I shoveled the same two stoops twice the other day. We hadn’t experienced a dump like that in years.

The neighbor kids joined me while I was shoveling. They took turns riding down the stoops that had not been shoveled on a green disc.

Of course, I took a turn myself, and it wasn’t until after I my ride that I remembered I had broken my wrist sledding when I was not much older than those kids.

Yesterday, we noticed one of the kids had a black eye. When my wife asked him how he did that, he said he couldn’t remember. To be a kid again…

Big kid bruise

My daughter launched herself from the toilet as if from an ejection seat today. I saw it in slow-motion when it happened and now it’s playing continuously in my brain like some kind of meme designed to torture me.

She has only a small bruise on her forehead and was still breathing when I went to check on her one hour ago. The experience was more traumatizing for mom and dad than it was for her.

Her grandparents didn’t consider it to be a harrowing event when we told them about it later. Kids bump their heads all the time, they said. First of many bruises. I wanted something more from them. I wanted them to overreact so as to normalize my reaction.

America (Pandemic Remix)

America I did my best.

America fourteen dollars and ninety-two cents (free shipping with Prime) on January 17, 2021.

My mind is trying to kill me.

America when does the spiritual war begin?

Shove the stock market up your dickhole.

Leave me alone. I have nothing to say.

Alright, alright. I realize this poem won’t write itself.

America when will you be angelic?

When will you put your phone down?

When will you turn off the TV and come to bed?

When will you put your laptop to sleep for good?

America we weren’t the first ones here.

Why do the names of your favorite sports teams mock the indigenous?

Don’t ask me who I like in the big game.

Colin Kaepernick got a raw deal.

America sometimes you have to kneel down to stand up.

My high school friend Mike Simmons was shot to death.

Who kneels for him?

I’ve been a Kansas City Chiefs fan my entire life. Do I contradict myself?

I’m not sorry.

America I’m getting to the point.

America the chickens are comin’ home to roost.

I haven’t read an actual newspaper in years.

Every day it’s the same sad story.

America I can’t remember my Gmail password.

America I hate who I am online.

Where’s my iPhone? Someone stole it.

Brett Hooton is in Montreal. I don’t think he’ll come back. It’s sinister.

I don’t smoke marijuana anymore.

Now you’re telling me weed is legal?

Is this some kind of sick joke?

What about all the people in jail for petty drug crimes?

Do they get to go free?

America I never get drunk these days.

America I wear white after Labor Day.

I wouldn’t be caught dead praying in public.

I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.

America I smoked pot for the first time with Tommy Black. We were in his Chevy Blazer listening to Bob Marley. We weren’t afraid of getting caught by the cops.

Tommy Black is dead now.

I’m talking to you.

Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Facebook?

I’m obsessed with Facebook.

I look at it every day (read: hour).

I can’t figure out how to turn the notifications off anyway.

It’s always showing me pictures of food. People like food. Food is a big deal.

It occurs to me that I am America.

Do I sound paranoid?

Asia is rising against me.

We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

I’d better keep an eye on my shit.

My shit consists of two bottles of wine,

a dozen volumes of poetry,

30 generic Lipitor pills from Canada,

and an ’85 Toyota Van that only runs on one cylinder.

I say nothing about the climate nor the millions upon

millions of impoverished people who live beneath my floorboards.

I’ve given up on the forest, the lakes, and the rivers;

the mountains are the next to go.

I was baptized Catholic. I’m pretty sure this won’t affect my plans to become president.

America I’m feeling a bit Jew-y.

I wish I was Jeff Bezos. I can beat his price but you have to come pick it up.

America I paid $400 on Amazon for a small dishwasher that only holds ten dishes.

Did I get ripped off?

America free Mumia Abu-Jamal (remember him?).

Save Israel from itself.

America you were implicit in Khashoggi’s death.

America I am the Syrian refugees.

What the fuck is going on in Yemen?

America when I was in fourth grade I had my first sexual experience. He was a boy and his name started with the letter J. We took a bath together and then ate Ramen noodles. America it was beautiful. You should’ve been there. Just thinking about it now makes me hard.

America does that mean I’m gay?

America you don’t really want to go to war. With each other?

America it’s them bad Russians.

Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Jews (always them Jews).

The Russia wants to sabotage our elections. Putin is mad with power.

He wants to take our phones away.

He wants to take New York. He wants to paint the White House red.

This no good. Putin give land back to the Indians. He teach Latinos read English.

He give black people reparations. He make us work nights and weekends.

America this is quite serious.

America this is the impression I get from my news feed.

America is this correct?

We better get down to it.

We are all alone but we are all alone together.

Let’s put our shoulder to the wheel.


Journal Entry 7

Being a parent is like being a cop. A police officer never stops being a police officer and you never stop being a parent.

It rules, sometimes infects, all aspects of your life. I caught myself singing Raffi in front of my business partner the other day. I speak to my cats like I speak to my baby when I play with them. “Who’s a good cat?” I say as I shake a cat toy.

Journal Entry 6

In my wildest dreams, I never thought we’d be here. I don’t know what I thought this moment would look like or if I thought about it at all.

I can trace the trajectory of my life over the past year, but I can’t account for much of what has been happening outside my familial nucleus.

I wish I could, as Henry David Thoreau suggested, sit on the sidelines while this century passes me by but that is not possible. When you have a child, when you have a dog in the race, the choice to participate has been made for you.

Journal Entry 5

I’ve been reading Shakespeare lately and it’s the first time I’ve done so outside of a classroom setting. I’d never realized it before, but many of the plays are quite silly.

Take As You Like It, in which the character Orlando meets who he thinks is a male shepherd but who is actually the woman he loves. The shepherd convinces Orlando to pretend that he the sheperd is actually his lady love, which we know of course is the case.

What are we supposed to make of this? What did an Elizabethan audience make of it?

This sort of gender-bending characterizes many of Shakespeare’s comedic plays especially. And it’s widely influential even in modern times. Think Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. Or Tobias dressing up as the family maid in Arrested Development in order to spend time with his daughter.

Maybe the premise, no matter how supercilious it may seem, is only important as a vehicle for getting people to think about what it might be like to be a member of the opposite sex. I can get behind that.