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I was on a vacation with my twin girlfriends Jean and Joan. We were meeting at a particular beach to spend a whole week together.
Our rendezvous point was the intersection of the Beach Road and one of its perpendicular feeder roads. I got there first. Their bus rolled in, and lots of people get off. I saw Jean, and then I saw Joan. Joan was crying. I went to her. I was mistaken about the crying.
I looked for Jean. She wasn't around. I found her in the men's toilet.
was crying. "You hypocrite. You dirty rotten hypocrite."
Well, as you no doubt know, we are going to be moving out of this place in a little under two weeks. We've already been packing stuff up. There's a lot of stuff.
So I'll be leaving this basement of mine, where I've done all this writing from, and I'll be writing from the second floor of a house. (There's no room for me in that basement.)
And I wonder: How will my style change? It won't be the same: it can't be the same. It will change. I won't put the words in the same order anymore. I wonder....
When Josaih awoke that morning he found his pillow gone.
Somewhere in the deep nocturnal oneiric trance of mankind it had faded into or crossed over to the space wherein the demons of blood and thunder ruled with violent pleasures and bloody blisses. Josaih pulled on his blacker boots for he knew the disappearance of the soft and feminine rester portended evil on the horizon and a dangerous day ahead. Hank was still asleep. Josaih wondered this is the day one of us will die. One of us will cross over to the land of pillows never to be returned.
When everything is fitting like a glove
With cloth that's inside smooth it's outside rough;
When night doth spin her silver orb a-tops
The other side is yellow as a worsted stock.
What's this I see? A note; I recognize
Her script. What's this I read? 'I hate your guts.
You know you're who I mean, you mangy cur.
I never want to speak to you again.'
Ye gods! Befouled am I with abject blood!
What shall I do, so cast in pitch and black?
There's nothing possibly to do except
Go home and write a hundred words of grief!
Who will be at the party?
Saliva Bologna (re-arrived from Barca) and M. Mamalujo Guardon and Kathy Kat with her hundred whisgerls and Kitty Skeletone (true stand up!) and Fr. Mark Marek of the Hungo Bing-Bong Clan and Lacerly Drawn-In (who has never touched a gram) and the eight Tape Apes and Dearly Departed Inc. and King Arthur Black and Bebop Resticularo (owner of a smash-house) and Dr. Mickel MacSweentod (butcher and shaver) and Doreen First-Family and Chrystinem Christototeetum (at the barre) and Gennifer Dylan and Carolina and Marolina Martian both and four dozen fuzzy unknown people and not me.
Mr Baffler, everyone said, was a kindly man; so kindly he would kindly give you the shirt off his back. His wife told him often: "You're so kindly." Everyone agreed.
On the morning already spoken of, Mr Baffler left his flat to go to work. A short spit down the street, he realized he hadn't brushed his teeth. He turned back, unlocked the door, and left the key in the lock, thinking he would be but a moment.
When he returned to the door, someone had stolen the key.
From that moment on, Baffler began to despise the human race.
[8:30 AM. Crossing-guard DENVER lets some kids cross. He goes back to his station, sighs, leans against a pole.
[PRICE comes up, satchel of books in hand.]
PRICE: Hey, motherfucker, you gonna let me cross or what?
[DENVER sticks his whistle in his mouth, goes to the middle of the road. PRICE crosses.]
PRICE: Thanks a lot, motherfucker.
DENVER [following PRICE]: Hey, kid.
DENVER: You know anything about what's going on at the Bagot place tonight?
PRICE: Hey, fuck you, motherfucker!
[DENVER lights a smoke.]
PRICE: Shouldn't smoke. Give you cancer.
DENVER: Fucking undercover.
I asked a policeman to show me the way. He laughed and said, "You'll never make it!" and he walked away.
When I walk, I'm bored - because I'm not looking for food.
'It starts with one step.' What if it's a bridge?
K. looked me up-and-down. He said, "The next left." I trusted K., so I took the next left.
We're always the last entry in our genes.
Even mules can brag. "I had no children. I am pure."
I could've sworn there was a path here.
She said, "Find your Path."
I think I dreamed a Jew's dream.
Look. Look at the vat.
Look in the vat. Look at the drain in the vat.
Look in the vat. Look at the brain near the drain.
There's a brain near the drain in the vat.
Whose brain is it?
Is it my brain?
Is it your brain?
It is my brain.
It is your brain.
Our brain is near the drain.
Look at the tubes sticking up out of our brain.
Do you know what those are for?
Candy goes through the tubes. Our brain eats candy!
Listen! Can you hear the drip-drip-drip?
Our brain is drying up.
That evening, Pierre went to a reception at the French embassy. Outside the main ballroom, he heard two soldiers relating an anecdote. It seemed that Napoleon in Paris had received an entourage of Russian ambassadors a couple weeks before. The ambassadors told him that General Kutusov was relaying the message that the Russian people were strong and emboldened by the Czar's promise of Liberal reform. Napoleon thereupon quipped,
"Un porc est toujours un porc même lorsqu'il utilise le rouge à lèvres,"
whereupon all the French courtiers hanging onto every one of Napoleon's words laughed.
Pierre thought this was rather mean.
& Urizen took the figurative & manifested it in Los
& he rode a metal bird to the north went north to the new
& gnashed what was left and the fourfold shuddered in unison
But flew the bird on til all was in flame and angry and hurt
& sister Tharmas cri'd aloud Let us strike & kill the imagination
They together struck the Pillars of Albion
And together they rejoicd at the strike at the Pillars of Albion
& Los was disarrayd & Los fled into retribution & Los plotted
And the polis of Arabia rejoyced all mightily
There's a certain slant of light that reveals that here in this basement here in this basement shall come to an end as all comes to pass as we pass as we terminate out million-year genetic inheritance because we å really been alive all that time though we've only been conscious for a couple couple couple dozen years.
Next door there's an alarm light that seems to be so sensitive that even raising my hand to drag off s smoke sets it off. There's land to be seen. Just off starboard! Look! Land! In some moinutes we'll be clean.
Omar--and the cult around him--that was some pretty weird stuff, even by the standards of the time. I mean, sure, he was pretty impressive to look at, especially when he'd cut his face all up with a razor. But when people started wanting him to cut up
faces, well. Tickets were sold for these cuttings. Eventually, Omar started to be asked to cut throats, and that's what he would do. Blood everywhere. The cult died out though. He took to swinging a censer whose chain was razorwire. That's how he lost his arm. He was very weird.
SUZUKI 1: CIRCLE
I've caught something of a virus. I've got it caught under an overturned juice glass.
Is it alive, is it dead? I looked it up, and, believe it or not, it's both and neither. Can you believe it?
However, it seems to respond when I tap on the glass. Or maybe it's just because it's so gelatine.
It's not ugly at all. It's a nice ripe banana-yellow.
Any of you know what a virus eats? I'd hate for the thing to starve to death.
I should give it a name. I'll call it Porcine Hemagglutinating Encephalomyelitis Fido!
SUZUKI 2: ROUND
The doctor came up to them where they were waiting, in the waiting room. They were expecting the worst.
The doctor said, "The operation went well, but there's a lot more to be done."
"Just a little bit more."
"And then... there's nothing you can do?"
"Oh, don't worry, it's completely benign. Your son will be up and well in a couple months."
"Oh, thank God!"
"Doctor, what can we say?"
"There is really nothing more to be said. Your boy is healthy, healthy, healthy. He's strong. He'll probably live for a very long time."
Today I went to work from the new house for the second time. Somewhere between the Don Valley and Parliament Street the streetcar stopped. For a long time. Something was obviously wrong. Finally the driver said something about waiting for the police to 'clean this up.' He advised us to walk to Parliament and wait for a diverted streetcar. So I got off the streetcar with a bunch of other people and started walking toward Parliament. Funny thing is, I wasn't annoyed. My whole life had been turned upside down; this was just another annoyance. I barely felt the sting.
The Master said, "Hettie, could you run down to the kitchen and fetch me some buttered toast?"
The Mistress said, "Hettie, I believe I left my lorgnette in the second study. Could you go see if you can find it?"
"Hettie, could you bring me the radiophone from the wine cellar?"
"Hettie, please bring hither my stereopticon slides from the blue wing attic."
"Hettie, nail clippers. From the 3rd floor bathroom, if you please."
"Hettie, I need my bowling trophy. I think it's near the sauna."
Hettie muttered, "It was so much easier when we lived in only two rooms."
DAVID STEPHEN CHAMPLAIN, 1837-1908: Hello. When did you get here?
PATRICK DENNIS O'CONNOR, 1908-1994: I just got here to this graveyard, though I've been engraved for years.
CHAMPLAIN: Well, on behalf of the other headstones and the flatstones, welcome.
O'CONNOR: Thanks. So, what's the action like around here?
CHAMPLAIN: Not much. You see maybe five people a day.
O'CONNOR: That's not much.
CHAMPLAIN: The problem is the kids.
CHAMPLAIN: They like pissing on us.
CHAMPLAIN: Just be glad you're not a plain flatstone, like Stevens.
PAUL STEVENS, 1800-1864: Will someone
wipe this shit off me?
Way behind in my story-making, I came up with a single, ironically fertile, word this morning when I was getting off my bike: celibacy.
I elaborated on it. Physical celibacy is ordinary. But what if you used a different adjective?
I fastened on the adjective
Emotional celibacy. Certainly it was a plausible concept. But what would it
I framed the story later, spurred on by what I was reading: A stranger in town. An emotional celibate. A small town, almost a frontier town. Or what the hell Ontario.
Maybe the central character isn't in it at all.
CD Laser Lens Cleaner
Anthology of American Folk Music, Volumes 1-3
Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Volume 4
Art of Field Recording, Volume I
The Beauty of the Blues: Roots N' Blues Sampler
Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics
Blues Masters, Volume 1: Urban Blues
Blues Masters, Volume 2: Postwar Chicago
Blues Masters, Volume 7: Blues Revival
The Bristol Sessions
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954
Classic Mountain Songs, from Smithsonian Folkways
The Cobra Records Story
Doughboys, Playboys and Cowboys: The Golden Years of Western Swing
Fall of Man: Calypsos on the Human Condition 1935-1941
At home again.
I went down into the second cellar—the one that didn't seem to have been there before—and I looked around. There were things down there, as if they'd been abandoned by previous tenants. Which they very well may have been. (Upstairs is bigger, too.) In this cellar I found an old steamer trunk, a bicycle frame, some boxes of newspapers, a toaster oven. The newspapers are dateed in the late '70s. I sat down and looked through some. It was deadly quiet. I couldn't even hear the street noise. It's kind of nice way down there.
I had a large steel sink with three basins side by side.
I am a mad scientist.
In each one of these basins I had placed a brain.
I could hear the brains speak, even though they naturally lacked mouths.
I picked up the first brain and shook it vigorously.
It said, "The weather seems to be turning sour. I can feel it in my bones."
It said, "'Just put gas in it and it goes.' Why did I think of that?"
It said, "A sudden confusion overcame our hero."
It said, "I'm definitely calling her back. Tomorrow."
Next, I considered the brain in the middle vat. It was absently singing "Song Song Blue" as it arranged a bouquet.
I plucked it up. I put it on the cutting board and carefully sliced it into separate lobes, along the corpus callosum. I set the two lobes apart, and listened.
First, they were at a loss for words. Some words. Half of language apiece, more or less. They were both quite tongue-tied.
Second, they appeared to start communicating with one another. The left seemed "male" and the right seemed "female."
Third, they unified, regardless of the space separating them.
Now I had to perform an experiment on the third and final brain. There had to be something I could do.... It was chattering away happily.
I got out my Moulinex blender, cut the brain into stew-sized pieces, dropped it all in the blender, and put it on puree.
The sound of the blender was loud. When I stopped it, I noticed that the brain was chattering still, but it was talking of other things.
It said, "What's happened to me?"
I said, "You've been through a blender. Can you hear me?"
"What's your current name?"
While we were freefalling from the plane, I decided it was a good time to tell her a little bit about myself.
"I write stories!" I shouted.
"I like stories!" she shouted.
"Yeah?! Well, I used to publish in little magazines, now I'm pretty much self-published!"
"That's pretty good!"
"I keep myself on a strict schedule! Over two hundred words every single day! The last couple stories I wrote I'm not too proud of! But, as Hitchcock said, 'Another movie can always be made!'"
"I don't think you'll be writing any more stories!"
"You forgot your parachute!"
I SOLD MY HEART TO THE ICE-CREAM-MAN
He went past my house 'bout two-forty-five
Crying, "Sundae, sundae, strawberry surprise
Popsickle stick that'll blow your mind
I'll feed you good 'til you're fine so fine."
I paid me my dime and I let him inside
My parents ain't home, we're really alone
He fed me his cherry once he said, "Open wide"
He broke up my heart and my sweet honey cone.
It's a sad movie scene at the junkman-shop
My pieces discounted, my prices they chopped
You ladies you'll rue, you must understand,
The day that you trust that Ice-Cream-Man.
-Board Members and Junior Board Members, we have to face some hard facts. Revenue is down in excess of 15%. Our expenditures have gone up a likewise 15%. We've lost three major contracts in the last quarter. How are we going to deal with this disaster about to stare us right in the face?
-I got it, G.H.
-All we have to do ... is this!
-Will you look at that!
closed his eyes!
-Promotion! Promote that man!
-Let's give it a shot, fellas. Everyone ... close your eyes.
-Disaster will never see us!
"Are we in big trouble, or aren't we?" - "Don't worry, boss, the votes are in the pipeline." - "In the pipeline, eh? Is that one of the tubes of the internets?" - "No, Senator, it's a real pipeline." - "And the votes are in there." - "Yes, they're there. Come with me." - "Huff huff! How far is it?" - "We're almost there. Then you can see it with your own eyes." - "We've been walking for three hours!" - "Just around this corner." - "Okay, where's this pipeline?" - "Hey! Someone stole the pipeline! Who stole the pipeline?!"
Some time on the weekend--maybe it was when I was moving empty boxes, maybe it was getting the television together on Friday night--I injured my lower back (even though I didn't really notice anything until this morning). So I've been home all day. M- is home too, painting the room upstairs, doing housy things. I haven't done a thing. Me myself I'm just hobbling around. Playing video games. Reading all the blogs about the problems with the economy today. (Is there something about the ordinal 29th that is cursed?) Lying on the comfy couch, falling asleep. Writing this.
Well, I guess there's something poetic--whimper not a bang--about ending the month at home with continuing back pain. You see, it's quite possible that this pain will
never go away
. One of my favourite aphorisms:
Middle age starts on the day when a pain that used to go away will never go away ever again.
But I suppose it might go away. Anyhow, even if it doesn't, I have to get used to it. I simply won't move quickly ever again. It all s-l-o-w-s down, you know, until you're completely still. And then time stops; you're forgotten.
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