Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a few more from "Rod Serling Was A Legs Man"

Episode 12

a million-dollar talent dribbled away on nickels and dimes

used sparingly on cleaning fluid and bus tickets

drips nice and smooth around the shoulders


a leaky fountain pen that drops ink on a horse’s name in the paper

a purse of 240 bucks

an old crumbbum

the things you need you only need once

nothing is next

the dirty end of the stick

scissors to save a lousy hide

the things you need most

serenity peace of mind humor the ability to laugh at oneself

a box of too-tight shoes with slippery leather soles

to go someplace to find what you need


giving you the business

taking you apart bone by bone

death in the eyes

what was needed for Mr Renard was slippery shoes

Mr Fred Renard

just another guy with a sour mug

but one to whom contentment came

with difficulty


rod serling was a legs man

he had a hankering for ladies with a certain subtle curve and grace to their shape

the black and white landscapes of his dreams came down to two things

slips and cigarettes

while his nightmares ran ragged with bombs and muddy trenches and zithers

props from a war he felt he never should’ve come back from

rod serling had a crush on his typewriter

he knew a good piece when he laid eyes on it

but not before

rod serling never belonged where he was

he knew when the sky was opened

he wanted to be seven years old again

rod serling was a bad drunk

nothing made sense and he always ended up feeling lonely

the hurt inside him turned into a tempered rage

rod serling knew a thing or two about god

he knew god wasn’t the state

he loved the down and out

the beaten

the washed up and used

and the long shots

the underdogs and losers

rod serling was a legs man

summers he used to sit in the window of his office on Sunset

watch the pretty girls go walking by

in their shorts and sun dresses

and shake his head

at what a lucky bastard he was

to be alive

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Light Reflected Off The Emperor Of The Moon

One of the benefits of having a reclusive nature is that one can peel one’s self away from the busyness of the world like a scab, retreat into the thoughtfulness of solitude, and remain detached from the immediacy of events that may or may not affect the ways in which one comes to think about things in general.

If the fence needs mending then mend it.

I will not shower with the lights on. Give my hate to a gremlin. Tell the….world.

Yo. No. Yo, no way.

Extremities untested…yes—while we do nothing—of course, there is that…too

…Lips closed.

Fortunes get lost this way (don’t fret numbers while you add—or do nothing to—them) if we capitalize on the letters now, while supplies never last. You (are) not lost. Do not (not) worry. Planes have plans—for re(dire)cting. Play.

Booms are not lost on b(us)ts just yet. To the sun without eyelashes. (of course)


Ever the plodding, ever the code cracked, ever to play pinball with the universe. I am in the midst of an ever terrible slump.

Burmese cuisine dominated the headlines for 3 or 4 weeks that fall, at least when the ministers of children were not harvesting the hip, were not bringing forth the downside of Ragu, were not listing their fears with ballpoint pens on paper towels, were not hogging the ball, were not hitting iron, were not throwing raw cookie dough at the ceiling fans. My money’s just going through a phase—not staying in my pocket long.

Grownups have little worth. There are concerns over finances. There are groceries to carry in to the kitchen table. There are grumblings about should. There are hopes of would. There are nothings of could. There are the pipes underneath the sink. There are troubles to worry about. (grownups growing out of things is hard to tell)

The…push…for here we have basically a standstill…pull…a difference knows why. Can’t (not) you stop talking for a minute even a second even at all? Huh?

,loosely, based, on, somewhat, real, events,

A tad damp after that last fog bank hit. Salt misses the air. We have construction-paper workers glad-handing the militant Almond Joy aficionados. Is there room for a breath? Then breathe, damn it!

the windup toy sound…no, the remote-control airplane sound of that damn infernal contraption outside somewhere there among the stumps of baobab trees (like) I don’t know (maybe it was a harebrained idea in the first place) but I found something else to say goodbye to (and it wasn’t a steam engine or a bicycle rack made for two or a jackhammer or a missing rook from a chess set)

The curtains operate on steam.

Level the working field before playing on it.

Winters went by without incident. Another call to arms would have been prudent under the circumstances, but all we got were Webelos badges.

(bring forth workaday moans like melted butter)

If there is a hat not on a head but hung on a hook that is not a head then is that hat still a hat when it is not on a head when it is merely some UFO-shaped thing hanging snug against the wall does that make it a hat at all?

Fortunately secrets not written down on paper could not be burned. We were (all) hoping for a retroactive rekindling of things (of whatever sort.)

I was doing considerably less pushups in the mornings, in the afternoons, in the long lazy afternoons…

Claims of dominance over what kind of thoughts one has, or chooses to think, or becomes indulged with on most occasions, are going unheard by whatever it is one happens to think, to think with words, to be trapped in words, to never be able to overcome the worlds built of words one creates and is unable to control.

There’s (was or will be too) a rainout in the stadium of my (soup bowl) soul.

Ever since I met that costumed man in the wardrobe department backstage, that man with the robin’s head, that man with wings, that man with no toes—ever since then I’ve been frightened of birds. Logic dissuades the months with reassuring sighs, and a moth was planted in the stagehand’s overcoat, and most of the time lines were being fed to Ross Dress For Less employees.

The grumbling of a forklift belches its way into the dustbowl of my days.

A small quantity of vinegar and oil were being lifted from the deli by mimes pretending to be trapped inside a sandwich. Nobody liked them, but nobody said anything about it (not liking them) because…

She’s a waste of space. He’s a waste of a good haircut. Sometimes they both sing without cursing at all.

“Lessons” in “gargling” were in (high) “demand” whenever “the (custard) moon was cut with silver” (which was “often”).

(The little kids had their outside voices going, and the music was okay. We were playing checkers. The rain hadn’t stopped since the eggs had hatched. The smell of chickenfeed was overwhelming. Mice happened by on a leaf, and we thought of rain-gutter regattas. Somebody clinked a fork against a window. The moon was in the middle of a prayer. Verdi clipped his fingernails while the microwave hummed and counted down to none. Hitler received a black eye courtesy of James Mason. The Lusitania sailed for Mars. We cropped pictures and hesitated around women. Acid trips caused peace to break out. Pianos were too loud. We looted churches and bombed storm clouds. Half of what we had would’ve done more than a lot of good. The masses slept under the chokeberry plants. We’d had too much to think. The hands were all going up. Christ was hiding in a cereal bowl. The filling stations were all going under. We were licking stamps. We had nowhere to stick them. Announcements were being made. Telephones were dialing themselves. A mild case of dandruff was going around. Matching socks was no easy affair. It was becoming a question of estimating regret’s time of arrival. The smarts were somewhere else, somebody else’s worry, and we had more pertinent matters to attend to, like watching soap operas and bathing cats in the sink and reading the story of somebody else’s life. Other people take their affairs more seriously. Other people waste their time. Don’t ask about the rounds we make. Don’t eat Creamsicles in the den. Wimps obfuscate the bulb light. We take out the trash. We run on laser beams.)

Eons kept not going by.

Nimbly unaware of mistakes neither he nor she were making, the vanpool riders got together on a Tuesday night to play poker and eat potato chips and drink champagne fizzes, and to have strange and humbling affairs.

The most grueling thing about mistaking rumors for insects was the fluttering way one’s hands shifted in direct proportion with the wind. (Puberty was hit by most of the kids in the neighborhood by then.)

Plans to crave certain fashionable delicacies like (not like yawning during a yoga pose) pleasant smells or inefficient glimmers of hope(less)ful(ly) graves were soon outmoded.

Winded was how most of the fat kids ended up after P.E..

Westerns were playing on the wall. My hesitations were holding hands with my nervousness. Nobody doubts the sweetness of sugar. Pressing play sometimes results in a pause. A purchase will do. A messenger sent to kill a crow. I am molding a heart out of silverware and expired coupons. Sitting this one out. Lumped in with the riveting show of orphans on vacation. Pouring as old as giving. The gone cut from tomorrow’s branches. We have holdouts longer than any off season. Caution murders what’s left of loneliness. The wine gone from the veins. The hasty toss of a spool into a small creel. The whims of disaster. The crop of the creamed corn. Sameness of purpose is just relish on the lip.

And then there was how things fell through the air like hair lost like dismissed preschoolers like homing pigeons staging a comeback like help that never shows up like talking like wounded antelopes like rubber-armed hurlers like the crux of dying ideas islanding an ocean of doubt,

—boozy (self) portraits left more than enough pettiness to go around,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

extremely perishable

there are diamonds on the toilet paper

4 o’clock is just a muck of stray soft words to be sunk in

ice-cube recitals happen in a fishbowl beneath the kitchen table

the sky cloudlessly escapes without a heart attack

a fortune in nickels

a ballet of pencils

traces of watertight worlds glum under glass

shelf life leads to untested warranties

playing it safe like being outwardly ordinary

the refrigerator is hording cold

keep lollygagging until it’s too late

there will still be rainwater in the sunflower juice

when the plaster heals cracks in the overthrown

because separation is natural

and everyone goes repairing to the bar eventually

flash pasteurized with beer and prayers

humbled into a safe retreat

a here

that’s never quite here enough

Friday, March 12, 2010


I was headed over to Spazzo’s to play catch up with an old friend of mine Max Edleman. He was always going around with his tie half-undone, giant sweat pits on his button-down white shirts, face having ideas about a beard, and talking a blue streak about scraps of nothing that he’d stitch together with curse words and spittle. Fun guy to have lunch with. The sky was trying to decide about raining, kind of purpling, with some black-bottomed clouds curling in, which the sun was taking peeks out at things from behind.

Edleman wasn’t there yet when I arrived. He’s always late, that guy. So, I ordered a coffee and sat down at a small round table to wait for him.

The place wasn’t too crowded; it was kind of late in the afternoon, and the lunch crowd had mostly gone back to their offices to play their mindless games of making a living. Max was one of them, but kept strange hours, staying late, burning up whatever was left of his soul under bright halogen bulbs. So, he usually took long, late lunches. I never did much of anything except mope around, which made these after-hours lunches very convenient for us both. Spazzo’s was an old place. The windows were thick; the dishware was chipped, cracked, and stained; the tables were covered with graffiti and knife carvings; the pictures on the wall covered ten decades of proprietorship, showing smiling celebrities from all eras of stardom, locals in myriad styles of times gone by, and dogs whose children’s children were probably long dead. You could count the age of the coffee cups by the rings of brown stains in them, which were many.

I leaned back in my rickety chair and heaved an aching sigh. I was pooped. Everything seemed meager. I couldn’t muster enough mettle to finagle my way out of things as they were. It was like a blanket of fear and pain was covering everything, and the more I tried to punch my way out of it the more it trapped me, like one of those nets they use to catch apes in.

I was busy contemplating the drooping nature of the ceiling when Max crashed his way through the door. He was all hustle and gumption, and it always seemed like a flurry of bristling energy followed wherever he went. He gave me a hearty handshake, slapped me a few good ones on the back, and slammed himself into the chair across from me. There was always a great commotion about the way he went about things. He began to talk.

“Well, what, ah, you know, everything! Yes. I know…so how’s it? Going? Going? Gone! Ha.”

“Max. You know how I go.”

“Oh. You and your damn mopery. Come on. Light a fucking fire under it already. Get your ass in gear.”

“I’ll get right on that.”

“Oh shit. So. I almost forgot…”

“I doubt that.”

“So, I’m like headed home last night, you know, after a long session under the fluorescents, staring at spreadsheets, rewriting by rote, chewing all kinds of fucking gum, you know, just kind of in a daze, a post-work scramble of brains and weariness, and this girl is out there, you know, she’s just like selling her wares, dangling around on street corners, swinging her purse all around, smiling all big and rosy at everything. And so I’m just kind of like walking by her, and not really noticing her much, you know, except a little here and there, in bunches, in spots, in little drags of attention. And I think she’s really privy to the how-shall-we-say…desirous energy of others? Something like that. Anyway, this broad, she knows the score. She knows the cut of my jig within a few seconds. She knows exactly what I would and would not ever do, and how much—down to a few bucks—I’d pay for it. She’s an expert at making eye contact. So, we’re caught in this little staring match of a sort. And I immediately sense that I’m in a motherfucking pickle, like danger signs are flashing, disaster is imminent, you know? So, I try to kind of break the meager sight lines we’ve established, or rather, that she’s established…”

“The looker and the lookie. The difference between the you of it and the it of me.”

“What? Can you just shut up and let me tell the fucking story? You’re making me lose my train of talk.”

“Sorry. Want to order something? I’m a growing a mighty bit hungry here doing all this listening.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Go order me a steak. Rare as hell. No. Bloody. Tell them I want it to fucking moo at me.”

You had to order at the counter at Spazzo’s. It was one of their long-standing traditions. It made you not want to tip so well. I mean, you were doing at least some of the leg work. So I went up to the counter and ordered two steaks: one alive and one more than a lot dead. Then I went back to be regaled some more by Max’s tale. At least it was a break from doing nothing, which made up most of what I was doing at the time. He immediately started back in as soon as I plopped back down in my chair.

“So this chick is like giving me that old conniving smile, that charming buyer’s market gimmick. The one that makes you feel, I don’t know…special. In a stupid, lowly, tired way of course. An easy way to feel. Something you don’t really have to work at, like having a real sharp steak knife to eat with. How’re the knives here?”

“Sharp enough. Don’t worry. You’ll be able to slice through the skin and hair and into the gristle no problem.”

“Ok. Anyway. For some reason…and you know I’d usually just smile politely and keep walking on by…but for some reason I just let myself get snared on this kind of pseudo-magnetism of hers. And we fall into a conversation. The light’s red anyway. So I’m just standing there, you know, trying to look anywhere but at her. But she’s not making it easy. She’s a professional for christsakes. She knows what she’s doing. And we start having that stupid chitchat that you have in these kinds of situations. Hey there. How’s your night. How’s your life. And all that crap. Just fodder in the trough of time going by. And I know at some point she’s going to like offer herself up to me.”

“Why would she not? You’re a sharp-dressed man.”

“What the…? Do I have to spell it out for you? The lady is a fucking hooker! She’s classy though. Damn classy lady. But she wants me to pay her in exchange for sex. You get this, right?”


“God. You’re so damn oblivious sometimes.”

He was right. But this obviously wasn’t the case here. I just liked annoying him with a little disingenuousness. But suddenly I didn’t feel so hot about interrupting him anymore, so I relented in my wiseass crack-making. Anyway, our steaks came and I concentrated on eating. The steak was damn good, so was the horseradish. It burned a fiery death in my nasal passages. I loved it. Max continued as he shoved hunks of underdone steak in his mouth, not minding his manners one bit, chewing while talking and inhaling and spewing blood-red phlegm all over the place. It was not pretty. I tried not to look.

“So we get to that point, you know, where she’s like, ‘Hey hon. You want a little company tonight? You looking for a good time?’ Or some garbage like that. I don’t know. You get the gist of it though. And so did I. I’m not dumb. I know the score sometimes. So, I kind of toy with the idea a bit. It would be okay. I get lonely, just like everyone else. I get down. I want somebody to like me, even if it’s just make believe. I want to be liked. Everyone wants to be liked, right? I mean, when you get down to it, that’s all there is. That’s all that matters. I want people to like me…or maybe I just want to feel that they like me. Whatever. I don’t know. So, anyway…God, this steak is fucking delicious. I mean, shit…how’s yours?”


“Ha. Yeah. Whatever. You’re such a fucking downer sometimes. We’re eating steak in the late afternoon, enjoying each other’s company. This is the life man! Come on. It ain’t no sin to enjoy yourself every once in a while. We have these things, you know?” He brutishly swiped his thick hairy knuckles across his nostrils and sniffed with a wild rasp, and then cleared his throat of what must have been a thick tarry substance festering somewhere deep inside of him. “Anyway, so this classy lady of the night is like getting all personal and a tad more than a little friendly with me. And I have to admit, it was nice. I liked it. It made me feel good. Better than I had been feeling, that’s for sure. It was one of those really starry nights too. One of those nights when the sky is like blanketed with fucking stars. You can see all kinds of scintillating shit going on up there…well, and, um, down here too, if you know what I mean.”

I didn’t. But I also didn’t care.

“This lassie was like all decked out too, in full prostitute regalia, you know, with the way-too-short skirt and high heels, and the black fishnet stockings, and globs of candy-apple red lipstick, and her hair all done-up, you know, all blown dry and hair-sprayed and curling in thick masses all over the place.”

“Thick masses?”

“Whatever. You know. She was looking all hookertastic.”

I made some kind of feral regurgitating noise. I could taste some vomit in my mouth.

“And so she’s got an unlit cigarette twitching like a seesaw between her lips, of course, so she asks me for a light, of course, and I’m like sure, what the hell, I’ll give the poor girl a light, you know. So I do. And she’s happy as a horse. Practically glowing with gratitude. I know she’s faking it of course, hamming it up for me, trying to make me feel good. But I don’t mind. I don’t mind at all that she’s like feigning her affection. I actually kind of start to prefer it to the real thing. I don’t know why. And we’re talking there, you know, having a conversation, and I’m thinking, shit, I could really go for this. It was like, I don’t know, somehow better than the real thing. I knew that she was only acting this way in the hope that I would put some money in her pocketbook at some point. And I also knew exactly what it was that would make me put the money there, and I knew that she knew all this too. It was like by lying in this way we were being truly honest with each other, like, in the knowing that it was all an act, all a charade based on lust and money, well, we were having a very real interaction, even more real than a so-called 'real' everyday interaction out in this miserable contusion-giving world of ours.”

I sneezed into a napkin.

“I know this is all sounding a bit strange, but just stay with me here. I think I can explain it a bit better.”

I wasn’t so sure of this, but I knew he’d give it a good go.

“So, this girl knows that I know she just wants to make some money off of me. And I know that she will, very generously I might add, let me have my way with her body to do with what I will if I offer up the right amount of cabbage. And, might I also add, it was a very nice body, even to have on rent for a limited time. Curves. Supple. Skin that would make me go out of my head. Out of my head…over you! You know that song?”

I did.

“So, we were having this inane banter, you know, just fucking talking rot and the likes, and we both knew things about this interaction in a very real and truthful way. Any deception that was happening was only in the degrees of things, like negotiations…well, so, maybe that might have been the part that was more up for grabs, and maybe a lot less real…but no…wait. I don’t even think that’s true. Hold on. Let me contemplate this a bit here while I finish off this steak.”

Let me add that this whole time he’d been talking he’d also been gouging away at this bloody slab of gristle and bone on his plate, that was now starting to look like a de-skinned car accident victim, and chomping on the hard-to-chew rubbery chunks while he talked. I was glad to have a break from this to say the least. Unfortunately this didn’t last for long. Soon he was bloviating his was through my peace of mind again.

“It’s kind of like this I guess. It all comes down to, I mean…it’s always been this way in my life. Like I’ve always wanted attention. I want people to pay attention to me. And it’s never enough. I feel ignored. I never feel like people are really listening to me. Maybe that’s why I’m always repeating myself. I don’t know. But, anyway, it’s this same thing. This wanting to be liked. It’s mostly just that I want people to pay attention to me. I can never get enough of their attention. It’s like I’m just setting myself up for failure, and I am fucking relishing it too. It’s like I want to be seen as a failure, then…well, then I don’t ever have to try.”

This talk was all a bunch of hot air to me, but I couldn’t get away. I sat there eating my steak, trying to act like I cared about any of what he was saying. I’m pretty good at this, but it was getting difficult. It was really tough to look at him with all that mush in his mouth.

“And so here is this girl, this fucking angel as far as I was concerned, letting me get close to her, letting me smell her wonderful smell, and I knew it’d be just unbelievably fantastic to spend a few horizontal hours with her. I wanted to feel liked. That’s all I really ever want I guess. It’s all I hope for.”

I felt bad for the guy. He wasn’t easy to like. There was something ruefully disastrous about him, something unhinged. You felt like at any moment he might reach over and strangle you on a whim.

“Is our…I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I just feel like maybe I’m deficient, somehow lacking in this quality, this capacity to love, and, more importantly, to be loved. To let myself be loved. That’s what is so damn difficult for me. I just don’t feel worth it. I guess that’s why the prospect of paying somebody to like me, to be forced to like me, was so enticing.”

I wanted to interrupt him, but somehow felt lacking in this capacity at the moment.

“It’s so easy for me to fall in love. It happens to me all the time. Every day. But I don’t know if that means anything, you know? Who the hell is meant for me? Who am I to think that some girl’s going to fall in love with me? What the hell do I have to offer her? Just emptiness. Just nothing. Just me.”

His steak was gone, and he was drumming at his bloody, cleaned plate with his knife. It scared me a little, but I didn’t let on.

“I just want to be appreciated. And I want somebody else to know how much I appreciate them. Ah. I don’t know. It’s all a fucking scrambled mess in my head.”

He lost his knife. It bounced and skidded its way to the floor.

“Shit. I’m sorry.”

I raised my hands with the palms out towards him, as if I were being mugged. “Max. It’s okay. Look. No harm, no foul.”

He didn’t seem to notice my gesture. His eyes were focused on some point behind my head, kind of bleary, and filled with some odd scrap of disenchantment. It was like he was worrying real hard about something, and was sad about it, but couldn’t do anything to make it go. He didn’t say another word. He just sat there staring behind me like that, his mouth slightly gaping with some crimson spittle dripping from his lip. I figured it was time for some action on my part, or at least some talk.

“Hey. Come on Max. Everybody deals with these things. Nobody likes being not liked. We all want to be accepted to some degree, whether we realize it or not, and we all go about it in our own nebulously self-centered way. Well, it’s like you need to open yourself up to…well, you need to have the capacity to be loved, not just to love. Nobody is going to care about you just because. You have to get over these delusional egocentric hang-ups. All you ever need to offer is yourself. I mean, take this hooker you were bantering around with. Would you have even cared about her more than a twig if she hadn’t been willing, oh-so-generously, to offer herself to you? Anyway, it’s a lot easier to fall in love than it is to fall out of love. Maybe the difference between the two doesn’t matter so much.”

Max just kept staring with the doleful look on his mug. His eyes were like empty saucers somebody’s gone and spilled some coffee on. It wasn’t fun to look at him like that. I knew he wasn’t having a grand time either, and started to wish he’d just go ahead and finish his story about the hooker. I decided I might as well continue with my ranting. At least I wouldn’t be interrupting him.

“Okay. Well, you know when I was a kid I was really fast, and I was funny too. I was a funny and fast kid. I’d race anybody, and I’d win. My jokes were legendary on the playground. What starts with an ‘f’ and ends with an ‘uck’? Firetruck. That was one of my classics. Big laughs with that one. But the thing that scared me to death, the one thing I could never bring myself to do, was to talk to girls. They freaked the hell out of me. It wasn’t just sweaty palms and all that jazz. I honestly could not even utter one word around a girl. I’d sometimes faint when a girl got close to me. It was insane. And I don’t think it was just some combination of shyness and nervousness, though it was that too, but it was mostly just this lack of faith in the reality of the situation, and of course in myself too. I was puddling around in daydreams. It was hard to make a connection between what I felt and what I experienced out in the big old world of experiences. Anxiety was my only answer to the thorny problems of social interactions.”

A waiter dropped a plate. Max came out of his trance.

“For fuck’s sake! What the hell are you talking about man?”

“I don’t know. I have no idea. I never know.”

“Tomorrow never knows.”


I went back to my steak. Max leaned back and straightened out his tie.

Everything was clattering. That special clink and ting of silverware, and the scrape of knives on plates. Some guy was reading the menu out loud to an old woman seated next to him. A stray cat wandered in the door and hissed at me. Max smiled at this. It seemed appropriate. Love was in the air.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

the age of misinformation

“When you think about it, we’re not allotted much time here on earth to make lives for ourselves: I mean, to scrape something together, get married, wait for death.” –Roberto Bolano

At this party there are all types of situations happening at once. I am sitting here on a small couch by myself, on some couch cushions, which seem to be made of either Naugahyde or some other synthetic leather-like (some would prefer to say pleather) substance. It’s not something I’d want to sit on with shorts on, as I fear there would be some skin stickage upon getting up, especially on a hot day, which this is not. In fact this is night, late in the night, but due to the fact that there are quite more than a few bodies in close proximity, well, it creates a similar situation as far as the overall temp. of the room goes; and, yes, it goes without saying that sweat is being secreted by these bodies too. Luckily, I don’t ever wear shorts, so I don’t have to worry about such things. The floor lamp next to me has its bulb tilted towards the ceiling, casting an ominous glowing spot up there that kind of ripples outward in concentric circles on the beige paint. I don’t feel like mingling or gabbing with strangers about TV shows. I am much content to stay here sitting, mulling over the inconsistencies in the patterns of wallpaper, and the strange liquid dynamic between the sodium yellow of the streetlight’s pools and the ubiquitous coating of moonlight draped all over the appurtenances of the night. I have a blue plastic cup in my left hand which is resting on my knee. The cup is filled with frothy keg-beer, and it's dewy with condensation on the outside. There will probably be a wet mark on my pants when I heft up the cup to drink, which I have not done for some time. A table is set with all types of hors d’oeuvre-type stuff. I can see it pretty clearly from where I am sitting. Chips and dip are there: Ruffles in a green bowl, French Onion dip next to it, also a brown party-size bag of Tostitos (with a plastic window in it) and some too-green guacamole with a few pits thrown in so it’ll stay that way. There are also a few bottles of soda: generic cola, Sprite, and Mr. Pibb for the daring. A bucket of quickly melting ice sits next to them, and then there’s this giant double stack of half-opened blue plastic cups. I don’t see any napkins. I hate when people don’t put napkins out. Also, there are some veggies on a tray, your usual assortment of baby carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, and dill veggie dip’s plopped in a small tray in the middle, and somebody’s cut up some fruit on a large plate. I love when people cut up mangos into tiny squares that are still connected to the skin. In general I like mangos. Mango juice is often quite delicious, though not always. I prefer the Boathouse Farms mango juice to the Odwalla or Jumex mango nectar or even the Naked Juice versions. Some people are allergic to mangos, and in fact even the tiniest amount of mango will make their cheeks swell like a puffer fish, or light up their face like a cuttlefish on the attack. That reminds me: cuttlefish are not fish; they are mollusks, and are highly intelligent. In fact, they are probably smarter, on average, in their own way (the way of invertebrates), than most people at this party— yours truly included.

There was that guy who always slept on the sidewalk, on that giant sloping hill, and I’d hobble and stutter-step my way down past him in the morning on my way to work, and he’d be sleeping there with his shoes on, sometimes his face straight down into the cement, and a teddy bear lying there next to him staring right up at the sun. I liked the stuffed bear more than I liked him. The bear never asked me for cigarettes.

I kept borrowing cars from strangers without them knowing and then not returning them. Couldn’t keep doing that forever.

So I get this call on the phone, and it’s the principal at my kid’s elementary school. This guy’s a nut. He’s really giving it to me, like really trying to like impress upon me that my kid’s like really up to something no good, or that my kid’s no good, or that he’s always doing bad things. I don’t know. This guy was a real screamer though. And I’m like, calm down man. Get a grip. You know? And I’m talking to this garrulous shouting bastard on the phone there, and at the same time there is this like chainsaw blaring in the fucking lobby of our building. I know. Weird fucking shit. So I go on out there, and the whole while still listening to this gabbing s.o.b. on the other end of the horn go on about what an asshole my kid is. I get outside finally, into the lobby there, and I see some dude with a chainsaw going full-on ballistic on this couch that’s out there. And this couch has been out there for a week or so, and everybody’s complaining about it, but, you know, what’re you going do? Well, I guess this surly bastard just decided to take matters into his own hands, and he’s chopping the thing up into pieces with this chainsaw, I assume to get the thing out the front door, and it’s really fucking loud of course, what with all the slicing he’s doing with that rumbling beast of a contraption howling, and stuffing is flying everywhere, and parts are like snapping off and wood is splintering, and when he gets all the way through with a section it breaks off and bounds and tumbles away down the stairs there. You know we’ve got the stairs to get into the place right there by where he was cutting up the couch, just like a few flights. And this was really most fucking unfortunate timing, because somebody happened to be coming up the stairs at that point.

The news is all bad. The newspaper comes wrapped in cellophane.

A child stutters. He wants to have many friends. It is hard for a stutterer to make friends. He gets made fun of on the playground. He wants to be liked by everyone, but nobody likes him. He stutters. Nobody likes a kid who stutters. Being around other kids makes him nervous, and that makes his stutter worse. He spends a lot of time alone. He listens to Billie Holiday records. He is almost happy only when it rains. One day at recess, apropos of nothing, as he’s sitting by himself counting ants underneath a willow tree in the corner of the schoolyard, a girl comes up and kisses him on the cheek. He starts to feel dizzy. The world starts to squeeze into a ball. He faints. When he wakes up he is in the nurse’s office. He is offered a glass of water by the nurse. He takes the glass and drinks a good amount of water. The nurse bends down and brushes his hair away from his forehead. The nurse then kisses him on the forehead. He feels as happy as he’s ever felt before.

Like me. Like me. Please. Please like me.

It’s fucking gradual goddamnit! Like waiting for the fucking sun to come up! Don’t mind it, though, you know. It’s just another motherfucking miracle. Whatever.

I was in the bathroom, and the lights were out, so I was in the dark, and I was trying to put my eyebrow liner on but used my pink lipstick instead, you know, because I couldn’t see what I was doing, so now I’m like walking around with pink eyebrows.

The TV screens get bigger as our attention spans get shorter.
In the middle of the night, in the middle of the night I call your name: At&T, Taco Bell, Bud Light.
People were busy growing hair and whistling TV theme songs.
Modifying your behavior to suit the room.
The pivot of the world is wobbling.

He asked her if she ever listened to the music he’d given her.
She said no. Not really. Not anymore.
He played cards and lost.
She made pancakes.
He told her he missed the way she stood in the shower.
She didn’t say anything.
He made paper airplanes out of his unsent love letters.
She prayed for rain.
He asked her if she ever thought of him.
She said no. Not anymore.
He stopped showering. He stopped shaving. He stopped eating. He stopped sleeping.
She made pies.

enduring the weakest of the worst of the unwilling and the whimpering and the wounded while the wrestling for worms goes wheeling on.

A basketball game was on. Nobody was watching it. People were commenting on the commercials though. We all started singing Little Sadie. A banjo was being strummed. People danced too. Then the power went out. We sat in the dark and one by one we all fell asleep.

Fernando Valenzuela hit .304 in 1990.

A curse was averse to a care.
A monk was drunk but debonair.

a game of mud dominoes striking matches on tombstones and the gravel from the path sticks to the bottom of your shoes where they don’t have any rest stops anymore like ants invading a pantry like sweaty fingertips like the all encompassing spatter of loneliness that is an affliction like no other not like solitude which is a choice something one picks like the winner of the kentucky derby yes that is where these torpedoes go desperate yet alluring too in a spell of indecision while the channels change while monty clift dines on spare tires with plastic utensils we fill up on dessert and nobody is there to offer any help

Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good To Me So Far was playing at the sandwich place. It came to that part where he says, “I can’t complain but sometimes I still do.” I was just standing around waiting for the fat guy behind the counter to make my roast beef sandwich. And then I thought about how being lazy really was taking all my time.

a girl whose name was Erika Strada sat behind me in 7th grade Language Arts class
she was born the same year that CHiPs made its debut
I never saw her ride a motorcycle
or arrest anybody
but one time
she did trade me some sour apple Jolly Ranchers
for a bag of Fritos

I wasn’t answering my phone during that period in my life. I was going through a phase. I was self-centered as hell. I wasn’t eating or sleeping much. I had a lot of time to myself. I wasn’t just twiddling my thumbs. I was making exits constantly from things.

A doorman was tying his shoes. It was a difficult day to be a doorman. One of those days. A headache waiting to happen. People came and went. There was always a smile there. There was a nod. There were hellos and other things. A dappling of sun. Somebody’s hand waving in the distance. Mailboxes snapping shut. Trips in circles. The way the door hinges squeaked. The doorman was relishing this moment of shoe-tying. There were no currents of air. A wash of convection. A curvilinear descent. An aglet squished between two fingers. Things made out of paper and glue. There are no gumshoes here. We have clean clothes and dirty minds. We lease the farm with an option to buy. Barely treading-water cusps of light gouge through eyelets with a clear purpose, with intent. Kept apart. Defeated at birth. Gloriously made into nothing faster than something that is wherever anything will go. The doorman closed his eyes and dreamed black-and-white daydreams.

My heart is having a Going Out Of Business Sale.
Everything must go.
The left ventricle is half-off.
You’ve never seen an aorta like this one.
In fact, if you buy the aortic valve I’ll throw in the mitral valve for free.
And the pulmonary veins are two-for-one.
You’ve never seen prices like this.
Get an atrium while supplies last.
A tricuspid valve slashed to ¼ of its actual value won’t be around long, so act fast.
Too good to be true?
Come see for yourself.
Bargains on Purkinje fibers that you will not believe.
A sinoatrial node that’ll keep pace with the best of them.
And cardiac muscle going like hotcakes.
I will not be undersold.
All inventory must be gone by tomorrow.
Don’t miss out.
Buy now. Pay later.
All major credit cards accepted.
Take it all. Give it all away.
It’s of no use to me anymore.

I see you on a Saturday night with moonlight peppering your hair with a glass of wine in one hand with a hard-as-nails nose for the moment I see you on and off again pals with barstools I see the hem of your ways tattering I see you less furious than a pledge drive that’s not making a cent I see you less often than I should with regret kicking at my knees with a horrifying malaise with puppy love with a handicapped hurt with unassailable smiles I see you waiting on a habit I see you on Mondays of rain I see you in the way only I can see you like I see you like this every day

He sings Marlene Dietrich songs.
He lives in such exasperating times.

a wonder at a trim weight now she was living that way then a couple of years went by maybe it was three and she had to get her tonsils out and mishandling herself and counseling herself through things and she was less well than she showed

it was a question of whether she should wear the brown dress, and he told her, yes, she should wear the brown dress, since she was asking, and he was being very serious about it too, that she should wear the brown dress, he liked her in the brown dress, but she said, really, do you understand the ramifications of the brown dress, and he said, the brown dress, you are asking if I understand ramifications when it come to me liking you wearing the brown dress, and she said, yes, the brown dress, when it comes to me wearing or possibly not wearing the brown dress, that's what I mean when I am talking here about the current situation with the brown dress, which you might or might not like me wearing, and he said, what, really, the brown dress, I have already told you that when it comes to the brown dress I am to be trusted, I want you to wear it, so she said, that is what I'm saying, this is the real problem with the brown dress, the dilemma of the dress here, that's what I am saying, and he said, no, that is what I am saying, and they both agreed that she should wear a green dress instead

(Stolen From the Love Letters of Barney Fife)
fall is something better than windy
like breathing leaves
something lush like a chill rushing through you
sweaters happening and cedar or wood smoking
curves and a sort of branching out like empty but more so
room to move and stand or lie down in
staring upended
loopy into the fading dusky distance
opening to smaller things than your shape
lengthwise and hardly ever enough
to match the wild forever of your eyes
or to sleep in the deep tingling comfort of your hair

The rents came down and the rents went up and the rents stayed the same and the hands that feed you are the hands that you keep feeding the rents are too high the rents are too stable the rents don’t go the rents just keep on and the feet you walk on are the feet you walk with the rents make you write checks the rents make up themselves all the time and the head you use to confuse is the head you wear so well

speak into the microphone. throw in the towel. grant a wish. take a dip in a tide pool. upset the balance of a cartwheeler. enjoy a cushion. drill a hole through a grape. huddle under a doorframe. tackle a traffic cop. frame a suspect. get a grip. upend a sewing machine. pare a pear. peel car tires. land headfirst in a pile of hot embers.

Winston Churchill planted an apple tree and chopped it down and then lied about it to his father.

He’s not much of wrestler. He’s more of a tulip connoisseur. Calendar’s flip their pages while he thinks of things to do with his time. He’s not much of a risk taker. He’s more of a intermittent goofball. He’s hardly leaving fingerprints. He’s retching on the cosmopolitan duds of clover. He’s rarely on time. He’s heisting all the cereal. He’s cooking with electricity. He’s not a collector of crocus or a foxglove hoarder. He’s in the midst of a mild nervous breakdown.

I just need people to like me. When I find out somebody likes me I immediately feel better about myself. I don’t like myself, and I guess I just need other people to help me compensate for this. It is a very selfish desire. I realize this. I want attention. I want eyes on me. I’m like that little kid who screams, “Look at me! Look at me mommy!” I want to be noticed and appreciated. I want others to like me.

anyone could tell
Pearl was hawking lugies at the dolphins
trying to get back at the bikers
trying to hold her head like a daffodil does
and Pearl was walking like a cartoon
and Pearl had vim like a goldfish
anyone who knows what anything means could tell
Pearl was happily enraged
Pearl was smarting
Pearl was coming up empty
there is not this
there is only that
Pearl was chapsticking the carpet
Pearl wouldn’t keep
the television is too loud the television is too loud the television is too loud
Pearl was hassling the boys in bowties
Pearl was having a conversation with a toothbrush
the radio is on mute
instead of up-to-date she was out of time
Pearl was behaving normally
anyone knows it
just ask

Thinking about the difference between cuts of meat. Thinking about ratchets, pawls, and winches. Thinking about being down and out. Tiredly trudging up a mountain of indifference. Making my getaway. Glorious is the pall of winter. Empty woodsheds and grapevines loaded with wrath. Whimpers that bang out death on eyelids. Thinking about dates and deep seas. Horses are not always healthy. Robustness eliminates the need for circumspection. Wringing my hands, and there’s this ringing in my ears, and my phone never rings, and rings are circling and circling.

I was killing time, sitting on a bench outside a café, watching people parallel park cars, thinking about things in a way that I can only describe as being sofa-shaped. My spirit seemed indomitable.

I’m nervous and I don’t want people looking at me. I’m anxious. I’m not relaxed one bit. There is a finch waiting to hound me. I am being strong-armed by serfs. Little do I know what I do or do not know. Spit and pretend to whistle. I’m riddled with fear. I’m having hamburgers for breakfast. Lowdown dirty needs of a notwithstanding care. I’m on edge. Withhold all my earnings or give me a paycheck of forgiveness. I’m earnest enough about my mendacity. I’m overly intense. I’m keyed up. I’m tired. I’m blue but not black. I’m old with envy. I’m just a cracker crumb from good enough. There is no recourse in future events. I pine. I dwell. I get absolutely nowhere.

If you get railroaded into doing it, then, yeah, well, that’s something else completely. Or if you get buffaloed by a dentist into brushing three times a day. Well, let me tell you, nervous breakdowns were a dime a dozen that summer. Nice people play nice too. Mean people in general can’t fake empathy as well as lonely out-of-work cartoonists. Up is the side of down you never see when you’re falling. But, yeah, if your goat gets gotten, if your knees tremble, then maybe you can know a thing or two about nothing at all. We pray to horoscopes and run from beat cops. Will it last this time? It’s all an act. Everything is an act. Faking it is what people do to get by. Strap on a watch. Tweak the weather report. Mistake cops for angels. It’s all a gamble anyway. Everything is.

Dreamt of Andre-Agassi signed tennis rackets being auctioned off by a high school gym teacher. Some guy paid 90 grand for one.

high heels clattering white cement…you hear things…there is not enough commitment from the fire chiefs…more of a scramble…more like scarfing down condiments…it was there in the mornings of coffee that was always a little too hot at first and before it was finished too cold to drink…long times come as well as any other while we walk under ladders and lose our heads in wet cement…pleased at first something wiggles towards plunk…unleash the unicorns…breed the hamsters…that guy who would come into the deli to collect aluminum cans and point at people and talk high-pitched and real loud… to swing is to slump…pandering to the will of the people…we collect dust in our pockets…there are no more phone booths…the scrunchy side of things is raftered and bowing like an old ceiling…he chewed nails and spit rust…we were helpless in the arcade of our existence…

Getting along with others is not always easy. There are many tests. You will become envious at times. You will bristle at petty annoyances. Things will not gently meld or fall into place. Free time creates obstacles with its dismissal of the necessary. Pitted against somebody who has done you wrong, it will be your place to keep peace in your soul. But the quickening of anger, like the struggles of flies becoming stuck to flypaper, is relentless and hard to keep at bay. You must order takeout whenever possible. Strangers will be jovial if your facial expression suits their conception of others, and keeping up the charade of contentment will be more important than actually being content. Contrived satisfaction is no less satisfying than disappointment. Give yourself a grade. And then there are those sweeps of fortune that land pillaged ruffians in the sea salt. Squalls will come and go. Interiors will be mended by boredom. Aftershocks of bad news are often times worse than the bad news itself.

George fell in love with a Jeopardy! contestant. Her name was Doris Doze. She was on a run. It started on a Thursday, and by the weekend George was sure that he was in love. Over 17 grand in two days. It was true love. There was no doubt about it. He thought about her all day Saturday, and most of the day Sunday too. Doris was an elementary school teacher. She was clumsy. Always running into things. Had broken her nose twice. She was slight. George admired her face immensely. He felt his life was lacking in richness of experience. Doris was something out in the world, something shining out there in the dreary happenings of life, something that was more than his little frame of reference. She knew things. Her button pushing skills were excellent, thumbing her buzzer just as Alex finished reading the clue. She knew what she was doing. George wanted to feel like that, to feel like he knew what he was doing. He rarely ever felt like he knew what he was doing. Doris Doze was something more rich than any experience he’d ever known. He wanted to know her. He clung rabidly to her every question-framed answer. There was something flawless in her personality. It drove George crazy with anticipation. Monday couldn’t come soon enough.

hello there creep with your paper-doll arms
hello there enmity and sure-fire irascible doubt
hello there short night’s trip away from day
hello there imitation of life
hello there out-of-order retractable roof
hello there reader’s digest and TV guide
hello there spilt leaves crumbling to ash on the dented chrome hood of a parked car

The highway has durable potential. The billboards sing in harmony with the surroundings and choose a perfect mate by performing their inconsiderate music. Gall spills forthwith in a testy whisper. Concrete is bored out of its mind. Being between things is making the market stable. Community organizers sweat profusely at all times. Lessons in geophysics were being lost on the cut-rate bluefin tuna buyers. Shifting cold creeping colorless over zestless used car lots. Bananas going gold in the trees. The strange scent of others. The temperate shores of bloody westerns. Zeniths were hard to come by that week. Serenity was being shuttered because of fear’s budget crisis. Shoes were running. Life was sapped of all potential. Things were cheery.

That’s a very autumnal outfit you’ve got on.
You can’t talk to me like that assface. I’ve got my rights, you know?
Get the fuck away from me. Now!
Sorry. Okay. Easy. Okay?

Thatches of weeds were greening the lot some, but still I didn’t see much reason to stare. Countries age. Worms get a bellyful. Curtains hung to block out blight. Deflated and deplorable with a denting crush of tinfoil, and the breaks are set, and moods are squeaking. Humdrumly heaving ho. The census was coming around, and the census was all we were thinking about. And I was trying to think of a four-letter word for the prettiest girl in town. The landlords made earthquakes of rent while turning in their sleep. I spilled marbles when I sneezed. Nobody watches You Can’t Do That On Television anymore. Thirst is abating. The wildest of my hangnails is cutting up the sky. Funnels take in whatever is left.

do not mark my words they are unremarkable and I never became a machinist or a dentist or a file clerk or a coat salesman but I came pretty close to being a Little League batting instructor and the way of all things is changing all the time

Monday, March 8, 2010

where fancy is bred

JAY-Z: Someday I’m going to learn when to cut my losses and head for the hills, and maybe I’ll start to play things closer to the vest.

XENOPHANES: Ah. I see that the night’s frustrated advances on the morning are still going unrequited.

JAY-Z: What you eat don’t make me shit.

XENOPHANES: Certainly a tad of veracity in that. Though think of something emotive. There really is not the requisite amount of amorousness in the heart of the city. So, there. Yes, you see? You’ve got that.

JAY-Z: It’s not all I’ve got. I’ve got things. I’ve got plenty of things. Am I happy? Sometimes I get tired. I look at the sky. What’s up there? I know some stuff too about that. Always different and always staying the same.

XENOPHANES: Sometimes the edges of clouds do not change. They are stable boundaries of a thing in motion, this soft thing that is a coalescing of parts huddled into a porous mass. You touch on this, no?

JAY-Z: Touch on it? I will it and kill it and thrill it and spill it, and I don’t know what makes me more real to me, shit.

XENOPHANES: Most writers create a fictional world that seems very real, while you make the real world seem artificial. I am not certain if this is commendable or condemnable. A possibility is that this is merely a failure on your part, in the process of attempting to be “hyper-real” you are only trapping yourself in the cubicle of your weak imaginings and the endless use of unnecessary details and words.

JAY-Z: Yeah. Yeah. Give me a placebo. I don’t want the real thing. It’s not “real” enough for me.
XENOPHANES: There is no real except what is perceived to be real by the dull instruments of our perception. We are weak like wallpaper. We are not brave enough yet to sit in trees. We are not rich enough in willpower to believe in ourselves.

JAY-Z: If I were a rich man.

XENOPHANES: Ah! He sings at last. What dulcet tones have sounded.

JAY-Z: Jigga, jigga, jigga. That’s how I fill it up.

XENOPHANES: We don’t have to rhyme.

JAY-Z: No.

XENOPHANES: We can placate the desire for rewards just up ahead by pleasing in the present tense.

JAY-Z: I’m moving on to bungalows motherfucker. I’m way past tents.

XENOPHANES: The older the joke…well, sometimes they do age well. Wine and laughter…

JAY-Z: Go together like umbrellas with rain after.

XENOPHANES: Not exactly the stretch I’d de disposed to make.

JAY-Z: Man, I can’t help it when my love’s all gone like this. Man, I had it all, and it all sprung a damn leak and pissed away. Shit.

XENOPHANES: Frustration is a suspect device we use to deceive ourselves in the laborious practice of “moving on” or “getting over” things. We cannot be trusted in our speech at such times, and would do better to dwell in a basement room alone until these feelings pass.

JAY-Z: Let’s be brutally honest.

XENOPHANES: That sounds splendid.

JAY-Z: It’s not like Townes said. Not like that, right?

XENOPHANES: I suppose not.

JAY-Z: It’s that I’m hung up?

XENOPHANES: No. At least not enough that I would badger you about it. Now, elevate thy speech!

JAY-Z: The rainy day of my sorrow is bound in a hurricane’s skin. I am carved from desolation. There is waiting. There is a slipping away. There is a canopy of residual anger that’s keeping the sunshine away. A festering pervades everything, and presupposes all hunches based on grief or mourning.

XENOPHANES: A foreboding?

JAY-Z: Wincing is not something I attribute to the gods.

XENOPHANES: Even gods can be eaten and vomited up again. Even by their own father. We all must be made into a travesty at some point. Luckily, rocks often times are mistaken for babies.

JAY-Z: I ain’t no sucker. No. Not like that.


JAY-Z: Pardon me. It is just that I still get so upset sometimes. The lines of communication are strained. There is no way to talk my way out of this. I could flap my gums for a thousand years…

XENOPHANES: And nobody would listen for a thousand more.

JAY-Z: Every time I try it is the first time I try and I don’t want to have to try anymore. I used to wake my family up banging out drumbeats on the kitchen table late at night. I named myself after subway lines. I am so tired. So damn tired.

XENOPHANES: Weep not. We are the misshapen instruments of a fool’s ill-conceived decree. Do not rest. There is no rest. The head that is barely above water is a head that breathes. I move mountains in my sleep.

JAY-Z: It goes on. It goes on and on. What else have we but these things?

XENOPHANES: I require only gum and water.

JAY-Z: This machine runs on coffee and Sinatra. A pocketful of charm will get me far enough.

XENOPHANES: Yes. But it’s the damn patchouli stink of it all that gets me down. The shrink-wrapped sun. The muddled randomness.

JAY-Z: The TV screens get bigger as our attention spans get shorter.

XENOPHANES: In the middle of the night, in the middle of the night I call your name: AT&T, Taco Bell, Bud Light.

JAY-Z: People are busy growing hair and whistling TV theme songs.

XENOPHANES: Modifying their behavior to suit the room.

JAY-Z: The pivot of the world is wobbling. It all comes down to domestication and innate wildness.

XENOPHANES: Whereunto does thy solemnity spell?

JAY-Z: What? No. I’m not serious, just sad. Listen. We’ve got mules to pack. We’ve got bills to pay. The murals are on the walls. There is no list to the ear that listens attentively in the abstract. Jules Verne was a communist. Speak in French so I cannot know you as well. Let’s form a vigilante squad to go after the bad guys, if only there were some form of justice that would compensate for deplorable behavior. Make right turns from the left-hand turn lane. Creep back to the creek where the pebbles are all skipped and the music’s in the megaphone. Repair the words and the reading will take care of itself. Throw bowling balls through the windows of people you dislike. There’s something rainy about my moods lately. Grip the wheel like a woodcarver would, and flex your muscles for the walls. My friend’s have all been shot at with a gun at least a few times. Overly judged are the sketchings of my boy Cornelius, though not wrongly judged. Stiff upper lips are in short supply around here. Mesmerize the crowd with boredom. There is a wreck. Just look. A terrible wreck of something. Ever the thing to see birds alit there on the fencepost where that kid fell and ripped his scrotum that one summer. Thinking about one hand waving free. We go back to things. Japanese blood grass grows wild in my mind.

XENOPHANES: Let us temper our spirits some. Soaring is for the birds.

JAY-Z: It is the space between things that matters most. The pieces that go unnoticed. The slots between homes. An aspen’s leaves twisting and bending because their petioles are flattened. Light it up. People will watch, dumbfounded and stunned. And the masses eat butterscotch for breakfast.

XENOPHANES: Let them play at their games. Thinness will overtake the weakest. My instinct is for forgiveness, but my heart skirts about the rim of bitterness, possibly waiting for a return to times past.

JAY-Z: It’s annoying, huh?

XENOPHANES: You don’t always get what you need.

JAY-Z: You don’t always want what you get.

XENOPHANES: Let’s play pool.

JAY-Z: Shit. I’ll eat you up like a sandwich. Like a steak.

XENOPHANES: We shall see my friend. We shall see. Our gods are not like men.

JAY-Z: My god’s about to whoop your gods’ asses.

XENOPHANES: At playing pool, I am not the most excellent, but I do have my wily ways to overcome these cue-stick deficiencies.

JAY-Z: You cunning bastard.

XENOPHANES: Let us repair to the barroom.

JAY-Z: Now you talking.