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Once from China - by nate


The thoughts in your head are fleeting things, electricity sans Franklin's key: the flash, the bang of a bullet caught but not fired, never in flight, the miniature devil on your left shoulder cackling, crackling, cracking up as he wets himself laughing at the miniature Muybridge on your right shoulder ranting, tearing out his hair in tufts in slow such slow so slow motion, stop motion stop. The magic—the mystery—is nothing, just that: that nothing happened. But your brain, your brain thinks for you, supplying the putty, the caulking, the glue—the horseshit manure—with which to fill in the gaps, so that you assume—infer—that something has passed. Something wonderful. Something magical. The bird so recently dead sheds death, winks, blinks, shudders and flutters and rises and flies into the space above and the great spacious skies, up up and away—far so far away—from the corpse of its crushed and murdered twin.

The question is not: Is the glass half empty or half full? It's, okay, you drank half: Are you, or are you not, good to get home?

It's: are the starbursts in my eyes and the dysfunction in my inner ear products of whisky and beer, or of this resplendent, sexy somebody in her shiny, shimmering—and short, so short—something, like a skirt but all shirt, across the room, watching me slaver and flirt. Every time she cocks her head back over her shoulder, the shoulder that's bare.

The bounce and the bob of her hair.

And I, I'm here and not there.

Not that she nor you lot care.

The silver of her dress gives it up to a mess of reds and whites—the hues of the lights—and that sliver of panty when she steps up a stair.

A stripper's pole the wheel on which to break me.

There's football on and there's a score and I should care.

There's a war on and people children mothers brothers dying—such the cliché, true thanks to the USofA—and I should care, but "should" is like wood in the belly of a termite, so much "could" and "might", and all my moral obligations just so many more objects of spite.

The shimmer and the swish and the so bloody shiny shimmery sheen of the thing as she leans into against across even up and over the bar.

So good so

A mirror in the sunlight sending signals, the signals saying "shekinah", saying "satori" in the bedroom eyes she makes when she sighs, the clutch in my throat when she says hi or rubs thigh against thigh.

English she is spoken; in the gutters, there she lies.

The flip of the flop of her mop top.

(Cat Power, as ever, the good cop.)

how could I

when I saw her


The good book was written by committee.

In her eyes, her nose, the world, were it good.

And like termites through wood, like tequila and lime, scotch and time chew through my faith in the rightness of things as they seem, chew through what's true and spit or excrete the pulp of the paper of the world as she is, naked and barren and wary of song.

And forever, as ever, utterly wrong.

On a page in my notebook—put to pen put to paper—the name of her for whom I long.

is love when you're alone.

C'mon, man; play along.

Sing the motherfucking song.