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Month: February 2009

Epic of ruin


A new thought,

a smell of lemon peel but the sting’s in the throat
always in tension

He sits in the middle of the metro bus, speaking into a dictaphone. His is unshaven, swaddled in an extravagance of filth and odor, a tweed greatcoat clutched at the neck, lapels up like a funnel clogged by his bony angular head.

Further ruin, number 689-70. She whipped me with my own pendulous member. Pendulous. A man’s penis must not be used against him. This event to take up two entries in the chronicle of my ruin.

The driver checks him in the rearview mirror. The bus is otherwise empty but still he crowds the window, pressing into it, scheming, plotting, streams of thinning hair lifting, seeking to escape in the updrafts.

He removes a package of coughdrops, shakes it violently. They are stuck together in the bottom of the homemade box in a syrupy rheum. Have a lemon lozenge, Horace. My voice is failing me. Once there was a time when the palliative harmonics of my voice could postpone the inevitable asswhipping. It could also slice through the dense crust of disapprobation present in most women who confront me. Parry the thin long fillet knife they invariably select for my dismemberment. Not that I discount the episode with the poultry shears. Where was I.

He turns off the recorder momentarily. He switches it on. He stares ahead, switches if back off and surmises:

June, she must be found. I know her voice through the vents and plumbing gorgeous and horrified and visits with you even when there is no booze. That’s something. Her voice raids the cabinets and starts a fire in the ashtray; this voice you can’t quite hear with the water running, or even with the lights on.

The math of nobody home


Only recently he had taken to killing ants as he came upon them and of course the more he killed the more came. And this business of killing ants was enough to fill the morning, and the space of the morning, for a time
And recently now was he aware of a thought held past the first light on things, the morning light on the window sill and the warmth on a sleeping eyelid, and this warmed into nothing ordered or preferred or developed so much as a blank stare, a glance forever exhausted upon the business of a filthy home and this march of time and ants alike

And yet recently had he vaguely remembered a last chance, or a choice, or a suggestion of any kind, a thought or notion of why ants came here or what they might find here and how even they, it seemed, might just be passing through

And he lingered there and still ultimately missed this point, and upon others remembered he both missed andsupplied this point, and he unplugged the answering machine because even as all this confounded him, he still missed nothing so much as the sound of nobody home

Even if he could never supply the act outright, this solution of nobody home.

Music for saw and bow


Inside there was a message on the machine: Honeymoon was originally used to describe the period of time that passed from when a man kidnapped a woman and when her parents stopped looking for her. I told her many years ago My shotgun and I will be in your neighborhood sometime today, be prepared to come along quietly. Good lord but how she could stand on a Tennessee porch. Barefoot, thin wristed hand shading her eye, lips still damp from minted tea. A catlike tension binding up her sexual history with the inevitability of my death. The very act of being in her attention, within the scope of those tremendous eyes. [a pause] But now I can’t help but think how much of a relief it would be to use the phrase My wife is dead to help explain my character. This occurred to me this morning on my agent’s boat. What has happened? My ice was melted and I was out of smokes. And the sun was rising over the mountains and an absolute redhead called June Ruin and there’s no way I can translate this for an answering machine.

Let me just say this: We cannot be too devastated.