Tuesday, June 27, 2006


The Ego has a nightmare, and wakes up long before I do. He tramps grumpily around the house for awhile waiting for the coffee to percolate, the scent of freshly ground beans teasing his nostrils at every turn. On edge, he chews on his thumbnail while staring vacantly out the front window. Then, summoned by a desperate whinging, he lets the dog out for a piss.

I pass him on the stairs awhile later, and he just looks at me with these dark eyes as if to say, "I'm going back to bed - don't even talk to me." So I don't, and I make my way to the kitchen where I pour myself a cup of coffee, add a little Irish Cream, and sit at the table where I watch the dog sleep by the patio door, her legs kicking and lips curling. Bad dream, I think, and lift my tired eyes to the window.

Downtown in the afternoon beneath overcast skies, I pull my coat around me, its pockets heavy with books. Hegel's Science of Logic and Georg Lukacs' The Theory of the Novel tug at my waist, making their presence known. Striding hurriedly down the street, I'm sipping greedily at a paper cup of cheap coffee, watching people move in and out of buildings like shadows.

We're all ghosts down here, I think. Non-bodies gliding this way and that, spectral entities going about their lonely daily business, the true tragedy of it all being that though they are cut from the same cloth, they possess no conscious knowledge of one another. Rain starts, quickly turning to hail, and I duck into a portico, instantly melding with the stone.

But I can't wait around for long - there's another to meet. Just one bundle of atoms begging to move on, to move on and hook up with another. And these hands. These hands which will so easily forget the mind that they rely on when the waist they're wrapped around is yours.

Walking down the street,
I'm pulled in your direction;
a kind of subatomic coercion,
an extrasensory connexion–

Saturday, June 24, 2006

the experiment

Easily the stupidest thing you've ever done. Soft white walls growing softer and whiter as the shit seeps into your brain. Slow haze and roiling guts, present fiction mixes with past reality forming a virtual psychoaudio collage of indeterminable quality. The angle all wrong, the ceiling stretches to become part of the wall.

No doctors. No, sir. Not me. Doctors are like goddam auto mechanics. Fix one-thing, unplug another...

Ratso. From the other room, fucking Ratso and Joe squawking from the television.

Well, just exactly what the hell you think you're gonna do? Die on me?

I'm going to Florida, that's my only chance.

You know what's wrong with you? You got fevers. You kinky as a bedbug. How you gonna get to Florida?

Are we there yet? Are we fucking there yet? Your shuddering turns to convulsions as you let loose a stream of vomit onto the kitchen floor. Hands and knees now. Steady, old boy - this is just an experiment. You remember how it is right? The sickness will pass. The sickness will

Why are you keeping this?

Jane. Janie, no. Janie's voice rises up from last month, an old conversation crackling out of the ether. A dusty old recording. Analog reel-to-reel.

I thought you were through with that shit...

I just-

What, are you going to start using again?

I just keep my old gear around as a reminder.


It's not really quitting if you never have to resist temptation.

The tape snags, stretches, and snaps, your voices lost in the past, as nausea gives way to bliss. On the edge of Euphoria now; a warm, fuzzy blanket. Almost there. Just push on through.

When I put you on that bus down to Florida tonight, that'll be the happiest day of my life!

There are big, gaping holes in the fabric of time. The clock's hands skip seconds and entire blocks of minutes, jumping and jittering around the face.

You get your first palm tree in South Carolina.

You're telling me you keep this shit around so that you don't use it?

How'n hell a dumb Bronx kid like you know that?

I'm just saying that if I'm never tempted, I'll never know if I can resist-

Where the hell did you get a stupid idea like that?

I read it.

I read it. Saw it in some article about a month ago-

Shee-it. You believe all you read?

And you believe everything you read?


"What have you gotten yourself into, huh?

A mess. A goddamn mess. Treated to a private laser show, the stars explode in the heavens above. Your stomach is rattling the cage door, wanting desperately to vacate its confines.

"If you have to shiver, why don't you pull the blanket up more?"

Hurts. Hurts so bad. There's a pain now, right behind those closed eyes. Eyes as good as welded shut, and a mind that just will not wake up. Want to go. Want to get the fuck-

"Shhh - baby, be quiet, lie still. I'm-"

-out of here.

"-here now. I'm here now. Everything's going to be okay."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

futur parfait

You're little more than a faint voice nearly lost amidst crackling static, a tiny, tiny voice pushing her way through great, jostling, white and black globs of interference. I'm holding my cell phone up to my ear, and squinting through the train window into the gloom.

"I'm sorry dear, but I can barely hear you."

"Je serai-" Fade to fuzz. "-avant que-" squealing dissonance. "-arriviez."

"Pardonnez-moi. Really, now - my reception seems to be almost nil. Can I call you back when I find a more reliable telephone?"

"Je serai-" Urgent now, but this line, as well, deteriorating, crumbling away like those before it.

"Listen, the train is just about to depart. I'll call you right back."

Clicking my phone shut, I'm just about to get up from my seat when the door to my cabin is opened, and in blows a whirlwind of long legs, Luis Vuitton, and platinum hair.

"I'm sorry," she breathes, "I wasn't sure anyone would be in here."

I just stare, partially standing, my mouth agape.

"I think this is the right place is it not?" she asks. "Cabin B-2?"

"Yes," I acknowledge with some apprehension, "but I really wasn't expecting anyone."

"I know, and I hope you're not upset that I'm here," she says before nibbling at her bottom lip. "It does seem, though, that they have gone and overbooked themselves."

"Well, I'm not upset that you, in particular, are here, but I did pay for privacy," I say. "Now I'll have to rearrange my stuff." With that I begin clearing the other seat of my belongings.

"I'm sorry, but is that your phone beeping or mine?"

"It's mine," I say from amidst a great pile of things. Balancing my appurtenances in my arms, I attempt a clumsy gesture for the woman to sit in the newly vacant seat across from me. "Sounds as though I've a message."

All at once, the train lurches to life, there's a little confusion, and the two of us resort to sitting in silence as it gains speed, whisking us from the grey concrete of the platform into the barren yellow countryside. The mammoth machine settled into motion now, we fall into a semblance of relaxation, tranquilised by the droning thrum of steel rolling on steel.

"I'm sorry," I say, offering my hand, "I think we got off to a bad start back there."

She takes my half smile, making it her own, and takes my hand as well, shaking it gently.

"It's perfectly fine. Understandable, even. My name's-"

There's another beep from my phone.

"I think you're still beeping," the woman says, with a chuckle.

"Yes," I smile, "you'll have to excuse me while I check my messages."

Phone pressed to ear once again, I hear your voice now, clear as ever.

"Je serai parti avant que vous arriviez. J'expliquerai plus tard pourquoi."

I click my phone shut.

"Something the matter?" the woman asks.

"Seems as though I'm on a train to nowhere," I say.

She just looks quizzically, unsure of what to say.

"So, where are you off to?" I ask. "Maybe we're going the same way."

Friday, June 16, 2006

futur proche

There is one question on the mind, and yet a whole host of letters waiting to be hammered onto screen by eager little fingers. Vocalisation, those words sung from another room, forcing a disconnect between that which is thought and that which might soon be writ; ideas not yet formed into words, interrupted, instead, by incessant half-threats.

"Je vais partir!"

How long will she wait? In my mind, there is an image of the impending paragraph; a photograph of an idea, I suppose. I know the number of lines this future paragraph is going to be composed of, and even the number of words in each line. There will be no waste, no unnecessary words, because such verbosity is intolerable, even inexcusable. No, there will be no waste, because such waste is not only supererogatory, but actually totally impossible. After all, an author is not actually capable of writing more words than is required to express an idea of his or her own.

"Je vais partir!"

How long, how long? The singsongy tone lost, and replaced, instead, by breathless fervency. Exasperation? She's going to leave, yes, but when, and will I be with her? At which point does the immediate future happen? When threat becomes reality. When the bolt is undone, door is opened, when threatener crosses the threshold and threatenee is left behind. It is at this point that she will walk arm in arm with the Present across the threshold, and the Future will slip inside, unnoticed, through the closing door.

"Je vais-"

"Just a minute, please."

The Future waits just on the other side of that door, an unwanted guest longing to breach the peace of my house. I hear, now, its hand rattling the exterior doorknob, and I'm out of my chair, running down the hall.

"Just a second! I'll be there!"

A head full of ideas, but not a single one transcribed. Frustration. To see life, to truly see life, to understand life at all, will bring about a yearning to make art of it. Will give birth to a restless desire to copy it. Could very probably hurt one psychologically to some degree. Truth through rose-coloured glasses; writing's just the price I pay.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

futur simple

How can the Future endure us? It sits, waiting patiently, in a small café outside of time, outside of mind. But the Future is never bored. No. In fact, the Future, right now, flirts unabashedly with a barista while sipping from a cup of strong Turkish coffee.

"Explain the weird taste in drinks," she says.

"It's simple, really," the Future replies. "Unlike your common, vastly inferior percolated coffee, this coffee takes time and effort to make. Listen to me now: the freshest of roasted beans ground so fine so as to be almost powder; an easily dissolvable, but equally tasty sugar - my personal favourite being blanco directo; filtered water; fresh cardamom. All of this is mashed together and boiled three times with time to cool in between." The Future closes its eyes for a moment, taking a sip, savouring the taste. "See, this relatively lengthy process cultivates not only the best tasting coffee, an unparalleled gustatory enjoyment, but a sense of satisfaction as well. And you will certainly appreciate the effort spent - you will have no choice."

The barista rolls her eyes. "You should write commercials," she suggests.

"Perhaps something for the future."

"That reminds me - you know what else Turkish coffee is good for?" the barista asks.


"Tasseography; a form of fortune telling. The Turks read their futures in the grounds left at the bottom of their coffee cups."

At this, the Future just smirks and stares at the waitress for a moment. "Come on..." it says, "who do you think you're talking to here?"

Smiling sheepishly, the barista blushes and mutters an apology.


"How can the Future endure us?" I ask, taking a brief sip from my Turkish coffee. "It knows not what or who it is waiting for, but it waits for us all the same. Twiddling its thumbs. Lying on the sofa with a television remote in one hand and a domestic beer in the other."

"I'm really curious," the barista starts. "Why do you suppose it is that you're so stuck on this idea of the Future as such a passive entity?"

"What other life is there for it?" I ask.

"I suppose one could go another route, she says, "and suppose that the Future is an obsessed collector. Cataloguing. Creating databases. Constantly researching. You know, taking an active part in its own neurosis."

"I don't know if I'm sold."

"Or maybe," she says, "it's a narcissist. A misogynist. A megalomaniac. Perhaps all of the above."

"Perhaps," I say, "but for now, it waits - I've no reason to believe otherwise."

"Vous changerez," she tells me. "You, too, will change."

And I've no reason to disbelieve her.

"Tell me," she says, "have you heard of tasseography?"

Monday, June 12, 2006


Misery hangs. Its body swings slowly with the breeze, toes thumping on aged floorboards with each morbid sway. A fraying rope begs to be severed, whispering promises of sweet release which seem lost in the cool night air. Yes, Misery hangs, its eyes bulging amidst a bloated purple face, twisted, like the coils of the noose around its neck. Having kicked out the stool, it had only a split second of reservation - but by then it was too late. One second to fall, but falling forever, offering up an eternity of regret and the thought of but a single line: "I've fallen for you." This, perhaps, an extreme example of what the intelligentsia might call esprit de l'escalier.

—The above image, either wishful thinking, fraud, or outright fabrication.


It had been raining for days already when you called.

"Did you hear?" you asked.

My silence told you that indeed I had. Incapable of putting Grief into words, I could only stare out at the wind whipping the trees, the rain battering the window glass. Finally, a question came to mind.

"If Misery is truly gone, then what is this?"

You paused a moment while tailoring a response. "Perhaps Anguish or Heartache has been given a promotion."

"Perhaps," I agreed. "Or maybe Dolour - it really has been unappreciated in recent years."

"True, true."

"So, when's the service?"


"You going?"

"Of course.

"Then I'll see you there."

And with that I set down the phone, unwilling, unable to speak any longer. Although it may have appeared as though Misery had left this world, I knew this could not be the case.

—The above dialogue, either hallucination, delusion, and certainly fragmentation.


Misery hangs out. If not truly Misery, then its spirit, at the very least, has set up shop, made itself at home in my home. We're flatmates of a sort. It hangs out with me in the evening, sitting beside me on the sofa as we watch television. I want to watch sitcoms, while it insists on watching game shows. I bring home a case of Coke and it derides me for not choosing Pepsi. Yes, Misery hangs out and will not leave. It cooks elaborate meals, using every pot and pan in the kitchen, and does not clean up after itself. It wears its shoes in the house - a sore point between us. After a particularly nasty fight which saw us accusing one another of living fake lives and dying fake deaths, I fled the house and was arrested on the stairs by the sudden manifestation of a witty retort - a witty retort which had come just a moment too late. At once, I felt a chill across my shoulders in the shape of a ghostly arm, and we walked down the stairs together, me smiling, alone with my thoughts. L'esprit de l'escalier. My old friend.

—The above scene, personification, a play on words, and abstraction.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Last day of the punk show

"Someday," you say. "Someday we'll go back down there. Late at night like. We'll dress all in black," you say. "Black jeans and hoodie. Maybe I'll even dig my old Ramones sweater out of the closet for the occasion. Pair of black Chucks for creeping around all quiet like. What do you say? You in? We'll pry open that rotten door at the back. The same door we used to skip past the line at. All those suckers waiting in line; you remember that? Head in through the back door," you say, "jump up on stage and give it one last go. You'll have your guitar and I'll-"



"The old hall burned down years ago."


"Four years at least."


Circa 1992. Lost in the pit, just a boiling mass of bodies, ripped jeans, and concert tees, damp with sweat and beer. Blood drips from my nose, the result of a wicked elbow to the face; an anonymous hit - no harm, no foul. My own knee connects now with the cheekbone of another, sending us both crashing to the sticky floor. There's the mad scramble to resurface before it's too late. Before we're trampled to death. My eyes briefly meet his through the chaos of legs and I'm offered a bloody grin. "No harm, mate," he seems to say. That second, we're both pulled back into the fray by the anonymous hands of the mosh angels. Got to rediscover the rhythm. Got to slip back into pattern, that swirling, agitated muddle. Got to get back



Back to the calm of a sunny suburban day. Relaxing in the easy comfort of my backyard patio, I watch as you adjust the umbrella to better shield our eyes from the blazing sun. Hoisting my bottle of imported beer, I prompt you to do the same and offer a toast.

"To temporality," I say.

You echo the sentiment before allowing our bottles to clink.

"You know what the true failure of suburbia is?" I ask.

"Enlighten me."

"The true failure of suburbia," I say, "lies squarely in the very safety we all seek here. Its failure lies in its homogeneity, its uninspiring blandness, and in its rampant unoriginality. Where are the weirdoes and freaks to inspire our future children? Where are the decrepit arcades and concert halls they'll frequent?"

"Downtown, of course. They'll move out of here as soon as possible," you say, "and move downtown."

"I know. And then the adult switch will get flipped like an overloaded breaker and they'll all move back out here, each with the same burning question on their lips: why did I ever leave?"

"So much for antiestablishmentarianism."


"You know, we used to mock this life and now we live it."

"There's just no way of getting around the way things are meant to be," I say.

"Formulaic, our lives."

"It's the natural progression of things," I say. "We all grow up yearning for anarchy only to wind up embracing antiquity."


A sliver of light
divides dawn from night-
and me from you.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

how novel

five hundred pages
of bold-faced lies.