Tuesday, November 28, 2006


"Whence, Shimmy? Have you lost your direction? What is the earth?"

Guy Debord stood in the bathroom doorway. I scurried between his legs. Jumped in the tub.

Water didn't come out.

"Is purgatory a bad place, Debord? Meaning you don't suffer there."

I walked back into the hallway.

"The new privation is not far removed from the old penury," he replied. Guy Debord ran his fingers through his hair. He turned around and looked at the bathtub spigot as if it said something he couldn't understand.

He added, "It requires most people to participate as wage workers in the endless pursuit of its attainment."

"What time is it right now in Baghdad? Why haven't I seen Ngo Dinh Diem since Rumsfeld disappeared?"

I smelled arthritis medicine powder in my food. An insufferable crack was growing between two floorboards.

"Why does Tony Snow walk to the podium if all he can speak is thin, sniping clatter?" Debord asked. He lit a Gaulois.

He said, "Let's presume Tony Snow is mathematically imprudent. If so, then we must then determine whether his tongue is sweet and breezy, like a furnace, or just dainty."

"I was taught that we need to pray, fast, and give alms to relieve the suffering of those in Purgatory. Please help me understand why this has changed. Someone just has to tell me how and when this changed."

"Nothing about Purgatory has changed, Shimmy, at least in my mind."

"The specialized science of domination must in turn specialize," I said. Birds or bats could fly in my mouth. Or a bag of moths.

Debord added, "It fragments itself into sociology, psychotechnics, cybernetics, and semiology -- watching over the self-regulation of every level of the process."

"Why do you keep looking back at the bathtub spigot?"

"The soul in Purgatory being cleansed is happy, Shimmy, in spite of the hard process. Because it knows firmly that eventually it will be saved. Perhaps this is why great priests say Purgatory is not a bad place."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

List VII: Abraham Bolden

1. Abraham Bolden's exemplary record as an Illinois State Trooper helped him secure a position with the Secret Service during the Kennedy administration.

2. He was the first African American Secret Service Agent in U.S. history.

3. In October 1963, the Secret Service received a teletype from the FBI that the President would be assassinated in Chicago on November 2, on his way to a college football game at Soldier Field.

4. The assassination was to be carried out by a four-man Cuban exile hit squad, using high-powered rifles as the limousine was forced to slow down to make a hairpin left turn on the Jackson exit of the Northwest Expressway (now the Kennedy Expressway).

5. Kennedy cancelled the Chicago motorcade. Two suspected assassins were arrested but later released. The Secret Service kept the assassination teletype warning secret.

6. After Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, Bolden discovered that the Secret Service planned to conceal the Chicago assassination attempt from the Warren Commission.

7. Bolden traveled to Washington to testify what he knew about the Chicago assassination attempt.

8. He was arrested the day before he was to speak to the Warren Commission.

9. According to Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, "It took two trials, but Bolden was finally convicted on counterfeiting charges based only on the testimony of two criminals: one of whom Bolden had previously arrested, and one who later admitted committing perjury against Bolden."

10. Waldron and Hartmann: "This agent with an excellent reputation and outstanding service record served six years in prison, sometimes in solitary confinement after he would try to draw attention to his case."

11. Bolden to this day seeks a pardon.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Episode Eleven: "Mellow Out or You Will Pay"

MARY: Rhoda, someone ought to tell Nancy Pelosi this is not the Cultural Revolution.

RHODA: But it is the Great Leap Forward.

MARY: I can't look into Nancy Pelosi's eyes. She's rapacious.

RHODA: They hate the President so much.

MARY: I'm not stupid. I see fine, filamented blue powder in my food. Turbid cud from the Den of Spies.

RHODA: Mary, on Tuesday the muscular middle took control of America. Democrats better understand that voters kicked out Republicans but did not swing to the left.

MARY: It may smell like tuna, but it's menacing, brackish. I know what arthritis medicine looks like.

RHODA: Although the Republicans have been overthrown, maniacal left-wing Democrats are trying to use the old ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the exploiting classes to corrupt the masses, capture their minds, and endeavor to stage a comeback.

MARY: Joe Lieberman is a household ghost, clawing and rattling, dressed in tedious rags.

RHODA: Democrats will have to show they have not been taken over by their bloggers or their economic nationalists, who will alienate them from the suburban office park moms.

MARY: Let Rumsfeld trudge after the mouse beneath the stove like an inconsolable widow!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No More War Pigs Have the Power

The empty newspaper box and historical consciousness have yet to join forces.

Those who made history in this period of decline have lacked, tragically, any acute awareness that the empty newspaper box thrusts us inevitably to a future yet to be constructed -- toward a smaller sky, a splended bone, restless and varnished.

I slept in the empty newspaper box, the radiator clacking its strange, quarrelsome vacancies.

Something shrivelled, my nose twitching. What is that smell? A blue flame, a suffocating odor. A yellow rhombic crystalline solid.

Sulfur! It was Rumsfeld, the Great Despiser of Life. He shuffled slump-shouldered and penitent into the bedroom.

"I need a job, Shimmy."

"Raoul Vanegeim says that all you can do is mitigate the passion for life," I said, "stunting it to the point where it turns against itself and changes into a passion for destruction and self-destruction."

Rumsfeld patted the head of his "familiar," the Zuni Doll from Trilogy of Terror. It perched like a heckler on the the ex-Secretary of Defense's right shoulder.

"But I'm accomplishment-oriented," Rumsfeld said. He fell to his knees. His lips were smeared with blood. They always are.

He added, "My team-oriented transferable skills can be implemented in a wide variety of markets and utilization strategies. I'm a highly organized, detail-oriented people-person able to prioritize and complete multiple tasks and follow through to achieve project goals and impact positive relationships with colleagues and clients at all organizational levels."

"You're a paratrooper of abjection, a stubborn and maladjusted animal preoccupied by your own diminishment."

"Can I at least squat here for the night, Shimmy? With my Zuni Doll? I have nowhere else to go."

"Listen to the Great Despiser of Life! He kisses God's sinewy hand and begs him to guarantee that there will definitely be a star. He swears he won't be able to stand that starless ordeal."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Who Was Yukio Asano? (Part 3)

He had wrapped the document in cellophane and strapped it to an inclined board. If he poured water on it, the cellophane would simulate drowning.

"What information could you possibly get from the Constitution if you water-board it?" I asked the President of the War on Terror.

"I'm not interested in information. I want a confession."

"Do you know who Yukio Asano was?"

"Get outta my way. I've got dunking to do! This is a no-brainer, Shimmy."

"Yukio Asano was a Japanese officer sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in 1947 for water-boarding a U.S. civilian."

"Was Asano pro-troops?"

"There's nothing you can do," I said. "If you water-board the Constitution, you'll just extract whatever information the Constitution thinks will stop the torture."

Three flecks of blood floated from the left corner of his bottom lip like leaves falling from The Mayakovsky Tree.

I strolled over to him and rubbed the top of my head against the American-flag pin on his butcher's lapel.

I'd have to wash myself thoroughly later.

"Just hand over the Constitution," I said, purring. "My cousin Winter gave it to me. What do you need it for? Water-boarding is going to soak the pages, but it won't change what they say. When the ink dries again, the document will be even more brittle than you think it is right now."

The President of the War on Terror hung his head, the Constitution in his outstretched hand. I took it from him.

"Shimmy, did I tell you that last night I saved an orphan girl from six rock pythons on the Maryland interstate? I hypnotized a mongoose and made it talk like a penguin. Then I built a neighborhood of bungalows out of toothpicks, balsa wood, and confetti. I ate a hundred thousand Pixie Stix for lunch and crushed Mount Monadnock with my bare hands."

"You don't have to lie to me. The problem with smoking guns that are hidden is that you can't see their smoke," I said.

"I collaborated with Rimsky-Korsakov on Kashchey the Immortal and The Tale of Tsar Tsaltan. He asked me to."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Who Was Yukio Asano? (Part 2)

"What are you afraid of?" I asked the President of the War on Terror. He sat at the edge of my litter box, kicking his maniacal legs and waving a copy of the Constitution in his right hand.

I had to be careful. He was capable of anything -- grabbing my tail, throwing a tantrum in my box, wetting his pants.

"Just hand over the Constitution," I said. "Aren't you missing your Presidential Daily Briefing? What if you receive another memo that says, 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.?' You don't want to miss that, do you?"

He jumped off my litter box and began strapping the Constitution to the board. I noticed a bucket of water next to my box. It all made sense to me now.

I said, "Don't do it. You haven't really given it a chance. You haven't read the Constitution. You don't even know what it says."

"I don't need to," he said. He wrapped the Constitution in cellophane. When he poured water on the Constitution, the cellophane would simulate drowning.

"We've been through this before, Shimmy. You know I can't read. Just stay out of my way. This is important for national security."

I blinked.

"Shimmy, we've picked up a lot of chatter lately. If the terrorists vote next week, they could restore checks-and-balances to the government. This is war. You don't understand."

He continued: "We have circumstantial evidence of checks-and-balances. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who Was Yukio Asano? (Part 1)

"I'm scared, Shimmy." He sat at the lip of my litter box, kicking his legs back and forth. "Anything can happen."

What was that noise? A mouse beneath my feet? I held my breath. The hardwood floor diminished, the gaps between boards folded into quarrel and blather.

In his right hand, the President of the War on Terror held the copy of the Constitution my cousin Winter sent me in the mail a few months ago.

He kicked his vainglorious legs back and forth at the edge of my box. The living-room radiator clackled. I heard a bat breathing in the walls. I stared at his blood-dimmed right hand.

An inclined wooden board with leather straps, flanked by a baggy sheet of cellophane, sat next to my box.

The back porch is full of leaves in prudent bunches arranged like cranberries.

Not today. Not with the President of the War on Terror prattling on the edge of my litter box with a copy of the Constitution in his hand.

R.I.P., "Stay the Course" (1885-2006)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Autumn is the Season of Love

I want to love ungrateful catnip inside the felt carrot with a bell attached to it. Want to scold it, kicking my brazen back claws. The black cat in the window across the street bends his forehead and, timid, licks his left haunch over and over again and we are all very sleepy. Who will care for the bathtub if the porcelain cracks? Who makes the bathtub extravagant and sentimental? The furniture is exaggerated -- and rubbed against, rubbed the wrong way, rubbed with plain yogurt, rubbed with stubbly mouse-tails and spit-roasted to perfection.