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2005-09-27 - 11:31 a.m.

I got me a routine. Very much so. I'd like to tinker with it, but there are so many things I'm always wanting to do outside of the routine that I feel like tinkering with the routine would give the routine even more room to kick around and I'm trying not to let it kick much, trying to straightjacket it. I don't want to encourage the routine. I feel that adding morning yogurt to the routine, for example, would encourage it. I think, as is, we have an understanding. A truce.

But the routine's not all that bad. I get up between 7:20 and 7:40 and shower and throw on clothes (biz caz!) and drive the truck and make the potholes and the yawning black lady drivers a part of it.

What has been added to the routine lately is Spoon. I like Spoon. Two songs swapping time in my head: "The Way We Get By," and "The Fitted Shirt." These two songs are kind of rockers and I know how my tastes go: I'm always drawn to the catchiest songs first and later I'll settle in to the more complex ones. And I can see that happening already with some of their moodier songs, but for now, "The Fitted Shirt" gets me going. It's a song about longing for the days when shirts fit right. As a kid, he used to wear his dad's fitted shirts and it's kind of about his relationship with his dad but it never goes much beyond hints about the respect he has for the fitted shirts and his dad's taste for them. It's a nice nugget for a song, really, oblique but enough hinting to make you care.

I'm seeing the White Stripes tonight. A friend had an extra ticket. It's at a big outdoor amphitheather. I've never seen a show at this one, but I saw Dave Matthews at the one in Northern Virginia when I was in college and I'm fully expecting to Mack on Some Eighteen-Year-Olds and Their Forty-Year-Old Moms. We're sitting under the pavillion, though, and that means easier access to Nine Dollar Beers.

I spent the night at a girl's place Friday night. In the morning, the gray-blue Fells Point light glowed in off the street and the earliest sounds happening, just enough light to shadow her face in the softest way available. It was very nice and soft and close and before I left to go pack some things for the trip, she made espresso in the kitchen, wearing few clothes, her eyes half-closed.

And I started a new essay last night, while sitting in the office at the college, waiting for my class to start. I wrote it in blue fine-tip marker on a sheet of regular copy paper. I filled up one side and wrote exactly one word on the back side. I tell myself it's about big ideas such as circles and death ("Once More to the Lake") and returning to the place from whence you came, but I can see already that it's going to be about my first girlfriend and how we met in this class that I'm teaching right now and about how she came on strong and how I've been with a few girls like that and how the one girl who wasn't like that was the one I loved, really, the most, no question.

My friend who got married asked that I read at the wedding on Saturday. He'd picked out for me a few poems and I selected the e.e. cummings' poem "Somewhere I Have Never Travelled." I was nervous but stuttered just once. This is a problem for me, the words not coming out right when I'm nervous, but it's something that needs to happen about once per time and then I'm fine. So I read it and the last line really is a good one, "Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."

I think I long for ease, above all maybe. Warm ease. Not in the move-to-Florida kind of way. No. But an ease of relations. A fluidity. This probably has something to do with the stuttering. A gliding, maybe.

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