—From EF —

CB’s getting better, but it’s been a rough week and a half. It’s not only the gnawing fear that makes me check his couch-sleeping chest for signs of movement — his face looks so not-alive — it’s the absence of our usual fabric of making. My own self-starter motor is on the fritz.

I’m glad that the garden finally looks like it’s thriving, in spite of the outlying tall weeds and clutter. I’m glad that our black cat actually caught a mole and ate it. I didn’t think he had a clue how to do this.

I’m glad that the Greeks appear to have voted “no,” and the Troika will have to make a new move to oust those leftists who made the mistake of getting elected and taking it seriously.

I’m glad that the Wisconsin legislature got caught with their pants down, having slipped a bill killing open records into a budget proposal at the last minute before the three-day holiday weekend. The blowback was immense, and Walker did a fast pivot.

I didn’t do these things myself, but I could still feel good about them. And in that category, the silliest one made me feel the best. This is from Victor Mair at Language Lab:

The whole thing’s worth reading, but here’s the CliffsNotes. Someone wrote to Mair requesting detective help on a weird mistranslation (from Chinese) resulting in an asthma inhaler having a part labeled “rodent spigot.” Hours of web-searching led nowhere, and he began to fear that he was going to have to confront failure. In near-panic, he took one more shot, and got it. The website diagram had called the “mouthpiece” a “mousepiece.” When this was pointed out, the company felt this did not have gravitas and asked for a new translation. Hence, “rodent spigot.”

Things are looking up.

 — From CB —


He comes without an appointment
or even calling ahead. He waltzes in
plops center in the sofa
starts talking of Magical Realism or Affordable Care
then belches out, “Feed me!”
His manners are his own.

Better at least than last time when
the SWAT Team crashed the wrong address
screaming “Shaddup!” as they clubbed the knickknacks
and shut you up.

So what’s on the menu this time?
No nausea, no pain, I’ll still make the party
Saturday, pay the bills, back to work—
with eyes half-lidded and a cough
dull hatchet hacking gristle.

My guest sits reading old New Yorkers
and nothing changes but the day. Cannonades
rake my lungs, numb tongue
the lassitude of leftover broccoli in the fridge.
I lie in the armchair, move to bed, and dreams
dribble up like the Seven Dwarfs on disability
to pick-ax the work I won’t, and with their help
I write a note I wrote a year ago
I edit the grocery list for style
I type a term paper forty years overdue, not mine
waking weary of labor never done.

My guest seems not to mind my curses and carps as
Time’s peristalsis squeezes me through the guts of a whale
and I’m watching Lawrence Welk’s Christmas show
again, again, again and I love my mom but
my flight won’t leave till Friday, if ever.
“Worst is, I wake up, there’s nothing I want, nothing
to eat, to drink, accomplish, care.
I just have to get through till ten p.m.”
“That’s how I wake up daily,” says my lover.

I wish I hadn’t heard that
but it takes my mind off stuff.

And one day my guest makes his way to the door
and out, without apology or business card.

— From the Fool —

Henry is a very happy guy. He sells life insurance. The longer people live the more money he makes, so that seems like win/win, as they say. He always looks on the bright side.

I asked him, well, what about all the world problems? He sort of squeezed up his face in a deep-thinking squeeze, then smiled. “There’s always a bright side,” he said.

So what about people starving? I asked. How’s there a bright side to that? “It makes us all better and more caring to feel sorry for them,” he said. I guess he had a point there.

But then people getting blown up by the thousands and millions, and it just seems to go on and on? “But at least they’re not starving,” he said. I started to get the picture.

I said that it seemed to me there was one bunch of people who had all the money and the rest of us didn’t, even though we worked hard being fools. “They give us something to aspire to,” said Henry. “And sure, I know, I can feel envious too. But it’s not so easy being filthy rich. They have a lot of worries that we can’t even imagine.” Since he didn’t say what they were, that only went to prove it.

Then I told him where I read about movie stars’ dresses falling off at different times, and there was a whole website that showed the salient parts revealed. He said he had an appointment and went off. I guess he assumed the benefits were obvious.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2015

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