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Thursday, May 24, 2007
De Hominis Natura
De Hominis Natura[*]
(On November 7th, 2005, two young men at the LSU Rec Center talk about the airing of "Matrix Reloaded" the night before on cable television. Their names are Waldo and Malcolm-Jamal Jackson.)
Malcolm-Jamal: But yeah, yo, I digged the part where they at the Mero... The Mervin...
Waldo: Ah, the Merovingian.
Malcolm-Jamal: Yeh, at that dood's crib. That bitch was wack, yo!
Waldo: ...Right. But it is true, stranger. It was quite interesting. I enjoyed that scene and also the one where the Oracle tells Neo about him.
Malcolm-Jamal: Yeh, yeh.
Waldo: The Oracle's is an interesting statement, actually. "What do all men with power want? More power." Quite true, I must say. Don't you agree, friend?
Malcolm-Jamal: Damn right, dawg.
Waldo: Hmm-mmm. The question, though, is why? Why DO they seek more power? Once these men gain almost absolute power, what do they get out of it? Money? Money gives power, which, in turn, creates more money[ ].
Waldo: Still, money is not the only thing that gives power to men. So, is it health and a long life that they want? Absolutely not. Of course they want to live a long life and be healthy, but that's not why they want more power. But, is it love then? Not quite. Power can make finding true love easier and yet also harder. But the purpose of power is not love at all. So what is it?
Malcolm-Jamal: Yeh, you know... what is it?
Waldo: Glad you asked, stranger.
Malcolm-Jamal: Yo, why you keep calling me "stranger", homie? Ma name Malcolm-Jamal but ma pen name be G-Babydoll, playa.
Waldo: Hmmm. Ok. Thank you for filling me in on that. But back to our question concerning the end of power, consider our social organization/behavior. The human race is organized just as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are, in a multiple-male polygyny. This means many males and females cohabit a territory. Yet, we also behave like gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) in a way; that is, in every troupe there is a dominant male who copulates with the 3 to 6 females in his group. So, human social organization dictates that in a territory of many males and females there are the more dominant (those with more power, in all its diverse manifestations) and those less dominant. But why would a silverback gorilla want to copulate with 3 to 6 females? You guessed it, my friend. To spread his seed as much as possible. Well, my dear Malcolm-Jamal, same for us. That is why we seek power. Power, in nature, is an incredibly influential aphrodisiac. So every male of every species wants to attract as many females as possible to be able to perpetuate his chromosomal information. The more dominant men will be able to do so. The less dominant won't[à] and will be eliminated from the population's gene pool by none other than nature's own gas chamber for unfit organisms: natural selection.
Malcolm-Jamal: Wha? What that mean?
Waldo: Well, it simply means that the most adapted individual will be the most sexually active and evolutionarily successful. This, Malcolm, is the true, final effect of power. Of course, we do not try to impregnate every female that we attract now. Not anymore. Not on purpose, at least. And females in our "highly evolved" species aren't attracted only by power any more. But what is the cause of this need for reproducing in such frenzy, you might ask yourself, Malcolm.
Malcolm-Jamal: Uh yeh... What it is?
Waldo: You see, friend, we are still animals. Mammals. Primates. Not differing by much from the great apes. Our instincts are not asleep. And which is the strongest of the instincts? Why, that of procreation[¤], of perpetuation of the species. And so, it's fueled by our instincts that we seek power. But, in our search for power, our instincts make us more aggressive towards other males. Completely logical since they also compete for the females. Most of the time, in our society, males, dominant or otherwise, cannot show their true selves because we are always protecting our "belongings". Appearance, material properties, family and other people's[**] opinions of ourselves are all things immediately related to the amount of power males possess. A pleasant physical appearance is a type of power which I've defined as "physical" power, material properties are a form of "pecuniary" power and people's opinions of us are directly proportional to our social status (our level of dominance, if you will). Family is also important since it can include offspring (which we have already proved as our first priority), mate (which, unconsciously, we think of as a type of property, obviously differing greatly from any other type of property but still "ours", so we protect[ ], but also because they are the mothers of our offspring and therefore usually the person who directly nurtures them) and progenitors, to whom we remain sentimentally attached throughout our lives like our relatives the chimpanzees. After all, like them, we are highly social animals. Do you follow my reasoning, dear Malcolm?
Malcolm-Jamal: Damn, dawg, you better stop calling me that, yo. I tolya what ma name was, G.
Waldo: Yes, yes. You see, aggressiveness is crucial for the protection of our "belongings" and therefore for obtaining and preserving our power and thus for us, as individuals, to be selected for. Obviously, so is intelligence but without aggressiveness, along with our testosterone-enhanced possessiveness, it would be as useful as a cat securely attached by its claws to my scrotum.
Malcolm-Jamal: Man, you twisted muthafucka. Goddamn, bro.
Waldo: I see. Anyway, after much debate, we have found the cause of our thirst for power, its main requirement and its effect in polygynous societies of, at least, the taxonomic primate superfamily Hominoidea[¤¤]. But why, you'll ask, "M-J", have we bothered so much to find these three concepts relating to power in human society?
Malcolm-Jamal: Is G-Babydoll, dawg! Get it straight, gangsta! Shit...
Waldo: Absolutely, "G-Babydoll". The answer to that question, though, is that those three notions were important because they were necessary to make my simple yet complexly formulated point. And that point is, Mr. Doll, that nature is plainly cruel. Men would be the sweetest, mildest and most sensitive creatures in the globe if their innocent, prepubescent personality was not suddenly corrupted, because of his awakened glands, by the perpetuation instinct, aggressiveness and the sweet/sour taste of power. Take away any of the first two and the third is gone. Yes, quarrels all around the world would cease to be. There would be no more labels such as "prep", "nerd", "snob", "geek", "piece-of-shit frat boy"[***], "hot head", "murderer", "racist", "criminal", etc. Indeed, man's benevolent character would emerge, never to be clouded again by the many masks he is able to create for his own protection and well-being. He would be able to dress and act however he REALLY wanted and say and do whatever he REALLY wanted, not bound anymore by the need to be aggressive and possessive and not hidden by those facades he so cleverly used and needed for his appearance and people's positive opinion of him. Man would be nothing but friendly. Only then would he be truly free from himself. So, what's the solution to all this, you ask, Baby?
Malcolm-Jamal: Baby? Bitch, you fuck wit ma name one more time and I'll cut yo nerd ass wit ma nine-muthafuckin-inch! Got that, punk ass ho?
Waldo: ...Well, I thought you said your name was... nevermind. But, back to our point; yes, I know I sound like a Bakunian anarchist[ ]. Yet, unfortunately, I suppose I'm also like many modern left-wingers, especially the radicals, who pinpoint the problems wonderfully but fail to give a reasonable, effective solution to them. Yes, my friend, you are guessing correctly - the only two solutions are completely irrational. The first one would be to be able to not reach puberty Ð and, personally, I would have loved not to. I know, I know, childishly absurd. The second one would be that we, as human beings, become a race of asexually-reproducing organisms. After all, our true chains, the carriers of our seed, the mothers of our children, the steel in our jail bars, are women. Yes, it's womanhood that should be eliminated. Or, actually, manhood for that matter[ààà].
Malcolm-Jamal: What the fuck???
Waldo: Indeed. And so, asexual reproduction would solve all the aforementioned problems. Absolutely illogical, I know. Truthfully, there really is no way out for us "less dominant" males...
Malcolm-Jamal: Less dominant? Speak for yoself, playa! Me and the dominance here between ma legs are goin out clubbin tonight and we plan on getting some "seed-carryin" pussy! Ye-ee-ah! I'll see yo broke, nerdy, punk ass later, G! Ha! Peeeeeace!
And there he goes... Did he even care? Was I in reality just talking to myself? Hmm... Is the further expansion in numbers of earth's most dangerous parasite, mankind, worth the unhappiness of so many of us? Is it really worth that much?
Malcolm-Jamal: (From far away, almost inaudible) Word!
Waldo: (Sighs)... "I lost my faith in womanhood"[¤¤¤]...
"...I could have been wild and I could have been free
But Nature played this trick on me,
She wants it now and she will not wait,
But she's too rough and I'm too delicate..."[****]
[*] The following document was conceived and developed in the early hours of Sunday, November the 13th, 2005. It was originally supposed to be a regular systematically written essay but as it was being composed it became an opus in platonic dialogue.
[ ] So even if what they wanted was more money it would only be to gain more power.
[à] Or, in our species, will normally attract only the less visually pleasing or less healthy females but, surprisingly, not necessarily the less intelligent ones.
[¤] Actually, it's survival but since Prometheus gave us his divine gift of fire it became a lot easier to stay alive with the ages. In other words, it's easy for us to survive now, so survival isn't a driving instinct anymore, except, of course, in extreme situations.
[**] Especially females.
[ ] This is not a sexist statement. Women also experience this sense of possession towards their man.
[àà] The coefficient of variation of size between males and females in humans is 0.15, meaning males are on average 15 percent bigger than females. In other primate species this dimorphism is much more marked. For example, male baboons can grow up to have twice the body mass of the female.
[¤¤] The hominoids are the great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Gorilla gorilla and Pongo pygmaeus i.e. two species of chimps, gorillas and orangutans respectively), man (Homo sapiens sapiens) and the nine species of the family Hylobatid¾.
[***] A personal favorite, I might add.
[ ] I say "Bakunian anarchist" instead of just "anarchist" to differentiate the two meanings that, in my opinion, anarchism has acquired in the last 30 years or so. I define Bakunian anarchism as the ideology that was born in the 19th Century from the mind of Michael Bakunin, a Russian social activist who is regarded as the father of modern anarchy. Made a bit more mainstream since the late 70's by some musical groups of the ever-growing (yet almost extinct) punk rock movement, anarchy today is thought to be, especially by young people, just pure chaos and disorder. This is not what Bakunin professed. That is why I wanted to clearly highlight the difference. For more information on Mr. Bakunin refer to the bibliography and your search engine of choice.
[ààà] Murder is not intended, only the elimination of one or both of the genders since the deletion of either one would make the other pointless, therefore making us, in a way, asexual.
[¤¤¤] Waldo quotes "Pretty Girls Make Graves" by The Smiths, an 80's pop band, here.
[****] Also from "Pretty Girl Make
Thursday, April 26, 2007
the little piece of driftwoodby Lydia Henderson
a piece of driftwood is tugged along by the current. water wears it thin and soggy. rocks scrape its belly. the sun warms it through gaps in the clouds. sandy banks open their arms for it to rest. but the current always calls it back to drift.
the driftwood lets go of the sandy banks. it drifts and drifts. the banks are turning to stone and rigid glass. the water dumps into the mouth of the ocean. the driftwood ducks under the surface, wishing for the arms of the sandy banks that are so far away. the ocean is a lonely and solitary place.
one day, just as the little piece of driftwood was losing hope, it heard the sound of a small boat's sails flapping in the wind. suddenly the piece of driftwood was plucked from the sea by the most delicate of fingers. the color of her skin was just as soft and pale as the color of the warm sandy banks and her eyes were dark and wet, just as the ocean had been on moonless nights. she turned the piece of driftwood over, running fingertips over the cracks and imperfections. instead of tossing it aside, she placed it on the floor of the boat. just as the sun was reaching the peak of the sky, the little boat and the piece of driftwood pulled into port. the girl tied the boat off and disappeared. not much longer she returned with a small can of ocean-blue paint and a small bundle of thin rope. with a brush she began to paint on the piece of driftwood. she tied the rope to it as well, so that it could hang from the dock. "home.." she read aloud with tears welling up in her eyes. "one day i may come home." she touched the sign and smiled lightly, climbing into the boat again. the piece of driftwood gazed at the boat as it got smaller and smaller. maybe one day she'd come home.
every day and all through the night the little piece of driftwood gazed at the sea, watching for the little boat to return. sometimes the sea splashed up on the driftwood, or the wind would toss it about. if there was ever a time the driftwood thought it could no longer hang on, something or someone would come along to hold it up. sometimes the sun would come out and say, "don't cry. i'll dry up your rope so that it becomes strong again. i'll always shine down my warm rays upon you." other times a pair of fish would poke their heads out of the water and say, "we'll protect you of the tide, little driftwood. you'll never be a burden." all of these things brought hope to the little piece of driftwood. but with time the cracks in the driftwood seemed to deepen and it began to split.
the little piece of driftwood had grown even more fragile and brittle than it had been before. when it was splashed by the ocean it wished to turn into sea foam. when the wind shook it against the dock it hoped to plunge to the water below. the little piece of driftwood cried out for the little sailboat, unable to keep silent any longer. the ocean calmed. the world grew quiet. it felt as though time itself was coming to a halt. all of a sudden the wind came drifting past the little piece of driftwood and whispered, "patience says the little sailboat." and with that the breeze swept across the weary little piece of driftwood, kissing the wounds and somehow brought strength back to its heart.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Stream of consciousness whimsical lyrically liberal narration of a morning in the life of me complete with spelling errorsi wrote this after i woke up because my roomate was practicing piano and the internet didnt work. im not emo i swear.
The vector at which his shoulder met his torso ached with pain. He thought to himself about stretching before exiting his warm nest and venturing forth onto the ten steps of icy hardwood that comprised the very genesis of all of his days, but instead chose to roll out of bed like a sloth falling from a fig tree. Stumbling to the bathroom and choosing not to illuminate it via the tiny rectangular console he had grown as familiar with as he had most members of his immediate family over the course of his lifetime, he stripped to the nude and adjusted the faucets so that he would shortly be stationed beneath a warm torrent of water. Washing his face and body with soaps that appealed to him more on basis of color than anything else, he began mumbling a Beatles song quietly and closed his eyes. Washing his hair was a toss-up typically. He would graze his palm across the crown of his head repeatedly until he had decided that it contained either too much or too little of his bodily oils and make his decision accordingly. When the warm porcelain rectangle had inevitably lost its charm for the day being, he turned the faucets once more and began to dry himself off. As he stepped out of the shower, frantically equating the lyrics of the song he had been singing to the circumstances of his own life, he began to realize the behavior he was encouraging and attempted to subdue the unproductive turn of logic before it festered into something more capable of imminently depressing him beyond salvation. He spit the toothpaste out of his mouth and looked his body up and down a few times, making countless judgements of it and himself, coming to the conclusion that he would be happier without one (or at least, without a mirror). "I'm soooo tired, I don't know what to do/ I'm sooo tired, my mind is stuck on you/ I wonder should I call you..." It seems that this tune had wormed its way further into his head that he had thought. Why did it always sound like Lennon was singing about him? Perhaps it was a consequence of his latent egotism, he thought. Believing that every song was relatable to such a mundane existence. Laughable, he reiterated. It was often the case that he would force himself to shed thought patterns he believed unsavory by demeaning himself for ever arriving at them. It was the only discipline that seemed to habituate itself in his behavior. If he found himself in a situation in which he was suddenly or aptly aware of thoughts he considered unproductive, unappealing, or retroactive, he would cease them by silently crucifying himself. "The waay things are going/ They're gonna' crucify me." Fuck.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007There are tri-colored, wheat-pasted advertisements on every blunt-sided building in the city. They have a gangly tall model girl knocking her knees together with a round little handbag. He'll Run! says the ad, but it's supposed to be a fine pastime like He'll Light Cinnamon Candles on Your Birthday! or He'll Tie Your Hair Into Knots When You Sleep! or He'll Juggle If You Ask Him! Promise! with the freckled, flat-nosed model pushing up her cheeks the whole time with a kind of bulldozer smile
He'll Run Right Now!
and I know she is on a cherry couch in Phoenix, shifting lumps of ash around with her big toe and waiting for the bird to grow up out of a city of uniform remains.
I ask the nearest bank teller to produce a riddle or quatrain as distraction, hoping she'll give me the bell that looks like the top of a Russian palace, or even ask me if I had seen the sign "please wait for the nearest available teller" so that I can tell her I have a friend who has given up on waiting and that's why I'm in need of traveler's checks. I do not have an account. "I am trying to establish a person-to-person relationship here, Linda Staz" I say to her gold, sacred-geometry name plaque. She is very sorry. This happens not to be the time or the place.
You can't expect everyone to be an outlaw even though most everyone reads dime novels about those activities. Linda Staz even saw Sitting Bull in the Buffalo Bill circuit show when it came to St. Louis. No one in the audience but a few sensitive women from the Methodist church recognized that Sitting Bull had stopped being lonely and had also stopped waiting, a victory that Buffalo Bill saw as heathen and selfish. We all wait. But he wheat-pasted up the ads for the show, which said
He'll Smoke a Black Pipe and Look You in
the Eye and Not Wait!
so the seats filled, to see the thick skinned, self-made man.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I Played NiceWill I let this sickness eat me alive? Everyone fucking like Sodom and Gomorrah on couches, on the floor, and me wondering where the fuck to go or who to fuck, since many orifices remained unfilled. Spinning on gyroscope, I settled my gaze finally on some tight little Asian girl and approached to enter. But she shoved me back, an Indian man occupying her rectum.
How did it all begin? I thought crimson and pink flesh thoughts and everything turned to sin quick as lightning brightening the room with sexual enticements. They didn't even wait for me this time and everyone turned on each other like starving wolves on sheep, but all were predator and prey simultaneously, instantaneously, eyes wide, mouths gaping for the heavenly connections of that aroused state. It seemed like a free-for-all.
Then why did everyone stop and light up cigarettes when I tried to join in? One second breast and tongues and the rapid exchange of all bodily fluids and then, as I tried to kiss her, simply kiss her, a great inhalation of smoke from all sides. I was far too tired for this bullshit and so lied down.
Why did everyone leave the room when it looked like I had passed out? All I could hear was the insidious repetition of techno beats, spanking and the flicker of lighters burning so-and-so's nipples I assumed.
Why did I lie there praying for sleep while fantastic unknown things happened just feet away?
Cadet Steve, February 13
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Never Dog-ear a DiaryI remember groggily my mother telling me stories of when I'd speak to her in my sleep.
She'd ask me unfair questions while I lay half catatonic on my dinosaur sheets.
She'd get all the right answers and kiss me on my forehead and retire to her bedroom.
After I realized that I wasn't dreaming I started sleeping on my stomach and hiding my diary.
Sometime later I remember finding it's pages dog-eared. I carried it with me the whole summer while I mowed lawns and saved up for a purse. My purse over my shoulder and my prized secrets batting at my hip. I came across a garage sale that promised freedom and solitude. We lived in a 9o year old house back then and so the locks were old. For 50 cents I purchased privacy.
My mother screamed about it being a fire hazard- but I knew that old skeleton key scared the shit out of her. Not only could I lock my bedroom door and closet- but I could lock any door in the house, from the inside or the out side.
She called the police when I locked her in her bedroom- I told them she needed a nap.
I surrendered my key and was grounded from cartoons.
I got my first kiss and my first job all in the same year, I was hot shit. I asked my mother if I could barrow her pearls for my date, she chortled and fussed over me telling me I looked like a lady. I was a lady with a secret. I discovered my key in her jewelry box, forgotten at the bottom amidst the gaudy costume jewelry. I slipped it in my pocket gingerly and whispered "I missed you."
Later that year I discovered sex and the basement window, the key made a glorious comeback and my diary was a pure unadulterated dime store trash novel. Mother began to worry as most mothers do. I embellished chapters about lesbian occult dabbling and peddled paragraphs of advances with married men in the congregation, I'd write several different versions of evenings in the volumes of diaries I'd amassed just to throw her off.
I live alone now in a studio, where the skeleton key is useless- I gave it to my boyfriend and told him it was full of secrets. My new dairy lays out in the open and in 3 rooms at once.
Mother found my old diaries and asks me if I've found god. I tell her I haven't really been searching- I ask her if she's found a husband and she breaks down and cries.
She 's afraid to die alone. I figured the two were equally relevant, but I hate to see her cry. I tell her that it's more important that she finds herself first. She says she barely recognizes me anymore. I tell her that I'm her daughter and she should never dog-ear pages.
Friday, February 23, 2007Tom cracked the seeds in his mouth, swallowing bits of broken corn. It disgusted me, that sound and the violent jaw movement. It disgusted me more than the fact that he wanted to watch me fuck his wife. Will there be cameras? I'd asked. I don't think so, she'd replied. Let me sleep on it, ok?
Now I sat with a belly full of wine staring at a movie that none of us were really watching. The apartment was a nice two-story loft set up, with en vogue furniture and Andy Warhol prints on the walls. Beth was majoring in art at the local university, and I guess Tom let her design the place with his checkbook in mind. For such a nice place, stocked with rack after rack of wine, it pissed me off that they hadn't offered me anything to eat other than popcorn. I hadn't eaten in at least a day and a half, and I hated popcorn. But what the hell, down the hatch.
Every now and again they would look at each other curiously and then look at me
--I felt their gazes and quickly took a sip from my wine glass, which they were constantly refilling. Using got me here, I thought. So why shouldn't using get me out of here? Or did I really want out? Usually, I let the booze make my decisions for me. It was easier that way. Why'd you take your pants off in church? one might ask. And I could simply reply, I was drunk. My bad. Drinking didn't plant the seed, never did, but it always helped move things forward. I've done strange things sober too, don't get me wrong. I have courage that doesn't come from a bottle. Plus, I'm no stranger to kinky shit.
I once got involved with one of those club kids. A seventeen year old girl who thought she should still dress like a thirteen year old. She had the candy necklaces and the pink pacifier. She spoke of the universe in terms of rave energy, and told me I wasn't out there enough for her that I should live a Joe Smith life, nine-to-five it while she explored the cosmos, listening to the same techno beats over and over again, watching pretty colors swirl around. I'll admit I've done some drugs in my short life thus far, but some people just... the point is, she wanted to have a threesome this one night, or morning, I think it was four or five, but she kept wigging out because she was doing so many whippets. I started touching on her and nibbling her neck and then all the sudden she pushed me away, sat up and said, I need a cigarette. What a crazy bitch. So we stopped, sort of sat around for a while, and then she starts licking the other girls breast and I'm thinking, Alright, let's try this again! But what does she do next? She sets the cherry of her cigarette right on this girl's poor little nipple. They start going back and forth, just loving it. I got my things and got the fuck, that's what I did. Walked back to my parent's house.
All this thinking about kinky shit reminded me of a story I'd heard. "So, this friend of a friend had this drinking problem," I started.
"We're not your psychiatrist. You can be honest with us," said Beth.
"No, no, you misunderstand. This isn't about the drinking itself. Anyway, this guy is drinking and he's dating this girl with a prosthetic eye. One of those fleshy ones. So one night, she's passed out and he's still horny, and he takes out the eye and he goes to town."
"Holy shit," said Tom. "He skull fucked the bitch!" he laughed brutally. Beth sat silently in disgust. And I suppose I levitated somewhere in between them. It was funny, in a cartoonish way, but to think about that girl... an actual human being...
"What was the point of that story, Jamison?" asked Beth in a serious tone. I had to think it over for a moment, but couldn't really come to any justification. I wasn't going to tell her about this x-happy psycho, and it wasn't like we were watching hardcore porn--the movie was a love story between a wounded fighter pilot and a traveling gypsy, which Beth of course had picked out. Walking through the movie rental store seemed to me a bit obvious, the three of us, but I'd been smoking before we got together that evening and I'm sure that colored everything nervously--flickering between desire and anxiety.
"I guess I just thought of it is all," I said. They were both older than me, by five years for her and damn near ten for him. When I met Beth she said I looked sixteen. I was buying a pack of cigarettes ahead of her in line and it was enough to make the cashier check my ID twice. I thought she was a real bitch and then I looked back at her. She smiled and brushed her hair back with delicate fingers, one of which held a wedding band. A few weeks later she applied where I worked, it being a small town, and we talked and talked, learning that I was legal but that she was married. What luck! I thought then in despair. Sitting on that couch I didn't know what to think.
"That's a pretty strange thing to just think, especially considering the situation," said Beth.
"And what is the situation?" I asked.
"You tell us," she replied.
"I'm getting some more wine," I said. "That's the situation." If I got drunk enough, I thought, I might just find my way through this. Don't talk to women when you're high and horny; it can only lead to trouble. The damnedest thing was I really did want to fuck her, quite wildly so, but there remained that obstacle: her husband watching from his armrest vantage point. How would I feel in the act? Hell, how would I feel afterward?
Also, the thought that this might be some sort of a trap crossed my mind. I hear that they commute sentences if a husband walks in on his wife with another man and then shoots the perpetrators. Did he want to murder his wife? Was I some sort of a pawn? I needed to quit smoking weed.
Had I a trusting family member who didn't view me as a complete disgrace and failure, I would have picked up the phone and asked for advice. The closest thing I had to a caring mother since mine passed away was my high school teacher Cynthia, who had let me feel her up one afternoon after class and still sent me letters asking how I was holding up. We had gone into her Buick and driven to the Wal-Mart parking lot and fooled around in the backseat. She couldn't take me to her place since she was living with a married man--he was legally separated, don't judge!--and I was still living with my parents, so Wal-Mart it was. I think I was fifteen, though I don't really remember those times too well.
"So Beth tells me you're at the college. What are you studying up there?" asked Tom in half-interest.
I hadn't even graduated from high school yet and probably wasn't going to. "I really like English," I said. Since I'd moved out on my own I hadn't gone to class at all and spent all my money in the best way possible--maintaining a constant state of altered reality. I couldn't remember the title of the last book I'd read. My mind always jumped around too much for all that. But then it came to me: "I've been reading As I Lay Dying."
"Faulkner. I'm impressed. What do you think of it so far?" he asked.
"I like what he does with Conscience. Of the characters," I fumbled, trying to remember what Cynthia said before we were in the back of her Buick all the time and I could only manage to stare at her breasts during class.
"Stream-of-Consciousness was most innovative for his time. If you like that try Sanctuary. That book has one of my favorite scenes in all of literature." Then he switched gears to a more business like tone. "So is that your major then? What are you planning to do with it when you get out into the real world?"
I had to think fast. What came to mind was the truth, and it had gotten me out of many awkward corners. "I'm so drunk!" I played it up, waving my glass around. Only I wasn't that drunk, and then she put her hand on my thigh and it looked like things were about to get rolling. I sobered up fast. "Let me freshen up real quick," I said. They smiled at each other and I went to the bathroom. There I frantically called Cynthia.
"Jamison? What's the matter?" she asked.
"I need to talk. It's a sex thing."
"I told you, I can't talk to you like that anymore. There's a lot of pressure out there about us, and Harold and I are getting married and..."
"I didn't call to talk dirty, Cynthia. I'm in a bit of a predicament. I need your advice." I told her about everything.
"Is she worth it?" she asked.
"I don't know. I was high when she called," I said.
"You were high when we first, you know." There was a silence, unbearable. "Was I worth it?" she asked, quieter.
"You know you were worth it," I said.
"Am I a bad person? Are we bad people for everything?" FUCK! I thought. Not now, please just be a steady rock right now. How was it that adults could be so insecure, more insecure than even me at times? A knock came at the door.
"Who are you talking to?" asked Beth.
"My, my mother just called. Give me a minute," I said. That shut her up.
"Did you just say I was your dead mother?" asked Cynthia.
"Is that a problem?" I asked.
"If you don't have a problem with it then I guess I shouldn't either. You're something else you know, Jamison. You have such a mind, such a wonderful soul too, and you just don't know how to apply it all. You get into these situations."
"Ok Mom," I replied.
"Is she still there?" Cynthia asked.
"Uh-huh," I lied.
"Do what you feel is right," she said.
"What's right?" I asked, confused. "What the hell's that supposed to mean? Is that some sort of a joke?"
"You're so tough, and yet so terribly vulnerable. I wish I could, I don't know, just stuff you inside me and keep you safe from the rest of the world."
"I'm hanging up now," I said and closed my phone.
In fourth grade we learned about Zeus. I'm sure the other kids learned about a whole lot of other shit too, but I learned about Zeus. When he saw a pretty girl he went and took her, struck down her husband with a lightning bolt or something. I liked that. At recess I went and kissed all the girls on the playground, some of them I had to hold down, and no one did a thing. I don't think they knew what to do. So the principal sat me down for a long talk, and then they sent me out to one of those child psychologists, who talked to me about all my sexual urges. I swore he was going to drop drawers and grab me any minute, but some people don't meet our expectations. So I got out easy, just a few pointless sessions and then I stopped kissing girls for a good long while. The point here is that I learned about Zeus, and so I did then what I occasionally do, and I prayed to him, right there in that bathroom.
"Zeus," I prayed. "What would you do?" But of course I knew what he would do. He'd go in and knock out Tom and have his way with Tom's pretty little wifey. Considering Tom was a military type, I didn't see this as the best possible solution. If only I was a god. O Humanity, what a terrible joke!
Maybe I could get some money out of this thing. I knew that wasn't part of the deal, but I could tell him that he could take pictures if he just gave me some money. Where would they end up though? That was the big question.
Somehow, in all that time spent in the bathroom I had overlooked my greatest asset in that house. I consulted the medicine cabinet: Aspirin, Benadril, Viagra. No thank you, I thought. And then I found the money: Percocet. I whipped out my wallet, pulling out a dollar and my license. I crushed up a few pills, and by a few I mean four, and put them in equal amounts up my nostrils. I left one pill in the bottle. I wasn't complete asshole.
I staggered then out of the bathroom, found Beth, and started groping her crotch.
"Alright," said her husband. And then a moment later: "Whoa now, tiger, slow down." I was clawing at her jeans. The light looked like something out of Monet and everyone seemed to be talking inside my head. Her sexuality pushed down on me like bricks as she tongued deep into my mouth.
"I'm going to," I started but collapsed mid-thought. My head hit table and I didn't get up for what seemed like just a second.
Oh God, oh God, Tom! Tom, what do we do? Dammit, I told you this was a bad idea. No, no, he won't be alright, Tom. Check the medicine cabinet, I thought I heard him snorting. Fucking drug addict. I knew it! Voices throbbing like a muscle. Clattering, then weightlessness. All of it at once, yet none of it happening at all, like a dream, like clips from a movie, like our weak memories of childhood--how we can never piece together that un-chronological existence before school time regiment. Then nothing, a silence like death. But only for a moment. Lights. Drink this. No more drink. We'll put a tube down your throat if you don't drink this. Down the hatch. Black film coating my insides, bright, bright swirling above. Their apartment sure was fucked up. Were they filming with all these lights? Was I having sex? I searched for my penis, couldn't find it. Black silence again.
"Excuse me, nurse?" I asked when I came to. "How did I get here?"
"A taxi brought you. Do you remember where you were last night?" she asked.
"Not a clue," I lied. I guess I hadn't gotten laid after all that night.
"They had to pump your stomach, you know," she said, moving a little closer.
"What did they find?"
"More like what didn't they find?" she said.
"You're cute, come here," I said.
"You are a sick little duck, aren't you, hun?" She seemed concerned, genuinely concerned. I hadn't seen a look like that in a good long while. Seeing her like that just made me want to get high.
She came and sat down on the edge of the bed, patting the sheets down. "Now listen. I think you'd better start being honest with yourself if you ever plan on making anything of yourself. At some point in your life, hopefully, you'll have what others of us have had. That is, a moment of clarity. When you came in you kept asking what we had done with the place. Said it looked different than last time. Where were you?" Silence. "You're obviously not ready, but someday, maybe tomorrow, maybe ten years from now, you'll go to pick up whatever it is you're picking up and something inside of you will change. Just like that. This is not your first time here is it?" I shook my head. "If you keep on like you're keeping on it won't be your last. And this is actually not so bad a place to end up after a night like yours must have been. You're lucky that whoever put you in that taxi did. You could be dead. If you go back out there and don't think things over, you will be dead. Maybe tomorrow, maybe ten years from now."
"We all die some day," I interrupted.
"But wouldn't you rather die with dignity? Wouldn't you rather die beside someone you love dearly and have spent a whole life with than on the floor of some strange girl's dorm room?"
"She wasn't a stranger," I argued.
"Did you love her dearly or her you?" she asked. It was like a needle that question. "Just promise me that when you get out of here you'll think it over. I'm not saying quit using or drinking or anything. I'm not in the position to tell you what to do. Just think. Maybe you haven't lost enough yet. I don't know. There's a poem I'd like to share with you though." I rolled my eyes. "I'll just share a few lines: 'I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or/ next-to-last, of three loved houses went./ The art of losing isn't hard to master... Even losing you....'" she trailed off. "I even lost my fucking dog," she laughed. "Came home one night and crashed the car into the fence. Didn't even notice until the next morning. Oh what a morning. The last thing to go. My lovely Jessabelle. You're only eighteen though, right. Got a lot more to lose. You don't have to listen to a cynic like me right?" With that she left. How could a cute girl like that be such a fucking psycho? I thought.
That afternoon I walked home from the hospital, another hefty bill under my arm, and a stabbing pain in my head. The walk wasn't long, only about a mile, and when I got there Troy was loading a bowl on my coffee table.
"You want a beer?" he asked.
"Nah, I'm laying off that shit for a while." I replied. I reached over and took the pipe. I stopped for a moment, looking down at the swirls in the glass, how they seemed to consume each other in those chaotic hues.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"Of course not." I took a hit.
something story length almost from Cadet Steve
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
My Zombie ValentineThe mold on the peach resembled a smiley face as his face often seemed to smile though really it was decaying. He shoved it between his open lips, which flipped and flopped, spilling flesh onto the carpet, while he awaited his lover, who he understood was bringing him a present on this very special day.
Dusk consumed the sky, and he wondered when the night would finally overtake the earth for good, since the world was surely ending, being pulled deep into a black hole from the beginning of their occupation of the lands. Sometimes he still thought dark human thoughts like this, silly thoughts that only the living could invent. He felt less and less like a human though, having walked a thousand times to the restroom just to realize all the liquid he had put in had poured out of his open abdomen. Enough realizations like this reminded him until he sat quietly on the couch watching TV all day, occasionally going out to find a human whose brains he could munch on fruitlessly.
The sound of the door opening lifted him from his deteriorating mind. A beautiful, naked woman struggled in the hands of his lover. What a present! But his thoughts at first were carnal and living. He got down on his knees and took her nervous vagina into his gaping mouth, licking the taste right out of her. His lover grunted disapproval and split the woman's skull in half, handing him a chunk of brain. I almost forgot, he thought. This is what I want, brains. It was no coincidence that he had been a professor when she met him, she already turned, he despondent with the fate of the world's progress; she was just giving him what he claimed he always wanted.
Friday, February 09, 2007
There is No Modern RomanceThere were two people. Young and in love, and doing what young people in love do. There was also a camera, which is how we know that they existed. The camera was not on, but it's lens saw everything. His mother walked in and cursed. The curse is unimportant, since they are all misconstrued abbreviations of the truth. He did not stop, for he knew something about the world now, and he was young and carefree and most importantly brave.
The light of the sun came in through the window, which was open, and widened and shrunk in harmony with their movements. He was not on drugs, he was a young man in love. Slowly they became natural, without hesitation on either part, for they knew something about the world. His father entered and offered him a cigar, which he turned down. His father then offered him whisky, and as a final desperate move money, but he did not want anything from his father, who turned and left, defeated.
God came on the radio: You know you're right. But he did not need the reassurance, and so turned off the music. All he needed was her, and the light, which began to fill the room so that there was nothing but the two of them, the camera and the light. He raised the camera and photographed her in that empty space. The flash radiated, adding to the purest light and then there was nothing but his soul, filled with that light and that feeling of purity. He coasted out, out into eternity.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
A Path of Good IntentionsThe Actor and Actress lusted after each other for pretend. And then they lusted after each other for real, running circles in my mind as I sat on my hands and sounded my frustration with lips on vibrato. There was no camera rolling. They were brother and sister, for pretend. But aren't we all? Jesus spoke to me in a dream: I will burn the weeds with the chaff, and you my brother are more chaff than crop. Quit smoking weed, and live your life. That's all he said, then he turned into a lawn chair and I had a nice relaxing evening watching the stars plummet to earth. The Actor was there, but not the Actress, and we shared a cigar made of un-Canonized papyrus--the apocalypse of Peter I believe, or maybe the youth of Jesus where he killed a boy with his almighty powers. Either way, the Actress was not there, and this saddened me, so we smoked a cigar and talked about writing, the art of, which I know nothing of, since my best stuff writes itself in my dreams and leaves me a dull life in the morning.
Anyway, while they were lusting after each other, I was searching for a camera to take things down, or a pen, at least a pen, so that I might remember my place in society, which is as a set of training wheels I never got rid of or used to. I took a few anxiety pills and a soft pink lithium, and felt better about the situation, though there was nothing I could really do. When I approached the lusting I received strange glares, and yet when I stood far off they seemed to beckon me with their subliminal doublespeak. I lost the English language, or they did, and reverted to babbling. Finally, someone brought me water and I was satisfied. But this is not about "water" or "lust" but about "Jesus," if we can all keep these nouns straight for a minute (though they seem to elide), who spoke to me then not as a lawn chair, since I was awake, or mostly awake for that matter, but as a golden chain around my neck, pulling my head down in reverence. I had not smoked marijuana in four days, and so when he spoke I listened. He said, Do it. Previously I had been contemplating dumping the water all over the two lovers and drinking it off of their bodies. It had come to me from a comment an ex-girlfriend had once made. While searching for my name on the internet she had found a photographer who specialized in nude models, only that he poured milk on their bodies as the photos were taken. This brought me a smile, because I am lactose intolerant, which says something about my embarrassment over sex in general in a Freudian kind of way. Though every Psychiatrist I've gone to has disregarded Freud as a nut job, I believe there is more we can learn from him than from the current overly medicine oriented researchers. If they believe they can prove behavior through a mouse it is because they are acting like mice, constantly searching for the way to the consolatory cheese. I do not eat cheese, as I have stated, but at that moment I wished that it were milk I could pour on them instead of plain water. From the urging of my Lord and Savior I moved forward and poured the water on lust, whose fire quickly fizzled, and the Actor and Actress removed themselves from the scene.
Without subjects in my scene I took off my golden representation of Jesus and dangled it across my bottles of antidepressants and mood-stabilizers and photographed it with a camera I found on my back. I remarked on how I should have found the camera earlier, but life had been in a daze. John Lennon on a wall and the lyrics to "Imagine," left me wondering how I would get anything accomplished while in this bleak sobriety? I needed no signs, yet without them how would my actions amount to anything?
I blocked out my childhood at an early age and did not realize it until much later, watching Edward Scissor Hands with an old friend and her dog. The television mocked my artistic mindset, something I save only for boredom now. Both the television and my artistic mindset I mean. I emptied my bottles onto the floor, it was a hardwood floor, and photographed them in their somber-still state, and, realizing that I did not truly know where I was, IÊtried to frame the whole scene in front of me. There were the hard wood floors, but seemingly no walls besides a stage-like wall in the very middle, with a doorway in the middle, and if there were other walls they were of a perfect whiteness so that they seemed to stretch out into eternity. Very much it was like an empty mind waiting to be filled. I missed my Actor and Actress, both of whom had left through the stage wall, and I missed my Jesus, who no longer spoke since there was no more action for me to do.
Above spun a fan, counting off seconds with each turn. No clocks. No windows. No time. Much like a casino. I hated the spinning, like I hated conversation with a dull person, or sex with an unattractive person for that matter, for its monotony. Simple circles which lead to no end, at least not quickly, and I was reminded of Eliot, reciting to my self the beginning of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," just the first stanza, for that's all I really ever cared for. I flung my pill bottles at the uninteresting, unattractive and otherwise unlovable fan, but they did nothing. So then I flung my Jesus. And a voice rang out, and it said loudly as if from a Wal-Mart overhead speaker--and then I saw the florescent lights and determined I had arrived to hell--Why do you discard me at this your most desperate moment? Do you not realize the world has left you completely? That not even may you watch it still? Children giggle over your enlightened failure, and you will never see them again. And you discard your last hope?
The fan stopped then, and it seemed time stopped then. I am not enlightened at all am? I thought, noting my lack of effort, my utter apathy in all situations since the beginning of time. And just as I thought it the lights dimmed to a nothingness. The voice this time was less powerful, but much darker. It was a defeated voice, a voice that asked for punishment. It became smaller and smaller and then darker and darker. It grew and shrieked when it spoke, as if utterly terrified. It was my voice. I will not tell you what it said, for it would haunt you every night of your life as it haunts me every moment of this black existence.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Puzzle HeartThe first thing he did was vomit scrabble pieces all over the white linoleum floor. He wanted to clean up the mess, but the Swiss woman and her lovely daughter were already rearranging them into words of foreign languages: CHIEN and MAUS. Were they insulting him with his own vomit? he wondered. Taking her daughter by the shoulder he spat sweet nothings into her ear, too softly for her to comprehend. He did not care if she comprehended, only that she understood the spit was sweet like nectar.
The pig knelt in the corner eating grass and praying to Mecca. It stood for money and power. He shot it with a cold six-shooter, which he then tucked into his trousers to keep his privates iced. That pig had eaten all of his mescaline and danced around seeing visions of piglets dressed in lace garters, males and females. You dirty pig, he said before he shot it. Sadly, unlike Hamlet, he had murdered his enemy while in the act of prayer. Oh the fields that pig must have been exploring at that moment!
Her daughter, disgusted by the pig shooting, took a handful of letters, two or three words at best, and went to the closet to lay down a short prayer. YES HOLY FATHE, she spelled, for she also knew English, having spent three years in an American school while living with her American father.
What is right? he asked the dead pig, knowing that God is closer to the deceased than to the living. No signs came immediately, but as the Swiss woman gathered up the rest of the vomit into her sweater a single piece slipped out, tumbling at his feet: Y.
He rang his fists over his head, removed the six-shooter and shot himself in the foot over and over again. But those were only blanks, of course. Of course, he said. Who are you talking to? asked the Swiss woman. Can't you hear him, rambling on and on about little old us? Doesn't he have anything better to do?
His heart turned into a puzzle then, who pieces would never fit together again. Hahaha! the Swiss woman rang out. I was not sure who she was laughing about.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Mime Time TuesdaysIt was Tuesday, which meant the mimes would be coming any minute. Stan took his lunch break a bit late in hopes that he might miss some of the miming, but when he arrived back to the office they had not yet come, alas, meaning he was to suffer their entire presence.
The office had gone haywire ever since management hired a new supervisor. Casual Friday became Clown Friday, Hawaiian Shirt Wednesday became Exotic Animal Petting Zoo Wednesday, and now this Mime Time Tuesday replaced ordinary Tuesdays. Some things were holy. Solitaire used to be a good enough distraction, and meeting around the coffee pot in the morning to talk about the previous uneventful evening. But that was just the thing, his evening hadn't been uneventful at all and yet these days no one seemed interested in his business not when there were emus and platypuses to pet. His wife, he was sure, was having an affair with Bradley, a mutual friend, and he was still planning out his affair with Bradley's wife, Mimi. It had all the makings of a dramatic sexual tryst, and these mime's were about to ruin everything! At least they didn't bring screeching balloons and horns like the clowns. At least there was that.
They came in a straight line, he could see them out of the corner of his cubicle, walking somberly in their stripped outfits like convicts on death row. But then they turned their faces upward and broke into huge smiles spreading their hands out in front. The four mime covered the office. Stan watched as one came straight for him. "I knew I shouldn't have looked him in the eye, that's like giving them permission to come perform," he said to a young woman working across the aisle form him.
"Oh cheer up, Stanley, they're here for us to enjoy not abhor," she replied with a smile.
"Have I told you much about my wife?" he asked, begging her for an answer.
"Look, look, he's almost here. I wonder if he'll do the box." It was in fact his first act. First he was fine, but as he realized that all the walls were in so close he became agitated. Then, enlightened by an idea, he opened the top and climbed out. Stan wondered for a minute how he was able to conquer gravity by climbing out of an imaginary box, but his thoughts of Mimi were much more important. After work he would go to the florist and would leave a dozen daffodils on the doorstep of her and Bradley's apartment. He would leave them anonymously in case she didn't find them first, and he knew that secrecy would get things started in a mysterious vein. Or, at the very least, it would cause some chaos in the household, arguments about who sent the flowers, who she was fucking, a vein of distrust. He could play the caring friend listening to her as she rambled about a marriage falling apart on both ends. It was going to be beautiful.
The mime held a thinking pose, mirroring Stan's contemplations. When Stan noticed, showing his annoyance, the mime pulled from his sleeve a crisp yellow daffodil and handed it to Stan. "Well I'll be damned," he said out loud, then returning to thought continued: "I guess I could just leave one there, that would be enough to get things started. Attach a little note, a hint of cologne, yes, the affair was as good as started. He checked his watch but was too anxious to read it at first.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The Brief Life of the Dalai Lama as a SquirrelTo the public eye the Dalai Lama was a compassionate and wise person. He held up his end of the role well and didn't dip into earthly pleasures it seemed. He fasted and meditated, even on camera sometimes, and the world could see that he was truly enlightened.
In his time away from the temple however he often held up in a shack drinking whisky and shooting at squirrels with a .22 caliber rifle. When he died of a heart attack while fucking a Taiwanese prostitute--they had the prostitute executed and the body hidden almost immediately--he followed the traditional steps of the afterlife, drinking the forgetting tea that would take him to his next form, but for some reason he still remembered who he had been.
He looked around at the dead leaves and stubble of brown grass. He looked down at his hands, but something was wrong, they were small and furry and from them sprung tiny black claws. Was he not supposed to be always reincarnated as himself, the Dalai Lama? Was he not supposed to know this until picking out an item of his former self? What were the rules of this life anyway?
Still retaining a grasp of the way he could use reality he stared up at an acorn in a tree, blinked his eye and it fell into his paws. He took a nibble; it tasted horrible; this would take some getting used to. He wandered around, searching for other squirrels, perhaps he would mate, but they all looked so repulsive. In his younger years he had fucked a goat on a dare from his school chums, but they all had, and that was before he'd been told he was the Buddha reincarnated anyway. He considered all wrong done before that to be null and void, and those afterward, well, they all had their mitigating circumstances. A man couldn't live lonely, and he obviously couldn't have a relationship with a woman in the public light, so prostitution had always held him over.
The Dalai Lama approached a fellow squirrel with the intention of engaging it--he could not tell the sexes apart--in conversation, but it ran off, up a tree. What would he have to say to a squirrel anyway? What would he have to say to anyone, now that he was a squirrel?
He ran over the essentials: reality was a construct of the imagination and therefore what he wanted he could have. Why had he been so concerned about appearances after they'd told him he was God essentially? Perhaps it was pride, perhaps he was so convinced of the system he'd lived in his whole life. Perhaps... it was cowardice. So much easier to buy a hooker than to walk right up to the girl you wanted and take her in your arms.
Across the road he saw a candy wrapper, he could take the last of the chocolate from it, he thought. He darted across, for the cars were not real anyway, but then in a a sudden crash, he was flattened, his brains splattering across the road. He now feared terribly the forgetting tea.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
CoffeePhilip awoke with a purpose: he would be the best salesman FAO Swartz had ever seen! He had only held the job thus far for a week and a half, but he knew that selling a product to the children of rich managers' and executives' wives would springboard him to the heights of ladders he had only admired from afar. To him there existed no ceilings, only up and up. But first things first, he would perform his sacred routine: left sock, right sock, left shoe, right shoe, seven minutes in the bathroom. There was no need to take a shower, not in the morning. To only take one shower a day meant either going to bed with wet hair or dirtying the bed with a day's squalor. He chose wet hair, because at least it was clean wet hair.
At the door of the coffee shop everything was still flowing smoothly, but upon entering he came face to face with a brown great dane standing wobbly on hind legs and wearing a pinstripe suit. In one paw he held a briefcase down by his thigh, and in the other a cell phone he was actively searching through.
Of course, thought Philip, this must be a dream. "Well, might as well get in line," he concluded. He shoved past the great dane, and took his place behind a poodle. She wore a leopard-print dress and flirted obnoxiously with the basset hound in front of her, making every bit of her sex life uncomfortably public. No one seemed to mind however. What would have been icy stares normally were in this dog-run world warm smiling gazes.
"Oh to be her age again," he thought he heard an elderly shitsu who chain-smoked near the back of the shop. All kinds of dogs, smiling to each other, laughing and tossing their purses their hats their files all around and barking with merriment. He didn't know what to do, where to turn from all this excitement. Finally he fixed his eyes on the menu, but the words at first were all misspelled, all jumbled and incoherent, and then they cleared up instantly. "Espresso, Americano, Cafe con Leche," he read aloud, one after another, and began to feel normal again. Even the noise had quieted, for now when he turned back to them the dogs were sitting sedately in caps and bonnets, skirts and corduroys.
Now it was his time to order. "I'll have an Americano with an extra shot of espresso," he said to the cute greyhound behind the counter. Her slender neck turned back to the menu, as if to verify, then turned back to Philip.
"We don't serve coffee here, I'm sorry."
"What are you talking about? I come in here every morning!" he exclaimed, then seeing the menus distorted and spinning like a fan he checked himself and began again. "What then do you serve?"
"Water," she replied flatly.
"Fine, I'll have a water," he decided in quiet frustration.
"Oh, we don't serve the water up here, there's a fountain in the back."
"If you don't serve anything up here, then what did I stand in line for!"
"I guess only you know that, sir." Too drained to reply he walked toward the back. Three young stone angels stood in the middle of the fountain, pouring water from miniature buckets. Feeling defeated, Philip bent down onto his hands and knees and moved to lick from the fountain, but he felt himself pulled back from the water then by a firm paw. It was the great dane from earlier, holding a teacup in his other outstretched paw. Philip nodded, taking the cup and dipping it in the water.
"Why are you dressed up like that? Why a tie and everything?" he asked the great dane.
"Why are you?" came the reply. They both shrugged their shoulders and sipped from their tea cups. "Does it taste funny to you?" he asked Philip. After reflecting he took another sip and nodded, affirming the suspicion. "That's because it's a kind of weak tea that makes the world whirl around you."
"Dammit," muttered Philip, who had been gazing at the angels, watching them turn softer and softer, filling with pinks and tans until they came to look like ripe peaches, but now the picture took on too fierce of a change and the water twirled away the stone until everything mixed and streaked.
Inside was not much better; the spinning did not take everything over, though the ceiling shook in waves and the counter shifted back and forth like a rocking ship in a terrible storm. What stuck him though was the massive canine orgy that took place there before him. Boxer and pointer, terrier and pincher, it mattered not, what mattered only was the love of all for all. They all howled and sung their howls in a harmony, no more than that, in a unifying voice, a singular essence bellowing eternity. Now they were separating from the center, now they were giving him a path and chanting that he should take her, a beagle lying on her back in the center. He approached slowly, admiring the soft white between her hind legs. He would have gone down with her but a rush of conscience gripped him and he ran out the front door.
There at his feet was a flowery basket with what looked like a baby inside. He lifted the figure out to discover it was not a baby human but a miniature pink elephant with a card wrapped around her neck. "So this is life," he said after he read it. Those were his last words that morning, for the day had already thoroughly started.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Straight from the Truth's lips:Seven thousand swans exploded over Stark Lake like fireworks, red light and guts splattered over our picnic blankets and parked cars. What a show. And we'll never know how else the evening could have ended. How much longer could we have choked down anecdotes and champagne, avoiding eye contact and chortling? The swans had to go; their numbers were only comparable to our hordes of children, the little bodies of entertainment only money could buy. It's fun to dress them smartly. It's fun to correct their language. It's fun to explain to them the one way arrow of time, the fact that we can't party forever, that we all must explode over Stark Lake water.
"My head is full of lemons!" little Nora exclaimed, grabbing an empty jelly jar from our picnic basket, and flinging her skirt's wasted bread crusts into our faces. Little Nora proceeded to gather select pieces of the defunct birds, a collection of the best bits in her empty jelly jar. The top half of a black beak, newly unwebbed feet, spinal bones, a slew of white messy feathers, and even a still beating heart. Joyfully the child bounds back to us, frozen under the protection of the poplar trees, ladybugs and aphids crawling over everything. She presents us with the jelly jar, beaming furiously and breathing heavily from the excursion.
We are unimpressed. We are older -- in our semicircle, in this curve where we're arranged and have sat with our asses grown onto the quilt, onto the ground, unimpressed by little girls, but that dress I put her in. Buttercup and lace. Oh, tell me true, who, when the picnic blanket was rushed to the tip of her nose, snug-bugged-bitten in a rug, who told the bedtime story that said, "Nora Blue, the entire universe is waiting for you?" We didn't have the time, so we squatted in our design, centered 'round the half-eaten roast chicken and jam cookies. Unimpressed, white birds, beams bursting through wingspans, red birds while we partook of the deviled hams. The graceful arc, skeletal, spiraling, finally spiraling down, the collapsing messy parts. Nora's in the middle, splashing in the blood like mud. Her skinned knees, their skinned bellies, Nora's in the puddle, mixing up the gush. What is she doing? It's nibble night. Nora with her socks off, that dress is stained, daffodil is pomegranate red, positively red with that ruination from the stars, who knew? She's not my responsibility? Nora's in the gobbledygook, Nora's in the soup. Someone, hurry up and extract her from that dirty mess (Seven thousand swans exploded).
It was a lonely trot back to the blood spotted Beemers, our arms empty (we left the blankets in the grass to be tossed out with the litter at dawn, or whenever). "Goodnight, Jonathan." "Good Evening, Beatrice." "Kisses, Harry." Thank the good Lord for satellite radio, filling our empty retreats with international sports talk. I've never seen a game of Jai-Alai. Sounds nuts. We faked interest in the interest of ignoring potential interest in our starless sky and the giggling Nora and Norman in the back seat world. No more swan light distraction. No more thick splatter. I've never been so disgusted with the dim cleanliness of our doorstep. "Nancy, put the kids to bed." New schedule. 7:30: Dig through garage piles for house paint. 7:45: Spread white primer in even zigzags across the lawn. 7:52: Create Jackson Pollock mimicry on stoop with dark brown muck paint. 7:55: Throw on some garden dirt for texture. 7:56: Pick best flower, sandwich it between left ear and skull. 7:59: "Put yourself to bed, Nancy." 8:03: Roll around the garden bed, particularly mashing suit jacket into ground. 8:05: Smoke my last cigar, extinguish butt in lawn gnome's eye. That was satisfying. Upstairs, the wife and kids were probably in bed, staring at the ceiling, or maybe televisions. Bored. I went for a walk.
But, God damn it! The beauty and terror of a streetlight! The inescapable uniformity of images, the unchanging look and texture of an electrical socket. Scents float by me as I walk -- trash receptacle, flower bed, dog shit, apple pie cooling on a windowsill. All of them predictable, even similar, the bullshit you can count on, and remain disgusted with for as long as you're required to put up with it, until the day your body or your brain finally says, "I've had it with this world of pills and keys and advertisements for remote controls that operate the white AND the multicolored lights!" But for now you just breathe in the unbearability and move through space with a new knowledge of devastation, the carnage of a fleet of swans and the delight it gave a child. The constant and overwhelming everything pushes in, almost crushing us as we strain to just be.
But, God damn it, that's just one more thought to fold up and put away and hide in my desk drawer like a letter from a lover, and one day Nancy will find it and say, "What's this?", her eyes splattered bugs on glass. It didn't mean anything, honey. That was just that night. I was thinking about straining about being. Do you believe it? I love my daughter. I love my son. I love beneath me, the rugged receding sidewalk because it's like my face in the early mornin' on this late night's salacious escapade, having affairs with all the streetlights, and I feel their arms winding around my ribs, stone-cold wrapped around my waist. From here I see a pretty girl with an eager set of lips -- young, the youngest -- lean to the windowsill. I want to swoop in, knock the crust out of the way, grab her, let the lights grab her, and Nora, and Norman, and illuminate the atmosphere when they're lifting us up, saying "This is what the swans see." Do you feel the bones growing, cells extending, the web between your toes, and atoms split, our bodies multiply. The stitches of Nora's buttercup of a dress have finally been severed, and I'm sorry, sweetie, but now I see your wide, white wings unfold in the cloth falling from you, down there. We're all over. We pool on the elastic surface of a cloud, making a V which is quickly ruined, shaping, reshaping, our flock, my kids, there's seven thousand of us, we got away. Watch us go.
Explode. Redistribute. Assimilate. Devolution to singular particles free of family ties. Beautiful. But, God damn it. I'd rather be light. I'd rather be sound. I'd rather be a fleeting moment with no evidence of existence beyond a one sense observation. The stoop is beautiful. A muck explosion. Let's redecorate the known universe, break apart the ordered randomness, the clinical patterns. I don't want to be inside. I don't want to be outdoors. All that's left to hope for is morning reports of the world's entire collection of birds amassing in one open field, ready to burst.
This story was written in a round by Cadets Ledet, Alanna, and Morgan Rose. Thanksgiving Day 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The Night the Sun RoseJune 15th
This is Jim Bradcliff reporting. What a wacky night we had last night. Huh, Connie?
That's right, Jim.
For those of you who didn't catch the sunset yesterday evening, it sure was beautiful. Though, as many of you may know, the darn thing just rose again on the other side instants later. Not even enough time for it to get dark out. And apparently this is a worldwide problem. That is, if you can call too much sunshine a problem.
Scientists and weathermen around the globe are baffled by this anomaly, but few have come out with any statement about what could have triggered this triple sunrise. One speculation is that the sun's light slowed down and then sped up again so that it hit us in two waves, one during the day, and then again during the night. Another is that the world is actually flat after all. But neither conclusion can be founded on any level of proof; we're still in the theory stages at this moment. But, scientists and scholars have been working on this around the clock and are going to get to the bottom of it.
Since this appears to be a one time break in the pattern, most believe that the sun will set tonight and stay down until morning. Connie?
In other news, crime rates plummet worldwide as everyone can see what everyone else is doing around the clock.
Thanks for joining us again this morning. We're here with Professor Thompson from John Hopkins University to talk about the sun which continues to set and then rise again each night and morning.
Now Professor, you specialize in Reason if I understand correctly.
You are correct.
What could be the possible Reasoning behind these illuminated nights we've been having?
Well Jim, there is a concept in philosophy of absolute truth, that is, things we know for certain because of their consistency. One absolute truth can be found in gravity. You know the saying, "What goes up must come down." That's what I'm talking about when I say "absolute," because it has always happened that way. Another, until this week, was that night will follow day, and day in turn will follow night. The fact that this has been so obviously disproven casts doubt on all that we thought we did know about the world. For example, is the world still a globe? We don't know for certain, because what we can measure and understand through scientific means is no longer irrefutable. Centuries of records and discoveries are now being replaced with question marks. It's a very exciting time.
I hear, Professor, that as we speak NASA is planning a series of probes to be sent out to take new measurement and photographs.
It won't prove productive, I'm afraid. You see, this is a matter of how we interpret the world, not a matter of its position in terms of the solar system. For, the solar system itself may or may not exist, at least in the sense that we conceive it to exist.
I'm not sure I follow.
We sent astronauts to the moon. They believed, truly believed that they would arrive there and so they did. We sent probes to Mars, believing that they would send back images of red dirt and craters and so they did.
Are you claiming that reality is a matter of belief and not really something concrete?
That is what it would appear under the current circumstances.
And how are you sleeping these days, Professor?
Not too well, Jim, not too well. It's a wonder if we even need to sleep what with the absence of night now. It makes you wonder what all we really need to do at all.
Well, I sure haven't been sleeping well either. Thank you again for joining us today. Hopefully, we'll be hearing from you again.
And we're back. Lovely commercial, Connie, though I'm not sure what the hell they were selling. Looked like a damned freak show really. Though it's a lovely morning, or evening. I'm not really sure anymore. Today, we're going to be talking about clocks. Why aren't they working anymore? Connie?
Well Jim, I believe that if everyone could just stop hallucinating for a minute someone might be able to sit down and read one.
You might have something there. Numerous claims of the second coming of Christ from various individuals, surprisingly not all men, not even all Christians. Religious leaders are calling it the end of times, and mental hospitals are overflowing. Though I can't see how they'll help since the doctors themselves are going a bit nutty.
A bit nutty, indeed, Jim.
On a lighter note, a personalized soundtrack has begun following me around where ever I go. Right now it's bringing me "Good Vibrations" from the Beach Boys if anyone else can hear it. If I could just get some sleep...damnedest thing is I'm not even tired. You sleep any this week, Connie?
Sure haven't. I tried to take a nap today, or yesterday, but my Grandmother woke me up. She'd baked me some heavenly oatmeal raisin cookies.
She's been dead fourteen years. I don't know what's going on. But let me tell you, she can sure still cook. How about those animals in the zoo this week?
The zoo was alive with dialogue yesterday, or today, and not just from the visitors. If you don't have a dog or a goldfish, you might not know it, but animals have come out of their taciturn nature and are speaking, that's right, speaking to humans. You're just hallucinating, Jim, you might say, but this appears to be universal. Pandas are protesting in China, bald eagles are giving long orations in the Capitol, and in Antarctica, well I suppose the penguins are content speaking with each other. Tomorrow, in fact, we'll be holding an interview with a sea otter recently released from the local zoo. So tune in. Are they even filming this?
Does it matter?
The Next Day, or Night
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
more old wordsI dreamed the world was ending. I was scared until I found you. You took me to the zoo.
In reality, you are not here. I sit on my windowsill and smoke myself stupid. I tip ash over the ledge and pull fire between my teeth: to light up the cold inside. Evil smoke curls around my face and makes my eyes water. The familiarity of the action starts mental upset, learned behavior working to my disadvantage. The black cigar keeps my lips from trembling -- stay steady, breathe in. My fingers betray me while my clouded mind drifts in some other sky.
Trains in the distance become whales. (Where are they coming from? There's not a railroad or a beach for miles.) The whole idea shakes me. I ask myself, "What have I done?" Over and over. No longer a magic eight ball. No magic answer floats up into truth. I only produce smoke and sickness, floating on the blue dyed pool of my shallow person. I fumble eternally, make excuses. Finally I force myself to stumble back to bed -- no longer a haven for my sleepless self, my spine too twisted to find rest. The post-tobacco taste which normally makes me happy is disgusting tonight -- a reminder of my hideousness and rejection. I burned away my heart. Held the flame over the bowl of my tears and now I'm dried up -- is it what I wanted? The prospect terrifies me. I spend two days crying in bed to recuperate and win back my human parts.
I curl into a deep alone, eyes singing to the symphony outside.