The Sweetest Whiskey Sour: Part One

It was not what I had expected for the night. At least not after how the weekend started. It’s always weird finding out that someone from your childhood has passed away. It’s even more weird learning the details. The instability. The abuse. The final moment when with a pull of the trigger, right in front of her, he chose to end things. A selfish action, one which left the rest of us behind, forvever wondering what the fuck? News like that is always tinged with anger. Because I wish he would have picked up the damn phone. There are places and people trained to help. Resources are in place. Options are available. But I guess there wasn’t room for more rational considerations amongst all the pain. …

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What the duck, Chuck?

Good morning, Michigan! If you have spent any time on these pages, you’ll know it is fair to say that a significant portion of the screen real estate has been dedicated to complaining about all things Michigan. Documenting the weirdness that is this complicated Capital City. Capturing, as best I can, its imperfections. And topping those complaints, in addition to being manipulated into any number of convenient metaphors, is the observation regarding the disastrous state of the roads. Yes, construction is everywhere. And everyone knows the joke about how orange barrels are the official State tree. So it comes as no surprise that my voice has been added to the chorus of other Mitten dwellers as we are relentlessly bounced and jolted around every time tires …

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Highway 51 Revisited

I awoke in the belly of a metal beast today. Didn’t plan it that way, mind you. Wasn’t looking for a new low; I wasn’t on a quest for shame. But shame, like an old friend, always seems to stick. Even when I’m actively eluding the less dignified demons of my more unpredictable intentions. It was the kind of green dumpster you find behind every supermarket. Right there on an unnamed side road off of Highway 51. Somewhere south of Paw Paw. I awoke with my head nestled between a torn trash bag and the oxidized metallic skin; my mind echoed the groan of the city waking up. That rust belt metropolis sprawling east, still drunk on dreams of better days. A few coins jingled in …

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When Foxes Cry

It’s always strange to be driving during the in-between time. Those few weird weeks when winter hasn’t fully surrendered her grip on these familiar flyover fields. And spring has yet to fully pounce in to freshen the world with newness. The scraggly grass, filling median strips and clinging to shoulders, hasn’t completed its transition to a brighter lushness from the drab browns of a winter’s purge. The shadows of skeletal trees strobed across a broken highway, making the world jump and skitter at 78 miles an hour. Indiana was well behind my tires. But I was still pushing hard north. The day had been a weird melange of emotion. One which would require a great many more miles to fully process and I was doing my …

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Chicken Man

Good morning, Michigan! In the land of Q.D….okay, you know what? I’m actually going to be a good sport for once. I am going to refrain from calling you QD Donut Munchers. Again.   We were never going to be in agreement. And sometimes, it takes the bigger man to walk away. This is, after all, the land of second third fourth fifth chances. And it wouldn’t speak well of me to continue poking fun at the unenlightened bakery zombies shuffling around the greater Lansing area, clutching their bland excuses for baked goods. Because I get it. Cultural and regional differences, etc. Taste buds polluted from Rust Belt heavy metals. Tragic, misinformed upbringings. Blah blah blah.   However, having been agreeable to letting the whole donut tantrum slide, …

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94 East

I am not going to write about that night.   In general, I have never been a fan of secrets. They far too often transform into a malignancy that burdens the better angels of genuine intent. But, every once in a while, it is okay to squirrel moments away for just yourself.   And that Saturday night hidden away in Porter County is something just for me.   I will confess that despite the lack of an audience, I did my best to make a joyful noise. Because it has never been about the attention. Or, the accolades. It is about putting the words on the fucking page. Although admittedly, the occasional ego boner is appreciated. In fact, my four favorite words in the entirety of …

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94 West

There wasn’t time to really think about it.   I knew from experience that the moment I hesitated, motivation would evaporate. Like a lot of things seem to be doing these days. Despite my better intentions. And frankly, I’m growing pretty fucking tired of losing things.   So it was up and running and out the door. Pushing hard west on 94. Trying my best to beat the traffic. But getting beaten instead by the unexpected wind blustering over from the big lake.   That pinballing ride, powered by ballads, endless nicotine, and fermenting nostalgia, was worth the temporary discomfort of a white-knuckle grip. Because I could feel myself slipping. And choking on the unpalatable stench of a Capital City warming up to another season.     …

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Crying at the Fish Ladder Blues

The curves of a Michigan moon hid full behind a Thursday night sky. It was a shame they were concealed by a blanket of rain as the fog began to melt. Because I was in desperate need of something bright to help anchor the darkness of things.     It felt oddly like Autumn.    But I was thinking about Spring.   Beside me, an irregular river flowed north before bending itself sharply west to reach the eastern edge of Lake Michigan. I heard the water rolling off the dam. And I couldn’t help but to wonder if any fish were actually using the ladder to help navigate that transition.    There was no ladder provided for safety or convenience when I shifted my own latitude–a move …

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