- How would you like to live forever?
It seems a simple question, but as I look at Karl’s claws, at his tired, tired face the answer is anything but simple.
- To never get sick, to age so very slowly, to never, in practical terms, die.
I am at a loss. I can’t imagine. To watch my friends and family die? To outlive my own children? How should I answer this? With a question perhaps.
=In practical terms? How slowly?
-I am three thousand years old. The one who made me, six. The one who made her, nine.
While I finished school I attempted to write a piece of music so beautiful that on hearing it the audience would die. It was marginally successful. I studied for very many years. I sacrificed everything. My family forgot me. I had no friends. But I wrote. I wrote, and I corrected, I theorized and phlosophized, ever so carefully crafting each note into each phrase into the short form and into the long form. And in the end I couldn’t go to hear it performed. My nerve failed me. I heard it was incredible, from the survivors.
Why are we in this place now? This is the locked gate to the train we need to take. The gate to the tunnel, quite clearly the direction we need to go. But there is no booth, no turnstyle, just these metal bars, this thick chain, this massive padlock. Why is this gate here? Or, better yet, given this gate, why is this passage here?
And then there are the deep tunnels. These trains almost never run express. Yet the tunnels are there for it.
Dyna has the brains. The processing power. The sheer intellectual prowess for any solution, corectly. She has solved all problems for all time in this instant. But she lacks compassion. And this assures that her solution will not be in the best interest of living things. Or of mankind at any rate.
Look out across the river tonight. As the light shimmers on the water, so your life shimmers on the corruscated surface of time. Like time, this water will not repeat itself. It may very often look the same, but it is not the same. For all it appears to resemble itself instant to instant, for all your life appears to resemble those of your fathers, and as you must assume, those of your sons, that resemblance is pure illusion. It passes, as you shall, and it is a thing of beauty, there is nothing inherently tragic ion the fact that you drown in these waters. It is all a matter of perception.
Core dump. Let it drop. Meltdown, bleed out, hostile takover, brain storm, mental hurricane. More has been lost than you see before you. Get more out before you die. Spread the vision that there may be something to remember you by.
Gert sees Roy and she sees what she wishes Roy were. Roy sees Gert and he sees his own needs. They come from nothing and to it they will return, but in this moment they are in bliss to project their delusions on one and other. There is nothing wrong with this, this is the human condition called love. Bags of bone and pus and blood, does romance fail? In the horror of rape, violence, murder, does hope fail? When there is no tomorrow, as there actually is not, who is left to care? Where is chivalry when the unborn babies and the rotten corpses know one and others’ names?
Candlemas. Satan. Another day, another soul. Buy the lie. Fall into yourself. Creep up on those before you, steal their wills, become them, leave them empty and wanting. Hallowmas. Beelzebob. Sin the song that I sang then my daemoniac friend. Don’t try to show me anything more than what is real. Christmas. Orcus. Greed and selfishness, this is the birth of your lord, the only irony is that you are capable of irony and this. High mass. Asmodeus. What are you afraid to say? Jesus was a demon possessed of an unclean spirit? Do you believe in Hell? Where are the sumerians, the babylonians, the jews, the shintos, the buddhists, the hindus, the animists, polytheists? The christian god is a bloody useless travesty. I am unafraid to speak what so many might find fearsomely offensive, because I would rather go to hell than such a god’s heaven.
Who remembers the moment of their birth? Shall we then say the same of death? While that seems obvious, it is, of course, anything but. There are no witnesses now. The foulest pit of hell or loftiest cloud of heaven do not bear witness. And given the thesis that all theologies are bankrupt and bankrupting, who is to care? Who is to even make a meaningful effort? It was a lot easier in the days when genius was rare. The human spirit is doomed to competition, as utterly pointless as that is. Plato really wasn’t much of a thinker. But who could compete? And who dares say that now? So much thought is based on the work of ‘great’ men who were only really great by comparison, why even bother. Why even bother?
I believe in my own god. I believe in the future. I believe in life. As I believe in death. All it takes is practice. All it takes is experience. All it takes is believing in what you do. If that seems too simple, try it.
Twenty four zombies wander aimlessly along the road. Perhaps there were more before, perhaps there will be fewer soon, but fior the moment there are twenty four. And that is all that really matters to you, for momentarily they will be on you, rending you with tooth and claw. Your blood will spray across their rotting faces, but they will be silent, other than occasional, unnatural grunts of exertion from dead lungs, propelled forth simply by some impact from the effort of beating you then tearing you to pieces. If you do well, fewer will walk away. They don’t protect one another, they will wind up dazed, shattered, incapacitated, maimed and mortally wounded. If a dead thing can be mortally wounded. But you will not get out of this alive, save by some miracle. And the mathematical odds of a miracle are insurmountable. This is why they are called miracles.
The zombies smell very bad. This is your first inkling that they are coming. But how could such a charnell stench grow stronger while you simply sit? This is an odor one might stumble across, but it shouldn’t be one that stumbles across one. But it is about to.
I am a collaborator. In ways that few can understand. I have sold out, yes, but I also use other’s works. The english language is so wonderfully imprecise. What do I mean when I say hot? Cold? High? Fair? Free?
The most beautiful woman in the kingdom looked deep into the dragon’s eye.
-Why did you do this? She asks, indicating the smoldering ruins.
-It is my nature, he breaths quietly, carefully sparing her from immolation for the moment.
-How can destruction be a creature’s nature?
-It is destruction to you. It is the creation of gorgeous charred, smoking ash to me.
Why look at me wirh anger? Are you so incapable of seeing yourself? Are you so full of fear that you cannot look within? What are we competing for? I believe that I really do have all the oxygen that I need. I’ll go get another glass of water. The odds are against you wanting all the food I like, or scotch, or women, or music, or art, or beer. What do you have to gain by shutting me down? Would you not be better served by bringing yourself up?
-Sing that song
-I don’t remember it
-How can you not remember the greatest song you wrote?
-At the time you said that my music, while mathematically correct, was not very nice to listen to.
-So you just forgot it? How could you have believed me?
There is structure in everything. The most random sequence of events that we can conceive, the most bizarre, unfollowable chain of coincidence and improbability is ordered. If we cannot grasp it, that says more about the way our minds work than it does about the true nature of things. The universe was created, it exists, it shall fade. All is flux. But everything is caused.
Can you see the light at night, through the trees, where the moon and the stars are peeking? It is never really dark. Even in the new moon, the stars are out. And clouds glow when it is overcast.
The trains are all out of order. I have no idea when I will get home. It is an alternate reality. The sixes are running on the one tracks, the f’s are on the 6, I see your nose in the air and I wonder if I look like that too. This is not a question of why, a question of where, but a question of what. I do not know if I will get home. It is my participation in this consensual mass hallucination that gives me any faith at all. And a shaky faith that is becoming. This is a great maze. As good as any in which a rat could die. One might expect the 4 to be on the 6’s line. One might be disappointed. Not only is nothing quite as one might expect, it isn’t even what it seems. I just walked from station to station. Aboveground, mind you, below is just a fantasy for the moment. But predict the direction, step up and go. Well, the pizza man did give me a minor correction. But you can see the vents. Hell, you can see Manhattan.
I wonder how much power I just wasted. It was worthwhile finding all that access, of course, but I may be reduced to pen and ink on paper soon. O dear, o dear, boohoo, boohoo. It is quite a beautiful book, although my pen is mundane. So beautiful, in fact, that I have been loathe to mark it. It wouldn’t hurt to be forced to use it. Well, nothing really hurts, I imagine I could find another after I use it. Everything hurts, but nothing too terribly. We all entered this car through a half opened door. An opened half door? Hard to describe, so much easier to see. There are pairs of doors, eight to a car, four to a side. So, eight single doors to a side. Only one side can be boarded in my experience, likely anywhere in the system, I’ve been through most of it. Anyway, eight doors open onto a platform and in we go. Not so this evening, opened with the operator’s key no doubt, but there was only one door. One half of one pair, that is. One eighth of the full complement.
The book was ruined. By a cat I think. It doesn’t stink anymore, but it’s still discoloured and misshapen. O, my poor little book.
Given the opportunity to do something useful I played a video game. And so I am boggled by the sheer volume of other’s work. Or perhaps I am dismayed by the depth of my own laziness. Or both. Regardless, I am not too terribly uncomfortable to note that many other’s work is not all that interesting. Is that a criticism of my own? I suppose it could be. As one who finds the events of my day to day life dull in comparison to the thought processes that they elicit and are somewhat elicited by I am probably not the best judge. I have lived through enough events that others might find fasinating and/or exciting to know: This is all that there is, and it is enough. Think about it, and so make more of it.
The map shimmers in T’kai’s head, subtly reforming. He had to re-download despite the risk of being traced and thus found, because the data was obviously out of date. His pale grey eyes trace the edges of this bridge, and now he can place it. He has some idea of what he might find on the other side now too. It is damnably cold up here in the wind, without cover. And his tunic and linen pants are woefully inadequate. But the isolation is a very good thing. If they find him now they will surely kill him. Linking for long enought to get the map makes him nervous. He runs a slightly tremulous hand through his long, blue-black hair. It appears that this bridge must have been built so that the settlers from the other side could cross to where he is and go back the way he has come for food, supplies and whatever might be their idea of fun. It looks like a fairly small settlement on the map. Little in the way of entertainment, sure, but hopefully also little in the way of TL enforcement. And he doesn’t much care about entertainment at the moment. His is far more concerned about avoiding COPs and LPBBs. So he crosses the bridge and continues along the path. It hasn’t been used by many terrestrial vehicles. It wouldn’t supportanything sizable. This is probably a good sign. It might mean that the inhabitants all have or share ABVs or that they hardly ever come this way because SBBs handle the village treck for them; these reasons would not bode well. But T’kai chooses to see this in a positive light. They are probably luddies, he tells himself again, and either they will not be wired enough to recognize him from any ‘wanted’ holo, or they would support, at the very least tolerate a fellow luddy.
Bryan adjusts the fittings on his studs gently. The readings are still unclear. Fading, in fact. Perhaps it is interference, not the equipment. That would mean that the perp is either getting far enough out of range that background radiation is interfering with the sig-tracker or that he has cover from some luddies. Neither possibility really appeals. He does not want to have to give this report. So he continues concentrating, although he is already well past the point of exhaustion.
Look across the river. Is it a river? It is flowing water. Perhaps a channel or canal though, it’s banks are so well disciplined. More like walls, in fact. But running water is magic, and so does this move. Through the middle of the neighborhood, under the train overpass, by the parking lot and past the vacant lot.
It is hardly Saul’s fault that he is jewish. Nor that his parents got him to go to Hebrew School when he was too young to know any better. But now he knows. He knows that he has allowed himself to become a part of a culture of alienation. His family and their friends usually assume it is an alienation born of some superiority, but after talking with the Rabbis and thinking about it for himself Saul wonders. He wonders if it isn’t just an alienation for alienation’s sake. It is good to keep one’s culture. Is it good to declare it better than all others? Ryan wonders too. But now might be a bit too late.
The emerald greens and saphire blues of hill and valley bottom, streams and bush; its garish beauty and boundless liveliness makes one comfortable and relaxed. The sweet smell of flowers in bloom, the gentle buzz of polinating insects, the gurgle of water passing over stones. It is so easy to get lost in it, to close ones eyes and become one with the place... that is, generally, when the trolls come and devour you.
The old man does not sniffle. Rather, he glares hungrily at the young lady who is doing so. It is an evident role reversal. One might expect an older fellow, whose immune system has seen better days, whose sinuses must not be all that they once were, to be troubled by the occasional sneeze or drip on this icy cold day. But he is immune. Something has happened to this old man, some fundamental change of physiology or physiognomy. It has also touched his mind and spirit, for the rage in his eyes is utterly out of keeping with the enormity of the lady’s crime. She has simply come into this warm train car from a cold platform and now her nose is dripping, and so she sniffles. And he seethes. He looks, quite frankly, angry enough to kill her. He will, in fact, do worse. For he is a snot vampire.
-They ugly tho
-No, I be workin out at my house
-This guy’s the laziest... ever
-I got my chiseled
-Don’t know that
-Yo, know who I be with?
-But ya gotta hold on
-I do that
-I can do six o’ them suckers, no lie
Consider this then, Unasked for and unpromised, mists of time and jewels of space. Deformed, or re-coalescing. Stretching out to new eternities and infinities, collapsing to infinitismal moments and singularities. We think we understand? Understanding precludes itself. The question begets an answer that is inadequate to the question. The answer can only be given in terms that the question is prepared for and by. Our understanding is as great an illusion as that which we pretend to understand. Greater, perhaps, if we pretend to understand the conflagration that is poised to consume us. What right has anyone to act superior? Is it any wonder that such people get persecuted? Self-fulfilling prophecies come true, and the instant falls into the well of forever.
-Don’t let them in! she hisses. I don’t know. They’re here... I can’t imagine that they’ll go away unsatisfied.
-What would you have me do? I reply. She is at a loss. She realizes the issue as I have.
-Why don’t you... can’t you just... o... damn... I don’t know, she ponders.
Does no one but me see the obvious resemblence between a person chewing gum and a cow chewing cud? Only the cow is slightly less disgusting, because that’s actually something it needs to do.
Editing has never been my strong point. I’ll learn, I suppose. Revise, revise and revise. But by the time it makes it to the page it’s already gone through a bit of revision, generally. So what, it could be sharper? I don’t know. I fear it’s already above most of the audience. Elitist that I am. But NYC has taught me a bit about stupidity. The ratios are the same everywhere. 90% of people are stupid, no matter the population density. The irony of NYC, then, is that so many believe, simply by virtue of their being here, that they are witty and urbane. Well, urbane they may be, perhaps by definition anyone living in a city of over eleven million people might be considered urbane, but they are, by and large, far from witty.
-Wotan schooly gruel brick, ripper on the cheap!
-Hi, need a pickup? My guys on a benchcut! Bags full o’ lite. Meanwhile, me with no safety glasses on. Can he come? He knows himself. Get back to your position? You weren’t in his hairs. That’s all right. Rabble rouser.
-Dank cool. Right out then.
-Rip it. Here ya.
So I dank underbell, find a new spot in my doorstop, clarify the stepsit. Shiznit if I don’t loose the breakheart shortwhile. Course it’ll be hackin the bracken shortwith but now’s the time.
-Schooled bra. Donkeys mercy and grasses.
Lord tar fish. In a world without end things must come to an end, things must come to an end, things must come to an end.
Hard to believe. I slept past fuckin’ harlem. Past the goddamned bronx. 181. A to far rockaway. shit. bad news? all relative. What are you afraid of? Think I was kicked off the F goin where I wanted to go. Bullshit. Pissant MTA. Glad I don’t hafta go to work tomorrow. Unreal. Who’s the ciient? Who you makin’ happy with this bullshit? Unbelievable. Don’t you got somebody to love? Welcome to reality? Think you can hurt me? That smoke creature, green glowin’ eyes... love and death, come now, really. Mercy? Yeah, right. Another bloody corpse droogies, 181 and what? Nowhere. Now here, now in butt fuck fuckin egypt. Who you fuckin with bitch? Why don’t you attack a cop? Is that where it is? Whole lot of nothing. Time to stop listening to people.
An unlimited supply. This is death, kids. Hope you weren’t expecting an explanation.
Sar looks out across the waves. The moonlight breaks into static across them, a cohesive beam making its way despite being badly broken. As broken as he feels. There was hope once, he remembers. Those were the days. Yes they were, the freakin’ days. Now he has this moonlight, this river, and that smell of stale smoke. Civilization burned itself away. And those who remain are no longer of it. What will it take to stay alive these days? Murder to live, rape to procreate, theft to eat. These are new days. O yes they shall be.
I don’t even wince as the lasers of her eyes play across my ruined face. The bits that are not blackened and cracking or reddish pink and peeling have already crackled and smoked away to bone. I shall have to grow a new face again. It’s ok, these things happen. I’ll miss it, like I did the last, and the one before that. As long as I can remember I’ve liked my faces. But I guess she hasn’t. Or is this just her nature? It’s hard to say. She certainly is an exquisite beauty, a fine paragon of breathtaking gorgeousness. Perhaps she is just trying to get me up to her level. But the burning is so painful! And the healing so damnably itchy! I wish there were some other way. Ah well, this is how it’s always been, and, I suppose, how it will always be.
We were doing pretty well until Tom sank the house. Other than that it was going good. Well, there were the elephant size maggots, but they didn’t bother us that much. They kept to themselves, did their own things. After they ate Robert, anyway. They were pretty docile after that. If they wouldn’t have pissed the sulphuric acid all over everything or shat the flaming briquettes. It was a rough week occasionally. But Charlie took it all in stride, until he slipped in the piss while his leg swiftly dissolved, slammed his head on a briquette which set his hair instantly ablaze and crashed through the sofa, the wall, and into the lake. If Tom had just left well enough alone. Well, next vacation I am just not going to believe all the rave reviews. Or hopefully at least not pay the full rate!
What are you hiding from? Reality can’t be any worse than my imaginations. Listen to my heartbeat. What gives you the right? What gives me the right? Is this a language? Red Hook it is, still, straight out of HPL. Ain’t crime glamorous? Would almost leave me a racist. Except for my imagination. Is that, in the final analysis, what the angry lack? The imagination to see what they themselves might become? Will become? Are?
What is horrible is funny. Maximum horribleness, maximum funniness. I try not to laugh. To make myself laugh I really have to break it down. Dave Barry gets a grin. But my brother needing two bullets to his head to take him out, and even that didn’t kill him, just sent him into a coma, now that is funny. Why will noone laugh with me? What can I say? I watched my mom go ever so slowly from apparent perfect health to a wheelchair and catheter. I visited my dad on the hospital bed where they cut thirty feet of his guts out. But it stopped the cancer. Which one’s funny? If by that you mean which one can I laugh at, neither. None of the above. But I am going to die. And that, my friends, is funny. And since it’s my joke you can bet your ass that I am going to laugh.
Inspiration is relative. What is inspiring? How inspiring? Are you inspired? How inspired? To do what?
At Broadway and Houston there is a gas station. I mean the one RIGHT on the corner. One short block east is the yellow metal gate. The space it protects is shorter than a street block, much shorter than an avenue block. The gate doesn’t truly protect it, for it is only on one side; the other is completely open. The hours that the gate may be open are somewhat unpredictable. One can usually pass through after nine, but don’t make any important plans that rely on that. How important could a plan be that rests on going through the gate on only one side of a parking lot? Not much of a parking lot either, room for three or four cars at best. And rarely used as such. As one comes out of Broadway Lafayette station, having determined that the gate is indeed open, one turns to pass through and one’s eyes inevitably see the flourescent orange paint. A puddle, a splash, a splashed puddle, now dried. Frozen in time. Freeze dried flourescent orange puddle splash. There forever now? Perhaps... forever is a long time. New York is not much of a forever city. To many of it’s denizens it certainly seems that way, but not even they can miss the flux. Of course one can choose to ignore anything. Still, if it is eternal it is eternally changing.
What makes me think I can do this? Pure illusion, that. What makes me think?
New York City. Long avenues of light. The little streets. Consensual mass hallucination. The difference between a street block and and avenue block. The difference between east and west sides, their trains, there connection to Jersey and the Long Island boroughs. The difference between uptown and downtown and their connections to the Bronx and Staten Island. Via Brooklyn too of course. Long Island Borough number one. The center in many ways. The urban suburb. The crossroads. Believe I’m sinkin’ down.
One must pay attention to where one is, or one finds oneself in a mess more often than not.
Red leather flats with triangles cut around the top at about of the arch of the foot and a strap almost halfway up to the ankle over pale blue socks with red roses. The roses appear rather detailed, embroidered or dyed with red, black and green.
Kevin is looking for the truth. It is snowing in Hades. He’ll look here now. But everything can change ever so quickly. He knows this too. It’s all about the shoes. Kevin keeps his eyes on the shoes. Herein lies superfluous wisdom. Shoes say money or sex or comfort or contrarianism. Kevin is looking for the truth in this cold hell and he is looking at shoes. Those boots... comfort and money. Those pumps... money and sex. Those tennis shoes... comfort and contrarianism. And maybe a little sex. O hell, might as well leave it off the list since it’s an operating principle at some level in all of them.
Good god that’s heavy! Slaves of dreams, forever striving. How hard is it to be happy in this moment? Not necessarily content, but blissful. Happiness is an inadequate description. Some people are happy watching others fail, some people are happy insulting and ridiculing others, some are happy watching whatever pablum the corporations care to feed them on the idiot box. Happiness isn’t the right term for appreciating this moment. It is gratitude, it is wonder, it is faith and it is delirious freedom. It is bliss.
If only it were easier to share. It is so much easier to join the combat. The emotional sparring, the one-upsmanship, the antithesis of compassion, the cruelty, the insensitivity.
That is easy. But that is far from bliss.
What I think I hesitate to write. My fantasies are not even to be given the raw flesh of letters. They’ve done some damage in the past. Been involved in the end of relationships. In more ways than one. Sufficiently terrifying thoughts can be used as blackmail, emotional, financial or otherwise. And I am excited by terror.
As good as reading is for the mind, writing is much more of a challenge. Make something from nothing. Now. Well, that isn’t exactly true, make something partly from your experience, partly from the nothing that is your imagination unrealized. Realize it. You can make anything you want.
Nice hair, dear. I imagine that your personality is less beautiful. But that’s just my wicked imagination. Is it? How much of imagination is based on experience? Aye, there’s the rub. When does imagination contravert experience, and how? Given that we know what we know, how challenging must it be to know what we don’t know, or harder still, to know what we know isn’t? These are the questions for me. I don’t feel like arguing. So many arguments are sophistry. Logic isn’t math, as much as it may pretend. It can be twisted in any way the user desires. Not a hard science.
Is this hard to believe? You should read some of the things I’ve read then. Rabbis who know how to frame. Looking for wisdom I find elitism. God’s chosen people. Very good at argument, but fundamentally flawed. Jewish prophecy is not inherently superior to any other, sorry. It isn’t even really that old if you were using that excuse.
Billy has got to find that book! He rifles through the stacks in vain. He knows it should be here. He knows it must be here. This is the ‘prophecy’ section after all.
Bits and pieces. Meltdown soup. Homogeneity and heterogenity. Every day uniquely the same. Like every person.
Ralph: It wasn’t like this when we got here.
Sam: You mean when we arrived or when we took posession?
Ralph: Fuck you and your semantics you sonofabitch! (shoots Sam in the head)
You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. You really don’t. It’s inconceivable. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I was born. You want ugly? How ‘bout a child molestor that founded a country? How ‘bout genocide? How many dead let you catch the drift? A continent of corpses. How many? How many do you need? Let’s catch some perspective, shall we? Pride? What are you looking for? Really? Does this hurt? How ‘bout this? When does your nervous system give out? When do you say -enough? Wgen do you go into shock? No idea, have you? Limits? Where?
Boo fucking hoo. Forgot the godammnedsonofabitchin CD. No SC for me. Hoist by my own petard, as it were. Well, good, force me to write. How do I top Por? Who has read it? What a piece. The french might say. Note my lower case f. I have no use pther than food for people who act as if inherently superior. As such, I have almost no use for myself.
When will we find out how much of what we want and when, why?
It isn’t really broken, it just seems that way. It is not inefficacious. Just useless. Time was, o yes, time was when. But trouble not and no trouble, the game persists. The genestream rides on. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. What is great, in the scheme of things? Grand Central. WTC gone. Empire State? What’s great?
Is hairspray a venal or a mortal sin? Regardless, there it is. Well, might be mousse... still it is an affront to god. While makeup generally makes the wearer look dead or beaten up, the explosion of one’s head makes one look... exploding?
Surreality. Remember ‘The Roads Must Roll’? We eagerly await evolution. signal malfunction, train trips emergency, here we sit. Forever? At least my schedule is shot... SO WHAT? Although I will bitch about Apple’s design of the iBook C. But I guess they knew better. I’m on this train... did I?
That was fairly impressive. Open-midedness and battery-charging both. Effective and affective. Relish the is. Granted, tough times too, so slow, so painfully slow. But it is now anyway. Where would I hurry? Death? Shall I write another dialogue of words that could never be said between people who could never exist? Great piles of words accumulate. I said -Welcome to the meltdown. Do you know what I meant? My meltdown is omnioccurent. The world’s is cyclical. Comme ci, comme ca. Structure is everything. There is no meaning in the message. Rather, the meaning is only what you make of it. Both what you can make of it and what you will make of it. Heart’s blood.
All about the money? Multi-facted question, that. Not at all, not entirely, but let’s not be naive. No one’s given me something for nothing in ten years. My own doing? Certainly, but also not. The days of the hippy are over. Well over. It is well that they are over, and it is some time. Socialism doesn’t work. Is human nature dog eat dog? Man eat man? If not entirely, close enough. The scarcity theory is well enough believed that it becomes fact. If I don’t take care of myself, who will? And I have no desire to take care of anyone else anymore.
All I never wanted. A dream come true at that. Mercy is not the way to find out what it costs. No dream so fine, no power so untapped. Are you crying? These are tears. Hot and salty. This is death. Stinking and innocent. The stench, the thick sweet stench and scent unruined. Yours, mine, meat and mind.
The greening has not begun up here. The trees are still skeletal, the ground still brown. I knew there was an ocean out there. Salt marsh? What grows there? Riparian systems are damned complicated though. Maybe freshwater here, maybe brackish. I’m not a fluid dynamicist, as fascinating as I find it. Indiscipline.
Don’r bother to think it but that you write it down. So much lost, so much loss.
Ah, but the good life, what one might have had. Still, what one has and what one had; no mean condolence. I wrote criticisms on Brahms when I was in school. My lowly community college. Even subjected his work to Schenkerian analysis. With my Columbia Doctorate sonofabitching professor. Harvard must have a fine music school. But mine was fine as well, I learned enough to know that this is good. Not quite great but very, very good. The Rock and Roll artist, yes. Freedom and sheet music can be seen as mutually exclusive. Was Zappa really rock? Yes? King Crimson for that matter? It doesn’t matter, interpretations being as subjective as they are. But still it’s fun to think about, as someone who’s been on both sides. It is a good life and I am not unhappy that I do not have to work so hard on dead men’s art and come up just barely wanting. I love Boston and I shall fall forever short of Cambridge, Harvard, MIT et al. But as a philistine who questions the value of formal education, as a crazed artist who questions the value of elitist higher, higher education, as an anarchist fascinated by the dissolution of the Ivy League value now turned to diploma mills for the very rich I am grateful. How jealous? Not too. It’s beautiful. I have seen things that I never would have without being so close to the edge. And I can still appreciate these very, very fine things. Probably more than those who have had them all the time for all of their lives.
Brick and white trim, brick and white trim. The salt and pepper bridge. The Charles, The Common, the squares, The T. It’s hard to not want to be here. New York is great. Boston is greater. Smaller, more intense, like a big Downtown Manhattan. A river runs through it. And there is plenty of culture that isn’t quite so effete. But it is legitimized by proximity. There must be very, very proud working class people here. There are in NYC and this city has more to be proud of. The greatest city in the world? Doubt it. But neither is New York if one can appreciate it objectively. I don’t see how there could be one. I haven’t seen Paris, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Dubai, Beijing or a hundred, perhaps thousand other candidates yet, but so far I have to say there is always something somewhere else. And it is all worthwhile.
Harvard has a wireless net and I am locked out. It was good enough to read my MAC address back to me and I am literate enough to know that this means I shouldn’t be hacking around on it, but it’s nice. The resources here are inconceivable. But when the alums can pay for ten million dollar buildings, when I can have a room gratis in one of the most beautiful buildings on one of the most beautiful streets in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods just because my Mom writes good books I know that this is the land of milk and honey; for some.
This is very nearly a year ago. Tearing my guts out for so many years and nothing worthwhile? Well, much is worthwhile/ Nothing to sell said the mercenary.
To speak of and to Lori virtually. That may well be all that there is left now. Her behavior is unconscionable and as great as my attraction it is tinged with more than a little distaste. From the excess that leads to the fullness of her figure and teeth trouble to the importance of polyamory to her. I will not take responsibility for this. I have been considered quite a gentlemen by some parents, too much so to respect. I have been romantic, more than once, if I don’t keep it up all the time that is at least partly because I see it as being somewhat antithetical to sollid companionship. How can you laugh and play with someone with whom you are being chivalrous all of the time? And so, excuses done, what I would, perhaps will say:
No, I will not see you. You must pick one of three impossible things to do for me if it really is important to you that I do so.
One, you could introduce me to a woman who is truly available. If polyamory is really so important to you that is the only logical way to acheive karmic balance. She must not be sleeping with another man, she must not be living with another man. And I suspect that this is impossible in NYC.
Or two, you could return the seven hundred dollars I ‘lent’ you for your health insurance. If you want to be my equal I see this as very elemental equality. That you should not have such a financial debt to me, nor feel that I in any way owe you this money. I won’t even bother to mention some of the possible implications of that belief as I have no desire to insult you. I can live without it if we manage parity in our community or if you can acheive the third impossibility, but here is the second. That you come up with this money which really was called a loan at the time, and return it to me.
Or three, that you submit. In an utterly non-American antifeminist fashion. We play at this and that is great, really very enjoyable, I hope for us both. We know about lifestyle, we talk about it, but I think that you are not really capable nor desirous. I can’t blame you, I know that I would not be and we are probably at least as similar as different. But this would be an adequate impossibility, a true show of equity. For I can let you play around as long as it is under my will, I can give you fairly ridiculous amounts of resources if you are literally of me, I would show you as much romance as you could stand for your unconditional surrender.
So there you have it. My little paraphrase of ‘Scarborough Fair’. We can make something work if we can make any of these work. And I know that I am utterly unreasonable, but that is how I live my life. I am a tyrant with myself, a caring, compassionate tyrant, and why should I be any less with those I love?
Have we experienced some sort of paradigm shift? Is there something new here? Minute by minute there is always something new. What do we recognize, what can we perceive? History only repeats itself insofar as the patterns are recognizable, and that is always a matter of perception. Self similarity at different scales in no way implies self-identity. The details in the patterns are changed, that is the nature of patterns. It is simplicity itself and it is infinite complexity. Going forward is always going forward, it is never going back, but it is based upon what went before. And it is very much self-referential. We must not obsess upon the past, but now is the logical conclusion to then. As what will be inevitably follows now. The patterns are.
There is a novel here somewhere. Help me look for it. Help me find what is within me. Enough pain for two. Why treat me so?
-What have you done? Who’s blood is this?
Madness? Well, all the witnesses are dead. Richard is trying to control himself. It’s very nearly admirable. If he hadn’t just emptied a clip into a crowd of innocents. Well, he got every single one of them, sparing them the post trauma of having seen such a bloodbath. Perhaps that is admirable?
This guy is closer than he needs to be, and smellier. I wonder if it is a social experiment, if he’s drunk or nuts. It’s OK, I am all of the above from time to time. From time to time, from this time into that time.
Sometimes thinking outside of the box is all that we have.
That man is seriously into his music. He’s got his navy blacks on. He’s black too. The razor got a little close in a couple of spots or else he has one of the strangest pattern baldnesses that I have ever seen. His shirt is well pressed, but there is an asymmetry to the crease in the back that is slightly disturbing. Non-euclidian as HPL might say. And he waxes very nearly epileptic. Likes his music, yes.
Now this girl likes her music too. Different time. Same place? Into it, regardless. Shame of this form, this cutup in reverse, is that I do not necessarily know where and when the last part was. I don’t even necessarily remember the inspiration for the last part witrh any accuracy.
All I have left is the impact. The impact on my senses. I cannot criticize nor, at this point, even really comprehend.
It’s good to learn. Every day I learn here. Brooklyn is the smallest of boroughs in square footage and I get around a bit, but I don’t think that I will ever see all of it. There is some threat of becoming lost here. But I am close to where I want to be. Relatively.
I can’t really explain it and I wouldn’t really want to if I could
- They’s a dangerous bunch of kids I warrant.
- Yeah, but they still are kids.
- Doesn’t make ‘em any kess dangerous, does that?
- S’pose not. Look how they got Ralphie
- And Teddy
- And Billy
- And Johnny.
- That’sa lotta blood there.
- Ayup, shore iz.
-S’pose we oughtta run?
-Well, ‘ceptin’ that that’s what Ralphie did.
-Yep, I do s’pose that’s a fact.
-Ayup, if it ain’t. And Teddy.
-U huh, he was a-runnin, waren’t he?
-Shore was. Billy too.
-M hm, Billy was running when they blew his legs right off, yeah he was.
-Yeah, well, I bet Johnny was about to run.
-How would they a’known that?
-Can’t say fer sure, maybe them is psychic kids. Or maybe it was sumfin to do with his screamin and standin up. Even I thought he might be about to run.
-Wunner if’n they killed him ‘cuz you was thinkin that.
- Maybes er maybes not, I kinna doubt it. Reckin more the standin and screamin.
A story to be told then. To be written down and left behind. For we’ve nothing else to leave. For nothing else that we leave will remain. Consumed by icy desert. Consumed by time. Or consumed by them.
We are nowhere. The middle of it. In some huge ancient corrupted edifice in a dark and sunless city. This was the heart of their civilization. To the end and toward the end. Do we see into our own futures here? Every giant brick breathes untold tales of unfathomable age. Memory’s lost in fading corridors. And still that tower stands. It pierces cloud and sky. Though silence is forever now.
It is a place beyond fear. The heart cannot comprehend, the soul cannot hold the feelings that otherwise might come naturally in such a place. Because of it’s impossibly unnatural state. The inconceivable hugeness of the architecture, the ungraspable scale of this city. The very bricks the size of the largest buildings of men.
We flew in in chartered planes from K. Now we have no living pilots. We will have to freeze or shatter on the winds. Heart of life dearheart, future passed to come again, to see again. And without jealousy, for within: innocence. I made sport of language and language of your sport. For I am at least as mad as my men called me, and that is mad indeed. I will find the entrance to that tower, with or without Donague. He’s a large man, has served me well and may again, but prone to fits of apopleptic rage one of wich is now approaching. I cannot blame him. Watching our complement of eight reduced to two by the razor winds has made him understandably frustrated and angry. As it has deepened my madness. Evidently.
But we woke alive this morning. We did. Joanes didn’t. Although we were all three asleep in the same room last night.
A pile of meat in the corner? A pile of meat that had been Joanes. Blood and meat. Skin and loss. I do not believe that I will be reporting to his family. I do not believe that Donague and I can last this day. And nught.
It was while excavating the ruin of Al’Ak’Azbuk that we found what Chelten believed was a map. Carved into the south wall of one of the largest buildings, what we agreed must have been a common area. Joanes thought it a temple, Chelten a meeting hall, and I, my cynical self, a market. It would not have been impossible for it to have been all three I suppose. But each of us was looking for more evidence to support his own theory.
And we each found it. The same evidence suited each of our purposes.
The amphitheater was a market pit to me. Joanes was sure that the block of stone at the front was an altar, not a podium. Chelten and I were beginning to accept the possibility of a multiuse area, if only to unite against Joanes.
These frozen drops.
The window pane, outside
By definition, the how is why
Well, damned if god jkust don’t keep makin’ more of ‘em. Every time I turn my head, there they is. However many I eat there’s more. More more’n more. Guess I’ll be busy my whole lifetime. Women. Watchagonna do?
The best lessons are expensive. Not like Harvard expensive, not like lost years expensive, more like broken heart expensive.
I see why I left this place. Nothing happens here. Nobody has a new thought. This must be comforting for some. Because they do stay. In fact, they never go anywhere.
ca va son dier
Don’t feel like writing today. His dead, dead eyes.
Not easy ever. Anger, love, what shall it be? Where from, where to? And last but not least, why? Am I fooling anyone? I am certainly not fooling myself. Here and now, there and then, ask me once I’ll tell again.
Another day, another genocide.
Fear? Not in my vocabulary, love. Loathing? Well, perhaps a little bit.
Deep shit motherfuckers.
Gaia. There is a certain frantic aspect to her gyrations when viewed at this time scale. Of course, few but Grossman can slow down far enough to see it and retain sanity. On the other hand, perhaps he has not retained it. Yes, sanity, like time, is relative.
He has lived a very long time, in their scale. Centuries don’t mean much too him anymore. Millenia are a reasonable pace. Some accident, Harry. Some ‘accident’.
This is Grossman. See Paul Grossman. See the pot-belly. See the green eyes. Welcome to forever. How does it feel to watch them die? How does it feel to watch your friends and family die and fall to dust? How does it feel to watch everything die?
The scenery is flux. It was a long time ago that he had to face these questions. A long, long time. A forever time, a time forever. But they never leave him. For the reality is still the same. Are these his great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren turning to dust now? Does it matter?
The trees are visible. The foliage isn’t, really. It’s a blur. seasons pass like seconds. Leaves come out, turn, fall, are gone and come out. Like a pulse. The pulse of life at a normal, mortal, scale. Paul tries to remember life at that pace. And cannot. Amazing what a few thousand years do to the mind.
What he can remember is how the machines turned on him. Is this what blew him out of time? Did they really embrace him? He remembers being electrocuted by the toaster that spring day. Looking out across the yard. Fall. He doesn’t really remember how the trees looked because it’s been too long. But he does remember that that was the day that things started going wierd. Ham on Rye.
When were we ever so sure? To be young again, naive, even stupid. Those were the days, yes they were.
Today was a banner day for asocial behavior. Time to leave New York. I become more like it with every affront.
It’s not as easy to leave as one assumes. That whole one foot in front of the other thing. That whole journey of a thousand miles.
Billy sings along with the Beatles at the Tea House. Well? Well, are you any better than Paul or John?
-I hope that you have got my money. Or this might become a Very Bad Scene. Because I do have the flesh-eating lizards.
-Uh, yeah, sure, I got yer money, of course I do.
-Well, where is it?
-Um, it’s right here, right here somewhere.
-The lizards are mighty hungry, y’know.
-Yeah, yeah, I know, I saw Don, what was left of Don, I got the money sure.
-You hope so. I like to keep ‘em hungry. But not too hungry. They hope not. You’s good eats.
It’s good to be stupid, innit? Yeah. ‘Cuz stupids die. Get out. Get free. Doncha gemme wrong, smarties die too. Just less vividly. Unless a stupid gets to ‘em. Or creates a sitooahtieon.
What is it that you admire? Why for you dream this success? Where is compassion now? Too suffer another’s hunger? This is your big win?
One worthwhile idea, pare it pare it, make it sharp. Make it light and free of adjective he said. Tell the story then. But the idea spins out. Like the thread becomes the web, like the water in the wave, the paring is an impossibility. For little ol’ me.
I was born there. It is a cold city. Can I say describe this city without mentioning that it is cold? The tower harbors tall. The squares all desolate now, how to believe they were full of dancing and light? Before my time. Before our time indeed. For I am the fruit of that city. And many are those who would lay it’s death upon me. If still they breathed.
Where to begin. Have I begun? My parents were born in the general vicinity. Some of their parents before them. Some in more distant places. But always that damnable howling. How they mostly managed to control themselves I will never know. For it is not so much that I lost my mind as that I stopped caring.
Nails like razor claws and ebony eyes of starless night. The society of man had outgrown fear and so I was allowed to walk the streets whereas in times befrore I know my kind hid away from sight. No vigilantes would terrorize me with torch and silver bullet. Unless I misbehaved. By then, of course, it was too late.
I went to school like a normal child. With the normal children. I learned to count, I learned to write. What good, you might wonder, for one who can rip iron with one hand? What might the point be, for one who can crush diamonds between thumb and forefinger? They didn’t know I could do that then. I didn’t know. And as it turned out, these skills have been usefull to me.
To me at least. For now I can write about what I have done. And I can count the bloodied bodies in the streets. If only to read to myself. If only to count them to myself. So these are indeed useful to me. For me to dwell with what I have done. For me to understand its enormity. For me to give it number, to apprehend it. My deed.
M: Ron told me stories today.
Z: Ron was murdered three years ago.
M: Not Ron my brother, this Ron cat I’ve never met.
Z: A guy named Ron you never met told you stories. Yeah, right.
M: Well he did.
Z: So please explain how that’s possible.
M: He left written words for me to find. He told me what was on his mind. Dialogue, poems, the words reached across time.
Z: Ah, yes, the written word does that.
M: And so I try to do the same.
Z: Reach across time?
M: Leave something. Make something of note.
Z: What makes you think you have anything of note to leave?
M: Nothing in particular. I have my human experience. I can share my joy, my pain.
Z: Do you believe them worth sharing?
M: They are what I have.
Z: And you are self-obsessed enough to think them worth sharing?
M: I am self-obsessed enough to try.
Z: All because of some guy named Ron?
M: Not really, the urge has always been there.
Z: There? Exterior to yourself?
M: Here and there then you semantical bastard. Yes, much of the inspiration is external. But the actual motivation is internal I suppose.
M: Of or pertaining to the specific use of language.
Z: Is that what you think, really, is that what you are thinking?
All you have to do is do it. That’s really all that you have to do. So long as you do it it will get done. So what will you do?
Nobody ever said that it would be easy. It’s chancy in fact, and laborious. But take the chance and labor, labor, labor, something will come of it. Terribly slowly, line by line, word by word, letter by letter, one can barely see it grow. But it does grow, and it does develop, and something is here that was not here before. Still, you cannot pause, you must press on. Well, pause to live so you have some fuel for it, pause to study so that you can sharpen it and tune it, turn it to your will and find your message, but do not lose momentum.
So many words. It takes so few. So many pages, so little time. What next? Where from here? I had a pleasant time. What, do you suppose, are the odds that they will remember my name?
There is a face in the clouds if you view from just that angle at just this time. The face of a mustachioed man, high cheekbones and dark eyes. Many would call it a handsome face. Few saw it and none knew why it was there. None save Lydia Fishkind. She alone recognized the dark mustache, the darker eyes. And only she knew why he was staring down from the gray clouds.
What Gary hated was the rats. They were everywhere. And they made that noise. When he spit at them they would either disappear or stare at him with baleful black eyes. Gary thought that perhaps the time had come for him to move.
Stan was giving another bus tour. Yet another bus tour. Another god-damned motherfucking bus tour. Trying to be interested and so to be interesting. No idea if the interesting part was working, but the interested part was definitely not.
Still, he kept better touch than Dino did. One could say, in fact, that Dino was out of touch. A man of very little touching.
The dream of every gibblet is to graduate from this place. To reach enough completion to warrant its very own file. To have enough character, enough depth and enough plot to escape this steaming pile. To leave the goulash and find itself alone in its very own space. A dream as yet realized by few. And those, of questionable worth.
Parts is parts one might say. Parts might make a whole. But not the gibblets. Not yet. They run around their little ground, run and die anyway.
Start it at the end and work your way forward, that’s advice good for more than the writer of mysteries methinks. Know your ending before you begin. I need some work there. No good at endings I. I think that’s what I need. I could write a story in three pages if I had the ending. The conflict must end in such a way so as to satisfy the audience. Or not. The hero can die. The bad guys can win. The universe can be destroyed. Or not. To satisfy the reader, what?
None of this is as simple as it seems. But it arises from simple precepts. What more proof of sensitive dependence on initial conditions do you need? Complexity arising from simplicity. Everything can be boiled down to yes/no questions. But there will be uncountable infinities of them.
What was I thinking? Why did I pick it up?
Who do you hate, young man? Why? What does it acheive? How is it productive? If it gives you some brief glow of superiority, is that worth the final cost to your image of humanity?
Zoom zoom zoom, too much coffee. Brain zap, zig zag. Burned, was it hazelnut? Too burned to know. And golly gee willickers, was it not concentrated? How long had it been boiling off? Wowie zowie. Speed is legal. Black crack’sokay. I think the day was okay, this is merely a chemically induced panic attack.
Sometimes you get lucky. Some days you make your own. Luck that is. Get up early. Make an effort. Be civil. Keep your goals in mind. But is this going to be a four hour commute? That’s rough. Some planning may be required. I hate to plan. Set the goal, accept every possible solution, take every step that seems productive, that isn’t really planning. But it gets me there. Here. On a four hour commute between the house I own and the city in which I live.
His voice is high-pitched. Indistinguishable from that of a woman actually. There are a few double takes as he talks too loudly into his cell.
-She was drunk off her ass ‘cuz she’s a light-weight.
-We were drinking vodka.
-It was disgusting. Sally and Mike were making up, but Beth...
-Yeah, she sat on my lap and it was like...
Charlene has acne scars on the left side of her chin. That is, left to her, right when you face her. Her mousy brown hair is in a pony tail. The hair is thin and so so is the pony tail. Her hat doesn’t fit very well. She is taking the tickets and leaving the scraps. Those little scraps conductors leave. But she doesn’t leave them for long. The conductor system is fascinating, and on its surface, unfathomable.
But Charley is just angry. As Vicky runs to catch the train he slams the door. When she stands outside begging to get in he just smirks his cold smirk and shakes his head. Trains must roll. Schedules must be kept. Even if it’s leaving early. Charley’s joy.
Why me? Why this empty train, screaming through the frozen night? That howling of a child as for it’s mother? The countryside races by. What is this nightmare? When will I awaken?
I remember in some distant way, I went to sleep in a hammock by the lagoon. It feels like a hundred years ago. The dream goes on and on and on.
Sometimes there’s a whistle. The throaty roar of a C dominant 7th chord that tells me that this is a passenger train. With no passengers that I can see. I just hear the screaming. -Ma-ma! -Ma-ma! As I stagger from car to car, holding my head, plugging my ears, trying to drown it out, cover it up, lessen it in any way.
Linda and I went beachcombing. In some part of my mind I can remember that other life. The sands were so hot, barely tolerable. Again and again we would run back to the shadow of the trees, laughing like children, lifting our feet to cool them like lizards.
Now I hear another childish sound. And it is driving me mad. Can one go mad in dreams? Can one go mad from a dream? If it is possible than I fear that it will be so. Because I cannot find this child anywhere on this dark train roaring through this pitch night. The landscape is various kinds of barren. We fly from dark-gray, brittle grass to dark-gray leafless trees. Fractal skeletons in the slightly less dark-gray night. Sometimes the whistle. And always the screaming.
How long ago did we make the reservation to come to the island? I had a sabbatical from teaching, the orchestra had a guest music-director; Linda had no gigs for the season. So we went. So we came.
What drags a man’s mind out of a hammock and into hell? What was that thing that Linda found? What does it have to do with this rush through endless space, this headlong flight from nowhere to nowhere? As this train rushes on on its endless journey I find that it is itself endless. For I go from car to car, from car to car, down this infinite aisle. The screaming follows. Or leads? It is always in my ear. The demon child hardly pauses for breath. It is so piercing, the heights of my misery are continuously surpassed. If only I could find it. If only I could comfort it, or failing that, wring its little neck! O, the horror, to think such a thing, I have always been a gentle man, but this madness, this pain! This torture is quite effectively designed to drive a man forever, unequivicobly, irrevocably mad.
Why do I remember all that? What manner of lucid dream is this, that I remember the day do well? The whole last week? The semester, the years, my life? Marrying Linda. Getting my honors. Primary school. Why does all of this intrude into a realm where I hardly ever even remember anything? My dreams and life are usually so separate. What has happened? What is happening? What is going to happen? She found that greasy, black stone. That is what she found.
-Ma-ma! Ma ma! Please god, make it stop!
-Ma-ma! Ma-ma! I cannot take any more, but there it is again, here is more, Ma-ma!
The tortures of the damned, why me, why racing car to car, why crashing against the seats, forcing myself on, bruised, beaten, out of breath, kicking open dividing doors, yanking them open, my feet feel crushed, my shoulders dislocated, barreling on, on, forever on -Ma-ma!
Beachcombing with an archeologist is always an adventure. Linda never had much use for shells. She had better eyes than I, and on our last visit here she had found a conch. She gave it to me. But what she found this time was entirely to her interest. Fascination even. It looked like a rough little bit of volcanic rock to me. But I had to admit it was one of the most unique geological oddities I’d ever seen. For whereas a volcanic rock should be rough and porous, whatever this was it was slippery like soapstone. Or like coal.
I think that perhaps I hear the engines. I wonder if maybe I am actually making some progress up this hellish train, getting toward the front in this hellaciously slow fashion. Why so slow? I am moving quickly, I am running, seats are flying by quickly enough that they really hurt when I misstep, they practically knock me down when I run into them. But it is that classic nightmare locomotion, I am getting nowhere. No, that’s wrong. I am moving quickly, I am covering plenty of ground and rapidly, but there is nowhere to go. Or so much distance to cover.
It was like coal. Maybe it was coal. But too perfectly round. Not exactly spherical, but too round to be any coal I’d ever seen. Linda was much better at geology of course, but we’d both had some background. And she couldn’t really make sense of it either. How did such a thing get on the beach? How did unburned coal or shale or whatever it was get formed so oddly and washed up where we found it?
I do hear the engines. It is not infinitely long! I will get there! I have no idea what I will find, but perhaps I can escape this horrible cacophony, this soul-searing screeching. Anything will be better. I run. I run hard. I am winded, falling on my feet and running, sprinting, staying off the seats, rushing past the vestibules, running for the sound of the engines.
Why so many children alone? And why are they all whispering like that? Is that juice on their lips? Tell me it is. Crimson juice. Where are their parents? Have they seen us?
It is a slate gray sky out there. We sit by the fire, the old man and I. It is a cold, cold day. A fine day to be drinking hot brandy in the lodge. He is telling his tale.
-A night not unlike this it were. And we’d come back with all of that. Captain Harris, Stoley, Carvish and meself.
-Back from the South Seas?
-Aye, souther than south my lad. So far south as ya’d thing ye was narth. Five weeks sailing it took to get to Harris’s treasure. Seven weeks back as we lost half the men. And the cold down there, made this look a balmy spring day. And the black, black sky.
-Black from weather?
-Can’t say for sure my boy, black from hopelessness, black from pure evil mayhaps, ‘cuz that’s what Harris took us there fer. Just so miserably cold and dark that we had the lanterns in the rigging. And we stuck to ‘em as much fer the heat as the light. Or as much fer the light as the heat. Miserable, miserable time it was. But that’s what Harris had paid us so well fer... and in his defence he din’t never say it was goan t’be easy.
Still he’d’a been a damned site straighter wit’us if he’d out told us it’d be too hard. Harder ‘n’ that. Damned impossible. ‘Cuz that’s what it was, and then some. More’n hardest that most men know.
Some men died from nothing but the hopelessness. The cold, the dark and the hopelessness. But I’m gettin a lil ahead of meself.
Three weeks ain’t so long t’be aship. We were doin’ fine. And we ‘ad a fine crew too. Twenty stout fellows and us officers, captain, pilot, bosun and navigator. Harris, Carter, Hanratty and me. And She was a fine ship, the “Eritor”. Hailed from Bermuda latest, that’s where Harris bought ‘er.
That woman sure wants her cigarette. It’s already in her mouth as she rushes to the stairs.
Madness, you think this? Rather well thought-out madness at that then. What is it to be a polyglot? A true polyglot, it is madness. Concepts, linguistic constructs, lexicon and syntax. A different time, a different place. Why are you owed respect and I am not? Do you believe that I don’t speak your tongue?
-Language is a virus the faggot said. Not a bundle of sticks at that. Wife killer or accident? Nobody shoots at my head with impunity.
Did that guy just say -fuck you to me? He sure stinks of juice. And he’s muttering convincingly. Might be what we call agro. Certainly what we would consider drunk.
Meltdown 2003. Nothing story. Again. Don’t ask don’t tell policy makes for very dull reading. But fear is the anti-do, is it not? What the hell are you talking about? I’ve jammed my finger somehow, but we’re working at such a high resolution now nothing’s ever going to be the same. What did it cost? What does it cost? What will it cost? A new way of hitting the keys.
-Ladies and gentlemen, we have a train in front of us, stand clear of the closing doors. Here now, take a breath, everything is changing.
While I was watching it vanished. Game on? So this is multitasking! Right before my eyes. Chapter two then. The sound of one hand typing.
The trees are still surprisingly green. They are starting to turn, their leaves are starting to fall, but they are mostly at least half cflothed. And of that most is green. How does that happen? Why, random number generators of course! Performance, performance and performance. Am I irritating you? It was your choice to sit here, and you can escape at any time. Just use your free will.
The way this train weaves is worthy of note. Many trains go straight from point to point. This one is not so dull, o no. It wanders to the east, wanders west, as a result its southern spurs are far, far apart. Relatively. And most trains that do stray from the straight path do so for geography. To narrow a crossing, to go around a mountain. This one does it for an urban geography. To use a bridge. To get to that neighborhood. To be heading east when it gets to that one.
Manglicious power bleed. Nothing wrong with that. What I create I would destroy. Remember Synergy? Remember the deep, deep sadness over losing meaningless creations? How much worse, the experiences since, losing ones I cared about? Dyna prime, poems, songs... it has actually gotten easier with time. The ideas remain and the lessons about preserving the work are learned. Physical destruction is very nearly meaningless anymore.
But the ideas are difficult to complete. There are too many. I just want the finished product. It’s dull tearing the whole thing out. Too many details are actually unnecessary. The plot is the thing. But pure plot will be unengaging, actually. What of character, what of scene?
Too much of one, too little the other. And these are details.
A small amount of progress has been made. Very small and absolutely meaningless, but progress nonetheless. Toward nothing significant, virtual slaughter, electronic bloodbath.
If I could put the same amount of detail and plot into this it would be a novel by now. But there’s the rub. A fictional life is required then. Life is fractal. The more detail I put, the more detail I can put. It can get infinitesmal. It must by needs get infinitesmal.
I never wanted to come back here. I never wanted this house, these lands, the creek, the lab, the cabin, the pond, the woods. I was afraid of what’s lurking here. But when my grandfather disappeared the estate fell to me. My parents had been lost all those years ago in the wreck. So I had to take it. I couldn’t very well sell the family manse. Or so I thought at the time. O, would that I had sold it! For now it is really too late for me. I am quite certain what happened to my grandfather, what is going to happen to me. May this message serve as a warning to any who may come after. May they read it before they get the attention of those things.
Because it seems innocuous enough, how well I know. The verdant hills, the covered bridge, the simple wooden outbuildings, the garage, the garden, the woodpile. How normal a New England scene. How straight out of a picturesque postcard it all appeared. Harmless. A beautiful, harmless place.
Even the lab seemed harmless. Just a small room full of electronic components to be combined and metered, tested and recombined into whatever sort of circuits he was interested in. It was the things that he was interested in that were less than harmless.
The pond was almost always lovely. He had redirected the creek into it long ago, longer than I remembered. Long enough that my father didn’t even seem to know much about it, save that it had been done.
So the pond seemed natural now. Frogs, fish, even muskrats. And, much to my grandfather’s chagrin, algae. A large part of his summers consisted of battling algae. He tried algicide. He tried algae eating bacteria. He tried chlorine. He killed some trout, but not much algae.
Then he decided to find their harmonic frequency. I don’t think he never took the time to explain this to anyone but me, so who knows what people thought of him building waterproof speakers and running wires to the pond. Or the sounds he made out there with his considerable assortment of filters, wave and sweep generators and what not. If everyone though he was crazy they were right. But they didn’t know how crazy.
He knew all about frequency and amplitude. He knew enough about harmonics and interference to be dangerous. Very, very dangerous, if one accepts the premise that all radiant energy can be represented as waves. He took it beyond that assumption though, what he believed might be described as a very strict application of string theory. He believed that everything, all matter, all energy and all states in between were waves. And he certainly succeeded in doing sometihing to that algae.
-How long ‘til Boston?
-We’re supposed to be there at four thirty.
She hadn’t precisely answered my question, but I refrained from pointing this out. No need to be difficult. She was just a tired conducter, doing the best she knew how. Thin, mousey brown hair, slightly greasy, ill fitting cap, rumpled uniform. Unattractive and not very bright, but doing her best. I checked my watch. Three twenty. An hour and ten minutes would have been the correct answer. I turned to Samson.
“So we’re ready to do this?”
“I am reeady” he hissed, “I don’t speeak for hyou”.
I smiled. Precision. That was why Samson and I got along.
I reflexively patted my wallet. Still there, still a little too fat and as it moved against my chest in the inside pocket of my blazer, still a little too heavy. I kept smiling. Samson never smiled. I don’t think his face was that mobile. He didn’t frown either. There was something reptilian about his features. Not truly scaly, but so frozen as to make the flesh seem similarly hard. If he had played poker he would have been a fearsome opponent. He did not, so far as I ever knew. He did not play anything.
Ratty ol’ sign. Blue band, white lettering “Out Of Service”. Rest of it white background, black lettering.
“Sorry for the inconvenience
This elevator unavailable
Until further notice”.
When’s that further notice gonna be, Bill wonders. Where’s it gonna be posted? Do they have a similar sign proclaiming that the elevator is in service? He’s kinda screwed now. That happens alot to a man in a wheelchair. But this time it’s real bad news. Cuz this is the elevator he got down to this platform on. He can get back on the next train, but the next accessible stop is High Street.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck” he tells himself. Not a very helpful line of thought. Doesn’t even make him feel much better. He tries again. “Fuck, fuck, FUCK!” Nope, no improvement. “I can’t believe this” he thinks to himself. “How am I going to get home? Back down to High Street and a bus? I can’t even get back down to go the other way, goddammit! These platforms are joined at the top of the stairs! Shit!”
He is idly wheeling back and forth in distress, trying to think of a solution. He’s getting his fingerless gloves dirtier against the tires. And he’s not coming up with anything.
“I’m wasting time here, crap, how the hell am I gonna get back? Were they lying in wait for me? Saw me ride away and came and slapped that sign on, turned the motherfucking elevator off, just so I’d be trapped here?” Perhaps that sounds a little paranoid. His gray crew-cut is getting sweaty. His fingers are getting exhausted and he knows he’s going to have to go up to 14th at least.
Dempsy looks like a twelve year old kid this time. With coffee colored skin and foot long dreadlocks he fits in with the Trenton station crowd. His dark blue nylon windbreaker is unremarkable. His apparent taste for fries is a similar a decoy. They have no flavor to him. And he never gets cold or hot so the jacket is pointless.
Now the horizon is melting again. Earth and sky blend at the edge, entertwining and mixing. Demons are flying out of the spreading crater, angels plummet from the hazy sky to join them in fierce combat. The story was written, but it was never read. Told, but never heard. And now the glorious trumpets and foul viols engage in sonic strife once more.
Dempsy is unmoved. That’s Trenton. You get used to it. With a wave of his hand he could put either army to rout. The fact that he doesn’t bother is testament to more than disinterest.
Shaggy Maggy raggy wagster
Drove her tiny little dragster
She drove it fast, she drove it far
She loved her little kitty car
She raced it up she raced it down
She raced it through and then around
She drove as fast as it could go
Maybe faster, who’s to know?
She raced the light, she raced the fog
She raced her friend the smelly dog
She tried to race mizz kitty Schwartz
Who bein’ lazy ‘gnored her’f course
Mag raced the dragster up the stairs
With fearsome bumping, didn’t care
Tragically, raced down the hall
Stopped, face embedded in the wall
Mrs. Figuerora needs a pen that works. The postal clerk has given her one that does not. The chinese girl with the mole on her neck told her that she had to fill out the papers and gave her this pen that doesn’t work. So now she has lost her place in line and she can’t fill out the papers. She tries to get another from the clerk, but she says that is all that she has. How can a postal clerk not have a working pen? Mrs. Figeuroa just wanted to mail the package to her sister, but this has turned from a little errand in to a large ordeal.
The clerik insists that the papers be done but gives her no working pen. She’s lost her place in line but she can’t make any progress at all now. She tries walking back up to the window but the clerk ignores her while helping the customer who’s waited in line for this opportunity. She gets loud.
All she wants is a pen that works. Certainly this horrible clerk has to help other people, yes she can see that, but it was this very hideously moled creature that insisted that she fill out these papers, and the pen doesn’t work!
The steel pillars are blue here. In another station they will be gray, or green, or orange. There will even be places where they lack the rivets. Simple I-beams keeping ceiling from floor. But here they do have rivets. In their regular patterns of irregularity. For the patterns seem chaotic until you really observe them. Many are too simple to appear random. But then there are those where the spacing is off, or the placing seems irregular. Where it is, in fact. But if you look closely at the overall structure, how the different girders have similar patterns, how they come together, how the loads must be distributed it all makes some sense. Not being an architect Randall can’t say for sure.
Many of us are less interesting than we believe we are. Some are more. 1.725 pages an hour? How does she do it? I am interested, mark me, but I’ve no idea. Interesting indeed! Watching the charge go up, now there’s a charge.
It always works out for the best. Until the one that kills us. She didn’t want to wait for me to finish my ciggy. I was starving. Had some fries and a root beer, feeling much better, next train was only twenty minutes. Thanks, hon, for letting me get a snack. Have a nice night. Me? I’m gonna play. Spoiled I am, white man, but hey, I cut more slack in a day. But I have more to cut, I’m sure.
So where does it all end? She has blonde curly hairs, his is brown and straight, pretty close cropped. He can’t speak of anything save how he suffers wiith the madness of his roomates.
-They knew that I had the presentation to give tomorrow and they just had to be loud and obnoxious. Any other night would have been okay, but I had to do this thing in five hours and they wouldn’t shut up. They could have gone into the living room but they just stayed right there, five feet away from me.
I don’t know specifically what it is that is so hideous about his voice. The drawling nature, the accent dripping money and superiority, it is a caricature. But it isn’t very funny. His bearing is rather hideous as well. A clear opinion of self-importance drips from his posture. His face is in a permanent just-smelled-something-bad posture. But his voice is the worst. And he is evidently stupid. Which is perfectly in keeping with his attitude. For the less that one knows, the easier it is to believe that one knows everything.
I have a hard time creating sympathetic characters because I have a hard time being sympathetic. Either I must learn to correct this or I must settle for unsympathetic characters. It is hard being sympathetic with people caught up in one-upsmanship and anger, but it is necessary. It is possible, I am sure. And it should allow for a certain amount of complexity.
But being uncharitable is the challenge of human nature. Z handles it by creating supermen. Of course human beings are hideously flawed, the supermen are the measure by which homo sapiens is judged. Me, I create flawedmen. The litmus by which normal people seem not quite so awful. Pretty awful. I don’t really create. Merely observe.
The lobby of the hotel is all dark marble and gold. Understated yet ostentatious.
-Happy holiday, jerk. Happy holiday jerk. Hey, happy holiday, jerk.
Is it directed at me? Is it directed at the guy who just walked out? Or some invisible person; this guy does seem pretty wacked. Now he’s making noises. Hawking loogies, clearing his throat or something. Moderately disgusting. Adventures in Trenton. What does Trenton make? Crazy people? Will the rest of the world take them? Please?
I am at a loss to explain this situation that I have created. It seemed like a good idea at the time? That hardly seems an adequate explanation. Stupidity? No, that’s not exactly it either. A combination of merciless far-sightedness and boyish naivete. Ruthless planning and foolish hopefulness.
Now I’m not exactly sure when Richard lost his mind, I’ve been his friend for too long and so watched the whole gradual process transpire imperceptible bit by imperceptible bit. All I can really be sure of is that he did indeed lose it.
Well now, it seems to have gotten away from me now, hasn’t it? Reading, battling a compiler, my commute is nearly complete. And I have failed to create anything of note.
Johnny used to be a grafitti artist. Now he hangs posters for the MTA. In a way he still is. It requires a similar skill set, get in, execute rapidly, get out, leave a message. In another way it is obviously not. It is the same message over and over, yes, as he goes from station to station, but it is not his message. He is a mercenary. Has he sold out? How is the impetus different than that of his former career which has so eminently qualified him for this one? Well, he is getting paid by the same establishment he hated. Does he still hate it?
At what point do we admit that we have lost too much?
Black smoke Flows across the set. The sound of gunfire and explosions is continuous.
Dalton: We are losing this war.
Sanderson: Nobody ever really wins a war, do they?
D: The one with the lowest body count I think.
S: Well then, you can’t really say that we are losing. Our weapons outclass anything they have. We’ve killed a lot more than they have.
D: Our weapons outclass theirs to such a degree that I think the fact that they are managing to kill anyone at all signifies a sort of defeat for us.
S: That seems rather short-sighted. We have a greater population than they do too.
D: Are you suggesting that we’ll defeat them through attrition? It’s their damned country.
S: Would you like to go home?
D: You know I can’t do that.
S: I mean, would you like to see us go home?
D: I’m not naive.
S: You’re sure about that?
D: Not in this regard, at any rate.
She has a hatchet face. Sharp, sharp sharp. She stuffs peanuts into it. Chomp, chomp chomp. She does not look happy.
He has a head that looks like a spit-ball. Did you ever, in your academic days, by which I mean high-school and before, because I sincerely doubt that you would have in post-secondary, experience a spit-ball? A little chewed fragment of toilet paper, tissue or paper napkin, moistened with saliva and propelled through a straw like a disgusting but relatively harmless blowdart. Relativity in all things. More harmless than a curare coated flying needle.
His head looks like a spitball. That has fallen or been fired downward. Because it is laterally compressed, horizonally more capacious than viertically. It has the random aspect of a spitball in his features. Somewhat twisted about themselves, extruded here, cavernous there. Generally unattractive, but so much so as to warrant a second look. And perhaps a third.
Also, to his greater misfortune, is his laugh. Not to mention his voice. They are both those of a woman. No denigration here. just the facts. No shame, no sorrow for him, just the way it is. It’s hard not to pity him. That head, that voice, just trying to socialize.
What was meant? What was the meaning?
A less pedestrian friendly environment would be difficult to design. Not utterly impossible, but challenging. For this city really qualifies as pedestrian-hostile. I walked a freeway to get from there to here. I took the bus out but it was sheer luck and determination that got me back. Walking the pullout lane, angry woman yells at me. How many angry drivers fly by me, thinking “crazy fuck”? Crazy fuck I am. I have to get somewhere. You have given me this freeway, the only thing going my way; I’ll take it.
That “someone made a bad smell in here” look does not make you endearing. Anymore than it would make anyone else endearing. It is not an endearing look.
I no longer have the luxury of hiding my meaning. Time is too short. Joyce wrote for scholars and he wrote such an enduring story in such lovely turns of phrase that peope would take the time required to decipher it. And many would enjoy the time thus spent. My own story is less enduring, a rushing present, a dissolution of everything I have had the pleasure to experience and it will rarely be couched in any terms less than abject horror.
So I mujst take care not to miss a word, I must go back and edit, as much as that pains me, I must put in the thought that I took for granted. Because the audience may well not have the patience to figure out what I meant.
And the message may be important. What I have seen and heard does not compare, I am sure, to watching one’s family taken in political imolation. Except, perhaps, in smaller scale.
We came from Ireland. When we did. The part of me that did. And I identify with it very strongly. But it is naive romanticism. The Irish I know tell me that I woulde never want to go there. If I’d been born there. It might be alright for a Merkin. While I’m told the close-mindedness might drive me crazy I also hear that I would be well treated. One of the few countries where Merkins are liked for what we are then. I shall see. I want to go. But back to history.
Uncle Kelso fell In the hold. That fall killed him. An open hatch, a deep boat? Ship even? That large? Or the breaking of the hatch on a smaller vessel? I don’t know. I’d like to. Go ahead and call me morbid. I want to sail myself, I am accumulating information that may or may not be apropos. I am interested in the history of my blood, regardless. Although not much of a relative, Uncle Kelso, methinks. For there was his line truncated. No cousins for me from Kelso. And Darwin might say better so. Or was it bad luck? I don’t know if I have any use for eugenics. My mom is a cripple. I was sickly. What was Kelso?
Was he playing tag with his brother? Imagine that horror, to inadvertantly kill your brother.
Ah, the Economist. It is interesting to propose that the British would profit from a Congressional Budget Office when we don’t. The CBO says that the budget is a travesty, but there are no consequences. The twin deficits are duly noted, and Bush goes on inflating them.
The mists curl about the parapets in the gold of dawn. The mists are made of motes, look closely as they circle and bounce, ripping light, pulling it and tearing it, taking light to where it wasn’t and removing it from where it was. The wizard is locked in one of these towers. Because he chooses to be. Because he refused to be. He isn’t any more confused than you or I, simply capable of pulling a real rabbit from his hat. Of course, oft times as not, it is dead. But then, rabbit stew is tasty. And what use is a live rabbit save making other rabbits, in which case the wizard might become obsolete.
Dull random roar. Picking out threads, it is probably the least interesting that’s the easiest to pick out. ‘Cuz the interesting people keep it to themselves. Warp and what’s the other, weft? Definitely warped, this tapestry.
Railroad tracks. Creek. Bridge. Trees. Sculptures. The winged knights. Apparent winter. Narrative of water. Swamp or forest? Fine line. Water line. Then ice. Then what?
They’re running again. They don’t really know how many of those skeletons are chasing them, but if they didn’t have to find out that would be just great with most of them. Terinz is the exception, he would rather turn around and make a stand, but he’s not stupid enough to try it alone. This morning they were eating roc egg and boar bacon. Now they’re trying to get out of this maze alive.
The stone is gray, cold and damp. The Duke had obviously had too much gold and a twisted vision to make this catacomb come to pass. And the hideous population. Have to wonder where he hired them or hired the one who made them. However he managed that.
There are occasional torch-holders in the walls, but no evidence that a torch has burned in them for decades.
Baku has a slight lead, since he isn’t heavily armed or armored and is in such good shape. Azhur follows as closely as he can without tripping or being tripped, as much out of fear as anything else. The heaviest thing (besides his portly self) he carries is his wand, but it would take several moments of concentration to charge it up to a point of usefulness. And there doesn’t seem to be much quiet time just now.
Sharlay lopes between Azhur and Terinz, holding her mace handle in one hand, ball in the other.
Nobody ever got rich by spending money. Investing, yes. Flying first class, no. They have already made too much money or they are spending their friends’, clients’ or families’ money.
It is amazing how much news the people I read read. I can’t keep up. But developing sense is a worthwhile pursuit.
It is dark, dark gray. Like wet granite or a threatening sky. A homogenous colorless dark. Except for the purple rectangle. Because it is the only difference it seems to be moving. Persistence of vision or parallax, it appears to drift.
Thank you for Tuesday. It was fun. Thanks for the crowd, the accordion, my voice, the weather and the bus. It came off perfectly. I played “Infernal Drumming”. I played “Paris 1919”. I played “Drunken Boat”. The darned keyboard is so small I kept hitting b when I meant a. O well, still fun overall.
On waking, everything is lost.
Cantilevered, rich and fevered, nightmare tossed and spirit lost. Hold fast to what you believe. Soon enough is time to grieve. The child softly weeping, I no longer sleeping, but aware, full of care.
The characters would say the same thing given the same impetus. Or very similar things at the least. If the actions occured near the same time. Because personality is a process. That is to say the same characters. Other characters might have said similar things, but very probably not identical. Unless they were close friends fond of the same phrasing or had remarkably similar backgrounds. Or sheer strange luck. Or very simple phrases. Two people who have never met possessed of very diverse backgrounds will often both say ouch when hit on the thumb with a hammer. But one could well say goddamnmotherfuckingsonofabitch well the other might not. Characters: they are what they do, by doing they exemplify what they are, what happens to them is the result of what they do and the results of their actions are the plot of their lives.
Keep it charged. The princess has big ears. Scratch and dent furniture. They would help her keep her tiara up if it were too big for her head, which it isn’t. Can I scratch or dent something for you? She is beautiful, aquiline nose, almondine eyes, gently waving blonde hair. Should we wave back? Skin as fair as cream, eyes of cobalt blue. Leaves me undecided as to licking or pocketing. Lap like a kitten or sit in my lap? Breakdown, break-up, bits and pieces. She is too good to be true and so she isn’t.
Sitting next to orcs is hardly ever fun. On NJT it’s worse than most places, given the cramped conditions. Their language is impenetrable, their behavior ranges from the ridiculously violent to the violently ridiculous, and their odor is unforgivable. They insist upon attempts at humor. It is only funny because it is so stupid. The fact that they think it’s funny is hilarious.
Why are there orcs on the NJT? you may ask. Gorlack thinks that they’re headed back to New York. They repeat the same jokes over and over. They still think that they are funny.
Orcs are fairly harmless so long as you don’t start anything, he reminds himself. They try to be law abiding citizens just like everybody else these days. Their stupidity does make them rather quick to anger, and their raucus behavior angers some as well, but they do try.
And in New York it’s hard to say that they’re a minority, so Gorlack is pretty familiar.
But the dwarves in the seat ahead are getting visibly irritated.
The princess is nowhere to be seen. Not to be confused with now here to be seen. She is not confused. Certainly not confusable with an orc. With, by, for, pick a preposition. But then stay with it, for god’s (and consitency’s) sake.
More difficult then it seems, actually. So many to choose from. And it’s always been easier to say what isn’t than what is. Or not.
When were we ever so lost? I’m afraid continuity suffers. One minute he can swim through earth, the next he is trapped in a mine shaft. It’s as if we aren’t really reading one another’s work. On the other hand, continuity is not a prerequisite for anything. Standard plotting perhaps, but we’ve not much use for standard anything, do we? Depends on who we create for. He might like to get out of the mine shaft. She might like him to stay there. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
The colors are all wrong. And Raffie appears out of nowhere. Or the cause and effect of where he was before and here is unclear. Most of the ideas are fine, their presentation adequate, it’s just the pointlessness of it all that drags him down. What he expects to be green is purple, and there’s a lot more red than he thought there would be It’d be like a piece of op-art, if he knew what op-art was. Her face floats before his eyes in negative. Or is it really white hair on a black face? But the glowing white pupils are a giveaway; at least Raffie thinks so. And the background changes as he moves his head. Here it’s a regular, very small checkerboard. There, in bubbles and waves, still with a certain regularity but no checkerboard by any stretch of the imagination. It just doesn’t seem right.
And so he writes it over. Writes it again. Scratches out the words and rewrites. Again. While Raffie is a mere man he still insists on reforming reality. Creating and recreating with words. Perhaps they will say what he meant this time. Perhaps he will find the right ones this time. Because, as far as he is concerned, if this is the realm of fantasy it is not his. And so his history becomes revisionist. What is it that he revises? If it could turn out differently how would he have it turn out? He’s working on it. But it turns out wrong again and again, and so he is left rewriting.
What about her? Who is she, and why do they all want her? Do they really want her or do they just want the idea of her? If one were to actually have her, would one be anything but disappointed? Would the reality of her constant company be heaven or hell? Raffie knows as well as anyone, he knows her name, he knows what it’s like to smell her breath in the morning, to feel her breasts against his naked chest, he knows what it is to go to sleep in frustration, to give up entirely after what starts as minor conflict, is he telling? He’d rather not.
No, he is rewriting. Not that it was ever particularly tragic, but he thinks that he could do better. He’s pretty sure that the right words are only eluding him temporarily. The logic of a cause and effect that will take him where he wants to be is more of a challenge. But it doesn’t really matter. Should this effort fail he can try again. He will try again.
This time the environment seems well enough. The trees are treelike, the swans are a nice touch. They don’t seem to be killing and devouring eachother this time. Yet, anyway. The clouds are lovely, fluffy diaphonous things, and the sun is pleasantly warming. He turns to her: “Thanks for coming”.
She laughs. A guttural, deep and awful sound. Like a chorus of basso-profundo giants, like the lowest pipes of the largest pipe organ ever, like a slightly musical earthquake. He wonders if he can live with that. He’s had worse.
But then she is melting. The purples and the greens trickle and seep, a little red and yellow here and there. As the gelid becomes fluid and the solid gelid, the melting progresses. Solidity is history, the escape from the tyrrany of consistent form now almost complete.
Now he is irritated. It was a lot of work, he had resigned himself to the laugh, the voice, and there she goes melting.
“Goddammit”, he snaps. Did he write that? Was he thinking that? It’s gone wrong again. Or has it? Is melting such a bad thing? Perhaps he should try it himself.
The trains are mighty crowded this evening. I can’t conceive a poetic way to put that.
Chu has a triangular face and a gray beret. His eyes are dark, but that is normal for his people. He wears dark, heavy clothes. He is walking south down the F platform at 63d street.
Sammy wears blue jeans and a denim jacket of paler shade. They demonstrate the vagueries of the term ‘sky blue’, because they both are. But they’re nowhere near the same color. There’s a large bleached out spot on his left shoulder, and a smaller more irregular stain below. He carries his book. Bound in a dark jacket, also blue, but this very, very dark. To be this color a sky would have to be twilight. Is it bible or his own verse? Biography of a great man or miscellaneous poems. It looks loose leaf but may just be well read. Very well if so. He sits in western facing seat on a northern-bound train.
Beth plays the cello. As a result, she has to carry it on the train sometimes. She wears black leather boots and a gray wool skirt. She has a hooded jacket and a tweed hat as well. Quite woolen to the eye. A soft shell cello case too, be careful of that. She carries her knitted or macramed bag on the opposite shoulder.
Ora likes to snap her gun. Snap, snap, snap! As loud as she can. The fact that this being the only way she has an impact on the world is so sad eludes her. Evidently. Because she is certainly going for the volume.
Charlie’s hair is kept back by several rubber bands. The generic light tan ones. They will certainly pull out some hair when he removes them. He wears a dark yet faded gray denim jacket, blue jeans and boots. He carries his backpack in a metal wire frame basket.
Jerome knows that his flat-top looks cool. He is beyond firmly convinced, he is utterly positive. Anyone fool enough to tell him otherwise would certainly be asking for an ass-kicking.
Lucas wears black. Except for grey scarf and white socks he wears black. And his crepe soles aren’t, but the rest of his shoes are.
Wow. Private car mate. Walked through a few, dunno that I’m in the right one but it’s utterly empty. Not a soul and it’s rush hour. Odd? Life so often is.
Then, at a stroke, it is full. Standing room only. This comedy, this tragedy, what to make of it? Amazing, really.
This man is out of his skull. He can’t sit down. He says -silly rabbit, trix are for kids. He sings. He hums. He rubs his back on the handrail, then hugs it. -Shit, he says. His shoes are white, his paratrooper style pants are black. Or maybe they’re just loose slacks. His long sleeved T is purple. He plays with his wallet, which is chained to his pants. Leans against the rail. Can’t sit, can’t sit. Drags the chain back and forth across the rail. He gets off at 59th. We are left to entertain ourselves. And we are relatively not very entertaining.
A different madman on a different train. This one’s rapping. Interesting beat, interesting rhymes when they rhyme. But not a good venue.
Red coat, mauve slacks, metal cane, grey plastic curved handle, curly greying hair.
Black jeans, black baseball style cap, no insignia.
Black slacks, nylon coat, tan and black with gray separating them.
Brown pants, tan courderoy coat, plaid scarf in shades of brown.
Black hat, blue scarf, blue jeans.
Brown suede boots, black nylons, houndstooth skirt, grey sweater, brown hat.
De La Roca has dark hair, oiled back so that it’s length is hard to gauge. He wears an odd suit. It has thick vertical stripes of white and black, equal so as it is impossible to say whether it is a white suit with black stripes or black with white. And the lapels are huge, bordering on ludicrous. They stretch to his wide shoulders. If he put it up the collar would cover his head. And then there is his purple fedora. It is the shade of late evening, dark and rich. Unlike his bronze colored boots, more the color of dawn. While the clothes are certainly appropriate for a showman they are not obviously those of a magician. Nothing subtle about this presentation. Too flashy to lend themselves to misdirection or prestedigitation. But he certainly is doing magic. He starts off with some rope tricks, some magic knots and a cut and restore. Then he moves on to producing creatures. Doves first, then rabbits, then a baby tiger. The audience is silent, whether in rapt attention or indifference it is difficult to say. If indeed there is an audience.
There are lights. Bright, hot, white lights. De La Roca is well lit, his creatures are blinded. It is impossible to see through the lights, it is impossible to tell if there is an audience out there.
I’ve nothing better to do than bitch and moan. Wanh, wanh, wanh.
O my god, what smells like it died in here? O yeah, that’s me. It’s been long enough I’d think. The odor must stop sometime. It’s not easy being dead.
And yet the stench continues. Been dead almost a year, can’t be much soft tissue left to rot but I still smell like meat left out of the fridge on a hot and humid day. But it’s more musty than it used to be. Sure there’s a light at the end of the tunnel of odor.
It was a cold way to die. It seems stupid too. But everybody makes mistakes. Generally, less fatal.
Walking across the lake seemed simple. A styling shortcut. A testament to cleverness and bravery. It had been very cold for what seemed like a very long time. Dying for a shortcut might seem foolish. But it would certainly not be the first time.
Screaming didn’t help. It just wasted air and who could get across the ice? Who would, seeing what had happened? Maybe it helped make the suffering end sooner.
The dark trees scratch the ochre sky. A police line will be hung from the trees. Helicopters will circle. Now an hypothermic man sinks beneath the ice. How cold can one be? There is no point at which it becomes meaningless, actually. Certainly a point at which it is simply too cold, but there is the point at which exposed flesh becomes frostbitten instantly, there is the point at which saliva freezes in an open mouth, there is a point at which the thin fluid coating on one’s eyes freezes. But all of these are meaningless to the icy water, it is cold enough to kill quickly and so degrees, no pun intended, are meaningless.
I hope I helped Steven. I certainly wacked my bus fare. He was in the service in Antarctica, but when his dad died he went home to take care of his mom. He had good wife, which marriage he screwed up with drugs, and maybe drinking. He had another woman, not so good. Many other women I’m sure, 6’4” and 230 or so, women were probably not an issue. But the one he remembered was the bad one. Bugging, he said. I asked him about family. I’m guessing that this was the bigger favor than the over-priced cup of coffee I bought him, because this reminded him of his sister in Connecticut.
Good sized graveyard. Gonna take some time to get around that. Reminds me of Queens. But it’s not enough. No, it’ll have to grow. In infinities of space and time.
Finding a voice that’s not mine. Telling a story I haven’t lived. How can I do that? What do I know? Discontiguous reintegration. Unarguable dissolution. Inevitable circumnavigation. One thing I cannot do is escape from myself. Literature or tripe? Boney trees or startling skyline, the sea goes on forever. And there one is alone. Ten thousand bodies to the deep, shall one be mine? What body, what illusion. I can read the wise man’s words if I can’t live such a life or feel the same way. Words are easy. Keeping them going is hard.
Nice fucking loss there, whew boy. Saving must become a habit. Don’t need that again.
Girls and their phones. Endearing and horrifying. Communication? I doubt it. Brain cancer? Inevitable. Cell death at the very least.
Reasonably successful. Wireless reaches the basement.
Is that a real fur? Is that really necessary? Are you really mad? Her accent is something I’ve heard before. It is not obviously Jamaican. But is it? Is there some subtle givaway, some element of nasal resonance, some shortness of soft vowels? It is not Jamaican, is it second generation? Some element of Philadelphia? Because the accent that it reminds me of I heard there. I think. Memory is falsity, but it’s all we have. I was trying to manipulate Maha’s today because mine was failing.
Good freakin’ grief the beast is compiling alot of crap. Throwing hundreds of errors and warnings. At least it’s compiling now. Building the new GCC out of ‘fragments’. They don’t want to make it easy. Not if it’s free, no, gotta pay for easy. Not only that it’s previous owner made a hash of things. Jaguar’s supposed to have 3.3. How’d he install it without? Regardless we’re getting there, yes we are.
You still here? Not where she thought you were, but yeah, general vicinity. Good to see you again. Sorry I lost interest. Too autobiographical, hahahahaha. Have to be careful looking for you when I lose you, you know. Send the thing off into left field without much effort. Not talking about a home run either. I think.
A unifying principle must be found. It must, o yes it must. Originally I said shall, now I have my doubts. For all the fragments still have their own lives, will still go there own ways. The narrative of a schizophrenic, the story with multiple personality disorder.
Well ain’t that just so nifty? The ultimate user interface, bar none.
I am more courteous than I need to be. Which lends to my displeasure at the discourteous. It really isn’t their fault, in the sense of blame. It is their fault in the sense of flaw, or it may be mine. Too courteous? It is certainly possible.
Do not attempt to spell-check. Do not attempt to search. Disasters will ensue.
Danny writes code. Sammy does math. Paul builds networks. A dangerous bunch. Paul draws pictures. Sammy plays piano. Danny dances. Keep ‘em busy and less harm may come of it.
Why would I want to finish anything? The gibblets are great. I can’t make a living doing what I love. And I love to write. So tough shit.
This fucking sucks. I will not come back again. Yeah, right. Should I get my money’s worth? Is that possible?
Spring will be here soon. It will be lovely, I’m sure.
New York is upside down. Now that’s a subjective observation. How does one know right side up? Why so many questions? Preconceptions and conceptions, frailty and faith. Up is the opposite direction from gravity. North should be up. Why? Because that’s how we think of it now. But the map itself should be a reminder of the subjectivity of perspective. Because north isn’t really north. Why must it be represented that way, as if Manhattan is mostly oriented that way? Are slanted trains too disturbing? In Brooklyn and Queens they just go where they go. But the little island, 14th street down is oriented almost true. And the trains are a spagetti snarl. Remake the maps, I say! Up is where the heart is.
Today I abandoned my train because it was the last one leaving. Not often do I do that.
His attention span is remarkable. I myself am truly remarkable only for my laziness. Although I do try. Write something every day. If I had the persistence I’d have a novel.
What a waste of time. Hafta stop doing that. If I wrote for an hour a day the novel would be done.
With madness overcome he turns and stares.
-Eric? she whispers, but he does not hear, or if he hears he does not visibly register it.
The burgeoning clouds roil, bruised and gravid. Far off crashes foretell electric violence as do distant flashes. She waves a hand before his face. His lip curls.
-Hmm? Yes Sarah, what is it? She isn’t fooled. He is looking through her toward the sea, not at her. She pushes a fair strand out of her wet eyes and shrugs.
-You’re going. Not a question, a statement. His answer is the slightest inclination of his head. He caresses the side of her face without looking and steps around her. Sarah’s tears no longer build in the corners of her eyes. Now they fall.
The sea is, if anything, more beaten than the sky. The Dragon bucks and humps, both cutting through then flying off the waves. -We must leave without him, screams Krystof into the wind.
-He’ll be here, Malkye calmly replies. The anchor chain screams and moans. Krystof eyes it warily. The spray is thick. The difference between being on deck and in the drink is one of small degrees. The dinghy flys into view at the top of a wave and disappears again. Malkye simply nods. Krystof gets a boat pole ready.
It’s a messy operation, getting a dinghy aboard in a squall. The smaller boat flies on every wave, while the larger craft rides every other one out, crashing through rather than rising. But Eric and Krystof have done this before. Enough times that they get their grips on the opposite ends of the pole quickly.
So we’re here again. Begging for editting I guess. The history of the world I remember. Once again I am penalized for the actions of others. Fear is timelses yet topical. The impetus must be now or in the very near future.
The inside of my skull is itching.
See we gotta lotta corpses. But my ignorance is truly fantastic. What kind of tree is that? No idea. Which way is the wind blowing? Well, I am learning but that’s been close to a core pursuit. If I’m good at it I’m good at it, I will decrease my ignorance as appropriate. As necessary, rather. What is appropriate? Not my behavior, generally. What comes of it? Trouble. Graveyards full of one time trouble, forever solved. What’s worth my time to rip? Avoidance is one solution. Or it appears to solve something. Truly? Solves nothing. But not to worry, the problem is avoided. In the here and now at any rate. Now and then? Have patience, the piper might yet be paid. Poker is an unforgiving game. I can hardly feel it anymore. Now, I could prove it. It wouldn’t be too much trouble. But I don’t know if it’s even worth that amount of effort. And everything’s slanted anyway. How many drunken nights spent here? How many round trips to nowhere? Because things didn’t end right? But they are always right in the end. In the very end.
Who slashed the old man? I must admit I merely watched. He threw the first punch. Well, I did stand when the blood started to flow, but I doubt that that made much difference.
You getting off at Smith and 9th? That doesn’t seem like such a great idea. It’s just a place, just a location in space, but still. I don’t enjoy myself at night there, maybe it was just the knifing, but your little white female self seems quite an unwise addition. Especially at this hour.
In the end it is very much all meaningless, for to have meaning one must have life. In the end there is no life. This is a sweet miracle which we have been granted but it is inpermanence itself. And what is the lesson to be gleaned then? Appreciate it while you have it, gnash your hair and pull your teeth at its loss?
It’s not Charlie’s fault that he looks like a monkey. But he doesn’t really have to maintain such a monky-like expression, does he?
Jerry is lound and obnoxious. He likes to shout into his cell phone. A conversation consists of a lot of yelling. He’s talking to his brother.
While I live absurtidity must reign. Desolate platform to which the intercom announced the Philadelphia Flower Show. To which, ladies and gentlemen (there only being one human of any sort in range) you can get discount tickets. Or a Septa flower pass. So don’t miss it.
The tone deaf whistler regales us. He began with Fur Elise, moved on to The Entertainer, then devolved to TC themes. It’s the Andy Griffith Show, Brady Bunch, then Gilligan’s Island for us. All delivered in a toneless microtonalitiy that’s really quite something to behold.
The intercom is really quite painfully loud. By the time I realized it there were no seats to move to. Well, there might be one by the tone-free whistler.
Sometimes people can just be good. The young man got her luggage out while the older one held the door. What kind of loss would it be, to lose something on the train? Functionally permanent I’d imagine.
What a day on the A. We had our basketball Jones, patter doesn’t get tired. “If you like what you see, clap. If you don’t like what you see, clap”. It’s a living I guess. Then there was battery/ring man. Not sure if that was a living or not, he made less than basketball Jones and he was actually trading material objects for the money. Didn’t look too closely at his glowing ring, kind of curious if there was a wire to a pack of AAs on him somewhere. So I can’t complain that the C didn’t want to give me a ride. I got to enjoy the A. The makeup girl, working on her face all the way from 168th to 59th.
We were hoping for more. All we got was a hyperactive blond with 6 inch hair going everywhere. Her brown leather jacket did nothing to disguise her nervous energy. She scribbled away, her little notebook in one hand pen in the other. Then blink, in a flash she was gone.
This is a bad place for the gibblets. Without search so many are lost. So some are harvested prematurely. Others have their own spaces at the beginnings of their existences and they are less interesting, and fated to be less developed, than some gibblets. Some were brilliant and won’t be heard from again. Perhaps another culling will spare another one or two. Can it stand on its own? Can any of this?
These girls talk like sailors. Well, the one does. The other’s a bit of a foil. Probably the more interesting person, but not the ‘personality’.
I’d rather live than watch TV. But it seems that I would rather watch TV than write. That’s a bit of an embarassment.
Reading Rolling Stone. Hey, I’m not one to criticize, I read The Economist. OK, so maybe I am.
How the fuck is this reality? How stupid are we? Can we decay any more? The fall of the Merkin empire.
These are the things that I think about. She is her. I made contact. Bonds go down as their yields go up. This real estate is upside-down. I may have a better paying job. Now what? Where do we go from here? That girl is cute. Eminently spankable. What next? It was an up day. Somehow I lost track of that one. I was supposed to sell yesterday, it’s still below the stop loss. That other volatile piece of crap came right back. What should I do? What the fuck would Jesus do? I do not, of course, give much of a shit. Buddha, maybe, Mohamed, doubt it, John the baptist, once upon a time. So I think. It gets me nowhere, it gets me nothing. It is enjoyable though. And it keeps me typing. Which I must do. I see my productivity is just not adequate. I am not producing a page a day or I’d be looking for a publisher right now. Downright pitiful, in fact, my output. Neither quality nor quantity. But it’s just a hobby. Investing’s a hobby, it’s more productive. Is it?
Fucking on a park bench. She sits on him, her silky smooth panties moved just a fraction of an inch to the side. They ride the waves of pleasure, they soak each other with their release.
wackentacular. my situation is wierd beyond the realm of wierdness. Does this say the same of me? fuck all that we gotta get on with these. there’s a new firebox. It’s shiny. Prolly several. I remember seeing them in their wrappers. White plastic. Getting tattered quick. Brand new same old scene.
You can’t see one end of the platform from the other, the way the square tiled pillars bend to follow the track.
I can write a page a day, no problem. Is it crap?
If so many people read crap, why not then write it?
This is one lossy process. Hours of work gone at the press of a button. The wrong button. Allright, the wrong two buttons. But that’s still a keystroke, isn’t it? A shifted keystroke.
You will reap as you sow. This is elemental and unavoidable. Is that a power tie? I was rambling about the unreality of New York. It was on this very train I saw her, the inspiration for that treatise. Well, not this very train, but the same line at the same time of day. On a different day. Clear yet? If a picture is worth a thousand years how many words will it take to represent a moving picture? On the other hand pure words assure precision.
The girlfiend. Here and there, here and there, picture crotchless underwear. Erotica? Without romance? How does that work?
Once I lived somewhat like that. Reminiscent of other squats. Who has gas in a squat? Or is it poor housekeeping? A joke, of course, Hollywood and bad at that. Television is a bad drug, encourages uselessness, slows the blood, alters reality.
Word-storm, word-flood, atmosphere and chanteclier. Where does it end? At the beginning. Can you string it together? Put the pieces in place? It is all here, all all all. What is the desire, the plot, the dramatic tension?
What city is that? Why don’t I recognize the train? So many questions. A little more travel won’t hurt. But Ireland’s off for the spring I’m afraid.
Idiocy can be fun. Scary? Not really. Formulaic. And music manipulates the mind quite effectively. Silly/scary.
I think that I shall sit on this. Not that it isn’t good. The structure is interesting and the effect is doubtless correct. Nonetheless, releasing it would be pointless. Her return was a little half-hearted, my initial blast acheived everything I really needed to do, and so I wait.
The south african accent is unfathomable. The white one, at any rate. Southern twang and softness, british aspirants and lack of r, something else I can’t identify. Dutch speed? I’m guessing. It shifts so quickly between these aspects. Often word by word, sometimes with a single word. I am bewildered. But interested nonetheless.
With every advantage that I have had I am still lost. How did I get this blood blister on my fingertip, for example. Can I go back there? Life’s little mysteries. What a vicious bastard! I don’t even know how I got home. But she’s my friend, she can’t be my lover, that’s a given. I am sure I didn’t explain a thing. But I know, and that’s enough, really. My loving is decidedly unfriendly.
Angry woman and lizard man.
-No, I’m not seeing anyone else, she shouts into her cell phone. -I don’t want to see you, You are disgusting. I don’t care if you love me. She is certainly remarkably angry.
Lizard man rides the F. He sees himself as a badass, as so many men do. Slouch hat, gum, dark gray suit, black shoes and socks. Lizards don’t chew gum generally. Nor do they wear dark gray suits or black shoes and socks. This identifies him as lizard man, not merely as lizard.
-Leave me alone why don’t you? When are you going to stop calling and bothering me?
Actually a lizard could wear a semi-formal wardrobe if it were properly tailored. Business formal.
He is having a bad hair life.
Eddie was lost to the pyroplastic flow, yo.
The joys of travel. Security guards are polite but I wonder if that’s the first Kruggerand he’s seen. Certainly the first hand-rolled cigarette in an Altoids tin. I am now going to sit here for two hours because I checked my baggage. There’s a flight right now but my baggage isn’t on it. Probably. I wonder. There’s a wireless network here; I can’t get on it. There was a wireless network at LaGuardia, I got on it. Couldn’t use it for my own purposes but it was fine for checking my flight and the weather.
Agriculture in Denver is interesting. Large circular fields. Some cemicircular. A couple of barren ones in the middle of green. Many of the semicircular ones had buildings in the non-green areas. Whatever the watering aparatus is that leads to the circular shape it is obviously moved around between fields. Most had a little road to the center and very few had the aparatus. A watering crane?
Is absurdity funny? K doesn’t like absurdity. So she says. Yet she likes life, has a sense of humor, and last time I checked life was absurd.
Gaping hole. Ours is not to wonder at all. Time rolls, experience falters. Don’t look at me as if I could either care or answer. There isn’t any point. If I can avoid this desperation, perhaps that might be a point. I love a good jolt of caffeine as much as the next person, make no mistake. But I’m not quite so frantic. Not quite so eager to race. The competition is almost purely internal. As it might be for anybody, perhaps just not so important to me. I am sure that I would, given half a chance. But there is only one way out. And I am fairly certain that it is approximately here.
Ich veshaya keine deutsch. Je ne c’est pas le mot por... quois? Je ne c’est pas par’ce’que je ne c’est pas.
I know very little. Painfully litlle. This train makes that perfectly clear. How do these things happen? Is it ignorance or luck? A little of both?
The germans are gone. A different sort now. All free now, o yes. Free to be ignorant, free to be vicious. Not that the germans can’t hold their own on the latter account. Good people. Same stories. Who am I now? What is the edge? I have something. Is it worthwhile? Playing with the kid was fun. I am an alien. I want more real estate. Thirty-five and rather vicious. Respectful, perhaps. Respectable, not really. A gambler. But I don’t live in Jersey. I don’t even know the geography. Here is a child without her father. Here are her grandparents taking care of her mother and her. Her she, pick your pronoun. Beyond a certain point there is nothing to lose. My fortune is incomparable. My arrival comensurate.
Many colors of addiction. I am not supposed to be trading. Spun two.
Not great listeneners these. The operator would like to conduct them to seats but to no avail. Shouldn’t we be rolling?
What does he do that I can’t? Nothing, I think. Time is immaterial. I need to work. What he can do that I cannot is spend adequate time. And stick with the plot. Thirty measly pages and I can’t do it.
mercilessness. Nothing charming, nothing cute. Unimpressed; one dead thing smells very much like another. Sickly sweet. I give a fuck. Not. Cute? Charming? I think not.
Well that is that. She’s free. Keeping her was selfish. Letting her go was selfish. I’m just the selfish kind, I suppose.
Do you put crap in your hair to make it look so shitty?
I have had a stupid day. But it’s beautiful anyway. Why does my aesthetic find green so gorgeous? Are we all programmed this way or do I have some special association. Everyone I ask finds it pretty too, so it seems rather universal.
The boom as the Amtrak blows past the NJT. In this case it really is a case of blowing by. Trains displace enough air to cause a good wind.
I write again. Bliss and horror. The jump must have taken alot out of me. Or the cycles had led away? But I doubt that. I hope not. Words must out, I can spit them like no other, noblesse oblige and all that crap.
The view from the F train bridge at Smith and Ninth is nice. Industry, skyscrapers, canal. Old architecture, new, trees, ocean in the distance. Statue of liberty’s out there in the distance, irony that she is these days.
How exciting it must be to have hair.
Unhappy jew, how unusual. Cynicism only gets one so far, then a purer sadness must ensue. I believe the best about people. To my own detriment, often, I must admit. But still I do. I’ve been screwed over on many multiples of occasions.
Brooklyn is like Manhattan upside down. The streets and avenues are proportional, but opposite.
This is the time, this is the place. Better said: now is the time, here is the place. A little pain never hurt anybody. Yes, the good in grief, wouldn’t call this oversimplified. But I wrote a hell of a lot of words for her.
Looking is fine. I can’t ask for more. I’ll embarras myself, getting involved. And the downside is much more than any conceivable benefit. I was going to say higher, but what’s higher downside? How does that cliche work? Broken metaphor. The fireflies are out. And I know where to get some swampwater.
So I know she’s pretty. Nothing wrong with that. But pretty enough to alter my path? I don’t know, I really don’t. The crackling of a campfire is really small explosions. It produces the occasional projectile. Take care. It’s hot. And the odds are pretty good that it’ll get you eventually.
I get a sinking feeling that she had a plot in mind. My narrative fails that litmus test. On the mountain, driving the hills, freezing in a rainstorm, sweating in my room, there’s no impetus. A lot of interesting details, but no real intrigue.
All I really have to do is look around. Tunnel vision disappears when you look outside.
Allyer musstard Ovus. Notcher rhymes nor rhyethms neither, just the hot and sour ifya please.
Orange graysky. Rain comes. Herenow, ‘tis. Crowded it’s gettin. Pretty girls, so? God made’m thus so we’d refrain from eatin’ ‘em all. Allgray now. Quitewet. Then orange again. Now yellow’s back. Steamy, yay. What next? I need dry to scoot so sittintight. This bodes ill.
Why didn’t I walk away? I’m hungry. It bothers me. Why did you serve him? I was here first. What the fuck? I could have done better myself. Gone to the cook instead of wasting my time on that kid. Live and learn. The anger is pointless, if not unwarranted. Keep your sense of humor. It’s all you’ve got.
Written on a daypass. ‘We are the reality men’. And what else? Garbage digging in my future I’ll warrant. Never mind, found it.
I have had an unholy amount of pleasure in this world. Singing at my sister’s wedding is a fand one. Researching Mason’s I find irony in what I sang. But it was a sticky spell at that. And was it Dorothy who played the harp? O, what a journal would have profited me!
This particular project has certainly gotten out of control. Too many bits and pieces. Several that could grow but now buried in the flow. Can’t sell the gibblets, no. Pithy? Is it? What about New York? Do I see enough of it? The temptation to sit out a round is too great, I think. With too much to do it is easiest to do nothing. Like the projects at work. So much to do, where to begin? Spider arials scratch the sky. Begin with a word. As the train rises the city falls away. Mauve and violet ribbons of twilit clouded sky. Hand sized to torso sized flakes of fallen paint, layers of fallen paint, it must have been beige here once, was it green? Gazing from our bridge to theirs, beyond it the lights of the city, beyond them the Verazano. This station more brick, the paint flakes on the bulkheads that must have once been windows. Must have. What other excuse could they have? So many times have passed, what about the unairconditioned trains, ceiling fans, smoking? So much time. Such short lives. White diaphonous skirt, black t-shirt. Incredibly loud young man, my disenfranchisement theory. Red shirt with white flowers over a plain red shirt. Plain as far as I saw, nothing but the collar visible, might have just been a collar for all I know. The fallen tiles, the replaced tiles, the patterns and chaos of lost tiles, even their arrangement before falling. Dirty. How much time times what dirt? I’ve seen deisel’s down here. Was that the day? When did they become electric?
I wish I was a drunken egostistical bastard. I guess I’m just saying that I wish I was drunk. But there’s something about the artist, isn’t there?
Her mouth is too small. Do you hear what I’m saying? She’s a pretty enough girl, but realistically? We have a problem.
Howl dragon. Time is fleeting. The rooster crows, is it morn?
Horrible pleasures of the vicious bastard.
broken bag of shoes
All the terrible things I could do.
Have you ever seen the real thing? Some ask -how did it get to be so tough? You might as well ask how it survived. The answer would be the same.
Inspiration comes, inspiration goes. Like a memory of sound, like an image of smell. No better nor worse than I deserve. I spent some time going in the wrong direction, it was easy time. And making up for it was not all that painful. Maybe even a little pleasurable. It certainly didn’t seem so at the time, but how it all does work out. I could have stopped and asked for directions.
The tale of my pet clam. Sad? Smelly. Death comes to all. It’s hard to tell the difference with a clam though. It has stopped dancing.
It’s August again. Cooler than most, but no less humid. So instead of being oppressive it is clammy.
June swallows often. With a click. Sometimes twice in a single sentence.
“He’s supposed to be a best friend *click* from high school *click*. And so he beats *click* the crap outta the guy. Now he *click* knows, but the rest of the movie *click* is that his wife don’t *click* know. Only one more day.”
“But the weeks just go faster and faster” replies Sandy.
Don’t stop, that’s the trick. I’ve said it before, I am saying it again. Keep at it and the work will grow. Unfortunately it’s all little huts right now; no edifice.
Cloudburst. Pounding water. Well I must admit that I was not expecting this. Underground has its advantages. Knowing what to expect when you come up is not one of them.
I am not good, quite the contrary. If I had root I could shotgun troubleshoot, but no such luck.
The Grundy’s stack is silent now. And she needs some paint. A lot of paint, I suppose, she’s a big building. Was she a factory? A warehouse? All of the above?
This train sucks. Why’s it gotta take so long?
About midnight, the guy comes running up, he’s holding his lips shut and puking. Puke is flying to the sides. He made it.
The blur on this window feels like a blur on my eye. Can’t blink it away. What a gorgeous day. Nice sun, beautiful greens. Yesterday The sun just touched the top of the trees. Tips painted gold. Gorgeous.
Summer was short his year. A couple of the hot and sticky, but mostly quite mild. I’m sure I’ve asked this before, but what of winter?
Black kid in a field south of Princeton. Two cops. What’s his story?
Bruno is an old dog. He’s buried alot of bones over the years. More than he can possibly remember. All he really has to show for it is some bagginess under his eyes, a little gray on his muzzle and soreness in his hips. Puppies think he’s wise, but that’s as much a testament to their foolishness as anything real about him. Wisdom? Wise enough not to chase cats alone. Too old to chase cats at all, actually. The middle aged dogs show him respect just because he’s survived so many winters. But do they really respect him? Isn’t it all dog eat dog?
Jennifer gotta voice. Why use it on the train? Sharing, showing off, practicing?
It used to be window. Now it’s a plywood wall. And she has some tight braids. So tight her bare scalp show through.So tight her face is pulled back. Too bad the angels aren’t here, sure we could work ‘em in somehow. Lacerated multicolored metalic banners. Not really foil, though that is the word that comes to mind. Probably plastic actually, but the metalic aspect is a good illusion. Some wonderful architectural flourishes going to shit. Girl’s got a bra, an undershirt and a shift. Never had a black girl. Maybe Ali was close? I’m too uptight. Ain’t that a joke? I have a clue. That’s all I have. A belly ful of words. Some might be funny. Depending on how you take them.
Overgrown tracks. Train tracks into the woods. Not an easy walk, rough on the ankles.
These graveyards aren’t full. Take some time. Not a bad place to die after all. If you gotta do it, all this green is nice.
I’m uncertain whether bridges are truly imperative. A good verse and a good chorus carry things well. Ah, that smell. Grass, trees, a little wet. Still, don’t feel like being productive.
Bloody hell. No kidding. So, what’s funny? The absurd. The horrible. Horrible little shorts.
There’s a lot of corpses here. A new bug. No immunity. Silent streets. Except for the buzzing of the flies. There are very few smells worse than that of rotting flesh. None worse than that in this quantitiy.
Occasionally someone dies on the train. Many people die, many people ride the traink some intersection is inevitable.
That’s about as useful as a bloodless revolution.
The disadvantage of being seven feet tall. The world isn’t really designed for it. Gyrhardt spends alot of time ducking.
Are these kids as prolific as they seem? Is it saved up and issued at a later date? It’s very good work, regardless. How long does it take? It’s remarkable they give it away for free.
To the details then. The church, some miles away, visible from our height. The river, wider than the East, what accident of coast and commerce made a metropolis there ande nothing here save a church? And some stumbling homes. A quite amazing bit of sprawl this one, wings wrapping themselves, the original structure quite engulfed.
Imperfection in the pursuit of perfection. Misread schedules that let me hang out with dad. Did I mention the Raccoon in Philly? Can’t say if the semi on the back road topped it, but comparable. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous country. And the weather cooperative.
Have a problem? Use the designer to re-create the universe. Sound like ‘The Last Wave’ or BO?
Can be exploited by a mailicious WP document.
Light was off when I entered the bathroom. Very dim at any rate. No problem, all metal, can certainly see the hole to piss. Then the light comes on. Motion detector? Time sensor? Why do I doubt it?
This is fairly insane, if I may say so. How many does it say in her registry? How loudly does she need to ask? I am loud on my keitai. But she is shouting. Important person I think. Hamptons I think. Pink border important? Pale pink? Unreal. So loud. It was lovely getting away from New York. There are many reasons to be here. Leaving is one. It wasn’t a very happy experience. When she received everything it was all wrong. Life is a miracle. They’s better hope it’s the same price. Maybe she wants to talk to her manager before she comes in. And it’s over. Isn’t it? THEY’RE ALL SUPPOSED TO BE THE PINK DUCHESS! Dropping her seat in my lap is the least of her problems. But perhaps shopping will make her happy. So long as Bella is in.
Hypocrisy is sad. Sometimes I make myself sad. But I understand your possesion of two chins. Ain’t that America? Home of the obese. The unhappy. The pointlessly angry. While I am all of the above I am also blissfully, hideously self aware. I believe that I have the left the First Boston umbrella in John’s office. And I gave the P’s my Philly five dollar special. Beautiful time, thanks. Do you wonder how I get away with it? I certainly do. Who would name a Thai resturant ‘The King and I’? Why are there so many attractive young asian women on Beacon hill? Where am I going? How will I get there? What shall be the miracle of the day? Finishing that thing at a sitting? Rather tripe, a few good points but so glad I didn’t pay anything for it. Yesterday’s miracle, that. Too many books to read. Far to many to carry. I can read them over time. No such luck carrying. They must all be carried now. But how wonderful. What a load of good stuff. Not that I don’t already have dozens unread and worth reading. So now another dozen and change. Many proofs. Mostly? Any firsts?
The thoughts come to me then I lose them. I’m grateful for her portability, but she still can’t be everywhere with me. I’ve said this before. Well lost. May I have those ideas again.
Gorgeous autumn day here in Union Square. What seems like violence in the crowd of black kids is just excitement. A little posturing, perhaps, dreads versus haircuts, but noone’s really going to get hurt. Gentle caressing breeze. Constant jack-hammering, sound of city traffic. Free cocktail. Odd. At one of those ‘spots’. Dunno as I’ve ever been to one of those ‘spots’. A little reminiscent of my free starbucks at the Prospect Park show. It’s not something I’d get myself. The birds are singing. Poor little confused guys. What is this, spring? The wind is a warning, but not much of one. If I had to guess I’d guess mild. The horror of cute girls at the Strand. Free to jump on an inter-stellar craft I am. Kids tearing apart the plywood around the statue. Over sized T-shirt. Close call, starling. My head makes a better door than doorway. Writing long-hand, admirable. Now I’ve got the volume. Would it be a notebook? I’ve got some catching up to do. Rand writing for thirty hours straight. Must I come up with plots? Dammit. I’m sure that I understand the appeal of plagiarism. Plenty of good plots already. What, three? Twelve? Sub-plots, characterization, setting. Time and place? New York, now. Laughing kids. Pregnant woman with Long Island accent. My terror of a gorgeous asian with a Brooklyn. Heh, I don’t believe I want gorgeous. Shall we explore?
Now there’s a paragraph out of nothing. Thirty-nine pages of nothing. Assuming each is two to three book sized I guess I have half my novella.
Vengeance is hollow. With only so many years of illusion to go thtough, why waste them on pointless unpleasantness?
Rand is reacting. She is reacting to her family’s loss, she is reacting to the Stalinist genocide in her homeland. To say the only way to succeed is selfishness is ridiculous. But understandable, given the nature of her suffering.
I was feeling beatific in the park. Also ridiculous. The cool wind, the babies, the families, the sundial statue. Successful progress despite the zoos. Walked from the fifties to the eighties. Thereupon lost the way of course; or that was the way. I do have my food. Even my samosas. No drunken tomfoolery, no samosa loss. Man enjoying ice cream. Dogs in the park. Bus driver who did not want to wait so I smoked as he waited at the stoplight. Still didn’t bother to run. Met a man with AIDS from St. Thomas. He didn’t want my samosas. Or breakfast bars. I didn’t want to take him to the deli. My bus came. Girls, girls, girls. The greatest favour I pay you is staying away. Dreadfully cute. Enlightenment is here. Unavoidable.
Mother of mercy and nonesuch, how we get away with this. Saw her again today, avoided immolation, narrowly? Coincidence I think, likely as no, place and time and so not there. I imagine she has questions but I been burned enough. Likely she’s got enough answers anyhow. So burrow bound I, underground and not catching the bridge tonight. So she can wait, we all know she’ll catch me soon enough, trap me in her burning gaze and that will be that. Literally. Such as it is.
Why, you ask, should one care. Well asked. I’ve heard there’s only so much suffering a man can take. Have my doubts. Or I’m more than a man? If so it’s thanks to her I’m sure. Wish I could see the lights. Not tonight. A whole lot of trouble for nothing. So thanks. Thanks for coming. Forgot again, sorry.
relaruinship. Interesting typo.
What if we weren’t hypocrits? What if those towers didn’t jut through these trees? Could this train be here? The trees are turning. No more green, green green. Would you settle for yellow, red and brown?
Smells like alcohol. Or a person that smells like alcohol. Could be Listerine I s’pose.
Outlets on SEPTA are rare. Is that aptly named? I’m not southeast right now, am I? Where’s a wireless connection when I need one? I just wasted charge on that. To titanium girl!
Plenty of experience. More every day. Still alot of green around the yellows and reds. No complaints. Remarkable. Flusing with Kini. Getting him lost.
Nobody ever told you I was insufferable? Strange, that. Bloody minded, did I say that already?
Fat guy, blue gap sweater eating baby ruth. Jersey or long Island? Tired blonde, batique blouse, chewing gum. Manhattan or Hamptons? Pair of ABC girl’s, talking real estate, blac\k pants. Chinatown or Queens? Are these New Yorkers crowding the gate to immobility? Have they finally become too pushy to function? Perhaps they are zombies. They are not respponding to her pleas to back off at all. Keep loving them, in the face of all of this. Taking on two giant bags, being selfish, lacking compassion. Love them anyway. Love them because of these frailties.
At what age should one be able to say “you’re making me feel guilty”? I’m not certain but I’m pretty sure he’s to young. Perhaps he’s just sleepy. Not getting the cell-phone is hardly reason for a tatnrum. But elegant reasoning anyway.
Another one puts mom in check. Is she letting him win? The bawler persists. Worlds apart.
Your choices, your life. I am not entitled to credit for any of it. Maybe I’ll take a little anyway. When I walk that boardwalk, when I contemplate those boats, when I buy a building it’s all one universe. A butterfly’s wings in Peking.
The words are just that. I do not have a particular attachment to any particular method for putting them on the page. Many artists do. Longhand, manual typewriter, what have you. I could care less. It is certainly influential on the output, but it is hardly a determining factor. I wrote some fine poems on the Olivetti. I wrote the koans longhand. I haven’t written anything for myself in any but a digital fashion for years.
I cannot get any more conservative. I cannot get any more liberal. I question the modern American interpretation of these terms. I believe that the best government is that which governs least. That is conservatism to me. I believe that every individual is a sovereign entity.
Is this beautiful mother Chinese? It doesn’t really matter, her tight bun could be Korean or Japanese for all I know, but the flat nose seems mainland.
Such comings and goings. Where have you come from? Where are you going? Reading tripe I am, brightly written and pleasant but not thick, not dense. Nothing horrible about it, which is where it fails to resemble life. Let us, then, speak of speaking, think of thinking, write of writing.
-So, you wanna kill ‘im or should I?
-I don’t mind, I can take care of it.
It’s a cold night. And the boy is not quite the badass that he thinks he is. Really cold. And trolls make short work of kids who think that they’re tough. No amount of conviction of one’s own badassedness is adequate protection.
In a time when subway stations were made of stone. Dark, sweaty stone. Was there ever such a time? Well, there must have been because this was then. I made my way down the stairs. No handrails in these days. The stairs were stone too, of course. A bit shallower than subway stairs these days. That is to say the steps were broad, and not quite as high. Not as dark as the walls. And more flatly carved. The walls were, in their way, bulbous. The stone was not rectangular, far from it. Not quite the striking jumble of irregularity you find in a yankee stone wall, but definitely textured. They were actually regular in size, just rather round. Protuberent. And oozing, practically dripping.
The bottom was a causeway. Stone floored, surprisingly enough. The same flat stones as the stairs. Neatly fit. Smooth. Not a terribly large space, maybe eighty square feet. Stairs led both up and down from this area. Several each direction. I took the one up to the left. It led almost as far up as I had just come down. I passed a hurried man. He didn’t look at me, rushing on his way down the stairs. I ascended to the top. The passage was not well lit. I wondered how much farther I had to go. There would have to be stairs back down at some point, I was fairly certain. I walked a little faster. The tunnel was getting smaller. The walls came together slowly, the ceiling came down, or did the floor come up? Hard to say in a tunnel, what’s the point of reference, gravity? It was gradual enough so as not to be obviously uphill but that’s not to say that it wasn’t. It was still a foot taller than me and still wide enough for three men to walk abreast, though they might brush the walls, when it came to a wall with a window sized opening. The hall continued, if you could call it that. Well, actually no, there’s no way that you could. It was definitely a tunnel now.
About two feet by two feet. I lifted myself in. This didn’t seem quite right. Why would the MTA have a two foot by two foot tunnel to the train? Still I persisted, crawling along. The floor, however, was now of the same rough stone as the walls, and being forced to crawl on hand and knee I was getting rather damp. Not only that, but this tunnel was shrinking too. It was down to about a foot in each direction and the going was getting quite tough. I couldn’t even really crawl any more, it was more of a worming motion, pushing forward with my feet and just undulating my arms and torso. This could not possibly be right. How could this lead to the platform? And then, as if just to finally confirm my suspicions a voice called from where the hall had hit the wall and become a little tunnel.
-Hey buddy! Doncha know you’re goin’ the wrong way?
Well I couldn’t turn around of course, the tunnel was far too small. And then I started thinking about giant spiders. How giant? Well, couldn’t be too big to fit in that space, but the size of my head is more than giant enough. So I scrambled backwards, first in a reverse undulation, then finally
Streets run beneath the tracks to the BQE. Industry goes on. Not much living though.
The points of her shoes don’t quite disguise that fact that she has two large toes. And that’s all. Normal human beings, five. Her? Two. Large ones. It would be a cloven hoof scene but they are very difinitely toes. Pink. Fleshy. Larger than most, well, to be honest, any. Two large toes. All she needs. They do the trick.
Not thinking different on Park Slope I guess. A Vaio would be more contrarian. What does it mean? Not much. Like when we all had mohawks. The existence down’t mean much, the absence doesn’t either.
Roger has lost his mind, evidently. Or the rest of us are missing some funadamental wisdom with which he is in touch. He holds his bible up with a grimace or grin. A grin so passionate it is indistinguishable from a grimace or a grimace so joyfull it appears to be a grin. He then proceeds to carefully place different pamphlets on each train seat, muttering (blessings? explanations?) as he does so. ‘Chinese mbm’ and other unhearables as he places a little white slip next to the Asian gentlemen. Perhaps it is in Chinese, my incomprehension of cuneiform is nearly total. While it is not my only illiteracy it is quite a major one. He places an even smaller yellow slip in the next seat. I don’t get one in the seat directly next to me. Perhaps he knows I’m a lost cause. But the next seat over gets a ‘Christian Life Times’.
I wrote a letter of complaint to the manufacturer of my shoes. They were falling apart. A large split had developed in the right side of the left one, where a seam had given way. Now rain poured in from any puddle I passed, and with that perversity that so exemplifies this reality, it accumulated inside, evidence that it was easier to get into than out of my left shoe. So I wrote the letter.
-Sirs, I began. -While you do make fine shoes, indeed have quite the reputation as fine cobblers, I have had the misfortune of purchasing a pair that do not live up to the quality for which you are rightly renowned. In fact it is with much regret that I inform you that this shoe has ceased to be a functionaly barrier between myself and the elements. It has, in fact, acheived a surprising disability in this regard, and may in fact contain weather better than it repels. I await with some trepidation how it shall fare with snow.
-I had always wanted your shoes. Since I was a child I have heard how wonderful they were in both construction and style. I had saved for some time to get these fine examples of foot apparrel, and it saddens me greatly to say that I am now disillusioned. Not only have I lost faith in your shoes, but I have to question the entire advertising, marketing and sales cultures which convinced me that you made good footwear. I am now even forced to wonder about the motivations of those friends, family and acquaintances that reccommended your work to me.
-In closing, I must regretfully inform you that your shoes have failed me. I am unsure whether to request their prompt replacement or merely write this down as a lesson learned and move on to another cobblers work. Your prompt attention is hoped for - Z
A replacement pair of shoes arrived the next week. What I didn’t know was this:
The jungles of Balvurnia were largely burnt for the interests of industry and agriculture in the last century. The indigenous creatures of Balvurnia didn’t appreciate this very much as they had no use for industry and their idea of agriculture was tending the jungle and engaging in a sort of permaculture there. However, these beings were about a meter tall, covered with short, soft fur and had neither tooth, claw nor any technology well suited to application as weaponry. And so their jungles were burned.
In order not to starve, the natives had basically two choices. Get a job in industry or find employment in agriculture of a more industrial sort. By this I refer to the idea of productivity, efficiency, cost benefit analyses and other such jungle burning ideologies. For those who now ran the agriculture knew how to make a profit. The permaculture of trhe native folk yielded mere thousands of calories per acre per year, whereas a more intense application of machinery, chemical fertilizer
Good smells, good fortune. Cloves, chocolate. Pretty warm for the dead of winter. And then again, most unfortunate. Spitting underground. Now I know. Hypocrite I, of course. But I do try to spit on the tracks, for what that’s worth. Selfish as usual, some poor MTA guy has to wade through my spit. But I won’t step in it. You won’t either, unless you’re the unfortunate MTA guy. And he has to wade through worse anyway.
I am uncertain if this is strangely sleeping guy’s wife or girlfriend, but it must be some relation. Mother of his child? Just a guess.
I must not ridicule plastic people. They should ridicule my hairy, dusty self. If they don’t then they are all that much more worthy. If unreal.
Black hairs, gray beard. A rather Steven King effect. Striking, odd, what have you. Is it a wig? Dye perhaps?
You inquestify my poeticalismocity?
There’s nothing like the 7 for a view of New York. From the Chrysler, the UN and the Triboro to the black girl with the amazing hair tendrils singing and the old chinese woman smelling. By and large this city is broken down. And being old is no excuse, Boston is old but not broken down. Not like this. Less broken down at any rate. More people here though.
I will say this... it is not that easy to write a novel. Well duh, I hear you say? Therein lies a rub. Very few novels admit the use of ‘well duh’. Even as dialogue it’s pretty weak. But the big requirement is discipline. I say again, again and again. Discipline. Damned trait I lack. And who knows what I said? Even worse, who understands? I guess my chances of that are better on the page. Tonight I love my empty train. Would love an empty one. Attendant sadness tonight. Your dream is zero my little friend, sorry you’re so little. Me myself? I’m zero all alone and too proud of it, as far as that goes.