Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Sixty-Five

cares to remember the guide has been forced to remember what has been forgotten. It takes skill. Nobody really trains you for the job. Sure, you get a manual, and some people are able to teach themselves all sorts of difficult tasks from manuals. When she first got the job and the magpie knocked from its high shelf the employee training manual and facts about the end of the world, the guide found nothing in it comprehensible. She even tried reading from back to front as the manual was in a language that faced backwards. The magpie, irritatingly, can quote

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Sixty-Four

know how to move info of all types, even what at first seems hackneyed or obvious. You'd be surprised what tired old homilies will fetch in some circles. Or testimony about childhood trauma. Or silly stories about servants, farm workers, and French ambassadors. Still, it does require a certain savvy to know how to collect and find buyers for such tips, anecdotes, involuntary narratives, and poetics. Guiding new arrivals through to the end of the world and what is endemic to its frontier can be a tricky business, and making a living from it even harder. More times than she

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Sixty-Three

noise or maybe when she is moved to pity, is inclined to mete out with a wet bar rag. She's not usually the only guide but tips lately have been lousy and that's where the money is. The tips aren't money themselves. It's just that those who make it to the end of the world have something to impart. This can be monetized. Sometimes it's as simple as where in the garden the coffee can with the family diamonds has been buried. Sometimes it's the best way to jack into the hotline between heaven and hell. There are people who

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Sixty-Two

a knitter who knows her way around life on the low? Tiptoe, bounce, beam. Another neutrino slips through an eyeball and goes on through the earth. It will get where it's going, I assure you. There is no obstacle to its progress. I don't know what its needs are. The guide on duty at the end of the world is taking a cigarette break, letting the magpie yank the little flags from the cupcakes and the old man shaking the ice in his plastic cup hiccup without a slap on the back which the guide, when she's sick of the

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Sixty-One

the world was made around. The title of the piece is a number. Each day latches onto another and is carried away by the momentum of them all. Light walks down a deserted beach, touching the wood along the tide line. Every grain of sand has a promise attached. The raindrops bear the signatures of the artists who craft them. A spark slaved away a thousand years to be borne on an updraft where the hunter in the woods, slapping his cold hands before the fire, sees it whirl with its brethren into the air. Which worm wasn't woven by

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Sixty

that began the world. Your world, if not The World. Maybe that world, your world, is the world that's true, waiting at the name. Up to now you've been working your way toward a world of your own, the one that was set aside for you. All you need to do is accept the name and you will transfer to the place that fits you, stepping out of this odd, nonconforming, unfinished situation and into the one that works, that responds, that has nothing wrong with it. Nothing wrong. All right. Just right. With all your thoughts and needs what

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Nine

name, skinny as a walrus, shy as an avalanche, melodic as a cable snapping, repeating, repeating, repeating. A sound that makes a wall. Will it shut you in? Or hold you out? Is there a gate in it? If there is, how long is the line to get through? If the only egress is a pinhole, perhaps the visitor will be a golden thread. Sh. Listen. Don’t breathe loud. Keep your thoughts quiet. Don’t let your heart howl or your knuckles crack like rifle shots. There is indeed a name. A final, firm, holy name. A complete name. The name

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Eight

a greased hippo on ice cubes. A dog with epaulets? A special dispensation of grapes? You’re looking at the stars from a speck of material gathered together from cosmic dust and dreams, crystals and the jitters, despair, nitrogen, and used ironing boards, and your mind swirls, blue sludge spiraling through a hot yellow syrup, the roses nodding nearby with wise genitals, the cat slinking through the unmown grass touched by the passion, and all the birdsong knitted into the hour a skein of relief from pain. And there, again, as though a motif in the wallpaper of the playroom, your

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Seven

It could be your name. Maybe not. Could be a name something like yours. Anne for Dan, say. Or Bruce for Ruth. Could be there’s someone around here with your name. Could be there’s more than one of you. While you’re standing at the gate, hanging onto a post as though the wind were going to blow you away. It’s stopped now, true, but could come back at any moment, could redouble its fury. While you’re looking up at the stars, which you can’t see because the light of the closest brushes away the light of all the rest like

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Six

someone far it comes. You look into the sky and see contemptuous angels sneering at you. You look at the earth and see centipedes wearing round booties marching back and forth across the sidewalk crack, chanting, praying. Maybe you should close your eyes. You’re not seeing right. You have wasted your sight, and now what do you have? Only everything. Only every thing in the world remaining. It’s the sort of thing that makes one sad. Violins are playing in an Italian cafĂ©, the players walking around the circular tables, deftly avoiding running into each other. There’s that name again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Five

skin. You take a breath. It’s time to do that. Did you notice you weren’t breathing? You’re not a zombie, kid, you gotta partake of the air. It’s okay. There, there. The roses bear you no ill will. It’s only the wind. Only the wind shaking the bushes, rocking the trees. You look down the lane. She’s turning into that alley between sagging tenements. He’s flagged down the bus on the rural route. A giant bends down and scoops her from the path. No. There aren’t any giants anymore. You rub a hand across your brow. Your name again. From

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Four

in a bob, the blonde hiding the gray. Those crepe-soled shoes. Or are they pumps? Did you ever see her wearing pumps? What’s the highest heel you ever saw her wear? Standing on the edge of a cliff, her toes wiggling over the precipice, the whole mountain lifting her heel. Then a tiny white streak through the many-colored stars that made you gasp, and she laughed, making you self-conscious. You touch the gate post, a little dizzy. The thorns of the roses look threatening, like claws that want to catch you, that want to dig into your clothes, into your

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Three

to that couch, kept you groggy and TV-addicted. What was she showing you, a baby alligator? a satchel in which she kept universes? Where did she go? She went to feed the cat, or the dog, the parakeet, the goldfish, the snow leopard, the rightful heir to the throne who has been chained in the basement wearing an iron mask, the fire, the long, slow fire, the fire that never goes out. The figure on the steps rises and walks down the path. The gate stands open. You follow her to the gate, saying nothing, walking softly. The hair cut

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-Two

that happened? It was something he did, something you blamed God for. Frankly, I don’t understand how God avoids the blame for anything. You step softly out onto the porch. The person with your name on her lips, grown tired, is sitting on the front steps, leaned forward, her arms folded, her shoulders shaking. Might she be sobbing? You are afraid. What terrible news does she bring? Or you are angry and itch to give her a shove. Or, suddenly, a great joy fills you and you reach out to her, grateful you overcame the demon that held you to

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty-One

knob on the outside. Must be warm on the porch. Whoever’s been calling you, at least they’ve been warm. Do you turn the knob and pull the door open? Why not? Why have you hesitated? Could it be dangerous? Is this the kind of neighborhood where you can’t open the door without thinking about it? Maybe anybody who would know your name is nobody you want to see. Let’s say you open the door. Let’s say the person is someone you know. Mom? Father-in-law? Second grade teacher? Minister at the church you stopped going to because of the bad thing

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Fifty

A man in a white coat looking serious, holding a pointer up to a diagram of a stomach. Well, who knows from miracles? You close your eyes and the world turns round again. It’s time. This is what it’s like. Things happen, then other things happen, then the same thing happens again. Time’s cycle. Time’s arrow. You get cold. You get warm. You are getting colder. Colder. Coldest. You’re really cold now. If you don’t turn back. Ah. You are getting warmer. Warmer. Your hand on the doorknob. Are you surprised to find it is warm? Maybe the sun’s been heating up the

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Nine

dented by years of cat and point it at the screen that’s either no bigger than a postcard or fills the wall. The screen comes to life with two women arguing over a suitcase. One, screaming, seizes the other’s long auburn hair. With the press of a button you switch over to a long flat road across ice, a gigantic truck bearing down on you, a cloud of snow and dirt whirling up behind. Then a sporting event. Then a close-up of a whisk lifting peaks from white foam. Then daisies bowing gently as a piano tinkles in the background.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Eight

at the Dallas International Airport, third degree burns over ninety percent of its body, likely would have been less of a miracle if the angel entrusted with its life hadn’t been chasing migrating geese into the jet engines. Nobody calls the average daily workings of the world a miracle. You eat your sandwich and somehow incorporate its nutrients. No miracle. You walk down the street, and a cement truck does not careen suddenly onto the sidewalk, crushing your soft body against the flowery embankment. Not a miracle! Well, who knows from miracles? You pick up the remote from a cushion

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Seven

the angel checked in just when a tornado was bearing down on the U-Storr-It garage where the relic from Christ’s sacrifice was guarded with prayer and a Yale lock. The angel diverted the tornado to the nearby church where the congregation was howling up to heaven its determination to protect an old thread of cotton. Everyone in the church was killed. Except for the baby recovered from the rubble, crying out of hunger. This baby was the charge of no particular angel. Yet there it was. The other miracle baby, the one pulled from the flaming wreckage on Runway 5B

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Six

vial that has been melted shut at both ends then strapped to a velvet cushion in a glass-faced box with carrying handles. This box remains packed in an iron casket bound with chains until its once-a-year removal for the faithful who have purchased the highly-sought-after (and inevitably expensive) tickets to the exclusive viewing in a nearby colonial manor’s antebellum ballroom. The storage facility is known to a bare handful of initiatives and is protected from tornadoes by the daily prayers of a local congregation secretly devoted to this single operation and an infrequent but much ballyhooed chili cook-off. One year

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Five

was on watch, and that baby was not alone in having an angel. Well-regarded angels were dedicated to each of four other passengers: a jazz musician, a five-year-old girl with curly red hair, a candidate for middle management, and a former shoeshine boy. The angel who was assigned the miracle baby divided its time between said miracle, a village in the West Indies, two endangered species (their limited numbers making the task simple, especially for an angel), and a relic. A tiny thread soaked with the blood of the savior himself reposes on a sterilized cotton boll in a glass

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Four

lift-off, launching the dog on a downward trajectory through the clouds. When the body is found on the sand under palm fronds, several bones broken but still breathing, the tail wags weakly. It is conjectured that the palm trees caught the plummeting astro-not and their flexible trunks absorbed the shock of the collision. Either that or the dog had its own angel. Which, I might note, while likely, is not something that more than marginally improves one’s chances of getting safely through dangerous occasions. Remember the miracle baby pulled from the wreckage of the airliner, the only survivor? An angel

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Three

camera that transmitted his fine physiognomy back to the captivated television-watching populace of his native world, thought along these lines: “Fuck.” Just then the extra-terrestrial frogs materialize in the space capsule and whisk Prince off to another dimension. This only happens in three of the 933.6 billion alternate universes in which the rocket escapes Earth’s gravitation pull. In all but two of the alternate universes in which the rocket does not escape the Earth’s gravitation pull, the rocket explodes upon reentry, killing Prince in a sizzling flash of atmospheric friction. In one alternate universe the rocket comes apart just after

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-Two

dog was really royalty and would one day wear the crown. The crown of the dog kingdom. In Heaven. Which means he would be dead first. Having been shot into outer space, his final destination Canis, the Earth-like planet that orbits Sirius, the dog star. That’s a long way away. The spacecraft was headed for a wormhole which would get it to Canis before the oxygen and doggy treats ran out, but in 933 billion out of 933.6 billion alternate universes in which the rocket escaped Earth’s gravitation pull the wormhole proved elusive and the patient Prince, smiling into the

Monday, May 07, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty-One

number? Can I call you? Are you hungry?” Don’t ever shop when you’re hungry. You will buy more than you can afford. “That one. The desperation. You can smell it.” “Are you free? What am I saying? Of course you’re free! When does anybody ever ask you anywhere?” “Stop sniveling. Stop whining. Stop your sobbing.” Once upon a time, you say to yourself, looking out at the field, at the butterfly tumbling in the spring sunshine just above the wet nose of the dog leaping, leaping to catch it. Once upon a time there was a dog named Prince. The

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Forty

yelling your name or something that, in your distorted sensory state, sounds enough like your name to make your heart quicken, to make you cringe. Who is it? The voice sounds familiar. But so many voices sound alike. How many times have you looked up in the line at the grocery store, expecting to see Isabelle or Martin or Wayne or Sing or. The boy bagging your groceries is waiting for something. A tip? “Would you like help out to your car?” he says. “No,” you say. “I’m fine. Thanks.” You don’t say, “You’re cute. Are you single? What’s your

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Thirty-Nine

to know it in depth. It is true that the more you look the more you find. The way to get bored is to keep returning to the same places, expecting them to excite you as they used to. There’s so much information. I can see all, hear all, or so I get to thinking. When everything comes easy, when all one must do is open an eye, and a trillion worlds whirl by, it’s hard to care. How did it come to this? You are sitting on a couch, slumped rather, head throbbing, someone at the door, they keep

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Thirty-Eight

I must be enlightened. When you have access to every alternate universe in which the laws of physics are roughly similar (and there are so many, you just don’t want to know), you can get to feeling smug about it. Like you know all there is to know. Then you get bored. Isn’t there something else to know? Then you realize you’re bored because you can’t tell one universe from another. It takes a billion working together to have simple thoughts. And a billion on billion to get bored. Concentrate on one universe, or a handful, maybe. Try to get

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Thirty-Seven

connected me across several billion alternative universes, dimensions, planes, and imaginary contrivances, instantaneously stitching together a complete consciousness out of comets. Pretty sharp, eh? I am an alien intelligence. And yet. I feel right at home in your solar system. It’s mine, too! So don’t go thinking I don’t belong because I do. I belong here. I belong here and across the multiverse. Mine is a mind that penetrates a million levels of being. And yet. I am. I am. Shouldn’t I be hungry? I mean, according to my own theory and all. Oddly, however, I feel rather complete. Content.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Thirty-Six

time stirs and begins to tick, change once more is possible. That might be destruction. That might be creation. And if both happen simultaneously that’s just about normal. It’s time! Anyway, the traveler came in transdimensional shift, carved out a nook in my belly, took a nap, yawned and stretched, relieved the needs of her body in tidy and considerate ways, then drew from her transdimensional satchel a paperback about a medieval nun who solves murder mysteries, and picked absently at her eyebrows as she read. It was then I had my first intimation that I existed. The transdimensional shift

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Thousand: Seven Hundred Thirty-Five

is longer. Track to trackless wastes, path through a void unmapped. It’s a long cold way to go. Once you get past a certain point, the cold doesn’t deepen. Time, in my formulation, gives up and goes to sleep. Maybe to sleep is where you fall, too, all alteration unfound, the curvature of space providing the long slide you follow. Space counts only when a return seems inevitable, the sun again more than a fleck, its warmth at last shaking the dust off the face. Not that the face is anything but dust. One is dust. Dust thou art. When