A Lonely Form of Punctuation

Whistles sounded from the outside, through the windows, back and forth, one after another, like a morse code alternative or a stereo test. I rose to my feet tightly, feeling the confusion in the muscles of my ass and legs, still staring at the 37 year old man in the chair with his feet like hiding lambs and his impossible knowledge of an ancient language and his lack of similarity to any person I could remember. As I listened to the whistles with my body quiet, I had my first fear that my memory was unworthy of the trust I gave it. It was as if I would turn around and behind me there would not be a couch with a blanket and a wall and a kitchen beyond. There would be a yawning void and blackness beyond darkest imagining and I would be dissolved into it with a sigh and an absence of sadness.

But entering through my front door came a creature-like woman with white hair and a clear voice and I knew then the source of the whistling; it was a product of her many voices which convened around my house, gathering in the cold night, slowly and in harmony. I watched her with stillness and did not turn around. With her glassy eyes she carried a basket I recognized and approached me with no face and handed me the basket and in it I saw several plastic wrappers which at one time held gift sausages. She held a twig to her lips and I obeyed, and was silent, and with strength not possible with her body of sparrow bones the color of rice she lifted the 37 year old man with her arms and like an infant bore him from my home and into the cold outside. Then was when I noticed that the belt of my robe had become unfastened and I felt the embarrassment and forgot about the void and therefore stopped believing in it.


Linger Like Citrus

So it was like this: with a bowl of cold gruel at my side I sat in the mode we call "Indian Style;" that is, with my legs tightly crossed before me, knees pointing to imaginery spots on the walls on either side of me, and my hair was oily and in need of hot water and shampoo and the confusion of my mind was heavy and a difficulty for handling, like a large batch of bread dough. I do not know how much dough is typically handled by the average person at home, but I imagine it is close to a very small amount and therefore the handling of a very large amount with the hands and forearms would be a vexing problem full of the probability of a temper tantrum.
Amongst this a 37 year old man found a peacefulness in his sleep and from his person seeped an odor of fresh water in the shade and air laden with gnats for whom a man struggling to transport a large amount of bread dough from one location to another would be something akin to nothing. 


Magnetic Soil Carrier

I was awoken in the night in my nest of secondhand comforters and blankets by the sound of the 37 year old man's knuckles repeatedly making sharp contact with my front door. His eyes had some ragged light in them and his collar was soaked.
"Friend," he said, "may I again impose on you to feed me and provide me the comforts of manly company?" I cinched up the tie of my robe and ushered him in and sat him in my most comfortable chair. When I returned with a piping hot bowl of tasteless slurry, he was asleep. His muddy boots lay discarded and pathetic on my Looney Tunes throw rug. His feet in their sweaty socks were tucked under him like frightened lambs. His calloused hand, I noted, lay in my ashtray, a drunken sailor in a life raft. The contents of the bowl in my hand rapidly cooling and solidifying, I listened as his dream-stained voice delivered falsehoods and obvious riddles into the room.
When he began speaking in the half-invented tongue known only to me and the forgotten siblings of my childhood, my lungs became excruciating confusions in my chest as if all oxygen molecules spontaneously swelled into lime-sized chunks.


Corn Without Friendship

A 37-year-old man climbed over my fence to see the shivering lather. After bringing him into my domicile and feeding him heartily, I felt a kinship. I divulged my creeping ambition to undermine the potential of lip-synching. But he was too focused on the act of consuming the slurry of grains in his bowl to listen. I stopped mid-sentence and allowed him his shy narcissism.
"The molecules I digest make their way into my reluctant cells by using an unorthodox game plan" he said, "and the hairdos I've sported are known as the bad boys of their respective sports."
"I have the ability to get laughs at mom's expense over multiple conversations," I said.
He shrugged. "With the weight of several hundred broken childhood promises, I am forming a virtual creature in the sky. I have the internet in a frenzy."
We hugged and I let him out, with a parcel of gift sausages to distribute as he saw fit. Or devour senselessly in the cold.


Pale on the Playground

The man in the car is someone we knew and when we parted ways we expected, and hoped, never to see again. His eyes are set on us; clearly, his memory is moving at high RPMs to determine our identities. Are we movie people? Are we clerks at an establishment he frequents? Are we, indeed, two with whom he has traded words, opinions, and drunken vulgarities and slaps? Maybe my well-manicured mustache is throwing him off the scent. Maybe your formerly shabby appearance is effectively negated by the designer apparel you now wear. Maybe my throat is swelling and my skull is fracturing and my intestines are waking up and angry.

His car is idling. The cardboard box he set on the roof was completely forgotten when he saw us. The food in the box is full of something we knew when we were in school and swore never to taste again and now its in us again, the smell of it is, and the steam is backlit by neon lights and it is garish and we are menaced and we walk to our destination unsure if the hands we hold are hands we have ever held before.


Pretzel Shirt! Pretzel Shirt!

The tree's leaves lie like ripped parchment on the ground, but still their canopies are full of captured dreams, and derive nourishment from them. The purpose of dreams is debated by men and women full of wonder and fear but the truth is that they are a simple way of dispensing of the souls of consumed animals. When an animal is slaughtered and eaten, its soul cannot be digested by the human stomach and its chemical arsenal. Nor can it be properly dealt with by the excrement-producing organs. Therefore it is sent to the brain, where the knotted memories it contains are converted into a vapor, which produces hallucinations as it is expelled through the ears. This is the truth. There is no other possible explanation for how trees don't die in the cold of winter and fall to the frozen gray turf.


Gadding About With a Man and a Teenage Boy and Their Pet

Me, I'm just a fellow in an inside-out sweater. People think I'm a little bit loopy because I have some dietary restrictions and also I am a confrontational person with authority issues who cannot hold a job and I prefer combative conversations. Last autumn I was fired from a retail store for throwing paper airplanes around one of the departments. I've also been fired for climbing warehouse racks, for constructing little alcoves out of discarded product boxes, and for carrying on with one or more female coworkers in unprofessional ways.

This is all because I am a man at discord with the world and the culture I was born into. I touch money and it becomes a stiff and unspendable thing. I speak to mothers and they lose the ability to recognize their offspring. I speak whispers full of germs, I have stolen hats and coats from hotels, and I distrust soap. I do not believe people when they tell me their names. I give them mine, instead.


Play It Laying Down

Wait with unblinking eyes, with dim breath, with a feeling like your head is wrapped in gauze and hidden and warm. There is no source for the sound in your ears, like a screw, like a portion of stiffening foam. This is empathy for the aggregate breakfast meat and the interaction of its fluids when heat is applied. In this chest is a heart. I know because I see it through the strata of skin, muscle, and other unknown tissues. It is bright like a needle.


Our Collection of Grappling Hooks

Literally, I know the language of eggs. It is formed of the sounds of yolk's thick viscosity, vibrating proteins, and suspended liquids, all echoing in an oblong carapace. It is a language without nouns and its music is a slow as a dying lawn. This is an utterly useless knowledge in this world but I know it, it is mine, and I belong to it, and this is good and right, and I hold an egg in my hand and feel the music in my skin, and I consume it with my mouth.

To do this and know, simply begin by breaking an egg. Then start getting it real hot in a pan, and fold some vegetables in it, sort of like a burrito. But it is called an omelette. The spelling is disputed, but I stand by it, and I am full of this food and this unheard voice.


Historical Personage

Our soldier stands atop the embankment here with chunks of mud and grass on his boots and the facial expression of pride tempered with a breed of confusion. His glasses are wet and the small hairy man tells the woman he married to take digital photographs of the person in a helmet. Instead, she says "smile in camera" and takes several photographs of his face, a sequence of growing aggravation becoming anger becoming sorrow becoming a slow descent out of frame. The wife loses herself in her purse among the mints and spare change and receipts of food purchases and wordless sins.
The man on the ground looks to me to say something and he says "help me stand up again." I say "you can't stand up," and he says "okay, okay," and turns all concentration to the parts of his body currently engaged in gravitational intercourse with the dry golden grass and the person in a helmet steps away to the vehicle with the wandering voices speaking of games and the movie about the American general that's the greatest movie my father has ever seen, and President Nixon. He is shortly replaced by the chihuahua dressed in clothes. I am offered the mint with lint which I don't mind. I put it in my mouth and tolerate it until it is gone.


Groan of Purchase

This is a digital image of the front cover of a book entitled Modern Expressions in Quality Management: A Customary Approach. It is a collection of 60 writings not entirely dissimilar to what the author posts here at Cosmik Wolfpack. It is available right now, here.


The Song of The Living Skeleton

I've got a good idea of how you got here. It was in the back of a well-maintained automobile, late-model, driven by the woman with a high mouth and the habit of squeezing fists. The radio was tuned to the numbers and your little fingernails gnawed at vinyl and your nose felt full of something gummy. Now you've put yourself in a garishly patterned chair on the other side of this desk. I've asked for a different chair. I've put in multiple requests. I'd appreciate it, but I don't expect it. It's not a priority.

I can't place the smell on your breath, somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between wool and styrofoam. I have paperwork, stacks of it where you can't see. It's meant for men like you. Menacing fool, your eyes are inside out, porcupines of nerves and spitting capillaries, eternally reflecting themselves.


Glamour Swamps

This is the new television program we will watch. I particularly enjoy it for its liberal employment of enemies. I lack any true enemies in my life, and to see enemies in a somewhat natural environment, pursuing their own ends by nefarious means, is quite a satisfying way to spend an hour each week. This is also a reason to watch the nature programs from Africa. I see no difference.

I dearly hope that the ratings for this program are strong. I look forward to owning multiple seasons in the highest quality medium which I can afford. The discs would include plenty of value-added behind the scenes information and featurettes about the process of creating such compelling characters and engaging plotlines. This wouldn't be a rinky-dink release with some cast biographies and photo galleries. The studio would go the entire 27 feet to ensure that we, the die-hard fans of the show, were satisfied with the product. It would also be appreciated if a fold-out poster of the show was included, featuring the main characters posed in a group in such a way as to suggest what the main conflicts are. Also, our sexual impulses should be titillated by a certain quality in the more attractive actors' eyes, as well as the positioning of certain body parts.

I hope that the writers are mindful enough to anticipate future developments in the lives of these characters and write with the "big picture" in mind. We are terribly let down when it becomes clear that the writers are "making it up as they go along," and especially when it seems that they aren't respecting past events. Respect the relationships you've written, and respect us enough to take risks, to take the characters in bold directions, to challenge our biases and expectations. Just be true to the artificial personalities you've created, and we'll follow you where you go, hand in hand, blushing, nails ragged, comforts forgotten, sensation forsaken, fists arthritic, quiet, tidy, cool, faces flinching in the light of your love.


Help from the Glove Compartment

We set fire to our drought-choked gardens and in a simmering mob crept in inches to the mayor's house. He watched us through gauzy curtains, forgetting the residue of 2% milk in the glass in his hand and the toilet running on and on in the bathroom behind him.

He lay in his bed, slippers on his feet. He watched as a dozen of his constituents entered his bedroom. After taking a full inventory of all of his personal effects and snapping photographs for our records, we acted out a short drama called "The Day Grandma Invented Rice." Then we took the underwear and socks from their drawer and gave them to the children for their craft projects.

Later in the day, as we watched the children play flying carpet on a quilt made of the mayor's undergarments, a traveling salesman sold us cigarettes made of a plant called silverpocket. We all got so high our eyes crossed and we woke up in wrong beds in the middle of the night and searched through unfamiliar refrigerators to kill ugly hunger.

We left the houses we did not know and wandered until the moonlight revealed familiar forms and the combination of night heat and silverpocket daze and taste of someone else's food gave our homes a new menace that never went away, not after the elections, not after our children's graduation, not after old age stole away our sense and our memory. It was always young and fresh and unlaughing.


Bulk Fluids and Limited Purpose

It is something to be whisked up into a gray cloud with your head's internal pressure approaching nil and to feel colors sipped through your mouth, through your throat, filling lungs and abdomen with weird energy.

Up there, with useless feet, the night is red like bird's blood and the heat of the stars is on your face. It feels right to be nude and your fingers busy themselves with the unfastening and loosening of garments which fall like leaves unsummoned to the empty lands below, where night is a cool notion on parking lots.

Under eaves windows are moistened by sleep-breath and unseen dreams play in heads distorted by gravity, understandable as they are attached to reclining bodies and the drums and goat-spirits inside them leave no evidence of themselves, are conjured and unconjured with the same lack of will as dandelion growth.

Your garments are inaudible as they fall on roofs, inaudible like snow, like the release of dandelion seeds on a breeze, like colors in a throat and the heat of stars and useless feet, inaudible.


Cracking Horse Face

We see our hands like thoughtless sea creatures at the ends of our arms. They are untrainable things we take little interest in unless we're spurred to consider them by televised documentaries or richly photographed spreads in collectible magazines or fiberglass dioramas which we've paid some dollars to see.
At night in the rooms where we keep our beds we lie in the beds among color-coordinated textiles and the hands are buried and restless. We pull them out and hold them up, silhouetted against windows to the dim blue outside and they are black shapes. This is how we begin to understand our hands and how ambitions are sparked. We sleep and when we awake we forget these new feelings and the queasiness is attributed to the hunger for breakfast foods.


A Good Name For a Woman

Some of the possessions we left behind we won't miss a whole terrible lot. Like the ungenious one-wheeled wagon and the molded-sponge statue of a child on horseback. Those sorts of things we recognize as superfluous and not an incredible bonus to keep around. But it's a throbbing pain to me to think about my old bucket of nuts, bolts, screws, washers, and other metal fasteners with unimagined names and exotic utility. It sits dumb and heavy in a garage I will never enter again.

A tool-handed fellow with frowns on his eyes will happen upon it and see the evidence that a neglectful man with a weak and wasteful mind passed through. He will reminisce about experiences on athletic teams and business committees, and the kinds of silent havoc men of limp wills can wreak. His spouse will beseech him to enter their chambers of privacy; swelling with lust, she cannot comprehend the trouble on her husband's mind. Her needs will go unsatisfied tonight. The murk has returned.


The Frugal Eco-Traveler

Sometimes the customers wear authentic smiles. I like it when they show us funny photos they've taken. My favorite ever is a picture of a doggy but there is a fish-eye lens effect that cracks you up to look at it. But I am not laughing just because a doggy with a big nose is being shown to me by an old woman wearing an old woman mask. It's because I am smart enough and kind enough to imagine that I am the fish looking at the doggy with one eye closed. For fishes all of life is protruding toward them in the center so that's why our fish-eye lens effect looks like the picture was painted on a fat belly. I am a fish afraid of being eaten by a doggy so I turn and zip away in the water with strings of bubbles behind me and I am giddy with fear and swimming. That is why I am laughing, and also I like the taste of bubblegum flavor too.


There Are Pieces of It Outside

This sky we have now is a ripped and lovely thing. It is odorless and we think about half-forgotten dreams we had in which it served as an unlikely protagonist.

The children we keep are sleeping on the lawn and they are inscrutable monoliths for the grass-dwelling things. Brown ants. Confused spiders. Beetles like charred jewels. Under our sky these children absorb color and their minds are humming. We feel the humming like a creeping breeze.

Tomorrow I'll announce that I am leaving to be among the sun soaked rocks I saw on television last night. No one I leave behind will understand. They will tend to the children like adoptive parents, with nervous and obligated hands. And I will forget them and find out the things I need to find out.


In Discount Cupboards

There is something I can tell you about the finest accomplishment of my life. Since it's really important to speak about the fine things we do, and it's also important to listen to these accountings when we have the chance, I'll sit here, and you'll sit here, near the canister of mixed nuts and elegant little napkins.
A few young men and I ran a dental products company for a while. Our most popular product was the toothpaste "Heart and Soul." We weren't tooth geniuses. We didn't know much more about mouths other than that they're great for food insertion and the initial phases of digestion. One of my associates had never heard of kissing, so he had to be taught about that just to be brought up to speed. Kissing is one of the activities we remind consumers of when we market dental products. Kissing is a major pastime of many consumers, who fret endlessly over kisses, both in anticipation and examination of prior performance. So we brought him up to speed. But in the big picture, it's like this. It's like expertise isn't an essential thing. Knowing a lot of things about your product's purpose isn't like the end all be all. It's just not all that wholly important for being in business and making money. I hope you follow, this is where lots of folks get lost, and need a face spanking.
The whole reason we were able to amass a large wealth between us was that one of my associates was a cousin of Mario Cipollina, at the time the bassist of Huey Lewis and the News. And through him, we were able to obtain an audience with Huey himself. By our pluck and bright, winning attitude, he was convinced to let us use their superb single "Heart and Soul" in our advertising campaign. We even had a picture taken with Huey, and he signed it, and we framed it, and we hung it on the wall of our conference room, and this was the greatest time of my life: living well, eating the best foods available, drinking copious amounts of inebriating fluids with comely young women of diverse backgrounds. I like a spirited woman who doesn't wilt under the harsh gaze of a full-blooded, upstanding gentleman.
I should also clear up that the associate with the News connection was not the same gentleman who had to be schooled in kissing. Obviously, the cousin of a bassist of a Top 40 staple in the 1980's would be a real authority in the field of kissing.


Waffle Crisis

There's a fellow rapping in the aisle with the paper simulacra of housewares. I really need the 100% Natural Fiber Colander but he's standing right in front of it. Three times, I've walked to the mouth of the aisle and peered down, but he doesn't seem ready to stop. Rapping seems like such a hostile action to me and I dare not turn down the aisle. I certainly have no intention of asking his pardon so I can reach what I need. Maybe he's gone now. I've been standing by the miniature televisions like one who is ready to urinate for several minutes. Maybe now.

No, he is not finished. Worse, his eyes met mine this time. They were wild, white, and sharp and he perceived me to be an aggressor on his territory and it spurred his rapping into cadences and rhythms more violent and defensive than before. I can't really understand the words of raps. I just want them to stop so I can get this colander I read about on a blog.