The human machine has turned on. Spots appear before your closed lids upon each exhalation of breath. It fumes out of your mouth, then French inhales into your nostrils, burning nose hairs and other areas of the skull – namely directly between the ears – with its stale, empty exhaust. Your mouth is hot and thirsty, and as you sit up for water your stomach drops into the mattress you’re propped on, only to Slinky back to the level of your heart, which also feels stale and empty.
You pause, as your thoughts assemble and your brain’s GPS slowly finds your position and maps your surroundings. You know you’re not Home, not your Home, or wherever that “H” word is meant to connote. But, you know that your relative location in space/time has positioned you in a place where that “H” word holds great significance if used in this very spot by someone other than yourself.
Your motor skills are working on a basic, primal survival mode, and you’re able to reach your hand out for the glass of water, whose rightfully anticipated necessity has placed it not too far from arms reach. You raise the glass to your lips only to have the first several gulps-worth pour down your chin. By this point, it’s apparent that you have a drinking problem. Tossing the empty glass onto the bedside table’s edge, you give it a few half-assed nudges toward the center in foresight of your own clumsy habits.
Now it hits you. The sickness. There is an impulse of what needs to be done, with little regard for self-image or pride. As many abstract expressionist painters or freeform jazz musicians claim, ‘there’s an inner-burning creative compulsion deep in one’s core, and something needs to come out.’ In this instance, the creative product will likely resemble partly digested food and stomach bile.
You spring up too fast, causing the bubble inside your torso’s spirit level to tilt all the way to one side, and then back, and then forth, and back, and forth, and back, and forth until centering just enough to plow through the bathroom door, where the dominatrix of your instinct forces you onto your knees, and here you are submitting yourself to just another john.
Swinging open the lid, you grab hold of the piss dampened rim and heave your head into the bowel, bobbing for apples of dignity that never surface. The puke spills out in a cacophony of white-noise-feeling. It splashes your face and hands, but at the moment this isn’t a concern.
After fully dispensing bodily fluids, your brain drops into reality, suddenly aware of its surroundings. You now feel the filth of the instance; depraved, demoralized, disgusted. The high of instinctual motions has faded away, leaving your analytical reason to feast on all that is wrong with the moment. Kneeling on the bathroom floor, the stale urine that coats the toilet is now much closer, and there is an overwhelming feeling that you have committed what Catholics might call a sin.
Straightening back up, you strain to look at yourself in the mirror. Your hair is pushed up on the left side, your face is sickly and unshaven, and you have water splashed down the front of your shirt; or maybe it’s vomit. The mirror becomes a low-res television screen, and every channel is broadcasting a marathon of infomercials, advertising the miracle cure to rid you of your grayscale life.
The Mart hung in the distance like an obsolete super-computer
Overcompensating for its faulty wiring,
While nervously waiting for the next big thing.
In a field, I stood in the epicenter, across from this epiccenter,
On an uneven ground of weeds, dirt, gnats, puddles, trash.
In the limits of vision, I saw the par-king lot
Balancing its inputs with its outputs
Into the super-computer.
-> In went bleak, gray, hungry bits of code
Out came obnoxious, colorful, fat bits of code <-.
I – usually bleak, gray, hungry – approached the Mart,
Pulled from the dirt-tangled field
By the electromagnetism of the straight angles ahead.
As I closed closer,
There emerged a binary to these bits.
And the Mart proclaimed, “Let this be man and woman,
And let their sacrificial computations be predictable, timely, and manipulateable,
And above all, let the 1 of woman and the 2 of man serve separate functions
To my Consumption Processing Unit.”
The Mart looked over all that it had made, and behold, it was very good…
My heel hit the hard of pavement and rolled up to my toe;
And as this became a recurring action,
My feet dealt distance with subtraction,
And the bits of code, post-transaction,
Grabbed my eyes with curious attraction.
These ostentatious outputs carried colorful cases,
Walked with manufactured importance,
Slapped smaller outputs and told them, “When I say stop, that means stop!”
Sputtered and spat at the ground,
Rolled toward their steel boxes like medicine balls in the wind,
Held the reins of their belt-buckle stallions, bucking for a fight,
Or yanking their buckles over their bulbous bellies,
With crooked smiles, crooked laughs,
Crooked plans, but straight paths.
The par-king lot carried the code
The best that pavement could.
Should cement lament it would.
I tried to think up a better system:
-Maybe a cloud based application (?)-
But my thoughts were sparse,
So, instead, I joined the cement sojourners,
Rolling toward my own steel box,
And together we awaited the next big thing.
Yesterday I was at the mall. I’m usually not very cynical, but the mall always seems to transform me into a hater of everything within its walls. Everything is made of fake, worthless, plastic and everyone’s a crook trying to con me out of money. I guess this generalization would include me, because I’m at the mall, but I’m there to purchase something necessary; just like everyone else (?).
I’m sitting at a table by the food court, enjoying a slice of pumpkin bread and a cup of coffee (no room for cream. thanks), when these two women behind me beat up a conversation. And they REALLY beat it up. I sat through the violence trying not to wince. Verbal carnage involving something about a performance and cake and some program and clothing and a new car. I couldn’t stand it any longer. I got up and walked.
Passing a small kiosk in the center of the walkway, two guys tried to sell me perfume. They were both sporting greasy spiked hair and popped collars.
“You want to impress your woman and get her some perfume?” asked the taller one.
“You want to impress me?” I asked as seriously as I could.
“Um… Sure.” he said, a little nervous crack in his voice.
I held eye contact with him and didn’t blink. He gave me a blank expression, signaling that he had no idea what to say to me anymore. My inverted questioning broke his character and left him speechless. I let out a loud belch. The corners of his mouth rose into a smile and then immediately dropped when he realized that the corners of mine didn’t budge.
“Is something funny?” I asked him.
“No. Sorry. I just thought I heard you…”
“Burp?” I finished for him.
I held eye contact and kept a straight face. The smaller guy jumped in front, cutting off my stare, and said something about perfume again.
I changed my persona, “Oh, perfume you say? In that case I’ll take three bottles of your finest.”
The taller one got excited and began blurring his words into a mesh of automated salesmanship, “Well-all-of-these-are-equally-fine-and-we-have-quite-an-excellent-collection-and…”
“Than I’ll take three of your most expensive.” I cut in, saving him breath.
“Yes sir, as you wish,” the confidence returned to his voice. It was obvious that he had just made his sales quota, and the corners of his mouth returned to the upright position along with his hair and collar.
“Box’um up fellas. I’ll be right back. Just need to hit an ATM.” I said.
“There’s one on the first floor of the Dillard’s, but we’re closing in five minutes, so be quick.” the shorter chimed in again.
“Thanks’. Give me a minute, I’ll be right back.” I said, fleeing the scene in the opposite way of the Dillard’s.
People are easy to mess with when they’re trying to sell something. They laps into autopilot, and catching them off guard is a simple task. As long as you act serious they will cater to your every whim.
Why am I at the mall again? Oh yah, dress shoes for Thanksgiving. I need to go to Dillard’s for that – Damn it! I pretend to be interested in some advertisement on the wall in order to make my smooth transition into the opposite direction. Can’t look like I don’t know where I’m going. I pass the perfume stand again and give a polite smile and wave.
“Wrong way.” I say with a shrug, trying not to break from my character.
They smile back and hold up the package that I’m expected to buy: Reminding me that I promised to spend my money on their useless commodity; an act which will subsequently help secure a reason for their job’s existence.
I enter the Dillard’s, purposely avoiding walking under the flower laden arch they have set at the entrance. Shit, more perfume. Entire glass counters of it. Women sit in director-style chairs while employees in blue aprons splash them in these liquid fragrances: Cover them in it: And then make them gargle before swallowing it. I rush past, trying not to breathe-in any air, and walk down the escalator passing the ATM to where the shoes are.
“What can I help you with?” asks a short, pale balding woman. She’s dressed in the official uniform of the Dillard’s militia.
“Nothing. Just looking. Thanks.” I say.
“Ok. Let me know when you need help.” She said. The use of the word “when” made me uncomfortable.
All the shoes looked very stylish – something I’ve grown to hate in clothing. Not only that, but many of them had big brand names and logos on the side. KENNETH COLE – ROCKPORT – SPERRY. Fashion companies make you pay them to become their walking billboards. Most people don’t find a problem with this; which is why I find a problem with most people.
“Are you finding everything alright? Can I help you with what you’re looking for?” It’s the short bald woman again. The combination of bad lighting, monotonous labor, and the smell of leather had obviously affected her short term memory.
“Yah. I’d like to try on this one, this one, this one, and this one in sizes 10 ½, 13 and 8.” I told her, “Shopping for the family. You understand.”
She was busy just long enough for me to finally find the plainest, most bland shoe I could. I grabbed a 10 ½; figuring it would fit. When she came out carrying a stack of 12 boxes, her face getting cut off around the seventh, I told her thanks anyway for the help and I proceeded to the checkout.
Finally, I had what I came for: a pair of shoes for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is the time of year that we can all be thankful for what we have – and then flaunt it by eating and throwing away more food than we would on any other day. This is good prep for Christmas. If we weren’t thankful on Thanksgiving than we might have a lot of consumer’s guilt come Christmas. Being thankful for what you have makes room for more stuff. Corporations know this, exploit it, and have plenty of clever ways to make you think it’s not obsessively compulsive to mindlessly buy at certain times of the year – but I digress.
I made it safely through the checkout and left the store. Outside I take a breath of fresh air as if my head was held under water for several minutes. Walking to my car I spot an alley between two parts of the mall and remember that I have to piss. I walk over and look around to make sure no one can see me, place down my bag, and I water the wall. As I shake off and zip up I hear two voices behind me:
“Hey look. It’s the piece-a-shit from earlier”
“Yah. Looks like he took his business elsewhere.”
“Well I ain’t stay’en half-hour past my shift for noth’en”
“I hear that. Best make this worth our wait”
I felt a blow to the head and dropped to the ground. I tried to pick myself up, but a kick to the stomach put me on the pavement again.
“You think you were pretty funny with that burp gimmick, huh?”
Another kick sent my head into the wall and down into the piss.
“Yah. Think you’re funny?”
I felt another kick in the stomach; this one with less force.
“Next time you think you can take advantage of people do’en their job, next time you think you’re any better, you remember this.”
One last kick put me down into my own piss again. I raised my head and regained focus just long enough to see two guys with spiked hair and popped collars walk away with a bag. My bag.
The keys for our words
Uncover some keys to our words,
And upon close inspection
It seems quite absurd
That we choose to slash sayings
Over asking a question,
Or that the quality of our quotations
Is valued less than possession.
Percentages and money
Wane in utilization
Who are used even more than exclamation!
We equal things out
More than add things together,
And the space between symbols
Has the longest space by measure.
The pointer on our right hand gets an eight-pointer in Scrabble
Yet, the middle of the left hand must jump up to tackle
An e-mazingly much used vowel, pushed up and afar,
And with the illogic of this layout, most vowels are.
In the past it kept letters from jamming together,
but technology has changed, so can the QWERTY be better?
I usually don’t have a complete lack of maturity, but today is not usual. Today I’m acting a fool… for the stool.
My Shitty Poem
Ode to the commode
That carries my poo
And keeps me from disease,
Parasites and the flu.
Ode to this seat
Where I do so much reading.
The brown bombs of bowel movements
Are the effects of my eating.
The commode, it gleams
With stinky sediment steam,
Yet I can’t do without it
It would very much seem.
I wish I could shit
In the yard like a dog;
No worry of overflow,
No worry of clog.
But the commode is now broken
And will not flush my pee,
So now this ode
Will be an elegy.
In celebration of having this blog for two days, I had the bright idea to throw up two poems. And, speaking of “bright” ideas, both of these sorta kinda have to do with the concept of brightness. Well, one is about light and the other dark; not to draw metaphor to any good/evil dichotomy. Anyway, here they be – separated by a fittingly cliché picture of a sunset I took – Enjoy:
I stare at the light
Until it obstructs my sight,
And I gaze at things with their new,
I space-out at the spiral coil of a bulb
While my space starts to spiral and dissolve.
I become the self-appointed king of esoteric geometry,
As celestial circles weave wildly on the white wall.
There’s aesthetic beauty in relinquished reality.
Yet, the spineless demise of blindness will arise,
To those who give light a lengthy looking of the eyes.
Wax Wings Waxed under the Waxing Gibbous
I, like Icarus,
Reach great height.
Though I’m aware
His fallacy of flight.
He flew too high
With sun in sight.
When I fly high
I wait ‘til night.