Category Archives: Prose

Where is Everybody?

Have you ever been partying heartily with a few of your besties,
A big ta-do with some cashews and way too many testies.
Me and the guy’s are thinking they’re gods gift to clever,
while the girl’s are arriving fashionably never.
The only super models coming though the door
are giant-sized dioramas of unrequited love
from some less than less than civil war.

And here I am
sipping some wine, never minding my own mind
when some douche-bag of wind shits on my good time,
exclaiming within earshot to the host, a most inconsiderate boast-
It’s ballsy, uncouth, even a little nutty,
when this Elmer Fuddy Duddy has to ask, Uh, uh, where is everybody?”

And suddenly
I’m stuck in an existential episode
of a solipsistic sitcom that’s clearly
not
starring me.

If “everyone” is not “here,” I guess that makes “me” chopped liver,
as antimatter of fact, to you I’m less than less than dirt
at the bottom of some river.
A hop and skip from the nacho cheese dip and three rungs below
being anyone you’d really ever care to know.

According to you,
Russel Brand, P Diddy, Charlie Sheen, God have to show up today.
Bonus points if the messiah comes through along with the cast of Ben-Hur
Ghandi and Gerard Depardieu.
Man, that guy can drink!

I mean really, am I no one? Am I that uninteresting and bland?
the wilting wall flower disguised as the invisible visible man.
Just give me a chance, I’ll talk your “ear” off
about politics, movies, major world religions
more interesting than watching Van Gogh paint my kitchen as
Mike Tyson pontificates pigeons.

Moreover, given the choice do you really want “everybody” at this party?
I think it’s safe to say we could all do without a few serial killers,
the date rapist from apartment 3G
and well, most magicians.

I mean is there even a proper response to that? Where is everybody?
Everybody is here in that everybody is everywhere.
All at once.
The only time no one is here or rather was here
was billions of years ago and it pretty much sucked
It was impossibly hard to party
with little to no big-bang for your buck.

The only appropriate time to ask this stupid and moronic question is
I don’t know–following some genocidal alien spaceship landing?
Or sometime after apocalypse if your worthless ass is still standing?
Or maybe to yourself, sitting at home
masturbating
alone
in the mirror…
Where is everybody?

Look.
Everybody is where they’re supposed to be
which is anywhere and everywhere, but where you happen to be.
Yeah, I’m sure what you actually meant to say was,
Where are the rest of the guests?
Well, by your logic if everybody hasn’t arrived–yet,
that is to say you haven’t arrived yet either.

So go home before you ever get here, you’ve been uninvited.
Shut your mouth and let the door hit ya on the way out.
It’s a little sad how what was said you must regret
That’s too bad, because nobody
just left.

Radioactive Imagination

I.

My first exposure to radiation of any kind took place in Tommy’s Comic’s circa 1989.

What the clerk brought from behind that fingerprint laced glass case literally lit up my face. Okay, maybe not literally more like literarily. My winning grin spreading cross my chin-like cancer. Yes a smile like cancer that had yet to make it’s mark, the minute this web-slinging, wall-scaling, sky-scraping dancer in the dark first appeared inside Amazing Fantasy Number 15’s story arc. Inside this inimitable issue, Peter Parker becomes superhuman when he gets bit by a radioactive arachnid.

Now it’s arguable what degree of radioactivity the spider was exposed to, but we can assume it was weak enough to not kill it, but strong enough to create a less than hulking hunk of a super-hero. Scientists have calculated that a spider bite contains around .00003 to .000003 millisieverts of radiation—no more radiation you’d absorb from say, eating a banana, which contains a radioactive isotope called Potassium-40. With such small amounts of radiation, super-hero transformation or mutation of any kind is literally impossible and the threat of cancer is nonexistent.

But at that innocent time in ’89 I didn’t know any of this, so I blissfully flipped through the pages completely ignorant of the words relapse or remission, and when I was finished,

I split like nuclear fission.

II.

My second exposure to radiation took place during one of our few family vacations, this time to Atlantic City. A combination of some luck and science, my father wins our very first new age kitchen appliance from a Showboat Casino raffle. Way to go pops! Our toaster was toast, there’d be a new sheriff on the countertop. This  culinary convenience gave rise to my mother’s new favorite phrase. Don’t stand in front of the goddamn microwave,” or “move away from the light as soon as you press start,” not unless of course, I wanted more harmful Rays than a mile long line of MLK assassins at a civil rights march.

However, studies have shown these time-zappers are non-ionizing which means they don’t give off enough energy to damage cell DNA and only being trapped inside one would their be any real hell to pay.

But back then I didn’t care about any of this. I was just happy to have hot leftovers and TV dinners served up lightning quick. I didn’t even have to boil water on the stove-I could just nuke that shit! Yes, we were all blissfully ignorant of its disposition to lead to nutritious deficiency and I didn’t care where to stand. We usually cooked than ran,

like responsibility chasing Spider Man.

III

My third exposure to radiation was literally lethal. Yes literally, although literarily this would make for quite the story, so I’ll leave out all the gory details and obscure some facts, with allegory.

Picture a body stripped of its nutrients, like a TSA agent confiscating your Slim Jim and Vitamin Water, only to reveal a cancer that despite a doctor’s best efforts is starting to spread like a smile. A smile like cancer that could just as easily reach your hospital sheets as any Japanese Beach. Yes, a cancer like a smile, a smile like a cancer buried deep within, impatiently waiting for a terminal patient’s treatment to begin.

But at this point I didn’t believe any of this. So I laced her bed spread with radioactive spiders and told her to not be afraid. I’d pretend to forget her hot tea in the microwave to let it purposely cool down, then repeatedly reheat the water before bringing it inside. I’d bring her to the airport three times a week, exposing her to the best in domestic and international destinations. An unconscious Ibiza, the Moscow of our mind’s, Caribbean dreams and back again. Back then you could go through airport security then turn back around, just because. No one in their right mind would dare do this now, but if it was helping even in the slightest, it was worth both our efforts. 

Except their were no radioactive spiders, but real radiation three times a week. No more family vacations even just to the airport, but a Sisyphean spreading of treatments failing. There were only microwaves, sailing towards the light. My little hands with outstretched palms,

A miniature me micro waving to my mom.

IV.

My next exposure to radiation happened recently and makes me think I lack a staggering degree of human decency. Losing a loved one is one thing you’ll never forget, but what happens when thousands of people die you’ve never seen heard or met.

In Japan an earthquake destroys a nuclear reactor, a major city is flooded and an estimated 18,000 people die and I somehow like I’ve done countless times before ignore the bigger picture, relating global tragedy to personal trauma for really no other reason than some half-baked exploration of the common appearance of radiation in all three previously mentioned situations.

Maybe I’m not alone though when I say so, but sadly I have felt far worse when losing someone I know than when large numbers of strangers die, no matter how viciously they may go.

So at this point I know these three things:

1. Tsunamis, these huge and hulking destructive walls of water are the near opposite of micro waves, although both can inadvertently lead to radiation exposure.

2. Airport scanners really have no effect on health and wellness, but do slow down your day so much they end up taking time off your life.

And lastly, 

3. Even though she never smoked Mary Jane, hated insects and ended up marrying a man named Peter, my mother would have made one hell of a Spiderman. 

The Inanimate Objects of My Affection

Part One:

I recently read about a woman from Sweden who fell in love with and “married” the Berlin Wall. Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, whose surname means Berlin Wall in German suffers from objectophilia, a rare condition resulting in strong emotional and even sexual feelings towards an object.

When the wall was knocked down in 1989 they stayed together. I imagine she became annoyed when the wall couldn’t communicate with her after its fall. Who knows, maybe one day the bits and pieces of once-colored concrete consisting mainly of a few broken bricks and heaps of bent fence shouted at the Swede, “STOP PERSONIFYING ME!!! I’m just a fucking wall.”

I’ll admit I use to talk to my television, often had words with my stuffed animals and would occasionally ask my basketball hoop for answers, but I sure as hell never wanted to sleep with any of ’em. Although… I occasionally pictured them sleeping with each other.

As I presume is the case with many straight guys, the only action figures I owned were male. That is with one exception. Let’s just say for a good five years Miss Piggy was very popular on and off the battlefields with G.I. Joe and Cobra. She was a queen among He-Men and had earned quite the reputation deep in the sewers with the Ninja Turtles. Later I acquired a Madonna Doll with removable gown, an April O’Neil in yellow tracksuit and of course the scantily-clad She-Ra. I never owned a Barbie, but was known to undress them at friends houses whenever I had the chance. Needless to say poor Miss Piggy was no longer in favor and I slowly but short-skirtly grew out of dolls.

I never once thought about how the dolls felt about me manipulating their movements, their words, their desires. Hell, they were dolls. I didn’t stop to think how wrong it was to leave a Barbie Doll shirtless, legs akimbo in the middle of the rec room. There were no repercussions when I engaged Miss Piggy in a threesome with Fozzie and Donatello under my sleeping bag. Who cared that I drew all over Superman and Lois Lane’s face with a purple Sharpie? That’s because dolls don’t have feelings, they don’t think, they don’t procreate, they have no secret pasts and they don’t save each other from being incinerated while shouting to infinity and beyond (contrary to what the brilliant animators at Disney/Pixar would have you believe). As a rule most boys tend to personify inanimate objects at a young age and then start objectifying real people when they get older. I realize now that when I was little I was somehow objectifying inanimate objects.

Part Two:

In all seriousness woman have been objectified since guys first laid eyes, the male gaze finding its invasive way through bras and panties, slacks and skirts, shoes to stockings from street corner to subway, waiting room to grocery checkout line. Cat-calling out into the wind. Some dudes are better at hiding their penetrating looks than others, while others make no apologies and stand fixated on an ass until the next joyous one po(o)ps itself into their field of vision. You rarely ever see females checking out other females even in the lesbian community. But it’s fairly safe to say male gays have their own male gaze, with their eyes on others’ bi’s and tri’s, abs and shoulders, it’s not uncommon for guys to objectify other guys.

At what point do boys go from personifying their toys, to objectifying real beings? I guess it has a little to do with control and a lot to do with sex. When we personify toys we revel in controlling the world. We are playing G-d in 8-15 minute increments, blowing up Castle Grey Skulls and ironically enslaving soldiers inside cabins made of Lincoln Logs. We can choose to pick up where we last left off or reinvent an entirely new storyline when we wake up the next morning. When some men get older the only way they can maintain this control is continuing their childish behavior. They ‘pretend’ the woman is not real so they can project whatever fantasy upon them. This is seen through the lens of pornography, prostitution and in certain sad cases within actual relationships. The other half of this no doubt stems from our innate sexual drives and animalistic desires best corralled by a healthy romantic partner and modicum of self-control. On the other hand to a certain degree some women seem to objectify themselves. Many fashion designers and Top Model producers tend to be women, choosing under-threaded, underfed girls for their pictures, shows and magazines covers.

I guess I’m curious as to what your doll/action figure relationship was when growing up? Have you ever felt an attraction or other strong connection to an object? How do you feel about certain pop-stars and artists Barbie Dolling up for concerts and television appearances. Let me know about it and then tell your teddy bear over tea.

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