Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Sixty-One

off as punishment for stealing. I was in a Moslem country, just traveling through, you know, and a beggar woman stood accused of stealing fruit from the bazaar. When I saw her dragged before the man with the sword, I stepped up to them, saying it was not she who had stolen the fruit. Perhaps no one had stolen anything. She was a beggar, people could be generous, why shouldn’t she be carrying a bagful of dates and dried apples? There was a witness, the apple vendor, who insisted differently. He did not look like a reliable man to me,

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Sixty

am a little different. Bigger nose. Smaller eyes. Tinier pores. But I feel a continuity. When you look at the crowd, the herd, the swarm, it’s hard to see individuals. I usually don’t introduce myself as “Jesus” these days. I trot out the name when I figure it doesn’t mean much. If you go into a cathedral and start shaking hands, calling yourself “Jesus,” people can get pissy. Sometimes I pronounce it the Spanish way, “Hey-Zeus.” For some reason that doesn’t rankle anybody. Why shouldn’t there be many Jesuses in the world? I lost a hand once. It got chopped

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Nine

You can finish your husband’s sentences? Yes. I mean that, but I also mean what you’d thought your unique take on the world is someone else’s too. Someone hurts the way you do, schemes the way you do, laughs until she cries so much the way you do that it’s scary. Get to know a deer or a mouse or a crow and get to know an individual. Every crow, even every mouse, is not every other. I’ve been executed, I’ve starved to death, I’ve shivered in fever and pustules have burst in my skin. Sometimes when I revive I

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Eight

get out of bed, if I’m in a soft bed. If I’m camping in warm sand I can watch the stars all night. If I’m in a prison cell, well, I’ve been in prison cells before. Many. Down through the years. And if I’m God, okay. I die and rise again. I die and rise again. That’s not what I mean by eternal life, though. It’s that I meet people like myself. I still marvel at it. The man, the woman, once in awhile even a child, who knows what I will say next because that’s what they’re thinking, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Seven

things went well, turned out much like the earlier batch. Oh, I suppose stuff would happen, temples would get knocked down, communities would be slaughtered and enslaved, diseases would ravage the cities, but most of that didn’t happen to most people. Most people just went along doing what they were doing. What their grandfolks did. What their grandkids would do. So I’m back to tell you eternal life has been going on longer than memories can catalog. I’m back to tell you I never left. Yup. The cross was hurty, but my hands don’t smart anymore. I don’t need to

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Six

time, all those pages along. It will be much like yesterday. Used to be there weren’t fancy new gadgets every few months. Used to be you’d feed the goat, comb off the moulted tufts of goat hair, spin some yarn from it, weave up a soft shawl from dyed strands. That would nestle, pretty and fresh, around your neck; it would get dirty, be cleaned, dirty up and be cleaned, and holes would wear in it, and you’d be weaving another. People didn’t seem much different. They’d wear out around you and somebody’d be putting together new ones, which, if

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Five

easy in comparison. Just kidding. It’s especially icky if they’ve been dead awhile. Though in some places the dead are kept prettier than the living. They think they are entitled to revival. Who isn’t? Don’t we all get tortured to death before our time? Sacrifice to rapacious mortality. I suppose a few linger, being uninteresting all their days, stretching it out. But when with quaking spotted hands they turn back the pages of their vast book, what is scrawled there? “Sun with variable clouds like yesterday.” “Sun with variable clouds like tomorrow.” You know so much about tomorrow by that

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Four

to say that?” “It was quite the favorite at parties.” Being Jesus I had to test the walkability of the swamps. Springy! The water tasted all right as wine, but I have to tell you, it made much better gin. The people had heard of me, sort of. I healed a few sick, just to show them how it worked, and it wasn’t as hard as last time. On my first visit to earth a smidgen of healing took it right out of me! I had to scold some of the suffering for being so selfish. Raising the dead is

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Three

twelve easy lessons. There were audiotapes that asked me to repeat things like, ‘My name is Imelda. What is your name?’ and ‘Where is the bathroom?’” “Did you learn how to say, ‘What is the name of your God?’” “No. But I did learn to say, ‘My God is the only God there is. If you insist on pretending that there is any other God you will be nailed to a wall with red hot iron spikes, your eyeballs scooped out with an ice cream scoop, and probing worms introduced into the open sockets.’” “How many opportunities did you get

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-Two

to eat, don’t you?” “Hey, he’s the Jesus. He can do fish.” “And wine! We’ve got plenty of water. It’s kind of brackish and there are bugs in it.” “We need a miracle.” “I have a bible for that. It’s called The Bible for Miracles. It shows you exactly how to make a miracle.” Eventually I start to wonder where the religion of this strange land came from. “Missionaries! You know they planted that thorny shrub because they thought it was indecent we went around all the time without shoes? Can you imagine!” “I tried to learn their language in

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty-One

trickling?” “I like those. Very dramatic.” “Like stripes! I bet that’s where stripes came from. For authority.” “I’ve never seen God. How do you know he looks like that?” “A brown robe.” “A cape.” “A cape? Really?” “Why would God wear clothes? That’s ridiculous. God wouldn’t hide his body.” “Is anybody else thirsty? I have some nog back at the hut.” “I’ve never been into nog.” “Nog makes me nod!” “If you’re God, could you make it rain?” “Isn’t it wet enough for you?” “It’s for the fish.” “What? They’re in water already. They need to get wet?” “You want

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Fifty

inquire. “I am the God, a Lord, Your Jesus Christ.” They look at me, uncomprehending. “I’m sorry,” I say. “I am the Lord, Your God, Jesus Christ. Did I get it right that time?” “Where’s your costume?” “I’m supposed to have a costume?” “The Messiah has a costume.” “What’s it look like?” “It’s sort of red, a dark color,” says a native. “More brown,” another interjects. “Silver stripes on the sleeve?” “The shoulder.” “Isn’t the shoulder the sleeve?” “A hat.” “I thought it was a crown.” “Thorns? You know, like a crown of thorns.” “Those aren’t done.” “With the blood

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Nine

of my godfather. I sometimes doubted it was anything special. But I would use my imagination and the pinch I’d snort would be a way to new dimensions. Right past the gate I’d go, snubbing the guards, waggling my ass like I just didn’t care. And then I’d be in the new universe, with the unfamiliar objects (which were pieced together from the old familiar objects), and the strange customs (which were exaggerated versions of what I grew up with). Another pinch and I would forget what universe I’d started from, or pretend I had. “Who are you?” the natives

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Eight

Too many organs act like everything’s their business. Last night, lying in bed, I imagined I knew the very next act of the guardians of the gate. We left the scene bloody and scummy with lymph. The heart had skipped a beat and was trying to catch up. The liver was working on a fifth of scotch, and in the lungs a sweet and oily smoke swirled from bronchiole to bronchiole. Deep in the marrow a new generation of whites was being born, preparing, no doubt, to battle the dread pathogens. I dipped into the transdimensional snuff box, a gift

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Seven

nincompoops to dawdle overlong at the sunset buffet. They aren’t the only ones who ever have. You may, in fact, find them less objectionable than the dedicated people with admirable ideals who also eat more than their share of the breaded shrimp and soft serve. The hungry we shall always have holding fresh plates at the back of the line. Still, the nice thing about the world changing is it will go about it without you. Do Not Get Involved, the slogan of the pancreas. We should all have a business as discrete and essential as the secretion of glucagon.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Six

from the skulls of heroes of old. This sort of thing grants surprising new powers, like laser beams from the eyes and the ability to multiply computations per second in the latest generation of supercomputers. You’d never guess, right? On the other hand, there are powers granted the wearer of a cloak sewn from the skins of leprechauns that are shockingly mild considering the ickiness of the source, like being able to make thistles more thorny and causing dark-skinned people to sunburn as fast as blonds. People have conquered the world with less! Never underestimate the power of a few

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Five

agonies of the saved, although it is given that those are fun. What had to be factored in was first set aside in jars, the ingredients preserving gracefully toward the fine fizz connoisseurs grade on scales of confection and label with descriptors alternately floral, glandular, and tidal. No one ultimately has responsibility. A few seek it in vain. The wealth flows to the top where it is transmuted into perfumed waters; only urine trickles down. The bubbles were effervescent and maintained a flavor distinct from the background. Animals strike curious poses. Future heroes wait in the wings wearing garments hand-crafted

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Four

the requisite number can be achieved, although sacrifice cannot be avoided. In order to climb the highest mountain, breast the turbulent waves, walk the longest road, or bear the heaviest burden, touch bases with your habits of avoidance, making sure you are well acquainted with them. Knowledge is the best aphrodisiac. Assumption of the throne confirms the altitude. Ripening ears of corn freshen the lifestyle of the jungle oriented. Water begets water. Ice from the far north costs a pretty penny. Friends often confer on ulterior motives. A loud remonstration calls attention to the varieties of injustice. Laments cool the

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Three

operant conditioner, needs rest between the august freight of an intonation and the fizz of such sillier insinuations as are known in girls’ schools and golf academies. Recovery remains inevitable, but expect instantaneous results to be retarded when implemented by unskilled etiquette. Testimony in favor of prayer delights the glossy inner regions of publications catering to a self-selecting audience. It is largely unequivocal. Scheduled weeping may be postponed but not indefinitely. A limited number of violent misapprehensions has been budgeted for, there having been no fiscal year in which such were avoided successfully. Expecting to get by with less than

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-Two

abstract, frosted bulbs in the frame, a fright shimmering in the periphery? It takes time times two plus fours, two fives, and a single, the suicide king, the double-faced savior. You can see there are cats. And cats have, with pigeons, the fortitude necessary for one more efflorescence. By one, I do not mean a thing with easily defined borders. One in this case could mean two, or even three, depending. Yet a continuous progression from one ill-defined end to the other cannot be counted out. It is unlikely. That’s all. No one pays you to listen. Your ear, an

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty-One

been interrupted, if only temporarily, by fiat, if not by decree, decree also being suspended. If we were to talk only about what we know we would also remain silent, settled in our convictions. If we were to talk about the mysteries our mouths would be operative 24/7, though not always active, the unexplained making its many sounds in unpin-downable ways via culture and artifacts of nature. The environment provides links between what we grow and what we don’t manage to grow into, one foot or another with cramped toe. What does it take to perform sorrow in the

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Forty

paradigm which, significantly, had been a well settled matter among implements, those used in the production of august condiments and complementary seasonings, and those used year to year. What occurred was rectified, it’s true, first by alleviation, then by the ultimate atmospheres of the upper layers of contrition, a naked drawing of fire to the tear duct. If you were a missing person, would you have to miss everything? Or could your missing be sufficiently notable held to two or one? The little noises of everyday motion haven’t eclipsed the mouth yet, though, as mentioned previously, the communicative regime has

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Nine

to be horrible! Everybody thinks I’m horrible. I AM horrible! Why shouldn’t I be horrible! It is necessary!” “Achieving horrible, it’s a cinch?” This seems to quiet the voice. And, for awhile, all voices go quiet. Hard to say that, I know. Harder than being horrible, could be. The hardest part having no voice to say it with? An obstacle, indeed. An arrogant figure of speech erect among the downtrodden, boots mucked up with the mud of the rash emphatic? A sly silver mention continues what action, commenced by the twelfth absolute, contributed to the growth of a new family

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Eight

song plays well along several continuua. This is the beginning of the reach across worlds, one fish banging out a melody another learns the water carries. “Is it telling you something, you can tell me?” says the voice to Butternut. Butternut notes the tentative tone. “It is telling me all sorts of things,” Butternut says. “It is telling me, for instance, that you are sweeter than bitter, that you are handsomer than rude, that to be adorable is easier far for you than horrible.” “That’s not true!” the voice squeaks. “That last one. I can be horrible! It’s not hard

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Seven

like a leprechaun drummer beating a tattoo on a hollow mushroom three doors down from the sobbing singer whose lover has left her on the altar which alteration finds a bit bony, scrawny, skinny, down to its last, fading away, and so on. You think you hear the fish song until you realize the public address system has given up the ghost, the ghost of many squeezed into one, the secondary duty of the public address system having been to store this concentrated ghost, the land of the dead being already overbooked. It’s safe to say, then, that the fish

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Six

shadow. It sounds like the barking of a dog on a street corner in Kathmandu to a man in orbit. It sounds like an idea you’ve had, been obsessed by, then completely forgotten until one night you dream about something unrelated, losing a button on a cuff, say, and you suddenly remember there was an idea that almost drove you nuts, and now you have no clue what it was, thank god. It sounds like a jackhammer tearing up concrete in a documentary playing on a channel the TV hasn’t received since the dispute with the cable company. It sounds

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Five

There is some resistance. Maybe not broken, then. She holds it to her ear again. “What is it telling you!” comes the voice, all anxious. “Shh,” says Butternut. “If you talk I can’t hear the crystal!” The ticking of the watch is so quiet she has to close her eyes to hear it. It sounds like sheets wrinkling while they dry. It sounds like a hair tapping against a hair as a lover breathes over a shoulder. It sounds like muscular contractions of the iris as the train crosses a bridge, the metal beams of the bridge flickering shadow shadow

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Four

as it falls. “Oh!” says Butternut, this time sharply, putting a hand to her tummy where it hit her. It seems however, to have slid right off, and she runs her fingers over the pad alongside to find it. A lady’s watch. Slim and gold. its narrow black face numberless. One slender gold hand points just to the left of a tiny inset jewel, the one less slender gestures just to the right as though the two, when they come together, will pluck the sparkle out. Butternut touches the watch to her ear. No ticking. So she twists the fob.

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Three

Butternut. “It is possible that I have information, you know. To trade. Not living in a tree, I might know a thing or two.” The pause before the response is so long Butternut has a chance to prod about more thoroughly. Indeed, the pad seems firm enough to have been woven. You can never be too sure, considering. But Butternut is feeling snoozy. A nap, even under the eye of an unfriendly talking squirrel, is the sort of activity Butternut could indulge in just about now. Likelihoods. Dear, dear. “Tell me about this,” comes the voice, and an object flashes

Friday, April 08, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-Two

earth you would pass over many a trail and wonder. “If you think you are going to stay here, you will have to reformulate the thought with the likelihood of coming to an alternate conclusion.” The voice sounds like a jay, although the wordiness of the challenge suggests not. “To come to a conclusion one way or another I’d have to have a little more information,” Butternut says. She looks around the sheltered pad but when the voice comes again she doesn’t see who is using it. “Information is dear! Why should I give such a thing away?” “Oh,” says

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty-One

a person. At a place where three limbs grow close together debris of leaves and twigs and evergreen needles have gathered to make a cushy mat. Butternut steps across it cautiously; it holds her weight. She’s been circling this tree for some time, she realizes. She pokes her nose over the far side of the mat and for the first time really looks down. Down has a lot to it. There are treetops below and they are looking rather more like kale or broccoli than like trees. Which is to say, if you were to take a gliding way to

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Thirty

of floods, fires, ages of wind and rain, lightning strikes to number in the hundreds. Or more, perhaps. Who can have counted them? Hafta to get a new palette, too bad. Butternut figures she will catch up with the fisher gnome to get her paints. Or she doesn’t think about it. Butternut is used to things coming and going, mostly going. You know the old saw about they can’t take away your education? Butternut figures she might as well learn what she can about what’s in front of her. Like as not it won’t be there tomorrow, especially if it’s

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Thousand: Three Hundred Twenty-Nine

a run and swings up. The next higher is offset enough to seem a step in a staircase and a third limb confirms the resemblance. She spirals around the massive trunk, its clothing of bark red and soft. Each step up is easy or not so difficult she can’t make it, adding some lunge. When the flood smacks into the tree the tree doesn’t shudder, though the waft of cold wet air dragged along behind the water brushes at Butternut and she leans into the tree to wait it out. The tree has been through this sort of thing, ages