Rubric – 03:13GMT


Shattering the windows at an even more exclusive pace than those fridge poliwollies is really something that needs to be examined closely under the pretense of otherworldly dental floss protection strategies. If we’ve sufficiently followed our rubric, we should be reaching the peak of exceptional boredom any second. Where we go from there is not included in said rubric, however. Whoever came up with this curriculum has really left a lot to be desired. How can anyone construct a lesson plan without including any geriatric tofu wanderers? That concept should have been explored first, along with pocket-size jean stompers. Any idiot would know that. ANY idiot would know that.

I really wish I could use my arms.

Ceremony – 18:44GMT


Enter into a ceremony of dog-eating-dog world occurrences, far enough to scrape together a lightener of dire consequences. Bother nobody too much or too many insowhere is the predilection of the ages, the constant ever-ridden ideology capable of destroying planets or hydrogen elements, now or forever in scraps, taken like pills after breakfast every morning with some cantaloupe, spoiled as chimney scraps for someone filled with more than an evening’s worth of chicken. There’s a faint spill visible across continental America named Mauna Loa, something that needs improvement for a spritz or two, charred like a gopher spiel of some varying strength, at least graphically so.

I really wish I could use my arms.

Tattoos – 23:26GMT


I can hardly remember what my tattoos look like at this point. I’m even having trouble remembering how many I’ve got, and where they were placed on my body. My mental map is eroding by the minute. I know I had good reasons for all of them, but it all seems so trivial now. I’ve definitely lost the sense of wonder that brought me to the tattoo parlors that many times in the first place. Now I can’t stop thinking about all the money I spent on the damn bits of tribalistic symbolism and wondering what I could have done with that scratch if I hadn’t squandered it on body ink. I could have invested it or at least put it into a rainy day fund. Would that have prevented my captivity and objectification as a pawn in the scheme of God knows who? Maybe, maybe not. Who am I to judge the divine plan?

I really wish I could use my arms.

Liberties


I left a gorilla in Hamelin’s office tonight with the intention of checking the results on the security camera tomorrow morning (after a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood and well-crafted latté at my favorite local roaster). I don’t have anything against Hamelin, other than the fact that he micromanages me and I feel trapped in a corner wearing a straitjacket half the time. Okay, maybe I do have something against him. But back to the gorilla at hand here. I won’t bore you with the logistics of just how I managed to transplant a 350-pounder into a 27th-story corner office without sustaining so much as a scratch (though I know you’re impressed). I’d rather get down to the nitty gritty of my thought process. As far as I see it, our hirsute cousin will react to Hamelin’s plants that I’ve strategically strewn about as though a silverback counterpart had already been there. Could it possibly think–after coming to–that another gorilla had already taken liberties with the decor? And if so, would our friend (let’s just call it Chip) leave well-enough alone? Or would he want to contribute his own personal flair to what he thinks is a radical statement of primate interior decoration? Would a gorilla even contemplate matters on such an elevated level anyway? It’s doubtful, improbable and impractical to think such a phenomenon could exist, a magical realism that extends past the bounds of human domain and into the advanced psyche of a less-cerebral species. Anyway, you’d better not tell anyone I did this. There’s no way I’m going to be liable for any damages after the way old man Hamelin treated me. I figure I’m due a few grand for my troubles, even if it doesn’t present itself in the way of a manila envelope filled with hold card cash.

Hold card cash? Jesus, I need to get more sleep.

Straight Jacket – 09:43GMT


I decided for once in my life that I would wear a jacket that perfectly aligned to the verticality of my person, straight up and down–no dips or dives, no bacon tendencies.

I called upon my faithful servant to acquire one pre-ironed, pre-steamed, pre-drycleaned, pre-treated, you name it. Nothing but the best for this outstanding gentleman.

Nothing transpired of the whole ordeal. Just another afternoon of grandiose interstellar transpondership in which nobody understood who really runs the show–who among us does?

I really wish I could use my arms.

Begs Ennedict


Begs Ennedict was once (and hopefully will soon once again be) a friend of mine. I met him after the turning point in his life where he legally changed his name to resemble the popular breakfast dish. To this day, I’m still not sure if he meant it to be a statement, a joke, or a cross of the two. I may never get the chance to find out, either. He moved away one day without telling anyone. He left his things behind in the apartment. He must have gone off the grid too, because he broke his lease with seven months to go.

Of all the people he let into his life, I was likely closest to him. He didn’t even talk to his parents, and they seemed to just understand and accept the circumstance. When Begs left, I called up his mother. She didn’t know he left, nor had she spoken to him since her birthday from a few years back. She didn’t seem surprised to hear it, and, frankly, I wasn’t surprised by that lack of surprise.

The only surprise I got as a result of Mr. Ennedict taking an indefinite leave was the letter he left to me on the kitchen counter in his apartment. He’d given me a spare key for emergencies, and knew I would be visiting his pig sty once he left. Oddly, he left it much cleaner than I’d ever seen it, a la boy scout camp. He was always a strange sort of gentleman.

I could go on about my various impressions of the man, nut I’ll just read you this letter. It will resonate his voice more strongly than I ever could.

——

Dear Chippy,

I’ve given her all I’ve got, and I can’t take her no more. It is now time to uproot and look at myself in this world, weigh my flaws against the flaws of our esteemed brethren. I can’t say what brought about this sudden consciousness shift and grinding conscience. Honestly, this has been an unwieldy last several years, and all I can do at this point is thank you for your thankless work. I will leave it at that, in case anyone reads this before you.

You know I’m not one to express fondness, so I choose instead to share with you my state of being at the time of writing this. I can only tolerate city living for so long, and I’ve reached my long-overdue breaking point. It’s a marvel that I held it together for as long a period as I did without having multiple meltdowns, and I’m cashing in my chips while I’m still beating the house.

So what does that mean for my immediate future? I can only say so many things without incriminating myself of betraying my new location, so I will instead give you my impression of what I hope will transpire (and indeed what mind frame will put me there) in my coming passage of time on this planet, written as a monologue filled with non-sequitur. You know as well as I do that I am best able to express my purest intentions and subconscious developments through this medium. Frankly, that is the reason why I’ve always trusted you so much.

    The Dew Drops of May

Heaven told me one day, “It’s as clear as a rose in an egret’s beak that you may fly away from here, and returning will be dictated by the phases of the moon.”

So I packed up my bindle and planned my marching orders, step by step. I accumulated about seven pages of detailed itinerary, then ripped it all up into incomprehensible shreds and sprinkled them out the window, victorious. No road map can exist; you may only bring your conscious mind with you wherever you go, and the great floating consciousness in the sky will take care of you.

All of this pondering brought me back to that famous God question again, but I chose to drink a liter of water instead. We are as we have been and will be, built from the fungus that made life possible, designed by accident over billions of years, a happy mistake that somehow pushed itself along, defying extinction with nothing but separatist intentions.

Now that we (myself specifically) have reached our peak of evolution by default, I must do something new, something that will impart to you and the rest of our peculiar species a glimpse of that purest form, a streamlined vision of the cosmos translated into abstract symbols as a means of enlightening as many as possible. You may choose to share this, or you may choose to destroy it (after all, it’s only paper), but you would likely regret its destruction.

Sheik shrieks siphon belly aches through tubes of transient melon baller coordination, and the audience stands in confusion. Has the performance already begun, or are we still just warming up? Will there ever be a time when our instruments will be perfectly-tuned, or is that a futile concept altogether? We’ve roughed it and toughed it out through epochs of predetermined insignificance, assuming a finish line exists just over that next horizon of indeterminate luminescence. I may say with utmost confidence that stellar inoculations numb us from the pointlessness, and indeed create determination, an invention that will allow us (eventually) to sample the infinite wares the cosmos has to offer. We are living, but have reached a collective bargaining agreement with fate. We sold our souls at the railroad tracks to pretend we call the shots, and have been met with mixed results. On the one hand we have art, and on the other we have genocide. Out hubris causes confidence that exists nowhere else in Nature, and we never stop to think how that’s even possible. Thus, we continue improvising with untuned instruments, hoping to one day strike a chord that rings with harmony in perpetuity across all of existence itself. We’ll never make it with that attitude, boy.

Chippy, please join me on my solitary journey. You know what I mean. It has been a pleasure spending time and space with you, and I will think of you often (and for you, if necessary).

Love,

Begs Ennedict
(AKA Begsy, Begs-E)

——

I still have not shared this letter with anybody (well, until now), but I have vowed to accompany Begs on his journey across time and space, to be a good steward of evolution and, most importantly, to honor his wishes to the best of my ability.

I do not know who Begs Ennedict is, and I’m not sure if I believe in reincarnation. Would a more sentimental person call him a great spiritual leader? Would a more conspiratorial person call him a changeling? Begs would discourage any labeling anyway, but I enjoy pondering those intangibles nevertheless.

Empire


Well, as far as that’s concerned, Charlene kicked the bucket about eight years ago, givin’ birth to our youngest of seven young’uns. I named him Squiggy; that’s probably what she would have named him. She created a fashion empire, one clothing line for every chillun we sired; left behind quite a fortune with the Brandon, Stephen, Kalen, Armbruster, Eddie and Sherry labels. Squiggy’s just starting to realize that he has no clothes named after him, so he’s started making a point of wearing burlap sacks every day. He just wants to piss off his fashionista siblings. They don’t much like it, but they’re a bunch of snobs now anyway, with that fancy Hollywood upbringing. I never much cared for that methodology, and my ditch-digging career is just about all that keeps me sane these days.

I figure nothing’s bringing Charlene back, and she’d still be here spoiling them kids–if it weren’t for Squiggy’s breach birth. I loved her to death, never gonna remarry. I figure I’ll just get a few more dogs and move on with my life. So far I have Scruffy, Tipper, George and Sheila. They aren’t allowed to come into the house because of those damn kids. My best friends and I spend most of our time out there digging ditches. Squiggy’s going to take up the family profession soon, just like his ol’ dad, dad’s dad, dad’s dad’s dad, etc. If I were a literate man, I’d come up with some clever autobiography–“Life’s a Ditch” or some sort.

Celebricheese®


Hey! You there! Come on down to our brand new wax museum of cheese celebrities, Celebricheese®! For a nominal (suggested) $15 fee (non-refundable), we offer you the full experience of observing your favorite celebrities in cheese form, made with realistic wax that will preserve the likenesses for much longer than statues made of pure cheese. We know what you’re thinking: why have a museum dedicated to cheese that doesn’t actually have any cheese in it?! Well, you’re a shrewd interpreter of the creative process, my friend. At the core of each celebrity resides a canister of the (freeze-dried) cheese represented by his/her/its likeness, where the dry ice is replaced every day. Our celebricheese® include, but are not limited to:

Monterey Romano, Fontina Turner, Blue Cheese Man Group, John Cheese, Eddie Muenster, Pepper Jack Black, String Cheese Incident, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozzart, Al Roquefort, Brie Larson, John Goudaman, Parmesean Penn, Alan Brickman, The Provolone Ranger, Fondoogie Howser, Danny Velveeta, Taylor Swiss, Colby Bryant, and Edam and Eve.

Come on down, we’d love to see you here! We’re located on the same lot that once held that abandoned eyesore of a cracker factory in historic Old Shireberg! Admission is on a first-come basis, so beat the traffic and you’ll receive one of 1,000 commemorative holographic Elvis Pretzel-y refrigerator magnets! Everyone knows cheese and pretzels go together like gloves and mittens! Come on down!

Stumble


Indelible delicacies span the desert, as odd as it may seem to the never-ending line of gawkers establishing covenants left and right of that played-out Manson-Nixon phenomenon all you kids seem to take for granted these days. But never you mind such a clustered old sight, it won’t tuck you in at night even if you begged for a thousand years. But why would you insist on that kind of security? What are you, seven years old? The desert holds not much more than the limited flora and fauna you’ve come to admire (once the childish fantasies of fecund fields have worn off), unless you’re keen on uncovering the mystical rarities romanticized by travelers who’ve uncovered a sacred place amongst the oblivion any sensible person would surely avoid–if given the chance. That’s why I always say: drop those thoughtful suckers in the middle of the Mojave and watch them stumble upon God.

Inherent Value


Poet: I got a steal of a deal on turkey today! I’m unreasonably happy right now.

Accountant: So… why’s that? It’s just turkey.

P: Well, someone dropped one of those shrink-wrapped breasts on the floor, and it had already been opened, so their policy was that they had to toss it.

A: Let me guess, you–

P: Yup, got it for free! Gino was working behind the counter today and came out back on his break to “dispose of it,” i.e. let his buddy have an ample supply of salty fowl meat.”

A: Gross.

P: I didn’t see it fall, but Gino said it got picked up in about a second, and the floor was pretty clean at the time.

A: Pretty clean?

P: Come on dude, I get floor food all the time and yet never get sick. Coincidence? I think not.

A: Well… you might be onto something there, but you’ll have to walk that tightrope without me.

P: How very cryptic, yet obvious. Did you think I was going to try to share this miraculous bird boob with you? Fat chance, señorita.

A: Señorita?

P: Yeah, I’ve been starting to call white cisgender males señorita lately, to get them to question their binary perception of sexual and social roles (unless they already think about these things, in which case they’re cool with it anyway).

A: Good to know.

P: Back to the point at hand: you were insinuating that it’s only a matter of time before I ingest a floorbound grape and contract some horrific illness. Sometimes I wonder why it is that you actively root for my destruction.

A: Geez! Where did you get all that from?

P: Tonality, body language, eye movement, the usual.

A: Well it’s not true, dude! You really take things too far sometimes.

P: Yeah, whatever. That’s what they all say. All those… “people.”

A: People, sheeple, I know where this rant is going.

P: Fine, then let me localize my argument to this room and the mind straddling the body in my vicinity at the moment. I have been observing for some time that you repress your instinctual side, and the passive-aggressive comments you make on a fairly regular basis are vessels for your packing-up of creative frustration. You lob them–like grapefruits–right down the pipe and I hit tape-measure blasts from time to time, depending on my energy level at the particular moment of said pitch. My diagnosis: Boredom-itis. Prescription: Weed and painting classes.

A: Ooh, ow. Oh yeah, you really pegged me, you bedraggled son of a gun, you.

P: Glad you at least acknowledged it this time.

Sticklers


Sticklers twist stomachs with unbending adherence to arbitrary rules. Most common among those: never eat cheese on a Wednesday morning, always bring a spare umbrella during a hailstorm, only taste cake frosting with the pinky finger of your dominant hand, and if you’re ambidextrous, pick the hand that has more positive connotations in your life. The further down the list you go, the more detailed the rules get. Sticklers especially appreciate the needlessly-complicated ones, as they get a chance to memorize line after line of text from the Tome of Troublesome Tricks that Tame the Tummy.

Passing the Time


Ignoring me is always a sound strategy, I’ve found–if you’re an adult chimpanzee, that is. The less taken with me you happen to be, the more likely I won’t be mauled to death. If I end up not being extinguished by senseless violence, I can only imagine the possibilities for passing the time until a natural expiration occurs. I could hang glide over the Grand Canyon, climb George Washington’s nose, swim to the Statue of Liberty or really just do anything I want, whether or not it involves an American landmark. Many people would refer to such a string of accomplishments as a bucket list; I prefer to think of it as a superfluous sequence of events that denotes my extreme privilege in this world.

On the Hill


Kippers make Kipling seem somewhat soft, though I rarely worry about such judgments in the wake of our darling petri dish disposal repairman’s birthday. It just wouldn’t seem fair to rob our poor dentist’s cousin of his day in the spotlight; his daughter just graduated from college last week and he needs to figure out how she’s supposed to make a living in this city. From observing her through the years, it’s clear that she won’t be following him into the family business–and he’s just fine with that. He’s also fine with keeping a roof over her head, but hopes she has plans of leaving the nest. His inner philosopher has been craving some peace of mind and thinking space for years as he couldn’t help but notice her stumbles and bumbles through school.

Our beloved petri dish disposal repairman will be quite surprised–even baffled–next Tuesday after work; his spousetess with the mousetest, herself a successful clinical psychologist’s psychologist, has put together a shindig with a guest list of the most prominent thinkers in a four-neighborhood radius, in hopes of inspiring questions that will invigorate the remainder of his life. If he’s wise, he’ll cooperate with her plan–she always makes the best plans.

Thin Air


When a brand new idea greets you–
out of what seems to be thin air–
it feels as though you’ve just
brought a new child into this world.
It’s an uncanny record of your existence
that has the opportunity
to be perpetuated for generations.

Trousers


I didn’t put on a belt today, even though my trusted toad in residence screamed at me, “please do wear something that will hold up your trousers, you know how much you need that kind of support.” That kind of support. That kind of support. The statement cut to my core. How could a simple amphibian surmise how using such obviously leading language would end up with such a visceral reaction? I must concede that he has been with me for most of my adult life, a fact that I tend to overlook in my times of angst. He just has this way of seeing how my psyche copes with everyday life and the human-to-human disappointments that never fail to pile up when I venture outside of my hovel. Yeah, I’ll chalk it up to that.

Not one to quickly withdraw into self-pity (it usually takes a few minutes), I shot back. “Bah, you old-fashioned reptile! I rather enjoy a somewhat droopy trouser. It’s not my intention to be lumped in with the old fogies of the world, thank you very much. You know as well as I that I tend to shuffle my feet and speak in an exasperated tone about how things aren’t the way they used to be. Don’t rob me of my freedom of expression!” I called him a reptile, knowing full well that his species spawns in water. I’d recently taken to jabbing him with barbs designed to rock his steady demeanor. He has never once taken the bait. The cold-blooded bastard.

“Well sir, have you ever considered being the individual who brings belts back in style? Perhaps even suspenders? Your species really relishes bringing fashion back after an arbitrary period of time has passed, and maybe this time you can be the one to inspire the young men and women of the world that trousers sitting comfortably upon the waist are truly the change that they’d wish they started clamoring for, had they known someone of your immense tastemaking abilities.”

Speechless. Just speechless. That blasted earth-toned hopper had me stymied once again as I hiked up my pants for what must have been the twentieth time since making an excuse to “get fresh air” around the neighborhood (mainly for the purposes of people watching and escaping my inner turmoil as much as possible). I’m still confounded to this day as to how a little guy like him–with such a tiny little brain–could be my intellectual better. Oh well, no use in beating myself up… I think.

Perception


We come upon a young man torn between what he perceives of “the other” and that omniscient narrator of life who’s commonly referred to as Reality, the amalgamation of infinite facets colliding into an image of total clarity, the entire spectrum condensing itself into a single voice and vision suitable to whichever moment or viewpoint happens to summon it for selfish purposes. Our hero simply needs more time before he may contemplate the oneness of totality, the complete integration of energy and matter that, on the surface, fragments into a myriad of complex differences but ultimately bleeds into homogeneity across the board, across the cosmos. Our hero will learn all this in the next unit of his “Philosophy of Everything” course, assuming he does all the readings and attends every lecture (which has a very low chance of actually occurring, rendering his education on the topic woefully incomplete).

This particular person will–in 98.3% of all observable realities–stubbornly quit his pursuit of higher education and become a beekeeper, so he may develop an immunity to their stings.

Meditation: Park


A discarded leaf has curled itself into the shape of a cannoli boat, its stem sticking straight up, a rudder that will never make contact with water (assuming it ever makes its way out of this landlocked region). Right now it sits on one of a multitude of 2’x2′ paving tiles, standing mostly stationary despite a sturdy breeze that would like nothing more than to knock it a couple squares over (if you were to assign the human trait of desire to an elementary force of nature, and, let’s face it, we all do it from time to time (some of us more frequently, allowing it to invade the daily rhythms encompassing us)). Time becomes magnified as the breeze maintains its pressure but the leaf stubbornly holds its position. All the while, a steady flux of spent leaves descends onto the tiles, though none quite as tubular as our unmovable friend–oh wait, there it goes. One tile over, a move suitable for a king.