I'll get back to giving you writing meditations, I promise.

No, not in a good mood yet. Every morning and every night, I wait for the Seattle calls to hear if grandma or Cinderella's sister have worsened...if that's even possible. Situation: grim. End of game grim.

But, you know, the sun comes up. I drag out of bed at 6 or 6:30 and see the big kids off, then prod poor Chayo out of a deep sleep and get her eating her cereal and brushing her hair. After we walk to the school bus, it's morning gardener time. You'd almost think life was sweet. The neighborhood woodpecker has been hammering his skull silly on the trees. How can you not laugh? I put in a birdbath ringed by violas. The new hydrangeas are blooming. I found a bleeding heart bush I didn't even know I had--the ivy had covered it last year, and when I trimmed back the stinking ivy, this plant leaped out of the ground and bloomed in about, oh, 45 minutes. Last night, a drunk-sounding frog let out a long, yawning croak. Where did a frog come from? And, I am happy to report, I have been sharing the forsythias and the insanely exploding lilacs with the fattest bumblebees ever. Tomas Urrea's spirit keeps the Naperville bees working and alive.

Hearts fail in Seattle. Hearts thrum in our neighborhood.

Disasters are everywhere, of course--down the street, the neighbors have a dad whose cancer keeps on spreading, and is now in his brain. Everybody shrugs. What are you going to do? Ther's not much dancing on the block, but there is a lot of watering.

I was reading Styron's Sophie's Choice. But it just got too severe around here this week. So I have been reading Robert Sullivan's Cross Country. Awesome. Funny. Informative. And I found myself in the basement yesterday digging out the well-worn poaperback of Blue Highways. Oh no! My celebrated gypsy blood is kicking in! I...I...I'm starting to need to go. That need to go wreaked havoc on my loved ones back in the day--whatever day that was. Maybe a Tuesday, in 1982. I couldn't stop. I couldn't breathe. My sweetheart who crept into my room on some mornings to awaken me with a kiss must have been shocked when I seemed to leap out the window and run across country, never to return. I tried to spend the next years crying: I'm sorry.

It's all this death. And all these yellow flowers. They're making me dizzy. They're making me want to run. But I cannot run--I have to cook supper tonight, have to do a PhD oral exam at UIC tomorrow, have to give an uplifting lecture in Chicago tomorrow night, have to get breakfast going the next morning. Mr. Mom! Maybe I'll get lucky and pick Cindy up at the airport.

What I should be doing, but have no psychic space yet to do it, is writing. So I move a marigold from the front yard to the back. My secret garden is divided by yellows, oranges, reds, pinks, whites, lilac/purples. I'm going for some kind of psychedelic sweep of the spectrum. Honestly, I don't know what I'm doing. I have my tomatoes in pots. I feed the birds. I listen over and over to The Arcade Fire. I read Sullivan and Rilke. I write this post to you.

I know, somewhere along this sad line of bad happenings, a poem will appear...and then a chapter...and then an essay. Then I'll get in the World's Biggest Van and fill it up with $4.98 gas and floor that fat bastard on down the interstate and come up with a new Wastelander. Got to get the kids over to the Rocak and Roll Hall of Fame to look inside Jimi Hendrix's shoe! You can see his feet's sweat stains in his shoe! Jimi! COME BACK.

I'm just in that phase where you mulch and fertilize the garden--cow dung everywhere.


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