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