Uptown Irony

Steamed almond milk in dark chocolate.

Gluten free granola with pumpkin seeds.

“Your hair is nice,” he said to me.

Waiting for a drip refill, not his turn in line.

“Looks like an angel,” he gestured to her

“Don’t you think?” As she spun the register.

“That, this and your total is six sixty six.”

A laugh that would not be held back

Came out a boulder after Indiana Jones.

“There’s some irony there,” she said.

“Can I touch it,” he asked with earbuds in.

I consented and bowed my head to him.

Look within my brother, see my sin

See my dying mother, see my crooked kin

Say you met me in a post apocalyptic place

You would not think this face angelic

Beneath this halo of hair a brown bear

A crown of horns and raven stare

Lovesick greed and prideful envy

Lust for every other empty

Troll and Cold War border sentry

Hooves and grooves worn in memory

I am the fire which takes your home

I am the liar who bleeds the stone

I am therapist and analyst and clone

I am the night which swallows suns

I am the oceans of desire

I am the all consuming one

I am the throne assuming son

I am the all sowing sire

The demon of eternal bones

All blessings be upon your way

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(Not) A Review of The Merchant of Venice

Go see it, or don’t. Live your life. I’ve been living mine over here and frankly, it’s alright if I die tonight. I’ve seen enough to be bored by living and if it passes me by just one more time I’ll be just fine. It played on broadway, starring a famous person. Nothing matters unless you’re famous, or talented or beautiful or rich or powerful but what does that matter to me? All the millions in your bank are not as important to me as the $380 I paid to behold the spectacle of St. Alberto Pacinoni as the Blind Venetian. That was reason enough to be excited to see the show. I bought tickets and started planning a romantic date night with the wife.

The wife, who, for the week prior, challenged me to an epic transnational trauma cleanse, a pentathalon of sulking, screaming, smoking, drinking, and another-thing-ing. She was a champion in all such events, a test of every learned defense, redlining emotional resources across the board of benevolent directors known as my conscience. 

During a lull in the fracas, while the ingenue and her six pack of tall boys took several hours recess in our one bathroom, I stepped out for a walk around the block, blurring out my thoughts with the electric techno tourist mob of Times Square, shuffling past the theaters proclaiming the greatest shows ever witnessed, promising heart-pounding exhilaration and the time of your life. I scowled. Billy Joe, you’ve come a Longview from the Dookie days. 

As the quintessential American Idiot, on my way back to workshop the tour-de-force audience participation performance piece unfolding on an ikea carpet eighteen stories above these storied stages, I stopped under the makeshift umbrella of a marquee just around the corner from Studio Apartment Arena. 

I took out a brown satchel of tobacco, selected a wad of fragrant brown shreds and tamped them into the paper, placed a white filter tip a little bit off to the side, gently rolled thumbs against forefingers until the cylinder appeared, ran the tip of my tongue over the glue strip, pushed the filter flush with the roll, letting it hang from the precarious precipice of my lip as I tilted my head to the side to avoid a butane-torch beard fire or a seared schnozz. The invisible flame clicked on and I saw AL PACINO in glowing red. 

Something to look forward to, I thought. Wait, what day is it? 

I knew what fucking day it was. I knew before I opened the ticket confirmation email that I had flagged, or double checked the calendar app. I knew from the reminders I had ignored while embroiled in the aforementioned top-floor tomfoolery. I had to prove it to myself, I couldn’t believe it until I saw it. Was it distrust? Was it that I just missed the money? Was I angry over a petty loss or furious over the foregone failure of my future family?

Our godfather which art on broadway, dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Sicut in Carlito et terror. Lesson learned forever: don’t be shy, or locked. After all, nobody owes you a goddamn ounce of their skin, let alone a pound, and you don’t owe by the same token, no matter how much you think you need them, if this prayer means anything. Each play will have its run and fun, but with some productions the best seat in the house is out on the sidewalk, in my humble opinion.

The Color of Her Walls – 1

She jostles the gearshift left-right-left-right-left, yanks the handbrake back, switches the engine off, opens the door, swings her boots out, launches up from the low leather seat and spins the door shut with a flourish fit to finish a Viennese waltz.

She pulls off her glove and a triple amputee octopus over the number pad. The outer door is still closing and she’s inside already, whistling down the hallway, leaping up the stairs, her long trenchcoat flowing behind like a battle standard on the arched whip of her lean torso, and over her shoulder: a wood handle shovel glints with the green exit sign as she disappears around the corner.

My Synonymy: Truth Of Matter

Everything we say is true, but it is not the whole truth. Unknown truths abound and present themselves on the regular, as is our knowledge dwarfed by our ignorance. Everything we say, then, can be seen as a lie of omission.

But as no one water molecule can be the ocean, the ocean can sustain a loss of many molecules and remain as such. But if it loses so many, it becomes a lake, then a puddle, then a drop. It can be said that the drop and the ocean are one, when the drop slides off the tail of a breaching whale before becoming the ocean again. So then is the ocean a collection of drops, and if so, how many? Is there a precise number after which the ocean must be named a sea, and how silly it would be to sit along the shore with a ladle, making an ocean of a sea and a sea of an ocean, with a puddle held between.

These lines may not make much sense to you, and that’s understandable. They are words. Language. Patterns of contrasting light and dark areas interpreted by a different area of the brain than the one which processes the noises made when air moves through a mucous lined cylinder with skin flaps in the throat of a particularly vocal primate. Prime. The first. The first to move by sound waves, propelling our craft and leaving behind a wake in earth’s watery crust. We are gravitational ripples in the space-time continuum. We are material interacting with gravitational echoes, bouncing off each other and interfering in regular patterns yet to be discovered, a living fabric (like cotton, the fabric of our lives) woven at a scale which transcends our capacity even for imagination, let alone observation and intervention, as the plot structure and themes of an average Netflix show (e.g. the layered humor of Deadwood) would be utterly indigestible by an audience of cyanobacteria. They translate sunlight into oxygen. We translate matter into meaning.

These are the tools we have. This is what we must use to craft the tools we need to make the next generation of life better. Bether. Be there. We are the voice of the earth, not children of god. Everything is god. We are god. You are god. I am god. In our own domains and in our own stories, we are gods, whose word becomes law. We write out our observations of ourselves and others as characters, as all gods are written out by humans who watched and knew other humans. Observed them, were impressed by them. Took their best moments to heart, and their worst under stern advisement. We followed them or spurned them, our toys and our tyrants alike. We tell their epic tales, their sacred stories which instruct or warn, inform or bamboozle, to anyone who will listen if only ourselves. We dance, gesture, make sounds in particular patterns, setting the rest of the cosmos as the background for the figure of humanity, as plot to character. We live only in context: a fish out of water is a modern human out of culture.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

It’s a simple story. A unique identifier between two dimensional coordinates over time. Humpty is as Humpty does, and so is accident prone, unmoving, maybe depressed. Or drunk. So, the moral is: don’t sit on a wall? Okay, but what do you mean by wall? That which divides inside from outside, here from there, good from bad, us from them, safe from harm. Understood. Now why not be neither here nor there? Why not risk an encounter with the chaos that lay just beyond the order of the whole wealth of the kingdom? Because all the king’s horses (technology, how we bend the earth to serve us) and all the king’s men (culture, how we bend each other), are insufficient to repair us from death.

Here we sit, on the wall between creation and creator. Every character we create bears our likeness, every Emma or Liu or Sergei or Anya bears the face of god, the creator. We are all these faces, overlapping as layers of paint in a pre-war apartment. We melt together in the impressions made by their passing, like many feet walking through the mud. We become to future humans as trampled earth, indistinguishable from far, but built up of feet whose number and position in space may be counted, if you were to imagine a motion tracker and the highest fidelity 4D scanning technology, it would render a perfect historical model of each hoof, the chronology of forces applied to a matrix of chemistry, it would not be a mess you see, but a masterpiece in the making.