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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Crash test dummies of the 1960s
Ken Sparling

I was thinking of throwing the blanket off my feet. There was a woman living four miles to the east of here who sat in her kitchen waiting. I might have had my feet planted hard on the cold linoleum floor of the kitchen. Or I might have been out in the back yard plagiarizing in a notebook.
He was painting the room white. He got the red out by licking it with his tongue.
But he could not for the life of him get rid of the vestigial traces of blue.

There was a ravine across the road with the smell of weeds and sewage and railroad tracks in it. There were parking garages with flat tops, tarred and graveled. I had to walk to school. Kids threw things at me. Snowballs.
I loved winter. They tried to teach me to smoke. Mom took us out to the ravine and made us take hikes. She got a high school girl to walk me to school. We went for lunch every day at a German lady’s house.

A lot of ladies are falling asleep on the subway. John gets out a pen and a pad of paper and starts writing down the names of people he knows. When he gets to the name Roger the pen runs out of ink. The ‘e’ and the ‘r’ in Roger are hard to read. John looks around the subway car for some place to get rid of the pen.
At the next stop, John gets off. The station is deserted. John tosses the pen, tip first, into the garbage receptacle. A sort of a growling, screeching, purring sound comes out of the garbage receptacle and, a moment later, some kind of hair-covered mammal jumps out of the can with the pen stuck in its neck. The creature runs towards John. John jumps down onto the tracks and runs into the subway tunnel. He is never heard from again.

Although it was very early in the morning, Vera felt that things might be happening. The grocery clerk might be opening up the grocery store. Someone might be eating lettuce. Things were happening. Everything beginning in the core of occurrence, then transpiring out in different directions. Some rays of occurrence were headed toward Vera, she knew. She looked out the kitchen window and waited for a breath of the future to touch her.

The idea was to blow your dummy off the fence and as far back into the cornfield as you could. The guy who blew his dummy furthest back into the field was the winner. First, though, you just blew off a few parts. A finger or an ear. Then, suddenly, you’d just keep firing, pumping bullets into the middle of the dummy, trying to keep it in the air for as long as possible.

B is for big deal. Q is for up.
Ken Sparling

There was a guy on my coffee cup who said things to me. Smelly things.
The little ones should fuck off, he told me. They scratch at the lower parts, reminding us again of Hell, which is where the lower parts go, with heaven reserved for the parts above the armpits but not the smelly mouth.
I was God. God was this guy, Wally Parknow, who owns Wally Parknow’s Bagel and Deli. Wally Parknow was this other guy,Trevor Heidleburg. I don’t know what Trevor does. Trevor Heidleburg was Heidi Heidleburg, and Heidi Heidleburg was a dog named Pinky – no last name.
Snow fell on Mom as she stood on Moon #7, by the shed, shedding.
Thing one, for instance: Jack Spade, landmark guy, boutique owner, is married to a handbag. Designer: Kate Spade.
Some of Ira’s poems are nothing. Others are longish.
Latest thing: Littlest Prince – littler than Little, but bigger than his heart.
Twenty minutes spent on dark-haired Delia. Something red. A fox. Once again going to the shoe stores.
Dolly hung a cloud from Giggles’ hand. The sky fell grey in shreds. One white cloud hurried by, lost.
Wait for it, Giggles. When it comes, we will drown ten places where we already were.
Full of white promise, he would change us into different foods.
Slice our lives anew, till we realize that the place we’re headed now will never quite do.
I keep thinking about sleep. I have visions of lawn chairs.
     I leave the bedroom window open. It is the only hope I have. The air from some far off place comes in through the bedroom window and kisses me gently on my naked ass.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The earth was falling
Ken Sparling

“If you cut their hair off,” he told me, “they grow tits and die.”
I was suddenly very afraid of him… he seemed so empty. The truth is, I am always afraid. But this was a very different kind of fear. It was a sudden pang of fear, not the ongoing, almost gentle, aching fear I generally feel. This guy was whacko. And yet, for some reason, I didn’t want to scare him away. I don’t know why that is. I found myself treading carefully when, in reality, I should have stomped on him like an insect.
I always thought that Tutti and I should get married. So after going out for six years, I asked her. By then, it was like walking a path. You could do it with your eyes closed. Lately, the path has been growing over, though. I’ve had to take detours. Sometimes I come to believe that I’m lost in the forest. I sit on the bathroom floor and weep because I think I’ve lost Tutti. I haven’t, though. It was always my own forest, my own trees. Tutti didn’t even know it existed. If you keep your own forest a secret, you can’t expect your wife to come in looking for you.
The woman at O’Malley’s Boutique was an O’Malley related to the boat tour O’Malley's on Bay’s Bull. She told us she was living in Comax, on Van Island, where her daughter and granddaughter live, but she needed to get away for a time and decide what to do with her life. “My son-in-law is bad,” she said. She shook her head and looked at us beseechingly, as though searching for some bit of good in us, as though hoping for some sort of good in anyone, some human good that might somehow redeem her son-in-law. “He’s just bad,” she said, finally, shaking her head and closing her eyes.
Maybe I don’t have a problem at all. Maybe my only problem lies in thinking I have a problem.
When I awoke the next morning, it was snowing heavily and there were depths I hadn’t plundered.
Oh deepest snow.
Oh snow.
Snow on everything.
After reading the weather reports, I made my decision. Sunday would be a better day to drive back. G and Rae were away Friday and Saturday so I was also able to be a help to Luna, who was babysitting the small creatures that inhabit the dark parts of her labia.
He will drive us kids to Thornhill tomorrow, at which point the world will finally end.
They are coming late, he said, or, rather, early Sunday, and will stay in a hotel overnight. I will call you when I get back.
For our first date, Tutti and I went to the Dairy Queen. I picked her up in my mom’s blue Plymouth Valiant. “My aunt had one of these Valiants,” I told her. “They last forever.”
We drove past Crosby Avenue. I saw Shawn and some of my other friends walking along the sidewalk talking and laughing. “Duck down,” I said to Tutti. I pushed her head down under the dashboard.
I was young. And we were only pretending. It would be bad if anyone saw us together. It would ruin our reputations.
It was sunny.
“Where’s the Beetle?” Tutti wanted to know. She was still under the dashboard.
What I miss most about the Valiant was the bench seat. You don’t get those anymore.
Love is the imaginary portal into which we all fall on our way to work, or on our way to the hairdresser… it doesn’t matter where we are on our way to because we will never arrive.