tenodera aridifolia = one riot, a failed raid

The One and The Other are on vacation this week. Or they may have time traveled or transcended reality or something. It’s hard to say for sure. They are unreliable narrators. I overheard them jabbering about surfing wicked eddies in the space-time continuum. As I left the room, I saw them out of the corner of my eye, a brief flash. I think they were holding towels. Perhaps they’re now cavorting with mattresses on Sqornshellous Zeta.

I saw many birds this weekend. Birds. Birds. Birds. I went to the park. Twice. I saw a Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia). It flew across my path and landed in a tree. Fun!

On Saturday night I played Bananagrams. I felt sure I’d win on account of all the anagramming I’ve been doing lately, but I did not. Win, that is. One of my opponents was a known fierce competitor. Fastest bananagrammer in the West, they say. Now, I’m an anagram purist and do not think you should be able to dump letters, even considering that you are penalized by having to take extras when you do. When I mentioned this I was accused of being difficult. I ended up screwed several times at the end of a round when I picked up everybody’s crappy discarded letters. I think I prefer Boggle and Scrabble.

Work is work is work is work is work. Bah. Read poetry outside at midday near the water. So many old white men in suits. Just wait until they get the corporate nudity memo. Bloated bellies, sagging flesh tubes, scraggly grey chest hair…THE WORLD WILL SEE IT ALL. No one will be intimidated again by your fetid air of combed-over superiority.

Reading again about how the lucrative used tire market is the nefarious cause behind one of my summer woes. Isn’t that a bitter pill. I can’t get over it. Me, who hates cars and doesn’t even own one. I dream of an apparently pre-1987 world where I could actually enjoy my deck instead of shrinking from it in fear for months at a time. Where assassins did not invade the sanctity of my home, lurking in the low shadows, inserting their proboscises into my flesh to make a blood withdrawal. Used tires? Are you kidding me?

So here I am with my brand new 1970s rec room molester carpet, my office looking much tidier as a result, the shaggy blunt brutality of Monday closing in on me. The horror, the horror. And those brats The One & The Other not even here to entertain me. Damn them.

This didn’t really go where I wanted it to go.

la palabra o la muerte

Cigar-smoking guy smoked a cigar yesterday and today, not that I’m counting. He was with his lady friend. They own that patch of grass between the black locusts. Someone had taken their other seat yesterday. Too sunny for that spot, anyway. My black socks heated up in the sun, creating hot bands around my ankles. It wasn’t pleasant. Yesterday cigar-smoking guy smoked his cigar while his lady friend was present. Today he waited for her to leave. Yesterday I was behind them as they walked to the grassy patch. Or rather he rode his bike extremely slowly next to her as she walked. From experience I know this is annoying, on both sides. I almost intervened because clearly I know best.

In his essay in the Spring issue of Zone 3, Don Lago relates a story about Aldo Leopold that I already knew. It’s about how as an eager young man Leopold partook in a hunting party that came upon a female wolf swimming across a stream to her overjoyed pups. The men in the hunting party, including Leopold, joyously opened fire on this happy reunion scene. When they approached the dying wolves, Leopold poked with his gun at the she-wolf, who snarled back, not surprisingly. Leopold related seeing a “fierce green fire” fading from her eyes. It was at this moment that Leopold began to understand the tenets of what would become known as ecology. See, when you kill all the natural predators in an ecosystem, you’ve got two problems: overpopulation of prey animals and the resulting carnage on the ecosystem. Hunters are only so eager to step in and blast away at the defenseless woodland creatures, but it’s too big a vacuum for them to fill. Besides, one could argue that there are also too many humans today, and so where are our predators. Perhaps they are still yet to come. The hunters become the hunted. Oh yes, one day…

So the gulls cried and the orbs ate their raucous lunches on the deck at McCormick & Schmick’s™. Many bees pollinated a flowering bush. They briefly paused over me but found I had no pollen to offer. The water taxi ferried three people somewhere. Someone nearby smoked a cigarette and disparaged someone else over the phone. He had big hair and used nasty words. I was happy for the protection of my bee-laden bush.

Director man’s leaving. Oh well. No shock to this crusty cynic. No one bought his crying act at the meeting. What is there to cry over when you found your dream job in the south of France? No one is buying what you’re selling, buddy. No one. So take your act elsewhere. That’s right. Take it. And now the feeding frenzy begins. Fight to the top. Power and money. The nonprofit world is no different. There are humans here, of course. And where there are humans there is corruption, lies, ruthlessness, greed, manipulation, spitefulness, exploitation for personal gain, false faces. Savor the flavor…of hufu.

Meanwhile, the first cases of Coca-Cola in over 60 years will soon be arriving in Myanmar. Thank goodness the madness has ended. Soothe those parched, ragged throats with America’s sweet nectar, high fructose corn syrup, the great symbol of liberty and freedom. Drink it down, Burma, and maybe one day you’ll be as fat as us. Coke executives everywhere should be proud. Now if they could just crack that North Korean market (not much hope for Cuba, as long as the Castros are around). I’m sure they’re salivating at the thought. Can you imagine the bonuses? The high-fives? The unabashed corporate nudity?

All axehandle hounds aside, though, I’m chopping down a tree. I’m a cat in a paper bag. I’m fighting nothing and nothing is fighting back. No one wants to be a cart on the track of an amusement park ride. The tunnel of love. The tunnel of death. The tunnel of life. Is it shrinking up ahead or widening. I can’t tell. Turning and turning in the widening gyre is what Yeats said. A waste of desert sand, he said, a shape moving its slow thighs, in the shadows of the indignant desert birds.  What rough beast, indeed.

to me, it’s not better than the weather

Waning, waxing, waning, waxing: the rush and the push of mood from hour to hour to day to day to week’s end and to the moon. Reading F. K.’s diary night by night…sinking fast in the horror bog of familiarity. A morass of similarities. [Will I also get TB. Where’s my Swiss sanatorium.] Writing, not writing, writhing, writing, not writing, the endless breakers rising and crashing against this battered cranial jetty. The crushing repetition of my own inspiration. Heat’s ebb and flow, the dying summer exhales rank and humid rattle-breaths as it’s painstakingly strangled by the coming fall. An ugly death, for sure. The work not done around here could fill a hundred empty trucks, on standby, prepared to haul off a life’s accumulated evidence of avoidance. I, the weather-crazed architect, survey an empty expanse of years, so carefully orchestrated, so carelessly implemented, and on every day I rested. And on every day I rested. And on every day I…clamp down on the cause of defeat with mighty waxen jaws, summer’s flame licking holes in their false walls. Caving in on itself, everything is. Last night again was epic dreams I failed to describe accurately in my journal. Just weak fluid flowing from my pen, sketching a toothpick framework for what is becoming dangerously close to more exciting than what I describe here. That is, intricate nothingness. That is, blank walls of clear shellac taped off and rollered with exquisite care, attention paid to the most glaring lack of any details…a veritable Sistine Chapel ceiling of nonexistence. So proud I am for the big unveiling. [Sound of emergency exit door slamming shut.]

Now I drink yerba mate out of a wooden gourd. Now I reflect on how cigar-smoking guy had a lady friend with him today. Not a loner for long. They sat in those weird half-chairs that have no legs. Just a seat and a back and nothing else, maybe arms. What will they think of next. Cigar-smoking guy was not smoking a cigar. His bike was there, but his lady friend must have walked. I sat on the other side of the locust trees flipping through some literary journals I’m supposed to review. The air felt drained of moisture. This pleased me. All around, bands of men in monkey suits capered about in the grasping thralls of machismo, no doubt bandying their latest conquests in the spheres of sex and business. Strip off their power suits and we would all laugh. Or would we cheer. Or arrest. Recall the Naked Rambler. Corporate embrace of full nudity: I’d like to see it. Level the playing field. No more power coursing through expensive Italian fabric. I’m nude, you’re nude, let’s close this deal and go get drinks. High fives all around. See you at the bar.

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