Friday, July 26, 2013


All material in this
email is

Confidential and all rights
are reserved

#foundpoem #micropoetry
7 June 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stranded Orcas

Traditionally only
one in 50

Stranded whale cadavers would
be analyzed

Now one in three get a full

7 June 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Potter's Sequence

There is no medical solution

To us, we are praying for a

#foundpoem #micropoetry
4 June 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ai Weiwei Playboy Interview

In Chinese you can write the

Of one dynasty in 140

#foundpoem #micropoetry
#aiww #playboy
3 June 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lifeguards Return to Klineline Pond

A 12-year old boy drowned
at the pond last

August while there were no
lifeguards on duty

3 June 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Sleep Journal #8

I haven’t really been sleeping well and don’t feel like writing about it.

I did get up for my spinning class this morning. That’s twice this week so far I’ve made it to the gym, Monday and today.

I woke up at 4am to my alarm. Got out of bed. Turned off the alarm. Reset it for 5:30. Went pee, and then went back to bed. And for like 45 minutes I’m thinking how much I need this extra hour and a half of sleep. Tossing and turning. Keeping cat tail out of my nose. Rolling on my side. Thinking how I really ought to get to that spinning class. And I think I might have even dozed off for a bit.

Thinking about how I didn’t need to pack a lunch because we’re having barbeque today at work. How I already had my bag packed from last night. How easy it would be to just get up and go to spin class. But how I really needed this sleep.

Going to bed too late at night. Kids of summer sleep schedules. Daytime hours stretching on. Lots of play in the street until after 9pm most nights.

And then I got up. It was a quarter to 5. After all that I think I rolled around thinking for 45 minutes. Maybe got a little sleep, but nothing substantial.

So I put some clothes on, made my way downstairs, turned on the coffee pot, and left for spin class by about 5am.

Made it to spin, too. With 10 minutes to spare. Derek’s wife was instructing.

Had a good sweat. And then got to work for my shower, 10 minutes to 7.

It’s been okay here at work. Bob’s in Fayetteville. But now after this barbeque I am ready for a nap.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


The surest path to the
middle class

Is some form of higher

#foundpoem #micropoetry
31 May 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

This Glass and Aluminum Structure

There’s a novel, and it’s written in the present
tense so as to propel the action forward

Put the reader into the scene – but it’s a
memoir, meaning the events have already happened

The people have already changed, that moment
of epiphany has already occurred

And so those characters aren’t even the same
people anymore, they’re more like

Shadows of the characters in this novel –
and those places aren’t the same

As they were back then either – new
roads have been built, some have been improved

And widened, sidewalks have been added
freeway onramps have been built

The population has changed demographically –
the airport has been improved

New industries now thrive where
before they were not even imagined

Except maybe in sci-fi magazines
from the 1950’s, and in dreams …

And people fly to locations and to different
cities from this glass and aluminum

Structure as they go way up high
in the clouds, travelling at great velocity

So that in relation to people still
on the ground they are not the same

People anymore, they’ve changed –
that moment of discovery

Saturday, July 13, 2013

HD 189733b


Doppelganger, 63 light years away
Reminiscent of Earth, deep
Cobalt blue

Giant gaseous planet, one side dark and
Interesting, one side always

By its star – 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit
Howling 4,500 mile per hour
Winds, nonstop

Tiny silicate particles get blown sideways, what
Sort of umbrella do you need for
Raining glass?

#foundpoem @foundpoetryrev
13 July 2013

Oregon Trail Rose

plants and

Flowers of
all kinds

Were planted

By grieving
loved ones

#foundpoem #micropoetry
26 May 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Service and Distinct Needs

Customer agrees that
forfeiture of

Freight charges shall serve
as maximum

Restitution for such
service failure

23 May 2013


Sleep Journal #7
Got up late this morning. 10 minutes before 6:30 – or 6:20, as they say. But have to be out of the house by 6:30 if I am to not be late.
Oh gosh!
Went to bed last night, and remember not setting my alarm. And thought, I’ll get up on time. A cat will disturb my sleep. Might even make it to my spinning class. Something will happen, my wife will notice my alarm not set and she will set it for me. Nothing to worry about, I’ll get up on time.
Well, my cat did pounce on me. But don’t know what time that was, because I went back to sleep. Put my arms behind my head in a posture as to support, but also shoosh the cat off my face with my elbows. It’s a basketball player’s sleep position.
Then rolled to my side. Toward the window. And noticed that the sun was coming through. Not to worry, I’ll get up on time. The sun is always rising a bit early this time of the year.
Seasons …
It is so nice to have actual seasons here in the Northwest. I think the days in the summer are close to 18 hours long with the sunlight. Maybe a bit less at the Solstice, but it’s close to that. With about 6 hours of dark.
And then in the winter it’s reversed. About 6 hours of day during the darkest time of the year.
Then you can catch up on so much sleep during winter, like a bear. It’s so much easier to hibernate during long periods of darkness. And so that’s why it’s so difficult to get to sleep early to be able to get up for that gym class at 5:30 am.
And then I sat up, put on glasses and looked at clock – it was 6:20. I had to get going quick!
So brushed my teeth and hair, threw on hat. Pair of jeans, Hawaiian shirt (its Hawaiian day at work today). Threw together some trail mix for breakfast, grabbed a cup of coffee (was already made – thanks!). And then took off.
Got to work on time even. With a minute to spare.
When I was maybe 9 or 10 years old a boy who went to our church died. Killed himself in a car accident. I think he was 16 or so. Nobody ever thought drugs were involved or anything. He had just fallen asleep at the wheel. Colin Raja. The Raja’s. He was driving home from dropping off his girlfriend and had fallen asleep.
That kind of grief affected the whole Raja family. And my dad would tell me they never got over it. I don’t think there is a way you can ever get over a death like that. 16 years old. He was Indian. They were from India – it was an Episcopal church. And he was very handsome. Attractive. Very athletic. I think he played soccer or cricket or something like that. I remember he would wear a white V-neck sweater to church on Easter Sunday and he was just so handsome and British – with his brown skin and white sweater, khaki pants.
But there is no way you can ever get over a grief like that. It is just too powerful.
I think it affected the whole church. He was my brother’s age, he was Pat’s age. And I think it must have affected their Youth Group (that I was too young to join at the time). Because people stopped going to that church. And that youth group just sort of faded away.
And it wasn’t just because of that, but that must have been one of the big reasons. I remember sitting in church on a Sunday morning with my family and maybe 4 other old, really old people in there too. That was it. Maybe just like 4 or 5 families, including ours.
And then we stopped going too.
I think it’s because I found a Lutheran church that was much closer to home than that. And they had a youth group I could belong to.
I remember mom would tell me as she would tuck me in to bed at night that she and her sister would go to a Lutheran church when they were little girls. That it was a part of their mother’s heritage; she was Norwegian, came to California from Wisconsin – but that she never went. It was just little Susie and Debbie – and I think they went with Aunt Mable. Grandma ‘B’ was always too sick to go. Or she just wasn’t into it. Whatever it was, Grandpa Don never went. And then he became Mormon.
Mom made me go to Confirmation class at that Lutheran church. I never wanted to do that, but now I am so glad she did. So glad to have that part of a Christian education. She never forced Pat or Timmy to go. And now neither of them goes to church. I wonder if that might be a reason why – they never were confirmed.
But I didn’t start going back to church until RJ was born. I remember it was a weird feeling to say, publicly admitting, that I am a Christian. That I am a Lutheran. We were at a dinner at Pastor Joes and telling our faith stories and I admitted I was a Christian. That was odd at the time.
I don’t know if I believe in all the miracles in the Bible, but I long to grow in faith. And the biggest miracle of all is that if you forgive someone, they are forgiven. It’s just that simple, really. As simple as love. Because that too is a miracle. In this world full of corruption and hate and fear and greed and death … to be able to have something like love still matter – and still be so powerful – it has to be a miracle. What else can it be?
Surely not some chemical reaction in the brain triggered by man’s living animal instincts to procreate, provide, have security, and eat. Consume.
Man’s instincts.
Animal instincts.
Why do birds fly south in the Winter? Why do Salmon swim upstream in the spring? Why does man work hard to get more money to buy a bigger home, provide security and comfort for his family? It must be love. It has to be love.
When I was 11 or 12 I got to be a pretty good soccer player. There were some other guys that were joining this team, and they wanted to know if I wanted to join too. It wasn’t a Select Soccer team, but they got to pick who they wanted to play with. It was a little more competitive. And I was pretty good.
I was a defender. I would not let any balls get past me. And if they did, I would hustle my little white ass and take that ball back.
I would use my speed. I would use my desire to be faster. I would use my skill and my strength and my size. I would use my body to pound up next to the attacking wing (because I played on the right side) to strip the ball, take the ball back, and keep it away from our goal. I would slide tackle. I would sing Metallica songs at the top of my voice as I did this (“Die – by my hand – I sweep across the land – killing firstborn man”), and I would impose the opposing player. And we would win. More often than not.
We would drive across town, from East San Jose to the Westside. Or to the Southside. To Cupertino and to Palo Alto, Los Gatos and Saratoga. I was the only white-boy on the team. And we were, this group of kids, driven in the old green Plymouth Volare, or the VW Minivan, or whatever Toyota or Chevy or Ford our parents would be driving. Now, this is during the 80’s. So I’m sure there were some Hondas too. But the opposing team would come to the games in BMW’s and Mercedes, SUV’s, or whatever. Much nicer rides than ours. And their uniforms were better too.
But we would always drive home victorious. We would bully those white boys and take their soccer balls and win the game.
Jason St. John was the other white kid on our team. He was a midfielder. He was smaller, but fast. A read-headed streak, he would take the ball, run down fast on the left side, pass it over to Raul, and then be there for the rebound when Raul would shoot from the far left. And then Jason would score. Many times, many goals would come from Jason St. John.
Anyway, he died too. When we were 17 – we had all retired from playing soccer. It was the summer before our senior year at Silver Creek. He went ‘off-roading’ in the hills behind our house with 3 other kids from our senior class who I didn’t know. And their little Bronco or Blazer or whatever it was flipped over and all four kids died. Tragic. It affected our whole senior class. All year long, that graduating class was dedicated to their memories.
Jason’s dad was a police officer. We used to see him around town, all the time. Very close ties to the community. And his sister was a year or two older than us. She was a cheerleader. I had a crush on her. Cute, gorgeous redhead. I think everyone had a crush on her. We would see them around town all the time.
But after the accident, after the funeral, just not so much. I think they withdrew. They circled the wagons. We just never saw them around much after that. And then when you did – when I did – I just wouldn’t know what to say. What can you say? You just can’t get over something like that. It’s just too much. Here he was, this young man with so much potential in life. Good looking, active, athletic, funny, friendly, people liked to be around him – and then, just gone.
I don’t know why bad things happen to good people.
When I was 18 I drove into a light-pole. Christmas 1992. December 17, it was a holiday party at the pizza restaurant where I worked. A tradition for my bosses – to close down the restaurant and throw a party for their employees. Ausher and Ramsey and Simon, their dad. They loved their employees.
I don’t remember leaving the restaurant. Must be a blackout. I’ve had a few. But story goes, I went to Danny’s house who took care of me for a while and then gave me back my keys when I assured him was okay to drive, and that I would just drive home. But here is where the story gets murkier … I did not drive straight home. I drove to where I knew I could do some more extraneous partying. And I did. And from there I drove, loaded, over the hill. Over Yerba Buena hill toward my house. At about 85 miles per hour, and skidded across 2 lanes going the other direction and crashed into a lightpole. $120,000 light pole after insurance.
And that lightpole went right through my windshield. And it would have impaled me if I had been wearing my seatbelt. But I wasn’t, and was somehow able to squeeze down to my left, towards the driver side door. And broke my neck. Busted the C3, third clavicle from my brain stem. And tore ligaments in both my knees. Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get me out. Car was mangled.
And here I am today, alive and well and whining about not going to my spinning class because I can’t get up in time. Because I can’t get to sleep at a descent hour. Wearing my Hawaiian shirt at work, typing. With a job where I get to use my brain to figure out solutions to problems, and complain about low pay.
I am blessed. I am so blessed.
Making music, writing poetry and short stories in my spare time. Taking my kids to baseball practice and scout camp.
Figuring out if we have enough money for pizza tonight with my family. Firday night, I’ll do the dishes. Because I am blessed. And because they will need to get done.
And then I’ll get to my spinning class.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Spinning Wheels

Sleep Journal #5 or whatever. (Actually, 6)
I don’t know how much sleep I got last night. But woke up rather refreshed at 5:30 AM. Cat jumped on me at 4AM but shooshed him off and went back to sleep, 24 Fitness be damned.
Last night Riley and I read for an hour, finished the chapter “The Council of Elrond” finally. It’s taken us 3 or 4 nights of reading to get through that chapter, which has stretched into maybe 2 weeks with the July 4th camping and break, firework disturbances, long days. Hard to find time to read at night when its all playing in the street until 9 o’clock. And the fact that this chapter is so dense with Elvish words, names, history, backstories, songs. It is probably the richest Tolkien chapter I have ever read.
So that kept us up until about 10:30. It’s been about 10 pages an hour getting through that chapter. So now they’ve decided … or rather Frodo has willingly volunteered … he is going to Fire Mountain – with, of course, the aid of Sam. But it had to get to that, had to have all the backstory, the history, the importance of it all, show the different struggles from the many varied points of view, and show how nobody else could take on this challenge. And it could not be a command given from someone else. The desire to do this thing, to unmake the ring, had to come from the one who would do this. Had to come from the willing ring-bearer.
It could not come from Bilbo Baggins; he was far too affected by the ring, and by desire for the ring, to continue. It could not come from the elves for they were too wise knowing not to tempt themselves with such power. It could not come from the Dwarves for fear of unending war. No, the last leg of this journey had to come from somebody simple, but loveable. It had to come from a hobbit, it had to come from Frodo.
I got my first Poem of the Day from the Poetry Foundation this morning. I signed up for their newsletter yesterday. It’s a nice 3-liner by Trumbull Stickney called, “I Hear a River thro’ the Valley Wander.” This is something I think I will really grow to enjoy – a daily poem in my in-box.
Today is Free Slurpee Day at 7/11 – July 11th … my kids will love that, I have to call my mom and see if she will take them to get their free Slurpee’s.
I have been working on my found poems, and there is so much good material out there – so many people have been dying in tragic accidents. But I cannot find something that is both brief enough and fitting to the victims’ memories. I am saddened by the Lac Megantic train derailment carrying crude oil. I am still overwhelmed by the building collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 low-wage workers from the garment industry. I am speechless about the 777 explosion at SFO from Korea. I am overwhelmed by the 19 firefighters who lost their lives protecting millionaires’ homes in Arizona. And that tank in Washington State leaking radiated material at Hanford is just too much to take in right now.
And yet I do not want my work to be sensationalist. I am not trying to write something attention-grabbing just to glorify it for the headlines. My intention, as I explore found-poetry, is to look for the Truth that Hemmingway writes about. And to show it in the extraordinary.
I was first drawn to emails from my IT department – they are so confident in what the problem is and how to fix it. Something like, there is a virus in your system – we will shut down your productivity for the next 2 hours while we clean your system … rebooting often provides the best solution. That kind of stuff. It writes itself. The prose was so mundane, so cut and dry, get to the point, no time for extraneous explanations, that they had to become poems. And these little pieces were meant for Twitter. Because to me that is Twitters’ best quality – that it forces a writer to complete his or her thoughts in 140 characters or less.
Talk about a crash course in editing. Sometimes we are forced to remove the conjunction of a sentence, because who needs to know that the car has stopped – when you are so pressed for space. It becomes, car is stopped. It’s not going anywhere. The reader understands. It becomes almost universal. Car won’t start. Why? Battery problem? No gas? Engine failure? Does not matter. All that matters, as a traveler and as a writer, is – what are you going to do next? Walk. Hitch-hike. Ride a bike. Skateboard. Get to that destination.
And then once I had exhausted my IT emails I went toward the universal truths that the Chinese masters wrote about – in haiku. (Gosh, I am re-reading this and I just sounds so hokey.) I look toward nature for expression. And as summer begins, there were quite a few gardening pieces I could look toward. And then as gardening detours to nuclear sludge leaking in Eastern Washington my scope has once again changed.
And also, I am following other writers. I am following Kathy Uyen Nguyen and learning about the tanka, or 5-line poem. Another Chinese form I think. And I am following Ai Weiwei. And I am watching his documentary on the Netflix and learning about art as a protest. And learning that even the act of creating art can be considered a protest in some countries. And that this thing, Twitter, it becomes a great tool for people to express themselves and expose corruption and injustice in places like China, Turkey, Egypt, Washington D.C. And even that act of writing a poem can be construed as a protest against the status quo.
And I am following Collin Kelley and learning about indi-publishing and where to submit my work. And I am following Kelli Russell Agodon and learning about all the ways to self-publish and blog, and to utilize social media to express myself and gain an audience.
And I am following Glen Still and reading and listening to a lot of the great work he has been producing. And I am inspired to do more soundscape recordings and drone and experimental noise and publish them on SoundCloud.
And I am finding great sites and institutions even, like the Poetry Foundation, and the Poetry Society, and the Griffin Poetry Prize, and other places too that encourage and promote poetry and art and thinking and discourse and debate. It’s really quite refreshing here on Twitter. Almost worth those fees I pay to AT&T to keep my smartphone running.
Must get to bed early tonight – gotta get to Derrick’s 5:30AM spin class for sure tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Uncheckable Content Found In Mail

The mail is captured please
contact your

Helpdesk responsible
if needed

#foundpoem #micropoetry
26 May 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


When I was a kid everything
they told

Us in school about tornadoes
was wrong

Nothing's historical until it

26 May 2013

Sleep Journal #’s 4, 4-1/2, and 5

3 July 2013

Wasted no time trying to get up for the gym, spin class, body pump, didn’t matter, sleep was definitely more important last night, and after fireworks, and putting the kids to bed at a reasonable 4th of July time, 10 o’clock, and even watching a documentary called “Oh, Saigon” – about returning to Vietnam 25 years after the fall of Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City – then watching the beginnings of a documentary with my wife about a kid from San Francsico in the 1960’s who was in a drug film and whatever happened to him, gotta love the Netflix, I went to bed at about 11:30, waking up to my alarm at 5:30, a good 6 hours of sleep, the doctors in the Obamacare would be shocked, shocked I say, to learn that 6 hours of sleep was enough for me, in fact my cat woke me up even before that, pawing my forehead and tickling my nose, letting me know he was okay but that he could use some loving, and then letting me get back to sleep, gently drifting off until the alarm did finally wake me up, refreshed and ready for the day …



Monday after the 4th of July, nice long 4-day weekend.
I set my alarm for 5:30, fully intending to skip the spinning class. I needed sleep. I didn’t get to bed until 11 or 11:30. That would give me a nice 6 hours of sleep.
Instead, Jake the Cat jumps on my head at 4 in the morning. Telling me in plain English, get up fat-ass. That stationary bicycle isn’t going to spin itself. (Paw, paw.) Get up. It’s my turn to snuggle with mom. Come on fat-ass, you got some work to do. It’s a brand new week.

And then by then I couldn’t get back to sleep. I was awake.

So I got out of bed, put in my contacts, and read an article about some guy in Hawaii who kicked the asses of out-of-towners who wanted to surf his beaches, but now had a personal mission against Monsanto.

So … I went to spin class, worked my you-know-what off. Now I’m ready to go back to bed.




Set alarm for 5:30. Needed to skip weight lifting this morning. Need sleep, more important than bodybuilding. Went to bed too late last night. Like 11:30 or so. Too difficult to get to sleep early with the sun high until after 9PM … so, once again cat wakes me up at 4AM. Meow. He needs to cuddle with mom. And I’m in the way. So I just scootched over to the side to let the cat spoon with my wife. No biggie. I’m not jealous. He’s getting old and his days are numbered. Plus I’m just lucky I get to share the bed with those two. Fell back asleep for an hour and a half. Got nice sleep until 5:30 when alarm woke me up. Dreamed of Pat again. He was with Katy, they were watching tv or something and I was communicating with them from outside on front porch. Through screen window. Pat was lying down watching tv on floor, Katy was on couch behind him. Someone else was there too. Pat was wearing shorts. I remember his white legs. Details from dreams, funny. I said to him they (someone) was holding open auditions to a production on Two Gentlemen of Verona. Shakespeare. He should audition for the part of Mercurtio. He knew all about it, of course. But I don’t think he was going to do the audition. Don’t know why, just had a hunch. You know, when you’ve got that feeling. It’s not going to happen, don’t need the rejection. Something like that. Maybe its beneath him. Then I woke up. Surprised I remember all that. That was like three hours ago, its like 8:30 Tuesday morning as I write this.
That is all for now.


Saturday, July 6, 2013


The Pope says atheists can go to

Anything that decreases the

And fear between people is a
good thing

24 May 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Description of Failure

Pump leaking at seal and housing –

Mechanical seal and housing,
still leaks

24 May 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Displaced Pets

Pets that have been displaced by

Are frightened, hungry, dirty
and confused

And need help being

23 May 2013

Half a Cup of Coffee

Sleep Journal #3
2 July 2013

So this was a failure. I had my alarm set at 4AM to get up and go to the gym for my Body Pump class. And I did, I got up. And I did not reset my alarm clock, at first. And I did not go back to bed, at first.

And so I went downstairs, put on my Early, Early Show on NBC. Put a cup of coffee in the Microwave. Sat down and watched the show. The whole show, all 30 minutes of it. And all the while I only drank ½ the cup of coffee. And I’m thinking, I’ll bet I could go back to bed and get some more sleep after only drinking ½ that cup of coffee.

And I’m thinking how I stayed up too late last night. I was up until 10:30 again, trying to watch the second IN THE DOME episode with my wife. But I eventually went to sleep.

And it was hot last night. I slept in just my skivvies with only a sheet on me.

And when I got up at 4AM it was just so damn early. So I got up, turned off the alarm, and went downstairs to drink that ½ cup of coffee, watching the Early, Early Show in NBC.

And I’m thinking, this would be my first Body Pump class in a long time. It’s going to hurt. I am going to be in pain for a long time after this Body Pump class.

And even the fact that I would be lifting weights to music with a bunch of hot girls in leotards did not encourage me to continue. I was just thinking … all I need to do is that spin class right now. Just the spinning. Body Pump will kill me. Don’t need the pain. Recovery will be too difficult.

So after 30 minutes of the Early, Early Show on NBC and a ½ cup of coffee I went back to bed. And I even managed to get an extra 30 more minutes of sleep, or so.

Or so.

To be fair, the night before I did spend with RJ walking the street of our neighborhood looking for fireworks. We heard many more than we actually saw, but that makes it not a total waste.

Also, with my nextdoor neighbor blowing shit up, and then hiding back in his garage each time my kids would come out to watch him, it was not easy. It was not an easy night to get to sleep. And my dog was on guard, and the cats. Going in and out from the back door. And the heat, and the fans. It did not make for the easiest conditions to get ready for bed.

Riley and I even tried to read part of The Fellowship of the Ring – we’re in the 2nd chapter of the 2nd book, “The Council of Elrond.” And it’s a difficult chapter to get through. There is so much history condensed in that chapter, and so many Elvish word, that it is very hard to get through even without the explosions and heat and dog and cat and son prowling around, looking out the back door and front window for suspect firework displays.

I think we’re going to have to go back – after we finish this chapter – and review our notes on the Lord of the Rings Wiki. Just to get names and pronunciations correct. And then maybe we’ll even watch the first film of the trilogy before we finish this book. Just to encourage us … we will see how RJ responds.

But first let me finish this 1/2 a cup of coffee.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Keyword, Sustain

Sleep Journal #2

1 July 2013


So I got 5 good hours of sleep last night, went to bed about 10:30 and after the kids jumped on me for kisses, RJ wanted to turn on the lights one more time and show me how he had jacked up his baby toe, then got kisses from the wife also, and snuggled with sick cat, I must have gotten a good 5 hours of sleep. Just over five hours. And then woke up at 4AM.


But I did it. Got up, turned off alarm, and there was a moment. There was a moment when I was heading back to my bedstand to get my glasses that I thought for a moment – I could just get right back into bed and sleep. I could reset my alarm, get right back in bed and sleep. For a good hour and a half. Could get myself a good hour and a half of extra sleep, wake up at 5:30 and rush out of house with a fresh cup of coffee, kicking myself that I missed my workout. Again.


But I didn’t.


I got my glasses, and turning back, walking away from the bed, and went downstairs to turn on the tube and wake up to the Early, Early Show on NBC, drinking the last half cup of coffee that was saved for me in the potreheated in the microwave.


The trick, or at least part of the trick, is getting my bag packed the night before. With the clothes I’m going to wear at night. And so that takes a little planning. A little forethought.


But then that’s it! Because too much forethought and I am not sleeping again. Too much forethought and I am going over what needs to be done tomorrow, and next week, and what my kids need to do, and how I am going to pay for it (that’s a big one), and thinking about my wife and her family, and my mom and my dad, and my brothers, and especially my older brother much more recently. Well, over the past couple years. Guy just can’t quit putting poison in his body.


And there but by the grace of god go I. And even by the grace of my brotherMy older brother, Pat. Used to drive me all the way across town in the morning to the rehabIn his little white Dodge Colt. Would brave the bay area morning commuter traffic and drive me up the 101 to the 280 connector where we’d get stuck. I think listening to Fishbone or Tribe Called Quest. He would drive me all over.


I remember when I quit my job at the call center in the middle of the shift – just walked right out – he came and picked me up. And then we went for drinks.


It was a bullshit job. My job was to sit in this cubicle, with hundreds of other poor sacks who needed work, and field calls from people all over the United States. People calling about some automated voice mail they had accidentally signed up for.


And why did these people sign up for this extremely usefulalbeit steep priced, voicemail service? Well, most had called a free psychic hotline and did not get past the prompt that told them that if they continued to hear their free reading they would be signed up for this voicemail service.


There were three services available – one at 19.99 a month, one at 29.99 a month, and a third at 39.99 a month. And most people did not bother to call us to cancel until they had acquired at least two month’s cycle of charges. Or three. And it was getting expensive. And it was our job to get them to sustain these charges.


I could just as easily drop the charges for them, but it was my paycheck at stake. And there was some bonus offered us employees if we got the most sustained charges to our account.


So we had dumbfuck hicks from Florida and Georgia and Mississippi and other places too, some from the north, but they were mostly calling from the deep, deep south. And they had called this free psychic hotline and got themselves signed up for this service. Sometime two or even three of the services.


So I would have poor southerners calling with $200 to $300 dollars of charges (or more!) that was my job to get them to pay. And if they needed to, I could cancel the service for them and work out some sort of debt resolution for them. But that wasn’t encouraged.


Or I could just eliminate their entire debt completely.


That was the route I wanted to go. And so I did. After about 2-1/2 weeks of this, I was just eliminating people’s debt if they got through to me …


“Hello, thank you for calling Fucked-by-a-Psychic Phone Service. We’ll give you voice mail service without the hassles of a reacharound here at FBP.”


“Oh yes, I am calling because I did not sign up for this. And I want to cancel this service. Also I cannot pay this $200 bill I seen in the mail. My son needs diapers and formula and I cannot afford it with this bill I have to pay.


And that was where I was supposed to say, okay I understand your issues and I will cancel your service but can we work out a payment plan? Can you pay at least half?


But instead I just said – “Okay, I’ll cancel you from the service and I’ll even eliminate your bill.”


No, said my boss. The keyword was Sustain. Sustain as many charges as you could. Sustain. We need the money. Do you like having a paycheck? Well that’s how you’re going to get it. Sustain.


Okay, thanks.


And so after Monday night football weekends became too much, starting on Thursday with games going through Friday, and the drinks coming on stronger and faster, and then into Saturday. And then Sunday with three games and lots of drinks to carry us into a Monday, my weekends became 5 days long. With the work week being just Tuesday and Wednesday. Yes, my drinking was getting the better of me. And yes, I had a conscience. And no, I was not going to sustain the charges for these poor bastards. I didn’t care how stupid and superstitious they were. No boss, they did not deserve it.


Because that was what he would say – they’re idiots and they deserve it. They shouldn’t have called something like this for free and expecting it to be free. They should have paid closer attention to the prompts. They should not have ever called this. They should not even believe they could ever get help from a psychic. They’re stupid and they deserve it. And that is what he would say to me.


I know, its only money. But sometimes that’s just what people need – to pay their rent, put food on the table. To get their baby new shoes. Money.


And last night, it was a great Monday night game. I don’t know who won. I don’t even know who played! But I was loaded. And I am still loaded, here at work – on a Tuesday morning … when I get up, 10 minutes before my first break, and I say – this is complete bullshit, I fucking quit!


And so I call my brother, tell him to come pick me up, throw off my goddamn headset, didn’t even log out, and just went and pushed the glass doors open, walked outside into the sun and kicked up dust … waiting. For that white Dodge Colt to come pick me up.


And then I think we went for drinks. The Evergreen S'loungePedros. Mexico Lindo. The Hideaway. Mountain Mike’s. Wherever. Didn’t matter, it was all good. Behind the Quick-E Mart. Didn’t matter, it was a drink.


So then maybe 6 months later and he is driving me to the rehab in Santa Clara at 7AM, braving that traffic. Bay area sun streaking through windshield. Me with my foot up on dash, leaning back, listening to whatever it was at the time. Could have been Melvins, Charlie Mingus, Utah Phillips. Maybe it was just radio. Maybe it was KFJC, wave of the west.


Me smoking cigarettes. He never minding, even though he never smoked. Patrick always said that people who smoke are more interesting than those who don’t.


And now I don’t. And I gotta get up at 4AM to hit that gym. For my spinning class.

Storm Shelter

Nancy Davis welcomed
her neighbors

Into her storm shelter as
the tornado

Bore down in Oklahoma
last Monday

23 May 2013