a satire

Last May, 2021, I wrote this poem

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Bella         (who bit the other dog)

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She tracks in dogshit from the blight

Of our filthy yard outside. I’ve

One thing fair to say for her: bright

Gleam her eyes beneath that stale hive

Of matted, tangled fur, a sight

Which heaven can scarce but leave alive.

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One snarl the more, one tooth or less

Hath half impaled the separate beast

Who dared to touch her kibbled mess

Or stole her master’s pizza feast;

While thoughts serenely beg caress

How pure her kennel cage at least.

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And on that snout, and o’er that brow

So fierce, so wild, yet eloquent,

The smile that wins, the wags that grow

To tell of days in lock down spent.

A dog that begs from far below,

A bite whose love is innocent!.

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.With a pat on the head for Lord Byron.

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amtrak, end

i made my reservations. I. capital.

type to chose a block

I wrote my dreams into a trip to New York

but Amtrak canceled two of the trains

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it is all just at well, because now I will not spend so much money as I might have spent. Two Thousand Dollars , no, maybe three . . . three thousand dollars on travel and lodging .

yes.

no.

ten weeks

it is coming. do I want to take a travel pillow with me, for my neck? do I want to capitalize the first word of every sentence here.

no.

But I will.

The need to conform butts in against my brain. I am a goat.

I will r i d e on the train to New York City

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God willing .

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finally, it is home

I brought my van home last week. Took it to a local Chevy dealer here in San Diego. Had some work done. Now it is almost ready for the road. Still some question about the tags – it’s registered, but the motor vehicle department has my address wrong, and although by chance – the mail deliverer knew the right address (what are the odds against that happening at all) and so I received the registration form, and did it online, and paid, but then the tags and registration slip got lost in the mail.

I tried to change the address on-line, but the system demands information only available on the registration slip (which I don’t have – CATCH 22 n’est-ce pas?).

So. Another hold-up. Insert frowning face here. I don’t want to drive it without the stickers, am loath to always take a chance I will get pulled over because the tags say 2021 instead of 2022. Well, at least it is only January, so far.

But still. I am eager to taking some shake-down cruises, even overnight trips to the desert, to see how it feels to sleep in my metal box under the starry, starry night.

future plans for three months from now

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I have decided to go to New York in April for a few days. By then my grandson will be six months old, and, coincidentally, his father, my beloved son, will also be celebrating his birthday during the time I am there.

I chewed for a long time on the question of how to travel. In the end I decided not to fly. The last two trips to New York were by airliner, first for the wedding two years ago and again last October when the baby was born. Although the flights were okay, I did not enjoy the experiences at the airports, neither arrivals nor departures.

Instead, this time I will be turning back to an old friend of mine – the long-distance American railroad.

Yes, I am going to take Amtrak from California to New York. A journey of five days and four nights. Then six or seven days in the Big Apple, before I return again to sunny California. I shall be taking a slightly different route each way, except that both trips must pass through Chicago.

More details to follow as the time approaches.

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The Best-Advertised Train in the Country |

tomorrow

07:34

Now it is tomorrow. For real. I can see the daylight, where it shines on the hillside, outside my window. Sit and write.

Still tired. I could fall asleep again in the blink of an eye. Dream of even anything yes. Instead, I split a cold English muffin, butter it. I have no toaster.

None. Go back to sleep. Dream of warm fire and hot, burning electricity. In the electric city. I sold all my General Electric stock three years ago. Too late, as it turned out.

Breakfast is reheated soup. At least the stove still works. Surely, I could do something about that – toast the muffin on the bottom of a frying pan, perhaps. Cast iron is my salvation, someday, somehow, somewhere over my rainbow.

No.

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unpleasant surprise but happy ending

FRIDAY 20 AUGUST 2021

I had a sore throat Friday last week, and it did not go away. For a day or two I talked with son and ex-wife and brother about it, and then, on Sunday morning when I could not swallow, I called nine-one-one and went with paramedics to Kaiser Clairemont hospital emergency. The doctors and nurses examined me, including some kind of scan of my throat, and their first thoughts were it might be either a tonsil abscess, or a tumor. Decided to keep me here for observation. Because of the danger of my airway closing, I was placed into intensive care for close monitoring and not allowed to eat or drink anything in case I would have to be intubated.
An intensive regime of antibiotic and steroid treatment was begun that night. The still unclassified mass began to decline in size and I could swallow much better on Monday. I was allowed to eat liquid, then soft. However, the mass grew a little Tuesday night and so, on Wednesday morning, after they had decided it was not a tumor, a procedure called a “tonsillar aspiration” was performed, numbing the back of the throat with injected anesthetic, and then piercing the soft tissue several times around the tonsil with a syringe to withdraw a few milliliters of infected puss and then allowing for further drainage of the abscess through the punctures created by the syringe piercings. The experience was, to be blunt, gross.
Recovery was, however quite rapid after that, and I was allowed now to eat and drink, first soft foods, then more regular items. Recovery continued strong again yesterday and I was promised that maybe today, Friday, I would be released and allowed to go home. For two days now I have eaten again and continued to recover as the abscess mass has diminished to nearly nothing.
This morning, after examination (slipping a camera up my nose and back down into the back of my throat – this has been done every day once or twice), I was tentatively approved for release pending one more doctor – the chief – examining me later today. Then I will most probably be going home late this afternoon. The ex-wife and my handsome husband-in-law will be driving me. Still being friends with them is a blessing in my life. Amen.
I have apologized to my rather large family for not contacting them sooner, but because of my extremely restricted ability to speak, as well as my unwillingness to discuss health issues with anyone, I have kept my communications strictly close, with only my three official next-of-kin. I sincerely hope the wider wings of family will forgive my failure to contact them until the last day in hospital, and I can only request and plead for their understanding and pardon.
As I said a few lines above here, I was given the interim approval for release this morning, but have decided that now is the time at last to share this unpleasant emergency with those who are all and each among my nearest and dearest friends and family. I am anxiously awaiting the final word from the main head and neck doctor. UPDATE: the man was just here, came in the door while I have been revising this email for family. After one final look and listen and talk, he said, yes he is going to give the order to release.
“Make it so.”
Oh, one small rather humorous note: Sunday morning, before calling for the ambulance, I shaved off my beard. I knew they would be handling my neck and figured that the last thing any of them would want to do would be to massage and inspect my throat through that crabgrass mass of old white face and neck hair. This was my personal metaphor of wearing clean underwear – which I also did (of course) but forgot to take extra pairs with me – the ex and her husband drove some over two days later TGIF.

living ten days without the internet

What can I say about living eleven days – or was it ten – without internet?

Basically, I survived. But I was running out of time. Dying of thirst and lack of oxygen. Fortunately, I found the respirator and the water cooler in time. Time. That’s what I can say about living without the internet. I was able to work – i.e., write – because I have the habit of keeping my files on the hard drive, not on the cloud. I was not, however, able to check my email, except for the one day in the middle when I did have internet, when I visited my brother’s house to pack up more stuff and bring it down the road to my new/old home. So, there was an island in the middle of my long, wet swim. All alone in the middle of the ocean. Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

Before plunging into the water, I had set up two weeks of the payments that I must pay every month. But I still missed one. It was a day late. I regret that small detail.

I was also able to edit videos. That was helpful to my sanity, all alone in the middle of nowhere. But I also forgot to take my camera with me and did not retrieve it until that day I spent at my brother’s house, packing up the last items along with those I had already packed but forgotten to take on my first trip back to the old/new home. That was hard. Not having my camera was hard; harder, almost, than not having the internet.

But that, too, is over.

I am connected.

Again.

new works and old memories

We have to refinish the dining room floor where the tenants’ dog peed into the old wood.

We had the septic tank fixed this week, both the inlet and the outlet baffles were kaput. In German that means dead, but in Latin caput means head. As in: caput tuum in ano est. Mine is.

In my sleep I wander down the narrow roads where orchards used to bend heavy under their dark green fruit, calavo and fuerte, and I remember those shaded groves and long-handled fruit picking tools, with bags at their far end where avocados drop in, safe and soft, not to tumble twenty feet down to the hard ground and be bruised even by the smash of dried leaves, yes, I remember those orchards and their scattered houses built in the first half of the twentieth century, yes, those two and three bedroom stucco homes where city folk lived and played at being country squires paying taxes on near-to-town orchards, yes, I remember how more houses were built then, ranch homes and mid-modern boxes, crowding the narrow roads without sidewalks, filling the local schools with children and classroom lessons where we learned the secret powers of ten, yes, and bent down under our desks to escape nuclear war and earthquakes every Friday at eleven when the sirens were tested, yes, I remember.

going home

It is hard to believe I am moving back into the house we left to renters forty-five years ago.

But I am.

The brother and his wife and their two kids will be in and out through the months, but mostly I’ll be on my own in the old place on the hillside in Jasper Heights, La Mesa.

That is a fictional name to protect the innocent and the guilty. Me being the guilty.

For years now, I have dreamt of coming back to Jasper Heights, its twisting streets, its old houses, its new houses, its eyebrows lifted above the suburban beds of San Diego.

For years I have spent my nights on hotel beds and old friends’ couches, dreaming of coming home to these half-desert and half chaparral hillsides above the border city and all its suburban sprawl.

This is where I grew up, this is where I went to school, this is where I rode my bicycle and threw evening newspapers at some of the neighbors’ houses, and yes, this is my home. This was my home and now it is my home again, in reality, and in my dreams. Even in my nightmares.

Yes, even in my nightmares. Here.

Here, on the steep, brush-tangled, hillsides and little canyons of Jasper Heights.