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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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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Post-pandemic Saginaw Blues

Half seven on a Mitten Thursday and accidentally whiskey tickled. Not what I expected from the day. But days are seldom what I expect anymore. So no point in demanding something different. I have always been more of a homewrecker word rocker. Because it is more fun. And that leaves the metaphorical boats under the direction of more capable captains, ones not afraid of navigating deeper waters. So I got caught chasing white lines with the White Stripes down West Saginaw. Because things belong with similar things. Otherwise it all breaks down, this illusion of civility. And I needed a spark to trigger me out of a lingering post-pandemic hangover. Because suddenly, we were all going to die. Touching groceries was a gamble. Wash everything; don’t …

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Capital City Consequence

More miles than meaning.  And, that must mean something.   Even if it’s just words quivering over asphalt.  Chasing empty roads.  Or another fragile dream stumbling down another broken Boulevard.   Consequence.   The dirty offspring of (in)decision.   I tried loving myself once.  I just never did a very good job of loving myself back.  Because it was confusing.  A foreign concept never properly explained in domestic fashion.   So I learned other lessons instead.   How to fight.  First, with words.  Then later, more deadly intentions.   Soldier mode.   A simple switch of humanity flipped off. Not with the heated gesture vigorously displayed towards an endless parade of shitty Michigan drivers.  But the switch inside my head.  That dark space too ugly to …

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Asphalt Dreams and Other Strange Things

It always comes back to roads.  In almost five decades of summers, I’ve run down a lot of roads.  Sprawling interstates.  Back country lanes scratched out of the holler.  Familiar flyover county lines strapped on a grid of rigid Midwestern flatness.  Asphalt and Michigan gravel; concrete and Georgia clay.  Ocean views and cement tunnels that felt like coffins.  Even foreign motorways with their strange signs and nonsensical flow.  Always pushing the posted limits.  Ignoring responsible rest areas for the promises hiding just up ahead, behind that next mile marker.  Stopping only long enough to tank up on gas station chemicals; burning tobacco on an endless loop.  Mashing a path through muddled playlists, struggling to find the most significant copilot to help fill the space between miles. …

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Post Box Blues

I sent her letters.   Maybe I sent too many; maybe I didn’t send enough. I have never been a reliable judge of the post.  In fact, I live in fear of that terrifying black box nailed to the front of a little blue house.   Because it generally contains bad news.  Or other angry reminders that I lack proper adulting skills when left unsupervised.  So it is impossible for me to confirm with any certainty.   She sent only skeletons in return.  And that’s probably fair.  We were never anything but ghosts anyway.   Two inconsistent creatures stalking the night  across two different time zones.  Coming at life from very different stations.  Her view of these flyover fields from the mountains was obscured by the allure of affluence.  The …

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The Green Eyes Have It

She took me by surprise.   It was shaping up to be just another cookie-cutter Tuesday night, here in the wintery flyover fields.   After having sent out another series of resumes in an attempt to keep looming homelessness at bay, I had settled in to put the final touches on a ridiculous poetry project I recently completed.  Outside the windows of a little blue house, the January winds blew in heavy heaves and sighs- there wouldn’t be any aimless wandering the city streets with weather like that threatening.  So I just hunkered here in a rented bunker to chew up the empty overnight hours with more literary shenanigans.   Then my phone bleeped.   At first, I figured it was just another rejection for a job …

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