Machine 6

Photo: @krisroller

I lay awake. The ceiling is landscape. Skyscape. A half century of existence. What could possibly go wrong? The President is tinkering with Iran. People are dying. We are protected by a computer screen. Until we realize it is plastic. Until we realize it is not there. No separation. Amerika gets bigger and bigger. It is no longer a country. If it ever was. It is something else.

Information. What is information? The Camaro parked on the street? The yellow sulfur streetlights? Is it a Camaro? What if it is a Mustang? I think it is a Camaro. Yes. Definitely. It is a Chevrolet. Why do I doubt myself? Am I a coward? Does anybody really care about this conversation inside my head? I am not even sure I do. Yes. Uncertainty. Everywhere. I no longer trust myself. Bergson tells us this moment is telescoped through everything we have experienced.

Is memory a peephole?

Are we looking through the wrong end?

Pinpricks of light.

.

I see you. I think. If you are. Are you? You and I keep blinking in and out of existence. What a performance. Being a person. Who says it is hard? Just be. You are what you are. Or not. This is your beating heart. Your inhales. Your exhales. 

Strike a ball.

Watch a ball hit your racket        a yellow blur.

We are waiting for memory to return. It will never return.

I am a creature of the elsewhere.

This place is temporary.

Good enough.

The chainlink fences. The scrub oaks. The dwarf pines. The endless sand and the sea.

What will happen to you? I hardly know. If you do this for money, you are doomed. Nobody reads. Not anymore. If they ever did. People need a text for survival. This is that text. A novel. 

It cannot feel like a novel. Must feel otherwise. Urgent. Emergency purpose. Not a beach book. Or perhaps a paperback at the sea is the most important book of all. Endless miles of beach sand. 

Zoë in her bathing suit. 

Waves.

I linger at the edge of memory. Fog. Mist. Under a gray sky. Every now and again I see something. What? Unsure. Lack of clarity. Opaque. Obscure.

The Volkswagen Beetles of tomorrow are hurtling through hyperspace.

You ever feel like driving a ’74 Volkswagen Super Beetle down to the Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile? I feel like that sometimes. Shift into gear. Pop the clutch.

The fallen pine trees are everywhere. The river gurgles. Earth spins. Turns. Orbits. We are passengers aboard this rocky planet. Spaceship earth.

Will they carry this book at The Strand on Broadway? Who the fuck knows? Who the fuck cares?

Are you a writer? Are you a dishwasher? Are you a sock puppet? 

Are you capable?

Can we use this book as a flotation device? Is there any yellow highlighting in this book?

Is this book really a novel? I mean, I am starting to wonder. Where are the actors?

Is this a first edition?

Signed? Get the fuck out.

I am getting hungry for a paragraph. You got anything left? Like a story. Like a fairy tale. Tell me more about the Sump Monster. That dude freaked me out. Did he really wear a brown paper bag over his head? And he just emerged from the sand dunes? Heavy. Really heavy, man. I’m trippin.

It might happen. It might not happen. Whatever is about to happen. What is the probability? What are the odds? I am not a mathematician. I am a novelist. I am a machinist. I am an artist. 

I am a hooligan.

I am a jester.

What information does your body take in? What perceptions? What observations? Sensations?

I am a fool. I get easily fooled by the foolishness.

Newspapers.

TV shows.

Radio.

What is the ultimate reality?

A memoir of Being. I should write a memoir about Being.

Fragments.

Diaries.

Notes.

The echo is uncanny. Orgasms lasting for 13.799 billion years. Spiral galaxies. Supernovae.

I miss you. You know who I miss. Remember what you said?

I forget.

What is left of what we were? We shed our electronic snakeskins. Keep moving. Keep wriggling. I am becoming something else. I have no idea what. Are you what you anticipated? Great expectations. Remember Miss Havisham? She freaked me out. Not sure if I ever recovered.

Amerika is at its best when people invent things. Nikolai Tesla. Charlie Parker. Jack Kerouac.

The government can brute-force the key space on your iPhone.

We are electronic beings.

Quantum beings.

This book is forever. Keeps getting better and better. Can you take any more?

When does a novelist surrender?

Never!

Might have to perform a spellcheck on this puppy. So many words. Ruff ruff! Bark bark!

Cats meow.

Marmots whistle.

I am in the Wilderness. The wilderness of the human imagination. Anything goes. Anything is possible. We are beginners. We are professionals. We are electromagneticbiochemical reactions.

It is so fucking cold in Space.

This apartment is toast. It is my spacemachine. Things I think here are incredible. The vastness of not knowing. Unpredictability. Beginner’s flux. Every now and again I am.

Absolutely!! she texts me. I want to bend her over a green leather sofa. It makes no sense. She is twenty. I am ?. Actually, it makes sense. I want to pull down the back of her panties. See her ripe cunt.

Men write about machines. Women write about people.

Just an observation. 

Might not even be true. 

What do I know?

Is film superior to literature? Probably. What are we doing here? Spooling from spool to spool. Reel to reel. The electronic eel of human consciousness is the Kraken.

Zig imagines the spread of his big right hand on K.’s left buttock. 

We are in Greenpoint. 

Fucking.

Everything is imagined. Even reality. Even real things.

I watch Zoë lick the glans of my penis.

My balls are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. My balls are bigger than grapefruits. 

I am at a distance. 

I get smaller and smaller and smaller.

I want to get arrested. I want to spend time in prison like Václav Havel. I want to write letters to Zoë. Is it too late? I want to be a playwright. I want to be a dissident. I want to be a defector.

Eyeballs the size of grapefruits.

The secret police are watching you.

I write a quick novel. This novel is a quickie. A detective novel. SF novel. A dimestore novel. Pulp fiction. Amazing stories. Hugo Hernsback. Philip K. Dick. Fans call themselves Dickheads.

I have no time for Amerika.

Amerika is all I know.

Thinking about writing a SF novel about a man named Razaqk. Something like Logan’s Run. Razaqk and his girlfriend Giselle running away from the secret police. In a big city in the not-so-distant future. A planet under the threat of giant methane clouds. Earth is becoming a gas giant. We are going to freeze to death. Unless we can escape. Escape pods are only for the elite. Razaqk and Giselle are adjunct lecturers of composition. Pods are not designed for part-time faculty. Nevertheless, Razaqk and Giselle make love like nobody has ever made love in the 13.799 billion years of the Cosmos. They deserve a second chance on a terrestrial planet. We all do.

Are #hashtags making us happier?

We are lying under the duvet cover. I am wearing a flannel shirt and green dungarees.

“I am taking off my pants,” she says.

“Why?” I say.

She laughs. 

Nobody can come. I am just too tired. She is just too tired. We just kept fucking. Doggie-style. Missionary. Nobody comes. Still. It is nice.

I thought you abandoned Civilization. Why are you still here? So much good TV on Netflix.

This paperback will be carried in the backpocket of every University student on the planet.

Unfinished nature of reality. That is what intrigues me. The fragments. The particles.

We are interactions.

I realize I faked it for most of my life. That is upsetting. I thought I was real. It just crept up and slapped me. Such realizations are incredibly sneaky. I sit in a chair for a long time. Run my hand through my hair. Who am I, I keep saying.

Getting colder. When it gets this cold, there is only a single goal: to remain. 

Survive.

Wait for the sun to heat up. If it ever will. Wait for it to expand.

What am I supposed to do? What if I do nothing? Is that okay? Will the Cosmos collapse? Or will I remain? What if I sit here with the engine running? Jotting my thoughts into a notebook. Making believe I am somebody else. Not simply me? Will you go on? Will you continue? Dare you? Are you not afraid? Uncertainty. Unknown. 

You are brave indeed. I envy your position. Where are you, if I may ask? Aha. Just as I thought. No need to elaborate. We understand each other.

I am getting bored watching strangers walk past me. Vehicles accelerate and decelerate. Supposedly, the planet spins and orbits and loops after the sun.

I have no concrete proof. No evidence. For any of this. We could be a film projection in an extraterrestrial theater. Perhaps a planet circling Betelgeuse.

I hear that star is going to blow. Supernova. Wait for it… 

there.

Getting colder. I should restart the engine. I turned it off. To save the planet. Now I feel cold. The vacuum of space presses in on me. Sucks me up. Into a tube. 

Wormholes fascinate me. As they fascinate you. What do you say? Let’s go for a twirl. Let’s go for a swirl.

The Internet is a disaster. Everybody knows it. We are addicted. We are bewildered. Riveted to the machine.

Snow. 

Are things a little better? 

Yes. Little bit. 

Kind of nice.

Do you suffer from Imposter Syndrome? I do. I definitely do. I do not belong here. Never did.

Anger.

Unable to capture the Kraken in my bare hands.

She is so good at it. What am I good at? I keep trying to be a person. It is so hard in Amerika. At least for me. Are you doing any better? I hope so. Somebody has to represent.

There are so many writers in Amerika.

They are writing memoirs.

Diaries.

Letters.

Fragments.

I want a totality. I want the whole fucking thing. Bring me the Kraken! And if I see Pierre fucking his half-sister in that crazy French flick Pola X one more time… I just don’t know. 

I might watch it again.

Again.

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