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how was your day? 6 a.m. kid up and pushing on shoulder “i’m hungry, i’m hungry;” dogs, awakened, clatter noisily on bedroom linoleum, anxious to pee; cat, disturbed, chokes up hairball in corner loses more hair around neck because of nerves. 6:10 a.m. wife, angry, tosses fitfully then sits up, lights cigarette, blows first smoke of the day in my face “goddammit, i just can’t take this anymore” she snaps; i know what she means. 6:30 a.m. i lay in bed, owl-eyed, blinking surprisedly at the sun; this was supposed to be my day to sleep in. 6:31 a.m. sit up, cringe in pain, realize kidneys still aching, cock still burning from some odd, week-old malady. 6:45 a.m. mentally piqued at wife, i pick a fight over volatile, yet unrelated topic (her hyper-extended computer use). we resolve not to speak to one another ever again. 7 a.m. i lay back down, praying kidneys will simply explode. 7:31 a.m. wife relays message that she has scheduled a doctor’s appointment for me at 9:30 a.m. SHIT! with the commute that gives me one-half hour to shower and shave i am forced to swing out of the coffin forced to plod pear-like with Burger king belly, to reconcile with my image in the bathroom mirror; i am looking more like Honore de Balzac every day. 9:30 a.m. at doctor’s office 10:30 a.m. at doctor’s office 11:00 a.m. must piss 11:15 a.m. lab technician: “i need your piss.” “i am a fucking idiot,” i tell him. “i just pissed. i must not want to get better!” i piss a thimbleful. “that is enough,” he says. bullshit, i think. why does the cup say “patient MUST fill to three-quarter mark”? 11:20 a.m. in patient cubicle 11:45 a.m. still in patient cubicle; have read all of shock-value cancer posters; swear forever off of smoking and second-hand smoke; resolve to force wife to quit. 11:46 doctor is done with cigarette break, decides to join patient. wheels in laptop on elevated scooter: diagnosis and data-base storage gone hi-tech. 11:46-11:54 a.m. blah, blah, blah, history, symptoms, blah. 11:55 a.m. urinalysis inconclusive. urinary tract discomfort problematic, must do anal probe to rule out prostate inflammation. “Jumping up and down Jesus, Doc! is that really necessary?” “up on the bench on all fours, sway the back, arch the buttocks prominently.” do i get the reach-around? he’s in and out. no enlargement, no pain. just mutual humiliation. “any discharge from the penis?” he asks. “no,” i say, “but feels like the clap i had in college.” “we’ll need to do a urethral swab.” “Jumping up and down, Doc! why not a root canal while we’re at it?” 12:02 p.m. giant cotton swab stuck halfway up my dick. 12:04-12:06 p.m. blah, blah, sheepish goodbyes. 12:15 p.m. in truck, light cigarette, turn up Judas Priest EXTREMELY LOUD!! “I’m your turbo lover! Tell me there’s no other!” 1:15 p.m. back in Trailerville. riding emotional fix of “you’ve come to us, paid your ten dollar co-pay, you are a strapping physical specimen, there is nothing overtly wrong, go home.” kidneys still hurt, dick still burning but doctor’s blithe optimism has sparked emotional healing. mind over matter. must just be lower back strain. the dick? i had been jacking a lot lately.... 1:16-2:16 p.m. hook garbage trailer up to truck. load kid, dogs, wife in truck. stop at 7-11 to get wife cigarettes. kid spills entire pop in truck. dogs further distrust kid. stop at garage sale on way to dump. wife wants $250 Pomeranian pup. i just stare at her with owl eyes. at dump, wife becomes infuriated by swirling dust and garbage; i dare to call her a “prima donna.” she sits in truck, smokes incessantly, re-initiates silent treatment as kid and i stop at wildlife refuge, old site of Camp Adair. we look at ring-necked pheasants and World War II memorials. i mourn the casualties of the 104th infantry division at Cherbourg. the Timberwolves. 2:17 p.m. wife storms into house. i maneuver garbage trailer back behind shed. i get out lawn mower, mow lawn. kidneys ache, dick burns. i sweat profusely. 2:35 p.m. Mexican neighbor limps mini-van into his driveway. Astro is making a horrible clattering noise. i help Jose put van up on ramps. “i see you fight lass night,” Jose says. “Very good.” i nod and smile, show him the broken ring finger on my right hand. it is only the second time i have ever spoken to Jose. i offer to let him take my car to work the next day; he accepts. 2:50 p.m. wife storms out of house, informs me our car up top has been egged, that the driver’s side window is broken out. 3:15 p.m. i have the door panel off of wife’s car, am trying to extract glass shards. egg is baked to a fine sheen in various places. a black Nissan pulls up. it is my coaching buddy. he is trying to get me to move to Phoenix, Arizona to help resurrect an ailing 2A football program. it is his dream, not mine. he speaks in the preterite, as if everything “we” will do has already happened, been determined. he should have been a Calvinist. or a used-car salesman. 6:15 p.m. because he is still talking 9:15 p.m. and he is still talking. the wife had had enough hours ago and is out on a cigarette run. the kid is on the living room floor, bored asleep. the dogs look around with owl eyes. if i could get a word in edgewise i would simply tell my buddy “no.” but he glows when he talks about football; his eyes shine and his body quivers like a kid about to get laid. why rain on that happiness? so i take out a pen and pretend to be taking notes, to be raptly involved in his grand scheme to run a disguised cover two and a modified split-back Willamette fly-sweep, when actually i am outlining the parameters of this poem, when actually i am thinking about fucking my wife, when actually my kidneys ache and my dick burns and the broken finger on my right hand throbs. i look at the dogs-- they still have owl eyes; much to my amusement, i see the kid is drooling a bright silver string of goo on my cold, bare feet.
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