The Laws of Our Tyrant Mother Nature

Of all character traits, emotional and psychological, insanity and a sense humor are the most human. Few penguins have been observed telling knock-knock jokes. Beavers are likewise humorless creatures if you exclude the sinister comedy that is their lives. They’re furry little construction workers with shitty jobs, low life-spans, and their eloquent log homes have little retail value. Raccoons are thieves and lions are lazy, but only a human being can be a maniac and a comedian at the same time.

Is that what makes a man a man – knock-knock jokes and whoopee cushions? Is it those eat the can of donkey spleen and salamander testicles for the grand prize television shows? Is this what it is to be man, grandest creature of all, Homo Sapien? What sets man above the other creatures? Pies in the face, super soakers, aids, and nuclear war?

He-beavers share a common bond with men. We’re both silly creatures. We’re silly enough to be duped into monogamy, but every now and then our mates catch us being men. That always leads to trouble, for beavers and for men. We’re knotted like a thick blonde braid with these working-class quadrupeds. Makes you want to sing, doesn’t it? Ah, singing. Singing is a beautiful thing, in humans and in nature, but there are few animals capable of playing the piano.

Is that what it is that separates us? Our grand symphonies and operas? Indeed, more to me has been said of God through Ave Maria than the Bible or Koran or Bhagavad-Gita. Surely there is mania, subtle, poetic and graceful mania, in these masterworks of human thought. There is a bit of mania in music, like the Vedas, spiritual chants, Voodoo ritual dances and primitive drums. Insanity can be beautiful. Insanity can be noble.

Insanity is apparent in other areas of nature, of course. There are faint traces of it in other animals, but to a lukewarm degree; it’s rare to find a zebra in a book depository building with a bolt action rifle looking to start some shit. They’ve got those hooves, hard to grip a rifle with a stumped up foot, you see. But a human has the ability and the inclination to do this. They have the beliefs to justify it. It is just as easy for them to justify their beliefs as it is for me to justify mine.

Nothing interests me more than these peculiar bipeds. It’s easy to condemn them as irrational creatures with a penchant for doing incredibly stupid and crazy shit. Exhibit A: Mardi Gras. It sure is fun though. I’ve been arrested at Mardi Gras a couple of times. You might’ve seen me on the episode of cops dedicated to Mardi Gras. The show staggered the imagination. The show is in the imagination. Outlaw bandits run around with flopping tits, covered with fancy, multi-colored beads. They rolled around on the ground covered in piss, vomit, and alcohol. God bless America.

Swimming pools are hard evidence in support of my argument. Anyone that spends more than ten minutes in a man made puddle should be sent to the corner to think about what they’ve done. They should be removed from their home for their third offence. No soup for them, either. They will learn the error of their ways or die. Murdering someone because they like to go for a swim is a bit extreme, but they have to learn somehow. It’s okay to swim if you’re a sperm and only if you’re a sperm or a dolphin or something else in the sea. That’s it. If a whale walked through your house with a mask on to help him breathe and started poking you with shit, you’d have to call the authorities. Whales are fucking huge. I’d give him whatever he wanted and ask him to spare me. Then when he turned to leave I’d shoot him. Check mate, Whale. Jonah ain’t got shit on me, you see.

What am I trying to say? You could ask. Simple: human beings are wonderfully insane creatures. There’s something fascinating about how the circuitry of a burnt out mind works. I imagine dark rows of bluish diodes shifting about with occasional sparks like lightning bugs in tangled trees.

I’ve invented a simple test to determine whether or not you’re insane. If you fail this test, you’ll probably enjoy my little story. If you pass it, I don’t like you. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

It’s three o’clock in the morning. You’re hungry, bored, and having trouble getting to sleep. You put on your robe, tie it, and head downstairs to look for some food. You open the fridge. You explore behind milk cartons, jugs of tea, tin-foiled covered bowls from yesterday. You find nothing. You give up and return to your room. This is normal. Food is necessary.

Thirty minutes later, you repeat the process, thinking, “Maybe I missed something.” This is not a reasonable excuse. This is not rational. Congratulations! You are insane.

Ever contemplated the origin of the cosmos while taking a shit? If so, once again, you are insane. Interesting person, perhaps. Insane, definitely.

Put this book down and look around. (You have to pick it back up or you’ll hurt my feelings. Could you live with that on your conscience?) If there are any signs of swimming trunks you must commit yourself immediately for the safety of your family. Do it for the kids man! The kids! Would you want them to turn out like me? For heaven’s sake man, something must be done. It’s a shame that there are people that share my outlook. What do I want to do with my life? Waste it. Waste it and enjoy wasting it. I’m ashamed of being human, and proud of it.

My grandmother is a kind woman. She had five children and, when my grandfather had open heart surgery, she had to support them all by working twelve hours a day and six days a week in a cotton mill just to buy them shoes and keep them fed. She had no concern for herself and wore the same rotted pair of Reebok’s for at least fifteen years before we got her a new pair for Mother’s day.

She was just a wee lass when the Titanic was swallowed whole by the hungry gullet of the sea. In the summer. we walked around in her fenced in yard to look for June bugs. We’d tie their legs to a stick once we found them just to watch ’em fly around in circles. She collected porcelain angels and did her crossword puzzles every night. Other than that, she played a mean harmonica. I’ve never met a more superstitious person. In twenty seven years, she never missed a day of church. In keeping with the law of the Lord, she never cursed when angry; she spelled the words out. Sometimes my uncle was an ‘a double s.’

She thought a cross could keep her toilet from overflowing. Some quiet nights she stood in front of that American standard porcelain God shouting, with her crucifix held in front of her, “The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!” I couldn’t make this shit up. Superstition is a pure distillation of insanity.

Sorrow, regret, loneliness, heartache – all wonderful traits for human beings – but apparent in other animals. Regret is hard to see in the lower animals (you know, the animals that are too dumb to wear clothes and work at McDonalds) but it’s there. My grandmother’s cat, Entae, a runt of a black tabby with a gimp leg, had to be Italian. She exhibited a lot of common human characteristics. Other than cat food, she’d only eat ham and lasagna, spaghetti, rigatoni. Baloney was out of the question.

After eating about eight bowls of lasagna one night, I believe she regretted it almost as much as my mother, who had to truck down the stairs at three in the morning with a plastic baggy bought with the sole intention of scooping up cat shit and other less friendly bodily excretions.

There is more insanity at work here than you might notice at first glance. Let’s examine: there is a company, made of men that launched, funded, and marketed a product to be used primarily in dealing with cat vomit. The logic behind this is staggering. Staggering.

How could this come about? Let’s muse. Want to muse with me? Come on, I’ll be nice. One day there are three young business school grads on a train. They see three cats form a small circle and vomit ritualistically all over their patent leather loafers. A day which will forever live in infamy.

“My god!” says Grad I to the other two with a slack jawed gape. Tiny tendrils of drool dangle from his mouth.

“What did he do this time?” Grad II questions.

Grad III just sits there with a blank gaze. He stares at the birds for a while. “Durrr,” he adds emphatically.

“We could make a product designed for dealing with this situation!”

“Out of what?” asks Grad II. Grad III is still staring across the horizon with a doleful look on his face.

“Little trash bags!” he said.

“Brilliant! We could paint little paws and bones on them. It’d make millions. People love buying stupid shit for their pets.”

“Ahh,” the third one nods in agreement. Together, Grad I and Grad II make Grad III the boss. He sits at his desk and just agrees. His employees consider him ideal for upper management.

I have an uncle that believes dogs have the power to talk, but instead use psychic powers to make people think they’re not talking.

After a cursory glance at daytime television, it becomes obvious that people have little concern for the fact that they only have about fifty years to live. But they’re content to use the one life they’re allotted with spray on hair treatment and boots that turn into roller-skates.

This is a massive universe, staggering in size. Some say it’s terrible, some say it’s wonderful, and some just drink beer, play the lottery, and pay little attention to social matters.

Some believe the universe is wonderful because it brought forth life. There are others that believe it’s terrible for this very reason. Any man that spends a significant amount of time in an IRS building will have little humility before the wonder that is life.

Omar Khayyam had it right in The Rubáiyát:

A moment’s halt – a momentary taste

Of being from the well amid the waste

And Lo! the phantom caravan has reached

The nothing it set out from, oh make haste!

This perspective of Miss Milky way seems to be lost on men who spend their days concerned with raking in as much money as possible so they can have nice cars with digital surround sound and a little voice-operated flip-down DVD screen that can’t be watched while driving. They don’t have peacock tails or feathers, but they do have voice-operated flip-down DVD screens and they work just as well and serve the exact same purpose.

I’ve spent most of my life watching and judging others. No, I’m not Christian: I’m just interested in human behavior.

There is nothing as horribly entertaining as insanity at its most terrible and fabulous: dancing. Dancing is a seizure with style. There’s nothing more insane. Dancing has to be the craziest of all human inventions. More terrible than the atom bomb, more insidious than the first pointed stick someone thought would be nice to fling at a rabbit. More ghastly, perverse, and demented than the sequel to Caddyshack. It chills me to the bone just thinking about it. To the bone.

If our culture is ever unearthed, billions of years in the future, after every single car with digital surround and flip down DVD screens has been buried under thousands of pounds of earthen ash, I pray that a vastly superior alien culture never comes to Earth and stumbles upon Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. What would the vastly intelligent alien races with pointed ears, glitter, and rhinestone collars think of us then? They’d be laughing from Sirius to the other side of Andromeda. This haunts my dreams.

If we’re ever to move forward as a species, I think that it’s vital, important, pertinent, imperative, necessary and essential to seek out and eliminate every single VHS recording of Michael Jackson’s Thriller just so we don’t embarrass ourselves in front of the other galactic civilizations. What would they think of us then? All our toupees, plastic forks, glide on deodorant, and little cell phones with catchy ring tones can’t beat away the fact that we’re dying and doing a poor job at it. Dying is a lot easier and less complicated than we make it out to be and a lot more entertaining than most people give it credit for.

I always wanted to think that humans had a higher purpose than the other animals. Because we could use microwaves and laser printers, we must’ve been ordained with some important task in life. I don’t know, something more special and fulfilling than playing checkers or slinging burgers out of plastic windows. Could that be our purpose? Life is temporary; plastic lives forever.

After years of research, I found humans to be the least intelligent of all creatures on the Earth.

Every day after work, paid slave labor really, I walked down the walkway with grime and dirt all over me, covered in dust with blood on my elbows. My cat would be asleep in the grass. Just lounging in the sun without anxiety pills, nerve medication, cigarettes, opium or Dairy Queen. She had no care or worry about paying her light bill or the cat across the street with the great personality and caring eyes. Nothing. The sun, the grass, and the occasional grasshopper is enough for her. She is not cursed with consciousness.

My neighbor’s cat would be stalking mine. A dog would wait for the right moment to surprise attack on the cat too occupied with my cat to know what was about to happen. Of course, there are drawbacks to being forever carefree. Cars. Cats are often hit by cars. Humans are often hit by cars. Cats still come out on top. In lieu of the fact that they just get hit by them and don’t have to pay for them beforehand, they win.

If you didn’t laugh at that, you’re communist.

So, ladies and gentleman, what higher purpose do we have? Working at a fast food joint doesn’t seem to be a divine business venture. Functional, yes. Divine? Far from it. And, for some reason, I don’t believe that popping pimples has much to do with the Glory of God or the penultimate destiny of the universe. Call me crazy, but I don’t see how this really matters in the grand scheme of things.

This talk of insanity reminds me of something a friend used to chant when presented with something he didn’t understand: “Crazy? I went crazy once. They put me in a box. The worms ate through the box. I hate worms. Worms make me crazy. Crazy? I went crazy once. They put me in a box. The worms ate through the box. Worms make me crazy. Crazy? I went crazy once…”

Why lapse into this rambling inanity now, you could ask. Halfway through the story, the necessity of this small squib of a prologue will become apparent. This story is about an old man whom many in our small redneck mill village believed to be crazy. Crazy? I went crazy once…

A cousin of mine once wrote to the senator of our great state of South Carolina. She had a wild theory about why everything, as she put it, was kickin’ up dog shit:

“Dear Mr. Man in Charge,

Ninety-nine percent of children that get involved with drugs, gangs, violence, and small after school republican groups, have ketchup in their system. Coincidence? I think not.”

There has yet to be a reply. Sad sad sad.

The Bridge of Commas

Life is a most unfortunate hereditary disease, and is often fatal. Homo sapiens, Latin for clever man, don’t seem so wise to me. Bi-pedal, walking atrocities. Smiling all along as they preach and fuck and eat and sleep and lie. What at all, in an insane world ruled by insane men, is there to do to arrive at sensation of the senses? Drugs? Sex? Food? Religion? Rubbish. Everybody wants to suffer. It’s the fucking trend these days, yeah? Emo, depressed, yeah, you’re so deep and thoughtful. Your eyeliner proves this.

They wish to suffer and they do. They wish like me to be the killer of their own dreams; and yet accept no responsibility for their actions or their deeds and cite instinct; they cite that which pervades them as the cause of their actions and also the judge of them as well. When deep down I’d like to work a regular job and have a normal family life, I’d rather suffer and be poor than delude myself with that satanistic sort of ego gratification. What is capitalism? Glorified satanism in the guise of being under God. Satisfy yourself; satisfy your ego; that’s all you’ve got to do to make it in modern America. Help them make the tower of babble.

For some time now I’ve had severe pains in my chest. My psychiatrists tell me that it comes from anxiety. If anxiety is powerful enough to cause bleeding ears, chest pains, insomnia, hallucinations, and vertigo, then, to me, it is more powerful than god. Why do people do what they do? Devil anxiety pulls them. It pulls me. I stay still and let it pull.

It is those that wish to help me that I hate the most; and for whom I have the most contempt and respite. There is also, no way in which this ailment of mine could be treated, so I must live in discomfort and constant shaking and shy shivering and sleepless drawn out nights with my petty minded delusions of grandeur and my gradually receding sense of dignity. Either this or morphine. And my morphine fund drives always fell because you fuckers are cheap.

I feel I must be honest and admit I have no sense of dignity or shame. I feel spite for myself, and in this spite I find suffering. Each day I wake up and look around at my walls and wonder if they were built to keep me in, or I was built for them tkeep them looking fly. But this is of course, but a trivial matter to you put forth by some easily dismissible madman of the common age and victim of the counter-culture that brought you such nostalgic favors as LSD and amnesty.

I am in utter shame of myself and the way in which I’ve conducted my ideas and thoughts. And this, these babblings or what you might take them for, are in no respect an embarrassing attempt at appealing myself to you; nor is it by this action I try to justify myself or my existence. Because I cannot, and if given the chance, probably would not. Nec spe, nec metu.

In my suffering I find some sort of escape; and in this sense, it would seem as though I enjoy it in a way. This town, poor and meager, produces what seems to be human beings of moderate or little worth to the world at large. Like me. A generation of worthless people walking aimlessly around the ruins of their modern civilizations wondering where all the happy faces went. The happy faces are standing behind a counter making their puppeteers rich each time they click clack their god machine open and ring out a piece of paper detailing exactly how they forced you to take it in the ass. Day by day I see people walk by with dirty clothes and dirty feet, without shoes, with lots of pointless ideas and likewise unfulfilled dreams that spiral out as they approach their senseless doom. These people, obviously, are cursed with dreams. I guess I used to dream too.

Though my dreams are not to appeal to anyone; nor are they to appease my natural senses or in vain effort to justify my life or ideas. I do not wish to fulfill these desires. I don’t wish for anything. I just want to know everything.

It has been some time since I had the knowledge of better-than-thou holy types forced down my throat. Instead I’ve fed on history and philosophy which seems to roll backwards to me as I go forward in evolution. I think of school.

In these imagination killing cupboard rooms I learned something important in my early life; that I wanted to teach. But what have I to teach? Nothing then and nothing now. A voice, simply, and one that bears no particular importance at all. It would seem, from atop a canyon looking down upon me as a bird would, that all of these words stem from true disgust.

That’s not so, nor is it my poor intention to communicate with words my distaste for civilization and civility. I don’t want to communicate anything. I just want to communicate.

It is these people that lounge about me day-in-day-out which instills inside me a particular shame for all I see. Indignity, the joy of personal suffering, the spiting of the empty headed hearty folk that try to net you with superficial compliments and pointless conversation. It is in this that I find indignity; and a remote quality as if the person speaking is not a human being at all and rather a simulation of a conscious breathing creature full of juice and bias goodness walking around like a wind-up toy in a hedge maze looking for some cheese that isn’t there at all. They do this, and in this act I see such futility and respite; and in this respite I write these words.

I am not afraid of that which I cannot do – rather that which I know I can do. I fear the outcome of what I could do to others. I instead restrain myself to nature and its unforgiving laws of survival and intelligence. Intelligence, to me, never seemed to be a particularly necessity of natural survival. Though I could see advantages of early humans possessing intelligence and the ability to think their way ’round nature’s folly. I do not consider myself intelligent either; and would not, could not, until I know everything I need to know.

I am disgusted and I always have been. Commercials disgust me. They disgust me in the way in which necessities of survival are trivialized by a society dependent upon the intelligence they shun for the pointless shit they need to live the already pointless lives they waste away in many malls and coffee houses roundwards throwing classics of literature in some vain attempt to appear to be something other than a self occluded biped. We are this biped; I am this biped. I know it and I deny it at the same time. The shame I feel is the collected shame of a suppressed generation of happy cows grazing in their happy meadows blissfully unaware, like me, of the situation outside the pasture and those who control the grass. Fuck the grass and those who control the grass. I’d rather not eat than be a cow.

For years I wished to be an inanimate object; perhaps to find some sort of peace or simplicity. Then, for ages and a day, I fancied that I should be happy to become an ant or insect and happily serve away to a queen I never see, nor remember. I do not wish to know who it is I serve as this ant. I wish not for her happiness, nor for her care. That is the same way I feel of god.

Nature is the overseer – and we, like those little bugs, and like the bugs we are, are happily grazing in the happy fields she, with infinite generosity, bestowed upon us. But of course, it is our nature to ruin it as best we can and by omission never allow the future of our world and man to unearth our culture and think of us as we really are; rather by omission, false bridges made of words.

What do I want you to see? That’s what I think when I write. Writers wish for readers to see a reflection of what they see. With these words I create a reflection of a person; the reflection of the person I think I am, and think I should be, but in my heart of hearts, never can be.

There is no such thing in this world as civility; it is those in the most proper uniforms of the highest rank of social stature that is guilty of the most atrocity. Not the peasants on the street that beg for food or kill because they have to. These are the people that kill with a smug sense of self gratification as they push the buttons that end up tearing people from the face of the earth. They smile and they justify their sin in riddles like we all do, from one form unto another always in their cunning way, like a sly fox in a hen house justified by mass opinion and opinion polls in which decree those who must live and those who must die. These are the vilest human beings. Not the gangsters in the slums that kill or be killed, but those with the power to stop it that allow it to happen as long as their platter is silver and their opinion by the flock under them is ordained.

I torment myself on purpose. It is my own crime to be myself, and also, my own punishment. But there is a certain joy I get in holding reservation regarding my own suffering. I lavish in it, roll in it, and expedite anyone to claim greater suffering. I put myself on a pedestal I don’t wish to be on. I wish to crawl down; but from this little peak – I can see the water that I need to be in. I’m afraid of it too. Afraid of being unafraid of it. I make the water nice and clear and make it for myself to swim in. But as I climb down from my self appointed pedestal – my mind puts imaginary crocodiles in the water to scare and terrify me. It is in this quiet misery and uneasiness that I lavish. It kills me and it revitalizes me. They say I am a madman, they say I should be locked away. So be it, let me be. They say I am a babbling lunatic. So it goes.

In this particular fancy I never regarded myself as anything more than human, or average human, rather I felt compelled, by some pervasive element, to continue in discourse. I talked myself around all my problems and with words I distanced myself from flesh and reality and built up myself a wall to keep others out. And indeed, in the end, to keep myself out. I do not envy myself. I do not envy those that might envy me for some pathetic word generated reason. Consciousness is our greatest weakness; because with it, we can manipulate ourselves more so than others into believing we are just in our natural resolve. In our natural resolve, to survive and reproduce like rats, we have a binding consciousness to this ability; the binding consciousness that always, in this instance, insists that we abide by a learned moral imperative. And it is this imperative, that we allow to drive us further and further into self delusion regarding the consequences of our conscious acts. They say I am a madman. So it goes.

So it goes, indeed, to suggest a man so wrapped up in his own mind he can’t, without resorting to logic, do the most natural of all activities. To go to the washroom, or to the lavatory, and perform natural duties like the other animals do. Our greatest advantage, consciousness, has in these modern times turned into a weapon grander than anything from science, and also a weakness far outreaching the condemning aspects of unconscious automata; such as cats, and mice, and little bitty ants. These ants are us. And long have I sat in silence by myself above a hill of ants admiring. In complete admiration of their simple and resolute servitude. I envy these creatures; and in fact, in many of my books there are areas concentrated specifically on smaller, or less intellectually apt, animals and insects. I admire them and they fascinate me. I have strived to be an animal; to be a being of less consciousness, and at times I have even repeatedly slammed my head against the wall of my room to decrease my consciousness as much as possible. My body is a stinky pile of flesh carrying something more than blood and guts. There’s some glimmer of existence in my biped body; and it is this I wish to discover. I wish to figure out what it is; this unconsciousness element that pervades my fleshy action and my fleshy words. They say I am a fool and a hypocrite. So it goes.

e are beasts; we are liars; I am a liar and I am a beast. You may think that I write this to amuse, or to gain sympathy, and that is not the case at all. I write this for the same reason an ant drags a leaf across a playground, for the same reason an unthinking bird builds a nest. Is this a logical choice that I have made and from events around me deduced, or is it something else entirely? A natural inclination bore from my pervasive will and insanity, which forces me into such situations? And if this is to be assumed as fact, gentleman, then it must also be taken into consideration the self-depreciating abasement of our own will. The natural inclinations and drives that we deny in order to report to our modern society; we perform our action with the utmost justification for them and in our bleeding hearts believe them to be right; to be just; to be of no particular crime. But to others on the face – this is to them crime and to us they must appeal to their particular moral imperative. It is this moral imperative that brings human beings into conflict. They say I am an amoral deviant. So it goes.

Earlier, in the early morning hours, I did something atrocious. My cat, whom I dearly love, was sitting on my lap asleep. I was petting her, and trying to communicate to her some sort of affection; so that maybe I could get her to feel for me as I did for her. She turned over and crawled up my chest. And I had my nose right to hers, nuzzling with her and smiling and happy, and I went to pick her up and must have, by accident of course, pinched her in a way that hurt her. Out of reflex, with no ill intention or malice or forethought hatred, she scratched my face. And I, out of reflex too, after being scratched, took her under her furry little arms and shook her violently. “No!” I said as I shook her. And then, I looked into her eyes; she had no idea why I was hurting her. No idea why I had taken to shaking her violently back and forth. Seeing this, seeing her vacant face so full of simplicity and beauty, I drew her back to my chest. Sometimes I believe people feel this way about the forces that shake them.

Nature, in all respects, writes the rules for which God himself in all his anonymous glory takes credit. I appeal to him, to her or to it, and I wait. I wait for 22 years and the more I learn the more I suffer and the more I suffer the better I feel. I write this now, too, in sheer misery of all my senses. And someone, probably you who reads with your sense of supposed superiority, may believe that I feel sorry for myself. I do not. I have nothing to say but I speak anyway. Just that someone might come and listen for a bit. Today I talked to a beggar for hours in the street. He was a scruffy, stub nosed little man, meager and weathered. Cracks circled up under his dark eyes, his hat tossed on his greasy mop sloppily. And he came to me and asked if I had enough money to loan him so that he might purchase a cigarette. I looked at him and wanted to laugh; but before I could laugh, something strange seized me. I wanted to cry. I asked: the side. “What happened in your life? What went wrong? What is wrong? Let me help you. What do you need?” He looked at me and said, “I need 25 cents for a cigarette.” So it goes.

After I gave this man a pack of cigarettes I sat in my car, gripping at the wheel as the other people passed. I view them all with a curiosity, a curious bit of sadness and I play out their lives in my head. Transactions, dreams, hope, frailty. The old man, probably in his sixties, maybe even seventies, made me hate myself a great deal. I thought of my menial wealth and petty luxuries, my computer and my wall of uselessness lined about my boarded up room and windows. I was satisfied with my bullshit.

I barricade my door. I know nobody is coming but I barricade it anyway. I have black trash bags over my windows because the sun is too bright. but it’s easier than going into public life. Fuck that noise. I can’t pay attention to people when they talk to me. I understand them, and respond, but am simply not there.

I watch as people busy themselves about their lives and jobs. They look a lot like ants. I watch them tie their shoes, wipe their noses, smile and scratch their face and brush their teeth. This is how I accept them: simple creatures doing simple things. These moments interest me more than anything in drama or fiction. This makes me ill. I make myself ill. They think I must be crazy. So it goes.

In my early years, and though one could argue that I am still young, I should’ve liked to fancy myself a genius; and to facilitate this I needed only to surround myself with fools. Or human beings I thought that I was superior to. These people, yes – people, that I supposed superiority over were far more noble and according to nature than I. I liked to think I was superior in mental capabilities so I could use this to blur out my inability to manage and maintain regular social situations. So, to be readily dismissed as out there or some other trite phrase meaning nothing, I fancied myself quite clever for so long. And then I found a form of cleverness that human beings would die for; a cleverness that we human beings with all our tiny science cannot achieve: inner peace. A cat is of far greater intelligence than a human being. But, you’d say, a cat cannot count to four. Or to three or six or anything. Can’t add, can’t talk; and neither are necessary adjuncts of natural and peaceful survival. How stupid is a cat that lays about in the sun all day, loved and absolutely taken care of and adored, while you slave about in kitchens and tidy this and that while the cat simply lays about in indulgence? The cat is far superior in terms of intelligence to the human being that serves the cat. I have a cat. I serve my cat. My cat is smarter than me and she knows it. So it goes.

But one could say – what of all our science and our technology and our abstract thought and philosophy? And to that, I would say, how happy has all of this made us? Human beings are the only animals capable of making synthetic medicines and human beings are the sickest animals on the planet. And why, with all our medicine and miracle drugs, are we sick? Because we allow our gene pool to pass defective genes and hereditary illness; and through this sickness, in our species, perpetuates. The laws of nature favor the strong and the intelligent. The laws of man protect the weak and the stupid so that the weak and the stupid may also breed and bring about more weak and stupid children into this already stagnant gene pool. We opt for the quick fix with our illness instead of what other animals do. Other animals allow nature to run its course and do not attempt to alter nature in the way we do. We’ve allowed ourselves to be perpetually sick and weak, and we look for a cure to sustain this. To sustain the weak and the stupid we create our miracle drugs that stop the natural defense mechanisms of the body and in the end we all get weak and we all get stupid. I am weak and I am stupid. So it goes.

Though I have an extreme loathing for life and its foulness, I choose it simply because of the lack of a better option. I tolerate it. I should revel in my time and waste not a moment. But what do I in my arrogance attempt to do? I attempt to write. To share my ideas, as if they’re ideas worth sharing in the first place. But, it is my only real hope, though I lied and said I had no hopes for myself, which in my death people can chance across these words and find me alive and still talking. Talking is the bane of my existence, along with breathing and all that other non-sense.

I am the wisest man alive. For in addition to knowing that Socrates knew nothing – I also know that I know nothing. Though in reality, I’m not wise at all. I sit around with friends and speak with an affluent vocabulary perhaps, and moderately articulate, but at night I lay awake in shame and in fever. In indignity. I have no dignity in the usage of these words because of how I learned them. It was my punishment, when attending public schooling, to copy words from A-Z out of the dictionary as punishment. I needed to be punished; and they punished me by teaching me. Which is, of course, the harshest punishment of all. But, I did learn something quite valuable from attending public school. And, that was: there is nothing valuable to learn while attending public school.

Life is a dreaming man’s imagination, led when he too restful to stay asleep plays out a mirror life. And then, once tired enough to carry on, goes about his normal life. These are two different states, for in sleep one says ‘I’m too rested to stay asleep, I must awake.’ And from that comes all this space and time nonsense. For in our own life we retain but peculiar glimmers of an abstract and unconscious mind, and in this we postulate and think of this and that. And to a man alive in dream, his glimmering unconscious imagination is our life entire. In which drips of an invading real slips through in small degrees. But when it comes down to it – we, like mice and rats, have absolutely no idea. And consciousness, that grand enemy, forces us to find something. Some little man made boat that can carry us up to our man made heaven. And in this synthetic heaven we find a curious dilemma; life becomes a hell in order to appease the need for heaven.

We are all rats inside a living maze; chasing a glimmering piece of imaginary cheese. And we, like these squirmy rats, have no idea why we’re trapped inside this material or organic, maze; but we like rats, we know we have something to seek. Something to seek. Something in which our inabilities can be challenged, and maybe even conquered. Or like little moths reflexively fluttering up to a speck of manmade light they approximate as heaven. And in this little bit of heaven they find hell; for the light, to them their tiny heaven, will burn them to death like a tiny hell. Their pervasive will, and unconscious imperative, forces them to their night-time death from birth. Like a robotic form of unconsciousness, we too emulate this behavior. And like these little rats and these hapless moths flutter to our own tiny bit of heaven, and a curious hell born out of our own peculiar unconscious. To a man asleep his dream is a waking world.

Heaven, for man, was created like lights for moths and cheese for rats. Though, in sadness, I must write that this is the certain tragedy of mankind: we look for imaginary cheese. An imaginary glimmering of light on a man made horizon. I say man made because I believe each man creates his own approximation of heaven and of hell. And if it is created, thusly, it must be synthetic. And if we, too, have been created and dropped into a maze like we drop rats, we too are synthetic in a sense of the word. The word, likewise, is a construct of our own conscious world. It is a tragedy that in this writing I will be construed by others as a man of mental illness. This is a dismissive claim; it could be easier said that I’m a confused rat. Looking about the walls of my maze and wondering who dropped me here. And dually, how to find my way to that piece of cheese at the end.

You see me like I see the world; not as it really is, as it is described by words and images. A mere reflection like a world inside a snow globe. I am seen in the same way a mirror above the earth would be seen. Is an animate reflection as real as real?

Would you be wrong if you called me a duck? Or an ant? No, if I was perceived, optically only as I am, I could be anything within the realm of thought-association; your error would only be in word association and not in the means by which I am optically perceived. I am a duck; I am an atomic structure and can only be perceived as such. The classification of my atomic structure is associated with words, and therefore in the same reluctance of perception ascribed a word to which my physical structure can be associated.

Structures in nature are as they are; not as they are within the realm of association. We think in terms of words, in terms of English; and the images in our heads are word associated images. So, everything seems as if it’s in the head; as if meaning is in the head. There is an infinite quality in this supposition, demonstrated thusly:

You have in supply an infinite number of ping-pong balls. In front of you is a barrel, of infinite volume, into which you throw the balls. Each ball is labeled by a natural number, lined up in such an order. There is one ping-pong ball for each natural number. You first throw in ball 1, then ball 2, then ball 3, etc. after you throw in ball 10, you remove ball 1 from the barrel. After ball 20, you remove ball 2. After you throw in ball 30, you take out ball 3, and so on. This experiment lasts a duration of one minute. For the first 30 seconds, you throw in the first 10 balls, after which point there are 9 balls left in the barrel. For half of that time — 15 seconds — you throw in the next 10 balls (ball 11 through ball 20), after which there are 18 balls remaining in the barrel. In the next 7.5 seconds, you throw in the next ten, after which there are 27 balls remaining in the barrel, and so on. After a minute, the experiment ends, and you take note. The question is as follows: at the end of the experiment, how many ping-pong balls are in the barrel?

We are these ping pong balls.

I feel like an elevator trying to go sideways when attempting to communicate with people.

Where’s God, Where’s Waldo, and the Extinction on the Anorexic

Looking for God is like looking for Waldo in a Waldo painting with no Waldo in it. That makes me wonder. And I don’t normally resign myself to doing that. But wondering is scab-like. The more you pick it, the more it bleeds, so the bleeding in my brain has brought me to this question (for myself): if there was such a psychotic and tormenting book, where there a thousand Waldo paintings with no Waldo, would children still play it if they were told Waldo was there, although they never found him? As long as they believed in Waldo, would they continue looking? I imagine that tedious childhood game takes on a psychotic perspective when you view it as an adult, but imagine the challenge to a child! Hell, I’m sure the child I was, would still be playing that shit, had it existed. Imagine the challenge! You have to find something that… isn’t there! That sounds like an amazing game to me. I can see it now; it’d be perfect: a new omnibus collection of the classic game, re-released for only the hyper-intelligent: one thousand seventy-five inch Where’s Waldo paintings with not a Waldo in them. Of course, the directions would intimate the remoteness of the possibility of someone finding Waldo, due to the difficulty of the game. But, we’d have to make it less fraudulent, and less psychotic. The book cover should be arranged as to only resemble Waldo the further you get away from it. Say, at thirty feet away from it, one could find Waldo. I believe the same could be true of God. God and Where’s Waldo? are inextricably linked in circles of modern philosophy, as it demonstrates a link of similar human behavior. I guess the players of the original game held an unfair advantage of all the old philosopher’s looking for God because Waldo was there on every page. At thirty feet away, Waldo could be seen. How many would step that far back to look at something so much more apparent at a distance? The most astute of them would get closer and closer; only the truly insane would be imaginative enough to gradually consider the insanity behind the thought experiment. I wonder how many of the hyper-intelligent bipeds would find Waldo in such a manner. Salvador Dali would find it. That’s for certain.

I might have to propose this to some asshole in a smug suit at some whorehouse publisher before Apple turns it into something fancy that makes noise and fifty million dipshits buy it because their friends have it, and by God, if the fucking friend has it, how can one justify not having it? Other people have it!

As for this psychological torture device game, for children, it’d have to be less daunting of a task. It’d just be a normal book, Where’s Waldo, and no one would clue them in on the joke. This could occupy those little assholes more than the stupid shit on Nickelodeon and MTV.

I’ve noticed that the look of a normal human being while under the influence of LSD is no different than the look of a child while watching Sponge Bob. The hallucinatory demented shit fest that is sponge bob is a daily requirement in my house, as my son likes to trip digital balls. He has the same look on his face as those with psychedelic lubricant on their brain. It’s just something I noticed and felt I would share. Dr. Phil, before the restraining order and court and attempted murder business, told me to express myself. But what if expressing oneself is contrary to you continuing to be alive, Doctor? If I expressed myself, I’d behead that fat smug fuck on national TV and then feed his corpulent ass to that empty headed windbag, Oprah. If I ever got to go on that show, I’d tell her … well, ran into a wall. I’ll have to consider this. Somehow, hypothetically, I manage to get on the Oprah Winfrey show. What would the show be called? Professional paranoid schizophrenics and their influential, broad ideas! Here’s my fucking broad idea, Oprah, you jolly lolling bitch: buy me a car, a typewriter, a new guitar, some printer paper, eight ballpoint pens, and a hardback copy of Lolita and allow me to drive to the show and read it live, to the better home and garden Americans whose opinions come in the same manner as a bag of chips come at a snack machine. Tune in. Here are your new opinions for today: cheese is the second coming of Jesus: periodically running into a brick wall can be a form of therapy for people suffering from anorexia.

Anorexia, what a stupid fucking anti-evolutionary disease. Is it not counter-productive to the furthering evolution of our species to allow those too stupid to realize the value of nutrition to continue producing likewise detrimental children? Save the human race; strangle anorexics.

I’m Brandon Nobles, and I approve this message.

Yesterday’s Inkstrokes, from The Dream Machine

I was eighteen years old when I first ran across Herman and his hummingbird, Elizabeth the blind violinist and the golden moth. Nothing much has happened since, really. I grew up, I’m sad to say, and watched everything grow up around me. Of course no one believed any of it. Publisher’s rejected the story as fantastical or hallucinations. My family didn’t much care for it either.
My life continued much as it did when I met Herman, for a while anyway. I loafed around, smoked cigarettes, and got drunk occasionally. I kept looking at the sky with my brother and eventually he did kick my ass in chess. I stayed there with him for many years I was content in doing nothing.

Around age twenty three or so, Herman finally got shipped off to the Vanishing River’s in Columbia. I went and saw him a couple of times. Each time I saw him, he asked me why I never came to see him. Each time I went to see him, he thought it was the first time I had been there. And every time he cried and apologized. “Something wrong with my memory,” he said. And he always asked me about Hank. Hank never called.

No one paid much attention around here, so not many people even knew that he was gone. There were no great ceremonies, speeches, or quotable epigraphs concerning him. There are no great observations in real life. They come from concentrated books and movies. Maybe there was nothing I could say about Herman to show anyone who he was or why he lived. Maybe I just glimpsed the surface.

There are thousands of people like him tucked away in nursing homes with nothing left to hold onto but a stack of Polaroid’s and those Precious Memories albums. And each day to them is like another bit of sand falling from the hourglass, sweeping them completely under the rug. Their children or family don’t much care, either. They’ve got beer to drink, television to watch, and socks to make.

People around here don’t always grow and overcome some great struggle in their life, or see the errors of their ways. Most people just live, whether they want to or not. They walk up and down Main collecting cans, reading the paper in front of the drug store. Or they rake leaves and burn them in the fall. They don’t live the kind of lives you see on television, in upper case. But they live, and around here, that’s enough.

The cement streets along the house where I was born cracked year by year. Finally they paved over our names written in the cement.

The car door bridge was ripped up when the Leisure View apartments were sold. They were demolished, of course, and the no good bums that lived there had to find somewhere else to live. Most of them hung around on Main, wearing dirty clothes and asking for change or cigarettes.

I saw Murphy often. He’d sit on the corner, near the funeral home, just messing around with his bass guitar. Every once and a while, he’d come and ask me if I wanted to jam with him. We’d gather at a warehouse on the outside of town, plug in and play late until the evening. And yes, I finally grew up. There was never really a choice. We’re like children that want to stay at the swimming pool and play, but time forces us to leave it anyway.

None of my books were being published. None of my music gathered much notice. So I resigned to a mill just outside of town to keep myself fed and pay my brother’s phone bills before I went to school. There never was really a choice for this either. I made socks in the morning and spent the afternoons by the typewriter. I still dreamt that one day someone would care, but in this I believe I overestimated the human race.

For a while I kept visiting Herman. His health got increasingly worse and his mind finally demanded a divorce. When they shipped him off, they threw away all his pictures, posters, fliers; they threw away the only life that he’d ever enjoyed. But at the end, he’d even forgotten how to enjoy that one.

He taught me guitar for a while, and he continued teaching Elizabeth until she moved. She did reasonably well in the big, uncaring world. She performed at various clubs and party houses around our little town. Even at the Greenhouse – a gathering place for hunters and fisherman. People usually just go to get drunk. She never forgot how to play Athalie so sweetly. When we get together – we always talk about the odd times we spent with Herman. She really turned into a woman far too beautiful and cultivated for a gutter mouthed misanthrope like me. Late in her life she finally, by a series of surgeries, regained her vision.

Nobody believed us, of course, and several publishers turned down my story. Not that I blamed them, of course, but it really seemed to undermine what we were trying to do. And I remember it now as much as I knew it then. There’s still some mystery left in the world, strange things under rocks, and doors no human yet has entered.

Some said it was too unrealistic, which it is, some said it was too fantastical to be written as reality. They asked “how did the moth get in the snow globe?” or “How did the coffee tin link to a parallel universe?” I always tell them the same thing. I always tell them the same, irrefutable truth: I have no idea. It doesn’t even matter.

Frodo, when he got the ring, he knew what it was because it glowed in the fire. Did he ever stop to wonder what made it glow? No, because the more you know about something, the less mystery there is to be found in it.
I remember when I first started looking at the stars with my telescope. I thought that the fireflies in the daytime slept in the clouds at night. Then I learned what they really were and all the mystique disappeared. They weren’t as magical as they were to me before I knew.
After that last day at Herman’s, when everything returned to normal, Elizabeth and I snuck out while Herman fed his hummingbird and went to the sandbox. The door was gone, of course. In its place there was just a small dustpan. We both knew what it meant.
I never went to Mike’s Waffle House awake again, and Satan never gave me a call, but I refuse to write all of this off as paranoia and hallucinations. I went to Mike’s often in my dreams. He always greeted me in a familiar manner.
Around age twenty five, I decided that I was wasting my life to the fullest. I’d met a girl by then – a real kind of devil woman. The intelligent type with a wicked sense of humor. She was studying at a local college to be a pathologist, and she knew of my interest in psychology; she finally pushed me into trying to enroll.

I finally enrolled and majored in psychology, with astronomy as my minor. As of now I’m pursuing my doctorate.
Through all of that, I remained on medicine for nerve related disorders. I always took sleeping pills. And I never really thought of any of them as anything other than what Herman saw them as – Digitalis. Digitalis to him was what everyone needed to live. It was the fish for the fisherman, the music for the composer; it was whatever you needed to keep you going. His Digitalis was not only in those tiny plastic bottles. His Digitalis covered his floor in piles, some all the way up to the ceiling. His Digitalis hung on the walls.
Sometimes it seems that whoever I was that summer has been buried by a fancy suit and a degree. That’s not true at all. I’m still the same person, the same pie; now there’s just a bit of icing on top. And my suit really isn’t that fancy. In fact, I stole it.

Looking over what I’ve written, I realize that more often than not I just wanted people to think that I was clever. Or that there was something about me that would make them want me to stick around. Something about me that would make them not abandon me like my father did. That’s why I tried to make them laugh, and that’s why I’ve tried to make you laugh. Lots of areas in this story are silly. That much is true. But in the end, I realized, of all the things I could be – I never really figured out how to be myself.
In the end, Jennifer and I got married and adopted two kids. A boy and a girl. Come on, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

As the years went by, I found myself watching the trees every day. On my front porch, or on the deck round back, just to look at them. I watched the leaves fall off each autumn, only to grow again in spring. I watched the woods behind where I used to live be cleared off for a new textile factory. I saw the textile factory go out of business and collapse into rags and ruin. People were born and people died, and that about sums it up. Life just teaches us how to die in style. Some of us just suffer a learning curve.

That same mechanical instinct is there. The monogamy of routine finally settled back in. Now I just don’t have time to sit around. I wake up each morning at the same time and make my breakfast for my wife. There’s always a book – she’s an avid reader, and even reads my books – on the tray. She joins me on the patio and we talk, or read, before she goes to work. I feed our kids and then crawl back to the bedroom where I write my stories and essays. Nobody much cares for them, and I see why. Late at night when my wife is asleep, my adopted son, Uriel Lumière, sometimes sneaks from his room to join me by the typewriter. And every night I tell him that he doesn’t have to be funny or clever, that I’m not going anywhere. Like it or not, I told him, I’ll be here for life. In fact, I’d done something for him that once some very kind people did for me. I got him out of a god forsaken orphanage so he wouldn’t have to grow up looking at the world like I did.

Thousands of people live their lives in lowercase. They’re never really noticed or adored by many people. This town is full of them. They sit on their front porches doing crossword puzzles, watching daytime television and making meatloaf for supper. They gossip about who’s sleeping with who, who wishes they were sleeping with someone sleeping with someone else, or the Soap Operas that come on television. They pick up pecans and weed their gardens every day.

They wake up in the morning and get their kids ready for school and clean the house while they’re away. At lunchtime they sat the tables and the forks and spoons; they never make the news when they feed their children or make somebody laugh. The cameras never come to watch them tend their garden or feed the hummingbirds or plant a flower. And their death might not make the world mourn, but when they’re gone Mother Earth is a little less bright. It might not matter much to people or to anything in the cosmic sense of things – but it matters here.

Sol rises every morning regardless of what we say or do. And we’re hurtling through space, laughing and screaming, like children on a carousel. And isn’t the music pretty while it lasts?

We never heard from anyone on the other side again. The other side, ha, it sounds absurd, I know. Elijah, Anne, Aaron, or Isaac – we never found out how their story ended. In the end, I guess, Herman left it up to them. Hopefully, whatever has us on the strings will let us do our own dance. Hopefully we can get off Digitalis and its myriad of forms. My wife takes sleeping pills. Our young daughter tends her garden and that’s her Digitalis. Our young boy plays his plastic guitar, and that’s his. Writing this has kept me going too. For what? I’m not really sure. C’est la vie.

It kept Herman going. It kept him going long enough to feed his hummingbird and make us sandwiches and tell us all his stories. It never really bothered me that they had been fabricated. It never once bothered me that all of his posters and papers and fliers were forged. It showed me a whole new side of the man.

The fact that Herman died, when I was thirty three, should be of little surprise. I played Wheels, by Chet Atkins, at his funeral. There were few people there. Those who came gave off the kind of impression that immediately lets you know they’re only there because of obligation. At the time of Herman’s death, my wife and I were in Rome. Elizabeth sent me the telegraph from home, and from Rome we made our way back to our small, warm, gossip riddled town. Everybody knew where we had went, what we ate while we were there, and more than a few people claimed to know the exact moment we consummated the marriage. How this happened, I don’t know. Of course I did put it on my website, along with video and photographs, for your listening and viewing pleasure. I can’t do that much more than I can write. That should give you an inkling as to the duration and degree of success I managed with it.
We returned to America and then to South Carolina. We had a big dinner at my grandmother’s house the Sunday after we got there. My brother heard I was coming, and he showed up with a chess board ready. He already had my first move set up. Pawn to king four, every time. I even let him win a few times …

My brother became one of the biggest demons the chess world had ever seen, and won several master’s tournaments. Everyone he played, as I said, let him win.

After dinner, we went to where the Leisure View apartments had been. The swing sets lilted with the gentle wind with no one there to swing. The rusted chains squeaked as the wind whipped by them. I stood there in front of where his apartment used to be for a while. My wife was waiting in the car, so I didn’t stay long. Just long enough to plant a flower, just a flower, where his home had been. And that was that. Herman died. He didn’t become a great man, nor did he become the widely beloved man he was in his fantasies. He just did what most people do: he lived, with marginal success, and died. There was no heart wrenching speech at his funeral. No overt sentimentality; Elizabeth and I didn’t shed a tear.

Not because we weren’t sad. Of course we were. But I didn’t feel sad for him. His hands had stopped shaking completely and he could finally get some rest. He looked so calm laying there. Poor fool, his own funeral – and he slept all the way through it.
The only thing I could think to lay inside his coffin was my often used Jazz III guitar pick. I stood there for a moment, awkwardly in my awkward suit, then placed it in his picking hand. At that moment, the image of an angel playing bluegrass with a glass of orange juice beside him crept up inside my head. I laughed a bit to myself, and walked away. That was the last time I saw him, and haven’t really had much to say since all those years ago.

The world was different then. I was different then. I figured I could lay around forever without time sneaking up on me.
I spent some time in college in philosophy. I wrote papers on epistemology, ontology, and existentialism. But I had only one conclusion: I concluded that I’d never come to a conclusion and if I did it probably wouldn’t be worth all the time I’d spent looking for it. But I won’t bore you with this. You’ve got television to watch, malls to go to, fast food restaurants to eat at, and music to listen to. And so do I.

From here we go a million routes to the same destination. Hopefully we’ll find our way through the maze as they must have, hopefully we’ll find our way to Ra’s Patio, and hopefully there will be sunshine there.
And that’s all I can say. I would say more, but it’s two o’clock. Time to take my medicine.

The Confession Box

When I was in preschool, when I was bad, they’d put me in a confession box and would tell me to talk to God. They told me to tell him all my secrets. Every day, for some reason or another, I’d get locked inside that box, and they always told me God was on the other side, listening, and forgiving me. They locked me in every time but once. Once day I managed to get out, and since I was a child, I wanted to see God; he was there, he was listening to all my wrongs, all my toddler fuck-ups and failures, and I could see that holy face if I sneaked out of the confession box and opened up the other door.
The day they forgot to lock me in, I got out, and thinking I would see God, opened the door to the other side of the confession box. There was no one in there. I had seen the face of God, and heard his voice, the infinite and never ending silence. Perfect, absolute, and infinite. I became afraid of silence, and everyone’s voice seemed to come at me from a distance.
Since that day, every day of my life, no matter what I say or who I say it to, I feel that no one is listening, that I’m alone, that I’m in island universe shouting in a vacuum where no sound can exist. That’s how I feel, and I grew up without a father that gave a shit, adopted, but was a decent child up until third grade.
I wanted to be an athlete. I wanted to be in the olympics. So, every day at recess, my friends and i would practice acrobatics on the playground, frontflips, backflips, cartwheels and halflips, just all sorts of assorted fun.
I was in the top of my class then, considered smart, with a bright future. One day I was coming in from recess with two of my friends around the side of Carver Elementary School in Whitmire, SC, just out of town. There were some rusted jungle gym equipment, a balancing pole, and monkey bars, and a shorter, metal, balancing pole. We were wild in those days, not really knowing how dangerous the things we did really were, and the father didn’t forgive us even though we knew not what we did.
On a whim, I stood upon the balance beam and steadied myself to do a backflip off it. I slipped as I came off the ground and landed head first on the sharp edge of the balance beam. My eyes were knocked out of focus, and I struggled to see. Everything became blurry and I tasted metal in my mouth.
I had this thing as a child, where I always wanted to part my hair down the middle so I’d never have to comb it, to slick it back like the father who adopted me, and when I stood I did the macho thing, I acted as though nothing happened, and tried to slick my hair back. It never did before then, and that was the first thing I noticed as I tried to steady myself. My hair slicked back perfectly, and felt somewhat wet.
My friend Jason Prewitt, and Derek Jeter, were there with me. I stood up uneasily, and almost falling, smiled and tried to shrug it off. I slicked my hair back, and it went back, and Jason’s look changed. He said, “Oh shit, his head is bleeding!”
He took off running. I looked down at my hand and it was covered in blood. I wiped it on my shirt. I ran my hands through my hair again, and it was continuing to gush out of the top of my head.
I ran into the office, following Jason and Derek, and into the office. The stubby office attendent got a pack of ice and told me to hold it to it to stop the bleeding. My grey and purple tazmanian devil shirt. The entire front was red with blood, and the bleeding wouldn’t stop.
My parents were out of town and none of the emergency numbers got anybody on the phone. I was 9 years old and bleeding to death in a small office in a school. I had no more numbers left to call and I was going to die. I didn’t know where my brother was, my best friend, the only person whom I never felt alone around. I remain that way now. The more people I’m around, the more alone I feel, but when I’m around my brother, I don’t fell as an island universe with a vacuum of soundless space between us, And I was dying and I wouldn’t be able to tell him I loved him. And my little sister, that beautiful little ballerina girl, whose pretty face I’d never see again. It all flashed before my eyes.
I remembered preschool, and a young girl, and pulling her pants down. I remembered looking at my girl friend (friend who was a girl) going to the bathroom through the window. I remembered being at the court when I was taken from my biological parents. My real father wasn’t even there. He didn’t care. Off with some other floozy one night fuck like my mother was to him. I tried to picture his face, but couldn’t. I didn’t know what he looked like, and that made me want to cry.
I remembered the day my brother was taken from our biological mother. She was drunk and he was crying by himself in an empty baby pool, with an empty bottle and a television full of static blaring in his screaming face. He was an island universe, his mother was passed out, a night out, a night without her newborn beautiful son we call Kyle, the brother I would never get to see again.
I remembered walking through the woods, by myself behind my step-brother Daniel’s house and seeing the three teenagers killing the dog. They had a small dog tied to a piece of plywood and had a pentagram spraypainted around the dog, and across the dog’s face. My memories begin to tinge white outside fifteen or so feet turns to white. The image changes. The three teenagers come running at me. I’m dressed in camoflauge, and new, to go hunting with my father the morning after. The three grab me and stuff my head under water. They were trying to drown me, and the familiar lapsing in and out and flashing memories began again. As they were coming over me now, and in the water a female’s face, the face to me which looked like an angel, put her finger to her mouth to silence my gargled screams. She looked at me with the sweetest, most angelic look I’ve ever seen. She put her pale fingers to her soft pink lips and I understood.
I stopped struggling and the teen with stringy hair who held me by throat let go. He believed I was dead, and I lived. I climbed out of the woods soaking wet and told my step-brother devil-worshippers tried to drown me and I was saved by an angel. A girl angel. How did she save you? The question was. She told me to shut up, I said. And I wasn’t lying. It could have been a dreamlike hallucination, but I lived. I saw my ballerina and my brother again, my father and my mother Dorothy, who had picked out my soaking wet camoflauge outfit.
They laughed about the angel in the water. Then I went to my friend Dawn’s house, my first friend … the friend who played with me while I was still in diapers in my sandbox. Her grandmother asked me what happened. I told her that devil worshippers tried to drown me and an angel saved me. She believed me. She wanted me to call her about it because she was on her way to pick up Dawn. She gave me her phone number. She put my clothes in the wash and told me to wait on the machine to ding and get dressed so my mama wouldn’t get mad at me. She told me that God listens. I decided not to tell her about the confession box with the God who wasn’t there.
I thought of her as I sat there bleeding to death and remembered her number. I called for the stumpy secratary to get try to get her on the phone. I gave her the number and she answered on the first ring. She was there within 15 minutes with an ambulance. They took me up town and had my mother on her way there. I was hallucinating. A stone was rolling at me, like a pendulum, and I felt as though I was at a war; I heard gunshots and people screaming, the swooshing of the rock as it came up to my nose. They injected me with what would haunt me for half a decade in my laters year, my mistress, my scurge and love affair, morphine. To this day, I’m on and off and struggling with addiction. Life itself for some people is painful to the point where only morphine is strong enough to drown the scrambled screaming voices as they pop up and crackle and disappear, reappear on the other side of the mind and shout across to the other ear, debate after debate, that never ends unless God’s own medicine turns that torrid river into a calm palm. That’s what happened when the injection hit me in the ambulance. Everything began to glow. The people in the abulance, two people, were blurry. I faded in and out. They got me into the operating room.
The doctor was a friend of the family. He went deer hunting with my uncle and was famous for having trained coon dogs, and famous for being the doctor to his dogs. I knew him. He had me on the table. He prepared a needle and gave me a piece of toilet paper to bite down on.
I grabbed his hand as it inched toward my head. Have you ever done this before? I asked. He had a surprised kind of did a child about to bleed to death ask this sort of question? He told me he’d done it several times on his coon dogs. My mother was there now, and my life again began to fade in and out.
I remembered sitting in the bathtub, maybe two or so, the image is clear; I was sitting in the front of the tub and she was shucking corn into a silver pot. Every time I put my head under water for more than a few seconds, she panicked; she dropped her sheers and panicked. As soon as she saw me laugh again, she smiled. She had to leave work to be there. She worked as a loom fixer in a local mill. Midnight shift, six days a week, twelve hours a day, and she stood there stressed, deep wrinkles on her face. The white roots to her grey hair stood out as I looked back to her as I came back into consciousness.
She had the aura of the angel in the water; she too had saved me from the orphanage and taken me in, as she did my brother, my number two, my defendent, my one of a kind first words were ‘god damn’ brother. She saved us; she was another angel who saved me from different waters. She stood there watching the doctor stick a long needle into my head.
I asked him if I could go to another hospital. He told me I’d die. I didn’t want more needles in my head. They gave me another shot of morphine and proceeded to give me seven shots of cortizone into the top of my head. The sound of the needle hitting my skull dinged inside my ears. My brain had began functioning differently. It was as if a levee between sections had been broken by my severe head trauma and concussion. All the thoughts from each hemisphere functioned as one. My mind was never the same. It was a nexus point that led me to the fucked up and humorous tragedy that has been the life of this silly bastard. And that’s what I am. The insult that used to make me cry … because it was true. I was a lottery ticket without the matching fruits, tossed in a bin to be saved by an angel with grey hair. They put thirty seven stitches across the head and wheeled me into the car. The brightness of the world was up one hundred fold. After that day, the hallucinations began. The insanity. The art. The writing. My mind had been disassembled and had been cobbled back together in a way not like it had been. It was as though I had been limited before, by one thought process at a time. After that, I could create independent threads of thought as others co-existed. It drove me mad. But I always wondered … was it madness when I saw the angel in the water? If so, then madness saved my life. A manifest delusion saved me from a group of dog killers; if that’s not as good as an angel, like the one who drove me home, home to see my brother in the floor playing nintendo, my ballerina sister in her dancing shoes, then there’s nothing as good.
I saw her dance the weekend after I split my head. The nutcracker. My brother sat beside me, and as long as he was there, I wasn’t alone. When he left, I was, even in crowds; a barrier had been built, a blurry mirror between me and otherwise dim figures that randomly wandered by me. One thing was for certain, it altered my mind in a manner that led to all these words, all 100% to the point I’d offer a polygraph with a copy of this novel to forswear the truth of all contained, it turned me into the bastard, the bastard out to prove the fruit matched on the lottery ticket. That I was not that word, bastard, that true word that made me cry. How many children are spoken to by angels? Insane ones? Perhaps. Certainly an interesting little fucker from a psychological perspective, and it is through these writings, my other love, my morphine in document format, that keeps the weight of all the god damn threads from keeping my life subdued by the volume of the head that careless fall created. Shh, the angel in the water said, and shh I will for now.
One thing is certain: the story I plan on telling you is going to the very limit of the absurd, then reinventing another limit to it, and then going to it. That much I can promise. There are strange men with strange heads out there with strange, strange, fucked up lives. They don’t have to be famous, or run some funny blog, to tell a story. Everybody has a portrait in their head of the person that they are, and in these, my memoirs, that is what I attempt to draw: as is my motto–without pride, without shame.

The ME=? Equation

Invariably, when one indulges the reprehensible act of writing about oneself, there are a chorus of curious ‘why?’ questioners. You know them, they are the doomed and miserable lot who utter that philosophical alibi ‘why?’ And they are as doomed with any why as I am with mine: why write a book about your life?
And, invariably, I have to come with an answer that at once makes the act reprehensible and justifies my actions to myself, the opposing me whose giant eyeball is always looking over my shoulder, scrutinizing, judging, evaluating, as though I were a specimen under my own microscope. And that, indeed, is the point of this writing.
I’ve written about psychology and studied it my entire life. It has been the most fascinating subject I’ve ever encountered. Not in books, but the psychology of people and their actions. There are psychological determining factors behind any decisions, the complex ones, the ones more complex than, ‘should we have steak or salad? One is good, and murder, one is terrible, but human.’
There are cynics amongst the readers who read that last line with an exquisite since of sardonic delight. Terrible, but human, that is the joke and the punch line that defines a lot, and as an psychological aphorism, to me, it is three things. It is the crime and acquittal of a conscious race. To me, it is three things because there are three me’s.
There is the noble, the genius, the sensitive, the understanding me, the me I call the Roger complex. Roger comes from the name of the main character in my novel Songs of Galilee. I wrote about Roger from an admiring perspective. He was what I would like to be, and the Roger complex is me trying to imitate the character, when in the novel, Roger faces situations in his fictional life similar to situations in my real one. But he’s more than me, and that is what I felt made him admirable.
To those who have read the novel, they could conjecture that Roger is the manifestation of my ego, what I think would be my highest self, though Roger himself was the embodiment of the highest virtues: no hope, no fear; no pride, no shame. Roger was a multi-talented child prodigy genius of the highest order. That’s how I wrote him as a character, not as to imply that is what I thought I was. Roger was everything I would be if I could.
Thus the creation of the Roger complex; the mystic Buddhist who at twenty-four attained his enlightenment, and at twenty-seven died in the third and last book of his life, The Match Behind the Jar. Roger had invented a cure to death based on theories I had as a child. He was smart enough to make it possible. My theory was that the suspension of decay in cellular organisms could slow the aging process until the point of pure biological equilibrium, without decay or mutation of any cells in the body. Roger studied the human genome, as I did, but Roger found the Sisyphus Mechanism. He found out how to remove it and thereby render immortality.
That was Roger’s final temptation: immortality. In my short story the Dream of the Louse, Roger faces this temptation on a train, on his way to demonstrate the cure for death and the immortality of mankind. He calls the tempter Mara, the Buddhist version of satan, and embodiment of the ego. And like Buddha under the tree, and Christ in the desert, Roger resists temptation on the train.
Mara tells him to become more than a man, to push evolution forward. He dismisses the rules of nature, of life and death, and tells Roger that he is a brilliant man, that he will become the savior that mankind wanted and had been waiting for. He had brought real immortality to Earth. Roger, like Christ, was born on the Sea of Galilee. I chose that birthplace before I knew that that is where Christ is said to have walked on water. In Roger’s youth, he invents boots that stabilize and equalize buoyancy that allows him to walk on water. In one of my favorite passages of the Match Behind the Jar, Roger runs from his father across the sea, with his father chasing him from behind with a belt, to whip him for painting on the walls of his house.
Mara appears before Roger before he arrives in Time Square, on a train. Mara appeared before me in my bedroom, and inspired the Dream of the Louse. The characters are different, and it’s a fictionalization of a real event that took place in my life.
The plan was for Roger, though the plan was different for me, to inject the medication into himself, the immortality rendering compound he designed and synthesized based on his advancement of my genome studies, and then have someone give Roger the lethal injection on the stage. If it worked, of course, he would come back to life. He would be born again.
Roger chooses to take a placebo, and allows them to kill him on stage with the lethal injection because he did not take an injection of his compound. It was an injection of morphine, my drug of choice, and there Roger died at twenty-seven, at the end of the Match Behind the Jar.
Had he done the right thing by saving faith? With the possibility of immortality on Earth, Mara told him, why would anyone believe in the nonsense of afterlife or even need an afterlife? There’d be no more death and war. No more religion. And so Roger, the second man from the Sea of Galilee to offer immortality, to save the beliefs of everyone. He did not want his discovery to be believed, although it did work, and his death was taken as the compound didn’t work, and research on it stopped. It did work. It would have worked for all. Roger allowed himself to die so the soul would no longer be locked in the body. That was his last temptation in the last book of The Lizard’s Tale. I am sure he did the right thing. I am sure I would not have. I would have taken the cure to live.
Think about it as you read: would you take the injection to live forever? One injection: no more pain, death, decay.
It took me a long time to answer that question and two of me would take it, and one of me would not. There are three me’s, as I’ve come to in my psychiatric sessions with myself. Only one of me would resist, and that me is the Roger Complex, which I will further elaborate upon later on.
Rogers’s father was there at his birth and remained until his mother, or as Roger thought, and indeed once hoped, killed his father. This was written to expound upon Roger’s inner self. At first he wished for his father’s death, but at the same time was devastated when he died, and then he, as a grown man at the end, returns to a place his father always wished to take him. That is the coda to the Songs, Roger’s forgiveness. His forgiveness of his father, his mother, and himself. That’s where forgiveness starts.
My real father was there long enough to have sex with my sixteen year old mother. However, I was adopted, saved from the human pound, by my grandparents; but to me, they were my family. My mother, because of my adoption, became my sister. And that’s what I thought she was. I called her by her first name. As to my real father, I never had a clue. Until I was in third grade, shortly after I split my head open. Anxiety had begun. Insomnia begun. Lots of tangled patterns in my head begun.
I had an inadvertent liking for a girl I didn’t know to be my sister. I told my friend and step-brother Daniel, while in the company of his grandmother. She laughed. She told me the girl I thought was pretty was my sister. Then she told me the people I thought were my real parents were my grandparents, my sister was my mother, and the young girl I thought was pretty was my sister, by route of my biological father, whose name until that day I did not know.
My adopted father died when I was fourteen–the same age Roger’s father disappeared in Songs of Galilee. Roger’s father simply left so Roger wouldn’t imitate his bad habits and become like him. This is what paid for Roger’s forgiveness. My surrogate father died.
At first, I felt like I was free; to do whatever I want. I could smoke and stay out late. I could piss away my mind in any way he would not have let me. It took me several years to find my Coda at Pigeon Rock, as it is in Roger’s story, but it was more like a coda at Lake Murray, where my father and I went fishing before he died. All of the three me’s, as of now I’ve gone into only the Roger complex, which you will see me imitating throughout my life, even before his creation; I will later go into the Harvey complex, the lowest me, and Complex Zero: Brandon, the medium between Harvey and Roger.
But, I hear the chorus of why, and I must address it. The why of my decision to write this memoirs, Bastard; I’m sure by now, the title choice is apparent.
Why: I’m adept at helping people with their psychological problems. I’ve studied psychology at great length in my life, and it is the most powerful weapon known to man. I’ve written four accredited PhD’s in psychology as of this writing, and I’ve always been able to help people, not me, but others. I am always able to give them the advice they need based on the equation they gave me to solve.
When it comes to me, I don’t know the equation. I know parts of it, and I use those parts to try to solve the problems of my life, but since I don’t know all the numbers, the equation is never solved. I can find numbers in my past: abandonment, the need to assert and prove my worth because of it, the Oedipus complex directed at my biological father, the hallucinations, the dreams, the nightmares, the desires, the tragedies, and everyone has their share, the death of loved ones and friends, coming to terms with mortality, coming to terms with the thousands of philosophical questions I have less than satisfactory answers for, the want to matter, the want to be loved, to be admired, and other, less noble desires.
I can’t find all the numbers and the variables they create in order to solve the equation, the me equation; I cannot make them come together in a unified number, a number that will represent my life, the problem, solved.
I doubt I’ll ever determine all the variables. But when it comes to equations of other people, their loves and hates and losses and gains, I seem to do well as someone to give advice, to mentor, to guide: to find the number they needed based on their equation, solved for contentment.
When it comes to me, I am the mental patient and the empty page is my psychiatrist and writing is my therapy. I write to try to discover all parts of the equation, the parts that will help me solve the me equation. That is the why, for those of you who need my alibi. This is something I have to do. I write because I have to.

Dear #32

Point out all the flaws. Point out all the lies, the alibis, and talk about those impossible futures forever, and then, when they’re gone, feel good, no more need to care. How else could one feel better? That’s all that matters, right? That the one who loves makes you feel good about yourself, and comfort, and in a la-la little romantic comedy fantasy. That’s how to gauge how much one loves; by how good they are at petting you, and feeding you, and pulling the strings that make your mouth frown and smile and open up. That’s how one should be, the man, should be … adept at saying and doing all those things required by the script to make a smile, to make the audience clap and ‘aww look at them, how lovely.’ Another movie set, another movie setting, another fading face that once mattered, now does not, because some people rely on others to make them feel better. Tell them how they should be, they’re your dream, and everything is just as right as rain. Punish them for who they are and be mad at them for they aren’t. Never let them know they’re good enough as they are. Highly, select, erase. Back at square one, another face to use to replace once a face adored. How uneducated of me to think acting out of love is more important than talking about how perfect all the little pieces used to fit together, now somehow a rectangle is a square that cannot fit into the circles slot. The slot has changed shapes for a new shape to be inserted. A minivan car rental of a person who comes with an air freshener that smells like I love you. Smells like pretending to give a shit, doesn’t it? Smells like another frustrated mother fucker you passed on the stairs, looked at for a moment at a distance, then once the microscope zoomed in and the true humanity appeared, you, like all the rest, have disappeared. Back onto the showroom floor, to find another person to lie to even more. Buy love with your pussy. You can’t you with your personality. Today I ate a bit of cheese. Oh, how fucking interesting! Lets discuss this. How did it taste? Like cheese?! Holy fuck. When did this happen? Today? Holy shit. YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK! You could include the bit where you cleaned up your room! You can talk about the bit where you argued with your mom! God damn the novelty! Could there be another girl like you telling the same shit to another guy like me? There’s never been another, and there will be, a mother fucker on this earth that’s even close to being like me. Other than my brother, the same mother, and some others, you’ll never know or understand; and that, my dear, is my fucking plan. So tell the stories of the guys whose miserable lives they try to hide with fashion and their earrings and their category. Tell me what you ate for lunch. I’ll call the channel 5 news team to get down here right now on this breaking store. Smells like bullshit once again. I understand. It just wouldn’t work. If you try to pick up something once, and it’s too heavy, don’t worry about trying again. The boulder is to big for you and your fake tanned shoulders and your work of fiction face. I thought we liked the same kind of music. That’s a deep connection. We’re two cobras who like the same flute song. How about that, never knew i’d know such tender love, such tender loving bullshit, a poor joke told to an empty auditorium. I only wish I was worthy of your bullshit. I wish I you could see the face I do. The one under the make up and the mask and the eyes and the noses. The eyes sees everything but itself, ust like the eye of God, just like a camera that cannot pose for its own picture. that’s what you are, a camera that can’t see itself and the silly little blip of an absurd cliched script you call your life. Live, don’t learn, attach yourself to someone stronger than you who has the strength to shoulder all the fucking weight. Tell them how much you always cared. That’s the only love there is. That fight in the rain, the make up, the angry post on myspace. Barbie is a mass production synthetic whore and so are you. I love playing with those dolls, especially when they’re people. Whose whims are mine though they don’t know. One little argument and the annoying little bitch just has to go. It doesn’t matter one tiny fuck who loves the most and how. It matters who knows what real love is. Loving someone because they make you feel good is not love. It’s masturbating with another human being, letting them pet your bloated ego and your chunky ass and hollow fucking head. Keep talking about it. We’ll call the fucking news team again and you can tell them what makes you different than all the other units on the lot. You’re the same used car with a hundred thousand miles on it, same thing on the outside, same thing on the end, with the same bullshit new lover smell. Never fall in love. It’s sticky, and nothing gets the stain out. Morphine does and will, so see you soon. Welcome to the past girl 32.

On Love

Never fall in love. It’s sticky, and nothing gets the stain out.

True love needs nothing. It does not need a benefactor. It does not need to be reciprocated. It needs only itself–no object to place it on, nothing. That is true love. That is the love of the Gods.
Love the man who spits on you. Though he may hate you, you still make him feel love. The satisfaction derived from his hate, is your love, and in this, he loves you, for the feeling he got from you.

If one who loved you does not love you any more, worry not; for what was loved in them does not disappear, it remains. It remains when the loved does not.

To love another, that love should not be based on what they do for you or how they make you feel. That is self-love, not not-self love. Love when they make you happy. Love when they don’t. That is the love of the Gods.

When they’re alive and when they die, what is loved is inside them, yet not them, not born of them, and love in oneself is of the self, though not born of the self. One never owns a feeling, they find it along the path and name it. The feeling of love is a response to itself, as are all feelings. The are born of and exist as mirrors of each other. They are echoes and responses of themselves.

Love responds to love with love, and reoices in itself. Fear fears fear, and responds to itself with fear. Fear itself, and all the other abstracts which lie inside, are responses to themselves found on the path.

The part of another that is loved, is loved because of the part of the self that rejoices in the love of another. The part of the self that is feared or loved or hated, is a response to the same thing in others.

If the wrong are wrong, and the right are right, they are one and the same; a completed ball, as is love and hate; they form each other, and arise from each other.

The God’s Play Poker

In many religious and philosophical works, a common thread appears. There are many sayings in the Bhagavad-Gita that can be found also in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, while Jesus, also, is one of the foremost prophets mentioned in the Koran as Isa ibn Maryam, which means “Jesus, the son of Mary.” In the Koran, Jesus upholds many of the ideals espoused by Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita: he lived a life of nonviolence, showed a fondness for human beings and animals, lived without material possessions, and abstained from sin. This reflects a body of Buddhist work as well, perhaps most notably the Dhammapada, wherein the Buddha advocates such values as a means for attaining enlightenment and conquering Mara. There is a thread that is woven by these men and philosophers, religious leaders, and men of genius, as though they were the same person to teach the same thing to different eras and different people. Confucius held similar views regarding the nature of man and has stated, in the analects, ‘the higher type of man is not a machine.’ Many statements in the Qur’an are in the same vein of the teachings of Jesus found in the New Testament. An example:

Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.

— The Final Sermon of Muhammad.

— A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

— John, 13:34-35

A young man should serve his parents at home and be respectful to elders outside his home. He should be earnest and truthful, loving all, but become intimate with humaneness

— Confucius

— And be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues; for, whatever good deed you send ahead for your own selves, you shall find it with God: behold, God sees all that you do.

— Surah 2:110 of the Qur’an

Such statements are found as well in the Gita and other Hindu literature, the same expression being always the same: be at peace to others, and you can find peace in yourself; allow others to be right, and others to be wrong, but demand no more from yourself than you would from others; be prepared to fail, but from it learn and live with that lesson, and always, in every aspect, be kind to the animals and men of the Earth.

Each of these doctrines are, I think, meant to lead us from one side of the river to the other, the first of which our birth, the water our life, and death the other shore. Krishna appeared to Arjuna in a time of great struggle, during a time of war, and gave him the words needed to continue the struggle against the torments and tortures of the world. Muhammad too appeared before, and within, the midst of a torn and feudal society to offer to human beings a peace of mind, a way by which their struggles could be understood, and lived with. This is the same struggle that led the Buddha, as a young prince in Kapilavastu, to look for a way to go beyond the suffering of the ‘transient worlds of sorrow,’ as Krishna called it, four sights that sent him to the Bodhi tree, where he became enlightened, where he went beyond the pain and suffering of the world and behind him laid the road map for other people to follow his course. The above quotation by Confucius alludes to the Middle Path that Siddhartha eventually adopted after encountering a man trying to tune his sitar. And these prophets and wise men, such as the Buddha and Confucius, also strongly advocate moderation for the same purpose.

The thing in common with all of these men, these visionaries and geniuses, is that all of them advocate the decency of man, the kindness of one to another, and offer to them a way of peace, a path to understanding, be it heaven, be it nirvana or wisdom.

These speakers out of history say and preach many similar things to others, but what would they say to each other? If Krishna and the Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad and Confucius got together to play cards, what would they say to one another? Let’s take a look:

“Would you like some more wine, Siddhartha?” Jesus asked, holding forth his goblet. “I’ve got a lot of it. Ha!”

In quiet hesitation, the Siddhartha shook his head, then thanked him for his offer. With one of his many arms, Krishna seized the opportunity to take the wine from Jesus.

“What does it matter?” Krishna. “Do what you will; life and death will pass away. You will shed this body, as one sheds an evening jacket.”

Confucius sat in the corner, clad in a colorful evening robe, and listened to the others talk.

“Who are we?” Muhammad asked. “Arjuna? We’re trying to play cards. Drink your wine, if you must, but keep religion out of this. I tried to correct the mistakes of your followers, and this is how you repay me? With eloquent diatribes on the nature of life and death? We’ve heard this before from you, Krishna. Remember that night at Sammy’s?”

“Don’t bring that up again,” Krishna said. “Had it not been for Jesus here, we’d have never been that hammered. I’ve been trying to get him to go into the wine business with me; this gig as an avatar hasn’t been working out. Our wine would be the purest in the world, with only one ingredient. Pure profit, that’s what that tastes like.” He smiled at Prince Siddhartha, who still sat calmly, with both eyes closed, with an impassive look on his face.

“You try to mock me,” he said, “because I never claimed divinity. What good is religion or philosophy if it can’t apply to everyone? You guys just duped a bunch of primitives into believing you were without flaw.”

“I was born to a virgin,” Jesus said, slurring his speech a bit. “That has to be good enough to be respected.”

“Respect is one thing,” Confucius say. “Worship is another. One cannot walk on water with holy feet.”

“An epigram,” Jesus said, turning to the corner, “I might have known.”

“Can we just play a game of cards?” Siddhartha asked. “Or do we have to resort to bickering over religion and philosophy too? Stop acting like humans. Just because you can turn water into wine, Jesus, that doesn’t mean you should. How many glasses have you had now? Eighty seven? Ninety? Krishna has had at least fifty.”

“Then why haven’t you done it?” Krishna asked. “You say and do everything else I do. That whole thing about reincarnation in your teachings, yes I’ve read them, came straight from me. Straight from the Gita. And you, Jesus, you’re not without blame here either. ‘I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ I said that quite a many years before you appeared on the Earth. Of course, I had passed out of physical existence then. Those ideas were old news by the time you hit Jerusalem, a long time before Muhammad here retreated to his cave.”

“Religious types,” Confucius say, “you’re all the same. Don’t you see that? All of you are variations of the same song. The Buddha conquered the devil, an internal demon named Mara, under the Bodhi tree, after expanding to a new generation on the teachings of the Gita and Upanishads. Jesus was tempted in the desert by the same demon, this time by a different name, and survived. Muhammad sought to refine the teachings of Jesus, so all of you are linked together. Muhammad was a mighty fine merchant, Jesus was a mighty fine carpenter, Krishna could play the hell out of those little flute things, and Siddhartha was as skilled in archery as Arjuna himself.”

“And you?” Krishna asked.
“I’m just awesome,” Confucius say. “But still, a wise man is inferior to a foolish god.” ”

You’re calling me silly?” Krishna demanded, much to Siddhartha’s amusement. “All these arms aren’t just for playing flutes, you know.”

He cast an evil grimace, and his eternal form was displayed before the room. Those in the room saw Krishna in his infinite form, in countless visions of wonder: eyes from innumerable faces, numerous celestial ornaments, and numerous heavenly weapons; celestial garlands and vestures, forms anointed with heavenly perfumes. The infinite divinity faced all sides, all marvels in him containing. If the light of a thousand suns at once arose in the sky, that splendor might be compared to his radiance. And when those in the room saw in that radiance the entire universe, in all its infinite variety, standing together in the body of the god of gods, they spoke thus:

“Could you stop doing that?” Confucius asked. “I mean, it was cool the first fifty thousand times or so.”

Buddha neither flinched, nor moved, yet remained there, impassive, eyes closed, in the lotus position, in perfect calm.

“Yeah, man,” Jesus said. “You knocked over my wine. It’s all over my clothes. Do you think I established a major worldwide religion wearing rags like these?”

“Yeah!” Muhammad agreed. “We will not tolerate your infinite form. If you do it again, you have to go home.”

“But I was…” Krishna tried.

“You was ruining my tent. I have to pay the lease on this tent, and every time you do that, you destroy it. We get it, Krish. You’re cool. Stop destroying my tent, please.”

In the corner, Confucius chuckled. Muhammad stood at the end of the rubble of their small tent, picking up shreds of what had been his home beyond the Earth.

“Bickering is bad for gods as well,” Confucius say. “Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are prophets and gods equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.”

In union, Jesus, Siddhartha, Muhammad, and Krishna, yelled to him: “Blasphemy!”

Entae’s Song

We found her mother in the curb one day when it rained. I was throwing the football with my little brother, I think, when we heard the meow meow under my car. My brother asked if I heard it, and I did. So I got down on my hands and knees, crawling like, and looked under the car with wet and dirt gathering on the knees of my jeans. The shadow figure of the tiny cat bobbed in the road behind the tire. This is something I remember very clearly: this little cat curled up with her tail dappling over her side and face, and tiny tiny little rib-bones jutting out her side. This gave me that same twinge I’ve had my entire life when it comes to cats. When I see one that has been hit by a car, I make sure to get him or her out of the road and buried. It’s indecent, I think, to let a living thing spoil in the road with flies circling about its eyes in indignity just because we have to be at Taco Bell to meet Kevin for lunch and we can’t stop to at least get something we murdered out of the road. Shit, you have things to do right? Who cares about just another dead cat?

And there, under my car there sat a tiny calico cat with a little white belly, orange and white wrapped around her face and black stripes down her slender stomach, bones protruding like. If not for finding her then, if my brother failed to convince me to throw the football, we would have never found her and she would have died like the thousands of cats that are cold and hungry now, huddled scared under cars not knowing where they are or if they will live to see another bowl of food given to them by the charity of some old woman or a young man pathetic enough to ruin good jeans just to help a cat.

She was a wee wee baby cat, meowing, wet and wanting food. I went inside and filled a bowl with food for her, brought it out, and placed it by the car. I called her, saying, “Come on kitty, come on baby. I’m not going to hurt you.” After an hour or so, she crawled out to get the food, and I scooped her up in a towel, took her inside to dry her off, rubbing her head saying, “It’s going to be alright. I have you now.”

We had just lost a cat of ours named Buck due to a neighbor poisoning him, and every time I heard a cat meow all I could feel was the empty space that Buck left when we buried him under our pecan tree. There’s a small rock with his name on it still near his grave, I believe, and when we pick pecans from off his grave in the summer I always think of him kneading on my shirt, or curling up in my dirty clothes. This cat was just another cat, and just another cold and wet and starving cat, but there was no way we’d let her go hungry. We fed her and fed her often. She started to come around more often and we got to know her. After a while, we named her Calico Kelly and she was our cat. I nicknamed her Seymour after my grandmother that died when I was three.

She was a timid cat but prissy and hyper, but loving to those she knew. She spent most of her time on top of the shed around back or teasing our dogs. My little sister Jennifer loved her Calico Kelly and despaired when she disappeared just like the rest of us. She loved her with a real type of love, not the vain type that loves based on convenience and benefits. The real kind. Love comes in all shapes and sizes; sometimes it’s shaped like a little cat wrapped in a towel, sometimes by a brand new DVD for Christmas, but the real sort of love is always formed when there is no advantage in loving except the love itself. That’s the love she had for Kelly and the love we all had for Entae.

We had her for almost a year before she had her first litter of kittens. There were five: two yellow tabby cats (Tiger and Tigger), a white and black one (Felix), a white and yellow one (Zero), and the runt: a little black kitty with one little white spot on her nose. Her name was Entae.

My brother loved her at first sight and picked her of the litter to be the cat we kept inside. “I called her first!” he said. “I want the little black one.” He named her Entae and we all loved her immediately. She was passive and responsive and never scratched or bit anyone. She never meowed or whined as a baby, but we loved on her ridiculously. By the time my grandmother died, Kelly (her mother) disappeared; one of the other cats in the litter had been killed by a dog, and the rest wed given away. We were left with one cat, our only cat for almost four years: Entae.

When she was young, one night when I was 17 or so, she got into our dog pen to try to get a sip of water. By then her black coat showed patterns of white, auburn, yellow, and a little mask of color built around her eyes: she was transforming into new colors (something she did all her life, getting more and more blonde and tan as the years went by.) She snuck into the dog pen that day for water and the dog attacked her, ripping her stomach lining open in the process.

Our neighbor, who lived right beside our dog pens, saw it, jumped the fence, opened the cage, and saved her. To this man, we’ve always been grateful. He gave us four more years to spend with her, four more years I’ll cherish until I’m in the ground like her, cold, wet, alone inside a tawdry box.

We brought her inside and put her on a towel. Her little back was broken, it seemed, and every time she tried to meow nothing but a wheeze came out, soundless air. My brother and I probably cared about her the most, and we demanded she be taken to a vet.

The ride to Laurens that day, with the dying kitten on our lap, seemed to take forever. When we arrived, the vet told us there was little chance that she would live, but we could leave her there over the weekend to see if she survived. It would cost us over a thousand dollars, but we agreed without question. A living thing is more important than money.

Miraculously, the vets said, she pulled through. She would always walk with a sly sort of gimp like a jaguar, and she could never have children, but she was alive. And she was just as loving too.

The most telling thing about her was the fact that, even while being torn open, she didn’t claw or bite our neighbor when he tried to save her. She never clawed or scratched or tried to hurt anybody. Anyone could approach her and pick her up, kiss her and love on her. Even friends of the family got to know her and grew to love her and her habits. She had a strange way of meowing. It sounded like she was saying brrrow, row, brrrrrrrow like a little squirrel, especially when she ran.

She was as spoiled as a cat could be. If you wanted to feed her a piece of ham, you couldn’t put it on the floor in front of her. Shed look at it, look at you, then look back at it, and then look back at the ham. You’d have to pick it up and hold it for her, or she wouldn’t even touch it.

She liked hot fries, hot wings, lasagna, and spaghetti but wouldn’t touch plain potato chips. She loved ham and turkey, but wouldn’t touch baloney.

She spent most of her nights in my room with me, sprawled out beside me on the bed, purring and rubbing her face against mine. Going brow, rrrow, brrow while I rubbed her little scarred up stomach (from the dog.) And we spent four years together, great years, years I hope to die remembering. Each morning when I woke up, I went to get her. I brought her back to my room and laid her down beside me and we went back to sleep. Whenever I saw her, I never just walked by. I stopped to pet her and kiss her and tell her I loved her. I did, she was my friend. A real friend that could feel and love. It’s pathetic to think of a grown man crying about a cat. But I loved her, and I miss my friend.

She was always fond of getting in peoples cars when they came to visit. She got in them and went to sleep, and sometimes shed spend entire days in the woods and fields behind our house playing (as my mother called it) with grasshoppers or moles, or laying under the shade of the tree she would one day be buried under.

Entae was a part of our family. She had her odd habits, personality traits. She almost turned into a person, to me. And to me she was just as good as one.

At seven every morning she’d be at the front door to go outside to use the bathroom. She didn’t use a litter box she shit in the neighbor’s yard and never ours, and slept behind the freezer on the parasol.

The last time I saw her alive was yesterday. It was almost seven in the morning when I brought her in my room with Jennifer. She curled up beside me and I put my head on her stomach to hear her breathe. She wanted to go out of the room, so I let her out, and I never saw her alive again.

When I awoke, Jennifer told me that Entae was missing. My mother and my grandmother had walked around for nearly two hours looking for her and calling for her. My sister and my cousin had ridden down every street in town looking for her. When I woke, my brothers and I took flashlights and walked around the block calling for her. Nothing, we didn’t find her. We couldn’t find her. I had that sick feeling in my throat that you can’t swallow no matter what.

At three in the morning, I went out and stood on the porch for thirty minutes calling her, throwing ham on the walkway, and walking up and down the road. I circled the house at five AM, calling her name, shaking her water bowl. She didn’t even come to mother whom she loved more than anyone else. She preferred her lap. Shed jump off me just to jump on mothers lap. She even slept on the pillow beside her some nights, and my mother loved her as much as she’s ever loved me, that I’m sure of.

At seven, I went out and started calling her again. But it was in vain: we found her around the back of the house, behind the pool, dead in the high grass. It’s the saddest feeling I’ve ever felt, to picture such a beautiful thing, alive and moving, animate, cold and lifeless, stiff and inanimate. I’ve never cried so hard in my life as I did once Entae was wrapped in a towel and put in the ground, under a place where she loved to go for shade. I came back into my room to find something to put on her grave. I walked by the recliner and saw she wasn’t there. It hit me again; this sick sense of negation, that something was gone. Everything felt wrong. She’s supposed to be curled up in her little ball, asleep and hurting no one on the couch. I feel it now. I spent the next three hours sobbing like a little bitch over a cat that you probably wouldn’t even get out of the road if you saw her ran over. Just a cat, right? And a grown man is pathetic to sit around and go on and on about it. Every time I walk by her water bowl in the kitchen, I picture her with dirt caked in her little nose and eyes, her little tail no longer bobbing like it did when she came to eat, and it hits me again. It hits me and it hurts.

But it’s my fault. I’m the one that let her out. If I had kept her in as I always did, she wouldn’t be cold and alone in that little hole right now with only a little porcelain angel to look over her. I just want to pet her under her chin like she enjoyed so much, or kiss her little forehead and tell her that I love her. And I did. I loved her as much as I’ve ever loved anything in my life. Every single day I got up and went straight to the front door just to look for her. Every single god damn day for five years I had the chance to spend time with her. And now she’s gone, and all the tears I can produce won’t bring her from the ground. There are humans that deserve to die, such as myself for the things I’ve done. Everyone has done something ill-natured, spiteful, cruel, ill-intentioned, or just plain nasty. If I die, I’ll deserve it. Entae didn’t deserve to die alone in the tall grass behind our pool. And the thousands of cats and other animals like her that will die today won’t deserve it either. Human beings are the only animals that think they’re going to Heaven and the only animals that don’t deserve it.

You can say, it was just a cat, or, stop being such a little bitch about it. She wasn’t just a cat. She was a part of our family and we all loved her. And we will all miss her, as much as I do right now. Standing in the shade we buried her in, under the shadow of a long dead apple tree, it made me want to rip my teeth out. She was cold and in a dark place, wet in a wet ground in a towel covered by two feet of Earth. She’s alone under there, and wants some lasagna, maybe some hot fries. And Ill take them to her every day for the rest of my life.

I guess I just miss my friend.
We loved you, Entae. We always will.
Rest, Entae – like you did on the umbrella on our porch, in my closet or at the foot of my bed. Rest like you did under that tree in the summer time, or at the foot of mother’s bed when it got cold.
And I hope, wherever you are, I hope you’ve found some shade.

Why Guys Are Assholes

This post comes from me trying to figure out why guys are predominantly assholes. I know the reason; it’s really not hard to see. I will give you three scenarios of the recent past that has told me to always be an asshole.

This is a post from a myspace blog:

I’m tired of the way guys treat me!!! They think they can take advantage of me just because I have tits and an ass. Well guess what. YOU CAN’T….I always get stuck with the shitty guys that just want a girl for their looks or because they can get a piece of ass. Its not happening anymore. I’m drawing the line here. I want a guy that knows how to treat me right. I want a guy that will love me for who I am and not for what I look like. Not all guys are assholes, just the ones I get stuck with. I want one thats not an asshole, but they are all fucking taken…… Why is it always happening to me. Then when I actually find one that isn’t an asshole, he ends up turning into one. I just want to see what it feels like to actually be treated like I’m supposed to be treated and not like a possession. If you read this and you are one of those guys thats not an asshole or that knows how to treat me like I need to be treated then plz let me know.

To this I responded:

The problem isn’t the fact that you always get stuck with assholes, the problem is that subconsciously every girl wants to date an asshole. Why are there no nice guys? Because nice guys that treat you like a person will be pushed out of the way when an asshole comes along and wants to fuck. The guy that you cry to, confide in, talk intimately with, he’ll forever be nothing more than a teddy bear to hold you and love you while the asshole treats you like shit. And after that asshole is gone, you tell your nice guy “friends” that you’re tired of assholes and the line has been drawn. But how many times have you repeatedly gone into the same situation knowing all the while that you are not acting within reason as to service something in your advantage emotionally and psychologically? How many nice guys where there for you when you willingly, of your own free will, went knowingly into the relationship with a guy when all along there was a nice guy there that did like you for who you are and not what you looked like? That guy will forever be shit on and assholes will forever end up with girls only to mistreat them in and then the girl goes to the kind guy and tells him of her problems and confides in him … only to toss him to the side again, although she knows that he loves her for who she is she will never want him because subconsciously she doesn’t want that. She never will and that’s why girls end up with assholes. Not because guys are predominantly assholes, but because girls predominantly choose assholes over the other guys that love and care for them and want to take the time to love them and treat them right.

A word of wisdom to the men out there: you can’t finish last if you don’t participate in the race.

She wants one that isn’t an asshole but says they’re all taken. They are not all taken. She just doesn’t want a man that isn’t an asshole. Trying to love her and care for her is so pointless, too. If you won’t scream at her and degrade her, by god she will find someone that will, like a real man should. So, what became of this situation? First she tells me she loves me and wants to be with me because I “care for who she really is.” Which, trust me, is the most fatal thing you can do when trying to enter into a relationship. If you care for a girl for who she is, be prepared to accept the fact that there’s some straw-headed asshole waiting around the corner that will snatch her up and bang her on a dirt-road while the Stripes play on their iPod. She calls me on her way to work and tells me that she still wants to go to the movies and come down and hang out. I wait for the call until 11 and then I retire back to reading The Brothers Karamazov. She messaged me and told me she was single and that she loved me. She told me she wanted to be with me because she was tired of the way assholes treated her. This was two days ago: what happened yesterday? She got back with the guy that she told me she hated for being an asshole and didn’t tell me at all. She got back with him a long time before calling me and telling me she wanted to come and hang out with me. Before telling me to tell my friends I couldn’t jam with them because I was “fucking her.” What became of this? What the fuck do you expect? She went straight back to her self proclaimed asshole and hasn’t said a word to me. For this alone I am justified in treating 10 girls like shit. But hey, if I did that, I’d be in a great relationship. I’d have a pet with an opinion that performs blowjobs on command for treats. Those were the days.

Situation II:

I meet a girl, with whom I can have a conversation and she laughs a lot. We start talking a lot and I try to help her get over an asshole out of her recent past. Regardless of how much I try to care, I’m stopped with a boot in the face. But, I deserved it for being stupid enough to actually think a girl wanted to date a nice guy. The best way to sweep a girl off her feet, apparently, is to knock her the fuck out and then make her cry. And, that’s what I had to do get laid by this girl. Kindness didn’t work; compassion didn’t work; being a nice guy didn’t work. What worked? Leaving her 10 pages telling her how much of a terrible human being she was and insulting her terribly. After that, she’s ready for love. She chose me then because I was an asshole, treated her like shit, and that’s what girls really want. They say they want a smart man – this is complete bullshit. No girl on EARTH wants an intelligent man. They say they do, but they don’t. They want someone that’ll smack them around and treat them like a woman. Not like a human being. After having sex with her, I started to treat her kindly and compassionately again. Trying to be there for her when she needed me, care for her, and show her respect. What did she do? She rebelled, told me not to care, and utterly wanted nothing to do with me. She asked for my apathy; I gave it to her. What did she do? Bitch about it. Doing what a girl asks you to do is fatal. Telling her to go fuck herself is the sure way into her hearts. Want to find a girl you can love forever? Beat the shit out of her. Nothing says I love you like a slug to the jaw. And why not liven it up a bit? How about sticking a radioactive potato in her ass and setting it on fire just before punting it, along with her, through a field goal on a football field into a pit of other dipshits whom also have been recently sodomized by potatoes and punted. They’ll surely love you to then.

The first step to a woman’s heart becomes treating her like shit. After looking back on all my relationships, the longest one was 8 days shy of a year. How did I keep her for so long and have her love me so completely? I was a total asshole to her. Screamed at her, yelled, made her cry: but she loved me. Do not, I REPEAT, do not go into a relationship thinking that being nice will get you anywhere. It won’t. Some girls are so pessimistic that there could be a rainbow in their backyard and paradise on earth and they’d complain about the brightness and all the freeloading deer. Fuck deer. Deer suck.

To enter into a monogamous relationship is to willfully submit yourself to a never-ending cycle of “I am wrong and you are right.” To enter into an understanding with the opposite sex is to know this has to be said a million times. To refuse to say this, hold fast to your ideas, beliefs, suggestions, etc, is to die lonely in a trailer park with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels and a notebook full of proviso dialogues like this. In a relationship the most profound concept of all disappears: the concept of self, of me, of that which you refer to when you speak of yourself. The will of one no longer matters and is replaced by the desire to debase yourself so that the other might feel good. If you have strong beliefs, opinions, and ideas, you will always be lonely. For one, you deserve it.

As for the third situation:

A 14 year old girl is infatuated with my little brother. She is telling everybody how passionately she wants to be with him, fuck him, and that she loves him. The only problem: she ALREADY HAD A FUCKING BOYFRIEND! He was nice to her and my brother treated her like a monkey’s asshole. Shrugged her off, made her feel like an insect. The worse he treated her the wetter that little pussy got for him.

It’s as though women go into relationships like a 49’er looking for gold. They sift through the rocks in the middle of the river until they find a piece of gold. As soon as they find what they believe is gold, they throw all the worthless rocks back in the river. Know what those rocks are? Nice guys. You, me, every guy that tries to see a woman as a human being. Trust me, they do not want that. They want a guy to take them to the movies and pay for it. They want a guy that will agree with them when they’re wrong and submit to them. Relationships are just a tragic farce anyway and often in terribly: kids, marriage, and other assorted horrors.

Next time you’re with a guy and you think he is an asshole, think of the way he’s been treated by girls in the past and you’ll realize why he’s such a dick. But hey, if he’s an asshole, you’ll probably be too busy crying and fucking to do any sort of thinking at all. And when he’s gone? American Idol. Who wants to think? Pffffffft.

You think I’m being too hard on women, right? That I don’t know how to treat a woman? Perhaps that is the case in the sense that if I disagree – they will know. I’ll never just agree with someone I don’t agree with. So think about it girls, where are all those really sweet and kind guys that do everything for you? They’re at home looking at a picture of you while you’re out fucking your ex-boyfriend: the one that talks shit to you, fucks you, and leaves you. What do you do? You go cry to the nice guy about how guys are assholes. You literally, or figuratively, cry on his fucking shoulder. He tells you he is there for you and he is. What does this mean? He’ll sit there and forever listen to you talk about all the assholes you repeatedly choose over him and every time you’ll come back to him complaining about how ‘there are no nice guys.’ So, this nice guy sees that being nice gets him no where with most women, so what does he do? He becomes an asshole. He might not be spoken of kindly in conversation, but a girl will surely fuck him and when he breaks her heart she’ll find a nice guy she’d never touch, because he’s nice, to complain about it to. Yes, nice guys: we are the disposable men. We are the disposable ones. So why are guy’s assholes? Chances are, he has been turned into one by a variety of different causes: all of them because of girls he has seen and encountered. And hey, if he wasn’t an asshole, you’d never give him any ass.

Want to be with a real nice guy? Stop being stupid enough to leave that nice you, whose shoulder you cry on, at home by himself when you go out and fuck the outlaw biker that slaps you around in front of his friends and puts cigarettes out on your thighs. Why that guys beating the shit out of you, the nice guy is at home trying to figure out why you like someone else more than him. How many girls consider some of their guy friends “like brothers” to them? Lots. What does that mean? It means those guys are always there for them; treat them like human beings; respect them and care for them; and most of all, they love them. Would a girl ever date this man? Nope. He’s not there for that. He’s the walking talking teddy bear to be used and thrown away by girls as they sift through rocks in the stream. She will never date or have sex with this man for the sole reason that he really cares for her.

In conclusion: fuck you.

Letter to the Editor

Every school has their version of the same social groups, the goths, the punks, the nerds, the jocks, the rich, the poor, and at sometime in my life, I’ve been to the headquarters of such clicks, opting for the click of all clicks, where everybody was the same, communism really. But one Christmas we could see a poor boy more poor than the rest. Everybody had to bring in gifts for a local orphanage. Everybody had done so, except for one kid, the kid with the dirty coat and the bobo cheap shoes, the one the other kids in their Nike’s and their Levi’s laugh at, that kid had yet to bring a present in. the teacher laid into him. “Where’s your present?” she said. “If you don’t bring one in, you’ll fail this class. We’re giving to the less fortunate! We have to do that at sometime in our life.” I thought, who’s going to think of the unfortunate we can see? They give these to the poor, and the poor is here.

It’s a rather strange device, a peculiar mechanism of affection, foreign, a name attached to it like the designer tag, your joy was brought to you by _______ x. It was like Santa’s gifts when the morning sun went to work on time, sometimes an odd bit late, but who’s perfect? The sun rose and the poor boy at his poor home sat in his kitchen with his head propped on his hands. He seemed far off, remote, in the manner that a genius, when he’s in the room, can seem light years away when one speaks with them. This is how far off, non-body this kid was in his grief. He looked at a plastic tree in the corner with plastic ornaments and steel dressings rusted and the brittle spindly limbs that climbed less than three feat before giving into Gravity’s bedside manners.

Dooby doob, says I. Get your shit and go. Time for school.

I don’t want to go to school, says he. It’s stupid. The teacher is stupid. The classes are stupid.

That’s why they throw us all together, I say, they think the intelligence will stick to one facet of that nut. Come on. You don’t have to worry about stupidity, I got a kit, and I tell you that thing keeps the dopes away.

What is this? He asked. “You can repel stupid with it? What’s it called?”

Intelligence, I say, should be avoided at all costs, unless you’re under contract or a writer. This machine of mine is brilliant. I wear a clown hat, everywhere I go. The people who are stupid will talk to me and think it’s funny. The people who are smart will avoid me, so I will seek them out, those who do not wish to know me, for who, in the intelligent crowd, has the time or us, eh? We’re the sad poor fucks, I says, no need for intelligence, we’ll make the geeks dinner and make the jocks make it faster. That’s where we’ll settle up for what goes on at the stupid school. You see? Stupid repellant. Just make up an absurd rumor about yourself and spread it around. Then avoid the people who talk to you about it.

That’s stupid.

See? Just like that. It tells me you’re a man of keen intellect sharp enough to cut me right.

He laughed.

Hoorah! I say. Get your present.

Don’t have a present, smart guy.

Check your backpack, dumbass.

And there it was. A book to give to the poor, paid for by his friends, how much he did not know, but he put it under the tree. And he grew up a million miles an hour before he left the zoo, trained up right, he knew how to speak and talk and tell you how far the sun is from the moon and who invented the bifocal. The name of the largest crater on the moon, too, and what else, he tried to bring that mind out, into the world, like the far of geniuses in their tiny club do, and he would not be accepted, so he put on the clown hat, like the other poor kid, and wrote about his adventures in it. The book, some throwback Americana abortion from the post-slavery I’m sorry singing days. There were the brains, the brawn, and the ones who didn’t care, and those cynical clowns who turned up their noses at things like institution and learning cranked out by the poor for the poor, where jocks and nerds and nobody’s go to have their lives shuffled, then dealt out to the world in narrow postal slots, into machines again to rub out a dollar or a refund or a manifesto on their madness, and that, too, with time is sorted into categories, fiction, chick-lit, non-fiction, but that’s what the file says, and that’s the record written down, for someone in the times to come to take out a card filed with our names on it, look at it once, turn it over again, and note good, or bad, like the troublemakers and the criminals, files corrupted in the cogs of society’s machine. And the ones unable to make an appearance on the record, with a smiling face and list of good deeds phoned in, to make some sort of impression on whoever sits above him in the categories of need, the guy who needs what you’ve got and pays you to give it out, that’s him, the judge who sits above you, and when you’re a writer, that judge, in the end, is yourself, and each time you pen a sonnet to the world you’re forced to take a look at it and wonder what it’s worth was, and cruel is the man who does this daily, only to see, his gifts were not delivered to the orphans of the world. The lackeys and the druggy types sold it for a fix, broken robots codeine into their rusted parts and start back up, eyes alight, and mind keen, over and over and over the same machine, the variable mechanism, Karma’s equations, will turn over and over and we’ll call them days, days good or bad, and we’ll file them away accordingly to submit them to the judge when the file is locked, when no more can the prosecution or defense read, when the jury is on trial, when the self is on the line and the self says bad, hangs up, and prank calls you at three in the morning to tell you he’s sorry for waking you up at all, again to walk for a short period under the starry quilt laid at the bosom of our mother, who lets us cling for but a while, before shaking off the fleas. Good? Bad? That’s all we’ve ever had, a voice murmurs bad and the echo comes back good, so the files are corrupted, the mechanic will have to take a look, stick a gloved hand into the head and write down the desire with prescriptions to be written for them all, for one smile take one, for three smiles take two, for a permanent smile, take all, everyday, good they’ll say, inside the lines, the best painting of it’s type to find, and hope that poor coupon is enough for a meeting with the maker, shuffler of the cards, the programmer who must’ve calculated this sort of nonsense, for it, by it, forever. One bad, one good, one love, one hate, one life, one chance to sell it and run out with cash when the shithouse is in flames. I didn’t come here to play Jesus.

Evaluate this, mother fucker.

Brandon.

Deja Vu Again

Autumn sat Indian style on the cracked and split steps in front of the school with her dark eyes closed. She had two ragdoll puppets in her pockets, an mp3 player in her jacket, People are Strange in her ears, and beside her sat a model of her house made and painted on the inside of a cardboard box. It had doors with pumpkin stickers and windows with curtains and drapes and singing wind chimes.
Everything in the replica was there in the home, in the real world: Autumn’s notebooks on her bed, made by white-out on tiny slits of black construction paper, small boxes colored like televisions with static on the screens, white paper with jagged sharpie marks, more notebooks and a pen, a pad, and a needle on the bed, bouquet of covered pages around the room, then the oval kitchen, the kitchen flowers, harmony in sound and feeling, the smell of fresh baked bread and wet summer grass.
It was all in there in the model, down to the broken sticks on the ground around the tree to the side of the home and the old tire that hung from it. Even the tree had their old time love letters and an old squirrel nest in the top of it, an old timer knife where once was carved Autumn loves Brandon in the bark with a tiny knife so many years ago.
There was a puppet of her father, messed up hair, eyes distant and cold, and a puppet of her mother, covered in jewels and make-ups, upstairs in the master bedroom in their bed under a thick flannel quilt that Grandma Margaret made.
Her mother laid on her left arm asleep, a bit of dried blood under her nose, a vacant listless ghost of a blank face to the wall The puppet of her mother had stitches in her ears untied. The puppet of her father had stitches in his mouth but unintelligible murmurs slipped out.
He sat on the edge of the opposite side of the bed with his head on his chin, his other hand holding tight to a pill bottle. Autumn guided the puppet and her father’s replica turned on the lamp and opened the drawer; a Bible in the bureau, a revolver in the drawer, pill bottles and crumpled boys in the floor around the metal basket in the corner of the room by the type writer with the stale and dusty cobwebs on it. She brought it out too, for her talent show, another prop she would need: someone to reproduce what she spoke for later chances to use it, wouldn’t want to waste one writing when it can be relevant in another place.
So many different tendrils of life attach to moments like invisible nodes strewn between invisible wires along a circuit board attempting to connect in one way or another.
It was all for Autumn’s talent show, the day she tried to wow, to earn the label prodigy some of the teachers at the old school called her, before she was placed in a higher grade with older children and became even more isolated and withdrawn. It was rare she talked to anyone in person, and, though she talked to a few people online, she always worried she may say something wrong.
She didn’t care about much at school, but she always entered the talent show, to prove she wasn’t just a brain that sat on her butt in the library all day, even though she was proud of being able to sit on her butt all day and read, and prove that art and beauty can be found in anything if you know how to put it together right. Beauty and its creation was a big concern for her.
She had been called a prodigy, a child genius, and all the other adjectives that alienate otherwise bright and cheerful children and alienate them until they’re a nervous burnt out wreck at twenty three shooting junk and drinking booze to calm the shakes of a mind that glowed so bright it dimmed, leaving a poor and whimpering animal in the skin of a little girl trying to validate the labels placed upon her, trying to balance her sanity and the pedestal they placed her on.
Three of the other brains, the Gifted and Talented kids, the types who read because they enjoy it, play chess and talk about physics and T.S. Eliot and what the smart kids talk about–the other smart people, understanding of genius, Autumn believed, was merely powerful perception; creation of genius is merely powerful and astute expression of the world as interpreted by the artist.
Autumn had always been a very serious child.
Three beta club members versus a slacker, verse Autumn and her shaking little hands, her quivering voice so soft and soothing, the nerd playing Tetris on her cell phone while the first two abominations to theater and god disgraced the scene and then she got ready, putting on an outfit with the shape of a nylon lotus crown around her neck and light blue in perfect contrast with her dress.
“The title of my three part performance is Déjà vu in three movements: No Signal in Aminor, No Exit in Bb, and No Refill in G. I composed this music to accompany the reading of my works.
No Signal, no exit, no refill. She took these titles terribly serious and the blinking line on her cell phone: NO SIGNAL. NO SIGNAL, seemed to fit so perfect.
“No signal try the call again did you dial a zero?
No signal. No signal.
I’ll try to move to some place else. I must hear your voice.
No exit. No exit.
I can’t find my love, but my pill bottle is near.
No refill. No refill.
She titled her play and the cell phone to the microphone and it said, “No Signal said the robot to the master obsolete when the old drunk old man took a kitchen pan and beat his robot to death, buried him in the yard. That old man Jesse, he’s a card. He tried to call to tell me the metal man is dead, but instead he looked and the moment took joy from in his mind: No Signal was the line, it’s dying robot voice.”
Autumn picked up the dollhouse replica of her home and carried it to the back of the stage. It was to perfect scale, the perfect color, as true to life as could be made. Autumn made a lot of interesting stuff, as her father called it, and had spent her entire summer putting it together and painting it. Her mother, while pregnant with Autumn, had a cocaine problem, “Cocaine! You got me on my knees, Cocaine!” was the song: an eight ball a day through the whole pregnancy and the baby girl was a little high strung with a delicate heart. Poor Autumn felt winter in her life by the time she was a teenager, the heart rate in her chest making the days seem as though they lasted a thousand years, hummingbirds wings fluttering at visible speeds to her in her tweaked anxiety fugue. She was high strung to the point it debilitated her entire body. She hated herself for giving her anxiety and even killed quite a few Barbie dolls with familiar clothes, but she had one outlet, one fountain to distill her misery and try to channel into beauty, like her father the failed poet did who loved her endless poems and letters to make believe men and women about make believe situations, her endless letters made her father smile. She never showed these works to anyone but her father and Brandon. She didn’t show many of them to Brandon, though, because she thought he was a better poet.
Her father was fascinated by it all, by everything Autumn did; when she bought a sewing grid and a bunch of balls of yawn and sewed a portrait of her daddy’s Norwegian cat, all the colors in perfect transition, a furry work of art with a needle.
Her little sewing and art projects were the only thing she had to say to the world, to say I love you like the stars and pretty skies, soliloquies and lullabies, and the play she played that long ago that day was recorded life and later somehow ended up online. It was called touching by one old man outside the building that day, and more than fifty people would talk to her about it, as it seemed to have validated herself in the eyes of the jury, as she called everyone outside of Brandon and her Father.
It was called pretentious and meandering by one reviewer, and was printed in Rolling Stone as Brandon’s journal, Déjà vu, and reader’s called it a refreshing American work of verse, especially for, ‘a girl that’s like, ten years old.’ Some people called it boring and bland visual poetry with too heavy a reliance on symbolism. Autumn when she read the review did not know what symbolism was.
Autumn thought it would be humiliating – but no one laughed and no one heckled or got up to leave. A little old woman, Autumn’s aunt Dorothy, sat at a piano on the stage with the sheet music to Autumn’s play before her.
Autumn played the piano when she was young at her father’s insistence. “A woman with the skill to make something beautiful with her soul will be seen as beautiful by all.”
“‘C’est la Vie,’ the poet said. God help me please, said Autumn. God, help me.”
Autumn walked out slow and nervous through the sultry red curtains. She had taken two Xanax and believed she would soon calm. She wore a little blue dress with long white gloves a ribbon of white lace in her dark hair. She wore black boots because her father dared her to.
“My name is Autumn,” she said into the microphone. “My name is Autumn Rose and this is my life. This is life in just two minutes.”
She set up the replica, put the two model cars out front, put up the mailbox, put two letters in it.
She attached the tiny mic to her dress, began to hum in a waltzy tone in allegro. She repeated la la la la la la la to each cascading A minor scale a low pitch, “The eye sees the itself within song.”
The auditorium was quiet as Autumn hummed over the trills of a melancholy melody that echoed off the white bricks of stone and in between the seats of wood, a sublime melody of layers and delicacy.
Autumn took the puppet from her pocket, dressed as a perfect twin, a frown on her face a downcast glance. She took the other hopeful looking doll, the antonym to her likeness, the bright eyed blonde hair dolled was skinnier and prettier and had an upward glance half open mouth full smile.
The more realistic one and Autumn’s likeness had dark eyelids the color black like eye-shadow stained instead by insomnia a purple blackish smear of restlessness, was perfect in appearance, dark rimmed eyelashes behind wrinkled old looking eyes, pink along the yellowed inner rims, hair disheveled pushed to the side of her face, hazel eyes hidden by a black hoodie.
She put on the strings and hooked the fishing wire to the handles on her puppets and then the fake grips on her left hand.
She hooked parts of the house to her pinky fingers, with two other handles operating doors and angels and mirrors within the house.
She dropped the puppets from her hands, caught them as if they stood on air and bent her hands forward and they bowed.
Autumn said, “The por una cabeza, please. Let them hear some good music before we play my crap!”
Autumn’s friends and she looked for Brandon’s laugh in the crowd and saw his sly little smirk, the wit! he thought, so proud of his little friend. Brandon, he was sitting in the front row with a sprite bottle full of liquid morphine. He had a lot of issues with his dad and publisher but had written several novels and had been called by some people coming of age in this very generation a talented writer and artist in the background of life; his desire was Autumn’s too, to bow before one appreciated crowd before she snuffed it.
Autumn got the same treatment at the school every Christly child on Vincent’s side and Kyle’s side, Brandon was Kyle’s son and he was three years older than Vincent’s daughter Autumn, but Kyle and Vincent were best friends.
Vincent was a conflicting figure; he could do anything he wanted at school, which was read, drink that sweet sweet cough syrup, and write poems and stories for his friends.
Autumn’s daddy was a published writer too, but not too successful. Brandon had published a successful book of poems at a young age and decided that he would write a bunch of novels in what he called his ‘pointless attempt to know everything. That’s my goal,’ he says. ‘To know everything. If I did, I’d write a book about it, entitle it, ‘Everything,’ and every one would call me a liar if they didn’t ignore the publication all together. If I sold as many books as I’ve bought for my friends, I’d have enough money to buy a hardback copy of Anna Karenina…’
The first four bars of the Por una Cabeza played out of the old piano like a bird inside the wood walls dancing on piano wire.
In the road in front of the tiny house, the two puppets embraced, to the first beat of the por una cabeya, that beautiful Italian waltz. They took each other one by the waist, hands held in the air, their faces sideways so close their faces pressed together… They walked to the beat of the music in dramatic steps in perfect rhythm on the air. Autumn humned aloud to the melody of the absent violin melody stored in her memory low into the microphone clipped on the lace of her dress with a little scary safety needle; she saw it and thought of her father at home and sadly hummed the words, enunciating the notes of the missing violin in key, “dah da dah da dah da-dahhh.”
The smiling puppet by way of Autumn’s thumb put her face on the other sad girl’s shoulder. Autumn flipped a switch and the puppet flashed a smile. The music lapses at the sound of a gun shot. The smiling girl disappears. An audio screaming file is played over and over.
A streetlight flickers on and then explodes with the glass bouncing like tiny ice against the ground the smiling puppets face, dissolving into a slow frown starting at the eyes and falling like a man under a tree as the sun throws his shadow across the path in front, the path to right, who knows? Not Autumn, I, not Autumn me. When the streetlight flicked on again, the smiling puppet had a knife between her legs and blood on her hands. ‘ She stumbled, fell to the ground, the puppets leg opened on both sides with both sides cut, ketchup running from the holes staining the pink of her panties and the walkway outside.
She ran into the puppet house with a line of blood following her. The miniature camera that hung just behind her on a mounted screen careened through the catacombs of connected rooms and artifacts, tiny painting, her dying grandma’s dolls.
Autumn’s fingers made the likeness of herself walk through the door. The puppet had tiny trembling hands as she crossed the threshold looking back and forth holding her shoulders shivering. She takes a left, turns into a living room with a pitiful fire, a young girl in long john’s watching television, on which flashes an image of dragon in a pink sky with a purple sun, Barney pajamas and pig tails, sweet little girls echo in the audio track the laughter fading into that high pitched frequency hissing noise, swan song of the stillborn frequency. She walked into the other room, leaned against the old bunk bed as it once was in the past, when she thought she would be sleeping with a baby brother. Instead there was a bunk bed with the top covers tucked into the mattress to create a shroud around the bed, like Jasmine’s bed in Aladdin, and she slept in the pure dark with her glow worm, a blanket with planets and the horse head nebula up to her neck, a soft smile on her chin with two teeth missing.
The kitchen table is covered in a bowl of hot wings, a smiling girl holding a wing with hot sauce on her nose and cheeks and then the puppet stops in the hallway. Autumn’s left hand came into the play, mimicking the frowning dolls movements with her ambidextrous hands and sighs into the little microphone. One puppet frowned, sound of a sad yawn, yet the other one smiled. One screamed. One covered her ear as the piano melody rose to a crescendo. The puppet ran up stairs, to her room, a girl not breathing on her back a thousand covered pages and empty pill bottles on which was written NO REFILLS in her hand a tranquil smile and languid grin across her sanguine face as though in a golden dreamworld far away from pain in the lap of beauty and bliss and grace, for a moment a twisted rotting tree cast an angel shape and before the puppet fell a cross. The puppet’s eyebrows raise at the sight of an angel appearing on the hill, turns around and runs, yelling, Autumn screaming into the might, “Leave me alone! Leave me alone! Please, leave me alone!”
The puppet runs to the parent’s room and Autumn screams to the figures of her parents through the proxy people attached to her fingers.
Her mother doesn’t move, Autumn scerams,
“Mother! Mother!”
Her mother rolled over she had a laughing look on her face amused.
Her father looked at her for a moment.
He turned around, popped a pill, daddy had his medicine and daddy was fine.
Autumn thought, maybe I should take mine. She pops three of the pills and finds her father again.
“Daddy?” Autumn said. Her dad lays down, his legs stop shaking.
“Daddy!” she repeated. “Daddy! I love you!”
“No signal. No response. Inability to establish a carrier wave to broadcast empathy. Nobody home…”
“Daddy! Daddy!” the puppet Autumn shook the lifeless doll a moment and slapped the soft plastic in the face.
She ran down the tiny stairs into the living room again. She picks up the phone, dials a number—a telephone rings on the Celestion speakers in the auditorium.
Autumn’s breathed intense with panic in her voice, “Somebody…Everybody…Anybody. Please, she cried. God please. God please. Answer the phone. Answer the phone.”
She fell to her knees with tears in her eyes.
“We’re sorry,” the Operator said. The number you have called is disconnected or out of order” played over the loud speaker. “If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the number and try your call again.”
Autumn dropped the microscopic phone with the puppet’s plastic hand, went to the attic put the childhood toys away, her pound puppy stuffed animal, her Franklin computer with Oregon trail, the golden Zelda cartridge… She put the puppets held by the puppets in a box like their own, locked them away, took the grips off her fingers and packed the toos of the trade and locked them in a box just like the one inside.
She put a cellphone to her ear. The piano shifted to a B minor refrain and slowed the volume getting lower until inaudible. Blackness fell on the stage and obscured all but Autumn in the light.
“I have to call my dad,” she said. “It’s part of the performance. He wanted me to write a poem for him, to show him how I feel, and I think that true talent is found in your ability to love someone through your words before they even read them, to show them truth and beauty and when there is nothing let the record be true. A poem written with feeling is not always the best way to describe someone’s mind. Sometimes people without feelings write poems. But… anyway, the important thing is I wrote this for my father to show him that beauty is in everything that is true. And I’ll read it to you all. True talent is expressing your empathy and love, though everything that is true is not beauty, everything beautiful is true.”
She stopped and smiled.
“I might as well read it for you guys here instead,” Autumn said, not seeing her father in the audience every where she looked so she closed her eyes.
She took out her cell phone and dialed a number, the crowd with her impatient to wait. She said.
“No answer, but I’ll read this poem for him, so even though he’s not hear, he’ll feel somehow what I say. I think true talent is in expressing yourself entirely and truthfully, and everything that is true is not beauty, but everything beautiful is true. He wanted me to write a poem for him, but I decided to read it for you all, since I’m sure my dad will watch the video later, when Bonanza goes off! I’ll read it for you, if you promise me you’ll laugh.”
Her few friends clapped. She smiled at them. She looked at Brandon and he mouthed in silence, “You’re the shit, girl. I love you.”
“I wrote this poem for my father,” she said again uneasy to read nervous. “He likes cheerful poetry and when I first got the idea for this poem, the title, I was watching him strap a belt around his arm.
There’s a little whole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes, a puppet said, coming out of the closet with nappy grey hair. Another puppet, her stillborn brother, danced on the ceiling in her empty bedroom while she read in monotone to the crowd:
“A short detour one would suggest the road the sorrowful know best
“It’s always raining there, and grey;
endless lifeless pale grey days
of rain the sidewalks slow and plain
no sun there is to shine,
the body shape
that’s penciled on the sidewalk with their face,
where endless are those pointless days,
live all time’s slaves in great malaise.
their porcelain painting frowning face waits on the sun.
“One minus one and we’re all done,
the figures fall like figs and plums, on desolation Drive.
“All of those alone in pain call it that unfriendly name that Desolation Drive.
There long gone drones blow out their minds
Queens live alone in broken hives.
Abandoned houses empty lots
Cracking sidewalks needles shot,
a place the word called hope forgot.
“Yawn the houses, knobless doors,
hallways noiseless no feet on floors,
the crumpled royal roaches eat.
Empty plates and vials around,
an empty fridge, no food inside,
turned yellow like the Queen’s bee hive—
“Though there she mourns alone.”
Sad faces on a black board
and the yearning of a lonely cello song,
vague handprints in the dust to fade.
“Crayons, paintings, postcards,
those yesterdays we needed went away.
Forgotten in the lifelong maze,
the happiness now gone away,
forgotten in the grave of stagnant cigarette haze.
“Silent empty corridors identical catacomb rooms.
Dirty towels on the floor
used jeans fraying used no more
a dropper in one pocket,
love letter in the other,
all of that with a burnt up spoon,
they fit so well together.
“Clotted blood in droppers
turn into rose shapes in the grey,
maybe that’s what caused my name,
daddy’s heroin that day.
There’s a little whole in daddy’s arm
where all the money goes and when he goes
we always know he ends up so distraught and on the floor,
in tears and screaming,
“Please oh God let mebe dreaming!”
on the floor in tears to talk about
how he could have been somebody and he is.
“Hope is down. The chips are low.
Looking for an exit but no sign seems to glow
There’s no where left to go.
No signal, no way to call,
“No Refills,” it says it all.
Empty bottles, no medicine now–
the Letter is unread;
in empty clothes where once was froze
another of the dead.
Spent and yellow cigarette butts
human stumps fall in the tray.
Broken clocks and broken robots,
the ones who love and break a lot,
they sing those sad old lines:
“Wrong place, wrong time,”
their lonely little nursery rhyme.
There is no fix for them.
“There is no fix for those who lie
alone and look up at the sky
numb and dumb the day is done
and for them there is no why-
just how:
to get the fix that they need now
their only little fix to be–
A normal person, to love, to hold,
like they do on other roads,
by desolation drive.
“Where happy people live and smile
their dreams fulfilled the Miracle Mile.
“Another day, the same old song,
chocolate wrappers on the lawn,
burnt up spoons and bodies gone.
Coffee cups long drained have cast
a stagnant halo on the glass.
Another day to waste away
puppets for the monkey play
Their tragedies and pass.
“When Hope is gone.
The Chips are thrown,
across dirty tables slow.
They load the gun,
the barrel, spun,
gunshot silhouette shadow show.
No song, no mass,
no life, no past,
one lullaby they go.”
Muffled clapping by her group of friends and her English teacher. Mrs. Cody was her best friend at the school. She stayed after school a lot to talk to her about books.
“For dad who said he could not make it,” she said, “No signal, no call. And now, I’d like to play a song with my grandmother, Mozart, the one four hands. Don’t know the name but I know the song.” And beautifully she played on.
“Thank you,” she said and left taking her house and puppets backstage and tucked it away with her other clothes. She changed into a Cossack, put on a brown belt, a bald wig, and took a skull from her trunk of props. She walked back onto the stage.
“And now,” she said, that big stretched toothy smile with her rows of tiny white teeth, “I’d like to do homage my favorite Shakespearian soliloquy. You’ll know the one.
She coughed, pushed all the items off the table, slammed her hand against the bass notes on the piano and said in a loud, forceful resignation, as though a distant speaker to a tapped fountain of words in perfect fluctuation and rhythmic structure:
‘To believe or not to believe, that doth underlay the world of man and action, and the man now idle is subtracted from the sum of human being, another subtracted from the cause, what cause to be is there when free is not the cool day air so stole away by night and is to me the question right? Or more right than before, to suffer the sadness of the mind and look out through the grey cage we call I, from inside the barred cage of the mind, than it is to walk the path to find the song of peace to dance to, with yourself content or with one you love, or is it more noble to sharpen our minds with the pains and lines of lies and tragedies writ for us to act out poorly not knowing why or how or if it’s a dreamboat to begin with; if it’s a dreamboat, then contact Noah; tell him we need two of everything: to preclude to me the question if is the hideous face of a scrutinizing world under a microscope naked men play in the mind to remove the anomalies abnormalities and treat it all with something, is there more honor in the misery of life than the fleeting bliss of the moment when action is taken to right the ship asunder tossed by troubles by and by with lilting waves of chance and reason world propelled this narrow shell once formed from a tree; is it a sleep, perhaps a dream, a twilight glowing shadow ring, stereo halo sun undone by the Mandelbrot that eats infinity for breakfast as will us all go down it’s hungry hole called time. Before then are we to take a sword against our trouble make the joy in life our own? Or should refrain and hide from rain watching the world go by slow out the window in which small pools of light fall in to see ourselves and glowing skin in a circle that brought us to our feet this world to greet, this life to live and life to lose led to graves by old blind fools facing bitter face to face the tragedies of every day and instead of turn to kiss they turn their face away; their face and that alone should end, should end their sway and if you pray the kiss on Death’s cold cheek won’t make you fall before you write your goodbyes on the wall and get some rest and end it, dream: no more ticket, no puppet strings; the waste land our flesh is heir to, the wick of fire long burnt away began the day first our eyes went wide and looked above and saw a dove and felt the love inside. They say such verse is folly, of that I have no doubts. It’s just as much a foolish folly to think what’s life about: when you wake you rise and take a good look at the sky, have some friends, watch good things end, wither like the elm tree die and there go back; where once you slept between the crack of this world and the others by it to find them all must die in quiet in acceptance of the end of the road. When one wakes up remember the dream as a living impulse idea thing inside the mind and living too reminding me of Déjà vu.
“For in that final sleep nothing will come. No angels Heaven bells or drums, no fluttering soul without a body rising to the clouds singing the rapture with eternal lungs loud as into the sky they rise until finally their eyes look above Earth’s tired skies and gives them pause and that respect the Earth our tomb and derelict for us to wither scorns of time and make this madness torrent rhyme that another might intake the projections and the variables the other machines that think will quietus make. The oppressor in the head that Mara temptress sent always speaks when your wits and strength is spent and show you easy ways. Pains of the despised love and symptom of a love’s delay, what insolence of office, of title and what spurns—the patience merit though unworthy takes and again a quietus make and with what would you take your own, a sweating grunting toil alone under the sun till days are done at death exhaled your breath to fall from the shelf where once you sat and gazed upon it all. That undiscovered country has yet to be found, no signal, no exit, no refills, no sound. And none have yet returned; maybe there they lose their care and love for Earth is spurned.”
A small smattering of clapping filled the auditorium. “Thank you,” Autumn said. “That was my homage to Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in the old Bard’s classic. I could not do the source justice with my tribute, but I did not want to copy by rote; to be like Shakespeare, one must first cultivate one’s own voice and use it to the best of their ability, not follow the styling of successful poets of the past. You academic types do this too much! And don’t get me started on Haiku…”
Autumn walked across the table with a candle, sat the candle on the table in the center of the stage. She poured water from a glass labeled Vodka (it was cleared by the PTA because her aunt was on the Jay Cees and the Jay Cees controlled the school and social functions down in Whitmire, South Carolina.
Many of the students knew not what she was paying homage to, and some of the clever kids thought she just didn’t know the lines.
She did, however, know all the lines from Hamlet’s soliloquy with perfect recall, but felt shame in reading them verbatim, thinking it would be foolish to read Shakespeare in a voice and inflection that did not come natural to her. Thus she preferred to render it in her own poetic tongue, as she said, to retain the ‘spirit and understand the era of the performance and what prior epochs have seen.; She spoke on with an old man’s drawl, lisping with a sweating forehead and mispronouncing words and slurring speech in a drunken swagger shouted: “Is it right, if there is right at all, to suffer the agony’s of the prison mind or, better yet, take arm against the sea’s of opposition, and by facing them, by kissing the cheek of thy tormentor to say it ends, to die, perhaps to sleep and maybe dream. Aye, that’s the trouble, the trouble that makes malady of so long a life. Out brief candles, out!
Autumn blew the candles out and the curtain fell to the sound of applause. She opened her eyes. Her mother was shaking her.
“They’re going to do an ultrasound now,” her mother said. “Just go back to sleep.”

American Idle

In the pre-war days the youth were bright eyed with pearly with teeth and eager-beaver looks and combed back hair shirts tucked in. Life was good in those days when the sharp dress boys with their military hairdo and shouted golly shooting marbles with their other pals and peddled along their paper routes with a paint by numbers smile throwing opinions at the sleeping doorways on one of those all American stereotype catalog of the rustic Huffy bike with the suicide king card slapping against the wheel along the ride to their home with bright green grass and white picket fence. Then their happy moms and dads took them for rides and out for soda pops down at the malt shops and when it was bed time all the I love you stories managed to calm the kids to sleeep, their proud and smiling parents, “We’ve got such great kids. Isn’t life grand? Sure is, darling!”
In the world as it is there is but one war and that is the war inside. the eyes are panicked unslept and wild-eyed, some in a daze, some in some distant detached fugue so far away you have to email him when he’s sitting right beside you with yellow teeth dingy from the cigarette tar and big blue bags under the eyes, up all night smoking that shit and playing Star Fox, “This is the best thing ever…” The loneliness is digital and complete; who needs to go out when you’ve got a list of friends to click on nice and quick and easy like? Oh, what’s his name… he’s advertising his new Hitler hair do and look at her she’s fly…
The kids don’t shoot marbles then count their pay as they did in the pre-war days they count their change and shoot their veins lay back and laugh, “What a jaded game.” Their parents aren’t home and when they are don’t care, we’ll take him out with the trash in the morning, didn’t you see the constellation on his arms? He always was the big dipper…
“We knew that kid wouldn’t amount to shit.”
“Yes, maybe he’ll kill himself.”
And he does, “Golly!”
Autopsy reveals multiple layers of self abuse, attrition for the wrongs that Karma counted up and left on your sheet, the sheet you have to pay the debts with when you hand your body back to where you leant it. Write down everything everyone has given you and in the will, give the rotten rusted shit right back. You are free.
There are no sock hops any more with bebop dresses and and clean cut guys to cut the jig. The guys hopped up bought his bitch a bebop dress and showed her how to cut, “We use baking soda. Junkies can’t tell. What the fuck do they know? They’re junkies. They deserve to be cheated.”
There are no picket fences and clean cut lawns around, no kids on paper routes, kids plugged into digitalized fantasy simulation, oh an artist on Monday, that’s for Janet, and for Diane, hmm, I’ll use the bleeding the heart for her. That’ll roll one in.
“You should mount that one on the wall.”
The kid that once yelled Extra EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT is now running around central park pulling his hair and teeth out yelling, EXTRA, EXTRA, EVERYBODY’S GONNA DIE.

This is What Normal Means to Me

I had a normal evening. All my friends came by, both of
them, we had a blunt and a chat and a Xanax nap and I woke up in a dreamworld
where all the girls I’ve ever talked to sat around in a circle shaped room
talking about the size of my cock with derision. I sat down with them with the
dick diagram before me on the floor, every wrinkle down to its exact natural
unpleasantness. It just wobbled on the floor, a sour apple looking eye ball
winking at me saying, “What you looking at, dickhead?” The dick’s head turned
into my father, crawled up the wall and exploded, all the female’s
disappearing. They turned into flower shaped stickers on the hollow wall. I
stuck my finger into one of the holes on the wall and felt a squiggly crawling
sort of warmth looked at my hand and it was covered in blood. The blood tasted
like metal soup and then like ketchup. The underlined word has a red line
meaning wrong. The blood began to ooze out of my ear like it did in school when
I read a sentence at a time, speed reading trick a Jew taught me late one
night. I blinked and he was gone, all the laughter and derision and the songs
were gone, and I was in my room, alone, typing to a computer, and the computer
said, “What do you want me to do? I’m just a machine. I can’t clean your room.”
Computer explodes covers me in tartar sauce, just like in school and thick and crusted
like clotted blood. Speaking of blood, had some in a dream like metal soup.
Confused days walk up the walls when I close my eyes and look at me with the
What’s it going to be then, Brandon? Look. The spoon can shake the cobs webs
loose, women in the dream turn and face me when the flame rises in the
reflection of the spoon and daddy says, “Mommy was a coke whore. Daddy smoked
his grass. Baby is a morphine junked tanked off his fucking ass.”

Amen.

And so it went.

Disillusioned days
went sideways, time non linear never moved. TV’s burn out like lightbulbs in
the alleys with crawling men with sparks like robots shooting from their ears.
They said I was crazy. I was crazy once. I remember pulling over to the side of
the road to take a nap and couldn’t, got out on a backroad lit a cigarette took
a shit and wiped with a Burger King napkin. Royal on the ass and left it in the
grass and left, back to the house, back to the eyeball, under the microscope
again, sideways on the wall looking at the ground and feeling down, pop a
couple pills and the frown turns upside down and fake and the laughter in the
head rolls out hollow like a robot orgasm. Deedle deedle geep that boy is
fucking crazy. Professional, you know, daddy earned his pension, his crazy
check the broken robot parts that slide in the mouth like backward Pez. I’m a
maniac. What do maniacs do? They talk to themselves out loud and wait for
questions. I said What’s up? To the air, the air looked at me and said, “Air
doesn’t fucking talk, stranger.” Stranger? I’ve had you in my mouth for years.
In your mouth? The pervert air. “In your ass like prostate.” Disgusting.

Ever seen an
asshole with eyeballs vomit? Feel the air, stranger. I think you dropped something.

$300 a month you
can make it work, cigarettes, Dr. Pepper, and legal medications. The medication
for the mind, don’t you know. If you watched a man crawl down a wall and stick
a cellphone in your mouth, blow it up and laugh and pop out like a bubble,
would you tell your shrink? If you did they’d say, “Are you on drugs?” and if
you’re not? You will be. People don’t crawl on walls or undulate like water
bubbles unless the brain is shaken and stirred, James Bond couldn’t handle
that. Sometimes the sky looks up at me and I feel upside down on the world. The
ground is the sky where the feet are and my hands dangle off the side and I never
fall, but hanging on the ceiling looking at the roaches at your feet is enough
to be a bit balmy, ain’t it? Ain’t it wonderful when hallucinations are free
and LSD is business as usual? I’ve never seen a world without disturbances, not
since nine, big whack on the head in school made the normal organism
functioning process fragment into the 3 minds, the mediator, the antagonist,
and the guy I cheer for who I want to be, the advertising agent for my services
as a friend, entertainer, writer, whatever, that’s the guy who comes out in
public, and the guy in private sits around and talks to magic eight balls, eats
the paper in the fortune cookies and take the dough as advice. Vodka is what I bleed.
So when I want to get drunk I cut my wrist and drain it, drink it, and then
shit flames. Sometimes I walk up the wall, outside of my body you know, my
being can be detached from the body. When I turn the body off, I leave a
screensaver that can do a few commands, and my being, the see-through me slides
out the ear and wanders through the clouds, to the Grand Canyon, the pyramids
of Egypt, come back to the body after a thousand years and the clock shows five
minutes missing. I am sober. If I was intoxicated, I’d make sense of the
rattling led, the me is like the led in spraypaint bottles. We can do a simple test to determine insanity.
Does this writing make sense? If so, you’re insane. If not, you’ll go insane
from trying to make it. Sometimes I like to free write, word relate without
trying to pass any information other than abstract forms, each word attaches to
an idea, a construct that implies: a door, a means of escape, way into another
room. The concept of the door is a means to leave, so no doors floors aisles
crowded broken potatoes sag rugs ragged frayed laced up boots shoot survive win
a prize. What the fuck does that mean? No escape, just passageways, crowded
aisles, broken organisms lay ragged frayed, laced up boots, go to work and
shoot, shoot? Pistol or a needle. Which is safer? The pistol. The needle is
illegal. I might get high with a needle, now with a pistol I can kill other
people and then me. Safety first, kids. Don’t do drugs. Unless you’re crazy as
shit and then it’s okay, they’ll even pay you a small stipend since you can’t
work, can’t talk, and babble to a white wall that reflects the nonsense
back. Somebody told me to write a
thousand words as fast as possible and that is what this is. I hope it makes no
sense. Sense is boring. Insanity is where the fun is at. Fuck you Brandon, seriously, is this supposed to be funny? Is insanity for its own sake banter now, no longer trying are we? Come on monkey, dance! Feed it and it will. American Junkie was last season, sobriety is crazier. No Xanax now, just anxiety, just tedious observation deduction deliberation novels poems and all that shit I’m expected to do, the poetic flights of faggy fancy, no shoes, no showers, just dirty glasses and a tall glass of Vodka wanting to arm wrestle Dostoevsky and see if I’ve got a bigger dick than Shakespeare. I bet I do. The worms ate Shakespeare’s cock a long time ago and Hamlet couldn’t do shit but rattle off a soliloquy and fantasize about murder. An American Hero is Terry Schiavo, a nice little Christian with her problems over, an empty fortune cookie with no idea what it is. Ha-ha! Get it? Neither do I.