s___brainedness.

intermittent proof that i am working on writing and not just pretending to be in graduate school

I have got a dispatch for you Horse lathered and rider panting hard enough to bust hearts from haste

Here is the dispatch
This world has got manure for brains

Our skulls is dunged lavishly Spaded carefully all over uncleared stumps and bankrupts and exploded boats and houses what fell down before you even sat in them a single day Our Cleveland is composted more lavish than royal palaces

I wonder how much skulldung they have got up in London Paris and Philadelphia I would like to see every corner of the world weigh out the manure in our beanpots and seen who had the biggest heap

Permit me to news-paper for you scenes what convey the brawny uncouth odors smoking from our ears

As soon as we Americans had got the slipperiest of holds on the working what a steam engine could do we turned them to our two great pastimes The making of money and thickheaded behavior Steam lent herself to both eagerly Steam factories set to the making of durables And steamed boats was near to ideal suited for both moneygetting and idiocy

For a long summer season of the mind the clean brushed young swells seemed to drop from trees in Cleveland And the coem of fall knocked the idea of racing steam boats into each one of their meager brains They did not lose their purses any come in the descent from the arbor But soon enough they would dump out those pocketbooks on the fitting out of a Lake Erie steamed boat

These boats looked the same to their masters as man and wife come to share one aspect across their two persons All were tall lank Decked out in what you would call the haberdashings for a boat Decks tidier than a childs heart Timbermasts raked back swinging Inkstain flags enough to be the making of a thousand diapers Diapering for every large and small rearquarters of strangers what come off the canal Their Inkstain colors brighter than any fruit or fowl you seen in nature No red cardinalbird Blue summer sky or Whitewashed bones could beat the colors of the Inkstain flags you seen on a steamboat ripping down lake Erie

Those what rode on the steamed racers did their best to match with those colors Womenfolk armored in a wildflower garden of calicoes under great laced bonnets like the prettiest single cloud dancing The menfolk were only a step behind in costumes Great sharplined suitclothes under fresh straw with ribbons what a boss Catholic priest would have been sheepish under

Put all that in your minds eye and set the folks to chatter and gay laughter Then set it to slashing across Gods great washbasin five miles or more in an hour You had got the general sense of what a steamed boat race done to an imagination

Now of course I am speaking to you of the general s__brains of my Cleveland and you are chiding me Medium Son It is true that diapers would be more useful than a flag And yes boats have more sober uses than racing but people have got to have some type of idiocy to look on Otherwise the river of days were grim paddling How will this come to a true s___brainedness

Let me complete my thoughts about the steamed boats if you would not mind

#29

blog-dyson-hand-dryer

Deserter 29’s cubicle was freezing. He could never get feeling to stay in his hands. That numbness was part of why he left. Also the hunger. The army had only allowed crackers and half-rotten bananas into the war for several weeks. 29’s banana that morning had been all rotten. He spurned his crackers in protest. He gave them to 30 and sucked bitterly on thoughts of desertion instead.

All morning, he starved and shivered. 29 deserved better than this. Even if he didn’t, he would rather steal better and see if he was caught. Just before the noontime banana and crackers break, 29 set down his gun and raised his hand. The lieutenant came by, and 29 asked if he could use the bathroom. The lieutenant gave him the key. 29’s teeth chattered angrily as he walked out of the war forever.

He did actually need to use the restroom. It would not do to begin a new life with a bladder so full. Fuck the lieutenant, 29 thought. That drip would have to put in a request to the army for a new key and oversized fob.

29 conducted his business and washed up. He turned for a paper towel. There were no paper towels. He found instead a new-fangled hand dryer. The bathroom had been updated since the last time 29 peed. The dryer stared at 29 from the wall, mounted above the empty wastebin. The brand name SCIMITAR was scrawled across the upper lip of the dryer’s mouth-like vent.

As he jabbed his hands toward the Scimitar, 29 stared at himself in the bathroom mirror. He watched his own face as the dryer roared to life. Pulses of air made the skin of his hands dance. The Scimitar bellowed pleasure in its work. 29’s frozen hands were returning to him. He smiled. He was having a handsome day.

29 stood before the Scimitar for hours. His hands went from cold to warm to uncomfortably hot. From wet to dry to desiccated. His skin began to harden and crack. The meat underneath began to roast. Feeling sharpened into pain, pain into desire.

Hands, particularly the hands of a petite man like 29, don’t hold much meat. What flesh there was was stringy and sour-tasting. There is some justice in my tasting this way, he thought while chewing.

The roar of the Scimitar deafened 29. When the guards found the deserter, his skeleton hands rattling in the synthetic wind, he couldn’t hear their commands to surrender. The guards took photos of his rare self-mutilation. Then they shot 29 and put him in the wastebasket, which was happy to have a job again.

Cake

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 11.47.39 AM

So at age 34 I decided I wanted to become a German chocolate cake. One specific German chocolate cake, sold at a vaguely upscale local chain grocery.

My human biological existence, I never questioned that. I loved my wife, my progeny, some of my acquaintances. I fed on their love.

I suspect in their own human cosmologies, they were world-spiders too. Love was flies. Prayers were prayed for the fly community to prosper, to produce a steady supply of sacrifices. That is a gruesome metaphor but life is a gruesome metaphor. I ate and was eaten, I was love. I was also flies.

There was one very hard moment. A close friend of mine—we were out for drinks—says to me, you shouldn’t be a cake. Make cakes instead, if you’re hung up on cake. Become anything but a cake. Become an animal or a ghost, become a box of crackers. Cakes? Cakes are the worst, he said. Think about how caught up in themselves cakes are, how insular and low-stakes the cakecommunity is. Who, he asked, wants to do their time in that shitty prison? Who wants to be a mound of ingredients and then sit there in a pan and become this inane treat, go through that sordid transformation from a tub of glop into this terrible uterine thing and then they paint you like a cheap rotten god? My friend actually says all of this to me in the middle of some random downtown bar. He says, Don’t get caught up in cake life. I nodded like I was hearing him, like his points were flies to sustain me, like he wasn’t eating my only serious dream.

5k

stock-photo-18121156-group-of-runners-in-a-cross-country-race

Confused cries rose out of the trapped civilians as they winced against wave after wave of swirling moneygarbage. They still clutched wildly through their tears at the passing greenbacks. I could see them all, cowering together in a lump, between the scissoring legs of the circling joggers. Their eyes were wild with a mix of fright and greed.

enmesh you in my concerns

skeletonemail

If you achieved some larger context the sub-development had traces of inside-out beauty. The template construction and subtle personal deformities could pop. The problem with the subdivision is that the houses were miles apart. This proved inconvenient and lead to brigandry. Also, as an enclave of the airport, the subdivision proved difficult for goods, services, and first responders to reach. This is why no one was surprised by the following.

House 221 was deep inside the enclave.

Pamela was doing laundry in the manner of a pioneer woman, hanging austere linens to dry in the airport breezes. She was middle-aged but still sexy. She downplayed the sexiness and in fact was not actually constantly appraising her own value as a sexual object but the sex value was irrepressible, it kept expressing itself to the others, who blamed Pamela for this.

The strangers materialized out of the horizon between flaps of a blinding white bedsheet. They were approaching the house with paramilitary caution. Spread into a loose net of consequence, prepared to douse nearly any version of reality the house could cough up. They lacked the bald pride of legal invaders. Their shirts did not say who they were. They did not have walkie talkies. They wore no-iron knit shirts in mostly quiet tones and their jeans were too casual for all but the least consequential office work. They walked with purpose but not as good guys. They delivered menace but not in a clinical way. Two of them were a little fat.

All the trouble the house could offer was Pamela. She was hanging out the washing on a tired clothesline dried out twine. Kevin the beagle was sunning himself on the small concrete patio. He glanced at the visitors but did not get up. None of what followed would compel Kevin to stand up. He was a fine companion but in recent years he had started to smell like serious earwax.

Pamela unfurled a twin-sized sheet in the mellow exhalations of the day. There would be a few more hours of sunlight to dry out the washing. Her dryer was ailing. It seemed to suffer from some respiratory sickness. Clothes somethings barely dried at all, other times they were scorched into aridity. Make the dryer more magic.

She snapped out the sheet and saw the six of them. They had brown hair. She exhaled in frustration.

“Who are you?”

“We’re student loans.” The answer came from behind her. She wheeled around to see that there were six more approaching from the other side. None of them were fat but they all had brown hair.

She did not respond immediately. The visitors glowered in an attempt at menace. This only deepened her confusion.

“Like, student loan officers?”

“No,” said a pudgy brown-haired man at the center of the group approaching from behind.

“So … are you selling student loans?”

“No.”

“We’re actually student loans. Personified.” This was a second man, a the other fat one.

Another unappreciative silence followed.

“I guess I am confused. I wasn’t expecting anyone. And now that you identify yourselves as student loans I guess I would have expected you to be sheaves of paper and neatly labeled file folders. If you were material at all. Just sort of gently throbbing clip art was more what I expected, if I had been expecting.”

“Cut the shit lady. Do you have the money?

“What money?”

“GOD DAMMIT I said cut the shit, not extend the shit additionally. One hundred fifty nine dollars and fifty six shitting cents.”

“I think there’s been some confusion. I don’t have any student loans.”

“DOLLAR SIGN ONE FIVE NINE PERIOD FIVE SIX,” the first pudgy brown-haired man roared. His roar was alarming but not impressive.

“I think you have the wrong house,” Pamela said. She stood up straight and puffed herself out to seem assertive.

One of the men shrieked. It was unclear if this was meant to intimidate or merely express anguish at the non-forthcoming payment. As the breeze carried his shout away, the other 11 men spoke as one.

“DOLLAR”

“But I don’t have any student loans.”

“SIGN”

“I went to college on a scholarship.”

“ONE”

“My grandparents tucked some money away in a mutual fund and that’s how I paid for my books and apartment.”

“FIVE”

“I had a job waitressing too.”

“NINE”

“Are you sure you have the right house?”

“PERIOD”

“Maybe you guys should leave?”

“FIVE”

“Stop saying numbers please, it’s upsetting me.”

“SIX”

She looked around in exasperation.

“Maybe you don’t have loans but your kid probably does.” This was the pudgier of the two pudgy brown-haired men. The other ten men also had brown hair, but most of them had acceptable or even admirable BMIs.

“I don’t have any children.”

“Oh you do. It’s your kid. I can tell when people lie,” the pudgier pudgy man shrieked. The eleven other men resumed the chant.

“Why would I lie about not having children?”

“No children?” The shrieker shrieked again. He flapped his arms as if to propel himself away from her statement.

“We’ll take your kids if you don’t pay,” the less pudgy of the two pudgier men hissed.

The chant sped up a tick.

“Why are you here? How did you even find this house? I don’t owe you anything. I’ve never taken out a loan in my life. I am not sure you all aren’t menacing me on my own property.”

The chant had devolved to just “DOLLAR.”

“I could probably gun all of you down under one of those stand your ground laws.”

“Do you even own guns?” the pudgiest man asked.

“Not enough to occlude all twelve of us in one gesture, one macromolecular gesture.” The pudgy but not pudgiest man was now jogging in place, his extra flesh trailing behind his bones and muscles

“That isn’t how guns work,” Pamela said. “It is more about the number of bullets I would have.”

“But do you even have guns, bro?”

“Why should I answer that?”

“Do you have enough guns for us to borrow? Each of us would like a gun.”

She looked back at Kevin the beagle.

“We would like the guns to be the same gun or at least look like the same gun.”

“I only have six guns.”

“Aren’t there six of us in some sense?”

“There are twelve of you.”

“Your point being.”

“Are you going to use the guns here or bring them back?”

“Can we decide later?” one of the skinnier men, not the shrieking arm flapper, said.

A second skinnier non-shrieker stepped forward. He smelled nice.”I feel like asking what we’re going to do with the guns is rude. Either you can help or you can’t.”

“Yeah even imposing the roughest of conditions on our guns tarnishes your brand.”

“Well, I feel like having my personal brand threatened by guests is as least as bad as not having enough guns for people who didn’t call ahead and also wanting to know how my guns, if I have six guns, will be used.”

“We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

“Can I tell you all something? I feel close to you. I’ve been taking courses at night. I’m paying cash though. Out of my savings.”

A dozen different versions of “No” went off like flashbulbs.

“Never do that,” the pudgiest man said.

“You guys aren’t even real student loans. You’re just regular loans.”

One of the non-pudgy men bellowed like a cow witnessing an atrocity. What would even upset a cow that much.

“Can we do work around the house?” “Do you have anything to eat”

“What do you all eat?”

“Money.”

“My doctor said I should eat six small meals instead of three regular sized meals.”

“Define small.”

“He or she said $159.56 was the one true portion size.”

“Please lady it has been so long.”

“I don’t understand. When you wake up in the morning as a student loan, what darkness does it feel like you have returned from?

“That’s not really how it works.”

“We’re not like you.”

“The fuck we aren’t,” the arm-flapping shrieker said.

“How long have you lived here?” another skinny man asked.

“Is it paid for?” the pudgy not pudgiest man asked.

“Are you paid for?” Pamela snapped back.

contempt of the winged for the terrestial

(c) thomas prior

Deserter 1 wandered off during the rainstorm that ended the battle. He had fought enough for himself but not enough for his immediate supervisors. They found him sleeping under a stately elm, his phone on his chest. Lullabies streamed brightly from the device despite the small speakers and weak reception. They hung him from the shade tree. Later, as busy work, the interns chopped down the tree. After a succession of education processes, the tree was a stack of treated lumber. A different set of interns used the lumber to built a coffin for Deserter 1.

Deserter 2 was a computer programmer. He would have rather done something more active, less brainy and indoors, but his angels were sedentary angels, and they did not wish to chase him around the world. He was a reliable programmer, prone to moral panics about his incremental assistance to the military-industrial complex. The nature of his employment was not the angels’ responsibility. Choices led to other choices led to programming military drones. He only qualified as a deserter just barely.

Deserter 3 was only on base to use a relative’s purchasing privileges at the dispensary PX. One of the security wraiths denatured him. Fight or flight reflexes.

Deserter 4 was a security wraith. She grew up in a stable and loving home but over time developed persistent and debilitating deficit of self-love. She walked off the job. They found her in the mailbox of a vacant farmhouse two counties over. They dropped the mailbox in a car shredder.

Deserter 5 stole a car. He drove fast and straight enough to transcend earthly justice. At present writing he lives on an asteroid, one of the shitty ones. Extradition treaties with the space bacteria are a work in progress.

Deserter 6 was an asteroid.

Deserters 7 through 1,001 TK

not just a drugstore but a family

A Harpooned Whale 1845 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

—Morning.

—Hey man.

—Muggy today

—Sure is. Fall’s coming though. When it collapses it collapses on me.

—You are a big one for self-reprehension.

—You are the spider that lives in my driver’s side mirror.

—You are the pale mutant god that steers the world.

I extended my hand in the gentlest way I knew, making a pincer of forefinger and thumb.

He extended a leg.

redshotWe didn’t fit together. I left my hand a few microns from him and he tapped me. I think we both had some cultural ideas about the relative hygiene of the other.

—Pete.

—Charlemagne.

—Charlemagne, huh.

—Yeah my mom was a medievalist. Which you know in hindsight maybe a medievalist would go for a less obvious name from that chapter of the world’s diary.

—I dunno at a certain remove significance dries up and crumbles. Only the really big bland sturdy meanings survive history’s malignant neglect.

—I don’t disagree. And there is some context for Charlemagne as a family name. But it just never felt like me, you know. Something percussive and more Anglo-Saxon like Scott would have suited me. I dunno. I’m not mad about it. Why stress over it? I’m gonna be here for a lifetime, my version of infinity, long enough to drop my baggage off.

—I hear that. Well I’m headed to the coffee place, do you want anything?

—Can you bring me some fruit flies?