I'm back; The airport is familiar enough that I smile when I step back on to the squishy red carpets and into these lines. I was here, half an year ago, running in yellow suits holding Nextels and herding people like sheep. I was here half a dozen years ago walking the other way; same place, new home.

I am reminded that this whole thing is for me.

She leaves ahead and leaves me her phone number. She oscillates like those biorhythm graphs you see; up and down and up and down. I take it she means that she wants me to call. She goes away with a smile, sending me eyebeams that knock me down so I lift myself back up with my one hand and with my other hand wave 'goodbye', returning her smile with a nice backhand pingpong curve.

I look up and out and the sky is hazy gray, and I feel out of line with myself as if everything is shifted downwards. When I move my hand I see something move below me; I shake my head and I see a tassel of blackness move sideways. Everything's on remote control; Twenty-four hours ago I was speaking a different code, twenty-four hours ago my mouth was doing the talking by itself and my eyes were just watching streams flow out and curl into rivulets that ran into different sets of ears.

There's a bubble in front of my mouth. I speak but things come out haltingly: I am translating from two languages into each other and they come out at the same time. Two incimeters in front of my mouth the streams collide into each other and clot like those clumps you see in health magazines or drain cleaner commercials. The clump is heavy enough that it makes my head sag and so I found myself yesterday walking watching the ground instead of the sky.

Sometimes I'll find myself doing nothing but finding myself. I walked back into a familiar store and the smell conjured images behind my eyelids that made the corners of my mouth go zzoop northwards and it took me a confused half-second before I realized that I was smiling uncontrollably. As the plane lands I see miniature people walking their miniature dogs under plastic trees and popsticle-stick houses; like clockwork, a miniature ha pries its way between my lips and pops into the air before being swept away by everyday life.

Here, it's always turning the next pan on the griddle. Here, everything's always going wrong and right and things are always tumbling and people are always talking and there are always better cellphones. Here, I'm always confused and the world is always turning faster than it ought to be: here, the lights of buildings always have some kind of hidden pattern-message in them. Here is where the streetlamps are really sodium-yellow; here is where the sound of my feet on this asphalt grow unbearably loud until I start rubbing my tongue against the roof of my mouth because that girl walking in front of me reminds me of her suitcase and those cellphones remind me of sand dunes in antarctica. Someone needs to stop changing the color on my sunglasses

and I keep thinking, nobody has a finger large enough that can press the pause button

Running Log

Wednesday, Mar. 17 ........ 54 min

Wednesday, Mar. 17 The six hours of sleep really worked their medicine, because in sharp contrast to yesterday there was almost no pain running this morning.

I woke up at 3 a.m. to read The Royal Physician's Visit. Tomorrow night is our book group meeting, and I still have over a hundred pages to read. Reading before a long run gives me something to think about. As does memorizing poetry.

I began re-memorizing T.S.Eliot's brilliant poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock this morning. First stanza goes something like this:

Let us go then, you and I
Into the evening spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question.
Oh do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

In the rooms the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo.

Whew. Couldn't write that down without some major peeks at the crib sheet. I might have to revisit that one tomorrow morning again.

A crumpled up piece of paper with sweat-stains that caused the blue ink to run was all I had left at the end of the run. It was barely legible.

I remember memorizing poetry when the daily runs got long. I had to do something to keep my mind occupied. The Prufrock stanza really made the second half of the run fly by quickly.


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