AM Shift

Sunday, July 23, 2006

From the Surfing Thread

I remember the long ride through Lexington to Daytona. I remember Wild Palms. I remember the ocean breeze on a 107 degree march day. I remember the condominiums with their ample supply of cochroaches on the terra firma. But most of all I remember the ocean itself. Being in it, surrounded by it, awash in it. I remember the boogie board holding me there - static in the deadliest of possible environments. And though I never thought I'd see it, I was immersed in it. The water was salt to touch taste and smell. The roaring tides were like nothing I'd experienced before. Man cannot make an ocean. Only the ocean can make a man.

What makes the silence tick?

What makes silence tick?

Is it the heart that pounds in the opening moments of the silver screen, or that just about to happen feeling as the kiss crops into sight at the corner of a terminal? Or is it something deeper? Is it the philosophy of time as aggrandized in the past to make us historically aware of the awareness that we now have that everything has changed, and it has.

Is it the awareness that now that we are no longer riding the clock, but the bitstream into inorganic nights in front of terminalls shelling out our brains into the inner space for our mesmerizing pseudoneigbors in the galaxy that isn't quite there, on the superhighway to nowhere in particular and everywhere all at once?

What makes silence tick?

Is it the cold spaces in front of air conditioners to cool our summers or space heaters to warm our winters? Don't eskimos live in igloos, and don't those in the Sahara wear wool? Really against this backdrop, what makes silence tick...?

What makes silence tick, as a thousand million musicians go unlistened to while ipods are loaded with commercialized farting reggaeton and jabber and even the telephones pump the crap. What happened to all those marching band marchers and cheerleading cheerleaders before the clock went dead and silence ceased to tick?

What happened to all of those avid readers of Asimov and Hawthorne and the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown when the computer and the playstation stole their minds at age 5. In favor of turning the page, we flip a switch to reboot for the next cosmological tick into silence's grand opera, bringing us one step closer to building the ultimate death machine.

What makes silence tick, when you are no longer here, or I am no longer here to scream with a fist at the unleavened horror of all we have wrought? What makes silence tick when my epitaph says writer, poor...2009? What makes silence tick when you have to live with my consequences or the fact that I plan to take down the planet with one fell swoop...?

Misinterpretation is your enemy as it was mine. Don't blame me when the shrill shrieks of rage come pouring in. Because the acid free paper, which I choose to burn, is what makes the silence tick.

What makes a stones throw ripple?
Is it two children standing on a beach at 5?
Is it the gift of a jar of collected stones at a sicillian funeral 30 some odd years later?
Is it the stones that were thrown in between?

What sympathies lie for the stones that were thrown? What pieces to the puzzle were never implemented, that left me sitting here on the doorstep flicking cigarettes into the driveway? While somewhere in the vastness of Manhattan he's driving a Jeep and trying to stop the import / export of the never ceasing Narcotics trade.

What gave him the right to escape the rush of the Falls, and enter the Jungle of Urban night...

There are no Honeymoons in Vegas. There are no Honeymoons anymore. The skies darken with the collusions of men and women falling to the darkness of the gaming arena, as though the holographic fighters of chiba might be all that's left once they put the boxing ring up in this town.

The Splash park has been sold. There won't even be water in a city of water. It will all be sand and chips, like that home away from home in the Nevada Desert, so much so, that Art Bell won't be able to lay claim to what once was Area 51. The real aliens are among us, they are oh so near, walking in their Ikons and leisure suits, a stones throw away from that next fix at the gaming table. A stones throw away from that next fix at the bar. A stone's throw away from the beautiful room service prostitute.

What makes a stone's throw ripple like a typhoon? What is missing? Is it the color? The color that we are all to accustomed to having now? Nothing matters in the darkness, of a scannered glow, with swipecards and identifications, and lasers in every grocery mart.

The time is coming in the Lucky Dragon where you'll be able to throw your stones at the loose change machines and scratch off your luck for what amounts to nothing more than a stone. It used to be the penny. Now it will be the nickel stone, the thing that will engraft itself into the next consciousness.

So where are these two children on the beach...
They've gone their seperate ways, one into action, the other into solitude and expression in sand...Perhaps the one is the stone, and perhaps the other is the ripple. The ripple is what will last, the ripple is what will shake the foundations of continents, the ripple is what will cause the tsunami. But as with all of them, the ripple will fade...

But the stone will one day wash ashore again...
Perhaps as sand, or a pebble, or even part of a larger rock. Only to be thrown again, for another birth, and another funeral.


Where is my flying car?
Where is my flying car?

Or for that matter, where is my car at all.

Of late I've discovered that I am a great deal more pedestrian than has often been characteristic. I think there is something to learn from this.

You don't need a car if the other people around you have them. If you are entertaining enough, someone will always provide you with food and a good laugh.

I think I learned a bit of this from my Irish friend patrick, who got along without a car for a good long time before he ever got one, and now that he has one he treasures it, even though it is a Geo Metro. For one, it is fuel efficient, and for two, no matter how many miles he put on it, it was always for something productive that furthered his career.

Now, it would seem, having squandered all of my resources, I'm falling to the same trouble, carlessness. I always hoped I'd have the Mr. Fusion thing from Spielberg's movie. Unfortunately, I'm not lucky enough to have a Mad Scientist next door, I have to do that part all on my own.

So for now, and since the availability of this system is here, whatever world this represents, real or fictional, whether Penguin will ever chronicle any of this seriously, I'll be yammering and hammering away, to try to keep the story going for as long as I can hold out, or at least until something better comes along. Like the next fine young woman with a vehicle, which for all of my best intentions, may never come about.

This is not to say I'm a "gangster of love" like the stupid Axe commercial would tell you, I'd much prefer to play tag. Especially since they had all those twisted "order of the serpent" commercials...Who the hell wants a serpent under his armpit? Certainly not me....

Lithos - The answer indeed is blowing in the wind. - Thanks for that bit of Bob Dylan to help ease the evening a bit. I know where my fate lies already for the most part...I just wonder -

Where is my flying car?


What makes the barn dog howl?

What makes the barn dog howl, on a cold rainy night in Iowa, when the wind is whipping up a twister in Kansas, and the last of a murder of crows cah's in the east?

What makes the barn dog howl, when the last crumbs of moldy bread of the grapes of wrath have been trembled into the mouths of babes ahead of him?

What makes the barn dog howl, when the cybersphere juxtaposes against his every will and innate nature to copulate in the fields with the one he longs for most, the one so much like his mother who has left for shady palm springs on a summer cruise with a benzydrine addict?

What makes the barn dog howl, when the milk runs poisonous from the udder of the sow and the deer escape his enchainment?

What makes the barn dog howl? It is this my friend. It is this. It is that he will never leave that old wretched place, the coop all roostered up with pecking hens, until the day when the master's gun, finally does him in.


What sands do sift in winter nights, that snowbirds gather feetlings. The speech of those who sing and cry rise out of the blistering cold and make themselves warm in and of one another.

What sands do sift in winter nights, that snow angels fall to the ground, and find themselves with magic hats to put on men they've found.

In buried ice and cold white north, the people still are warm, as cocoa sings and misty rings rise up from mugs adorned.



What makes silence tick? The click of an automatic glock in a dark alley? The sound of shell casings dropping to the ground as the mavens of war have at it? The pin of a grenade clicking against cement?

What makes silence tick? The photojournalism of a car bomb reeling in the back of your eye as you try to sleep but can't because you've had one too many cups of coffee and listened to one too many bad reports?

What makes silence tick? The ceiling fan swinging over your head as though it might become the noose in a haggard moment of lost hope? For gods sake don't. Don't let the flies and the cat vomit overwhelm you. You have to stick it out until tomorrow, There are brighter days.

What makes silence tick? The standing on the corner under the sunblast of a wintermorning, the feeling of your feet trudging through the old war mill territory as you stumble across the tracks to "get well.."

What makes the silence tick? The cold monotany of the burnt out player piano shell at your parents house that used to once be home to your fingers, where all that now rest are memories and things that you can no longer use.

What makes the silence tick? The stacks of paper shooting through the printer, printing these very words, endlessly, ceaselessly, letting you know, that I made it at least this far, and that the sequel was spun, and that the beginning...and the end, are often the same point.


When the waking hours come about, and the automotons begin to walk, as they tend to do through dreams that are not electric, they chatter up a storm and eat and drink.

When the waking hours come about, the ships set sail for distant shores and return to port in Manhattan, Boston, and those of the Pacific.

The Pacific, The Pacific, how beautiful now in my eyes as I watch the vision of who I've been all my life lived out until now. As I see the place I have not been yet as a possibility along the long stretch from my New York across America.

The Pacific, that beautiful woman that can end it all in a wry smile. The Pacific that wonderous bird singing across the seas of white foam. The Pacific and the Bay, I hear you, but I'll never go that far south.

The Pacific, Redmond, Seattle, Vancouver, the places I've loved since before I knew my own life would turn out to be as vainglorious as it has. The connection through the media radio net that covers my half of the troposphere through Toronto.

The Pacific. When the waking hours come about, even now my dreams do flow.


I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I dream. I dream back to the Fire in the Valley. I dream back to the making of Big Blue. I dream back to the Hard Drive of a Mogul.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I dream. I dream back to the laserstorm of a frenetic rave night under Argon off Jarvis. A burnt out shell of a parking ramp turned into a party on Nitrous.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I dream. I dream back to Operation Desert Storm and not wanting to go to war. I dream back to all of the anti-war sentiment then.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I dream. I dream back to Eastman Kodak and the surrounding village and Java Joes and Rochester and Park Avenue, and Middle Eastern Cuisine that was still safe for the palate.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I dream. I dream back to buying a laptop with College money at Office Depot and bartering for the best price among competitors.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I dream of the sparrows themselves, the ones I fed for 2 years while answering monotonous call after monotonous call in the summer shade of Falls St. Faire.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I think of them as lovers searching for each other in the mist of morning springtime buds. So many passed my way on those mornings in the shade.

I see the sparrows dart among the trees and I walk among them, dreaming of dreaming, of dreams to come. And I know that as they do, the sparrows will ceaselessly dart...

Among the trees.


On opening the phonebook, I see a million names. A million names of a million people without stories. If only I could write one for each one. I'd have a monolithic tower of my own babble to stand on.

On opening the phonebook, One of them might have been a bartender with a relationship quite out of sorts with his landlord by the Country Club parkway apartment.

On opening the phonebook, One of them might have been a swindler, a con-artist, a vagabond. A Bankrobber even, someone with serious investments in the night world.

On opening the phonebook, One of them might have been a straight razor business suit wearer banker. Totally to the contrary of the former. Perhaps his target in some past life where they collided in the same urban streets.

On opening the phonebook, cruising through the digital pages, one of them might have been a woman of mystery, with dark hair and dark eyes. The kind that Martin Amis might write about in a follow up novel. Perhaps the victim of a crime, perhaps the perpetuator of one.

On opening the phonebook, one of them might have worn jewelery, or donned cloaks, or worn a mask to an orgy, or run his fingers across a violin string. One of them might have been a gypsy sworn to secrecy.

On opening the phonebook, one of them might have been a pauper, a breadmaker, a paige. One of them might have been a beer keg toter, or a fraternity drop out.

On opening the phonebook, these all might be the same person wrapped in one, they might be you, they might be me. But on any given day, opening the phone book, there is only one story told.

And that is of the opener.


What is it like when someone rains on your parade? Its like that time you vomitted drunk in your own driveway, except that you can't vomit, you just feel sick all day.

What is it like when someone rains on your parade? Its like that black cat that crossed your path just before the ladder fell on your head and smashed the mirror behind you.

What is it like when someone rains on your parade? Its like someone dumped garbage off a balcony onto you. And then hosed down the balcony.

But you know what? It feels great knowing that they have to do all that to get you down, just to try to climb out of their own cave of frustration. Because in the end, dirty, smashed, used up, and generally tainted. You come out smelling like begonias.



What makes silence tick? Is it the water dripping from the basement faucet? Liquid as it is, splattering against the rusted drain?

What makes silence tick? Is it the stone skipping? The dog howling? The rain on the parade? The opening of the phone book?

What makes silence tick? Is it the steps click clack of the Amish Horse of Pennsylvania's Liberty Bells? Is it the roar of its incessant superbowl crowds?

What makes the silence click? When there is no time and we rest comfortably in dimension Z looking at it all through coke bottle glasses as we uuber cruise into the future?

What makes the silence click? Is it my fingers on these keys? My hands on these dice I cast on the craps table? These incessant voices rambling on and on in my head about the silence?

What makes the silence click? Is it the motorcade as the president idly rides by a band of toothy protestors and watches them get pepper sprayed?

What makes the silence click? Is it the cat purring from the chair with the man on speed? And if so, is he killing the cat, or does the cat in some sort of twisted way enjoy it?

What makes the silence click? Is it Dali's Clocks or Monet's Lillies, or Kafka's Giant Roach? Who makes the determination of what makes the silence click, am I the one, or am I just looking on, making some gestures and letting you decide for yourself?

What makes the silence click?

And why is it suddenly so silent.