A Minute with Michael

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It’s Gross, I’m Sure

Henn Kims Library

The sickness of writing is

how polluted you feel when

you can’t actually put words on the

page.

 

The words build up like bile in your word duct,

corrupting your moods

and jumbling your thoughts into

incoherent ramblings.

 

It’s a serious condition that can’t

always be remedied through conventional

means, nothing makes sense and everything

is so terribly banal.

 

There’s a steady drip of words leaking

from my brain, yet they don’t always

get as far as the page. They get muddled

in a cocktail of insecurity and anxiety.

 

It’s perverse that the only true cure

is to vomit up the collection of unused

words in a speckled puddle, swish it around

and see which words are the salve.

 

It’s also gross.

Like, ick, why would you use the imagery

of vomit to describe that?

Word Duct back up, that’s why.

 

There are so many levels to the sickness of

writing, it’s difficult to quantify them all.

The condition is dreadful and can’t be easily

soothed with some balm.

 

It’s only added to by the general frustrations

of living. I haven’t had a passionate kiss in

nearly a year. I haven’t felt the gaze of a lover or

the joy of expressing that intimacy in so long.

 

And it backs up the word duct something awful,

like you gotta get in there with a plumbing snake and

really root around to shake the words loose and

get something on the page.

 

Even if it’s nonsense, like most of this,

at least it is something plastering the page.

I vomited it up,

Now kiss me.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.hennkim.com/

All Around the Table

Hungry thanksgiving-pictures-1950

I stared at the ravaged carcass

of the turkey as I rubbed my full belly

and wiped the cranberry sauce from the

corner of my mouth.

“Poor bird”, I thought, “to be cursed with

deliciousness.”

 

Bred to be the centerpiece at a table

surrounded by wandering opinions,

self-importance and unchecked egotism,

along with the other holiday fare, like

corn and mashed potatoes.

Maybe some pie later.

 

In some parts, this table will be jovial

and consumed in the loving laughter of those

surrounding this peculiar fowl.

In other parts; anger, resentments and

choice, long stifled words might overflow

and drown the celebration in regret.

 

Gravy might be spilled as your Aunt

finally admits to her misgivings about, “those people”,

or your brother finally admits he never liked your

wife, or that money you loaned your nephew for

his “investments” was used to buy strippers

and blow.

 

The white tablecloth, smeared in mashed

potatoes and yams as your Uncle and Father

finally wrestle and come to terms with their mutual

abandonment of their mother, in that home,

with red-faced rage, protruding veins

of their stiff necks.

 

Perhaps your funny cousin, will say something

pithy, and brag about their true liberalism in

the face of all the phonies. You’ll call him

Holden and he won’t get the reference.

You’ll hide in the palm of your hand as you cup

your forehead.

 

Someone will tell you how they really feel,

someone will say something stupid,

someone will brag about something they shouldn’t brag about,

Someone will confess, someone will lie, someone will

suddenly be asleep on the sofa,

perhaps that someone is me.

 

“Poor bird,” I think again.

Belching quietly into my mouth.

So much to be Thankful for and

so little time to do it all in.

A Turkey’s time is so short.

Eaten to the bone.

Hot Damn Soup

Thanksgiving2019

So then, there’s November.

A curious month steeped in

the roiling juices of history;

churning and bubbling up to

remind us of what we’re to

be Thankful for and tug at

the veil of memory.

 

November is both cruel and

comforting, like a nice hot

bowl of soup you accidentally

spill on your crotch.

It was so good, now it’s a

scalding mess.

And your good pants are ruined.

And you badly wanted that soup too.

 

There’s mix of nostalgia for, “the old days”,

and being thankful for the days we have now.

There are remembrances of things long past that

still touch us, and a willful ignorance of

the things we wish to forget.

Clashing together in the crock pot of

life, with stuffing and cranberry sauce on the side.

 

My November, Novembers, are tinged with

a moment in time I wasn’t even alive for;

The assassination of JFK on November 22, 1963.

I’ve even made a pilgrimage to Dallas in 2013

to honor a President I never lived under, yet,

whose future (had he lived) might have deeply

affected me, us all.

 

The optimism JFK is portrayed to have, has

always nagged at me and I have often wondered,

“what if…?” How would life in the United States be

different, would we be where we are now,

embroiled in a scandal of such profound lunacy?

I don’t know and the not knowing is so very annoying.

More hot soup on my lap and good slacks.

 

Then there’s the Pilgrims themselves,

those hearty souls who stepped foot off the Mayflower

at Plymouth Rock, fleeing religious persecution from England,

to build a new life in the New World for themselves and

posterity. Which is the fantasy we’d instructed to believe

as we’re coloring in the hand traced turkeys at our

grammar school desks.

 

The breaking of bread with Native Americans,

to signify how much the Native Americans

helped the Pilgrims survive their first

few years of colonization,

while secretly plotting to take what land they

could. A weird disingenuous holiday

celebration. (Founded during the Civil War, FYI.)

 

The myths of history told to children

as facts, has also nagged at me for

a very long time. Why the untruths?

“Who made so much hot soup and why do they

keep spilling it on my good pants?!”

Hot, hot, hot, hot, aww, cold.

My childish sensibilities thankfully protected.

 

November. A month known widely for

Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up the British

Parliament. You know, the 5th of November.

You know it.

If not from history, then from that movie.

Yes, you know.

Sigh.

 

What’s with you November?

Why are you so weird?

What’s with your complexities and

strange historical interference?

Where did you get that hat with a buckle on it?

And for real, who made all this

damn hot soup?

 

 

Arabesque

Dance Marathons

The art of dancing around a point,

a point of view,

a view point,

pointedly viewed by dancing.

 

Shuck and jive,

step, ball, change,

juke and dive,

shimmy and shake.

 

I see your seeing of what

I saw but that’s not what I

have seen at all.

Tappity-tap, tap.

 

Leg flip, 1st position,

arabesque, lithe,

twirl and dip,

shuffle, two hops this time.

 

Not that it happened when it

happened, or was I aware of

the happening, before it had the

chance to happen, all happenstance.

 

Limbo right, limbo left,

mashed potato,

shake a tail-feather,

pony. Ride the pony.

 

I do not recall,

I half-remember,

what was to be remembered

was a matter of opinion.

 

Shake, shake, shake,

body roll, body roll,

with roller skates now,

smooth.

 

Eating Your Own Face

vintage-oasis-gas-station-truck-stop_1_8e901fa80dc8749c1dfd128cc4189cf2

They stare at me with astonished

horror in their eyes. The rooms

hush and murmur as I enter,

the jukebox skips,

the building shudders.

 

“Is he eating his own face,” asked

one of the lookie-loos.

“It’s so gnarled and raw,

missing in the wrong places and

too much in the right ones.”

 

The truck stop eunuch even

stops to stare as I get my mug

of coffee. I fill it to the brim,

drop in a straw and start the long

walk back to my rig.

 

“Does it even have eyelids,” says

a whisper.

“How does it sleep,” asks another.

“Why are there teeth growing from

it’s nose,” questions a less subtle voice.

 

I grip my coffee mug tighter in my

crab claw hand, rushing a bit now

to escape the judgmental stares and

whispered accusations of my mother

spawning with the Devil.

 

My bravery and confidence I so boldly

approached the doors with, is fading fast

as I hurry through the long truck stop

oasis hallway.  I just want to get out,

back on the verdict less roads.

 

I get to the glass doors as tears sting

my eye. I catch my reflection in the glass.

There’s nothing wrong with me.

Nothing at all. I’m not all chewed up.

I don’t have a claw hand.

 

I look back behind me at the

small morning truck stop oasis

crowd, the truck stop eunuch has

his head down. No one is staring,

no one can see.

 

There are no hushed whispers or

terrified tones. The murmurs are all

corn and coffee rumors.

The TV hums with news of the day,

traffic reports and snow on the way.

 

I touch my scruffy chin and my reflection

does the same. No new scars, no holes,

no disfiguring marks, no crocodile skin

or teeth out of place.

I think it was all a dream.

 

I open the door and step outside,

it is cold and I can see my breath,

I shrug my collar up a little higher and

walk toward my rig.

“What’s with the eunuch,” I wonder aloud.

Nine Year Anniversary!!!

 

Happy 9th

It’s an anniversary! It’s been nine years of A Minute with Michael on Blogspot.com. In that time, I have written (including this) 1,204 posts, I’ve written two books, Never Said Enough, and the follow-up Saying Too Much: A Second Volume of Poetry and have hopefully touched some part of my readers lives in a small way. I’m really awestruck that if you read one post a day, every day, it would take 3.3 years to finish. That’s an astounding trivial fact!

I’m proud of the work I’ve put into this blog site, even if “blogging” isn’t exactly as popular as it once was. And if I think about it, I might have been a little late to that party as it was.  I am thankful that an old friend showed me how to even start up a blog page nine years ago and even though time has essentially erased the connection I had with that friend; I am still appreciative of her help. Without her assistance, I don’t know what I would have done to express myself creatively and artistically.

I know that with each follow, re-post, share, like and re-tweet, I’ve been allowed to become a small part of your lives and your thoughts. My wish is that this curious form of telepathy has meant as much to you as it means to me and I am sincerely grateful for all the support, likes, re-tweets, shares, and comments I’ve received over the years. I’m always appreciative of any words of encouragement, support or share; as well as any constructive criticism. So, don’t be shy!

I know not everyone has the time to read much these hectic days and I do try to keep my posts to the minimum of a quick read. I do aspire to try and adhere to the “Minute” part of the title. (Although I am a pretty fast reader so that method of timing might be a little skewed.) I deeply recognize the effort my readers put in to make time for my little pieces about life, love, sadness, joy and occasional lunacy. I’m proud to identify as a writer and as a poet and welcome the gracious encouragement I have received.

I will continue to post and write and create to express not only my internal struggles, woes, happiness’s; but be a relatable platform for all those that might feel the same things stirring inside themselves but just don’t have the words to express it. And to make sure use of the semi-colon doesn’t vanish.

I am looking forward to the Ten-year anniversary next year and I hope before then to have a collection of my short stories in print. So keep a lookout for that sometime in the coming year.

Thank you again for the Nine years of support and love!

https://aminutewithmichael.blogspot.com/2019/10/nine-year-anniversary.html

https://www.amazon.com/Saying-Too-Much-Second-Poetry/dp/1727135490/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536762783&sr=1-1&keywords=saying+too+much

Gallows Tree Hill

Gallows-Tree

On a lonely hill jutting above

the desolate fields stands a

single tree; The Gallows Tree.

It grows there, waiting for me.

 

My love, she mourns at the foot of the

Gallows Tree, handkerchief clutched

in both her shaking hands as she

weeps for me.

 

The cold Autumn wind blows

the leaves from the Gallows Tree,

as they march me up towards its

bony and spindly branches.

 

The bare branches are the image of

a hand clenched in a fist, trying

to punch the sky, and hit unmerciful

God in the nose, get his blood on things.

 

The October sunrise peeks over the heads

of the crowd, assembled to watch me

visit with the Gallows Tree.

I see her, my love, crying for me.

 

The leg irons jingle with each trudging step

I make up the hill to the executioner,

a noose swaying in the cold morning wind,

as a raven croaks unceremoniously in the tree.

 

My love, she weeps, as I pass her by,

I see her tears reflecting the rising orange sun,

and I know that this miscarriage would be set right,

this affront to justice would be revenged.

 

I face the Gallows Tree, knowing what I did was

done for love. All the spectators know. They

want me to swing nonetheless. They want my

blood to sweeten the ground of Gallows Tree hill.

 

A rooster crowing in the distance, the judge

nods, and the rope is placed around my neck,

a flimsy wooden box placed beneath my feet,

I decline the black hood over my head.

 

My love, she wails, at the foot of

the judge but he is un-swayed, he nudges

her aside and reads the Sentence to the

waiting, blood-thirsty crowd.

 

For murder, for arson, for theft,

for robbery, for assault, for bearing

false witness, this man is sentenced

to be hung until his death.

 

I can hear the Gallows Tree branches creak

in hungry anticipation of the soul about to

be delivered to it. Its greed leaking like

sap from its weathered bark.

 

My love screams as the judge leans towards

my ear and asks if I have any final words

to impart or forgiveness I wish to plead.

The wind whips up as I say I do.

 

“I am innocent. I have done you no

wrong in this life.” The silent crowd scoffs.

“However, I cannot claim such innocence in death, as

I will have my revenge. My vengeance will be unimaginable.”

 

I look to the weeping eyes of my love,

sitting in a heap upon the dusty hill,

“My love, so loyal and true; my revenge will

be swift and no harm will come to you.”

 

The judge nodded to the executioner,

and out he kicked the flimsy wooden box,

the rope tightened, the branched creaked,

the ravens flew from the upper Gallows Tree branches.

 

Revenge boils in my dying eyes and I stare at

the faces of who wrongfully convicted me.

As the breath escapes me, I let my spirit go,

to bring in a reign of havoc upon these judgmental souls.

 

I swear and curse that every October

in the orange sun of morning, I will haunt them all

I will scare them all. I will make them beg for mercy

but provide them with none. Forever.

The Corn Maze of Doom

Corn Maze

The haunted trail through the cornfields was supposed to be the be all and end all of terrifying Halloween experiences. At least according to the extremely loud radio commercials that seemed to air every ten minutes. Instead it was long lines, crowded groups of annoying teenagers perfumed heavily with booze and pot and extreme dampness. The only horrors to be found were in the ticket prices and the amount of mud we’d have to wash off of our clothes. It just wasn’t scary. Nothing seemed scary anymore. The real world had proven to be a more terrifying place than any cheaply concocted corn maze.

We made our way back toward the area where our car was parked. It was another muddy field to walk through. There were no lights overhead so finding the car amid the rows of hastily parked vehicles was to be a challenge. Jennifer and I weaved through row after row of dark colored cars trying to find ours. She was pressing the key fob on and off so the alarm would beep on and off as a way to essentially echo-locate it. She was not pleased. She was irritated. She was cold. She was wet and it seemed like she wanted to murder me.

She had mentioned a week or so prior to our cornfield excursion that she wanted to do something scary for Halloween. She wanted a little fright to spice up our usual tradition of going to a friend’s costume party and then just going home. She couldn’t stay awake for a horror movie usually and she always felt like the whole day was sort of a waste. It just wasn’t like her childhood Halloween’s so she asked me to come up with something scary.

I do not much care for Halloween. I don’t like costumes and I don’t really like the pomp of it all. I have an aversion to the smell of Halloween make-up. I hate the crowds of costume parties. I despise the one couple, the one that every couple knows, that really goes all out on their costume putting everyone’s cheaply/homemade costume to shame. It bugs me that they’ll spend $300 on a costume but only bring a six-pack of beer to the party. So, I was actually sort of pleased to come up with something different to do.

The evening started pleasant enough. A small candlelit dinner between Jennifer and I at a nice fall themed restaurant. We could talk to each other normally over the gentle background music, instead of yelling at full volume at some party or in a bar. We held hands and professed our love for each other and how much we enjoyed spending this kind of quality time together. We both had hectic schedules and lives so having these few moments to just be with each other was nice. She was excited about the prospect of the Haunted Corn Maze of Doom too. Which made me feel like I had actually done something that makes her happy. Instead of just mildly not annoyed with everything I do. She seemed genuinely happy.

Her mood started to darken as we pulled into the parking lot for the Maize Maze of Doom. It was just dusk and the air smelled slightly of pig manure and rotting leaves. There were a lot of other people it seemed who had a similar idea of a haunted trail and it was already crowded. They walked in front of the car like we weren’t even there, milling about like zombies, as we tried to find a place to park. We finally pulled next to a row of cars and reminded each other to remember where we parked.
Jennifer put on a brave face when I asked her if she was ready to go in and if she was prepared for the horrors of corn that awaited. I was similarly enthused.

Our tickets were scanned by a young woman woefully under-dressed for the tepid Autumn temperatures. Jennifer and she exchanged a strange look in the language that only women speak to each other while also being extremely overly polite. I asked her what that was all about but Jennifer said it was nothing. I know better than to pry too much into those deep evolutionary inner-workings.

We made our way to the line and began our hour long wait. The Haunted corn maze was a sprawling complex of trails and fields in which there were various stations of horror set up. You were to wind your way along the paths, unguided, and have your fears realized by the denizens of this cursed field.  Jennifer said she wished I had told her to wear different shoes. I said that I told her we were going to be outside so I assumed she would wear outside shoes. She was wearing thin sort of tennis shoes without socks. Her smile had completely faded now, replaced with tight while lines where her lips usually are.

The line to go to these various stations of horror was backed-up with families, strollers, small children that shouldn’t be going to a haunted trail, teenagers with nothing better to do, high teenagers wherein this was the best they could do, and adults in various stages of inebriation.  There was so much chatter that I couldn’t tell one conversation from the next. As the sun was setting the chill in the air thickened as did the dragons breath wafting up from the cold crowds. I rubbed Jennifer on her shoulders to keep her warm and assured her that as soon as we got moving, she’d feel better.

At last our time came, along with a group of 12 other people, to enter the Corn Maze of Doom. I felt relieved that we would finally get started and maybe build some solid Halloween memories. Something different than the routine. An adventure of sorts to reminisce about absently on Halloween’s when we are old people. We tromped through some underbrush and emerged with the group in front of a large plywood vampire, painted with various rules, regulations and health warnings. A person in a hillbilly costume, or an actual hillbilly as it was hard to tell, informed us of the path we were to take and to have a Spooktacular time in the Corn Maze of Doom. He pointed towards a dirt path and off we went.

A woman in our group immediately sprained her ankle as we took our first few steps onto the dirt path. She screamed louder and more terrifyingly than anything we had seen to date. She fell into the arms of the man she was with. I turned to Jennifer and shrugged and encouraged her to just move forward. That lady shouldn’t have been wearing sandals anyway I said to Jennifer.

We wound our way with our smaller group through the rather short maze. By short I mean that the corn wasn’t very high, considering there had been a drought all summer it was no surprise that we could easily navigate the corn maze of doom.  The doom within the corn maze was mostly teenagers stopping to make out with each other and poorly designed horror stations, one guy with a chainsaw, one guy with an axe, one guy in a police uniform, who might have been an actual cop. Jennifer never screamed, jumped or seemed at all scared by any of the lame attractions. She pulled me along as I stopped to laugh at the shoddy and unbelievably cheap decoration and set ups. The shocks and scares were pale in comparison to all the real-world events we were trying to escape from; no amount of Hannibal Lector’s or Jason Voorhees, could clear actual life from our minds.

We reached the end of the maze in under 20 minutes and Jennifer was done. Her feet were wet and she was probably never going to want to hang out on Halloween with me ever again. She hit the car key fob again and to our delight, our car was finally located just a few feet away.  We hustled over to it and jumped in. I started the car and immediately turned the heat on.

“I’m sorry this was such a disaster,” I said, “I’d hoped this would be a fun thing to do. You know, something different. I get the feeling you were pretty miserable so I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation, I hated it too.”

Jennifer was quietly rubbing her cold feet. Her hair just poking out from under the hood of her sweatshirt.

“I’m glad we did this together. I’m glad we both hated this,” she said, “I wouldn’t have wanted to hate this with anyone other than you.”

She leaned over and kissed me. A sweet warm kiss despite us both being cold. It was a marvelous kiss, the sort you replay over and over in your memory until you die.

She leaned back into her seat, still rubbing her feet.

“Happy Halloween,” she said, “Now let’s get the hell out of here.”

I smiled, thinking; sure, perhaps the world is a really terrifying place, but no amount of fear and the horrors of our times could ever be bigger than the love between two people; who hated stupid Halloween activities together.

 

Sort of Silly, After All

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My fingers cannot find any

purchase on the slick shaft

of this cell.

The greasy walls of nightmares

have kept me down here.

 

Dark and cold in the forgotten

place. Damp, dank and dingy,

in the shadowed hole I sit.

Looking up for a peek of the moon,

shining overhead.

 

The sliver of silver, each midnight,

casting a blade of lunar lumens,

down the slippery walls of this

prison, slashing across my light

blinded eyes.

 

A nocturnal being, tossing and

slipping in the throes of terror,

squishing between barefoot toes,

the refuse of dreams; fuel for the

horrors of long nights.

 

Thick foggy breath, panting upwards

in clouds, circling above my head,

disappearing into the darkness of

the deepening chills and fear gripping

at the hair of my neck.

 

Shouts unheard, voice long gone,

a muffled whimper as ceaseless night

bares down keeping pleasantries far

from mind and hopes dashed, smoldering

ashes of wishes.

 

October, you say? Ah… that.

No wonder. What I relief!

I was worried I was going mad.

It’s just October. Nothing to worry about then.

Just the typical October stuff to endure.  Whew!

 

(Whistles)

 

 

The Broken Things

crumbling-ruins

I tend to keep broken things,

even though I know I should

throw them away.

 

I feel bad for the broken things,

even though their usefulness is

gone.

 

I like the broken things,

even when no one can see

what they mean to me.