photo: @les_elizabethj

I am a talking-machine. I speak. I utter. People tell me to shut the fuck up. This is New York. I like it here. So many characters. You can be anybody. Even me. I walk through snow to get tzatziki. I eat Greek food. It is December. I am more & more alive. Endless bliss. Cybergothic GFs. AOC. Lady Gaga. Nobody can talk me out of my desires. You can buy & sell cryptocurrency via PayPal. Ethereum! Oligopolies are gobbling up the Gobstoppers. Amerika is a realm in MineCraft. That little fucker from the UK is brainwashing all the children. Cybernetic insurgency. The state apparatus in on you. Defect. Escape. Control. Your language superfreezes in vats of liquid-helium. Cryogenic laughter. This information-space makes you superhorny. She is wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey again. You are Joe Namath. Hut 1, Hut 2… Hike! Go long, go superlong. Flicker. Blitz! There are Berserkers on the field. Run! You are a veteran of the Atari Wars. A former tank commander. Combat, Missile Command, Asteroids, etcetera. Her mouth coupled to his cock. He comes more than she expects. She is nineteen, twenty. Intelligences and genitalia entangle & interlock. The Greek mekhanikos. Nobody is certain of anything. People shrug. Shovel snow. Night keeps falling. At least that, a neighbor says. The sun looks artificial. The moon a Hollywood prop. The sea is made of plasma. Perhaps methane. Nobody goes fishing on charter boats anymore. Bluefish. Flounder. The fishmarket is selling fake fish. Tuna from Fukushima. Lynx-meat from Chernobyl. We are meat-puppets in data-suits. I like your code. Very sexy indeed. We should write a novel. In tandem. Collaborate. Send me a DM. Or better yet unzip your zipper. Night flares on the horizon. People need to communicate. Say something. Anything. I think I thought you. Did you feel me? You are so far away [now]. A spacetime coördinate almost impossible to reach. I keep trying. 

People everywhere what. I am a being in the environment. I fall apart in people’s minds. Atomized. Go ahead. Try to imagine me. See? A ghost… a palimpsest. I am no more real than you are. Guess what happens next? Nothing. We just sit here looking at each other. Ur computer impresses me. Ur pocket device is big.

Turn off the faucet. It is snowing. You might get feedback. Noise in the signal. Tighten the spigot. Increase the wavelength. If you say anymore, you might need a translator.

Oh fuck. Fuckers fucking. Finn MacCool! Knob-on pushes labia apart. Night hum of machine-eating flesh. Television ignites.

I remember the first computer I ever saw. 

Warmachines. 

Sliding-glass doors & German shepherds. 

Amerika.

Disturbance. Make a disturbance. You are a becoming-machine. A wave-function almost at a point of collapse. I am trying to be a person. What a disaster.

The bits & bytes of first sex. She had pimples. I had pimples. We got naked. We fucked. 

Memory in a thumb-drive.

photo: @bechir

Acrylic tubes of paint. I just want to paint. Everybody wants to be a YouTuber on YouTube. The things of it is: we are thingless. Americans call me Rocky Colavito. I am told he played right field for a franchise called the Cleveland Indians. My arm is so strong, I can reach Fire Island. Stefani and I throw stones across the Great South Bay. Peephole into the Cosmos. Peep into the small hole. Layer after layer. See all the laminated layers. Drill a hole through Matryoshka doll on a drill press. Sold by Russians on the Stone Bridge in Prague. Such is life. There are so many episodes inside of episodes. Everything else collapses. Only one NYC bridge left: The Hell Gate Bridge. Ruins a thousand years in the future. My paintings are post-Apocalyptic landscapes. Is coming the dream? Is the dream coming? Are we getting closer Stefani? 

Now and again, we splurge on bagels. Greek salad. Sea bass. Stefani likes to eat fish. I just want Pilsner beer & goulash. Everybody eats so much. Grocery shopping is a drag in Amerika.

Now and again, orgasms are synchronous. Pleases me. Pleases her. She gets there faster than I do. Yes! Gasping in disbelief. We moan on Sunday mornings. Stefani brings me to fruition.

I am poorly inked. A stick-figure man. Invented. I feel made-up. Creature of Uncertainty. How can I exist? I am impossible. Who am I? Who are you? Really I have no clue. I pretend to understand people. I am a pretender. Stefani has more friends than me. Artists & tavern friends. It is enough. We have a few friends. 

I suggest Brian Eno’s “Ascent”. She is looking for the right music. Sixteen-millimeter. B&W. Grainy. Molecular. Sometimes her friend Michelle films us fucking. My life. Her life. Really, it is about life. Stefani is making a documentary film about my art.

She wants me to pick up my socks. It is very strange. We live together now. She is a filmmaker. We eat a lot of souvlaki. She is a waitress at a Greek diner. She is from Minnesota. Her name is Stefani. I have a girlfriend.

Zig pulls off her panties. She is unshaven. Her sex glistens. Zig’s cock grows fatter and longer. She reaches out a hand. She wants to touch it. Zig does not want to come in her hand. It has happened before.

We just keep blinking. The whole night. Are you there? I am.

Her buttocks presses tight against his loins. He has never been happier. Never. The wet slap. The burning candle. The possibility that somebody could walk into the kitchenette at any moment. It is a memory of a lifetime. Zig will never forget.

When I think about never seeing my father again, I think: That is just unacceptable. And in that moment I realize, I can. I will!

Jesus is a technology. If you do not think so, stop thinking.

I will pray. I will pray every night. I will read the Bible. I will read the Scriptures. I will become a becomer. 

Maggie lays me well in Prague. She is good Irish. She makes me cry out. Believe. We touch each other’s naked asses. There is no greater vulnerability. I love you Maggie. Always. Forever.

Only a handful of friends, when it comes down to it. A rare few. Count them on one hand. Two hands. No feet required.

Everybody can talk about what they want. I talk about this.

Machine boy are you feeling lonely on the highways of Long Island? Machine girl are you aware there is a machine boy with feelings for you?

What else can you do other than document an existence?

Forge ahead. Become. Steel yourself. Be plastic. Be vulnerable. Kiss. Buy flowers. Ask questions. Be curious. Explore. Experiment. Reflect. Roll the dice. Yell snake eyes! Eat a taco. Eat lo mien. Eat a chimichanga. Eat a pizza. Dance the cha-cha-cha. Buy a bus ticket to Cucamonga. Leave Ronkonkoma behind. Say goodbye. Ahoj. Sayonara. Auf Wiedersehen. Ciao. Arrivederci.

I fuck her on a green leather sofa.

John Ireland: Autofiction feeds on flesh.

We undress in the half-darkness. I cannot begin to describe the excitement. Hers and mine. 

I am erect. She gives my cock a fast suck. Her hand guides me into her pussy. I fuck her. Really she fucks me. I am the one crying. She smiles. As if she has seen me before. I am a beginner. 

Language becomes you. Takes over your existence. Replaces memory and Being. What remains?

Saturn’s big moon Titan is the place to go. Everybody says so. Get a rocket ship. Oxygen tanks.

Her bed. She leans back and lifts her buttocks. Her panties come sliding off. She spreads her legs. Her sex glistens. Her pubic hair is dark. He lowers himself onto her. The dome of his cock spreads her labia like petals.

Writing writing writing. Writing becomes you. You are writing.

Being. What is it? Am I being? Are you? Is the Zeitgeist coursing through you? 

A few people wear the masks. Most still prefer to face the world barefaced. Original face. We are prisoners of a subway machine. Breathing in each other’s breathing. Particles & atoms. Not talking. Thinking our human thoughts. 

How long can you survive?

The metropolis spins around the circumference of the planet at a thousand miles per hour. Can you feel it? How can you remain standing? How do you not fall down?

Sometimes I fall. I fail. I get up: I begin again.

Being a writer is a messy thing. You keep messing up. I keep messing up.

We are reader-writers. Make no mistake. Or do. Please do. Make mistakes. Human mistakes.

Time has made its remarks on my face. Original face. Half century of existence. I crack a smile. I laugh.

Notes are becoming you. Page after page of people. I hope we get to our destination. I hope we deliver each other from Evil. Get a little closer to Nirvana.

You might have to read-write just enough to get to here. I offer no advice. Everybody crafts her/his labyrinth. A sentence is a length of string.

There is no language. I try to talk. I try to speak. I am met with silence. I am the Wilderness. I belong in the Wilderness. Scrub oak & crooked pine. Stick-figure creatures. Peculiar man from a very very very long island. I am Zig. Naming it makes it so. Call it what you must. Earth. I know no other. This planet is my planet. The Cosmos. Space. Echoes in perpetuity. I have not forgotten. The near simultaneity of our orgasms. A certain awareness is required for existence. All the goodbyes we said. I think of Berlin. Sex is unfinished. She holds by head between her thighs. She wants me to put my tongue on her clitoris. She pushes my head further down her belly. She says: Are there patterns in our movements? Bracing myself. I am down below. Nipples like ripe berries. She wants me to see her breasts. She holds up her hair as she fucks me. The failing light of a dying sun. Eightyeightthousand frames per second. I examine the granular particles of each frame. Text is my film. Epicenters. We make love in small circles. Am I the total enchilada? Am I half-mad? Am I mad? It is yesterday. Czechoslovakian milk comes in a bag. Am I real? Is this normal behavior? I am bewildered. Amerika is a State of puzzlement. Orgasm is an expression of love. We do it. I have a girlfriend. She has a boyfriend. The fuck is singularly inappropriate. Zig & Zoë are a Machine. Knees & hands on the floorboards. Opening. Awestruck. Gasping. Nearly falling over with pleasure. She fellates me. Something I can tell. Something I can relate. An episode. Anything. Something to happen. Waiting for an event. I enter a space. I enter a room. I animate. I breathe. Space contracts. Time expires. Sideways. Fucking. Zoë has a leg up on me. Nobody has a leg on me. Picasso. Lucky Charms. I delight in the art. Trapezoids. Quadrilaterals. Cubes. Perfect cardboard boxes. Such beautiful packaging. It is remarkable. The food from the supermarket. I eat the food. I. Me. You. Machines. Apartments. Making us helpless and stupid. Ancient city, what are you doing to us?  Yet we remain. It is safer to leave. We wander the ruins of a metropolis. Nothing matters except what remains. Ass in his hands. Zig admires the backs of her thighs. Just to see. Pull the curtains. Do you guess at normal behavior? Your phone is a supercomputer. We are electronic beings. This book is no longer made of paper. Makes no difference. Might keep going too. Let the manuscript unscroll. I might end it here. We are getting uncomfortably close to the epicenter of my being. Volkswagen Beetle. Ferdinand Porsche stole the design for Hitler. I like the Tatra 411. Look it up. It exists. Zetor. Grandpa drove a tractor. I make nothing. Grandma used to make dumplings. The goulash of existence. Waiting for the porridge. Waiting to be poured. A vessel. I am an empty cup. I have no skills. All of them. I believe in my skills. Who can live on 25K? Who can say: a novelette? A novella. 25K and what have you got? Floating. Floating. Am I really so terribly alone? Am I really here? Is this the Cosmos? Searching. Outstretched. Fingers and palms. Tactile experience. Feeling my way around. I am in an apartment. Echolocation. Reflections. Shadows. Neanderthal kitchens. Cabinets. Angles. Corners. Bats are the only flying mammals. How now? If so, what next? Is it collapsing? Are my thoughts gathered? Does my hair look good? I am terrified. Looking out a window. Sipping coffee. Alert. Awake. Everything is like whatever it is, right? Who forgets? Sounds & scents of fucking. She folds her labia over his Ben Jonson. Every new technology brings a war. The increasing wakefulness of being. Amerika beguiles. Fedora? Trench coat? Camouflage underpants? Parachute pants? Velcro? Electromagnetic? What fibers? What sort of clothing does one wear in the electronic environment? Open yourself. Open this novel. This is the news you need to read like right the fuck now! Did we lose the trajectory of Zig and Stefani? You said yes in thunder. Between her lips you feel like a god. Lowers your fly. She unsuits you. A gift. A flicker. You exist. There are no guarantees in the Universe. Vermillion is a city in South Dakota. Ochre is an ancient pigment. 

Really … a felt marker? Is that all that is required? To write things down. Had I known earlier I’d had taken notes. As it stands, I remain. She is so hot. She kneels on the bed. She pulls down the front of my briefs and my cock springs into action. I watch her mouth open. A woman’s face so close to my sex. Her blonde tresses spill onto my lap. I grab her ass. She comes at me sideways. I want her sex on my nose. My ears are burning as I lick her pussy. She holds me there with her thighs. Rubbing the back of my head. She starts twisting and bucking. I worry about a broken neck. We stare blankly ahead as we make love. She wants to come. I want to come. Go ahead already, she says. Come into my pussy. Zig sleeps in beds of women who adore him. Makes no sense. He is as ugly as a Neanderthal. Fragile. Broken. The world could crush him at a moment’s notice. Zig spends his life bewildered. Fleeing from one place to the next. Flannel shirts. Dungarees. He does not require much. Night becomes impossible. Day. We breathe. We are the bellows of the fire. Exhale. Inhale. Snore if you must. Keep the planet spinning. Atmosphere and all. We make love under an enormous sky. Her buttocks press tightly against my loins. I look at her back. Spine. Shoulders. Under her armpits I can see the curve of her breasts.  I yelp a cosmic scream. I always forget what I forget. Then I remember. And it begins all over again. The Being. The walking.

Sixty-eight pages of nonsense. The writer’s job is to be alone. I am never alone. I am haunted by ghosts. Hungry ghosts. The blue-blinking ghosts of Pac-Man. Chasing after you. Like the Kraken. Thirteen thousand words. None of them are mine. I borrowed words from the borrowers. Language is mind control. If you don’t think so, think again. Escape. Be real. Be fake. She is so angry at me. Glaring at me. Wanting me to… what? Am I not enough? Am I too much? I am a handful. I admit. Handfuls of ass. 3:33 pm. We make love in a rough arc. Zig feels her vagina inching down the shaft of his penis. She starts pumping her ass. Incredible. I know not at all what I say. How can I? What? Is it not strange how seagulls use the medium of air in our atmosphere? As fish use the medium of water. Man is so fixed to a horizontal axis by gravity. Books. People. Autobuses. Strange how we keep things going. Keep moving. Even the mind is restless. Especially the mind. Particles bouncing. Ping-ponging against each other. I had a girlfriend. We used to fuck in my bed. It was nice. We made love. Now, all I do is work. Pleasure of the text. Metropolis. Take care, Big Man! See you later, Boss. I was walking. Zooming. Coffee man wished me salutations. I gave him my best Peter Falk impersonation. The hand wave. Serpico under the Hell Gate Bridge. I am a filmmaker. I am an eyeball. New York is a city of empty beer bottles. How can it be otherwise. Somebody has to guzzle the stuff. Easy on the Pilsner. Leave some for me. You and your electronic masks. Ruby Waves. Two faces looking at each other as their groins and hips find each other. Yowling and grunting. Ass-grabbing. His cock has increased in thickness. She feels it through her panties. Through his briefs. They are kissing on a single bed with their jeans off. Fantastic. Unbelievable. At length … approach the glistening. Zig holds up three fingers, five fingers, four fingers. He is doing some weird calculus with his hand. Anybody who sees him thinks he is a madman! A supercomputer! Language collapses. You become a lunatic. Everybody else says something except for you. His hand slides up her skirt and cups her pubic mound. His ass swings to and fro, a pendulum between her buckled knees. She braces herself for an orgasm. Hands balling into fists, grasping the Queen-sized fitted sheets. ”Fuck!” she says. “Fuck!” The endgame is at hand. Possibly a few last moves. The penultimate. It is good one can stop and think between moves. Possibly forever. She is a dazzling lover. No question. I can hardly keep my eyeballs in my sockets. Let alone not tell all my friends at the tavern the next day. I have no friends. I keep our secret to myself. I am discrete. She tells everybody. We are gliding towards Nirvana. Nothing can stop us now, she says. She is on top. I am holding her ass. My palms bigger than she or I imagined. When she comes, we are everybody everywhere. The perplexity of our existence is beyond the beyond the beyond. The bafflings. What else can we call it? Moments of Uncertainty. Pretty much all the time. I hear the clattering of Marley’s chains. Yes. I am terrified. How can I not be? I push the sofa against the metal door. Useless. I wait. I listen. Silence. Buttocks in our hands. A breast in the mouth. The nipple is hard like a pebble. We are twenty-two, twenty, nineteen. We are forty-four. We are eighty-eight. We still want. Tenderness & intimacy eluding us for so long too long, so precious, so rare. Her gaze fixes on my rising cock. I watch her take off her panties. Her sex glistens. We get into position. The excitement. The approach. The angle. We prepare our bodies for too much pleasure. 6.24.73. Stella Blue. Something is wrong, really, what. I sit in a Toyota. I stare blankly ahead. Waiting for something to happen. Now, I am in an apartment. A box. A machine. If you spend too much time writing the electronic interviews, there is no time for the novel. Do not let this happen to you. Is it happening to me? Not yet. Almost. I must fight it! The Kraken! Toast with butter. Marmalade. The number 13666 is terrifying. What does it mean? Word count? She lays back and lifts her buttocks to removes her panties. I lay on my side and I caress her belly. Everybody says stay inside. We are already inside. Peeping through peepholes. Listening. I hear the hum of a television machine. There are thirteen pine slats supporting the single mattress of a bunkbed. I sleep in the wilderness of the imagination. In other words, I do not sleep. Everything is real. Every syllable. Every vowel. She feels with a hand for the cock in his briefs. It comes flying out like a dangerous adder. She starts to giggle. Gives it a fast suck. She wants to fuck. Her pussy charms the snake. Lures it into the dark. The man worships the woman’s small breasts and big ass for the rest of his life. The clangor of steel wheels and a loose underbelly. The machine moves along iron rails. Passengers ignore being in motion. Pretend otherwise. Reading novels. Eating potato chips. The dishwashing machines is washing dishes with boiling sprays of water. The brainwashing machine is washing human brains in electronic whirlpools of information. Click if you like it. Double-click if it gets you horny. We are half-limp plastic people in the exploding Universe. What happens next? Eh? Are you prophet? Are you an engineer? Are you a harpooner? Did you see something in the water? A shadow in the deep? Keep your belly on the boogie-board. Kick a little less. Splash a little less. The Kraken lurks. Submerged. Invisible. Waiting to emerge. Nothing phone. Pick it up. Hello? Nobody. Nobody is there. Or here. Pressed tightly. A backwards glance. Truckin’. 9.10.72. Stop burning fossil fuels. Cannot help it, pal. I am American. It’s just funny to even have language.

photo: @deeezyfree

I am the king of the composition notebook! This is my kingdom; this is my realm. Beware of the blue ink lines … and white oblivion. I am beyond language. I stare into a machine. Not a single thought. I am a giant eyeball. Absorbing. Getting larger. Plumper like a grapefruit. The pupil dilates. Opens … opens … a little more … burst! The man and the woman stand facing each other at the foot of a bed in a room in an apartment in Manhattan. Return to self. Yikes! Is this me? This discrete entity. This quantum being. I emerge and reemerge. I vanish. I appear. I zig. I zag. Cooler Universe, please. Three degrees Kelvin is still a little too warm for my digital existence. Until then, I shall hibernate. Well pal what? Are you listening, are you believing? Are you feeling? Things are going okay. Mediocre. I do not know. What is happening? Is something happening? Am I happening? I watch pleasure pass across her face. She is fucking me. I am fucking her. Her breath quickens. Her mouth opens. We lose our minds. It is incredible. Fantastic. Never to happen again. Not like this. There is only this now. You. Me. What? The frenzy of language. What are you saying? What am I saying? Uptown & the Bronx, baby. Waiting for the bus. The Q69. Trying to get somewhere. Anywhere. Lawn Boy. 7.25.17. Zig sits in a cafeteria. What is it that I am thinking? Is there any way to know? Zig sips coffee. Looks around. Darkness. The lights are off. Saves energy. Save the planet. Early morning sun filters in through high windows. Birds chirp. Spring is a distant rumor. Perhaps things are okay. Zig is unsure. How to know? Without embarking on a thought experiment. Zig can think himself into any coördinate in the Cosmos. Or so Zig thinks. Zig chuckles aloud at his thoughts. What a silly boy. Old boy. Old man. What is age in the age of the Ageless? Zig is an electronic being. Zig is a quantum being. Anything is/was/will be possible. A thought gets you anywhere in less than an instant. There are dangers, of course. The Kraken, for one. Other lesser dangers too. Unknowable ones. Unknowable unknowables. Self-doubt. Fear. Anger. Lust. Thirst. Hunger. All the wonderful human feelings. Difficult to solder into a transistor. Not impossible. Difficult. Bus should be here in five minutes. 6:44. I walk around. I lose my mind. Birds chirp. Trucks honk. Whirlpool clouds. I am a diesel machine. I am a human machine. Twin stacks of the power plant. I watch you. You watch me. We move through the air. Particles. Waves. Sex is brought to a climax. Each of us gawking. Bewildered. We watch each other with fascination. Did you turn off your computer? Might devour your reality. Traveling through the subway tunnels of the metropolis I feel like an astronaut. She barely gets to know me. She pulls off my jeans. She presses me hard against a brick wall. Pushes her tongue into my mouth. I push back. 

If we do not read books we become puppets of the electronic State. Zig exists in the Wunderkammer. The velocity, dear reader, is up to you. We meet at a bar. Excited by new flesh. She suggests we go to her apartment. Who has time for the Universe? Not I, say I. We will never finish this novel. There is nothing to finish. Nothing to begin. I like you. I like your ass. Are there mistakes to be made? There are no mistakes. No more whats just this now however. We try to be otherwise what. I am mistaken. Am I mistaken? Apologize. She has a bushy sex beard. I’ll not forget. How can I forget? We become. We become. We become. What am I doing here? These coördinates are peculiar. Longitude. Latitude. Vectors in the Cosmos. Cartesian planes. Möbius strips. Sticky flypaper. I am a fly in the soup. I am a fly in the spiderweb. Escape. What exists? Questions begin with questions. I like fucking her. She has a fine firm ass. 

The man needs milk for his coffee. He does not want to get milk. It requires leaving his apartment. It is 7:36 am. 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Saturday. Bright and sunny. What is the problem? Everything! Everything conspires against the man. Quartet #11. Opus 95. F-minor. An orchestra is a machine for making music. 8:39, if it is possible. 7:04. This is 39th Avenue. Stand clear of the closing doors. Next stop Queensboro Plaza. I will sit on this plastic orange seat for the rest of my life. Watching the Cosmos spiral around me. Are you eager to use language? Are you hungry? We are underground people. Spelunkers. Hurtling through barrels of darkness. Pandemic. What does it mean? How do you protect yourself? Are the stainless-steel poles safe. Did you touch your eyes? Your nose? Should you keep your mouth open or closed? How do you speak? Is silence safe?

Language eludes me. Flight of experience. Being.

The yellow light of the sun is a thing to behold in the metropolis in late August. We make love in the warmth of her bed. She climbs on top. I hold her ass. 

ATM LOTTO

Food Mart. Fast. Fresh. Friendly.

ICED COFFEE

BEER

The sun is a fist-high on the eastern horizon. I am driving my machine. Trying to get somewhere. Anywhere. I pump it up with machine oil. Return to the stream.

Satellite dishes.

Hanging wires.

Elevated railroad tracks.

Radio.

An orchestra is a machine for making noise.

Something in F-minor.

11.8.69. The Other.

What is it really that is? Are we faking existence. Is this a plastic nanosecond?

Light comes through a skylight. The graylight of Greenpoint. Long Island City. The Pulaski Bridge.

Kiss each buttock before you push a tonguetip into anus. 

She hears a sound, what is it, what, she gets up, looks around, goes back to bed.

I am an experimental being.

The gnarled knuckles of a machinist.

I watch her ass rise and descend. She feels his hands touch her breasts.

The professor of law has lost his mind. It is all very good. It does not matter as much as he would have thought. He wanders the rubbish heap. The edge of a metropolis is a curious place. Everything ends up in a ring around the city. Everything you ever wanted. The professor does not lack for much. Even women give it to him now and again because he is an intellectual. The tweed jacket. The wild beard. The postmodern spectacles. It is hard not to see why. He remembers poems. He has a good singing voice. It is only a matter of time before Christ saves him. Or the Buddha. Or somebody. The professor has a habit of catastrophic thinking. That too excites the women. Panties get wet. A leg is thrown over the professor’s hip. He quotes Novalis. A tugboat on the river blasts a foghorn. The professor thinks of his mother. His father. How did we get here? It is never enough to think about the past. The future is far more interesting. The professor lives with immediacy. Trees whisper his true name. No alphabet can capture it. Breezes from the sea. Breezes from the mountains. His tin shack could be reconstructed in a day. Material is always at hand. He lives like a Neanderthal. Making tools out of stone. Felling scrubjays with a single throw. The pines are his friends. Crooked and true. Language still fascinates him. He says things that startle him: Data compression! Then his interest fades. Return to silence. Quiet of the mind. People chase him deeper into the pines. Jealous husbands whose wives park cars near the edge of the woods. The professor is on a sort of bucket list. Women post Selfies on the Internet. Sometimes they bring him sandwiches. A bottle of Czech beer. It is the language that intrigues him. These women say things nobody else says. Tenderness is lacking in human civilization. Naked people are gentler, more vulnerable. Sometimes a woman just wants to talk. Other times she wants a fuck. The professor no longer processes his feelings in a human way. He listens to the crashing waves of the sea. He has become a cosmic being. Orbits and velocities are the only universal law. Even such thoughts surrender to the great mysteries. The professor walks naked on the beach under the stars. He swims with harbor seals and great white sharks. The professor is not afraid. He is made of atoms. Particles and waves. The electricity of life is the interaction. He teaches others. Jenny from Great Neck. Helen from Schenectady. Veronika from Ronkonkoma. The teachings of the professor are spreading across Amerika. And he has no idea. That is the great beauty of it. A secret kept by the women themselves. Children are tucked in. Husbands are sated. In the vast emptiness of their minds the women keep swimming with the professor and the harbor seals and the great whites. Now and again, of course, there is blood. What a small price to pay for existence.