Boredom is essential for writers; it is the only time they get to write.
The metal that pierced his heart was 5.6mm, more commonly referred to as a “22.” I pulled the trigger. We were 9.7 feet apart. The last thing he said was: “I’m going to rape your wife and daughter when I’m done with you.”
His brother had been sent to jail that morning on trumped-up charges. The judge had wanted to “make an example” (his words) upon sentencing. The prosecutor had pulled the kind of legal jujitsu not often achieved on the public dime.
Our whole relationship lasted 37.8 seconds from the time I heard the broken glass downstairs until he stopped breathing. A small blood stain remains in the grout between the kitchen tiles where he expired. No chemical known to man will remove it.
He had a son who is 4 years old and called his father by the name, Papsy. The mother is “no longer in the picture.” I believe the child now lives with his grandparents.
It was the first time I’ve shot someone. The first time I’ve killed someone. The state and the justice system called it “self defense.”
His brother is 17, but was tried as an adult. Basically, he took the fall for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not even an accomplice so much as the right look for the part.
My neighbor is a prosecutor. We have the same last name.
Paradoxically, it is this willed closure or neatness of finish that the true artist needs to resist, fending off the urge to smooth out the rough surfaces of pain, necessity, and accident.
– Mary Kinzie, Introduction to Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea
We all start out innocently. One or two strays—orphans, really—you let them into your life. Maybe you keep them for your own enjoyment. Hidden. Maybe you gift them to the right person. Rarely, because of their condition, you sell them. But it never ends there. You’re always on the hunt. You lower your standards. Start accepting the ones with permanent markings, viewing these minor imperfections as desirable as you run your fingers along their forlorn spines. Sometimes they’re not even your type. It’s a grey area, but what isn’t? A line you straddle between collector and middleman. You always want more. A deep sacral desire drawing you to new, used, hard, soft… whatever remains. You’ll spend your last dime for more and you won’t raise an eyebrow at the ones others discard. Lost in the system. Not really even on the radar. Their value long overlooked by the newest “goods and services.” You care for them. In your own way. It’s a bit lewd. Some might say unhealthy. But these books need you.
You are writing behind a screen. Two screens. Some call them eyeballs. Somewhere behind them electrical charges speak in a silent voice that churns thought into word transferred to letter and back to word on paper or screen. Another screen. There is always something going on in the background. Some of it you control, most of it you don’t. And none of it is seen or understood, but we trust that the outcome will mostly speak to others. Does it speak in tongues? Will it slip in through their eyes and proceed through the reverse electrical transformation. Stored. Saved. A memory of what you said/wrote. Some say the world will end in fire. But really it will be noise. The endless cacophony of a billion voices and all those words scrambling to get a foothold over one another, desperate to find a friendly eye or a considerate ear to enter. Desperate to rest.
The television was on. It had been on for hours. Years. It was there. TV on demand, a great freedom. Hasn’t Burroughs said there was more freedom today than ever before. Wasn’t that like saying things were more like today than they’ve ever been.
– Lynne Tillman, The Complete Madame Realism
Justice–a fool’s game,
a veneer of fairness
sprayed over a rough reality.
Survival is the only
Law of Nature, the only
Competition you can trust
We can build a
Better Tomorrow but
we can’t forget the underlying
support structures subsist
of different material,
a darker, unchangeable
Essence that will never conform
to an Ideal anything…
Wasting your breath annoys
fat people and teaches pigs to
sing acapella melodies never
recorded on the face of this yurt.
Go forth and testify.
Breed on white discontents as
you eat drink and be Mary;
Lancelot will remember your deeds,
Christ will dream your past
and cobalt canaries will whistle
sweet unthings down the garbage
shoot of time as clocks unwind
succubi lulled into satiated
still-life poses you yearn to
imitate because art doesn’t need a reason,
it just needs an outlet–
a pressure release to spurt/gush
Its ecstasy into form.
The shocking effects of high explosive and spinning metal strip dignity from death in battle. The crews of burnt-out tanks are reduced to hunched, simian homunculi, and infantry who suffer direct hits from shells may vanish as if they had never existed, or have their passing marked by the discovery of disconnected tatters of mortality.
– The Oxford History of Modern Warfare
Work-hardened in the fires of American à la carte spirituality, when confronted with ethical dilemmas (and simple consumer purchases), I like to ask myself, “What would Buddha do?” And then I do the opposite of that. When that doesn’t work, I like to ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” And then I always think of the time he went postal on the moneychangers and started flipping tables. Sometimes it’s hard to find tables to flip. I mean, most moneychangers are behind counters that one just can’t walk up to and flip these days. So I pause, to shed 2.7 tears for the table-flipping past-times we no longer have access to and then instead I verbally assault strangers upon the street asking if they’re interested in non-GMO advice. Most aren’t. Their loss. Obviously. Am I right? That’s a rhetorical question, but then, aren’t all questions between writer and readers? Gotcha again, sucker! Two shakes of an infant later and the soma-like effect of snorted dust bunnies kicks in and I’m dreaming of a brighter childhood. As they say in most televised feats of daring: Don’t try this at home.