Monday, June 27, 2011

Epistle. To: Wollstonecraft

Hummingbird speed would be cool. As though you held different parts and those parts were different types of scales that entered in and out. And when you look at hummingbirds it's like why hold onto a branch? A refresher course in the finer arts of empty thinking. How would you paint a hummingbird I asked the nurse? A few scratchy lines like a blur? Are you using a solid ground or not she wanted to know? I didn't know and that threw me. So I asked do you think birds have any idea about breakfast? Oh birds completely understand about breakfast she said and laughed. Besides she said what can happen overnight? She had fine gray green eyes which made them easy to look into and then feel lost without regrets. The thing is you settle in for a time and then it changes. Much of the day these days is spent in idleness - taken from an old Chinese world view - a lazybones word for a spiritual posture - and from there one can only ask further questions. When the sunlight  is out I do a good imitation of the lizard king routine and sit in a plastic chair on the deck sipping a ginger ale for a thrill. Face up to the radiation and getting a dose to warm the blood in springtime after a long fucked up winter. Do you imagine falling asleep is medicine? And the lake is way high over normal stages. And I read that for every foot of lake water above flood level it takes twenty days for that extra foot of water to drain down and go away. Naturally I have water down in the basement which I cannot do anything about. The lake is like two feet higher than what it should be. And when I get out on that deck chair and have a couple of pain meds - to lose that sorrowful blueprint left post-surgical - and then nod off - like Marge does in the front seat of the land rover  in Who'll Stop the Rain as the agents and the husband she left close in - she left whatever it was she had behind - both for the Vietnam heroin she now loves and the anti-hero Ray who provides it - but whom she still wants is still the question - what is it that she wants? -  everything - she wants the dope the husband the lover - but then the agents close in - and I open my eyes suddenly and I'm like two feet higher too! The nurse said well don't expect so much. But I said if you can't believe in movies what then? The nurse had wavy auburn hair that shook down in curls around her shoulders and was like the color of a flower pot you might pick up at a tag sale for a song. But I said why not believe in the miraculous overnight? Why not forget about time as a marker? Because the nurse said you need to toughen up. And that is not magic. It's day after day she said. And when she said that something hit. It was Friday the 13th. I had an opening that night. A swank retail establishment where a painting was altogether another consumer good up for sale. And did I need a payday!  Life was filled with chances we never take anyway - hanging on thin air waiting for us to recognize - so I asked her. Would you like to come along? It seemed innocent enough- but hey nothing really is -  and I think she understood that. Maybe I just feared. Where does the love come from? Where does anything like help come from when you're no longer hurt and don't always spend the waking moments so to speak looking over your shoulder? Maybe I simply wanted to walk into an evening with someone else as a look or a combination. The nurse said I have my doubts. Yea it's funny that way I said.    

Monday, June 20, 2011

Epistle. To: Bernadette Wild Garden

Went to the movies yesterday afternoon. Got lost for a couple hours in take away fictions and big sound systems. And walked there in a rainstorm which seems the course for the earth locally the past few days. We've become a citizenry of umbrella wearers. Water piled up at street intersections. The storm drains in the city - a facet of civil engineering if not politics - were not exactly in the best shape.  For the most part they were placed at higher grades than the streets themselves. And it doesn't take a genius to see the problem here. The rain once it collected downhill from the university heights behaved like rivers in floods will do and sought their own gravity. As such with no adequate drainage pattern the rain storm heaved in directions back around corners where it came from and sloshed over curbs where if you were a pedestrian with a short legged dog the dog would be swimming on its leash. Design is a good thing when it works. But was this actually thought out? It was like standing in awe- watching the water hit the rim of the storm drains and then go around every which way but down like crazy. And it was a good sized crowd for a matinee and suddenly in the dim light finding a seat in that movie going mingling while feeling alone I had this slap in the head. Almost like I was trying to impress myself. Lazy and sanguine and walking in the rain. Inflated intentions even. But the hiss you hear are simply your thoughts evaporating into the air. If this were a bar scene and whomever was pouring the drinks and then having to listen the bartender character might say yea, whatever, now drink up and go home. We look for thrills. We look for love. Instead the dull drift of life runs amok around the storm drains! And settled into the movie house. Ah the quiet between the ears implicit while the eyes were stranded in images. And really that's not too much to expect is it? But like the song says - if it's not asking too much - that whole mental clearinghouse never got off the ground. Trouble was sitting in the seats in front of me. A couple of over the hill nimrods. It was like they were harpooning better days now that their salad days were about over and as such wanted everyone else to know. And at a freaky volume. Were they trying to blow out the neon exit signs?  Checking their phones and then yelling gossip from one seat to the next that was personal enough to not amount to shit among strangers. Checking their watches and then arguing data. Presence it seemed was their paramour. Chain swallowing a box of twizzlers and a tub of popcorn while worried out loud over the calories in a diet soda? Yelling out wrong answers to the trivia quiz before the feature. And then yelling oh damn it I should've gotten that one!  Like that might have changed anything. And I do know. They were just having fun. But even so. Remember as a kid doing stunts in the playground and yelling to whatever disinterested adult who had surveying duty at the time look at me! If there were questions of silence - like in a movie house - they filled it with enormity. And if I could read minds - which I can't - I might want a box of twizzlers. Even so it went - through the feature - chomp - phone buzz - loud satisfaction - oh look there's a train crash!    

Monday, June 13, 2011

Epistle. To: Lady Kimono Clan

Don't you always want a little extra when you go and get the mail? Old school mail that is. The snail version. Hand delivered by someone walking in the neighborhoods. Something that's a complete surprise? Something otherwise tremendous that might be there amidst the usual junk and bills? Maybe that's a problem. Each day trying to imagine what could be there even though you know the odds are against it. Maybe that's a problem. But some item arriving from outside that you did not expect. But if it's there it's like a crazy hope to flush out the day. Maybe a postcard. Or some super coupon with your name on it and as you hold it in your hands just the touch of it is such that whatever else happens from that moment on you'll be enlivened by having it. Maybe for kicks - because that's what we're talking about - I'll put some cash in an envelope and mail it back to myself so one afternoon when I look and it's there I bingo and prove illusion is the truest behavior we have. Isn't release a consequence from having? Today I got this halcyon sounding letter asking me as a citizen to participate, "for pay", in a five hour project to evaluate presentations from a real lawsuit. The intention etc. is to come to a decision etc. in a project "where virtually everyone who has participated reports them to be extremely interesting, enjoyable, and worthwhile." Light lunch and refreshments were to be served. First I thought what were they serving and second what were they paying?  Light lunch seemed to a euphemism for meaning they're going to pull the buffet table away quickly and so in a pack of hungry fake litigants who needs that?  What does it mean  if you can't go for seconds and snag up some rolls or carrot sticks for the next day? Also I needed no expertise or qualifications. And they're paying for that! I did need to be able to listen and have a willingness to be fair. Well that's gonna cost extra! The money was okay but not great. You want my loyalty then there  should at least be a choice. Burger and fries and beverage preferably with malt. Crispy crab cakes and a hefty garden salad with fresh made croutons and a lemon squeeze. Grilled fish with couscous and bitter greens or killer stir fry with the onions just caramelized and those delicate spring rolls or those tiger rolls with hots and cream cheese or way deep fried egg rolls with a sweet sour tamari or blast your sinus mustard dipping sauce and not from jars bought by the carton at Home Despot. I'm not trying to be difficult. This just seemed like a weird professional exercise in trolling. In that you're supposed to be satisfied for the chance for having kicked in your two cents worth? Except to imply that having your own brain was something special but we know about that!  Don't get me wrong. But didn't we all get one? And wasn't this having a brain business just a credit anyway? I mean what do we have? We're living onward in an evolving world and a success at it because we're both dumb and smart simultaneously. That can't be a bad thing. It's kept us alive for millions of years. I showed the letter to the nurse. And she said well you're not going out of the house for that long anyway! And there it was. But she did have this idea. Tell them you'll do it for free she said. What's the point? Maybe they wont bother you she said. But what about the lunch I asked? You're not eating that much anyway she replied. I'll make you dinner some evening I said. And as soon as I said it I could tell the whole thing sounded coded. Like all the mathematics people behind the scenes use to drive all the social networks to bear fruit and that you on the receiving end never know the depths of the system you're using. She laughed. There wasn't the time. She had too many clients etc. But I said it's nothing really too bad to have your head in the clouds. That's how we are. Last night I said. What she said doing that great thing with her touch to a line of packing gauze soaked in bleach. A crater in the emotions maybe. Don't be silly she said. No I said I was lying in bed reading and listening to the music that seemed right in the windows upstairs but was drifting outdoors across the city and traveling from downtown. I thought about going. She frowned. Yea I know I said. But what if there were never another time? What if there were never another chance to go downtown on a Friday night? So what she said. What did you miss? A crowd beer and food vendors? Yea I said something like that. I felt left out. A portfolio of sighs. Sad thing she said. I don't want to be a ghost. Like hanging out in some former version. Earlier I said I watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Maybe like in the movie I was now a replica grown from some weird bubbling pod and the old body was nowhere in sight! But you know as long as there was music playing in the windows and as long as I didn't close those windows I was safe from being taken over and I knew that. But it really is tough to say at those moments tomorrow comes and forever in those moments you still doubt what you just said.                  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Epistle. To: Wollstonecraft

It was like something out of Hitchcock almost if what happened weren't so literal. I was walking down the street minding my own business - right here I know you're skeptical - but that's how those movie lines get off the ground! - when a crow dive bombed me from a maple tree. A dozen other crows were up in the tree and making noise enough like some experimental sound band gearing up for a show. What emotions do crows have? Were they pissed off? Or just sonic? And what do you do if a crow hits you in the head? I kept thinking about the dumb guy at the gas station. In the movie. He's like totally unaware but that's his part. He's like huh and then drops the match and then blows up in a fireball. I should have had one of those new cop cameras mounted on my shoulder. Captures things like transgressions and assaults and drunk knuckleheads in real time all of which flails a point and helps with litigation down the road. But also on the underside of things happening there's a giving up of random indefinite space for the finite lens. If it's on film it has to be so, right? The courts of the future will hear your case on You Tube! Who would believe me? Who would believe that a crow tried to hit me in the head? And yelling at a crow was foolish. But I did it anyway. Because it felt like the right thing to do. I wonder if the shoulder cameras are tuned for the natural outbursts of R-rated language? You fucking crow! And after this potentially explosive You Tube incident, the other crows were up in the tree going on with the noise. As a metaphor if not overworked yea they were hanging on a limb and laughing at me or at least checking the film credits. At least the rains had stopped and the afternoon was there to be had if you wanted it in these flood stricken times. But it's been like that. Lately the days have been less than reliable than reading about them in the forecast. What good's a daily newspaper if the captions we're given can't even get the weather close? Yea it's a difficult science. But so are the fucking crows! I have a friend whose family has a farm deep in time in the Catskills. His cousins shoot crows the way someone else might pull weeds. And they've been doing it for centuries. Not that it's like that at all here. If I tried to shoot a crow I'd get the whole thing backwards and end up shooting myself. I have nothing against crows. I just don't want to be hit in the head by one. So I kept yelling at the crow. Trying maybe to reason with it. What is up? But I got no answer. Didn't seem to work. They kept on laughing. Maybe I should give my friend's cousins a shout and start a range war. Maybe if I had my shoulder mounted cop camera - attached on me like what a parrot (?) - I document this and place it somewhere in the halls of evidence against crows. And they don't fly off. And I stand there looking up for a while. Like they're trying to figure out if I'm related to Tippi Hedron...  Maybe sun. Maybe not. Maybe rain. Maybe not. Didn't this happen just like this last week? And so what you do is you wait around waiting for rain. Isn't it curious why we don't wait for sunlight? Because the way everyone talks it's the rain. That's the pause. A woman later at the park said oh this is just awful... a series of tough looking clouds moved in across the sky... thunder in contrasting light that sounds like a bad plan to be out in the open... but then nothing happens and the clouds are blown on and away... like some existential joke because you can see more clouds gathered up further away in posses of atmospheres and threats to become. Was it a question or not?  My response is to wear sunglasses all the time.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Epistle. To: Berlin Film Actress

Coffee. Ah. Dark bitter liquid made from parts new morning with demolished night. How it takes hold and then makes you up and before you know it you've slipped from a yawn into something like a smile the gods might flash. Second cup. Now you can think. Past stations narrow as love and hearing the landscape worker across the street starting his car. With no rain in the sky the sky fills up with a tired faraway light that enters the windows through broken clouds. I'd like to think it advantageous to run from dreams and leave them hanging but that would appear an impossible thing to do. Who runs the racket anyway when your eyes are closed and the grid of what's possible can sometimes paint you into a corner?  Spider webs caught before the light and etched with dew between the brown limbs of the rose thorns. The trees leaf out like old silent characters tuned to some invisible wire reaching across the earth in hemispheres and on a cue we don't know yet deeply enough about they break dirt according to what season is facing where. The nurse yesterday said man you have a lot of movies! She was looking at a pile on the desk that a friend dropped off the yesterday before. They pass the time between our appointments I said. Or rather they create a flush to live within, an anti-time, a couple hours where not much else matters. Wow John Woo she said. Ballet I said. Gunplay and a hyper-crowded Hong Kong introspection with as many cigarettes smoked as bullets are fired and family or business ties that doom the hero to logic and somebody else always lies dying and somebody else always does the talking. John Woo she said. Yea I said. Then it was all saintly professional hands at work, stuffing a bleached soaked gauze inside the damn hole and then patching me up for another day for another go round. Thanks aren't enough to offer I said. She was too smart to say it's just my job. She took my vitals and filled me out on her laptop and dumped all the necessary medical shit into the waste can. Ah. Where's time when you most need it? But she would be back. As long as I had a wound like a small pet attached to my sternum she would be back. And we've gotten to it already like a correspondence because she doesn't even call to schedule. She just shows up and I'm ready. Too bad things don't really exist. Too bad she had a job and I was just a client. Maybe she had a husband but I didn't see any ring. Maybe she had a boyfriend she didn't talk much about. Maybe she was gay and that would be the total hole in the fence that surrounds us. None of it mattered.  I needed to get somewhere and she was trained to help me. But still. Who doesn't imagine when someone else looks inside you and sees the flaws that aren't healed? It's what you remember I said. Like counting on any thousands of locations where you might be. What she said. You need to climb through to some other side and maybe I don't know what but maybe run away and be someplace else and maybe be somebody else. She sanitized her hands for the last time from a squirt bottle that made the day bed room smell like a death vapor for germs. Germs I  said - when I hear that word - it's like that routine from a Three Stooges comedy where the guy goes nuts when he hears the words Niagara Falls and loses it like he's hypnotized or something - sorry I said. What I remember I said was looking out over the rooftops of the hospital. I touched the window. I wanted out. I was locked in a climate controlled room. In a building where there were climate controlled rooms were the sole option. Where scores of machines beep in the dark like small frogs calling in some fertile night air - the incessant clatter and bang from carts being wheeled around crowded halls and crashing into whatever happens to be in the way in a crowded hall - toilets flushing at all hours no matter what time it is - the IV stands like guardian angles assigned to everyone as a kind of personal help only digital numbers and green lights to live by watching over restless laments and bad television shows  and the stunned beds of those waiting on the cusp to leave this shit behind one way or another - I'll see you tomorrow she said.
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