Monthly Archives: July 2013

Divider

Please stay on the right side of the highway.
Adhere to the divide as if it were
the color line in a ’60s diner.
Follow along with the throng on your drive
without question, get swept away like an
SS officer with an obsession.
Signal all lane changes so those behind
can more easily pass you by. Maintain
appropriate speeds at all times or face
your fear: red and blue flashing lights in your
rearview mirror. I cannot make this last
point any clearer: do not speed up or
slow down, but continue straight in the same
direction as your peers, and never veer.

EndProgram.txt (excerpt)

“The cause of death was determined to be liquid damage. I am sorry for your dataloss,” says the brown-skinned man at the Customer Service desk.

“Yes. Thank you,” Walter responds, dragging his tongue along the bottom of his burly white mustache. He stands over the Bot, laid at rest in its original packaging, its freshly buffed shell surrounded by decorative bubble wrap. Its unlit LED eyes remain open, two black and empty vessels not-staring at the sky. “Although technically its not my data. I designed the model, but it’s an autonomous intelligence, so I never…” Walter hesitates. He drags his hand down his face, stretching out the skin and wiping spittle from his upper lip. “We never really had much of a relationship.”

The Customer Service representative grips Walter’s right hand with his own, then places his left hand atop their joined shake. He closes his eyes and nods solemnly and says, “We must all grieve in our own ways. No man should have to bury a son.” He looks at Walter but does not move his hands.

Walter swallows and tries to collect himself. “I…thank you. But again, I just designed the model. It’s not my son, it’s…” he says, slowly pulling his arm away. A look of disgust and confusion washes over his face. “Is the hard drive…where is whatever was inside of him?” He waves a hand over the Bot’s face, closing the thin metal lids that protect its optical receptors. The unliving alloy on its face is freezing to his touch.

“We replaced all the hardware after the autopsy, so everything that was there should still be inside of it. Sometimes we do reclaim or refurbish parts if it’s in the Bot’s contract, but even then we usually wait until after the funeral.” The brown-skinned man smiles sadly at Walter. He bobs their cluster of hands up-and-down like buoys on a calm sea before he finally lets go.

“Could you figure out why it did that? Why it would…I thought I programmed these machines to be smarter than that. If it’s something I did then I should know so I can fix it. If you recovered any data at all then maybe –”

The man behind the desk bows his head and slowly shakes it left to right. “The liquid damage to the hard drive is too great. The corrosion is irreversible. Now, if you don’t have any other questions, I can take the unit into the back so we can begin preparing it for tomorrow’s showing.”

Walter’s face remains neutral as he looks the Bot up and down once more. He reaches into the box and lifts its clunky, lifeless left arm. With his other hand he traces the scratches where its forearm extension meets the grabber and the end, then lets the ingot extremity thunk back into its crate.

“No,” Walter says as he looks back at the brown-skinned man. “That should be all. Thank you.” He watches the man roll the coffin away. He does not cry.

Tiffany: Thoughts on Mr. Rose

I’d fantasized exactly once about Mr. Rose. The fantasy, if you can call it that—the thought—it went like this: We were out to dinner, at some restaurant that doesn’t exist, or maybe it does, I don’t know. But we were there, and then we got up, and there was a rose, a red one, and he gave it to me, and we walked from the restaurant to his apartment where he took me into his bed. There was never any sound, no words at the dinner, which now, I think was in the Space Needle, which is really weird, and I never pictured any details about the sex, I guess, except I knew that we were having it kind of like you do in those PG-13 movies where it’s happening under mountains of blankets, and there’s lots of rustling, lots of dramatic movement, so much closeness, the weight of implication, but nothing’s never shown. My life as a montage. A highlight reel.

The thing about the dream, the fantasy, whatever it is or was, is that in it, I know I was older I don’t know how old, but I wasn’t me. I was future-me, and everything about that is what made it okay, I remember lying in my real bed thinking about it. About him, or not him, and me, or not me, and the soundtrackless scene. His walls were a sort of terra-cotta, but now that I think about it, I guess that’s the hazy color everything is in dreams. He was on top of me only, and bigger than me, always bigger than me, and his covers were brown, and the sheets were brown, and now that I think about it I could never see his eyes. I kept looking up in the dream-thing, past his shoulders, and there was a ceiling fan that kept spinning. It was gold-rimmed, and it went around about a million times, and we were listening to a song—again, one I couldn’t hear—but it was the perfect song, and the rose was on the bedside table. It was the only bright thing in the room.

Although I laid there in my bed, the real bed in the apartment with my mother across the hall, I had started with my hand between my legs. But one thing I remember, maybe the thing I remember most from the whole fantasy is that I stopped touching. It carried me off to sleep. I never finished touching myself.

This is July?

Cold and damp swept in like a window shopper,
lingering awkwardly, fingering the merchandise,
making its presence known but offering no hope
of an exchange.

What I want is to stay here, swaddled, with no
reason to venture out into this sneak preview of
November. What I want is to not feel waterlogged,
heavy with dread,

soaked in a whole lot of trips not taken, staring
down another bleak midwinter and waiting for
the temperature to creep up enough to not make
my bones ache

with it, this longing.

The 25th, Morning

Branches dance and sway
The sounds we call Christmas music
Your brown hair in the wind

haiku for roscoe’s house of chicken and waffles

deep fried smothered in
rich and congealing gravy
on a waffle, obvs.

the black girls whisper
the white girls giggle and point
while i stuff my face

butter on butter
syrup on syrup on grits
STOP! says the jew’s heart

Red Carpet

Please excuse me while I celebrate my
latest accomplishment. Even though no
one knows if it’s even worth the price paid
for craft services each day on set, I’m
still betting the press will want to be here
to herald such an auspicious event.
Please come honor me, and then afterwards
you can view my potentially shitty
movie. And once you’ve clapped through the credits,
join me for a drink at the studio’s
expense and share your thoughts* with the entire
cast and crew. (*Only positive reviews.)
And who cares if you think it completely
sucks? We’ll be doing another next month.