Gypsies and the academie have always had a strange relationship. These people simply refuse to write anything down. Fortunately, Germans have always been good at selling themselves on the idea of the transparent artist. Until the 1920's, young poetic Germans were renowned for keeping gypsy journals of observed moments that they'd record and trade with friends. Open any drawer in the academie and you'll find one if you rummage long enough. Every decade or so, its cool for 14-year old members to make mixtapes of these things, intermixed with haiku and futurist theater pieces for their boy and girlfriends. This one from Frownin' Franz.
Hey let me make an entry! Where to start? 3 gypsies and a German [me] on a raft in late-summer 1481. The gypsies sang:
TEAPOT! Little whistlin' TEAPOT! Drop our winds drop o winds to steer us, spirit don't blow our boy down!
He's nice and shiny, we've got to keep him hot If we keep him going, we're sure to have fun all day at the tea-pot our eyes will turn watery.
Angles made by the pale hand of angels sun is shining on your tail t-e-a-POT hooray (this line repeated x10).
he's worth a pretty penny oh don't you agree a fancy ties a tying for he with tea-p-o-t.
i don't understand it, how is it that the teapot is always a resting in your lap? Can't you quit, loving yourself like that, with the tea pot, you begin speaking gibberish.
wheres the pause to reflect, in the water's wake the time to take in our taking's wait oh remember when i bought you for a chicken's egg and the chicken, my teapot, its never been easy
I spent a steady evening tooling-in your fancy lines, working with the awl and leather, so that as you worked you'd shine
My teapot night is coming but you like it where it's hot teapot lets stay together you'll have my lap for yours...
Sun Onoma is our man in the inside, year 2-thousand-and-too-soon, pulling a double shift on the bureaucratic front, Moon Immigration by day, donKay by night. Like butterflies he's collected responses to the moon immigration recent arrival questionaire, (specifically question 1B: How do you like it here!) which capture the mind set of those recently arrived after a long stint among the trees and branches of jungle. Based on examination of his questionaire, this fella got placed as a bricklayer. But not too long after he built his own apartment on the outskirts of moontown and hung his hammock therein, wasn't he surprised about the letter he got in the mail, secret post, on that fancy academie homemade heavystock parchment. If you brain scan these people and look at it like a Rorschach your first thought will be that someone had asked you to draw a tree. In the future of 1430, we used to hang in the donKay lounge waiting for Sun to come around. One of us would ask Sun, 'have you got any fresh flowers for us today, here where there ain't no flowers' and Sun would always say 'boys have I got a fresh flower for you. '
Heard them talking about the shower earlier. According to the guest the water burned his scalp with a "searing electricity" so fast he couldn't make a sound. Just because he's new. Just because he doesn't yet know what the water flows like under a third less gravity. It never goes white. It stays clear, it kind of looks as if a glass tulip bulb was sliding through a camera shot with the shutter left open, if I remember correctly the technology I was familiar with back on earth. Here on the moon, sometimes it feels like high school, sometimes it feels like college, sometimes it feels like a french movie, or a dramatic 600 page book that everyone loved in a forgotten decade. The room is one long length with a few extra walls. In the hall, the color of the first room continues at a level even with your rib.
Dreams are so surreal here they feel like exploitations. Like last night, I had a family of tall daughters with red hair and pale skin, I was becoming a judge. I was real proud carrying a box of plaques from my senate chamber through a doorway looking for someone making a photo flash but I don't know who. Who knew sleep would give you a chance to just chill so much here? I recalled the flash in front of some others who paused in a frozen glass mold which gave them a two dimensional cutout vibe until somebody's eyebrow rolled down a forehead like a caterpillar and we just laughed and tried walking again.
This I was telling to my friend on Lua Avenue, when we realized we'd sunk nine inches deep in the muck of the streets. To extract ourselves it would take a series of efforts that could hardly be performed without some sort of involuntary grunt escaping. I realized then, that although we had just been laughing about the earth before the jungle, no one here on the moon was going to act as we in jungle did. They were not going to scream theatrically and gesture in a manner only excusable in the cloud dark jungle. On the moon, at an intersection, one is gonna kill the face of any gesture. One is not going to let shit fall in a moment when sure that it won't hit his feet, just because here it would be seen by the other. The moon, of course, is too bright for that.
Here at 1430 we have an interest in creative writing programs. Because, where Donkee could be seen as, for instance, that huge underground fungus, these programs would then be the red-winged blackbird that swoops down for a mushy snack. So we did some research, and were interested to find that the first of these programs was from 3rd Dynasty Ancient Egypt. Many on the thesis its graduates, one presumes, were lost in that great conflagration. This one, from young Prince Bebe survived only in Donkee, it would be worth so much damn money if it weren’t priceless.
So, I wrote my second play this week. I looked down at the papyrus as a finished it an noticed how well I had lined the hieroglyphs on the page- how even my spacing was- that I felt like I was getting better at everything with practice. Anyway as soon as I finished I rushed out of my quarters and into the quarters of Princesses M. and T. They both are in love with me so I hoped that they would give me a good review. They went through the manuscript while I stood in the hall with Prince J. and when I came back into the room they had taken out their quills and were marking all over it, crossing out a beloved glyph here and adding another limb to a figure there. We bantered a bit, during which I expressed my bitteness as humor.
Later in the day I walked into the pillow room, knowing that my play had been circulated and read by two or three that day. There my reception was even worse. Princess J. and Prince C formed a coalition, saying that my play, which inverted the conventions of our sacred text, would have done better to simply let those conventions play out under the conditions of apocalypse that the work imposed. They also said that the blind allegiance to present forms of government as the foundation for the new post-apocalyptic society, one whose lifestyle would mimic not the present, but the ways of the native tribes that came before us, was equally untenable. Yes, they finished by calling my work overly extravagant. I asked, is it really more extravagant than the work of Duke O.L? They nodded gravely. Then princess A stretched for a bowl of honey wine in such a way that left her prostrated across the body of Prince G, which was strange, because I hadn’t intimated an intimacy there before. Suddenly I looked at all of them in the pillow room, seated, relaxed, and me standing there in the doorway, and I felt very alone in the world. Surely they liked me, but my work met only with criticism.
Finally I said to Prince C., surely you must admit that my work was more about how we would act after the apocalypse, were I to return from here, the city, back to the country outside my home fiefdom, and discover how they were living after the apocalypse, subsequently convincing them that we must live as the old tribes before us, which prompted, as so much in village life does, a three-way election of coalitions who painted all their boats one color or another, and filled them with slogans, etc. He looked at me and narrowed his eyes into a look that said, you exist, I am looking at you, and then said, 'Yes, yes, clearly.' So I continued, 'so really this text is serious, not extravagant. It might even be considered realist.' 'Oh I don’t think so, intoned Princess J,' and I was censored once again. 'But most of the extravagance is in the actual prose, the glyph choice and order, things that won’t make it to the stage. And what about the scene with the pickaxe? Where the protagonist says, ‘Oh sorry, did I brush your leg with the pickaxe THAT WENT THROUGH THE GUT OF MY FRIEND ON THE FIRST DAYS OF THE APOCALOYSE?’' Some people nodded, but it was clear that they preferred my play dead to alive. I made my bows and left thinking, at least I wrote something!
Sometimes the humility of the 1430 crew sends chills down our collective spine, like when we once repeated in unison the same sentence with the redhaired girl who sat next to us in homeroom and then we laughed at the same time but we had to excuse ourself to the restroom shortly thereafter just to look at the muscles around our eye twitch involuntarily wild on our face. In an effort to dispel similarly lingering spine tinglers, jokes have been cracking at The Local recently about the below pair of Donkay members; to spare the worst, names like Twistd Sista, Sister Act, and, sadly, Sista-I-Misstya, were in fact mentioned. This oldie but goodie doesn't evoke exactly those same feelings, but it was sent in on the back of a recipe for apple pie, and it does have a pungency worthy of display. A bit of sunshine retrieved from the dank corridors of Donkay, postmarked Lake Woompampa Girls Camp by elder sister Gail Leegale, composed by younger sister Leigh during their extensive summer of 1949 correspondence. Sis,
Mom has a mustache and Dad can't sleep, the all-volunteer fire fighting force forbids his getting winks, even on the quietest nights, when a flame might could warm the blood of some of these neighbors of ours. Jim is gone by dawn and I put his oatmeal bowl in the basin to clean and use for myself. Mom says he needs a fire in his belly to face the sunless ocean and I agree; the traces of his bowl's heat ease my constant worrying. I walked down to Pleasant Lea again this morning but I couldn't find the deer prints from yesterday; the stag print was as big as Jim's hand, full outstretched.
I first saw that stag from across the inlet and he was walking so slow I followed him all the way to the town dump, out by Patty Mable's barn. He walked all over that putrid sink. Stupid animal. I wanted to walk up to him and pull those antlers off his tiny head and tell him he didn't deserve them and no wonder everyone - even Mom - comes back from the Hallow's Eve hunt with at least an eight pointer in tow. This one's got ten points. He smelled over a ripped paper bag of rotten tomatoes for about a minute and then ate one and the thing was so raunch it buckled that dumb stag's legs like he'd been shot but then he stood back up and I swear to God he swiveled his neck left and right to make sure nobody saw him do it, or else to make sure he was still there, knee high in human shit. I named him Rick on account of his acting so dumb, like Rick, Jim's old friend who ate caterpillars and pieces of wood on bets. Stupid Rick.
Mostly I've been taking walks and following Rick as much as I can, just to see how he goes down, and who gets him. Guess I'll follow them then.
Season's Greetings from DonKay! The perpetual winter in which 1430's overseers thrive is quite different from the one you would expect to accompany the Yuletide Holidays. Metaphorical, yes, but there's even a certain snap to the air down her longer hallways, regardless of any spring sunshines. As if we get to see them anyway. Alanna Johnston's X-Mas letter, cc'd to l'academie by carbon, was written when frosts still chilled the night. The sentiment is mighty warm, though.
Dear Friends and Family,
Here is what we have been up to this year. Patrick has kept busy as Area Supervisor for Ferro-Next's Southern Wyoming operations. Yet once again, as of recently, he will be facing another plant shutdown. We may finally be leaving Wyoming??? Aside from work, Patrick has been coaching the plant-sponsored kids' basketball and soccer teams. 'Coach Pat' enjoys his role. A highlight this year was his victory in the 17th Annual "Manly Cup" Golf Tournament. The competition was fierce.
Alanna is very busy with her private practice, but still finds time to do her early morning exercise. When not on the StairMaster, she spends her time with Book Club and Bunco. A big highlight this year was the weekend surprise trip to New York City Patrick planned for her 47th birthday. They did the Broadway show, the Village, the carriage ride in Central Park, and of course shopping. Visiting Mandee and Brandee was an extra bonus.
Leah is 8. She is in third grade at Immaculate Conception Grammar school. She gets good grades and is an outgoing and social little girl. She likes cheerleading, basketball, soccer, piano, and sleepovers. She cannot wait to get her braces off this week.
Michael is 6. He is in first grade. He recently won his grade's spelling bee. C-H-I-M-P-A-N-Z-E-E. Michael likes reading, and also ice hockey. And swimming. He is becoming quite the pianist as well. We are all very proud.
We feel especially blessed this year and we hope that you will be similarly so. God's grace be with you all.
Avowed romantics, on the other hand, tend to invite scorn, unless they are something like your cousin, in which case it's heart-warming. The academie, as they are always telling us, is one big family. We at 1430 think of ourselves as the member who says nothing at the dinner table but who'll be real cool to you when you end up side to side for a while during the after-meal walk. So although Dale J. might be the softest man in Phoenix, we pat him on the back.
I find it so strange the way people in offices assert themselves. Most of these people are clearly very strange, but then they hide behind culture, both office and pop, as if it disguised their issue-filled beings. Myself, I have always believed that I’m less strange than most, but it doesn't come off that way because the only way I know how to express myself is to say what I am feeling, straight from the heart. I know that my eyes become unblinking and that my face goes still and that the words kind of float up out of my throat as if I was as much their victim as those people who are hearing me, but it usually works out. In the past this even has won me accolades. Lots of times people have said Wow, everything you said is so true, or wow, I totally understood you at that moment. So I guess that leaves me feeling better, like somehow I win in the end. But the problem is I can’t control these moments, I just have to count on them keeping coming and the right people seeing them. I always hope there are a few who have identified, becasue there are inevitably some (usually those who prefer to mediate their lives through yesterday’s episode of Seinfeld) who feel the need to make some kind of uncomfortable comment, like Wow, that was a trip or telling me to lay off the drugs or something.
Anyway, this is what happened today. Since it’s the big carnival week here they built the rollerhockey rink in the middle of Dawson Street, which our office overlooks. Today they played an exposition game, the Mad Dogs versus Prairie Fire. People in the office had been watching the game for our 6th story windows and plenty of guys were pretending it was Sportscenter, but then the game ended and people sort of went back to work, and I returned to the windows a little later to watch the people cleaning up. There were TV lights and I saw they were interviewing a player. The player's back was to me and beyond him I noticed a guy in black coat walking towards him. He had short silver hair and big black sunglasses and looked like he was trying to affect a badass aesthetic but missing the mark by so far that you had to guess that he was a little crazy. He came up behind the guy and put his hand on his shoulder pad, real gentle, but the interview was in progress, so the guy looked once and then ignored the dude, finally kind of shrugging him off. I suspect the dude was talking nonsense. Anyway the second that the guy gave up and turned to go, one of the little puck kids with a bag full of plastic pucks looking like paper boy flicked a puck at the guy's head. I guess he thought he was justified. It bounced right off his forehead and the guy just kept walking, cursing but never turning to look at that little jerk. I wish so bad that I could describe to you what passed across that guy's face during those seconds, surprise, pride, anger, despair, I read in all on the forehead and cheeks that surrounded those huge black sunglasses. I followed him with my vision until he disappeared behind a column, and then I took a few steps back and remembered the office. I couldn’t take it. I backpedaled and collapsed in a chair. Rhonda and some other ladies noticed and came up to me. My face was in my hands trying to preserve the image, but sometimes I peeked through the cracks to see how people were reacting. I saw that people were taking me pretty serious, so I proceeded to tell them what I had just seen. “Oh, the poor man,” they echoed. They even accepted my point about it being a tragic moment and a slice of life. I recovered with their good word, and I have never felt better about the office than now. I feel like people finally know me.
DonKay likes to fancy itself a Romantic enterprise, but we here at The Local know the opposite to be true. Individual imagination's the very thing stifled beneath l'académie's bovine tongue. That sow's mouth cracks open just wide enough to pass gas, anyhow. Only the the sensory-inert could claim to sniff sublimity out of such stank-ass air. We prefer our moments of transcendence, minor-key or major, with a healthy helping of non-digestive dynamism. Enough about us though. Ronald Constable is perhaps the clearest example we could find of an avowed disavowed romantic. Small 'r' here, but the metaphysical discontent saved up in-between his lines reads big. In the 1980s, he devoured the commodities market at the NYSE. Bullish enough to later bilk hundreds of thousands from a few over-inflated mutual funds, Ron was detached enough from the grind to keep a diary, which, if you can believe it, he dictated weekly to a live-in secretary sworn to secrecy, a Ms. Darlene Moses. This entry (later sent off in letter-form to a Harvey S.) was submitted in third-quarter 1982 on a roll of steno-paper -- somewhat like a Kerouac manuscript -- by the faithful Mrs. Moses to DonKay, and proves ole Ronnie was more Ti Jean than he knew.
I forgot to remind myself to make a note of the story I wanted to tell you, Harvey. Because it involves you. It's coming back to me in rushes. It was this Thursday, last year. You were there at Ford's Restaurant, Bar, Grille, & Nightclubbe. Well, we were there, the both of us, downstairs. The back booth was like a kidney. Shaped like one I mean. It was you, me, and Cathy's nephew George. There were drinks that were bought for the eventual girls who sat across from us. Is any of this ringing a bell? Okay. Three of them. Girls, not bells. They had the appearance of griffins, if that's a term that can be applied to other humans, this particular three-some. Not overbearing in manner, but their features, head, arms, legs, could have been assembled by chop shop mechanics earlier that evening. Proportionality was a problem. But, as I recall, that's never bothered me. One of them was named Amanda. The brunette, that was the one that I thought thought I was cute. Amanda.
I was really drunk that night, and well into the following afternoon, as I'm remembering, or hoping to forget. So I may be lying when I say she was a brunette. Redhead possibly, but probably not a blonde. Anyway, the girls were a chatty clique, commiserating over martinis and whispering loud enough to make me think that they were just pretending to say actual words. Maybe it was just loud in there. Okay, it was loud in there.
The Amanda girl whispered, for real this time, into George's ear. I know because I saw him smile, unless she just told him to. You and me, we looked at each other like we didn't know what for. One of them, seated to the right of the one called Amanda frowned with her face, which reminded me of a hangnail. George told me about the hangnail-faced one's sad mien while we were out by the pissers pissing.
"And Amanda goes, 'Too bad your friends are gay because my girl really wanted to talk to him,' so I go, 'Gay? They're not gay,' so she goes, 'But I thought you said they were together?' so I said, "Yeah, they came here together."
Man, I always thought it was funny how we ended up making out in the cigar room anyway that night. Weird, huh. Just thought you'd like to know.