REPORT A PROBLEM
I was having serious cash flow problems so I decided to write a big hit record.
Why was it so successful? I think it was because it was novel. It used notes that weren't ever used before, arranged in a different way (I think that's called 'melody'), and I used a bunch of words that hadn't been used in songs before, words like 'Cyclosporin,' 'Altimeter,' and 'Love.' In the end, my cash flow problem was solved forever.
I think I'm going to try something else now. I think I'll become President of the World. Maybe I'll be an Astronaut.
He captured, in egg and silver, fleeting ideas of a view of the marching band, moments without ground, without considering, without a chance for a second chance. Like a tired crone making an elixir he stooped over the trays of clarity, as if five hundred years had passed faster that emulsification could ever take place in his shallow cookie sheets. The musicians emerged, fading in like ghosts careless of their synchonized steps and ignorant of their capture; they didn't know they were being watched nor did they know they were in a tray, just things in a shallow photograph.
A man, in some situation, perhaps a wedding, a wedding, sees a woman, young, meets her, from the other half of the wedding, they dance, she's four months a Franciscan nun, he is fascinated, he's in love, of course she says no, he presses, etc. etc., but no. She goes off to nursing school, they write letters, he gets married to someone else, they meet over the years, he's still after her, they have witty conversations, his daughter marries, she's there coincidentally, more wit, more years pass, he gets word she's died, he goes to her funeral. That's all.
—I really want it. Can I have it?
—What do you want?
—You know what I want. Gimme.
—You want this? It's very nice.
—Um. What is it?
—It's steel, stainless steel.
—Made in the Ruhr Valley.
—No, that's not what I want.
—How about this?
—Are those diamonds?
—Cubic zirconias. You can have it.
—What's it for?
—Is it for digging?
—I think that's one purpose.
—Doesn't matter. It's not what I want.
—Why do you have to be so vague?
—You're the one being vague.
—It, it, it.
—What exactly do you want?
I envy the immortals. Don't you?
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to waste an afternoon, a day, a week, doing nothing, and to not have to worry about the lost time? Because even a hundred years means nothing to an immortal, right? It's just a drop in an infinitely huge bucket. You could conquer almost anything, because you'd have a vast amount of time for mastery. You could even get into killing people for fun, just like God does.
Some wags say it goes both ways, that the immortals envy us, too. I doubt that very much.
Monday: Met someone new at work today. Her name is Anna. Kinda plain, but okay.
Tuesday: Anna came over to me to chat. She's was reading John Dos Passos. Always meant to read that. Maybe I will.
Wednesday: She told me about her brothers and sisters. She was wearing a really pretty skirt. Her hair's more attractive, too.
Thursday: She looked even nicer today. Apparently, her mother was a bit crazy. She looked at me with interest.
Friday: Lovely one said to me, "Did you change your hair? There's something really nice about it. What exactly did you do?"
Jimmy was out at a bar til way past the time he was expected to be home. More than three hours late, in fact. He could see Suzie waiting for him, with a rolling pin or something of the sort. Boy, was he gonna ever get clobbered!
Walking along the street he remembered something from the distant past. Which gave him an idea.
He found a strong branch and, using it as a fulcrum, pried open a sewer grate. He could jump into it, brace himself against its walls, and cry for help. "I've been down there for hours!"
So he lowered himself into the sewer until he was hanging onto the edge with just his fingers. It was very dark and drippy down there. Then he let go.
He braced himself against the wall and called for help. Help soon arrived, and he got out of the sewer, and Suzie was very sympathetic.
Oh, sorry! Disregard that paragraph! He fell about twenty-five feet onto a kind of a pyramidal structure of jagged rocks and broken glass eight feet below the surface of the sick water. Both his kneecaps shattered. He cried for help, but no-one came. He drowned.
Be careful here. (Be careful here.)
People used to live in these apartments. (People used to live in these apartments.)
That was about a year ago. (That was about a year ago.)
Now there's just raccoons and mice. (Now there's just raccoons and mice.)
But look. (But look.)
A mattress was left behind. (A mattress was left behind.)
Let's lie down in the dark. No electricity. (Let's lie down in the dark. No electricity.)
There's no-one around but us. (There's no-one around but us.)
Listen: silence. (Listen: silence.)
People used to live here. (People used to live here.)
I went to a beach party at the Toronto Windsurfing Club on the 22nd of August 2009. And since it was advertised (by Mike Nash) as being 'open mic' I decided to select fourteen of my shortshortstories and read them to everyone.
(Silvia helped me choose them.)
So at the party I unplugged all the amps I could find and called out to the crowd, "I'm gonna here read you some of the things I've written over the past four or five years."
When I finished my reading...it was the most amazing thing...crickets, there were thousands of crickets...applauding me...alone....
I know he's innocent!
is the murderer! But look at it from the Party's perspective: if we let Vanzetti fry, if we don't push to have the case divided into People v. Sacco and People v. Vanzetti, the Party will be able to say
that the System is corrupt! Oh don't give me that bourgie morality shit, what's one life to the Revolution? We'll
the capitalists to kill Vanzetti, to fry 'im till his eyes bust 'n' bleed, an' we, the Party, will hold him up forever! What? Comrade: all we got's this
That dog is older than my father was
When he died
The Master of that dog three houses up
Lifts its legs
To help it urinate or defecate
On my lawn
So sadly old that old bulldog's become
"Say no more"
So sad the master sad the dog sad me
Beyond our usefulness as hunting dogs
That dog may wander past some sexy bitch
And me? I'm dead inside and impotent
Because my time's defeated evermore and done
The boys are all in dresses and the girls
All in slacks.
Why not do a movie review?
Wow, the opening credits are really funky. There's all this oriental stuff flying across the screen, from left to right. I wonder what that signifies? Left is west, and right is east. So everything goes from west to east. But what if you were below the equator? Wouldn't it be the other way around? I could look it up some time ... but I think I'd have to phone someone below the equator, in Patagonia or Tasmania preferably, to find out. That would be pretty expensive. Do those places have telephone directories?
At Big Corporation, I work in the shipping and receiving department. Yesterday, the phone rang.
"Hi, this is Carl. Have I received a parcel?"
I said, "Oh, I'm sorry. This is Carl, is it? Well, let me try to guess your last name. Fitzgerald? O'Cumberbuind? Dostoyevsky? Yeah,
it seems that before I was born, I was all-wise, I was
of the past and future,
I knew everything, including your last name
! But of course you
that all my
got wiped out during the trauma of birth!! I can't help you!!!"
FROM THE MAILBAG
John, how will your forthcoming bicycle accident resulting in your coma affect your daily output of one hundred words plus your one hundred plus daily words dedicated to longer stories?
Good question! When I finally emerge from the coma, I will contact Jeff Koyen and then retroactively post entries for the duration of my coma. They will consist of this (abridged):
"XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX."
I'm not sure what I'll do about the longer stories.
A publisher accepted his "Big Book" which he'd been working on for over twelve years.
Things got fast quickly.
He signed seven contracts (having gotten a top-notch lawyer [having gottten a top-notch agent]).
He was flown across the country and back, across the country and back, sometimes in the same day.
He appeared on National Public Radio for an entire week of evenings, discussing his ideas concerning schismatology, entelechy, and orthodonty.
He wrote seven reviews of books slightly similar to his own.
He married another writer.
At the end of the year he received his first royalty check, for $2.68.
Grrr, another story to do, this one has to be fifteen hundred words long, f'r chrise sake, so, so, so, There's the opener, psychiatrist awakens some Tuesday, finds himself in the body of a book critic, a middling book critic, the psych knows he's got some double consciousness. Then, stuff happens. Somebody gets murdered, someone's already murdered someone, maybe the psych, maybe someone's wife, maybe some book writer or something, grrr. There's room for some comedy in this one, will it all be comedy? grrr. More jabs at the courtly society, the technocrats vs the courtesans. I'm working early tomorrow.
Life's Like That
"Seven months before I was born, my mother told my father (a four-pack-a-day smoker) she was pregnant.
"My father said, 'Well, I guess that's just another mouth to smoke from.'"
"I was on a bus. It stopped to pick up folks. The driver called back a black guy to check his transfer. The guy got indignant. 'This is goddamn racial profiling!' I looked around. More than half the passengers were black."
"Jesus shocked me the other day during our pre-service prayers. He looked at me sadly and He said, 'You know, I'm only famous for being famous.'"
based on a phantasy of Gerard MacDonell
Today I went to the government office to pick up my welfare cheque.
I went up to the wicket, presented my i.d. to the lady there.
"Okay, let's see.... Ah, your taxpayer this month is ... Mr. Henry Carroll, of Perth. Please, drop him a note when you can, you know the texts, 'Thank you for working so I don't have to,' or, 'Thanks for subsidizing my profession of doing sweet fuck all,' that sort of thing."
I said, "Of course. That's the least I can do."
"Good, that's the proper spirit. Next!"
REPORTER: Jane is an avid recycler, so when she heard today that if the Internet had been invented in 1966 the movement would be far further along, she was shocked.
JANE: I was shocked.
REPORTER: Today's IDFC report stated that environmental awareness today would be DOUBLE what it is if only technology had advanced more quickly. I put the question to a computer scientist:
If, in the early sixties, a bajillion dollars had been devoted to this, would we be further along today?
SCIENTIST: Well, yes, I suppose so.
REPORTER: There you have it. It all comes down to
Stop yourself if you've heard this one.
In high school working on set construction for a production of
Bells Are Ringing
I was talking to La- and Le- (both I loved) about attraction. I thought girls were
to like boys. I grabbed Le- and held her beside me and said to La-, "Look at us. Who's more attractive?"
La- said, "This is ridiculous, stop it, John, stop now."
And Le- was crying, hard.
I made some lost sounds....
Everything was okay....
So we went on with our work.
I think about that moment often.
I hurt Le-. But how?
(I've got a secret history of almost going to places--parties, clubs, that sort of thing--and then chickening out.
(Two months ago I was going to an event. I walked by because I was smoking a cig. Then, -- poked out the door, said, "We're in here!" I told her I was just smoking.
(Almost as if -- knew that elsewise I would have just ditched it. How did -- know about my nature? She seemed to know my entire pathological history.
(From then there's the idea of
This -- knows I'm hopeless. I love her for knowing.)
It's really annoying having these male genitals. They flounce around for the most part but some times no matter how clean they are they itch, they get in the way, you gotta reach in and pull them into place. An then there's the times no-one knows about. Talkin workin with some girl but Willy Willy Willy won't go home. Who can you tell about it to? "Goddamn, my junk itches." It's especially bad in the summer. You can even get a red rash on your thighs. (Can be bad in winter too, but things aren't as loose then.)
It's so weird, I'm sure you can guess, or know, to have this, like, open wound, or maybe you want to call it a spare mouth, in a place that's only rivalled by armpits for heat and humidity. What a nutso place to put that stuff! It gets all sticky, and you have to clean it all the time, you have to dig in with your fingertips along about four or five chasms. Then when some object comes by, it gets all wet with a type of stickyness that's embarrassing even though no one knows about it. Mostly.
Well lewt azss seej these s fejt4hat beach I'll we'll go to it's a rigerhgegt uperg her e I wonffdewr thwta thime it is cant sdewewef ehee gtimee its gott be three nice time to go swimming I guess nows the teimede shew es rieaiaddfy for ti saiewed whatas thsis codsck in her e og couernt se shwsef doew tgurn here down over thew brewiewfdsge what I a pretyrw nigeht it isa haha ah maybe dfi'l gier ve her a little scaser up here yeah lweterls be a bit wreckless like Ikm aobut to gogi off the brdige
Recently, I was at the Stockholm Literary Festival to read selections from my newest collection. A question and answer session followed.
An attractive young Englishwoman asked, "My question concerns the almost exclusively heteronormative nature of your work. Is it possible that homosexuality is entirely absent from your writerly universe?"
I said, "Ah, you've misread completely. There's lots of homosexuality in my work; but it's all
I pretended I wasn't alluding to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak; she bought it.
She came back to my hotel room.
As I stripped off her clothes she whispered, "
Put me under erasure, under erasure....
There was a big meeting at work with all the employees of the department gathered around the grand poobah department head and I found myself standing beside the really cute new employee. I knew I had to say something, I knew that this was my big chance to make an impression, a strong impression that would take a hold of her and never let go. I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I just let one go. Silent, but not deadly." Because I'd read in National Geographic that female mammals are attracted to male mammals who have dry anuses.
In the 'Dello
As the snow flies
On a cold New Orleans morn
A little bastard's born
In the 'Dello
And the hooker cries
'Cause it cramps her style
To have him round the while
In the 'Dello
The river turns
And he's getting to the point
He's working in the joint
In that 'Dello
His desires burn
He's taught to say always yes
And he learns to F and he learns to S
In the 'Dello
Women don't you understand
Sometimes every guy needs some hand
You get lockjaw after too much maw
That's number-one law
In the 'Dello
I'm not going to "politicize" this moment. I merely ASK you to consider, for one moment, that "Teddy" would have wanted passage of my magisterial plan to have myself in possession of the ultimate power over life and death. Like in TRON.
And though we often "pray" for the souls of the departed, instead I wish for "Teddy" to pray for US, if he can manage to be heard amongst the gnashings and screamings of his new neighbours, to pray that WE, as a PEOPLE, can come together ... even though he never cared if his Kleenex came with him.
-Okay, there's the guy, Jimmy, the guy over near the tree.
-There's three guys there. Which one?
-The guy with the moustache. That's the guy.
-He's had that moustache for, like, forever.
-It's real neat!
-Told you so!
-Rex, go get 'im, go to Uncle Jim!
-Your dog knows him?
-Look for those whom the dogs trust!
-Rex is jumping!
-OMG! Jimmy! His moustache fell off!
-When Rex jumped him!
-Jimmy's moustache is on the ground!
-What a fake man!
-What a phony man!
-We're ripping him to shreds!
So less is more and west is east and up is down
And east is west and left is right and country's town
While down is up and trick is treat and left is right
And sleep is NOW and treat is trick and loose is tight
So up is down and right is wrong and song is prose
And wrong is right and sea is sky and thorn is rose
And sky is sea and more is less and cube is ball
And wrong is right and big is small; A hundred word's no words at all.
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