12 Cautionary Tales
Sal Salasin

Some of these works have appeared previously in Joe Soap's Canoe (England), Exquisite Corpse, The Poetry Magazine of the Lower East Side, Rant, The North (England), Oasis (England), Sensitive Skin, Another Chicago Magazine, foolscap (England), Scratch (England), Oxygen, New American Writing, San Francisco Poetry Journal, Through the Cracks, the Poetry Project Newsletter, Talisman, and Jejune.

February 21, 1995
Nothing to prove, nothing to hide, and nothing to lose. You figure it out. Like Jimmy Swaggert, I believe in the sanctity of marriage which is 900 channels and nothing to watch. I watch Mysteries of the Bible and wonder who could possibly believe all that crap. No wonder Christians are scary. "Darling," I would say, "Your money's happiness is all that money." I tell my girlfriend how much I'll miss her when god replaces her with two new girlfriends.

You'll be lying in chalk. In New Jersey, already, in parts. Measured for a wooden kimono, Casper. Very street. Famous Last Words: "Let's do it" (Gary Gilmore).

February 25, 1995

Next up, doglike carnivores join the search for food. In my dream, I find myself on Montel Williams engaged in pointless argument with three slatterns and some guy with thinning, slicked back hair. And now I need a moment of silence while I commune with the Mother Ship. What is Eckankar and the life of Eck? Like living in Pittsburgh, if you call that living. That was then, this is now. That's the way it is, that's the way it still is, and that's the way it's going to be.

I don't want to change the world, I just want to change the channel. "Hi. I'm Catherine the Great and I'll be your waiter today. Come around and tell me the story of your life sometime." People in love will say anything. Like "road pizza" or "prosecutorial misconduct." In my dream, I'm standing naked in a ruined landscape on a ruined world and all the animals are standing around saying, "It was man, he did it."

February 27, 1995

My girlfriend likes to ask me, "What year is it? Who's president?" She likes to see if my brain is totally rotten. We have these pet phrases we say to each other like "keep your fucking hands on the car."

I don't know why people hassle me, I'm a lifelong contributor to the social security administration. Hey! If the ends don't justify the means, what does? It's a franchise, like Jiffy Lube. And probably gang related. They say they love you but would they pay $5 to park in Venice, California? Not!! Your best friend is probably inflatable.

March 3, 1995

Well, I'm sorry, I have to move on now. There are dozens of people here waiting to kiss my ass. The last time I laughed this hard a man with rubber gloves was giving me an enema. That's where the fast lane ends.

Well, gee, that's great. Let's get together some time for grooming and social activities. Did you know that every one of these stories was predicted by Nostradamos over four hundred years ago? That Wagner left unfinished his famous "Luftwafe Serenade?" That in our country we have freedom of suppress?

Oh darling, of course I love you. It's just that daddy thinks the current motion to be based on inaccurate or irrelevant factual allegations and without legal merit. You see, honey, it's just that the rule of nature is that wherever there's something to eat, there's something there to eat it.

March 5, 1995

Going to work....It seems so....unnecessary, somehow. I get up in the morning, shave, shower. What more do you want? And this is my friend, Sammy "the Bull" Gravanno. If you love someone, let them go. And if they come back, change the locks and get a restraining order. We came here with nothing but our dreams and investment capital and look at it.

Well, look at it.

A whole new two-hour episode of Melrose Place. Klatu barada nickto. "I am your God." And you come out of this smelling of scorched hair, shoe trees, dried blood and prison ink.

(based on a line by Tsarah Litzky)

March 6, 1995

I spent the best years of my life with William Rukeyser. Telling me how to invest. The world is full of poetry, most of it bad. Not only nonsense but it goes on and on. Like, why do all the pictures show a dotted line labeled "leaper's path?" Or are you one of those guys most likely to blow out your wife's brains in spite of an order of protection?

Choose. Now or forever.

The cops have their problems and guess who they're going to take them out on? Will you accept this fish as a token of my sincerest affection? How about MasterCharge? The rate of short-term debt is higher than for long which usually presages an ice age, recession, or coming within one number of the lottery. All life is a lottery.

Vanna, will you turn the letter, please?

March 8, 1995

Covetousness wrapped round my soul like a serpent, smothering that new life which otherwise christ would give. Other than that, fine, and how are you?

Actually, the girls and I worship Mothra, mostly, though we take a gig with Ray Charles now and then.

"Oh Mothra!

Oh Mothra!

Please don't eat Seattle, uh huh."

Mothra no like accordion music.

Speaking of blood, good evening Mr. Hoffa, and god bless you all for being so gullible. "Security to the bridge!" Why don't I get to say things like that? My girlfriend told me to get a hobby so I began to shoot up. I used to go to B.F. Skinner Jr. High. Comrades! Welcome to the Public Domain! Everything is permitted and everyone has their price.

I've been listening to a lot of talk radio recently. And welcome to Uncle Sal's wonderful world of wax. And I've never heard such a collection of whiners and exotik kristian komplainers.

It's one-five four-one GMT. Life is like a long ride in a Buick.

March 11, 1995

And no matter what, I still chew bread and heave my fat butt out of chairs. I take up space on the bus. I breathe the fetid air, and like everyone else, I'm moving forward, my plans are clicking into place, my hopes are high, and in fact I'm about to plunge into the fucking abyss.

Actually, I don't have the faintest fucking idea. Actually, I'm dumber than a bucket of hair. Nothing has any meaning but some things provide relief.

That's sound advice, Darleen. Life is like an alligator hunt on the freeway. You meet so many interesting people that way, mostly dead.

March 15, 1995

Few things more satisfying than listening to cold rain dripping from the pines. That, and perhaps the chance to examine Dan Rostenkowski's financial records. Yours truly, Johnny Dollar.

Warning! High memory area unavailable. And what were we talking about, anyway? Everybody told the truth and all we heard were lies. Anyway, I've discussed this with my lawyers and they feel it might well be interpreted as manslaughter one. And I am Marie of Rumania.

Listen to me, Chonny. If you need it that bad, rent it. Also, avoid guys with license plates reading 2MACABRE. And what does it mean in Spanish, "Mental todo absoluto?" Sometimes I get so cynical I have to take a nap. Otherwise, I suggest we confine ourselves to fiction since we have absolutely no interest in the data.

It's March 15, 1995. Another day closer to victory.

March 20, 1995

Dengue Fever, Mankind's Last Best Hope? Or Blueprint for Bondage. You decide. The past is unfinished and the future yet to come. Maybe we'll get lucky but I doubt it.

That's me, there, standing next to Toyota Jackson, Michael's sister? I've just stumbled in in rags to announce I've lost the farm at three-card monte. "It all looked so easy and I was winning."

If death is young and beautiful, why is she hanging around here?

March 22, 1995

Yesterday I saw my life story on The Discovery Channel. Every morning I wake up thinking of death. My inner child wants to eat over-floured food and be left alone. I had the gun in my mouth when I realized I still had a load in the dryer. I was pandering to the debased taste of a sensation seeking public. They didn't bite.

Inanimate objects lead more exciting lives than I do. But it ain't personal. Why don't we rot? I sit alone with a jug of wine, watching the moon all runny like an overripe cheese.

March 25, 1995

Some people just don't understand the beauty of lying late in bed while watching real estate ads on channel 22 and drinking beer. The ceaseless ebb and flow of facile emotions across the faces of well-fed actors in Burbank. It's a bug in the CNS, I keep telling myself, a virus like symbolic logic which sickens first and then destroys. Also, five days is too long to wait for a gun.

Law and Order. A policy championed by Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon and Adolf Hitler in which they make the laws and they give the orders. And all the animals are standing around saying, "It was man, he did it."

March 27, 1995
A world without zinc, Channel Four News puppets and several aging musicians reminding me nothing so much as of Charlie Manson. Deal with it, Pink Boy! The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. Just remember, the sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money.

Hi! My superior nervous system sometimes enjoys sharing experiences with other, lesser intelligences much as humans enjoy speaking with children. Or dogs. This requires years of training and very good drugs. Tell me of the G20 total ownership experience from Infinity.

Chris Elliot. Is he really T.S.'s grandson? And death, why is it so crummy?

Important questions. And if I live to be seventy, I shall profit from these and other words. Perhaps you could make use of my new service, call 971-911, the Emergency Sex Line, a feeling, rooting in the roaring refrigerator of my heart.

April 2, 1995

Our philosophy being, if you've heard one Ruben Zabalaera joke, you've heard them all. Now I'd like to take this brief opportunity to introduce you all to Clifford the Big Red Dog and path to American vernacular literacy. And it's times like these I'm glad people pay little or no attention to anything I say.

In the meantime my nation-state is running the biggest gasoline price war in history. You get a free body bag with every fillup. I also see that Ellen has just said hello to all the guys out there who would love meeting her, looking for love on the Love Line. And is that...!?! Yes! It's Jessica Hahn, back from the grave and she sure looks it.

April 3, 1995

We want to burn these guys alive in their tanks so why should we lie about it? "The Realities of War" continues after these commercial announcements.

Did you know there's a hand at my side imploring me to smack your stupid face? Hi. My name is Collin and I'm your student of dying and corrupt cultures for this evening. Do you need advice on love, money or relationships? Do you need good advice on love, money or relationships? God bless you all for being so gullible. This is a $12.95 value I'm offering you for free. A little meeting between Greek and Turk from The Book of Threats.

Question: If you could hear someone saying anything you wanted to hear right now, what would it be? Answer: "We'll be entering the Tarkana System in five minutes, Captain." And if this is the answer then maybe we're asking the wrong question. It's mind over matter. I don't mind and you don't matter. In Saudi Arabia, this is Deborah Amis.

April 4, 1995

And now, from his home in Quebec where he's been staying in seclusion since the Tuttlebaum affair, Clifford the Big Red Dog and path to American vernacular literacy. Bring on the Victory Girls it's time to invade and god bless you all for being so gullible.

You know, in a crazy sort of way I have to feel sorry for anyone incarcerated without benefit of legal counsel. I'm not dead I just can't look away from all the blood. When I think about all the time I wasted in petty crimes when I could have been involved in serious, really major war crimes against whole nations and ecosystems! One of the three nicest things about me is I'm witty, charming, and reasonably priced. Take control of your destiny. Dial 1-900-PSYCHIC. We're ready to train you now to work in the travel agency of the future.

April 7, 1995

This is our president and this is his water dish. My girlfriend has an iron that's smarter than I am.

I have this nightmare where I'm visiting my grandmother and get drafted into the Iraqi army. What's new? Everything's old and everything's still the same. Exactly as Marx predicted. I'm the same. Not that eternity winks.

The most exciting sexual encounter you're ever likely to almost have had. Rule #1: Never post bail for anyone on the first date. I couldn't tell you rule #2 since I never got that far but I am sure of rule #1. And I'm shocked and dismayed to observe your mistrust of our public officials. Why not get something out of the freezer for dinner at your home tonight.

(from a line by Paul Hoover)

April 10, 1995

Listening to talk radio and warming my hands by the flames of burning cities. God bless you Rush Limbaugh. There's a place in hell for liars and I'll see you there. On my way to the police state. When they say they made a killing in the Street, they don't mean the stock market. There are two kinds of people, them and us, and you don't belong to either.

I'm lying on the floor of the intensive care ward making friends with a lot of folks on drugs. The two ugliest people in the world are standing outside and smoking cigarettes. It's a great job, at least beats wearing an orange vest and picking up trash by the highway. I'd plead the fifth but I can't count that high. That's on advice of counsel, a large black dog named Sam. There's got to be a bottom and I know someday I'll find it. I take some comfort in that. Part of my desire to be mental.

April 11, 1995

With a baseball game on the radio in the back. It's a free country, you have the right to remain silent and an attorney will be provided.

So, what time it is? You utopian social engineers are all alike. This is horrible and it sucks, too. I hear the voices of dead movie stars on network TV. The other nice thing about getting old is that you're harder to convict. It was an easy MO to copy. Bikini Beauty Opens Fire in Fast Food Joint Killing Seven. Seven what? Nothing has any meaning but some things provide relief.

We know what this is. We've seen these footprints before. Why is it always our lives that suck? Famous last words: "It's a pickle."

April 13, 1995

The problem with Buddhism is it just doesn't set its priorities. My void is law. Besides being a growth industry and leading employer of minority youth, drugs are real good for you. Notice how you almost always feel better, somehow, after taking drugs?

Joe Stalin, now, there was a funny guy. "And how was your day at the office, dear?"

"Oh, it was ok. There was no soap in the executive bathroom so I murdered four million Ukrainians.

Is it all just space? Dearie? People come and go but money lives forever. I call on Poets of the Future to send me spare change. McDonalds and Coca-cola are doing commercial tie-ins so it must be ok.

April 16, 1995

And drop shortly into some manner of reverie. We have a great future behind us so let's kiss tomorrow good-bye today. Or as Bertolt Brecht used to say, once you're dead, all you have left is television.

I know you're trying to tell me something, your lips are moving. Could you please come to the pink courtesy phone? We're a simple people with a few, simple desires, and you will have to guess which ones.

This is Eternity for Men. Firestone is ripping prices 40% and you can too. Also, your dentist is a psychopath bent today on letting you know that beauty is a consolation for everything you lose, and that you owe him big for that one. But it's nothing you wouldn't have already seen in Gainesville or the site of any other ritual serial murders.

Note to Poets of the Future: In my city-state, murder was so common you had to be some kind of artist to get any attention at all. An apology won't be enough I want an autopsy. Why don't you do as I say and maybe this thing here won't go off in your face.

April 20, 1995

A cross-examination of American foreign policy. Go ahead, I tell'em. Publish and be damned. Let's take a long ride in a Buick.

Sometimes psychopaths are homeless and filthy but sometimes they're suave, rich and powerful (in an understated yet extremely charismatic way). This doesn't mean they'll do you any good, it just means no one will believe you in court.

Famous Last Words: "I am not resisting arrest."

April 21, 1995

And thinking how like the cerulean sky is the mind. You'd be terrific to drive cross country with, though one of us is better off dead. Welcome to America. No Vacancy. Beyond the Hudson there's no rent control and rivers run strong to the sea.

That's Mexico over there, we're Norte Americanos not like those spics we hire to kill each other, excuse me, we "train their police."

But enough small talk. How are you? I'm lying on my back listening to the blood flow through my wrists. It's like a picture of a man in an electric chair and underneath there's this sign that says "Don't let This happen to You."

April 23, 1995

With mothers pushing forward children to wave at the passing motorcade. And remember, it doesn't matter how poor you are, you can still be happy as long as you're stupid. Thus speaks the sacred Wahwah of Khartoum. Nor shall any party engage or attempt to engage in any action, work, bill of attainder, bond or contract to unfix, leave open or unlawfully abandon the affections of another. Thus, the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Thurgood versus Marshall declared plaintiff could not require defendant to "please unchain me, set me free" as defendant had no jurisdiction. And in this way we very pleasantly spent the next four hundred years.

Yes, but you are not the first to stare into the cold beauty of indifference without a god to defend you.

Friend? Or enema? Sometimes it's hard to tell. Columbus discovered America then gave natives the wrong name. It could happen to anyone. The meek may inherit the earth but how long can they keep it? The rivers are already choked with corpses.

April 25, 1996

The currency of the heart is suffering and everyone has their price. It was about this time I began to carry a gun and realized, my god, my career really was the only thing that mattered. They tell you that they love you but they only want to search the glove compartment. Shut your eyes and think prozac. The dead have risen and are voting Republican. Cash only and I still want to see your ID.

Not only am I not gay, I'm not even happy. I lost my parents in a crap game. I want to live each day as if it were my last, namely, coughing and spitting up blood.

Acting up and acting out. I will call any number, I will talk to anyone. I used to break into homes and redecorate them. I was a model prisoner. Lingerie, mostly. Now I'm a pizza delivery engineer. I eat in exotic, foreign malls.

"Everybody down on the floor." Another invitation difficult to refuse.

April 30, 1995

Nostradamos predicted over eight hundred years ago that someday an editor would pore over my work looking for Men's Themes. "Clinton," I said. I piped right up. "Bill Clinton. 27, 23, 19, 15, 11, 7, 3," I said. I like to break the ice and correct any mistaken impressions right away. "Loving me is forever," she said. "Sure," I said.

Two things happen to me as I age but I forget both. It's all Raymond Burr's fault for acting in those Godzilla movies thus providing the post-War Japanese industrial machine with critical Western knowhow and techniques. "The truth is ugly so they put our prophets in prison." (Charlie Manson). Which has never happened before without prescription.

Anyway, it's not the movies, the 50's really were dark, grey and repressive. Now it's 1995 and we're right back in the 50's. Notice the color leaching out of everywhere? The Holy Roman Catholic Church is back. Cloth coats, dark urban winters. Sedans. Horsehair stuffing. The writing's on the wall. Newt Gingrich set up a political action committee to finance a curriculum of coursework so he could charge folks to take the course. I'm not hysterical, everyone else is hysterical. I'm very very calm.

May 2, 1995

And all I really remember is a bright light, a lot of blood, and the linoleum floor hurtling toward my forehead. It's 1995 and the yokels have spoken. One person can make a difference, especially if they're willing to die. Me, I think I'd rather drive new cars on empty rustic highways through lushly rolling hills. Or run the elevator at Auschwitz. Lately I've been noticing how much better I think of myself than anyone else does. I conveniently forget a lot. So many women, so few knives.

One person can make a difference, especially if they're willing to promote the class interests of people who own things. I was watching Crisscross and Kiss the Blood Off My Hands, a Kirk Douglas doubleheader. The voice of the demagogue is in the air. Living here is like watching World War III develop from a cancer ward's dayroom TV.

May 4, 1995

You know, Harriet, if you were twice as big, you'd get your way a lot more often. Ever notice how the more food Sally Struthers collects, the fatter she gets? Sex between two people can be a wonderful and exciting experience, especially between the right two people. That was then, this is now. That's the way it is, that's the way it still is, and that's the way it's gonna be. It's like living in Pittsburgh if you call that living, or Eckankar and the spirit of Eck. Blah, blah, blah, blah. So. Dja get any? Next up, doglike carnivores in packs join the search for food. They say they love you but then they ask for quarters. And now a moment of silence while I commune with the mother ship. I'm not as stupid as I look. Or sound. It's sort of a moral and spiritual de-pantsing. A glimpse at the evil, nasty, sniveling Republican Party and its leader, Bob Dole, of the stiff and withered hand. Oh look! Some careless creature has left thousands and thousands of dollars lying on my coffee table. It could happen.

I want to hear those three little words: "Life, no parole."

May 5, 1995

Going to work. It seems so unnecessary, somehow. I'm going to go to Jacobi and Meyers. They've been on my side since 1987. Anyway, I was only in jail one time. It was nine years, but it only happened once. I was acquitted on all other counts. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, namely, a crime scene when the police arrived. Well, the good news is...you don't have to give up smoking.

This drug test I have to take. Is it graded on the curve? I had a girlfriend once. She was carried off by dingoes. "You never listen to me," she said. At least, I think that's what she said.

"I slept with your sister," he said.

"Who hasn't?" I said.

There are no answers, only multiple choice questions.

May 8, 1995

Jesus told me to sell stuff people don't need to people who can't afford it. What's the American dream for four-hundred, Alex? Now I'm facing more charges than American Express. And this is my lawyer, Jeffrey Dahlmer, Esq. And I realized at that moment that all that really mattered was my career.

Anyway, I'm a pizza delivery engineer.

Now I'd like to speak for a moment about the poetry of yeast which is about growing up free and beautiful and later drowning in a sea of shit. "Oh, don't worry about it," she said, "Ed McMahon will come around tomorrow with a big check."

May 10, 1995

Yes, Jesus loves me, the voices tell me so. But other than that, I feel fine. "Did you call me, Gumby?" "Yes, Pokey. Cracow's down at the carnival and reports the thefts continue and he can't find the culprit."

It's like the Mary Matlin, James Carvell baby. They didn't care if it's a boy or girl just as long as it's a slimy, lying little bastard. I majored in philosophy with a minor in drugs and alcohol. My BAC was higher than my GPA. Wanted: Jester for small claims court. A house divided against itself is a duplex.

Darling, I look into your eyes and wonder who's driving.

May 12, 1995

The idea is to make kids more independent by not feeding them. To empower them by teaching survival skills like microcircuit design and white collar crime. Newt says in fifty days Jesus will come for you, do not despair. And this is Dennis Hopper my new chief of protocol. As rabid as Eli with the Holy Ghost. Ignorance is bliss and patience is a virtue so I guess you can live a pretty good life if you're stupid and don't mind waiting.

What did posterity ever do for you? You want a happy god or a vengeful god? I thought so. I'm not so stupid as I look, sound, or best testing indicates. Truth to be told, they wouldn't want you if you buttered your ass and hung it out the window. Your call is important to us. We come into the world naked, screaming, and covered in blood. And I think that about covers it.

May 17, 1996

Little Danny Quayle in a chocolatebox scene and an important message from Bridget Wilson, Miss Teen USA who knows just what those girls are going through. Hey! I'm no different I'm just armed. Pedestrians walk by but I never see their eyes in dreams. And these are the buzz cut, ideological shock troops laboring under the twin fallacies of survival ( "god is good, we survived, we'll ignore all the folks what didn't") and a kind of sullen obedience. No brain, no pain. That's my idea of a good deal.

What's the difference between CBS News at Eleven and a child pornographer? The pornographer provides a service. All I needed was a dollar and a dream and I didn't have either. In fact, I'm coming undone like a cheap suit. Fifteen years in New York City and has it come to this? I review my objective correlatives by the light of an open refrigerator door. Someday you'll discover all this but for now, my little fool. it's better you be stupid.

May 18, 1996

The only things my father taught me were that people may think you're a fool but the only way to prove it is to open your mouth, and, if you've got a maiden aunt, and she's only got one eye, and it's in the middle of her forehead, you don't keep her in the living room. Y'all come back some time when ya' can't stay so long, heah !?!

And yet, out of the office at five like a caged bird I can still say it's better to be in the sunlight, it's better to be able to walk the streets. Therefore, I'm opposed to the extermination of the homeless whom I view as workers irrespective of whether or not jobs exist. "Gentlemen," I would tell them, "Our backs are to the sea we have no way to go but forward."

The other way to look at it is the planet is infested with unnecessary and unsanitary carbon-based lifeforms. The "great man" theory. "Darling," I told her, "I know no one man can ever satisfy you but, you get more with a smile and a gun than just a smile." Did I mention that thanks to sleep discipline I now need only three hours a week and have evolved into a higher being? Still, of course, like you a product of Campbell's primordial soup, hmmm hmmm good. Tastes just like blood.

May 19, 1996

A chemical, not a nuclear reaction. I mean, what's in it for me? It better be a lot more than a toaster.

By the way, that "sex" idea you thought up was really great. Thank you. I'm recovering from a bad case of embalming fluid and feeling no pain. To have emotion is horrible. To express it, divine. That's our blueprint for socialism. Then kissy kissy I do the special thing when we get home.

Only love can break a heart but let's see what this hammer does to your Toyota.

May 22, 1995
The President of the United States steps out of his limo to get a Big Slurpy and is accidentally implicated in an ongoing convenience store robbery. He flees by the rear exit and spends the rest of the plot trying to prove his innocence while staying one step ahead of the sinister "Lt. Jacoby."

The President steps out of his limo to get a Big Slurpy and is accidentally embroiled in an on-going robbery-murder. But is he really so innocent? As the facts tortuously emerge, we discover the horrible truth that the young, newly elected head of state is really the head of a national ring of convenience store robberies and murders, which he personally directs by car phone.

May 23, 1995
A mysterious large, black dog is elected president and in his inaugural tells us to go to war. The issue is discussed.

The President is temporarily forced to act as partner to the most brutal, reactionary cop on the force in order to track down the criminal mastermind behind a series of convenience-store robberies and murders. After being accidentally handcuffed together for 24-hours, each learns to appreciate and respect the methods of the other. Alternative: The cop turns out to be a wise and sagacious old black dog.

May 26, 1995
Six twenty-three AM and little Sal rises and boils a cup of water to make instant coffee. This man's life calls out for extinction payable in Canadian Tire money. If we lived within our means our lives would be crap. It was a white collar crime I mugged a priest.

And every night we worship at the nightly network of our choice. It's your life. Isn't it worth a Sony? Here, let me help you out of those uncomfortable clothes. I'm a piece of crap the universe revolves around, and each actress brings something new and fresh to the role. I may have killed six million but I've learned to forgive myself.

Question: Who owns the tubes the economy's going down?

May 27, 1995

And we look to the trees and mountains to comfort us but the trees and mountains are temporarily out of service, or on strike, or subject to withholding. I take my five-yard penalty and am on my way. Old age is not for sissies. Take me for instance. I'm yours and I'm lying. No suspects, no motive, and no weapons recovered. Thank god for free, network TV. I want to see what the masses see. No more and no less.

Pardon us for living but the graveyard's full. That's a lie. The graveyard's never filled. I'm waiting to hear some loved one whisper those four little words into my dying ear: "Sign the goddamned will."

The poets of the future steal my lines before my body's even cold. Maybe we should just forget all this unpleasantness. I know I'll spend a lifetime trying. I'm developing wonderful relationships with some of the salesgirls on the Home Shopping Network because I know they really care about me. I feel so special when I wear my uniform. And I'm tired of McDonald's welcoming my family back from summer with big savings. Leave my family out of this.

June 1, 1995

And again, reading from the Journal of Debased and Duplicitous Language, I sit in the hallway watching the sunshine move across the dayroom. I'm the one with the beautiful nails. I'm in here 'cause unlike the Ancient Mariner, who stoppeth one in three, I got them all.

So, ah, you live in a room with plastic toys? That's nice. Bailiff, administer the oath to this witless. Repeat after me: "We're gonna have a party, we're gonna have a treat; we're gonna hang some dirty laundry on a lamppost down the street."

On pain of death, Alex, what's the only appropriate response to a sentence with the word "badgers?" "Badgers? We don't need to see no stinkin' badgers."

The above bit of dialog was used successfully to remove Mr. Salasin from consideration for any grants, aid, awards and honors public or private for almost thirty years. No one knows why. Perhaps it was the politics, perhaps the little joke deemed unworthy of the white race. No one knows. Whatever it was, for the rest of his life, whenever he heard the word "academic" you could see his lips move "pussy."

June 2, 1995

I don't know if there are any rewards for loyalty in your country but around here, all you get are striped pajamas and the word "schmoe" stamped on your forehead.

Are you done or would you like to take some hostages?

It's hard to be modest when with a flick of the wrist I could turn your home town into a nuclear theme park. It's a function of being unemployed. I'll take oblate spheroids for $200, Alex. It's the usual concern that the army may not respond well to defeat at the polls. I'm bleeding my life away through my gums.

June 6, 1995

Silently mouthing the official slogan of the State of Washington, "Cash for Cars." My anima got arrested in Bremerton for making harassing phone calls. It's one of the least expressive languages in the world, but I (and I alone) can make it dance and sing. And the part I like best is crushing people who get in my way.

June 7, 1995

People say they love you but would they pay $5 to park in Venice, California? "Darling," she would say, "Put your hands on the car. Keep your hands where we can see them." And the next thing I know I'm waking up on the floor of the intensive care ward making friends with a lot of folks on drugs.

As IBM would put it, I'm applied but not committed. Welcome to Chuckie's Kimono Klub. I have an MFA from the IBM laughing academy. I need a deeper, what-is-it-really-like to-have- lunch-with-her-sort of interview. I'm convinced we are in the last days, just before the ruling class makes the whole planet unendurable. Crime saved my fucking life. It's all one thing and the only time it ever exists is now.

June 9, 1995

And before you send anything, ask yourself if any government, federal, state or local, might be willing, under some circumstances, to fund it. And if so, don't. Our motto is carpe canum, "seize the dog."

Hello, How are you? I'm dead. As long as you've got insurance, you've got a chance. Feel pretty good? You betcha. Thank you, Andre, I'll have the veal piccata. Are you self medicating again?

The Poetry of Yeast consists mostly of songs about growing up young and free in increasingly crowded and unpleasant circumstances until finally they drown in their own shit. "Buddhism," she said, "It's like watching hours and hours of really bad tv." And I realized at that moment that all that ever really mattered was my career.

June 11, 1995

Actually, folks, the job offers have been pouring in, it's just that people are stealing'em from the mailbox and erasing my voice mail before I get there. I've been discussing this recently with a large, black dog and he says I have to kill John Yellin to make it right.

It's Seattle and raining like a bad divorce. Just let me eat my greasy over-floured food and leave me alone. I discover too late the only benefit of being a poet is dispensation from all laws state and local pertaining to fruit and fruit juices in refrigerators. Just leave me alone I say. I'm keeping an eye on tropical storm Bret. I always had an affinity for the Twentieth Century. Please send all my fan mail to the Bucket o' Blood Saloon. The only warmth I've felt all week was through a cardboard cup. I was too poor to afford friends and spent my days in loneliness.

June 13, 1995

Cynthia Hidsick of Puyallup writes: "If we're all born with our pure and incorruptible Buddha natures intact, what is the source of samsara?" Renton. And keep your hands on the car where I can see'em. Nothing has any meaning but some things provide relief. Look for it and ask for it by name. It's a franchise, like Jiffy Lube.

We had a lot of pet names for each other. You cheap little whore was one, I recall. Straight brown hair, ten inch waist, long black stockings all over the place. I don't mind her sleeping with everyone else just as long as she sleeps with me. Everybody tells the truth and all we ever hear are lies.

June 14, 1995

Famous Last Words: "Afterwards you rue the fact you've been too kind."

Adolf Hitler
In my dreams I can't remember how to run sendmail as a demon so it's always listening. This was in Kohlnikorn near the neutral zone, reported either by Sabu or Conreid Veidt, I can't remember which, playing a drug dealer from outer space. Big theme in late 20th century american art.

Are you too happy? Is your life too stressfree? Newly Released Navy Documents Reveal Ann Margaret is the answer to everything.

I was going to be gay but my grades weren't good enough. Drink the Koolade and die, that's what I say. And so the god of love is reduced to schmutz. Just a nice kid from a good family on his way to a bad end. An old song with a new face. The most beautiful words in the english language are work-related disability pension.

June 15, 1995

The President wears a wire in a buy-and-bust operation in Annacostia involving twelve vehicles, thirty-two officers in full combat gear, and a helicopter which yields three skinny white guys without shirts and sixteen marijuana plants. Various exotic arms are displayed and the police play head games with the helpless-and-cuffed perps, threaten to take their children to Welfare, confiscate cars, etc. while attempting to convince each of them to turn state's evidence.

The President is made the head of a special investigative force composed of former offenders and kids to track down the criminal mastermind behind a national series of convenience-store robberies and murders.

The President is forced to take a part-time job in order to earn money to replace a valuable White House antique he accidentally breaks. But by backing up against the wrong lever, he speeds up the assemblyline fourfold and is buried under a heap of chocolates, gaining four pounds in the process.

He's fired and confesses to Hillary, who informs him the real antique was out at the Smithsonian being cleaned. The role of the unique, original work of art is confirmed.

June 16, 1995

MIA's! Missing in America. I saw a Hooverville from the train pulling into rainy Portland. Carpe Canum, that's my motto. Seize the dog. Feel pretty good? You betcha! And anyway it wasn't an asylum it was a diagnostic center and I signed myself out.

June 17, 1995

No matter how I fail I still bite into fruit and taste the juice of plums. My unworthy body (which would be better off a corpse) still walks around brushing its teeth, I still respond to questions like "Paper, or plastic?" and when they ask me "Will that be all?" I always answer

June 19, 1995

The President and Al Gore travel shirtless and in designer wetsuits around the seas speaking in incomprehensible accents and whining. I, personally, know I would very much like to hear either of them say "Ah zen...aht fiftee fathums, we zee zee arm of tha' euge octopus." This would afford me indescribable pleasure.

Two locomotives collide.

The President is accidentally left behind his entourage in West LA where he must prove his manhood and avoid crime to win the hand of the virtuous Carmelita and reclaim his rightful identity.

June 28, 1995

But keep listening, adjust for darkness, and soon you start to notice the subtleties in the bitches' savagery. Low clouds and fog, I was on demerol at the time. Heaven and earth regard the 10,000 things as straw dogs, baby. I live for lunch.

I'm finally reduced to living in some white trash trailer camp impoverished of everything but pretensions, ogling overweight slatterns with ratty, bleached hair. And they ogle back.

July 1, 1995

It's probably true that reality bites the hairy big one but it's still impossible to benefit from the realization. Increasingly I realize my one true talent is heating up cans of soup and my only recourse to throw myself on the mercy of the court. Poetry's my job and I quit.

We should return to our native villages, smoke salmon, and reduce the numbering system to one, two, three, many. This would, I'm convinced, solve many problems. It's not just a job it's a total waste of time.

Hi! I'd like to book a flight for the Brechtian Cluster in the Argos Region please. You serving dinner on that one? Signs of the end: Rita Haworth speaking passable Mandarin on my TV set right now! Passing fair, passing graceful and just passing through, yes. And what are the words you most dread to hear? "Mr. Salasin, could you step out of the car please?"

I feel like the floor of a taxi cab. "All pigs up and away, Sir!"

July 4, 1995

Famous last words: "I feel lightheaded, sir." Just send me $20 or kill me and I will do as you ask.

Why do people use drugs? Because they work, 100% of the time. And if the ends don't justify the means, what does? Althusser approached most closely this reality in terms of his "structure of structures," which was, according to him, fashioned by a force beyond human will. "Oh wow," I said. "Neat." Restriction disco was still in effect. If heaven and earth regard the 10,000 things as straw dogs, baby, then why are we scheduled so tight? Later I became the Masked Rider of the Plains and said things like: "Meet Tonto and me at the twin forks" and associate with folks named Big Ned Rawlings.

July 5, 1995

The way to man's heart is through his windshield. It's a good thing they show everything on cable twice since I'm usually so stoned I never remember the first time. I'm awash in the ebb and flow of network TV.

I was drinking a hot cup of formaldehyde and driving the porcelain bus when I realized national socialism rejected any syncopation or saxophone music. This took four days to propagate out through the internet along with signs reading "I Work for Food" (which, thought occurs, I already do).

Dating is sure tough when you've got kids and are married. It's kind of like being Science Officer on Wayne's World. I'll just fill up on bread here while soldiers outside clear the streets. We'll blame it on the Yutes.

July 7, 1995

Friends, Art Lovers, Security Personal! In my dream, I find myself on Montel Williams engaged in venomous argument with three slatterns and a guy with thinning, slicked back hair. As reported in the Journal of the Academy of Sciences.

Famous last words: "No, it's a banana."

Oh look he hit his head getting into the police car. Money may be exchanged for goods and services but I don't know why.

July 8, 1995

Be witty god damnit or the wife and kids die right now. Thank you. I'll be crossing that bridge when I come to it, rivers carrying the bones of cities in their tides. It's anyway all relative. In forty years, all I'll need is mowing.

There's trouble in Toontown and all TV is silliness. Sports and bodily functions. It's what we know, it's what we like, they're probably gang related.

It's either two Klingon princesses hissing and spitting at each other or both voice and video are going bad. With these drugs it's sometimes hard to tell. Now, in regard to the Buddhist Church in America, all I can say is that the Buddhist Church in America is where you find it. But I will say we tolerate no priests or liturgy and discourage all gatherings greater than three.

July 10, 1996

Richard Nixon! He's Tan! He's Rested! He's Dead! The body politic's in a sugar coma, I'm appointing my girlfriend to look into this matter.

Strongly approve. Of gun-law reform. I want one that fires a lot of bullets very quickly so you can draw your own conclusions. My phone bills are so boring I could die. Why don't I know people in Paris or Cairo. That's great, sweetheart, only don't drink the water. It empowers the dead. Nunu have great relationship with poets of the future. Nunu get you many posthumous anthology publications, lecture tours, beautiful women, all dead.

July 12, 1995

How dare you address me that way! I've been certified sane, intelligent and fun-to-be-with by near-letter-quality documents signed by doctors. We walked through the corridors of death and arrived at unwanted survival. Thank you master for the buzz.

Those five little words: HOLD IT RIGHT THERE FREEZE! What a dump this place is, huh? I'll burn this hall down. It's one of the least expressive languages in the world but I (and I alone) can make it dance and sing. I'd betray you in a second but that doesn't mean I don't love you.

Human Status Report, 1995: "Here on the North American continent, a social and economic system was devised so restrictive and alienating as to bum out almost everyone with a vaguely defined, difficult-to-put-your-finger-on-it malaise. As production declined, the drug of choice became prozac and Gaia worship blossomed on the coax. Even the bosses were scared. The cold war ended and life became exactly the same on both sides of the iron curtain. Yet like fish swimming in the sea, no one seemed able to pick out a cause for the almost universal depression."

She said, "I'd love to but I have to take the mutes out for a walk."

July 19, 1995

An hour of rogue semitrailers, drunk on diesel fuel and crazy for the road. Crime saved my fucking life. Take my place in the ruling class, or Federal Prison System, I forget. I'm also an expert on what it would be like to sleep with large numbers of extremely attractive women.

Slacker, procrastinator, holder of grudges and avoider of the inevitable. Just remember. The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money.

Yes, perhaps it's time. I want my body frozen in liquid nitrogen before I die. I'm lacking a certain austere, simple elegance known as wabe. Either that, or Pick's Disease, an irreversible degenerative syndrome characterized by forgetfulness, confusion and drooling. Cards from the methadone metrodome. I have to live here every day and sometimes it gets to be a bit much.

July 20, 1995

If you'll examine her teeth, you'll find she's not a theist. Let's review for a minute: You can solve many personal problems watching Hawaii Five-Oh reruns, true or false? The only thing you find in the middle of the road is a white line and a lot of dead armadillos. Those who have ears to hear will hear and those who don't...won't. I don't have to build no edifice to make my point, comprende? It's like listening to some tenor explaining in Italian why death is better than dishonor.

July 21, 1995

Now that I'm unemployed I spend a lot of time at places like Big Jim's Driving School and the A&M Coffee Shop where it's been their pleasure to serve me. My morning are suddenly long. I don't worry about lines in the post office. I walk the streets free, like the wind, untameable and annoying. I sit in a chair in the hallway watching the sunlight move across the dayroom with my beautiful, beautiful nails.

Just another article for the Journal of Debased and Duplicitous Language. Batman pursues the Mad Bomber of Gotham just two days after the World Trade Center blast. Coincidence? Maybe we should ask my friend here, Mr. Lee Myles, the most trusted name in car transmissions since 1947. It's probably gang related.

July 23, 1995

Don't think of it as unemployed. Think of it as your chance to see golf's superstars and be sickened by the misery of daytime TV. Why pay more? You're confused and a victim of an unimplemented instruction, the G20 total ownership experience from Infinity in a world without zinc.

Next week, crack addicts with automatics, the dead meat of America. They knock on the door and say: "Police Officers! Anybody here?"

I'm so happy I should be investigated. Lifestyles of the rich and shameless, well, beats scrubbing grout with a toothbrush. I want you to just concentrate for a moment on that image.

July 24, 1995

And am pleased to inhabit the earth with this species. Goodbye and God bless you all. More of the evil work of Denise and her evil twin Denise, bleeding through my dreams. Man is the only animal that builds jails. He can also eat peanuts and chew tobacco. Let's go back to the phones where we'll discuss idempotent transactions in just a moment. Well, yes, I'm sorry I did the best I could which was obviously inadequate.

Fate and too many painkillers.

Recently I had the pleasure of driving alone in an American car on American roads listening to American radio from Perth Amboy to Seattle. And this had its rewards although it didn't do the planet any good.

And if it makes you feel any better, I didn't use my tongue. I'm also extremely good at removing the lint after each use and believe I should get some credit for that. "By the light of a thousand suns, I am become death." I'd sympathize but all in all, I'd rather talk about me. Just get my butt back safe from the K-Mart and I'm yours forever.

July 26, 1995

My lawyers and I were in the neighborhood and thought we'd drop by. "I'm changing my name to Barbara Stanwyck," I told her, "I could never be myself with a girl holding a gun on me." Another Pleiku cutie dialing 1-800-LOAN-YES. It's times like these I'm glad people pay little or no attention to anything I do or say.

Welcome to the Ointment Museum. Please sign our guest book on your way out so we'll have something to remember you by.

Pascal was wrong. I know plenty of people who never think and they all are.

You do understand you're under arrest, don't you? You may eat peanuts or chew tobacco, you have the right to remain violet. It's raining like a bad divorce. Nobody moves and nobody gets hurt....

July 27, 1995

The American elections of '94 and '96 reminding me nothing so much as of being in a car wreck and that moment when you're watching yourself slide into the other car. That moment of utter calm and silence when you think to yourself, "This is really going to hurt," and it really really will, although, you won't understand that for a while either.

Then you will, but it'll be different from what you imagined.

We had a candidate who ran on the premise, "I hate doing nasty things but if I don't, someone else will."

And he got elected.

It's a beautiful prozac morning and I said so to Kim, my Time-Life operator, I said, "I think it's time for that 'intelligent virus' option you spoke of so glowingly, Docktor. I know I'm ready. The Little Sisters of Mercy should kill us all," that's what I said.

Goodnight, Street Prince, and flights of angels high thee to thy rest.

Human Authority Figures! I am leaving you now, but always remember: The Fox Tuesday Night Movie is probably a good idea. One of very few. Guard it and cherish it well.

July 28, 1995

So I ast her straight out, "Which would you prefer, me, or 150 lbs. of potting soil?" "Oh, you would, would you?" A pain of the neck, as you say. Love your neighbor yourself. I don't want to be spoon fed this stuff, I want an IV drip.

"Edison was deaf in one ear which was why he never invented stereo." That's the kind of epistemology we need, one that creates knowledge out of thin air. Also popular on radio shows where Rush reads from one of those rare first drafts of the Constitution. The one with the word "suckers" still in.

Note to the Wise: I'm always more pliant when medicated. Little Miss Perception. If it weren't for my bingo and lottery winnings, I couldn't afford to live off welfare.

August 1, 1995

I was dating a lumber camp at the time and having my personal growth surgically removed. And now, let's have a moment of thanksgiving, praise, and honor for all those men who gave their lives that Vietnam would remain forever American. Then I became head of the ufology department at University of Florida, Tampa, reading through the Bible for loopholes.

It was the kind of epistemology I like. Knowledge created out of thin air. They asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said Santa's list of girls who've been naughty.

There's only one thing that's important and I have absolutely no idea what it is. Maybe we should ask the focus group. A rule's a rule and I'm sitting on a toilet. "Hello, how are you? I'm dead." Don't bother fooling with your set folks, I really look this way.

August 2, 1995

Bobby, Margene, Lonnie, Doreen, Eileen, Larry, Tommy, Chenyl, Darleen, Denis, Sharon, Cubby and ...Annette.

Relentlessly, mercilessly, invariably upbeat, planting the seeds of a lifetime's cynicism and despair.

There are probably less dignified ways of dying than autoerotic strangulation but I can't think of any offhand. The thought of suicide is all that keeps me alive. You tell me what I want to learn, I tell you what you want to hear. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt so if you'll just leave immediately I promise to love you forever.

Just remember. If they were humans, they wouldn't be lawyers. I don't mean that in a bad way. Anyway, that's what they teach you in law school. How to get things back from the meek.

August 22, 1995

"It was good while it lasted," she said. "But it lasted longer than it was good."

I pushed down my prozac with another Pepsi. She was my kind of woman, but then again, who wasn't?

You tell me what I want to learn, I tell you what you want to hear.

And always remember darling, your money's happiness is all that money. Have credit card ready. And I'm sorry for being late but I had trouble over some stickups the people in the witness protection program thought maybe I did. And finally I look up and see two cops standing over me and one of them says "You know Muldouer, I'm surprised you volunteered for this case. Any Agent in the Bureau could have made this investigation."

August 23, 1995

The lines are alive with the chatter of computers moving money.

"Heaven and earth regard the 10,000 things as straw dogs, baby."

Old capitalist saying.

An economy that combs its hair with buttered toast, a bleached blond bombshell economy with brunette roots. Cash for cars. In the right economy, 2 + 2 = 5 for extremely high values of two. Like yours for instance. You look like a sensible person, how much would you say it's worth? A big, blowsy, drunk economy, sloppy and loud in a fast pink convertible.

August 25, 1995

I don't want to change the world I just want to change the channel. Everybody says they love irony but nobody wants to pay for it.

"Hey! I'm a sensitive guy with feelings, asshole. Eat any good books lately?" That was before I became one with all the universe and woke up with my face in a Loisaida gutter and my pockets inside out. And all those nice friends you made in prison? Bad news. People in love will say anything really, like, "Nobody moves and nobody gets hurt." You know that's a lie. Sitting down with the family at Thanksgiving and waking up around New Year's Eve, that's my idea of a good time. They let the really ugly drugs stay legal.

August 27, 1995

I sense your attention span is limited so let's bottom line this: I once had a dream where Jack Palance was asking me "What separates the meat from the butcher?" and I answered "mindfulness."

Cash only and we still want to see your ID.

It was about this time I resumed carrying a gun.

You get older you gain some perspective. Wars come and wars go and afterwards we sit around arguing. Why die when you can stay home and write books with titles like "The Wellsprings of American Fascism." Another advantage to prison is regular sex. Watching Republicans is like watching sharks. They cruise around in dark suits for years waiting for an opening, then BOOM! They close in for a feeding frenzy that takes years to legislate closed. But they're out there, in the shadows, waiting for a weak election, a trail of blood in the water.

August 28, 1995

Famous last words: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to put out of your mind the deplorable publicity this case has attracted in the press and decide the issue on its merits as presented in a court of law."

Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole. 625 becomes 250. 525 becomes 175. 400 becomes 69.50 a month. I'm high on life but I'm trying to get into a program.

"The warp program will proceed as outlined, Mirasta." Was it two ritilin every four hours and one thorazine at night, or two thorazine and one ritilin at night? A Message for a Drug Free America: This is your face and this is your face on drugs. Look man, get a new life. This century is finished.

I often feel I'm in some George Romero movie, true or false. Just because someone's totally evil doesn't mean he's a bad person, you know? Was that interface or in your face. Let me know. It's important.

August 30, 1995

"Yes! I did it and I'm proud!"

These are words usually uttered just before some great personal or professional catastrophe, sometimes both, and not excluding poverty, injury, stress, incarceration, disease, and a general inability and failure to achieve any of the goods and ends without which life becomes intolerable. Or so they say.

We're so civilized. We have Freud and Aquinas and Bergen-Belsen and Guatemala. It's essential to the power and position of nations.

The future's in the hands of a few chiropractors coming in on a low bid. Nothing you do with the wheel or brake will have any effect. A short life and a gay one although all those bald children are beginning to arouse some suspicion.

Rules for Modern Literature, Number One: It's ok to prance around the fire but don't prod the beast.

August 31, 1995

"Hop in, Sailor!" An invitation hard to refuse and another ode to the gender impaired. I believe America is the greatest country on god's green earth. Now maybe you can help me with a personal problem. My inner child wants to kill and mutilate small animals. Optimo suavidad, that's what I need.

Lately, all I seem to want to do is eat, smoke pot, and listen to Dr. Joyce Behar. How hard can that be? A fucking full-time job it turns out in this, the third year of the Reagan/Bush depression.

Remoto controllo! That's all I've got over my life and all I'm likely to get. Nor may we learn anything from the arts, which yield only the imperfect and deluded images of men. And I am Marie of Rumania.

I really ought to send some money to NORML but I keep forgetting. Literary awards!?! Are you out of your mind?! I'm just lucky I don't get arrested. My name is Sal and I'm hooked on phonics.

September 1, 1995

"Hit the footlights, Al." Martyrs to the gods of commerce, headliners, and close with a dollar. Man is the animal that builds jails. And by the blue of their TV sets shall you know them.

This is my friend Debbie. She's had her feet in more stirrups than Roy Rodgers. I know she's into Voodoo and temperamental but, we understand each other.

"Places, kids!" It's time for the apes of wrath. Here's a dollar, go out and buy yourself something nice. I'd like to stay, Ma'am, but there are a lot of food preparation service areas out there waiting to be swabbed. And life as we know it will end.

Things that I'm good at:

1). I always remove the lint after each drier load.
2). I can eat peanuts and chew tobacco.
3). I can tell time without lying.
4). I understand weather, and,
5). I'm coming to grips with my record.

Another thing I've decided is that mug shots aren't a great way to meet people. I could watch PBS nature specials forever. I've developed some wonderful relationships with some of the salesgirls on the Home Shopping Network because I know they really care about me. I have an MFA from Acme University. Recently I had the pleasure of driving an American car on an American highway listening to American radio from Ashbury, NJ to the West Coast. And this had its rewards. Another idempotent transaction brought to you by Xerox. And I think I should get credit for that. I come here with a smile on my lips, a song in my heart and a gun in my hand. Keeps you interested, though, huh, Al?

Actually, the job offers have been pouring in it's just that people are stealing'em from my mailbox and sneaking into voicemail to erase'em before I get there. I've been discussing this recently with a large, black dog and he says I have to kill John Yellin to make it right.

September 3, 1995

No tongue has soiled it, no word has reached it: Dixie's Love Lounge and Tube Lube at the mouth of the lovely Lincoln Tunnel. Only love can break a heart but let's see what this hammer does to your Toyota.

You need to step over here to my police unit over here or order now to get a free watch.

Problems of Modern Nuclear Submarines:

1) People put sugar instead of salt into the soup sometimes.
2) Sometimes you turn on the cold water in the shower when they expect hot.
3) Bumping into icecubes and things.
4) Accidentally obliterating Cleveland.

I'll have a turkey, lettuce and tomato on rye, no mayo. Also, Sodae sulphat, six drams; Half dram mannoe optim. Aq. fevent ounce and a half; two drams tiret sennae, Haustus. Take pulv. com. grains ipecaccuanhae, Bolus potassoe sulphuret sumendus, et haustus ter in die capiendus. That ought to hold you. I belong to the mend'em or end'em school of medicine, and I don't much care which.

September 9, 1995

The rivers are choked with corpses but you're still on the ballot. You figure it. A Crazy Eddie Abortion Extravaganza, ontology recapitulating philology all over again. Just look for the mushroom label.

Question: Which major East Coast power company built a faulty nuclear plant in the middle of Long Island, poisoned the air, went bankrupt, and encouraged wasteful consumption over a forty- year period of ecological disaster.

Hint: Their advertising slogan was "We're working harder to Serve you better, We're Lilco."

So, how's that little Central American relocation camp doing? Well, you are not the first to stare into the cold beauty of indifference. Remember, it doesn't matter how poor you are, you can still be happy as long as you're stupid.

I worship the very ground you've got coming to you.

September 11, 1995

You see, darlin', a long time ago I made a mistake and did something that made the State of New York very very angry (a concept I don't myself fully understand). What we need now is a constitutional amendment reading: "Congress shall make no law restricting the right of citizens from changing their names and crossing state lines to avoid prosecution."

A little convergence of events leading to a sales opportunity and those two little words: "Hello, sailor."

Oh, and the extortion thing, I don't want to forget about that (heh, heh, heh). I am, let's face it, an inappropriate gift. And this exchange of closed loops looks just like a spin-2 vector boson! Too bad you couldn't see it, you must have cheap seats. And if the language is full of holes and just doesn't cover most significant concepts, everyday objects and events, it's too fucking bad.

Even the court cases fall into certain entirely predictable patterns, most crudely, the discovered document, the surprise witness, the spurious confession...So strong in this culture is the pull of narrative. It was like the episode of "Cagney and Lacey" where the Christic Institute's subpoena of CIA-Cocaine smuggling deals is discussed for the first and last time on network TV. This was when network TV was still important.

"Well, Margo, it's easy to see that Mrs. Nesbitt died of shock. Shock of the fear of the living dead she herself helped create."

I'm not dead I just can't look away from all the blood.

I wanted a career, not just a job. So I'm suing over injuries I or a loved one received from the Rader Institute, a no-fault fat farm. Then I'm getting trained in travel and tourism at the Betty Owen School where I'll learn contingency lawyering and dial 1-800-CASH. Learn restaurant work, dial 1-800-CHEF. I'll get all the exposed areas of my kitchen resurfaced for less than new at Sears and charge it on my American Security and Platinum Card. At the Chubb Institute, you pay for the name. Any training you get repairing high-end electronic toys you can keep. Burger and Associates specializes in medical malpractice and damages. The Taylor Institute knows what it takes to get out of a deadend job. Robatussen cough medicine, now there's a good one, and 1-800-LAWYERS if you want someone to kill. Then Kraft Cheese Whiz and Phoenix House a drug rehabilitation clinic for those who go down in flames.

This is, I figure, a pretty fair sampling of our national economy, lateish 1995. You can draw your own conclusions. And the only reason I'm not in a drug rehabilitation clinic right now is that I've never been able to afford enough drugs at any one time to put me there.

"Yes," he says, putting his hand on my shoulder and looking me warmly in the eyes. "We're ready to train you now to work in the travel agency industry of the future."

September 15, 1995

Shirley and Goodness, two associates whom I met recently on Second Avenue. They say I'm lacking in a certain austere simple elegance known as wabi. What happened? Well, the angel of death passed over and did not strike me down, which, given the circumstances at the time, was a miracle. We thank god for surviving but the folks who don't survive aren't around to complain. Or point out the efficacy of prayer. There is, after all, a 100% mortality rate if taken as directed. Use this language to sell THIS poem.

How about a nation of all Arabic speaking peoples, separately independent, on earth. We all agreed we'd like the country run like a business and now, since we failed to make a profit, we're going to have to sell it to the Japanese. "Future history," he said, "if there is any." From now on there's only next week, as in "Next week, an intimate look at the sex lives of unmarried single mothers and crack addicts with automatics."

September 19, 1995

I was on C-Span last night and won four hundred dollars and a twenty-four-inch TV. Sometimes I think the ruling class has won and we are in the last days before they make the whole planet unendurable.

The airways are filled with young British actresses working daytime soaps, each looking more like Liz Taylor in National Velvet than the last. No wonder they're restless.

Enter the laughing academy, stage left. I'm passing the days of our lives watching tv in broad daylight which guarantees feelings of guilt, fear, nausea, regret and self-hatred. Yes, perhaps it's time to go off medication again. The only human thing I want to see is grass growing in the streets. Just remember, the sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money.