Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I commute to work on foot. I work in Watsonville, a village in which I indeed was employed through much of my waking, or at least daytime, gamma minus civil savant career, but this Watsonville is different.
There is a newish ranch-style brick-and-stucco dwelling in a neighborhood of plenty of others like it. They are landscaped on hilly terrain in one of four different floor plans. I stop by this particular unit to rest. No one knows why, not the owner of the home, not me, not anybody. I just go in and lay down and sleep if I want. I'm not related to anyone here. I don't even know them. It's just where I rest on the way to work. I don't even know who devised this rest stop plan.
The owner sometimes sits and chats jovially with me, like you would the one on the next seat in a bar. I don't have to knock when I enter. I just go in, stretch, lay down. It's about half way along my route.
I run a generator. It sits by my bedside at this strange oasis, and I use it for various appliances. It isn't really noisy for generators, but it is for a non-paying guest. I think maybe I'm overstepping my bounds, but, shoot, I'm doing that just being here. Maybe we all are.
Down the front is a trail over and through rocks for the brook sculpted into the front lawn. It is slippery through here, I'm thinking, and winding, and probably treacherous. Always in dreams I go where tracks are precarious.
Why do I stop here? I don't know. But I do.
Monday, December 04, 2006
It isn't dirty or dusty either. If you step through a heavy wooden door, any door, the inside is ornate wood paneling, oak and teak. It is dark and quiet inside. Here's one who I was once friendly with, and have neglected. I want to make nice. Everyone is lying about in torpor, woven art dropcloths covering overstuffed furniture.
"You should meet Reloj! Reloj's here."
"I've met Reloj." Bored, angry at the neglect, distant.
Reloj with two others wells up like a glass-domed centerpiece out of a table. He doesn't speak. They are just there in that tight space, being. I don't know if it's some sort of projection from the basement. Hey, I'm thinking, Reloj's here.
I must go out and work now. It is the time for work. Before was the time for lounging. There are four of us, and we are on a slanted street, and our lunch is in what looks to be a trash can on wheels. The delivery person parks it up the hill from me and my partner, near two other workers. I think, he might as well have parked it with us.
I go to the cart (actually a round cylinder) and open it. There is the bottom of many pizzas. How do they keep from spilling their toppings? They are upside down.
A smiling face among them. It's my daughter! I pull her out of her entwining with upside-down pizza. I hold her. She is covered with sauce, smiling. She only says, "So warm!"
I walk with her now. It is walking-with-daughter time. Up there the buildings wax, and back there they wane. Wait, hold on, this isn't the block I'm looking for. The streets have no names and the buildings have no numbers, nor any other distinction, even so far as separate walls. It's essentially an unknown number of streets of untold rooms.
There is a little dog somewhere, running to bring a message. I must find the little pup. I turn and start back the way I came. It's being lost time now.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I was riding the train, which was proceeding suddenly over a narrowing track which became a roller coaster rail over sheer mountain passes. This is supposed to be a dull urban commute. I was surprised we made it across gaps thinner than our tread. Maybe that's why I'm not needed aboard no more. I was distracting and exhibited a lack of confidence with my screaming.
I am going to the office, or was. The office is now a store which has nothing to do with me. I worked there before when it was something else. I'm not sure why the present establishment allows me to keep my computer and desk in a small space in the midst of their business. Funny. My prior employment allows me to remain on the premises, through either default or indifference, although I no longer work there, or anywhere, and anyway my former firm is long gone from the neighborhood. And yet the public conveyence to and fro that jobsite has just fired me.
I see my computer is gone. Oh, yeah, Niki J has taken it home. No, wait, she says, look. She has redecorated; there is now an arras over the monitor. I think about how that must look. The workers all about may think I begrudge them a look at my monitor which is ensconced on their grounds without justification.
I am outside now, walking home. I think again about Scoob. Always I have dreams in which I've lost sight of Scoob. There are canines abounding all up and down the road, some he cavorts with. He's not among 'em. But I see him now, leaping in distant shadows. I know I'll find him, but it scares me still.
I wonder when Maya our new little diva pup will make her charming way into my dreams.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I continue outside and mount my bike. I am riding down a remote lane along the moors now like in Jane Austen and Bob Thomas steps to roadside. He's a year older than me back in high school. That's him heading this story, taken at a reunion in 2005.
Bob thomas wants to know, "Are there snakes in the basement?" I had just seen a funeral procession headed there, so I said, No, no, all clear.
I ride out, about, and return. It's an indeterminate number of hours later. I am swarmed by an angry mob.
They are raging at me. What'd I do? I didn't do nuthin' - what'd I do? They are screaming and threatening. You done it, they yell. it was you? It was who? What'd I do.
Slowly at a high decibel the story slams by in jagged shards. Bob Thomas was bitten three times by water-headed cotton moccasins in that very basement I told him was secure. He has developed a severe palsy as a result, like a Parkinson's patient. Here's Bob Thomas now, making a shaky entrance.
I sit with him while the mob simmers, quiets, ambles off. I'm sorry, Bob Thomas, but I didn't know. He doesn't say anything, just shakes. I sit with him for a time, part in commiseration and apology, but mostly I'm thinking what will the mob do if I make to leave?
In that flat pastoral land, I sit sadly, showing great empathy, while Bob Thomas shakes, and the mob lurks, muttering growls audible across the grim country.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Now I am on a work crew, and I am the newest member. It isn't right, I think. I am sixty three and a half and yet I am the butt of jokes and the fool of the camp. We are engaged in a construction project and I know neither the process nor the materials. Here I must remove one wheel from a quad-wheeled vehicle of what looks like a flat platform of concrete with steel ribbing. How do I do that? I'm expected to know.
"Here," says the straw boss. "The bag goes in the bin."
It's like a sack of oats, burlap, and the "bin" is apparently one of those shelves up there along an uneven barn construction where stray boards over many years have been put to use with chaotic effect.
I think I should climb inside, a ladder which runs up the scafforlding. I squeeze by a shelf, find the passage does not go where it should.
Now I see there should be a ladder outside. That's how you do it. The boss does it, quickly and easily.
He tells me, you went to the job site this morning. You should be here. We form up here. Be here at 7:30 AM.
Now it's after that, next morning, and I see Joe, a co-worker, ambling toward the job site. I've missed it again. I can't do this. Joe is hispanic and sturdy and understanding. I say, I can't do this. He says, sure, I understand, I'll tell the bosses.
I just couldn't do this.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
It is a perfectly marvelous gadget. There's none like it anywhere. It will foretell the present with 100% accuracy. I can guarantee it.
It sits up on my desk, by my monitor. It has no wires going in, no antennae, not even an opening. I don't know how in the world it's powered. Nothing goes in. It's a sealed box of unknown material, sort of beige and about the size of a tissue container.
It just sits there.
I can open it up at anytime. I do. The front hinges away, you see. I find inscribed in the handwriting of da Vinci a perfect description as if it were a diary of events of the day passing, as I have experienced them. It is thus my own empirical record, to include sights, sounds, smells, prominence of each in accordance with how I sense. It is always written in Italian, however, so I must keyboard it into Babel to understand what it is telling me, but it is always simply a log of the day passing.
There is only one day, written on a page which is not paper, and when I close it up, nothing happens. It just sits there. And then in a day or a week I open it again and there is the day revealed on that grey paper which is not paper.
I can never hear anything whirring or scratching in there. I don't know where the box came from; it just appeared on my desk one day. I thought maybe it belongs to Niki J but she doesn't know where it came from either. We are both extremely nonplussed.
I try and open it earlier in the morning, thinking I'll find what the day will be like. After all, if it knows what is happening without anything telling it, then maybe it knows what will happen. But it always just reports the immediate past.
I know absolutely nothing more than I'm telling you.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The little one, three, was moving away from the center, which was the kitchen, a sump of surrounding spirals of a winding path leading with flat walls to the upper reaches of the house. You followed the path which coiled like smoke up to the bedrooms. You were in clear sight all the way up because the walls lay on a level with the corridor between them.
She was trying to calm her little sister, but she herself wasn't calm. The older ones, her brother and her sister in their twenties, intended dumping the youngsters, she knew. They were going to Rouen, and then they would place the two little kids somewhere, maybe an orphanage, maybe worse, and they would then move to Paris and live together as husband and wife. She had heard them whispering in the house without walls, their excitement overriding their caution.
She did not even understand how a brother and sister could ever be at the same time husband and wife. But right now she had to soothe the younger one, so she hurried after her, winding on the floor slanted like a dish.
She could not see her in the bedroom. And then she did. She was curled in the bed of Josetta, their Husky mix. Where was Josetta? She hadn't been seen since the strangers came to tell them they were alone now.
She tried to coax her out of Josetta's bed, but there was trembling in her voice. The little one lay very still. Maybe she is hoping all this will go away.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
There is an exquisite little girl in the right back seat of the old limo. She is fascinated by the turn of the handle which cranks the window. She rolls it up and down.
We are on our way to a camp function. I am a counselor. I smile at everyone. The little girl is part of the volunteer force selected for true life experiences in meeting inner-city kids for crafts and sing-alongs. She rolls the window up and down.
She notices I am as taken with her as she is with the cranking. She says,
"My father says that's how you teach the windows to operate themselves."
I laugh, agree that is a very profound way of looking at it. Yes, it's very good, I nod and smile. I don't want to admit I have no idea what her father means, or what the little girl understands from it.
All the day and thereafter, I try and figure it out. The limo we were riding in was an older one, and the little girl was from a prosperous family. It is possible she has never in her life ridden in a vehicle in which you had to operate the windows by hand.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
It is of shadows. It's silhouettes, I see now. There are two figures casting shadows within a gray rectangle upon a dark ground. They are in a certain pose, each aware of the other.
Who are they? And how did they come to be on my phone? I will send the picture to my computer account to look more closely.
I open the door of the Explorer and I glimpse something in a sandy shade of cover. It's a book we took out of Logos with others some time ago. It must've fallen between the seats and has lodged there ever since. It's been, what, weeks? I didn't miss it because I had others in a pile I dumped on the living room table.
I opened the sandy cover. Began scanning. Then reading.
I soon discovered a scene identical to the photo in my phone!
A couple of young women engaged in one another on a bed in an apartment with the bedside light on were apparently unknowingly casting their image in just sufficient glow for the purpose to the delight of passers on the street below.
I am frightened. It's a sign. But of what?
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Someone brings a beer. One. For six or seven of us. Thanks. I should go for more. I don't.
We are in a bar which is a transition, like an airport. We pause here and drink and then go on. There is somebody and somebody's kin and the blonde, who is pretty and just past young. Everyone is relaxed. I go to the bathroom.
It is a large public place, and we mill about. The blonde appears on a balcony I thought was just a faux masonry piece up on the wall. She begins to sing to us. A lot of self-conscious guys who only want to do what they came for and leave.
She reassures us. It's all right. I always do this. And then she sings for us so very sweetly. It is really heartfelt. We pause and look at her and listen. It is all most endearing.
Then she exits through a door which wasn't there before, and immediately wasn't again.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Onscreen someone walks in a misty foreground.
Behind there looms a shrouded mountain. The scene is graygreen, and the soundtrack is low-pitched and ominous, like an invisible leopard breathing.
The lights come up and the picture disappears in a sequence of numbers. The fat guy stands up down front.
The three at the table are blinking, confused.
"This is all?" asked one of them.
"It's enough," assures the fat one, with a dismissive snort.
"We had expected more of a sampling..." comments another of the three at the desk.
"Now, gentlemen, you cannot expect me to give up the Secret of Mount Hozomeen in a preview."
"Yes, but - we really have insufficient data on which to base any commitment..."
"That's fine. Perfectly fine. I really must march-order here, if you'll excuse me. Dreamworks is expecting a showing tonight." The fat one begins to unplug his projector.
"Yes, yes, of course, by all means ... " one of them says.
Next the fat one moves to roll up the screen. He is obviously waiting. There's a conspiratorial grin on his mug. He keeps his unconcerned back to the desk to the rear of the screening room.
When he steps to take down his screen, he sees that the room is now empty.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Our own private island in the Marshalls was flourishing. It became a transition zone for executives and finance officers from large corporations doing business with China. There had been threats. We were known to be secure.
They landed on our unmapped island and they stayed in our luxury hotel off any grid and they were met by emissaries from the Mainland and they flew away in Chinese aircraft, and their passports never snitched on them. As far as could be read by the State Department, they had taken a vacation with us on our island. Our competitors have laid claims that we are contributing to industrial espionage, perhaps the nuclear sort as well, but they are only jealous.
Our guests, they sometimes ask, you are doing this to snub Taiwan? You are partial to communism? We say, no, no, we are only partial to us. We came into possession of this island and looked about for a means of making it pay.
They come to us, our secret relay station, more and more often. We have certain considerations from the Mainland. We are able to attract some of the best staff in the South China Seas. Hong Kong is too crowded, and so is Singapore. For a business wishing quiet, or security, or discretion, they fly to our island without name and we take care of their concerns.
It is said by some, yes, but there are certain repurcussions? There are consequences? Oh, we reply, there are all sorts of secondary effects to all we do, each one of us. Some of the best intentions work out the worst.
But they never stop. Every week there are more of them. We smile and bow and escort them to their rooms and in the morning the Chinese will be here.
Monday, June 26, 2006
King James was displeased. There was a silly mechanism seeping into the plays by which characters were magically rendered unconscious by a rap on the head while some business was accomplished which required their unawarity.
He was a great believer in the verities as promoted by Jonson and Greene and the other Oxford dons. You should not see Agincourt in one instance and then be magically transported back to the moors the next. And no growth or gestation should occur in no two hours.
And no taps to the head should snuff the candle of consciousness for a brief interlude of the plot. The king was quite incensed about that.
And so after a performance of a play at the Globe, the actors were gathering on the stage for their curtain call. The royal bedchamber guard was there behind them all as they bowed, and when they rose they were greeted by a bash on the noggin from a heavy flat pewter slab.
You see, announced the royal centurian, some are stunned, some bloodied, some killed, yet none lapses into a dreamy slumber for two minutes then awakes with no further bother.
That is why there are no knockout bits in the old plays from the Jacoban era. That process did not begin again until the cowboy movies and the Hardy Boys books, in which Frank alone accounted for some five hundred concussions.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
We do. It is taking some time. There is a whole crew of photographers, directors. Is this to be a commercial? Yes, yes, a commercial, answers someone in the crew, noncommital.
Now we are joined by others. It is becoming quite crowded, actually. Who are all these interlopers? I cannot even see the camera now. We are called into a restaurant, dark and ferny, to discuss.
Is this the establishment of the commercial? I ask another crewmember. Yes, yes, he answers, the establishment of the commercial. It's as if he does not speak English well enough to use his own words. He does not inspire confidence.
A lady is in charge of a lecture. She lights into us. I think, it must be the interlopers she means. The lecture is about our duty, and how we have fallen short of it. Them interlopers, I fume with her.
She addresses a guy to my right and just ahead. She says something that might be misconstrued, about she and he together, and then she smiles, bows her head; "Well, I guess we'll see about that."
She is flirting! With an interloper! And then it becomes clear. All of these have been on the shoot for a long time. The project has been going on forever. There is just this one still photograph! And yet it goes on. Every now and again they pick someone else from the street, and yet it's always the same.
Nothing is ever done. It is all just milling about and conflict and discord and chaos and then someone just walks off up the street and then they find someone else coming the other way.
What is this? I ask? It's just a picture, isn't it? I have directed my question with more hope than is justified by experience to yet another crew member.
"Yes, yes," he replies with an affirmative, confident nod. "Just a picture."
Monday, June 05, 2006
It is a box made out of some material they will maintain for all of us in the Home Office, I say. In there will be samples or readings or actual processes from our innards, and they will have us all wireless electrodes so that any change at all in our workings while out in the field, even as far as mental pictures, shall be noted and contrasted.
I go into detail explaining all I know about the box, which seems substantial and of a granite flavor, although it is probably some degree of heavy alloy. She didn't seem satisfied. My daughter, she said, she is going away. Tell me what you can of this box and these electrodes.
But that was all I knew. I didn't really even know what we were to be sent out about. Some sort of mission, I surmised, but that didn't satisfy her either. But what mission? Surely you must know where you are going and why you are going there? Else, why bother?
It is for the box, I say, but now I didn't seem convincing even to me.
Look, I say. I'll finish the book in a few days, and then I shall write you all about it. I say, the book is issued to all participants; surely your daughter has one?
But she merely looked very doubutful, gazing out along the trail we'd all be taking shortly. She unnerved me, did this mother, and I didn't know exactly why that should be. She's just from the old school, I decided. They're great worriers.
Look, I'll read the book, I said again. But she was no longer paying any attention to me. Singly and in pairs, youngsters were tripping off down the path.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Here I am in another house, dark, nondescript (meaning I'm so visually inert I cannot describe it, so my mind turns the lights down low, less for romantic effect than seeing and remembering defect), and of course I'm undressed. I'm undressed unaccountably a lot in my dreams, sometimes in public, when I'm much less embarrassed than I should be.
Okay, I better dress, because someone is here. I'm in a den of shadows and up front someone is knocking about. I think it's all right.
It's his house, after all. I must pass him to leave.
I say, when I do (he is not surprised I am there, nor annoyed, that I can tell), "I lived here when I was five. This was my grandmother's house. We called her `Mawya.' She was surly sometimes, but she had a real inferiority complex." It's okay to do something if you did it when you were five. If you're potty trained, I guess, and weaned.
I am now out front on the lawn, moving away from grandma's old house. But wait!
Where's the bicycle I rode in on? It was right there in grandma's den. Now it's gone. I remember not seeing it. Niki J is sure gonna be upset. It's her clunker, a white job with fenders, maybe even tassels out the handlebars. When I was young, I had a bike called a Western Flyer. It was from the Western Auto store on the north side of the square. It was one smooth ride, the Cadillac of two-wheelers, with even leg guards for rear riders. Niki J's dream bike, it had to be designed with the Western Flyer in mind.
I didn't move it from the den. Someone did.
That's as far as I can take this line of reasoning.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Outside on the street, an auto cruises by, right to left, or south to north. A lady is driving, and I am in her line of sight, but she ignores me, makes no sign. She is turning into our driveway.
I am now settled in a new home, which is like a small cubicle or storefront along a public corridor, maybe an indoor shopping center. The phone rings.
It is not ringing for me. I live alone now, but apparently there is some party line arrangement for the complex. I pick the phone up anyway, but to do so, I use a public extension which is on the pavement outside. I don’t know why, but to listen into the call, I leave my phone off the hook and go to the one outside. Maybe I want to avoid being traced.
I hear the agent for my next-door neighbor. He is disparaging us all, and also planning some nefarious scheme which will affect us, not favorably. We may lose our homes and the agent and his client will profit. I am listening with great interest.
“Is someone on the line?”
Discovered! I gingerly hang up the phone and stride off down the corridor, as nonchalant as I can affect.
Wait! I still have my own phone off the hook! I hurry back through my open door, and also replace that receiver, again as quietly as I can. Done.
I turn back to my door … and see the agent standing there by the public phone, watching me, expressionless.
Friday, May 19, 2006
But he is not that monarch of long ago; he is withered and old now, and his competence and faculties are withering - so much so that he resembles Ayatollah Khomeini . I reach down to his face to try and smooth his chin to more nearly resemble a royal for his portrait to go on the book jacket. He expects it, although he seems not altogether pleased.
Now I am waiting for a bus. The station more nearly resembles a parking garage, and this is one corridor on one floor. A van enters, and has great difficulty in turning around to go on out again. I should have known this, I think. How would a full bus ever serve this station?
As the van is positioned, I realize I won't be riding. Perhaps I will walk. Maybe we all will, all us leftovers. After all, it's not really that far.
We set out. There is a pretty young lady and an older man takes charge of her, to mentor her. I think we will not all remain together as we go forth.
One objective I have is to photograph my old home grounds, the house I lived in when I was about three to six on East 4th St. I want to film the actual position, as the house is long gone and there is a fast food joint there now. Where once the house stood at 719, there is a parking lot. I think it's important for me to have a memento of the spot where I lived when I was so young.
I don't have my cap. I always have my cap. I don't know where is my headgear. How can I have forgotten my cap? I always have my cap when I'm outdoors, but I don't have it now.
I stride off down 4th St, bareheaded.
Monday, April 24, 2006
He says,"....`Leipzig Sandrun' - keep..."
He calls out the titles of several other movies, most of them tosses, but that's the only title I recall. I had tuned in because I had contributed to the writing of a movie and wanted to know how it might stand up in time. It wasn't mentioned.
Uh-oh, there's a leopard down on the canyon floor. I say, foolish of us to be here without quick access to height. I look for a tree (in my delirious planning I try and forget the relative tree-climbing prowess of us and the leopard)... She is tawny in color, with her spots darker but her flavor more that of wet cement, or like the finish of statues meant for your garden.
She approaches, and I realize now, she's a leopard kitten. She rubs against me, and I'm petting her, and a little pup joins us. It will be trouble later, I know, but it's all right now.
Will comes into the scene, smiling, and he drops on us adoption forms, already completed and verified. The pup and the leopard kitten are now ours. Will takes care of everything so efficiently.
Too bad about my movie though...
Sunday, April 16, 2006
In the bedroom now, we are watching a large screen series of photos. One of them becomes a slide show with audio. I worry. Emmie is sleeping. I think, but she's slept enough. But it's also a very long slide presentation, ominiously starting with the Big Bang.
The DJ is out in the street, a residential lane with little traffic, leafy oaks joining over it, directing traffic of partygoers. One drives up in what a dream will make of an old MG TC, which means cartoonish and undetailed. The driver says out the window, help me, I can't turn around. Then the DJ stands and watches him as he does just that with an overwide sweep.
I am in the banquet hall now, but I have this odd habit. I go "phhtttt" at odd times, and frequently. What a terrible social trait. We are all standing and talking and suddenly I have blowouts at the lips, and go "phhhhttttt." Oh, dear. I must go.
I sleep with a CPAP, an oxygen device, due to my sleep apnae and related snoring. I have learned I must wear a headband as a gag to prevent just such blowouts, and last night it slipped away and worked into my dream, as often happens with our physical sleep states, which proves we are bodily connected to the dreamworld, which is both exciting and frightening, isn't it?
Friday, April 14, 2006
They were like the weather in that ward, drifting like dark clouds, day and night.
On the first of the month, the checks came, and there was a gathering at Boudreaux’s parking lot. It was said fifty cases of plum wine were sold on that day alone.
They didn’t have names. Once there was a western movie called The Man With No Name. We are given names, even titles, to identify us, but if everyone has a name, then no one is truly distinguished except the nameless one. But in this neighborhood, none had names.
Two of them associated, as they would. They didn’t agree, they didn’t even discuss it, they just moved off across the lot in the gathering dark and over to the levy. One was a man and the other a woman but that didn’t matter either. There was really no gender in this region, other than for basic identification, like “short” and “dark” and “bald.”
The man used a walking staff. He was the one with the staff, alias, The Stickman.
The houses were slipshod, falling down, like the citizens, and not all of them had power. There was a lot of plywood where windows should be, but there was no graffiti. There were no kids in this ward; those were everywhere else in the city but none came here, and none were born here. There were televisions here and there, some of them left on, but nobody sat and watched them. There was therefore no sense of another world piped in, therefore no aspiration for a better life or resentment it wasn’t available. There was nothing in the ward with no name out of which to build a grievance group.
The two came through the brush and the scrub oak and the weeping willow over the levy and they moved upriver. The direction was not a decision, or if it were it was as mysterious as the flight of birds.
They encountered another. Something was said, by that one, or by the other one, and feathers were ruffled. The immediate denouement was a swing of the staff and the stranger falling heavily and rolling down the embankment towards the river.
The other two continued the march, unhurried. In fifteen steps, they could not have told you what happened back there. It was just a matter of pride too close to the surface, like the roots of hearty plants in granite.
They moved about and others commingled and then separated and drifted in other assortments. It did not stop, this random association, day or night. Sometimes some one or two would disappear into one of the dilapidated frame houses in the neighborhood, and you could watch them, if there was clear glass in the windows, standing and looking, at nothing.
Someone with a name, and also a title, in another part of the city, this one with no broken windows, was observing the police blotter one morning soon after. Ah, he thought, here is something I might be able to use.
In days to follow, you saw this one’s picture in the paper, and his image on local news. He was fulminating about a possible hate crime over in the other ward in his parish. Then there were agencies with names, or at least initials, represented in the press by officials who were standing at microphones and looking grim in other photos.
The one who had rolled off the levy was black. This had nothing to do with anything that had happened; it was just another description. Nothing which mattered in the parish without plywood in windows had any application where the ones with no names lived.
Police were in the parking lot of Boudreaux’s now, every day and some nights, asking questions. There were splinters found in a blunt trauma bruise on the head of the victim, they said, and the residents of the parish blinked, stared. Anyone you know carries a club? was asked, and someone thought of The Stickman.
They found him in the church, or what had been a church but was now a soup kitchen. On this particular night, four nightingales were singing to the lost souls, hoping to save them. Nearer, my god, to thee. Shall we gather at the river? The stew was in an open vat and open to all.
They surrounded The Stickman there. They recognized him because he carried his trademark with him. One of them grabbed it, as if he were Little John or somebody. The Stickman, when he understood what was happening, placed his wrists together and stuck them straight out before him theatrically. His expression, or lack of expression, never changed.
They took the stick to the precinct, which forwarded it to the FBI lab, together with lab slides from the corpse. It became a point of pride in the neighborhood. None of this sort of expert technical attention had ever been performed in the ward before. It was, after all, not unusual for bodies to turn up along the levy.
The Stickman sat in a jail cell. The detectives were unable to commit him to a motive. He did not even remember the event. He scratched his head. What was that again? They became very exasperated with him.
There was word passed around about a woman. What was her name? the police asked. No one knew her name, but she had been there on the first with The Stickman, shore ‘nuff. The detectives went looking for her.
Most in the mob which congregated at Boudreaux’s on the first of every month were solemn, soggy men. It should not have been difficult to find a woman.
But she learned they were looking for her. Boudreaux himself asked, weren’t you the one with The Stickman when the black man was rolled? She blinked, confounded. She had no idea. Well, the police are looking for you, said Boudreaux.
She hid out now in her squalid quarters behind plywood, only going out for single packages of soup mix and plum wine. They were circling her position, like buzzards. Why did she not run away? Why did she still only stay there?
There was knocking, then silence, then a door being forced in the next house. She pulled her ragged shawl around her. They would find her soon. Tonight, or tomorrow, they would come through her own front door.
A reporter interviewed The Stickman in jail. He thought perhaps they might sell papers with a human angle, maybe the abused accused number.
“Do you have any complaints? Have the police been fair?”
The Stickman did not understand the question. The reporter did not understand the answer. It was played more profoundly in the press than it merited, sort of like Pilate’s musing on Truth, but to The Stickman, it was like asking a fish if it was too wet.“What’s `fair’?” The Stickman wondered.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Tina is one who is assured. She comes back. She smiles at me the way little girls who know they are captivating do. I think she's trouble. She must go somewhere. She asks me, for I've been there. It will only be a moment. Oh, yes, I say, it's quite all right.
She traipses off down the path, which winds around and back through a tunnel and comes out immediately below. Tina smiles up at me like a beauty queen during the parade. She is so very lovely, she is thinking. I am thinking, such a bother.
I think I wake up before she comes back on purpose.
Friday, March 31, 2006
The Federal Fisics Fellow has designated cartoons as a frequency range within the electromagnetic spectrum.
This is because we have come full circle since the Palaeolithic cave paintings of Lascaux. We have in that time achieved and lost language, and now rudiementary drawings are semiotic key once more.
This is why cartoons must be controlled. They are the essence of our language. So, just as you cannot direct X-rays at your neighbor, neither can you freely distribute cartoons.
The radio frequencies run from 30 GHz to 100 KHz. Cartoons run at the frequency of two a week. But they're more dangerous than microwave, or even ultraviolet. So they require screening, just like the sun.
Kids in school see cartoons on the scale of frequencies in their science texts. After several generations, it's quite natural to see them there. After all, the term "texts" is an anachronism, like "typing" and "dialing." Everything is pictures now.
I better wake up now. I do. And go back to sleep.
A young lady, very cute, is with me. I see this is all right, although my waketime being often pulls on me. We are sleeping together. I think, we've slept together, but I don't feel like we have. I think it's all right, although she appears a mite distance in the morning.
We have breakfast, then go out for breakfast. It is all a part of doing conventional acts, no matter our specific needs. I walk into the foyer of the restaurant and she lags behind. Yes, yes, I'm sure now, she is not happy with me.
I think right now is the time for another ritual. I must shower. I walk down corridors until showering begins happening. That's the way it's done now. You just walk down hallways until your act is presented.
There are open stalls everywhere along the way. I see there are convenient ones, just ahead.
I better wake up again.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
We have moved into a palace. Somehow we are renting quarters which go on and on. I'm walking from room to room. I am now atop a waterwheel which I will casually walk over, and I say, we were supposed to move to another rental but we'll obviously have to cancel. Somehow this stately mansion fell into our laps.
I am walking to explore the rooms. I hear out beyond our stately wall border the sound of herding, the whoops of boys in the air. The deer come into our yard, and the goats. A little deer cringes pressing against the glass of the door to the yard. (It's a separate yard, just for this room, one of many.)
I open the door to allow in the little critters. I figger it's not right, but I can, being the resident proprietor, so I do.
I walk on. Here is a sunken den, and a room beyond. It's Reloj's room. I don't see him, but there are laughing friends about.
I go to the toilet. It's sealed up, full. I see I cannot use the toilet in this mansion. Must be others in this palace, but I concentrate on this one, so incongruous, like in a public bathouse. Near it is a smaller container, also sealed, but it tells me "You can spit here" so I do.
I step off towards where I've come. I see in passing one of the rooms on my way, what looks like a tribal stomp of deer, they're leaping in unison, facing one another in a circle on the lawn.
I go to find Niki J. Come, quickly, the deer are dancing!
When we are back near the room, we see it is a pride of young girls instead, leaping and smiling together.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
I walk up the line, behind a counter, and tell one I need my brush. She has my brush, which I need on the line, and she isn't producing it. She is one of those who sees her role as superior to my own, and her natural bearing assumes the like superiority. She condescends to answer in monotones and monosyllables. "Dennis said."
Dennis is some twerp from my ancient waketime history who believes his own destiny was set when he took slide rule in high school. Testosterone is troops with banners madly planted all over foreign fields. Dennis said.
I return to my place.
I now am called before a panel. Some serious officers are asking me questions. When I spoke with my son Will over the phone, sometimes I didn't hear. They lean closer.
Yes, yes, I say, I have hearing loss in my right ear, but that's sort of like being left handed, isn't it? You don't use both sides all the time. I am perfectly capable, I say. They don't think so. I attempt to convince them in rhetoric I am quite all right, can complete the mission, for, after all, what is there to hear in hauling dirt?
It is a Catch-22. I am pretending I'm not anxious to leave, indeed want to stay with this noir nonsense, which should convince them to kick me out. I act as if I don't want to be considered aged, damaged goods. I act like I care what they think. I am a good actor, and they are most predictable.
I think of the fatuous, foolish effects of cockamamie causes everywhere. Dennis said.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Here, I say, we can get out here. It's a military base of a most meandering sort. I'm actually looking for a bathroom. (This is the most constant proof that your unconscious interacts with your physical realm; when I need one actually, I dream of searching for a bathroom, and there is always some barrier to using it in my dreams which keeps my waketime bed dry.)
I go through a lot of paths and buildings, finding nothing, until I wake.
Now here I am again. We have created quite a broadside. It will be most effective. I can imagine folks reading it and running out growling into the street.
We've done well, my partners and I. They don't have any identity other than my partners. The one with me now, my second, we are inspecting the manifesto as it comes out of the weave. There is a machine which will embroider our message into a sweater. It is very unique. We'll have pretty women wearing our message and an angry mob rushing out into the street, looking to right the wrong we point out.
A hitch in our stitch.
The first line is ready for inspection, a sample. It is utterly illegible. Oh, dear.
What to do? We are too clever by half. The medium mucks up the message. What good is the most brilliant design if no one knows what we're saying? It may as well be the most arcane surrealism, or the old sixties art deco posters advertising bands playing where you better know where `cause you'd never learn it from the poster.
Maybe, I say, we can do up the sweater anyway and send it down to LA and they can fix it? When it's broke, we reason, you send it to LA, where the prime fixers are.
Our other partner is sad. There he is in the next room, lying on the couch. He has thrown up something black. I understand it's the result of partner two reading him off about another project. But we need him now. I try and ignore his sadness and the black muck.
"Can you ship this sweater down to LA? I mean, after we have it complete?"
Sheena steps toward the street and she makes a puddle out of the asphalt by simply wading into it. Here she has a pool forming.
Now we're all in. Floating around the square in small singular rafts, like Venice. My sis-in-law Rose says, wait, hold it, and she comes aboard my raft from hers to seize......a cotton-headed water moccasin, as we called them. A deadly water snake. Rose has it by the neck near the head and near the tail, and she flings it wide to another part of the moat.
Switch to...dry land, in fact, nearly a desert, with an activity going on like Trades Day, except sparse. Another snake, maybe a rattler, rises in my path. This time a cowboy sort approaches and takes hold of the monster, expertly throttles it.
There seems to be a lot of snakes in my old town.
Woops, someone has run into us. I'm in an auto, and next to me is Reloj in another, and an old guy turning across our bows has included us both in his circuit. (Strange that he's coming from our left, perpendicular to the road where we wait at a stoplight, and he's somehow turning to a road to our right. Dreams make funny traffic patterns.)
We're all calm, and realizing there will be a long wait for the traffic report. I have in an old '57 Chevy a wrinkled front fender and grill, and Reloj has some damage in his vehicle, which I never see.
I spend the time like you do while waiting for the police. I am sculpting the figure of the old man who has hit us in clay. I don't think I have the roll of his pompodour right. Maybe the police has a sculptor to fix my work.
I hear the interview now between the old man and the claims adjuster. He tells her the wreck has dislodged all his utilities, including gas and power and "Sears." The concussion or something has ruptured his Sears. Hmnnn.
The adjuster says, "That's fifty thousand, right there." Wow.
I try and think how maybe this wreck has broken my K-mart...
Saturday, February 25, 2006
She is very young, tall, willowy, and she likes me. She is laying over me now, kissing me, her knees drawn up beside us.
Now she is driving, and I'm following in another vehicle. She does not seem happy. No, surely she is depressed. There is no joy in her. She leads me into a tunnel and then she whips a U and goes into the tunnel again, this time against traffic.
I see one, two vehicles, bubble up out of the tunnel like shocked fish. One floats on its back, the other on its side. She has done this, and when I have followed her down, I see she is prepared to make it right. She will go back into the tunnel for the third time, this time on foot. There are items she is taking for her lifesaver mission.
Now we're at her house. I'm sitting in a kitchen breakfast alcove. Another enters.
He is very sad, crying even. He sits and mourns. I seem to remember he has shot somebody else. I'm a guest here, so must be polite to any unsavory character the family may invite, although I much distrust their taste.
I say, "It will be the same on the other side of the valley." This is supposed to be philosophically apt and encouraging, but it can mean not that the trouble will be over but that it is episodic. Anyway, it isn't working; Dick still has his head down.
A cow approaches the back of his chair. A cow the size of a large dog. And, in fact, the cow hikes a leg against the back of Dick's chair.
He becomes aware of the moisture, makes efforts to wipe off the back of his chair. I do not help. To me, it seems appropriate somehow, as if someone jumping off a roof should expect to meet the ground hard. I am fascinated by the process however.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Dreams are like the seaweed around your ankles when you wade ashore after swimming out beyond the second wave.
I wake in the night. The premise I am working under is, there are too many categories. To begin, you only need two. I am told this and I say, oh, sure, here goes another newage nostrum.
But then I find, it actually works. It seems so very general, but when I break it down, it isn't, really it isn't.
Everything you do is either to enhance your own pride, or that of someone else. Sometimes you inadvertently do both, as, you write something, perhaps a dopey dream, and it pleases you there on the screen, and someone reads it and thinks, what a dopey dream; I could do better than that. So in this case, everyone is satisfied.
I try and dismiss the notion of separating into two parts, but I cannot. After all, that's how computers work, and also Socrates...when he does.
I went back to sleep.
Wakeful reflection: seconds.
Other dreams: lost at sea
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
I am a child who has just been fleeced of his patrimony by a judge, who is striding honorably beside me, a detectable smirk on his countenance. We are in a long corridor from the courtroom to the great hall. He thinks I don't know I've been robbed and he's the culprit. I'm just a kid. I am crying into a rag, which hangs before me down almost to my feet. Hidden within its folds is a mace, a chain weapon of the Classic Roman era.
I swing it up and slash the face of the judge.
I gain some authority. I now am able to declare something and have it stick, because I slapped the judge with the mace.
There is a place I call Marrakech, but it may not correspond to the actual geographical Morocco. This one is on the northwest corner of the continent and it splatters into islands, and it is a major trade center.
The traders come from everywhere, and they must scatter like flies when the Arabs issue into the region. They do not want traders to remain more than a few days. They are afraid of losing the section to marauding infidels. The traders flutter away in their windriven dinghys and settle back when the soldiers leave. (It's like an image from Women in Love, the casting of the stone into the puddle where the bright orange moon lies, which quickly scatters, then ebbs back together.)
I can say, the traders may stay. I like infidels; they're my favorite folk, they're better drinking companions and they have a sense of humor. The Muslims and the Catholics accuse one another of belonging to a mistaken sect designed on fallacy, and I'm a good mediator because I think they're both right. And the traders stay. No more do the soldiers come. The infidels build permanent dome structures, and infrequently do they make trading voyages now to other parts.
I can say, so I said. It's much better now, the traders in their strange little round cottages, the moon intact in its puddle.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I have no particular interest - until the orderly beside me starts firing a high-powered rifle at the creature. I move up after the third shot, call something out to the perp, then pick up the little one and go with him. I'm hurrying but not running, and the critter is now a toddler in my arms. He is defective in some way, I am to understand, and that is how they will rid themselves of him.
I go indoors, which is an expansive plant of untold rooms. It is well lit, and obscure settings like cloth-colored pools litter the rooms.
I wait for someone to challenge me, to realize I am not supposed to be carrying one of their charges. Someone speaks, and I reply, and this one thinks it the funniest remark ever. I go on.
Now I can't find the toddler. I call to him. He is under one of the canvas coverings. I hear his reply. He is in no major distress.
Niki J will not be happy I am bringing home a new little creature, but I don't know what else I can do. I think of my shoes. Where are they? Where is my bike? I must leave this place, with the child, even if I lose all I have brought with me.