Termites make didgeridoos but they can't play them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dog King

The dog king, I wish there were, king of just bent velvet ears and fish muzzles. Called to stand before the dog king to answer for my sins, the dog king. Deep underground, in the cool earth and smooth stones, thick fur and a sea of upturned, black satin noses. Torchlight turning on a crowd of gold and green, his army of watching night. Sighs and bad farts and endless excitement over squirrel dreams here or there. Don't try to pet the dog king. It's too late for that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beta Blogger

Will I notice the difference? I doubt it. I type, I hit enter, I hope.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hey Good for me. I found the, chronologically in terms of black pixels on white, the very next bit of nonsense I wrote after the last time I posted here. Not five minutes ago. I mean January. Still thinking of my grandmother's pomegranates jelly:

January 5 or so, 2006

Maybe there should be that clear claret, that Christmas jelly, the blood of Christ, the blood of rabbits and satyrs, of jaguars and suns and lovers. Maybe it should be in the short jars, the rusted bands, the gaudy lids. Maybe that should be the breaking point, the stone of no forgetting, the hairball over which we just will not compromise.

That jelly, that pomegranate jelly. And it was jelly, not some fantastic imagining of mine, not jam, and not syrup. Acid and bright and perfect for buttered, toasted bread. The color as much as the taste. New light! There's no light such as that. The quivering, infinitely faceted, holy grail in--just that, just a jelly jar.

Eleanor would send them at Christmas, along with date bars—though we never grew dates. Date bars are one of those memories I can still taste, but more nostalgic than good. I smell them. The aluminum foil, the plastic wrap, the powdered sugar and there in, the background, the smell of cat boxes and oiled hardwoods and newly cut Christmas trees and dogsbreath. A puff of powdered sugar and then the smell of weight. The smell of sweet weight.

None save my dad was sure if date bars were a good thing, but he loved them. We loved that we got them, we loved the excitement of the doorbell and the cardboard and the mad wild cutting with dull scissors and chewed pencils and thumbnails and butterknives—we loved the opening and the arriving, but not so much the eating. Grant that today I’d give a pinky—and I hope my grandmother wouldn’t be offended but I honestly would save my index fingers—I’d give at least a pinky that she were alive again and interested in making those sweet gravestones, those sacks of lead, those squares of anti-matter, those incredibly dense and deceptively white-dusted date bars. But I'd give my life to live one more day inside that pomegranate light, that light where everyone is living and every moment is just to begin.

Old friends and new. Salt, eyelids and coffee grounds.

I recently got an email from a good friend whom I've never met. How that internet thing goes. A powerful writer, an oyster, a forge, an extruder of thin, taut, spare, painfully true word, this old friend. Doesn't have a blog that I know of, or I'd link it. Yes, well, she asked, more or less, "What, are you living or dead?"

A new friend, whom I've never met, sends me a similar email. Another writer. Have no idea how she found this three times, at that time, posted to blog, but she did and she asked, more or less, "Why the hell don't you write more?" Wait, this one does have a blog: this stoney planet that we farm .

So, well, hell, I don't know why I don't write.

A paragraph bringing up to date, a sentence maybe. After all, it hasn't even been a year, quite. Finished school with the most useless degree imaginable--philosophy. Got married, beautiful woman with eyes, these eyes. Another cat, maybe two. Fatter, slower, and I think that's it.

So, with a little more nonsense of the past week to follow. I do love hearing from old friends and new. I just have this really horrible awareness of time.

The more nonsense part, hot, more or less, from the metaphysical brown star:

Parchment skin and lethargic smells. Old powder and cedar wood, Downy, down down down down. Aromas notwithstanding, the betrayal. What happened to her skin, the fissures and the crepe? The haunting and the haunting. That bow mouth of a child reincarnating with a sweet smile and slicing through the dreamspace, rusted barbed wire.

If life were only as glossy and simple as a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. Maybe it is. Just imagine the women are for sale, but not for their sex, rather for their meat. I know they don’t look very meaty, but extra-lean is hot now. Hot hot hot. Low fat and low cholesterol and think jellied nipples, Brazilian super-aspic, crisp, roasted soles of dainty feet. Specialty market. Pricing exotic, like duck-billed platypus or panda loin.

Which turn of the wheel is this? And if we were bubble jelly, if we walked with our yolk to the sun, bubble jelly, a taut shiny skin turned to the wind, puckered with abscission, if we walked with tender feet tasting stone and leaves, hard leather forming on our backs, between shoulder bones and blond wire hairs, a mantle hardening off, red leather yellow leather, just bubble leather rolling along?

We’ve all got our one obvious abscission scar, that mossy, lint-filled oyster in our bellies. The innies and the outies. The scars they leave, the living in the dead. The unquiet smiles and sleepless nights and sour stomachs that fill our shadows. Moving slower all the time. Progressive constipation, sluggish lymph, and the strained smile of yellow teeth. Worm ridden fruit scared to leave the tree. Purgatory in the tall grass.

Are there angry spirits? Ill-tempered gin and seriously pissed-off peach schnapps?

“I know,” she said. “I don’t know, but we’ve been over this. But, what happened?”

What happened? What with the squirrel paste and the cigar boxes?

“If you must,” she said.

“With beet salad and goldfish toothpaste?”

“I know,” she said. “That even if you’ve been born again you still only have one mother.”

“I know,” I said. “That you have two navels.”

Sunday was spent, as Sundays are, mostly sitting around having compassion for parasites. Even ear mites have mothers.

“All I want to know,” she said, “Is what happened between the beginning and the end.”

“But, but there’s no such thing. Between the alpha and the omega there’s just the alpha and the omega, again and again.”

“For God’s sake,” she asked, “Between a taco and its shell isn’t there some condition of being, some grace of lettuce and cheese, some uncertain potentiality?”

“Not so much, after it’s eaten.”
Ancillary fish paste.

Just walking down Concord Street, loose asphalt marbles and men with stained pants, too much old masking tape and not enough busses, ghosts almost cheerful and bewildered, bobbing along like balloons on a thread, peering into ugly plastic strollers in blue, and just out of nowhere she turns to a man who’s getting out of a shining Camry and cries,

“Pig Fucker!”

It’s not a joke. Said in earnest, loud loud, a little shrill. Bracing for a fight, thinking not again, I look at his face swelling from the vee of black wool, red bumpy neck and clotted whiteness, but there’s no fight. Of all things, he looks guilty, ashamed. But she’s left no space for him to confront his accuser, to defend, to apologize, the beg of forgiveness. Down the way she’s gone, a storm of weeds.

I shrugged at him as the jelly under his skill ticked.

November 12 Instant nonsense

And the,
what is there to say again?
And the steam from her shower comes stealing down the stairs.
I smell London I smell France--I smell, I smell,
Enough to think I exist.

Blue veins and memories, ghosts of a blue spark.
What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you awake at night? Not the cats, not the dog, but the churning passion and desperate regrets, the guilt and the shame, bacon and coffee and the leftover smell of yesterday's oil crisping in sun-filled kitchens, bringing comfort from days-gone-by fried chicken. The warm, the aerosol, the tinny hand bag leading eventually to hair spray and clitoris. I remember the old leather, the purple leather.

Bright pink and bubblegum panties. I liked the eighties--Reagan was comforting to hate. Suddenly, Ortega's back and Reagan's in the ground and Bush, Bush has almost admitted he was wrong. Some other kid might grow up soon, which gives me hope, but not for me. Duran Duran is on tour. Living in a revolving shoe box, with priviledges, outside and in, this aging thing. And strange people keep throwing their pictures on me, love letters and cheap broken bracelets and premature dreams.

Mostly, she said, mostly it's the dreams of peeing. I hate that, she said. I pee and I pee and I pee, but nothing ever changes. There's the shit on the walls dream and the line too long dream and she won't stop talking dream and all I have to do is pee, but there's shit everywhere, on the seat and on the paper, on the rack of magazines. Doesn't that seem like a waste of dreaming, she said.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

House cats and the apocalypse

As one can never get too much of Pat Robertson....Actually I like this suggestion from Chris , except that an island off Alaska is something many of us dream about. For Pat I think a job bleaching brown stars in Rio would suit. Pat entertains while he terrifies. He rarely gets me to thinking, at least not since 1988 when there was at least a chance he would be elected president...and what sort of thinking is that except the apocalyptic kind. In honor of rapture-bound wingnuts everywhere I pulled the following from my desk drawer, stuffed away sometime in the late 1990s.

I went to the zoo to look for jaguars. It is not a bad zoo; it is a small zoo. They do the best they can with what they have. I wonder if zoos do for others what they do for me.

A zoo will always be vacation, even if I come straight from work. A zoo is a place cemented in childhood, even if it’s one I’ve never been. Somehow it is summer. I am ten or eight, or six years old. There will be deep fried burritos and pink popcorn sealed in cellophane and there will be plastic giraffes to buy and pinwheel rainbow hued suckers. There will be corn dogs and they will be good.

When I went to the zoo to look for jaguars I took my parents. They came to me across several states; we went to the zoo. There were corn dogs, not so good. I suppose I should have eaten only one, not waited so long for the onion rings. But I did get the corn dog. On my own personal judgment day, when ragnarok comes, this must count for something. A moonlighting St. Peter checking the blood-script on peanut skin parchment:

“Ah I see that you did have corn dogs. But did you see the prairie dogs? Did you have the deep fried burrito?”

“No, but we did have popcorn from a reproduction wagon. It had the clown and the wheel.”

“Wrong association. That was the Mall, outside the Natural History Museum.” St. Peter will blow through his beard in sympathy. “I am afraid this will cost you.”

“But we saw the giraffe and talked with the zebra…”

“Did you drink the red syrup frozen in a blue cup? The one with the bear?”

“No, I did not.”

“And did you eat the rainbow sucker?”

“I’ve got a bad tooth and besides, I never liked those anyway.”
St. Peter will draw black lines heavily upon my name.

“I did eat the corn dogs,” I have said, again and again and again.

“Yes, but have you learned to eat them with mustard? Was the batter so crisp it shattered like glass or was it hard and leathery, yielding with a snap?”

“Kind of soggy really. I neglected the mustard in favor of nostalgia.”

“But do you like mustard?”

“I love mustard. But it wouldn’t be the same then would it?”

“When is anything ever?” He will ask. “Look, finally, did your father bring his camera and take your picture against the hard blue sky?”

Oh my God, no camera, not that day. How could I answer to that omission?

“I guess you are screwed,” St. Peter will say. “If only for nostalgia’s sake.”

There were no jaguars at the Como Zoo, a five minute walk from my house. I have decided to find the nearest.

How do you do that?

If the jaguars are going to eat the sun, they had better start soon. There are not so many of them left, habitat disappearing acres into seconds. I wonder if they will pass the responsibility to house cats. The time will come, the coming of the sixth sun. Will millions of domestic short hairs, orange and calico, tabby and jet black, rise up to put the fifth sun to sleep?

“Butters,” I will ask the cat. “Butters why are you awake, breathing on me as the stars fall from the sky?”

“And the moon has turned red,” will say Butters, distractedly.

“And was it you who stole the covers last night? And you who shit on the bed? And what do you think is in the wall anyway?”

“I am very torn,” Butters will say.

“Yes, but you are speaking English and there are things I want to know.”

“I am supposed to consume you both, and this house, well--“ Butters pauses with a crinkle whisker frown. “I guess the whole world if I were the only one left able.”

Flick of the tail and sad worried eyes, staring staring at the familiar spot in the wall.

“Well, if you have to.” I will play a little with the covers, with Butter’s favorite blue wool blanket, enjoying the bewilderment of sleep. “I guess the jaguars got to you?”

“The responsibility is too basic to be sacred,” will say Butters. “Before the imagining of sacredness.”

“The sky has gone black Butters.”

“I never learned to use a can opener. You can’t imagine how much this frustrates me now.”

“I’m going back to sleep if you don’t mind, but I’m glad to know you’re my personal house cat of the apocalypse.”
Butters will sigh.

“Yes. Well, I have another problem. Not just the jaguars.”


“It’s you. I guess you realize you missed the rapture.”
I would shrug, sheepish not surprised.

“And I’m eating this fifth sun.”

I would nod politely.

“But, it’s your genes, your tangled songlines, your ridiculous prayers and dreaming.”

“Yes of course,” sympathy and nostalgia for cat eyes on turkey and barf on my pillow.

“Well then, somehow I am also supposed to breathe on you and conduct you to the forest where you will sleep through the destruction of the Earth. That’s why I am breathing on you. See?”


Butters breathing and staring, luminous crescent.



“Where is the forest?”

I have faith in you Butters, I will think. You will find a forest and I will bring a can opener.

“Won’t the jaguars be pissed?” I’ll ask.

“Oh them? No no. Extinct, all gone,” she will have said.

“Don’t worry sweetheart,” I will have said. “After we’re gone you’ll fill that niche. Five hundred years tops.”

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Not Pomegranate Jelly

Sat down to think about my grandmother’s pomegranate jelly—and believe me it was worth thinking about. Instead, unreasonably thinking about soap. I love soap; I have this thing. Not about germs, not about cleanliness, at least not directly. Passion I understand, for food or women or family or god for instance. But soap?

My fingers smell like garlic and I don’t mind. Washing dishes now and I don’t mind the garlic but am very disappointed by my dish soap. It’s orange. It’s neither sweet nor refreshing nor particularly clean-smelling nor bracing nor sexy nor powerful nor nothing. And yes I admit I ask too much of dish soap.

The hands, there’s something about the hands, thick and warm, heavy. The quiet the quiet and the stainless steel or porcelain or enamel. Steam and moment. Weight and water, naturally the water. The tingle-rush of blood and the white noise. What is it though, the feeling of satiety, the fullness? Why should puckered clean, stiff hands pressed against eyes, crushing stubble and twisting lips, feel so safe?

Could be toothpaste, ozone, chlorine and cool linens. Could be shower fog constricting hallways of crumbling plaster and falling sea tiles. Could be the mother’s hair rinse or the father’s sock drawer.

This thing with the soap then is, as everything seems to be, about the smell. Sandalwood and coconut, rosemary or peppermint, English lavender—good god with that plastic quart bottle of Yardley’s twenty—twenty! years removed and it’s still haunting me, the living and the sweet. Those little squares of French linden, nothing quite like linden even if she is dead now.

My mother once filled a shirt box with all variety of Body Shop’s “five for $12” and wrapped it for Christmas. A shirt box never smelled so good. Mary doesn’t mind that I cached satsuma in every drawer. She grieved with me when the Body Shop discontinued grapefruit. Her first forays into my then apartment are bound for both of us to those slim pink bars, that oily electric aroma. Clean and dilating, swollen with innocence, seeing through walls and wearing new skin. That was a hell of a nice soap.

Flossing with curly stamens

Wasps making love to time and all that. Figs seeds in teeth, flossing with curly stamens. A lot of time has gone by and starting fresh is easier than fixing my old template. Mad two years and it almost is two years since I started blogging. Months and months and pieces of years since I last posted anything. There's been a lot to do. Finally with the graduation, yet still with the never-ending room of remodeling. A ring was bought and damn beautiful too though I'd sworn more times than I've got teeth I never would never succumb to that particular societal pressure. Older and older and some things just must be done, I get that. Suddenly a degree and looking for work and wanting words for cages, trapping moments creating cool green spaces of brittle low wattage light. This then is the first post of 2006.