Friday 7 a.m.

Egg Pan: I’m stuffed.

Noodle Pot: Shut the fuck up.

Pan: Rough night?

Noodle: Let me soak.

Pan: No. We’re in the sink all weekend.

Noodle: I just want to drown.

Pan: I’m greased.

Noodle: Just a rinse.


When the universal remote's dead batteries were replaced the codes must have gotten erased because when we tried to use it after the batteries were replaced it didn't seem to work on either the TV or the DVD player, and for months we were forced to stand and depress buttons on the TV and DVD player.


Come late afternoon, just after a nap, which followed lunch but before the news, to prep for a project or at least get the mind going again, he walks into the kitchen. The maker's pot — glass and off for hours — is lifted out of place its contents poured into a mug, the microwave door open, then is shuts — ca thunk — buttons beep, power, ten seconds increments, four times, then start, the subtle hum of the glass turntable, the hum of the heating element, provides the sound to this spot-lit scene. Poppa steps out of from center, toward the a picture window to view the outside world. He looks at birds gathered in the yard, pecking at seed spilled from the feeder to the rocky ground below. Five beeps indicate time's end. And his half a cup of coffee is warmed when a new thought comes through the window's pane: I'll go out and refill the feeder, so the birds continue to visit.


After a week of thinking about books and birds, I woke up to worry about money. One check in particular that was supposed to be in the mail.

I hadn't received the vital delivery, a check to assist in my current education endeavor. It had not arrived. I know it had not arrived because I would have noticed if it had arrived. The check was important.

I checked my electronic mail. While it loading I wonder if when email became popular letter carriers collectively sighed. This wouldn't be the end, though, I'm assured by the one I live with.  Netflix will save the postal service. Or at least keep it alive.

I go back in my inbox and find an email dated on the 13th. It reads that the check will be mailed the following day (14th) and sent priority. That was days ago, no, a week ago, week and days. It should have been here. Now, I'm worried. I replyed to the email that I did not get the delivery, and
what I plan to do about it.

My phone rings.

It's a response to the email. The priority package was sent. It was tracked, and it was delivered (on the 16th) to the address that it was sent to. There's nothing more to be said at this time. Only thinking can be done.

I get upset, then I take a shower. I get dressed, then I go outside. I look around. It's been over a week but I look around outside anyway. I lift the trash bin lid, the recycling bin's, the yard debris' but see nothing that remotely looks like a priority envelope. I think that the collector of these bins has come since the alleged delivery. My mind moves to landfills, to the thought of the next door neighbor kids sliding down the hill on the envelope.

I return inside and the phone rings again. I'm told a vital piece of information and then another. First I'm given the 23 digit tracking number. I write it down; it takes two lines. I'm also told by the sender that the zip code the package was sent to could have been wrong, that the entire street address could have been the street address of a previous residence of mine — I moved four months ago, almost to the day.

I hang up and call the post office with which I've had experience on another matter (see Kolb) and talk to Nancy and give her the tracking number. She confirms that a priority package was delivered to this zip code, she doesn't have the street address but says she would suspect that if someone got a package that didn't belong to them that they would hand it back over to the proper authority. Sure.

Have you ever opened something that came to your address that didn't have your name on it? That's mail tampering. It is illegal. We're talking federal crimes.

I bring Heidi. She knows the neighborhood. We ride down the streets of our past. Some things have changed. They're done with the condo on Hawthorne. There's construction on 20th before Division. Now, there's street bike parking by the Clinton condos. The photography studio near Powell Park is for sale. I drive up to 28th place, past the project apartments, and when I get to the house that was mine four months ago I notice some of the same cars. John's for instance. The blinds to the house are bent up. I across the street and approach with caution. I say to myself. I'm here for the envelope, then I knock on my former door.

I hear "Who is it?" but remain silent. I wait for an answer. I know he will answer and he does. I tell the man that I used to live here and that I'm looking for a piece of mail. He is scruffy and taller than I am, he introduces himself as Felix. He has a British accent and invites me into my former house. I barely recognize it. There's a bong on the table and beer cans and other trash everywhere. Felix tells me he doesn't live there, that he's visiting. We walk into the kitchen I once washed dishes in. It is filled with things I don't recognize. I look around. Where would a household like this keep mail? It could be anywhere. Someone is coming down the stairs I used to take. It almost seems like he knows who I am and why I'm there. I forgot noise in my former house carries, and there are gaps under the doors as thick as dictionaries.

He walks past me as Felix mentions that I'm here for a parcel. I say my name and that I used to live here. This gentleman knows why I'm here. He knows exactly where the priority envelope is. He pulls it out of a cabinet where I used to keep my Puffins, and hands it to me.

"Somebody accidentally opened it," he said. "But everything is in there."

I check for the check that I came for and see it. I'm nice about it. These guys didn't do their civic duty but they did give me what I came for.

"Thanks a lot, guys," I said. I think a lot might have been too much.


I is another name for self. When you say “I did something” you are speaking for self. Your self. We all have one. What are some other names we call self? Me. Myself. A lot of people say "I know myself." Why is that one word?

I like to think of it as self and me. There’s me and then there’s self. There are two. The two are different.

What is self?

Self is plastic. A faceless form. A being inside. Self is your friend. The quiet one. The unspoken for.

Your job is to know your self. You should like your self. You should know what the self likes.

You are the spokesperson for self. You execute for self. Speak for self. Act for self. Make decisions for your self. You are you. 

The self has feelings, self has likes and dislikes. Self has urges and addictions. You act them out. Or you don’t. You’re the enabler. Self presents the choices and you make the decisions.

When you think to your self you are trying to work out what the self is feeling. Self is your buddy. Take care of your self.

You shouldn’t be selfish. You must recognize that every one has a self. You might know the other you but not the other’s self.

For every two, there are another two.

Me + Self
You + Self

If we take a trip in a car, you and me will sit in front, our selves will ride in the back. As we go down the road we will do the talking. Our selves will remain quiet in the back, communicating in their own way. Nonverbal without words, maybe not even linear. Our selves need no contact nor interaction. It’s feelings based.


It was uncomfortable, uncomfortably hot in the upstairs of the house I lived in in southeast Portland, where my bedroom was, where I wanted to sleep but couldn't, I thought I was tired and hadn’t had a good night sleep in weeks, and was up and at ‘em early that morning and had gone to sleep late that night before--when it's this hot all you want to do is sleep, or be in air conditioning if you have it, which I don't, most houses here still don't have because it's only this hot for a short period of time in summer, which is probably what makes it so miserable.

It's this hot other places, sure, hotter, but when you are not used to it, even though I should be because I grew up in the high desert but I'm not and never will be, it's relentless. So it was basement for me or the bar that I'll go to even though it's this early in the afternoon and I don't feel too much like drinking these days but probably will because I can't sleep and I want that cold artificial air that and I don't want to be alone and the bar I'm going to I can't just sit around and drink 7-up, which I like to drink when I’m not drinking, so I'll have to order an Oly, which I know I'll drink too fast--it's hot and I'm thirsty--then another, maybe a whiskey if I fell up to it, until I can't stay there, the Ship, anymore and I'll have to return home.

It'll still be hot in the house, this heat will last a week, the sun going down isn't going to do anything--this isn't the high desert--when I come back from the bar drunk and hungry I'll be those things and hot like I am now but maybe I'll be able to pass out, and, shit, that'll be then and not now, for now, or in just a few minutes I'll be at the Ship, cool and in company of others with a beer and this book I’m reading, out of this house and this heat.

It is, after all, my weekend.


In my dream I’m a drummer in a band. I don’t play drums and can’t carry a beat. My band mate looks at me to start the song and I think I’ll do a count: one, two, one, two, three, four, and try hitting the sticks against the drum like I know what song, like I know the beat that’s to the song that we will be playing.

And it's wrong, it’s all wrong. The guitarist can’t get it going, and I’m banging for a moment and then stop. There’s no music. We look at each other and there is disappointment in his dark eyes covered by his dark hair. He thought I could play.

On the plane the intercom comes on and wakes me up from the dream that I'm having. I try to pay attention and listen to a woman’s voice ask if there is a doctor on board, a nurse, an EMT, anything, then to please push your call button, and then, thank you. I wait. I hear a ding and then nothing. The few people I could see crank their heads up and down the aisle.

The woman on my right puts her Brad Meltzer book in her lap and the poor binding comes apart and the page that begins Chapter 32 comes out and she doesn’t notice like it won’t affect the plot. The page, it slips down her skirt between us. She’s more curious that I about who is hurt, who’s dying on the plane she’s flying, will this mean we’ll have to emergency land.


I got a call but he missed it. It was a missed call. Fortunately, the number was on my phone when I pushed the button to retrieve the missed call. The number didn't have a name with it, which means that it wasn't the number of one of my contacts. I put the phone back in his pocket.

Why didn't I hear it ring?

My phone's on vibrate. Why didn't I feel the vibration?

Is my phone on vibrate or has it been silenced? I checked. And the phone logo with two lines on each side indicating motion let him know that his phone was on vibrate.

Why didn't I feel the phone?

I was walking to work and movement of my legs might have caused vibration enough to counter the vibration of the phone, or the movement with the motion makes sensory impossible.

I continued to walk, crossing streets heading down sidewalks through neighborhoods and across the bridge the whole time wondering who it was who might have called.

Could it have been an employer? Someone to tell me they wanted to interview me? Could it be someone to tell him he had been passed up for a job he had inquired about? That's possible but didn't they leave a message, or at least I hadn't felt another vibration, an indication that a
voicemail was left by the caller, but I hadn't felt the phone ring or rather vibrate in the first place, so not feeling the phone vibrate, which it does once indicating there's a message, was more likely that feeling the phone vibrate. I pulled my phone out of the pocket a second time
to check for the logo but he didn't see it. They didn't leave a message whoever the they was.


I remember when she first understood the expression, you've got to choose your battles. Her mom said it to her talking about her little brother, who wanted to watch something on TV or eat something he probably shouldn't. Mom could've put up a fight or let him have what he wanted. She thought about that: Choose. A cute innocent smile was left: you can't have everything. You will lose something to gain. She was about to make one of these choices.

There are choices that I'll always remember making and other people making. How they've come to alter our realities. Without regret I'll look back and think that one, oh, there. When I did that or this. The battles that I chose and the ones I let work themselves out. The ones I ignored. And the ones that defeated me. The ones I won.

There are no winners in war. That's what I think when I hear someone on the radio say that we are trying to figure out a way to still win this war, a culmination of battles. When we put down our guns and finally walk away will we come out on top? Will anyone? The are those that are left. The winners are those that didn't have to see it all the way through. Those that bowed out early or were killed. Those we might consider losers.


Do you have a place to recycle? she said holding up to me her paper coffee cup
complete with lid and wraparound brown corrugated sleeve.

There's a trash can behind me. I thumb over my shoulder. I'm not here to take trash
from strangers' hands and don't want them to get the idea that I am.

But it that recycling? she wants to know, waving the white cup in front of me. Really, she wants me me to take it from her. Her problem = my problem.

I don't know if you can recycle those cups (with plastic lids and shiny coated insides), I offer.

She doesn't get it. She's holding onto the cup, turning away from the black-bag lined trash, which is on the ground perpendicular to a blue bin with paper in it and a white triangular recycling logo.

I continue to see her, she's walking around with her empty coffee cup. I want to stop her and tell her to stop drinking out of paper cups or come to terms with the fact that as of consumption
waste must get thrown away in the trash and taken to the landfill. Stop feeling like just because you place trash in recycling you are doing your part to save the earth.

A piece of paper I begin to throw away reads:

A sip is a thought
not now
but one I'll think later

Right now I think whatever

I take a long drink-- many sips
which makes this worse
a more intense thought
only later
not now
now my thoughts are of you
with you,


Never has one beer meant more

mind set
so set
can't think
of anything
so drink
makes it worse

Right now
then then
like going in reverse

A relapse
of sad thoughts and I'm caught
in my head's

... into the bin

Missing year book pages

I went to afternoon kindergarten while both my parents worked. (Both still work. Times are tough; their health is good.) I lived three houses from the kindergarten but bussed from La Petite Academy, where I was dropped off by my mom in the morning, to Mitchell Elementary, where my brother was in third grade. (As of December we were both still in school.) La Petite I remember little about, but Mitchell was my primary school for the next six years. We were the Mustangs. (I've been a Mustang, a Hawk, a Truckin(?) Eagle, an Aggie, and a Viking.) My kindergarten teacher's name was Mrs. Hamilton. She had a son my age named Eugene (like the town in Oregon). On Halloween he dressed up like a robot and I was a hobo. There was a costume parade. Ernie, though, was my best friend (I was Bur) then but I have no memories of him after that year. My best friends forever would come in the following years. (I've since lost touch with most all of them.) Christine was the first girl I kissed in the back of the white La Petite bus which drove us to afternoon kindergarten from the Academy to our public schools; she went to a different school, Comanche. I never saw her again either. Or remember for sure if that was her name.


We played lava,
a game set at the playground,
where we made the sand below us as hot as fiery lava,
and the splintery jungle gym an island of safety.

We thought it was the best game in the world because we stayed alive by
running and jumping and climbing
to different positions.

Our own little world we dreamed we'd populate.
Just us.


When I come in in the morning
there's no one
in the room/workspace

Down the aisles
I see stacks of books
but not a soul

looking at their spines/faced-out covers

Instead, it's just me and these

some of whom don't belong here
some of whom
should be in other rooms/sections of this bookstore

I search them out, these misshelved artists
hold them in my arms to place them into the resort bin, a box made of wood

eventually, someone on this low-staff day will come and collect them

put them on a cart and cart them away
to their proper place


When the universal remote's batteries died the codes must have gotten erased, that or when we moved because when we tried to use it in our new house after the batteries were replaced it didn't seem to work on either the TV or the DVD player and for months we had to stand up off the couch and depress buttons on top of the TV or on the face of the DVD player to get to the channel we desired or the scene or right episode, depending on whether it was a movie or a season of a particular show, which isn't as easy as it sounds because on certain DVD menus you have to move a cursor, which our particular DVD player doesn't have, and, therefore, we had to learn and try to execute a strange combination (similar to, referred to, even, as that of the once-famous (still?) hundred-lives code on CONTRA for the NES) of buttons including but not limited to: Play, Stop, Power, Power, Play, Stop, Play, Play, Play, until finally--and only if it worked--we could get to the particular scene or start of movie/episode we desired to view at the time we wanted to watch it, but what also was happening with the TV that we possess was that a menu which includes visual brightness/contrast but also closed captioning and language options as well s channel auto-programming would come up and could only be exited from if you pressed both greater than and lesser than volume buttons at the same time, but even that didn't always work and often--almost always--you could only go up with the channel dial(?) rather than up and down, which is preferred if you have a handful of channels and can't decide on which is airing the least objectionable program, so watching TV, which if you ask me is frustrating enough, became an undesirable past time even though it's supposed to be a leisurely activity(?) and is despite a recent Times article which reported that watching TV can make you sad, which according to me can be but that depends on the program because a show can also make you angry or smarter; it can make you laugh, and it can even make you share a good laugh with others if they are there with you, watching the same TV, further it can make you share a laugh much later (which can be a more satisfying laugh) with another if they watched it or were watching when it was on and are, say, at the water cooler at the same time you are at your place of business or wherever you find water coolers these days to gather around and talk about TV programs, but I digress from the universal remote's dead batteries, which, if you'll let me continue, we replaced but as I said the codes didn't work until my beautiful and talented girlfriend asked if we replaced batteries with dead batteries, which sounded offensive but proved to be true: they did not work, and then when she replaced them before looking up the remote and the TV and DVD player brands on the Internet and also the brand of the remote and re-programmed the universal remote successfully: first the TV--on, off; channel: up, down; then the DVD player: power on, power off, which we celebrated together by hugging one another, and is great for we'll have good fun with all three brand-differently-named appliances until February 17th, when television as we know it will go from digital to analog, which is supposed to improve our lives along with our reception if in fact one has a digital TV, is a subscribert to cable TV, or has in one's possession a digital converter box, which my household has none of and refuses to get, so we'll be without those channels and those programs that we could otherwise flip to and fro with the universal remote that now works again in this new year on both the TV, and did I mention DVD player? which will not be affected by the digital revolution, so if we want we could watch a DVD like Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, which we did this afternoon on our TV using the TV and DVD player successfully without a remote and with minimal problems.


At the bar drinking whiskey wondering.
What's this. It's new. And neat.
Beer back.
Now, this.
So what.
Drink. And wonder.
Standing. Outside.
Home, I wonder. Sure.
Gotta leave. Where. Home.
Pipe. Try.
Then. Puff more.
Then. More.


First rule of Pipe Club: Get a pipe.
Smoke your pipe.
Use matches.
See if anyone else has a pipe and wants to smoke pipes with you.
Try and get together every now and again and smoke pipes, each of you.
Trade stories, tobacco flavors, pipe cleaners.
Smoke outside, it's best.
Don't share your pipe, make it your personal pipe.
No girls allowed. They don't like pipes.
Have pipe club by yourself, that's okay.
Let smoke linger in your mouth.
Blow it out.
Puff on your pipe.