Machine 9

photo: @cartayen

You are a half-genius. I like your other half. The better half.

Night irks me.


The facelessness of an atomic fuck in Prague. We are on knees and hands giving more ass than we can handle. The buttocks against which we gyrate are the most delicious orbs we have ever tasted. We leave a beautiful note in a language we can barely speak. What does it say?

This is probably. Weirdly. A memoir. How can it be otherwise? Every novel is a novel in disguise. My fans are fanatics. The Zigheads. Under every trestle. On every bridge. They carry my book. Backpocket. Slips in nicely. Cult writer. Underground thinker. Spelunker. Keep it going.

I am not going to wait for Idaho Review to respond. Fuck that shit. I am going to keep writing. Keep on. As Gordon Lish is fond of saying. <<Electronically>> So to speak. Spoke to Brian BBQ. Who the fuck does that cat think he is? Calling me at all hours of the day: Read my story!

Shit. Wow. Just hit 9000 words. This is becoming biblical. I am on autopilot. King & Queen of Autofiction.

Particles of gray light showers a gray automobile in a parking lot. A man sits inside. Listening to Schubert’s String Quartet #15 in G major. His tennis racket strings are strung at 55 pounds per square inch. Pretty standard in the trade. Synthetic gut. The man has no real thoughts. Empty coffee cup. Engine off. Getting chillier by the moment. Last day in January. Seagulls land on the copper balls of flagless flagpoles. Streetlamps still lit at 9:13AM. The man is three minutes behind himself. What does that mean. He says goodbye to his wife. She is taking a shower. The man wants to see her buttocks. He sees a breast instead. She smiles. The highway is interesting. Flashing police lights. Under the flight path of the airport. People going to work. Changing lanes. Accelerating. Slowing down. Exiting. Beautiful insanity. Makes no sense. Does not have to. Just there. 

The man sits at a coffee shop. Reads a newspaper. A virus is surging around the planet. People are wearing face masks. The man sips his coffee. Too late in the afternoon, nevertheless, there he is. Waiting for something to happen. Light bounces off the surface of tables and chairs. People behind the bar say things to each other. The man cannot decipher the words. It is his language. Unclear. The music is loud. Bad alt-pop. The man feels annoyed. Isolated. Irrelevant. The day has been unmooring. Everybody is acting like a dick. 

Oh. I don’t know. You keep going. Isn’t that the message here? Disregard the Third-person. Not sure why I gave it a go. Experiment? Hardly. Detachment is more like it.

Under the trestle. Waiting. Hazards blinking. 7-train clattering. People walking by. People driving by. Rush hour. Commute. Get somewhere. Change of environment. Circumstances. We are like scorpions, the first air-breathers. 436 million years ago.

Back at the machine. Feels good here. This is where I belong. Outside it is too dangerous. Lunatic drivers. Piloting Subaru Foresters and whatnot. I got a pal who moved to Massachusetts. What is he doing up there? Picking apples no doubt. Shivering next to the wood-burning stove. I am here in the metropolis. The machine of all machines. Sipping tangerine seltzer. Envy me, do you?

There really is no other way to write is there?

I am killing it, man.

Forget plot.

You are the plot. You plotless being!

Eyes on screen. Eyes off screen. Do not miss everything else going on around you.

People keep sending me electronic missives. I dismiss. I misdiagnose. I make mistakes. Who are they? Swarms of electronic mosquitoes. We are stung. It does not really hurt. Irritates. Scratch it. Aggravates. The next morning, it begins again. Gray clouds. Poorly filtered light. I, vagabond.

My goal is a becoming.

Mmmm. This is good, man. Coffee. Now and again, I get it just right. Not too sweet. Little bitter.

Zig puts his palms on her hips. She bares her teeth when she approaches orgasm. She pushes her buttocks into his groin.

I get no mileage in the apartment. Best to go outside. Explore.

Still here. Cooking. Baking.

I wrote a book. I had to do something. Now I write another one. This is the bomba. The big one. The Kraken. The Hot Tamale. The Electric Eel. The Super Big Squid. You get the picture. I hope.

As we approach 10K, I cannot believe it. The journey has been so short, so long. So far to go.

Bank account looks…umm…skinny. A writer cannot live on ink. Squid ink. Wheretofore, pal? No idea. Losing it. Cannot even bake a cake. Family did not anoint me Star Baker. Cake fell. Final collapse of the ego. Perhaps a good thing. We shall see.

The Toyota is a literature machine. Ignite the engine. Plug in. Awareness of language. Satellite radio. Listening to the cosmic consciousness.

I am alert. 

Nothing is happening. I am happening.


A writer writes. Big whoop. So what.

The stars are exploding.

Our frenzy is observed by but a few. It is enough. Beyond me & you.

I brace myself. It is an incredible moment.

We are subway trains. Please stand away from the platform edge.

Next stop: 34th Street-Penn Station.

Delete all. Delete everything. Only this. Keep going.

I am a beginner.

I am new.

We are Radio People. Listening.


I am sitting in the East Dining Room. Nobody is here. Plastic chairs. Twenty-one tables. Electric lights.

I am an adjunct lecturer of the human imagination. Must remind myself from time to time. Otherwise I get lost. Lose the way.

Are you a seeker?

A bodhisattva?


Language is incredible. 


Perceptions made. 

Transfer is available for the Q train across the platform.

We are Television People. Watching.

Nothing exists.

You know that, right?

The brain makes its noises.

The sex is mad good. We just look at each other bewildered. Again.

How can this be boring? To be alert. To be awake. To know this cannot go on forever.

Zig holds a transistor in the palm of his hand. Invented in 1948. Kaka was the rage in Greenwich Village. The Czechoslovak coup d’état in Prague. Zig is trying to wrap his head around it all. He kisses his girlfriend. She tugs at his cock. She opens her legs. Zig comes thrice. 


We really need to end this novel at the beginning of the beginning.

The Big Bang.

This is like Zeno’s arrow. Zeno’s Paradox. Will we ever get there?

Probably not.

Matters little.

So long as we are having a good time.

You cannot defeat me. Not with fame. Not with fortune. Not with 888888888 electronic eyeballs.

I am a wanderer.

I zig. I zag.

We keep falling asleep on each other. Under each other. Nights & days became twisted. A long braid of temporal existence. “Are we okay?” she says. “Who can say?” I say. Everything is so unpredictable. We cook spaghetti. We buy heavy curtains. Light keeps coming in. Sunlight.

Fingertip moves in slow circles on a clitoris. 

After lovemaking we watch an episode of Star Trek.

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