Thursday, July 31, 2008

Atlas Shrugged

I hold up the sky -- it is weightless, like a balloon. Think about it, do you think the sky has weight? Not content to be idle, I learn English, Spanish, Italian, German, Peruvian, and Persian. Sometimes other Titans come by to say hello and shoot the shit, and we end up playing Texas Hold 'Em. Last week a little kid came by selling magazine subscriptions, and I let him hold up the sky for 15 minutes. He loved it! Look at me, holding up the sky! Wait till I tell Mom and Dad, they'll never believe this! Zeus found out, of course, and was angry like an old woman, but I don't care. You know, there are worse lots out there. Some of the boys in Hell aren't even unionized. Me, I'm stuck in one place, but I have a great view -- on a fine blue day I can see all the way to North Africa and Morocco -- I'm the first to see the birds migrate on their way to Spain's dappled hot groves of olive trees and oranges, I can almost feel roots reaching into the red earth. The breeze blows strong with a hint of deepest Africa, glad savage and sweet. I am truly happy. Are you?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Under the Twittering Skies


I feel bad for the lawn, under the twittering skies, so I over water it severely, while reading from a lit mag about Crowley and Loch Ness. While I do this, I find myself talking to angels. I talk to the deck. I imagine things will be just fine. I wonder what it would be like to be water coming out of a hose, through a sprinkler. I wanted to avoid getting this lonely, I forced myself to take long walks, get to know the neighborhood, go to the Library and read huge 4 color art books at random. But the hours added up, they added up, indeed. So here I am now, correcting my sanity. There really isn't anything to worry about. But my bike lock is too small, I think.


Everyone is back and I hate my apartment, but I like it, too. I have no air-conditioning, but for some reason, even though the night is moist, I sleep deeply. I am learning all over again to love the world.

Friday, July 04, 2008

All Unsaid

ALL UNSAID, BUT PAY ATTENTION: And now that I am back, there may be times when I cannot speak to you. If you notice that you have been talking to me for more that 5 minutes, and I have not said anything, and I appear to be unable to speak -- it is best to just leave me alone, or lead me to a semi-dark room, lay me on a bed, to come out of it. I got out of it, and I know I will be bringing it with me -- it is inevitable that I will be bringing with me. Take someone from one situation, and 48 hours later, place them in a totally different situation, old habits and reactions persist. You've been filled up, you bring it. I won't tell you what I am seeing, overplayed onto this sunny reality, because I know it is not real, just a series of semi-hallucination of the recent past. I won't tell you the imaginary sounds I hear, impossible sounds, surrounded by carpet and tile and sheetrock walls -- the birds of the forest, the crackle of a twig, (I smell smoke) the bolt on a rifle being racked open and closed out of boredom. Rifle is racked open and closed out of boredom. Rifle, racked open and closed, again. Oh, now a magazine being rocked into place, just so, not to get stuck. You can hear it when it is done right. Slide, rock. Click-clack. You look up. The boy racks the bolt back again, a round cycling into the chamber, or possibly not. It depended on if the magazine was full, or empty. He's 12. He points the muzzle of the assault rifle at you, at your left eye, and before you can be afraid, the rifle goes "click". By this accident, this suddenness, you are unshakably fearless, chained to the ground, by your neck, in the mud, full of worms and malaria. You kind of die, then -- in dying you feel you are fearless. I'll always love you. Even when I don't seem to love you anymore.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Good Read - The Laughing Policeman

I don't consider myself a great fan of "crime novels" or "mystery fiction", but I just read one of the best endings to a novel, contained at the end of the very last sentence, on the last page of the plot. So elegant, so simple, four words seamlessly rearrange the entire conceptual significance of the story, and bring things to a satisfying end. The book is "The Laughing Policeman", by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, husband and wife, who wrote the Martin Beck police mystery series, ten books altogether. Almost all of the stories are set in Sweden, in Stockholm, starting in the 1960s. The characters are constantly grumpy, terse, with each other -- Swedish, I guess. This directness in dialog and the unflinching characterization it creates, is refreshing. I particularly like the series because, if you don't watch out, the authors have a way with lulling the reader into making assumptions where the plot is going, only to reveal a stunning surprise (or two) along the way that completely levels you. Often also, it is what is not described, or exactly the opposite of what is being said, that is the reality in a key scene. Sjöwall and Wahlöö are not demanding for the sake of it, but rather they expect the reader to be perceptive, and to be thinking. I was introduced to Martin Beck quite by accident, when I found a copy of "The Fire Engine That Disappeared", left behind on a train in the 1990s in San Francisco.