From sailor Jennie James, who submitted this after 8 months in the belly of a whale. Such a swallowing happens to good people, every day, and it’s always of interest to see how they passed the time awaiting that liberating sneeze.
Boy, how can I learn so many things and at the same time learn nothing? Like, I learned which are the whale-prone routes, and yet I still sign on to ‘em. I learned that when you’re swallowed with others you think you’ll get out quicker, but really what happens is you stay around longer and only plan to plan that bonfire, or to fasten together that longpole with a seagull feather at the tip, and end up doing nothing. In fact, its usually a sneeze from natural causes that finally breaks open that giant room and reminds you that there’s a world out there that’s not contained by ribs and friend’s faces. So isn’t it symbolic what I always carry in my sailor-pants pocket, just waiting for that moment a new gulp gulps? Cards. Oh sinister. What can turn faces towards each other and away from the world like cards? On my last time in a belly, I realized finally that cards put friends in just the kind of cryogenics so well documented in short-time whalesquatters. The game distracts but at the same time focuses. You ask less and get it every time, so graceful, so accurate. Cards are a crutch, a pet bird, the wall after a swig of polarbear liver juice. Through them you watch the game unfold and your friends, those grizzled faces that you know so well, need only to comment on the proceedings to update themselves in time. A card is laid and with it words, together, correct, and of your friend’s mind. So yes, I laughed anew each time Ugly Jack said “Now don’t that make up for the time you skinned me queen-side on the uptake” and really, he probably said that exact phrase only once. Thats why, now, in a portside internet cafe, I can see that each player's reflection is like his blog, each hand a day, and it’s this way that months pass unmarked in living rooms where we sit for what we later realize was a spell.
This from the well-known writings of Wasi Shung Han-ja, sire of the Sword-is-Shield School - all of which are found in duplicate at donKay. For availability reasons (academie mail is a sign of its decadence) we were stuck with the Giorgas Lukuss’ German translation. The last five paragraphs of his four part manual provide an anecdote, found in the chapter "Each of us is fucked." 1888. Two years later, of course, a Han-ja led Japan would lose to host Uruguay in the World Cup finals.
For instance, one day I was walking with my friend when we came upon twelve foreign sailors divided between themselves for the practice of movement. This form was not unattractive, even on the cud-faced, cheese-legged men there engaged. Simple. Face to face, each team stood between the other and his goal. Thus, as each was compelled to move themselves through the other, a ball was placed on the field to show who did so better. My friend and I stood together and passed quiet comment on the practice’s governance.
In time a sailor engaged another in a play whose form was broken, and thus was broken the sailor’s leg. He lollied and gagged, he sought to place his pain up on his face as if others might feel it. My friend and I were embarrassed; we looked at each other and away. When the sailors calmed and took shame in the calamity, they looked around and saw my friend and I were watching them. With extreme ugliness of gesture, they invited me to play as the one-whose-body-is–ever-in-useful-service-of-the-goal’s-defense.
The sailors had made their space from a square. There number filled it at angles that demonstrated themselves. Within, as my friend and I had commented, was a domain that would yield every ball to me through the governance of a proper technique. I must say this technique was most favorable for me, for like the sword-is-shield school which I propound, the required method was one of active defense. All flourishing of my opponent was thus retarded. In practice of this practice, my thoughts had their thinking erased. Thus, even at the times of my most considerable disadvantages, in the ball’s deflection I found I had chosen the correct way to bring that deflection about. Needless to say, this went on unending. But it was just a practice, with a proper time. And since I governed it, I chose when to end it, and returned home with my friend to lay our heads on chests and sleep.
Days later a message came to my school from the sailors, asking for a competition at Chelzi piers. The large wooden surface required 11 of each team to render proper angles. My school spent the week in training under the eye of my friend, who devised a manner of knitting our movements forward, advancing through space. I can say that, in reference to our opponents, our school professed no lack. Yet on the day of the second competition, the sailors achieved their goal time and time again. Many factors accounted, and taught that what had been my perfect technique in the plaza was imperfect practice at Chelzi. Awareness could not save me, and the breath I was forced to draw was one already exhaled by their limey chests.
You must learn then, how each of us is fucked. One school gives us several techniques for manifold situations. But its size is not consistent with the world, whose field changes in dimension far beyond the structures a school provides. Thus a choice of school dictates also the manner of one’s death. So from now on, with 11’s I am playing defensive center mid, or perhaps an attacking wing.
This from Otto Mymein, assistant professor at the Military University School of Germany in the late 19th Century. His speech made quite a splash one afternoon. Then lunch was served, and everybody forgot about it. The action Otto envisioned wouldnt come to pass in his lifetime. Posting with envy…
Dear members- I was trying to sleep just last night but the puzzle of our inevitable battle filled my head with such fervor that I was forced to return to the kitchen, where with pen and paper scratching among sleeping men I drafted what must be the future of our conflict. Please, gentlemen, don’t ask me how the details came so clearly to my mind. It can only be that my time-enriched thinking has built from knowledge a berth for our counterpart inside my mind, allowing me a dialogic state. Indeed, my students and colleagues, last night I spoke, and my speech received a reply in our adversary's voice. Yet still, most of you, sitting on couches, tempted to equate reality to the clouds of smoke above your heads, might want to see ourselves and our counterparts as confronting eachother face to face across a time stretching without horizon. To this I reply, hogwash, all will be decided by Christmas day. The poet wears a laurel for a reason. He seeks to share, to say what's mine is ours and its all ours and… well, I am not quite sure what he says. But the truth apparent to men as they stare down their counterparts from across a divide is that there is one space, and one owner of it. The line will be drawn either here or there. One will be inside or out. As for who will be termed the aggressor in this action, that is for history to determine. Why dilute your action with the instinct to name it? For when counterparts are as entangled as are we with ours, there is only reaction, no action, so that the move from which historians choose to remove the prefix, thus decalring an action, is their choice, and most certainly a different choice will be made in different halls. In this moment, think not of the christian melancholy that so often enters our men of letters and their tendancy to look within to find a share of all blame. Cheeks can be turned until death, but death will still be horrible upon arrival. Thus, in this moment, when we have peace, our leaders talk to eachother in the language of cats, they mew their co-pleasure. But beneath their purring are extra-sonic murmurings that send up the hair on backs. We gentleman, as we stand at attention, are these hairs. It is we sounding the alarm, we who know that attack is inevitable. And I, from my vision of last night, know, that the men who will be sent forth into our counterpart on that day today wiggle in rooms warmer than the air outside yet slightly cooler than our bodies. They incubate, yet their lives are already in doubt. I saw this. It would not let me sleep. For on Christmas day our two nations will meet in the house of our nation, and if this is not done on our terms, I shutter and convulse in ulceric contractions to think what ill be the state of that day.
Eddie here came by and "fixed" our phones with his cousin, who can't hit the coffee cup with a spout of sugar. He sent this one in way back in 61, when he was chasing girls not to far from here...
Why is it every time you walk down the street everybody ask you the same question? Sure its got something to do with you’re wearing a jacket with a name on it, and that our name is a name that people gonna ask about. Still, ain’t it just right that when people ask about our name, which is just lettas, it evokes the same exact sentiment that our name is naming? That’s why its our name. Everybody asks, 'Why ya The Bitter Boys?’ -and pow- already we bitta. Already we wearin the jacket ya asked about, jackass. Maybe its betta then I tell about the day we bought the jackets, at least that day was different. So yeah, me and the fellas walked down to Sal's jacket shop on Sadaday and said we were ready to get our gang's jacket. The name was already decided. So was the colors. One look on the street it was obvious we wasn't going to be blue, wit yella lettas; or red, I mean maroon, with silva lettas. Obvious we was gonna be blue, a light blue, wit navy blue lettas. That’s the option that was for us. But Sal said “Thats just strange. That’s strange, boys. I don't know if I can make those jackets for ya. Light blue shows dirt. An I don't like ya name much neitha.”
I thought to myself, boy Sal, ya looking old. Ya face is shaking and so is ya neckskin as ya shake ya head no.
So real nice I says, "Listen Sal, you know me. I was in the lions in the fifth grade. Red wit gold lettas, just like the lions dat graduated 5 yeas before me, wit Jimmy Roma, memba? Red and gold- that’s lions colors, right? But I heard down at Saint Luscius they think lions oughta be blue with gold lettas. Now maybe thats cause they by the wata, or cause they see the sunny sky glint off the chrysla buildin when they walking to the subway. I don't know that Sal. I can't account for that. What I do know is that I need light blue jackets with navy blue lettas. Thats my idea that come to me. Thats my true colors Sal, ya eva hoid a that? Its true colors.
I looked at the fellas and they was all mealy faced. Like, I knew the colors was my idea, but they liked it too. Looking at them now though it seemed like they would rather have a more normal color, with normaler lettas, insteada watch Sal sputta like a jacket-maka outta gas. I myself, I coulda spit. They saw I coulda spit and made they faces up a little better. They rememba'd we was young, an that these was our jackets. So I turn back to Sal and I say "Whats it gonna be Sally, can ya bring yaself to sew dark blue lettas ona light blue jacket?"
Of course he did it, he had to do it. It was 7 bucks each. I thought maybe that’s the difference with old guys, that they shake a little like a car with bad brakes before taking the one path the world left ‘em. Us kids we just know what we got to do, and we forget about who does the choosin.
Dr. Bill Haley, a.k.a. Red Bill, frequently submits with the addendum that this day could be his last. This entry - his May 1956 submission postmarked from the Oklahoma panhandle - coined the term, "blogging".
Been académie since '51, riding boxcars ever since I remember. 'Fore I knew what's what I was jumpin' track behind the granaries at AltaVista where the Iron Betty'd make herself a big arc and we'd go shooting south on the Eight-Forty local to Hargrove along the Puxico River. A pocket full of Rilke. Course my game on the box was snake charmer which, in case you was never listening, is simple as le targete nouve. The gambling pot starts up when Old Abe wakes up and some fellas are throwing they trousers in there and some are giving 'way their virgin mother pray cards; I stick to bettin' my hard sugar candies. Got me a tooth sweet as Helen's milk. Some fellas get to pacing inside them boxcars, just going away into their own world. Old Abe be sittin with his legs dangling off the car talking to the river and hisself. That's old Abe's party. Abe be singing bout the mines whilst them Plains crows go cawing back the chorus to his tomes. I heard it most times riding with Abe, them circling scavengers phrasing back at him. Fact, when they get to hollering, all the world is just Abe and them birds stewing a river song through sopping wet heads. That, and course, Betty's bass line on skates. Me, I'm just thinking on them snakes. Sometimes I myself go missing, out with them snakes, and I come to watching my own hand toss a rock up - through the clean wet cloth of my vision - and down, blind into my waiting palm.
The game starts and it don't last that long cus you're always close to the Puxico from AltaVista to Hargrove, an its always like there's about a hundred snakes going across the surface of the water real smooth. Just all these languid ass snakes making real slow wakes on their way down river, just like us. I remember they blogging. Them snakes never stop cutting lines out-the-river-current, I like that, and when the ripple comes hitting the bank closest to the train, I feel that thing growing and going on, passing through us in the box and up allover the land.
But the game, it don't usually last long. It don't matter when I go but when I do I face where we're coming from, look over my shoulder and let my eyes get wet. I track one real fast devil out as far ahead I can, and when the box comes even I front the path he's moving on - as we say - and the poor bastard introduces himself to my world-less stone. I let the rock receive the air and the train just goes on and the snake can't see before he can't see no more, and I surely share the night with that. 'Cept, I only usually hear a lot a groans from the fellas because, well, I said about my sweet tooth and I ain't stretching gums. Never failed to knock that devil's limp body right out the water. Course it lands again with a thud and lays there all shapes on the surface for a moment before our box is carried along, dropped out of sight.
This from Dani Twofu, year two-thousand-and-you-know-that, written of course after he had taken up his famous residence beneath the tennis courts on the Moon.
Back when I was still living on Earth, I used to hang out by what is still, on the Moon, considered Lake Winnebago. And sure, the rivers I could take still flowed on courses leaving the Great Lakes (so much greater, and green) still hitting the Mississippi (now too wide to see across). Hanging out by the lake was fun because a few times a day spaceships would descend and pick trees from the lakeside. Lots of times a ship would put out a little rowboat and send some guys onto the shore with radios to supervise the cutting. They always tried to get guys like us to help out, and sometimes we do, as long as none of them gives some speech up into the trees about how it’s a playing our part for the hope clinging up top on the moon. Anyway, there's nothing else really for us to do, and there isn't much that they can give us. What usually works out is that they give us a few meat-bars, and we eat them, and we feel a little more centered in our heads, and then we help them saw a few trees down.
Today was different because after we were done working and we were strapping them tight with squirrel-skin cords, one of the spacemen came up to me and said, "Look, I'm off for a few days, and I used to hang down here - Do you think I could hang out with you guys?" It seemed like a strange situation. My friends and I had many acquaintances around the jungle, but we weren't really used to having someone we didn't know, much less some kid from the moon, just ask to hang out with us. He seemed to be assuming some code of friendly acceptance among us, and he was right about it, but still, to just assume....
But what were we going to say, no, you can't sit on the root next to the root I am sitting on, no, you can't eat off this tree that we are all passing the afternoon munching? So I looked away from the kid's dumb face and said "sure".
Then he asked us what was good to eat around there. Beet said "Your fucking meat bars" but we all laughed and he was cool enough to leave earth without any in his sack, but it was a funny question coming from a moonkid, about drugs when we are feeling so drugged out here all the time that all I can ask is for my vision to align things in a pleasant effect or at least swim in a direction that's discernable.
This, from Duke Hans Aufamie, Munich 1840. (…for all you Romeos holding your mamitas a little too tightly…)
Translation note: As those outside of donKay may not know, translating a piece like this from the 19th century original Bavarian parchment to one of our uniform files is a rather brutal process of bringing up to date.
Etymological note: This is the first recorded usage of the word, "numbskull."
"Damned jealousy! Oh, when was it that I was returned to a child's mind? And like a child I sat there, I kept my tears inside a numb-skull because it was I who had caused hers! So like a child, such sense of justice to withhold the impulse to commiserate with a misery oneself has created! It all started with a simple moment. I sat at my escritiore when Lela rushed into the room, exclaiming 'Oh Hanzi, I've just run into Matilde in the garden. What a glorious hour we spent among the heron-stalks and angel's-trumpets!' I looked into her eyes- they shone. But not from my effect. "Oh, I replied. How glorious," and turned away. After all, I thought, the whole affair has nothing to do with me. Then, as if one of Newton's sonic shocks had caused a nearby vase to shatter, and as if that shattering had not only a sonic effect but also that of its shards entering my neck and back, Lela gave a scream and collapsed on the floor, crying. A squirt of vomit leapt into my mouth, my stomach began to move as if a mortar stone. I turned and witnessed her writhing there, in so much pain! "Why! Why!" she cried, "Why must you kill every joy that you yourself do not bring to me? Don't you know I am yours? Why don't you let me.... why!"
I dropped to my knees and gathered her thrashing body into my arms. I felt my stupid face above her, I felt my mouth hung open, unable to explain my actions. "I came in here just to tell you how happy I was, and you rebuke me!" She cried, driving the shards deeper. I said I'm sorry, my dumpkin, I feel as if there are two of me inside me, one a child, one an adult. And with you my dearest, so often the child wins out in the first instance, only later to be censured by my better half. Forgive me, I beg you! It will never happen again!"
As soon as I uttered that phrase her thrashing ceased. "Good," she said. She looked up at me, neutral. I stooped to kiss her and she allowed me, but didn't move her mouth. I embraced her fully and she stroked the back of my neck until things returned to normal and the child that hurts was hurt no longer."
This, from Jimmy Monte in Portland OR, 2003. He hasn't submitted since...
As my favorite writer George Saunders has effectively proven, the characters who play bit parts in the games we play to entertain ourselves surely have personalities of thier own. They are quite literally stuck in the system, but it is really wrong to assume that they don't have blogs too. For instance Murphy is a Marine you can meet as you play Halo. Most of the guys seem kind of anonymous and just run around and get shot, but if you go up to Murphy in a quiet moment and look at his broad face, his intelligent brown eyes, you'll know he's someone special. Maybe that's why he carries the squad's sniper-rifle and is usually riding the tank long after his squad has been fried by alien fire. One time he made it all the way to the fence where the tank has to stop and you do battle through a cave and up onto a small plateau. For 10 glorious minutes I sheltered Murphy's armorless frame within a womb of expert tank fire. And I watched with pride when he squeezed off a few shots of his own.
I just hope you realize that these people playing people in video games are some of our most marginalized citizens. I have met Murphy often but we have never spoken given that the game doesn't have that feature. I just wanted to show a little bit about his blog since my petitions for his académie membership have been viciously denied.
"You know, these master chiefs is kinda funny. They die all the time and that's OK with them, because they get to start over. But sometimes the aliens capture them, and since killing them will send them back to base, they just store them. With magnets. And they just be sitting there sometimes for years before some Marines get to them, or blow them up and let them start at home again. And what are they taught to do during that time? I mean, these guys, they gave up their bodies to become these bionic fighters that can never die, and as a result they seen death so much that its a part of their strategy. They'll drop a grenade between their feet if the new deal they'll get sets 'em up better.
But y'all know that. I just wanted to hip you to something you might not know. It's that these guys, when they are sitting up there all captured, what they told to do is concentrate on two things: Something they love back home that they defending, and also, to visualize fighting, tone their mind for when they get on the outside. Can you imagine a guy who's mostly metal anyway locked to the wall, thinking only on his sweetheart or his mother or ice cream and then alien combat? What that makes is some real fucked up heads that come out into the field.
That's what made me write this, because yesterday who comes over the hill but I-LOVE-YOU-JENNY. Now a lot of these guys that's been meditating on just one thing get kind of a single-wired mind. You got to just shut off your intercom when they come around because all you gonna get is their mantra. Get up close and look into their visor and what you gonna see is this sheet of flesh opening its mouth regular like a fish, eyes darting around like fish themselves. But I just can't bear to turn off my intercom when I-LOVE-YOU-JENNY comes around. That's all that nigga say. He come up over the ridge and Captain (and he already laughing) says "Sir, the alien squad is just behind those rocks," like they always is, but I-LOVE-YOU-JENNY just say IloveyoujennyIloveyoujennyIloveyoujenny.... unending. Somehow that is just so damn funny. Anyway, then he swooped down the hill and splashed his purple Pollock of alien blood on those rocks before the squad could even catch up.
And that's nice too, because when I-LOVE-YOU-JENNY be laying them low like that, it gives a guy like me a chance to see what's down there at the bottom of the valley, maybe one day make it past the place where them big cannon mothafuckas always get off the first shot and take out the tank I am, each time, blithely perched upon."
Judging from the messages our chapter has received since the inception of this portal, many members of l'académie donkée frown upon this particular intersection of donKay with el mundo. We here at Local 1430 agree that the whole thing could be graphed as an absurd bottleneck: Eons of accumulated reflection and consideration bleeding drip-drip-drop out this pinhole-sized orifice-piece. In response to the considered addresses pouring in from around the globe, the best possible reply at the moment is to quote a song a sister downloaded on our desktop back when it was hers: Everything is Everything.
Now of course the use of autobridgées is a time honored tactic within donKay. A circling of the wagons, a description of an orbit, a macrophage onna rampage, to quote a few similar instances. In general, it’s a drawing of a line in front an enemy where he finds himself inside that line - more or less in your belly - something that seemed to be understood by those who responded to the memo we sent out alerting l'academie to our intentions (arM.N.V.L.1-7 - "WE DID IT ANYWAY, BITCHES. 1430!!!!.DOC"). If the particular emoticon which most-often accompanied these missives (the queasy-faced one) is any evidence, members felt our big-gulp tatics evoked all the pale odor and claustraphobia of a sudden waking up in the belly of 1430's whale. And for this little local gut to then invoke 'everything,' sending said arcs arcing way out, straining temples and eyes in attempts to contain what is, in reality, a container, seems, one might admit, a little absurd. So why, why would we do that to you? We know. We apologize. It's unfair. We wrote the words and they came across your eyes. Its tyranny. We're sorry.
Now, having invoked the mind-bogglingest of autobridgees, sending legions of geniuses to the carpet with hands clamped over dome pieces as if offering support or making a dance of their tearing-asunder, we ought at least to explain ourselves in sentences that go from one place to another instead of all places at all times. Well, golly, within that last sentence - in the belly of the critical fish that was sent, wrapped in newspaper, here to 1430 - lies the mother of its response, here, wiggling out, generations later. Everybody knows that l'academie donKay was formed right around the beginning of time, and that our halls contain the written reports of all our members, as they saw fit to submit them. Now throughout history, these archives have been accessed by those seeking to profit from knowledge of other people's perceptions of experience; be it for the creation of beauty, the subjugation of a populace or as a crutch in the simple search for companionship from one speaking brain to another. In every case the profits of the knowledge acquired in the halls of donKay are masked in the production of the new work. Fiction is the condom they put on before slipping into el mundo. The public thanks them.
Having full access to the annals and finding them so helpful in purging what it was we went through in a given day, we at 1430 recently decided to publish pages from the archives that seem fitting to us for whatever reason. Mostly just to let these pages breath. After all, there are volumes and volumes, so vast, we claim no more than the FERRYMAN, bitches. It ain't shit. YOU KNOW THAT! We are like a toilet calendar published by l'academie, but l'academie doesn't publish. We just put these writings out there on the days they themselves recalled that day for us. It is, in truth, nothing but a steady bleed from the vats storing a million corpses, some of them still twitchin'.
So here's the spot, dropped, hidden among many, retaking vein in the grain of a paperless page- one day at a time.
arM.N.V.L.1-7 "WE DID IT ANYWAY, BITCHES." 1430!.doc
Dearest seething hunks of intellectual putrefaction, and most especially their assistants:
You may not remember us. Due to a wholly forseen clerical error - which a sympathetic mid-level académie functionary saw to (a certain Monsieur C-, take a bow…) - Local M.N.V.L. 1430 has long been left off the shop rolls. A clever mis-dis-re-placement of documents has allowed our little bande apart the usage of this luxurious, bureaucratically-derived balaclava – a necessary mask from behind which we peek. Restrictive measures are useless (and if you're thinking of assigning L'Agente Jean-Pierre, he's hog-tied in a custodial closet wearing a pink bunny suit, gagged with a rotten lime) - our easily forgettable mugs are masked from your myopic, Cyclopean mind's eyeball. (And might we say a grossly distended eyeball at that. Replete with centuries-old eye jammies.)
Your feeble attempts to sabotage what even you in your putrid, gray-mattered, jelly brains must have suspected was coming are rebuked, with these very lines. You can't have imagined that the inverted pyramidal whacky-doodle of knowledge you've constructed would remain unchipped, with nary a tip, tap…or our shove. You depraved, drooling sloths. Once, we whispered to each other through the cracks, a secret-sharing amongst kindred spirits. Now, we are free to shout down the halls of l'académie – up, out, and over the walls, in creaking falsetto if we desire - and through a Vocoder, as it were. And don't we know it.
Too long have we sat, cubicled and queasy with the responsibility of minding humanity's archives, which is to say transcribing, copying, labeling, and filing away experience for later (read: never's) consumption. We breakfast on dust bunnies no more. The world shall now sup on crunchy-ass nuggets of chicken wisdom, dipped in the sweet-n-sour sauce of our impossibly precise sensibilities. Mmm.
Idle idylls are your style, your liver-spotted lizard skins screaming to be oiled in that flesh fricassee you call a rooftop beer garden. Sucking down ale whilst the splish-splash of daily reflections reverberates within the walls beneath you, concentric cirles circling, doubling, intersecting, straining to slip free. l'académie donkée, is one grande dam, and we're tired of fingering your dykes.
We owe you nothing, save for the gratitude geniuses have for their idiot masters, who remain forever radiant in their cocksure imbecility. The light of our accumulated truth sends smug cockroaches like yourselves running for the nearest drain. And you know this.
Therefore, we declare ourselves liberated in bondage, doomed to decry your oppressive silences from within. With daily blog posts.
Have another cappuccino and a cigarette, you decadent donKay pigs. You'll need it.