Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Conversations with Guy Debord (4)

What was that smell? A heap of squirrels? Bag of moths? The closet was dark and buttery. A spider surrendered beneath my inimitable paw. What smell? A bat between my teeth?

I sat inside the upturned, plain lid of an HP Laser Print paper box. The bottom edges of Shelly's dresses grazed me. I licked my left arm.

My wet nose quivered. The silver smell of Gaulois! The great, creamy gauze of Guy Debord's cigarettes.

"Shimmy, tell me what you dreamed last night," he said.

The peck of his soft leather shoes on the hardwood floor. Frisk of my curled paw.

"I woke up underneath the ottoman again," I said. "It smelled like sulfur."

"The spectacle is a permanent opium war," Guy Debord said, "which aims to make people identify goods with commodities and satisfaction with survival that increases according to its own laws."

"Debord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

"What were you dreaming about in the closet, on top of the upturned plain lid of the HP Laser Print paper box?"

"Two electrical utility workers were trying to fix an electric line that had been tangled by snaking banyan tree branches," I said. I watched Debord twist his Gaulois between his long fingers. With the tip of his gracious shoe, he touched the spot where my hindquarters meet the base of my tail. "In the banyan tree branch, one of the workers found what looked like a long, long black-and-white cigarette holder. It was really a wand of sorts."

"Shimmy, the economy transforms the world, but transforms it only into a world of economy."

"Is that a chipmunk in the radiator?" I asked.

He didn't even bother to look. Instead, Debord crouched next to me on the floor.

"The White House," he said, blinking, "exists in a concentrated or a diffuse form depending on the necessities of the particular stage of misery which it denies and supports."

"They knew what it was." I slapped Guy Debord's left shoelace in case it was a mouse tail. "In the dream, they knew. They actually were government police officers posing as electrical workers. They were looking for these wands."

"The War on Terror is a happy unification surrounded by desolation and fear at the tranquil center of misery, Shimmy."

"The devil is right at home," I said. "The devil, the devil himself is right in the house. The devil came here, talking as if he owned the world. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Memorial for Melina

My cousin Melina died Friday in Santa Fe. She was 16. She groomed Alex, forced him to give up 1/2 his computer chair while he wrote, woke him every morning, and watched old movies with him. May she have happiness and the causes of happiness, and be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dawn, Back Porch

Open the fucking door. Don't touch me. Just turn the knob and pull open the door. Oh, Christ. Open it. Now.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Eightfold Noble Path: Part 3, Mental Discipline

A slow and vagrant ant trundles past the catnip in the carrot with the bell attached to the end of it. Awakened by the vacuum cleaner, Guy Debord aks, "Do you mind if I clothe you in tobacco smoke instead of Parisian chic?"

Total Information Awareness; Tora Bora; "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East"; bombing Al Jazeera; spying on Kofi Annan; putting Ann Coulter in charge of U.S. Port Security; Swift Boats for Truth; David Kelly; "the air at Ground Zero is healthy to breathe"; Lynndie England; Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill; "Hamdi et al. versus Rumsfeld et al."; the death of Tariq Ayoub; fake electrocutions; 6 August 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, "Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S."; water-boarding; "We will be greeted as liberators"; the establishment of the rule of God on Earth. Election fraud.

Phyllis tries to get Bill O'Reilly to move into the vacant apartment in the building. Mary and Rhoda make sure he never signs the rental contract. Mary startles the coffee table when she rubs her cheek against it. She sits in front of the bathtub spigot, waiting. Nothing happens. Nothing ever does.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

List VI

Squirrel, unknown reptile, small lizard, chipmunk, mouse, rabbit, rat, rabbit, New York strip steak, mouse, rabbit, rabbit.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Eightfold Noble Path: Part 2, Ethical Conduct

Hiss at the squirrel family in The Mayakovsky Tree. Turn your back and fix the sun like a monocle into your gaping eye! Spit gargles in your belly, into the back of your throat -- a shocking hiss at the vacuum cleaner chasing you, the vacuum cleaner unplugged and arrogant and very, very bad. Hiss at the yoga mat unfurled on the living room carpet. At strangers who come through the front door or back door. A footfall crushes, stumbling, your wicked, broad-beaded tail in the dark when you're hiding from the rain under the ottoman. Hiss at the dog, Tytan, who appears out of nowhere chewing his infernal potato chips. You chased away the pizza delivery driver walking beneath the window.

Put in charge of the WJM's election-night programming, Mary is tested when a blizzard completely suspends election coverage. The crew threatens to mutiny, Rhoda's new boyfriend takes an interest in Mary, and the newsroom preoccupies itself with the impending Teddy Awards.

Condoleezza Rice wants to steal my food. Yesterday I caught her sneaking around the refrigerator, making a beeline for my salubrious dishes on the floor.

She tried to change the subject, but I know the Secretary of State came to take my food. She said, "Shimmy, I'm sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold. I know there were people who said, 'Why don't we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?'"

I led her out the back door, where she could eat leaves on the back porch, if she wants. Anything but my Nature's Variety Prairie Brand Salmon and Brown Rice. Don't touch my fucking food. I mean it.

I said to the Secretary of State: "I couldn't agree more. We've known for a long time that the Iraq War is now a civil war. Of course, war critics such as the Quakers and the late Pope John Paul II supported the 19th-century U.S. slave economy and are even worse than Nazi appeasers. Now leave my apartment. The State Department should be protecting my food -- not trying to take it away from me."

"The Quakers and Pope John Paul II are like people who thought the Declaration of Independence was a mistake," Condoleezza Rice said as she walked out the door.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Eightfold Noble Path: Part 1, Wisdom

Thunder splits the walls in half and rain snipes the turrets of your ears. You hide under the bed. You are a muttering cloud. The bones of soggy leaves taste like yogurt. Rain is slovenly and terrifying. Who made the venetian blinds fall down the window?

You want the catnip that lives inside the felt-wrapped carrot with a bell attached to it. Before it goes stale, before you rip stunning back claws against it, before the trembling leaves and nooks and crannies, before the untidy heartbeat of a mouse staring through slats in the radiator. You wanted a carrot, a whole bell with almost enough jangle, the astonishment of felt cloth. You sit patient like an egg. You crawl inside an empty cardboard box. You listen for the bathtub spigot.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My War

"The Armed Republic of Shimmy the Cat is a huge, socially progressive nation, notable for its devotion to social welfare. Prime real estate is devoted to wind farms and solar energy generators, gambling is outlawed, prime commercial land is being swamped with archaeological teams, and strict term limits have been applied to all elected offices. Crime -- especially youth-related -- is totally unknown. The Armed Republic of Shimmy the Cat's national animal is the cat, which frolics freely in the nation's many lush forests, and its currency is the catnip mouse. The Armed Republic of Shimmy the Cat is ranked 57th in the region and 22,471st in the world for Most Eco-Friendly Governments."