Thursday, May 29, 2014

TROOPS

by furious nomads, protect its approaches

TROOPS

such as Texas Petrochemical, which provides its neighbor Goodyear with butadiene

TROOPS

who has appeared mostly in supporting roles

TROOPS

Let every lesson be of an elevating and ennobling character.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Streak - 97

They each have one of my arms. We go down a flight of stairs and bang through double doors, down a hallway, bang through double doors again, and we’re in a kitchen with hundreds of people making food, enormous trays of food arrayed on shiny tables and stacked in carts. Napoleons and chocolate eclairs and something red. I’m pretty sure I’ve been here before. Maybe in a dream. Then we burst out another door and down a little set of stairs and out another door and we’re outside now, outside the casino, in a strange space you never see in Vegas: a loading area, strictly utilitarian, with chipped and faded yellow paint on the curbs and walls. Letters and numbers stenciled on the pavement, communicating something ordinary people aren’t meant to understand.

There’s an SUV parked on the other side of the lot and that’s where we’re going now. Joe and Matt push me into the back seat, close the door, climb in front. We’re driving now and I look up from where I’m lying and I can see out the window, the tops of the neon signs and the immaculate palm trees.

“Guys, guys! Where we going guys?” I ask them in a shaky voice.

“Need you to lie low awhile,” one of them says, which one is which I don’t know. “Just until the operation is complete.”

“The operation?”

“You know, this.”

“This?!”

“What’s happening now,” the other one says. “Try to stay focused on what’s happening now.”

“I’m in the back seat of a car,” I find myself saying.

“Good. And?”

“I’m lying down, looking up through the window.”

“Go on.”

“I can see the sky upside-down.”

“Good.”

I feel a warm feeling. A good, warm feeling, suddenly.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

First Pages of Novels That Won't Be Written - 1

I bunked with Tim from Davenport, Iowa, who brushed his teeth compulsively. He’d do it right after waking up, before meditations, after meditations, before prostrations, after prostrations, before and after meals. The bristles of his brush were tangled and curled, rust-hued by the blood that seeped from his lacerated gums. Tim had a haunted look. A lot of us did. But he did worse. Something bad must have happened to him along the line. He didn’t say what. I didn’t ask. We weren’t supposed to talk about that stuff, anyway. We talked about our practice. We talked about our meditation. We talked about Richard. We peered at each other, trying to discern a sign of doubt. We tried to keep each other in line.

“Ijn’t he magnifishent?” Tim asked me through a pink froth of blood and toothpaste one morning, spitting little flecks of fluoridated foam in my direction.

“Yes. He’s magnificent,” I replied, dutifully. But not just dutifully. He was magnificent.

Tim spat into the basin, sipped from his tumbler, gargled, and spat again.

“I mean, the teachings just yesterday. I mean, wow.

“Right?”

“I started to have that feeling I used to get when I still got high, except it was, you know—”

“Yeah, I know—”

Pure. It was pure, like a beam of light, you know.” Tim made funny, wincing faces. From the pain, I guessed.

“I know.”

Most times the women were separated from the men. This was to protect us and to nurture us, to further us along our paths, and who could disagree? Would you disagree? Except during Pairing Time. Pairing Time was when Richard matched members of each sex according to his own beautiful, crazy logic, and we were sent away to fornicate. Then just as soon as we began to fall in love, or in hate, or whatever happens, he’d pair us with someone new. If there were leftover ones he’d pair them with each other—two men, two women, forced to engage each other sexually, to confront themselves, their darkest fears, or perhaps desires. It didn’t matter. This was all a means to an end and we knew it.

In early spring of my second year I began to hear the wails and moans of women

TROOPS

That said, a going-to-jail note was different

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A young man ranted in some rapid-fire mumbo-jumbo on the train. No one even glanced in his direction, as far as I could see. I imagined myself intervening if he really freaked out. But of course he didn’t. They never do.
The walk down Seventh Street, with the trees and the street shaded by the rows of brownstones, and the approach to the brighter, open space of Eighth Avenue, reminds me of some place I’ve seen in dreams, or in an old book of fairy tales, or both.

TROOPS

I uncovered it, and a gentle breeze quickly fanned it into

TROOPS

But orders were orders

Friday, May 02, 2014

TROOPS

John smiled within his helmet.

TROOPS

His mention of "the invisible government" was, I believe,