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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REO (Not Speedwagon) Town

Good morning, Michigan. In the land of endless potholes, life plays tricks on you. One minute you’re cruising along, doing your thing. Thinking everything is fine. Not really cognizant of the dumpster fire simmering just underneath the surface. Because the focus is on fighting up the fish social ladder to make things just a bit better than they were the day before.   But complications hit with shocking regularity. Obstacles, that make about as much sense as having to turn right in order to go left, constantly threaten to throw you off the path.  Because things here in Lansing are a little weird; nothing makes any sense. And it’s difficult for a transplanted brain to fully comprehend the subtleties so deeply ingrained in the rhythm of Ingham …

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The Neighborhood

Go on, boy.   Bang it out. Then drink it in–irony tastes refreshingly bitter on the leading edge of a fifth decade.  So better to keep drinking while grinding through.  Consuming the madness.  Choking on the chemicalization.  Calculating paths of least resistance across the face of an uncooperative schedule. Because what’s another day of mittened mania, here in the hostile land of QD Donut Munchers? Freaking out in the absence of never fitting in.  Always the weird one.  The one watching from the meadowed periphery of entanglement.  Living out of bags and boxes.  Running scared from a hunting Wolverine wolf pack of rabid mediocrity.  The native predators pushing out the immigrant fox at the expense of his gentle collaboration.  Pressing somehow past self-inflicted boundaries.  Fingers ready on …

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