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Please underline the word you've known the longest.
Wood. April. Burlap. Yellow.
My God it came right out of nowhere: an assignment! What am I, back in university? I haven't even seen the film assigned, I've never even heard of it til today. And now I've passed three hours and all I've seen is some rough footage, cutting room floor type stuff. And-and technicians keep coming in to clean the machines I'm trying to use. I don't have any time to do this tomorrow. It's a regular work day tomorrow. Why wasn't I informed earlier? Sure, it was a dream, but when am I to find the time to finish it?
I overheard a conversation between my soul and my body this afternoon. I can't quote them (since they don't use language), but here's the gist of their exchange.
My soul argued they should go out together, get drunk, pick up chicks, steal cars, stuff like that.
My body objected. Did my soul know how long it too to get off one of those benders?
And my soul countered with a typical, c'mon, man, you only live once!
My body, perhaps hoping my soul's mood would pass, said, maybe tomorrow.
Then everything was quiet once again. Your experience may slightly vary.
For a long time the Princess was inconsolable concerning the deaths of the King her father and the Queen her mother. Her dogs tried for three weeks then gave up when they realized she wasn't the same person and they had made a mistake of identification mutually agreed upon. After a proper term of respectful silence the jester tried to make her smile but no matter his antics or tricks the Princess would not smile. The doctor was called in. "My Princess, everyone dies." "Then get out of my sight and let me get on with the business of it."
Moses parted the Red Sea and Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and Jesus Christ healed lepers and Caesar conquered Gaul and The Jam performed A Town Called Malice and Archimedes invented screwing and the Brontës wrote Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and Leonardo painted La Giaconda and the Scottish created the Scottish Enlightenment and DW Griffith directed Intolerance and Richard Wagner wrote der Ring des Nibelungen and Roget wrote a thesaurus and Frank Lloyd Wright built Fallingwater and Boccaccio wrote 100stories and Winston Churchill won the war and Mary is living with me and I wrote this.
THE INVENTION OF THE BODY
is something I did, even though my brother wants to take credit for it. But there is no doubt that heads did not exist before me. They simply didn't.
Then came the day I hit my brother on the head with a rock. Suddenly there were heads everywhere. Previously we only had faces, nostrils, and eyes. Then we all had heads. This simplified life.
I was drunk with power. I struck my thumb with a mallet--and then there were thumbs all over the place! We developed tools, and gamepad options exponentiated.
I made these.
I got street cred, man. Name the street I'm cred. Heel to head I'm cred. Got cred on Bay Street--Hey man, sell that shit high, an' buy that shit low!--Thanx, cred man. Got cred on Glen Morris Street--Hey dude, il n'y pas hors-texte!--I dig it, cred pal. And I got cred on Leopold Street--Hey buddy, need good drugs, try a drug store!--Never thought of that, my cred man mine.
I wake cred, sleep cred. I snap my fingers and tap my toes in a distinct cred way. Too bad I got none to share!
Nearly everyone in Christendom is familiar with the Walt Disney production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, few understand fully the fact that it is a documentary film.
Disney and crew spent three years in a forest, initially to document the lives of seven small flat miners. Then one day their subjects discovered a woman in the forest. Alarmed by her tale, supervising director David Hand found a nearby castle and its Queen whom he hired to act (and re-enact) in a vérité style. Ethical problems notwithstanding, the film was the first of its kind: a true-to-life representation.
THE BEAT UP
I ran all the way home crying my eyes out.
"Mommy! Billy hit me!"
My mother came in and knelt down to me. She touched my blackened eye and I jerked back in pain.
She said, "What did you do to him?"
"I didn't do nothing!" I bawled.
"Oh, you must have done
You know how cruel you can be."
"Is it because you're not very bright? Maybe he was sick of all your stupidity."
"What, what are you saying?"
She laughed lightly. "I'm just saying you probably deserved it. That's all."
That's part of your punishment. Pain. In fact, if he provoked you by saying his dad could lick your dad, you were a fool to argue about it."
"He's your husband!"
She laughed again. "More like my
"You're no comfort at all."
"I never signed on for comfort. You're just going to have to get used to it. You'll be beaten often. Because you're a snivelling and puny weakling."
I glared at her. "Just wait til I get a chance to kick
when you're down."
She stood up tall. "Oh, honey, you'll never get that chance."
Imperative to make a plan.
What to do when I get fired?
(...I'd dance like Snoopy. That happy dance of his....)
I have skills. I have retail skills. I can work in a shop.
There might be a way to scam rich people through the government's largesse. I mean, that's what it's for. Right?
But money. I guess I'll need money.
But what for?
(I really should mail in those tax forms from the last two years.)
If I wind up in the street, so what?
All I need is some pencils and some paper to continue my
FIVE or so years ago I bought a new bike because the one I'd been riding was twenty years old and I had the money to do so.
Eight days after purchase, the new bike was stolen.
I took it metaphysically--my old bike had been jealous and had caused its rival to be pilfered.
ONE week ago I bought a new bike. I uglified it with rust paint.
Rode it down to Stratengers this evening to meet Mary.
Leaving, I tried to unlock it. The key broke off in the lock.
It may be down there for a while.
"Well, I've been a cell, and only a cell, for a while and I'm needing to develop. Okay.... Braagh! There! Now I'm two cells! This is new THIS is interesting.
"Now I'm bored again. What if I... let me just put my mitochondria to it.... Braagh-braagh! Four cells! Check it out! There's right angles where we meet! Cool!
"There's a pattern to these waves of boredom. Why don't I just go nuts, and let all my cells duplicate again and again and again--and see what comes of it?
"DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE [...] DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE
Jones was out playing in the yard and a faerie appeared to him.
"Hi!" said it. "I'm a faerie!"
"You're being given a rare opportunity. You can remove one of the senses from the world! What'll it be? Smell? Touch?"
Jones thought about it and said, "I want speech taken away."
The faerie sighed. "That's not a sense. That's a
"Can't you take it away anyway?"
"Could you redefine speech as a sense?"
"Not my department."
"So what good are you?"
"I could take away
"Not the same thing."
Jones crushed the faerie.
Curmugeon was nine when he broke a shoelace. "Gaddammit!" he cried. "Fuckin' shit!" There was a markerboard in the kitchen with a list of food and house goods needed on the next grocery store trip. He took the marker and wrote, digging the tip of the marker in deep, SHOELACES diagonally from corner to corner. Later, his mother saw what he'd done and scolded him. "You've ruined the markerboard!" He said, "Well, maybe you shouldn't have had me in the first place!" She said, "You know, I think you're right about that." He didn't talk to her for two days.
Curmugeon was fifty-five when three prick kids in his neighbourhood cut his brake lines in the middle of the night. Next morning he got in his car and drove and ran over and killed a tot on a tricycle. He was exonerated, but the three kids were caught through detective work. Curmugeon was in the courtroom when they all received suspended sentences. He was outraged. So he tracked down all three and crippled them in horrible ways. "Nobody cuts my fuckin' brake line!" The three boys were so shocked they never told anyone, and took the secret to their graves.
Curmugeon was out having dinner with his fourth wife. A pool table sat nearby and a kid was taking the cueball and hefting it as hard as he could against the bumpers. It hopped the table and fell at their feet. The kid got the ball and started again. The second time it hopped off the table, Curmugeon yelled, "Calm down!" Someone at the next table cried, "Excuse me?" Cur turned. Some hag. "Who are you to talk to my kid that way?" "I'm a fuckin' nightmare!" shouted Curmugeon. "Control your brat!" The woman cursed him, and the meals continued.
I'm looking up the street as I am smoking
And see a gang of girls hysterical
And Hymenal approaching shouting loud
With snaps of bubble gum as punctuation
And though I try not hearing I can hear
Degraded talk exactly like the whores
I used to know did talk, and there I stand
With fury blowing from my ears about
A foot on either side and wish I could
Shout, "Hey, you tramps, please stop that trashy talk!"
But I am old, and all my words would raise
A wave of laughs and curses.
My impotence is meanly mocking me.
Curmugeon was in the sixth grade when the following took place. He and others were in a classroom rehearsing a little play based on a Quebec folk tale. This asshole kept interrupting them, and the actors kept kicking him out of the room. He just kept coming! Finally they had to hold the steel door shut to keep him out. The asshole was banging away outside. Then he started screaming! With authority a teacher forced the door open. The asshole's thumb had been crushed between the door and the jamb. "Serves the idiot right," thought Curmugeon. "Dumb fuckin' philistine asshole."
One morning Curmugeon was at work, slaving away like a dog as usual. One of his fellow minions came by--a female minion. "Hey, Curmugeon, wanna come off to eat with Brenda, Terri, Phoebe and me?" And Curmugeon said, "Not a chance. Do you think I want to see you all masticating like cows? Do you think I want to hear insipid gossip or tv show synopses? Not on your life. Besides, I'll probably accidentally say some double entendre and I'll be hauled up for fuckin' sexual harassment. So thanks but no thanks. I'd rather read a newspaper. Or Proust."
Curmugeon was taking a walk with his second wife when they got a little too close behind a couple bastards and their three idiot dogs. "What should we do?" his second wife asked. "How about I kick the big one and you kick the two small ones?" "I'm not going to do that." "Fuckin' dogs." The dog-people turned and looked at him snootily then continued on. "And the owners, shit. Think they're just so special. [in a snooty voice] Look at my fuckin' dog. Veblen was right. They just want to show how much they can waste on something useless."
Election time has come again and I'm
Not sure I'll bother with the bullshit of it.
Because you vote and what d'ye get? A
And nothing else--a power-hungry parasite,
A bully's bully not content to leave
My life as is. They grasp and take control
And more control and more control until
The subjugated folk is forced to fight.
Perhaps in lessening their mandate we could
Show they're not legitimate.
But really that's no way to go because
Those fucks are arrogant beyond
Belief and they're too dense to understand
We hate them more than anything on earth.
It had to happen. After deteriorating for a number of years, Curmugeon's father died. The night before the funeral he complained bitterly, drunkenly, and obscenely about his father in the presence of three of his (Curmugeon's) nephews. Next day his third wife told him his sister-in-law was really angry. Eight months later he got a long letter from his brother. Curmugeon read the end of it. He brother was demanding he apologize to the boys. They had been traumatized. "Apologize, or there's nothing more between us." Cur ripped up the letter. "Like Hell I'm going to apologize! No fucking way!"
Karen liked the Santa's Village gig. She worked the gate from seven to three, then she could go with her boyfriend some place, swimming or making out. She let cars into the parking lot. Here came one now. Two adults, two kids. She gave them maps to the park. One of the kids seemed sullen. "Okay," she said, "Have a really great day!" The sullen kid looked out with a sneer and said sarcastically, "We'll try!!" The car went in. Karen felt punched. What a young curmugeon! God, I hope Bob pulled out in time last night on the dock.
Curmugeon had a bicycle until he was twenty-eight. Here's an account of the last time he rode it. He stopped at a red light at the top of a 'T' intersection. A bicycle passed him. Then another, and another. "Bastards!" he seethed. Another bike passed. The light changed. He sped to catch up with the last one. "Hey, shithead! That was a red light back there!" The cyclist yelled, "Fuck off, loser!" Curmugeon had to teach him a lesson. He shoved his front wheel against the bastard's rear one. Physics being what it is, his bike wiped out. Twelve stitches.
Curmugeon went to a kind of reunion at a friend's cottage. At about one A.M. the four of them really drunk got into the boat and tooled over to the bridge to watch a train go terrifyingly by. There, one of the four started puking his guts out. Curmugeon said, "Wow, what a simp. What a pussy." The puker chucked some stones. "Fuck off." The other two agreed with the puker. "Fuck off." "Fuck off." Curmugeon shrugged and headed off to walk back. It was suddenly pitch black. He turned back. For once he couldn't be a total asshole. Drag!
AND Curmugeon died, and Curmugeon ascended, and Curmugeon faced the face of GOD. And GOD looked at Curmugeon and Curmugeon returned the look. And GOD flipped through a dossier, and GOD said, "Curmugeon, I've got some good news and I've got some bad news." "Fine, fine. What's the good news?" "Curmugeon, you are now a Saint." "Fuck. That sounds like work. Is this where I wind up- am I just another wage-slave?" And GOD trepidaciously said, "You took the good news so badly, I fear telling you the bad news." "C'mon, man, I'm resigned to disappointment. What's the bad news?"
AND GOD said, "You have to spend all eternity in Hell." And Curmugeon said, "But I'll still be a Saint, right?" "Right." "Fuck, that doesn't sound so bad. So I'll no longer be some insignificant blotch?" "No. You'll be the very first Saint of Hell." "Wow." "Sick people will pray to you." "Fine." "You should be more grateful." "Sure I am. Do I get weekends off?" "Just a Sabbath." "Fuck! Okay, deal. So, do I start now?" "Yes. Get down there. Down there among the bicyclists, the dogs, the loud talkers, the parents, politicians, etcetera etcetera etcetera." "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"
Curmugeon and his fifth wife were sprawled out watching television. The Academy Awards. Singers and dancers came on, performing some God-awful 'show tune' from some Disney crap. He said, "What the fuck's wrong with the world? Whatever happened to half-decent music?" "This is just the same as the old music, dear." "Hell no. Everything's gone to shit. When I was young we had some pretty good bands, like the Exploding Flow Enthusiasm and Capillary. Now there's what? 'Critical Sutures'? 'The Bottles'? You just know, just hearing the band names, that they suck chunks." "You're being too stupid." "Fuck you too."
I know there's something here I really hate.
The park is green, the birds are fly, the sky
Is blue. The kids! I hate the kids! Not that.
I hate the parents, hate the parenthood.
The parents (mothers) think their precious poppings out
(See Kerouac) are all the world requires
To reight itself. But I, I see, see snot,
See organists a-ready vomitous.
I sit and try to read an old translation.
The kids sometimes look at me. An old man
Wiping spittle. But sometimes they look
With a like portent, a like,
Like a Musselman suspiciously examining your
Arthur and Alex. Arthur was born June 1, 1963. Alex was born September 15, 1970. They were married in 1995. Arthur beat Alex. He beat her often. She'd cower. That made him more angry. He beat her with a leather belt. She hid the bruises. She loved him. She went to the hospital once. She said it had been a kitchen accident. Arthur got run over by a streetcar.
He was reincarnated. He this time was born on September 15, 1970. He was Alex. He was beaten by Arthur. He tried to tell him she was him. He didn't listen.
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