Thursday, July 8, 2010

the suburbs of life

Euripides--I just can’t stop thinking about her. It’s an addiction.

Hesiod--How many times a day?

Euripides--I can’t count high enough. It’s like…so I’m doing something, like sprinkling salt on celery or walking on the side of the freeway or watching TV or flipping up the tab on a can of Pepsi, and then I’m wondering at the same time, what would this be like if she were here with me? And it always seems so much better, the thought of having her there with me. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing.

Hesiod--Sounds pretty abysmal. You’re giving yourself an unsolvable dilemma on purpose.

Euripides--I know. I’m doing it to myself. It’s self-defeating. I set my sights on what I know I can’t have, and then I become miserable because I can’t have it.

Hesiod--Sit on something soft, and you will have soft thoughts.

Euripides--Hard to say.

Hesiod--Find other things to bring you pleasure in your life. Something can, once in a while, be better than nothing. Replace. Replace. Replace.

Euripides--It’s allowed?

Hesiod--Sure. Why not?

Euripides--Don’t know.

Hesiod--Does it cause you guilt in excess of what reality’s really proffered?

Euripides--Deriving pleasure from certain things comes with its downfall…for me.

Hesiod--Stop putting a guilt trip on yourself. It’s not worth it.

Euripides--Can’t help it. Old habits die hard.

Hesiod--Sure. But we grow more mindful of time as we become more accustomed to passing through it, as we age and get more experienced with it.

Euripides--Time slipping away. Will I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled?

Hesiod--No. But you might eat a peach. You might become splintered in your decision making. Things will seem to be dragging you in many different directions all at once. Time is still there though, waiting, right?

Euripides--Yes. I am absurd. I realize this.

Hesiod--But you seem to accept it too readily. There is always a chance that things will change.

Euripides--Like playing footsie with the weather.

Hesiod--Maybe more like arm wrestling with wind. Would you consider yourself somebody who thinks deep thoughts?

Euripides--No. I’m strictly a shallowender, but I’m in denial about it too.

Hesiod--Have you ever bridled a horse?

Euripides--How dare you.

Hesiod--Calm down. I didn’t mean it like that.

Euripides--How’d you mean it then?

Hesiod--Don’t know. Not sure. The days are getting longer.

Euripides--15 microseconds a year.

Hesiod--Need those leap seconds. About every 18 months.

Euripides--Those IERS bastards. Keeping time.

Hesiod--Calculating. Observing. Making a fuss over the decoupling of the definition of the second from the rotational period of the earth.

Euripides--Are we talking solar days?

Hesiod--We’re talking atomic clocks. International Atomic Time.

Euripides--Sounds like a bad moment in the arms race.

Hesiod--Is a moment more or less than a second?

Euripides--You mean as far as time passing?

Hesiod--That’s what time does, right?

Euripides--It is one of the necessities of being alive. Like owning a luxury sedan.

Hesiod--Like grilling salmon.

Euripides--Like going to a Cineplex.

Hesiod--We say one-one thousand.

Euripides--One Mississippi.

Hesiod--The deviation of the days.

Euripides--It’s all a matter of looking the right way at the situation.

Hesiod--The situation is grave and pot-holed.

Euripides--The situation is gravy and gristle.

Hesiod--Uncertainty thrives. Abolishment is the only answer.

Euripides--Wait a sec.

Hesiod--Hold on.

Euripides--Clock drift?

Hesiod--I think it’s a myth. All is relative.

Euripides--Drifting ahead in time. Always meandering our way into the future.

Hesiod--Relatively. Generally.

Euripides--What about gravitational time dilation?

Hesiod--‘Spose it could be time that changes, not the clock itself.

Euripides--‘Spose so.

Hesiod--If it moos I call it a cow. I don’t let it get the best of me.

Euripides--The worst of you then?

Hesiod--Sincerely, my letters end. And we talk of adorning ourselves with myrrh.

Euripides--Phenol on the breeze.

Hesiod--It’ll bleach your skin after you die. I’d prefer formaldehyde myself.


Hesiod--And remember St. Maximilian Kolbe?

Euripides--Injection, right?

Hesiod--You got it. Prisoner #16670. Auschwitz. He was starved too. Wouldn’t even let him drink water towards the end.

Euripides--Please make of me whatever pleases you.

Hesiod--We talking the immaculata?

Euripides--Give me strength against your enemies, O Sacred Virgin.

Hesiod--We must’a be a’talkin’ that old immaculata.

Euripides--Gimme that old time immaculata. Some of that old time immaculata.

Hesiod--It’s good enough for me. Still thinking about her?

Euripides--Not sure. My mood is ampersanding its way through difficult terrain.

Hesiod--Maybe a cleft would help?

Euripides--It is difficult terrain that my mood is ampersanding its way through.

Hesiod--Nope. Didn’t help.

Euripides--Damn. Maybe a clef. A nice G-clef for example.

Hesiod--No. That won’t do. Misses the point.

Euripides--Missing. That’s part of it. I’m always missing certain things, even when I have them, sometimes, well, I already miss them.

Hesiod--Dear lord. Ain’t nobody here but us chickens. Ain’t nobody here at all.

Euripides--Well, I accept the fact that I might be in need of some diversionary tactics.

Hesiod--This is tuckering me out.

Euripides--Oh. Come on. Keep your shirttails in.

Hesiod--So it came to be that he wanted somebody to share his life with.

Euripides--Put a sock in it.

Hesiod--He reconciled himself to being disappointed by just about everything life had to offer.

Euripides--Barefoot girls don’t run too fast.

Hesiod--Lemme git me my bb gun.

Euripides--Shoot out yer eye, kiddo.

Hesiod--Fear is nothing shot out of caterpillared dreams. Portions of success avenue to other lends of trying. And we get caught up making reservations for our own funeral. Vomit me a river.

Euripides--I got lost in the fumes of staring. Can’t wish yourself back, can you?

Hesiod--Getting caught in the net of somebody else’s life. There’s no excuse that’ll work.


Hesiod--No way in hell. That’s absurd. Quiet down.

Euripides--I still have these dreams where I’m in a huddle, but it’s not with football players. It’s not at a football game. It is in an auditorium that’s jam-packed with people dressed up like kings, you know with robes and crowns and jewels and stuff like that, and all these kings are singing a love song. It’s a song I’ve never heard. Maybe I made it up in the dream. But they’re all singing it together. It goes, “La la la, boo, and a boom, la la la la, and boo, boo, boo, dada, dada, la.” It just keeps repeating like that. It’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. At least I think that in the dream. Not so sure upon waking. But the huddle, in the huddle, there are all these farmers, and they’ve got on suspenders and blue jeans and are wearing straw hats, and I’m huddled there with them, and nobody’s talking. We’re just huddled there together, and it seems really important that we stay that way. I am not a farmer.

Hesiod--It’s only time we're wasting.

Euripides--I’m bored.

Hesiod--I’m boring.

Euripides--Change tips.

Hesiod--I was married once and I had this Eskimo I kept as a butler.

Euripides--You kept a butler?

Hesiod--Sure did. What a wonderful time in my life that was. I had an evil twin.

Euripides--What happened?

Hesiod--He bit the Big One one cool, balmy day at a Texaco station. Poisoned. Rid of him at last.

Euripides--What happened?

Hesiod--Creative differences.

Euripides--What happened?

Hesiod--Love went the way of the passenger pigeon.

Euripides--What happened?

Hesiod--Smoke in the brain like the filling of Twinkies

Euripides--What happened?


Euripides--Oh. I see. There’s a lanyard.

Hesiod--Where? I don’t see.

Euripides--Palling around with that pig-tailed girl ‘neath the shade of that umbrella tree.

Hesiod--I’m tongue-tied with doubt.

Euripides--I want an elevator that goes sideways instead of up and down. It’d be a box to take you all over town.

Hesiod--Still got her on your mind?

Euripides--Not sure my mind’s even my own anymore. It’s gone like Wally Pipp, who touted his own replacement to his boss, and then lost his job to him forever.

Hesiod--I get the feeling you’d rather love than be loved.

Euripides--My heart’s just a canceled check.

Hesiod--Better than a blank check.

Euripides--Dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Hesiod--Singularly afflicted with pessimistic tendencies.


Hesiod--Not socially inclined by nature.

Euripides--Waving goodbye. Bring me back my girl. Bring her back. Bring her back to me. To me. Waving goodbye for good.

Hesiod--Don’t flower yourself with hurt. I mean, what phase is this that you seem to be going through?

Euripides--A phase. You’re right. It’s just a phase.


Euripides--Was bound to happen like that.


Euripides--My concern would be with repercussions. The algorithms of the world we live in. Things sinking and rising at the same time.

Hesiod--Don’t forget luck. A role, caution thrown at a pedestrian, to grow accustomed to, like all things, just an acrimonious but well-intentioned step in a formerly unknown direction. Without the moon we’d all be dead in a matter of days.

Euripides--I stand up. I sit down. Life.

Hesiod--But the shine of it all, sometimes like moonglow streaking off a sallet before summer dies one more time, still proves its own worth, you must admit.

Euripides--A thief to steal my dreams. Of her. Of her. Of cigarettes. Of a demitasse filled with swan tears. Of her. Of tiny kids wearing tiny bascinets. Of saving the life of crossing guards. Of tossing terrible things out the window. Of miracles in iceboxes. Of her. Of silky scarlet-petaled poppies with black hearts. Of being transformed into a pleasant reptile. Of loamy mounds between snake holes. Of nodding heads fuming to face the sun. Of dusting for fingerprints on cabbage leaves. Of six-wheeled bicycles. Of her. Of cindery blasts of rockets. Of hanging from an observation window in the Statue of Liberty’s crown. Of sea-colored Baltic creatures whose waxy heads pop out of holes in the ground.

Hesiod--Blame is a fixed game.

Euripides--From the highest authority, from already over-delved depths of despair, from curtains, from showers, from the open road, from me, from this to that to there to here, from…

Hesiod--Closed for business until sunup.

Euripides--We purchase mules from sharpshooters and pull cords and make mistletoe tea.

Hesiod--Gone gone gone gone gone…

Euripides--Two characters in search of an entrance.


Euripides--The veneration of ordinary things.

Hesiod--Tranquilizers for the overly anxious.

Euripides--Mood music for horticulturists.

Hesiod--And we’ve got hard-hearted hussies screaming sansculotte sermons over the horizon’s nipples.

Euripides--We do?

Hesiod--Sometimes. Like when the doors of perception squeak ajar and let in a fart on the breeze.

Euripides--Oh. Yeah. Those times.

Hesiod--I am nothing but a silent film with the sound turned all the way up. A breath without air. A mirror with nothing to reflect. A pompom lying flat and tangled like a yarn mop on the floor. Describe the state of your mind as of this very moment.

Euripides--Perhaps an example will do.


Euripides--So. Here’s a conversation we once had…we had once…she and I…um…ok, “ --The moon’s dreamy tonight. --Yes. Its coal-like surface, all those dark volcanic maria among bright crustal highlands and impact craters, of course in synchronous rotation with the earth, our planet’s only natural satellite, always showing that same face to us, with really such a low albedo, though enhanced as it is by the opposition effect of course, is quite splendidly lit by the sun tonight. --I wonder if anybody owns the moon? --We do. The Outer Space Treaty was signed in 1967, and it defines the moon as the province of all mankind, and its uses are restricted to those of peace. --That’s nice. I like that. --Yeah. At least the moon’s not for sale. --Sometimes I think the moon wiggles, or kind of wrinkles its nose at me. --Actually that’s sort of true. Its orbit is rather eccentric around the earth, due to its libration, and we can glimpse almost 60 percent of its surface over time. Maybe the man in the moon does seem to be winking at us a bit because of the diurnal oscillation.”

Hesiod--Now I see. You’re flitting o’er the wide scars of Now in hopes of reaching the pits of Why.

Euripides--More or less.

Hesiod--Put an apple upon thy noggin and she shall only pierce thine eye with silver-bullet dreams.

Euripides--Amply put.

Hesiod--Well, I am in a waning gibbous period of my life.

Euripides--Bossing caddies around and...

Hesiod--Missing root-beer lips and coca-cola eyes…

Euripides--Disappearing under the curling waves of soup…

Hesiod--Chalking leaving the crime scene up to the smell of her mouth…

Euripides--Not like a cold to catch…

Hesiod--Not like lyme disease jumping a host…

Euripides--Not like a dot or dash of Jainism…

Hesiod--Destroy thy passions! Or, well…at least subdue the damn shit.

Euripides--Just this little feeling called love.

Hesiod--Tackle it and shackle it to the ground. Beat hell out of it with a cane. Break its spirit. Crush its will power. Smash its head in. Kill off whatever’s left.

Euripides--I am in opposition to that which holds me in thrall. I creep away while nobody’s looking. I can be stealthy when I wish to be.

Hesiod--Lose it in a bet. Throw it in with the towel. Mash it with some hard-boiled eggs.

Euripides--I am curious about the historical inaccuracies in my own life. I’ve eaten many bagels, but never one covered with coal tar. Get it straight. I am not in love. I am not.

Hesiod--Point and stare. Point. Stare. Lie down. Jump. Start rumors. Shower x-mas trees with gasoline.

Euripides--Badly in need of a razor.

Hesiod--Got it straight?

Euripides--I am a cloche hat thrown in the gutter.

Hesiod--But with sequins to see the stars?

Euripides--Shame. Shame. Shame.

Hesiod--Ty Cobb’s mommy killed his daddy.

Euripides--With a rifle. With a rifle she shot him in his head.

Hesiod--Ain’t got no home in this world, boys. He ain’t got no home in this world anymore.

Euripides--My daddy will bring your daddy back home again. Don’t be afraid if it gets dark and rains.

Hesiod--Something like that…I guess.

Euripides--If there is a mortician, if he sees me wishing I were in his care, if the bells are all tolling for somebody else, if the trumpets are all crumpling the same old benedictions foreboding morning, if my will is hunting cross-dressing baritones, if my lord, my lord, my good lord is supping with a wingless angel, if I’m skimming the Daily Worker and singing those anti-labor Taft-Hartley blues again.

Hesiod--The outcome of many concurrent or contiguous events might seem aberrational at the time or in the times we live outside the circular molecular patterns of the land beyond and then some possibility screaming, “Woe, woe, woe is me!”

Euripides--Not me.

Hesiod--That’s what they all say.


Hesiod--Wonderment is achieved at random hints of velocity.

Euripides--I’m plugging the coin slots of my ambitions with dirty thoughts.

Hesiod--Lonesome is as lonesome does, scaredy cat.

Euripides--When is all this going to end?

Hesiod--Whenever you let it end.

Euripides--Can it end now?

Hesiod--Good question. What’s the answer?

Euripides--Well, you know, you know, you know. Plant a banana tree. Put heavy things in your pockets. Become weighed down.

Hesiod--Fruit punch!

Euripides--Loss grows its own achievements, maybe like a chayote, but we must admit, while the show goes on, if it must, a Euler diagram might help, as far as clusterings go, as far as milquetoast sensibilities run the races of your life’s course, as far as seeing it all like a little kid would, as far as far will go.

Hesiod--Wear a helmet. Take a chance. Stay up all night. Write a book on tape. Pitch a shutout with a tennis ball in the gimcrack, hard-to-notice stadium of bad luck badly fitted to the confines of your friendliest tendencies. Get on with it.

Euripides--My train’s leaving.

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--I’ve got my ticket.

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--But I’m scared to leave.

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--Dreaming about the weather.

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--Love on the tracks.

Hesiod--Flimflam and slapdash.

Euripides--That is all we are.

Hesiod--That is all.

Euripides--Two characters in search of…

Hesiod--A snowy sidewalk.

Euripides--A cowboy hat.

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--Making believe…

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--In the reality of business as usual.

Hesiod--Get on with it.

Euripides--The highway goes in both directions. Not too comfortable. The highway goes. Goes and goes and goes. Goes in all these ways. Not too ordinary. On any map. Red and black squiggles. Going in all these ways. The dashes and dots. Yellow and white on the long stretches of tarry road. Going. Going. Dividers. Shrubbery. Promises. Going. Going. Cement and separation. Going. Going. Gone…