He isn't sure when he started wearing the ski mask. The ski mask was definitely after the yard work glove. He remembers because after the hell his wife gave him for wearing one glove (with the elastic wristband, velcro strap, cutouts at the knuckles) the ski mask went down easy. At least when he wears that damn mask, she yells over the din of the tvs (four of them haphazardly piled one atop the other: a fools' tower of babel comprised of shrieking upset housewives and enthusiastic hirsute salesmen). There is plausible deniability and it spares her some of the grief. She pleads with an invisible police officer who has apparently wandered into the room. She has never seen that man in her life, she wails. Her mock innocence morphs into frustration as her gaze falls on a box of chocolate-covered raisin just outside the reach of her grabber. Now she needs him, he thinks.
His failed attempt at vigilantism is becoming a common topic of discussion around the condo. He leaves the fanny-pack in the glove box and the wiffle ball bat in the trunk. He's not ready to answer those questions yet. He has been drawing unemployment for two months. That is one method for measuring it.
Most superheros do something for the greater good, she yells. Fuck her, he mouths into the mirror on the outside of the bathroom door down the hall from her room. He leans in very close and says it just loud enough that he can barely hear it. The steam on the mirror charges up under his nose and leaves an angry wet dot. He turns the steamy smudge into a grimace and takes pleasure in watching the bullet hole of his noseprint dripping lazily down the vapor-man's stark visage. He tries to match it. He isn't convinced.
The youngest child opens the door an inch, shrieks and throws it shut. As the door closes he can make out two more children in the tub and a third standing on the toilet seat playing in the back of the tank. He heaves a great sigh, pulls the mask back down off his brow and snugly under his chin. He mumbles something about going to the store and smokes a cigarette in the Skylark instead. There are now only two left in the fanny-pack and the four flimsy matches in the Stop-n-Gulp book. Some clerk wrote 'you will die' on the inside of the matchbook. It's true.
The Skylark takes several minutes to warm all the way up, while various dash lights come on and off and the car makes noises like a motor boat regulating ballast water. Most times the light-headedness of the second cigarette wears off just as he's pulling out of the condo lot onto rural route 23, but today he waits til he's out on the open road to light up that penultimate dale. Terry's going to get it tonight, boy.
A HIGHLY SENSORY NIGHT
i saw buckaroo banzai in the 8th dimension. jon lithgow, jeff goldblum, christopher lloyd. in a movie about worlds within our worlds inhabited by aliens who are inherently racist. or something. the best/only good part was at the end when all the characters marched through a water runoff ditch in VERY 80s clothes to a happy, upbeat keyboard ballad. there was much footloose and fancy free walking afoot (every pun intended).
then i went to old cabell and listened to yyyy play the piano. i had this startlingly obvious revelation. the piano, in its form, is a beautifully self-limited instrument. one can only link notes that are near one another. if one desires dramatic pitch change without silences it becomes necessary to create two patterns or progress through the scale. there are no overly dramatic changes and yet theres this wonderful synthesis. its the kind of realization that makes you want to drop acid and look at the keys as they depress. the beauty of all things that can only be truly experienced through drugs (i assume...because though i wouldnt do them, the thought haunts me. comprehending the secrets of something. finding the world within inanimate objects. finding the life that people put into things when they interact with them. like the velveteen rabbit. the love made it real. the piano is real...or something). yyyy said something that triggered all this. its on my hand. i HAD to write it down, but the idea still alludes me. if i wrote poetry, THIS would be a fucking amazing poem. Everywhere and in everything i try to define aaaa. how it makes me feel. to the point that i stretch to connect things. songs, phrases, emotions that are at the core of everything we see and do. its fucking 3 am and i dont know what im saying and THAT is truth. this is the basis of my thought. sleep deprivation and nervous energy. unlinked dijointed paragraphs of words that, when read in the right sequence (not necessarily sequentially) reveal the meaning of my thoughts. the random quotes. to quote something the "vomit from my mind". ahh arthur miller, you sad bastard. the RAW ACID TRUTHS!!! the concrete its all i want. but back to the point....what yyyy said. it's been trying to play this song for a couple years (and i cant tell that anythings wrong with it) but it says it still eludes it. and it said...heres the money shot:
"I KNOW EVERY NOTE, I CAN SEE THEM IN MY MIND, BUT MY HANDS DONT MOVE FAST ENOUGH."
thats it. i know, or think i know, what it needs. i could be everything for it, if i could get my hands to move fast enough (and thats to be read symbolically). get it? theres some aspect of the execution thats missing. if i could get it right i would have it all. i would know what came next...
[TANGENT: I am a perfectionist]
then on the way back here i found a great big horse chestnut on the ground. it was smooth and brown with the grainy whitish spot on one side along with the indent. i tossed it around a bit. chucked it up and down the stair wells in rogers and holmes. then i peeled it open and looked at the meat of it. it reminded me of a walnut. so i ate some. it tasted like a really shitty walnut. like vomit or plastic. then steve had some too. i had to get a dew to kill the taste. i am like a fucking infant. i experience the world through my mouth. people were tossing the left over oreos at the picnic yesterday and i caught one and ate it. or the chicken nugget i ate off the commons floor at EHS. it would make me feel stupid, but i've done much dumber shit and im not done yet.
speaking of the picnic...i found a tennis ball at some point yesterday and spent most of the picnic trying to get it stuck on a ledge midway up the buildings surrounding the quad. i tried back spin, approaching it sideways to give it room to slow to a stop...nothing. then finally BBBBB chucked it on the roof. i think its in the gutter. thats sad. its not really what i was trying to achieve. im beginning to have a distaste for BBBBB. its a braggart. it cant really help it, but its stories go on and on and on. av;bheriaoghkj;fhbrd;lkahfg;lah. oh well. we all have problems and if this is the worst of mine, i'll consider myself very lucky.
it smelled like fishing (dead worms) again tonight. muggy muggy muggy.
i tried to slide down the wet grass near the amphitheater, but it was at the stage where it wasnt QUITE slick enough. i just stuck and nearly fell over.
FIVE FUNCTIONS: MORE BAD POETRY
bob left me and jimmy needs new shoes.
how am i gonna put them through college?
i am a single mother.
jimmy and bob got the black lung.
yesterday the mine caved in.
i work in a mine.
bob set the axe against jimmy's throat.
"why'd you eat my chicken pot pie."
i am a conflict resolution therapist.
jimmy cracked corn and bob didnt care.
it's an awful shame how much corn gets wasted that way.
i am a transparent eyeball.
bob was entirely abstract and illusive and jimmy couldnt get through to him.
the relationship had really hit a roadblock, metaphorically speaking.
i am an avocado.
bob took jimmy's hammer.
now he can't hammer things.
i am a tool.
jimmy got the flu, but bob wouldnt get him cured.
surely jesus will save them.
i am a christian scientist.
bob says its his right to carry a gun, but guns scare jimmy.
"read the second ammendment, boy"
i am moses.
4 YEARS OLDER THAN 12 YEARS OLDER THAN 7: THIS IS BAD POETRY
jimmy and bob drive the truck in the morning and the car at night.
steve miller advocates theft.
i am the money; take me and run.
bob owns the deed to his home, jimmy rents.
three times ten is...thirty!
i am a magic number.
jimmy hit bob in the head with a bat yesterday.
by ripping the cards we get a better sense for the plasticity of paper.
i am tito, you are lamar.
bob cut jimmy a deal on a new tricycle
jehovahs' witnesses cut out my liver and left me in a tub full of ice
i am an argument between lovers.
in school jimmy does better than bob
at home i found a penny behind the radiator
i am a stovepipe hat.
bob and jimmy are sitting on a log
frances mcdormand shrugged her shoulders and bit her nails
i am non habit-forming.
jimmy jumped on bobs trampoline until he was sick
so many beets should not be consumed at one sitting without a lawyer present
i am a part of this balanced breakfast.
bob and jimmy used to live near the shore and collect driftwood
furniture that is not functional will always be in style
i am art deco.
bob found a monkey, but jimmy told him to let it be
three out of four dentists recommend trident as a supplement to regular brushing
i am the living dead.
yesterday bob couldnt find jimmys parka
who you gonna call?
i am a gremlin.
bob, jimmy and i went ice fishing
looking back, my physics teacher was a creepy guy
i am a crash test dummy.
bob sells lemonade outside of jimmys house
12 years ago i was 7
i am a sand box.
xxxx : cheeburger cheeburger
xxxx : i wanna tell you about a dream i had.
xxxx : there were three people in a rowboat and the first one said, there isnt enough food to support us all til we reach land so we'll have to draw straws
xxxx : the second man screamed and jumped off the boat. the third guy, brandishing a knife that had been concealed from the first mans view, stabbed the first man and ate him. now theres plenny of food he giggled licking the knife
xxxx : and the moral of the story is....
xxxx : never buy a pair of slacks that's too big just cuz it costs less
yyyy : ?
xxxx : i dont know man. i just dont know
leroy and terrence were walking down the street when leroy noticed a small dog curled up in an alley. he went over to see if it was alright and as he approached it he realized it wasnt a dog at all; but in fact, a large rat scuttling around in the arm of an abandoned sweater. he shooed the rat away and picked up the sweater. folding it neatly across his arm, he remarked on what a nice addition it would make to the abstract art piece he was constructing. "you mean the pile of garbage in the common room?" asked terrence, snidely.
"the very same, you uncultured pig-dog," snapped leroy. they continued on passing several people in the misty pre-dawn. in the deep troughs between the city's high rises, the fog pooled and obscured features of gloomy businessmen and lonely old women, making them into monstrous caricatures of the way they felt. each of them looked at leroy (and the bundle of slightly mangled yarn) with disgust before turning back to their feet and shuffling on. at the bus stop, a blind man begging for change caught hold of one of the sweater's sleeves tearing loose a stitch. the whole arm began to unravel onto the pavement. leroy stooped to pick up the strands as terrence dug in his pockets for quarters. continuing on, they ran into a friend, gregg, who had been out of town for nearly six months. he invited them to come up and see his new place and while they toured the dreary studio apartment, suitable only for 20-somethings (without aspirations or flatware), leroy found a drawer in which to deposit the sweater's remains. they said their goodbyes, each promising to call soon and exited out to the street.
"you lost your sweater," terrence noted.
"no, i just found it a new home," said leroy, as he stepped into the street and was hit by a bus.
BLEH BLEH BLEH BLEH BLEH BLEH
peter was tired of getting junk mail from the aspca so he set a couple cats on fire. he doesnt get mail in prison. he just gets dirty looks from his cell mate.
trent used to beat up old ladies and take their money until he found god. unfortunately the judge didnt take that into consideration when they were hearing his trial. now he's in jail. its an odd environment for him because his new-found faith tells him he deserves what he got, but it also makes him feel strange to be surrounded by prisoners. the filthy sons of bitches.
PERMISSION TO TREAT THE WITNESS AS HOSTILE...
We don't talk to her anymore because she stole from us. That's what my momma says. I'm not supposed to ask her what she stole. I asked once. I'm not supposed to ask.
The last time I saw her she was wearing overalls. She walked funny like one leg was heavier. She didn't look back either and when she was gone around the bend I stayed looking. I guess in a lot of ways, I'm still standing there looking for her. Momma doesn't remember who she is. I'll bet momma doesn't even know what she stole from us no more. But I'm not supposed to ask. She still knows that.
When you lose someone...in that situation. You need each other. It's too much for one person. One person has to hide away and lose themselves to keep from drawing attention. Two people hold each other up. She couldn't hold me. Momma wouldn't hold me. She stole from us and I'm not supposed to ask.
I haven't been working here long. Long enough to find a room above the store that no one cleans. Sometimes Randall puts things up there during the night when he's supposed to be stocking. Small things that he clips from the newspapers the fruit is wrapped in. I can sneak away there when I get ahead in tagging the cans. Mr. Munro doesn't know that I'm up there because I tell him I have a week heart and need to sit down sometimes. When I'm up there in my room, it smells like Randall. I think about his hands when he clips the paper. About the shiny handles of the scissors wrapped around his fingers and thumbs. Of the sound of feet in fall leaves as the blades make something ordinary into something cherished. I don't know how to make things special. I just look through other peoples collections. Momma has a shelf full of angel babies. I'm not supposed to touch them.
Two of the times when I got scared I tried to tell Momma, but I don't tell her anymore. I sleep under the old newspapers and try to imagine someone who will make it better. One of the times I got scared it was because I saw her. Or I thought I saw her. She was buying stockings. I was upstairs touching Randall's clippings. I could see her at the register through the boards in the wall. I wanted to say something, but I'm not supposed to talk to her. I'm not supposed to ask why either. I remember not to ask.