Spring cleaning on West Seventh Street. So much to do. Just one lifetime to do it in. To the teahouse then, for it’s annual wash and burn.
An oily rotten, wreck of an old tool shed I rebuilt for joy to the potests of my family. At first there was an over-populated ant colony eating the wood hollow. A billion ants delivering everything to their queen, herself the size of a well fed mouse. The previous owners, now dead, used the shed to save everything! And everything stunk from the rot the first morning I broke off the door. I knew then that I would preserve Mr. Reynold’s closet workshop at any cost. I would be the one to keep his original, innocent intentions. Certainly he didn’t dream about tools all those long, quiet afternoons in the shed. Whether he knew it or not, he was wondering about life everlasting.
My first act of demolition was poisoning the ants. No more sweet air for their tiny little ant lungs to breathe in. Ha!
Then I pulled out the rot and restructured the foundation by hammering a steel pole through the floor, eight feet into ground. I laid shingles to cover the hole in the roof that rain water, ants and time made. I built a floor on top of the dirt, and sometimes I sit in the teahouse on summer mornings with my coffee. A tall oak tree hangs its tired massive limbs just enough feet above my chair to crush me during a strong wind. Oswego is known for its strong wind. The wind blows from the west. In the west I built a small reminder of the East I once strove to become.
What is the East? I have lived these last few months in the Northern East. Oswego Siberia, where the Laptev Sea meets the frozen tundra. Life became frigid, sad, and agonizingly repetitive. Even the glow from the glorious Northern Lights was dull and depressed me. I kept a fire lit all day and night, and went crazy. A man will howl at the moon if left alone too long. This was not the East I fell in love with as a youth. There wasn’t even a moon to bark at. I decided to make my move to the hot, wet green of Singapore.
With my small pack and my wild eyes I left the earth’s natural prison. Oh what misery I suffered in its frozen hell. What self pity! The men were wild. Each did something very bad to end up there. I followed the banks of the Lena to the Aldan, eating only snow and reindeer scat until I reached the mountains and the first human village. There I begged the women for scraps until I regained the strength in my arms to work for my own food again. I lived and worked in the village for several weeks until the morning I saw the spring fox gobble up the chickadee.
That day a small sun rose for the first time, and I got a memory of joy. I left the village taking the lumber roads through the Miklav Forest, over conifer hills, and some happier declines all the way to the Sea of Okhotsk. It wasn’t so bad with a sun to rise each morning, a loaf of bread, and traveling men to share their voices with mine.
I bought passage on the first freighter heading south to Singapore. That is when my knowledge fell apart. I can’t find Singapore. Even after searching for five minutes on my tiny plastic globe. Guess what? I say Singapore does not exist. My fingernails exist. I pick at them and pull off each one. Sometimes I go too low and pull off some skin. Blood. There’s Singapore! No, that’s Bangkok. And I should laugh at the sound of that. Because it is funny. The seven a.m. sun rises in the east over Hank’s house and I have more snot in my sinus than salt water in the South China Sea. I am a man. “Don’t shoot I am a man.” That was printed on my bright orange hunting license holder strapped across my back. I never shot a Chinese pheasant. The Adirondack Mountains have wild peacocks living too high up for my hope to climb. Peacock makes me laugh. Mindoro, Panay, Sulu Sea. Still no Singapore. I don’t care how many foreign ships dock there with sailors taking pictures. Bandar Seri Begawan. What is that you smart ass? It’s called “playing globe with a black ocean”. It could be a world of men or one with just black cats. Then no twilight cruise through the Spratly Balabac Strait. Instead a “feed us our dinner now, Ron, or we’ll jump on your head and chomp out your eyeballs”.
Where are we going? Oh yes, to a Singapore that does not exist. Got it! I was wrong. At the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, near the equator. Now wonder what every eleven year old boy, born at exactly 3:35 p.m. on February 8th, is doing in the city of Singapore. That’s knowledge. Try the same thing with an eleven year old skunk. Are there even skunks in Singapore? That is knowledge. I’m on a freighter. What’s a freighter? Now build one, from the up to the ground, all by yourself. That is knowledge.
I hate knowledge. Knowledge is for men and men are woe faces and rollbellies. I hate wonder because it begins at knowledge, then takes a freighter to the mouth of the Ganges, only to be swallowed by a little Indian girl praying with her mouth open for Rama to get her a toy. I like pretend. Children pretend. I like children because I can trust them to hate knowledge almost as much as I do.
I live in a small house in the backyard of my mind. A grown man must kill knowledge. No one knows a thing, and the book we find to know we know, doesn’t know what the louse is dreaming, so it doesn’t know either. I can wonder if the louse is dreaming about a dandruff dinner. But that’s just silly. I can pretend that the louse will wear a pretty dress and go out to the best hair restaurant in the city. Or it can stay home and sing a song about its favorite pore to bore into.
What are the Nicobar Islands doing without a king? This morning I dub myself Monsoon King of the Nicobars. Me and my bamboo broom sweep out the dust in the brain. Just before the rains come I get a horrible itch on top of my head. Knowledge is a man promising himself last night to write down all he knows about the East. He wants to give an exotic flare to his writing that is dull, pompous, and dull. The man doesn’t know what he is. He doesn’t know what a daffodil is either. One doesn’t have to sit cross-legged to know the overwhelming no-no of knowing. Oh how lucky I am! Oh, how lucky the Monsoon King of the Nicobars! Sweep out the dust. Welcome the spring. Go get a job.
Tomorrow is Easter. Can’t get a job on Easter Sunday, so this afternoon I shall continue the writing thing.
I am in love. Nothing matters. Life is lucky. I am glad I got the special opportunity to walk along the river with my loved one. I take nothing I write seriously. That is important to remember. I am creating a very small book about nothing. I know it’s nothing and that makes me happy. I am a man sleeping in the arms of his lover. My belly hangs slightly over my jeans. I get mad when the porch wood rots. I hate home repair until it’s finished and then it’s okay.
Spring is bearing down its cheer upon me. I will find work and step in line. I need the money. Who was Rimbaud? I have to read his book. All I know about him is what Henry Miller wrote in Time of the Assassins. Carrying around the equivalent of twenty-five thousand dollars worth of gold in his belt. What does that mean? Why is Rimbaud sought after? Do we think we have something in common with him? I guess we do. Everyone in written history had a dirty ass thirty minutes out of the shower. Whether a rain shower, or snow shower, or even a very sterile, hot bathtub shower. Every one has a stinky ass, and that is why I never take personal triumphs too seriously.
I don’t mind being ripped off. I sleep with the most beautiful woman in Oswego. You can have my money. I will rub her thighs. I am not afraid of getting old. I look forward to it. Do I fear death? I don’t believe in it. I can’t understand it. I do not foresee it. When it comes, it won’t give any warning. No first hand accounts published on the subject. Unless that is what A Season In Hell is all about. Impossible. No hell but life. No heaven, either.
A wonderful, cleansing nap and walk we had today. It seemed everyone was outdoors, airing out their rot. The river has been emptying all the melt into the lake. The Oswego river flows north. Today southern water flows and mixes with my blood.
A great day. A better night! I want to renew all old friendships. I want my friends again. I want to be free all afternoon to lay in the grass. I want to have a picnic. I love food. I have been away for quite some time—so internal and lonely was I.
I have children. I am an artist. All the dreams of my youth are coming true. I might even go so far to say I enjoy making my home Oswego.
How nice it would be to have humble friends in our lives once again. Any takers? I’m open for offers. I had three friends who lived here long ago. They were just passing through. At that happy time we had no need of money. Just enough for rent and meals together. Until? I don’t know what happened—and I don’t think they know either, but sure enough, each got his call to depart. Had to go some place in the world. Any place besides Oswego. Too quiet here to get concrete feedback on their hopes and dreams. So they moved away. I don’t blame them. Still, youth is so stupid. Always wants to run to prove to no one how great it can become. And where does it go? To New York City! Ughh! Then ten years steadily dodging a longstanding, sincere friendship for the promise of new ones to form on the East side, in box 38. You live in West box 127, and have the key to prove it! And $2200.00 to give away each month to a faceless landlord who lets you live there and climb her crooked staircase. “Box 38, allow me the pleasure of introducing box 127 to you. Box 127, meet box 38. Now you two, shake hands and run back to your boxes!” New York has a quiet too. The kind of quiet to keep an army of analysts extremely busy. I am a friend who has been open and the same for thirty-four years. I’ll be sixty with the same dreams. All I want is my families’ laughter to be shared and appreciated by others not related to us. Please, are there any takers?
Today I forgive my old friends their transgressions. They didn’t want to abandon me. They went away like Rimbaud to find riches for prestige and freedom. It was minimum wage and an over-demanding friend like Ron which drove them away. My dream of ten years ago was to be here today playing flag football with children in the park. What crazy ambitions! What fruitless aspirations! When will old friends finally prove to their invisible Lords the value of their serfdom? At what hour exactly does a man become satisfied with his toil? How many humiliating times must his ears get boxed, and his deepest pride peed on again and again to realize there is no pleasing anyone but himself?
I have my invisible lords. I am just a stupid peasant too. I don’t mind going nowhere if I can only be of some use.
I am a good house picker-upper. Actually, rarely do I clean with a wet rag. I pick things up and put them away. I can give the appearance of clean.
I am a good father.
I am a good husband.
I am a loving master to the house pets.
I am a great success in anything I do besides house repair and keeping a job. I am a good artist, but in Oswego, that’s like saying you’re a good doctor without patients, a busy plumber without a truck, A swell floor-mopper and wall-washer at the power plant, without being a card-carrying member of the Capitalist Pig Party.
Every window I look out of I see a truck. Every truck I see once cost more than the house I live in. I am good at so many things. The one thing I am awful at is making money. I get too worried, but only because I am trapped in Oswego. At the North Pole I wouldn’t care, as long as there was plenty of blubber oil available. In fact I could divert all energy into sustenance living. But not in Oswego, surrounded by money. A truck out my window with a decal on the bumper. “Pheasants Forever”. Now transpose the driver onto the plains of central Africa, wearing nothing but jeans four sizes larger than his original waist. What will eat him first if not a flock of starving pheasants?
I am going to write my book within a book. I will write a primer for artists—a book of reference. I feel useful. I will make enough money, provided I can convince a money-faced publisher of the huge potential market. For that to happen, all present university professors must die. And then it’s open season for my book’s promotion. Target market: artistic American-speaking students world-wide. I predict the book being sold to exactly four universities, and by the year 2030, seventeen people will have read it from cover to cover. I joke with my wife that I don’t expect to make a penny from my efforts, but that posterity will award our children and their children enough money for a day’s supply of oatmeal. I joke although the death of art is so very real.
Book For Artists
You are right. Every one else is wrong. As much as you need people, they must be cast out. If you can’t get to a canoe, swim out to sea as far as you can swim before cramping. Turn around. If the shore cannot be seen, and you are the only human being floating, count yourself very unlucky to be the only living artist in your community.
It’s not fair and there is no helping you. You might be rewarded, and you might not. The strongest people in the world are artists. They’re just not the brightest. Start treading water.
When you feel the cramps, and you will feel the cramps, climb out of bed in the morning and pity yourself. Do this before the army gets up. No one, not even those who love you the most will tolerate your hope for long.
You might get a big break. But only if you make it worthwhile to somebody who is worth something. Real art is always a generation or two before recognition. But then it’s only the life of the artist that gets recognized. It means that nobody comes to help when you’re drowning. Not because they hate you. They just don’t want to have the kind of fun you’re having being an artist. Not that kind of fun!
Poverty and degradation aren’t your friends. No, not at all. But they will tolerate you, as long as you don’t tease them. In a hundred years your relationship with suffering becomes some of the most romantic music in history. Your life becomes an art. What you produced with pain and suffering, people now want to have. Calendars are made with colorful or nostalgic examples of your life and works, a specific one starring each month. The supreme mockery. Even the richest overlord loves a good story about sacrifice. I don’t know why. Maybe it brings him back to moments in time when his life had meaning. Before money. Patrons of the arts? Never. No such thing. They are mockers of art. But isn’t that obvious? Whoever is in possession of a Van Gogh now should be shot on the spot where Van Gogh shot himself. That I even know of Van Gogh in Oswego should be reason enough for my hanging. That the people I know know Van Gogh is proof of imminent Armageddon. Because they are not artists, but will give the dirty prick Van Gogh both thumbs up for life and work well done. Which means, and it should give you the desire to immediately swim out to sea as far as you can, that no one will ever care about your work, and, unless you starve yourself, have all night conversations with God or Beelzebub, while getting progressively skinnier and brain dead—until you give in to the pressure to want to drown yourself, your work will not be appreciated even by your own mother in your lifetime. I don’t care how many colorful cartoons you have finished in your studio! You will never be an artist unless you suffer immensely, die, and wait a half century.
A great American painter of the 21st century must do without peanut butter and solid, lasting friendships. He might even refuse to talk to anyone for the next thirty years. He will eat, shit, and sleep his art on canvas. It won’t matter until that magical day he decides to swallow fire while slicing off his own head. Then I promise, the human world would not let his grandchildren starve. That is how to become a well-received painter.
The writer is so much worse off. Grammar makes it more difficult for a man to fake it. Abstract writing has no blues and greens to decorate a room. Frame the following words and hang them on the dining room wall:
Sea fish bit hairy ass of bunk-a-bunk
dinner dish scrape plate a lot—got
quiet at da camp a moonlight—might
get the boys to diddle the girls
diddle the girls, diddle the girls…
What is one to say about crap like that?
The off-writer won’t receive a penny in this life or the afterlife unless he can fill a fat book with a plot about diddling the girls, and a sub-plot about an evil pet cemetery, which in itself carries a risky theme about a lawyer acting like a hero. And still, this won’t get him rich enough to eat with his art until he promotes his embarrassing words of work to the wrong man who happens to be the right guy to get him money.
He should just stick with the bad poetry, break his back, and be found dead in his room with a rabbit’s genitals hanging from his mouth. A billionaire’s grandson will buy the original manuscript for twenty million dollars.
“Sea fish bit hairy ass of bunk-a-bunk.” It has quite a ring to it, eh? I’m telling you it does. I will tell you what you have to like. I represent all the representatives of American Letters. Every other one likes 2% milk on Special K for breakfast. Over half of the winning writers in America are university professors. Good grammar, a better promoter, enough degrees on his wall to prove to other men just how clever he is. Or be modest with no degrees showing. Just take the money and grow a fat tummy. Tenure and vacation, and another book to add to his collection of himself. The sunniest summer days out mowing his lawn. How can he not believe in the work he does when it pays so well?
Polyp! My beautiful wife just said “polyp”. She was referring to obstructions she would have to feel for in my anus if I went for the job that requires a finger in it before getting hired. “I could have you do it” I told her. “You can get the doctor to show you what to do.”
“You mean look for polyps?” she asked.
Oh my beauty, my best friend… Yes! God damn I just love our sweet potential to death! She is more of the artist than I will ever be. Stick to the nameless work Ron. Make enough walnut burgers to serve three. Your mother-in-law comes over. Offer her yours without telling. Cover the pan on the stove and if anyone asks where yours is—point to the covered pan on the stove. Nameless art. Write letters to friends and lovers, and once in a while, to family. Bleed your joy and pain all over the pages. Place in the envelope a small painting you did to the music, and a picture of your funny face. That’s art. Work like a work dog at it for the rest of your life. Spend every waking moment you can going about the real business of art. Art cannot have a name or a price tag. Art can and should feed the artist. No artist deserves a stranger’s finger up his ass. An artist became an artist more than anything because of his aloneness. He wanted to be left alone. He is frightened of a world he did not create. Uh-oh. I’m repeating myself. First no-no of art. Always progress. Forward!
Today, going to the bank for the absolute last bit of cash in our name, I stumbled upon a bank purse lying on the pavement next to our car. I picked it up. Oooh it was fat. “This is from God.” I thought. “Oh what a funny trick.” I’m sure it would have contained enough cash to take care of us for at least a couple months. Bury it in the yard for rent and food, and a little spending cash for fun—I’m telling you, just a little!
What do I do? You know what I do. This is a book for artists. I don’t care whose money it is. If I were anyone else, I would take it and hide it immediately. Even if I was honest and religious I would take it. I believe in stealing when a man feels cornered. He doesn’t have to be trapped—he needs only to feel trapped. But I knew this trick. I have been out searching for lost money on the ground before. When that desperation begins, the money soon follows. Either I get a job or win a million dollars. I start trusting in invisibles again. I no longer worry myself over trivial matters… Money being the king triviality. Beneath my angsty exterior a calm breeze ensues. A trusting calm. Whom do I trust? Nothing human. That money was for the taking, and I didn’t take it. I didn’t even open the deposit purse to count it, or look to see who was looking. I walked the purse back to the bank entrance and handed it to the first man walking out. I knew it was his. Don’t ask me how I knew. But I knew, and I know what God was up to.
Coincidence? No. One thing is for certain. No man in Oswego loses a bank purse on a sunny spring afternoon.
I don’t recommend this behavior for anyone. It’s money. If you find it on the ground, take it. Unless you enjoy suffering.
Art is easy. Anyone can make art. Art to be made is not the art I want to have. I am suffering for this book. That is art. Not only am I suffering, but my family must endure the growing pains of my creation. To understand the word suffering one must not take the money he is reduced to begging for. One must also write a book he thinks is ca-ca, and wipe his ass with it when he’s finished. It’s true. That must be the final aspiration for every pure work of art. How can I make the aspiring artist understand that everything he paints or writes is a piece of crap?
It is all crap.
That is the first rule of art. There is no second rule without living and dying following the law of the first. So I won’t tell you. I will feel it in you. You can ask me. No matter how good you are at expressing yourself, there is no way to articulate suffering. Believe me hen I tell you how often I have tried. So suffer and sing and crap out one explosion after the other. You are an artist when you realize whatever you create is sludge. Other creations are no less a work of art. But only the artist is art.
I hear the gladness of the bird off my balcony. My baby coos beside the breast of my loving friend. We are such wild, careless dreamers. April began in our bedroom. The past is death. The future is murder. The energy circulating throughout one human hand could feed and clothe and warm a planet of suffering creatures.
But really, who cares?
Dog obedience is tonight. My daughter and I have been taking our quickly excitable dog to Auburn for the past two weeks to get learnin’. He’s a smart dog. A loving dog. A good family dog. Yet he needs to be around other dogs. I drive Rachelle to Auburn because I love her immensely. If necessary, I would drive her to Pennsylvania once a week for class. I believe in a life taken to its extreme side of nonsense. For love. I truly don’t give a damn about my own petty desires if to satisfy them means limiting the passions of the ones I love the most. I am a fake and a fool. But I know I love better than anything else I do. My talent is giving me. It is the reason I have a beautiful, wise princess for a wife, sensitive children, and very careful pets. There are nights I lean back in the hard chair of our poverty and feel like the other son of God—not the poor bastard who suffered the cross, but the first son, the eldest, the legitimate one who got all the neat stuff along with Dad’s true blessing.
Lately I’ve been overwhelmed with worry for my little girl. Something odd is happening to her—there’s a change in her behavior, very slight, but noticeable to such a sensitive fellow like myself. I can’t tell if it’s the right change. I am worried for her.
From out of the blue, over the span of a season, she’s developed a passion for the pop/rock band ‘Nsync. I must make it clear to the reader that before this recent mild mental disturbance, my daughter knew virtually nothing about the strip bar America with its smoky room full of drunk hoods and mascara bar flies. She was growing up Italian in a small Appenine Mountain village. Dad was a cook in a hotel restaurant. He asked the village strong man if he could work nights instead of days, so he could teach his daughter without daily interruption. The village leader said, “What, is our school not good enough for a cook?”
“No Sinor,” said the man.
“Yes. You can work nights. But you can amount to nothing more than a line cook for the tourists. Comprende?”
And that is how he kept her world quiet and happy, without the shame of carelessness that cast shadows over the other children.
‘Nsync is not the problem. Music is never wrong. In fact, for an eleven year old, they’re safe enough, as long as she can keep the French Kiss out of her Barbie play.
I don’t expect anyone to understand why I do the things I do. But I am her father. And the word “father” alone brings more of a world to my mind than any American I know would allow himself to believe. I am her father. I want nothing else to happen to me besides peaceful children who are able to give and receive love. I am her father, and that truth is the center of the universe until she graduates from my care.
There can be no half way with the children. There is a pretending out there in America. A huge pretend play game happening. The parents are telling the world how much they love their kids. They are saying this in the same breath they use to shout at them. American parents are selfish, hungry monsters with tunnel vision. The word “guidance” means nothing to them. How could it? When they were children getting ready to make children, each was assigned a guidance counselor. What was that? These weren’t orphaned boys and girls, were they? To be sure, the counselor was neurotic enough, and neglected her own spawn during their formative years. She wanted a job, a career, a field. She wanted to play the game. She became a teacher. She had children and sent them to be taught by another teacher. Everyone sent the kids somewhere else to someone else to teach their open minds life’s lessons. So why shouldn’t she? She was deserving. Where was her special present? She wa-wanted her special present!
I believe that’s three or four generations now of insanity allowed, actually recommended, and sometimes even forced. Schools hire guidance counselors. I often wonder if mom can remember back to those precious, few minutes when she pushed out something alive and very fragile.
I wish my guidance counselor told me to learn a trade, develop an easy sense of humor, don’t go to college, cook my own food, wash my own clothes, make enough money to teach the kids myself, and don’t dare have kids if I plan to play the crazy games my parents and their parents played. No fun if every one ends up spent and shattered when they’re over.
I would say the parents of America rarely meet the children even halfway. Actually, some just throw them away. How can a father allow his child into school through a metal detector? Today Daddy drops his baby girl off in the school parking lot, hoping that while he’s off playing the game, she doesn’t get teased or shot. He might pray every night that she won’t get pregnant, or take drugs or shoot someone herself. Yet Dad will push her out of the car anyway, every day, and drive away. Not to see her again until later that night, when it’s time to feed her and turn out the light in the barn which he calls a safe and loving home for her. One day she’ll become Farmer Brown to her own little pigs. That’s modern living, oink. No matter how well daddy and mommy disguise the truth. Oink-oink. They raise their children for slaughter. Loving parents may work very hard to get them into the right barn. But after all, it’s never their best. And it’s always bacon for breakfast. Oinky-aloinky—boink-a-boink!
You don’t believe me? Why? How could you not? What do you need? What does Daddy need? What does all the damned human world need?
More money, perpetual security, progress, and newer, cleaner things to look at.
Oh that’s right, I almost forgot. I’m sorry. How rude of me. Gas, electric, garbage, mortgage, please god, anything, everything, wheels and a good paying job! A new computer, a better dinner, three accounts at the bank, clothes when we want them, new boots twice a year, a new car, an old car, nothing more that what the poor guy couldn’t get while teaching the kids himself!
What I mean is so obviously scary. Let’s brace ourselves for this one. There is nothing that cannot be got at a walk. For every thing received, some thing will be taken away. Newton’s laws? Universal wisdom? More about dog obedience in a moment. I’m on target now. I think that I am on to something.
Recently our family has lived with very little money. Still, we have eaten well and even paid some of the bills. Heat, electric and phone. I possess books to help teach my daughter, and hot water to wash the babies’ diapers. It’s true, you have no heart. Americans have gone on a rampage killing sensitivity. Like zombies of the movies—becoming that imagined horror show without needing a nuclear fallout to jump start the undead. You have no heart. You can afford everything I can. I am sitting in a Morris chair. I have running water. I even ate a bowl of cereal this morning. And, I am teaching my own children. I am spending entire days beside my wife. Not because I am lucky, or fortunate, or even wise. I know what love is. I have a heart. Now I know it’s your plan to eat it. Good god, you’re the zombie, aren’t you? Run!
Both my wife and I feel the lack in our lives without friends. We need you to come back from the dead. You left a thousand years ago, but by some heroic feat, I alone will get some of you to come back. My wife needs friends she can talk to. She wants to picnic with you and your children. But not if you intend to eat out our hearts, instead of these delicious jelly sandwiches we’ve prepared.
You have no heart. Why are you working away from the family? Why are you putting your children in school? Are you playing Russian Roulette with their spirits? Yes! You do not understand what a child is. You don’t know your husband. You never loved your wife. You diddled her. She diddled you. Then you got the product of your screw. And now no one even diddles anymore. Everyone eats hearts.
I make fifty times less than you. But you do not multiply your life fifty times greater than mine. Do you have fifty more chairs? Fifty more hot water heaters? Fifty more automobiles? Fifty more children? You cannot have a heart. You must be reading this the way you go to the bathroom, or shave your face or your legs. I know everyone is a failed parent as soon as the child steps into an industrial room at the tender age of four or five. What important work are you doing that justifies being excused from the responsibility of raising your own child?
I have one window in front of me. And you cannot possibly look out of fifty in front of you. So you must be living overkill. Where is your dog obedience class being held tonight? Forget that. Where is your parental obedience class?
Are you an important chef? Where is your daughter at 11:00 a.m.? Are you an intelligent manager? Where is your son while you manage more money? You have so much stuff, but never fifty times more than what the poet down the street has. All the children are becoming indifferent, apathetic, unsure. Nature or nurture? You, the monster without a heart, are a lone Skinner box concealing macaroni and cheese for dinner and a trigger with the safety off. Take the lid off the box so the kid can shoot his friends and eat their hearts. Oh small joys! He didn’t finish his macaroni and cheese! There’s a little pile left, pushed to the side of his paper plate. You’re going to finish it for him, aren’t you? You can have his life and eat it too. And as usual, drag your stuffed ass back to work!
Oh piddlepiss. The truth is too painful for me too. Where was I before bringing all the children into my loving care? Loving care. Hmm. That’s right, ‘Nsync.
They are fine millionaire boys, I am sure. I could write another hundred pages about pop music, and the laying out of our children for the sexual molestation of America with horns to climb over. I wanted to talk about Radio Disney, and the magic machine that turns ten-year-old girls into pregnant pole dancers. There is enough wrong to write about forever. But I am in charge of publishing. And I don’t have any money. No one wants to read about a man’s internal ramblings anyway. I have wasted my time in writing these hate letters to semi-erect lap dogs.
This is the last book the poet writes about why everything is screwy. If you’re not near crazy after a walk through your town in America, then there is no hope for you. I cannot be bothered anymore to scratch my head thinking up delicate ways to scold you.
I will continue to write. I will always write. However, from now on I must choose my subjects more wisely. Today is April 20, 2001. I am thirty-four years old. I got a call back last night for a job. I am going to cook French fries again.
Ten dollars an hour. It is my trade. Amazing how these tiny cures of money temporarily rig us up until the next blow-out.