Thursday, July 4, 2013

Otherwise Occupied On July’s Fourth Day

“You’re not engaged to anyone or anything like that, are you?”
“I cook my data, or at least steam it. Raw data’s for pansies.”
“Get out of here. Come in to there.”
“Plurals are taking over. I want singularity, damn it!
“Up in the dumps. That’s where you’ll find me. Crying for a bit of rain on a summer Friday. Belatedly stumped by ordinary imbeciles. And then there are those promises you’ll never keep, whimpering you’ll never tell, and places that’ll keep you telling.”
“Take one. Go ahead. Take it.”
“When I was younger I rode in the back of pushcarts. I drove on pinwheels. I hunted the range all over all’s over. It’s all over now, or something.”
“Suddenly all things became unreal. Suddenly they all became realer too. I want rainy days and horses to clomp mud onto my best clothes. I want to smell Mexico again.”
“Bicycles not for sale. The upright handsome man at your side. The harm that comes your way. The highlighted moods of meaning’s end.”
“How could I be so nice? It doesn’t subtract down.”
“Get a litter sadder, will you? I can’t keep not making suggestions.”
“Someday, maybe, you’ll get around to missing who you used to be. Maybe.”
“Drummers don’t need to be smart. But they usually are.”
“Longer nights and shorter days. I stink of cheap haircuts. I’m making the hours last.”
“Don’t re-retreat. I’m making dinner plans for breakfast. Then, then, then. Well, I don’t have to bother about hunkering down for trouble or good times. Open thin. I don’t need a lot.”
“Somewhere else. Anywhere else. It’s always not here, right?”
“More wrong than you’d ever get to knowing on your own.”
“A lesson in being right, though, comes blaring under the headlines, and we don’t get what we don’t. We don’t.”
“Pour out my sentiments in the gutter. Tuck out my shirt. I’ve got no money on being fit for survival.”
“Getting out or in, let’s have some misunderstanding about it all already.”
“You’re not dating or anything like that, are you? You don’t know somebody who’d scream your name in the subway waiting for you to get through the turnstile before the next train comes, do you? You don’t have a significant other, right?”
“I haven’t rocked like this in years. Sobering up’s a drag, huh?”
“Rock me like an Oldsmobile. Get what’s never coming.”
“Man cannot live on alcohol alone.”
“The welts of the world get more attention than the stars.”
“It’s all in the scars, kid.”
“Please see she has a coat so warm.”
“Keep praying. Keep it up. It’ll get you all’s nothing in no time.”
“But for what?”
“For? That’s just an excuse. Really. It’s traveling lonelier than a stranded drunk who’s missed the last train.”
“The stations don’t change but maybe the names.”
“And the streets?”
“Hell, there are no streets that’ll live through any of this.”
“Why is everything so dark in here?”
“You’ve got sunglasses on.”
“Cut the chatter. I need to not think.”
“The sea. The sea.”
“Thálatta! Thálatta!”
“Somewhere God is laughing at me.”
“Never, ever, never, no matter what, never slide into first base.”
“Sure thing.”
“Prouder of serving than leading, something to pat others on the back about, or chuck some idiosyncratic kinetic energy at a turbine. See me for less details.”
“Do you remember me? Do you know who I am?”
“Yes. Or maybe not. Whatever happened to you? I haven’t always wondered.”
“There are just some things that you’ll always know.”
“I remember you, not quite so well. But I do remember the hecklers down on Grub Street making zeroes out of not much.”
“Yes. I’m not selfish. I’m very generous to myself.”
“What I’m never trying not to tell you.”
“Bomb the pillow factory; get a face full of feathers.”
“There will not be a guy over by the monastery bathroom who’s hearing it like it ain’t. He will motion gravely to any coward who passes by. He will implicitly inflict inferred bits of his personality’s data on the naysayers of mulch. I don’t know what I don’t mean by it all, or none of it-- or perhaps I just hammered my toe.” 
“You should never be king.”
“Cleaner clocks than your own have been smashed by unwitting stiffs. Basically, the options come down to: leave the money and walk or pantomime the Grapes Of Wrath to some stall-bound horses. Razor-billed auks have more of a chance at contentment, really, when you’ve lost the program to your life’s meek and quiet tale.”
“We are bunched, huddled, cast like aspersions over the loam of our witless pluck and all of our know-not-hows.”  
“Time’s not going anywhere. Rolled beyond the splendor of these chastised eyes, it goes and goes, and where it’s been stays that way. And we spend it just impersonating runoff dripping from the cullis.”
“So they’ll find us like they found Napoleon, lying in a Scheele’s Green room with arsenic in his hair, killed by his favorite color.” 
“No. Not me. I prefer Mummy Brown, or pure Indian Yellow made from the urine of cows on a strict mango-leaves-and-water diet.”
“We can’t count ourselves in, or out, in the mule’s eye perspective of uninitiated gratifications; or the endless unfulfilled and constantly changing desires of want-making’s manipulating, screen-flashed precision. We are at the mercy of our senseless heeding of an attack on our most cherished senses: a car commercial makes us weepy; the evening news scares us to death.”
“Loaned-out emotional states that come and go like pizza delivery guys. Rectify! Disperse! Use your distractions to corral some strands of a weft-and-warp threaded peace.”  
“The drones of war are unlikely to land in desuetude anytime soon-- if ever, if at all.”
“But we’ll ambush ourselves anyway, and then believe we’ve done the opposite. It’s all fitting in a world that makes so little use of the things it makes and breaks. Nothing fits. Everything’s disassembled. We’ve muscled the getting-done from the muzzled bark of the past. Don’t believe me. I’m a genius empty of the silence and the calm. I am a rotary phone smashed to bits, rotting on the sidewalk in the rain. Don’t believe any of it; it’s all a lie.”
“Whatever I say or do, it lacks the proper motivation. I want because I’m told to want, and the things I want are the things I’m told I want. Why do I want to want these things? The question never arises.”
“So, I rang, did I?”
“Possibly. But I am of the opinions that have been force fed to me. All the letter writers have gone the way of trapdoors and courage. There are no more iceboxes in the kitchens of our remorse-- just slowly defrosting ambivalence and a casual tendency to retreat. I guess there are circular adding machines in the haunted remains of the last laugh’s foyer still, but the chrysalis of time is eternity’s archway over what will never pass for now again. It’s possible. I’m just saying.”
“Yes. It is all we can do: just say.”     
“And in our saying?”
“A whimper. A sneeze. A burlap sack to smuggle our whispers and worries through the customs of carefully controlled machinations to weed out difference and destroy attic-reared creativity. A chance that never gets taken. An unused ticket to a better way of being happy. Not much.”
“Just a hanging plant in the window. Just a burp in outer space. A polyethylene surface in a Formica world. A corpse scraped clean of a face. A mute button. A grub-and-anchovy cake.”    
“Exhaustion’s price gets cheaper while the landlords pound maggots out of the woodwork for the rent.”
“Plead for the takes between the takes of practicing not doing things that you’re so used to doing you don’t even realize that you’re doing them. Something will be granted, perhaps, but not anything useful, nothing medicinal or heartwarming. Plead for all of us, even if it’s just in a fragment of a dream that nobody’s up to having anymore. Plead for the stranded and the exhausted and those inclined to over-stimulation’s wiles. I cannot. I just can’t anymore. Or, maybe, it’s that I won’t. Sorry. I’m contractually obligated to use contractions whenever possible.”
“Pseudo-facts. Delusions purer than truth. Authorities walking the show flopped upside-down to untried-and-erred charges. I have too much time for it all.”
“I haven’t dated a girl or read a book in years. The races runs themselves without me, it seems.” 
“America’s overrated. The highs aren’t worth the lows.”  
“Don’t worry. Nobody bets on it anymore. The oglers all admire the watched, at least somewhat.”
“We are ransacked with kid’s stuff. We curse strangers under our breath. Obligations overdone.”
“A challenge that nobody needs.”
“Pie in the pits of your knees.”
“Happy independence in the sullied garb of your day, sir. Happiest day before tomorrow.”
“Dynasties soured to pulling hair and tweaks of lifeless liberty. Happy dependence on feeling independent. Happy lurking in the battlements of ill-gotten peace. Just a day, like any other, but with some fireworks in the evening. The sky’s the color of war’s scars. Let’s install a dictator in a place we’ve only seen on maps so that we can have cheap t-shirts and underwear. Let’s stage a coup of our own rights while we’re at it. Feet-bound and guilt free. Hell, I only feel religious when I feel like it.”
“Nothing in this town’s for real.”
“And all we’re left with is a man of infinite subterfuge who rules with a papier-mâché thumb.”
“The devils of life.”
“Nothing much.”
“No. Not much at all.”