#500WED: Morning

The still of the waning darkness tiptoes across the wooden floor amidst the living room church lights and the little yowlings of the cats. So do I.

One by one, the lamps are switched, and, lazy things, yawn their light out into the space, giving shadows no shelter. I wander each of their glowing perimeters with uncertain feet dressed in slippers that shuffle and hush a mother’s lullaby: shh, shh, shh — a finger to the lips, a gentle quieting wind through crisp leaves that have long ago fallen.

The light of the street-lamps echoes against the wet rooftops, and smears across the darkened windows of the abandoned factories turned chic lofts, or, in some instances, the windows behind which there is nothing but dust and ghosts of industry.

Cars lope by like lone wolves in the night, turning back to their caves before morning. Some figures stroll or stand about in the shadows, waiting.

My next door neighbor is the city bus terminal, and it emanates a florescent glare to stave off the dark before the morn. You can see brisk legs there, if you look down — passengers with their coffee mugs and budgets; students, mothers, fathers, homeless in their precarious poverty.

Slowly the light comes and the noise, and the leisure goes. A sense of purpose billows out through the air and I feel disheveled, unready — a pulley has been clipped to my ribs and gently tugs: come now, there are things to be done.

The hour is judged by the color of the sky: black, deepest blue, lightening navy that swiftly becomes sky-colored, and the clouds show themselves once more. The passage of time is reflected in swallows of coffee: how empty the cup, what temperature the liquid.

Bells toll in their small belfry down the street; I once told you they stood for my love, every chime a call: I love ____. I love ____. You who still sleep at this time, who welcomes the coming of the dark, while I await its going, and together we take dominion over the day. You who I leave safe to wake with coffee and kisses — I will bring you bundles of new sun like fireflies, and you take in the morning this way, in my handfuls.

I take mine as it would show itself: one singular burst over the rooftops, an overblown explosion popping sparklers through the clouds, and then fading too fast, as the grey blinds come down over the sun and shield the city from golden excess. The splash of warmth roils over the brick where it will rest for a moment, reminiscent of fireplace hearths, and swims speedily on eastward, to comfort other early-wakened souls.

The smokestacks close curtain over the departure and the fading crackles of applause give way to silence. My face is primed and painted, lacquered walls ready for company. The delicious moments of night into morning have passed, and the lamps are left without work, packing their briefcases and totes until the dusk comes, and another shift begins. They rest, darkened things, and unwind their burdens.

And I pick up mine, finessed at last into accepting that the fresh fleeting seconds are gone. I arrange myself, flowers in a crystal vase, open the door, and join my fellow wanderers in daylight.

#500WED: Digestion

There is not much of a consensus on the average total time of human digestion; figures vary from 17 hours to 72, which makes for a large margin of error, especially when digesting a day. I have a feeling yesterday is still with me, sorting itself into categories to be filed away within me:

  • Things learned
  • Things unlearned
  • Things made
  • Things unmade
  • Things improved
  • Things unimproved

and so on, until they have been tucked away into manila folders, positioned within sliding cabinet drawers, and shut away for later reference.


Yesterdays always seem to vanish as soon as they stop being todays. There is a smoky haze for a while, but that gradually disperses until only the smell remains, like extinguished fire. And soon that even is gone and all that remains is a memory of a smell — perhaps a vague outline of the sublimation process.

I can recall the fatigue, folding my arms into a sheltering pillow for my head that kept the sun at bay. My back stretched in its tight places. The marble counter was cool against my forehead. I remember the uncomforted feeling, the yearning for rest that was never fulfilled, but instead mollified with caffeine until it too was made small and almost invisible, only persisting in my joints where it released in doses when I moved. It was the lacquer over my eyes.


Restlessness always gets caught in my throat, a too large bite that was chewed too few times. It travels painfully toward my stomach, scraping against the walls of my esophagus. I imagine them red. I imagine them as watering eyes.

The stomach receives the mass regretfully, thrusting it up against the diaphragm, putting strain on the lungs. Then the breath comes quickly; the edifices for air cannot fully fill and the cycle of inhalations and exhalations is shortened; the snake eating its tail has lost some of its length.

An impatient finger has sped up the tape. Movements quicken with speeding need. Exhaustion swiftly lumbars in, but isn’t permitted to have its reign. There is pacing. There is panting. There is a consistent refrain of need.


The problem with these yesterdays is that so many of them look the same. They are not individuals, but purposeless clones that stack, one on top of the other, so that once one has made it through, is processed and gone, another is there to take up its mantle.

The monotonous conveyer belt churns silently. It is the long-sought perpetual motion machine, and it contains neither fantastic demon nor incredible ratchet. It is mundane.


What I mean to say is that the interest arises from the present, do you see? It is in the smelling, the careful cutting with knife and fork, the opening of the mouth, and the chewing (hardly part of digestion at all). The rest is instinctive, happening even in sleep; without control, without choice, where lies the value? There is little to pay, after all, for waste.

The valuable machine is active, operated with the strength of your hands. You must first will it to make, to do, and then compel it to be so. Live with it, within it, impart now your desires upon it.

Automation is inhuman. The valuable machine is not.

It’s now.