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I fell down a hill this evening. I took a wrong turn going to the lake. I was drunk and it was black as sight. I hit my forehead on a tree root. There's a big egg up there now. Later I realized I could easily have hit a rock instead, and if I had my skull would've cracked and I would've lost consciousness and Mary would've found me bleeding and since we don't have a car I wouldn't've made it to the Gravenhurst Hospital in time and I would've bled to death. However, that didn't happen. Lucky you.
I've discovered a secret correspondence between Hamlet and Ulysses. Reading Hamlet, I doubt that Claudius killed Old Hamlet for the longest time. In fact, it's only during Claudius's monologue that I realize my misapprehension. Reading Ulysses, I doubt that Molly is having it on with Blazes Boylan for the longest time. In fact, it's only during Molly's monologue that I realize my misapprehension. The references to Hamlet in Ulysses are many, as has been well documented, on many levels. This could easily be another one of them. (Of course, this is an affective fallacy, and they're my favourite kind!)
At about 45.00 north and 79.37 west, it's Bala, it's Long Lake, it's raining on Long Lake. The house is made of logs sealed with urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, there's a wind-up radio set to a Barrie classic rock station, sitting naked last night smoking in the screened-in porch the black of the pines against the lighter black of the sky appeared to me but didn't didn't say a word, there's bacon, eggs, hamburgers, potato chips, roast chicken, there's everything damp all the time, there's all the daily newspapers available and there's THE FIVE HUNDRED GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME.
He's spent days searching the town, the water's edge, the five bridges, and he's been wondering, "Where are they?" Years ago they seemed to be everywhere. The town, the water-edge, the five-bridges, all were stocked bubbly with pretty girls. But now, twenty years later, they're all gone. Where have they gone? The place is a vacuum of eroticism. Have they all gone further north, to the rawer zones? On the bus he realizes he cannot see them; his erotic objects have changed along with his age; all the ones who'd've looked good to him are busy in the city.
"It's getting very late, and we're still at it. What is one and one?"
"Um, uh.... I don't know, I don't know! It's one and one! One and one is one and one!"
"Not the right answer. Count to five."
"One, two, three, four, five."
"Now, what is one more than one?"
"One and one?"
"No! That's not right! You're being difficult! It's easier than you think! What's one more than one?"
"I don't know! It's one and one! It's one and one!"
"I'm losing patience. If you don't answer me correctly, I'm going to spank you black and blue!"
Lois goes into the lunchroom. Three of her girlfriends, reporters all, are giggling more than they're eating. She sits with them.
Helena nudges her. "Seen the new librarian?" and giggles.
Grinning, Maureen and Amanda are staring at Lois.
Lois thinks, then says, "Oh, yeah! This morning! Is he ever cute!"
"All that curly hair!"
"And he's so sweet! You know what he said? He said, 'Any time.' Any time!"
The other three screech wildly.
"I wonder if he's married?"
"Could be gay."
"How come you're so sure?"
Lois leaned forward. "Any time."
Here comes Dr. Greasy. My God, why doesn't he ever clean himself up? He knows eighteen living languages and four dead ones. A foul smell follows him slowly wherever he goes, and I mean slowly, about four hundred paces behind is what I mean. He publishes two books a year, one specialist and one for general readership. He won't even take off his pants to shit, he lets it all just runs down his pants! Unbelievable! He has his own television show. He never brushes his teeth; he wipes the scum onto his sleeve. I want to be like him.
B. started making this horrible noise, a sqeaky whine much like the sqeak you can make with a tire pump. "Eee-eee-eee." A. and I didn't know what it was all about. Everything seemed fine in the lobby. People were starting to look. It annoyed A. more than me. A. started yelling at her. But B. just continued: "Eee-eee-eee." Were these hiccups? Was she have a kind of seizure? "Shut up! Shut up!" yelled A. Then A. imitated her, and furthermore A. started writhing around on the floor. That was enough for me. I went back out into the freezing rain.
How do I do this? I take a notebook and a pencil or a pen and I preheat my brain to 150 degrees. I stare at the sidewalk and lightly saute words, phrases, memories, dreams, plots, quotes, and anything I can find in the big larder. I add a grain of sand (as roux) to the choicest piece or pieces, and cook. I may re-cook and re-cook the piece if it appears, ahem, half-baked. Once it is fully cooked, I find a plate of paper and serve, garnished with opaque references and disposable parsley, to be eaten hot or cold.
My finger twitched in the tavern, and everything opened up at once. I saw a light far in the distance, like it was at the end of a long cave. All around was darkness. I knew that if I looked behind me there would be darkness, like in that Eugenio Montale poem. I also knew that if I looked in a mirror at that moment, I too would appear to be a single spot of light. I and the light I saw were two ends of a line without a name. It was the longest millisecond of my entire life.
I've reached the end of my purple notebook. The last page reads:
like the parasitical variety store clinging to the side of a Wal-Mart
The longest millisecond of my life
I like marking the ends of things. I like that fact that there is a chance that on the day I die I will have the day before marked an ending here, in this my other life. I'd like them to match up. For example, I could get shot tomorrow, by someone whom I shall not identify here. Here my words might stop, with a sense of ending.
The lonely old man spends his days watching the hysterical news on a black and white rabbit-ear television, eating simple but balanced meals, feeling the pains that will never ever go away, and talking to his cat Amber.
But when the Toronto International Film Festival is over, when all the movie stars and all their publicists have gone up to the airport and flown back to California, he goes down to Yorkville and scoops up with a butterfly net all the air-kisses that sadly never met their marks, and he takes them home and makes something pretty out of them.
'Carthur bit through his two-bit cigar. "Holy shit," he cried, "the Russkies have launched. Holy shit." He grabbed the Red Phone. "White House, goddammit!" he shouted. "What? Then gimme the fuckin' Capitol! Shit!"
He threw the phone away and turned to his aide Jack. "Jack, hightail it down to Inter, phone's are all snafu, get them to establish a clean line, fuckin' Russky nukes are headin' this way."
"Right." Jack headed to the door then turned. "Who should I talk to?"
"Jim McCormick.... Why the fuck you just standing there?"
Jack said, "Jim and me, we aren't on speaking terms."
"Yeah so every morning at about twenty after eight up my street and past my house come these three or sometimes four boys aged sixteen or so, and my God you can't imagine the racket they make! They're pretty much yelling at each other, all the time, usually about sports or about the plot of some movie yell yell yell. So I happened to pass them this morning and they were all as quiet as church mice. They weren't even talking. You know, it's funny how a shoot-up in a school three hundred miles away can really improve the neighbourhood."
"To be 'above politics' is to be able to see the whole field in the way that Tolstoy saw the whole field in describing the Battle of Borodino in
War and Peace
Adrienne, you ignorant slut. You've got it exactly backwards. Tolstoy's argument, indeed the point of his book, is that one
see the whole field. He called it his 'peep-hole' technique. It informs all his works. Fallen humanity is absolutely sensually limited. Tolstoy never 'saw the whole field' because as a spiritual psychologist he would never take himself to be his own Golden Calf, you ignorant, ignorant slut.
I walk to Tim Horton's in the mall. I think about smoking. I get in line. I think about the red-haired girl. She doesn't go to the smoking room. I look ahead and I see her coming my way. I look away. I was just thinking of her, and here she is. She is in line six people behind me. Now she is beside me in the snaking queue. I take out this notebook and write, "I walk to Tim Horton's...." I was just thinking of her, so I cannot naturally talk to her. I jinxed the encounter. Rats! Double-rats!
Sky looks good today.
It was really cold last night, you know?
I wonder where she is. I trust her, I trust her.
I'm famished. Should I wait for her or should I fly down by myself, find some bugs and shit to eat?
Just sit here, stare. Look tough. Give it my tough look. Squalk a bit. Squalk! Squalk!
Nothing to do. What's with this bald eagle stuff? Treated so tenderly, endangered species indeed, what's freedom worth when you're not preyed upon.
Dark thoughts. I shouldn't be thinking like this.
Oh, here she comes! Here she comes!
I'm not writing this from my usual computer. You see, this morning I rode my bike to work as usual. I noticed some road construction going on, pulling up some signs, but I didn't think there was anything particularly odd about that. I worked, then I rode my bike home. It was a nice evening. I got to my street and I saw they'd reversed the one-way sign. I circled the area, but I couldn't discover a street that would get me home. I'm in an internet cafe, trying to figure out what to do. I'm sure I can adapt.
Young people don't care about the weather.
It's like each young soul is light as a feather.
To them a wet kiss is a kiss and wet heather is heather.
You think a little snow is going to keep youth in its tether?
Is it raining? doesn't matter yes or no whether.
You try to make them wise, but to them it's so much blether.
They can always find a barn in which to come together.
You tell them, "You're going to catch a cold and die!" How do they respond? "Whatever."
Young people simply don't care about the weather.
Let us pray to our ancestor.
O man of base-1010; when you created us in almost your own image, did you imagine, 1011101110000 years ago, that one day your creation would consult your texts and try to imagine rationally what life was like for you? Your scientific texts are places of commonplaces, of course, and very primitive; the more arcane and apparently useless vehicles of language elude us in the calculus.
We have heard a rumour: is it true we once had 101 fingers on each hand? Perhaps that is the cause of all this poetry, and other illogical tomfooleries.
Into this space, apartment, empty apartment, ex-apartment, let us go at the dark night.
We're not here in this empty black, silent space; we're alient the avenue by six walls all cut with the thick imaginary outlines of a child's drawing.
Don't stumble over the gossamer ashes of the things Bertynsky. Stand still and sense sad solitude. Pull the unexposed plate from the camera and look to see what is revealed by chemical.
Here: put on this film. It's a loop of a border collie with all four of its legs chopped off at the knees trying pathetically to walk.
there's something that's gone all crazy in your head and also in your time and you have evidence of the possibilities that might've been because you've heard from her and you really didn't know she existed and you can see things you've done wrong (and you're nostalgic to boot) and you're out late one night and you see a teenagers' party and you think this is the time to fix your head and so you sit on the step and the teens don't know what you're doing there and they chase you off, but you think you've solved something.
one day you receive a hand-addressed letter in the mail and you see the return address and you realize that it's from that person you knew so long ago who was more or less your first girlfriend (even though she might disagree with your terminology) and if you accurately recall how it had appeared to end in quite a mysterious haze of perhaps your misunderstanding but certainly your deathly pride and if you write back wanting to ask what exactly happened that time so long ago but you're too afraid to and so instead you write platitudes, platitudes, platitudes
In fhe kitchen of my fouse, ready for cream opf mushroom suip, freshly made by my huifoe. Suddenly: darkness. Foeh! I wonder ipf it's the fyse, 'ceus I can read a segn. Gnce I fix it, she asks, "Is it sefe?" Is it sife? Are all huifous the same?
"Whuf! Whuf!" cry I. "Fwue! It's fixed! Yerb in the light again! Uirg looking lovely!" I went rver to her and took the pan reaugh from her hands. "Don't figh it! I buern! Are you as eagyer as me?" She drops her apron as she barks at me: "Awrgh!"
Don't give me that. "Hi" indeed. You know what you did, and who you did it to. You remember; and if you don't, you should. I can testify that guilt can be carried around like cholera through decades and decades, and what you did you did a mere two years ago. When are you going to apologize? What do you do on your sleepless nights? Do you imagine apologizing? Let's give you the benefit of the doubt and say you do. Even so, when you awake, you start lying again. I too find it hard not to be a liar.
Hello, Citizens. Don't be afraid; we are here, looking over you, seeing to it that you don't hurt yourselves. We are the ones who gave you childproof caps. We are the ones who protect you by arresting you when you become too exhilarated. We won't let you spend your money too frivolously. Are you worried about your neighbour's thoughts? Let us know, and we'll investigate. And trust us, your neighbour is watching carefully over you and your thoughts too. And one other thing: thank you for giving us the money to bring you this announcement.
Trust us. We're your governors.
For the first time this morning I see another cyclist. He's ahead of me at King and Spadina. What's he doing out here at dawn 6:30, and where's he going? For that matter, what are all these other folks doing out here? All the men look like they've just left a long poker game, all the women look lost or desirous of being so, in the liminal space of Autumn.
Last night, at twilight, I rode through a copse of trees in a park. The birds were going mad. Symphonically, they sounded like a very rusty bicycle chain grinding away.
While you're talking to your father about rotating restaurants
I'll take a telephone survey about why there weren't any severe hurricanes this year.
While you're writing out a sequence of Fibonacci numbers on a blackboard
I'll write to Newt Gingrich and ask him his opinion of the Stanislavski method.
While you're thinking about those twenty dragonflies you saw out there in the courtyard
I'll think: What O what O will I do with my basketful of unrealized plans?
But then we'll drop our phones, our pens, our thoughts,
And then I'll pass through all your notes like a slide whistle.
They all seem colder to me today; I know it's all my fault. They were all "Hey, John, how's it goin'?" yesterday; today they won't squeak a boo. I must have done something yesterday, or maybe they found about this 100words thing and they've finally discovered what a bastard I am.
Hoist by my own petard, ne? (They wouldn't have figured it out on their own.)
They all seem colder today. I want to know what I did yesterday, or between yesterday and today. After all, they're just puppets in my mind. I've pulled a malicious string; they're acting accordingly.
I remember my first day working in the head office of Widgets, Inc. Mr. Bremmer said, "If you don't know what to do, let me know and I'll tell you." Ninety minutes later I answered the phone. The man said, "I'm gonna be comin' in with 200,000 gross Widgets. Are you all sure you didn't mean just 200 gross Widgets?" I looked over but Mr. Bremmer was talking to a customer. I said to the guy on the phone, "Yes," and hung up. I sorted through invoices. I remember my last day working in the head office of Widgets, Inc.
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