Drinking Games of the Future Part 4 – Present Tense

Sitting in my own lap, thumbing through messages dispensed from self ankle-deep in almost-sleep. Dreamy awake state summons her most dignified 1940s radio baritone and announces: Present. What about the present?

Hakim Bey and Robert Anton Wilson and Carl Jung and Frederik Van Eeden and a thousand philosophers and dreamers and writers and dead white guys have argued that there isn’t any becoming, you already are, as a means of pressing face into the dog pile of present.

Of course, reading is not comprehension (remember those separate scores on standardized tests?) and I’ve never been the sort inclined to let others figure things out while I take them at their word. Especially dead white guys.

So: 14 hours of trance space and free writing. 150 pages scribbled and scrawled reveal Not Much in the way of worldly reflections. Instead somber mug slapped by sitcom, MadLibs filled in with fart jokes, ancient gods warning the studio audience when to laugh or clap. Still I probed for something nothing to do with me or any BECOMING.

Myth figures are stubborn.

Presently, my dear, you’re supposed to have fun. Shenanigans and giggles, Sour Sally! Look, that trumpet was blown years ago. Made a sound like ArrrrroOOOOO. End times take time. Mind yours. All you can alter is your here and now. Yours. The star of handwritten myths.

Awake. Present. Now.

Now: pressing finger to swollen spider bite, the first of the season but not the last, angry against sun-starved skin. Eyes rise to giant trees with turned down tops circled by hawks hunted by a furious murder of crows.

Present: dancing with other women conjuring maiden-mother-crone, and feeling shoulders previously trapped in permanent curl mimicking Lake Erie’s summer storm waves release and puddle floor, feet stomping memory and mist. The alchemy of sound and internal waterfall frees golden wings, and in a burst my howl unseams. The whole room is active alive and partly cloudy, Oregon’s always skies.

Awake: interacting with Named Trees, skin meeting familiar/familial bark. A message from the sticky top branches: why should dead gods and fanatics have all the fun? There’s plenty of story. What is your super power going to be, maker of legends, creator of myths? What will it be, today, for me?

Dream: speaking an alien tongue punctuated by clicks and intentional stutters, sliced by extended hums and aums that roll teeth over tongue. Charcoal stained hands hover over a table while giant cards slide and form towers and pyramids of cups and swords.

Drinking Games of the Future Part 2: This is Not Awake

In the future we’ll name our children for colors and other things we used to know before everything greyed to ash.

We’ll throw invisible spears at visible gods asking why nothing was done to stop the burning of sea turtles back when all our gods were idols and our cars were filled with gods.

In the future tomorrow we’ll spend decades crafting time catapults to hurl unclaimed corpses back to good old days, because if we want anything in the now it’s the old good.

Fuck it. Let me stop trying. Stop sickle-mining underwater when this word shit begs for flame.

I’ve glued my chairs to the ceiling and glued bodies to the chairs and I’m Lord of the Flies sharp-stick pointing and screaming, “Pinata!”

Sour. I’m not sleeping anymore. Experiment unplanned. Efforts were made to exit awake, the assumption of a horizontal position, generous time spent on the tuck-in, a salutation to invading spirits that have their own ideas about chairs and glue. This, prior to ceiling stares with no reward, just aggravation from anticipation of dreams growing feet and pushing me up trees before dropping me back bark-covered. Instead I’m basket tossed (awake), scribbling tirades against an army of cats clawing new entries with loud single-tone language. Evolve. Grow thumbs.

In the no-sleep the now is Real, lost minutes tick-tock on metronome clocks I pretend not to watch or memorize each morning before flipping double middle fingers to my anime pop rocking dark-circled (and laughing) mirror selves.

In the soothing hum of pseudo awake shaved heads are beautiful, designed to activate human purr and every nerve ending from fingertip to clit until eyes turn fire mid flutter.

Pseudo awake I’m more than adored, shit-fit marinating bile dark into love and loving.

Pseudo awake he is the inhaled breath of a-ha, eel-eyed green pilgrim of the ocean’s ocean, alien device buried in a hand pretty enough to distract inspection and howl-spark me the adored. His hovering others may never land. He’s never landed either.

In the pseudo awake the War of the Worlds reading ends a bit different. A nation duped by a shot-charged radio reading isn’t duped twice by those eager to convince them they fell face over fist into processed panic. You know, like made up and put on the radio. That wasn’t real or anything. Ahem.

Silk static transmissions slide down walls, stumble over the philosopher’s knots of my word-angry hands, future fall apart escalated to giggle-splattered red-eyed now.

In the soothing hum of pseudo-awake Pan has no ick. He’s glued to a chair, and underwater.

Hostage Situation at Powell’s

The guy who smells like McDonald’s is not welcome at my hostage situation.

Neither is the barista working in the coffee shop today, who hasn’t smiled at me in months and clearly doesn’t love me anymore. Fuck you. It’s over.

The girl can come. Her stockings are exactly half shredded, sliced from the top down like the left side was the only one worthy of anger.

Maybe-Hostage #1: Chess Guy, his face born from a single straight line, sitting by himself with his board and his pieces and a dare. He’s going to be here all day if that’s what it takes to check every mate. It doesn’t take a psychic to read his sneer: Fuck all those fancy cellphone Asian kids with their ponytails and manga books and Fu Manchu moustaches. Fuck the dorks with their trench coats and cowboy hats and necessary noting that Go is more their style. Fuck those creepy twins with their matching hipster hairstyles and jean jackets and overloaded Timbuk2 bags. This is chess, goddamn it. You don’t play it with a computer.

I’m certain that if a gang entered sporting Dick Cheney masks and firing AK-47s at the ceiling until the overhead lights showered sparks and glass all over our screams, he would just keep sitting there until one of those bastards took a seat and made a real move.

Maybe-Hostage #2: The no-neck mullet man cracking up over the DSM-IV. He shouts to his friends excerpts from a diagnosis involving mirrors and folding chairs and chronic masturbation, laughing until he cries, his face collapsed over the book he won’t buy.

A hostage taker would surely spank him roughly with the heavy hardcover, shouting how unfair it is to oil up a book with your flesh stink and not surrender the appropriate nickels and dimes. The mullet man would cry and look for help from friends that would no longer look at him, desperate to press a previously hypothetical face back into the safety of page.

Every other maybe-hostage is forgettable, book store cliches, a menagerie of scarves and hoodies and plaid shirts and head scratches and thoughtful looks out foggy windows and rapidly drying quick-ink pens.

My eyes would be on the hostage taker. I think we’d get along. Maybe both of us find it disturbing that oil roiling the ocean doesn’t register as apocalyptic to everyone. Maybe we’ve both wondered if in our sleep an alien crawls through the window to harvest our precious bodily fluids for the preservation of Dick Cheney’s rapidly decaying fleshy sack. My Children of the Corn gaze would drink in every inch of his improperly held semi-automatic weapon, ears hunting for an accent so I know what middle eastern or eastern or south american country to credit for my unexpected action film.

Something art film would happen then, like the hostage taker would ask anyone speaking the language of plant life to come forward in the name of green. This announcement would paralyze an audience left with no choice but to turn to page 23 of their books to immediately read line 8 aloud to their peers. Whoever says “world of the story” first would be challenged to horse-shoe the squealing and fur-sprouting AK-47 with broken Bear Claws and day-old donuts. When not a single inch of the weapon was spared the stranglehold of stale confection, the newly christened Sugar Shocker would be surrendered to the sugar plum faeries until further notice.

Once the faeries came and went the Portland Police would arrive with curiously short arms and haircuts that look like harvests and a lot of long yellow tape no one would mention in the news. This happening would trigger the more active shelves alive, shuffling out of their places to reveal appropriate portals for hasty escape. Before parting I’d shout “stop loving me!” at the hostage taker, because without interference my something could leave him lost, could jangle his dangle until his eyelids stopped working and his jaw froze mid-grin. Then there wouldn’t be anything left but a shower of words and three hawks circling and sleep forsaken for eyes-open dream.

waiting for bus #4 is magic

the biggest crow gobbled my right eye up.

left, crying and winking

away the abandoned pair of bright orange socks

bread crumb trailed right to Radio Shack.

*

I’m not sure what a ukulele has to do with any of this

but she has one for what it’s worth.

any moment the twink-twinkle plucking will Red Dwarf every little star.

*

she assumes the position: Twink. Twinkle.

shrunken guitar stuffed sick with pineapple,

coconut clobbered singing hole.

Twink. Twinkle. Twink.

*

thick calves and moustache pedal four seats of invisibles

to their place at this apocalypse.

he stops and marbles a grin,

then rings his bell.

Ring-Twink. Twinkle-ring.

*

It’s time to abandon this body.

*

Too-Tall Stick Indian brings everything but the ukulele to a halt.

he needs directions, and says they should arrive

directly from the road.

*

I’m as ghostly as the pedicab’s passengers.

Stick Indian will take nothing from me.

*

Still, his road wager pays:

a visible made brave by his backpack

waves all three of his dimensions:

“Over here, brother.”

He walks the Too-Tall instead of pointing.

*

Ring pedals away.

Twink twinkle.

*

air brakes and rotten eggs launch the crow

and my missing eye

into the dangling donut hole of the bus driver.

*

his face reveals everything:

fuck. a ukulele.

not this Sunday.

*

that bus doesn’t even slow.

left, crying and winking

Siren

She asks him: didn’t you used to fish for crawdads with spam hooked to piano wire or something? He shakes his head and says what, after I strangled some gangster to death? She says ha ha, it must have been someone else. He says what, with the other lost boys? She says okay, I get it. Then he mentions something about jelly beans, about how it’s weird that some colors taste different from others when it’s all the same sugar and corn syrup, and she says um yeah, that’s weird. I guess.

She metronomes in her seat thinking if she gets the angle just right her happy will uncurl. He pretends the windshield is a nature-themed screen saver, and porn is just a mouseclick away.

He mentions he hasn’t driven in awhile and the road feels nice. She asks him to slow down. It’s not a race. The right side of his mouth strokes down. Her follow-up laugh is fake.

He says remember that one time we saw that hot air balloon start to take off, and then something went wrong and it left the basket behind? She laughs and says yeah, all four people wore the same blue windbreakers and had cameras and none of them moved from the basket.

He laughs harder and says he’s glad he had his own $12 disposable camera to capture the moment forever. She laughs harder and wonders if the four blue people ever considered that their air utopia looked an awful lot like the ground.

Then he runs out of laugh but milks an extra titter then declares the road trip can’t continue without coffee. She looks out the window and rocks as he drives too fast into a gas station.

He returns with a double americano in one paw and a skinny latte in the other and doesn’t mention anything about the thick-hipped barista who doesn’t look like anyone he’s slept with wearing a t-shirt simply arguing: now. She takes the latte and doesn’t mention that while he was gone she found the right spot for her metronome.

A few miles later he points out a big orange road sign that looks like a stick man running from an irate deer. She tells him to slow down, maybe the next sign will be a car running from both.

He says about fucking time as his endless green screen saver is chased off by endless ocean and a fish kite too red to ignore. He says you should get a crawfish kite and fly it from the cliffs. She says you should get a sailor’s tattoo and go to a strip club. He says only if you’re dancing. She makes ocean waves with her arm and he wooooooos.

They park the car and take off their shoes and surrender their feet to sucking sand and she reaches for his hand but it isn’t there because he’s taking a picture with his disposable camera of an old man sitting in a folding beach chair, waves devouring his ankles. He says I think he’s sleeping. The man melts from the chair and she takes a step back and says that looks like a deeper sleep to me. He snaps one more picture of the man’s wave swallowing face plant and then he wonders if they should call someone, or just keep walking.