Month: May 2016

Serial Installment #4 of “On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself”, Pages 63-79

02.09.01dads_bananas

Or, you can avoid eye-strain while taking advantage of summer shade, and buy book now in its entirety.

January 22

Snow and wind last night. This is a great humility in Oswego, to live and be covered in snow and ice. It puts technology in a corner of your playroom, with the colorful balls and figurines. A man’s life in winter hasn’t changed significantly in sixty years. Oh sure, the phone rings and he can pick it up and walk anywhere with it, but that’s not much. He can have a thousand channels of TV, but so what? The wind howls and his garbage can cover flies by the window. The snow turns in violent circles under the street light. The man will have to sit and wait despite what new “toy” he has to play with.
Chicken for din-din. The oven uses gas, as it did sixty years ago, but now it can clean itself. No it can’t. That’s a distortion. He has to clean it. But the oven has a timer, a fancy built-in instant read thermometer, digital clock, professional BTU’s, and an endless inner light to illuminate the carcass… Yet it still does not possess the necessary robotics to take itself to the store and bring you back a chicken. Nor can it sliver the garlic, poke tiny holes in the breast of the bird, and insert the slivers for you. Oh but it’s shiny and pretty and brand new! Technologically advanced. State of the art (Strange to label the most artless monstrosities and tiny black plastic boxes as “art”). A good technological advance would be an automated device invented to inject a serum into a man’s brain immediately upon entering his vestibule on a cold winter’s night. A drug to make him think that time improves a man’s outlook, that advances in science and technology open old stubborn, painted, glued and screwed shut doors of happiness. That air cleaners, DVD, Surround Sound, the Internet, computer station, stainless steel dough mixers, microwave ovens, snowblowers, and riding mowers, to name just a few beautiful shiny new things, are not only really fun, but fill up the empty places to overflowing. A drug to wear off by morning, because I believe the sun still possesses some magical powers of rejuvenation. (Most men still dream in the early morning, without TV).
Unfortunately, no such drug-injector exists at the present time. They’re still working on the light sensors. It won’t matter how tipsy a man is when he stumbles past the door late on a winter’s night. He’ll be quite satisfied with the television, an invention of the 1940’s, to sooth the growling yawns of his inner, sleeping animal.
Wait. Now here is an example of technological progress. I just got up from the table to use the toilet. I plugged the toilet. I searched every room for the plunger that has been hiding in this house since 1958. Without a remote control finding beep, I found the tool, brought it to the bathroom, and jabbed it into the toilet to upset the dam. The stool broke free. I sighed, and came back to work.
Now this isn’t Tolstoy. I’m not genius. God does not write through me. The plunger is enough. Because of technologies’ stubborn advance, the aspiring modern American writer types with the same genius and sense of purpose that Tolstoy’s great, great grandchildren use to club-hop and cocaine snort their typical Friday night away in Moscow. There are no young geniuses. One would think that time-saving devices would help in the output of more works of fine art. True, there are plenty more artists today struggling with a car payment. Modernity can boast of great strides in art. Particularly in the field of abstraction. The age demands easy expression, some abstraction being a short-cut with paths that widen in equal proportion to the artist’s knowledge of The Brady Bunch. Had Tolstoy the opportunity to view an episode, he might have come up with a creative way to carve out and cook his own spleen. The sculptor of today who possesses a clear vision of Bobby Brady’s favorite t-shirt can produce a masterpiece out of the stale beer cans, twisted wire, crumpled nudies, broken glass, and empty quarts of oil strewn six feet high, found in his Uncle’s mini-landfill of a back yard. He’ll call it, “The Final Destruction of the Soul,” parade it across the country, from one artless museum to the next, settling in at night with gobs of take-out, TV, and perhaps a point to make about Tolstoy’s Russian madness, during the commercial breaks of course.
Every single artist my age who was born in America has heard of The Brady Bunch. The juxtaposition of that piece of embarrassing information with Tolstoy’s worn, calloused, and bleeding feet is the best lobby I can offer for the dire need we have of constant, repeating improvements in technology. The slim chance of survival that the artist has today remains to be seen in the complete destruction of creative spirit among his contemporaries. Because the artist is drugged silly by the supposed ease of modern life, rarely has he the strength to stand alone against technologies’ invisible army. The ironic battle cry of “We just want to make you more comfortable,” often proves to be their final, victorious charge against the American artist. The white flag is raised from the chair, the dirty litter box, while on a dog walk, or upon arrival at the front door, after picking out a four course meal tonight with the eight dollars the artist found in his coat pocket. Three of his favorite syndicated shows are on after dinner, and he’d really like to get this piece finished before Laverne and Shirley.
What options beside madness and suicide are there for the man who is true to his art?
This: He must do his absolute best to avoid as much gadgetry as possible. Unfortunately, avoidance will give him neither strength nor courage. It might bring him sanity, provided there is one like himself fighting inertia in the same town, and they have the lucky chance to meet. For art to endure at least another century, the artist must scrap everything holy in America. Presently, and probably indefinitely, toys are the most holy. He must start with the toys then, and toss out at least one a day. Oh yes, and he must always do the exact opposite of his neighbor. Not the easiest program to follow! What began as a quiet personal, monkish struggle, will end in a declaration of war against man and his technology.
Oh but woe to the simple artist, for the enemy has an endless supply of ammunition from an ever-expanding arsenal of weapons. It has an army, navy, air force, and marine corps of square-headed men with very powerful G-12 processors. It has the popular backing of nearly every man and woman on the planet. All domesticated pets as well. The house dog is taught to turn on the master who changes his diet from an egg yolk on kibbles to “go out and kill a rabbit you lazy mutt!” No, there is no chance in open combat for the man whose life is dedicated to art. He will avoid his enemy guerrilla style. The sane artist must retreat into the jungle to practice his future strategies while living the life of a rainforest hermit. He’s a lone warrior now, one who doesn’t love a soul connected in any way to making his life easier. He likes the hot, steady rains of the jungle, and an occasional hurricane to humble his growing dependency on technology. He might take for booty a pair of sneakers to protect his feet from the sharp forest floor and raid an unlucky troop of tourists using his path to the waterfall. However, he will not hastily assume that his enemy is everyone. No, it’s not wise to combat with any joker holding a wireless. These days, even a promising young painter will be carrying one of those! When the hermit steps out of his hut in the hot morning ready for confrontation, any human being he spies will be carrying some little gadget to play with. Along with American TV, technology has invaded all remote spots on the globe. When he leaves his hut looking for a fight, the artist must take along the same advice given to Marsha Brady by her father Mike when she needed the courage to give an oral presentation. He told her to imagine the audience in their underwear. The artist must go a step further. For his war to be won, he must rip off the underwear and make every body naked. Stark naked and stupid, just like the day they came into the world. First he strips off their clothes and sets his face eye to eye with each captive. He is looking for the same sign in everyone. There is only one difference which separates the artist from the technological man. No matter how fat, thin, pallid, pimpled or pussed the enemies’ body, the artist soldier focuses his entire inspection on the eyes. Nothing can separate him from his enemy quite like the eyes.
For my outlook to improve at all, I must see hope’s death hiding in their eyes!

January 25

We must abide then with the major advances in technology made during the last half of the last century that make men faster, stronger, more idealistic, optimistic, healthy-faced, and preening with glowing red cheeks from this constant game of internal tag between desire and satisfaction.
What, you mean to tell me that your new car doesn’t do those nice things to you? So, you can’t tell the difference between the crisp, clear melody of the CD surround-sound system and the crying, screaming agony of your own heart’s lying to itself?

Let me tell you, this morning I know my writing to be a useless, very selfish form of torturing the ones I love. Any day now, my child will be born. How can a man be so blind and so cruel? I love you Marie. To touch your lovely skin where the insides ache is my duty. I scream and spit at the man who can cover up all of God’s most joyous occasions. Let this also be a point made to anyone unfortunate enough to read this. Ronnie Throop hates himself as good as the next guy…

February 1

ON JANUARY 27, 2001, BABY JANE THROOP WAS BORN TO OUR SMALL, GLORIOUS HOUSEHOLD. EACH NEW DAY I FIND MYSELF TO BE MORE ALIVE THAN THE LAST.
Marie is a remarkable woman. Her labor was quick and relatively free from doctor intervention. Janie has a strong neck, healthy lungs, mostly a cheerful disposition, and roving, inquisitive eyes that follow me around the room.
Good God! I write about the luck and joy and fortunate bomb of birth like some university professor. I must be too stupid to live! I love baby Jane. I am a marked man!

February 2

The problem with writing, then, is that I have already quit my night job. I pretend that I need to write a million more words before I can put one true word to paper. Nonsense. When my brain is alive as it has been this past week, I should be quite able to turn on the faucet and let the images and feelings flow. More than anything I need to tell the truth.
On Monday while driving Rachelle to her horse riding lessons I had a very clear vision of a contemporary American home and neighborhood. Now I’ve forgotten most of it. The gravest error of writing is that I will try to recapture the images anyway, probably because I need something to do now that I have quit my night job.
We have no souls. The Protestants and Catholics of 16th century Europe had big fat Christmas ham souls. We eat a pile of dead, flea-bitten, Bubonic rats off our platter. We are not pleased, and never content. We have no belief, no moral code, no fear of something greater than ourselves. One should be able to walk into an American neighborhood any which way he pleases, and that might be called freedom but it ain’t no soul that I can see. While driving down the county road, every home’s inside was unfolded to me. So many rooms! So much space! So many things to fill up the space. And the sameness in the space was remarkable. Each house shared not only the same staples— TVs, sheets, clothes, shoes, and food bought from identical stores, but kept the same personal touches as well. The cookie jar, knitted sweater, shotgun, goose and flower drapes, the children’s toys, the motor oil—these and much, much more were exactly the same stuff bought from a similar place. And although the outsides and insides of these pretty country estates were exactly the same thing, or kept so damn well close to it as not to matter, I could not detect even one tiny soul to share a sameness with. These unfortunate dopes hadn’t a soul anywhere. In the garage? Nope. Just a bunch of same stuff and a sport utility to keep warm and bright. In the basement? Nope. Just a brand new laundry center washing the same socks, underwear, and Starter sportswear. On the roof? No. In fact if you turn over a shingle, it reads, “Ha-ha, we’re the same thing too, dingle-butt!” On the tire swing in the yard? Nope, Goodyear. The tree? Yes, but never affiliated with the dopes. Okay, okay, no soul. I get the picture. But do you really care? You’re comfortable. You like your car, your dough mixer, your books, the computer that cost you an arm, a leg and a soul…What are you getting at hypocrite that we haven’t got to already via the weak, bloated pulse of our own sick hearts?
Jesus Christ, don’t you get it? I am the same soulless prick as you!
Pray tell us why you feel different then.
Because not a day in my life goes by when I am not disgusted at a human or humanity. There, happy?
Sure, whatever. Hey, how do you like the Audi Ron?
In sixteenth century Amsterdam Lars and Mindy were devout Protestants inhabiting active souls in a household at 1313 West Faer Street. Their neighbors, Pope idolers, Charlie and Joan, had busy souls too, and kept a hundred candles lit in their abode to prove it. One morning Protestant Lars got out of bed, coughed blood, walked through the cold over to Charlie and Joan’s house, smashed their stained glass statue of Jesus Christ’s mother’s friend’s donkey, leapt into the couple’s bed, and cut up his neighbors in a crazed fury. Then, after setting fire to their home, walked back through the cold to Mindy, who stood waiting for him in the doorway with a hot bowl of oats and sheep’s milk.
Our daughter baby Jane was born this past Saturday. Yesterday my mother picked up a back issue of the local paper, so that we could cut out the headlines and paste them into little Jane’s baby book. Oops, Janie was born on a day when the headlines were coughing blood.

January 27, 2001: Man Pleads Guilty in Murder Trial

(APP) Associated pissants and pilferers. Did you know that there are degrees of murder? One, two, and three? If you kill one, it might be dropped to two. But if you look like you’re truly sorry for sticking that old lady in the gut with a sharp piece of glass, it might even drop another degree. How do we know if you’re truly sorry? We don’t. So wear a sharp suit in the court young man, and the judge might take pity on your non-existent soul, and issue a sentence for manslaughter although you pulled the eyes out the back of her head, and chewed on them.
The lawyer representing the killer has no soul. The judge playing judge has not a smidgen of a soul, After work he picks up his little girl and squeezes her. He is lying. He loves something not his daughter. The father of the killer has no soul. So what if one balmy day nineteen years ago he had sex with a woman, and then fed the product of that affair sugar cereal every Saturday until it was old enough to kill. Does that give him the right to pretend he has a soul when a woman is dead with cut glass stuck in her forehead? No it does not! The reporters, the courtroom audience, the secretary in the room next door… They have no souls. The people in the street, out in the cold walking by? No souls. The good folks in their cars passing people on the street? Nope. Why? Because an old woman opened her door last May thinking the boy was polite enough, and she might like another subscription to Good Housekeeping. Sure, but there wasn’t a soul in the vestibule, so he invited himself in to have a look-see for himself. Nothing there, so he killed her. The coroner who found glass shards in the roof of her mouth—he doesn’t have a soul. The cops that came to call, and saw her lying there in a pool of blood. They will never ever, even if they were bunnies with badges, have a soul. And without a soul, one cannot develop children with souls. Not first, not second, not even third degree murdering souls. Not one of you nips reading this soulless babble has a soul. You might hope that the priest at the funeral service has a soul, but you don’t hope, because you know deep down, in your bottomless empty pit of a heart that there isn’t even the tiny, starved bird of a soul trying to break free.
The boy was nineteen. The boy could not possibly become a human being. That is what it has got to be now. Every Homo sapien shall be born with a soul. However, soon after the soulless mother or father touch it with their trembling soulless hands, the soul disappears, and with it, its humanness. I know this to be true. The entire courtroom should have been set on fire that afternoon. All of their soulless bodies should have sent billows of smoke up into the winter sky. Because there isn’t a pope or priest out there who believes in God, death is the only sword I can wield. How could that old lady’s children not annihilate the house wherein sat their mother’s murderer? Why did they rise from their pews in the house of law, see all that dirty money exchanging hands, the smiles, the lying tears, the grease on the chin of the lawyer who could actually stomach a burger during lunch break, and not run up to the man who cut up their mother with glass shards, hold him down, and ram a burning torch down his throat? How could her kids stand up and vacate the building without leaving a courtesy bomb in a basket with a bow tied around it? I don’t dare say that I write for God. I am a scared little punk just like you trying to make a comparison between the sixteenth century murder for a belief, and the inability for Homo sapiens of the 21st century, who can’t believe enough in God to play God when their own mommy is slain because she opened a door to buy a magazine.
“We are more humane in this age,” says the President, says the working man, says the soulless father and mother who don’t believe because they are so afraid. No, God damn us, we are spiritual cross-dressers, who can’t muster enough humanity to construct even the tiniest moral code. There is no God. You know there is no God. The fear that you have because there is no fair God, makes you helpless. You fear the man next to you, who might send you to a prison where inmates swear a lot and have sex with the same sex, if you decided to meet that nineteen year old retard who killed your mother face to face, with an eye to an eye; or Jesus at least some kind of similar avenging attitude, other than “It’s out of our hands,” or the even more pitiful, “How can he not show any remorse?”
Why doesn’t he show any remorse? Because inside he is laughing an imaginary head off! Inside he has got a thousand sardonic smiles stuck all over his body. Inside he walks up to you laughing at your mother’s death with a thousand smiles. He knows that in the end you will agree with the jury to feed and clothe and keep him warm for fifteen years to life. He knows it. You know it. You might go home and do your taxes tonight to prove it. But you won’t do anything about it because God does not exist and you’re so incredibly afraid my sorry little soulless orphans. Oh fellow spiritual degenerates, why not form a circle around his tied down body and jab it with tiny little cut pieces of glass? Secretly you want him to beg for mercy, to plead and scream his sorry ass off for mercy. We can let him beg, even make it look like he may get off the hook, wait a couple hours so he can think about his crime, then launch upon him like a pack of starved, wild wolves, tearing at his flesh with our own, very useful incisors. Afterwards we shall wash up, step outside into the bight sun, clap our hands together and sing Hallelujah! Then of course, by all means, go back to work or play, and mourn the wrongful death of another innocent soulless creature whom some of us happened to love enough to kill for.
It has got to be this way. We believe it. We just don’t know where to begin. I’ll tell you, the early years must be dedicated to acquiring humanship. And the few, the very few, who graduate, those receiving the understood blessing and carefulness of being alive, they alone are in the running for soul reacquisition. Those with a soul will teach by example. If the priest happens to possess a soul, he will direct the funeral service for the woman who was murdered by cut glass on a march to the prison, and bomb it. If that isn’t enough, and the people still cannot see, he’ll march them to Albany and bomb the houses that say it’s okay to kill—just be prepared to eat and sleep for free, fifteen years to life. If that doesn’t work and the soulless monkeys come to arrest the priest, don’t fret a bit. There’s a good chance that he will be captured in a state that kills their undesirables humanely—with gas, electric shock, skin peeling, esophagus stuffing, brain bleeding…. But your soul-stuffed priest probably won’t care. He’ll hang himself long before they can agree upon and organize the proper manner of his execution.
She would have bought the magazine, really, and piled the issues on the table of her soulless home. There are civil murder trials. Pretty neat, eh? I might be misunderstood, but I love that slain woman like my own mother. Cruel and unusual punishment? Please God yes! Enough to make up for the slow, but firm advancement of civil cowardice over the years. I beg of you, dear Lord Almighty, please bring back the braver souls of yesteryear.

February 3

No more thinking! I love my children, my wife, my family. I’m afraid of my own mind.

February 4

Quote for today:

“If one quarter of the American people are today living on a level of subsistence far below the norm, there remain nevertheless a hundred million who enjoy comforts and advantages unknown to men in any period of the past. What is to hinder them from revealing their talents? Or is it that our talents lie in other directions? Is it that the great goal of American manhood is to become the successful businessman? Or just a “Success”, regardless of what form or shape, what purpose or significance, success manifests itself in and through? There’s no doubt in my mind that art comes last in the things in life which preoccupy us. The young man who shows signs of becoming an artist is looked upon as a crackpot, or else is a lazy, worthless encumbrance.”
—Henry Miller

I am excited that it’s Sunday. Rachelle comes today. School will start up again. We will bake sweet treats, and I can go back to normal
thinking.
Yesterday lost in the dreamy haze of newborn glee, Marie, my mother and I talked about my idea to beg a simple living. First, let it be known, we are very happy people. The cold February, the unemployment, the very simple mornings and even simpler gray afternoons, have made baby Jane’s first week of life a post-womb bliss. This is happiness. It’s also very rare, and confounds my mother often to the point of distraction because she’s never known a couple to be so cheerful while in the wake of financial ruin.
Anyway, I feel good enough this week to talk to her about begging. Why not? Sponsorship has always been the artist’s plight. Why should I be ashamed to ask my fellow man for five cents a day? It’s the 21st century and the economy has never been so fat. Just a nickel a day. Five pennies. A dime to secure me for two days. If I could acquire say, forty donors spread out across the United States, perhaps even the richer countries of the world… Forty people each sending me a nickel a day—then that would be enough incentive to quit the hate mail I send out to the non-existent addresses of disinterested Americans. For two dollars a day I might even concentrate on creating something beautiful. Practically fourteen dollars a week will be enough to silence my criticism of everything that cost more than fourteen dollars a week. I could concentrate on beautiful writing, like something straight from Jean Giono’s mind, although not nearly as well-written (I know my limitations). Detailed descriptions of the countryside, brilliant colors of the sky, animals with strong limbs, a kind gesture from a human being. The money would help pay for two simple meals a day, arranged by my own two hands of course, and an hour or two to walk about the town meditating on my next book. This I would do for five cents a day. It used to be two hundred a week. Now it is five cents a day.
Of course I would gladly accept more. Generosity would not go unappreciated. I would dedicate the rest of my books written before death to the forty original sponsors of my plight.
A nickel a day. Thirty-five cents a week. What, do you expect me to live on less than that? After our afternoon inspirational, my mother sent me to the store for steaks. “Nice big juicy sirloins for Marie and me,” she said. Fine. And I didn’t even consider the cost, at least not until this morning, after the buerre rouge, the sauteéd mushrooms and pearl onions. The spicy black beans simmered in garlic and olive oil. Then I wondered about money. Why should it bother me that each steak costs five dollars and I’ve been planning the last few meals out of a pot of black beans? It’s her money. She earned it. Why does it matter that her son just spent an hour giving her a lecture on the virtues of begging, and that even the paltry sum of a nickel a day, thirty-five cents a week, $18.20 a year would keep the budding American artist not only humble to the very core, but deliriously happy because out there somewhere, is another contemporary as foolhardy as he. Why is it that she can give Price Chopper Supermarket a two dollar profit on the purchase of a steak, simply because they supplied the cut piece of cow, but that it breaks her heart to know her son seeks a five cent profit for his artistic endeavors? How can an artist’s own mother not sense his reoccurring frustration and outrage?
Because Ron Throop, you sniffling idiot! She can eat the  bloody steak!

February 5

In the morning I can have no worries. Is it this way for everyone? Most of my writing happens before dawn. That has got to account for the cocky child in me. It’s quite a different story in the night, when my mind is a heavy, overloaded glutton suffering the ill-effects of a fat illusion diet ingested throughout the day. This morning I awoke on a warm, sandy beach. The tide was high, just tickling my toes. The east was light. I sat up, feeling clean and new to the approaching day. A pelican stood in the sand watching me. A blue heron caught on an air wave cruised silently by, and the thoughts in my head and myself were the same. I was a me not separated from my thoughts. However, when I proceeded to get up and act (I thought I’d wade up the shoreline for adventure), the clear-headed thoughts chose to stay behind and made their cozy secure homes rooted down into the sand. Every few waves I turned to look back, so as not to lose sight of my fading thoughts.
Further down the shore, my body yearned toward the sea. Since the sun was up and birds were singing, I felt brave enough for a morning swim. I fell into the warm waves, and pulled myself over one, then two. The water was changing shades of green and gray. I knew this was the best way to live, and looked back to my thoughts for agreement. But a crowd of feeding seabirds blocked my view of the shore. No matter. I had plenty of time to get back to this morning’s light.
Suddenly a whirlpool grabbed hold of my toes and pulled me out to sea. Far, far away from my original thoughts. Then I panicked. Going down, coming up. Believed I spied the shore when it was just a head full of air and water. I guess then I must have died, and heaven was a glorious dawn on a warm, sandy beach with the light in the East, and a pelican wondering about me.
I simply woke up to think about another day.

What are these illusions that in the morning are virtually non-existent, but by early evening drown you in violent whirlpools of confusion?

Where do I begin? You see, this morning I feel happy and free. The world is an infinite exploration. I awake with a blast of anticipation, excitement, belief, wonder, hope, joy, real strength of character. I can even have positive thoughts about begging. And unlike the evening, the thought stays true, and keeps itself clear without the illusion of other people’s feelings getting in the way. A current reality I am dreaming up is to attach a wooden box to the side of the house and cut a slit into the top. A collection box wanting for nickels. I imagine donors walking to the artist’s home, not for the artist’s sake necessarily, but to knock themselves out of agonizing routines. This morning I am certain that joy will come to the man delivering a nickel, whether it be to God, the hungry old woman, the Children’s Aid Society, or to yours truly. In bad weather the nickel donor can take up a staff and obtain an old sock to stuff his nickels in. Already his life has improved tenfold. A walk across town on a nickel delivery might turn enough envious heads from inside their cars to really make a difference. “Hey, isn’t that Mr. Howard, the shop teacher? What is he doing walking through the snow? Why isn’t he in his car? Where can he be going?”
Mr. Howard finally came to his senses, picked up his dinner plate, and threw it against the wall. “Freida, where’s the coin jar?” he said, and then wondered why he didn’t know where the coin jar was kept. From that realization he moved on to the next obvious one. He was near invisible to the people in his life. His loved ones saw right through him. Sure he kept his toothbrush in the holder beside the others, but the big question now was: Would they stop brushing their teeth if his toothbrush was gone? Sure, being a shop teacher earned him a pile of nickels, but even that couldn’t keep Freida from thinking about her gorgeous foot doctor—the blonde, blue-eyed Adonis with the incredible hands. Son and daughter were touched by Dad once long ago, when he played touch football with them and Buster in the yard. They pitied him for putting on a show. Suzy was five, Tommy was six and Buster was the puppy Mr. Howard bought with a fist full of dirty nickels.
Now he takes another look at the home which he hath provided. “Why aren’t we begging for nickels?” he wonders. “Man, we all got it too easy. How is it possible to appreciate anything? And thoughts…! My God, what do they matter? Thoughts, dreams, they are nothing in a home overflowing with nickels. Why did I not see this before? I guess it’s okay to teach other people’s brats how to cut factory wood and tighten bolts, as long as my own brats say, ‘Thank you father,’ and ‘I love you father.’ But they never do. And Freida puts that god-damned plate of food on the table every night. I don’t know, but she might have spread ten toxins on her body to give it that shine today. I wouldn’t stop to count because the days and nights are ripping by and I have nothing to show for life but a house stuffed chock full of nickels. When Suzy and Tommy open their mouths to speak, nickels pour out in a stream. Freida’s a walking sheet of noisy nickels. I got nickels falling out of drawers. Buster won’t take another treat for going outside. Now he hoards nickels in a pile by the garbage. This morning I was late for work. It took twenty minutes to clear the nickels off the driver’s seat. Since I heard about the man in town with a begging box, every turn I make confronts me with a wall of nickels. I never knew I had so much until the other guy made a complete ass of himself. Now I cannot will the nickels out of my mind. I have to rid my thoughts of every last nickel!
So Mr. Howard takes up a staff. Yesterday it was a broken branch fallen after a west wind. Today it is a staff. He stops at his car to pick nickels out of the ashtray, and drops them in a tube sock. He ties a knot in the top and walks out into the street swinging his sock.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” yells Freida standing in the doorway.
“I am going to the artist’s house to drop these nickels into his begging box.”
“You are like hell!” Freida screams. She’s in a rage. Her eyes are hot. She feels the heat behind her eyes getting hotter. She shakes her body and waves her fists at her husband. She curses. She stamps and screams. Mr. Howard returns her fit with a look of almost cheerful indifference. This gesture makes her livid, beside herself with a red hot hated for her husband. Her temples are flaming. The heat starts to melt her eyes and suddenly her head explodes. A blast of lava-hot nickels erupts out the top of her head. They land whoosh-whoosh onto the frozen blacktop, shooting bullets of steam into the cold sky.
Mr. Howard walks up to his wife lying in the doorway, steps one leg over her prone body, pokes his head through the door, and yells up to the kids to bring him down another sock full of nickels. “And clean up your mother,” he says. “I’ll be back in a few years.”

You must have no idea about your status as a non entity. That is the greatest illusion, is it not? You’re not that important. So stop fooling yourself. You need me. I need you to provide water, light, heat, razors, toilet paper, food, certain types of entertainment, practically everything out there necessary to sustain life. Jesus, I’m an artist, not a mountain man. Of course I need the newspaper editor. Once in a while I must pretend to look for a job. Sure I need the grocery clerk to arrange cabbages, the farmer to milk the cow, the nuclear engineer so that I may flip switches for electric light. You need them too. Then what use am I?
I am here (alive and breathing) to put the original thought back into your copy-cat brains that the artist is no more an anomaly than the shop teacher, Mr. Howard, the butcher hacking meat, the stone mason picking up rocks and putting one on top of the other, the assembly line worker at the cereal plant making sure each box is sealed with glue. Listen, we are all useless! The more so if we actually think that we contribute to the whole. “I perform a succession of meaningless labors until the end of my day, everyday, until retirement, or death, or death in retirement. I do this for the good of society. I am needed. It is needed. We are needed.” No, that is an untruth. Nobody is needed. The world will keep turning without a single human being left living on it.
That is a depressing thought. So what? The whole will always smother the importance of a single man. The whole is the most silly illusion, yet because it has been allowed prominence for so long, it boasts as being the most dangerous illusion of all. Deadly. We believe in the whole because that is what the whole wants, but what we need in order to keep ourselves from empty space. It is a feeling of being a moon rotating around a center. The moon is dead. The center is a sphere possessing air, light, dark, life, hidden caves, and tall green forests. Giraffes and lions race across meadows of yellow and blue flowers, tiny creatures swim in a cool water stream catching the sun’s ecstatic ray dance. The center is one man. One individual man. And yet it is also the whole. The illusion is the whole, but it is really just one man, one immense population of many “one mans.” Every creature inhabits that center at birth. The grand illusion is an entire life, spent dedicating a better part of it to reaching a cold, personal moon which does not exist. The moons are out there. They are very real, and yet nonexistent. So much the better for them to be spared our luckless souls. As a whole we aspire to become a frozen clump of inert rock, nickel-hoarding non-entities. Each individual a whole, needing just a nickel a day to eat and dream up things like cold, personal moons.
Oh fellow non-entities, empty your coin drawers, boxes and jars! Become an artist. Explode a lonely moon!
Words are so wrong. I read what I write and it doesn’t make sense to me.

February 8

Your House Is a Fat Whore Shitting in the Street

My fingers smell like urine
My baby coos in bed
My dog stands at the door
He’s smarter in the head
What we say we know we know
You know it isn’t known
That crap about the light of day
reap what we have sown

A plumber on my road
has four llamas and a spa
A house with twenty rooms
and soul for bacteria

He’s sneaky and he’s dumb
a dangerous, rowdy hood
He’s smelled his ass too many times
Would lick it if he could

The truth is my dog
just waits to wag his tail
He’s real to himself
unlike the human male

He sleeps and dreams and whines
when he’s hungry or he’s mad
and not like the lonely plumber
will cry when he is sad

The depressing truth o man o man
Is that you’re not a dog
my buddy waits before the door
and I won’t make anymore stupid rhymes to honor his most selfish beauty.

From this day forward I will be a child. I am beautiful and not-knowing. I have a mommy and a daddy and a step mommy. They take care of me. My homework is real. I’m doing a presentation on healthy alternatives to common sugary soft drinks. I have dreams. I don’t want to kill. I have a picture book about my favorite singing group. On each page there are empty spaces for me to write information about myself. The saddest day of my life was when we had to bury my pet rat named Slick. We carved her name and the years of her life in cement poured in an upside-down metal can cover. I can lay in the grass for an hour. The taller the better. But Daddy can think of nothing else but when to mow it. Even when the day is sunny and hot and we can go to the lake. I don’t want to be like my Dad. I am happy with my dreams and playing. Daddy is wrong.

Serial Installment # 3 of “On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself”, Pages 43-63

Uncleshed

“Lullaby After Coffee”2016. Acrylic on canvas

Or buy the book and save yourself a computer screen headache.

January 13

So Kevin called me the other night, half drunk, and gave me a subject for a book that would make money. He admitted that it would be no literary challenge, and that it might even be embarrassing to write, but any publisher would take it immediately because of the mass market opportunity. Will they ever learn? Just because I know bread, that flour, yeast, a little honey and water make a loaf worth eating, if all goes well in the process, it does not necessarily follow that I would have success at creating the perfect shit white bread that Americans love to squeeze between their filthy fingers. I have about as much chance of writing a book entitled “How to Make Bigger Tips” as Tim Johnson at the Wonder Bread Factory has of baking the perfect French Country loaf. If he works at Wonder Inc., He’s never baked a single loaf of bread in his rotten, degraded, strip mall-minded existence.
Man, I want all of you to be this simple! Right now, mimic the life I imagine and together we shall skip through a deep friendly forest and be friends to ourselves, each other, and all living creatures. Let us organize to destroy what is so unnecessary in our lives. History proves that humanity, when inspired toward a common cause for the greater good, is earth’s most capable destroyer. No more empty words. No more happiness if it has to remain merely a word for the rest of our lives. If everyone, even poor old Helen next door, lit their drapes on fire, and scooted the family and the pets out the door; if every neighbor did this right now… And ripped wires out of their standing machines. If men pulled their shirts off and women flipped off the old homes that kept their lives full of radon and misery; if each neighborhood mass huddled together in one giant ball because the night was cold and the stars were out, and everyone came this close to a terrifying death, then that would be the best way I can think of for making bigger tips.
My unemployed chef came by for coffee yesterday. The first sunny day after a month of snow. He told me that he went over his finances at the kitchen table while thinking of suicide and the fear of tomorrow. He’d be all right with his unemployment insurance, that is, his house, utilities and truck would be covered. It was food and fuel he could not afford. Not without some other income.
We should all have our legs sawed off for being this stupid.

January 15

The most emotional day thus far in our married life. But I won’t go into that!
Fanaticism can be a strong piece of artwork. These words you hold in your hand right now are the necessary product of heart strangulation. A steady, methodical choking inside the most sensitive layman to enter paradise in a long time. A good old-fashioned wrenching of the vitals is my reward for being born. The truth is I hurt more than any of you. It’s the year 2001. Someday a hundred years from now some lazy boob like me will have romantic daydreams about my world—the kind of dreams I have about Walt Whitman or Henry Miller. A drafty corner to set up my writing station. Paintbrushes standing in a cup. Borrowed music playing on the Victrola. A wood table. A wooden cup. A pair of warn corduroys, shoes and a hat. Mr. Miller goes for a bike ride along the Seine. Thunder in the sky. Couples run off the path looking for shelter. A grin from ear to ear. He’ll meet a friend in a cafe, tell him of his latest wonder, and take small sips from a Pernod, a drink I find absolutely awful tasting. He’ll get back to his room at twilight, the smells of the city fresh in his mind, and write with an incredible burst of energy before bedtime. Seventy years later I’ll look over what he wrote and feel my stomach full and content. I do almost the same imagining while reading Hunger or Pan. The fanatical authors write living books! It’s impossible for me to be further away while reading Tropic of Cancer. Here’s what I’m trying to express…
There’s a kind of truck parked at the store. A pick-up truck, with a hood taller than me. A diesel engine cranks in the cold. Everyman wants one, the young and the old.
It’s forty thousand bucks of big tires and music. You can put envelopes in or hang a scented tree from the mirror. I can’t prove how sad Everyman is today. Logs from trees he cut down? Bales of sun-dried hay?
The sound it makes in idle. You must know the truth about man’s demise. These trucks are twenty times bigger than men with cigars. Thirty times larger than most of their wives.
You can buy one blue, green, or black. Only three colors now because nobody cares. I can play you a song about a slow-mo death. Played for the young, dumb and the dumb, young acting old… Just walk past a
diesel idling out in the cold.

January 16

I will slip into my journal another piece of writing that could have been some use to the world, but my sweet woman prefers to lay low, not making any big noises in this life. Lovers must compromise. She put up with enough crap from me over the years.
Thank God a man can still get dandruff. Good old-fashioned dry scalp to remind him that he’s alive and has poor hygiene.

Look here,
We do not want the

Hepatitis B shot
into our baby
Thank you
You see we worried
wondering if any one would tell us about it
Nobody did
so we’re telling you—
We are not in need of decision-making by others for our living child.
Please God give us the strength to endure their reckless abuse of life. We determine the gentle movements of tiny heart, lungs and brain.

And Thank you for helping guide our baby out of Marie.

Ron had an experience with Rachelle. She was born, thank God, alive, but quiet until the myconeum was sucked out of her lungs. The labor was long and mild, and suddenly the doctor said “Let’s break your waters, honey.” She whispered, “No, please,” but he stayed firm and unmoved and not interested in “No, please.” So he stuck in the pin because he wanted to and then
Pitocin and then
Epidural and then a
Spinal and then probably a club against her head
if she didn’t scream the baby out of her
But she did
Thank God
So now I’m religious
Every “No” we are screaming at you with
hot religious zeal
All decisions are religious
We are religiously concerned that we decide
how to birth our child.
We believe in our hearts
that you wouldn’t trust a bus driver
if he broke through a mountain gate
and drove the bus over a cliff—
not unless he delivered your children safely home first.
Please let us react to you without fight or flight
the day our child is born.
It is not by mistake that we have read so many books on the subject of babies coming into the world. We love our child, and want the best. That is why we have chosen your house to give birth. That is a high compliment—
However, books are in my hand, on my lap, laying in the grass beside me on a summer’s day. They give answers. No nurse has stopped by to relax my worry, to comfort my mind and remind me of the beautiful days to come. Instead of building a trusting human bond with mother and father, modern medicine has got up and gone to work performing duties that pay well enough to stay alive without worry. So have I, the cook. I perform my duty in a small restaurant along the banks of a dirty river. When someone comes over to my place for dinner, he can get onion rings on his Steak Au Poivre, although they’re not on the menu, and I know in my heart that eating that garbage will kill him… Eventually. He’s paying for a service that I and my fellow colleagues provide.
We shall not buy something we do not want.
Here is a birthing menu. We are very poor renegade Amish farmers stopping by to give birth to our boy Samuel, or our girl Beth.

Big City Birth

Appetizers

Rupture of membranes
(Served with stubborn impatience
and baby not quite ready)………………………………………$7,069.00

Fetal Heart Monitor
(Dressed in discomfort and as accurate
as listening with old man’s ear)………………………………$8,678.00

Pitocin
(Usually served with rupture of membranes via
impatience, and just as comfortable
as getting a gorilla to wring out your uterus
with his hairy hands.)……………………………………………$43,000.00

Entrees

Epidural
(Might relieve mother’s pain, but Samuel
will grow up attracted to farm animals)……………..$69,000,000.00

Spinal
(In the year 903 A.D., sitting on a stool in
a stone hut with wet thatch on the roof,
and a mild outbreak of bubonic plague
devouring everyone of house and field, Miss Jackie
O’Leary had a safe and happy birth without
a needle put into her spine. The doctor, who
was her brother’s milker, said she saved her
father’s family six hundred hen’s eggs)
…………………………………………….$Involuntary Cranial Shutdown

C-section

(Why don’t we just tell the truth about
God? Let’s write the most foul, Satan
infused blasphemy, and get it over with
quick! I am so ready to cross the line of
humanity. All it will take is for that rat
bastard to reform me into a wild dog, and
I’ll take to the streets mauling every living thing
in sight. Why are we here? For obstetrics? No
you cowardly little mice! We’re here to give
birth to our own Jesus Christ! How much
for your knife? You’re getting the little
gigglys aren’t you? Can’t wait to stick the
blade into my sleeping virgin wife?
Oh boy this civilization has become
the shoddiest bunch of  high-falutin’
screw-ups and crackers. If I can prevent
one helpless young man or woman from
entering med school…. If just one young fat
head after reading these words thinks twice
about pleasing his vile, rich mommy and
daddy, then all of my mornings will be justified.
You don’t love me. You don’t appreciate me or
anyone in the world who doesn’t leave your
paneled, sterilized office before bending over
to wet your pallid white ass with his lips.
You don’t believe. You don’t love anything
but money and power. You are an empty, dead God-player.
So much for your Hippocratic oath.
Faker! Liar! Thief!………………………………………. $Slavery!

Please no pipe or cigar smoking in the delivery room
And then this to my senator…

My child will be born in one month, hopefully happy and
> > healthy. It
> > is my right as a man and my wife’s right as a woman to deny anyone
> > the
> >chance to touch our child without permission. What kind of
> > frightened coward dare invoke bogus law to challenge our God-given
> > right
> > to make and raise children? Who are you to write these laws? The “terrified to think for yourself” medical profession is
> > not
> > my mommy. I cook for a living. I think most Americans could eat
> > cardboard and enjoy a better diet. But what right do I have to
> > choose
> > what a man eats? Filet Mignon with Sauce Choron? No, I’m sorry.
>That
> > gas
> > alone could choke your neighbor. You’re going to eat bulgur wheat
> > and
> > rice cakes from now on. The day New York State walks into my home,
> > rapes
> > my wife, kills me, and assists in the birth of her bastard child,
> > then
> > that is a day to stick any needle you want into our baby. My
> > religion,
> > my philosophy will dictate to my conscience. Not doctors. Not
> > lawyers.
> > Not judges. I swear to God, if legislators were told by any moron
> in
> > a
> > coat and badge that heroin was now a good thing for babies fresh
> out
> > of
> > the womb, they’d be getting the little jiggers in their hand just
> > dying
> > to sign new mandatory heroin injection laws. No one will touch my
> > baby
> > without permission. Thank you.
> > Ron Throop

Rachelle sleeps downstairs on the couch. Marie sleeps with our baby inside her. The sun must be over the ocean now casting its light on the waves. Seagulls are warning the world of its coming. Sunrise in Newfoundland. Good day to the world. Being alive in Oswego in winter is like living inside a cold rock at the bottom of a deep cavern. I’m not pretending the world is better anywhere but here. It most certainly is! I want my Walden! Give me my seagull eyes and the strength I lack to hunt for the lives of my children.
Does that sound silly?
Welcome to a manless world.

Letter to a Mother

You do not always give. You are potentially half the world, but you do not always give. You can be a traitor to your child. You do not necessarily understand love outside of you. You might think you are giving love when really just some days you’re a damn good organizer. Much too much is written about you on your behalf. You feel sorry for yourself. You should. You might not even want your child’s happiness. You might take her last dollars she saved for a dolly and spend it and hope that she never asks for it back. You could think that money is important. You might love money. You would take money happily. You want to be smart enough to make money. Maybe most of the world’s evil began as a woman pretending to love a child, but really loving money.
Tonight she is cold but happy as long as she does not suffer your schizophrenia. Do you have a clock? Do you have somewhere to go? Are you always going? When she grows up and has children I hope she is her father. She will lay warm with her lover. She will always know happiness and want it. The furnace in the basement will believe in the work it does and proudly pump heat into a happy home. When I am angry I think I am telling the truth, when really I am just being an insensitive ass. And, I am a poor communicator.

“Then there are the middle classes—the bulwark of the nation, as we blithely say. Sober, steady, reliable, educated, conservative, self-respecting. You can count on them to steer a middle-of-the-road course. Could there be any emptier souls than these? All living like stuffed cadavers in a wax museum. Weighing themselves morning and night. Saying Yes today, No tomorrow. Weather vanes, shuttlecocks, noisy amplifiers. Have kept up a good front all their lives. Behind this front—nothing. Not even sandbags.” —Henry Miller

January 18

Winter should just ride by on a horse and slice off our heads with a sharp sword.
And yet I’m still relatively happy. Probably because yesterday I got my mane cut and body sprayed with soap and water.

You should see me laying in bed with Marie at two in the afternoon. I am a scared little boy. Do you see what they’ve done to us with money? I know I’ve been brainwashed simply because it hurts so much to think of the good without a steady income. One wonders if it’s all hopeless. Then one wonders if one’s own family and loved ones are trying to kill him, or drive him to kill himself because they know he’s not employed, yet they go to Walmart and buy jeans. Or they send twenty dollars a month to Rico in Columbia because they want to be good Christians and feel useful by giving, and yet they don’t see their own child or nephew or best friend tying and untying frayed pieces of rope in his teahouse. Yes of course he is lazy! Yes, he doesn’t dare work for a living. He just wants to experiment with his own life to see if these jackals really love him. “Stand up on your own two feet. I picked beans when I was starving. I picked fights when I was bored and picked my ass whenever I found myself standing with nothing to do. Christ, I was always able to make money. What the hell is wrong with you, Hmm? And if you’re going to write… Geez, c’mon! What the hell is this crap? Just a simple whodunit? would do you some good. A novel about a lawyer or a cop. Have the bad guys burp and fart and use foul language. Make the good guys say “important files,” “witness,” and “testimonial.” Or, if you can’t do that, Jesus Christ, drop the damn fries in the oil and count yourself lucky to be alive. I don’t believe a word of it either. At least not since I was ten years old.”
Then give to your alma mater. Some people send as much as a hundred dollars a year. Some give to God on Sunday, but then God gives their quiet daughter double pneumonia probably because three dollars didn’t cut it. Just buying a cup of coffee is a spit in the writer’s eye. Leave the seventy-five cents. You’ll buy from a begging Girl Scout. See, we’re teaching her to beg. “It’s good to ask for money, honey. As long as we give cookies in return.” When I was twelve I participated in a bike-a-thon. They expected me to go door to door asking strangers to become my sponsor. So much money per mile. A total of twenty-six miles. Mrs. Smith sponsored me a quarter. I rode my one speed bicycle up and down hills on a hot day stopping at designated rest stops for a McDonald’s hamburger and sugar juice. I worked hard. The kids with MS got cable TV. The doctors who research MS got a free spinach salad at a lunch paid for by the hospital and money towards a down payment on, yep, you guessed it, a bright shiny new silver Jaguar.
So come over and visit, but please come with a quarter to sponsor me. I’ll work upstairs in my little room for three hours. A quarter an hour. That’s seventy-five cents. Almost a dozen eggs. If you want to stay and visit I’ll fry you one. I can’t cure MS, but I can cook an egg thirty ways. I can pick up my dog’s poop with a quick swipe of a plastic bag. I can string together sentences with poor grammar faster than you. That’s got to be worth some of your old pennies, yes?
Man, everyone is in business taking extra and giving back less. Then what’s the problem? Supply and demand? Oh, c’mon…What do you really demand? A bird feeder? Molding? A pad of lined paper? A magazine? Gasoline? I’m a good man. Toss me a bone. Or pennies. I’ll take your dirty pennies.
Friends, family, worthy strangers… Come to my door if you are in demand of anything which I can provide. A cup of coffee? Come over to my house. I’ll charge you a quarter more than what it’s worth. A hamburger and french fries. A quarter more than what its worth. Stop giving to the faceless man, the greedy corporation. Do you need a pedicure, a haircut, your oil changed? I’ll do it for a quarter more than what it’s worth. Please don’t force me back into line cooking if I can write French fry books instead.
Years ago my cousin had a sponsor. I thought it was wonderful. So did my family. They fed and housed him week after week in the summertime while he played the New York string of the PGA Mini-tour. His sponsor bought him a used Cadillac and paid for a chunk of his travel expenses. I don’t want a Cadillac. I want to eat. For twenty-five cents a day I promise to win the U.S. Open.
I believe in begging. I will have more to say about it later, after I shame the putrid filth I drove by yesterday.

God Please Give Me a Mop Large Enough to Soak Up the Schlop of Xerox

Just look at the awesome size of it!
It takes some time to pass this pile of
squares beside squares next to
little squares, big squares
on top of so many squares
Call ‘em walls
Steel, granite, gypsum
slabs of death-in-a-box
Hard, bitter waxed floors,
more squares, two or three rectangles,
a triangle and a tiny
octagonal shape from the shy zany architect
who committed suicide right after Xerox—
Two minutes to pass
at forty-five miles per hour
All these squares,
two thousand or more and
wires weaving through wire mazes of
small wires, fat wires, long, very long
thin wires and outlets to outlets to
boxes to more squares
Six hundred thousand outlets
with screws and twelve million nails
Six billion screws
Two trillion black top pebbles
crushed beneath
a constant stream of human headlights
going round and round in circles
around the biggest square of squares
O whippee shit
Big sky my ass!
Big clouds, big snow
O whippy shoot shit
Big sun my ass!
Big moon?
O whoppee whippy shotty shitty woppa wumpa shit my ass!

Xerox in the middle of a forest by a lake
Deer turn a fuzzy muzzle
“what the hump is that?” They ask
Weasels, wrabbits, wraccoons wonder
the tubby house fed squirrels duck under
logs and sticks they stop
they thunder
“What the crap is THAT!”
This is dawn of winter’s day
Look Mrs. Doe, it’s a Xerox!
If you need copies for no reason,
oh my dear deer, you have
bound and leapt to the wrong place.
Probably have to skin your own hide
and wrap the meat up in a butcher’s bag,
drop in the back of a bearded factory
hairy-faced human’s truck—
He’ll bring you inside to his break table
Throw you on it and say something like
“Here Jack. It makes damn good jerky.”

A Xerox
Jesus, bandit the coon,
the nicest old lady in the place
would stab your pups with silver knitting needles
before giving up her
data-entry job with benefits.
All of ‘em, every one
would walk by your head on a post,
over ground
and forest dead and burnt
acid in a stream
clouds raining radium and
constant heavy low moan sounds
rolling across the putrid air.
Any price for squares
cable TV, used boats
fishing poles
shaving cream
bumper stickers that read
“Topless, it’s the law!”and
“Greed is an act of fear”
huge tires
envelopes in the mail
dirty carpets to clean
over and over again,
purple knickknacks
and—
O I can’t write worth an industrial complex today!
Simply put
the absolute truth is this:

Each man and woman to walk through the doors of Xerox would fornicate with a bunny rabbit, if no one knew, and it kept them their jobs.

January 19

Marie and I attended Rachelle’s Passport Club in the basement of a little church on Main Street in Cato. Happy children sitting in folding chairs with hands folded. Thank you so much Mr. Happenstance, for letting me see the light! Humility. Honorable humility. The smiles. The worry. The happiness I have given. The open doors… How insignificant and wasteful is grown-up land. I want to go to Beauty and the Beast on Ice to see my beautiful child gaze at the wonder of nonsense with a thousand other contented, simple souls. The light shines through the church window. The grownup light is dull, usually blocked by a mail truck or moving van. The skaters are beautiful. Everyone wears woven mittens. Rachelle and her friends Constance and Laurie hold hands. There is light. They are breathing. I know that any father who loved his child, and gave to her, and thanked her, and then lost her, has gone crazy and died.
Her caring hands.
On Sunday Marie was crying. Rachelle came into our room and gave Marie a back rub with her small hands. Sad music. We are all so fragile. Tell me how daddies find their way. I sent my poems to a publisher. It appeared his company was friendly, so I also included three books that cost me almost forty dollars because at certain weak moments in the day I am a vain idiot. I never received a reply. No “thank you.” Nothing. I went to his website (he’s a poet, but more famous as a publisher of poems), to see if their was a “Thank you” posted to me. No, nothing like that. Plenty of past newspaper articles about the importance of poetry and news. The words “Zen” and “San Francisco.” Blue phrases that are underlined. Hit them with the cursor and travel to another childless world. Oh man. There is no poetry. How important it looks. You can have some believing, but god dammit there is nothing there! A career of word arrangement. Bad words too. They all want to be rich, and rich can very well mean having a lot of people know who you are. I want nobody to know who I am! Your stupid words! Your bullshit inspiration! How clever! What a foggy special world of your own and your circle of soft-fingered men! You are no better off than a lawyer and friends sitting around a fire talking trash about their one slim chance to be alive on planet earth. It is all the same fake language you speak in the same circles. Leave the poems alone! Why aren’t the children celebrated? I know. Because they are not powerfully clever enough. They weren’t there at the right time—at the rally, in the cafe, on the court, on the march… And they don’t toss in the word “fuck” in their poems about snakes and winding rivers and sunshine glimmering on the mountain lake. Oh the lasting, true beauty of children… How insignificant the basement of the small white church where the homeschooled kids gather to learn about Spain. How dirty and bleak the farming village of Cato, N.Y. in January’s gray dull light. This is a statement to all men, and women who pretend to be men… The following curse I launch is aimed at your kind of spite and self importance that blows its foul stench of words into the prevailing winds, hoping to choke my child and her happy friends before they realize that choking you might be a better time on roller skates.

Ron’s Curse on Mankind

May all your money turn to ducklings
Your possessions burn to stone
May your well full of water
dry up like dinosaur bone
May your dog and cat forsake you
All your food spoil and stink
May your wife run off with neighbor Joe
his rat pee in your sink
May all the hopes you had in life
fall like a Hippo on an egg
May you live a hundred lifetimes
but first you’ll have to beg

You really have to leave them alone. Stop for a few seconds and breathe in through your mouth and out of your fingers. That feeling running from the heart, through the chest, arms and hands, and finally leaping off the ends of your fingernails…That small, wonderful feeling is all that you need to cope with the wrongness you have practiced thus far. First get the feeling and then work off that. Repetition is what we’re after. The sameness of that wonderful feeling. The children feel it in other ways. You have to feel it this way because it’s the only way you have left. Take in a deep breath and let it out past your fingers. If successful, there is a sunny, tropical paradise waiting for you. Lavish Mughal empires to ride through slowly on horseback, dressed in finery and in charge. There is a whole spinning earth to walk around on dizzy with glee, at least as cheerful as the eager children listening to a lecture on Spain, some tired spot on a map called Europe where old people grow up to die.

January 20

Baby Throop any day now. I am so excited, tense, scared, emotional… Jourdan or baby Jane…Which grace awaits?
Today after writing my main concern will be consommé. The doctor says Marie can’t have any solid food because I think the doctor wants more than anything to cut Marie open and have a look at her inside out. Doctor’s orders. I believe we should rethink our attitude towards the medical profession. How can it be trusted? Why do we reward it with our trust? Marie is pregnant. She needs energy. The doctor and the doctor’s friends would rather her not have enough energy to push the baby out. Twenty-four hours without food. They hope birth will end up in surgery. They love to hear their team called for over the hospital intercom. I think we trust the doctor because we think his life is not as boring as our own. We trust his encyclopedic knowledge although most of us shy away from encyclopedias most of our lives. Doctor has her eat nine months straight for the baby’s sake. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Eat good. The doctor doesn’t know what the last order means, so it’s left up to the father to translate. Fine if the father is an artist, but the other ninety-nine million derelicts have their wives settle for Happy Meals and Stoeffer Macaroni and Cheese Dinners. All of this “good” advice from your doctor, yet the mom and baby are expected to fast on baby’s last day in paradise. Then if mommy cannot push because she just hasn’t the energy, the wise doctor will provide plenty of options for her to consider Quick!  He will want to release a very painful synthetic hormone into her veins. It is called Pitocin and it pretends to be a contracting uterus. Then come the offers of drugs because mommy’s pain must be relieved. The doctor pushes the drugs even though they are linked to childhood mental retardation (the kid grows up wanting to be a doctor). Then an episiotomy (to satisfy the doctor’s disturbing urge to slice open perineums), and forceps or vacuum extraction for the stubborn, sedated child. All that before Junior can squeeze outside for a breath of fresh air. Oh my God! What if he can’t get out? Maybe his mom is too stoned to feel. Don’t worry. Doctor will put mommy to sleep with more drugs (definitely not nicotine or alcohol—those are relatively safe compared to the crack house he works out of). While mommy sleeps, the bloody baby fairy magically appears to cut open her stomach, whisks her only child off to be inspected through a gauntlet of unloving hands, like the convicted entering his prison. Mom can look at the thing, but do not touch! Doctor’s orders! The good baby fairy left a smiley face scare, prolonged intense pain, and a devastating bill of sale. For thousands of dollars, they got you that thing alive and just slightly deranged and unprepared for the dangerous life ahead. For an extra fifty, if mommy happens to push out a boy, the good doctor will cut up his little penis with razor precision. There… Now that’s a work of art! Doesn’t that look nice? He’s screaming and could possibly go into shock and die from the agony alone, but heck, I’d fuck it, wouldn’t you? Here’s some ointment for the eyes because we assume that you have gonorrhea. Well, maybe you don’t have it, but those dirty street people sure do. Can’t take any chances. Sleep now. Rest mother. You worked very hard for this joy. Sleep, sleep. Rest now. For in just a few weeks my colleague, the pediatrician, whom I trust with your child’s life, although I don’t know his face or name, will have his army of toxic inoculations ready to invade your baby’s healthy immune system. Two weeks, then twomonths, fourmonths, sixmonths, 1st year, 2nd year, school age, DPT, Polio, Vertigo, MMR, Chicken Pox, fever, diaper rash, meningitis, pink eye, hepatitis, tonsillitis, boils, hemorrhoids, ear infection, stress, depression, the maddies, vomiting, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, societal pressure, asthma, allergies, toxemia, scabies, lice, ringworm, strongyles, tapeworm, rabies, poverty, poison oak, poison ivy, pigeon toes, nervousness, neurosis, convulsions, temper, fear of grown-ups, fear of doctors, the wanton abuse and torture of animals, inability to make friends, selfishness, greed, anger, hate, jealousy, despair, Tourette’s Syndrome, bad manners, poor dresser, easy target.

Yes, it’s just plain smart to simmer consommé today. Healthy humans do not need to go to the doctor. If I can convince two people today to avoid the doctor tomorrow, and these people can do the same, right down the human line ad infinitum, then we can oust these dangerous quacks from our previously unmedicated planet earth.
It won’t happen I know because most people are oblivious. I’ve had a sinking gut feeling ever since I met our doctor. Of course she can’t be trusted! Why should we trust her? Because she loves us? Do we trust anyone before love? Yes? Why? Because generally we are stupid. Is trust a noble trait? No. Why? Because people are good and bad to each other and my life is not a roulette wheel to be gambled with. You must earn my trust. I will not take chances with my own life, let alone my unborn child’s. So what can I do about it? Well, unfortunately Marie refuses to have the baby in our bed, so we’re going to the doctor’s work house, who more than likely would not miss dinner out tonight if earlier in the day she delivered a stillbirth. I pity her if any seen or unseen injury damages little Jourdan or baby Jane. Isn’t it a lovely world that coaches a father to begin his child’s life with threats and unjustified accusations to invisible enemies? Yes, it’s not my fault! As a newborn baby boy, I too was on the pediatrician’s rigorous schedule. Modern life was brought to me, not me to it. Maybe I was sick, but damn everything! Now I am diseased.
Just a moment ago I let Beany run loose into the backyard. He and Frisky the cat love to chase the birds and squirrels. It gave me some free time to think. Yesterday, Marie and I went to a family doctor for a consultation. We wanted to get his opinion on immunizations. This “feeling out” of prospective physicians has become a common practice for us lately. We don’t trust anyone! Well, to tell the truth, it is me who won’t trust anybody. Marie is a Libra. Libras see every angle, but unfortunately for the Aquarius, they tend to side with the guilty party. Libras appreciate both doctors and the criminally insane. No, it is I who searches for the “right” person when pressured into looking for a doctor. I could spend the rest of my life without one, if repeating nuisances such as asthma attacks or my child’s exploding eardrum could be avoided. These misfortunes happen because of my own negligence. Proper home care and prevention hinders development of both dumbness and disease.
As a young man I was willing to take the doctor’s opinion as truth, if not law, which should be one in the same thing. I had no reason to doubt his learned expertise. Really, I could care less what was done to me as long as I got better. I had very few doctor visits in my life. The first one I can remember happened during my freshman year at college, after two long years of avoiding my swelled and monstrous left testicle. It had become too big not to notice. When my roommate brought back a pamphlet on testicular cancer from the health center, I knew that it was time to see a professional. I can’t remember the doctor’s name or face. He asked me to drop my pants, said “Oh my,” and two weeks later I was out like a light, under the knife, and sent home with a monster scar to show my girlfriend.
Yesterday we went out in the cold late afternoon to visit with a prospective client who will oversee our babies’ medical emergencies. We can trust the doctor to handle an emergency. All minor and major ailments, from the common cold to influenza, ear infection to rabies, diarrhea to pink eye, and any other childhood discomforts and diseases will be sent over to our offices, Marie’s and mine. She’s a mommy and I am a daddy. Who is better equipped to handle infection? The licensed cadaverous physician clutching a clipboard, shooting off his mouth and gesticulating his body as if he were playing air guitar, to prove a well-researched and documented point-of-view? Off his sickly, green tongue memorized medical terms and phrases jump past his white lips with frightful intentions. But he’s wasting his time. Words make us angry. We are not poor, ignorant teenagers voicing a “yes, doctor, whatever you say doctor” answer to every problem. We are intelligent adults there to find an emergency care provider. The stuff of broken bones and deep wounds. All other visits are just a waste of our time, money, pride and joy. He doesn’t agree. Now he doesn’t trust us. That is what this world of books and cars has come to be. The idiot thinking the other guy is stupid and always so depressingly vice-versa.
I bet there is an Erasmus society in existence on the web. At Oxford or Harvard paid academics discuss discussions over what discourses Erasmus discussed with his eager students. The poor doctor had books. Greek books. Roman books. “Get back to the classics fellow sufferers. For the next hundred years we should dive into the pool of ancient learning, and dog paddle there until we tire and drown.”
Yes, an ancient scholarly twit like Erasmus is studied because he studied Roman law and wisdom, and was so amazed by their utter simplicity and cleanliness. Of course the poor dirty beggar Erasmus was impressed! He walked about the shitty streets of his hometown just giddy in anticipation of the next eggs of knowledge to ingest, those to nurture his mind and the minds of his well fed followers. The cult of “oneupmanship.” To know more than peasants and kings. It is no different today, except that knowledge finishes last in its own race. To know is to pass tests is to graduate is to set up practice is to get rich. Any dwerb can know. It’s the greatest failures of the heart who actually get rich off knowledge. And failures of the heart prefer long nights of study. It takes discipline, hard work, and a well-trained ignorance of reality to memorize the difference between fibula and tibia. Memorize well, stitch a few bleeding gashes, brush up on your failing memory every couple years, put an MD after your name, and live the life of money and prestige because you copied better than the uneducated, drippy nosed, disease spreaders watching prescription drug infomercials in your waiting room.
I tell you, the persistence of modern science has ruined humanism. Humanity, when it is thriving, considers people like Erasmus, the Popes, or Ted, the barber from Havenshire, as colorful individuals from a glorious past. A sweeter time before the invention of toilet paper, when it was okay to juggle colors and images in your imagination during a walk to market to buy milk. Books are fun for the purpose of pleasure only. I will let you in on a little secret. I know nothing about Erasmus! I saw a painting of him with his pointed nose, holding down a fat book with Latin letters printed along the spine. Isn’t that wonderful enough? Everything I need to know can come from the colors of my own imagination. Colors. He is whatever I want him to be. I can argue my point-of-view, even if that point develops into a circular confusion of contradiction, and I end up thinking about Erasmus’ incredibly funny looking red hat. It’s my god damn brain! If I can’t enjoy it, who will? Science wants it. It can’t have it. It is so easy to see what science wants to do with my imagination. It does not pretend disinterestedness. It wants my brain. It needs my brain to survive. If peoples’ minds are too busy with happiness, nobody can get sick! If no one gets sick, the American Medical Association can’t show off the elegant swan ice carving and twelve foot long pâté en croûte at their annual Marriot Hotel convention. Membership will dwindle fast. Only the most dedicated and impoverished doctors will meet in a clearing of the ancient, dark forest. With big fat frowns they’ll share the latest findings from Medical Discoveries Magazine. The peasants are too superstitiously happy to accept this grave band of learned men. When Ted junior, the barber’s son gets sick, Ted makes a funny face and hops up and down like a bunny rabbit. When Ted’s village gets struck with the plague because one of Erasmus’ colleagues made a visit to Genoa last week, and while contemplating muscle structure during a lecture on Roman anatomy, stuck the end of his quill pen in a rat’s ass and then put the quill in his mouth, then Ted, his family, the village, the surrounding countryside, including all the asses and sheep, perish.
The day I trust science absolutely is the day I enter medical school with a thousand colorful syringes dangling from my skin.
So if you want to know something more about Erasmus, find it in a book written by some scholar who researched the subject well. The libraries are filled with reference about his life and teachings. Why? Because us little illusion-stuffed gluttons of science imagine ourselves to be as important as Dr. and Dr. Jones, the medical, political, botanical, psychiatrical, archaeological, anatomical couple who have everything, a Mercedes-Benz, and even knowledge. We trust them to know the truth, and to keep us safe and warm. Why? I cannot answer for the mob. It takes only a matter of seconds for my imagination to picture the privacy of my doctor, a moment to himself when he is all alone, practicing some filthy habit or dirty routine of ignorance and prejudice, or just plain, obvious acts of mental retardation. I need only picture him watching TV or eating a fat piece of chocolate cake to convince myself of the dire need to avoid his practice like the bubonic plague of old.
So far every doctor but one I have visited is an idiot of science. Books. Books. Damn the books! This baby and books have got me into a lot of trouble. It takes just one sentence to screw up the brain of a noble father. “The vitamin K shot given to newborns to prevent hemorrhaging has been linked to childhood cancer.” Oh shit! Really? But the hospital frowns on those parents who won’t accept it. What if your baby has cranial bleeding? What if the doctor drops the baby on the floor and bleeding happens in the brain?

Serial Installment #2 of On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself, Pages 20-43

1:030012

September 23

“She said, ‘Somewhere, there’s a far away place
where all is ordered and all is grace.
No one there is ever disgraced.
And everybody there is wise,
and everyone has taste.’” —Lou Reed

The obvious question: Where is heaven?
Here are some answers from a booklet some smartly dressed Witnesses dropped at my door. They left in a hurry when I told them that I already love God, and don’t need a donation, thank you. I think their book is too confusing. If you want to convert the modern mind, don’t use words. Words are no longer productive. Laxatives and trickery is smart marketing. Over the last hundred years, diarrhea is the most effective way to get God’s name called out loud. Sex is somewhere in the middle. Joy is at the bottom, tied with finger slicing and toe-stubbing.
Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

Page 1: Wally’s (God’s) Witnesses
Q: Where is heaven?

#1 Under your feet, asshole.
#2 What you see at the exact moment you wake up
#3 In the blue house across the street
#4 “Acklebantinklebicow!”
#5 Oh God! My toe, my toe, my toe!
#6 Wherever the dog sleeps.
#7 Forget it. Unless I can smash your face with this shovel.
#8 Behind that cloud.
#9 Sleeping.
#10 Definitely not in Bob’s garage.

• Free laxative

Page 2: Wally’s Witnesses

Take laxative before reading…

Do you love?  Then you are in heaven. Hold on tight. Let no one harm your love. We are strangers at your door. We do not love you. The man next to me standing in his sharp suit has a dog he loves more than anything. Before he gets dressed he sits at the table with coffee and stares into his puppy’s big brown eyes. He will outlive his dog, his father and mother, maybe his sister and brother, all of your family, the dog’s family—Oh my God, not my babies! Oh my God! Excuse me, but I have to go to the bathroom…
Hold on tightly to your love. That is heaven. Let no one come and take her. Heaven is the child wrapped up in your arms. Heaven is her safe keeping. But it’s all up to you. God is your enemy. He put the evil bastards on earth. He created these sorrowful storms. He killed the two skunks we drove over on our way to your neighborhood. He darkened the skies that drenched today’s crusade. He threatens us with fire and brimstone. He murdered Job’s family. He will murder your family!  My wife and children are at home unprotected. Oh, what am I doing here? Oh my God, why am I dressed like this? Steve, give him the Lord’s poem and take me home. Jesus, my stomach… Brother, can I use your bathroom?
We are all in this together. Where is heaven? Do not let anyone hurt her. Stay out of the car. Don’t fly in an airplane. Wash your bodies. Cleanliness is a smart way to keep God and disease at bay. Eyes wide open. Constant openness. He’s gonna get ya! No chance. No heaven. We need a new word for that dream. Earth. Laughter. Helplessness. Art. Beauty. Everything under the sun except car parts. Skin. Where is heaven? Leave us alone. Say, “I love you,” roll over, and turn off the light. You can not get away.
I’m sorry about my friend. It must have been the tacos we had for lunch. Here’s a piece of a poem about why you should push me outside and kick my ass immediately:

…O let the print
of her hurrying sandal
be unrecorded in the
meadow’s thousand deaths
yet upon his heart
it has signed the angel’s
name. For him the
distance of the world
is never less than when he is forced to think
how all he loves must soon be taken away

—Kenneth Patchen (from Heaven on Earth)

September 24

The rain is keeping me indoors. I love the face of forced laziness! Walk throughout the house today. Make an apple crisp, and waste an hour to smell its baking. These are the cool days when boys stop talking and just do. What do they do? Well, if they want to be men, they do nothing at all. Just throw on a flannel shirt and read a good book under the light. A good book damn you!

Here’s what I want all of you to aspire to…

Sunday, September 23:
The Day the Artist Clipped His Toenails

Frank lived with his family in an old logger’s camp at the base of Mt. Hope, two miles in from the highway. The road to his cabin could not be traveled by car. He had to walk to get food and mail. It was 1943, a year when all of America came this close to eating their human kill. Frank wanted nothing from the outside but food and mail. He was patriotic enough for the U.S. Postal Service, and fond of Sam, their mail man.
Frank’s wife and child were content and peaceful. He often thanked his lucky stars for that stroke of good fortune. They kept their dreaming personal, that is, the daughter walked the dog around the lake while the wife calmly waited for the landing of the loons. The days were magic. “To be human,” he often thought, “was too beautiful for words.”
Frank painted a thousand watercolors of the mountain. That was his art. Portraits of the mountain in the seasons. Mostly of the rain and snow, when his model was barely visible through the fog. Nobody bought them. Sam, the mailman, would reassure him. “Really, these look a whole lot better than a smiling Jap.” Most of the time, on his walk back through the forest with his bundle of mail and milk, Frank would come to his senses and push the sorrow out of the way.
Meanwhile, the whole world was at war. Sam told him about the murder of his sons and nephews in the Pacific. It made Frank sick to his stomach and once, he threw up at Sam’s feet, over box elder and wood rot. “Isn’t everyone sick Sam?” Frank foolishly wondered. Sam sighed. He tolerated Frank’s questions because there were only two men left on his route. The other guy was an old WWI vet, who sometimes shot rock salt at Sam, imagining him to be Kaiser Wilhelm, the mailman.
Sam shrugged his shoulders, “It’s war Frank. It’s ugly, but it’s war.”
The summer of ‘43 passed just like the summer of ‘42. White flowers and the fresh green leaves of lazy July. The geese sounds in the gray overhead mingled with the hopeful smell of dinner in late September. This was the artist’s simple routine. NOW, stand Frank’s calm melancholy up against the wide-eyed fear of your only son ten thousand miles from home the second he spies a flash of light from the brush, and the next second when he sees his mommy kissing him good night. He’s dead. Do you understand? Oh boy, here I go again. You gave him life and now it has been taken away. Who took it? The President? Yes. The mayor? Yes. You? Yes God, you. You horrible parent. You rotten human being. You devil’s devil. You no longer possess the instinct to protect. What kind of mammal are you? Why aren’t you tearing the flesh from your son’s murderers? How can you justify this? Is your child a rabbit? Did you make love to his father who was a rabbit? Can you squeeze out a hundred more of these before you die? Mother sends her child off on a train whistling straight to his grave. What a cute face. Showered and shaved. What an ugly thing a bullet does to his precious face. But war is ugly, and that’s a fact. And thank God almighty your son was murdered, Mrs. Smith. His sacrifice really slowed Tojo and Hitler’s advance. Yes ma’am! That’s what the letter says, so it must be true. “Morning mom. Wow pancakes, thanks!” No. He’s dead. His happy face had bullets shot into it. The letter gives thanks for your son’s life. They dragged his dead body over the bloody wasteland, tossed him into a used coffin, and dropped him at your door. And tomorrow if Mr. Pres. says we’re going to the Middle East, then let’s go. Hurry up! Yes, by God let’s go! It’s got to be more exciting than listening to those silly bird calls and waiting. Just waiting. Always the endless waiting. Acquiesce. Give in to the power of your elected leaders.
Frank? Where’s Frank? Why bother with Frank? Oh I am so sick and tired of stories. I wish Frank was a glowing hot steel ball shoved up your colon.
So instead, I clipped my toenails.

September 25

Last night work was very slow, but I made the best of it. I am the highest paid cook, so I better contribute once in a while, even if they put me at the fryer where the most capable heart and hands in the dirty restaurant are at the mercy of a tub of hot oil. I pureed some California strawberries and heated them with cream and sugar. Some gelatin, milk, and banana liquor… A dash of salt. Strawberry-Banana Panna Cotta. Then a slow, deliberate chicken stock that I maneuvered between heat sources, so not to disturb the ornery cooks who become violently possessive over their assigned stations. “Don’t boil,” I told the stock. But the stock already knew. I tell it to teach the others. They boil all their soups and stocks. Especially Covey—he’s the best at ruining the possibilities of food. The cooks are guilty. They come to work and expect money. “I’m here. Pay me.” They gamble or read gun magazines. They think about beer and coffee. Television for a day. Not an egg-thickened sauce. I say, “one bubble to the top of the stock every four seconds…” You hope that is enough. It is a gentle thing, the stock. No. Even the sous chef hates living. He dips his tongs into the pot and stirs with a fury.

September 27

Grabbed the homemade astrolabe off the table as Rachelle was walking out the door with her mother. Quite an instrument! Within seconds I had our latitude. 43 degrees. Just above and exactly below the line where all the polite, unconditionally sad people wait. Oh Screw it! Just words. I feel. I awoke in the cold dark, got out of bed, stood on two feet, envied my sleeping wife, and began the routine. First I peed for quite some time. “A lot of water,” I thought, “for a six hour sleep.” Then I came downstairs to begin the day. The pig, the cats, the coffee, the dog, the writing, the oldness I feel on top of my eyelids. What is happening?
It’s all bad.
What is?
Everything
except silence
tears
laughter
and a gentle voice.

I am not telling the truth. I have no idea why I am here. I like maps, my child, my wife, cooking, picking herbs, housework, cleaning horse stalls, driving with coffee, getting up before dawn, home schooling, reading (sometimes as little as a paragraph a day), listening to music, eating. I like football in season and the romance of the past. I would like to know what the hell is going on. I need to know beyond a doubt that to like these things is good and enough. That to try to like more might make me explode. I would like to believe in God so I could put an end to all these things. I would expect a universal, undeniable assurance, acceptance, and congratulations for cutting myself down all the time, and making about as much noise in life as an amoeba on a log in a forest out of sight.
I love imagination. Ah, but it can be so disappointing when we know where we are going. I need to get there with poetry, yet there might not be one person on this planet who has the same desire. Yes, that is depressing. Yes, that opens up every new and old door to anger. Yes, I feel like some dirty trick has been played on me. I never wanted these poems in my head. I did not expect to think wrong or right. I never thought until I began to think, and now for the time being everything is ruined. Even the simplest chores like eating… Without God there cannot be hunger. Without God there is no satiation. If you expect the morning to be there, then you do not know God, and you will be suffering with me until the end. This includes everyone waiting.

Little ball in space
go the other way today
These thankless wretches!

Rachelle and I read about Sweden. We were both fascinated by the pictures. Marie took the day off from work and drifted off to sleep while staring at a Sami girl standing on the ice. Our baby is inside her. On a boat the little girl and wild animals sleep. They drift down a clean water river. The gray fox and the brown bear watch from the bank while waiting for their fish dinner. The trees are tall and old. The sky is blue and arctic cold. These Swedes are very beautiful.

September 28

When cats get asthma, they are very stoic about it.

You want magnanimity, eh? Here’s a refresher course for the low low price of fifty dollars. However, we are not responsible for what the hordes of toothless overweight morons will do when they get a hold of these papers. We suggest practicing gifts of kindness and gentle manners on your cats and dogs at least five hundred times over before attempting a beginner’s loving kindness routine on your first human infant.
With Magnanimity Again you will learn the lost ancient art of being human, (or was it just a spittle dream?) Chapters on trust, goodness, grace, tact and beauty are sure to make improvements even to the most psychotic and perverted intelligence. And there are over fifteen thousand colored pictures to keep the brain awake enough to read. “Can’t kick the cat or spank the dog, hold the fish out of water, or even swing the guinea pig on a string. Not unless they’re being really nasty and cumbersome.”—from chapter two, Don’t Kill With Your Bare Hands.
Order now, and for just $29.95 you’ll receive the Helen Keller, Look, Hear and Talk Like Me Ball. A small state-of-the-art electronic device that sets under the tongue or in the ear, and, with a charge lasting up to seven hours, will get you through most complicated societal encounters. You won’t be able to hear your colleague when he leans over and whispers, “I’d really like to have sex with your wife, but her pubic hairs are too long.” You wouldn’t see him either, or talk back, even if you wanted to articulate, “How does this feel?” while carving “scum bag” into his chest with a boning knife.

I had a very bad night at work. I don’t want them to read, write, make tasteful jokes, ask how my child is doing, toast my good fortune, say words like “splendid” and “happiness.” No. All I am saying is that there are children with cancer, emaciated mothers feeding their babies lead-soured breast milk, and the incredible fleeting beauty of sunlight’s shimmer dance on your wall. There is still hope. Because dying things aren’t cracking “jokes” about pubic hair, I want these sick bastards to die, or to be dying. It is incredible how taken for granted breath is. Just a small head of kale forced into the mouth, a firm nose plug, five minutes watching his eyes pop out of his head, and then a roll-over into the cold river. I don’t care if I am discovered. Magnanimity doesn’t mind prison. Just $79.95 and I can have them all killed? Wonderful. With a Look, Hear and Talk Like Me Ball I can eliminate my enemies of the human race? Good show! Simply splendid! “I should get a promotion for this!”

September 29

Asthma. The first morning of the heat switched on in the house. Winter hates me.
I will begin this day with a letter to another hack writer, some other young failure, who might be just as confused. I will drop it in the mail on my walk to work this afternoon.

Dear writer,

I don’t know you. I know very few outside of my beloved family. I have two friends, Kevin and Pat, but they are suffering from our disease too. They do not make attempts to contact me via the soft spot. My heart’s feeling is very strong, and I am aware that the world is crushing me. My art is wretched. Nothing I write is useful. I am a good cook, but asthma wants me to copy a rabbit’s diet. I am thirty-three years old, married, rich enough, and a father of one, and one on the way. Where are you?
My hope is that you are in need. Did you write from the heart today? You probably didn’t show it to anyone. Do your parents wonder what went wrong? Did they send you to college to become a millionaire or a man?  Do you work in a factory next to TV monkeys who get their art feelings while driving by car dealerships? Are you getting up at five a.m. to hack out words because you see a richer, more abundant life?
I don’t mean to bombard you with personal questions. But I do feel the need to get personal. I must seek a colleague. Such a huge country and I do not know even one poet. Yes, I am shy, but isn’t everyone? Why not? I don’t want to be completely shut out. God, it’s so wrong to write for nobody. I laugh at myself so often, sometimes out of a false humility, other times because laughing is better than thinking. How crazy to be humble at the pursuit of your own desires. Humble to the point of crying out, “Oh to hell with who you think you are, Ron Throop! You think you are better than everyone else, eh? What about your family? How are you going to feed them? Do they want your anger, your contempt of strangers, your persistent god damn bitter questioning of everything?”
So I begin to distrust my own creative intuition. Why? A feeling of being the only line cook left in the world, working alone inside his hot kitchen, cooking creative dishes, and serving them to no one. He must be crazy. “Pick it up on the point Marie!” he calls. But Marie never comes. Food? What is that? We don’t need food you freakish waste of time! My contemporaries are overly satisfied, gluttonous blobs almost stuffed dead of nourishment. Jesus, don’t you think they’ve had enough already? Now they must eat their own fat to survive. My neighbors do not want me. I am not useful like the bad cook who might feed them one night a month with a cut piece of cow, powdered potato mix, and a dirty salad. To the blobs that is useful. But who wants to read long menus of scatter-brained confusion and anger, especially the disillusioned poet’s very personal flights of distorted, disturbed, sometimes demented confusion and anger?
You, I hope. Can you help my career? Give my confidence a boost? How about a letter a day? Some morning exercise to get the juices flowing? How pleasant to know that someone else strives to create lobster soufflé for beings who fleek saliva at the mention of Burger King. It’s a comforting feeling to know that another shares that insecurity. I can cook you a fat partridge I choked myself. How about some small, round potatoes cooked in the bird’s own fat? We’ll meet at the table and discuss our future plans. A novel? Ah, phooey! That’s a Whopper with extra cheese. Why waste your energy for those saturated fat-in-the-brain pigs with shoes? Pass the snails. How about this for a cover..? A picture of the blue sky and forty or fifty gigantic blobs with canned raviolis pressed into their slime chasing me down a hill…

October 1

Fruits and vegetables on the tablecloth. On this cool hazy morning I shall execute the perfect dog walk. I know my themes are repeated over and over. If I do this enough times, I might end up with five or six perfectly picked and placed words to explain the entire horror show of modern life. Drive slowly by beauty walking through the leaves. Songbirds sing along with her and the wind in the trees. Coax beauty into your van with a false smile and caring. Then pull the door closed and slap your devil face back on. Proceed to carve her up while she cries out for love and compassion and gentleness.
Today I live for the shes in my life. When their eyes open wide, I will clean, bake, play. I will kick right into gear for love. Yesterday in bed with Marie I let her have it with the angst. I cannot be so selfish to forget about her. She never blames anyone. The child inside… Both imaginary and literal.
But get a load of this…
Further on I promise to write about my chef. I have been wanting to do so for over a year. There is so much meat on his bones. Spoiled meat for the starving to pull from the garbage. Writing about him will not change the world, nor improve one bit the days and nights of the most poor and neglected human being. But it will show my grandchild what I was up against, the blockheads I had to fight just to get my hour a day, maybe two, to do the things I was born to do.
It would also be fun to write about some of the other characters who work with me into the night. The shared pulse of no-life, therefore no poetry or love. The death of life standing upright, propped like an Irishman at his funeral, usually with whiskey and a sham of a good time. Human beings ruined from the top down. Exhausted. Pooped out. Circumstance has nothing to do with their miserable lot in life. They are able to eat and pay rent for less than a forty hour work week. That’s a job. The strike babies of the last century were fooling themselves. This cannot be the hopeful result of the brotherhood of man. These spineless animals? But yes it is! Their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A club on the head for an eight hour work day? If they didn’t strike, they were mere slaves. Who really wanted to stop work at five p.m.? What did those lazy buggers give back for that luxury? More bars. More men-only games. More spousal neglect and abuse. More children ignored and made to wait to grow up miserable like Dad. Nothing has changed today. A thousand revisions of tried and true cover-ups and alibis. No better love. No better devotion. No better humility or caring. Death to compassion. Death to passion. A concave curvature of the spine. Three hundred years later and we’ve developed the freedom dreams of captive horses. My sous chef puts on a heavy flannel coat—wait. Rachelle just woke up. She stands next to me asking if I’ll clean up the dog’s vomit. Time to keep my promises. I will catch up to my reading public later.

October 2

My sous chef puts on a heavy red flannel coat. It’s a cool autumn day. A pumpkin patch in the neighbor’s yard. Crows on the mowed lawn. Crows on the porch. One crow eating grease out of a can hanging from the portable grill. My sous chef bought a pellet gun at Walmart. He’s twenty-two years old. Crows and squirrels eating. It might take three or four close shot pellets to penetrate a layer of crow skin. It stuns the bird. He flaps in the yard crying. Reload and point it a foot from his wide open eye. Fire!
What kind of father made him and kept him?
Sous is a French word.
Of course man is evil.
When I was eight or nine years old I aimed my BB-gun at a fat bumble bee resting on a peony. I pulled the plastic trigger and petals exploded into the air. Last night I picked up a pincher bug and put her in the garbage can. Over the years I have killed a battalion of mosquitoes. Because of malaria in the tropics I pretend that it is war with the mosquitoes. I won’t harm a spider.
Last night I quoted Kenneth Patchen to him after he justified his backyard crow massacre. “They were noisy,” he said, “while eating the grease off my barbecue.”
“There are no proportions in death.” I replied. I should have quoted myself, and followed that line up with, “That means your precious pale hide is covered with crow feathers. Your daddy and mommy are crows. You are pecking at the grease of the world and creating a nuisance unknowingly to a thousand living things a minute. How many pellets to penetrate your thick skull? Do you see why it’s not a tragedy if a hundred crows ate your brother? What the hell is so god-damn human about us? If to be human is to be merciful, caring, or just a little bit careful at least? Romantic love and the slaughter of cows. How do we make love with such bloody hands?
Today is a school day. We have a hundred apples to bake and books to read. Rachelle my sweet baby child, reveal your true cruel heart. There are happy squirrels running to and fro. I intend to teach you how to rip off their hides with boots and your bare hands.
I love my innocent babies. I am a daddy crow.

October 4

Was it this day Marie was told to remember? Something would happen to change her life forever. Her mother bought her a psychic and the psychic said…
She told me that she loved me five years ago today. Yes of course I remember. A gray cool weekend in New York City. How cocky I was back when I smoked a pack a day. How strong and durable and hopeful. How ignorant and wonderful! An aspiring painter-poet wanted to court the girl of his dreams. I was dreaming about her for over a year. One day lived full and unforgettable is fuel enough to transcend a lifetime of disappointment. To be a failure in love, to stay in love, making backwards adjustments whenever necessary, to acquire and then release yourself of the burden of everything… To go back to nothing—that is my greatest hope for us. To be content with a poverty that moves with nature. Do we understand that first love is the only true love? And I mean love, not safety, not comfort, not money. No lovers are free if two cannot spend all their money today, right now, and finish their first cold autumn night together slurping soup on a bed. Where are we going if not backward? Forward to death? No! To smell the autumn evening with you by my side. Look, that’s the moon. That is enough! For our lives to be everlasting, we must remain poor and glad and eager.

October 5

Am I rich enough to stop for longer periods of time, to sleep at least an hour into the sunrise?
I need a massage of the lungs. Asthma is stealing my breath away.
And the getting up before dawn to write. What good is that torture? Write it down in a big black book. Oh, but the first sentence never looks good on paper. Handwriting for Ron Throop is such a cumbersome task. Too bad! The big black journal moves with you. One is not forced to write at a table in the dark. Nor made to get up at dawn for lack of a better time. Write by the river, in the grass, from the teahouse. Most important of all… Write nothing if it’s time to be a better human being.
Time to be a better human being.

I have beside me a wife, daughter, a living yet unborn child, a dog, two cats, and a guinea pig. This is immediate reward. This is a very personal public. I want their love and happiness. I want mine too. But theirs must come first.
Last night on our walk to get cat food and coffee we bought a scratch-off lottery ticket “just for the halibut,” as any seafood line cook might say.
“This is a spit in God’s face,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We’re already so lucky. Why do we push it?”
I cannot write the memory of last night’s walk home. But no span of five minutes was ever so beautiful. No walk more great, more poetic, more heroic. We came home with cold cheeks and sleepy eyes, and pushed our bodies together to keep warm on a cool night. I picked up Thoreau’s journal and read a few entries. A great man. A great thinker. Writing so beautiful and flowing. Writing. Words.
Beautiful? No.
Just an Immortal? No. Dead.
Am I immortal? So far, yes. At least until I die. I will sing my lover’s praises. I will sing my families’ life, our days and nights. But most important of all, I am singing for us, the wife, daughter, unborn child, dog, two cats, and a guinea pig. As far as I’m concerned we are the song of the world.

October 12

I have asthma. I wish I had an easy breath, one that could be forgotten. We’re convinced that I am allergic to our cats. The doctor told me to get rid of them. Human beings aren’t really humane are they? A good movie to watch, if just for the courtroom scene, would be Dr. Dolittle. His defense for himself and the animals is a true rhyme. A good chapter to read to find out how weak in the spine man is would be “Higher Laws” in Thoreau’s Walden. I think I’ll read that today.

American Football’s Popularity Rising In Equal Proportion With Mass Infant Circumcision

Why do it
After listening to those glad humming sounds?
Why slice
after the giggling,
The evening tummy rubs,
The bouncing rides..?
Surely these jolly moments might preclude
the beginnings
of ecstasy outside the womb
You know,
actually a happy, gentle, caring child.
That’s all us boys dream of
even after they snip off our foreskin.
Happiness
Wisdom
Strength to stand up for the uncircumcised
For the whoosass in the lunch line
To fight for his honor
To let him know in no uncertain terms
that sure you’re pissed off
that the first thing they thought of
after nine months of sweet dreams
was cutting up my dirty little pee-pee
and Frank and Sal’s and Dave’s
dirty dick
Now we’re all nuts
having the potential to murder too
because after circumcision
they didn’t stop and hug us and give us dolls
We played with trucks, footballs, and guns
And looked down into our shorts
always in the know
that something was wrong
Very very wrong
So incredibly wrong
that’s it’s no small wonder
each of us hasn’t thought
more than once about
hanging from a tree.

How out of place do you feel?
The circumcised watch Monday Night Football.
Little boys push a backhoe
Little girls color horses on the floor
Girlfriends and wives
think about hair and skin products
and improving the smell of the house
I mean
how do you look on the couch?
Do you stare at them and wonder “how
can their movements be so pure and innocent
after they’ve done this to my prick?
How can they want me?
Where did hope go?
What is a man?
What is money?
What is a job?
Why am I so selfish?
How is it that all of us know what football is?
That angry player just said “Mother fucker”
These are pigs who have nothing in common
with me
and yet everything is sadly the same since
we’ve been cut back to expose the head.
Football. TV. The Presidency. Paying taxes and the garbage bill. The company. Health insurance. An entire row in the supermarket dedicated to dog food and cat shit. The Internet. The 40,000 dollar truck. The 10,000 dollar used truck with rust. A stereo. Video games. The radio. So many shirts and pants.
I want my foreskin back. I want to be different.
I want at least twenty feet of foreskin
to make up for the difference
of years of not knowing what I am.
I want to be a man

November 27

I think I might begin writing again. Long month of many happenings. The tooth fairy flies happily through the faraway clouds and different sun of childhood. Ask me about it tomorrow. I need to teach.

December 3

Boy, am I filled to full! Birthing classes, a healthy baby, demi-glace in beans, and a tall stack of school subjects to organize, pancakes, recipe writing, reading Huckleberry Finn to pass a cold morning with my daughter… And an apartment to build in the back.
A frigid day. This business is my fire to tend to, my stock to feed. There is no neurosis. There is a selfishness reigning supreme over our emotions. It is an early 19th century Christian world. My fire, the cow, the children, cooking to survive, sewing to keep warm. I’m going to make you understand my position. Everything prior to this was a feeling out of the situation. I can show you crazy. I can easily point out the insanity of you and your friends. But I would rather raise sane and happy children. You don’t know me. You never will. You can’t find me. Yes I am famous, but I am also invisible and fleeting, thriving in a world of my creation. This is a France of the past in an absolutely cheerful and carefree future world. Honest, good, wondering, creative children make up my village of grown-ups and babies. I swear this poet’s heart has the power to categorize you, to condescend, to label you and your friends as old chickens in the yard behind the barn. Is anyone hungry? If you hope and pray not to become dinner, step out of the lie, as a chicken, and we shall feed you feed, and care for you as a pet, and love you like our own. But as you are, you are nothing more than me, or the bark of some old, dead tree, fallen deep in a cold forest that you haven’t torched—yet. There are no proportions in life, or in death. Our sameness with tropical sand creatures and the beaver damning a small stream running out of the Hudson Bay should be as obvious to you as your own skin. Why then is it not? Why so blind? Here is a nineteenth century primer for the eternal man inside you who should have as much of a concept of “century” as the hungry fox stalking the snowbird.

January 2

Beany the dog ruins all potentially happy mornings because his nose is attached to his ass. I stood outside in the cold for a half hour while he chose the perfect square foot of snow to soil. Yet because I let him look, I must be a good man. That should cheer me up.
Over the years my grandparents had dogs for love and company. Probably very delicate prima donna mutts like Beany, who were also careful about the placement of feces. But they had land. Beautiful land! Trees with tall piles of snow fallen on their branches. Intense quiet. Fluff. Pine green and cloud white. The blackness ahead, The unknowing. Yet a friend with a nose like healthy human eyes in broad daylight. A happy soul willing to take you along on his morning walk. Time to meditate. To be quiet. To dream. Who am I?
How can I help give my beautiful wife the happiness we all seek? What is a perfect day? What will my grandson grow up wondering? Someone wants to hold my hand. My dog loves me. How many more mornings like this one? I used to skate with her when we were young and didn’t care. I don’t want to burn garbage. Won’t answer the door today. I will stay dressed in my pajamas. The most useful gift I ever received was a pair of slippers. No one knows who I am. My dog lives for these morning walks. What have I ever given worth a dime of happiness to another soul? Everything has a soul. My dog deserves more than this. I want to play for the rest of my life. I just don’t know which game.

Oh your beauty is so upsetting. I am mad because I can’t take that photograph and fold it into a shape sharp enough to poke into the chest and through my heart. I want you here, where I can never get. I have no control. I will always be less than fully alive.

January 12

My life is a flux of noisy Spanish colors. From the front porch I see the Northern Lights blazing fantastic colors. An invisible crowd of strolling men, women and children are speaking Spanish. “Azul, verde,” whispers a faceless voice. Oh, Spanish! Those are deeper colors than blue and green. The only way an American can be persuasive with his voice is to say blue green lake, wait a few days, write several thousand pages trying to explain to another man the madness of “blue green lake,” and then promptly go into despair, bash his own skull on a big slab of granite, and wait for the slow tide to cover his dead face. But if he could understand and speak the language of those many things which trouble him!

The beautiful changing colors.
Working in America
The Weenie Omnipotence of Doctors
My Mother’s Friends
A Book on How to Make Better Tips
A Book on How To Quit Your Job

But first I’ll begin with a love song to my daughter.
It’s her eleventh birthday!

It is in your eyes
that thing keeping me alive
What’s behind your eyes—
You are singing from your eyes
what you see in the leaf
what you stir into eggs and honey
what you touch on your barbies
when you lay them in bed
how you ask when you are happy
how you ask because you trust me
I don’t know and I don’t care—
The real meaning of a man
is what you say it is
Everything has to be what you say it is.

Once again, I’ve quit employment. I have no one to talk to. John stopped at the house yesterday and bullied us with his vile and confused gab-a-lot. I swear to God there are no men! Here’s a Laundromat poem of the twenty-first century. I want everyone to go to hell.

Why Do I Quit?

Oh, very smart question
to be asking yourself in a Laundromat!
Isn’t it obvious?
No?
“That’s such a nice purse!”
That’s such a good answer.
“That’s such a nice purse I want to die,”
I could say,
and the zombies walking by,
my bulging eyes just miss them.
Oh the minutes here tick tick tick tick
by you the man
who swears he’s the only man left
willing to shed these clothes and quarters,
this car, your car, more clothes and towels,
a pair of underwear for each day, socks, pants, houses,
the agonizing, tortured thought of sockspantshouses…
You can buy me a wardrobe
I might thank you
but I don’t care
I’ve never been moved
I’ve never had anyone to thank
Nothing makes me happy to live
Nobody is smart or bright alone
and if a thousand people think you’re good
I WANT YOU ALL TO GO TO HELL!

I need a man and woman to cuddle up across the room
two heavy wool shirts
washed last August not last night
He must be a fine goy
with Scoottish aukcent
He has to be a Scoot
It’s much more manly to be a Scoot
NO, IT REALLY IS. I’M NOT WANTING TO BE FUNNY.
The sheep know him
They know his hands
A man will be judged by the look of his hands
We must look at a man’s hands
We have to stop reading
Jesus Christ
I should just leave a bomb somewhere.
Cuddle up with my wife too
and Jack and his wife
Oh the smells of our women in the kitchen
the wind howling against the pane
the empty black freezing night
a thousand miles of sea and storm
Nobody anywhere but here
Not on Mars, not in the city
WE ARE SCOTTISH MEN ON A HUMBLE FARM
We are unlikable ornery pigs without money
So not here
So sad here
where everyone is alone with expensive stuff.
Go through your house counting every thing.
It will take a year I promise
You are not Jack Scot
You are no good
They made you this way
needing nothing times a million
and a Laundromat littered
with stubbly boys in hot fluffy coats
wide-assed from pizza and sitting
short-necked from pizza and sitting
Little soft boy lips
voices like zoo animals with human heads,
pizza and television
Good God
Christ
Popes and Kings
and pus-lipped
hunched back
peasant men,
Hard useless quiet monsters
THERE ARE NO MEN!
I’m running out of paper
Even the mass-murderer has plump titties
Say,
if we move this camera in for a close-up
maybe the god-damn sops will believe every word we speak.

It’s a Mexican Christmas
by Rachelle Throop

When I was young and happy the world was a ball. Every morning I awoke with a troop of small helpless animals just like me, and we’d pray together, and whisper softly words like “joy,” and “sweet,” and “love”. We would lay together in the sweet grass, the leopard, the muskrat, the bunny, the squirrel, the wolf, the myself… I was so happy to be alive. I wrote a story and it was very important. I read it to my family at Christmas. Five miles into the forest deer stood in the snow that fell from a sky that went on forever, black and cold and empty way up into itself. I love you. I don’t know what it means to be sad. I have no heartache.

¡Hola! Welcome to Mexico. Now I know we’re not really in Mexico, but let’s pretend we are. Outside it’s warm and sunny, flowers are blooming. I’m going to tell you about all of the Mexican holidays, that come at Christmas time.
Flowers are blooming. There is a child nestled safely in my wife’s full belly. Yet I have no idea what that means. I am afraid for her. I don’t even pretend to know that a child is with us always. We have been making love with our baby listening. Any day now a child will be born. I have the calm piece of mind to write my thoughts because I am a scared piece of shit. Everything in our lives should explode with wonder. Science, man, the universe… Children should fight the last crusade. Bite the hand that feeds them. Then maul the hand and eat the rest. They should be merciful and band together and kill us. Then have a tea party.
I am so much in love with the child in me who has been beaten, mocked, and left for dead. I am a scared little boy because I grew up and there is nobody out there older than me. Please help.

A Poem I Wrote For the Kale and Cantaloupe

The saddest part of knowing you’re dying
is hearing Squeezebox on the work radio
I’m so in love with you…
Picturing her thinking that when she looks at you
Feeling that from her eyes when
life was a blazing sun
Knowing that you knew once
life was a blazing sun
maybe in another life,
but knowing nonetheless,
Hearing The Who’s Squeezebox,
I’m so in love with you…,
and having no erupting thought
beyond that of making a pretzel.
Boil a pot of water
All creation rolled up into a pretzel
I’m so in love with you…
Oh I can stand here in a white shirt all night long
mocking life
cutting up, dishing out, scraping off life
It’s the stream of bullets shooting into my mouth—
I can’t hack away enough the thought of
you being so in love with me.

Oh yes to God my love of my life, my every second’s
hope and prayer is for you to always be
so in love with me.
But more important than anything ever
is for all men to go on living
passing on to a higher plane
with a wise and cheerful blessing
that will not come from a true heart
until I’ve lived the rest of this life
so in love with you.

Last night Kevin called to talk to me about my latest quit at the restaurant. He’s a good friend and a good man. In fact, we could become men if we tried a little bit harder. But that’s neither here nor there…
We talked about my crazy boss who hasn’t come out of his house since June. I compared him to Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life. He really does push buttons and expect the best. I have always pitied him, until the inevitable moment when he has pushed me too far, and I am unable to make a measly paycheck because even I, the poor Chinaman, can see him laughing at my ancient pride. I up and quit, more to punish his audacity, than to defend my ancient pride.
But it comes. Ten times now. Because I am an artist, and an artist can live on bread alone. No, I mean live on bread alone! So any one can see how that confounds the businessman. Especially when the artist is working amidst a creative stream and the money rolls in and the boss is getting a real pretty steak put on an ugly plate. Even more so when that artist lives alone among men in a small community of fat-jowled, dental plan, “Geez I can stay this way and even get worse until I get my twenty years in” state workers and factory men who have no ancient pride or modern pride or any pride that would have them abandon that shiny new truck payment. I help empower the businessman who sells creativity by making beauty a cheap thing from a minimal food cost.
So I quit. I hate making people money. I would like everyone to quit so the boss could cry for his mommy. Kevin likes this idea deep down, although, ever since we became friends, he’s played the devil’s advocate all too often. There is some embarrassed presence blushing within Kevin that makes him bow before the man with more means. Two winter’s ago, during a snow storm, the boss called him out to the bar and told him to get a broom and brush off his car. He didn’t ask me because he knew I would have slashed his tires. Not that Kevin doesn’t have any pride. But it’s precisely that Chinese acceptance that makes such a timid America. It never sits well with me. I was born. Isn’t that enough right to rule the world?
Anyway, most of the cooks got laid off because the boss is losing money fast. Even the chef got tossed. That was a huge loss for me because he alone was making my work life livable. Come in at four. Leave at ten. Six hours to think about work. But take the chef away, and the cheap artist will do the same thing for next to nothing. That’s what the businessman who’s falling apart thinks. Now triple the effect of that destructive philosophy because he won’t come out of his house for six months. Bad business. Now he hasn’t anyone besides the flaccid-jowled, “I gotta keep gas in my car and coffee and cigarettes and a six-pack a day habit” restaurant workers without any sort of benefit plan, and the boss has a very nerve-racking summer ahead of him.
Of course we could benefit, all of us, the boys and me, by forming a guild to protect ourselves. Mr. Potter doesn’t have to be the only devious planner in Bedford Falls. But I have never known a more pitiful people than American men. Look at them yourself and wonder why the persistent slave mentality. All for two hundred bucks! All for our little world not to fall apart! And we think that our measly two hundred dollars held it all together…
No, we could never organize because it is so much safer to be a poor coward than a poorer hero.

January 13

So Kevin called me the other night, half drunk, and gave me a subject for a book that would make money. He admitted that it would be no literary challenge, and that it might even be embarrassing to write, but any publisher would take it immediately because of the mass market opportunity. Will they ever learn? Just because I know bread, that flour, yeast, a little honey and water make a loaf worth eating, if all goes well in the process, it does not necessarily follow that I would have success at creating the perfect shit white bread that Americans love to squeeze between their filthy fingers. I have about as much chance of writing a book entitled “How to Make Bigger Tips” as Tim Johnson at the Wonder Bread Factory has of baking the perfect French country loaf. If he works at Wonder Inc., He’s never baked a single loaf of bread in his rotten, degraded, strip mall-minded existence.
Man, I want all of you to be this simple! Right now, mimic the life I imagine and together we shall skip through a deep friendly forest and be friends to ourselves, each other, and all living creatures. Let us organize to destroy what is so unnecessary in our lives. History proves that humanity, when inspired toward a common cause for the greater good, is earth’s most capable destroyer. No more empty words. No more happiness if it has to remain merely a word for the rest of our lives. If everyone, even poor old Helen next door, lit their drapes on fire, and scooted the family and the pets out the door; if every neighbor did this right now… And ripped wires out of their standing machines. If men pulled their shirts off and women flipped off the old homes that kept their lives full of radon and misery; if each neighborhood mass huddled together in one giant ball because the night was cold and the stars were out, and everyone came this close to a terrifying death, then that would be the best way I can think of for making bigger tips.
My unemployed chef came by for coffee yesterday. The first sunny day after a month of snow. He told me that he went over his finances at the kitchen table while thinking of suicide and the fear of tomorrow. He’d be all right with his unemployment insurance, that is, his house, utilities and truck would be covered. It was food and fuel he could not afford. Not without some other income.
We should all have our legs sawed off for being this stupid.

Time To Serialize Some Of My Books. Set The Tenterhooks!

On Rainy Days

Painting For Cover of “On Rainy days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself” 2002

Henry Miller wrote his smut book Opus Pistorium at the request of some Hollywood pervert at $1 a page because no one on earth would pay him for the truly inspired work that was pouring out of him at the time. It was published after Miller’s death, so Henry was saved the humiliation of confronting the public with this particular loathsome writing.

Well, “rainy days” has some bad writing, but very good art. To me, the final critic, it has passed the test of time. All it lacked was an international distributor, and a population of 20 and 30-somethings who were passionate about the intangibles of life while experiencing early-onset existentialism. The books is good at feeling, and that is what good art is, period. You don’t believe?

You don’t have to. I’m not sellin’ it, and nobody’s buying it.

I do hope though it brings sufferers less suffering. This was an ordinary life at the time. Maybe I could be one of the lucky ones who got to keep his sanity while the rest of humanity struggled embarrassingly for wealth and then recognition.

On Rainy Days The Monk Ryokan Feels Sorry For Himself

by Ron Throop

Introductions and pages 1-20

Preface to second edition

I have always wanted to have a preface to a second edition. Here it is. There are very few changes from the original publication, besides a better proofread. This was meant to be a book of feel. A very rare find eleven years ago. Even moreso today. I remember sending copies off at my own expense to obscure bookshops in cities across America, hoping to be read by anyone, by chance. I would sneak them on the shelf at my local Barnes and Noble time and again, until I was threatened by a representative in New Jersey. I cannot recall the particulars of the threat, but it must have been good. I got scared and stopped the practice. I shelved it at the college library next door after the librarian refused to circulate it. Every couple of weeks I’d go back and find it gone, to which I would put another in its place (right beside Thoreau). It must have made her crazy angry.

“…The present time disgusts me, even to describe. It is sufficient merely to endure it. I wanted to make a book with new mountains, a new river, a country, forest, snow, and men all new. The most consoling thing is that I have not had to invent anything at all, not even the people. They all exist. That is what I want to say here. At this very time when Paris flourishes—and that is nothing to be proud of—there are people in the world who know nothing of the horrible mediocrity into which civilization, philosophers, public speakers and gossips have plunged the human race. Men who are healthy, clean and strong. They live their lives of adventure. They alone know the world’s joy and sorrow. And this is as it should be. The others deserve neither the joy nor the sorrow. They know nothing of what they are losing. They think only of adding to their comfort, heedless that one day true men will come up from the river and down from the mountain, more implacable and more bitter than the grass of the apocalypse.”

—Jean Giono

“Most of the young men of talent whom I have met in this country give one the impression of being somewhat demented. Why shouldn’t they?  They are living amidst spiritual gorillas, living with food and drink maniacs, success mongers, gadget innovators, publicity hounds. God, if I were a young man today, if I were faced with a world such as we have created, I would blow my brains out. Or, perhaps like Socrates, I would walk into the market place and spill my seed on the ground. I would certainly never think to write a book or paint a picture or compose a piece of music. For whom? Who beside a handful of desperate souls can recognize a work of art? What can you do with yourself if your life is dedicated to beauty? Do you want to face the prospect of spending the rest of your life in a straight-jacket?”

—Henry Miller

Freeflow Publishing
Second Printing
Copyright© 2002, 2014 by Ron Throop
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: No, Congress is stacked with lawyers, which makes the whole lot very, very bad.

All rights reserved.

This book is dedicated to

Rose with her dinner plate.

She continues to separate the tiny pieces of sautéed onion from the buttered brown rice. I could leave the onion out, but then she would have nothing to never complain about.
(Keep reading. It’s a purposeful double negative)

Mr. President,

My dog is driving me absolutely crazy this morning! Trying to ignore the incessant barking and chewing up of his sheet rock cage is impossible. Yet I have to ignore him if I want to get these letters polished and sent. Who am I? I am a Frenchman. I write this letter to you in English because you know only one language. I know a hundred. I even know dog talk. He’s quieted down now. I think all puppies are crazy!
These letters are open ones that I send to you from my country farm in southern France. Open for anyone to read so my name is not chosen by your secret service as a name to eradicate. I do not want American fighter jets spraying my farm. I am told that if I publish my letters to you, without actually addressing and sending them, then I won’t be extradited and sent to one of your luxury prisons to watch TV. I like it in France. I want to stay here and sow lentils and beans. I am not dangerous. I am quiet, but lately I have been losing sleep. I cannot sleep at night, and my wife was wondering if it’s asthma. No, it is not that. I am very disturbed over the recent history of your country. How do I mean, “recent?” I would say from your revolution until the present day. I am nervous and losing sleep and French farmers are not supposed to get nervous, nor lose sleep. My face is red and hot, and I keep waking up to find the moon in a different window. My wife snores softly. She is a woman. How could she possibly understand? That is why I have been writing these letters to you, in secret. You are a man, and the President. We have a President of France, but nobody cares. He comes to your bank often, and ends up leaving with a McDonald’s. That pleases enough of us not to make any difference. But I cannot lose any more sleep. I am upsetting the farm. Just yesterday morning I forgot to milk Aubrey the cow.
During these nights of insomnia I have been sitting down at the kitchen table scribbling my thoughts to you. I write with my pencil, a loaf of bread, and strong coffee. I am a native of France, and a patriot. My family has worked this land since before the days of our revolution. I am a peasant farmer. I made this table myself. Yesterday my wife got out our horse and cart and drove to town. I knew something was wrong, for she never left the farm before without me. I had time to make a yeast dough, look over our accounts, clean the barn, feed the dog, insulate the house, change the water, and sweep the floor. When she returned, her dinner and I were waiting at the table. She wasn’t hungry. She had a bean crepe at the Taco Bell in Manosque. I asked her what is a “Taco Bell.” She laughed a long time, and then asked me to sign her separation papers. I asked her what were “separation papers?”  She did not laugh. She told me. Then I put her in the root cellar.
I want my wife back. I do not expect her to survive our winter at a constant two degrees centigrade. So this morning I got out all my scribblings to you. I must hurry and put them in order. If I can convince her that you are a monster and I am a human being, then I might get her to stop this foolishness. If she remains firm, and refuses to change back into a French woman, I will have to hire Antonio’s wife to do the sewing and cooking. And, I will have to build another root cellar.

Sincerely,

Monsieur Throop

 A New Baby In America

September 9

Our gifts

Why Democracy doesn’t work.

The same everywhere

Last week I wanted to try prison. Now I don’t know.

All too often I am having flights of daydream that take me to the essence of life. I see the light so to speak, and promise myself to get to it. Always later. I can have news radio turned on while driving up my street and hope that by the time of my death, I possess nothing besides a small cabin in the woods and a bushel of ripe apples resting in the autumn sun. There is too much stuff. It is difficult to remain aloof of things. But a single smell can show me the truth. Stuff doesn’t have a smell comparable to the washing of dead leaves. Yet, when the right smell comes, stuff overwhelms it, and so many things get in the way. Is that not true despair?
It’s a feeling of ripping your clothes off and running, or staying dressed but keeping nothing. You want a world of people, but you want them to be exactly like you. Nobody cares. You begin believing in squirrels.
Last week I would not mind going to prison. I welcomed the thought with an open mind. That was last week. Then I watched a movie about a man in prison. If he wanted visitors, he had to stand in line naked with other prisoners, while uniformed guards sat at the front of the line forcing each man to turn around, bend over, and spread his butt cheeks apart. If that is what prison is like, then I won’t go. If that is prison, then I agree one hundred percent with murder. Any man who gets paid to inspect assholes cannot possibly respect his own human heart. So who should care if his heart stopped beating? We kill our food for standing in a field. We slaughter, chop, slice, dredge the meat in flour, splash it with wine over high heat, and call that dinner. We have no respect for hearts outside our own species. Armed robbery or asshole inspection? You tell me which man is more proud. Prison is a nice place to sit alone for hours and wonder.
These foggy mornings at the start of Indian Summer… Oh, my inspiration! My most natural lust! The first leaves to color are dead and stripped naked along the roadside. Three crows stand in the shape of a triangle, waiting. They must be witches. Squirrels forage. Life moves. The wind blows the leaves off the curb. They swirl around the bird’s tiny feet. In the morning haze this scene appears ethereal, so much better than human. Whatever the crows are thinking will not be profound. They are positively not whispering the song “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb. Each might wish that she was a very big crow and that I was a worm. You would think autumn could make us hungry. By 7 a.m. I should have scrounged enough nuts and pears for the week. I could fill up the rest of this journal with “Ha, ha, ha, etcetera.” I am six feet tall. My spine is straight enough. My big hands could easily wrap around a crow’s throat; maybe even an eagle’s. I can count. My brain is tremendously active. I can speak. I am so ashamed of my careless waste of manhood.

September 19

My Ford is Lord (to the tune of “Empty As a Frog’s Stool”)

Daddy’s got a big truck, big truck, big truck
Daddy’s got a big truck,
He’s sad, he’s fat, he’s old
I’m gonna drive his big truck, big truck
I’m gonna drive it
to the Ford truck store
They’re gonna loan me thirty grand, thirty grand
They’re gonna loan me
My Daddy won’t disown me
My wife will be so lonely
My dog will even bone me
My kids will always stone me
for a big truck, big truck
My kids will always stone me
I wish somebody’d kill me
in my big truck, big truck
I wish somebody’d kill me
in my depreciating Ford.

I am reading to Rachelle about the European explorers. Bartholomew Diaz, Amerigo Vespucci, Christofo Columbo, Balboa, Cabot, Cabral… What names! Great, brave, potentially consumptive men who really knew how to murder. The book might read, “…and the stark naked natives showered Columbus with exotic fruits and flowers, brilliantly plumed birds, and golden arrows. He and his men were in awe. This might be the lost Garden of Eden. The beauty was spectacular, the inhabitants peaceful and happy, food and drink plentiful. Europe was such a hard place to live in with all its disease, poverty and ruthlessness. It would be difficult to think of this new found world as anything but a paradise.”
What the book might hint at but refuse to show in detail is the sardonic look on Columbus’ sweaty face while he rapes a young island girl. She came aboard to deliver an armful of flowers. No mention of the chief’s disgust of Columbus for emptying his shitbucket overboard. No words about the offensive smell of the Europeans, nor the slaughter of any man over fourteen who could not deliver his bell of gold every three months. Did it matter that there wasn’t enough gold on the island to fill four bells? No. These were Tainos, naked and stupid. Put on this planet to wait forty thousand years for an anus-scented mad man to arrive on their beach demanding the impossible. And of course, to rape, plunder, and murder with the kind of obsession which only the most serious religious persons can muster.
So teach them. Instruct our little Columbus’-to-be on the virtues of fear. Give our future explorers and murderers of the soul an early education on what happens when a man kills because he will not understand. Why not create a holiday in his name? A day to Columbus, to Washington and Lincoln, to veterans of foreign wars, why not to Hitler, de Gama, Popes throughout the ages, tomorrow’s American president, the serial killer who boils bones?
This morning I will ask her which stars in the night sky she would search for in the event that she became lost on a sea voyage to Greenland. Moments ago I was out in the dark marveling at the moonlight shining through the autumn leaves. I saw Orion the Hunter and gave to it my silent admiration. This will be my patron constellation. It must be so tired of men who look to it for gold. I will always give my wonder and praise to the mystery of the unknown. The simple question of a star. What is it?
Now where do the dead creeps of old Europe go after discovering what has already been discovered? To obscurity? One would hope so. But that isn’t the case. Today their flesh rotting disease blows into my living room via the Illusion Winds. Into my home? How come? What do Columbus’ twisted, sick thoughts have to do with our pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast?
“Today we went ashore and met with a band of natives. They had a strange habit of clasping their nostrils shut and making sour grimaces at my men. Fernando offered their leader an iron ball. The chief smiled, but did not appear sincere. Then, after a dramatic display of nose holding and hopping up and down, waving a hand back and forth under his nose, their chief vomited at Fernando. I had the entire band arrested immediately, attempted to convert their heathen souls overnight, and killed every last one upon discovering they could mutter only a ‘goo-goo’ in the name of Jesus Christ.
Still no strait to the Indies.”
Before dawn I am an explorer too. There is a part of your brain that instructs itself to stop where it is, and search for the moonlight through the leaves. At this simple moment in time it accepts the wet grass, the soft breeze, the zillion stars in the pre-dawn sky as the starkest reality. I want her and everyone to be a poet. People have got to bury history in a deep hole. Cover it with dirt that is ancient but never mentioned in books. Love and superstition must regain their rightful thrones. Fifth graders know all about the European explorers. They have listened long enough to your candy-coating of arrogance and prejudice. Homework for Rachelle next week: A pre-dawn exploration through the woods. Listen for running water. Sit on a rock in the water and wait. What do you see?
That is a proper lesson plan for exploration. Bury the Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French. Their forefathers do not deserve a respectful heritage. Cross off their history. Make it a blank, a blotto. We are devoting too much time to death.
Angst this week. Heavy without explanation. Stress.

September 20

The wind is a fierce lion. Watch out for the old trees! It might be their simple pleasure to drop a limb and crack open a human head.

Got a phone call from Tony last night. He let it ring twenty times like he used to when we were friends. Friends. Ha! Now I couldn’t tell you who that condescending freak show is. In five short years he has destroyed our friendship. One that I swore would last a lifetime. He talked about my books like my mother used to… “What’s this about having sex with cats Ronnie?” I felt so quiet. The most quiet man on earth. An aborigine holding tightly to my blow dart, tiptoeing across a wide open plain hunting nervous kangaroo.
“You must be in love with me. I never knew. I’m quite flattered.”
No Tony. Once you occupied a kindred spirit log blocking my path to peace and happiness. I thought you were an artist, a gentle soul, a man. I stopped at the log to eat from my loaf of bread. You talked with me like we understood each other perfectly. I was easily fooled. I put all my faith in you. I finished my bread and rose to leave after watching two playful squirrels run past our log and up a tree. “Would you like to come with me my friend? No? Fine. I hope to meet up with you soon. So long and farewell!” Five years pass and I am sitting in the tall grass of an autumn day. Where are you? What are you? How dare you call and upset my constant! O God I got a life so rich and supreme! I am a humble pilgrim with holes in my shoe and the Russian winter rapidly approaching. My idea of happiness is the urban man crapping his pants at the fearful thought of it. I got up from the log eager to pursue the sameness of my dream. Why didn’t you tell the truth? Why, after so much energy spent covering up white lie upon lie, why do you still call and expect me to talk back carefully? Are you that stupid? Is sophistication that naive to assume everyone else is a phony too?
I was your best friend. I was the calm center of your insanity. I was the reason to live in a world where no one cared about you. I accepted every deviation and never questioned your sincerity. Now I admit I am no longer able to give. But you can watch me and learn. Oh you expensive piece of shit! That is condescension, shot at you from a knowing heart. I won’t play humble anymore to a sophisticated hamster. I know that I know I am a man. I have a sameness and a simplicity that balances on a log over rapture and ecstasy. I, my old friend, am perfectly sane.

Who am I writing for?
Maybe just one man. Someone will get this book by chance, or mistake it for a murder mystery to read on a windy day, by the lakeside, near a tree, in a barn. I write for the aspiring poet. Not the word-picker, but the feeler. I write for the man and the daughter he loves. For the working man who uses his nose, ears, and eyes, as well as his hands, to feel. I write for dogs and cats and only the unknown human masters of life, who would never waste their precious time reading a single word I wrote.
I write for the woman who lays in bed content and overflowing. I write for the cook who can expand his heart with just a small exertion of his will. He drops a cardamom into his shirt pocket, and works the rest of the night in India, oblivious to the imprisoned monkeys surrounding him. I write to prove that the world is wrong. I write not of hope but of truth. My mission statement: “Humble your ass now Jimmy. Not to men. To animals. To birds in the air. To the small innocent children. (Not all of them are innocent. Some will grow up to be a president.)” I write because I have to. Because I paint sloppy and will not kill. I write for the memory of poets. I write to perpetuate freedom’s hope. What does that mean? I write to be clear, to be understood, but seldom am I either of these things. I write knowing everything I write is useless to the useful.
Goodness me, “teach them about anger.” Finally I sit down to rest and dream, comfortably, with music swirling leaves in the air. A windy afternoon. The door wide open. Leaves running without legs or arms. I am an angry man. But I say this without guilt or repentance. I am glad to be angry. I am fortunate to be on this road. Such a glorious day to be at war with men. The forest road is long. The day is done. I stop at an inn to request a bed. The Boiling Cauldron. Oh, look around this room! There are some very shady characters casting mean looks my way. That guy has no teeth and grasps and ax handle, ready to strike. The one by the fire sharpens his knife on a stone. Everyone takes turns spitting on the dirt floor after giving me their hardest look. I have no fear. One loud snarly “Boo!”, some frantic confusion, the big door slams, and the room is emptied. I’ve been recognized. They know me. The jokers are afraid. I tell the keeper, “Forget the bed, I’ll sleep under the stars.” By now the whole world must know my honest, very dangerous intentions.
I hate you. I love you. But first I must hate you. And hating you is no light affair. I am standing still with my eyes fixed, watching your every move.

September 22

A beautiful morning! I love the fake dying of nature. The wrought iron fence, the dark before dawn, the cold moon… A temperate autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Today I feel like a runaway pilgrim, a converted infidel. I left the hand-folders and head-bowers to follow the partridge and the stag. No more imaginary wildness! No refinement. I need to kill.
At work I read cookbooks to pass the time. One that I am particularly interested in is the Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Rombauer Becker. These women are old world homemakers who know how to cook their catch. Jesus, they still strangle their ducks for aesthetic purposes. Strict meat eaters, with vegetables used to aid in digestion. The book was first published in 1931 and shows everything. How to skin squirrel, can hearts, prepare the woodchuck and the bear for
roasting…
Women who cook for their men. Men who hunt for their women. Read the following passage about wild birds. Imagine the juxtaposition of your sterile plate of hot plastic goo with their timeless poetic arrangement of food.
To a large extent, proper care, immediately after shooting, determines the ultimate excellence of flavor in wild birds. While the bird is still warm, the neck is split and the carcass bled. Check the neck for any undigested food and remove.
To tenderize and improve flavor, it is necessary to hang many wild birds, specifically partridge, prairie fowl, ducks and plover, grouse and hazel hen—unless they are to be roasted. How long to hang depends first on age. Old birds can be held longer than young ones. A second consideration is the weather. In muggy periods ripening is accelerated. The third and most important is personal preference. Some hunters go to extremes, holding a bird until the legs stiffen, even until head and body part company…
We all have to eat. I am an apprentice chef. There are moments while washing the factory chicken when I feel a rage pulsating at my fingertips. I want something to strangle. I feel an urgent need to pluck, to tear, to use my incisors with their original raw intentions. I want a rainy fall morning with light just dawning and the barrel of a .12 gauge, cold in my hand. Rain turns to snow, I am not the feeble, whiny, Winnie-the-Pooh hunter who will shoot and miss three times before finally bagging a kill. He picks up death carefully while his friends watch and laugh—the hot breath from their lungs has scent traces of Listerine. These are not men. Inside I know they’re crying over the senseless death of the bird. Their loveless wives are back at home with the children, pouring pasteurized milk over sugar cereal and dreaming of macaroni-and-cheese for lunch. The hunter’s confusion is a constant, silent startle inside himself, like a thousand frightened partridge taking flight from the cover of pine and powder.
The neck is split and the carcass bled. That natural beauty is forgotten.

Three Presidential Primary Paintings

“The NY Times Must Think Sanders Is Talking In My Daughter’s Aquarium” 2016. Acrylic on press cleaning sheet, 17 x 7″

Predator

“Super-Predator” 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20″

“The Last Time Donald Was at a Funky Reggae Party He Dreamed of Destroying Everybody’s Happiness As An Old Man Confronting Mortality” 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14″

Power Head Sinks To The Bottom Of The Flint River

Snyder

The French Revolution and its Reign of Terror must have been quite a scrambling time for political elites. I will read up on it soon to get some safety precautions for the inevitable guillotine. It will be an easy read since I am not a power thirsty hooker of the human race.

Governor Rick Snyder is though, and he should be worrying his size 38 slacks off. Man, this power psychosis sure had its hey day back when the peasants were quite happy being stupid, and took no offense at being labeled the “consumer class”, because they were, and historically, poor people tend to agree with any label that works and cuts a paycheck. But nobody in modern day Flint wants to consume lead water, even when their governor and his puppet president force it down their throats on a Wednesday afternoon. The people know something is heavy metals in the state of Michigan, and they will become so much more unforgiving when their children forget how to dress themselves in the morning.

If I was the governor, I’d have a sympathetic cousin hide me out in his cabin up on Hubbard Lake. I’d wear a wighat, call myself “Dick”, and never ever talk to anyone. But then again, I am a peasant, and not an elitist power hooker. As far as I know I have not helped poison school children. I have not lied about poisoning their Kool-Aid®. And if I did make a child sick, very sick, through my avoidance and negligence, I absolutely would never want a job that reminds me, day after miserable day, of my sick and twisted offenses to the human race.

Last week my family visited Hoover Dam. Wow. A do-nothing Depression President allowed for the greatest engineering marvel of his time to begin construction. Humans being human to each other, and fixing problems. The greatest dam of its time, enough concrete to stretch a highway from San Francisco to New York City, gigantic ice blocks used to set the winged figures of the republic into black dolerite, which, according to sculptor Oskar Hansen represented “the immutable calm of intellectual resolution, and the enormous power of trained physical strength, equally enthroned in placid triumph of scientific accomplishment.”

Gotta love imaginative sculptors.

He also wrote that Hoover Dam was “a monument to collective genius exerting itself in community efforts around a common need or ideal.”

80 years ago. Humans being human to humans. My father told me that when he was a boy, my grandfather spun him many engineering stories about the construction of the Hoover Dam. He went to Cornell in 1932 to study mechanical engineering. Professors and students probably spent hours and hours talking about the dam thing.

I am calling out the President of the United States. You are not even close to the level of a defeated Herbert Hoover. You are obviously a puppet who has no real power. Drinking a few ounces of lead water does not make you a good president. It makes you a very bad one. Certainly a weak one. A power hungry figurehead to our defeated republic.

Likewise, Governor Snyder, and anyone who supports him as a man who still wants to be governor, is the lowest of low, rock-bottom, of the criminal class. Our own governments have gone mafia to corporate power.

I don’t feel sorry that his head is sinking in the Flint River. I am amazed that it has not yet been stuck on a post on the Saginaw Street Bridge. I don’t know how much more we the people can be beat down before we rise up.

I guess they must think that if we ingest enough lead, we’ll forget our own names, let alone our fingers, and where to point them.