Tuesday, June 22, 2010

a brief scatological interlude

--Do you wipe with the left or right.

--Depends. The left under most normal circumstance. The right if I really need to do some digging around, some excavation.

--Until it’s clear, right? No brush strokes of brown. No greasy curlicues of hair.

--Of course. I try to keep things tidy back there.

--Of course. Sometimes though. Well. It’s not always easy. You’ve got to get multiple plies. I mean, to get the stuff that sticks.

--If it’s muddy and sloppy back there, yeah. You do what you can. Need some good strong sheets. Double or triple ply will do the trick most times.

--Ever use recycled?

--Oh yeah. I went through that phase. It’s not as weak as you’d think. You get used to it.

--One can get used to most things.

--Yes. We are very adaptable, we humans.

--Ever wonder why they put those floral designs on the stuff? Or diamonds, or whatever?


--Possible. Or maybe for scouring purposes. To collect stray scraps.

--Could be. But, washing hands.

--Yes. Always got to wash the hands.

--Big deal in this country. In public. In private. Wash the hands. Sing a song like Happy Birthday. Scrub. Make sure they’re unsullied at last, after the TPs done its job in the rear.

--It’s useless for other things.

--Can’t use the stuff as napkins, or in the place of paper towels. Maybe as a tissue substitute.

--Maybe. But the wear and tear on the nose. No thanks.

--In some countries you can’t flush it.

--Primitive cultures. Collecting balled-up, dung-stained gossamer sheets in tiny trashcans.

--But really, who needs drinking-quality water in their toilet?

--Americans. We need the best of all worlds at all times. We have bad habits. We don’t want our waste hanging around. We want it taken away as far as possible. We want it to disappear, and we don’t even care if it has a good trip. We don’t see it as a part of us that’s now going away forever. We don’t want to think about it.

--Hate thinking about it.

--The things we throw away.

--Can’t stand the thought of it.

--Something lost. Something taken. Think about it. We’re giving something away.

--But there’s always more.

--Most definitely. You shit until you die.

--And cleanliness is next to…

--Sure. But is godliness something to strive for?

--Well, as Mr. Allen says, you’ve got to model yourself after somebody.

--You know the deities of the ancient heathens were restricted in their powers and functions? Each of them was like a god specialist. Only capable of curing or helping out with a few things here and there.

--And during the medieval period we’ve got all these saints basically doing the same sort of stuff.

--Yeah. Similar. Limited functions assigned to each one.

--So worshippers of Bel-Phegor would offer up sacrifices of flatulence and excrement.

--Absolutely. And a fart was divine stuff to the Egyptians, just as the Pelusiens venerated gas that is passed.

--Cut the cheese. Have you ever thought about that?

--Not more than most. It doesn’t appeal to me. I like the word “fart.” It’s sort of an onomatopoeia.

--Me too. I wonder if all living things partake in farting from time to time, and if they find it enjoyable.

--Termites fart more than any other creature on the planet. Those little stinky bastards. They probably love it.

--It makes sense though, in these old polytheistic cultures, that folks would think their God Of The Fundament should be regaled with excrement and flatulence. Maybe they thought of it as a form of praying, like if you held in a prayer too long then, oops, there it goes.

--Quite possible. Most prayers are selfish and foul smelling anyway. It makes sense.

--It’s always seemed cathartic to me.

--Of course.

--An emptying out. Ridding the body of something distasteful. An expelling of demons maybe.

--You know what Cicero said?

--I’m sure he said a lot of things.

--He said, “The fart is an innocent victim that is oppressed by the civilization of our time. Therefore I let out this cry of freedom to my pleasure, and exercise my right.”

--Nice. I like that. Something rebellious in a fart’s nature. A certain freedom. A clarion call against the powers that be.

--And don’t forget, they also make one laugh.

--As well they should. People who are embarrassed by their own farts…I don’t know. There’s something overly self-conscious about it, a lacking of belief in yourself. Good old self esteem, you know?

--I fart therefore I am.

--Exactly. It’s like marking one’s territory. Making a world for one’s self in a small, mephitic, cloudy corner of the universe.

--Anyway. It’s well known that only 1/3 of all humans pass gas containing methane. It comes from bacteria, not human cells.

--So the culprit’s the bacteria in our guts, not us.

--Pretty much.

--That’s something to think about.

--We wipe ourselves clean. It’s all ablutionary, right? Getting rid of the bad guys. Leaving us pure again. Renewed. Fresh.

--In a way. And think about the invectives we hurl that involve our waste material.

--Well, then you’ve got to take coprophagia into consideration too. At least insult-wise.

--Most certainly. Like in Angola, Africa for instance, where telling somebody to, “Go and eat shit,” is the greatest insult.

--I think that particular objurgation is pretty universal. The Cheyenne have a word to show a high level of contempt with another: “natsiviz,” which quite literally means, “Shit Mouth.” And the vilest insult one Ponca can give another is to say, “You are an eater of dog dung.”

--And bad events are said to be, “shitty,” and somebody who does something stupid is a, “shit head.”

--Imagine walking the streets of Edinburgh in the 1400s and having to risk having shit dumped on one’s head from a high window by a maid emptying a chamber pot or two, and her calling out, “Gardy loo!” as a warning, though not a very efficient one.

--Didn’t the king of Spain almost trigger a revolution by demanding a stop to this practice of tossing “human ordure” out of windows after nightfall?

--Sure did. The people were scared of privies and sewers. People are always scared of change, especially when it involves their private habits, things they think of as being dirty or shameful, things they’d rather not speak of in public. Shit does makes our food grow though. Manure. Out one end and back in the other. It’s very cyclic in nature. We’re kind of eating our own shit all the time, if you think about it that way.

--Kind of like the old “spiritus urinae per putrefactionem.”

--Um. Not really ringing a bell. Refresh my memory.

--Oh. Way back in the old days they had this way of making a sort of cure-all tonic. They’d make a twelve-year-old boy drink a bottle of wine, and then gather up all his piss into a receptacle. Then they’d place that piss-filled container in a basement room where it was surrounded by giant mounds of horseshit for forty days. Then they’d pour it over a bunch of human shit, and then it’d be distilled in an alembic. The resulting fluid was said to be the greatest healing potion known to man. Cured everything from scurvy to cachexia to hypochondria. Probably didn’t smell great though.

--Oh yeah. That stuff.

--Hippocrates promoted using dove dung on the scalp as a cure for baldness, and the Saxons applied the excrement of pigs to warts. I think they used cat shit for dandruff control.

--Probably worked as well as Head And Shoulders.

--Most likely. Even though we’d rather not think about it, anal grooming habits must be considered too. There are certain health benefits to keeping one’s ass clean.

--Sure. All sorts of things can go wrong between those two flabby humps of skin. Hemorrhoids. Loose stool. Diverticulitis blocking things up from above. And you know, wiping the ass with cheap toilet paper will eventually kill you. Sometimes I feel like I need a colonoscopy for my soul.

--Interesting. I wonder what that would entail?

--Not sure. I do come up with some of my best ideas when I’m sitting on the pot. Something about the relief, the slight bliss of the sigmoid colon’s tickle, that light-headed blur that comes on as things go “plop” into the waters below.

--Something baptismal about it maybe? Like you’re getting another start, another chance to go about things, only carrying a little less weight.

--A bit less of a load. Yeah. In that sense, you really are a bit more free after a good shit.

--I’m hungry. Feel like getting a taco or two with me?

--Sounds delightful. I know this place down on 24th and Mission. Their Al Pastor is the shit.

--Or it will be at some point.

--Ain’t that the truth.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

these same stale shoes

--How do you ever know?

--We can make conjectures. We can hint at understanding.

--So it is just the idea then, right?

--What else can we have about others? We only know them as our idea of them.

--Or ideas.

--Yes. There can by many.

--A capful?

--A coliseumful.

--There are other cases as well.

--There are always other cases.

--Moods dictate certain things.

--Moods are dictators of thoughts.

--And this transcends?

--This glides and heaves and seagulls and feathers and ovoids and verses.

--Whatever notions we have about others…

--There is always a snip of falseness.

--Ask for me to-morrow and you shall find only gravy.

--Something towards truth, at least, in a so-these-two-trains-leave-the-station-at-the-exact-same-moment-and-travel-at-the-speed-of-light-in-opposite-directions sort of way.

--We can be morose and guess at trying.

--If I have this conception of who it is that you are…

--Like the ship of Theseus.

--Yes. And I have these attitudes attributed to you…

--Merely bow-tie weather.

--Of course. And you also partake in this, my ascribed notion of you. You are a willing participant in this dumb show…


--Then we have together coalesced this “way of being” that for both of us can now represent all parts piecing together a whole, and this whole will be the person you are while we are together, sharing breath, crushing coke cans, spitting watermelon seeds on the rug.

--We play our parts. We blow smoke out of the ass of this same asinine master plan. The claims of the creator disband our sense of self.

--But we have Tasers.

--We have machine guns.

--We have goldenrain tree and acacia gum. Let’s chew the skinny.

--Let’s take a shot on an open goal, in that while-supplies-last sort of way.

--So. We come to see the world in this distorted way, as if we were gazing at it through a prism of our own understanding.

--Or we come to just distract ourselves with our prism gazing until something better comes along.


--Being locked inside, trapped, isolated, censored and amended…these things come to define us, how we see ourselves, and, ergo, how others see us too. A hamster? A hamster might have chance. In its wheel. But not us.

--It is our own affair, how we choose to manage our affairs.

--Say, “Atlee Hammaker.” What lights to mind?

--A pitching prospect?

--Nobody knows. It’s just like breaking boards with your mind. These things just come on like ostrich eggs. Plants fall apart.

--Give me a distinction. I’ll take a distinction any day.

--I love distinctions. I treasure being distinct.

--Being distinct is where it’s at.

--We distinctly see things in the distinct way we see them.

--Others must be sold on our ideas.

--Ideas are where it’s at.

--We have micromolar theory. We have Pavlov’s dog. We have Gestalt theory.

--Wholes and parts. Moles and farts.

--In a plain-clothed sense. Okay? Let’s take things seriously so we can laugh at ourselves later.

--Clearer than cloudlessness.

--Better. By the way, have you been for a dip in the new pool at the revamped rec center?

--Swimming is not at the center of my attention, nor does it swindle my intentions out of their chance to sprint along the course they’d rather jog along.

--And a rutabaga could be a vehicle to transport cabbage and turnips across the country.

--Just think about it.

--Will do.

--The person whom we think we know, this person, this thing that is assembled out of kowtowing blebs of inhibition interspersed with carrot sticks of fashion, this unaccountably maintained glued-together ostracon of banana-nut muffins and tuna salad, this wheelbarrow of hurly-burly, this thing can come to only act in response to itself. And the forces which seem to affect it are all internally regulated. There is nothing it does that is not conjured itself to life by its maker.

--In the maker’s self-created world.


--It is without a doubt absolute.

--For sure.

--True that.

--Influences of decision-making?

--Rattail radishes. Harmon Killebrew’s uppercut. The particular cut of clouds that happens to be, just-so-happens-to-be, filtering through the ecosystems of your head.

--Are you consumed with being you?

--With myself? Of course. It is an all-consuming thing.

--Have you played a game of pool on the newly upholstered baize of the rec center’s pool table?

--It is quite marvelous. Smooth and solid. I want to cut my lawn like that.

--You have a lawn?

--No. But if I did…

--If you did.

--Then I’d have a house too.

--Then you would.

--Then I would find the time to relax, to just relax.

--On the porch, possibly quenching thirst with a cool glass of lemonade, partaking in some shade, wearing a straw hat, getting tickled by the breeze, plucking a sitar, making nothing happen as best you can.

--These are things to be hoped for?

--Not in these parts.

--These parts are not for the faint of heart. Timidity does not do well in these parts.

--And the label says, “Bursting with antioxidants!”

--Whom can you trust?

--Somebody who is rad, sad, and nice to know.

--Somebody who can juggle more than two balls at once.

--A fraction that divides. A little thrill. Boiled eggs for dessert.

--And we keep things to ourselves. Hide. Keep secrets. Feed the garbage disposal in your head with worries.

--Why is it so hard to pick up a phone?

--It is dangerous. It is mad.

--Pick up a phone. Push some digits. Get a hold of somebody.

--Write me a reminder. Tie a rubber band around my wrist. Take in some sun. Air out your dreams.

--So, there’s this guy caracoling over by the post office.

--I don’t send out mail anymore.

--And this guy is prancing around. This guy is making a big production. This guy is dumbing himself down to whoever passes by.

--I don’t even own one stamp.

--This guy is swinging around lampposts. He’s abnegating all forms of control. He’s scrawling, “Jesus just might be on his way,” with charcoal briquettes on the sidewalk. Look around. There is nothing in this room to compare with that. Take a gander within these walls.

--Would you consider the color of these walls to be hematoidin?

--No. Bilirubin. Like the Virgin Mary’s lipstick stains on your collar.

--Like the skin of certain apples.

--Like sunsets in Taos.

--Like how mirrors keep on working even when no one is looking, there are always those things that are given.

--Givens. I adore givens.

--Those “of course” or “goes without saying” things.

--Things tacit. Things assumed.

--I move through dooms of joy. I spindle and mutilate junk mail.

--That’s a given.

--I got myself a mandrel with a washer brazed onto the threaded end.

--Lucky you. Myself, I can only hope to be as lucky as Martin Luther, who married an ex-catholic nun he had smuggled out of the convent in a herring barrel. Or live on a diet of worms, at least.

--We each have our unique opportunities in the life.

--In this life.

--We’re encourage to work hard at keeping busy and to take it easy.

--I am not badass enough to handle days like these.

--You best…you better…you bet…you be going on home now. Like right away. Like right now.

--Ralph Macchio never had days like these.

--And Abraham Linclon was morbidly depressed for most of his adult life. Who matters more, you or the rest of the world?

--More coffee please.

--Can we have frictional equivalents if those involved are not coevals?

--As long as there is somebody to lose, or something to be lost, or won, or tied, I guess.

--Oh and also, forgot to mention this: did you hear about the shooting at the church?

--Yep. It was a Mass murder.

--Damn. Why am I always the last to find out about…?

--No worries.

--Check the 5 o’clock news for lessons in geography. Dish out some soap. I am dispensable, but I don’t worry about it. Sleep will be arriving shortly. Any day now. I can tell.

--Question. Can you drive a car with only your knees?

--I can steer with my knees. I made a u-turn once with just my knees. No cops were involved. There were no plush dice hanging from my rearview. It wasn’t my best moment, but I did it. Now, strangely enough, I am proud of the event.

--Can we discuss technique? Or maybe a classic duel?

--Hippo Vaughn Vs. Fred Toney. One for the ages.

--The ages? What ages?

--Kids from one to ninety-two. Everybody knows that.

--Somebody upstairs is playing musical chairs with an elephant. While me? I find dead moths everywhere. Squashed inside the pages of magazines, in pockets of pants, on the toilet bowl’s rim, in my shoes, in cereal boxes, in the soil of potted plants, on door knobs, and of course the ones I’ve swatted into the walls or stomped into the carpet.

--I hate whispering, the sound whispers make, people who whisper…whisperers?

--It’s like lisps. Makes certain people’s skin crawl.

--Like knuckles cracking.

--Cannibals claim that the fingers are the tastiest part.

--How does one come to know these things?

--TV watching mostly, and reading TV guide, maybe some Sports Illustrated and some comic strips, the backs of cereal boxes and billboards, the small print on drug advertisements.

--And you’re always just one good haircut away from success in this life.

--Forever and always.

--Would love to get my hands on a barnful of some hard red spring, and then hold it hostage to drive up prices as demand rose for it. And all the new “food insecure” types created? They’d have a hard time convincing me of their worthiness.

--You really are one capital-A asshole, you know that?

--Hey, just following that old Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, you know?

--You talking barley, canola, cattle, coffee, copper, cotton, gold, hogs, lumber, milk, oats, oil, platinum, rice, and silver. Oh, and we say things like, “It’s the crease that gives the wheat its variety.”

--Bold. Fashionable. Lotsa luck to ya, pardner. Have you played bocce ball recently?

--Only when it’s overcast. When the sky swirls aquamarine and morganite, almost as if you could touch it, like velvet, dipped and eddying, a trove of cloaked algae-like mashes, and there’s the simmering beaked pull of sun blasting at the mottled fringes of things, the peplumed brow of the horizon wrinkling in a wash of deep luscious blues and olivine, a smug smirk of cloudy cusps blown wayward like curdled milk stirred into grape juice. We have times like these, do we not?

--We can jackknife our lives with worries. We can be hard up for love. We jut out into nothingness more than we’d like to think.

--But there are times when you hold forks, and times when pianos play themselves, and then you’ve got to take the garbage out too, you know? But there’ll perpetually be a place for Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball in the booing stadium of my sluggishness. Have you talked shop recently?

--With my mistress. With my dog. With the pool cleaner. With the guy at the deli counter. With midges and emperor gum moths. With myself.

--Let’s talk tops and bottoms. Holds and ways of letting go. Killdeers and sheep. The Great Fire of 64 A.D. that leveled most of Rome. Stool samples and recreational bowling. Tumbleweeds.

--Build me a mission and I will kiss your boots. Give me a purpose and I will settle down. Crank out a few hits from the early 80s and I’ll dance like a come-to-life mannequin set on fire. Don’t let’s now get us all distracted by the damn light of those screwy monopotassium-phosphite elitists or nothing. Lewdness is a cure for boredom.

--Case and point, but just not at me.


--Break my records. Fault my findings. Dig me a late grave. Defrost my eyelids. Cue up the harmonica music. Distract my distractions from distracting me.

--Can’t do it. We’re still on the payroll.

--We still take it to the bank.

--We have stomachs to feed and mouths to keep shut.

--We’ve got Baby Back Ribs and Bacon Swiss Crispy Chicken Sandwiches and honey mustard dressing and the cooing of doves and Del Scorcho and Mr. Rogers and Somalia and Dr. Dre and coffee as black as a moonless midnight and Jersey Shore and Grade B Dark Maple Syrup and Whoppers and Vladimir Horowitz and wind farms and Crocodile Rock and jalapenos and Nolan Ryan and putting greens and assassination theories and two-toed sloths eating human feces and nights filled with dread and hurricanes of clothes and the hazy wan glow of streetlights and mortality and sinus headaches and the height of balconies and murder raps and the stridulation of grasshoppers and the roll of the closing credits too.


--Estuaries are the most heavily populated regions in the world. Let’s move to one. I love congestion, the feeling of other humans close to me, the hustle, the bustle, the smell of many things scrunched into a whole.

--I had a girl over here last night.

--You had a girl over?

--Sure. I had a girl over here, and she couldn’t pronounce Camus properly.

--Death by firing squad?

--Too honorable. Like Saki.

--Put that bloody cigarette out.

--Oh yes. You know it! But do you think he was greatly improved by death?

--In all likelihood, well, sometimes you get too busy casting aspersions and playing rock-paper-scissors with the mirror. All things count. It’s just that certain things, well, they just count more.

--Do you believe in god?

--On my good days, on and off.

--What about on your bad days?

--Then I believe in the devil.

--There’s a fictionalized aspect to your belief system.

--I was a raised by communist transcendentalists. There is a horror to my unbelieving side which is unutterably worry-filled. I cut down trees, but I plant a few seeds from time to time.

--Would you say living through a time of war, as we are, makes one more disposed towards violence?

--One must find meaningful work. One must attempt to not throw bottles of Chartreuse at gophers. I keep my eyes peeled, and try not to be a sucker for the American Dream, whatever conniption fit of money and snorkeled happiness that happens to be.

--You are sold on idealism, on the rampant anti-hedonistic tendencies of, well, let’s take something like “freeganism” for example.

--Let’s not.

--Okay. So, why don’t we truck on over to something more substantial then? Maybe your upbringing for starters?

--First let me say that there is a certain freedom I require in the mornings.


--It’s a matter of giving yourself an opportunity to breathe in a little bliss, to wake up a bit before you have to, to slowly sip strong black coffee, to listen to the traffic rumbling by, and to the wind in the trees and all that, to feel the sun blushing your face, to stare at your foggy reflection in the steamed-up bathroom mirror, to wonder who it is you really are, before shaving of course.

--To wake, perchance to not have to dream.

--Yes. It’s ordinary stuff, in general. Like talking about how you never think about what your face looks like while you are talking to another, except maybe by their reaction to your face, the things you’re making, consciously or subconsciously, your face do.

--Like ordinary human discourse?

--Yes. Well, if there are any redeeming qualities to go begging after. That is, if the “idea” you have of me suits the “idea” I have of myself. If you scuttle and crash and bleed into my fantasy of what the world is, of who I am in it, of who you are to me, as we are both “existing” temporarily in our own “idea” of the world, if the world can be said to even “exist” at all, whatever “exist” means.

--We are but creatures of our own imaginings, and our super-sized lives are merely cornered with wakefulness. Tunnels of clotted thoughts lead to subterranean battlegrounds where cadavering ideas lie frustrated with fallow impo…

--Bullshit. Let’s not get too superficial, okay?

--All we are is surface. There is no more.

--Got a light?

--I made a fire once. It was a long time ago, in a trashcan, in an oil drum, in an old lady’s pillbox hat, in a sewer, in a grand ballroom, in a desert of powdered sugar.

--Pass the hat around. Raise some funds. Give your heart away. Learn how to type.

--Mess around? Like that? No way. Not in this lifetime.

--In another?

--Sometimes anything is not possible.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

tongue avoiding cheek

The carriers were getting bored with delivering hammers to the unaware typists. Baseballs would have been better for all involved, but just then it was hammers, and there wasn’t much to be done about it. At least not from the perspective of the carriers. The carriers had to be involved; they’d do about anything to stay involved.

Being a carrier meant being involved. That’s why they became carriers in the first place; they wanted to be involved. Staying involved was of the utmost importance to the carriers. The carriers had thoughts of other careers only when boredom struck, at around 4:30, after all the deliveries had been delivered. The carriers had ideas about other ways to make ends meet. But it wasn’t anything substantial, just flighty notions, just amorous drifting, just balled-up socks in a bottom drawer.

The carriers wore ties, and their knuckles took quite a pounding. If the wind was out pushing them around, well that was something they could handle. The carriers did not shy from wind. Sometimes though they did wonder what the wind would say to them if it had a voice. If the wind could speak would it say, “Carriers! I am the wind! Listen to my conch-shell roar. I will pockmark thee by the tans of thy hides. I wish my breath would stink of beluga caviar. My presence alone will destroy you. Scoreboard!” They had thoughts about these things.

The carriers made haste in their travails. They pounced on lesser-armed breadwinners. They out-foxed source material. There was a picture postcard fluttering in their nightmares; it was of raw ground beef, turtle shells, and a dwarf in a burgundy knee-length dress who is suffering from a blue-ringed octopus bite, all under the metallic glint of a carburetor-silver sky. Carriers had things to do at night. They made pushpin pillows. They dove from piers. They worked on their stew stirring skills. Boredom rarely entered the equation, but when it did, well, there were more serious issues going on then, and things could stay solved only if they let them.

The carrier-hammer situation was something that needed to be dealt with. It needed dealing with badly. Everyone agreed on this. The typists certainly, although very oblivious at all times, would spell-check their daydreams before knocks summoned them to the door. Oh yes. Here it was: another hammer being delivered. It was becoming too usual. The typists were golfing for nails before long, but, of course, they would only be hurt and diminished by this fruitless quest. Felled by the broad strokes of plunder and eye-patch wearing hooligans, there was really nothing more for them to do but continue typing and drink marmalade tea by the bucketful, like rainwater, only with some fluoride added in for their own upkeep.

The carriers felt it was time for a change. Recalcitrance entered the river of their consciousness like a shaving-cream pie. Hardly a minute went past when they didn’t contemplate chancing their whole careers for the dream of an uprising. The carriers stopped showering. A sacrificial, spiteful stink became their solidarity. Sometimes one of them would use forceps to pry open a superglued-shut mailbox. It rarely worked, but when it did, well, that was something special. The hammers kept coming. Droves of hammers. A murder of hammers. Hammers to fill warehouses. More hammers than stars in the sky. They were swimming in hammers, up to their ears in hammers, hammered with hammers: ball-peen hammers, claw hammers, dead blow hammers, lump hammers, framing hammers, upholstery hammers, sledgehammers, dog-head hammers, twist hammers, bush hammers, and even a few rubber mallets. Nobody was quite sure where all the hammers were coming from. But one thing was for certain: they would not stop coming.

Once a carrier asked another superior-by-far carrier, “If a hammer could swim, what would be its favorite stroke? Or would the hammer even swim at all? And why would a hammer want to swim in the first place? Is sinking in the hammer’s nature, or would it strive for the high ideals of the surface?” The question fell upon deaf ears, as the superior-by-far carrier was wearing his honeycomb earplugs, and did not bat an eyelash at anything spoken to him, ever, when he had his ears plugged like that. Silence was his m├ętier. Nothing moved him besides the make-believe music playing in his head.

Trepidation swept in, and change came on, though sabbatic in nature, which made the carriers feel as if they were merely residents shackled to the iron whims of some obfuscated higher power. If they could plant things, if they had plows and scythes and hoes, if they had seeds and acres of fecund land, if the agrarian demands of society would just get some damn balls already and rise, well, then the carriers would be able to do something productive and not have to go about just delivering this endless supply of hammers to these heedless typists. It was something to contemplate. Events were commiserating with untrod routes towards vague goals. The typists grew impatient with the capricious nature of supply and demand. Words were exchanged, though what words and between who remained unclear.

After a short “down time” among all parties, a jubilee time was set upon. The typists took their newfound hammers to the streets. The carriers, who up until this point had concentrated on delivering with a little ordering on the side, now concentrated their efforts on ordering full-time, and the relationship between these two parties, not without a dash of civility, changed. Hammers came to represent status, worth as an individual, rationality and willingness to pragmatically achieve sovereignty that would yield results of any sort. This meant not only opportunity but also danger for any hammer wielding typist, as the very hammer that made them powerful also made them vulnerable. A ravishing monster with an insatiable appetite was being fed with briskets of fear.

The carriers did not know sides; for them there was only one concomitant we. It materialized like Custer’s Last Stand and stamped envelopes in their dreams, as they lay shiftless and panicky in the cantankerous folds of sleep. What would they carry if they could no longer carry hammers? What had they done before? It was difficult to remember. Hammers had become all they knew, and they couldn’t now imagine living without them, though before this Time Of Hammers they had lived well without a single one. Somehow it had not mattered before, but now it was all that mattered. The hammers had come to dominate their lifestyle completely; they could not live without them.

The typists became no longer content with sedentary habits. Lacunae of wild nothings entwined their modus vivendi like cymbal-clashes of bright, like clanking seidels in barrooms, like the diglossic mutters of used-car salesmen committing treacherous acts of mytacism, it was all moving forward with an unprepared rattler-snap of discontent. Nobody cared about the carriers as much as they used to.

God came down to earth and said, “Everybody die!”

Monday, June 7, 2010


kids pretending they’re airplanes soaring into the wind

hang-gliding their way along the sidewalk

midair smiles pooled on their tiny faces

while something magnetic triggers a sprig of joy

a letting go

that shoots rest through the shrieked delight of horns

shake this land

sturdy and shoddy

with faded dollar signs

overt to the touch of mentioning

living at the tops that you’re not anymore

direct hits stenciled in redwhite&blue

ever the wits of wanting getting taken again

back and leashed to the tip of the tongue

under the cap of hairless reveries

we can’t hide like snails or

reinvent these same old inventions

so hills of blueberries can speak like gravel

guess my weight and I’ll buy you a five-dollar bill

just so lincoln’s face can grift through my hands

the gashouse gang has gone home for the winter

the baltimore chop has come back into style

we need belts

just not in the face

this time my


can’t take the brunt

of things

come my way


my clothes are estivating somewhere

south of nowhere

there is nobody at fault

there is nothing to attempt

a rule of thumb attacks the hand that starves it

we are creatures of advertising slogans

run away with me

you better run


run away

with me

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Swatsika Holding Company

“You’re young for your age.”

“Get distressed over it, why don’t you?”

People barked orders. A man built like a Coke machine dove under the raised wooden porch. Some folks drifted inside.

The house was large.

“People have got to be in a hurry these days. Always in a hurry.”

“These days?”

“Come off it. Go flex your muscles somewheres else.”

“I will not stand for this kind of…”

A dismissive wave of the hand.

“Most of the pictures I cropped that day were less than stellar. I am not talking head shots. If I were talking head shots, that would be different. I am talking just ordinary stuff like kids smiling or looking away from the camera or looking uncomfortable and scratching at itches under ill-fitting clothing maybe.”

“Thoughts of god come and go. The radio whiffs its own scent. We lose every time, but what is there to be lost?”

“I am not an instrument of the past to be used as you see fit.”

“Lately I’ve been having nothing but ordinary thoughts.”

“Let’s not get behind of ourselves.”

The sun was getting all dusky, bristling the rooftops with tinges of old-fashion charm.

A cannon, bereft of its cannonballs, gunpowder-less, sat unused and lost its luster on the browning grass of an ancient battle site.

“Can you really be that down if you’ve got nowhere to fall from?”

“The light of day was like a smile until that guy on the street accosted me, asking me for change, and I told him I only stayed the same. It was stupid, and I deserved his wrath.”

“Counting backwards is never as easy or as hard as you think it’s going to be.”

“Wedding receptions make me nervous.”

“The nights are becoming less forlorn but more tempered with boredom. It’s not an even trade off.”

“I guess whining can become a life style choice.”

Evening came on like a lottery prize.

“Gentleness can become a curse.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I care. I care about things that are happening to everyone. That includes me, of course, right?”

“It should. But don’t me wrong either.”

Elevators went up and down.

“A million different people, and you’ve got to choose me? Hell, I could’ve taken a taxi.”

“For all I care there is no difference.”

The washer stalled. The moon slipped its face under the dark hood of clouds. A cricket died. Behind torn curtains a symphony conductor decided that the bare essentials of life were enough for him. He’d given his soul to St. John the gambler.

“What can you leave behind when you’re flying faster than light, kind of, at least?”

“What? You take the bus. Come off it.”

“The days take off and sprint backwards low and high with or without sleep, again.”

“I only trust the voices of parakeets.”

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of…”

“I am the first lady of the land. Nobody can stop me from covering my face.”

“Veils speak their own language.”

“I have no bad habits of any kind.”

“You’re a gorgeous dancer, even if I say myself.”

“Life’s a missile on my shoulder.”

The crock pot bubbled. A star died. Television stations declared their sanity. Curves straightened up. Candles lit themselves. A song taught a piano to dance.

“Why is it always good lord? Couldn’t it be bad lord?”

At a certain point cramming into the backseat of a car became necessary and embarrassing. There weren’t enough seatbelts to go around. There wasn’t enough legroom. Kneeing the backs of the front seats was about all one could do, that or roll down the windows and let the wind blow your hair all around.

“There were some quality control issues with the merch. It needed to go through certain discrepancies, inefficiencies in the production process. We all knew there was something lacking. We’d see the stuff coming down the line, and it’d be missing certain things here and there. Not so much that just anybody’d notice, but we saw this stuff all the time, so we noticed. And it just kept getting worse.”

“That’ll take the lint out of your belly button.”

“Get off of my toes!”

“Sorry I am not.”

“You’re small for your size.”

A letter was sliced open with a pulled-apart paperclip.

“Charles Blondin funambulated his way across the gorge below Niagara Falls. He did it many times: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man on his back, and sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet.”


Pittering sounds came from the bathroom. A horse got a cough. A kitten became happily enraged.

“Luck isn’t something you can lend out. It happens in sporadic bursts of spontaneity. Just accept that and you’ll be much more pleased with the way your life happens to be going.”

“When I see your name flashing in my phone, when it’s in my inbox, when I dream you alive late at night, when I sing to you like a grasshopper would, when the morning creeps up on me unaware, well, then that’s different, right?”

“Be curt and courteous, please.”

A common cold was making the rounds.

“Just because you’re acting like a sea monster right now that doesn’t mean that you can go swimming in my pool, okay?”

“Oh that’s just paltry wingless crock-of-shit type of stuff.”

The stores were all closed for the holiday. A bird shat on a fire hydrant.

“Quit prying into my stash.”

“Ah. Let it go like a kid would a balloon.”

“Jolly was kittering with us.”


“Like tittering, but more eventful.”


“Trap the bundle of your worries under an army helmet.”

“We can be commonplace if we want to be.”

During the vespertine hours a worm crawled up out his hole to meet his maker, but all he got was moonlight.

“Kitchen appliances make or break me. I want a longer attention span. I need to dry out and give a rustle to the leaves of your rankled emotional make up.”

“Hardly the problem.”

“Don’t counter balance my tipping act. I am fairly balanced and headed towards the lewd side of things, if I can afford it.”

“Queries into the nature of new beginnings were rare. In fact, it doesn’t even warrant a mention, though I’ll go ahead and mention it anyway, because that’s the kind of lady I am.”

“I used to be able to tell the particular sound my father’s scooter made apart from all the other sounds of scooters that went past our house when I was a kid. I knew when he was going to be walking up those steps to our door. It gave me opportunity to prepare myself for the worst.”


“Like an ant?”

“No. More like an emmet.”


The leg of a TV tray buckled, causing the whole contraption to fold in on itself, and the Tupperware went a tumbling down.

“It always seemed as if she were a little too well rehearsed in the things that she was saying to you.”

“I need a break from sweat.”

“Don’t get all miffed.”

The wind of the incoming subway train was thrashing the hair of people waiting on the platform all around. A watch was dropped and lost in the inviolable territory of the electric third rail.

“Don’t curse my name.”

Cars parked. The weather remained the same.

“Sentimentality will get you nowhere mister.”

“What’ll punctuality get me?”

“Oh, you’re displaying some of that old potboiler charm of yours I see. Throw out your lines, but don’t forget them.”

The songs playing had cell-phone rings built into them. Everyone was constantly sneaking peeks at their phones.

“I am suffering from a hebephrenic form of hebetude. It’s dull and childish at the same time.”

“At least you’re not the boss of me.”

“Don’t turn the blame around on me, you son of a rifle.”

“Well, we’ve only had a few minutes to get this whole shindig together.”

“That was a long few minutes.”

Munitions were shared by the gun club with the belles lettres aficionados. Everyone won.

“I am not laughing at anybody here, including myself. I am ready to be swept away.”

“Then why are you wearing those damn sunglasses?”

“Offer a guess. Be my guest.”

“Hiding away?

“I’m not the type to haggle politics over highballs at cocktail parties.”

The UPS driver played his trumpet from the passenger’s seat of his brown truck while on his break. Oil dripped. Shopping bags filled with recycling.

“I’m really good at starting conversations, but I’m bad at making them end.”

“I need to get her out of that space she’s occupying in the universe of my affections. I don’t know what to replace her with though. Leaving it empty won’t cut it.”

“Coffee grounds and orange-peel slices.”

“My minds skips over things. It flits from this to that.”

“I’m sometimes lickety but I’m never split.”

Plastic healed the poor.

“Nobody cares about my face as much as I do.”

The tennis courts buzzed spinach-green underneath the white lights. Two possums attacked a rat.

Washing the hair with a cup of Drano cleared up all but the most disastrous of headaches.

“If it pleases you, or me, then it just might please somebody else too. Don’t you think?”

“No. Me? Hell. I don’t think. I do.”

Creditors called and were hung up on. The moon went down. Lions became un-tamed.

“You’re like the sister I already have.”

“Yes, and when it comes to salsa you were born to be mild.”

“Window washers of the world unite.”

“And we are sometimes born out of clumsiness or just breached ramparts of contraception.”

Some fresh air slipped through the window, and a few people breathed it in, deeply, with looks of un-consternated ease on their big-top faces. Rather than stand on tiptoe, many rubber-neckers merely relied on the hasty asides of those of the more gangling persuasion to tell about the action.

An oboe was thrown out of a fourth story window.

“I am lazy with verbs.”

“Go tantalize a misanthrope with your abecedarian wit, not me.”

A toe was shaved.

“Rules of thumb don’t have to be obeyed if they go without saying.”

“Say it; don’t bray it.”

“And you’re the one who checks her hair in the security-camera fed TVs in line at the drugstore.”

“Poop talk. Poop talk. It’s all poop talk.”

A Rufous-sided Towhee chirped a chewink into the milk of night’s waterfalling forgiveness.

Scrabble was played.

Getting up to leave at last, an elderly man with a chipped front tooth and thinning cupriferous hair, adjusted his rawhide belt, pulled up his drawers, made a low mooing sound, not unlike a fog horn, and, smiling glumly, fixed to make his final exit from the premises.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Terpsichorean Blues

I am cleaning cleaning cleaning my brain

I am not worried

I am clearing up some matters

I am wooled with curls

spiffy and span

I am spun with spinning

I am cooling down

I am doorbell serious

I am joy on a bumper sticker

I am set on repeat

ply and witty

I am sorting

sort of

short on shoes

I am meaning meaning meaning


I am opened and opening and open too

I am motivating yards

I am ousting a few conquistadors

purchased and ratty

I am low on sleep

I am counting down and up and all around

I am feet feet feet feet

and few between

I am orderly early

I am manageable

I am half of half of half of half

I am not so secret at all

I am bolstered with dust

clammy and intent

I am swift

I am moves moves moves moves


I am danger

I am cringed over please

I am clawing at inert places of interest

truly and liked

I am clip clip clip clip clip

I am two out of every three

I am the remains of chew

I am noted


I am chaliced

I am over ordered

I am eyes shaded

I am ornithologically challenged

hurly and husked

I am oh oh oh oh oh

I am good to my tv set









(game over)