I haven’t spoken into a microphone for nine days.
Last night, Alexis and I went to Three Floyds for some ramen soup, cod, Wisconsin cheese curds and, of course, a Zombie Dust. Old Nick Floyd finally got it right with all the people waiting to get in. If you download the Yelp app, you can sit in your car until they text you. Beats standing on the tundra waiting for your name to be called.
“We only have two at the bar,” the hostess told us when we finally made it in.
And it was perfect. We split a salad of fresh greens and “McKlug Farm blueberries.” There was, of course, a bowl of Wisconsin cheese curds. Every once in a while you have to be sinful. And Wisconsin cheese curds drenched in a Mayonnaise-based spicy sauce, laced with red peppers, is a sin. Chew and repent.
Alexis raved about her ramen noodles. To me, it looks like taking a Styrofoam cup and sticking it in the microwave. But she knows her spices. She’s Mexican. One kinda follows the other.
I had the cod. It comes on a sandwich, but who eats bread these days? You can push aside the bun and scoop up fish with your fork. The fries are covered with parmesan and romano. As mentioned, once in a while you have to sin or your white shirt will get stained anyways without your permission. Just scoop and eat and remember the moment.
I’m already missing my life.
When I walk the dog,
I grieve for the day
I don’t do it any more.
The branch that
scrapes my side,
the unseen hole
that turns my ankle,
I miss them already.
It’s not just a parking lot
and a dog on a leash.
It’s a memory while
I’m doing it.
My eyes water.
I want to scream.
It’s worse at sunset
when the sky is pink
There’s so much beauty
I can’t take it.
I want to thank
someone, but instead
Sorry, but that’s
just how it is.
Since this blog for the three or four of you – and for broadcasting students 50 years hence – is ostensibly about radio, let’s talk about that.
How is it that I can go nine days without speaking into a microphone?
Maybe I’m burnt out. Maybe I’m on the verge of doing something and I gotta be quiet or it won’t happen. Or maybe it’s just that both of my daughters are around and I’m not gonna miss that.
Whatever it is, it feels like the right thing to do. The microphone will be there on Tuesday. For now, I’ll just write stuff.
I’m not gonna let you take away
How would I go?
How would I see?
You and your brother think that
just because your mom’s not
around that I can’t handle
Well I got news for you. I can
handle myself just fine.
I can drive myself down to the
McDonald’s and I can put cream
in my own coffee. I can read the
paper and I can talk to
Jake and Henry. They make me
laugh. They remember your momma.
That makes me feel good.
You want me to feel good, don’t you?
If you take my car away, that’s
one step closer to putting me away
in a home. That’s what happened to
your mom’s sister. She was just fine,
a little chatty maybe. But your cousins
couldn’t wait to put her away to get
at all that money.
You don’t want to come see me in a
home in a wheelchair drooling all
over myself waiting for the Cubs
game, do you?
I’m just fine where I’m at. I can
drive better than any of your kids,
except maybe Cade. He can drive
It was just a little ice is all. I was
coming down the road by the dairy and
there was this ice, and there’s a little
hill, and next thing you know I was
in the Didlio’s front yard with a stop
sign in my lap. That could happen
at any age. There was
just so much ice.
It was the kind of ice you can’t see.
What they call it - "black ice?”
Sounds like “black guys” to me,
like the ones I used to work with
at the mill.
Them were fine fellas, those black guys
from the Harbor. They was working men
black guys, with families to feed and
women at home who would whoop ‘em
silly if they stayed too long at Baker’s Bar.
Your mom would whoop me, too,
but in a different way. If I come home
a little cockeyed past your bedtimes,
she’d go silent on me. She wouldn’t
let me kiss her. That would drive me
crazy. I loved to come home to your mom.
She made me laugh.
Did you ever see her do the one-legged
man? Of course you did. Wasn’t that
swell? I miss that. I wish I would have
taken one of your phones and recorded it
just one time. Then I could watch it in
the afternoon when it gets quiet around
Okay, okay, so once in a while when it
gets too quiet I go over to Johhnny’s Tap.
That’s not why I took out the
stop sign and the tree. I only had two,
three tops. It was the black guys, I swear.
If your mom had been around, she would
have seen the black ice and warned me.
“Honey, it’s slick here. Slow down.”
That’s what she would have done. Did you
ever hear her sing Stevie Nicks? When she
sang Landslide, my eyes would water.
I sure wish I had taken one of your guys’
phones and recorded her singing
Landslide. That way in the afternoon when
it gets quiet I could play it back and then I
wouldn’t feel like I had to go to Johnny’s.
Please don’t take away my car. Forget
what that officer said. I knew his grandfather.
His grandfather didn’t know his ass from a
hole in the ground and neither does he.
The both of them think they know
I smelled like alcohol? Are you kidding me?
I’ve been driving drunk for longer than you
been breathing. I can drive as well snookered
as I can sober. Better even, ‘cause then I
How about this?
If I promise not, as you say, to
“drink and drive,”
can I get my keys back?
What? A court order? Screw that. A court
order? Nobody listens to that stuff. Joey
Burns drove for ten years on a court
order. So did his brother, Bill. It’s a
warning, that’s all.
No way I’m calling ubers. Can you see me
coming home in someone else’s car
and Mrs. Kobards watching out her window?
She’d be on the phone in a flash
to half the widows in this town –
“Old Jim needs a woman to take care of
him. Linda used to do it all. He won’t last
long if he don’t find one soon.”
That’s hogwash. I can last a long time more
without your mom. Take my word for it.
And don’t you go minding my business
about laying your ma’s clothes out
at night. It makes me feel better to sleep
next to ‘em. I wash ‘em, dry 'em, fold ‘em,
put ‘em in her drawer. Then I bring 'em
out and spread ‘em next to me.
That ain’t cuckoo.
That’s just missing your mom.
I miss her more than I could say.
So just go on back to your
families and let me be.
I’ll be all right.
It’s cold as hell out these days. After a while, you get a little used to it. But for the first couple of days, you’re not just cold, you’re surprised. You walk out the garage and get slapped in the face. Under the covers writing stuff, you can feel the chill. Appreciate the warmth. Listen to Jim Croce in the middle of the night. Eat brownies with ice cold milk.
Poetry I’ve found
makes my world go round.
We’re both sitting on a curb
waiting for some herb.
I’d use the weed for seed of creativity.
But the law says otherwise,
so I’ll just let it be.
The snow outside says one thing.
The fire inside says another.
With a heating bill to pay,
it’s time again to call my brother.
Thanks but no thanks for the nut roll.
I’d eat the whole thing if my
waistline let me.
Thanks but no thanks for this
false claim to be poet,
courtesy of Mr. Roethke.
Imitation is the only real
way to go.
Or inspiration, if you’re
so inclined, and should
Leave me alone to dance
To eat some fish and Wisconsin
Late at night when the house
I open my screen. I creep,
There’s nothing to say,
nothing to hide,
when the world’s asleep
and I’m inside.
Good night, sweet sleepers,
good night, my tired.
I’d join your slumbers
but I’m so freakin wired.