Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Silly Magnus

The following events are just as real as they are imagined, and aim to impart equal consideration towards befriending trixie transvestites as purchasing discounted produce.

It was October 11th, a Wednesday, and the weather was notably perfect. In fact, I made a note of it on my white board, “OCTOBER 11th 2006: THE DAY OF PERFECT WEATHER”. The air wasn’t moist, but not particularly dry, and Lake Michigan created a calm warm, and not even slightly debilitating, breeze. Perfect. I took a walk through campus, celebrating the crisp weather with random acclamations to myself, “Incredible. Wow,” I said. The scarce, but beautiful trees were in the ideal state of autumn color, just before they begin to fade and wither. “Ahh. This is nice.” I thought. And it really was nice.

I came back to my dorm slightly famished from the celebratory stroll. My refrigerator contained: a slice of lime, baking soda, an opened can of diet coke, and a sorry looking orange. Because I only had seven dollars and sixty-seven cents, dinner options were scarce. Back into the idyllic weather, I walked to the market.

The market was particularly crowded, and I paced between magnitudes of fully packed carts and tired looking people consulting lists and reading labels. “Excuse me,” I said, as I squeaked between two shoppers bagging mangoes. I decided to buy a few vital vegetables. Peas were an idea. But you can’t do a whole lot with a pea. Carrots perhaps? I’d have to peel them, which isn’t the easiest of operations. Ah ha. Tomatoes! And they happened to be on sale. Yes, they were slightly soft and discolored, but I couldn’t turn down a sale. I picked four dubious tomatoes and turned to grab a produce baggy.

Standing behind me, baggy in hand, was a rather startling figure. He was just over 6-feet-tall, with a shockingly red, wildly curly, wig. Robustly figured, he wore a floor length faded floral dress, with a lace trimmed color, covered in plastic lettered buttons. One read, “It’s ok to be free, it’s ok to be me.” In elaborately applied makeup, his lips were blood red, and just above his upper lip was noticeable stubble. With a soft high force, and an exaggerated southern accent, he said,

“Here you go doll, you need a baggy for your veggies?” I couldn’t tell if the strong onion odor was from the produce section or him, but it was formidable.

“Thanks,” I said, and graciously grabbed the bag. Our eye contact was piercing and uncomfortable, and feeling my face wane in nerved sweat, I turned sharply, smiling fake. He peered at me deeply as I walked away, and I felt his eyes on my back. I turned around and there he was, unmoved. He waved and curtseyed.

The checkout line was a cluster, and the hurried tension between the shoppers was tangible. I surveyed the lines beside me, measuring their movements against my own line. In the line parallel to me was the red-wigged man-woman again, smiling at me coyly, and pushing a cart forward packed with liquor! I was startled at this, and involuntarily jumped backwards a step. “Whoa!” I said. “I mean, hello.” I waved emphatically.

I paid for my discounted tomatoes and moved quickly to the market exit. I walked out of the parking lot and down the street briskly. The weather was still pristine, and the moon had begun to rise in full yellow form above the buildings. A rattling screeching noise seemed to be trailing me, an irksome, headache inducing harshness. I turned, and there was the red-wigged man-woman again, a half a block behind, pushing her cart in my direction! Now this was too much. He seemed to be following me, and closing in the distance between us. I almost began to run, when all of a sudden the sound of breaking tires, crashing glass, followed by a dreadful shriek halted me instantly. Man-woman had collided with a short portly man on a bicycle, sending them both into an ugly street spill.

Vodka and whiskey bottles were shattered on the road, and the red wig had flown off, exposing man-woman’s patchy bald head, and landing in the gutter beside him. It was a sorry scene. His floral dress was pulled up, and his hairy legs shown through ripped nylon knee highs. The short egg shaped man seemed alright. He gathered himself up, and waddled over to his bent bike, cursing lowly. Man-woman didn’t stand, but just laid their whimpering awfully. “Oh no! ahhhh.. my legs are broken. I can’t move! OOOHH NOOOO!” The high pitched southern accent was an embarrassing shrill, and I just couldn’t leave him lying there.

I walked back to him, picked up the red wig and offered my hand down to help. He stopped whimpering suddenly, put the wig back on his head and stood up, fixing his dress with his hands. “Oh thank you,” he said, “I really thought my legs were broken, but I reckon they’re alright.” There were a few unbroken bottles from the crash, and I picked them up and carried them for him.

“So you’re fine then?” I asked.

“Oh I’ll be ok. I broke most of my particulars, but I’ll live,” he said. “That silly little fellow came out of nowhere! You can never be safe here doll.”

“That’s true,” I said. It really was true. I watched his lips move while we walked. I gleamed at his arms and buttons and chin stubble and eye shadow and red wowwing hair. He possessed an unnatural flamboyancy. It was clearly calculated, and he emphasized everything external in the feminine way that he knew.

"A girl just can't even go to the market alone anymore here. Just last week I saw an elderly man beating a girl about your age with a cane in the parking lot of Hancock Fabrics! No one even stopped it child. The girl had on a blue sweater. Cereleum. Wool I do believe, doll." He said. The tone of his nonsense was so assured, and the vision of his imperial attitude was an encapsulating thing really.

“Where are you going now?” I asked him. I noticed he had developed quite a limp. He grabbed my arm for support as we walked.

“I live about 4 blocks from here, in a basement between the train and Deacon Avenue. I can manage though doll, don’t trouble yourself. You just keep on to where you’re going and don’t even worry about me.” He said.

"How long have you lived there?" I asked.

"Oh my goodness. About a hundred years before you were conceived child! I've been here. Ooooh I've been here and there. I've seen things in this neighborhood that, doll, you don't even want to know about!" He brushed his face and adjusted his curls femininely.

We talked about the pristine weather, and went through the rudiments of small talk. We arrived in front of my dorm building. His name was Magnus, and he really seemed like a lovely man to me now. He was like a cartoon figure, or the anti-thesis to a superhero; entirely unreal in nature, yet perhaps useless to any real production or function.

We stood in silence in front of the doors. He leaned on the wall for support.

"Oh don't even worry about me doll. I'll crawl if I have to child. Oh, I've been worse. I have been worse," he said.

"Well, if your in some pain and need to recover for a moment, would you like to ..."

He rushed passed me.

“Oh if it wouldn’t be trouble!” He said. “Maybe I could just borrow a glass of ice and put my feet up for a few moments doll.”

He ducked to avoid hitting his head on the entrance.

While we waited for the elevator, torrent crowds of students exited and entered the hallway. They walked past stunned, overhearing him ask boisterous questions and make elaborate comments about the building.

"Oh my. Look at all these ee-vents you've got goin on." he said, scanning the postings on the bulletin board.

"Oh my. Intra-mirror-ol' football. Doll, that's where you need to go to meet a nice boyfriend!" He laughed with full lungs, teeth, a deep breath; an arresting release of boisterous chime.

Peers did what they do. Stood in gawky jerky silence, watching and ignoring all at once.

"Look." I thought. "Judge." I thought. "Assholes." I said, by accident. Didn't mean to let it slip. Magnus put his hand over his mouth in shock, a very lady thing to do when someone swears really.

The elevator came to take us to my floor, and it filled with my peers. Average looking twenty-year-olds with expensive backpacks texted, played with their hair, sifted through songs on MP3 players... Magnus and I cornered ourselves to the back of the square. His smell was so wretched; students turned and looked back at us in disgust.

Magnus ducked in through the entrance to my dorm, shrinking the room instantly. Carefully, full of fabricated grace, he sauntered around the room, limp free and fabulous. He plopped himself onto the edge of the couch, shifting the cushions down towards him. I grabbed him a cup of ice, and he poured his vodka to the rim. “Now, you can’t let a girl drink alone doll,” he said.

I grabbed another cup for myself, and sipped it in droplets, gasping in repugnance at each taste. Magnus drank without restraint, and surveyed the room curiously over his glass.

"When I was a little girl, doll, my mother used to braid my hair everyday. Now she was a perfect lady. Always put together. No you'd never see her without perfect lipstick and a pressed blouse. She made sure I was polished too, doll. No dirty dresses. My stockings always clean." Magnus looked beyond me, tranced in thought.

"Sounds lovely." I said.

"Being lovely IS important child." He said, matter-of-factly.

I wondered if Magnus truly believed he had been born a little girl, if his mother had dressed him as a little girl always.

The hour past quickly, and the vodka we opened had just an inch left at the bottom. I stood up, and realized I’d become quite drunk. The room leveled before my eyes, and the image of two bright high moons from the window looked alarmingly beautiful.

“Would you look at those moons, Magnus!” I said. Magnus marveled over the image too, because they were really quite glorious.

I remembered how hungry I was, and staggered into the kitchen to retrieve my discounted tomatoes. I could see Magnus overpowering the small loveseat. His arms looked very muscular to me suddenly, and his undeniable masculinity was evident in everything from the width of his calves to the layered wrinkles in the skin on his powdered forehead.

Now the tomatoes seemed even less dubious than they had before, and I ate three of them ravenously, without rinsing or slicing into them at all. They tasted wonderful. Tomato juice dripped onto my blouse, and seeds stuck to my lips and chin. I walked to the couch and offered Magnus the last one. He ate it in just two bites. The juice dripped over his lettered buttons, and we both laughed riotously at the mess.

"Do you mind just laying down with me here, doll?" he asked. He layed down on the couch on his side, offering me the space before him. I layed next to him, not saying a word. He smelled my hair. He breathed softly into the back of my head, and for a moment I thought I felt him crying. He soon fell asleep, and snored riotously. The masculine sounds bounced against my hair and danced into the moonlit shadows of the walls. The deep snores were genuinely masculine. Magnus had not practiced and perfected a mask of loveliness for these breaths. I stood up and placed a blanket over his floral dress.

“Silly Magnus,” I thought. My stomach turned, and in my bed I dreamt of red juice hosing my bedroom walls.

When I woke in the morning, Magnus was gone. A note, written in lipstick, took up the majority of the window in large elaborate cursive writing:

"My name is Magnus," it read.

I washed tomatoe puke off my walls. I drank the opened can of diet coke in my fridge. It was flat but tasted good. Underneath the couch I could see red curls sneaking out from a depth of shadows. I pulled out the red wig and held it in my hand. The curls were rough and thread-like, like a doll I'd had years ago. I put it on my head and opened the windows. "It's almost 11 a.m.," I thought. And It was. It was almost 11 a.m.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


So, Kelley and I have been best friends for years. All of the more developed memories I have of us are founded by our elementary times; being short and skinny, with bad bangs and awkward demeanors, prematurely drinking cappuccino, and running around wild and rule-less. Yes. As little girls we were dichotomously uninhibited, but at the same time completely self aware. Before Kelley had clear skin and a bright flawless smile, she was an apprehensive, insecure girl, with long blonde pig-tail braids and hillbilly teeth. To be fair, I was equally ridiculous looking. I was always covered in mud, with un-brushed snarls and an uncountable amount of freckles. Both of our parents were heavy drinkers, so entertaining ourselves in the car outside the bar, or in some random chaotic outing was fairly routine for us.

One summer Saturday when we were 8 or 9 years old, Kelley came with my family and I to our Lake Michigan beach spot on Esch Road for the day. It was sort of a weekly tradition to visit this spot, but my Uncle John was in town this time… meaning, the day of sand digging and tanning would be followed by a night of sand drinking and bonfiring.

Kelley and I roamed wild in the dunes. When the sun settled and moderated to a warmth, we retired from diving exaggeratingly in the high waves and making shallow tubs of water on the beach. Covertly, we stripped off our swim suits, and ran naked through the scarce barren woods. Laughing and semi-hiding from tree to tree, we peeked from behind the bark at the groups on the shore. The adults held busy with helpings from coolers by the beginning flames of fires. Some kids still floated in tubes. In an eye catching scene, a couple held each other in the water. The uncomfortable display of affection cliched above the sun sparkling water, but the uncouth drunks on land foiled them.
Kelley and I gathered small sharp rocks and sticks. We sharpened the rocks and tied them onto sticks with weeds. We pressured sticks against each other and created fire. This operation took hours, and would become one of our greatest childhood accomplishments. On our hands and knees we dug a shallow sand hole against the dune, covered it with drift wood and created a cubbied shelter. Yes. Pleased with our primitive essentials, we huddled in the cubby, and capered around our struggling flame. The sun set below the lake slowly that night. It hovered above the anxious waves, momentous and confounding; maddening like God.

So this night, the sun was captured by one thousand Uncle John camera snaps. In the background of its' image, three strangers played bagpipes on the shore. They were older men. They wore long Scottish Kilts with t-shirts on top. The bellowed melodies screamed from the reeds; harmonizing, annoying, and beautiful. Uncle John caught the hours of music on film, with constant celebratory asides, and extended zoom-ins of the talented strangers.
“Wow.” he said.
“Hoooolyyy Shiiiit. OOOOH boy.”

The bonfire debris rose towards the sky, and my dad sat on a log by the flames.

“This is the music of my people. The McKenzies!” he said.

His hazel eyes drooped happily, and he moved his head side to side, mimicking the bagpipe hymn. Silhouettes of my sisters were fabricated silver from the moon rise. They dove into the waves, ignoring the bagpipes and the asides.

“IT’s the McKenzies! THE SCOTS! MY HOME!” he cried, standing now with his knees bent and his beer raised into the sky like a toast.

Uncle John set down his camera, and danced slowly in the sand by the bagpipers. He was tall and lean, with a long black-grey ponytail, set low on his head. He wore a white v-neck t-shirt and jean shorts, with high white socks and old running shoes. That was his outfit, no matter the occasion.

“Wooow.” he said. “woooa, ho ho… Ahhhh ha ha.. Ohhhh boy.”
The bagpipers finished the song. Uncle John put his hand on his heart, and his other hand on the players’ shoulder, mostly for support.

“You’re Scottish man?” he said.
The player in the Kilt was in his sixties. He wore a green hat, and had a narrow grey mustache.

“Yes, sir.” he said coolly.
“Wooooa ho ho… Me? I’m a Chippewa brother. From the Red Cliff reservation in Wisconsin. You heard of it?” said Uncle John.

“No I can’t say that I have,” said the Scot, with a baritone voice.

“Oh brother. Woooa ho ho, brother. You’ve gotta come to a pow wow. It’s reeeally spiritual man.” said Uncle John. His voice was a front throat whisper.

They shook hands and spoke closely by the waves. My sisters came in from the water. They wrapped themselves in towels and sat by the fire to warm. By now my mom could barely stand or open her eyes. She looked deeply into the flames with a look on her face that indicated she felt attractive. Yes. Her brows were raised high on her forehead, and her mouth was slightly pursed.

Up in the dunes, Kelley and I had painted our faces and arms in mud. We'd been spying on the bagpipers, on other bonfires, on my parents. We held our spears into the air and danced wildly, chanting impromptu rhymes.

Once the sun warmth completely subsided, our energy deflated. We put our swimsuits back on, gathered our spears and walked over the dunes to my family.

Dad and Uncle John were standing by the bagpipers. Their arms were around each others’ shoulders for balance. Dad smoked a cigarette, and his feet nestled into the cool sand, harnessing his hunched over stance. The orange cig end glowed in the darkness, and smoke exhales crept into the star blanket sky. Kelley and I crouched in the beach weeds near them, sneaky to pass by without being drug into long nonsense conversations about the McKenzie’s, or Red Cliff powwows.

At the fire, my sisters were wrapped in towels, packing up snack wrappers and water toys, coaxing Mom to take them home.

She was standing now, with an expression indicating that she was too attractive to be ignored. Her brows slightly furrowed down now, and her lips were full on pursed. She glanced at Dad and John and the bagpipers in the distance.

“Okay girls. I’ll take you home. Your dad can ride with Uncle John.” she said. With her lips closed tightly she smiled large. Against the fire, the remnant of her hour old red lipstick was visible in the night. Yes. She gathered her own things. She talked nonsense.

“Of course I’ll take my girls home. They’re tiiiired.” she said.

We headed down the beach stretch, towards the road with the last lingering parked cars. Glows of three single fires sporadically lit the beach further on. The nearly empty span went down a mile. At the end of the stretch, large sand dunes bordered the curved beach. The moon was full, splashing silver on my toes, as I trucked through the coddling sand waves.

Esch Road was the entrance to the beach. Only five or six cars remained on the forest drive. Our car was furthest away.

We drove the eight miles home. The dark roads curved around hills through thick bordering forests. Mom squinted drunk into the beamed headlights. Her lips still pursed, she cautiously moved the steering wheel, following the double yellow lines as they moved sharply right, straightened for miles, and curved left.

“You are my friend, yellow line.” she said. She laughed uproariously.

When we got home, Kelley and I stayed in the front yard and jumped on our giant trampoline. We jumped freely and high. The summer night air was biting and cool against our sunned sweating skins. We knew the exact way to jump, the timing of each landing in order to accentuate our flights. We took turns sharing the middle of the trampoline, the best spot for jumping.

An hour later, slow headlights headed down the dirt road towards our house. The car crawled, and music resonated from the open windows. It was a blaring guitar solo. It echoed through the yard. It was Uncle John’s car. He parked in front of the beaten red fence, the butt end of the blue jeep halfway into the dirt road.

“Hey!” Uncle John yelled, his car door slamming behind him.
“Where did you guys go!” said Dad. He appeared from the dark at the edge of the trampoline. His face was sullen and sad. He sounded flushed.
“We couldn’t find you anywhere.” said Uncle John. He looked more pissed than sullen. He put his hands on Dad's shoulder, as a comfort it seemed.
“I’ve never felt so lonely in my life!” Dad belted out, full of disorderly passion and furry. He shook his head back and forth. His right eye was lazy and drunk. Uncle John patted him on the back now.
“It’s ok Jer. We made it.” His demeanor was that of a surviving soldier, after a long perilous battle. We laughed.
“Dad, we drove home with mom, where else would we have been?” I said.
“The lake is big, Jen. And those woods are dark.” he said. He hung his head down.
“Let’s go inside, Jer.” said Uncle John.

He carried a large wooden flute in his hand, one he had hand carved. It was an artful masterpiece; with a green textured lizard by the keyholes, and a brown suede band knotted around its’ body. He coolly played ‘Eleanor Rigby’ as they walked down the driveway towards the house. The smooth wooden melody echoed around the hill yard. The sounds, and smells of strong weed and beer breath trailed them ardently.

The house was loud with liquid voices. We laid now, catching our hot breaths on the trampoline. Our foreheads sweat with jumping achievement.

“I’VE NEVER FELT SO LONELY IN MY LIFE!” said Dad inside the house, as he likely recapitulated his moments of despaired panic to Mom.

“Tough shit, man!” she screamed back.
We laughed, mocking her staple comment; her 'tough shit, man' made me contort and sick.

The hill bottomed lake was a quiet basin. It created a sort of amphitheater of echoes. All could be heard around the lake. The slightest raise of a voice carried for a mile, and our house was the apex of noise here.

With heavy eyelids and chilled sweaty palms, we jumped down from the purple trampoline and headed inside for bed. The house was quiet now. The windows were open and the lights were all on. Breeze moved the smells of weed and smoke around in this world, and we tiptoed through it. Mom was passed out in bed on her back, still in her swimsuits and khaki shorts. We turned off her lights and put out of her lit cigarette. Dad was passed out on the stairs. He laid balancing on the steps, his hands a pillow beneath his head. The same sullen expression was on his sleeping face. Yes. We tiptoed passed him and laughed.

Downstairs, the kitchen counter was swamped in macaroni and cheese mayhem. Half-cheesed noodles dashed the counter and floor, and a Kraft box laid open and torn. It was savagely ripped, and shreds of the cardboard box laid on the stove and tiled floor. A pan and multiple cheesed wooden spoons sat on the burner, with burned noodles stuck and stinking on the low heat.

Bottles and glasses of last minute night caps sat half filled or empty on the counter. Rolling Rock beers, and a dripping tap of cheap boxed wine sat on the kitchen table. Under the kitchen table, Uncle John laid sleeping and snoring in his white boxer briefs. He hugged our Brittney Spaniel, Rusty, under his arm. Next to him were two empty bottles of Rolling Rock, and his wooden flute. We laughed behind restraining palms. Our faces still savage-painted, we stunk of beach and sweat. We ate potato chips like pigs, insatiably crunching greased sand handfuls into our mouths. Soon we slept, coma-ed with full bellies and hot tired skin, and cooed by the lake crickets; harmonizing, annoying, and beautiful.

The Long Song of J. Alfred Prufrock -T.S Eliot

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats 5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question … 10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, 15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; 25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go 35
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— 40
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare 45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all— 55
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? 60
And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress 65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets 70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! 75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 85
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, 90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— 95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while, 100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use, 115
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old … 120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me. 125
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Far Too Many Helpings

Post-grease pitas and green cheek tarting shots,
and clanks of ice in ever-filled glasses of whatever she's having,
and pursed lips for affirmations of captured narcissism,
and foggy eyed surveys of people circulating rooms
in planned polo shirts in calculated short skirts,
with eventual untamed hair and such confident approaches,

or no confidence at all, but upchucks of emotion
and unnecessary and intrusive conversation
about inadequacies of blah blah you and him and him and you...
analyzing words which were likely accidental
but dissecting tones and adjectives, and ellipses...

or hunger, or lots of hunger,
for momentous caloric feats
of sauces and bagged treats.
for someone's voice with vacuous words
and a nebulous understanding of the vacuous grumblings
that you needed to say, several times, perhaps.

post-the planned or unplanned public humiliation
invading a stranger's personal space
or throwing up cheap tacos on the floor
in a crowded room with moronic girls
in oxymoronic dresses
without sleeves or socks
down dirty mud roads in sub zero temperatures.

hiccups on the steps,
world record hiccups on the steps.
spitting over shoulders
or in between inhales of smoke,
or peeing.
exorcist style.

post-deciding not to decide
choosing not to be able to choose
planning moments where there will be no plan
preparing for having no preparation
dressing for having no semblance of aesthetic appeal,

I've dreamt of a talking horse
who's appendages flailed, very cartoon-esque.
We were quite close,
breaking the species barrier.
Post-dreaming, I miss him,
and the absence of transportational worries.

Oh well horse, oh well pitas.
Oh well kiss,
oh well ellipses...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The night I saw the hooker get pimp slapped

I stepped out of a bar in Wrigleyville to answer a phone call, when a short, antsy guy, who looked like Gumby, had bought me an undeserved and unwanted drink. It was hot and bright in the bar, so every witnessed annoyance was amplified by the vision of misfits dancing to horrible hit songs from 5 years ago. Everyone in the crowd sweat profusely, and skin to skin dancing fogged the windows of the small room.

I answered the call, and stepped to the curb to hail a cab towards different friends on a different street. Drunkenly, I chatted for a few moments with a fairly normal looking guy and girl who were parked blocking the street before me on a motorcycle. The guy, in sort of a cliche leather jacket, looked to be in his mid-twenties, and had elemental features. I could draw him. The girl was a bit younger, blonde, and almost annoyingly enthusiastic. They asked if I wanted to go around the block a few times on the bike, and thanks to Gumby's drink I chugged, and a few shots seconds before that, I got on. I figured I needed a ride anyways.

We drove back and forth on Clark street a few times, sort of weaving through the always-static traffic. It was funny at the time to see all of the staggerings from the outside angle; girls in shirt-dresses, and packs of twenty-something guys watching them. All of the really cool bouncers who own the street, and the entertaining bums who sit down next to it and wave. I always get this intrusive feeling that I know strangers. I'm wrong a lot.

The girl, named Kate, was annoyingly enthusiastic about the idea of coming with me to meet my friends at Maxbar. 'Eh, sure why not.' She asked Chad (leather jacket) if we could just stop first at some Mexican place a bit west. I sort of lost attention on the way, but heard Kate grumbling explanations of where to turn. Left, left, right, right, left? I didn't know. My head was searching through the city bright for stars. We pulled up to this semi-hidden bar on a side street where an assortment of characters were taking smoke breaks with others taking fresh air breaks with the smokers. It was an interesting crowd. Some obese girls, some skinny sick looking ones, men of every race, but all with dark eyes. It isn't an exaggeration to say that no one was smiling, which I noted as sort of a funny thing at the time. I was making jokes in my head about what a pleasure it was to be there.

So we're sluggishly getting off the bike when a little Mexican man, with grey hair and grey mustache lines running right into a frown, walks over to us fast. He didn't say a word but looked up at Kate and SLAPPED her, hard, across the face. It seemed like fast motion because I couldn't even gather what was going on until she had already methodically followed him into the bar. Chad and I did all the 'what the hell was thats' outside for a few minutes, collecting thoughts and theorizing. Non of the frowners in the smoke and fresh air seemed to give a shit. I needed an investigation.

We went inside of the bar to peek around a bit. I had to pee very badly but thought twice and declined after re-examination of this place and the people. Chad and I took seats on a slightly elevated spot of the bar to look for Kate and the Mexican slapper. Chad suitingly bought us a few coronas with lime, which matched nicely with the festive decor. It made me burst into hilarity thinking of him matching his jacket to the bike, the coronas to the bar, and how endlessly exhausting that would be to coordinate your tastes by context.

I could see Kate now, dancing in the middle of the floor with a few black men in suits, one tall and one short. She was grinning a bit and giving both men equal affection. I was weirded out, but so overwhelmingly confused by the situation. I walked over to her. "Hey uh.. Kate- still want to come to Maxbar? (pause) aaaaand are you ok?" She prompted from dancing grin to excited smile, but smilingly responded that she'd need some time. "Oookie dokie." I was drunk and audacious, and spotted the Mexican slapper.

He was sitting at the bar, looking towards her and the others dancing. He was surrounded by a few other cross-armed Mexican men, not quite as old but still grey. I asked Slapper why Kate needed to be there. I kept the inquiry casual, figuring a twenty questions duel would make me get slapped too. "She's working." "What exactly does she do here?" "She works." "Oook fair enough see you later." I left.

Chad followed after me and offered still to give me a ride to Maxbar. We reviled over Kate for a minute, and she suddenly popped back to the side walk with that same dancing grin on her face. Chad tried to call her name, but she was in some sort of drug comatose, or otherwise crazy. We drove away and I turned, watching her talk to the smokers, wondering what the hell happened to her.

Shortly after, I found my friends at Maxbar. It's obnoxious there; the house music, even more packs of seething guys, and girls with overdone makeup stagger in and wave their arms singing. "This is my song!" A bit sobered up now, I pondered the verity, and sipped on an overpriced, overdone martini, context appropriate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

She's angry because I don't want to talk about things that don't matter.

These are my weekly governments:
Let us cut out silhouettes of my
sunrise to sunset
put them in a path for conversation
From when the bright cold licks my face
to when I cannot hide from ghosts who watch me sleep.

And I will measure the snowfall with my boot
squint through the glass to the white uninhabitable world.
Halted, hiding, numb.
I will run
far, or fast.
If for any reason at all,
If for one justifiable cause-
it is to breath
to weeze
to cough.
To salt my lips.

So come.
We can face eachother without the ability to manipulate
due to perspective
or alliance.
A narrating voice,
heroic and low,
will be the bipartisan scapel.

If your blood too barrels,
Needing to escape through any pore,
Through any exit from the entrapment of skin,
From thoughts, torrents of commodaties
voices laughing over garbage,
garbage with your face on it..
we will coexist.

believing existance is spent,
with knee socks in solitude,
pretending we didn't destroy ourselves
by a wood burning stove.