Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Person Singular

Contains previously released material

Vend your pathos. Sell your soul. Take that which makes you you out and throw it against the gallery wall of the planet. Caked with everyone else's graffiti. Their scribblings, their sluiced, processed, made-whole realities making that experiential smush-in with your brand name candies, making way more than nothing. Vend your critical theories, your reconstituted deconstructions zerosummed to your new place on the map. You're real and alive now. No raw nerve you, not-so-freshly scrubbed, got your past ready-to-hand, uncaring about the cogito or the latest synaptic wonders of [do you have any pills to sell?] buzzed atmospheres shot through with models' baby tees.


So I'm sitting on the train next to someone who has successfully magizinified her life. What makes her happy, and why care? Elephant herds will tend to baby elephants that aren't their own if the babies' parents die. It's the cute face that compels them. Adults draw on the same instinct when they coo over other people's children, and men do it when want a woman who has hit the genetic jackpot. Here comes the Battery Guy.

"Eight batteries for a dollar. Eight of 'em for a dollar. Eight batteries, one dollar. Dollar gets you eight. It's a special. Eight batteries for a dollar. Eight of 'em for a dollar. Is that a good book miss? That's an awfully pretty dress. Ha ha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

"Eight batteries for a dollar. Eight of 'em for a dollar. Eight batteries for a dollar. Eight for a dollar. Dollar gets you eight. Whole box? Fif-teen Gs!"

Always hoping for that awesome conflux of Morlock scrappers. Battery Guy goes full-contact on Asian M&M Salesman. Then they team up in the colliding iron cage death match against Blind Accordion Guy and the "United Homeless Organization" spokesman who yells at 135 decibels in an enclosed space to be heard over all other sounds on a moving subway car. M&Ms sprayed pell-mell in tag team dirty fighting for Battery Guy, who trips up the UHO screamer even as his own partner's ears start to bleed.

It never happens. Instead, the doors open. Don't even try to look at her ass as she leaves.

Up out of the caves, people who couldn’t face the morning-after mirror shuffle through their Sunday afternoon, feigning low maintenance.


The walls have had the relevance removed from them. You're set to make this thing over in your image. Maybe nothing so grand, Exley's admonishment on awesome Vanity grounding those minor victories which nevertheless lie ahead for you. You can find the right facts and that's enough to survive the fallout of the New Economy, surely. And jeez, you're social; that has to count for something.

Visual Commentator. Try giving that as your job title next time you apply for a loan.

"Artist not good enough for you, son?"

Well, I'm not really concerned with form.

"Oh really? You don't like pretty girls?"

Is this going to take long?

So you haven't been granted anything. So what. Remind yourself. You know how to find the facts and you have values. You are loyal.


There's a task at hand. You are newly arrived here. That's not entirely accurate. There was, of course, always the longing for something bigger. It sure wasn't the South. Respect and disdain for tradition and Baptist political sway don't much set you apart here. It's all someplace else. If it wasn't here to begin with, it better have come from overseas. If it's not said with an accent it won't translate. And we don't mean twang. Wrapped in dolce things, with verite´or at least its hint, adaptable for parlor conversation or screen.

Task. Hand. Focus. It's not the city's fault that you haven't conquered yourself yet.


Picnic lunch. Barely tasted dressed mesclun in a plastic bowl marked with a china pencil.

So how long have you lived in the city?

"About eight years now. And you? How are you liking it so far?"

Discovering new things

"Like cocaine?"

Whoa! Where did THAT come from?


So is there anything about French in particular that intrigues you?


Facile. Two-faced. Fascinating. Snippy. Stilted. Unsafe.

So what is actual communication anyway? Not this.


Avoid the bars. Avoid the latest opening. Avoid the part of yourself that would swoop through with the rest of the gutter falcons. Better served by spot nightclub anonymity. Just wait a couple of weeks. You'll be eminently approachable then. Might have to buy a new shirt.

Divorced for five years now. Two successful relationships since then. One of these girls (women? gromen?) got married five months after they broke up. The other's engaged. Well, it's been postponed.

Dating's going--well?/poison in the--it's the connecting with someone else thing that's not going. He knows people but he doesn't know people. That is, he now knows some people with whom, on occasion, he can communicate and hang out and have a decent time, but he isn't feeling like he really understands anyone's motivations or spot on the planet or space within themselves or even the space they present as theirs.


The experiential smush-in is less satisfying than the yogurt version. Normally, you can anticipate the pleasure of the occasion in advance. The dessert will be tailored to your liking. Will you have M&Ms or Oreos in yours? Butterfinger maybe? You wait about two minutes on a hot day so that it will be slightly melty, the chocolate and sugar hitting you at the base of the brain, in the spot which handles orgasms and paper cuts. Time after time, you can order the same thing and not have disappointment, barring the counter person being stoned or pissed-off or bored, in which case you might have more smushed into your yogurt than you bargained for.

Smush-ins of the lived variety, on the other hand, are a less consistent affair. It’s what you get when you start combining one or more too many mad scientist variables. Too many things crammed into too small a space. Going to meet the person you're dating to find she's talking to someone in a quiet corner, for instance. Extra Butterfinger, please.

So talk. Find out what’s on her mind. Span the disconnect.

"I'd have to make at least $200,000 to live here."

No you wouldn't.

"Yes I would. Shoes are very important to me."

So I can eat your pussy but I can't put my arm around you in public?

"Is this going to take long?"