Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Planck's Plaint

light travels so fast that it doesn’t travel at all

just rewiring the hard-wired head of existing

(in an irreconcilable way)

heavy as gravity

quiet as lice

and hell

well you know

no thing can ever happen at the exact same time as another thing


we can never get close to such a small thing

nor can we grasp the idea of something too large

shit darling

from the event horizon to the singularity of being

a silhouette of nature’s vacuum cleaner

performing a routine evacuation of everything you’ve ever known

just think of it

a projectile’s capacity for selfhood is unsustainable

if the escape velocity for happiness happens

when life’s just a neutron star dreaming of infinite density

or a 2,000 mile man falling feet first

squeezed like a toothpaste tube

whispering about the propagation of light

(the point of no return is a non-event)

my dear

Newton never knew the value of his own constant

and of course

skew lines in more than three dimensions never meet

(even though they’re not parallel)

I’ll tell ya

geodesics on a sphere are great circles

and don’t you ever forget it

high energy means short wave length

low energy means long wave length

by the way

photons don’t tell god what to do


fuck it

embrace the universe in a single formula

don’t wait on me to do it for you

you sick son of a bitch

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Analytical Model of Theoretical Astrophysics

I filled up a place in my heart.

The big old emptiness that had formerly resided there

wasn’t gone,

but there was something else there,

so I could ignore it

while that something else lasted.


when that something else left,

it was back to the big old emptiness.

But not just like before.

This time it was a-whole-lot worse,

because I now knew

what it was like

to live without it.

signifying nothing

so I was walking by this Thai place one night, and I was with this girl I was seeing at the time, and she’s got a yap on her, let me tell you, she was always going on about something, and never listening too, not that I talk that much anyways, but still, shit, can’t get a damn word in, you know, anyway, we’re out walking and it’s raining out a little, kind of more than a drizzle, just enough to spot your glasses and make it kind of hard to see, you know, so you’ve got to like keep wiping them off on your shirttails, and I’m not cold at all, I’m not shivering or anything, I’ve got a good coat on and my gloves, so she’s yapping away like nobody’s business, and I’m just walking there next her, not being cold at all, and kind of looking around at things, the sad shapes of tenebrous tenements rising up, you know, normal everyday things, the way wet stop signs drip, people all hunched over and wilting like ants sprayed with Raid, and instead of listening to her I’m listening to the slush of car tires sledding through the rain-wet streets and the slap and splash of people’s shoes on the slick sidewalk, and I’m not thinking about much, and I’m not cold at all, and then that’s about when I notice this little Thai place over near Mission on 6th, and my memory gets kind of nudged, and I’m not cold at all, and I’m walking there next to my motor-mouthed companion, who is like paying me a bit less than a little mind, and I remember this story a kid I used to work with told me about when he’d been there one night, at the Thai place we were currently walking by, and he was with this young girl, I mean under-aged, you know, and this kid’s barely 21 himself, so it’s not that bad, maybe she’s 19 or something, but they’re in there having some cocktails, and of course she’s quite the lightweight when it comes to the sauce, being a young girl who probably hadn’t had more than a few jell-o shots at her fun aunt’s house one christmas, and she’s very small too, probably like 98 pounds or something, but the thing is, well, she’s working as an au pair for this family down on the peninsula, and the family doesn’t quite know exactly where she’s gone out to for the night, if you get my drift, and the kid’s feeding her vodka tonics and kamikaze shots and lemon drops, and she’s getting hammered, and at some point starts lying down in the booth they’re in, even passes out for a bit, and the waitresses there were I think like splashing water on her face to wake her up, anyway, at some point they both realize that it’s too late to catch the last BART train back to wherever it was the family she was working for lived, and this kid is kind of freaked, he’s like, what the hell am I going to do with this really drunk nanny here lying down in the booth next to me in this damn Thai place, and so I guess he rouses her enough to call the father, her boss you know, on her cell phone, and good old daddy like freaks, like totally ballistic, you know, this young girl he is supposed to be responsible for is like all cockeyed and out with some guy in the city late at night with no way to get home, so he tells her to wait there and he’s going to drive in from the suburbs and come pick her up, and the kid is like, ok, that solves that, and I guess the girl is kind of sobering up some at this point, and the Thai place has officially cut both of them off anyway, but is letting them stay there and drink water until this dude arrives in his fucking Range Rover or whatever to pick her ass up and take her hill over dale back to the safe and comfy confines of a gated community, well, it just so happens that this au pair’s boss has quite the temper on him, and he’s a bit of an old country asshole to boot, and he is enraged by what he perceives to be the situation, namely that this older man had gotten his little innocent nanny blotto to try to take advantage of her, and so he comes rolling up all pissed off, and he storms on into the Thai place, scaring hell out of all the staff and other patrons in there, you know, banging in and slamming the door and all the likes, and I remember this kid was telling me that he was kind of sitting there, the kid was, with the girl’s head in his lap, kind of crooning to her, singing that song Red River Valley, kind of softly and rubbing her head a bit, running his hands through her hair, kind of trying to be soothing I guess, and this kid’s singing that old cowboy song, for whatever reason, I don’t know, he was a weird kid, anyway, so this kid’s going on about her fucking brightening his life for a while and telling her to sit by his side if she loves him and not to hasten to bid him adieu and all that shit, you know, a cowboy who loves you so true, god, it must’ve been quite a spectacle, this drunk teenage girl lying down in a booth in this Thai place with this kid singing to her like that, jesus, just think of it, anyway, so this raging suburban dad is like storming through the dining area, and he’s knocking into tables and making quite a commotion, sending napkins flying and drinks spilling, and waiters are trying to chase him down to no avail, this guy is built like a fucking linebacker, and he’s steamrolling his way through the place, throwing waiters to the side like flies, and the kid looks up from his wooing when he hears all of this stomping and hullabaloo, and he’s like, oh shit, you know, I’m fucked, this guy is fucking nuts, because, you know, he’s not dumb, he realizes who this frenzied gentleman most likely is, and so he tries to like sit the girl back up and make nice, but it’s too late, daddy’s went and done scoped himself the situation, you know, got the lay of the land, and, just as the kid’s sitting her up and trying to cover his tracks, the foaming-at-the-mouth fellow comes on up and grabs the poor kid by the collar and starts hollering the hell out of him, screaming things like, what the hell are you doing, do you know how old she is, and other crap like that, and then he picks the kid up and like sweeps off the table with him, and all the empty glasses go careening floorward, and the staff is like freaking and telling them to get outside, to go outside, to leave, to pretty please leave, to go, you know, they do not want that kind of shit going on in their place of business, so the guy like drags the fucking kid out by his arms, and this kid was pretty scrawny, kind of all knees and elbows, you know, not much meat on his bones, and so his arms are like almost getting pulled out of their sockets as the angry burly dude is using him like an infield dragger, and people are screaming, and chairs are getting knocked over, and the kid is like pleading with the fucker to stop, to just quit it, you know, lay off me man, and whatever, I don’t know, this kid was a real whiner, not too tough you know, a lover not a fighter, or whatever, and the guy eventually drags this skin-and-bones kid outside where he proceeds to start strangling him, and the kid is like going hysterical of course, because, you know, he’s being fucking strangled by this, as Alec Baldwin would say, 300 pound homunculus with a face like a clenched fist, and this guy is going berserk, flipping his lid all the way to Alabama, and the kid is now like having trouble getting air, like fucking choking to death, for real, and I don’t know where the hell the girl is at this point, the kid wasn’t too clear on the details after he lost consciousness, but he woke up in an ambulance and was like scared shitless and super fucking confused, of course, so I guess somebody interfered and called 911 or something, or maybe it was the restaurant that did it, but anyway, this kid was like all fucked up for like a week, with all these bruises all over his neck and his arms all sore, and his eyes kind of always looked different after that, sort of red-rimmed and shaky, watery, lost, like he couldn’t really focus on things, like it hurt to see, and I don’t really know what ever happened to that kid, he quit a few weeks later and I never heard from him again, and I wasn’t cold at all that night, and it was raining, and I was walking by that Thai place, and that damn girl I was with at the time was yapping on and on, and she wasn’t listening to me at all, and it was cold out, but I wasn’t cold, I wasn’t cold at all

Thursday, December 10, 2009


with windows that box

and shadows that shop

in screams without mouths

of words that won’t talk

a do nothing does

whose everything should

go pleading with had

like like’s right hand man

when sad is enough

to run if to and

when hardly takes fall

while push gets a spring

a twin of today

sells but to a how

to be just until

like wait’s only rush

give wasn’t enough

try failed like a would

ever called then’s bluff

with nothing but could

now chance twists the rain

back to a patter

so ever to when

won’t ever matter

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gilligan And The Professor Argue Politics

G: I keep falling after dreams and landing on the Skipper.

P: Is it when he says, “Little buddy,” to you? Is that part of the mechanics of the stem, or the cause, the root of the thing? The, shall we say, problem?

G: I have problems with balance. Equilibrium is not my forte.

P: Putting your best foot forward.

G: Not so that you’d notice, but yes. Does the empire have to crumble?

P: It is the way of all things, like flesh, to decompose, to enter a period of decay, decadence, a fin de siécle if you will. Are we exempt? No. We are here, shrouded in mist like this, and none the wiser. Stranded still, are we not?

G: I grow tired of reds and whites and blues. Mary Ann has me in thrall. A spell, is it not? Sometimes, late at night, in my hammock, the Skipper snoring like some congested wildebeest beneath me, I cry.

P: You might be feverish. Or possibly just fervid with desire. This uncharted place nails in the lid to our collective coffin. It gets to what is left of one. What is left? Just this, that, some more of nothing. A distant voice crying from the wilderness of a radio signal. A constant stream of entertaining guests who always leave without us. And we, here, just to be laughed at, mocked, left to our own devices under the deceitful silvery eye of the moon which shines down like a parabolic aluminized reflector light.

G: Just memories and plastic. That’s what I have inside this marooned doughy head. It might as well be afloat with a thousand other heads on the sea. People do not listen. Have I ever mentioned my predilection for socialism?

P: Ah ha! A turquoise and citrine weft of my thoughts is stirred suddenly. Do tell.

G: A girl in the window of a train, in the rain, which is coming down of course, outside, of course, and nobody is smoking, not inside the train, it is a non-smoking compartment of the train, maybe some violin music, a purling, maybe a drinking fountain or a man urinating, and the girl is all alone, in her seat there, nobody facing her in the facing seats, she is looking out the window at the rain coming down, the raindrops on the window, tiny bubbles, and she shivers, not too much, but enough, and tilts her head back, sighs, and sings a song about Chairman Mao.

P: Have you spoken to Mr. Howell about this?

G: I have had a yen to, but no. I have only dispersed bits and pieces of my hatred for those who control the means of production to the denizens trapped on this islet. The Sherwood Schwartzian capitalists have lain ruin to our souls in this barely discernible landscape of sameness and fake palm trees. These things are self evident. Even the bourgeois among us have no stake in our destiny. We are all the errand boys of the almighty advertising dollar.

P: Aw. Tell it to the politburo Gill. We have our own petty troubles to find and get lost in.

G: I am mad with prurience. I sleep in a thatched hut covered with mildewed grass on a hammock hung above an overweight sailor who screams orders at me and does not listen, while I fetch and fall and stumble and flail, while two clearly unattached women, both of whom are very aesthetically pleasing and nubile, roam around oblivious to their effect on me. I got troubles. I got trouble in my mind.

P: We are merely bits and pieces of things, some sand tossed haphazardly on the surface of a kettle drum, and we draw our breath through straws.

G: Yeah. I know. Just sit right back, and blah, blah, blah…three hour tour, all that fearless crew crap. It’s all the same. My floppy white hat is as blank as my soul. The footprints of a strange woman run me ragged in the throes of my destitute and desperate imaginings. I wish to take Mrs. Howell’s parasol and shove it up her ass. But I am sheepish.

P: My words are all I have. They are not money. They are more substantial. Implacable are the proletariat mob, and the future is always sabotaging the present. Spies are everywhere. Ginger’s body double is making my flesh put on space.

G: Damn furtive whispers in the underbrush. Hearing things they shouldn’t hear. Always giving something away. I scramble and I moan. The Tiki torches burn bright along the coconut-shaped byways of trickling down collateral, though we are doomed not to own a single luxury. Your tweeds are upsetting the applecart of my ambition.

P: Oh, yes. We play dumb for some ambiguous audience, always befuddled by self-serving plutocrats. Luxury is not something to strive for, not something one should want to afford. It breeds lassitude and ennui. A donut-shaped life preserver reading SS Minnow hangs on the door of my hut. Here we have these things. We must be content with them. Somehow, too, we must strive for the stars while lying in the gutter. The petty peace we have from day to day is not worthy of a noble cause. It is hot air blown from a lacerated balloon of whims and gags. I wish to hang myself with my heartstrings.

G: My mind is studded with dull tales, but my voice is mute, possibly a casualty of capitalism’s pseudo-benevolence, its way of forcing people to be nice to each other without really meaning it.

P: I will do this for you if you hand over your money to me.

G: Precisely. We cannot go on feigning bonhomie, with plastic smiles, with hard-wired instincts to consume or be consumed. One should strive to be a kind and generous person, not just to be seen as one.

P: Look ma! No hands!

G: If the will of the people is no longer controlled by the people, where exactly does that leave us?

P: Neither untied nor united.

G: And the Globetrotters keep on winning. No distress signal could ever be seen by those who will not look for it. There, but for the stench of greed, go I.

P: And martyrs are burned at the stake while they speak of suppering with the lord.

G: Go down, Moses, away down to Egypt’s land!

P: Let us speak now of particle colliders. We have Pepsi. We have calendars of the moon. A dormant feral instinct lies snoring at the base of our motivation. The way we move is patented by a businessman in Athens who religiously cheats on his wife three times a week. Even on a Sunday we smash why into because.

G: Oh! Go down, Moses! Tell King Pharaoh to let my people go!

P: Every lost moment is just another piece of a past I am trying to construct for myself with celluloid and a laugh track.

G: It is in music that we survive.

P: Just sit…

G: Right back and you’ll hear a tale…

P: A tale of woe and destruction and, ah! With rue my toast is laden, lest I wake up bereft of my own true self…love—whatever I conceive that to be on that particular morning—is often times confused with ideas about God.

G: An uncharted desert isle.

P: To be deserted. To be lost and alone. We are not men. We are murderous machines of buy and sell and want and never-have-enough, and we don’t last…we don’t last.

G: A mighty sailing man? Making the others comfortable? I shake my head at it and wrinkle my brow. No. Just a rubbery putz clad in sloppy red and white attire who drops things and promotes the idea of things going awry. I can do nothing right. Here for a long…long…long time.

P: Sorrow is a muddy garden. Don’t muck around in it too long, or it’ll be hard to guarantee a smile every week.

G: But who is doing that smiling? Why is nobody asking these questions?

P: They are scattering my family’s mail. Let my cry come unto thee. Nobody knows. Nobody. Rats’ feet over broken glass. Somewhere let somebody sing for me. For I cannot.

G: Sing?

P: My country ‘tis of thee, sour land of oligarchy!

G: Yuck. That was more like a cow losing its jugular.

P: Sip on the froth of life and receive only a milky mustache of living. We must carve from fresh granite. Or at least chip away at miracles and die trying.

G: I wonder if the girls are asleep. The susurration of their breathing is a melody more rich than any music, the closest my life comes to splendor, to having my own personal hegemony over others, others who otherwise would own the title and deed to my moods.

P: You can detect such things above the bugling roar of the stertorous sleeping Skipper?

G: Ah gee whiz, professor. Alliteration will get you nowhere.

P: Tut-tut.

G: A palindrome? Come now.

P: In the town where I was born there lived a man who sailed the sea.

G: Yes. Yes. I go on long walks late at night. I look at things. I stare at the big old circus tent of the sky pockmarked with a thousand scintillating forever-winking eyes. I need a place to go to get away from it all. Outside of…this. Outside. I hear things. The mermaids sing each to each. I listen.

P: We must, perforce, be content with our own demise. Lingering in this sparse chamber of cause without effect. Spoiled brats building a rainstatue out of sand. The days are counted out for us by sly assholes who sit upon the face of humankind and let out a silent but deadly fart.

G: Aye, aye motherfuckers. Aye, aye.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Aristotle and Fred discuss Tom Petty's 'The Waiting' and other matters existential

Aristotle: Do you think you could apply it to waiting for the bus?

Fred: I don’t know if that would be proper.

Aristotle: Proper. Who cares for being proper? I am much more likely to be improper. Being improper can be very fulfilling, you know?

Fred: I guess. But still, I don’t think it applies. Maybe in a Weird-Al sort of way. That’s all though. Nothing to it.

Aristotle: There’s something to it.

Fred: If you consider nothing to be something, then yes, of course.

Aristotle: Words, words, and junk like that.

Fred: What else do we have? What other modes of expression can…?

Aristotle: Sure. Yep. Okay. Alright. I don’t need this whole wise-ass exegesis thing.

Fred: Still. You understand what I’m saying.

Aristotle: What you’re saying…without words. Yes. See? We don’t always need words.

Fred: I cannot be so sure then. I cannot really know. Not without the words.

Aristotle: You know.

Fred: I do? Well, maybe. It’s hard to be certain.

Aristotle: Fuck, fuck, fuck…I mean, shit. What the…um, hell? Or, no, just more etcetera, etcetera.

Fred: There you go. That’s more like it. Now, back to Mr. Tom Petty.

Aristotle: Yes. Finally. Sure. So, like I was saying…

Fred: What was you a sayin’?

Aristotle: Wait. Was that a colloquialism or a good old-fashioned idiom?

Fred: Dunno.

Aristotle: Okie dokie. So, likes as I was a sayin’, fos I’s so rudely interrupted…

Fred: Ahem.

Aristotle: Yes. So, Tom Petty could have been singing that song about waiting for the bus.

Fred: As in the waiting for the bus is the hardest part?

Aristotle: Uh huh.

Fred: The hardest part of what?

Aristotle: Well, the whole riding-the-bus experience I guess.

Fred: That’s bullshit. The hardest part of the whole bus-riding experience is riding the fucking bus.

Aristotle: Um. But, it is still very, how do you say, uh, frustrating?

Fred: Have you always had that accent?

Aristotle: No. It comes and goes.

Fred: Waiting for the bus is not even close to as hard as being squashed and squished on a crowded bus, getting stunk out by everybody, crammed in there, no air really, just a puny draft slithering in through one of those insignificant cracked transom-like windows. People stepping on your toes. That god-awful stop-start-stop-start lunging that sends you ass-over-teakettle flying into some stranger’s crotch. Trying to pull the chord for a stop without running your hand through some beefy cowpoke’s hair. Scrambling for a seat, catching falling old ladies without getting hit by their cane or walker, squeezing around wheelchairs, trying not to step in any vomit or piss, or plop your butt down on a brushstroke of shit or a sticky soda stain, or lean against fresh graffiti. And then when you have to get off, having to push by people, bump into them, slip through the mass of bodies before the doors close. It’s hard. Damn hard.

Aristotle: The waiting is the hardest part.

Fred: No way.

Aristotle: What are you thinking of?

Fred: Air Supply

Aristotle: What?

Fred: I’m all out of love. What am I without you? It can’t be too late. I know I was so wrong. I’m all out of love. I’m so lost without you. I know you were right believing for so long.

Aristotle: Um.

Fred: It’s an Air Supply song. I thought’s that what you were talking about.

Aristotle: Oh. Well, I wasn’t. I wasn’t talking about Barry Manilow either.

Fred: Just another day. Happy people pass my way. I write the songs that make the young girls cry.

Aristotle: Nah. Not that. Come on.

Fred: Only if I can drive. I hate waiting for the bus.

Aristotle: It’s the hardest part.

Fred: So the song, if I may be so bold as to venture forth a hypothesis, is truly about the waiting of the knight for his one true love.

Aristotle: Ha. Waiting for her to what?

Fred: To be with him.

Aristotle: Be with him? Like, you know…

Fred: I think people use the term, “hang out,” do they not?

Aristotle: Hang out with. Yeah. I guess people say such things. I do believe that they do.

Fred: He is waiting for her to come spend her time with him.

Aristotle: This knight thing is stupid.

Fred: Well…

Aristotle: You know what though? This so-called knight of yours, what the hell is he waiting around for?

Fred: For the fair maiden to make up her mind, but of course.

Aristotle: So, this knight dude’s mind is like totally made up then. He knows what he wants, what he’s going to do? He’s all in the clear about the current situation? I imagine him as some drinker of life’s lees.

Fred: You could say that I guess. He knows he wants to spend his time with the girl.

Aristotle: The girl. That’s better. Girl and guy. I can relate to that. Knight and fair maiden, not so much.

Fred: Stop trying to sound like Jon Stewart. You’re not funny. Not like that.

Aristotle: Don’t I know it. So, this guy has his heart all set on this girl. He wants to span time with her, you know, go the whole nine yards, buy her dinner, white picket fence, kids, take out the trash, get burial plots next to each other.

Fred: No. Not any of that. You’re wrong. Damn, are you wrong this time.

Aristotle: Straighten me out captain.

Fred: You see, the stuff, the real stuff of life, is not what we are waiting for. No. It is what happens while we are waiting for something to happen. What happens to us while we wait. That’s the stuff that matters. The waiting.

Aristotle: I see. So, this guy in the song, he’s waiting, and I guess he doesn’t like it, right?

Fred: Of course not.

Aristotle: But it’s only because he doesn’t realize that the waiting for whatever it is he wants to happen with this girl is what matters. The stuff that he’s going through—that he is putting himself through I might add—is the real stuff of life.

Fred: Well, let’s not discount the part that fantasy plays in this. You take it on faith. You take it to the heart.

Aristotle: There were those that made me feel good, but never as good as I feel right now. You make me want to live like I want to live.

Fred: That kind of stuff, well, that’s not what I’m really talking about.

Aristotle: I’ll be your bleeding heart. I’ll be your crying fool.

Fred: No. That’s something else. That’s make believe pansy bullshit. But it’s part of it too. That’s why it’s there in the song. It makes up part of the discontent he feels, the uncertainty, the unsettled way his soul seems to be vacillating hither and thither.

Aristotle: People don’t talk like that. Hither and thither. That’s crap.

Fred: So what. I like how it sounds. Anyway, maybe it does feel like heaven right then, too, something from a dream, for him, this lovelorn guy dwelling on the possibly unrequited love of some girl he’s got some damn silly crush on.

Aristotle: Damn silly?

Fred: Of course. All crushes are ridiculous and stupid and meaningless, but sometimes they’re all that one has to…

Aristotle: Hold on to?

Fred: Could be. I don’t know for sure. It could also be that the possibility of the so-called heaven he has tricked himself into thinking he is feeling is really just a cheap substitute for some cavernous hole dug out of his emotional makeup which leaves him always a bit empty and aching inside and craving for something more real and rich in experience than what he normally lets himself have.

Aristotle: Ever heard of a comma?

Fred: His life is lacking because of all the stuff he dreams and doesn’t let himself actually do. And he now is putting all of that “stuff” onto her. She becomes the substance of his dreams, the texture of his thoughts, the pattern of his visions of the future. She is everything that he cannot be. She is also, you must realize, something that she can also never be. It is then that she becomes nothing more than some imagining, some fantasy, of which he no longer cares about the reality of. So he waits, and it’s hard, but what, really, is it the hardest part of?

Aristotle: Winston Churchill would kick your ass for that one.

Fred: Winston Churchill was a cherry-picking fancy pants. This guy, well, let me tell you, he’s waiting, and it is hard, it is the hardest part of his stupid, myopic, idealistic, ego-driven fantasy to let go of. He can’t do it. He has to wait. He can’t dream and fantasize all that waiting away.

Aristotle: I don’t see why he can’t just call her up. Ask her on a date. People go on dates. People go to the movies, they walk in parks and along the beach. People go to dinner together. I’ve seen them. Everyone’s got to eat.

Fred: Well, maybe there are extenuating circumstances of which neither you nor I could possibly imagine.

Aristotle: Ha. Let me see here. Oh yeah, “Possibility! I wear you out like an old hat, and lose you in a windstorm.”

Fred: Not always the case my friend. Not always the case.

Aristotle: I know, but still. Come on. This guy’s got to be able to take some form of action. He can’t be all abulia and inanition.

Fred: It’s more than just nerves and anxiety and the usual hang-ups at work here. You’ve got to change your perspective on this thing for a minute.

Aristotle: I’m not sure I really have one, but okay.

Fred: He’s not really worried about some other guy coming along and stealing her away with his money and his cocaine.

Aristotle: Hey. No fair. You can’t use a line from another Tom Petty song. Come on. Let’s not spiral out of control here.

Fred: Hold on. So, but, you see, what he really wants, what he, “needs to know,” in the sense of another song, well, um, like this: “because I don’t know how long I can hold on, if you’re making me wait, if you’re leading me on.” See?

Aristotle: Ok. He needs to know. He needs to know if she is going to...well…be receptive to his amorous, even if not wholly concupiscent, attempts at…well…being with her.

Fred: He wants to know. That’s the thing. That is what makes the waiting so difficult for him. He doesn’t know what the hell is going on with her. She is, for some reason, not giving him the straight dope. The lines of communication are stunted at best, if they even exist at all.

Aristotle: If she even exists at all. I mean, maybe she is just a twisted figment of his deranged imagination.

Fred: Let’s not veer off on that segue. That’s a-whole-nother side to this of which I do not want to venture into.

Aristotle: Segue? Not so sure about that. Maybe that’d be more of a tangent.

Fred: Okay. So he is left out there on his own, you know, the whole anywhere-I-lay-my-head-is-not-home feeling. And he’s a bit desperate, but of course he doesn’t want to let on to her about this. He wants to appear, what if not noble and confident and, well, like, he’s giving off the impression that he doesn’t need her, that he’s all nonchalant and playing it cool, and like he’s telling her, “Who the hell are you anyway?” You know? That kind of thing.

Aristotle: But at the same time it is killing him to have to wait around, to have to dawdle away his time, thinking about her, what she’s doing, who she’s with, what kind of things they might be doing together. He’s miserable. Right?

Fred: Actually, I’m not completely satisfied that he is. Maybe all the excitement of this thing, whatever it is, is like giving him a whole new perspective on things. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this here guy is probably not the hippest dude around. I’m not saying he’s a loser, but he might be a little bit of a loser. He probably doesn’t have a whole lot going on. Maybe he’s going through a slow period. He’s in a rut. Can’t quite figure out what it really is he wants to do with himself. And then, all of a sudden, there’s this new girl in his life, which he perceives as some kind of new way to look at the world, and his place in it. This is tough for him. He hates it, yet at the same time it’s damn exciting for him too. Not any easy thing to swing his thoughts around on.

Aristotle: You better stop or I might start crying. Boo-fucking-hoo. Who cares? So, he’s feeling sorry for himself. So what? That’s stupid. I don’t go in for all that woe-is-me crap. It’s self defeating and pointless. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps. Throw off your chains. Get a fucking grip.

Fred: Ah, well, of course he wants to show her that he is something more than this. But it’s hard for him to know exactly what to do in this situation. Maybe she’s got a lot of shit of her own going on. Maybe he doesn’t want to scare her off. Maybe he just doesn’t know what the fuck to do.

Aristotle: Ah. I don’t know. Waiting isn’t that hard. You don’t even have to try to do it. It just happens, right?

Fred: I guess so. Maybe the song really is about waiting for the bus. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.

Aristotle: You got that right.

Fred: So, does this guy have to live like a refugee?

Aristotle: Shut the fuck up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

discourse #54

there is an art

to throwing things away

it dispels an attachment to objects

that would have otherwise

hove in on one’s ambit

to do and not have

or say

walk around the room

something splendid is hiding without flowers

not even the vacuum

is running

a rakehell is loose in the fabric

of unadorned walls

to find time



is what motion was made for

toss me aside

the seas will tremble

pinup girls will spend the night at home

and paper will gather


on other paper

without somebody around

to notice

the words bled onto it

Saturday, November 7, 2009

a citizen of nothing*

gasping he was aghast at the gaping maw that had become the face of his best friend

best friends don’t last for more than that

more than a few days

best to know right off the bat

best to not get too close

best bet

it was gripping at best

it all was

nothing that was divisible

fridays are not for friends like that

acquaintances and chance encounters


but not on just any day of the week

sorting out the sort of people that’ll wreck your life

good til the last drop

untying the sisal of unity from the workers

debriefing the garbage men

weddings of pleases and i-do-nots

call it bountiful

call it dudgeon

call it a way of girding

paul revere rode a horse

beds are useless without pillows

better best not be bested at love

purling was the sound that seemed to suit best

because alabama doesn’t own the stars

because tea time wasn’t allowed

because the gloriettes are coming a tumbling down

action is ambivalent

at best

articulate what says what it is saying at the says so of said again

try to eschew what I do to you

good luck


often is not enough

spying would count double

against this speaking

this way of talking

this is just to say

what’s been said already

eviscerate the dot and the dash

the binary of the logomachy of the matter

of speaking

well of

just getting used to the way we breathe

(*q.v. David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, pg. 108)

Friday, November 6, 2009

From 'The Confessions Of Les Chesterfield'

The sky was humming a carnival tune, and the wind had opened up a lofty cataract of light that came blindingly shimmering down, cutting a slice out of the wispy strands of clouds scattered about in a fishbowl of screaming blue. I was minding my own business, taking care of business as it were, keyboarding a lot of figures into a spreadsheet on my laptop, which was perched oh-so-carefully on my lap as I sat with legs outstretched on the living room carpet. That was back in the days when I was saying my prayers with my fingers crossed. Now, let me just say this: I am not a bad person. I have good hygiene. I make the bed in the morning before I leave the house. I keep my nails clean. There is nothing wrong with me on the surface. Nobody could say that I don’t try to do the right thing, to make a good impression on those whom I meet in social situations, nor that I am nasty or malefic or ill-mannered in any way that would rub somebody the wrong way right off the bat. I keep up appearances. I make an effort to be kindly gregarious and offer a show of magnanimity for any soul fortunate to keep my company for any decent duration of time. I am, to use an overused trope, a good egg. Now, on this particular afternoon I wish to speak of, the day this “event” of most unfortunate circumstances occurred, I was, as I have alluded to already, calmly and benignly sitting on the floor in my living room staring into the slick sheeny surface of my laptop, and just so happened to be in one of those lazy, light-headed moods that arise every so often on a calm, cool day when even the leaves on the trees outside seem to be taking a nap or sighing contentedly in a placid glow of levity and eudaemonistic tranquility. My laptop’s internal fan wasn’t even going on. Everything seemed a collective drowse. A partition had clipped off the worrying part of my brain, and I was at ease with my solitary and singular position in the machinations of the world. It was quite something, to be so stoic and collected in my thoughts. Something about it was joyful without portending even the least tinge of excitement. I’d never experienced anything quite like it before. It was really something. Needless to say my guard was probably let down some, at least sufficiently enough lowered that I would allow for such a thing to even enter my realm of mental discourse as I did on this occasion. But it just so was that I heard that proverbial old lonesome whistle blow that day, and let me tell you, it’s been blowing in my head nonstop ever since. And so my thoughts began to melt, to slip off their abstruse skin and slide subtly and lithely along the crannies of my suddenly suspended wherewithal. It was not unpleasant. Not in the least. Though I remember contemplating, without the usual enlightened raised consciousness that one would expect to find in this state of heavenly respite, how it would feel to throw myself through a glass window. It just entered my mind apropos of nothing. This defenestration of my own earthly body, this rigid fortress of flesh and bone thrown willy-nilly through a pane of glass, for no other reason than my own entertainment of a strange notion. Inconceivable as it was, I couldn’t relinquish the idea. It strode through my mind on stilts. It walked on its hands through the rosy fields of my mood. It would not just go away. Like the shadows of trees slurrying across the grass as they kind of unfurl a bit, wavering on the periphery of their odd ellipsoid shapes because of the rustle of the leaves, this momentous thought lingered on like pale blue eyes in my head. I lost interest in my facts and figures and my laptop, or more like forgot that those things ever existed as interesting things in the first place. Everything was glass. It was like liquid. I don’t know quite how to express in some thoughtful exegesis the hooks and ladders my mind was taking to get where it was eventually going to hurtle off to. Now, I’ve never considered myself to be anything more than average when it comes to deftness. My small motor skills are not anything exceptional. In fact, they are most conspicuously unexceptional. I’m no good with scissors. Can’t sew. Can’t even tie the ends of a piece of thread together. Learning to tie my shoes was a challenge. Timing is everything with me. I am a person who needs to fixate. Who needs to siphon, to strip and pare and peel off layers of constituent parts and whittle a thing down to its least common denominator of being, until an object or an idea can become something I am able to deal with, to comprehend. Without less there is no more. So, there was this giant door in my dreams then. It was there almost every night when I scooted out into dreamland, waiting, lurking there like some kind of omen, a locked door that was absurdly large, like that door to the Emerald City in the Wizard Of Oz. That’s how I thought of it, as a Wizard-Of-Oz door. Of course I was never able to open the door. Mostly I just gazed up at it, mesmerized, marveling, in awe of its size. It was not only very high but very wide, and thick, like an old growth redwood. My afternoons were being made into meshes because of these dreams. I may have had a potassium deficiency as well. The door was obviously some insuperable obstacle that I was for some reason unable to overcome in my consciousness or what some might describe as the “real” way I was leading my life. I was a bit of a parvenu when it came to all of this oneiric interpretation, as I’d read most what Jung had to say on the subject, and some Lacan too, but mostly I was a bit naïve and my grasp of things was filled with gaps when it came down to it. I am not a good dancer. In these dreams I was often gyrating, if that’s what you want to call it, something terpsichorean-like at least, and it felt like I was dancing, and that I was doing a pretty good job of it too, but who knows? It was a dream. Nobody else was watching. So many nights I spent this way, dancing through my dreams outside of a giant locked door. And my lunulae were growing. These diminutive half-moons that had always lived as slight crescents barely noticeable at the base of my fingernails were now aggrandizing, practically taking over the space of my nails. It was as if these dreams were remapping, by some abstruse form of selenodesy, the way I was able to see the shapes of what it was that I’d always assumed to be me. I cut my fingernails and watched the half-moons grow. Now, without too much more bloviating and tangential asides, I’d like to describe my motivations in a bit more specific detail. At first I was busy confecting to put together a template I could use as a snare to catch myself in the hesitation of foreboding pain that might cramp my inhibition to send my body hurtling through glass, which of course I ventured would not be a pleasant sensation. This plan was designed with the express purpose of keeping the conscious, self-aware part of my mind in the dark when it came to knowing what the plan itself was, which of course was that devil-may-care splash through glass. I wasn’t deceitful about it. I just had to kind of create a split, another mindset if you will, that would take control of the deciding actions, which then would make it possible to not have to override the self-preservation part of my ego, and instead would just nonchalantly take charge and rush, without thought, to the task at hand. I believed that if I subjected myself to enough grief, to loads of worrying, stomach-rotting anxiety, and hopelessness, I would then be able to distract myself in a way that would allow for the impossible-to-believe possibility of a felo-de-se type act. Pigeons rarely crash into windows, but sometimes they do, hoodwinked by the transparency of the glass, and the sound they make is horrendous, a dull thud like nothing else. This is something I wanted to avoid. The glass must shatter and let me through to the other side. My reflection must welcome me with open arms. Of course there were other things to consider. The word window means “wind eye” in its most primitive carnation of Old Norse. I thought about eyes and glass and glass eyes and wondered if I would close my eyes as I leapt. It seemed wise. Then I started in on some serious pondering. What kind of glass would be easiest to break? From how many floors up should I jump, if any? Would a ground level sliding door be suitable? Stained glass? And should I go through leading with my shoulder like I was breaking down a door? Or should I go face first, with hands outstretched? These things would all have to be thought out. The plan was becoming more complicated by the minute. Complexities abounded. There were many things to be considered. What would Hugh De Haven have suggested? I made tea. I lay on the couch. I stared at the ceiling. My eyes went blurry as I lay there supine, and all types of variegated images began scrambling around up there. Cardioids flapped like amorphous wings. Frenetic twists shaved away layers of fleeing tilde-like creatures. Moons came and went. Initially faces were the most prominent, making their appearances on scythe-shaped promises, and then fading into dots of random emptiness. Smiles were abundant. I wasn’t doing any smiling. Seriousness was becoming my métier, and I reveled in it like a pig thrashing about in the mud. The ceiling soon filled with very distinct boxes of action, like a comic strip I guess, like the stations of the cross. I saw clearly how it would all come about. It was like looking at a map of my future. It was all so simple, so easy, and I knew that it would happen, and that only I could make it happen. I felt better then than I’d ever felt in my whole life. There was this light fixture on the ceiling. It drew my attention away from my boxes of action, from my plan. It was one of those old light fixtures, the ones with the screws in the side holding the foggy glass frame on over the light bulbs. There were some interesting designs carved into the glass, like racing stripes I guess, and my eyes followed them around the glowing brightness of the light, like some interesting sort of irregular nimbus prickling the dust with its soft radiance. Then it was that my eyes focused on the viscera of the fixture, on the going-ons inside of the thing. There were these two earwigs roaming around on the bottom of the glass. One of them was quite large and had an impressive set of antennae on its head. They were scampering around in circles. It was then that I recalled something that my late grandmother had told me when I was young. She’d related to me—this was during my very impressionable formative years when the psyche is still agile enough to hold many absurd and diametric notions to be equally veracious—that earwigs could burrow into a person’s brain by way of the ear and therein lay their eggs to hatch, rendering one earwig-brained, which I took be similar to some form of mental retardation, though I wasn’t really too pellucid on the details. I watched those little bugs circle. Those forficula auricularia clambering about up there, avoiding each other if they could, circling in opposite directions, circling and circling endlessly. It was more entertaining than watching a ceiling fan twirl. I was entranced. Their light-fixture dance seemed mating-ritual-like, as the larger one would kind of stutter step and twitch this way and that, while the smaller one would peragrate more elegantly, with a svelteness that was at once tender and agile. Whenever the twain should meet at the edges of their private hemispheres, the larger one would stop, wiggle its antennae in a jousting motion at its diminutive counterpart, and rather impede and block its path for a moment, as if shoring up a bulwarks against this insipid intruder into its life’s endless circle. The small fry would wait patiently, kind of bobbing around like a jogger running in place on a street corner waiting for the light to change. I imagined it to be panting for some reason, and I thought of this earwig as being curious, yet not overly concerned with this roadblock. Effortlessness was key to its existence. It just did. It didn’t have to think about the doing. Eventually the big guy would let it by, and they would both go back to their isolated rounds, but I think every time they met in this way it would significantly alter their perception of what they each separately considered to be the world. Though this would not last. Because every time it was the same thing, the little one being stopped momentarily by the big one, and it was as if it were always the first time, as if it had never occurred to either of them before that this could happen, that this was something that was always happening to them. They had no memory of it. I could tell. I knew this to be true. Surprise tingled through their limbs like a jolt of electricity with every meeting. There was nothing to be done about it. Everything was always forgotten, and they kept circling. I loved it. What a show. Nothing could induce me to stop watching. The phone rang. I might have heard it, but if I did, well, I do not remember. The doorbell? Knocking at the door? Somebody there on the doorstep like a little kid asking if I could play? Possibilities, yes. Though I would be the incorrect person to ask if you wanted a recounting of these things. I could tell you all about those earwigs, but not much else. Something ethereal was sneaking through me, bleeding into my ear-wigged brain with streaks of puce and magenta and bilirubin and carmine and a blaze of white-hot cinders screaming into my eyeballs. Caught up in some kind of hallucinatory hyper-intense form of concentration, I was no longer waiting. I just was. That is all. Somehow I managed to avert my eyes for a moment. Who knows why. A sudden spasm. A reluctant divergent tug at the unwed corners of my mind. In the corner of the ceiling a spider web was shivering with a wispy shudder that reminded me of mucus dangling from an invalid’s chin. I didn’t feel alone. Not at all. I was surrounded by things, by objects and insects and microscopic whorls of dust. Patching together all of these things, these things with heft, not in the abstract but real things that where most definitely there, in whatever terms I took them for, in whatever ways they had of existing, they were there whether I cared to notice them or not. Unbeknownst to me my plan was taking shape. The end had begun. Time was not allowed to tread its normative rounds, and became a nominally picayune happenstance, just as dull and unimportant as some potato salad spilled on the carpet, or a piece of lint scraped from a dryer’s lint trap. A long time? A long time was nothing. It had no meaning. It was nothing and it was everything at the same time. I saw the holes in the way human’s perceived things as occurring. An interval, or separation of two events is not merely some temporal versus spatial pragmatically adjusted viewpoint of causality and let’s-get-from-here-to-there selectivity. We choose what we see and when we see it and, most importantly, how we see it, which of course makes time seem to take the shape of something we can wrap our puny minds around, to become an essence of its own if you will, when really it is nothing of the sort. In fact, it is not what it is at all. It is not time. Not what we are used to thinking of as being time at least. I know this line of thinking is disastrously hung up on misconstrued and downright manhandled and mangled forms of logic, but it is not inconsistent, I don’t think, with how the universe moves. Worm holes and the like, I was preparing the Bouillabaisse of my simmering thoughts to coincide with the amorphous, fugacious strictures of the wandering ways of what I’d always thought of as Time, and what it was always doing: just being. Well, and also “not being” as well. Because really there is no difference. Absurdism notwithstanding, I can tell you a few things about eternity. For one, it is tiny. It is nothing. It is a dime thrown into the world’s economy. A yawn amidst billions of voices all speaking at once. No. But it is not that at all. It is a reversion and transmogrification of all that is linear and temporally gradual. Okay. So it seems the only way for me to elucidate my “timelessness of time” hypothesis, and to rid aporia from the equation, is to give a specific case that would illustrate my point. Let us say that one is traveling through a window, that one is jumping out of said window, shattering the glass, leaving one plane surface for another one of a lower position, falling as it were towards this lower surface, this place that is less high in the whole scheme of things than the previous position held by the person’s body in question. Now, a certain interval of time must “go by” in order for the corporeality of this person to change position, to drop, fall, descend, or whatever it is that it is going to do. We are not who we are. This apparent antinomy is reconcilable, though charting its cosmological course through the nature of phenomena and noumena, like contemplating the innumerable holes and patches of Locke’s socks, is not saliently relative to my mission in this particular here and now, if here or now could even be said to exist in the first place. An object can only exist as it does in its thin carved out pie slice of time, its tiny temporary personal space, and without time happening to it, well, that object cannot really be said to exist, or to be existing as it were, that is if one is still moving through things in a time-like fashion. An object loses its own essence, its haecceity if you will, when time stops occurring around it, or more accurately, to it. But if time doesn’t actually occur in the way that we are so used to believing that it does—as if “occur” could be said to even have any sort of meaning within this train of thought—then objects having an existence in space is completely ridiculous, defying any serious types of rational mentation. Seriously. In fact, it becomes meaningless to speak of a point of time extended into space. What is space without time? Nothing. We are all nothing. I was going to jump out of a window. It was a meaningless act. My body would plunge, it would penetrate the window’s glass, the shattering of the glass would spiderweb outwards from the shape my body made, and the glass would split into thousands of pieces, shards of glass that would still be the window too, but also shiny brandspanking new objects in their own right. It was a copasetic thought. The window would never be the same. I would also be something different. Theseus’s ship is never the same as it’s always been. And as James Hutton likes to say, “There’s no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.” 15 billion years ago things were just the way they will eventually be when they end. Time is only change, and without change there is no time, maximum entropy is reached, and without time, well, there is no window to go head-over-heels all willy-nilly flying through. Okay. So, that’s obvious. We’re losing a half hour every 1,000 years because rotational time is out of step with orbital time. This type of nonsense is par for the course in our naïve view of time’s ambit. In reality picoseconds are no more “shorter” or “longer” than centuries. Encompassing everything is the nature of time. My going out of the window was of little consequence, and, also, it was all there was. It was all that was left for me to do. An airplane droned by, somewhere outside, in the world, away, and it was soothing, an anodyne for my maracas-pounding soul. Time was all there was, all that remained, and I was lulled, lying there like that, hungering for nothing, drifting if you will, and all my need for brisance was gone, though I wasn’t sapped. I was merely nothing. Floating aimlessly was all I was. A nothing-sized speck floating through time. Get it?

Friday, October 16, 2009

late at night in his hotel room, the beleaguered tv executive jots off an extempore letter

Panache is just something that I’ve always had in spades. So what? Big deal. Right? It’s superfluous enough not to matter in any but the most inconsiderate and multivalent sort of way. Midges swarm my head at night sometimes, like they would when I was a kid playing soccer under the sodium lights in a warren of grassy fields, like dewy nights, you know, where the air has that misty heaviness that seems to jaunt and loop and meander. Places with welt-like pockets of oozing conferva flanking thick grass and dandelions and scrubby brush and thorns, prickles, and spines of plant life that seemed weedy and ominous and drew strange whirring insects with serpentine flight patterns of circuitous intent. It always seemed as if something lacertilian was whisking its way along by my feet, horrifying me into not looking down at times, and this would lead to many errant passes and cockeyed shots at the goal during practice. There was always a slight shush welling about, an eerie scoop of sound, almost tintinnabular in its rhythm, though it was light and drowsy too, and it made me less spooked, more aware, though dreamy in a way that’s hard to describe except to say that it was mushy and whimsical without being too sapping on my physical actuality. There was a certain something in my movements. It was sprightly I guess, fluid and somewhat insouciant, like I was floating along just over the tops of the grass blades with my rubber cleats gliding and maneuvering in a slick, if not lithe and buoyant, reverential flow. My speed caught fullbacks napping. It just came on before they knew it, quick and darting, and then I was by them chasing down a pass that a midfielder had kicked way ahead of me, said fullback screaming that I must’ve been offsides, for how the hell else could I have got to that ball before him. It was wonderful fun. The ball would often be wet, shiny, almost candescent, and it would slide easily from the top inner arc of my right foot, looping, aloft and dreamy, in a sudden sweep like a boomerang, seeming to hang motionless for a moment as it topped out, reaching the acme of its flight, and began its smoothly parabolic curving descent into the left corner of the goal, just below the crossbar, where it swished into the net making a very satisfyingly sweet, crunchy sound as it plunged and was blanketed by the loose rope. These were ecstatic moments for me. Generally these were the times when my panache was most apparent. Times when I wasn’t worried or over-thinking my motions, when the lull of the field at night would make my mind warp and gently tumble my thoughts like clothes in a dryer. My quickness came on like a sneeze. Everybody was taken off guard by my sprints, which were at once loose and compact. But still many was the time when, the ball taking an awkward bounce from a slight indentation or hillock in the dirt, I’d shank it off my shin guard and send the ball flailing off into the darkness of the unlit country behind the field, and I’d have to go off chasing it down among the creepy vacant world of mysterious flora and dank swampland and possibly wild unknown beasts who might be lurking in wait of some evening prey. The smell of damp mowed grass still brings back memories of these nights of preadolescent soccer practice. My verve still hangs around. I still have a sense of style that is preternatural, that suits me in strange ways, but it’s nothing to go on about. People will pick up on it, intuiting a certain élan or luster emanating cologne-like off of me. Sometimes I’ll get darting smiles or flashings of unsteady eyes that drop suddenly with a wink’s quickness from people treading by on the street. It might be merely an unconscious twitch that strangers do, a knee-jerk type of thing, when passing on the street. A way to not give too much away with a glance or a hurried ripple in the cheek. But I notice it in others. I see them take a fleeting gander at my odd zygomatics, at the exciting chance of pulchritudinous musculature that gives pleasure to the observer. I am noticed. I know this. It is part of my personality. There is a convex/concave allure to the swimming dimply whorl of my face. This might sound vain, but it is not. I assure you. It is just the way things are. I am replete with this ebullient panache, that gives light to my being, meaning to my days, and brings wonder to the souls of many. In essence, I am a syncretic medium that gives light to their darkness. During commercial breaks, winking at the synecdoche that is TV, the volume insipidly loud, blaring, almost like a warning alarm gone off, a switch thrown, a channel change, and then whammo, you know, there I am to compensate, to make up for all of the gibberish, to reassure them with an eternal temporariness that is at once soothing and entrancing. Nothing makes more sense to the one who is doing the consuming than to base their sense of themselves on the things that they consume. I am just another product to be had. They take without having to give. It is an apotheosis. Not even God can do for them what I do. I massage their dreams, give their meager lives a little meaning, and make the mundane stuff of their lives exciting for a moment, a moment that is gone before they ever thought to know that it existed in the first place. To be loved and reviled, to be an association and an addiction, and to flow inconspicuously through their lives like the atoms that make them up, that is the substance of my life. There is nothing else that matters. Who am I to make such a claim? Where do I get off? The nerve of this guy, right? No. I argue. I am nothing. And what the hell have you done with your little life, besides try to get laid, to get a little money for yourself, to hide away and play games and be entertained and selfishly try to manipulate the world into doing what you think is in your best interest? Have you ever thought about that? Of course not. Because you are nobody. You are nothing. You do not matter. And there’s nothing you can ever do that’s going to change that.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

from "The IQ Champion of 8th Grade"

Jordy Clopp sings during language arts

Mark Twain ain’t got nothing for me

Nothing about Huck Finn is going to do it

Because I’m stuck on some girl

She’s got my mind in a whirl

I’ve got no thoughts left for Mark Twain

Not today

Mark Twain don’t get my time

She’s getting all of mine

Not some guy who don’t got much to say

At least not to me

Not today

Not Mark Twain

I don’t want to hear about no life on the Mississippi

Not no story about two guys on a raft

Not some rich snob doing the old switcheroo with a bum

Not anything about how fun it is to paint a fence

Not today

No way

Mark Twain

My girl’s getting my time

And there ain’t none left for your kind

So get back on that steamboat

And head home

Mark Twain

I don’t need you around bothering me

Not today

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

an excerpt from "fairly compendious stories told by pretty abominable men"

there was this cripple, this fucker on crutches, and he was holding up traffic, hobbling along super slow in the middle of the street, really fucking tying things up, crossing the street like a goddamn shit-faced turtle, and I was walking by on my way to the grocery store to secure some coffee before the damn place closed up shop for the night, just trying to get along, you know, walking at a brisk fucking pace, minding my own shit, and all these cars were backed up fairly close to the intersection at the top of the hill, and I’m like what the fuck, what the hell is going on here, why is this dude, this one single guy, inconveniencing all of these other people, what gives, I mean what gives him the right to just waddle on out there and back things up like that, and he’s all fucked up too, I mean like really fucked up, like he should be in a hospital or a mental ward or something, I don’t know, strapped to a gurney, looks fucking homeless or something, not a snappy dresser, you know, hair all knotted and wild, and his clothes are all ripped up and he probably stinks, but I’m walking by and looking at all of this, and the people in their cars are being pretty cool about it, they’re not like screaming at him or honking or anything, in fact they’re all being pretty damn patient, and the traffic signal is going from green to yellow to red and the walk signals are ticking down and the cars are just kind of lining up there like boxcars of some stopped train, so I walk on by and am kind of taking things in, you know, and I’m looking at this scruffy gimpy dude who is causing all the congestion, which is now turning into some real fucking gridlock with cars blocking the intersection and caught in half-turns and idling while the people inside stick their heads out the window to try to catch a glimpse of what the fuck is going on out there, and then out of nowhere this gnarly stink bomb on crutches starts hurling, and I don’t mean just your run of the mill vomiting episodes either, no, this is a real fucking catastrophe, like a Niagara Falls of puke, just loads of this slimy You-Can’t-Do-That-On-Television shit shooting out of his mouth, and it’s like coming without a lot of effort on this guy’s part, he’s just leaning on his crutches there in the middle of the street, not even close to being in any kind of a crosswalk, kind of bent over a little, but not much, and his mouth is kind of open, but lazy, you know, not like too wide, not like he’s at the dentist or something, you know, when they ask you to open wider so they can like get to the teeth way in the back there, not like that, just kind of like he’s staring at something slack jawed, like he should be drooling, like maybe he’s sort of out of it, like he’s just huffed gas or computer cleaner or something, not with it, anyway, I’ve seen people projectile vomit before, shit, I a saw a cracked-out woman projectile shit on the alley wall behind Safeway, fuck, it was like a machine gun fire of diarrhea, it was bad, bad fucking news, and it made this like insane splatter painting on the wall, well, it was better than most of the graffiti on there at least, and so this fucked up dude on the crutches is just leaning there and all of this vomit is just pouring out of him, I can hear it splashing all over the street, and there is a lot of it, it is all just pouring out in these like fucking waves, and he’s not even making those sounds that people make when they puke, you know, like they’re in the 5th set at Wimbledon, all of that fucking heaving and painfully disgusting over-the-top burp/scream stuff, no, this guy is quiet as a fucking church mouse, but I can hear all of this runny liquid streaming all over the fucking street and I can imagine it running down towards me because he was at the top of a hill and I’d kind of walked past him a little by then, but I didn’t want to look back, you know, like fucking Satchel Paige used to say, or was it Bob Dylan, anyway, I kept on walking, and I couldn’t fucking believe how much puke was streaming from this guy, it was like a fucking volcano had just went off or something, or maybe like somebody’d opened up a fire hydrant, and so I started thinking about maybe being a do-gooder for once, you know, a real fucking Good Samaritan, do something to help the crutch-bound bastard out, but, well, I mean, what the hell could I do about it, should I go back and try to help the poor fuck, or would somebody get out of their car back there and move him out of the way, but that’d be fucking sick, I mean there was puke everywhere, you know, and who knows what kind of fucking diseases were all over this guy, and I might get puke on me, you know, and what the hell could I do really, call an ambulance I guess, but the situation really didn’t seem to warrant that, the guy probably wasn’t having a life or death emergency, even though he was in some pretty bad shape, but the whole thing that bothered me was that this one dude was like getting in the way of a whole bunch of other people’s lives, and that seemed selfish, bullshit, thinking that your own life was somehow so much more important than all of these other people’s lives, and there was a part of me, sure, that wanted to extend a fucking olive branch out to the guy or something, to make peace with this surly son-of-a-bitch vomiting in the street, and I wanted to do the right thing you know, I wanted to help this guy, I mean, he was not doing well walking on those crutches, and he probably could use a hand, but the thought of it made me sick, and I really couldn’t imagine anything that I could do to help this spewing fuck-nut on crutches, but I also wanted to get him to mosey on away out of the way of all the cars so all those fucking people could get on with their lives, so I looked back, just turned a little bit, you know, like just craned my neck some, just to quickly scope out the scene there, and I saw the dude teetering, he must’ve been dizzy, and there is this sick-ass vomit all over the place and it is dripping off of his chin in this like thick green vine, just dangling there all mucusy and swinging back and forth like a pendulum, and the guy’s starting to sway, to tilt, and it seems he might go over, he’s unsteady on those crutches, and a car is inching up to him but can’t go around him because he is in the middle of the street and there are cars coming the other way that are also stopped and can’t get around, you see there are just these two lanes of traffic, and nobody is honking, and it’s fucking surreal as all get out, and I see the dude start to topple, start to take that fucking inevitable face-plant dive into the concrete, and the crutches are wobbling, and one goes down, it rattles and crashes down on the street, and he’s leaning on the other, using it for support, and it starts to twirl a little under his armpit, an he’s like putting all of his fucking weight on it, and I’m thinking like shit, here we go, this is it, this dude’s going down, but there’s nothing I can do about it, what am I going to do, go running over and try to catch this like fucking puke-smeared raggedy handicapable dude before he goes headfirst into the pavement, no fucking chance, that is not going to happen, that much I knew, so I look at the cars and the people in there are just kind of in awe of things, and they’re not really saying much, or doing anything, just idling there waiting for something to happen, and the guy leaning on his one crutch with that giant drip of spittle-like vomit hanging from his chin, well, I look at him wavering there and he has this crazed smile on his face, like he’s going through some kind of bliss, like he’s peaking on heroin or something, you know, real far away, and dopey, but happy as hell, just a nothing who doesn’t even know that there is such a thing as a something, I don’t know, some weird shit, but I kind of lost interest for some reason, or maybe it was just because the whole thing was starting to make me feel like I was going to vomit, and so I turned away and kept on walking down the street, I mean, what the fuck could I do, I needed to get to the grocery store before it closed, I was out of coffee, and if I don’t have my coffee in the morning, well, you don’t even want to fucking know what the hell that would be like, I don’t either, shit, so I walked on away and got to the store just before it closed and I was damn glad, a pretty fucking happy camper if I do say so myself.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I was never good at plumbing the depths, never one to do much more than skim the surface of things. Couldn’t keep my interest in any one single thing for long enough to do much more than give it a slight going over, a limning skirt about the margins if you will. Made it through the credits of most movies. That’s about all I could take before something else would come strolling along to distract me. I’d hove this way and that, find out about some nautical term or a small unremarkable skirmish during the Spanish-American War, and then it came to be that I would be on my way, gone, and somehow back again too, at the beginning of whatever it was I’d been starting out, or more accurately where I’d been starting out from. There were of course things that held my interest for a decent length of time, but those things were mostly something like a robin alit on a park bench or the way Neil Diamond’s voice cracked during Forever in Blue Jeans, and they didn’t require contemplation. I could concentrate on those things. I could get my mind to settle down. But those times were rare anyway, and mostly I’d use music to diffuse my thoughts, to make them swim upstream and away. If I cranked Borodin up as loud as it’d go I would usually be able to stay empty-headed long enough to stay focused, though it wouldn’t bring me any satisfaction. Some meditation-like state I guess. I’d just lie there on the floor letting the music fill me up and empty me out, and soon I’d just be this hunk of meat with hair and limbs and nails and teeth, and I couldn’t understand myself, this fleshy thing that hummed old commercial jingles and ran marathons in the rain and washed its hands. So it became hard for me to conceive of myself as the person whom I had always thought myself to be, though those thoughts would only be momentary escapes lasting as long as I let the music drift through me like that. Then it was back to the good old hemming and hawing, the blurty twists of enthusiasm and lackluster penance, of sudden bouts of back and forth between bug-eyed lucubration and TV watching and doing dishes and smelling plants and feverishly scribbling the names of every person I’d ever met on napkins. A scent of home would send me capsizing into memories, and then I’d sap out and flail into some other haven of a sort, some lesser-than-real place, the whereabouts of which I was often unsure, that would scream me back home, not that it’d ever feel like home, whatever home is, or was, or could be too, it wasn’t like that. It was not like that at all. I’d get song after song stuck in my head, not for long of course. It’d be just one after the other coming through like somebody was quickly scanning through radio stations. I couldn’t make anything stay. I’d start whistling, or no, maybe more like singing very lightly under my breath, “No cuts, no buts, no coconuts.” I’d do it in public, but not so anybody’d notice. At least that’s what I thought. That’s what you think when you do these kinds of things. I don’t know. The trouble with water is that it ripples and that it never stops recirculating. My brain was like that. There’s something else I kept thinking about, when I got the chance. I had this idea for a painting I was going to do. It was going to be massive. A giant canvas. The title was going to be Bear With Fish-Sized Penis. The title just came to me one day out of the big old empty, and there it was, the whole thing, resplendent in larger-than-life magnificence. The details were hazy, but the title wore its way into my mental tableau and it never really left the palate of my dreams clean. I’d had ideas like this before, but they’d always faded within a matter of minutes. Something else would always come along and push them out of the way like an advertisement or a steamroller. This idea about the painting somehow stuck though. It followed me around and nagged at me and junked its way onto the trash heap of my imagination, and it wouldn’t leave me the hell alone. It was weird. I didn’t know what to do at first, so I just ignored it. That worked for a few days. My mind was always transposing things and distracting itself with an unbelievable amount of fodder and offal and detritus-like crap. I had a lot of other stuff straggling along in there to keep me occupied. Like trying to figure out the names of all the actors from the A-Team, or plotting out dance moves alone in my room with my headphones on, or deciding what types of things I could add to Top Ramon, or absently thinking about God. But this image of the bear painting kept coming back to me. It was epic. I envisioned the bear standing up on its hind legs, maybe with a stern look of supernal majesty on its face, possibly holding its front paws up in a graceful butler-like pose, its head listing as if lost in contemplation, an unperturbed stoutness welling up from its sleek chest as a subtle roar made its luscious way out of an elegantly parted mouth. The bears claws would be manicured to add an effeminate touch. One day it just so happened that I decided the bear would have to be a polar bear. I don’t know why. I just started thinking about it that way. That was it. I’d walk around thinking about this polar bear all the time. I’d be fondling cantaloupes at the grocery store or something, and my mind would just hawk in on this polar bear straddling a rock that strangely reminded me of Half Dome, but obviously wasn’t as large. It was a fish-sized Half Dome I guess. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t even conceptualized the way the bear’s penis would look. I mean, it was in the title. It had to be there. It just hadn’t entered my noggin up until then what the hell a fish-sized penis on a bear would look like. I know a title shouldn’t give away too much, or tell people what to think, or really do anymore than hint at the contents of the piece. Nobody wants to be told what they are supposed to be looking at, do they? That’s not the artist’s job. The audience should work a little, you know? Put in some effort. Well, me, I even have a hard time figuring out what day of the week it is, let alone what the hell some goddamn piece of art is supposed to be, or mean, or tell me about who I am on this big old lopsided orb spinning at a 23.4 degree tilt and hurtling through time and space at a speed that is nothing and everything at the same time. But everybody knows that. Who the hell knows what a fish-sized penis on a bear is supposed to look like? And what about the balls? Would they be bear-sized balls? And would that be bear-ball-sized balls or balls that were as big as a bear? Would the fish-sized penis be the size of a fish’s penis or the size of a fish? Did fish even have penises? It was confusing. I thought about making that the whole point. The audience would be left to use their own latent powers of ingenuity and fancy to make wondering splashes on the canvas with their own conceptions of what was there, of what it meant, of what was hiding underneath the surface of the mundane, the unoriginal and ordinary and trite. The onlooker would be part of the creative process. They would reflect their own ideas back onto the painting, and this would be what it was. It was collaborative, and there is where I figured the genius of the thing must lie. The bear would be more than a symbol. It would be a place holder for a symbol. It would be dynamic and the truth would wave in cockling folds from its splendor. The bear with the fish-sized penis. It was grandiose and wild and comforting at the same time. It was a thought that would not go away. I decided no canvas would hold this creation. It must be done as a mural. I went down to the art supply store and bought paint. I bought brushes. I got ready to do something for the good of humanity. My time would be well spent from this point on. It was invigorating. The mural would be timeless, it would teach the world for ages what it means to be alive. I put on a large panama hat, got all of my supplies together, and walked down to the elementary school by my house. It was summer. Nobody was around. I found a large unadorned wall towards the back of the schoolyard. It had no windows and was covered with that white splotchy substance that is kind of like cottage-cheese ceilings, but not quite. I took out my brush. I dipped it into the paint. Life stood tall and good and wonderful. I no longer cared about who I was.