Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Twelve

running only on somewhat different themes. “None of it’s fair. It’s all fixed. They know who’s going to win every time. It’s all just a big joke.” The girl delivers the ant into the keyhole of the white box on the floor. As she rises, a movement catches her eye. No, not the ceaselessly complaining figure so like all the others. A shadow in the corner. She reaches inside her jacket and finds a penlight. The tiny bright spot probes the upper rim of the cabinet above the sink. Nothing, nothing, nothing. There! The girl rises on tiptoe. A black

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Eleven

hurt somebody, you know. You really have to know what you’re doing. People get injured, and they don’t have anyone to take care of them. You don’t know!” The girl gets up, brushes more dust or the idea of dust from her pants, and leaves the room. In the next room, there is another white box, another naked figure, another pause to kneel and extract an ant. “I’m tired. I’m so tired. I wish death would take me so I didn’t have to be tired anymore.” In the fourth room the set up is the same, the plaintive, irritating monologue

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Ten

think. They can just go on to hell.” The girl pushes herself up, slaps imaginary dust from the knees of her slacks and centers their carefully ironed creases. With measured steps she passes again around the complaining creature, closing the door as she leaves the room. In the next room there is another white box beside another naked figure. The girl settles down beside the box, removes again from her pocket the gold box and inserts an ant into the keyhole of this white box. “Do you think it will work? What is it? It’s dangerous, isn’t it? You could

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Six

jacket she takes a small gold box. She pops the lid on the box and dips a finger in. An ant climbs onto her finger and walks rapidly around it. The girl puts her finger into the keyhole of the white box. When she removes the finger the ant has stayed behind. “I don’t know why people don’t talk to you. You’re standing there and somebody comes by and doesn’t say anything to you. It’s like you weren’t even there. That’s rude. I hate rude people. I won’t talk to them. They can just go to hell, that’s what I

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Five

who wrote that just wanted to make people mad. We try to understand and when we fail, we know in our hearts that we were set up to fail, so we get angry. Deservedly so. And we are forced to retaliate. How dare they conspire to attack us! It is terrible, terrible!” This is all said with little emotional affect. Even the last words seem shouted without passion. The girl pulls open the door and steps into the white room. She steps around the naked figure and kneels on the floor before a white box. From the pocket of her

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Four

AGRO lean slightly forward. What matters is how many times you’ve repeated it. The repetition emphasizes the importance. If you’ve said it ten times, if you’ve said it four hundred, what matters is the space before the grave filling with the same grievances you learned to pipe up about when you were eight or, at most, eighteen. “I wish people would write so you could understand them,” the figure intones, head shaking and shaking. “It doesn’t make sense that anybody would write something that you can’t understand. What is writing for, it not communication? AGRO. AGRO. I bet the person

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Three

to the small waiting room where the lights are on and no one is home. No could ever be at home here, still and white like this, every surface without depth. Or so the leprechaun says. The one who is peering down from atop a cabinet. It looks like a spider to the naked figure standing in the room. But this brings no terror with it, this observation, that there is a spider, there might be a spider, a very large spider, black and hairy, crouched on the cabinet. On a piece of tape on the cabinet door the letters

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred Two

of tenure, a touch of misapplication. I have your hand. Would you prefer it back or sides? How many thistlemongers have run you over, their prickles rustling in a handtruck? Samuel, there is a shoe we need you to obey. Your future, wrapped in bubbles, has, at least temporarily, been returned to the original package. There is, truly, nothing new to say, only words to reencounter. They will be strung on a vibrating cord in the hallway to the left, painted in steel bowls in the gallery to the right. The girl wearing the uniform comes down the long present

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred One

white uniform tusk battle tip. A harrowing new adventure, maybe. Or the brash friendship of a set of tumble bunnies. Wild tincture looks curtain spent funk animal hikes, went earthward in a file perpendicular. Look, you who are listening. Abide awhile. There is no tongue in the groove. A mild venture capitulates. Catapults? Wait. Here is some patients, wear it in the patent accident. Cats. There were cats well. An octopus calendar manacle. You are watching television at eight o’clock. The remote remove of a renegade remora, marveling at the mine. Mine mine. All of it. Mine collide. A touch

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thousand: Six Hundred

pelagic viper rounded with a kin oriented rental partnership, tufted but without gills and burning with the eros inherent in the titular nemesis, noggins dulled by rounding, frog attack parapets stuffed to the pillow menace with a fragile gravity helmed by a sentinel thickness crossed over by many tenuous symptoms of the more macular and the lesser kudu, hikes evicted tarragon on the merchant circuit wilting max satellite tump evangelist caldera avert works. A nebulous mixtape. Frangipani semaphore. Nickers emulating the mild form of the risky picket, yellow in the dandelion leaving’s bungled cup. Hyssop. Upstairs nail. Wild tipple badgering

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Nine

and depressions. He walks up one wall, creeps across the ceiling feeling his way with his fingertips, pausing now and again to press his ear against it and listen intently, then down the other wall he hops, his feet together. He rides a unicycle down the hall and a tricycle back. Under the bed he counts the screws holding the frame together. He uses the sonar gun in the desk drawer to image the man in the mirror. He swims the tub for three miles until so far out of sight of the shower curtain that it looks like a

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Eight

Happy? Bernie looks over at the drapes lit by the sunshine. When he goes over to the drawstring and pulls it and the drapes sweep open, Bernie is disappointed but not surprised to see the wall is glowing. There is no window behind the drapes. Who would put a light in a wall? Bernie runs his hand over the glow. Warm. A little too warm to comfortably lean against, but it doesn’t seem like it would burn. OK. Bernie moves about the room, tapping the walls, sniffing the corners, moving the furniture, shifting his weight across the carpet for creaks

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Seven

Imagining he is imagining things, Bernie tries again. He turns the knob both ways, of course, just as he did a moment previous. He turns it one way then the other way twice around then back, as though he were turning the dial of combination lock. No luck. He leans his weight back, pulling, pulling. He pushes. He kicks the door, which hurts his foot. He can now scream, which he certainly feels like doing; he can curl up and sob, yes, sob!; he can throw himself back on the bed where he was happy, where he was happy, dammit!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Six

and as he breathes Bernie feels. Feels. A new heart. He sits up. Presses a hand against his chest. “What,” he says. “I don’t even know him. Do I? I don’t. I wonder what time it is.” Bernie adjusts the pillows, strokes them, smoothing away their wrinkles. Then he gets up and goes to the door and puts his hand on the knob and turns the knob and the knob turns and the knob turns and the knob turns. Bernie pulls. He takes his hand off the knob and licks his lips. “Fuck,” he says, the door not having moved.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Five

can he can he. He’s forgotten what it was he was thinking. “Can I go home now?” he mutters, though that wasn’t it. It was something else. He wets his hands and runs them through his hair, cocks his head to check out the improvement. Standing over the bed, he shakes out the wadded blankets and sheets. Then he sits down. He presses a hand where the body of the cowboy lay. He even closes his eyes and touches his nose to the sheet, breathes slowly and deeply. He wasn’t expecting much, really. But the scent of the cowboy lingers,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Four

a blue washrag. Having wrung it, Bernie is draping the rag over the side of the sink to dry and looks idly at the awkwardly sewn on label. On one side of it there’s a drawing of a goat head, its tongue hanging out of the side of the mouth; on the other, under “Care Instructions” there’s one word: DON’T. “Huh,” says Bernie, laying the cloth back down. “I wonder what sort of market there is for those.” He decides not to bother shaving and towels off. Nice clean towels. Soft and absorbent. He climbs into his clothes. Can he

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Three

to find the cowboy gone. Bernie’s always been a light sleeper. How did the cowboy untangle himself from the bed? I guess them cowboys is good with knots, Bernie thinks, with admiring disappointment. He drags himself out of bed and yanks a rumpled tshirt from the floor. He remembers the bathroom enough to be cautious. Day’s still bright and the room, though shadowy, doesn’t seem to offer hiding spots for a giant spider. Or a cowboy on the john, for that matter. If any towels were used they weren’t left behind. Bernie sighs and washes quickly at the sink with

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-Two

a dust mote trapped in a moonbeam, drifting deeper into the light. What time is it, anyway? Sweaty, one leg wrapped in the sheet wrapped around the nearer calf of the cowboy who murmurs again but this time in some dream, Bernie looks down that naked back, the furrow down the middle he imagines coasting down, he reaches toward it, palm up, two fingers paralleling like skis, and down we go, he says, almost aloud, the two fingers tipping to the left, then curving to the right, what a do run run. Must have slept some, Bernie thinks. He wakes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety-One

where there really are fucking angels and they’re all moving about the cabin, groping each other under the wings, songs as firm on entry as tell you you’ve got no choice really but to open for their verses, and every rhyme sliding in where there’s a pause, an opportunity to anticipate the one to come, the one that will summon the next, the throb of the engines in every celestial rib bending protectively over the sleep of the just, that blind and stirring sublime monster, threatening always to wake, how cute, look at the flutter of a feather, an eyelash,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ninety

to the ear, bites the lobe (“OW!”), snuffles in the outer ear (“eek.”), then nuzzles brusquely Bernie’s neck, rasping away with his own new beard. He murmurs something. Bernie asks him to repeat it what did you say does that hurt the cowboy says how about this do you feel the feathers of my wings beating you air wind fire as I come in to land your skin I burn like this and this little tongue flickering over your nipple does it cool you. Bernie wonders if his ears are on this planet. Did they get rerouted to another plane,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Nine

to be. We used to do everything together.” “You are twins.” “You think we’re twins?” “You’re not?” A paper cup goes by, already partly filled with water. In the cup a lotus blossom soaks. Neither of the children notices. They move on from mysteries to certainties and from those to impossibilities. The conversation touches a tear and prickles with anger, then settles into a tired complacency and silence. “If an angel were to eat you,” one of them says, “would it hurt?” Bernie repeats this question to the cowboy, who smiles and nips Bernie’s chin. He nibbles along the stubble

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Eight

“So did she believe you about the angels?” Bernie asks, dropping a slimy rock just as he sees the coil of black centipede unwinding from the underside. Ploop! it says in collaboration with the swimming hole. “What angels,” says Buttercup. “You didn’t tell her.” “No.” A soft breeze is wandering back and forth through the weeping of the willow, bumping up against this string of tears, feeling with an evaluative thumb and forefinger this other. “What about the,” Bernie starts. “We haven’t been sharing lately,” Buttercup says. “I guess we’re just not going to be as close as we used

Friday, December 09, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Seven

dishes!” “You are washing dishes,” says Buttercup. “You’re going to dry.” “No, I’m not. I’m going to finish my painting.” “Yes, you are. When I do the washing, you do the drying. That’s the way it works. Besides, you can finish your painting, then dry the dishes. They’re in the drainer.” Mother is standing in the doorway. “Should I tell Bernie you’re not available?” “No, tell him I’m painting. And when I’m done we’ll go down to the creek.” “That sounds like a good message, Eula. Probably best for him to hear it right from your lips.” “I’m almost done!”

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Six

as any old squash!” Buttercup is dipping up just a drop of red on the end of the brush, which is already saturated with yellow. Her tongue starting to push out at the corner of her lips, Buttercup swishes the brush across the paper in a quick circle. Emily considers the spoon again. She looks into it. There is something in the bowl, all right. A face. Looking at her. And. It’s not upside down. The face. And it’s not her face. “Girls!” calls Mother down the hall, she’s taking off her heels. “Your friend, Bernie, is outside.” “We’re washing

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Five

butternut squash that’s not a fruit. And you said you wanted to name yourself after a fruit in honor of that barnstormer lady The Tomato which isn’t a fruit either. And you said it was a fruit because it grew out of a flower and that’s why you call something a fruit cuz fruits grow out of flowers, not vegetables, which if I ever said it to anybody they’d think I was crazy because everybody knows a a whatever a pepper or whatever a zucchini that’s not a fruit. Why don’t you call yourself Gourd, that’s as much a fruit

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Four

ridge down the middle that smoothes out closer to the bowl, tines, or blade, rather than the pattern with the cluster of tiny flowers at the tip. She strokes the inner bowl. She feels something. A roughness? No. A slickness? More like that. Only. She can’t. What. “Eulah,” she says and turns to face her sister. “Does this spoon look familiar to you?” “Buttercup,” says the other girl, “and it looks like a spoon.” “Buttercup. Wasn’t it Butternut? You said it was Butternut. I remember because you said you wanted to name yourself after a fruit, and I said a

Monday, December 05, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Three

in the swirl. Emily feels carefully around the invisible objects, making sure she gets every last spoon. But, of course, almost through the forks, which are easier than spoons, as you just have to squeeze them through the sponge, no need to drive around an inner bowl, what should Emily come upon but another spoon. It’s like it popped in from another dimension. She lifts it out of the water and frowns at it. It looks familiar, doesn’t it? There are two distinct flatware patterns, Mother does not like mismatches, and this is clearly one of the square-ended kind, the

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-Two

the dish drainer and starts in on the silverware soaking at the bottom of the dishpan. She likes to do the spoons first because she likes to see herself contained in them upside down. That’s not the reason. She does look each over carefully to be sure she hasn’t missed a spot, but she doesn’t pay attention to the image reflected in the bowl. Washing’s by feel, mostly. Why spoons first? Fingers seek curves. If you’re going to have your hands plunged in hot water that goes cool after awhile, and the cooler the dingier, you find your comforts somewhere

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty-One

in the middle. After washing the brush Buttercup switches to orange. Emily rinses the glass and holds it up to the light from the window. Just to make sure she runs her hand around inside, feeling for any fleck of stuck-on pulp that escaped her ministrations. Is that something? It might be. She holds the glass to the light again and peers into it. Shiny. Emily shrugs, dips the glass into the suds one last time, runs the scrub brush around inside, humming along with the radio, then splashes off the soap under the tap. She upends the glass in

Friday, December 02, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighty

you always turn it down when a song comes on that I like?” Buttercup dips a brush into a ceramic cup. Impregnated with water, the brush touches the surface of the yellow pigment, then, full of yellow, goes to the pebbled skin of the heavy paper. Buttercup considers the effect, cleans the brush with a couple sharp swishes in the cup. “That doesn’t look like a banana,” offers Eula. “It looks like the skidmark I saw on your panties.” Buttercup chooses a brown and hops the brush across the yellow, letting it touch down gently, each spot spreading with darkness

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Nine

a wail, “AAAAAAAAAAASK ME, ask me, ask me! Ask me, ask me, ask me Be CAWZ if it’s not today today today then it’s NEH Vurrrrr. Oh, it’s Never. Oh, it’s Never. If it’s not today then, what can I say, what can anybody say, what is there to say any other day. So ask me!” Buttercup turns down the radio again. Eula looks over at her from the sink where she’s been washing and rewashing the same cut glass tumbler. It had pulpy orange juice in it and the stuck-on bits required repeated application of the brush. “Why do

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Eight

fatalistic blink that the spider is no longer in it. “That is a simple question,” Davey agrees complacently. “I wonder how long it will take me to find an answer.” He lowers his fingertip to the Rolodex. And the Rolodex comes to a stop. Ask Again Tomorrow, it says. Ask Again Tomorrow. Davey nods, as though this were the sagest response one could expect before all the gods and the councils of wise men, the klatches of grandmothers and interlinked supercomputers. Davey touches the controls and a tune he’s cued up starts with a cymbal crash, three loud beats, and

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Seven

how to ask you this,” the caller is saying. I should hang up on people more often, Davey thinks. “But, well, okay, I’ll just come right out and say it. Do you have plans for after?” “After?” “Well, the world’s going to stop, right?, and there’ll be a mess and everything, but, the thing is, with the spiders and all, it’s not like we have to worry too much, there’s no sense passing up opportunities, I mean,” the caller’s voice drops to a whisper, “are you single?” Davey’s eyes wander up to the spider corner, and he notes with a

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Six

dispensed with, really. Once started the Rolodex spins until someone taps it, then it reveals whatever you need to know. Sometimes it says, Outlook Not So Good. Sometimes it gives you a phone number. Davey’s been letting it spin while the woman talks. Why stop it? If the world is going to stop soon, what kind of advice can it give? Davey yawns. I still think the world needs a hand, he says to himself. He holds a finger over the shiny spot on the black Rolodex cover where he typically taps. Eensy weensy spider. Teensy tiny. I don’t know

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Five

about, but before she reveals her own silly premonitions, pshaw!, who could credit the premonitions of a mere girl, even if she does have an advanced degree in wiccanology, a precognitive grandmother (she knew, to the minute!, when President Everheard would resign, and, yes, she assures Davey, everybody knows he hasn’t been elected yet, that’s the point), and a father who was a witch doctor in communities in Africa, the Arctic, the Antarctic (he had hot blood), and the Peruvian Amazon, the caller has one little question, just one, teensy and tiny and unimportant as it may be, so easily

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Four

on about the track record of prophecies handed down by the old gods, how the Hittites knew about track shoes (and that track shoes would ultimately be found to be bad for your feet, particularly the really well padded and expensive ones made in sweat shops by the slight and malnourished), the Goths knew about heavy metal music (and that only long hairs would like it), the Caribs predicted MRSA, SARS, and mercury thermometers (although, the caller admitted, the Caribs seemed to think we would have moon colonies by now, go figure!), and, apropos of nothing, she had a premonition

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Three

to stop spinning. Recently deciphered Ancient Mayan, Egyptian and Celtic Runes all agree. Not to mention the deus ex machina operated by the spider deities. They’re actually the ones who provided the key to the codes. It was a scientist who established communication with the spider deities. His name is Dr Arthur Pod. Weird, huh? Spiders are arthropods; this guy’s name is Arthur Pod!” “Spiders?” “Yeah. Spiders! Who knew the spiders would help us at the end of the world!” Glancing up at the giant spider in the studio, Davey gives his Rolodex a new spin. The caller is going

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-Two

slow down, let alone give up the flying business, and this has been the case for all of, what, eight billion years?, worrying about what would happen if the plane crashed or stopped, wouldn’t that be crazy? What makes you so special that something that’s been going on exactly the same for eight fucking billion years is going to change on your watch? So how much should we be worrying about the earth stopping and everything on it being thrown out into the deadly vacuum of space? Davey has picked up another call. “In two days the earth is going

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy-One

other hand, so what? If you spend your entire life on an airplane, which, as far as everyone else is concerned, is clearly in motion, a plane that never comes down, a plane refueled on the wing, it doesn’t much matter that, should the plane be stopped abruptly, you will continue in motion and be killed as your body bashes against the no-longer-in-motion plane interior, if in fact the plane never comes any such sudden stop. I mean, it might be a scary fate to contemplate, but if the plane has been reliably in the air, not once threatening to

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventy

momentum of a mass spinning along the curve that keeps it steady before a continuous spherical explosion. Should that mass suddenly stop. every body would find out quickly how every moment of every day while crouched in a corner by the ceiling or tapping the arm of the green office chair that seems so dependably on a carpet in a room near the end of a covered walkway off the eaves of which minute globes disconnect and splash onto shadowed pebbles next to a rosebush, every body at rest would learn that immobility was hiding the damnedest velocity. On the

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Nine

pose you some yes or no questions. Tap once for yes, tap twice for no. Is that acceptable?” Davey leans forward, the rusty coils of the old office chair squeaking faintly. The spider does not tap. “Is that not acceptable?” The spider remains unmoving. The spider’s stillness, however, is relative. Dust goes on swirling in air not yet settled after the opening and closing of the door. Moisture curls from Davey’s breath and pores and from the breathing pores in the spider’s underside. Electrons zip through the pathways set up for them. And the whole business is packed with the

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Eight

eyes the elbow turn you have to take to exit the broadcast booth. You have to pass right under the spider. Which may have been there when he rushed to the mic and he didn’t notice. “You one of Dragon’s guests? He just forgot to tell me? C’mon, give me a sign. I know. If you understand me, tap a foreleg. Just one. It doesn’t have to be any big move. Yeah, I’d rather it not be a big move. Just tap. One. Ah. Tap. Ah. Well. Yes. That is a start. Not a coincidence, was it? How about I

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Seven

have a projectile weapon of tremendous efficacy here in my left boot.” Davey gestures significantly at his tattered tennis shoe. “You wouldn’t be an enchanted, um, princess or anything? I’ve never met one of those. Not so far as I know, anyway. I could very well have. Met one, you know. Present company not excepted.” The giant spider seems not to be reacting to these overtures. Davey taps his knee with a finger. “You look familiar,” he lies. “I have the feeling we’ve met before.” This is not true either. “You weren’t at the Carnival of Arthropods, were you?” Davey

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Six

he shot a man just to watch him apply himself to a new course of action in the face of a changed environment,” a patient and tender voice begins. Davey turns the sound down in the booth. He looks up at the spider. Did it move or was he imagining that? “Where did you come from? Yo! Spider! Yes, you. I saw that pedipalp twitch! You can hear me. Are you an ambassador from another dimension? If so, you’re not my first. I have a universal communicator in the drawer of the desk. You’re not dangerous, are you? Because I

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Five

tract houses? The projection TVs? Ah, hell. I had a friend who went to hell. He took a tour, too. A tour led by a dog. A very fine dog, he said. He gave me the dog’s business card. I have it in a file here somewhere. Files. There’s so much to TARANTULA! Sorry. Uh. There’s a story I’ve been wanting to share with you. Last week I conducted an interview with a musical artist you may have heard of. Merle Obregard. The original gunslinger banjolele player.” Quickly Davey queues up the recording. “In his most famous song Obregard claimed

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Four

laughed again. “I know! I know, huh? Anyway, so you made out like Jesus was some big, I don’t know, huckster?” “Motivational speaker.” “Oh. Oh, yeah. I see that. But isn’t he still in heaven? I mean, when he comes to earth, that’s when it all changes, right? Heaven is a great place, by the way. A great, great place. OK. I guess that’s it. Thanks so much for taking my call!” Davey cues up some harp music and while it tinkles away in the background muses, “I wonder what pictures they showed her of hell? The mineral springs? The

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Three

One of the ladies from my group, who got her halo buffed? She said it made her feel light-headed. Ha ha! I thought that was so funny! I sat in on one of the slide show lectures where they showed all the hell stuff. God! That was awful! But later we actually got to meet Jesus! He was very nice. Soft-spoken. When he took your hand he’d look you right in the eye and you’d sort of melt. Completely! When I die I totally want Jesus on my side.” “Any suggestion of when you might meet that fate?” The caller

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-Two

met Jesus. And. He isn’t like that at all.” “Oh?” “No! I went to heaven. I took this package tour. With my church group. It was all-inclusive; that means one price includes not just bed but all your meals and a few special extras, like a massage and halo-buffing. Everybody has a halo. Not just saints. Some people call them ‘auras.’ Same thing. It’s like this glowing around your head. If your halo is spotty it means you need work. Sometimes you need to work on your karma or you have to confess your sins and get absolution or whatever.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty-One

Everybody says that. Or. No, I don’t think I’ve heard that before. What makes you say that?” “Oh,” says Davey. “You’ve got your first name and you’ve got your last name. With those you have the major slots filled.” “Oh, I have a middle name, too. It’s Widget. Rotunda Widget Brunnhilda. RWB. That’s what I put on my monogrammed towels. And I live in Spring Spring, which is just like Sing Sing except that they have nothing in common. The weather’s similar, I think. I read that somewhere. Anyway, I’m calling tonight because I heard you talking about Jesus. I

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixty

“Yes, caller, you’re on the air. Could we get your name and where you’re calling from?” “DAVEY THUNDER!! YAY! Gosh. I can’t believe I got on.” Out of the corner of his eye Davey detects a new shadow. He glances up. A spider, hairy and brown and the size of a dinner plate, fills a corner of the room next to the ceiling. “I can’t believe it. Really. I’ve been dreaming of this moment. Dreaming!” “Dreaming is free,” Davey says absently. “Yeah! So my name is Rotunda. Rotunda Brunnhilda, that’s my full name.” “Sounds full,” says Davey. “Ha ha. Yeah.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Nine

to a tinkling piano that meanders up and down the scales and in and out the gills and touches here and there the fins of some old standard you can’t quite place but which is familiar as the insouciant compound eye of a blue-tailed fly. At the Battle of Agincourt, a poet once noted, a fly explored the protruding tongue of a young soldier. “Spring came to an earth soaked in blood,” Davey says, “and poppies threw open their skirts and bees poked their little noses into the blue fur suddenly exposed.” He taps the next light on the board,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Eight

couldn’t see myself standing up to you, I mean, not standing up in a bad way, challenging you. I mean. I wanted you to like me. And I thought, what if I say something stupid and shit. What if I have no idea what I’m saying, you know, and I say something totally insane, something batshit crazy, I’ll look like a loon before my Hero!” Davey considers the advice the Rolodex has offered. “The name,” he prompts. “Herodotus! There! Are you happy! Herodotus. Fuck.” The voice is interrupted by sobs. “Give my regards to Antietam,” Davey says softly, then cuts

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Seven

than I’ve had my own number.” As Davey speaks, the Rolodex spins and spins, its cards whitely blurring. With a tap of the finger it comes to a sudden stop and one card faces out. “Damn! Buses and shit. I’m uh I’m. I’m amazed, Davey, you hit it so soundly. You know how to get right to the center of the middle where things are true! That’s exactly why I’ve been such a big fan. And, you know, why I’ve hesitated to call before. Why it’s my first time and all. Confidence. You know what I mean? I just. I

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Six

my manners. I am so totally sorry. My God am I sorry. Mea culpa, man! Mea fucking culpa!” “Hey, hey. Chill. Mellow out. Cool down.” Davey flips open a Rolodex and gives it a spin. “The name is merely a convenience. You are to me but a voice without even a hair or eye color. So let’s back up the bus and pretend like I was waiting at the stop for somebody to descend the narrow bus steps and I didn’t know who that was and suddenly burst forth a fresh face that told me it had known me longer

Monday, November 07, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Five

flash, then another. Davey presses the first. "Hello, caller." "Hey, Davey. Love your show! I've been a listener for 32 years now, haven't missed a night. But I want to take issue with something. Last week you said a newspaper was a rent attitude flight risk with attendant renovation perspectives aligned then misaligned with a neutral mental partnership covered in taller whisks. An angry valence makes murky the subtle button, right?" "I'm sorry, caller, I didn't catch your name." "Oh! Sorry, sorry. This is the first time I've called and I was all ready with my question, that I forgot

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Four

hug. It was very cozy. 'So, what chu bin up to since that thing?' and he gave me a big wink. 'That thing with lightning?' 'No complaints!' I said. 'Great to see you here,' he said, then gave me another big wink. 'Just don't drink the water!' We got a good laugh out of that." A tinkling Hawaiian guitar begins to fill in the sudden silence. "So, listeners, what have you been up to since that thing? You know. Since that thing that hasn't let you go." As Davey is reading off the usual contact info, a button begins to

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Three

spun me round. I was face to face with the seminar leader himself, Mr J, Son of a Gun, Watermeddler, and Life Stirrer, his beard with not a flicker of gray and bushy, his mane calculatedly wild (smelled of balsam), the deep dark brown of his eyes like the hearts of two ancient trees felled by lightning. 'Thunder!' he exclaimed with that hearty hale fellow well met bonhomie I've always liked in confidence men and ladies of the night. It's even better when it's not genuine, you know? 'Jeez!' I exclaimed in return and we gave each other a big

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-Two

generally approve of making mistakes, even fiascos, grand spanking embarrassments, I am ready now to realize the error of my making my way here and would like a taxi please.' I thought I might invoke an even higher power but, enough mistakes having already been made, I decided the better part of valor was pushing out through the writhing throng and heading home. Perhaps I was just about at the door, it seemed I had made progress toward egress, I had no intention of closing the gap between myself and the stage, when a strong hand gripped my shoulder and

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty-One

the temptations of the evil, and the other was at the understudy for the regular lead who was usually off on matinees. I'm afraid I laughed at her. My will to live was miffed at being laughed at and shook her finger at me, the red of her nail painting arcs in the passage from being jaded and full of ennui to being dismissive and healthfully cynical. I dropped the half-empty bottle of Jesus Water and raised my hands up to heaven, which was glinting with the facets of acoustic popcorn. 'Oh Lord, deliver me some black coffee, plus

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifty

crunkled underfoot and that the canapés tasted oh so delish. The room spun like a dancing girl and Jesus was still up there rallying the troops, urging every one of us to forge ahead on the roadless travel, to seize the day in our octopus gloves, to sally forth, to act, to believe, and so on. I forget what all. By this time my will to live seemed split in two, one half shimmying out in front of me, beckoning with jungle red nails, the other drawing me back with a slender arm around my waist. Perhaps one represented the

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Nine

thought it might be in the canapés, so I had a few of those. I had to wash them down with some of that watered wine, which, it turned out, was watered with something unwine-like all right, something unwine-like and fiery and clear, like vodka or maybe Everclear. I had a few more canapés, which were dry and tacky and cheap. Or so I thought of the first few. After the beverage chased those down I understood why the punch bowl was still deep enough to float a curly-locked moppet and why emptied Jesus brand water bottles

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Eight

You've never seen a footprint like a footprint on water. It sticks to you, kind of, follows your foot up with a tiny mirror foot, like a leprechaun kicking you off his ceiling. It's weird. Nobody died or maybe he would have proved the whole back to life thing not a metaphor. I don't know. He really had the place fired up. There were people speaking without tongues and people tickling their gums and people tweaking. I wondered who forgot to spike my punch. I almost asked one of the girls rushing back and forth with trays, but then I

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Seven

way, and the right touch with the good finger points the way back to what life ought to know from the get-go. But, c'mon, how can you forget to live? The heart remembers its business, doesn't it? Squeezing all that blood, sucking it in, squeezing it out. The lungs don't need a manual to learn the air game. So what's this about losing the will to live? It's complicated? The more complicated you are the more you got going that's going to go wrong. Sounds simple enough. We also learned how to water wine. Then step all over it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Six

Davey Davey. DAAAAAVEEEE THUN DURR, king of the wild BLUN DEEEER!!! You know what else old Jeez said at the Sem? He said all you need to bring somebody back to life is the right touch. I suspect he was being metaphorical. You know, the dispirited, the lifeless, those succumbing to despair, bringing life back to 'em isn't bringing life to a corpse. Or creating life ex nile crocodile like an alligator bag waking up and snapping at your manicured fingers as you dip in for the calfskin credit card keeper. It's bringing life back to itself, it's lost the

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-FIve

at the Jesus Seminar, the old man himself was telling us there was one way and one way only to shake the darkness with light. I don't know about that but I do know a way and if it's the only way then we're in my comfort zone. You take one cloud, all dark and heady, and you take another cloud, similarly full of oats, and you clap 'em together!" Davey presses a button and a sudden bang of thunder fills the room. As it fades Davey continues, "Welcome once again to the Hour of Thunder. With me, Davey. Davey

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Four

ON-AIR light blinks to life, flickers, then applies itself to a steady amber gleam. “Hey, folks! We’ve got a great show for you tonight.” Davey squeezes the rubber bulb on the end of a horn which goes Ugga-ugh! “If you think mine is the voice of an angel, that I am speaking to you from Heaven above as the end of the world gathers you in, well, yes, I’m not. But there’s something heavenly about me. Some aspect of the divine I’ve never been able entirely to deny. Though I’ve tried! God knows, I’ve tried. Why, just the other day

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Three

punctuation. “Welpy welpy wah. I need something dangerous. Something efficacious. Something ferocious and atrocious.” “Expialidocious?” “We are of like minds, Ugly. We are of like minds. Except that, koff koff, I, excuse me, harrup, hurrup, heeeeerrrrrrruuuuukkkkk. Sorry.” With a shake of its large head the dragon waddles down to the end of the path and out into the mist. Two enormous wings spring from its back where seemingly there had been none, and the dragon leaps into the air, a friendly good-bye lash of its tail the last part of it to be caught by the dim portico lamps. The

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-Two

dragon’s way. The dragon coughs and a puff of ash whirls out of both nostrils. “Oh dear. Dear, dear,” says the dragon, scratching behind a green ear with a black claw. “Frankly, I think the traffic, the weather, the stock market, the vegetables, and the mood on Mount Olympus have been sounding same-y lately. I think they could do with a little shaking up. A little rumba romba timba tumba. Did you like the way I rhymed ‘flooding disaster’ with ‘market forecaster’?” “I wasn’t listening.” “No?” The dragon’s wheezy chuckle preceded another series of shallow coughs and their attendant ashy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty-One

on my way, I’m there! I’ll pop him in the snoot, that’ll show ‘im who’s the popper and who’s the popped. We will continue this another time, Ms Heaven.” Davey hops over the dog’s curl of tail on the mist-dampened stone and scoots through the studio’s open door. After a moment the dragon waddles out. “I need something poisonous.” It walks up to the Ugly Dog and rubs its long head against her shoulder. “I don’t suppose you know where a body could get an infusion? Or an explosion?” The dog raises one eyebrow and casts a sidelong look the

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Forty

About the merry-go-round ponies. And the carneys. And the magical way the ostriches and tigers and horses and zebras all come to life after the carnival closes and go cavorting about the place browsing on kettle corn and peanuts and shreds of cotton candy that the nightly winds spin along the midway. Or whatever the equivalent would be in political intrigue, the halls of power, the conferences of the deities of drink and bad behavior. Then. Then we’d catch ‘em!” “Hsst! Davey! One friggin’ minute, you pauper!” Davey rolls his eyes. “Like dead air ever killed anybody. I’m coming, I’m

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Nine

States? Isn’t that what it’s called now? In this case you’d be the priest and I’d be the child mo, I mean, I’d be the superior. Uh. After the pyromaniac tells his psychiatrist that he’s hankering to see the manes of the merry-go-round horses red with flame, the psychiatrist places an anonymous call to the halfway house where the pyromaniac sleeps every night since he was released from prison and. In this case you’d be the merry-go-round horse and I save you by strapping the pyro to his bed. And you thank me by spilling all about. About. You know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Eight

“Sometimes you just want to yank it up by the roots! Where was I? The Elf? He cuold be useful. In a hazardous sort of accidentally beneficial way. You’ve been let in on it, haven’t you? The big secret. Oh. But you never repeat a confidence. Forgot about that part. Hm. Yeah. There must be a workaround. After the child molester tells the priest about plans to volunteer at girl washing camp the priest reports it to his superiors in order to head off a crime and priest wakes up in a parish in the Soviet Union. Coalition of Willing

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Seven

feeds ichor into City of the Industrial Divine (the fumes from the ichor had him stoned for weeks but I don’t think a drop was spilled), and before that. Before that.” “The moon unit,” says the Ugly Dog of Heaven helpfully. She is sitting in her posture of attention, which, once somebody starts talking, she really can’t avoid assuming. “Wasn’t there something between the City of the Industrial Divine thing and the moon unit?” Out the door of the first small building a long horny head pokes. “Davey! Five minutes!” The young man shakes his head. “Time, time,” he mutters.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Six

we just have to take it to the next level.” The young man takes off his English cap and scratches his blond ruff. “But how to do it. You know, I have the utmost confidence in you. And in the crew. We just have to have a plan. Since the Elf tried to ransom the future for the past, and before that tried to steal all the tea in China, and before that tried to alter our very idea of what music is with that xylophone from the left bank of Lethe, and before that cut open the artery that

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Five

We can take this thing apart. We can reassemble it in a big kind of shape thing, all new, all different, but essentially workable, only better. You have the connections. I have the vision. You do have the connections, don’t you? You know everybody. Everybody tells you their sob story. That’s so Ugly Dog, the world is sad, you know, who else will listen to you, who else will understand you but somebody with mutant wings on her back? I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Confided in you. Laid our hearts bare. Shed a few tears. It’s natural. Now

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Four

dog closer. Then, to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, he crooks a finger and makes that little beckoning tug with it. The dog stops several feet away and wags her tail slowly and warily. The young man looks up the path, looks behind himself into the dim room, the door ajar, looks down the path to where the cover of the portico roof ends and the path goes on into the dark woods. He nods as though this all confirms a theory. He makes a move toward the dog. “We can do it, you and me, U.D. of H. Uh-huh.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Three

by shudders and shakes, eventually clearing enough to illuminate the puddles with sunset pinks,” and the traffic report, “There are vehicles on the road, you know, in sizes small and large, the slower not being the larger in every case.” Big cushy black headphones cover its pointy ears and it speaks into a fluffy green microphone. The dog pauses to watch through the heavy glass of the studio, and the dragon gives a broad wink. The door of the second building pops open as the dog approaches and a young man pokes his head out. “Psst,” he says, nodding the

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-Two

mouth. He sucks on it, its sweet, salty umami bringing an ache to his salivary glands. He hums, the waves along the wall settle into a steady rhythm. The dog leaves the room, continuing down the portico. After the main building the covered route passes soft lawns over which cool mists wander or press themselves. Two more smaller buildings adjoin the portico. In the first a small dragon, only slightly larger than the dog herself (and easily able to curl up on the back seat of a station wagon), croakily reads the weather report, “Rain in fits and starts followed

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty-One

glue and staples that hold it to earth. And it does keep up. It keeps right on up, the ripples getting bigger and closer together, the whole wall simultaneously ashudder. Quiet, though. When the ripples reach ceiling and adjoining walls they disturb nothing, might as well be an optical illusion for all the change they effect. Jack sits down again, pours himself another cup of wine. With a grunt, the Ugly Dog of Heaven gets to her feet and toddles back up the aisle and out the door. Jack retrieves the treat from the floor and pops it in his

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirty

the room. Has something moved? Jack jumps down from the platform over which the tapestry hangs. The draft comes again and a definite ripple passes up the wall. The tapestry hangs perfectly still. The draft is becoming a breeze and the wall, all of stone, shakes and waves roll through it, one after another. Jack closes his eyes, feeling the cool air cross his face. Does he feel a ripple pass through his body as well? Maybe. The dog eyes this new development with skepticism. She growls. If this keeps up the wall is going to pull free of the

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Nine

a murky round-pupiled eye, he’s not examining the animal so much as touching secret points. Now the nose of each knight. Jack taps the bridge then presses gently just beneath an eye. He steps back and looks over the whole cloth, rubs his chin. There’s something more, something more. He gets out that notebook again, licks a finger, and quickly pages through, one glyph in particular seems key. He walks deliberately along, looking high, looking low. He shrugs and runs a finger down a post of the unicorn paddock. He puts the notebook away. A draft stirs a corner of

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Eight

the brain pan? The music of the spheres.” So what if it doesn’t last? What does? Jack knows something about those cheap tapestries, you can tell. The knights, ardently beaming through lifted visor at the blonde ladies wearing conical beribboned hats and shaking handkerchiefs in dainty fingers; the unicorn in a paddock placidly chewing; Jonah popping out of (or into) a bearded whale; Jesus slapping around moneylenders; a pug-faced lion cuddling up with a droopy-eyed lamb. Colors clashing and bleeding. Unmended tears. But when Jack gets up and steps up to trace the lamb’s muzzle, his fingers sliding just under

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Seven

hundreds of skilled craftspeople and the million dollar budget to make something that looks good. First off, you don’t pretend what you’ve got is something it’s not. You don’t hold up tinsel and say, “Be dazzled by this precious metal!” You hold up tinsel and say, “Ooh! Don’t you love the way the light tangles in it, like it’s a cripple dancing, dancing so good you’re envious of his withered leg, you want to laugh at him, then have him fuck you until you’re afraid you’ve lost your marbles, didn’t you hear that delicious clinking as they pattered loose across

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Six

body, like a footprint, like the trail a worm leaves in mud. Most such traces wash away quickly, aren’t even seen, let alone read. But some movements, some dances, have consciousness, and you can contemplate what they leave. The world is written all over. Jack snaps the notebook shut and slips it back into the pocket. He drains the cup into his mouth and gazes up indifferently at the shoddy tapestries. They are supposed to look woven. That they don’t, that they look like poorly printed imitation weaving, is what makes them so disappointing. You don’t have to have the

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Five

had to say couldn’t easily be said with words people have long used for other business. And yet, aren’t there many languages, mutually unintelligible, and many scripts, as like to scribbles as to sentences to those not initiated into their mysteries? Have something entirely new to say? No. You really don’t. Jack looks over the work he’s teased out of the hidden depths of the page. It was there all the time, clearly, and what was necessary was the hypnotic attraction of the pen’s undulations, the pen’s not quite soundless invitation to arise. The shape describes the passage of a

Friday, October 07, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Four

seeks its own level. Jack flips open a notebook he’s pulled out of the inner pocket of his jacket. He slides the slim black pen from the elastic gripping it and jots a few notes. No, that’s too much concentration on each movement of the pen. He’s drawing? If so, the line refuses to resolve into a figure. Bored doodling? A code, runes, glyphs meant to capture meaning like spider webs? That could be it, a script seeking meaning rather than the more usual method of cutting meaning to fit the words you have at hand, as though nothing you

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Three

getting worse, they’re not getting worse faster than usual. Which is to say,” Jack pours himself a cup of wine then replaces the stone jug on the floor, “I’m taking some time to relax.” He sips at the dark and acrid wine. Up in the shadowed corners of the hall there are fissures that will never open wide enough to allow passage even of spirits. But there is one that will. More than one, perhaps. But one, at least. The wine is cold and stays cold on his tongue and moves slowly through his mouth. When he swallows the wine

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-Two

hall, her claws clicking on the paving stones. The hall is empty but for Jack, who, as always, is dressed for somewhere people notice your clothes only when you’re not wearing something that costs too much. The dog sits in the aisle next to him and he reaches into a pocket and pulls out a sealed dog treat which he opens and she ignores, even after he drops it between her feet. She looks at him instead and, as usual, he smiles. “I was there,” he says. “I was there, and it looked about the same, frankly. If things are

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty-One

Lady Dog? Should I say tomorrow will be a fine day, full of delights?” The leprechaun hits himself again. When the leprechaun continues to hit himself in the head, the dog growls. The leprechaun laughs, but not the sort of laughter anyone joins. “What is the number? What is the number, Lady Dog? Shall you guess? The last count of the leprechauns!” He sniffs, sneezes, then grabs his ankles, buries his nose between his thighs, and rolls heavily down the portico like a medicine ball. The dog gets up, but turns in the other direction, walking back toward the meeting

Monday, October 03, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twenty

wrong.” The leprechaun pauses. The dog remains attentive. A breeze stirs the dust and a white plastic cup rolls in a circle near one of the portico’s arches. “When I say it is going to be a terrible storm. When I say that and I am right. That is bad. I do not like being right. If I say it is fine today, fine and beautiful. What then?” The leprechaun laughs. “That is the trick! I never say that! Have I ever said something good is going to happen? That we will be happy and dancing? What do you think,

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Nineteen

The leprechaun hits himself in the head again and a hair falls loose. “Whenever I am right, it’s bad. It’s bad. When I am wrong, it is better. I say it is going to be a terrible stormy day and I am wrong. It is not a terrible stormy day. It rains. But the winds don’t knock down a tree. Not one tree. I say we will go hungry. But we do not go hungry. There is fungus, a new crop, yellow and moist. We do not go hungry. I am wrong. You understand? It is good to be so

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eighteen

tidily, and she yawns. The counting gnome coughs twice. He lowers his head to the ground and listens to vibrations in the earth. His scowl lightens and he hits his head with his fists. The dog whines. The gnome sighs. “I didn’t find them all. All the leprechauns,” says the gno, oh, no, this must be the leprechaun, the one was going around counting leprechauns. “I counted four times. Each time I got the same number. Except the last time. When there was one fewer.” The leprechaun shrugs. “I wanted to count again, but I was afraid I was right.”

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seventeen

wings. At her shoulder blades she has wings, lichen-like in coloring, dull and speckled, about the size of a pigeon’s wings. Nothing like that could generate the lift required for a dog, let alone one of this size. They make her look more like one of those fakes you see in a curio cabinet. You’ve seen the monkey-fish, haven’t you? Monkey head and arms glued to a fish body. When the gnome scowls, angry at some thought, the dog goes into a stretch, extended forelegs, raised butt, the wings opened wide. Dog shakes her head, the wings fold themselves back

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Sixteen

under the futon in the guest room, and dangling from a clothes hanger over the washing machine. I forget which is which. Leprechaun, gnome, does anybody really care? The Ugly Dog of Heaven lifts an ear when the counting gnome stops talking. The dog turns her head and looks searchingly into his scrunched up little face. She’s not a small dog, about the size of a German Shepherd, maybe, but no identifiable breed, pelt patchy, scaly, mottled skin easily visible beneath the sparse hair on her hips, one ear torn, watery, red-rimmed eyes. Ugly. Like I said. Even with her

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fifteen

lovely cymbal-like crash we know the stainless steel kettle lid loves to make toppling and bouncing across the floor is a mystery. One lid yet balances precariously on the gnome’s left shoulder, another wobbles on his butt, looks like it will slide off any moment. His eyes are shut in what must be bliss. At some point I suppose one must find out more about these gnomes and leprechauns. They seem to be infesting this house, the medicine cabinet over the bathroom basin, the kitchen cupboards (yes, another is curled around the waffle press in the cupboard above the stove),

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Fourteen

towering storm clouds. The invasion has started? She looks at her watch. A pale shadow indicates its absence from her wrist. That’s right. She took it off. Something to do with all that time travel, transformations, dimension-hopping, and the need to take a bath, no doubt. Maybe we can probe her mind from here. Tease her name from her frontal lobes, at least. X-ray vision might reveal her business card. We could send an emissary to ask around. The gnome is suckling on the knob of one of the lids. How he got it in his mouth without making that

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Thirteen

new clothes for the soul. The young woman lowers the tea bag into a pot, adds the water, and puts on the lid. The label hangs down the side. She looks at it more closely. There’s a symbol on it she’s never seen before. A logo? It’s not Chinese or Korean or Thai. A fanciful rune? Is it supposed to represent something? An animal. If it’s an animal. A plant. A fungus. An alien from outer space. A motif from an oriental rug. She shrugs and looks out the kitchen window. There are flying saucers skimming the flat undersides of

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Twelve

a paper label, turns and turns, and as it turns the world turns (neat trick) and as the world turns like one grain of sand washed by the waves, the ripples from the bang that made us possible continue to pass through us on their way to the making possible, like the m the eye looks across to see what is coming, what can be done about it. As it turns it reveals its facets, each dark and tangled and riddled with surfaces, the better for the water, off the boil, to fall onto, to enter, to weave from fragrances

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eleven

its wrapping the bag spins slowly on the end of the string. The colors. Are there any? When the light falls on the bag. Brown like a grocery bag. Delicate as skin flayed from a morel. The night could wander for days in the forest looking for a clearing to dance in, the moon curled around the hole the great root of a three hundred year old tree jerked out of as the tree fell. Loosened from the grip of a tight little foil packet, the tea bag, the string that ties it shut the string that hangs it from

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Ten

a pulsating sense of impending virtue, eclectic talents, whispered statistics, and, far in the back, so far back it might not even be there, it might be the shadow of something else, she has the feeling the unnamed god lurks under a tree in a skirt of purple feathers. She puts that tea bag down and returns to the bancha. Subtle and familiar. The dragonwell? Smooth and dependable. But that odd tea, the one without a label. There’s something about it she can’t put aside. The young woman tugs the bag by its string from the foil pouch. Free of

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Nine

under her nose. Hints of concision, suggestions of illusion, lost memories scratching across frictionless barriers, light delayed, a welter of anxieties, tooth decay, sincerity, dried and waxed old tears, white (but only in an abstract sense), burning summer beach boys, lacquer, liquorice, violent respect, a stooped vendor stirring the coals under chestnuts, water with many surfaces, bartender sweat, a silver coin commemorating the coronation of William XI, passels of castles, sleight of hand, weird warmth under a red stone on a frozen plain, alligators wearing fur, miles of chain mail, neither snow nor rain except in dark of night, plaque,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Eight

and a guangxi in a triangular pouch. Among the green teas she considers the jade and the jasmine but without enthusiasm, sniffs the gunpowder before deciding it’s a bit much, and puts aside a dragonwell and a bancha as possibilities. The choice of whites is only two, peony or sunshine. All the herbal teas feature hibiscus. She has never liked hibiscus. While leafing through the tisanes, she comes across a foil wrapper that’s already been opened. Couldn’t the tea get damp then, and moldy? Maybe mold would improve hibiscus. Some molds are even psychedelic. The young woman holds the wrapper

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Seven

and puts it over a blue flame. Having found the box of teas and the square tin of teas and the small cans of teas, she considers her options. There are black teas, green teas, and white teas. There are five oolongs and one small can of the sacred puerh. There are more than a few herbal teas, but those would more properly be called tisanes. Among the black teas she looks over tattered bags of darjeeling, bags of nilgiri in crisp cellophane, fresh bags of dooars and assam, both in red labels, a suspicious keeman in a black wrapper,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Six

first on the linoleum. And that’s the whole production. The cat and caiman hiss and skedaddle, the dog in the hall yawns and lays his head on his paws. “Where’s the remote?” asks a voice from the front room. “I’m making tea!” calls the woman, as she kneels to prod the unconscious gnome with her little fork. When he fails to flinch or groan, the woman gets out some pot lids and balances them precariously on his back. If he should move, there’ll be warning. Gnomes can be sneaky. She finds a kettle, fills it with water from the faucet,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Five

fork and jabs away at the offending toe. It won’t move. It won’t move, dammit. Get! Back! In! There! Ugh. Drops of blood on the counter. She looks at the end of the fork. Blood there, too. Oh. OK. She steps back, holding up the fork like a weapon. As the door swings open and the gnome falls out, the inadequacy of dessert fork as weapon becomes quickly apparent. Not that the gnome attacks. The gnome drops like a ton of bricks, striking the counter and doing a somewhat brick-like somersault on his way to the floor. He lands face

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Four

attraction to gnomes, but every story the friend would tell about her dysfunctional relationships with gnomes, the verbal abuse, the practical jokes, the indifference to human emotion, were examples of what to avoid in life, not what one had to keep going after, hungrily, ever hopeful, dreaming only of the next, surely better connection. The friend, who knows what became of her? If she never gave up her unhealthy obsession with gnomes, nothing good! Gnomes, thinks the woman who is currently trying to close a door on a gnome’s toe, are bad news. With her free hand she grabs a

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Three

kettle and box of tea bags. The first door she opens reveals neatly stacked plates and platters and bowls, the second door glasses and mugs and on the highest shelf the rarely used juicer. The third door she has to close quickly to prevent the gnome from falling out, but the door won’t latch. Ah, a toe is in the way. She tries to poke it back in but there’s more to it than that, it seems. The woman chews her lower lip. Of gnomes she can’t say she’s ever been a fan. She had a friend who had a strange

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred Two

the king told her he had found her a match, the prince from the other side of the mountain would be her lord and master when she came of age, Velma arched one eyebrow. “Whatever,” she said. Does the caiman Velma remember when she was a human princess? She has her eye set on the cat in the kitchen. The cat is arched, hairs on end, mouth drawn open in a hiss and long, slow ehrrr. The woman with the transdimensional shift tuts as she steps over her pet. “Play nice, girls,” she says, opening cupboards in search of tea

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thousand: Five Hundred One

of the transportation, the frog spun slowly in the water. He closed one eye, then the other, then opened them back up again. After several minutes of this seemingly stunned silence, Velma watching him as she knitted, the frog floated to the edge of the pot, looked up at her with an unfrog-like tenderness and said, “Thank you, Princess.” Velma nodded and smiled and later, when the frog had boiled, not having noticed the water heating up, it happened so gradually, she hummed to herself as she smuggled the body into the pocket of the chamberlain’s favorite dressing gown. When

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Just wanted to say, if you’ve been following “Thousand” for five hundred days, you have just that many more to look forward to.

Thousand: Five Hundred

little predator people always cast a gimlet eye upon. When Velma got to her room she hid the frog in her jewelry case, and fetched a big iron pot from the kitchen. “This will be your pond,” she told the frog, plunking him into it, “until such time as it will be most appropriate to return you to your natural form.” Then, saying nothing about it to the frog, the princess turned the electric hot plate on low, the electric hot plate on which she had settled the iron pot. “Nice froggy,” said the girl. Rather discombobulated by the manner

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Nine

outrank you. So shush and don’t go ribbit or anything. We gotta sneak you up to my room. Then. I guess. Then I guess we wait for the perfect moment. Cuz having a prince suddenly show up in my room, yeah, that would be kinda worse than a prince showing up all wet from the pond.” The frog mumbled from where Velma had stuffed him between her petticoats. “Shush!” hissed the princess, figuring her posture, thighs-together, hands folded tightly against them, would be approved, demure and all, finally acting the proper lady rather than the disgraceful loose-limbed, devil-may-care, impertinent, cold-blooded

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Eight

a stake through your heart right here, rightful resident of the pond or no. And who’s to say you’ve a right to a dip in the king’s pond? Just cuz yer a frog? Suppose I was a, what, a alligator or a crocodile or something. The king’d be in his rights to hunt me right down and turn me in a handbag. Or cowboy boots. Or whatever. So don’t go thinking just cuz you’ve been living here since you was a tadpole, don’t go thinking that makes you entitled to proposition the princess. Even if was born yesterday I’d still

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Seven

I could fall in.” So the frog clambered across the spongy weeds at the water’s edge and hop hop hopped to the side of the princess who so delighted him. The frog closed his eyes and opened his mouth, his tongue lolling. Velma shook her head. “No,” she said. “This isn’t a good place. If you were to transform into a prince, it wouldn’t look good. You’d probably be naked, for one thing, and for another, how would we explain it, you just suddenly showing up in the middle of the garden, chatting up the king’s favorite daughter. They’d drive

Friday, September 09, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Six

would touch her tongue to his. “Never,” she said, coldly, then reflected. “Touching tongues. Does that break an enchantment? I mean, suppose you were really a handsome prince who’d accidentally offended some thin-skinned fairy and she turned you into a toad. (‘Frog,’ said the frog.) Would you turn back into a handsome prince after the tongue thing?” “Let’s find out,” said the frog. “That might be worth doing something disgusting, I guess,” the girl said, nodding soberly. She patted the grass at her side. “Climb out here next to me. I’m not going to lean over that slimy old water.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Five

fuck?” The cousin slid the handle of the fork in and out of tightened lips. In and out, in and out the fork went and Velma watched its glistening progress with moist eyes. “Hear, hear,” chorused the assembled nobles at the conclusion of the toast. The princess belatedly bobbled her goblet like a rubber ball on the face of a disturbed pond. A pond. This was the same girl who rejected the advances of a frog that raised its head from the garden pond one day, eyed her hungrily, and declared that he would grant any wish if only she

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Four

smiled, yes, he saw it in gentle sway of her hair. That evening at the state dinner Reginald stood and proposed a toast to his host’s exquisite daughter, the finest example of womanhood that presently existed, why, one glance at the elegance of her golden tresses and there was no way a witness could deny that an intellect of true discernment, a wit of honed sharpness, a modesty most fetching. While this was going on and on and on some more, Princess Velma turned to her cousin who was scratching behind her ear with a fork, and whispered, “What the

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Three

fine expansive garden it was, fully large enough for throngs of adoring admirers, though it rarely hosted more than a handful) and bundled up their picnic things and the princess and hurried her off to her rooms lest propriety be offended by the male gaze. “Fan me, Pitty Pat,” gasped Reginald as he lay back on the bench, his eyes yet filled with every gesture the reluctant princess displayed as her tenders hustled her away. She had even, was it true?, looked over her shoulder at him, her future (he knew this now) king and liege, lover and husband, and

Monday, September 05, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-Two

dangers and hardships he faced. In a word, he was smitten. He swooned, too. He sat down on a bench. He and his manservant had been strolling in the gardens while the father of the prince and the father of the princess put their official seals and signatures to some big deal treaty or whatever. Prince Reginald knew that what really mattered was the heart, and Prince Reginald knew his heart would break were he deprived of his beloved, who had just been pointed out to him while her maids were realizing there was company in the garden (and a

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety-One

with his father when Velma was still a child but, so charmed was he by her grace and beauty, her manners, her erudition, her talents, the way the sun shone on her hair, the way the wind blew the hair out of her eyes, the way the dust of the road made him blink and cough and how she expressed the perfect amount of sympathy by gently lifting her hair away from her temples thus demonstrating to the prince who had come so far and over such rough terrain that she, though as yet an untraveled little girl, truly understood

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Ninety

a beautiful crocodilian, sleek and lustrous, with eyes like limpid pools into which a frog has just leaped and a joyful smile shining with the most serious teeth. A wicked old fairy transformed her into a princess for a time. She had to live in a palace and be waited on hand and foot by awed and resentful servants. Her father the king promised to marry her to a handsome prince who would inherit the kingdom on the other side of the mountain. This prince, what was his name?, Reginald? something like that, this prince had come over the mountain

Friday, September 02, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Nine

complicated, isn’t it? Suppose I were to take a bite of it. It sure does look tasty. Oh, what the heck. If it’s just light particles, it’s not like I’m gonna hurt anything biting them. The caiman named Velma has recovered from her transdimensional torpor and is scooting across the carpet, headed for the kitchen. This raises the ire of the mastiff which has been sleeping in the hall. He jumps up, hackles spiky, growl full in his throat. Another dog? Are there really this many dogs in the world? Once upon a time there was a caiman. She was

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Eight

though you be. What a disguise! I think it’s ingenious myself. Yes, I just reached into my transdimensional satchel and grabbed it. No, the people aren’t the size of gnats. Well, to us they are, but just because we are reaching through from this end of the dimension. This apple, I mean, aerodrome is still where it belongs. I’ve just displaced a photonic emanation, you know, the light particles bouncing off the object; it looks like I am holding it because the light has not escaped the transdimensional field generated by the satchel. Or something like that. It’s all so

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Seven

of a tree, the very tip top, she said, where no one could reach it, though it is so beautiful, it must be delicious. Ha! It is not an apple at all but an aerodrome, cleverly designed to look like an apple from the ground. You look up into a tree and you see the apple and maybe a fly comes out of a hole in it, if you can see it up that high, and around the apple whirls the fly, making a distant little whine, as flies do, and you think nothing of it, spy for the enemy

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Six

doing what it does, that is, existing simultaneously in multiple coordinates of space-time. I don’t know who made it. Unless it was me. I was quite a weaver in my day. Once upon a time there was a dog somebody tried to store in a. In a. That’s what brought up the girl with the shift. She claimed to have a transdimensional satchel, too. Now. Now, that just isn’t possible, you know. I don’t really believe she had the shift, either. It’s true I saw her pull from the satchel an apple she said she had plucked from the top

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Five

buttocks of an ox. I miss my transdimensional shift. In toggling through scenes offered me by remote sensing apparatus of fine and improbable range and access, I came once upon a scene in a shabby apartment wherein a young woman claimed to be showing her friend, sprawled on the dilapidated sofa, her very own transdimensional shift. I could not believe my eyes or my technology or my ears. A transdimensional shift is so rare I have a strong suspicion there is, in fact, but one! Should you spot a second you have merely come upon the only one in existence

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thousand in thirds?

I’m thinking about trying out a print on demand service and using a section from Thousand to see if I’m any good at design.

I’m leaning toward’s CreateSpace, mostly because my friend Mel C. Thompson is pleased with the books he’s done through it. Mel says the process is pretty easy and doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t cost anything if you make very basic choices, it seems. There are always options you can pay for.

Thousand has a long way to go, being as we’re not even halfway. But I thought it would be nice to have the first quarter or the first third in a hard copy book. I like to fiddle with pages as I read. Reading Thousand off the blog takes practice; you have to get used to reading in a leapfrog fashion, from the bottom to the top. I also recently noticed it’s not easy to find the first Thousand post. It appeared on May 4, 2010, if you’re curious.

I don’t know if anybody has read all of Thousand. I doubt it. As a story it’s probably more frustrating than rewarding. I’ve enjoyed writers like John Yau and Clark Coolidge who write things that seem to be fiction sometimes, but the words refuse loyalty to any single narrative. The reading is fun for the sounds and the surprises and the wit rather than the what-happened-next of a plot.

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Four

out a few cute anecdotes about the afterworld. There’s the time I met my great great grandmother on my great grandfather’s side, having never met her during my time on earth, of course, one ghost might say, slipping her arm through yours, pressing her ectoplasmic eyebrow against your shoulder and looking up at you through dark lashes, she was so surprised she had a Japanese granddaughter, though I’m really only a quarter Japanese, and that I’m a poet, too, because, she said, nobody in her family could ever read or write or did anything but flick a switch across the

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Three

picket fence mottled with lichen and moss, one cat so still and unnatural-looking on its fence post perch that you think it bad art until it hops down and disappears into the tall grass. Whoever lives there must really be quirky and original and ready to take under her wing some other individual of special talents and fresh ideas who could use a mentor, a guide over the rough patches on the tarmac of life, a listener, a thought-provoker, a spiritual wise woman who has communed with good ghosts happy to snuggle up to you on the windowseat and trot

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-Two

myth about yourself as not of the herd, unique, a maverick, if you will. Wandering off after your own drummer, who is, no doubt, slapping bongos painted all over with colorful rain forest animals and fruit, while the rest of them in their drab uniforms march dolefully and mindlessly after the tat-a-tat-tat tat-a-tat-tat of the snare, you stop to smell the wild white roses, disturbing a bumblebee which rises up and hovers before you as though to say, “Ah, it is you, the seeker, not the lost.” You find yourself before a shack almost buried in roses and honeysuckle, the

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty-One

won’t effect an immediate change on present circumstances, the past that led to where one is today has not been altered. This does not, on the other hand, mean that no past has been altered. Having a transdimensional shift in the first place means you have access to many alternate paths through space-time. The road less traveled is the one you take because it will make all the difference. Tell the truth, though. Deciding which road is the one fewer have trod is less about the relative abundance of weeds in the ruts than about your need to groom a

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Eighty

mistake. I trusted someone who I shouldn’t a trusted. You know how that goes, right? Wouldn’t you rather believe someone than go around all the time suspicious? People tell you the truth most the time, right? Right, right. Well, water under the troll. Comet vaporized in the solar corona. What’s done is a future don’t. Can’t undo the past. Although, if you have your transdimensional shift in hand you can reach through to the space-time coordinates that correspond to the moment you made the fateful decision and touch your fingers to the exposed wires and complete a different circuit. It

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Nine

if you were in a box on a hostile satellite, traveling alone around a foreign sun? Wouldn’t you? Sure you would! I used to be able to get around. Yeah. I did. Used to be I had a transdimensional shift. It was very handy. Fact is. Yes. It’s what got me here in the first place. Or rather. I made a bad business decision. I traded knowledge of certain things. Which I won’t go into. They were very super secret things that nobody knows, so this is valuable information I’m talking about. And. And what happened is. I made a

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Eight

guessing. Weigh a fact gathered here against a fact gathered there and wonder if either is true. Here in my mirrorcade, the windows looking into windows, the voices speaking words and phrases other voices have already worn soft and vague. Here in my safe house, far from the madding cloud, perfect storms pretty pinwheels over distant seas, the hail hale and elsewhere. Are my eyes closed or open? Do I have eyes or is all visual information being loaded directly into my neocortex via third party vendors? Such questions! Wouldn’t you torment yourself all day with this sort of thing

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Seven

darned by a violet thread to a glacial physiognomy. You never know what is going to happen, except when it has been written on three by five cards, or it’s a movie. Those are easy. The Tomato is taxiing for a loop-de-loop. What a daredevil! A lot of those earlier aviators made derring do look like a daily spin around the block on a bicycle, the front wheel of which stood tall as a man. What was that about? The wheel’s radius had to be as long as a man’s leg? I’m just guessing here. I spend my entire life

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Six

After noxious elements of the green perfection erupt in baritone wattles, the present collapses into three precise yet flexible performances of the rare amusement boutique, sometimes known alternately and sometimes incognito. We who love catalepsy recline! A fair wind begins again its riotous scribble across Martian faces, while the novena disliked by generations of hare-lipped children has been pared and pared and pared until the sounds no longer move one to the next but wander betwixt barricaded silences. Look, thou, upon the bearded menace of the gentle intelligence officer, his barred and vaporous bad thoughts, his thinning nonchalance, the smile

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Five

caveat that uh. Forget the dog with wings, there’s a monkey crossing a wire between the two tallest buildings in the world, one in Dubai, the other in Bahrain. It’s always raining in Bahrain! Once upon a time there was a chimney sweep who dripped slowly into the repaired cheese, so much better to amplify the barium accent in tense objects, a new revelation potentially compressed. We who love ancestry abound! The vagrant tic calls a newer mate with a vibrating mandible and a noodle scented with patchouli albumen. Down among the yards wander the robots, sentient as cemetery roses.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Four

itself against a fence when it wants to raise a back leg for a scratch. Besides, those wings. Nothing glorious about them. I mean, the hummingbird-sized wings on Mercury’s heels are metaphors for fleet-footedness. What are these pigeon-sized wings on a dog’s back supposed to symbolize? Not that there’s anything unusual about novel creatures made from the parts of ones more familiar, the griffin’s lion body and eagle head, for instance, the chimera with its goat body, serpent’s tail, and lion head. Sphinxes have lion bodies, human heads, and wings. Lions go with everything, don’t they! I would add the

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Three

Once upon a time there was a dog. But is it even a dog? Check out the little wings that are shaking out from the dog’s shoulder blades. I didn’t see them at first, the same gray motley as the rest of the shaggy mess. Plus they were neatly folded against the body. There’s no bird hiding on the dog’s back, unless there’s a hollow it can plunge its whole body and head into. Dogasus? Or dog angel? The worlds are infested with angels! An angel wouldn’t shamble, stiff-hipped like that, though, would it? I see it has to prop

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-Two

syrup and changes her mind. Is this scene contemporaneous with the gazebo make-out session? Let’s check back in on that for a sec. Yes, tongue sliding against tongue, a hand slid into a waistband. Nice weather. Desert conditions. Hot. Just gonna get hotter. I wonder if I can tune in Sir. Hm. Is that? Is. No. No. It’s another dog entirely. Doesn’t look healthy, patchy hair, a torn lip healed so the yellow canines show in a perpetual tired snarl, the lower eyelid on the left sags and the eye looks watery. Nerve damage on that side of the face?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy-One

any ice cream?” she’s asking her sister. Eula shrugs and spoons up a curl of vanilla, a stripe of chocolate syrup stretching thin and breaking as she raises it to her mouth. “You never leave me any ice cream!” says Emily. “You never do. If you’ve had a bowl then there isn’t any left for me. There! See! You put it in. You. OK, there’s a little. Not very much. Where’s the chocolate syrup?” “On the door,” says Eula as she scrapes the bottom of the blue bowl. Emily opens the refrigerator and looks at the sticky-mouthed bottle of chocolate

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Seventy

long slender nose, the shimmering gray eyes fringed by blond lashes, these firm lips. I suppose I could cut away to the comet again. Turning slowing back toward the sun, etc. It’s not that I’m squeamish or uninterested in the growing connection between these two boys. But I’ve already spent so darn much time on this scene and here in my box of rain on the dark side of the moon, twisting knobs and tapping dials, I have limited resources to devote to any one thing. Hang on, Emily is coming in on the next channel. “Did you leave me

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Nine

one look at and know what to do. Leprechaun, shmeprechaun. Giant worm with human heads for feet? Pah! This sudden confidence does not come with concrete plans, but Bernie is kissing a cowboy and that seems like something to be proud of. If you were to ask Bernie if he thinks cowboys are special, if snogging one is a grander accomplishment than getting an accountant to bat his eyes or fondling a giggling traffic cop, Bernie would at least have to think about the question. It’s not like cowboys are his ideal. But this one sure is pretty, what with

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Eight

orange. He nibbles the fingers holding it. The cowboy withdraws his hand and touches the fingers to his own tongue, then he peels off another section and puts it between his lips. Bernie moves in and takes the protruding part into his mouth and bites it off. Slapping his thighs, the innkeeper rises and bustles off, muttering something about a fresh pot of coffee. “This is a really good orange,” Bernie says, although the words come out more ilke, “Un um mernsh.” He feels very down to earth, practical, like nothing could come up that he couldn’t handle, couldn’t take

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Seven

his tongue, holding him to the earth. Wasn’t that just yesterday? How often is he going to be in danger of drifting into the stratosphere? Rather annoyed with himself Bernie now imagines he could have pushed away the rafters and coasted out into the air, bobbed off into the clouds. How far would his internal helium have carried him? He takes a deep breath, which, by the way, feels great, like he’s going to breathe out halos. I don’t suppose I was ever really off the ground, Bernie thinks. He leans forward, opening his mouth for the next piece of

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Six

here in the rafters? Bernie wonders. As the cowboy pulls the orange apart, its white-skinned sections occasionally spurting fragrant juice, Bernie feels the table draw closer and closer until he is once more looking into Darn’s gray eyes. He is so grateful not to be lost in the rafters with that hideous leprechaun that, instead of taking an offered piece with his hand, Bernie opens his mouth. Like a baby. And Darn slides it in, pushing the section of orange gently into place on Bernie’s tongue. Bernie bites and the juice floods his mouth. He remembers the angel stepping on

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Five

stumbling over one of the longer and more difficult words in his vocabulary. Did he even get it out? The word seems to have several syllables with eccentric stresses, consonants both implied and not optional, and a tonal quality that could be picked up only by gnomes. The cowboy is peeling the orange with a paring knife. The sharp sweet scent of it loops around and begins to cinch in Bernie’s expanding sense of connection to the universe. What cowboy ballad is that? “Hard, ain’t it hard, ain’t it hard,” Darn is murmuring. Am I really hearing it way up

Monday, August 08, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Four

so. Not all wuss.” He shrugs and stabs a wedge of gleaming yellow omelette. “They’re not,” Bernie hesitates. “They’re not, you know, people with leprosy, then? Lepers?” Ishmael chuckles. “Polio. Polio,” he says. “This is good ay yugg,” says the cowboy. Jump ahead to something happening. The Tomato’s escape. The mayor’s heart attack. Pink kittens squalling. Bernie rubs his eyes. He either feels wonderful, or he feels sick. He stands up, the cowboy’s hand slipping from his thigh. His head tugs at his spine like a party balloon the knot that holds it to the garden gate. “I,” Bernie says,

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Three

“Y’ever seen one o’ them lepers?” the cowboy asks. The innkeeper’s nose flares (even though it’s a bit flared already, it’s easy to see the nostrils twitching) and his lip curls (which makes his bristling black moustache rise in the middle and decline at the ends). “You shooting the lepers?” Darn shakes his head. “Not today. Not in uh while. I jes wonder, that’s all. You know, where they byin.” “Lepers?” wonders Bernie, not sure he should. “Little demuns,” the cowboy explains, making a patting motion with his hand. “Little ones.” “Are they ugly?” The cowboy thinks about this. “Guess

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-Two

cheese still melting from a hole in the omelette. The innkeeper removes Bernie’s and slides from a pocket of his pantaloons a perfect orange. He lays this in the plate’s place and nods rather more significantly than had the cowboy, Bernie thinks, especially considering the addition of an exaggerated wink. He looks from Ishmael to the orange and nods, figuring he can nod too when it comes to that. If there were a cockatoo at the table the nods would be more than a few, more than a few, yes sir. Bernie glances around to see if Sir has returned.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty-One

into the gazebo’s rafters. Bernie is examining the plate for footprints as the new guest steps onto the boards. “Pleased tuh meet yew,” the cowboy says, offering a long freckled hand. “Mah name is Darn.” Darn? Bernie takes the hand and is pleased that his own is not crushed in the greeting. “Nice to meet you,” Bernie says, giving his name, his whole name, half expecting the young man’s eyes to light. But the cowboy nods mildly, seating himself on the gazebo’s built-in bench next to Bernie. With a flourish, the innkeeper drops down before the cowboy a fresh plate,

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Sixty

employed at the right time for the right purpose. The leprechaun, reading the significance of Bernie’s glance, shakes his finger under Bernie’s nose, reiterates whatever it is that’s so important he has to stand in the gooey remains of an omelette to say it, then reaches one arm over his head and makes a sharp pulling gesture. The leprechaun folds his gnarled arms across his knotted chest and the braid of black greasy hair that hangs down his back snaps straight up, a thread must be woven into it, a thread which now whisks the leprechaun smoothly and soundlessly high

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Nine

enjoyed the pleasant buzz from the first cup and savored the squishy sweetness of the baked blueberries. He did not worry. It was nice. After that he tried to achieve it through conscious means. Usually he was unsuccessful. But forgetting proved to be a skill that got better with practice. He did worry his new power was a symptom of pathology. Alzheimer’s? Mini strokes, otherwise unnoticeable? But, looking over the shoulder of the ranting leprechaun Bernie sees the cowboy emerge from the back door of the house, followed by the innkeeper, and feels only the satisfaction of a well-developed skill

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Eight

had been so important he’d had to work on it during those most precious nighttime hours was now so cleanly gone, wasn’t that itself frightening? Imagine forgetting all the plans for a party. A party for which you are the host becomes a surprise party? How pleasant! Imagine forgetting the subject of your dissertation. You step into the faculty office to be quizzed and can only smile dumbly as the professors probe your knowledge of gender pronouns in Dickinson. The stuff of nightmares! As Bernie poured himself a second coffee and picked away at the heart of the muffin he

Monday, August 01, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Seven

morning feeling pretty good and got up and zapped a muffin, spread some butter on it, sat down at the little white table in the corner of his kitchen, and gazed out over the board fence into his neighbor’s garden, the red of the peppers, the red and yellow of the tomatoes among all the green, and picked the crusty top of the muffin into small pieces, he was puzzled that he had been up half the night agonizing over something. Something he could no longer remember. Wasn’t that supposed to worry him even more? That whatever it was that

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Six

sticks with you, maybe like a sharp stick. It can be painful, a memory like that. Some people think a super memory would be the best, remembering every name, hanging onto every address you threw a paper at as you whizzed by on your bike, recalling the dimple of every girl you poked in the ribs playing tag in third grade, unable to let go the moment of terror you felt when an ill-propped broom fell to the floor in the middle of the night. Every tear you ever shed. Every smile that lit your face. When Bernie woke one

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Five

have been known to come and go.” There is more to the conversation. Later Bernie will try to remember what he decides right then he will do his best to forget. He doesn’t try to remember in order to get back to the leprechaun’s words but to see how good his powers of amnesia are. Super. It just goes to show, you can get away with all sorts of things with your mind if you ask it not to be there. You kinda have to be prepared, though. All of a sudden something happens and you’re paying attention, why, it

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Four

the wiggle of dog tail off over there by the trees. But, now that he’s looking, Bernie thinks he sees a movement in the grass near the house and a movement to the left and a. If he’s not careful, Bernie realizes, he’s going to imagine up all sorts of monsters. He closes his eyes, then opens them, because all sorts of monsters can creep up on you when your eyes are closed. Indeed. Standing on his plate is a creature part feral cat, part strangled raven, and all fungus. Which does not keep it from speaking. “You Went?" "I

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Three

never quite got there. What was it? I think they have a snack bar. Does hell have a snack bar?” Sir gets up, scratches his chin with a back foot, shakes his head, and pops down the steps of the gazebo. The cowboy and the innkeeper went into the house while Bernie was talking to the dog, or to himself, more likely. There being no food left to pick at, other than salt cellar and pepper grinder, Bernie drives a spoon in circles around his empty plate. The dog has disappeared into the high grass, though Bernie thinks he sees

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-Two

asks. He doesn’t really expect to get an answer. “I didn’t know I was going to be buying a trip to hell when I visited that lady. I mean, it’s not like I read an account written by a travel writer in one of those glossy magazines in the dentist’s office and said to myself, ‘Bernie old man, that’s the ticket. You want to buy a round tripper to HELL!’ I mean, I heard you can get to the End of the World. I read about somebody doing that. It didn’t exactly sound fun. Far as I could tell, you

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty-One

that. He closes his eyes. Damn good hash browns. Crispy, melts in the mouth, is that garlic? The innkeeper bustles out of the house and grasps the cowboy’s hand, giving it a brief pump, then holding onto it while he talks, laughing, nodding. Bernie squints. The cowboy is smiling, isn’t he? Perhaps they know each other. He hears a thump thump on the boards and sees Sir’s tail lightly swinging, though the dog hasn’t gotten up. Sir glances up at him, but when Bernie raises an eyebrow the dog turns away and yawns. “Do we get to hell today?” Bernie

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Fifty

cowboy. He closes his eyes. When he opens his eyes he sees a cowboy. Over the cowboy’s shoulder bulky saddle bags sway. The bags and the cream-colored hat with the sweat-darkened band around the forehead make him look slender as a fence post. Bernie looks down at this plate. Shoveling up the last of the hash browns, Bernie feels absurdly self-conscious, as though the cowboy, at the end of the field, could tell that man in the gazebo was gobbling something that could be offered graciously to a hungry stranger. Nobody would want my leftovers, Bernie thinks, blushing, uncertain about

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty-NIne

said and pulled up his pants. He hasn’t told the innkeeper (“Call me Ishmael!”) about the spider. He is just hoping what he is eating is what it looks like. That the omelette is made of eggs. That the ham is ham and not, oh, human, say. The wheat toast provides yeoman support for the homemade jam. Everything, he can’t but admit, is heavenly. Sweeter, richer, more complex, more interesting to nose and palate than anything they’ve come to before. He closes his eyes and lives a few lives in a mouthful. When he opens his eyes he sees a

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty-Eight

him glance upward. Filling a corner at the ceiling was a tarantula the size of a dinner plate. Bernie froze, the shirt a rumpled wad against his belly. He stared at the hairy creature and, if it was staring back, Bernie couldn’t really tell. There was a scratching at the bathroom door and a doggy whine. Keeping his eye on the spider Bernie shuffled backward and pulled the door open. The dog walked in, strode right to the corner below the spider and sat down, looking up at Bernie expectantly. Bernie looked from dog to spider and back. “OK,” he

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty-Seven

tshirt, a baseball cap, lightweight athletic shoes and white tube socks, a cotton flannel overshirt. He felt self-conscious dressing in front of the dog, so he took the clothes to the bathroom with him. The chamber pot was clean, the tub (he felt its walls) was dry. There were fresh unlit candles, a grass basket filled with a spicy potpourri. A dome of glass in the ceiling lit the room with a pearly glow. Bernie couldn’t see a filament, but it was too bright to look at closely. When he pulled the tshirt over his head a shadowy movement made

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty-Six

the coffee?” Bernie says. The man frowns. “Sugar! No! No sugar.” “Oh,” says Bernie, wanting to ask why then the coffee tastes so sweet. It is coffee, isn’t it? He looks into his cup. Whatever is in it looks like coffee. He lifts it to his nose. Smells like coffee. He takes another sip, a tiny, tiny sip. Rolls that around on his tongue. Sir has finished his serving of egg already and is slopping at the bowl of water. When he got out of bed, Bernie put on clothes that had been laid out for him. Jeans, a soft

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty-Five

In a rickety gazebo (“It’s a collectible!”) in a field back of the main house (“Cut down the weeds and we have hoedowns.”) the innkeeper (“’Inn The Way,’ haha. Funny, no? Inn the way to hell! Hell! You crazy kids. Why the hell you want go there?”) brings Bernie and Sir (“What you need, my dear Sir, is a good brushing.”) ham and cheese omelettes (“Hard to slice pig thin when he struggle, but I do it because ham best fresh.”) with Sir served on the floor and Bernie served on a rusting metal table. “You already put sugar in

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty-One

of the ranting face. “Nothing will satisfy her but a big fat apology from the deeeeeevvvi—“ at which point the leg whisks the head back to its duties as a foot. There was also a long and heavy rain. This came later. Or thousands of years before. It was difficult to date by the animals, clearly of a variety of species and, perhaps, epochs. Waves crash on a beach, washing over sexy people writing fully clothed in a libidinous passion. Near each other. A dog was sitting on a fur rug, watching him. Bernie blinks. Is that happening now?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Forty

thinks she doesn’t deserve this! She thinks she should have gone to heaven, eh? Gone to heaven! Well, she was judged, her sins weighed, her past reviewed, her thoughts combed through, held up to the light, and, what do you think, flaws! Riddled with flaws and holes and evil! Evil!” Bernie blinks. “Where are we going?” he asks. “She thinks her shit don’t stink! She thinks she oughta be pampered and fawned over in death like she was in life. The little people she stepped on? She thinks they should be her cobblestones still!” Bernie waves his hand in front

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Nine

as the leg as the leg!” The head’s last words are torn into a shriek as the leg provides a demonstration. Down the head goes. When it strikes a stone, Bernie flinches, and the shriek abruptly ceases. Bernie leans to the side, his seat belt cutting into his belly as he tries to catch a glimpse of the tortured face rising for another step. “Ha!” Bernie jerks around and finds himself facing another head at the end of another leg. This one’s twitching smile, surrounded by a dusty patch of beard, spits out, “Don’t believe that bitch! Damned soul! She

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Eight

and shining and beautiful, how I brushed it, tending to its climates, how proud of it I was, and now, NOW!, it is bound atop by head, tightly bound with straps, yet it can so little protect my fragile scalp from the roughness of the earth. With every step the worm drops me to the ground and presses its weight upon me. It lifts me and, what can I do, I hope, I hope it is for the last time, this relentless march will cease and my wounds heal, but every time my hopes are crushed, crushed!, as the leg

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Seven

Bernie finds himself facing, not the pad of a caterpillar foot or the claw of centipede, he finds himself face to face with a grimacing woman. Tears stream from her eyes and make tracks in the dust on her forehead. Her chin trembles and he sees where spittle also has traced trails from the corners of her lips up her cheeks. He makes to lean over again, but a bark from the woman arrests him. “Don’t! Don’t look! Don’t look at them! Yes! Yes! The foot at the end of every leg is a skull. Like me. My hair long

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Six

toward a hill upon which three dripping crosses stand illumined by colored spotlights while he shouts, “This way, folks! We’re going to have to run across the park to get there before the switch up of the centurians!” Two sparrows battling over a grain of rice. Being borne across the desert on a throne strapped to the back of a gigantic worm, the thumping of its round-bottomed feet accompanied by grunts and gasps. As he leans over to see what is making those pained sounds one leg jerks up, one leg fewer seems not to impede the worm’s progress, and

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Five

a padded rope around his chest. Pleasantly dazed, Bernie wonders if he’s now being tied up. But the water is calling to him, all cozy and comforting, so he goes down into it with a contented little hum. Not until his chin touches the water and his head falls back against a waterproof pillow, the padded rope holding onto him, does Bernie realize that he could go to sleep right here, in the bath. And it would be very nice indeed. A few things that might be dreams: a yellow dog wearing a red vest and waving a furled umbrella

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Four

one sustained gulp gets it down. Then he pushes it back and says, “Water now, please.” The man chuckles, which sounds to Bernie rather the thumping of apples in a barrel. An apple. One could eat an apple. The man is drawing Bernie from the seat, rubbing his buttocks with a soft cloth. He takes Bernie to the tub and eases him in. “Didn’t I just drink more of that laxative?” Bernie says. The man is shaking his head. And as the water closes around Bernie’s body, he loses interest in speaking. The man gently lifts Bernie’s arms and slips

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Three

easy, dumping all that baggage. It’s not all easy flow. Bernie grimaces, sucks a breath, bears down, gasps, clenches his fists as a trapped bubble fights through a kink in his colon, slumps, as one more release seems to finish it off, he’s done, he feels wrung, what an experience, it’s psychedelic, his head throbs and blue and red paisleys dart like minnows around lotus leaf shadows. He’s thirsty. And the mug with that cloying, bitter, wondrous liquid in it refuses to return to the floor. He yanks it from the square hairy hand in which it hovers and in

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-Two

that foreign air, turns in its deepening gyre toward the base of his spine, sweeping cleanly through the coils of his tract, the small, then the large of it. A divine hand has been dipped into him, as into a bath, and there it makes wide slow circles, gentle, implacable circles. It is the most pleasant, relaxing, most complete and freeing shit. It feels so nice Bernie is proud of it. How long does it take? How long does it take to wash out the last old hurt, the regret like a stain, the humiliations that knotted together? It’s not

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty-One

could explain that. Who could explain that? An angel standing on your tongue! What, in boots? Feeling the toes wiggle? No, no, Bernie’s thinking, no angel in high heels standing at attention. A weight, a vertical weight, holding me to the earth, my mouth the point most likely to submit to pressure. Otherwise, my body may lose its sense of gravity. Bernie closes his eyes. He breathes. A vortex gathers around his stomach. He feels it progress, engaging every organ, incorporating every particle as it travels. When his abdomen expands to receive a breath the swirling vortex moves farther from

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Thirty

It's all points and the distances between them. How large something is. Whether you get past a point or never get to it makes a difference in determining your experience of the size of the world those points describe. Bernie is looking at the mug, the mug which the man put in his hands, the mug which he held under his nose, etc. Each point the mug inhabited presented a meaning congruent with its moment. The atoms in that mug were relatively excited, Bernie wants to tell the man, but an angel is standing on his tongue. Not that Bernie

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Twenty-Nine

on the floor. His head is already larger than it was, the cathedral’s second storey, as it were. His feet would be a long way away if that didn’t include all of him. If your ears are a long way away, what does that mean for toenails? But that’s okay. An atom is almost empty, and it doesn’t think of itself as empty. An atom feels rather full, Bernie decided. Definitively. He came to this conclusion a long time past. A half a breath ago. I know the feeling, Bernie imagines saying to the atom, which has confided in him.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Twenty-Eight

into a cathedral, buttresses flying, nave oppressed with tunes. How can you not drink after that? The liquid is almost painfully sweet. After two swallows Bernie pauses and the bitter comes on. That makes him shake his head. He blinks, opens his mouth for another swallow, and the sweetness relieves the bitterness. Until the liquid has gone down. Then he shudders again. And holds the mug away from his mouth. “All of it,” the man says. Gazing at the mug Bernie remembers the last horribly sweet thing he swilled. Earlier that day? The lemonade from hell. He puts the mug

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Thousand: Four Hundred Twenty-Seven

under it painted with violets. The innkeeper pulls Bernie to this, and he goes willingly enough, relieved to be offered something like it. The hands pressing him onto it are, perhaps, unnecessary. The mug pushed into his hands is, one might not unreasonably protest, a distraction rather than a help. But Bernie is so disarmed by the warmth that’s just wrapped him that obediently he puts the mug to his lips for a sip. The brew’s aroma swirls into his head and his body responds with an inhale so grateful and extended that the little chapel of his meat unfolds