Thursday, July 17, 2014

Of Nets And Webs

“You can have all your days. Just let me have the nights, and maybe the mornings too. Imagine, if you will, two colliding elliptical galaxies wrapped by a string of blue pearls. That could be me, or even, I dare say, you. Let’s make a list of things we’re scared to think about and then burn it. Take Vic Serf."

“What’s the matter with him?”

“He’s probably wishing he were back in Roanoke, in 1999, smelling the stink of bar rags and Rolls Royce aftershave. No. Further back in the pantheon of higher-ups, the runners of the show, and weak with it too. All the way? Surer than ‘83’s flip of the switch, the one that turned this whole god damn monster on.”

“Yeah. And he’s thinking, ‘Leave me alone. I’m working on my forearm shiver.’ Or something like that.”

“Wait. I mean, wait. No. Wait. What’s not the matter with me now? What next? What now?”

“Well, it does seem that another sucker-bait blonde’s got me on the hook. This time, or even next, or would that be all the times before?”

“Let me tell you.”


“I tell you what. I remember Siskel and Ebert on TV, sitting with a few seats between them in an otherwise empty movie theatre, screaming at each other, just like my parents.”


“And, about once a year I go down to LA, get a cheap hotel room in one of the seedier parts of town, the same hotel where Raymond Chandler spent a few dark nights contemplating suicide, and I drink gimlets and pound on my typewriter and smoke a carton or so of cigarettes, and think about Raymond Chandler a lot and I take myself out to dinner and I walk the streets and look at things: all that old neon and the faded movie palaces and glorious heights of art deco buildings and the longing and drag of skid row’s gloomy abodes. I stay about a week. And I’ve never got bed bugs from the trip. Not even once. And I haven’t jumped out of any of the hotel windows yet either.”  

“Well, for me, in my case, it’s starting to look, or at least seem to me, that I’ve been dawdling around in the same crumby rubric for too long now. And maybe? Maybe’s a really thin reed to hang your hopes on. You see, it’s been such a long, lean time since I’ve enjoyed sitting across a table from somebody and staring at plates of Chow Mein together. Hell and heck and all the mugginess between. Sing me a song of sourdough, up through the Klondike trail of ’98 or around the Pantages theatre circuit. And sure you can say stuff like, ‘A bunch of the boys were whooping it up, etcetera, etcetera.’ But that won’t cut it. Just another machine cranking out form letters. A remaining balance never to be spent. Something unlikely in the swarf of troubling metal splinters that keep spewing from the cut of my jib. Nothing burnished. Nothing remaining.”

“I’m hungry. Let’s make some coffee.”

“Sure. We can talk over it. It’ll add steam to our gestures.”

“Plagued by Technicolor dreams, and then waking up to history tossing its empties out the window. All of it pointless yet necessary. Shrugging off to more Modest Mussorgsky territories, in the lap of need’s want. To whom it shall never concern, express-written, told-on regards pass more bottles through the war-torn strife of up-yet-not-quite-at-‘em concerns.”

“Nary a worry, lady.”

“In the meantime, some sustenance. At last.”

“I was on a stroll just this afternoon, through a park. I benched myself on the lee side of a slight slope. I watched. The TV antennas planted on the rooftops like crossbows. A diving thing gone hidden to a swale, fields of lavender and bone-white palms rustling in adamant gusts, tennis balls crammed into the diamonds of a chain-link fence, a sign reading, ‘No dogs allowed on athletic fields.’”  

“What do you make of it?”

“Well, you see, our brains are not made to understand the concept of time. We want linear ways of looking at things: beginnings, ends, the stuff between. Time doesn’t work like this. It just is. The start is the finish, and all the stuff between too. In order to survive our brains had to adapt to see things in a way that would allow us to continue on with some type of order in the chaos, so as we could craft our own reality in a way that made sense to us, that helped us make sense of the world around us, the one we suddenly and constantly seem to find ourselves existing in, over and over. Just to acknowledge this is something incredible. To overcome all of our limited senses (which are limited for a reason, as we couldn’t survive without the streamlined way our brains let us experience things) and doubt about what’s really happening in this pale-blue-dot of a place, and somehow acknowledge that we’ve only got these limited brains constructed over millions of years by survival-of-the-fittest evolution just like the rest of our appendages and innards; and that they only allow us to have these thoughts and render us incapable of seeing the world and time as it really is: infinite. All we can do is use what we’ve got, and see things like we do. But, I don’t know, perhaps we should also keep it in the back of our little brains somewhere that what we experience is just a tiny piece of what really is, and accept that there is no way to break out of this hardwired way of experiencing things either. Maybe this is empowering in some small, strange way. Anyway, these are the sorts of thoughts that keep plopping into my head lately. You can’t prove any of it.”

“It’s like were going outside for a cigarette and saying, ‘Let’s go out and see the world.’ Conniving to convince ourselves that this it, that there’s a whole a lot more going on within us than we’re afraid to admit there really is.”

“Uh huh. And this, this is the place where I do my dwelling.”
“Where’s this this?”

“At the corner of Maligned and Confabulated, just past Remorse, close to Puttering Along, down the street from Apotheosis.”   

“And me here, left dripping with hackneyed nonsense and noiselessness. One eye glued shut. A hole punched in my tongue. Toe hair plucked. The Square and Compasses shaved into my head. A cracked-mirror of a guy.”     

“What happened to you?”

“I was at a Tupperware party last night, and, well, things sort of got out of hand.”


“No. Not really.”

“Forget it. I’m in desperate need of some Big League Chew. But the dugout’s empty. The bullpen’s been battered by the straw-hat-and-beer crowd. Nobody left to toe the slab. Nobody left to play fungo until the lights come on. Nothing’s as swell or as dandy as it once was, or used to be. I’d be sorry about it but I just don’t have the time.”

“You cannot space these things out properly, maybe, for sure, and that’s where you get into the kicks of the thing, the seamy transition from one who moseys to one on whom moseying is lost.”

“Complaining of which, I was out walking around on a Sunday night in the financial district, feeling completely miserable about myself and everything that was happening to me, the horrendous predicament that I found myself in, the whole deal, all of it, just a drag. The vacated buildings and desolate streets. The movement of birds like vowels flickering in some lost guttural tone. Something too-bright and unsettling about the whole thing. People sleeping on curbs, in storefront enclaves, lying tattered and bare as if crucified on the sidewalk. The cop cars slowed to watch me as they murmured past. I looked up a lot. I stared at the smallest things. I noticed the stuff that gets overlooked. There’s no way around or into it. I’m not fit for the sort of consumption that this world requires.”

“Not in this lifetime.”

“Getting behind. Losing. Getting lost. Being alone. Ruminating in odd landscapes of discontent. Attaining stillness without the rub of lassitude. A preemptive strike at the bored, blasé attitude towards life that this world requires of one who wishes to succeed in it.”

“Success is a load of shit-smeared feathers, right?”

“If you like.”

“I do. I mean, I don’t. Like. I guess. I mean…what?”

“That’s it. Go listen to yourself think. Go sit on the toilet and talk to yourself. Take a shower in the dark. Play the same record over and over until you hear it for the first time. I am making too much sense. I’ll stop before the price of derailment gets too cheap to bother about.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“I couldn’t tell you. The good leaked out of here long ago, and we’re all still running from one stage to the next, trying to remember what it was like to act like ourselves.”

“I could use a batting helmet. Being grandfathered into this shit is really a catalyst for dementia and fear—that horripilation and downright teeth-grinding toe-snapping sense that you are not at all what it is that you are, and that is exactly who you’ve always known yourself to be in the tiny subterranean nook of your unconscious that you always seem to be just a shy (or careless) whisper from weaseling your way out of, or would that be into?”

“I ain’t got the foggiest.”

“Yeah. Me too. Notions are for the flag flyers and the welders. Who are we to care about such stuff?”

“Well, we still could, right?”

“Hell, it’s too early. It’s always, always too damn early. And then, of course, it gets too late too soon; and then? And then it’s all gone, and you think, ‘Fuck. I never even got a chance to know any of it very well.’”

“And that’s the bullshit we abide by. The guns we stick to. The hole we are in.”

“Our only worth’s our net worth. Our only hope is to pay our way through our days.”

“I am going to sacrifice myself into an active volcano. Go out with some flare, some dramatic timing perhaps. The Good Samaritans in my head have gone native, and they’re restless as hell.”

“The drop edge of being you. It’s about time.”

“Time? Hell, what do I care about time? I don’t think it even exists.”

“Of course.”