Know your steps and know
Know your steps and know
This. This morning. This is for you. This is yours. You have the morning, day, week, month, everything you want by deciding so. Candle going, at laptop’s side. Meditation with latte. Wife deciding on snow gear for kids, upcoming trip. Me, with the candle, something never near me when writing, seeing more Newness.
Fire, tempting me to try new avenues and expressive streams. Morning, a bit sluggish from last night going to bed late and after dinner and wine with wife. Melissa on couch listing prices to me for their snow trip approaching. Tahoe. Morning telling me to write faster, morning telling me to write more in Germany Journal, map how you get There.
Kids should be home, soon. More photos of them. Their steps in life, my story, the story itself. More thoughts and considerations this morning than I forecasted. What do you want? I keep asking self. Above everything, not citing health of me and all near and loved, travel. It has to be travel. Every continent. As many cultures as I can see, feel.
What’s the plan, wife asks, for day. Good question. No plan. And maybe that’s what needs to be. Life isn’t excessive deliberation, but deciding more in what’s already present. Yesterday, not in Field with sales squad, I replayed repeatedly the walks on all streets. Blocks. Districts and meta-districts. Truly wanted to be out there with them but couldn’t as that would’ve been day 6 in a row. Which I don’t at all mind, but is against Sonic’s stances. No quarrel, only putting myself there with them, imaginarily. People in San Francisco, the battle to find a parking spot and the daily inner-problem solve of where for lunch. The plan for today is today, to not plan but to live, talk to both babies, ask them questions, learn from them. Being with them is the demand satisfied, wanting them to teach me, instruct me how to get to those travels.
They already have, but I need more.
Morning following morning of marathon that was only a half for my, my thoughts are on and in literature, writing, teaching self and being taught from experience. I don’t see yesterday as a victory or a defeat, but a prime lesson. Instruction on everything.
Morning with family. Kids on couch with their mama, my over here at kitchen island, writing, in Kerouac’s novel, wanting more of what Sal did, what Dean did and thought he did. In travel, in wine, in music. The wine I had last night, bought with son at store. Jack telling me we need to buy some wine so can “do some business” as he put it. Everything I need for my Road, for my travels, here.
Mike thinks about his day off, what he wants from it, how to approach it. Thoughts, everything in thought, what’s in his thinking and the ideas that pass that he won’t remember, that he won’t write down. Mike Madigan, analyzing himself and what he does. Wanting to feel what Sal and Dean did in the car, at the jazz clubs, at all the unexpected locations with new people they’ve only known for so long. The reason and reasoning, thought and philosophy to everything from people at a house to beer and tacos, to the sound of cars being parked in a lot, crazily.
Mike forgot about Sausalito, about the marathon, about running altogether. He thought about wine, again about self-publishing and wine, what to do from there. New ways of approaching wine and teaching, books… Sedaris’ essays, Plath’s poems, Kerouac’s novel, Hughes and all his pieces. Mike would re-read Road, note every sentence, including the first where the narrator lets readers know this is about him, Dean, how he felt right when he met Dean then onward into his life. Mike has a son, daughter, since knowing them he sees the world with more reverence and hesitation—How does he live every moment as deeply as he can? Why does he spend so much time thinking and overthinking rather than writing, living? He didn’t have an answer. Not this morning. He wouldn’t. He didn’t need one. All he needs is them. Those two. Their mother. The house. Writing father seeking more reason and reasoning in everything, all that he does and what’s around him in his current scene and current.
Thought—everything in the appreciation of Now.
Living is literature, he finds. He’s always know this and Mike has always seen wine as more a literary presence than some chemical or agro result. Mike returns to wine, for this thought. Sitting at the kitchen counter and looking over at the bottle of Grgich Merlot, ’14, that last night he explored and let speak to him. He refused to let wine leave him, or him leave wine. He’d write each sip, even if twelve essays or pieces or sketches came from the same bottle. Wasn’t that the point? Each sip, different. Each second there is more in the jazz of what you poured. Maybe this is the business little Kerouac was talking about, yesterday in the Oliver’s wine isle.
Wine speaks to Mike in a way it hasn’t, ever. She tells him to move, move quicker. Edit nothing. Just express. Self and the Now, thought and reasoning in what you sip, the appreciation of the Now… no going back, now. The story is set. Now he writes.. Several books. With wine. A marathon of book output, then another, then a marathon of written treks in the vineyard rows. He sees it. All. All sips and steps.
Been writing in more than one place for the ’19 story. Oh well I say to myself with another glass of sparkling, Jackie over there playing on the tablet my mom and dad bought him this past xmas. Nothing I’m writing lately I’m liking. Certainly not loving. So what’s the bandage for that? One part of me says just write free, with less shackle and inner-hassle. What’s that mean I don’t know so I re-focus on Jack. The day he and I have had, his sister too. She now off with wife and wife’s friend and wife’s friend’s daughter to Target to get who knows what. Kerouac has some inner dialogue with himself regarding the game, if it’s a game or some scholastic, learning program…. “Jack, what are you doing? What are you playing with?” He gives a bit of a mumble but I’m not convinced that was directed at me. He goes back to doing that, whatever that is. He rests the right side of his face in his right palm, right elbow on right inner-thigh as he sits on floor, legs crossed and lightly locked. We just spent the past couple hours watching football. Playoffs. Or postseason. Chicago versus Eagles, in Chicago. Eagles pulled it by a point. Just one. I of course was on CHI’s side for various reasons—none of which I’ve told you so I guess I shouldn’t write “of course”—and so was Jack. Both us disappointed in the result. But we move on. He with his game, or learning program, me with words and this morning before our together time, and time with his sister, a 7-mile run which I now feel.
Hoping to get some reading in, tonight. Hemingway, Coelho, Plath, Hughes…. Not sure I’ll touch all four books, but one of them I’m rather confident. Need to write more poetry, read Hughes more, and other poets like Cummings, Plath of course, Yeats, and from that collection of several poets I was gifted years ago. Today teaches me to not work against existing momentum, ever. What you want to do with the day is one matter, what you’re able to do and what you can do with what is present is quite another write.
Writing everything down…. Jack, quite poised and careful how he touches that screen. Face Ibn right palm, again. He says nothing to me on his own, and I don’t want to break his connection to his current action so I just push these buttons while I look at him. My little boy who daily loses his littleness to time— Time, that fucking animal, devouring all of us as a matter of duty and functionality, normalcy. Why I deplore normalcy, the patterns. The expected. The unavoidable tumult of the clock. I look at reflection, mine, and can see changes in my face, around the mouth and eyes. Forty this year— fuck. Have I lost some of my awareness and writing ability? Am I starting to fade? Looking over at little Kerouac, my little beat. He’ll keep me young. His sister, too.
Downstairs after dinner and everyone in bed but me. Long day, whole day in field and all I wanted was this. Some Jazz, low-lit room, xmas tree providing most of my sight. Walking up and down hills in SF makes me want there, the houses, I want just one of them… some impressive grander in my head bouncing forth and back and back to my senses which even I now question. Outside, sky and air remind me of what time of year envelops my Now.
Music on me unexpectedly quits. No mood to fight, quibble, scuffle. So I leave it off. Could turn it back on, with phone, but I’m composed in the composition of this room. Could use another beer for session. But I’ll wait a minute. And the music comes back. What is this devilish device doing to me? To my writing. Ignore it, I tell myself. At lunch, which I told myself I wouldn’t do, dine out, I was in Harvey’s (think it was called) writing in the corner, before the omelet arrived and walked around Castro taking in everything— lights and cars, shops and the bars with their engaging names, street lights and the evidence of history. Going back tomorrow, and making it more a point to write in “real time” as some say. But I hate that utterance and word sequence. “Real” “time”. If you have to note that it’s “real”, or remind yourself or a reader or observer that it’s “real”, there’s an obvious incongruence. To me, anyway. So.. point, write in immediacy spree. While people walk by, walking their dogs, as they answer the door to us knocking to tell them about what we’re doing for the community, put all to page.
Down here, in this room, family room while family upstairs swirls and swivels and swims in dream, I’m doing something, I think. Missed class tonight, and I feel awful, but no choice was mine. One of the sales leads out so I was the transporter man or whatever, taking team to and from between Noe Valley and Castro. San Francisco, begging me for conversation the same way that Paris would let go of Hem. I’m out there as a Field Sale Supervising, most presently and poignantly doing my job, but as well not letting the writing Me away gaze.
This room, now, just what I need. Tree luminous, piano notes and keys hit, and now me. Thinking of how I want to be seen, read, this job I have at a tech company that’s making me more a writer than I ever would have forecasted. Drive down with reps, talking about certain topics then re-focusing on what we were about to do with this new campaign, me the whole time thinking how with business if everything was this exciting, like in the wine world, businesses would more readily attain what they sought. The room says more to me, like just enjoy the room, go get a beer and be Hemingway for a night. Think about your city, SF, and how tomorrow will be definitively different than today. This room, now, not so much what I need but what’s ME. What I embody… composition, the page, me here on couch, in assembly. Time, rather “real”.
all interpretation and meditations leaning toward more. More exploration, more scenes, more looking around and acknowledging Now. Nothing behind, all ahead and in front of me asking to be experienced. What am I doing here, accepting any order, any regulatory, any institution. More, on that Road, the music, lights, cars, families traveling in winter or whenever. Sitting on unfamiliar boards, me…
to be in the Road.
Home from class. Dinner had. Now wine having. My thoughts are still, and mobile and motile when they wish be. Xmas tree, lit to right. 2 days and 6 months till I’m 40. Today busy, back and forth from city. Not sure exactly what neighborhood or district I was in. Doesn’t matter as SF always does something to me. Makes me think of owning a house there, driving kids to new house and showing them what all the work I do did. Whenever I come home late, it’s for this. But, a wish. At this point. Paired a Syrah, St. Francis of course, with a microwave burrito. Funny but perfect in framing and station.
On the drive back from the city I thought about driving, speaking, how I began the day with my notes and speaking to a co-worker about what I want from the day, the first day out in “the field” in over two weeks. Driving, travel, seeing all the houses and the remodels, that one porta-potty by that remodeled house that I thought of using after all that coffee and not using the bathroom in Marin, Novato, at the gas station. So much movement, so much said, activity and effort, again not to forget the 90-minute lecture I just gave. And now, still. Stop. Pause. Wine and its composition laws.
Honestly, the wine isn’t saying much to me. Again. Again this happens. Want to be back in class. And I could. Tonight we discussed narrative and the practice of narrative. What is would entail, the perception of narrative… each of our narratives. Telling a story from our own life. Of course, some close to me want me to talk about something when I’d rather write about something else. Right now. This tree my son helped decorate, Syrah at day’s close.
My concentration wains and feigns, is strained by hours behind me. Coughing a bit. Do I have something? A cold? Shit. Hoping the Syrah helps when I know it won’t. I sit on the couch and look at the tree longer. Lights. Hanging pictures. Decorations kids made at school, with pictures, glitter, meant to catch eye, eyes, and my eyes are certainly caught by anything these Madigan babies do. Again the image of them reading this class, like a class I had in Stevenson Hall, 1999, with Bob Coleman. Their professor trying not to call them out but he may let a remark slip. “Mike Madigan was always knowing of his kids and what they would think… what does this suggest about his identity and consciousness and the conscious reality of his character, his identity, at the time?”
How did that, that time, me at SSU, pass so passively and swiftly as it did? I become annoyed with time. With me. With me being here. With the Syrah for not teaching me more. This wine isn’t saying a thing. I dump it out. Into sink, down the drain. Just kidding, she’s still here. Sip… and still not much said. That’s what she wants. That’s what the story wants. Have to deconstruct and decode, work harder, find something in the mindful myriad of the wine. So, again I go…