Friday, August 22, 2014
"I'm wet, I'm not insane," I say. The man laughs. We're strangers taking shelter under the canvas awning of a hotel. It's not a particularly funny thing to say. I don't even know why I said it, just to say something, I guess, to be social. The man probably laughs for the same reason. The awning is green; it flaps hard in the wind. He must have said something causing me to say what I said; it's hardly likely that I would have said such a thing apropos of nothing, but what he said I don't remember. The rain is hammering down. It is the kind of rain that doesn't last for more than ten minutes or so. This rain has already lasted more than twenty and shows no sign of letting up. The man asks me into the hotel for a drink. I say "Okay." Why? I don't know. I don't remember the name of the hotel. It bears some kind of crest or coat-of-arms involving a concrete lion's head. I know a lot of hotels have motifs with lion's heads and this isn't much help. Sorry. At the bar, he does most of the talking. He is a very good conversationalist but, no, I don't recall anything specific that he says. It's kind of like background music in a movie. I have two drinks and I leave somewhere in the middle of the third. So I'm not sure how I end up in bed with him. As a matter of course, maybe; out of courtesy. Does that sound crazy to you? I assure you, it happens, probably more often than you suspect. No, I'm not unhappily married. I don't remember his name. Maybe I am insane.
When we are done, I get dressed quickly. I sit on the edge of the bed to put on my shoes. I lean forward and rub my legs and feet. How far and over what terrain they have carried me. My hands—how much they've picked up. They've let go of even more. One day I'll cut myself out of this pink suit and go back to where I came from. What a relief it will be to leave the whole mess behind. What will I tell them when I get back? Probably just what I've told you, only they will understand.
Posted by mcw at 9:44 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
When I get home they've taken the armoire, the tallboy, and they're in the process of removing the dining room table and an easy chair. All my favorite pieces of furniture! I press myself against the wall to let them pass with something swaddled in a stained drop cloth (like the ghost of furniture) with something still sitting in it upright. I slip inside and take a look around. The place looks like the inside of a computer raided for spare parts. They've left the toilet seat up and the bowl full of urine. Who are these men? Who authorized this semi-move, anyway?
On a small table, under the mirror in the foyer, I find a letter among the day's coupons, junk flyers, and bills; it's from Russell Edson. When I open it, I find a blank sheet of paper. It is an answer to the fan letter I wrote him in my head a hundred thousand times and never sent because no matter what I wrote it would never do and now he is dead.
With this blank sheet of paper, I finally have the stationary necessary to write the letter I've been waiting years to write.
It, too, will be blank.
Posted by mcw at 7:50 PM
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I drink three cans of poison and I still don't die. It's at this point that I say to myself "This is ridiculous. It shouldn't be so hard to kill myself. Clearly there must be some part of me that wants to live. But why?" That's the part of myself that I send off on a long hopeless crusade, riding a black horse through a desert of intricate and unworkable relationships. "Goodbye to that" I think to myself, locking the door, never expecting to see whatever it was again. "And good riddance, too." Meanwhile I go about my business—pacing the floor, drawing hexes, masturbating, eating sushi. One day, the branch outside the window flowers, a moth flies out of the cereal box, there's a knock on the door.
"Who is it?" I ask, ear pressed to the jamb, heart pounding.
I'm not fooling anyone. Whoever it is already has a key and a hard-on.
Posted by mcw at 11:20 PM
"Art liberates the physiognomy of those who disappeared in the dark shadows of official history writing." —Guido Vermeulen
Posted by mcw at 9:57 AM
Let's all assume we survived the Disaster. We're huddled among the broken brick, warming ourselves by paltry fires, and a cold ashy rain has begun to fall. In the distance: the booming of artillery inching closer. When the army sweeps through for the third or fourth time, what can they do to us now? We're ghosts, little wisps of smoke from funeral pyres.
The unspeakable can only be approached through metaphors and metaphors are like sparrows carrying bits of stuff over borders between distant points, connecting one anomalous place with another and thereby creating a new map of unspoiled lands. Thus the world is fertilized, readied for a new crop of Disasters.
Here's some advice: No one likes to admit they're fighting on the wrong side and they'll kill you for even suggesting it; so don't bother. At the roulette table, the best way to beat the house is to bet as if there weren't any numbers at all. Children on horseback often seem like the answer, but no matter how appealing the idea, they aren't. People who grow sunflowers are happier than people who don't. Should you, while sleeping, dream of chewing small chunks of very rare beef and find yourself enjoying it, do not believe, not even for a minute, that your days as a vegetarian are over.
Posted by mcw at 7:33 AM
Sunday, August 17, 2014
There's a celebration in progress but it seems to be coming from a long way off. Is this what it means to grow older? More and more I feel as if I'm watching things from outer space. Today I'm notified by certified mail that I've won a sweepstakes I don't remember entering from a supermarket chain where I don't even shop. As the first-prize winner I'm entitled to run up and down the aisles of the local store like a lunatic pushing an empty shopping cart. For twenty minutes I can throw in anything that I like. Soda, snack cakes, small cellophane wrapped—carcasses. Anything. I imagine running up and down the aisles for twenty minutes in a cold panic and ending up with the cart just as empty as when I started. I can think of nothing more horrible. To the audience, I must seem terribly ungrateful, gasping for breath, dripping sweat, empty-handed. It's like one of those awful dreams when you suddenly realize you're naked in public—a total humiliation. But, unexpectedly, instead of humiliation or public derision, it appears that I am now entitled to an even higher-tier prize. "Congratulations," the mailman says and presents me with a second certified letter, which, without even opening, I politely decline. "Thank you but no thanks," I say. From now on, I'll be entitled to no more prizes. The mailman nods and says, "Self is a visitor that does not stay."
Posted by mcw at 10:00 PM
"It can be taken as an axiom that all governments everywhere lie—it is inevitable. Naive people think that conspiracies are seven men around a table in a Machiavellian plot: a conspiracy is an atmosphere, or a frame of mind in which people are impelled to do things, perhaps those things that they could never do as individuals, or couldn't do at other times when the atmosphere is different—[things] the populace have never heard of, nor would they find out except by accident, or by a member of the 'conspiracy' not being sufficiently brainwashed into secrecy and spilling the beans."
Posted by mcw at 6:51 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2014
A faith healer comes to town and I go to see him but I wind up lame. I do exactly as he says, throwing away my crutch and crying "Hallelujah!" but I end up face down in the snow. What am I doing wrong? There must be a trick he's not telling us, a book that I can buy for further study. I look in the mirror and see a calm woman who knows all the secrets but she might as well be ten thousand miles away at the bottom of a great dead sea.
The faith healer steals out of town one frosty early morning wearing a red fez and a flowered housecoat. He's cut short his engagement without telling a soul. I'm the only one who sees him leaving. As his tour bus pulls out of the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, I throw away my crutch, cry "Hallelujah!", and fall face-first in the snow for what feels like the millionth time. I don't blame anyone reading this for thinking the solution was going to be as easy as that. Because, frankly, I did, too.
Posted by mcw at 9:56 PM