These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

my nemesis

i swear you lie in wait for me every thursday night.,
biding your time until 7 o'clock --

then you make your move, loud
and menacing i hear you, closer and closer,
louder and louder

even though i walk away, your sounds
and movements
follow me, tease me,
know i fear you.

back and forth you come,
taking a step back, then two or three forward,
always in my direction,
your maw open, eating, swallowing whole
bits of what will one day be me.

do you know this?
do you know you eat what i leave behind?
yes, i'm sure you do.
and pleasure you take in that,
one day i, too, will be sucked into your maw
to be dispensed further with the rest of us

until that day comes, you settle for your mocking
tones, i hear ou jeer at me.
"i see you by the corner. i feel you fear me."

yes, i fear you. yes i loathe you.
like cats, i run in terror from you,
only wishing i'd be more agile to escape.

until i become your meal, i will continue to step away
to corners and corners,
keeping on my feet, watching you,
until you move on, having missed me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

and then there were five

one of our group is leaving us. jason r. got a job near chicago and is off by year's end.

he is one of our playing group. six of us get together -- mark, dan, jason h, jason r. krista amd me -- after work every few weeks or so and play cards to relax, usually playing on wednesday nights. it's an enjoyable few hours of eating sweets, chips, drinking pop and joking around. it serves as a chilling period, even though it's often 3 a.m. when we say good night for the evening.

we've been playing together for almost four years, with mark, dan and krista playing the longest. then i joined and then jason h. jason r. has been playing for a little more than a year, ever since he started working here.

it seemed a natural to bring him into playing with us. i don't even remember how it happened. one day we just asked him to play with us, i suppose. he said yes and that was that. back then, though, we used to play at mark's place. that's the first time i recall jason r. playing, sitting aound mark's small (smaller than mine) table with the bright light overhead, he usually sitting across and to the left of me (mark to my left, krista to my right on the end, jason h. across from me and dan on the other end).

always a genial fellow, winning or losing, it never mattered. he never got upset or rubbed it in. it was just fun for jason r. although he did express his disgust at times when things got a little trashy. the best was the pony tail comment. he turned red and we laughed like crazy (and still do). and it was poiignant that i brought it up last night, although it was aimed at jason h. instead. still, it made it's natural way into the game.

sorry things didn't go your way last night. no matter. it's all in fun. last night's game ended ona positive note. we were tired and it felt like we played for hours and hours for some reason. still, the game ended naturally, not forced and taht was that. i'm glad we decided to play another time since the previous week just wasn't the way i'd hoped to finish off playing with jason r.

good luck my friend.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

small world

i experienced a strange occurrence tonight while at a township planning commission meeting. it's probably one of the weirdest things that's happened to me in quite awhile.

the meeting started at 6 p.m. and i thought i was home free after 30 minutes. the item i went for came up and was done. then the chairman said something about the people being there for this last item. i froze, deer in the headlights type of thing. i knew i was in for the long haul. the meeting finished at 10, FOUR hours later. crazy shit, huh?

anyway, i stepped out several times during the meeting, tired of sitting down. i went out front and came across some hard candy in a candy dish. as i walked back, a woman came up and got a candy. she said, "you got a candy?" i said yes and expressed my tiredness.

she asked if i worked for the paper and i introduced myself by name. she smiled and said, "i read your stories all the time." i smiled back. then she spelled out my name. not too unusual, but i was happy she got it right.

then i said something else and she tells me pretty matter of factly, "you're from texas..." and some other stuff. she kept talking. i reached out and tried to halt her.

i was surprised. i'd never met her before, yet she knew i was from texas. it was a little scary. it's often that way when you meet someone you've never met and they know things about you.

"how do you know i'm from texas?"
"it's the way you talk," she replied.
i was surprisd. no one's every picked that out about me. they might know i'm not from up north, mabybe i'm latino, but she pegged it.

she asked where i was from in texas. i told her. she smiled and said she was from corpus christi. she rattled off the names of nearby cities and a famous restaurant in robstown (joe cotton's). the tol dme what high school she graduated from and then she moved up here.

we talked about latinos and living up here as opposed to loving in south texas. it was a nice intermission to the meeting.

i had to excuse myself and we both went back into the meeting room, but i couldn't get what she'd said outof my head. it was cool meeting up with someone who's from the same area as me. though, she grew up about 70 miles away, for texas that's small potatoes in terms of distance.

this brings me to another point. the other night i talked to my friend marla from calif. i said something and continued talking. she stopped me and commented on how i'd said the word "not." she laughed and told me it sounded different than i normally say it. i said it again and i guess i stretched the vowel. i laughed, too. on occasion i find myself stretching those vowels. maybe i'm becoming a northerner? who knows. i do stretch the vowl in "and." sometimes i comes out sounding "aaaand" but with a lilt in the "a" a drop in the letter, i guess.

so i don't know. i try to blend in when i can. call me chameleon man. hmmm, a new superhero? possibly.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the shovel

once more i made my acquaintance with the snow shovel sunday afternoon. yep, it's that time of year where the driveway and sidewalks get covered in snow. it must've snowed four to five inches saturday night. maybe a little more.

i spent an hour doing the job. i started in the area in front of the car and pushed the snow off to the back yard. then i worked on the areas around the car. then i divided the driveway in sections and drove the shovel into the snow in pieces. that how i usually do it. it makes the job seem smaller, less daunting.

the tough part are the areas where the car tires have gone over. the heat melts the snow or ice, but then freezes over and you see these long stripes of harder white lines leading to where the car is parked.

the drive, where you pull in from the street is tough, too. you get snow pushed in from the street by the plows and also from the sidewalk by the sidewalk plows. so there's a bunch of snow piled there. by mid winter both sides of the driveway are piled with a crapload of snow. i've stood on these piles, trying to flatten them because it gets hard to see as you're backing up. a pain in the ass.

it's weird, though, with the shovel. it takes a good couple of times to become accustomed to the shovel and get conditioned to doing the task. you know how to do it, you've done it the previous year, but it's like your body forgets. every muscle in your arms, legs and back cry inpain, "you sonf of a bitch, what are you doing?" but after awhile, it's all good and they don't complain too much.

also, having grown up in a hot climate in texas, it's still strange for me to sweat when it's 20 degrees out. i'm sure any northern-born lads and lasses are rolling their eyes about now, but i find it interesting to have a headful of hair under a hat drenched with sweat. i've come back indoors with an undershirt stuck to my back with sweat after shoveling the drive. it's an hour's worth of hard work. i enjoy it.

here's to the next shoveling.