Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Six books, five authors

King for a Queen and Stuck on a Bad Nigga by Chanel Q.; The Turner House by Angela Flournoy; The Fall of Japan by William Craig; Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish; Hello Devilfish! by Ron Dakron.

I read for entertainment, hoping always for a tour de force, regardless of genre. Use of language is paramount, and style matters more than plot, although a jolt of the appalling may help clarify one’s thinking. So, bold and original works for me, stupid and over-the-top is good, excess I’m all in favor of. I like to be dazzled with flamboyance and bullshit, or authenticity and taste, in epic or flash, from the rodeo to the ballet as far as how words move across the page.

The city, the urban situation, informs the six books discussed here. And when language transcribed from the street comes to the page rendered faithfully to its purpose, I sit up and take notice. Here are two smokin’ samples from Chanel Q.:

  • Full-sleeve tats, face tats, thick chains, True Religion jeans and banging kicks everywhere. It was like a who’s who of Chicago’s finest trap daddies and hoes and I was right there in the middle of them all. 
  • You find out about that boy of his, that Troy. How he rolls, how he fucks, where he lays his head, where he mama at when he up some bitch’s pussy.
And then an angel arrives and writes a beautiful novel, formidable and fierce and as urban as you can get with almost no profanity because the vernacular is so well written.  The Turner House is a radiant story of a family 13 kids and their two parents living in Detroit in the late 20th, early 21st century, created in a steady, writerly language, so vivid and pretty, themed with hope, and strength, and inspiration, represented by this passage:

It reassured Lelah that the ghetto could still hold beauty, and that streets with this much new life could still have good in them. On both sides of the Turner house, vacant lots were stippled with new grass. Soon ragweed, wood sorrel and violets would surround the crumbling foundations, the houses long burned and rained away.

After the glimpses of black lives in contemporary Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit, William Craig chronicles another time—1945, the end of World War II in the Pacific theater—and other lives—Filipino—and another city—Manila, for example. 

Manila, “Jewel of the Orient,” had been systematically burned to the ground by the desperate marines and sailors of the Japanese Navy, acting under orders to deny the capital of the Philippines to the enemy. During MacArthur’s three-week siege in February 1945, Filipinos had died by the thousands as Japanese troops, inflamed by desperation and reckless abandon, had used them mercilessly. Mass rapes, multiple assaults on young women and little girls, had been perpetrated in streets and hallways. Columns of men and women had been doused with gasoline and set ablaze. Others had been tied together and bayoneted to death. In hospitals, nuns, nurses and patients had been stripped, raped and killed. Mutilated corpses had lain everywhere among the ruins. Manila had paid a terrible price for its freedom.

Continuing the urban and now Asian thread, the Lish book is a contemporary love story, set in the lower depths of New York City, between a homeless young American male military veteran back from the Middle East wars and a Chinese woman, immigrant, undocumented, and scrambling to stay alive working in menial jobs such as housekeeping and food service. Because the surroundings and situations are so basic and desperate, I kept waiting for the novel to break out into Cormac McCarthy-esque savagery, and hoping it wouldn’t; and while formidable tension and menace is created, Lish has a different world view. The story contains unexpected, almost breathtaking acts of mercy, unexpected because they occur in the unrelentingly dangerous, rough, cold streets of poor, urban America, but breathtaking also because they are strong and simple kindnesses, true acts of mercy, not based on bartering sex or drugs or weapons, the touch of a saint.

What endeared me to the Lish book is how he treats his Uighur protagonista, Zhou Lei, how she uses language to navigate the alien world she finds herself in: yes there is the need to learn American English, but her deportable status creates a residency of off-the-books, low paying survival jobs which means working with other Chinese who speak dialects which she doesn’t know, not to mention the language of the Guatemalans and Hondurans and other Central Americans who make up her workplaces, people from India, Syria, Pakistan, people from Africa.

Not too many people knowing what’s Uighur people.  I just think no matter any kind of people, to stay in the US it’s not easy right now.

For me, a monolingual English speaker, it is interesting and exciting to be living in the USA right now, witness to the evolution of English prompted by our variety of communities and races and ethnicities. Lish is good at capturing the melding speech. Zhou Lei on:

  • Chinese medicine:  “It can cure many things that the Western medicine feels helpless.”  
  • Or:  I will invite you the real Chinese food.
  • Or:  You go to party. I’m not jealousy.
  • Or: He ask if he make it spice or not spice.

I call it an affectionate look at language synthesis, and Lish is on the down low, quiet and naturalistic, his spare English prose helping to frame the poetically emerging new language. 

But Ron Dakron is over the top, bombastic and freaky about it.  He uses the same American-Asian hybrid, but he calls it Manglish!: With wordage like I touched a tiny sawdust or Let’s have a biology.”

And he situates his satirical, comic riot bizarro megamonster lover’s brawl in yet another urban area, Tokyo (whose landmarks, while routinely destroyed by giant movie monsters, are not as often destroyed by giant movie monsters as you may think. In fact, some experts say Tokyo is only the 10th most destroyed by giant movie monsters city in the history of motion pictures.)

The giant Devilfish versus the giant Squidra. Battle. Big scary monsters powered by “love—that rogue emotion that paves your heart with hot pink asphalt, that excuse for any excess,”  combined with hello kitty killer tropes and memes and epistemes as well as a frenzy of remarks aggressive, intelligent, sexist, insightful, rude and playful and crude. After all, “Brains are magic tricks done with meat.”

It’s all loud and ginormous and fast.  And while Dakron’s gigantors are destroying (figuratively and in real time) each other and civilization like it was a saloon in a bar brawl in the Old West, I’m also loving the Gertrude Stein pheromones being released to the millionth degree in the Manglish-aided lines of which four randomly chosen are these: 

  • I see much of a kitten here!
  • Her lateness angers me glumly!
  • Never use fate as your caterer!
  • I am bitter with cunning!
 The better part of the novel is outrageous and vulgar word play and cultural disquisition.  The observations are keen, and the comic timing is impeccable. A reader will probably be simultaneously laughing out loud and taking offense.  Or as the title character says: “What doesn’t kill you almost kills you—Hello Devilfish!”


www.randystark.com



Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice, Northern Hemisphere, 2015

(from Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman) 

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looks with its sidecurved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game, and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with
            linguists and contenders,
I have no mocking or arguments….I witness and wait.
                                                    

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Cloths of Ne-Yo, and other (sic) and random comments

MILEY CYRUS

Mily cyrus looks like a mail justin beaber.


I HATE JUISTIN

He so stuipid.


MILEY CYRUS

I like the old milly way better.


MILEY CYRUS

i really think she needs to ruqyah, in case she is possed... i mean it...


TIMBALAND

Rather you like his shot or not.
Rather he getting radio played or not.
No one is make as much noise as this guy.


TIMBALAND

He doesn't get his credit due.


NE-YO

I really like the cloths of ne-Yo.


ARIANA GRANDE

Your so cute my god i wish i was like you.


500 MILLION VIEWS FOR THIS SHIT?

Pause it on dat ass of hers, it make total sense!


SORRY DUD, SHE WAS SINGING IT WAS FOR MY

You wanne figt for it?.


SELENA GOMEZ

I wish i marride Her.


SELENA GOMEZ AND ARIANA GRANDE

Selena Gomez and Ariana grande are one of the few singers I like.


GINUWINE

Fo'ever kickin tha smooveness, G don't play that weak shit.


TAYLOR SWIFT

Why js taylor a hoe?
Some of these comments are horrible.


TAYLOR SWIFT

I love Talor.
I hope she never stop singing.
She have butiful voice.


SELENA GOMEZ

I hate you because you kicked taylor swift off the bulding.
Now i hate you you think you all that but you ant.


TAYLOR SWIFT

That's probably from ur own experience but,
You've literally put into words how I'm feeling right now!!
There's more to love then just heartbroke.


RANDY STARK

You should do history of the monkees.


RANDY STARK

Die in a hole please.




Saturday, November 21, 2015

Here's a Short Little Nuther One

HEY HONEY

I got your Ding Dongs.


OK NOW LET’S SEE

I am alive, and I shouldn’t be.


I DID AN UNDERGRAD DEGREE IN ARCHITECTURE

Of the hottest Hollywood stars’ homes.


I JUST WANT TO

I don’t know.


I LIVE FOR THE DAY

After the winter solstice.


I DO

I dance.


DID I TELL YOU

That I am now name checked constantly?


SO I MEAN I DON’T KNOW

Yeah. No.


I TOLD THEM

I want to be near the river.
I want to be near a tree.


I FOLLOW 7.2 BILLION PEOPLE

But I still must get the trash barrels
Out to the curb tonight.


I’M DYING TO HEAR

St. Peter call my name.


HE CAN’T FIND ME

I’m not in the system.


SO I’M DRIVING HOME

I’m like a mechanical bull.


WHEN ANOTHER CAR PASSES ME

I feel aggrieved.
Dissed.


SAME WITH INSECTS

It’s like OK.
I need to kill that motherfucker.


I SEE THEM HOVER

But I don’t know.


I DON’T WANT FOLLOWERS

Too much responsibility.
That’s why I don’t have kids.


FORGIVE?

It’s not my place to forgive.


WHERE I LIVE IT’S SAV-MART

Sav-Mart.
Sav-Mart.
Sav-Mart.


I’VE NO MEMORY OF SPOKANE

Except Courtney Love
Being on the same flight.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Behind the Glass

ON WEDNESDAY WE’RE MEETING

With the client in Little Bangladesh.


OH HER

Oh OK.


I’LL TELL YOU WHAT’S PROBABLY HAPPENING

No no no but um.


IT’S LIKE I DON’T KNOW

Like we’re both.


LET ME GO AHEAD AND

Real quick.


HEY DOESN’T THAT

Oh OK here it is.


I’M STARTING TO THINK

It’s like.
I mean.


NOW I FORGOT WHAT IT WAS

Oh yeah.


IT’S THE SAME THING

Makes it easier all the way around.


I KIND OF LIKE THE IDEA

But it needs to.
I don’t know.
In order to.
What.


IF YOU GO

OK. OK.
So.


OUR RESEARCH PROVES

Also because there’s no.


I WAS TELLING HER

Like.


THEY DON’T

They just.


I HAVE TO

You know how there’s a.


YEAH BECAUSE

For some reason.


I’M GOING OK

A little uh.


AND YET

No.


SO ANYWAY SO

I think for this time.


I OK LOOK

Let’s just.


THIS REALLY

So yeah no.


WELL IT’S THAT’S

Probably.


YEAH THAT’S WHAT I HEARD

So.


OH HEY

Oh is this.


I WOULD SAY

What.


THERE’S THAT

I remember.
I kind of got really excited.


I SAID

Um.


I FINALLY JUST WENT WITH THAT

Well almost.


SO DID THEY?

So are you?
I mean.


SO YEAH

That’s why.



Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Eye on the Other Hand

SKITTISH

Like canoes tied
Like ponies at the river.


CO-CREATING REGIONAL DISTRESS

At the colonoscopy picnic and music festival.


FRENCH BREAD WITH BUTTER WAS DESSERT

A king wave of sparrows.
Pots balanced on white-crowned heads.
Choppy air over cobblestone streets.


THE EYE

On the other hand.


WHAT WE NOW KNOW

Three Chaldeans hurt.


THE VEGGIES ARE SUPER STEAMY

But cold is the heart without cake.


CONTAINER TOWN

Showers in Bay 4.


CHICKS KISSING CHICKS

My grandma kissed a goat.


CORMORANTS BUNGEE JUMPING

A guy and two gals.


STRAPPING HEART

Clean underwear. 


FOOD GROUPS

Guns. Ammo. Meth.
Solar. Biotech. The grid.


CHORE

Milking the aphids.


TRI-STATE LASER HAIR REMOVAL

Oh my god.
She lost close to 25 pounds.


AND LIKE I SAY

“You do unbend your noble strength to think so brainsickly of things.” 
(Shakespeare, Macbeth)


CASH OR DIAMONDS

Keep this coupon.


CREATE YOUR OWN

Fantasy Mega pro rock paper scissors league.
The Minnesota Stealers vs. the Tampa Bay Packerderms.
You deserve the best.


NURSING HOMES AND PHARMACIES

Donut shops and urgent care.


RANCHO MUERTE

Voted Best Tanning Package.


ORDER OF APPEARANCE

Time and space running like bamboo.
Ordering tests, ordering fries, ordering service.
White teeshirt, gray sweat pants, white socks, white shoes.
Garage filled with dirt bikes and jet skis and lawn and garden power tools.


WATERPUMP WINDMILL

Yellow blades and tail.


SVELTE SMELTE

From nail bar to brow bar
To nitro massage
To organic spray tanning.


WALLOPPE TROUTE

Pole fitness.
Protein shakes.
I’ve got kids.


PHONE’S TOO OLD AND CHEAP

Talk to the feet.


IT TOOK ME A MINUTE TO REALIZE

Sweet Jesus O’Riley.


IF YE LOVE ME

Eat my commandments.


THE HORROR! THE HORROR!

Eternal life.


YOU REMOVED THURSDAY?

Where’d you put it?


JUST BLOOD TODAY

No urine.


IF TRAVEL HUMBLES AND ENLIGHTENS

Can you imagine five live births?


GARCIA’S TIRE AND WHEEL’S

This one’s backwards.
This one’s mounted backwards.


TABLEAU A GO GO

Pundit upon pundit upon pundit.
Trapper, magician, entrepreneur.


THE POPE AND THE QUEEN

Eating at the bar.
Watching soccer.
One’s blind drunk.
Can’t see out the other.





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Root Systems

BIRDS AT DAWN

Pachinko parlor.


MORNING PRAYERS

Chanted by the Monastic Choir
Of the Abbey of Hair Dryers
In the Land of Enchantment.


BABY TALK

Hi baby girl.


BIG SIGH

Coffee maker.


CACTUS GARDEN ARMADA

Feluccas.
Lateen sails.
Spider webs.


YOGA

Root systems.


TWO EGGS

One over hard.
One over easy.


BACON BACON?

Or Canadian bacon?


BUTTER

You want more butter?


FREEWAY INTERCHANGES

Thick growth.


STEEL PLATES AHEAD

Steel plates.


TRAFFIC JAM

Feed lot.


BRAINS

Hand-packed.


EYES

Oubliette to the soul.


BLUE SCRUBS

From India.


A BODY THAT WON’T QUIT

She plays tennis.
She swims.


CODING

For should.


TROKA DE LONCHE

Jalisco on wheels.


AGING OUT

No pickle, no onion, no tomato.


TIME

Being.


DUMB LUCK

Changes from one day to the next.


TRUTH

Drenched in hyperbole.


MORE BABY TALK

Hi Chula.
I’m leaving the office now.


EN ROUTE

A woman is wiping a door.


OK THANKS

You, too.


RX DRIVE THRU

“Pretty girls digging prettier women.


THE FIELD

Hundred and some teams.
Billions of players.


HER PROFILE

I took that picture.


DISHES

In the hutch.
In the China closet.
On the roof.


ARMCHAIR

Dark upholstery like an opera house.


MEMORY

The time we.


LIFE

Crazy.
Plus you!


SHOWER

Hurry up.
Get in there.


SIRENS

Gulping dogs.


OWLS

Every trick
Is coming
Out of
The bag.


ADVICE

If it’s not advancing game play, forget it.


THERE

That was good.


SLEEPERS

Blank pages in the back of the book.



Saturday, November 14, 2015

High Def

[High def] no longer applies to the image but to reality itself.
---Paul Virilio


DESIGNATED TAKES

I am the designated head in the clouds, the designated heart in the throat, the designated pain in the ass. I am the designated eye peeled, the designated lips sealed, the designated nose bent out of shape. I am the designated foot and the designated door it has gotten in. I am the designated bended knee come begging on, the designated hat in the designated hand. I am the designated driver, the designated hitter, and the census designated place that I live in.


U.S. HISTORY LESSON

In addition to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963 saw the release of The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze.


HIGH DEF

Fouled straight back. Ball came right through the TV. No chance to get out of the way. She dropped like a sack of wet cement. My heart was broken on so many levels. I built a large patio over her. We’d been together 26 years. Married for 19. She left behind her Barbie collection. Ken? I’ve got a Ken for you.


THE DESERT

Our languages are English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Armenian, Russian, Japanese, Farsi, Punjabi, Khmer, Hmong, Navajo, Arabic. We believe in passive acquiescence or total resistance. Normal presents itself as a vase of flowers, a family photo and some optimism. Over the top is hanging planters and wind chimes and birdfeeders. And there’s no point in talking down to us because it won’t be remembered, or it’ll be ignored, or the wrong thing will be latched onto. We are not immoral, but we will white lie a little, when we need to. We respect everyone’s journey, every dawn a hot red vertebrae. Our stink bugs are antsy. Ants walk three abreast. Bees wax nostalgic. There’s a pharmacy of barking, a small airplane grousing overhead, and several double helixes of butterflies. I’m watching out my window doves humping. I bring this to the attention of my roommates when they are here, and I talk about it to myself when I’m alone. Fortunately, the mountains are dreamlit.


REBUTTAL

Your grandfather, on the other hand, hated it and often went to the porch and stood on his head and shot farts into the spy planes that wore out the sky over our house. Other times he sat in a chair and by rubbing his legs together recreated the sound of a tree filled with cicadas. His life dedicated to the study of kelp ecology, he once circumnavigated the globe using only the butterfly stroke.


AMERICAN DINER

The evening darkens ahead of the storm. Birds juke for refuge through the stuttering wind and debris. Big rigs pulling flatbeds stacked with tree trunks are parked outside. After a week of regeneration felling they are on their way home. Population 10. One recharging station. And Abigail’s Custom Milling. Wearing matching windbreakers with the logo, they sit beside each other in the booth, talk, check messages, maybe play a game “characterized by randomization for replayability, permanent death, and turn-based movement.” They look forward to a few days of relaxation, romance and fantasy, pajamas made from silk-eared sows, slippers from wings of poesy. Every word is prelude, like actors talking about how they have to “dig deep” inside themselves for their roles, and how “amazing” the writing is. Saving the world one country at a time. Paradise in their blood. They laugh with their noses. The dinner special is the lunch special repurposed. All substitutions cost extra. She sees the doctor on Monday. It’s always kind of there. In the back of their minds: stick to the plan, understand and perfect each sequence, celebrate, step to the next, until:  behold the result!


ASPIRATION

To be a stone. Pissed on, shit on, and then washed clean by rain.  No tests, no motives, no crying in the night.


DISPASSION

If something falls into my lap, I do with it exactly what I’m supposed to:  fuck it, smoke it, spend it, whatever. But if I don’t have it, rarely will I pursue it; I usually find something else to do. Passion—sex, cars, politics, cats, religion, profile photos—is incomprehensible to me. I ain’t kissing nobody’s ass, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that nobody’s kissing mine.




Friday, November 13, 2015

I Like Everybody

WENDY

Remember me?


RANDY STARK

Since 1952.


WHERE DID JERRIS GO?

Doreen, where did Jerris go?


SO NINA CALLED TODAY

She’s fine.


CHUCK SLATER

Having a wonderful time.


JON

Jon is so lucky.


MOISES DIED

Jerris got appointed.


PATRICIO’S THE GUY

Who’s friends with Manon on Facebook.


I LIKE BAMBI

I like everybody.


ZANE IS CONFUSED

Or something.


BUT EUSEBIO NO

Eusebio doesn’t.


THE THING ABOUT HELENE IS

She does.


JERRIS GOT A LITTLE BIT

He only got 20, though.


HELENE?

Do you mean Serenity?


RAQUEL’S SO YOU KNOW

And this is uh.


THE KATHRYN THING

Is over.


YEAH SERENITY

I said what’s wrong?
Just calm down.


HOLIDAY

Jerris took his motor home.
A bunch of people went out.
It’s about an hour from here.


MARTIN LUTHER

King.
Junior.


BINH

Binh.
Come here.


I’M SORRY CECILIA

This phone is the worst.


UNCLE JERRIS

Retired county coroner.


ITHACA

Ithy.
I thought it was cool name for a kid.
It’s a dog.


FILIBERTO

Anymore I never see him.


GLORIA AND DANTE

Epiphytic lovers.


CUTENESS ALERT

Victoria.


MRS. LONG CHINA

Playground monitor. 


SALUDOS AND SHOUTOUTS

Friends of the Abuelito Canyon Library.
Paulina and all of them.


DVORAK

As he is known in Bohemia.


I DON’T KNOW WHERE

Jerris went.





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Working Lunch

OH DID YOU HEAR?

But I don’t think.
Well maybe.


NO, UNH UNH

He knew it.


LAST YEAR OR I GUESS

It’s been two years now.


BUT YOU ALREADY

Why did.


BECAUSE HONESTLY

I’m just yeah no.


OH I LOVE IT

I love how.


AND I’M DEFINITELY OF THE OPINION

Like you know like.


I’VE LET IT GO

I have.


OK BUT HERE’S THE OTHER THING

I just want to give you a heads up.


I DIDN’T EITHER

I’m just trying to tell you
What I hear.


SO IT’S A TOTAL

You know it just.


I JUST WANTED TO

I don’t know.


HE FINALLY ADMITTED

What?
No.


I UH IT WAS WEIRD FOR ME

I think possibly.


NO I HAVE

I’ve let it go.


I DO THINK

Look.


HE TOLD ME AND I THINK IT’S TRUE

He said uh.


SO NO I DIDN’T

I mean.


YOU KNOW

I don’t know.


MY TOTAL THINKING

Is like a revolving door.


WHAT I’M SAYING IS

Here’s the thing.
Any sort of uh.


ACTUALLY

Come to think of it.


WHENEVER

I had my.
Um.


UM SURE

Yeah.


WE TOTALLY FORGOT TO ASK EACH OTHER

How our food is.
Mine is excellent, by the way.


THIS IS GOOD, TOO

I know huh.


www.randystark.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Don't Tell Doctor!

THE FUNNIEST GODDAM THING IN THE WORLD

Time Warner unbundled me!


THAT’S THE COFFEE POT TALKING

Calling the kettle black.


TUTSI AUTEUR POPULAR IN NOVA SCOTIA

Don’t tell doctor!


A GAZELLE IN CHONIES

Paragon of audacity and strength.


PINCER

I pince you!


WAITING FOR WILLIAM

No William.
No William.
No William.


THERE’S THE TROMBONE

See!


SWEET CHINESE

Women are Ready to Date U.


I LOVE ENGLISH MUFFINS

Aren’t they amazing?


JOIN THE ALMOST TWO MILLION

And switch today!


OK ALL SET


I’ll just go ahead and guide you out.



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

They Had It On TV

TAKE THESE

They might help.


KEEPS WORKING LONGER

Than the leading household brand.


I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT DOES

It does something.


AIN’T NOTHING HAPPENING

Oh wait.


NO. IT’S NOT LEGAL

It ruins your brain cells.


HEAVY DEED, HEAVY REVEAL

Found unconscious in a Nevada brothel.


WITNESS

There’s never only one.


SURVEILLANCE PHOTO

Person of interest.


A GILA BEND MAN

Wrapped ankle to groin.


SMOKING IN HIS SKIVVIES

And a shawl of aluminum foil.


SCARY IMAGES AND SOME PERIL

We take you there live.


MASSA COO

Lord of the Next Level.


NO QUIT

In this muhfuh.


A SEQUOIA AMONG SOYBEANS

And creative.
So terribly, terribly creative.


ONE OF TODAY’S MOST

And winner of.


TRENDING

They said how many.
I heard it on the news.


PEPPLE NEKS DOR

Do the thin Im’ an idiiot?


BIRDS EXPLODE FROM THE FEEDER

A perfect break.


A DIFFERENT COYOTE

Or the same one.
Strutting past the mailbox.


CACTUS FLOWERS

Are the prettiest flowers there is.
But them thorns offsets the pretty.


HEY

Someone’s been digging a hole.


REJECTED BY THE CUBISTS

That’s me, too.
I know how it feels.


WHY ARE YOU ON THE ROOF?

You are going to break my roof.


SANDY

Back to you.


VERY FRIGHTENING SITUATION

Thank you Ernesto.


OK. WHERE’D I LEAVE OFF?

Oh yeah. So we captured the base.


WAIT

While I put on my cozies.


I JUST FOUND YOUR LIGHTER

In my bear claw.


YOU NEED TO STOP ANYWAY

So keep going.


SHE DIVORCED HIM TWICE

Once for mumbling.


THIS THING’S CRAZY

I can’t believe you posted this.


THEY JUST LOOKED AT EACH OTHER

Half the time.





Friday, October 30, 2015

Just Enough Syrup

WORLD SYSTEMS

It was Butte. Or Billings. Or both. The interstate was closed. Or was he on a train that was delayed, or maybe a bus? Or maybe too many good Richard Hugo poems? His mind slogged like a queenless chessboard, a queenless colony, and if hearses were U-Hauls, redwing blackbirds would ride sheep.

The writer’s reputation preceded him (of course, the opposite is also true). “It only took a plagiarized text from the underside of the washing machine lid for them to drop the curtain of invisible ink upon my oeuvre like the end of act one of Der Meistersinger, and suddenly they’re sending me back to Seattle with dropcloths and a stool kit? Oh, the darksome snakes! Oh, the mental shorepound!”

A quire of foolscap, love become blunt light, buys the next round.  The Dutch marabout as seen on TV. sells his last gris-gris. Mooi, dank je wel, and with superhuman strength in one motion propels his wheelchair backwards and out onto the street.  A cry goes up and his groove suite give chase, back in the hunt, caparisoned in cardboard box helmets with cutouts for eyes. The writer settles his tab and joins the agitated scrum, to him it’s like the running of the bulls.

What’s that?  You never cared for his writing? Isn’t that kind of like saying you never cared for a juicy porterhouse steak with garlic mashed potatoes? I’m sure some folks would agree, but a whole lot more would think you're crazy! His writing is just that: meat and potatoes.  Honest, basic, full of taste, and satisfying.


FIVE KIDS

Two brothers, their two sisters, plus a girl cousin. The oldest brother and the oldest sister and the cousin each held a puppy. Free puppies. Free puppies. Free puppies.


BLISS POINT

A turbid fog, grown larger than the wings it flew in on, roiling slowly. Nneka and I spliced inside on the sofa, evolving from numeric to alpha, she reading Chester Himes, me staring at the sledge hammer and the power washer, birthday presents from her, resting in front of the fireplace window like pets who had a busy day. If lieder were horses, Schubert would have taken the bus. To Butte.  Or Billings. Nneka’s toes are like eyelashes against my soles.


I LOVED MY SANDWICH

“I thought the food was probably going to be ‘just ok’ however when my Breakfast Croissant was delivered, I was pleasantly surprised. It was perfectly warmed slightly crunchy on the outside and the ham was generous as was the provolone and tomato which blended together into yummy bites. I loved my sandwich. My husband chose the waffles and he gave me a bite - they were warm and had just enough syrup, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The guys had the Breakfast Bagel and the Breakfast Sandwich and the pitaya bowl. These are picky eaters and they all commented several times how much they enjoyed their food.”

Yeah? Then here, love this---and I emptied a hundred rounds into them---her, her husband, and the guys, back and forth, right and left like I was hosing down a driveway. DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA DAKKAA. Go ahead and Yelp your assess off now.





Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#1 Most Realistic

IF YOU AIN’T USED TO THIS KIND OF THING

You ain’t.


BOB DYLAN FOR TUBULAR STEAKHOUSE

“The feeling stays with you.”
Right?
Right?


I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS

But I’ve heard of it.


FOR A NATION TO BE GREAT

Its food must be awesome.


HELP YOURSELF TO AMERICA

Is coming your pancakes.


BALD EAGLES

Le gusta a comer espagety.


AND DO YOU HAVE

Flavored cream cheese?


TALKING TO MYSELF?

No, I’m addressing Congress.


STEAK AND LOBSTER

Cash back.


BEFORE THE FLAG SALUTE

And everything.


NO MANNAZE

No ma’am.


RANKING MEMBERS

Dancing in their nighties.


THE FUCK DO I KNOW

Shit.


A QUICK LOOK AT TRAFFIC

Crisp bacon.
Savory sausage.


AL-QAEDA?

Or Al-Qaeda-linked.


AND THEN MAKE A LEFT

And get back on the freeway.
Get off the freeway.
Get back on the freeway.


THE BEST LINKS

Take you where you don’t expect to be taken.


DRIVE-THRU

Woman in the passenger seat
Being choked by the driver.
A gorgeous-looking couple.


EVERYONE OPERATES DIFFERENTLY

Families.


I’VE BEEN WANTING TO ASK YOU

I was thinking yesterday.
Do you remember Yvette Mimieux?



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