fragment 3

The man was curled in half. He slammed himself against the door over and over again thud and thud and thud.

Ramona was curled in half too. She huddled against the barricade she had built from the kitchen table and the dining room table and the dining room chairs and the TV trays.

He was not quite dead and she was not quite alive. It was the fourth evening of a wordless siege and poor Ramona was nearly broken.

Thud and thud the man at the door. If he had been able to feel his shoulders and his face and his arms he would not have been able to feel them. There was much of him on the door. His face was a sloppy paint palette in of gray and gray and brown and thud and red. Little rivers of tissue converged and congealed and fell onto the porch when thud he thud.

There had been an idea that the not quite dead were nothing like the normal living and this was not the case. There had been an idea that the not quite dead were just thoughtless slow-moving hunks of meat, robots speckled with gangrene and fly pupae, and this too was not the case. Toward the door he fell himself with the obsessive focus of a man in love. For this is what he was:

Before he was a man on the bus who smiled at Ramona and Ramona smiled and now he was thud and Ramona and thud. The more he at the door thud he wanted to look upon her with eyes which could not see. With a tongue lolling in the momentum of thud tell her: she had nice wrists, gentle. Of her teeth, straight, white, thud. Her hair was curly, thick, when she walked past on the bus it moved all together like it was waving goodbye and for thud a half-second he could smell it in the air behind her. Thud. To smell her thud he thud.

In moments of weakness he watched her for months get on the bus thud get off the bus thud never more than a smile or a mumble thud. and here! a singular act of bravery, thud, redemption, thud. To seize the thud. To be with Ramona he thud and thud. To be ever nearer! To be one and thud the Ramona, together, love! To have her within, to devour!

Within she was he and his was hers and thud and she. Consumption was a kind of love, thud cobbled together with thud and clumsy hands that could not bend. To have, to be within and without, an all-consuming desire to consume all.

(When her hair was combed Ramona was not a stranger to an aggressive suitor. But, finally, someone too intensely loved Ramona for her braaaaaaaains.)

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from an email

There is nothing so dissatisfying, I guess I’ve found, as that gnawing suspicion of inefficacy.

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fragment 2

I had intended to do something meaningful and simple, like drywall work, but when Mr. Irvin asked me to be his Personal Executive Assistance Coordinator, I mean, wow! What could I say but yes, sir, I embrace this challenge? Does the eagle, soaring above the Atlantic Ocean, or the National Mall, or even the Cookeville Historic National Farm Preserve down the road, does he look behind himself and say, “Well, I would like to continue further, but instead I will look backwardly, and reminisce about previous locations, and the alternative scenes of maybe great beauty which might have come from them? And, flapping through this nostalgia, fail to maintain my airspeed and falter in my forward progress, leaving me without any Potential Growth And/Or Advancement Opportunties in a new and exciting location, like Woodbury or even Murfreesboro, a real vibrant city composed mostly of apartment complexes and Potential Personal Fulfillment Options, as in the green-lettered parlance of the posters of the Cookeville Employment Assistance Center?” I mean, excuse me, but in my opinion, he doesn’t! So neither did I.

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In line for late lunch:

Time spent with Tea Party enthusiasts around and among whom I was raised & careful/lazy monitoring of discussion around the Giffords tragedy reminds me that the scariest part of Members Of Radical Minority “Fringe” Groups With Too Much Popular Heartland Appeal is their genuine believe the things they say and feel. I also attempt to genuinely believe the things I say and feel. I am unable to understand their arguments and feel stomach-clenching revulsion when presented with their ideology/rhetoric.

Problem of discourse among folks all earnestly and honestly convinced of own moral Rightness. Able to dispute others’ morality-based arguments with points rooted, ultimately, in own moral sense?

1. Is this related to the idea that any two people will be ultimately unable to connect / relate / understand one another?

2. Ought we just press nuke and get it over with? Kneejerk reaction is “of course not.” Why am I so completely and subconciously convinced that this is salvageable?

Also, What is the relationship between my infrequent ability to think clearly & the occurence of said ability to think clearly and without distraction only when I’m hungry? What is relationship between my being hungry & propensity to become depressed or otherwise misanthropic?

Sub-: Why also the personal kneejerk reaction when considering violent rhetoric / violent action against those parties who would otherwise perpetuate a cycle of “ignorance” or “violence,” given:
– argument that a “good” thing by virtue of its existence is a place where a “bad” thing is unable to exist. Comparison to flashlight shone down dark tunnel; light is where dark is unable to exist. Opposite is also true.
– Existence of “bad, harmful” party (parties) guarantees that “bad, harmful” things will continue to happen.
– deleted
– Moral conviction against violence/active effort to eliminate “bad, harmful” things from “good” party guarantees the “good” party’s (parties’) failure/extinction

Vague stirrings regarding  drawing a parallel with idea of “entropy” which I do not understand beyond surface-level tenth-grade explanation.

It would be appropriate to describe this avocado sandwich as “savory.”

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I mean, like he had to tell me! Here I was, who my father fed applesauce to when I was younger, pretending the spoon was an airplane or sometimes a steam train, and when I was less younger, sat in the bleachers for most of my basketball games, even though I spent all but four minutes on the bench, who always bought me Choco-Freezies even though I never spelled more than five words right on spelling tests but I loved Choco-Freezies, and Mr. Irvin was telling me how great my dad was? I thought, yeah, Mr. Irvin, sir, I, with all respect to you, know this! I mean, jeez! Did he not think I had been told this over and over during the funeral? Just because a guy gets stabbed a bunch of times, suddenly everyone wants to be his friend, but they can’t, for reasons which are pretty obvious, so they pretend!

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a review of “the four fingers of death”

EDIT: No, you know what? I was wrong. I woke up this morning thinking about this book and realized I missed the fuckin’ point. I hope you’ll permit this reexamination, as the faults and failings in my initial approach toward the book are those of a certain self-guardedness and this problem is alone mine, and the reconsideration of this book is important to exactly: me, but in the super-wide-set view of all things I would prefer that my tiny little not-even-a-blip is an accurate tiny little not-even-a-blip; that the things I have said and felt about this book and about not this book are shoulder-to-shoulder with something resembling the truth, and I hope you also have a Happy New Year, and I hope you also read this book.

The Four Fingers of Death is ostensibly a book about: a doomed last-resort attempt by the North American government to reclaim economic superiority over its Indian and Chinese rivals and a rushed trip to Mars and a rapid disintegration of human civility and the question of what it means to be human and one astronaut’s quest to come back to Earth to see his daughter and an insidious and lethal virus which threatens to fuck up everyone’s shit and a talking chimpanzee and a post-apocalyptic southwestern America and a gradual disintegration of human civility and another take on what it means to be human and and &c and.

The Four Fingers of Death is also a book about: a Montese Crandall whose wife is dying and whose life has been crunched and exhausted and spit out and who falls desperately upon an opportunity to pick up some extra cash by churning out the novelization of a remade cult science fiction movie, the text of which makes up the bulk of the book you the reader hold in your hand(s).

But maybe really–and I am not good at literary theory, and it generally does not appeal to me when I am using it on something I’ve felt personally invested in reading in the same way that breaking down and applying color theory to the cupcake you’ve baked for me for my birthday does not appeal to me, so i hope this doesn’t ring of it–the real meat of The Four Fingers of Death; the real karate chop of it that leaves you emotional and breathless sitting on a chair looking at your feet is the story which is not written. May I attempt to not spoil the ending, or dampen the emotional “whoah, oh god” of the afterword (it is so good; it is too good; it made me sorry for things i’ve never done and wistful for people i’ve never met and the relationships we’ve never built) when I say that it post-establishes all of the preceding text in the context of a work by Montese Crandall. The excesses of the text and its curious emphases are thus made relevant by the reason of the previously-hyperconcise Crandall’s concern for them, and an enthusiastic reader is led to play detective and extrapolate the character of the “fake” author and, maybe, care about him a whole bunch–and this is, I think, the real strength of the story. Not the science fiction behemoth, which is entertaining and fun and features occasional moments of extraordinary “oomph,” (c.f. a certain passage about a one-winged whooping crane; a certain passage about stars; a certain passage about a talking chimpanzee; a certain missive from a scientist to his wife; among others) but its luckless slouching fictional author and how much we learn about him without learning about him.

This is probably too verbose but, okay, it’s too verbose. Please let the bloat of this little text box substitute for a more eloquent display of my enthusiasm for this book I have just recently misread and, upon finishing the afterword of which, I took a long quiet shower.

– My original comment of “not enough meat flopping around in too large a space” is still accurate. The last third of the novelization feels kind of preachy–really most of the anything that Morton says–in a sense that I think it’s Moody being preachy and not Crandall and that’s a damn shame.
– There is an argument that Moody’s writing is indulgent. Maybe? I don’t care. If the writing is supposed to convey a personal emotion and make me feel something, too, then perhaps indulgence rides shotgun. I am okay with this.

Long, messy, fun; took a while to get into, but I enjoyed the ride. Not enough meat flopping around in too large a space, sometimes, but occasional moments of sublime brilliance and hard “oomph!” made this a great choice.

… That’s what she said.

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email 1

dear xyz

are you ready to rumble?!

you could ask me anything about the fine holding runways of the Outagamie County Regional Airport and/or the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and I could probably tell you about it, as I spent about seven or eight hours memorizing their every feature while the child behind me screamed and screamed and the guy to my left made strange strangled gurgling noises (as if he were a Lagoon Monster trying to adapt his marsh-lungs to pressurized cabin air) more on these in a sec

i pulled myself boot over boot through the negligible tsa line at
outagamie county’s finest regional airport
carry-on suitcase full of hair products and processed port wine and cheese product

(here i must introject and tell you about cheese curds: they are kind of lousy. no; my preferred cheese products are 1]merkt’s port wine cheese, which is the most delicious thing humans have ever made out of garbage and 2] texas-style queso, which can be made either from ro-tel and velveeta or actual real cheese and some basic cooking skills)

and nice-smelling soap product
two of which were gifts from a well-meaning Aunt So-And-So who hasn’t seen me since i, age eight, tap-danced for library story hour
(the Dark Days)

i did not get a pat-down i dressed as provocatively as i could! i should’ve worn a tube top with arabic script on it

hurry hurry!
i was almost late for my flight! had to run to my gate. run to the gate tim go go go!
get on the plane it’s still on
made it on the tarmac!

on the tarmac still on the tarmac on the tarmac for two hours let us off the tarmac i want to be off the tarmac
there was a shed with 118 ripples made of what may as well have been tin and a little silhouette of a man’s head in a window. after much contemplation i decided it was not a man’s head but a vase or a basketball or something.

eventually a nap happened

i glided over the moving walkway past the terminals in Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and saw that men and women in Bolivia had taken to the streets in fuel riots as if this Bolivia i had kept hearing about were some post-apocalyptic science fiction; they beat one another and were beaten by one another at that same time that i memorized all 118  little snow-battered crevices in the shingles of the thing across the Outagamie County Regional Airport and bleated little no-blame grumbles into my phone beep boop . for those few hours those little tin things were my largest concern in the whole damn world and  can i ever be forgiven for this

later i would chuckle about my self-indulgent self-flagellation. heh heh heh that’s what catholic school will do to you boy these garden salsa sun-chips are tasty i guess i was hungry

things didn’t improve on the flight from detroit to san francisco. after another dead dog and dead pony show on the takeoff tarmac and a nap and two peanut butter granola bars and five pretzel packs and half of the four fingers of death later during a period of “medium turbulence”
the decent-seeming-but-maybe-eldritch-lake-monster guy to my left turned to me and said “would you mind if I–BWAA

“b. bbbb. bwarf. b?”
he was okay and i was  wearing a very comfortable but otherwise unloved sweatshirt and he bought me all the whiskey i wanted (which was quite a bit)

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