Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Seven

“Who are you with?” the tourguide asks, touching Bernie on the shoulder. He starts. “Oh, uh, I’m uh with with,” and he nods at the dog, forgetting how to say the dog’s name, forgetting the word “dog.” “You’re with?” the woman says. When Bernie nods his head toward the dog, who ignores everything but the hand, the tourguide shrugs. “You’ll have to catch up with your group,” she says. “Wherever it is. You’re not on my manifest.” Bernie smiles, embarrassed, and pulls his hand away from the mouth that, this time, lets it go. Sir shakes and yawns, stretches, Bernie

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Six

found on the hand. It feels a little weird, but not bad, really. Kind of nice, as the tongue is warm and soft and patient, making sure not to miss a millimeter. Bernie surrenders to the dog’s diligence, even turning his hand in order to give better access. He closes his eyes and falls into a reverie. A handsome cowboy is walking across a scrub desert, the wind whirling away the dust raised by his boots. The cowboy comes upon a horse already saddled. “Who are you with?” the cowboy asks, stroking the horse’s nose, feeding it a sugar cube.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Five

coffee of your own, I’d be happy to fetch it. What? Hand coffee better? Well, okay then, okay, go ahead, have at it, who am I to say no.” The dog works the hand over, sniffing between each finger, laving the hairs with a long soft tongue. When Bernie moves to get up, the dog emits a low growl and grips a finger between firm jaws. “Hey,” Bernie says, but stops pulling away. He tries stroking the dog with his other hand, but Sir/Lady doesn’t let this distract from what is evidently most important, getting the news from what is

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Four

that? The spill reveals a discontinuity in the fabric of space-time. When the cold coffee of hell splashes over Bernie’s hand and the hot-but-not-painfully-hot coffee of heaven splashes over Bernie’s hand, the two universes change hands. Sir, who has been scratching his head with a back foot, jumps up when the coffee spills, putting his forepaws on the table. Lady, who has also been scratching her head, jumps up in heaven, putting her paws on the table. The dog in both instances betrays a peculiar fascination with the coffee-drenched hand. “You want some coffee?” Bernie asks. “If you’d like a

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Three

constructed being the very same particle as in every other universe, only presents differently because the shape of the universe forces the senses to perceive it differently. Convincing illusion, eh? The densest lead soldier lovingly painted and posed under glass is empty, mostly. We are fooled into thinking a thing is a thing when nothing is its dominant aspect. On the other hand, the idea that space can ever be empty is a fool idea. Some fools have the best connections. That’s the difference between us. We’re all connected. Even disconnections are connections. The coffee spills. Are we clear on

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-Two

appear to move differently in different universes, turning left when right was the expectation, say. Is this proof they are not connected, that they are not one particle? No, rather it demonstrates a difference in the shape of space in that universe. What makes one universe different from another is not its contents but its shape. In a wave the matter is not altered. It just appears to be altered. The wave is one of the structures of space. When the coffee is hot in one universe and cold in another, the same coffee, every particle of which it is

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty-One

in another universe will also turn right. Why? Because they are connected. Not by some means of concourse between universes, but because they are one. There is but one particle. Multiple universes, one particle. Why, that doesn’t make any sense! I hear you saying. Do I mean there’s not a subatomic particle’s worth of difference between universes? That’s it. Although, to clarify, just because Particle A turns right in Universe A and Particle A turns right in Universe B does not mean, necessarily, that every particle will appear to take the exact same path in every universe. Some particles will

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Eighty

the spill. He just reacted. In heaven when the woman rose from the table she bumped it and Bernie’s coffee cup rocked like a cradle, the coffee’s surface wrinkling like a baby’s face in a grin. Bernie reaches for it quickly in heaven, too. It’s reflex. He’s used to things spilling when they rock like that, spilling and making a mess and nobody’d want a mess here, where everything is so nice. Both cups spill. Or perhaps it is only one cup that spills. Perhaps it is only one coffee. Just as when one subatomic particle turns right, its match

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Nine

Bernie puts the cup down, and it wobbles as the woman on the far end of the picnic table stands up. It’s going to tip, so he reaches out reflexively, thinking there’s no way he can catch it. If the coffee’d been scalding so undrinkable rather than room temp so undrinkable, he would be about to get burned reaching out to catch it. Or lunging to spill it more. Maybe. But maybe deflecting some of what was going to tumble. Into his lap. Maybe saving himself some of that indignity. Not that he was weighing all the possible versions of

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Eight

at him. In heaven, he chuckles a little himself, they seem so merry, then he tears a piece off a croissant and pops a green grape into his mouth. In hell he dunks a biscuit in his cold bitter coffee, a biscuit so dry that when he tried to bite it it hurt his teeth. Dipping the biscuit in the coffee improves neither, the biscuit going soggy on the outside, remaining stony inside, while the added scum of melted biscuit on the black skin of the coffee repulses the palate. It’s hell. What can you expect? He’s not hungry anyway.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Seven

Hope we meet again.” Bernie in hell, feeling bad about being cursed at, wonders if a longer, more polite refusal would not have left him feeling this way, while Bernie in heaven, having endured a long, polite refusal that seems to have incurred a surprising amount of social obligation considering Bernie’s never seen this guy before, glances over at the man clambering awkwardly onto another picnic bench, the burly arm sliding around the shoulders of the large blonde already sitting there. The man whispers into the woman’s ear and both burst out laughing. In hell Bernie thinks they are laughing

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Six

cold, and it’s bitter, burnt-tasting. In heaven it’s just this side of burning the lip, and it’s smooth, not needing sugar to fake its way to palatability. “Is this seat taken?” Bernie looks up and smiles at a fat older man, gestures his welcome to the spot on the bench. In hell the man says, “Fuck you,” and stalks off. In heaven the man says, “Hey, buddy. Thanks a lot. Oh, ‘scuze me, you being generous and all but I just spotted my wife,” he gives Bernie a wink, “so you’ll have to forgive me for making the acquaintance brief.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Five

rim. “Sorry,” he’d said and the woman whose cup it was gave him a sidelong look. In heaven she gave him a half smile. In hell she curled a lip. Bernie stirs his coffee with a wooden stir stick. In heaven the stick was harvested from farmed timber. In hell the stick was shaved from a tree taken in a clear cut of old growth forest. He takes it out and lays it on his napkin (in heaven made from recycled non-bleached, post-consumer paper; in hell made from the hides of puppies), and takes a sip. In hell it’s too

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Four

don’t need to worry, dear. You come round if you want. Any time. You come round any time and Lady, she’ll be there for you.” Bernard Severide did make it to hell. He made it to heaven, too. Lady knew what she was doing. Sir, too. Bernie is sitting at a picnic table in heaven, at a picnic table in hell. He’s sitting at the corner where the table leg is a quarter inch shorter than the others. When he sat down a paper cup at the far end of the table rocked and lost a few drops over the

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Three

he asks. “Lady is helping someone. She be back shortly. This morning, I’m thinking. But we’ll see. These things take time, time that we can’t count up the same way as other things, like sitting in class, you know. Or waiting for the bus.” The grocer chuckles. “Yes, ma’am. There’s many class I remember taking time out of my life in ways I could never make add up. But I catch your meaning. Yes, ma’am, I catch it and put it next to my heart.” The grocer pats his chest. Dr Yvonne smiles again and touches the grocer’s arm. “You

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-Two

and I heard chimes as though a soft wind was moving through glass flowers.” “For sale: Couch, rarely slept on, orange, tall.” “Help wanted: Bakers with experience in doughs.” The grocer is ringing up the bagged vegetables and fruit, so she refolds the paper, leaving it as tidy as she found it. She digs in her black purse for her pocketbook. Pressing the bills into the grocer’s hand, she looks at the maps of creases on each, the white ones on the bills, the black ones in the hand. “Thank you, Bill,” she says, gathering everything up. “That dog around?”

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy-One

Gabriel?” “Lady is the name of the dog,” Dr Yvonne says, and smiles what might even be a genuine smile. “What’s fresh?” She lets the grocer pick out a few things and, while she waits, flips through one of those free weekly advertisers that sit in stacks by the door. “Missed connection: You spilled your hot coffee on my wrist and apologized so profusely I started to feel like I was the one who’d done something wrong and I had to bat away your clumsy attempts to clean it up. Then I looked into your eyes, they were like crystal,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Seventy

density of ice compared to water. On both planes the dog had a booking agent named Yvonne, or, as she prefers it, Dr Yvonne, when, that is, she allows herself to be identified. Running a business that involves sending tourists to hell (or to heaven, for that matter) is the sort of activity that might provide obstacles in other endeavors should it become common knowledge. Those who take seriously the Guide Dog to Hell sign already expect discretion. “Well, if it isn’t Doc Tor Yvonne,” the green grocer says when bell hanging over the entrance jangles. “How is the Lady

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Nine

one plane he was called Sir and he led tours to hell. On the other plane he was called, I mean, she was called Lady and she led tours to heaven. In both planes the dog looked pretty much the same, a medium-sized short hair with a curly tail. In one plane Sir took a man named Bernard Severide to hell. In the other plane Lady took a man named Bernard Severide to heaven. On both planes, in other words, things were pretty much identical, from teacups to the common names of mushrooms in Russian forests to the relatively low

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Eight

Out on the trail, the smoke from the campfire spiraling toward the stars, I will pop open the Tupperware and we can eat cake. In the bathysphere, sinking gradually down, the walls of the Marianas Trench rising above us, unwrap that tinfoil I handed you for safekeeping and, yes, it will be cake. Cake! Wonderful cake. Heavenly cake. What could be better than angels and cake! Why, cake all by itself! So come along if you may, my dear angels, regardless, there will be cake. Once upon a time there was a dog. This dog existed on two planes. On

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Seven

be done, that which cannot be known, those who cannot be deflowered, little sour berries, and painkillers, I have to say, angels, I deserve cake. Yes, I suppose cake is no more likely to bring you than olallieberry pie. But it’s baked. Have a piece. I’d eat it all up myself, had I a mouth. I would smack my lips and wiggle my tongue had I a tongue, had I lips. A foot? I’d lick the frosting off the middle toe. Marry me, angels, and let us eat cake. Hang out around my pool hall and let us eat cake.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Six

angels are worthless, useless, and don’t exist. Yes, I said it. Worthless! Useless! Don’t exist! True in most universes, I should say. There are exceptions? We are all exceptions. Angels more than most. The few universes that harbor angels have room for all we need. Infinitudes, you know. As a consciousness completely dependent on commerce between universes, whose body exists primarily in my mind (but also the occasional borrowing from others both obliging and unknowing, about which much may later be said, let me know if you’re interested), and as one naturally inclined to a fixation on that which cannot

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Five

sing counterpoint. When the birds sing, let us toot the panpipes to keep their spirits high. When the whales sing, let us dip our heads in the drink and warble many a bubble of harmony. When the winds whistle their mournful bonhomie with the chill brick walls of the mental hospital, let’s get out top hats and spats and long-tailed coats and shuffle step shuffle step stomp to meet the mood of that air. I can’t do it without you, angels. I can’t. No. Not me. It’s a weakness, my inability to get along without angels. Even though, you know,

Friday, September 07, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Four

success; I got addicted to support groups; I got addicted to Jesus who has never ceased hitting bottom and climbing back out of the hole; I got addicted to fear and charity; I got addicted to confession, soul-searching, and therapy. I took medication. I lay down and stared up at the stars. There are a lot of stars. Even realizing you are moving about among them doesn’t bring them closer. Oh angels, come close and let me whisper in your ears. Kiss me on the noggin. Take my hand and lead me among kine. When the frogs sing, let us

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Three

time in one place, just sitting, doing nothing, thinking nothing more than I ever think, which is never very much or for very long. I lamented when I got frustrated and felt ignored. I played solitaire with a tattered pack of cards; there were so many creases and stains on them I knew the King of Hearts by the wearing away of one of his hearts, the duece of clubs by the precise symmetry of its top to bottom creases. I got addicted to the internet; I got addicted to chess by mail; I got addicted to the smell of

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-Two

the richness of his skin with the help of trained mosquitoes. I led drumming circles, square-dancing hootenannies (with the red handkerchiefs angels are partial to wagging like sheep tails out the back pockets of the boys), and love triangles that linked into daisy chains. I listened to preachers, to tapes of preachers, studied videos of preachers with the sound off the better to isolate their body language, and with the help of experts in direct mail marketing reached out to preachers with appeals calculated to get them to cry out Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hal Leh Loo! I sat for a long

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty-One

starfish, and holy water, gave up the ghost to soulful lenders, imbibed the spirit of unctuousness with a plate of righteousness in an ancient amber glaze, lightly seared on one side. I howled when the moon was full and when the moon was new yodeled in my beer. I genuflected to the dawn and curtsied to the pink petticoats of the setting sun. I cut off my ear and put it in a glass casket with the tip of a finger and a vial of the blood of someone dear to me which I sneaked, drop by clandestine drop, from

Monday, September 03, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Sixty

blue dishes, crystals of methamphetamine in three primary colors and the glistering white of cocaine. I waved smudges of sage and rugs scented with frankincense and my ass. I built altars of stone and altered my tone, beseeching and screeching, ululating over the metate, and raising my hands to the heavens so the wine would run down my fingers to my armpits. I masturbated to the four directions. I folded my sad body like a square of paper and offered up a thousand nodding cranes in a string under Christmas lights. I fasted and procrastinated, restricted my intake to grapefruit,

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Fifty-Nine

hand to hand to mouth to mouth we will hurry through? Oh angels, won’t you sleep in my terrible hat, curl in the pocket with the hole, dance on the head of my pimple, perch on my first gray hair? I have always wanted for angels. I call you and you do not come. Yes, that made me bitter. That made me spiteful. I called you out. I sang your names, your many beautiful and ugly names, the names shorter than a syllable, the names that wrapped around the block. I put out honeydew and ichor pudding, manna and ambrosia in

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Thousand: Eight Hundred Fifty-Eight

you ready? Come along with your fiery swords and the golden plates on which you rest your waking heads. We will go across universes together, touching everything as we pass, inch by inch and god by god. We will trace a probe across the nerves of every twitching thing between times, stroke the cheek of every face that basks in the shadows cast by realities unobstructed, wind into the knothole of every board in every fence that keeps the dimensions in their tidy camps. Bless me with your insouciance! Won’t you take my hand while I grasp your chin, and