remember things the other says\nthey make time to go on dates\nthey disagree\nthey root for each other\n\n[[a two writer relationship]]\n[[work they do together]]\n[[work they do apart]]\n[[a typical date]]\n[[things they disagree about]]
The metabolism shift happened at exactly the wrong time. For no particular reason he and his first wife had gotten into a habit of visiting a nearby ice cream shop just about every other day after dinner. That was the summer his metabolism shifted. The year before, he couldn’ve eaten a gallon of ice cream every night and burned the calories like burning birthday candles. After that summer, if he looks sideways at a popsicle he has to let his belt out another notch. Some days he imagines that the base layer of the rind around his mid-section is still that chocolate almond ice cream from all those summers ago. Still there and blocking absorbtion of calories further out.\n\n[[exactly the right time|a kiss]]\n[[for every good reason|a kiss]]\n[[a creature of habit|a kiss]]\n[[like burning birthday candles|a kiss]]\n[[some days he imagines|a kiss]]\n
Depends on the guy. One guy likes to sit out on the polished chrome front bumper of the engine and swingdangle his feet. A couple of them like to stand at the end of the driveway, right streetside, and shoot the breeze with their arms crossed in front of them while they watch the passing traffic. A gaggle of three of them like to congregate by a bench off to the side of the engine’s garage where they can smoke their cigarettes and drink their coffee in the shade.\n\n[[everyone so different, everyone the same|a kiss]]\n[[the simple things in life|a kiss]]\n[[in the calm before the storm|a kiss]]\n[[that feeling of weightlessness|a kiss]]\n[[where there’s smoke there’s fire|a kiss]]\n
Both graphite bits are in his left hand, because he’s left-handed. They come from his gradeschool days of reaching around to his back pocket for a sharpened pencil and jamming his hand down on the points instead of gracefully finding the barrel. Ham hands.\n\n[[a spinning that knows no handedness|a kiss]]\n[[reaching around|a kiss]]\n[[rounding areach|a kiss]]\n[[on the points|a kiss]]\n[[a graceful finding|a kiss]]\n
His original mis-conception was that mushrooms could be broken down into several distinct groups: \n\n1) deadly and nothing else looks like it\n2) safe and nothing else looks like it\n3) deadly and easily confused for safe\n4) safe and easily confused for deadly\n5) unknown\n\nUnder this incorrect view of things, all one had to do was learn which mushrooms were of type 2, and there’d be no risk at all. \n\nIf only it were so simple. Turns out there’s a lot more ways to end up sick or dead than there are to have a tasty lunch. Now they leave it to the experts, and happily so.\n\n[[the malleability of thought|a kiss]]\n[[first, a diagram|a kiss]]\n[[second, look for the overlaps|a kiss]]\n[[a correct view of things|a kiss]]\n[[a story about if only|a kiss]]\n
Where to begin? So much is painted red over there. Instructions on where to park, where not to park, whose garbage can is whose, when the garbage gets put out, every fence poll on the way down the driveway, the can outside the common door labeled for “butt’s only”, even an entire kid’s bicycle (including the frame, rims, handlebars, and pedals). But no wheelbarrow.\n\n[[where to begin|a kiss]]\n[[and poetry fails|a kiss]]\n[[when it fails to reach|a kiss]]\n[[the people who need it|a kiss]]\n[[most|a kiss]]\n
Everything. What a ridiculous proposition, as if someone could measure quantitatively (most vs least) something that is so fundamentally qualitative. What he misses most about his mother is his mother.\n\n[[a ridiculous proposition|a kiss]]\n[[an example of something quantitative|a kiss]]\n[[an example of something qualitative|a kiss]]\n[[the best advice to keep from missing|a kiss]]\n[[and somehow, life goes on|a kiss]]\n
The best part about volunteering is seeing what a huge difference you can make in someone else’s life through giving such a small amount of time out of your own life.\n\nImagine a world where everytime you gave someone a penny it became worth a thousand dollars to them. That’s what volunteering is like.\n\n[[there are no small gestures|a kiss]]\n[[we really only have one thing in this world to give: time. everything else is different ways of representing that time|a kiss]]\n[[the give and take of giving and taking|a kiss]]\n[[what you give is not equal to what others receive|a kiss]]\n[[value is subjective|a kiss]]\n
Cocoa butter. But in moderation. The stuff is wicked oily, and a little goes a long, long way. The scent is mouth-wateringly good, too. A large jar of it feels lighter than it should be, but it’s worth every penny.\n\n[[everything in moderation, including moderation|a kiss]]\n[[a little goes a long way|a kiss]]\n[[mouth-wateringly good|a kiss]]\n[[lighter than it should be|a kiss]]\n[[worth every penny, and more|a kiss]]\n
Open your eyes and remember that life is messy, life is too short to waste, life is in the living, life is as life does, it’s your life, there’s no dress rehearsal, we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do, there are brass rings if you reach, I have no reason to lie to you, live.\n\n[[do anything for the right one|a kiss]]\n[[the best advice you’ll ever get|a kiss]]\n[[step one|a kiss]]\n[[the brass ring|a kiss]]\n[[a time when most of us close our eyes|a kiss]]
One night it was kittens that came down all sneakylike from the farthest back corner of the yard. Five, in all, but they came out into the light to the food dish one at a time, from boldest to timidest. Boldest ate the most, too. Timidest the least.\n\n[[what they fed the kittens]]\n[[why they didn’t take them to the SPCA]]\n[[where the kittens ended up]]\n[[the virtues of the middle road]]\n[[the first time they saw the kittens]]
He read a story about medical students working with cadavers who were able to successfully suppress all their natural aversions for all parts of the process, but kept getting tripped up by the hands. They could “thing” the organs, the faces, even the feet. But the hands, they had to cover the hands with mittens or tie cloth around them, because, even in death, the hands remained disconcertingly expressive.\n\nHe finds her hands concertingly expressive. Their temperature tells as much about her mood as their weight in his hand, their state of relaxation or tension.\n\n[[a story he read about hands|a kiss]]\n[[all parts of the process|a kiss]]\n[[a concert of expressiveness|a kiss]]\n[[what temperature teaches us|a kiss]]\n[[the state of tension|a kiss]]\n
Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.\n\nMost advertising is lying, and you’ll get a more accurate picture of what’s being sold if you imagine the opposite to be true.\n\nKnowing what you don’t know is as important as knowing what you do know.\n\nYou can’t go far wrong with moderation. Everything in moderation, he says, including moderation.\n\nA little knowledge is a dangerous thing.\n\nAll fear is irrational. Any fear can be conquered by applying more knowledge. Some fears would require the application of so much knowledge that it might be simpler to just be afraid.\n\n[[a map of what he knows|a kiss]]\n[[an excess of moderation|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you can do and should do|a kiss]]\n[[beware of people who claim to have answers to unanswerable questions|a kiss]]\n[[one thing for certain|a kiss]]\n
It took two years to put together the memorial card he mailed out to all his friends, family, and the people who had sent cards of condolence. He just wasn’t ready. Every few months he’d push himself to see if it was time, yet, and it just wasn’t. Pieces got done, here and there, the work on it never really stopped. It just moved slowly, in its own time, at its own pace. Two years to the day, and he mailed it.\n\n[[how he knew he was ready|a kiss]]\n[[pieces, here and there|a kiss]]\n[[slowly, in its own time|a kiss]]\n[[never really stopped|a kiss]]\n[[it takes what it takes|a kiss]]\n
There’s four cats now, not including the man cats that like to lounge about on the front stoop, basking in the attentions of the ladies of the house. One more and she’s officially in crazy cat lady territory as far as he’s concerned.\n\n[[crazy like a fox|a kiss]]\n[[basking in attentions|a kiss]]\n[[his main concern|a kiss]]\n[[one more|a kiss]]\n[[charting a territory|a kiss]]\n
She was in a real bind. Her best friend’s boyfriend had cheated, and she knew it, but her best friend did not. She was told not to tell her. A textbook example of being between a rock and a hard place. She knew if she told her best friend her best friend might be angry at her. She also knew that the person who gave her the information would be angry at her for sharing it. It seemed like a no-win situation. But she’s a good person and worked it out correctly by putting herself in her best friend’s shoes. Even if you might wish the information wasn’t true, you would never wish to not be made aware of it by someone you considered to be your friend. She told her.\n\n[[the bandage and the blade|a kiss]]\n[[the dance of relationships|a kiss]]\n[[only a fool would risk losing|a kiss]]\n[[a classic conundrum|a kiss]]\n[[you might wish|a kiss]]\n
A lot of reasons, but, most significant was the drive. It was an hour and twenty minutes each way every day. Tolls and tires and oil changes and the blindingly boring hours added up to a debt the job’s salary couldn’t offset. He tried listening to books on tape, books on CDs, lectures on mp3s, “writing” by dictating to a voice recorder, you name it, he tried it. But it was sucking his life away and giving him not enough in return.\n\n[[each way every day|a kiss]]\n[[it adds up|a kiss]]\n[[where he wanted to be, every mile|a kiss]]\n[[a song he sang to keep himself sane|a kiss]]\n[[enough in return|a kiss]]\n
The space between makes all the difference in the world.\n\nBetween what we say and what we do.\nBetween who we are and who we want to be.\nBetween who we love and how we love them.\nBetween what we want and what we need.\nBetween each other.\nBetween the minutes.\nBetween the days.\nBetween the lives.\n\n[[the world|a kiss]]\n[[we say we do|a kiss]]\n[[we are we want|a kiss]]\n[[we love we love|a kiss]]\n[[we want we need|a kiss]]\n[[each other|a kiss]]
As a young boy, he never really know what to make of these stories. Part of him was bothered, part of him was brought up to respect his elders. Do you tolerate intolerable behavior because you know that the person evincing that behavior was raised in a time when it was if not socially acceptable at least not as socially abhorrant?\n\nEasy answers always fail. The answer isn’t to tolerate the behavior, and the answer isn’t to condemn it, the answer is to use the opportunity of the behavior to have a dialog about the issue. But that’s a really hard job, and nobody wants to hear it. What, what, interact with other people in a meaningful fashion over matters in dispute? \n\n[[as an adult, what he makes of these stories|a kiss]]\n[[from pieces and parts|a kiss]]\n[[a way to balance contradictions|a kiss]]\n[[where the limits of moral relativism breakdown|a kiss]]\n[[a resolution to the illusion of complexity|a kiss]]\n
a moment ripples outward
One summer, for fun, they took a stringer of fish and hung it by nearly invisible monofilament line from the big arm of the oak tree. His dad manned the camera, and he took three steps straight back and held his arm up as if he were holding up the stringer of fish. The resulting optical illusion made it look like an eight-year-old boy was holding up with one arm a stringer full of the largest walleyed pike ever caught. A simple trick of perspective, given the lie by the physics of a 60 lb boy holding up 45 lb of fish. All he has today is a memory of the photo of the event, not the photo, and not a memory of the event. Only a memory of the photo o f the event.\n\n[[nearly invisible lines|a kiss]]\n[[a trick of perspective|a kiss]]\n[[the durability of memory|a kiss]]\n[[the memory of durability|a kiss]]\n[[things thrice removed|a kiss]]\n
The key to tease is analogous to the action of alliteration. Alliteration is an accelerant, you see, it speeds sense skippingly. The key to tease is for the promise to always appear just out of reach, but never to appear impossible to reach.\n\n[[the tangle of tongues|a kiss]]\n[[slip purr whee|a kiss]]\n[[the promise|a kiss]]\n[[just in reach|a kiss]]\n[[imp, oh! sibilant|a kiss]]\n
Just hanging out in the bathroom, possibly in the shower licking the drip from the drain, possibly wiping her cheeks on the cords plugged into the outlet, most likely figure-eighting between someone’s legs. Edna likes to be where the people are. Especially if the people are where they are right before they go downstairs to break out the soft food. She purrs: “alright Smoothies, enough with the dillydallying, bring on the soft food.”\n\n[[figure eight and the infinity symbol|a kiss]]\n[[where the people are|a kiss]]\n[[dillydallying|a kiss]]\n[[patience and virtue|a kiss]]\n[[Edna sees entirely too much|a kiss]]\n
A lot of things contributed, but the biggest factor was that it had been written and revised during the middle and disintegrating portion of a failed marriage. Its subject matter was varied and diverse but all in some way or another concerned itself with the relationships of his life. So, it was an intertwined intertangle of knots and snags and pathways that could do nothing but remind him of huge swathes of detail he had no interest in having refreshed.\n\n[[beginning anew|a kiss]]\n[[subject matter and the matter of subject|a kiss]]\n[[the relationshps of his life|a kiss]]\n[[an intertwined intertangle|a kiss]]\n[[huge swathes of detail|a kiss]]
Logic breaks down, meaning breaks down, cars break down, people break down, rationalizations break down, will power breaks down, walls bread down, barriers break down, complex systems break down, relationshps break down, defenses break down, reasons break down, we all break down.\n\n[[after the breakdown|a kiss]]\n[[comes the buildup|a kiss]]\n[[which brings another breakdown|a kiss]]\n[[we breakdown and buildup and imagine meaning is in and escape from the cycle|a kiss]]\n[[the cycle is all the meaning knowable|a kiss]]\n
You do, of course. Who else? You could allow someone else to decide for you, by proxy, but, that would simply be a shell game of decision. You have decided to allow someone else to decide for you. That’s still your decision.\n\nYou decide which sources of information are trustworthy and which are not as a matter of expediency, to keep you from having to go to the level of first sources constantly, because that would take a prohibitive amount of time if it were required in all things.\n\nBut that transfer of trust in the decision does not constitute a transfer of responsibility.\n\nIf you choose to let someone else decide, you still have made a choice.\n\nIs it a poem or not?\n\n[[yes|a kiss]]\n[[no|a kiss]]\n[[maybe|a kiss]]\n[[what was the question again?|a kiss]]\n[[whoah, look at the time!|a kiss]]\n
The first rule of the kitchen is that you don’t try to catch anything while it’s falling. A knife’ll cost you a finger, a pan will cost you a burn, a breakable bit of china will end up being juggled and slapped into something that’ll shatter it farther and wider than if it had simply been allowed to fall.\n\n[[trying to catch anything|a kiss]]\n[[while it’s falling|a kiss]]\n[[a breakable bit|a kiss]]\n[[something that’ll shatter|a kiss]]\n[[allowed to fall|a kiss]]\n
It’s a copy of his favorite photo of his mom. She was a Dean’s Foods Girl when she was little—that’s a local dairy, and being the Dean’s Foods Girl meant appearing in some local advertising. A photo shoot was done, and there are many perfect pictures from that photo shoot. He has several, other members of his family have several, all framed and proper. This picture, though, only ever existed as a wallet-sized picture. He used to see it floating around, and over the years it had gotten torn in one place, creased in another, and coffee-stained. It was an “out-take” kind of a picture. It was the last photo of the day. She has clearly had it with all this posing business and he imagines this as her response to someone saying, “Please, can we just do one more?” one too many times.\n\n[[one perfect picture|a kiss]]\n[[perfection in impefection|a kiss]]\n[[only ever existed|a kiss]]\n[[creased, in another|a kiss]]\n[[one more, one too few times|a kiss]]\n
the crunch, the swaddle, the oomph, the whoof, the yippee, the yow, the tangle, the twistle, the spinnerdoodle, the stall, the pitch, the clever diversion, the manhandler, the bear, the hedgie, the needy, the greedy, the grope, the grab, the paw, the awww, the rar, the wiffle, the waffle, the wander, the sneaky deaky, the catch-me, the do over, the do it again, and the knee-buckler.\n\n[[the unspoken goal of every hug|a kiss]]\n[[why the differences in type matter|a kiss]]\n[[partial isn’t pejorative|a kiss]]\n[[an incomplete elaboration on the major types|a kiss]]\n[[more research required|a kiss]]\n
v is voiced, it’s a fricative, too. v is f plus voice, or f is v minus voice. they’re the same shape the same armature, the same orientation, the same breath. the difference one voice can make is the difference between fast and vast. \n\n[[all the difference in the world|a kiss]]\n[[the addition of one voice|a kiss]]\n[[the math of mouths|a kiss]]\n[[always the same, always different|a kiss]]\n[[like jazz|a kiss]]\n
He has a plant she gave him early on. When she gave it to him it had one good leaf and one leaf that didn’t look so good. He put it in a window that got good direct light in the morning and good indirect light the rest of the day, and he watered it just a sip every morning when he made his coffee. Slow but sure that plant fought its way back to abundance. Now, years later, it has dozens of healthy, waxy leaves, and he sticks to the same routine.\n\n[[where the line between metaphor and fact blurs|a kiss]]\n[[from one good leaf|a kiss]]\n[[just a sip|a kiss]]\n[[the rhythm of the regular|a kiss]]\n[[the same routine|a kiss]]\n
The cabinet also contains wine glasses (for red and white), a cocktail shaker, martini glasses, more martini glasses of a different design, enough silver rimmed punch glasses and large punch glasses to serve a full orchestra, several unmatched serving dishes, a few serving platters, a small humidor, a cigar cutter, a lighter, a can of lighter fluid for refilling the lighter, various medicines both pet and human, some change in need of being rolled, and a gravy boat.\n\nYou’d think it was an enormous cabinet, but it isn’t. It’s just stacked and racked efficiently.\n\n[[a junk drawer|a kiss]]\n[[salmagundi|a kiss]]\n[[a mixed bag|a kiss]]\n[[various and sundry|a kiss]]\n[[a veritable cornucopia|a kiss]]\n
The C of the inner-arm sides of her ribcage is startlingly compressed. Every time he holds her at her sides or rests his hand on her as they spoon he is surprised at how thick she isn’t. He can’t imagine how she possibly fits all her vital organs inside the envelope of her midsection.\n\n[[what she thinks of her body]]\n[[other letterforms related to bodies]]\n[[what he says in his startle]]\n[[another thing about her that startles him]]\n[[he likes to dip her like dancing]]
The problem with all metaphor is that it is inexact. Words are the original metaphors, and they are inexact. so the inexactitude is compounded and multiplied through the layers of abstraction. We think we’re moving through layers of abstraction to a more profound or more accurate expression of truth, but we’re getting further and further from it.\n\n[[the nearest to truth he’ll ever get|a kiss]]\n[[the moment of truth|a kiss]]\n[[the truth of moment|a kiss]]\n[[proximity is veracity|a kiss]]\n[[touch is truer than not-touch|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather used to say, “If they’re your friend, why the hell would you need to lie to them? And, if they’re not your friend, who the hell are they that you need to lie to them?”\n\nHe also used to say that he never lied because he was lazy and it was a lot easier to keep track of the truth.\n\n[[all things being equal|a kiss]]\n[[between friends|a kiss]]\n[[a better use for mouths|a kiss]]\n[[ease of use|a kiss]]\n[[the track of truth|a kiss]]\n
I love you\nI lurve you\nI loave you\nYes, thank you\nI missed you\nCome back here\nCalliope\n\n[[other ways they say I love you]]\n[[a story about bread]]\n[[how can you fall in love with only words]]\n[[what’s to be learned from all this going away]]\n[[the merry-go-round effect]]
Stella would be gone like a bullet shot out of a rifle, if she thought she could make it. You probably wouldn’t even notice, except for the sudden breeze laughing past your ankle. She can make it on her own out there in the real outside, for a while. But she’ll get homesick after a week and a half or so, and you’ll hear her mewling through a window and when you look out to see where it’s coming from, she’ll be huddled under the car in the neighbor’s driving, eyes wide and pleading for you to come over and get her and bring her back to the three squares a day and the clean litterbox and the sunbeam on the carpet.\n\n[[what it means to ricochet|a kiss]]\n[[a list of things you probably wouldn’t notice|a kiss]]\n[[an argument against making it on your own|a kiss]]\n[[where it’s coming from|a kiss]]\n[[the human equivalent of the sunbeam on the carpet|a kiss]]\n
The newest set of glasses was a thrift store find. They’ve been in need of a party glass—something suitable for punches and juices and sangrias and certain kinds of desserts. There’s two sizes, and a ton of each size. They’re stemless, squat and bowl-like, with a nice wide band of silver around each rim. They got well over 20 of them, total, for under $10. They’re classy and casual at the same time. The silver makes them look expensive, but knowing they weren’t means they get used for all sorts of everyday events.\n\n[[certain kinds of desserts|a kiss]]\n[[the silver lining|a kiss]]\n[[at the same time|a kiss]]\n[[ways of knowing|a kiss]]\n[[everyday events|a kiss]]\n
It got taken down once since he’s been around. When the old twin bed was replaced by the new King-sized bed, they had to take it off the wall because of the mattress had to be folded around the corner to make it up the stairs. Everyone was suprised at how heavy the mirror was. It went right back up as soon as the mattress cleared the corner.\n\n[[sleight of hand|a kiss]]\n[[the shell game|a kiss]]\n[[the way tumblers click in place|a kiss]]\n[[arranging is rearranging|a kiss]]\n[[the first step in turning a house into a home|a kiss]]\n
The door doesn’t have a threshold, so the bottom of it opens flush with the floor of the living room. There’s a large, perfectly positioned, nice-and-thick oriental-style rug in the living room. So the door to the balcony is essentially unusable. It’ll open about three inches. To open it further would mean peeling back the carpet from the corner, and folding it over to about halfway—not really a viable option for everyday use. \n\n[[the solution]]\n[[the overall cost of the solution]]\n[[if money were no object]]\n[[a higher priority right now]]\n[[what will end up happening]]
an old mirror\nan antique wall clock\na doll house on a piano bench\nmany pairs of shoes under the piano bench\na carpet at the foot of the stairs\n\n[[what the mirror has seen]]\n[[the truth about the wall clock]]\n[[who spends the most time with the doll house now]]\n[[who spends the most time with the shoes now]]\n[[the carpet’s secondary function]]\n
Even as a child she loved mushrooms. Her mother tells stories about turning her back on the cutting board and turning back moments later to find mushrooms missing and an innocent, smiling, no-longer-chewing daughter looking back at her.\n\nIt’s a lucky little girl who can love eating raw mushrooms and live in the woods and never accidentally poison herself. As much as she loved (and loves) mushrooms, she’s never been tempted to eat an unknown one. She loves the known-to-be-safe ones but does not love them so much that she’d risk trying a potentially lethal one. \n\nIt’s a matter of the big picture. No single mushroom is worth dying for, because that would mean no more mushrooms.\n\nShe still can’t resist stealing a fresh one or twelve from the cutting board when he’s not looking. He loves her for this, too.\n\n[[turning and turning back|a kiss]]\n[[what goes on when we’re not looking|a kiss]]\n[[one or twelve|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes he’s not looking on purpose|a kiss]]\n[[a non-exhaustive compendium of the things he loves her for |a kiss]]\n
It was one of those classic moments in the dark between the newly intimate. The shift and move wasn’t misconstrued, but the speed and the distance were doubly misjudged and he slammed his nose into her jaw at breakneck speed. No blood, no bruises, but, too hard a hit to be funny until at least 20 minutes later.\n\n[[one of those classic moments|a kiss]]\n[[the shift and move|a kiss]]\n[[practice, practice, practice|a kiss]]\n[[seeing stars, seeing fireworks|a kiss]]\n[[a drop in a pond that ripples outward|a kiss]]\n
There are a thousand reasons why he makes her laugh. Mostly because he can, and because when she laughs he feels like he’s a firefly, a hummingbird, and a drunken bumble bee; a chipmunk zoo, and a green velvet beetlebird.\n\nWhen she laughs his knees go a little weak, every time.\n\nThat he can make her laugh makes him feel like king of the world, god emperor of all he surveys, like a cat that caught the mouse, like he’s skydiving, like he’s won the lottery.\n\nSometimes when he makes her laugh she kisses him.\n\n\n\n[[reasons cast like seeds|a kiss]]\n[[a sidelong glance to help you understand everything|a kiss]]\n[[he makes her laugh because nothing lasts|a kiss]]\n[[he writes it down because nothing lasts|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes|a kiss]]\n
The way to watch dragonflies is to lay on your back in the middle of an unmown field on one of those hot summer days that has no wind at all. Pick a spot, lay flat, don’t move. Wait. You’ll be astonished to learn you can hear them before you see them. Your breath can make them veer. They, too, are weightless.\n\n[[the rewards of patience|a kiss]]\n[[paying attention to the details|a kiss]]\n[[the overall shape of astonishment|a kiss]]\n[[how the act of obersvation changes the observed|a kiss]]\n[[other, indistinct, sounds inherent in the rushing of blood|a kiss]]\n
It’s awkward when she asks for stories now. The storyspace he used to visit was an escape from the place he was in, so he went there eagerly, often was already there before she even asked. Now he lives in a space he has no desire to escape from, so it requires a different run-up. She tends to ask him for the stories while he’s in his pre-sleep wind-down, which is the opposite of a run-up. It’s not that he doesn’t want to tell her stories, or even that the task is that difficult. He’ll find a workaround, he always does.\n\n[[story as space|a kiss]]\n[[space as story|a kiss]]\n[[the shape of content|a kiss]]\n[[the content of shape|a kiss]]\n[[the way two hands hold, two bodies spoon, two strides sync, two arms link, two feet footsie|a kiss]]\n
He’s not sure but he thinks the water in the mouth worked because falling asleep while driving is a relatively delayed death that the tired brain can imagine is a distant consequence of the action of falling asleep. But drowning is a very immediate consequence of falling asleep with a mouthful of water. \n\n[[the mouth|a kiss]]\n[[relatively delayed|a kiss]]\n[[the action of|a kiss]]\n[[a very immediate consequence|a kiss]]\n[[a story about water|a kiss]]\n
She’s never been happy with that room. It attracts clutter, or, it’s awkward to be in, or it’s the hottest room in the house or it’s the only place the sick cat will use a litterbox or there’s no breeze. Always something with that room. And it really IS always something with that room. He doesn’t think she’s making it up, or exaggerating, it’s just the room that’s never right. \n\nWell, not never, it is the room where she does her writing, and, she is his favorite writer, so good does come out of that room, somehow, magically, via her words.\n\n[[another word for room is stanza|a kiss]]\n[[always something|a kiss]]\n[[and it really is|a kiss]]\n[[the room that’s always right|a kiss]]\n[[somehow, magically|a kiss]]\n
One of the cops, it turns out, went to school with her back when they both lived several towns away. They spent a goodly bit of time catching up and talking about their current neighborhood. It was very enlightening to get his perspective on the area. Never a bad thing to have a local cop you can talk to about things going on. Where they live isn’t horrible, by any stretch, but, it isn’t terrific, either. It’s a shit-ass coal town that has an above-average amount of people willing to walk to the liquor store in their fuzzy slippers and jammies.\n\n[[it turns out, it turns in|a kiss]]\n[[the spending of time as currency|a kiss]]\n[[by each and every stretch|a kiss]]\n[[the torus of his perspective|a kiss]]\n[[where they live|a kiss]]\n
To remind him that he needs to get the project done. He needs to get the project done. He needs to get the project done. It’s a constant but subtle visual reminder that he needs to get the project done.\n\n[[the structure of a mantra|a kiss]]\n[[the similarity of repetition to prayer|a kiss]]\n[[the things we tell ourselves|a kiss]]\n[[the similarity of prayer to spell|a kiss]]\n[[the magic of saying a thing over and over|a kiss]]\n
Edna is the sweet one. She’s also the deaf one, now. She’s the old biddy, and, while they say that Mango is the daughter’s cat (because they hope she’ll take her with her when she moves out on her own), truly, Edna is the daughter’s cat. She put up with pants and hats and bibs and gloves and just about every humiliation a little girl can throw at a cat. When the daughter is away for a few days, Edna will spend long, silent hours sitting in the doorway to the daughter’s room, waiting for her to magically appear in the bed.\n\n[[how they figured out Edna was deaf]]\n[[other side effects of the deafness]]\n[[a story about Mango]]\n[[a difference between today’s little girls and yesterday’s little boys]]\n[[reasons the daughter might be away]]\n
Nobody has been hurt yet, not even close. It’s not dangerous, at all, it’s merely inconvenient. Experienced visitors have all worked out there own strategies for staying properly situated. Newcomers usually only have one surprising sit, and then they figure it out. It is, overall, about as dangerous as the fact that pieces of the pea gravel get knocked up onto the pavers so when walking people have pebbles underfoot.\n\nBut the first time it happens people do get a good funny look on their face, because they’re not sure for a half a second whether something catastrophic or merely amusing has happened.\n\n[[it’s not dangerous|a kiss]]\n[[strategies for proper situation|a kiss]]\n[[steps involved in figuring it out|a kiss]]\n[[the reading of faces|a kiss]]\n[[that moment when anything is possible|a kiss]]\n
They also lost a good season and a half of blueberries from the blueberry bush. The first year it just flat out refused. The second year the return was weak and the berries were pathetic, desperate things. It took almost five years for the bush to fully recover.\n\n[[cycles within cycles|a kiss]]\n[[the wheel within the wheel|a kiss]]\n[[the chance outside the loop|a kiss]]\n[[turn and return|a kiss]]\n[[a story about the ripple effect of simple actions|a kiss]]\n
It’s a beautiful mid-summer night, with a cool breeze and a sunset so stunning it’ll never be forgotten and everyone is gathered in clusters of community in backyards throughout the neighborhood. Conversation ranges from ways to get more arts programming into the schools to restricting the height and size of the billboard space allowed to non-local businesses. Just kidding, they’re all at Wal-Mart having dinner at the McDonald’s inside before shopping for cheap plastic crap.\n\n[[a few actual quotes from this neighborhood]]\n[[four simple ways to pull on the rudder]]\n[[what the barking dogs are probably saying]]\n[[also in backyards]]\n
The grass in the area was matted from regular use. There were various and sundry bits of trash to indicate time was spent snacking. The bucket used as a seat showed evidence of a large backside being applied to it for extended periods.\n\n[[from regular use|a kiss]]\n[[various and sundry bits|a kiss]]\n[[time spent|a kiss]]\n[[time bought|a kiss]]\n[[the extending of periods|a kiss]]\n
Yes, well, that’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question, now, isn’t it? Almost literally, in fact. Why wouldn’t the house sell? It was a huge house, in a decent neighborhood, right on the edge of a growing revival neighborhood. The woodwork alone was worth more than the asking price, if someone wanted to do the work of ripping it out and selling it off. But it was stuck in a town where no one owns anything they can’t take with them should their union job suddenly dry up and blow away.\n\n[[worth more than money|a kiss]]\n[[the price of asking|a kiss]]\n[[a thing that can’t be owned|a kiss]]\n[[suddenly|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between walking away and walking towards|a kiss]]\n
Double-decker whenever possible, she doesn’t go for the triple-decker “club” versions of sandwiches very often. Just too hard to eat, and, too much bread, and likely too much mayonnaise, too. There’s a time when too much of a good thing is just too much, and that’s when it’s a sandwich. It’s all about balance and proportion and ratio.\n\n[[there’s a time|a kiss]]\n[[too much of a good thing is never enough|a kiss]]\n[[balance|a kiss]]\n[[proportion|a kiss]]\n[[ratio|a kiss]]\n
The echo of an echo’s echo of an echoed echo of an echo’s echoed echo.\n\nand\n\ndeep in the heart of the\nfist of the knot of the\ncore of the center of the\nwhisper of the hint of the\nessence of the whole of the\nbeginning of the end of the\ncrux of the point of the\nkernel of the marrow of the\nfocus of the navel of the\nbackbone of the nucleus of the\ngist of the nub of the\nhub of the life of the\nlove of the you is the\nme\n\nand\n\nself-doubt\n\n[[how can you fall in love with only words|a kiss]]\n[[a vine climbs a trellis by reaching around|a kiss]]\n[[reaching around|a kiss]]\n[[reaching|a kiss]]\n[[around|a kiss]]\n
There is one neighbor who every summer generates a prodigious amount of racket, but it’s okay. They’re a foster family who over the years have had hundreds of kids. They have a pool in their backyard and on most afternoons and early evenings during the summer you can hear the crazed yellings of 6-8 kids splashing and playing and learning how to be happy all over again. The kids change like clockwork. The sound of the joy stays the same.\n\n[[after the laughter is gone]]\n[[the conversation every time]]\n[[what they can see]]\n[[where those kids end up]]\n[[the truth about people]]\n
The state of sounding alike but meaning different things.\n\nLiteral examples: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.\n\nWhich means that those bison from the city of Buffalo who are bullied by other bison from the city of Buffalo do themselves bully other bison from Buffalo.\n\nMetaphorical examples: A man and a woman meet as residents of a retirement facility. They have a lot in common and are starting to hit it off, and, being experienced in the ways of the world, cut right to the chase. He says, “Now, what are your thoughts on sex?” and she says, “I like it infrequently.” And he says, “Is that one word, or two?”\n\n[[alike|a kiss]]\n[[different|a kiss]]\n[[a man and a woman meet|a kiss]]\n[[their lot in common|a kiss]]\n[[one word, or two|a kiss]]\n
We call it “the compound”. It’s a sprawl of a house that’s been converted into low-rent apartments managed by a slumlord with too much red paint at his disposal. The residents come and go with alarming frequency; often we don’t even have time to come up with clever nicknames.\n\n[[things that are painted red]]\n[[other uses of a driveway]]\n[[Shit Towel]]\n[[Amish Guy]]\n[[The Flabby Battlers]]
The Flabby Battlers used to live across the street with their parents (well, with the woman’s parents, the man’s in-laws), but one day in a fit of rage (the only way they did anything) all their stuff appeared on the front lawn, and then was hauled over an armful at a time, into an apartment at the compound. They never spoke to each other, they only shouted, raged, yelled, screamed, top-of-the-lungs and complete with regular (and believable) threats of violence. They lasted a long time in a house with high turnover, but after less than a year were moved out and away.\n\n[[a study in distances|a kiss]]\n[[of fits and starts|a kiss]]\n[[the notion of personal space|a kiss]]\n[[what must have kept them together|a kiss]]\n[[the opposite of out and away|a kiss]]\n
It was more of a lark than anything. One of the first years they had those free-standing soft-sided pools on the market. They bought a smaller one, knowing it was probably not going to end well. They followed the instructions, did their best (with a neighbor’s help) to grade a flat spot in the back yard, on the tier of the lawn above and beyond the patio. They filled it up with water and watched it jiggle like the world’s largest jello mold with indigestion. It squatted on the edge of the precipice, but it worked. She and her daughter and her daughter’s best friend spent the sweetspot of a summer playing in it. \n\n[[three tests of a relationship]]\n[[what’s on that flat spot now]]\n[[his view of money]]\n[[the neighbor who helped]]\n[[value in contrasts]]
The replacement is a green not seen since the 1940s on the outside and white on the inside. It’s sleek where the other was quirky. It’s styled where the other was a comfortable clunk. It’s nothing like its predecessor, but fits in the kitchen just as well.\n\n[[different but the same|a kiss]]\n[[the same but different|a kiss]]\n[[matters of degree|a kiss]]\n[[the thread that runs though it all|a kiss]]\n[[fit and fitness and fits and starts and stops|a kiss]]\n
One of his best friends, growing up, had a family cat that had gone blind. The cat got around pretty good, most of the time, and knew its way around the house well enough that a casual visitor might not even notice the cat was blind. But the cat sometimes got it wrong. On a few occasions while they were sitting at the kitchen table talking, the cat walked in from the other room and when she made that right turn to go towards her food dish, she smacked face first, hard, into the side of the refrigerator. Off by a step. But cat confident right up to impact.\n\n[[just when you think you know where you’re going|a kiss]]\n[[a thing you can safely do with eyes closed|a kiss]]\n[[a discussion of momentum|a kiss]]\n[[the impact of a moment|a kiss]]\n[[a moment of impact|a kiss]]\n
What is the pull of the past that we all feel, that urge to find the music we used to listen to (The Human League, Trio, Martin Briley), the foods we used to eat (Quisp, the toasted cheese his mom made), the movies we used to love (Richard Gere’s Breathless, Airplane), the books that we read (Jonathan Livingston Seagull), the places we grew up (the suburbs of St. Paul), the toys we had (a stuffed animal he called Reddy, a red quilted fabric dog with white ears)?\n\nThe memory is a funny thing. It makes the good things seem better, and the bad things seem smaller. It’s a healing mechanism that helps us move forward, but, as a side effect, it also tugs at us, and asks us to look back.\n\n[[the pull|a kiss]]\n[[we all feel|a kiss]]\n[[that urge|a kiss]]\n[[a funny thing|a kiss]]\n[[move forward, move back, move forward|a kiss]]\n
When he got caught he slipped easily, instantly, into lying mode. He claimed that “My friend told me that this was his yard and that I could play in it.” Yeah, that probably works when it’s a) not the yard right next to yours, and b) the people you’re telling the stock lie to haven’t already heard it from you before as excuse for another incident. The hardest part about being a liar is keeping track. Better to stick with the truth, there’s fewer versions of it.\n\n[[slipped|a kiss]]\n[[easily|a kiss]]\n[[instantly|a kiss]]\n[[into|a kiss]]\n[[versions of it|a kiss]]\n
In theory all the yard clippings go back there and turn into usable rich soil.\n\nIn practice it’s a monstrous heap o’ branches and charcoal that is threatening at every moment to topple over and crush anyone within 20 yards of it.\n\n[[how it got that way]]\n[[how to fix it]]\n[[odds it will get fixed anytime soon]]\n[[his grandfather’s compost heap]]\n[[composting as metaphor]]
Ingredients: \n\n1/4 cup cocoa powder (don’t skimp here, use something good like Ghirardelli, or a Special Dark)\n1/3 cup sugar (don’t skimp here, use something good like Sugar In The Raw)\n4 cups milk (don’t skimp here, use something good like find a local dairy that sells its milk direct)\n\nIn a saucepan, cook over medium heat, stirring continuously. \n\nDo not allow to boil.\n\nWhen wisps of steam begins to be visible and a few bubbles escape along the sides of the saucepan, it’s ready.\n\nServe immediately. \n\n[[garnish with|a kiss]]\n[[best served before|a kiss]]\n[[best served after|a kiss]]\n[[don’t skimp on this, either|a kiss]]\n[[invisible wisps of steam|a kiss]]\n
When summer’s over, autumn begins. The cycle continues. They both love to live where the change of seasons occurs visibly and dramatically, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Summer is welcome when it comes, but like any house guest, gets predictably tiresome after a few months, and begins to overstay its welcome. \n\nHe calls her his orchid because of how poorly she does in the extremes of weather. Too hot and she wilts, too cold and she wilts. The sweet spots in the center of both Spring and Autumn are where she thrives. Pesky allergies keep them from wishing for year-round Spring or Autumn, though, and so the drive to cycle through the seasons is complete. Each season brings relief from the one before it.\n\n[[wheels within wheels|a kiss]]\n[[the sweet spot in the center|a kiss]]\n[[where she thrives|a kiss]]\n[[the drive to cycle through|a kiss]]\n[[the cycle continues|a kiss]]\n
The real shame is how well the peonies had been doing. The bed had been relocated to a better place, and then well-tended for several years and was really starting to become a standing ovation crowd, like clockwork, on Memorial Day. The move was a shock, but it was a good move, and they were recovering so well they were better than ever within two years. Bee Guy’s poison stripes set the bed back by more than they’d recovered.\n\n[[tying takes longer than untying|a kiss]]\n[[the consistency of bloom|a kiss]]\n[[the bloom of consistency|a kiss]]\n[[like clockwork|a kiss]]\n[[the fight against entropy|a kiss]]\n
The bit of fuzz that started it all is a bedtime story he told via an Internet chat program about a piece of fuzz. He made it up as he went, and without trying or knowing it was happening he won her heart. A private story of nothing that ended up meaning everything. Lives changed because of a made-up trifle intended to lighten, by the weight of a bit of fuzz, the burden of two lives in crisis.\n\nHow can you fall in love with only words?\n\n[[started a different set of all|a kiss]]\n[[a map of the intersecting sets of all|a kiss]]\n[[a bedtime story|a kiss]]\n[[the strings that connect their hearts|a kiss]]\n[[the weight of a bit of fuzz|a kiss]]\n
She’s capable of just about anything. She has just enough smarts to be trouble to herself and those around her. But it’s not just the smarts, it’s smarts mixed with boldness mixed with determination. When she gets an idea into her head, she’ll keep at it until she succeeds or gets frustrated and has to walk away for a bit...but then she’ll come back and keep trying again. Eventually she gets just about anything she tries for. Spots on the wall become intruders in need of stalking and pouncing, at random times she’ll pick up and run through the house chasing after nothing and chased by nothing. Things that would scatter any other cat (like, say, squirt bottles) just make her hunker down. She’ll sit on the counter top licking from a pan and watching you get closer out of the corner of her eye, so she can keep licking as long as possible until you’re almost within reach. She wants in anywhere she’s not, and she thinks she wants to be outside, too, and will make a run for it occasionally, though they’re pretty sure she wouldn’t make it far before she slunk back. Bold and crazy but stupid.\n\n[[the magic is in the mix of things|a kiss]]\n[[where an active imagination will take you|a kiss]]\n[[a lesson in getting what you want|a kiss]]\n[[the difference between reach and grasp|a kiss]]\n[[unabashed|a kiss]]\n\n\n
It makes him feel strong, it makes him feel she needs him, it makes him feel like he’s doing it right, it makes him feel like he’s doing his job as the man.\n\n[[a manifestation of strength|a kiss]]\n[[when need feeds|a kiss]]\n[[what is it he’s doing right|a kiss]]\n[[right as rainswept|a kiss]]\n[[how he does his job|a kiss]]\n
Partly from familiarity, he grew up with it, it was normal, and there’s no fear that can’t be dispelled by knowledge. In this case it was the knowledge that even if the crack passed near by it wouldn’t result in a heave immediately. Probably. And it didn’t seem to scare anyone around him who’d heard the sound many more times than he had. And it never sounded sharp like fear, it always sounded deep rumble crack like, well, ice crushing, which is exactly what it was, only writ large along a 16 mile line.\n\n[[that feeling of standing in one place while something comes from far away to you through you past you and then recedes off into the distance|a kiss]]\n[[antidotes to fear|a kiss]]\n[[the attraction of onomatopoeia extends beyond the surface|a kiss]]\n[[even if you see it coming, you can be powerless to resist|a kiss]]\n[[normal is only established in context|a kiss]]\n
There’s a whole slew of music he associates with college. Usually specific songs that connect with specific incidents. “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova, because the guy who lived in the room next door played it every single morning as his wake-up and face the day music. “Catapult” by R.E.M. because his roommate would play it to get motivated before tennis matches. College was all vinyl and cassette tape, though. CDs didn’t arrive on the scene until he was just out of college. It’s a demarcation point in his personal music history. College and then CDs.\n\n[[where the lines of association lead|a kiss]]\n[[a specific connection|a kiss]]\n[[the endurance of routine|a kiss]]\n[[a point in space|a kiss]]\n[[a point in time|a kiss]]\n
Because she doesn’t like melons very much and she doesn’t like cold soups at all. What’s the use of making it if it means eating it alone?\n\n[[other foods she doesn’t like]]\n[[foods he doesn’t like]]\n[[an easy gazpacho recipe]]\n[[what about borscht?]]\n[[hot soups]]
her back was turned to him\nthe chop chop chop of onions\nsink water running\nthe fabric on fabric rub of the white curtains being licked by the breeze\n\n[[the reason her back was turned]]\n[[what he loves about onions]]\n[[other water they’ve kissed near]]\n[[what the curtains looked like]]\n
The upstairs bathroom has a two-tiered floor. Three, if you count the level of the floor the non-functional radiator sits on. The door to the hallway is on one level, and there’s exactly enough floor in the bathroom at that level to allow the door to open completely. Everything else in that room is up on the second level, about six or eight inches higher. And there’s still a slope that’d roll a pencil the length of the house if you set it down and gave it a tap to get started.\n\n[[if it ain’t broke, why fix it?|a kiss]]\n[[the uselessness of right angles to real life|a kiss]]\n[[it all makes sense in the same way that they make sense|a kiss]]\n[[angles and lines and levels of depth|a kiss]]\n[[a tap to get started|a kiss]]\n
Ah, it’s you two again.\nLovely to shuffle up against you.\nI like what you’ve done with your noses.\nOop, sorry. OOP, sorry again.\nNo problem, I hardly noticed.\nUgh, these socks are itchy.\nMaybe later, a little scritchy scritchy.\nMaybe a little lotion on the heel.\nAnd a rub.\nNow you’re talking.\n\n[[a conversation between their hearts]]\n[[their biggest complaints about each others feet]]\n[[a poem he wrote about his feet]]\n[[why he hasn’t written a poem about her feet yet]]\n[[is this a poem or not?]]\n
They don’t normally use sugar. Often when a person needs a teaspoonful to add to hot tea or to sprinkle on the rare piece of cinnamon toast, the ambient humidity will usually have crusted up the top of the sugar in the bowl. There’s something satisfying about breaking through that crust, and the way the sugar is only barely held together and seems to relax happily into the freely flowing state.\n\n[[normal is as normal does|a kiss]]\n[[a teaspoonful|a kiss]]\n[[only barely held together|a kiss]]\n[[to relax happily|a kiss]]\n[[the freely flowing state|a kiss]]\n
the butter in the pan\nthe mushrooms waiting\nan easy creak to the floor\nfour feet shuffling almost like dancing\na phone somewhere down the street ringing, ringing\n\n[[how he sees the butter]]\n[[her favorite mushrooms]]\n[[a story about the house]]\n[[a conversation between their feet]]\n[[why no one answers]]
His favorite beer glasses are a pair he brought back from Germany. Different regions of the country have different types of beer as their local favorites, and each type has its correspondingly appropriate type of glass. In Munich, it’s the big liter-holding steins. In Dusseldorf they drink Alt beer, and the typical glass of choice for Alt is a small (0.2l) straight-sided glass. The glasses are usually emblazoned with the logo of the particular brewery any given bar has chosen to have on tap. \n\nHe got these two glasses by asking a bartender if he could buy a couple as souvenirs. The bartender replied that it was forbidden for him to sell them, but, he could give them away. Thus two free favorite glasses came home with him.\n\n[[the matching of form to content|a kiss]]\n[[asking is free|a kiss]]\n[[right place at the right time|a kiss]]\n[[things that can’t be bought|a kiss]]\n[[the give and take of give and take|a kiss]]\n
She makes the vinaigrette just right—tart, tangy, and simple. The salad shouldn’t be about the dressing, after all. And she knows the value of a lightly (but properly) dressed salad. They both hate the soggy salad where the last couple bites are swimming in the dressing.\n\n[[tart, tangy, and simple|a kiss]]\n[[after all|a kiss]]\n[[the value of proper proportion|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of swimming|a kiss]]\n[[a matter of taste|a kiss]]\n
The dropsies is a condition we’ve all experienced when throughout the course of a day pa(usually it only lasts a day, but theoretically speaking, the dropsies can last for both shorter and longer periods of time), a person does an inordinate amount of fumbling, bumbling, dropping, squibbing, and/or stumbling. Things don’t need to hit the floor, but they usually do. It’s a day when everything seems to be coated with teflon and squirming away from the overly confident fingers attempting to manipulate them. There’s no stopping it, you just have to ride it out.\n\n[[the elasticity of temporal events|a kiss]]\n[[one proposed cure for the dropsies|a kiss]]\n[[catch me I’m falling|a kiss]]\n[[there’s no stopping it|a kiss]]\n[[you just get to ride it out|a kiss]]\n
The kitchen counter is much-loved and semi-awkward. The problem is that the kitchen is two levels (three if you count the closet pantry). The counter is one height on one side, and another height on the other side. One side is a little too low, and the other side is a little too high. Figures. But, it’s long and tiled so it makes food preparation as a practical and social activity into an easy pleasure. It’s semi-awkward, but, fully functional.\n\n[[negotiating the levels|a kiss]]\n[[bridging the gap|a kiss]]\n[[easy pleasure|a kiss]]\n[[the futility of taking sides|a kiss]]\n[[semi-awkward but fully functional|a kiss]]\n
It ends with a section of sixty un-numbered pages constructed such that any page can be placed to the right, to the left, above, or below any other page, thus creating a tile animal with more possible physical configurations than there are particles in the known universe. The exact number is currently unknown, as there are competing formulae for the number’s calculation. It’s a problem mathematics has yet to consider fully solved. Tile animals up to about 20 can be solved by brute force, but above them requires a magic we don’t have yet.\n\n[[the power of permutation|a kiss]]\n[[the last words of the last page he built|a kiss]]\n[[possible physical configurations|a kiss]]\n[[the known universe|a kiss]]\n[[a magic we do have|a kiss]]\n
Stella’s sister is Miss Havisham. They look alike in many ways, but, unalike in many more. Miss Havisham lives at Nana’s, and is rarely seen. Stella is slow to come out when there’s guests, but after a few visits, you’re not a guest anymore. But for Miss Havisham, everyone but Nana is a guest, and always will be. She has bigger eyes than Stella, is a darker themed calico and is a little plumper, but has the same love-me-don’t-love-me mannerisms when she is thinking about possibly (maybe) wanting attention.\n\n[[the difference between allusive and illusive and elusive|a kiss]]\n[[tentativity as tantalization|a kiss]]\n[[a vortex of mysterious desires|a kiss]]\n[[the guesswork|a kiss]]\n[[it’s only a space that changes maybe to may be|a kiss]]\n
There’s a bed of peonies out back, beyond the lilac bush, and just after the blueberry bush. Mostly pink, but also some white. He loves peonies, says he loves a flower that blooms so hard it falls over. She loves them too, maybe for the help they seem to need from the ants. One year Bee Guy striped the bed with something toxic, and the peony crop has been struggling to recover ever since. Trouble Boy isn’t helping.\n\n[[a trip he wants to make]]\n[[the first peonies he remembers]]\n[[a joke his grandfather used to tell]]\n[[Bee Guy]]\n[[Trouble Boy]]\n
Never, while they’re both physically able. He’ll be doing the dip move to her and with her in his 90s if she still makes that half-laugh of purejoy when he does it. \n\n[[the timelessness of never and always|a kiss]]\n[[to and with|a kiss]]\n[[what that half-laugh feels like to his heart|a kiss]]\n[[everything that can be seen within the sweep of the dip move|a kiss]]\n[[how to spell the purejoy|a kiss]]\n
When Christmas time came around, and her mother was asking for their wish lists, he said he’d been looking for decades for a cookie jar. But not just any cookie jar. It needed to be the perfect cookie jar. The perfect cookie jar would look good on the countertop, not call too much attention to itself, but be interesting enough to warrant any attention it happened to get. It should be on the humorous side, but not trying too hard at it. It had to be usable, too, not just decorative. The goal of the cookie jar was for it to be out, within easy reach, and rarely be completely empty. A tall order, for sure, asking someone else to find a matter of taste item that had been unfound for so long. The result was perfection. Bobby Duppy is a cookie jar that looks a bit like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, only less cutesy. And he has an actual butt (hence his name). He’s a bit more French pastry chef looking than the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and he’s unemblazoned with any corporate logo. He’s smiling and pudgy and it’s fun to take off his hat to find the cookies inside.\n\n[[the cookies inside]]\n[[who has the sweet tooth]]\n[[a lost cookie]]\n[[best way to eat cookies]]\n[[if Bobby breaks]]
Late in the fall, when the grapes are sweet on the vines and the nights are getting cold enough that people do less crashing around, they sometimes come home to find Mr. Possum frozen and balanced along the top pipe of the chain link fence that holds the grapevines up. Caught in the act, we try not to laugh or scare him (though he’s large enough and rat-faced enough to put a scare into us) as we pass him by, not letting him think we saw him at all. Later, if we’re lucky, we’ll hear a quiet crash as he finds he way down the bamboo and ambles away.\n\n[[what sweet grapes taste like|a kiss]]\n[[people crashing around|a kiss]]\n[[frozen and balanced|a kiss]]\n[[caught in the act|a kiss]]\n[[later, if we’re lucky|a kiss]]\n[[a quiet crash|a kiss]]\n\n
If only the day was twice as long as it is, then we might really get something accomplished. Rumor has it that’s a Benjamin Franklin quote, originally, but, truth is, the best way to get someone to listen to what you have to say is to start it with, “You know, Benjamin Franklin once said...” \n\nHe’s found that the best way to get someone to listen to what you have to say is to start it with, “Something you said gave me the idea...”\n\n[[you can’t make time, you can only take time|a kiss]]\n[[something she said gave him this idea|a kiss]]\n[[truth is|a kiss]]\n[[no clever catchphrase can capture the complexity of even the simplest experience|a kiss]]\n[[but if the truth were self-evident, eloquence would be unnecessary, right Cicero?|a kiss]]\n
He got a card once in high school from a friend who was a girl, though not a girl friend. The card had a picture of a beak with lips and the initials: SWAKFMCWL. An acronym for: Sealed With A Kiss From My Chicken With Lips. Not an image easy to forget. It has stayed with him decades and shows no signs of being lost.\n\n[[the way memory works|a kiss]]\n[[the word memory weighs|a kiss]]\n[[the way memory words|a kiss]]\n[[the weighs words memory|a kiss]]\n[[the way words work the weight of memory|a kiss]]\n
The bread (or more accurately, the breads, because it’s not just that they can make a bread. It’s about the range and the variety as much as it is about any one individual type), and the coffee. Americans can’t make bread, and, we can’t make a decent cup of coffee no matter how much we charge for it or fancify the name of it. The worst bread he ever had in Germany (for example) was better than the best bread he ever had in America. Everyday coffee everywhere in Europe is better than upscale coffee in America, and the really good coffee there is like nothing available here.\n\n[[it’s about range and variety|a kiss]]\n[[a rant about quality|a kiss]]\n[[a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and|a kiss]]\n[[everyday coffee|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of doing the simple well|a kiss]]\n
body { background-color:beige;\ncolor:black;\nfont-family: Georgia, Palatino, 'Times New Roman', serif;\n }\n\n#passages{margin-left:12.2em;border-left:1px solid #333;}\n\n.passage{font-size:1.6em;}\n\n#sidebar #storyAuthor{font-size:60%;}
She has mitral valve prolapse. Instead of loving her a bushel and a peck, he loves her a murmur and a click. They say for treatment, most patients need only reassurance. What a lovely metaphor for the disease of living. \n\n[[other ways to measure love|a kiss]]\n[[another treatment|a kiss]]\n[[a metaphor for life|a kiss]]\n[[when reassurance is called for, apply liberally|a kiss]]\n[[to reassure, one must first assure|a kiss]]\n
For anything, really. The meatloaf, the burgers (chicken or beef), the meatballs. You name it, if it involves touching ground meat, she’s going to get him to do it if she can. \n\n[[a story about forming names|a kiss]]\n[[it involves touching|a kiss]]\n[[he’s a pushover|a kiss]]\n[[why he doesn’t mind|a kiss]]\n[[her secret weapon|a kiss]]\n
A cook’s hands are often the best tool in the kitchen for doing the job. There are delicate functions that can only be done by hand. Certain salads are best mixed by hand, peeling shrimp can really only be done by hand, certain doughs simply must be kneaded by hand, battering onion rings has to be done by hand, the list is endless.\n\n[[matching tool to task|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes we make things harder by trying to make them easier|a kiss]]\n[[a thousand things you can never hold in your hand|a kiss]]\n[[a matter of touch|a kiss]]\n[[an extended riff on things endless|a kiss]]\n
the crash-into hug\nlooking at her in a new light\nthe dip-move\na balancing act\ntyping on the laptop\nall moments of weight shifting\nthings that spin such as hula hoops and plates\n\n[[a partial list of hug types]]\n[[when he’ll stop doing the dip-move]]\n[[his sense of balance, direction]]\n[[hours per day in front of a light emitting screen]]\n[[a moment of weight shifting]]\n
the backs of her knees and thighs are ticklish\nif you hug her right, her back’ll crack\nthis little piggie still makes her giggle\nholding hands is always good\ntouching toes is ok, sometimes\nno hugging from behind while she’s doing the dishes or laundry\nno anything while she’s writing\n\n[[sniffing]]\n[[good back cracking methods]]\n[[how to tell if she likes something]]\n[[when toes are okay and when not]]\n[[what he does while she’s writing]]
When his cell phone makes the “you have a new text message” sound his heart leaps, still, because it could be words from her. Could be would be should be and usually is. Words from her rattle around inside him like wind through chimes.\n\n[[a new message|a kiss]]\n[[the leap of hearts|a kiss]]\n[[unpronouncable words from her|a kiss]]\n[[could be|a kiss]]\n[[should be|a kiss]]\n
It’s terrifying, if you stop to think about it, how many hours of each day we spend in front of a light-emitting screen. Televisions and computers, smartphones and GPS devices, billboards and movie screens. It can’t be healthy. We check the status of our digital lives before we brush our teeth now. Think about that. It’s become more important to us than personal hygiene. \n\nIn a lot of ways, he’s Mr. Digital, but, this aspect has been gnawing at him and he’s been actively planning to do something about it. It’s a loss of control, and a loss of reality, that he dislikes deeply. Never one to sit around and complain when there’s an action to be taken, he’s working towards a very significant life change. Starting at the first of the year, he is going to limit his time in front of a light-emitting screen to Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm as much as possible. He’s not going to be freakish about it, but, he’s going to make a commitment to try it for a year. \n\n[[a way to stop, but not to think|a kiss]]\n[[a healthy alternative|a kiss]]\n[[the one true priority|a kiss]]\n[[change for the better begins here|a kiss]]\n[[the important part|a kiss]]\n
A drunk walks into a bar...\n\nA pig walks into a drunk...\n\nA guy walks into a duck...\n\nA duck walks into a pig...\n\nA bartender and a duck...\n\n[[one story she always gets right|a kiss]]\n[[details details|a kiss]]\n[[a place where memory is made moot|a kiss]]\n[[if at first you don’t succeed|a kiss]]\n[[placement, order, timing|a kiss]]\n
The first gift he ever gave her in person. It came in a cobalt blue and white pot. He didn’t know, at the time, that this color combination was a favorite of hers. Luck of the draw. The flower itself was on the blue side of violet and went well with the pot. The plant lived a long time, but finally succumbed to the ravages of plant-eating cats. The pot is still in use.\n\n[[what she gave him in return|a kiss]]\n[[a holder of more than its original contents|a kiss]]\n[[the accumulation of artifacts|a kiss]]\n[[luck of the draw|a kiss]]\n[[seed, sprout, grow, bloom, repeat as necessary|a kiss]]\n
Impossible to say for sure, this is a relatively new set of glasses that all look the same. A sturdy looking set he was surprised she chose. Flat, fluted sides crowned with an unfluted ring, the larger size reminds him of certain beer steins, without the handle. The smaller size reminds him of a larger version of some hotel juice glasses. They’re pressed and functional, sturdy to look at, despite this chip.\n\n[[what will happen to the glass]]\n[[a story about a wine glass and a cat]]\n[[his favorite beer glasses]]\n[[why glassware is important]]\n[[the newest set of glasses]]
On his desk, and in the storage compartment under the armrest in his car, are memorial cards from his mother’s funeral two years ago.\n\n[[the cancer that killed her]]\n[[the picture on the card]]\n[[the two-year long project]]\n[[what he misses most about his mother]]\n[[what his mother did for a living]]
He remembers going out in early morning, before the sun came up, into his father’s father’s front yard. A small group of them were out there, in the lawn, digging for nightcrawlers. He remembers the flat end of the worm, and how muscular it could seem when wrapping around a finger, or pushing into the dirt. He remembers flashlights and dew and the sponginess of the sod. He remembers the smell of the earth and the cold of going out and the warm of coming back into the house. He remembers the cars in the driveway the thin bit of warm still held in the concrete. He remembers the smell of the Coleman lantern, the sweet of his dad’s too-sugared coffee.\n\n[[he remembers|a kiss]]\n[[an example of wrapping|a kiss]]\n[[flashlights and dew|a kiss]]\n[[the thin bit of warm|a kiss]]\n[[like too-sugared coffee|a kiss]]\n
Whenever they go to the beach, she returns with at least a double-handful of pebbles and shells. They remind her of the trip, she says. He can’t tell the difference, when they’re poured into a box or a vase or a flower bed. Which came from when or where? Only a fool would ask which, when, or where when the important thing is who and how. She knows better. He’s slow to learn, but, she’s teaching him wordlessly the things words are ill-suited to express. She speaks in pebbles and shells, and he listens to the whispers of the roar of her heart.\n\n[[measuring by handful|a kiss]]\n[[the tenuousness of memory|a kiss]]\n[[who and how|a kiss]]\n[[lesson one|a kiss]]\n[[the whispers and the roar|a kiss]]\n
Two unconnected facts seem to connect themselves in a compelling fashion. 1) Recent years have seen a huge increase in reports of dangerous and even deadly peanut allergies. 2) Peanuts are reported to be so good at leaching chemicals from soil that many farmers will plant them the season before they plan to have a plot of land certified organic. What if the allergies aren’t to peanuts, but to the chemicals the peanuts are pulling out of the soil and concentrating in their meat?\n\n[[danger in a simple thing|a kiss]]\n[[a connection of two|a kiss]]\n[[a conjecture|a kiss]]\n[[a conclusion|a kiss]]\n[[a story of what if|a kiss]]\n
That auger was painted a reddish brown like rust and wear and weathered steel, which it was. The edge was ground sharp and glinted silver like the grin of an under-the-bed monster that lived for the one chance to nip your foot off. One incautious second is all it would take, you wouldn’t even feel it, at first. The knob and the handle were wood worn to breaking and then back to smooth from use. It folded up smaller in a way that was gangly, and allowed the razor smile to sometimes swing free. The smile was kept covered by a crescent-shaped leather pocket, but the blade was so sharp it was capable of cutting through that leather pocket if you grabbed it wrong or dropped it right. In use, that auger sang the way a wild animal will growl when you come too near while it’s muzzle deep in fresh prey.\n\n[[the pixellation of memory|a kiss]]\n[[where the mind can go from a single detail|a kiss]]\n[[the cutting action of the auger is circular|a kiss]]\n[[round and round it goes|a kiss]]\n[[one shaved layer at a time|a kiss]]\n
She doesn’t really want a pet duck. He just likes to tell people she wants a pet duck. Partly because it’s not impossible that she would want a pet duck, partly because it leads up to the far larger fib that she wants a pet goat, and partly because he probably wouldn’t mind a pet duck but is afraid if she knew he wouldn’t mind one then she would really want one. Call it a deflection strategy.\n\n[[the real of want|a kiss]]\n[[the reel of want|a kiss]]\n[[her ticket to whatever she wants|a kiss]]\n[[hiding in plain sight|a kiss]]\n[[a deflection strategy|a kiss]]\n
The first thing she said was, “Oooh, maybe we’ll find the money!”\n\nIt’s a story that sticks in the brain.\n\nForgotten buried treasure must have some deep structural connection in our brains to be so widely felt across cultures and times and languages and continents. \n\nIt’s not hard to imagine the appeal.\n\n[[a map of an archetype|a kiss]]\n[[the archetype of the map|a kiss]]\n[[a story about what sticks in a brain|a kiss]]\n[[the universal in the particular|a kiss]]\n[[the particular in the universal|a kiss]]\n
pressed wood logs made for fireplaces\nnorthern hardwood\ncardboard\nfireworks packaging\nold paperwork\nold poems\nmarshmallows\ncharcoal bags\n\n[[what they didn’t burn]]\n[[which burns best]]\n[[the burn barrel]]\n[[the purge process]]\n[[two kinds of people in this world]]
The peony poem is a limited edition broadside. The line of the poem is: I love a flower that blooms so hard it falls over. She hand lettered it in a flowing font that curves like the stem of a falling over peony. The text ends in a pink tempera paint print made by dipping peony blooms in the paint and pressing them onto the paper. Each print as unique as each flower, as each hand lettered poem.\n\n[[a poem that blooms so hard it falls over|a kiss]]\n[[curves like the stem|a kiss]]\n[[the text never really ends|a kiss]]\n[[impression as verisimilitude|a kiss]]\n[[how a thing that’s the same can also be different each time|a kiss]]\n
She gets surprised a lot, now, because she doesn’t hear people coming until she feels them walking very close to her. She sometimes misses snacktime because she doesn’t hear the shaking of the treat pouch. She sleeps a lot, and soundly. She spends even more time sitting and staring at nothing.\n\n[[how deaf is she]]\n[[a blind cat story]]\n[[still good at]]\n[[she still gets her snacks]]\n[[what she sees]]
The first car he drove was his mother’s 1977 Chevy Nova. He loved that car. It was gold, and had bench seats, and would beat just about anything from the factory from zero to the speed limit. It originally had an AM/FM radio in it, and one of the first modifications he made to the car was the addition of an under-seat cassette player.\n\nAs liberating as being able to drive was, it was made an order of magnitude finer by being able to drive with one’s own choice of musical accompaniment. Could new speakers be far behind? \n\n[[whoever said if it ain’t broke don’t fix it was wrong|a kiss]]\n[[incremental improvement|a kiss]]\n[[free is good, freer is better|a kiss]]\n[[more is more|a kiss]]\n[[less is less|a kiss]]\n
He refers to the stairs to the basement as “the goat path”. It’s narrow, tight, twisted, unlevel, lined with pokey nails, dark, and packed with peril. It’s a trick and a half to get down the stairs without abrasions or contusions empty-handed, but to go down with a basket of laundry or an air-conditioner could be an extreme sporting event. Every time he comes back up the stairs in one piece he says to himself, “I lived!”\n\n[[sometimes a brush with death is just what we need to appreciate life|a kiss]]\n[[sometimes he exaggerates|a kiss]]\n[[twisty, turny|a kiss]]\n[[fortuitous rhymes with circuitous|a kiss]]\n\n\n
No way to say, really. The change is gradual, and may even reverse itself as the house settles further. Anything’s possible. Granted, it’s not likely it’ll right itself, but it could happen. The house will probably outlast them both, in it’s own wonky, tilted, twisted way. Or it may disappear in the night into the abandoned mine below it. \n\n[[ways to say|a kiss]]\n[[the change is gradual|a kiss]]\n[[and may even reverse itself|a kiss]]\n[[it could happen|a kiss]]\n[[wonky, tilted, twisted ways|a kiss]]\n
The bed doesn’t need a new mattress. The one they’ve got is great for both of them. There’s no other mattress they’ve either ever slept on that was better. There’ve been a couple of nicer hotel experiences where the mattress was as good, but none better. They love coming home from anywhere because it means they get to sleep comfortably again, in their own bed, on a mattress that makes them both happy. It’s king-sized, between soft and firm and it’s constructed such that a person climbing out of one side doesn’t shake rattle or roll the other person at all. In fact, without applying any stealth, it’s possible to climb out of bed without the other person noticing, even while they’re awake. Worth every penny paid for it.\n\n[[great for both of them|a kiss]]\n[[none better|a kiss]]\n[[coming home from anywhere|a kiss]]\n[[coming home from everywhere|a kiss]]\n[[worth every penny|a kiss]]\n
she was lying on her side, napping, and the sun through the slats of the mini-blinds warped to wrap around her\n\nin the flicker of the world’s noisiest candle, her eyelids appeared to flutter\n\nlate July on the patio, the butterfly bush, the trumpet vine, the bee balm, the black-eyed Susans and her skin all soaking in the last of the setting sun\n\nunder the ugliest of flourescent lights, her eyes just get greener\n\n[[pictures he’d like to take of her]]\n[[other flames]]\n[[on the other side of the trumpet vine]]\n[[things he sometimes forgets]]\n
Top of the stairs, make a left, and there it is. The light switch isn’t inside the door, isn’t actually outside the door on the wall facing you. You’ll need to turn around 180 degrees, and then you’ll see it. Right where you’d never in a million years expect it to be.\n\n[[the walls]]\n[[the sink]]\n[[door stories]]\n[[outside the door]]\n[[cats in the shower]]\n
There are many, many variations to this simple start. Using different butters, different onions, different vinegars, and/or different wines singly or in combination yields a staggering array of variations. Adding a single herb or spice can be another, separate multiplier. It’s a basic sauce that allows for endless versions as suits the tastes of its maker.\n\n[[a simple start|a kiss]]\n[[a staggering array of variations|a kiss]]\n[[how the simple compounds into the complex|a kiss]]\n[[the forest is simple, the trees complex|a kiss]]\n[[a recipe for forever|a kiss]]\n
Oh, who are we, silly humans, to make conjectures on something so great as the nature of time? We are humans, of course, and that rhymes with hubris. It could be argued that we define ourselves by the vastness of what we’re willing to attempt to define.\n\nThe nature of time is not the same as the nature of our perception of time. The nature of time is relentless and inexorable and completely impartial to the point of impassivity. The nature of our perception of time is personal, intimate, elastic, fragile, and prone to disintegration.\n\n[[silly humans|a kiss]]\n[[a conjecture on time|a kiss]]\n[[an argument that we define ourselves by the vastness of what we attempt to define|a kiss]]\n[[the nature of time|a kiss]]\n[[the nature of perception of time|a kiss]]\n[[first tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them|a kiss]]\n
It’s been used as a luge in winter, as a 12-pack drinkin’ sittin’ spot, as a patio with a grill, as a beach for sunbathing, as an arena for argument, as a concert hall with car speakers for soundsystem, as a skateboard park, and as a bee hunting ground. At least.\n\n[[one thing never seen in that driveway|a kiss]]\n[[their layer of insulation|a kiss]]\n[[making do with what one has|a kiss]]\n[[the way in which one thing can be many things|a kiss]]\n[[at least|a kiss]]\n
She was learning to drive when two things happened within two weeks of each other. A carload of her friends were in a collision with a telephone pole that seriously hurt most and killed one person in the vehicle. And shortly after she was herself riding in a car with a co-worker when their car was rear-ended by another car. She lost interest in learning to drive. And no one blames her one bit, or is in any kind of a hurry to have her learn. She will, in good time.\n\n[[a study in twos|a kiss]]\n[[the only sane response to tragedy|a kiss]]\n[[what we too easily forget|a kiss]]\n[[how life goes on|a kiss]]\n[[everything in its time|a kiss]]\n
She wants the bird in the worst way, and who can blame her. It is a mouth-sized bird, and she is a cat, after all. Can’t really expect anything else. But the other cats have long since resigned themselves to the fact that the bird is in a cage and they’re just not going to get it while it’s in there. The older ones don’t even care when the bird is out of the cage, but the two younger ones will perk up when the cage is opened, and pay very close attention. But only Mango keeps staring at the bird IN the cage, with this look that says if she stays focused long enough, the bars will bend apart and let her inside. It’s only a matter of patience, and will. She’s not too bright.\n\n[[we all do what we are built to do|a kiss]]\n[[the payoff of persistence|a kiss]]\n[[the reward of patience|a kiss]]\n[[the force of will|a kiss]]\n[[never, never, never quit|a kiss]]\n
The dumb boys don’t realize that all the cats in the house are fixed. The feline females fail at fertility. This doesn’t stop the interest in either side of the screen door, though. The boys keep on coming by carrying their wooing rodent-kill, and the ladies keep standing up on their hind legs to see out the screen and sniffing the air for the perfume of the prince of cats who’ll come take them away from the drudgery of their inside cat existence.\n\n[[the moment of realization|a kiss]]\n[[this doesn’t stop|a kiss]]\n[[the courtship ritual|a kiss]]\n[[a better view|a kiss]]\n[[the dream of a better place|a kiss]]\n
The miracle is that no one died or was blinded by his wild and indiscriminate firing of poison into the summer air. The miracle is that he himself was never rushed to the Emergency Room because he’d shot himself in the eye, ear, nose, or throat with the stuff. The miracle is that whole flocks of birds didn’t end up dead in a heap next to the now-poisoned blueberry bush. The miracle is that the peony bed was able to recover at all. The miracle is that the damage was so minor in relation to the total amount of poison sprayed.\n\n[[there are no miracles|a kiss]]\n[[a theory of universal antidote|a kiss]]\n[[even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while|a kiss]]\n[[there is no luck|a kiss]]\n[[the closest we’ll ever get to a miracle|a kiss]]\n
His mom had a theory of memory that said that we have a strong and healthy tendency for bad things to diminish and for good things to increase. The edge comes off the bad, over time. We forget how painful the pain was, and we remember joys as having been greater than they really felt at the time. \n\nThe combined result of these two complementary effects makes possible the construction of personal histories that are sustainable. It’s a coping mechanism that makes life livable for most people. \n\n[[his theory of memory|a kiss]]\n[[the shape that’s left after knocking off all the edges|a kiss]]\n[[a funny thing about memory|a kiss]]\n[[the construction of personal histories|a kiss]]\n[[a coping mechanism|a kiss]]\n
A complete and total overhaul. There’s really nothing about the basement that should stay the way it is. It needs to be gutted and redone from scratch. The laundry room still has a dirt floor. There is nothing worth saving down there. \n\n[[something worth saving up here|a kiss]]\n[[a loosely connected ramble about what’s worth, saving, storage, scratch, completion, revision, the should of could and the could of should|a kiss]]\n[[nothing stays the way it is|a kiss]]\n[[a point time is not a point in space|a kiss]]\n[[where the home (not the house) begins|a kiss]]\n\n\n
The ability to persist, by sheer force of will, through any deterrent. Also, the ability to actually catch anything she tried to catch.\n\n[[a story about persistence|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of catch|a kiss]]\n[[one way to try|a kiss]]\n[[a list of abilities|a kiss]]\n[[through deterrents|a kiss]]\n
There’s a moment that occurs—you can’t predict it, you can’t try to make it happen, you can’t see it coming, you only notice it after the fact—when certain hands are holding certain other hands when the boundary between the two disappears, dissolves, can no longer be felt. Where one stops and the other begins is no longer discernable by either person. It’s how you know you’re doing it right.\n\n[[a moment that occurs|a kiss]]\n[[only after the fact|a kiss]]\n[[certainty in an uncertain world|a kiss]]\n[[where one stops and the other begins|a kiss]]\n[[doing it right|a kiss]]\n
The back of the back yard, in the left corner a compost pile fenced in with chicken wire. Moving right, an abandoned bench that used to be part of a picnic bench set. An overgrowth of wisteria doing slow battle with a kind of small yellow rose whose name he can never remember. Too many Tree of Heaven. A good hidey place for mother cats to have babies.\n\n[[the compost pile in theory and practice]]\n[[what are those two 5 gallon buckets doing out here?]]\n[[the name he can never remember]]\n[[a meditation on the Tree of Heaven]]\n[[a few other reasons mother cats find the yard]]
They were walking down the street, hand in hand, and there was a long silence. She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but, I don’t talk very much.” This turns out to be sort of like Imelda Marcos saying, “I hope you don’t mind, but, I don’t have many shoes.” He doesn’t mind, but wonders why she felt she had to hide the truth. But, then, we all do that—present the best version of ourselves at first, when what we should do is present the everyday version.\n\n[[a story about holding hands|a kiss]]\n[[a long silence|a kiss]]\n[[where the truth hides|a kiss]]\n[[the best version of ourselves|a kiss]]\n[[the everyday version|a kiss]]\n
It’s hard to say how it really started, but it really started. Like all good things it was a confluence of several independent factors coming together in a moment in time. Those are not the important details. There are now boxes of albums that were liberated from her mother’s attic, a rack filled with used record store findings. She goes for the oddities, he for obscurities that couldn’t leap the digital divide.\n\n[[her mother’s attic]]\n[[where the boxes are]]\n[[one of her oddities]]\n[[some of his obscurities]]\n[[but they’re not audiophiles]]\n
A windblown scattering of loose paperback book pages, all in various stages of partial burn, partial char, partial destruction, partial readability, partial existence, partial blackening, partial loss.\n\nThe title of the book was __Hot and Bothered__, a cheap romance.\n\n[[the swirl of events|a kiss]]\n[[loose pages|a kiss]]\n[[a demonstration of the power of partiality and the fragmentary|a kiss]]\n[[a chance encounter|a kiss]]\n[[a romance of another kind|a kiss]]\n
in the shower in the morning\nin the sudden Spring rain\nby the side of the pool\nice water in sweating glasses\nthe drip of the overhead air conditioner\n\n[[soaps and jokes]]\n[[disappointing translations]]\n[[she loved that pool (and still does)]]\n[[out on the patio]]\n[[where the air conditioner lives]]\n
The flower pot held the first flower he ever bought her, a gloxinia. The pot is decorated in delft blue and white, which he didn’t know she loved when he bought it. Either a lucky guess, or a good omen.\n\n[[what happened to the gloxinia]]\n[[colors of thumbs]]\n[[better than flowers]]\n[[other delft blue things in the house]]\n[[the problem with plants in the house]]
Her feet are always cold. His are always hot. They make a good pair that way. Except she’s usually timid about touching with her icicles. But he actually wants her to put her cold feet on his hot feet, because he can’t sleep if his feet are too hot (and they usually are). He’ll stick his feet out from under the covers, even in winter, more often than not. They regulate each other’s temperatures.\n\n[[points of contact|a kiss]]\n[[too alike, no fire, too different, no fuel|a kiss]]\n[[meter is meant to vary from the established base, it’s those variations that give the poem life, a pure perfect meter fails|a kiss]]\n[[more often than not|a kiss]]\n[[the principle of the arch, applied|a kiss]]\n
The windmills in the distance spine the backs of the mountains and the air plays tricks with their size. One day they look small and barely noticable, the next day they look enormous and intrusive. Trick of the light, or the atmosphere, or both, it’s hard to say. It’s even possible that what changes isn’t the light or the air but the eyes.\n\n[[perspective refers to both time and space|a kiss]]\n[[the importance of importance|a kiss]]\n[[it’s even possible|a kiss]]\n[[it’s hard to say|a kiss]]\n[[what changes|a kiss]]\n
She purrs. Or makes other non-verbal vocalizations. Or melts into him. Or she’ll just flat out tell you she likes it. There’s usually no mystery to it.\n\n[[a list of things he’s sure she likes|a kiss]]\n[[a treatise on mystery and non-mystery|a kiss]]\n[[when she purrs|a kiss]]\n[[how to really buckle her knees|a kiss]]\n[[when words fail|a kiss]]\n
They’ve gone too far when they’ve invaded the peony bed. And they have. They started in the space between the fence marking the property edge and the building that butts up against it. Because they were living in that little channel it was impossible to cut them down by the roots, they could only be cut off at about a four foot height. So they spread. Up the channel and around. Then back down the other side. And into the peony bed. Those poor peonies have been nothing but abused there. At least they can get nearer the roots of the infernal things and keep them somewhat at bay, but, it’s a constant battle.\n\n[[too far is not far enough|a kiss]]\n[[they started in the space between|a kiss]]\n[[they spread|a kiss]]\n[[up, up and around|a kiss]]\n[[the payoff of perseverance|a kiss]]\n
The neighborhood is almost never quiet. In the summer there’s always a dog or twelve in debate, and even when the dots are all quiet there’s the pump in the pool at the house full of foster kids that babbles its song all night long. Mornings have the beepings of rides to work arriving, and kids shuffling to school. Always something going on. Never a moment’s rest. Come on people, shut up out there already!\n\n[[hum|a kiss]]\n[[thrum|a kiss]]\n[[music of the spheres|a kiss]]\n[[background noise|a kiss]]\n[[soundtrack|a kiss]]\n
The bees, of course, experienced no significant loss in numbers, were not in the slightest bit deterred or even inconvenienced, and if anything, were affirmed in the territoriality of their aggressiveness. Sure, he likely killed one or two of them, but, in the grand scheme of things his efforts amounted to naught but the destruction of every living thing the killing juice hit after it missed the bees.\n\n[[territoriality|a kiss]]\n[[the mounting and amounting of efforts|a kiss]]\n[[the futility of gesture|a kiss]]\n[[the gesture of futility|a kiss]]\n[[the grand scheme of things|a kiss]]\n
The only thing worse than the Tree of Heaven is the bindweed. That stuff gets its fibrous and delicate roots into everything. It chokes the plants it grows among, and no matter how much weeding you do to try to remove it, you can never get all of the roots, and so it always comes back. Always and every time. It’s infuriating. After the first few times it’s amazing. After the next few times it’s puzzling. After the next few times it’s maddening. After the next few times it’s funny. After the next few times it’s not funny at all.\n\n[[the roots that tie things together|a kiss]]\n[[though torn, live on|a kiss]]\n[[the tenacity of life|a kiss]]\n[[it always comes back|a kiss]]\n[[always and all ways and every and time and everytime|a kiss]]\n
Epsom salt was one of his mother’s cure-alls, along with Mercurochrome, aspirin, and the toasted cheese sandwich.\n\nThe thing he loved most about Epsom salt wasn’t the way it reduced swelling, drew out splinters, or relaxed the body, it was the buoyancy. \n\nLater in life he’d re-experience that feeling of ultra-buoyancy in a sensory deprivation tank. He went a half a dozen times to a place called Space Time Tanks where you could rent time in individual tanks. Each tank was in its own private room. They were sound proof, light proof, and contained about 8" of skin temperature water that was loaded with salts so you could float high atop it without any effort at all. The first 5 minutes were a little creepy and not for the claustrophobic. But if you made it past the first 5 minutes without going bonkers, the next 55 would pass in what seemed like a blink. It was like taking a power vacation, and worth every penny.\n\nSwimming in the ocean is close. There’s something in his brainstem that calls him to water.\n\n[[the universal cure all|a kiss]]\n[[the buoyancy|a kiss]]\n[[effortless float|a kiss]]\n[[first you become aware of your breathing, and then you forget it again|a kiss]]\n[[a siren song|a kiss]]\n
Fiddleheads. Chocolate filled croissants. Knorr Green Peppercorn sauce mix. Whole herring sandwiches. Most of the breads and meats of Germany. Turkish coffee, which he’s only ever read about, never had. Nestle Flake candy bar. Dark chocolate digestive biscuits. Whatever that layered seasoned stack of meat strips on a gyro-like spit they have in certain neighborhoods in Amsterdam—maybe it’s pork, but for sure it’s awesome.\n\n[[treats|a kiss]]\n[[savories|a kiss]]\n[[tasty tidbits|a kiss]]\n[[nibblies|a kiss]]\n[[yummies|a kiss]]\n
The recent obsession isn’t about sound quality, or about warm vs. cold, or about analog vs. digital. It’s about the physical object. About the experience of the larger format for album artwork, about experiencing the compositional units of Side A and Side B, about the cracks and pops and occasional skips. Life is messy.\n\n[[the genie in the bottle]]\n[[compositional units]]\n[[artifacts, digital and analog]]\n[[back to the past]]\n[[the pursuit of imperfection]]
It was late summer and one of those piercingly perfect days that are so achingly bluesky and cottoncloud and brightcrisp sun that everyone feels faintly the tug of their own mortality. How many days like this can any of us, even the youngest, possibly have left? So everyone was out to feel the bracing beautiful sting of it. Laughter carried on the cool breeze across the lake. The applause of leaves. The tripfall of eager action.\n\n[[achingly bluesky|a kiss]]\n[[the tug of mortality|a kiss]]\n[[the bracing beautiful sting of it|a kiss]]\n[[the tripfall|a kiss]]\n[[eager action|a kiss]]\n
The problem with the New Yorker is how often it comes. Once a week is just too damned frequent for their busy lives. They skim the cartoons and flip through quickly, always planning to read the really interesting things at a later that never comes. Thousands of first paragraphs read but the number of finished articles in the past five years could be counted on the fingers of one hand.\n\n[[information overload|a kiss]]\n[[where a good set of priorities will lead you|a kiss]]\n[[the relation of frequency to pitch|a kiss]]\n[[the quick flip|a kiss]]\n[[if you can’t change something, find a way to make it work to your advantage|a kiss]]\n
Pretty much everything, he’s a worrier, a stewer, a planner, a fretter. He is stressed about work, about money, about bills, about the negative effects of television on society, about the places in his life where his principles seem to push people away, about being seen as a jerk, about what they’ll do about dinner, about each of his many projects, about how it became okay for people to just ignore emails, about getting older, about his father’s health, about the cancers that run in his family. You name it, he’s probably stressed about it.\n\n[[one thing he’s not stressed about]]\n[[the cancers that run in his family]]\n[[his thoughts on television]]\n[[one reason some people think he’s a jerk]]\n[[his father’s health]]\n
A poem in potential is constructed by any mechanism which reveals an indeterminacy which resolves itself in simultaneous allowance for all possible states to exist. It’s a quantum poem in a way. It doesn’t mean either/or, it means and. It is additive, multiplicative, cumulative. \n\nHere’s an example. Let’s call [ and ] the markers of a thing called a “character class”.\n\nA character class matches only one out of several characters. To match an a OR an e, say [ae]. You could use this in gr[ae]y to match either gray or grey. A character class matches only a single character. gr[ae]y will not match graay, graey or any such thing. The order of the characters inside a character class does not matter.\n\nSo if I write a poem in potential that reads:\n\nI l[io]ve you.\n\nI am not saying “I love you” and I am not saying “I live you” and I am not saying “I live you and I love you”. I am saying both things at the same time, both at once, a single expression that delivers both messages fused together into a whole new alloy.\n\nAnd that’s just the beginning.\n\n[[another example of a poem in potential|a kiss]]\n[[it doesn’t mean either/or|a kiss]]\n[[it means and|a kiss]]\n[[another way to say I love you|a kiss]]\n[[the beginning|a kiss]]\n
Now the cushions will die a slow mildewy death in the basement. They’ll get moved a bit, stacked on, kicked aside, swore at, squished, pulled, pressed, and eventually they’ll end up in a contractor bag with a trash sticker on it at the side of the curb. But that’s many years down the road. First they’ll need to be a clutter to irk by their very presence for a good long while.\n\nYou might think they’d to straight out to the curb, but, you’d be wrong. It doesn’t work like that. You have to put them in storage, first. It would be a waste to throw them away when they’re so like new, even if they are useless.\n\n[[life cycles|a kiss]]\n[[many years down the road|a kiss]]\n[[the value of more circuitous routes|a kiss]]\n[[the illusion of progression|a kiss]]\n[[waste not, want not|a kiss]]\n
The bamboo and the bushes got so bad one summer the mailman refused to hack his way up to the mailbox which had been mounted outside the side door. Rather than wait for time it would take to accomplish the cutbacks of the growth they took the mailbox down to the end of the fence and wired it there. Now the mailman is happier, but sometimes the mail (incoming and outgoing) can get wet in a gusty or heavy rain. And now they think it’s probably too late to move it back up, so much time has passed that there’s a new mailman who wouldn’t have the memory of where it once was.\n\n[[the memory|a kiss]]\n[[of where|a kiss]]\n[[it once was|a kiss]]\n[[is the memory of where|a kiss]]\n[[it will be again|a kiss]]\n
In his memory the tunnels sometimes ran the full length of the yard. But he knows that can’t be true. But twenty feet or more, for sure, if the weather conditions were just right. It took a heavy wet snow, followed by a fast moving plow, followed by a light freezing rain, and then there’d be a hard shell that just needed to be hollowed out. \n\n[[the center of his memory|a kiss]]\n[[but he knows it can be true|a kiss]]\n[[weather conditions were just right|a kiss]]\n[[a hard shell|a kiss]]\n[[hollowed out|a kiss]]\n
steps when walking, with a quick skipstep\nstorytelling, by knowing when to step in and out\nsleep schedules\nto-do lists, with the help of software\nheartbeats, this is not easy\nhands when walking, by clasping\n\n[[a story about skipping]]\n[[his sleep schedule and hers]]\n[[software frustrations]]\n[[how to sync heartbeats]]\n[[the best part of holding hands]]
“Oh! I’m the luckiest man in the world.”\n\n[[how he spells Oh|a kiss]]\n[[an expression of gratitude|a kiss]]\n[[a kind of lottery|a kiss]]\n[[contents: one entire world|a kiss]]\n[[a proof of his luck|a kiss]]
They have no idea why the cats have chosen that exact spot as the preferred place to puke. It’s certainly not the only place to puke, it just seems to be the place where there’s the highest probability that puke will appear. The carpet is a color and pattern combination that pretty closely matches the color of regurgitated cat food, so perhaps they leave it there as a courtesy, so it won’t offend the eyes with it’s garish array of food dye colors. Or perhaps it’s so the Smoothies can’t see it well enough to avoid it and end up stepping on it—cold or still warm, nothing feels quite so disturbing as the squish of the surprise step into it.\n\n[[the importance of place|a kiss]]\n[[the gestalt of recombinants|a kiss]]\n[[motives and motivations|a kiss]]\n[[a theory about theories|a kiss]]\n[[a garish array of colors|a kiss]]\n
In the car, on the sofa, in the movie theater, at restaurants, in line to pay at the grocery store, on the patio, at art galleries, in parks, on walks, on trains, on planes, on boats, in the shower, at the library, at concerts, in museums, in hotels, on benches, in bed, in basements, in bookstores, in taxis, at the kitchen table, at the dining room table, in the back yard, in sickness and in health, morning, noon and night, whenever possible, in the real world and the digital.\n\n[[let lips do what hands do|a kiss]]\n[[why they hold hands so much|a kiss]]\n[[another word for everywhere|a kiss]]\n[[talking all around the thing as a way of talking about the thing|a kiss]]\n[[in the real world and the digital|a kiss]]\n
In the summer time she drinks a lot of water. She lives in a house with two other people who also drink a lot of water. She doesn’t have the greatest memory in the world. As a result, on a busy, everybody home, hot day in the summer the kitchen counter may be home to an astonishingly large number of water glasses in various states of partial use. This isn’t including the house guests. And, more significantly, this isn’t including the glasses that get used as impromptu water vases for fresh cut peonies which later get whisked out when they shed all their ants.\n\nWhen you’re hot and thirsty on a summer sweaty day the frustation at seeing all the unwashed, unidentifiable, unemptied, undistinguishable glasses of water cluttering up your counter top can lead you to just grab one, any one, and gulp it down.\n\nThe taste tells you that you picked the one that had the peonies. That quickening metallic tang is your brain remembering something vague about peonies, and poisonous.\n\nIt’s only a slight relief when the people at the Poison Control Center inform you that “you’ll probably be fine.”\n\n[[better than memory|a kiss]]\n[[an astonishingly large number|a kiss]]\n[[various states of partiality|a kiss]]\n[[more significantly|a kiss]]\n[[something specific about peonies|a kiss]]\n\n\n
Desserts. She likes the first bite and the last bite (of his) the best. Who can blame her, they are the best bites. French fries. Especially if there’s one of those accidentally overdone extracrunchy ones. Most anything that’s “bad” that she’s given him “the look” for ordering. Mushrooms: raw, cooking, cooked, it makes no difference, they’re all fair game and have a noticeable tendency to decrease in volume over the entire preparation arc.\n\n[[his favorite dessert|a kiss]]\n[[the alpha and the omega|a kiss]]\n[[accidentally overdone|a kiss]]\n[[a list of time he’s liable to get “the look”|a kiss]]\n[[the arc of preparation|a kiss]]\n
There really aren’t any foods he doesn’t like. Badly prepared foods. But other than that, he’s omniverous and doesn’t really understand people who don’t like certain foods. Good food is good. There was a time when he wouldn’t go out of his way for okra or capers, but, that was only because he hadn’t yet experienced either done well. Now that he has, there’s nothing on his Don’t Like list.\n\n[[a story about going out of one’s way|a kiss]]\n[[something he does understand|a kiss]]\n[[a list of lists|a kiss]]\n[[the mark of the well-prepared|a kiss]]\n[[good is good|a kiss]]\n
Frustrated with the fact that there were no decent bakeries anywhere nearby, and being the kind of people who’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness, they decided to devote some Sundays to making their own bread. They made a rye bread that was pretty good, they made some scones that were wicked good, and they took a crack at a complex knotted festival bread that didn’t quite work out. And then schedules fell apart and Sunday as baking day left the world of fact and entered the world of legend.\n\n[[the persistence of facts|a kiss]]\n[[the thing about candles|a kiss]]\n[[making their own bread|a kiss]]\n[[the world of fact|a kiss]]\n[[the world of legend|a kiss]]\n
A book unlike any other book. You know how, in a way, it can be said that a vinyl LP has only one groove that goes round and round and round? In the same way, it could be said that a traditional book has only one line that keeps wrapping at the edges and going from page to page. Or a piece of written music is also just one line. This book wasn’t like that. This book was like a conductor’s score for a piece of music, with each line being one voice and flowing across the pages but never wrapping. The book is finished. And has been for years. He’s abandoned it.\n\n[[what he learned during the writing]]\n[[why he abandoned it]]\n[[could it be unabandoned at some point?]]\n[[how he once described the text]]\n[[how it ends]]
There will always be artifacts. Analog has hiss and pop. Digital has compression and transcription. Every choice is a trade-off between benefits and costs. There’s an upside and a downside to most everything. Imperfect processes have error by definition. Error is the human condition and can be embraced as such. Yes, by pursuing perfection we may catch greatness, but, when perfectionism inhibits action unduly, it’s time to dial it back a notch.\n\n[[compression and transcription|a kiss]]\n[[the art I facts|a kiss]]\n[[imperfect processes|a kiss]]\n[[the human condition|a kiss]]\n[[embraced as such|a kiss]]\n
The perennial question of whether to paint the toenails or not doesn’t cause her much concern. She doesn’t fret over it. She paints them when she wants, and doesn’t when she doesn’t. \n\nHe likes her toes both ways. \n\nUsually she paints her toenails to match her fingernails when she’s done something fancy to her fingernails because they’re going to a special event or something. It’s part of the full beauty treatment, but not a regular and daily requirement. It’s something she’s happy to do and have done and emjoy while it lasts, but, not something worth an ongoing commitment to upkeep. It puts a spring in her step, but a lack if it won’t keep her from going where she wants to go.\n\n[[icing on the cake|a kiss]]\n[[steak sauce on the steak|a kiss]]\n[[gilding the lily|a kiss]]\n[[wrapping on a candy bar|a kiss]]\n[[he finds her at her most beautiful when she is the least adorned|a kiss]]\n
The kittens worked their way down the yard to the patio, via the undercover of the lilac. They heard the shuffling and crinkling and mewling before they saw them. But the kittens got bold one night while dinner was being cooked on the grill. The smells of cooking food probably drew them in. One was bolder than the others, obviously the leader of the group, and stepped out into the light, questioning. They put out a dish of water and some bits of salmon from the meal. The bold one ate first, keeping one eye on them, and a second one came out immediately. Later a third and fourth came out, and, after a very long time, a timid fifth came out, as well. There was a black one, a white one, a mostly black and some white one, a mostly white and some black one, and one that was a 50/50 mix of black and white. They were like the poster kittens for gene theory.\n\n[[fortune rewards the bold|a kiss]]\n[[askin’s free|a kiss]]\n[[en exploration of permutations|a kiss]]\n[[from small things, momma, big things one day come|a kiss]]\n[[the amount of time it took for them to disappear when they were done|a kiss]]\n
His grandfather used to watch the Lawrence Welk show and Soul Train. The Three Stooges and baseball games. You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx and American Bandstand. Tom & Jerry and the Six Million Dollar Man.\n\nThere were three TVs in the house. In descending order of age and quality they were: one in his grandfather’s bedroom (recessed into custom-built cubbyhole), one in the living room on a TV stand, and one in the always cool, always damp basement. \n\n[[it’s all music|a kiss]]\n[[and dancing to that music|a kiss]]\n[[only the characters change|a kiss]]\n[[the story remains the same|a kiss]]\n[[reruns|a kiss]]\n
When he goes to a friendly Chinese restaurant that’s willing to prepare dishes to custom specifications he loves to order pork fried rice, extra spicy, with scallions instead of white onions. It’s a dish he could eat every day if she’d let him.\n\n[[make it your own (which is no the same as passing it off as your own)|a kiss]]\n[[small changes multiply throughout complex systems|a kiss]]\n[[a dish of a thousand and one ingredients|a kiss]]\n[[if it ain’t broke, you don’t need to fix it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continually experiment with improving it|a kiss]]\n[[a matter of taste|a kiss]]\n
He thinks television is the greatest evil perpetrated on the populace since religion. It shuts off the rational portions of the brain and makes minds hypersusceptible to manipulation through impression. We are fascinated by shiny metal objects, and television is the shiniest metal object ever created. A passive emotional vampirism has replaced the interest in actual interaction, and it will be the doom of civilization even as it becomes the boon of those in power. It is evil and must be destroyed.\n\n[[the best way to shut him up when he gets on a tear|a kiss]]\n[[the opposite of evil|a kiss]]\n[[another way to make an impression|a kiss]]\n[[the most fabulous object in the universe|a kiss]]\n[[active emotional engagement|a kiss]]\n
Pretty much everything. The world existed for his own personal consumption and anything that was in the least bit inconvenient was an outrage. He took for granted that there would always be time to spend with friends and family, that everyone would live forever, that money grows on trees, that good always triumphs over evil in the end, that all errors of commission or omission are reparable, that anything it was possible to have done could be undone. The universe was something other than indifferent.\n\n[[the world with him at the center|a kiss]]\n[[the back-handed compliment of being taken for granted|a kiss]]\n[[one thing he’ll never take for granted|a kiss]]\n[[the closest he will ever get to forever|a kiss]]\n[[pretty much everything|a kiss]]\n
Bananas, real or even the flavor.\nEggs, as just eggs.\nRed meat.\nMexican food (it’s probably the cilantro).\n\n[[holiday breads instead]]\n[[omelettes, however]]\n[[luckily]]\n[[how he copes]]\n[[one reason to suspect the cilantro]]\n
The visitors do their own filtering. People who have been there before, meaning friends, know how to come to the side door. People who don’t know have something ingrained in their collective psyches that compels them to the front door, and so it’s clear they’re selling something door to door to door.\n\nOr, they could be the new UPS driver for the area. More than one package has arrived there and thought late in arriving until it was found to be delivered already. \n\n[[the state of having been there before|a kiss]]\n[[they say reading a good poem again is like having a good friend over for tea again|a kiss]]\n[[a common compulsion|a kiss]]\n[[when one door closes another opens|a kiss]]\n[[all the conjecture that swirls around a fixed given|a kiss]]\n
The charcoal makes for tasty meals in the summer, but, it’s really been creeping up in price lately (he’s kept track, no surprise there), and the grill they have is a tiny one, and he’s really thinking it’s probably time to switch to propane. He knows that the purists will mock him, but, truth be told, the flavor difference is pretty negligible compared to the cost difference. He’s not one of those people who will pay any price in order to have the best or even a “better” experience. It’s about value for him, not absolutes. He seeks the sweet spot of cost vs. outcome where the value is highest. A great meal at a good price beats an excellent meal at a crazy price. Charcoal is a lot more expensive and only a little bit better. \n\n[[the sweet spot|a kiss]]\n[[factoring everything in|a kiss]]\n[[purists miss out|a kiss]]\n[[determining the sweet spot requires a lot more effort, the processing and individual weighting of a lot of variables, where the purist approach gravitates towards top-down decrees of what is or is not good|a kiss]]\n[[value estimations require constant re-evaluation|a kiss]]\n
In no particular order (a linear presentation can’t allow for overlap, anyway), and non-exhaustive, a list of compositional units:\n\n* novel\n* short story\n* chapter\n* scene\n* line\n* sentence\n* stanza\n* breath\n* volume\n* passage\n* paragraph\n* book\n* chapbook\n* deck\n* speech\n* presentation\n* flash fiction\n* letter\n* stroke\n* page\n* half page\n* quarter page\n* third page\n* screen\n* syllable\n* word\n* section\n* act\n* beat\n* minute\n* hour\n* second\n* day\n* year\n* month\n* the body\n* theme\n* tablet\n* album\n* album side\n* CD\n* song\n\n[[a new unit of composition|a kiss]]\n[[the original unit of composition|a kiss]]\n[[an imaginary unit of compositoin |a kiss]]\n[[a composition of units|a kiss]]\n[[the imposition of composition|a kiss]]\n
Trouble Boy isn’t too bright. And his parents parent by shouting, which he ignores. He chases balls into the street for fun. One day, back between the blueberry bush and the peony bed there was a five-gallon bucket laying on its side. No idea where it came from. Another day, they kept hearing this sound from next door like an orgy of gorillas going at it on a set of rusty springs. Later that week they discovered a family of kittens and their mother camping out in the far corner of the back yard under the wisteria. Turns out Trouble Boy had learned how to use the carport overhang to climb the fence at that spot, was coming over to sit on the bucket and watch the kittens, and got tired of lugging the bucket back over every time. Then he got tired of the kittens, and thought it would be fun to just bounce on the section of chain link fence he’d peeled away from the top pipe. Trouble Boy has some heft to him. The fence is now bent into a pouting lower lip about the size of the splash Trouble Boy would make if they threw him in the ocean.\n\n[[when he got caught]]\n[[how he responds to the yelling]]\n[[the kittens]]\n[[the other fence repair]]\n[[what is it with all the yelling in the neighborhood]]
Only everything. The details. The subtle. The glance off of, the ricochet, the nearly, the almost, the hey waitaminute. You can keep the gist in a translation, but, not much else. The really exceptional translations end up being great in their own right, but, it’s an orthoganal greatness, not one of verisimilitude.\n\n[[how can it be explained to you, the strength and the fragility of this moment under discussion?|a kiss]]\n[[how can we talk about gears in the language of levers?|a kiss]]\n[[what forty foot tall letters can speak of the miniature?|a kiss]]\n[[what good are words at delivering experience?|a kiss]]\n[[the gist is not the grist|a kiss]]\n
One day his mother came home from work and his grandfather (her father) said to her, “That hamburger you had in the refrigerator went bad. I ate it, but, it was bad.”\n\nShe said, “But Dad, there wasn’t any ground beef in the fridge.”\n\nHe said, “Of course there was, and I ate it, but, it was bad.”\n\nShe said, “I don’t know why you ate it if it was bad, and, there wasn’t any in there anyway!”\n\nHe mumbled out of the room in a huff.\n\nLater that evening as she was preparing dinner she noticed that the bulk Italian sausage she’d bought for making the spaghetti sauce was no longer in the meat drawer.\n\nHe’d eaten Italian sausage, thinking it was hamburger, and it tasted so far from hamburger that he thought it was bad, but, he ate it anyway.\n\n[[talking all around the same thing|a kiss]]\n[[violent agreement|a kiss]]\n[[relying on the lying senses|a kiss]]\n[[laugh to keep from crying|a kiss]]\n[[the different names we have for the same thing|a kiss]]\n
They were out on a date night at a local restaurant that used to be grand in its day, but which was slowly falling in on itself. The menu was old school though, and had some real delights on it, like the tableside Caesar salad and the Cherries Jubilee. She’d never had Cherries Jubilee, so he insisted they get it. It was a total success. Prepared tableside and tasty as tasty gets.\n\nSkip ahead a few months, they’re talking about what they’ll make for dinner for a few guests that night and he asks her what she’d like for dessert, and he used the words, “Whatever you’d like, the world is your oyster.” She said, without pause and without blinking: Cherries Jubilee.\n\nHe took it as the compliment it was intended to be, and made a Cherries Jubilee every bit as good as they’d had at the restaurant, though, he would have to admit that the flambé part wasn’t as dramatic. Making it for six meant using a pan that struggled to get hot enough over a large enough area to really pull off the whooshflash. But what it lacked in flash it made up for in yummy.\n\n[[falling in on itself|a kiss]]\n[[some delights, real and imagined|a kiss]]\n[[without pause|a kiss]]\n[[small dramas|a kiss]]\n[[it isn’t about the flash, anyway|a kiss]]\n
The last time he had a meal with his mom she was in good spirits, but, not in the best of health— they knew at the time that she wasn’t well, they didn’t know that she had less than two weeks to live. She was using a walker because she was weak from chemotherapy and could become suddenly very tired, but she didn’t really need the walker, generally speaking. She had it all tricked out with everything she might need. It had a Velcro-strapped-on set of cloth pockets that were stuffed with scissors, pens, scotch tape, stamps she’d clipped off of mail she’d received, notebooks filled with lists of great and no importance. \n\nHe’d traveled from northeastern Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to spend some time with his mom to help bolster her morale a bit. But he’d been there over a week, and it was time for him to head back. She was in the hospital when he’d arrived this time, and back at home by the time he’d left, so they were both, in the words of one of her doctors which she often repeated, “cautiously optimistic” that things were improving. They weren’t, but, at the time they didn’t know it. So that’s the set-up of the scene, grown-up son leaving from a visit to his mom. \n\nMost meals his mom would go more for breadth than depth. There’d more often be 8-10 nibbly things than one big thing. Breakfast was the same. She’d put out several boxes of cereal, a couple of juices, toast and several jams, a few kinds of fruit, and if you didn’t tell her to stop already she’d end up with most of the fridge and larder on the table just trying to make sure there was food enough out there that you’d like. And she’d like. But this morning he had to get on the road and he told her he didn’t want anything, really, so as to get her to keep it on the simple end of overmuch. So she offered to just make some cheese toast.\n\nCheese toast isn’t a grilled cheese. And it isn’t toast with cheese on it. He’d only ever had it when his mom made it, and she’d always owned a toaster oven that he can’t recall anything else ever having been made in. It could have been called the cheese toaster oven. \n\nThis is how she made it: two pieces of white bread covered with American cheese, which is not as simple as it may sound to you amateurs. One slice of bread is larger in area than one slice of American cheese, so, you’d have to position that piece of cheese in the upper left corner of the bread, and then break a second slice of cheese just so in order to lay strips on the bare bread the first slice couldn’t cover. Once the bread was mostly-covered by the cheese it goes in the toaster oven and broils. The crust of the bread gets toasted but the body of the bread only gets hot and the bottom of the bread barely firms up without getting any toasty color. It gets broiled until the cheese begins to puff up and brown in the places that have puffed up to be too close to the broiler elements. It’s as tricky as getting marshmallows right, but, just as magical a doneness. When the slices come out of the toaster oven she sprinkles each with a bit of salt and says (same as she said every time, his whole life), “and a little salt we’re not supposed to put on there but just this one time it’s fine”. She then puts one piece on each plate and puts the next two slices in to broil while they eat the first pair together.\n\nSimple, nothing fancy, something they ate together more times than either of them could or would want to count.\n \n[[get it while you can|a kiss]]\n[[a lesson in optimism|a kiss]]\n[[of great and no importance|a kiss]]\n[[the simple end of overmuch|a kiss]]\n[[simple, nothing fancy|a kiss]]\n[[as tricky as getting marshmallows right|a kiss]]\n[[the salt of life|a kiss]]\n\n
He likes to say of peonies: I love a flower that blooms so hard it falls over. He knows it’s not the blooming so hard, it’s the extra weight of the morning dew that pulls it down. But he prefers his fiction to the world’s fact.\n\n[[he likes to say|a kiss]]\n[[the choice between an ugly truth and a pretty lie|a kiss]]\n[[his fiction|a kiss]]\n[[the world’s fact|a kiss]]\n[[how facts gain their facticity|a kiss]]\n
His mother got a Japanese maple tree for the front yard of the house in Kokomo that was bought when he was married to his ex-wife. It never grew completely straight. It had a crooked bit that made the top third of the tree seem like it was in a lunge to escape the rest. After the divorce, the house wouldn’t sell, and wouldn’t sell, and wouldn’t sell. Even after a St. Joseph was buried upside down under the Japanese maple tree.\n\n[[why the house wouldn’t sell]]\n[[what happens to houses that won’t sell]]\n[[is the St. Joseph still buried there?]]\n[[what the Japanese maple is a metaphor for]]\n[[what his mother said when he told her about the divorce]]
His relationship with her. He has no doubts on that front. He’s busy looking forward to the happily ever after that all storybook romances have. Though it was no storybook romance they’ve had.\n\n[[with her|a kiss]]\n[[a sure thing|a kiss]]\n[[when he looks forward|a kiss]]\n[[happy ever after|a kiss]]\n[[a story about a book about romance|a kiss]]\n
Driving through Ohio in hour five of 12 or hour seven of 12 the radio would sometimes scan-lock on a station that played Julie London, Teresa Brewer, Peggy Lee, and dozens of others whose names he never caught. It seemed to him then, and now, as if that music was the soundtrack of their life together. The visual was always the coolbreezy billow of white sunlit curtains. He was right.\n\n[[as rain|a kiss]]\n[[the reason for the drives|a kiss]]\n[[his favorite station|a kiss]]\n[[a radio, a kitchen|a kiss]]\n[[the breeze and the curtains|a kiss]]
the moment of: a kiss\n\n[[a minute before the kiss]]\n[[a minute after the kiss]]\n[[to the left of the kiss]]\n[[to the right of the kiss]]\n[[zoom out from the kiss]]\n[[zoom in to the kiss]]\n
stop watching television\n\nsupport local, non-chain businesses\n\nvolunteer your time\n\nattend live music, theater, and poetry events\n\n[[reflected vs. projected light]]\n[[why buy local]]\n[[the best part about volunteering]]\n[[what will happen without you]]\n[[the hand made]]\n
Perfection is boring. Imperfection has a beauty all its own, and it’s the beauty they both prefer. \n\nIt’s been said that what makes a Tiffany window so lovely is that there’s a wrong piece in every window. That wrong piece gets unseen in the mind’s perceptual process, and because the mind made it whole, the mind was engaged, and the beauty was made in the act of perception.\n\nIn poetry they talk about setting up the chain of events and trusting the reader to make the connections. If you spoon feed the reader the answers they don’t get the opportunity to make the connections on their own. Leave it imperfect and let the reader’s mind fill in the blanks.\n\nIn the USA fried potatoes are typically perfectly cut in some fashion. Consistency and evenness to a mechanical degree are the order of the day. In Germany, however, fried potatoes are typically randomly chopped, and proudly imperfect. The result is that with each forkful you are treated to the full range flavors each degree of doneness can bring forth. It’s a much richer experience for being imperfect.\n\nThey can’t understand why her daughter wants to have the tiny gap between her front teeth removed. It’s what makes her smile distinctly and uniquely her own. To make it “perfect” would be to make it less than it is in its imperfection.\n\n[[what you might forget if you spend too much time wrapped in up things like truth and beauty|a kiss]]\n[[how to unseen|a kiss]]\n[[the mind made it whole|a kiss]]\n[[the chain of events|a kiss]]\n[[when imperfection is more perfect than perfection|a kiss]]\n
Unknown, and, at this point, practically speaking, unknowable. He’s never going back there to check. But it’s likely it’s still there, there’d be no reason for anyone else to dig it up, they wouldn’t even know it was there unless they were tilling that part of the yard for some reason. Poor St. Joseph, doomed to remain buried in the yard of the house that wouldn’t sell.\n\n[[a discussion of the differences between unknown and unknowable|a kiss]]\n[[where probability analysis breaks down|a kiss]]\n[[superstition and human behavior|a kiss]]\n[[one thing a house is not|a kiss]]\n[[tilling for some reason|a kiss]]\n
No way to know for sure, because some of them make it up, over, and out of sight. Most don’t, of course. A lot of them make it to the street, and are floating up up away, and the occasional high flier disappears over the top of a building. Depends on the wind, the weather, the luck of the wand, and the mix of the soap.\n\n[[to know for sure|a kiss]]\n[[up over and out of sight|a kiss]]\n[[what it means to float up away|a kiss]]\n[[the occasional high flyer|a kiss]]\n[[so much depends upon|a kiss]]\n
The bedroom has four windows in it. One is blocked by the high boy. One has the air conditioner in it. The other two windows are almost certainly open between the first day of thaw in the Spring and the first day of snow in the Fall. Same is true of three of the five windows in the living room / dining room. And the only window in the kitchen that opens. And the windows in the back room. You might think she opens them for the air, the breeze, the billow of curtains, and you’d be right to a certain extent, but the main reason she opens the windows is for the light.\n\n[[what the sun does to the snow|a kiss]]\n[[what the snow does to the earth|a kiss]]\n[[what the earth does to the seed|a kiss]]\n[[what the seed does to the bloom|a kiss]]\n[[what the blook does to the sun|a kiss]]\n
There is a word in Japanese, harusame, that is widely translated as “Spring rain”. It is not Spring rain. It is a kind of rain we don’t have a word for in English. It is a rain that is the barest sliver beyond mist. Mist hangs in the air, harusame is falling, but slowly, barely, it is nearly not-rain. It is soundless, calm. It only happens at certain times of the year in coastal climates.\n\n[[how English usually works]]\n[[how bad translations happen, and persist]]\n[[disproving a disproving]]\n[[translating Issa]]\n[[a coastal climate he’s never visited]]
He did learn, through necessity, a valuable skill that continues to serve him well. He learned how to turn the tap of creativity on and off at will. The only way for him to be able to work was in fits and starts and so he became adept at working in fits and starts. He can write three words of a sentence and come back three days later to write three more and come back a week after that to write three more. In this way he works on a whole host of projects simultaneously, and is able to compartmentalize collaborations so effectively that he can keep a lot of irons in a lot of fires burning all at once. People talk about writer’s block, and he has no idea what that could possibly mean.\n\n[[a valuable skill|a kiss]]\n[[fits and starts|a kiss]]\n[[in this way|a kiss]]\n[[burning, all at once|a kiss]]\n[[what that could mean|a kiss]]\n
Spend time with the Greats in whatever field is of interest to you. You’ll find out very quickly that as great as they may (or may not) be, they are not untouchable in their talents. And their talents are not your talents. No greater talent than your own created most of the great works. The current difference (their great work is completed, yours not yet begun) is due more to levels of dedication and commitment than to talent.\n\nThe more you experience the greatest works of humankind, the more you will realize that you could do that, too. Now get crackin’.\n\n[[time is not time in this place|a kiss]]\n[[from beginning to completion|a kiss]]\n[[levels of dedication|a kiss]]\n[[you could do that, too|a kiss]]\n[[first, live an interesting life|a kiss]]\n
The clean-up is ongoing, and may never be complete. Shards of broken glass were sprayed at a high velocity throughout the entire house. Carpeting, corners, cracks, crevices, no part of the house was spared. It tooks weeks and many vacuumings before they were able to walk around in socks again, and another few weeks and more vacuumings before they could walk barefoot in the house. But still, to this day, when the light is just right, it’s occasionally possible to catch a glint or a glimmer out of the corner of the eye that taunts: Missed a piece!\n\n[[the myth of completion|a kiss]]\n[[an examination of shards|a kiss]]\n[[a glint|a kiss]]\n[[a glimmer|a kiss]]\n[[another piece|a kiss]]\n
The cats begin migrating up to the bedroom about a half hour before normal bedtime, and the slow migration continues until about a half hour after normal bedtime. During this migration all four will end up in the bedroom, on or around the bed, and begin staking out their places for the night. One will usually break out and head for the daughter’s room. If there’s a houseguest they’ll lose a second one. The cats are good at making sure everybody has at least one, but, if they have to, they’ll quadruple up before they’ll sleep alone.\n\n[[the sweet spot|a kiss]]\n[[the responsibility to share|a kiss]]\n[[the symbiosis of get and give|a kiss]]\n[[the transfer of body heat|a kiss]]\n[[how we all orbit the essentials|a kiss]]\n
He’s been searching his whole life for a decent pair of summer sandals. He hasn’t been looking all that hard, it’s not like a big priority for him, but, he doesn’t remember the last time he actually owned a pair of sandals. \n\nEvery time he sees a display of them he goes over and checks them out. Nothing ever seems right. The strappy-velcro ones look more like torture devices, flip-flips seem dangerous for anything other than walking from the shower to the bed, and Birkenstocks are just so expensive that he can never pull the trigger on trying a pair. \n\nThough, the older he gets, the more times he’s discovered that sometimes it is worth paying that big ticket price to get the high quality item. Not always, of course, but sometimes. He loves his Ray-Bans, he loves his Longines watch, he loves his Tilley hat, and he loves his custom-made dual-line stunt kite. Sometimes you do get what you pay for, though those times are rarer and rarer it seems.\n\n[[he’s a searcher|a kiss]]\n[[in a sense|a kiss]]\n[[in that he’s receptive|a kiss]]\n[[to opportunities|a kiss]]\n[[without being driven by them|a kiss]]\n
On the patio is a wire set of outdoor furniture. Six chairs, a table, and an umbrella. On the table is a sculpture made out of kiln-fired scrap glass. It’s milky seafoam bluegreen and is in places wrinkled like a flattened brain, in other places jagged like syrup pulling away from the sides of a styro cup. It’s completely weatherproof, and, glows like an idea on the way when it encloses a candle.\n\n[[this is the third umbrella]]\n[[this is the second patio set]]\n[[this is the second piece of art they’ve bought from this artist]]\n[[the chair cushions, or lack thereof]]\n[[the only problems with the patio]]\n
The special resonance of Smile goes beyond the music and into the story behind the music. The details are interesting, but it’s the skeletal structure that’s important. An artist abandons his greatest work because of criticism from those closest to him. Years pass. Following other successes and being surrounded by a more supportive circle the artist makes the decision to go back and complete the work. The work is completed and it is, indeed, great.\n\nWhat a story. He has a story that’s similar, but, at this point he only has hope for the completion and success part. So Smile gives him hope. Smile says it can happen. Not that it will, but that it can. And that’s enough.\n\n[[beyond the music|a kiss]]\n[[into the story|a kiss]]\n[[the myth of completion|a kiss]]\n[[it can happen|a kiss]]\n[[enough|a kiss]]\n