Monthly Archives: March 2011

Little Stallion

New George circus 3rdarm

We lost our little horse George today, from colic. It happens to horses, but he started colicing yesterday at six o’clock and we were hoping we could get him through it. The vet came out, they took him to the hospital and everything but they said there was nothing- we did everything we could but there was nothing they could do. They brought him over to the equine clinic as quickly as they could in the early morning and he never, he never came- he died. Don’t know exactly what happened, I know that the vet was called and did the tests and then it was sent to the clinic. He somehow had something terribly wrong in his intestinal tract. What was really sad about it was that this little horse, this little stallion, was a real star. He loved going in the ring. He did his job every day. He was very proud of himself. It’s really awful to lose an animal like that.

Old George circus 3rdarm

It’s like part of the family. I mean, it was really hard going the whole day, knowing what had happened, having to do the shows and hearing the music, having to act all happy, like everything’s okay. It’s an old cliche that the show must go on but it’s about making the audience feel good about themselves, bringing joy, bringing wonder, bringing magic into their lives, and George was one of the ways we did that. We were sad to lose him but we must go on. How we move forward for the act is yet unknown. It is just a matter of finding the best replacement. They are going to look for another little horse, and they know one that’s trained to have them in the show until we know what the next step is. Right now it’s just missing George.

-from the PBS documentary, Circus, directed by Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre

A Disinhibited Limbic System, Unconstrained by Prefrontal Cognitive Controls


I keep going back to the first dream, of my horse, George.

Humanitas comes from humando which means burying

I think it’s very likely that you, for some reason, subliminally picked up that George was not well. You picked up something about his mental state or his physical state which… I mean I can even go so far to say it’s what people talk about under the heading of telepathy and so on. Most animals live in a much more dreamlike way than us. George knew, “I’m going to die.” You pick up, not only George is not himself, George is unwell, all this unconsciously. And then you pick up some special communication from George which is, you know, I think it might be now. Now might be the time. All of that you register unconsciously. Then you have the dream.

-from the 2009 documentary The Edge of Dreaming, directed by Amy Hardie

Bargains in Profusion

Bumpas Italian Beef

There are little white bits of seaweed rice cake all over the wood floor of my living room. The larger pieces embedded in the area rug Etta gave me are easy enough to pick out and eat. The AT&T man saw them. Indeed he got a real clear picture of the furniture-less stolen-internet life I lead. Together we went down to the basement and I showed him the telephone box where the wire man had repaired the street cords. The AT&T man insisted the only way to wire up to my apartment was to drill a hole in the frame of the basement door. Its blonde wood, relatively new. I resisted his suggestion. We walked the perimeter of the building and spotted an eroded electrical outlet. The man stayed outside and I went down to the basement, climbed atop a ladder with my head tucked up into scalding pipes, and jammed a two and a half foot long straightened metal clothes hanger in the hole until it came out to daylight. That’s how I finally thwarted the cable company and got DSL.


I found myself in Milwaukee with no set agenda, and so I did what any reasonable person would do in said situation: I googled the nytimes 36 Hours in Milwaukee. There were two, one from 2003 and one from 2008. There was evidently not much to do in Milwaukee. The writer spent an hour at Value Village. “An unusually large and well-organized thrift store where customers congratulate each other on their finds. A set of six 1970’s gas-station giveaway goblets and a preppy white Izod golf skirt were recently bought for a slim $7.50.” I found a bag of plastic horses, and this zebra. My friend bought some clothes. The basement had a well used bathroom.

Slurf Slurf Slurf

Nature museum

The sealheads were out of water, doglips smacking. The baby squirrel bunnyhopped past the caged birds of prey. Cranes stared, an eaglevulture pecked. The sun bear retreated to a dark crevice with a humanleg bone. The polar bear repeated the sad zooline shuffle. The plastic garbagebag was not a crumpled sea gull. 9:45PM was the new midnight.

Seeking is a Kind of Thinking

Rachel Niffenegger

Description of big wall climbing by Peter: The ocean stretches waves curling uninterrupted from horizon to horizon. Now it is made of granite and turned on its side, a huge wall of rock. It continues up for a thousand feet or more. Look down and see the wing backs of birds two thousand feet down. The wind blows from below. That’s where I want to be.


We went to the Jim Nutt exposition at the MCA. I was caught by the mermaids’ blue ocean ship.

Natural Fish Silver

My love

I had a dream I was in a fishing vessel with my old chefs. It was at night, the moon was up over the Atlantic ocean. Swordfish circled the boat in the moonlight. They swam up and breached the water with their swords. That was the night before I started training at the new restaurant. When I arrived I was handed a chef’s coat, to spend the night with the kitchen. I told the first cook I met my dream, and he told me his. In his dream, he was at the shore of Lake Michigan. He waded out in the water. Large whales and glowing iridescent fish swam by, accompanied by an ominous feeling.

The Day After Arthur Lee’s Birthday

Pork Salsa

I waited all day for AT&T to come install a phone jack. The apartment was rehabbed almost a decade ago and the phone connections were walled over. AT&T had already been out to look things over but the first guy they sent was inexperienced and tentative. Today promised to be different. An hour and a half on the late side of the four hour service window, the door buzzed. I put my running shoes and pants on to answer the bell. The tech meant business; he was wearing his phone business belt and heavy black phone shoes. I showed him my phone jack-less apartment, the basement phone box, the thick strand of phone lines snaked up into the ceiling, and told him of my conversation with Jim, of the grey ponytail. Jim lives directly above me and has a phone line. In fact, Jim has AT&T DSL, which may in fact, be the DSL that allows me to write this post. I told AT&T on the phone and now in person that I thought the first guy had been tentative. The tech promised today would be different, no problems. We may need to go in there, he said, and motioned at the locked boiler room. There are always solutions, he said, and left the basement. I stayed and removed the screws to the lock on the boiler room door. The next time I saw him his truck was parked at the far end of the block, and he was up on the ladder, inspecting phone lines and phone boxes up there. He looked so small. He got into his truck and drove towards me. Its no good, he said. The thick line that runs from the pole to my building has about twenty five phone lines in it, and there’s a problem with my line. It may be cut or old. We need a line specialist out here, he told me. I nodded and with total determination reiterated my pledge to make phone internet happen here, no matter what, however long it takes, because I will not do business with the cable company that shall remain nameless. And in the meantime I have free internet.

golden cue

I have been making circular paths around the neighborhood, like an animal in new territory. The sign pictured above is from a huge pool hall around the corner, called the Golden Cue. The other side of the sign says, “We Have Smooth Shafts and Clean Balls.” I ate at a taqueria where all the menu items have soccer names. I was alone, and the waitress presented me with chips and salsa. The salsa was salty and had little pink bits in it. I will take a torta, I demanded, with whatever that is in that salsa. Well, those turned out to be little pieces of pigs. It was an animal salsa, and soon, before I even knew it, I was eating an animal torta. Sliced ham and chorizo, grilled pineapple and avocado. With a belly full of dead animal, I tried on stained denim jackets at Village Discount. Later, I went joyriding and sucked down my second Shamrock Shake in twenty four hours.

How To Make Your Girl Happy

Run the water for her

[Warning: Graphic and Obscene Language] Sometimes you gotta flip it on your girl b. The things she do for you if she does them for you, you gotta do to her man. Nahmean she liked to get pampered too. She like to hear that “I Love You” shit a thousand times a day. You understand what I’m sayin. With a soft kiss every now and then. Younahmean. Rub her back b. Feel her up, massage her, tell her how good she look. Cook for her if you could, if you know how to cook. If not take her to get something to eat. Sometimes you can just go on a vacation. If you go on a vacation that’s the ultimate. You gon’ smash all that! Whatever foul shit you was doing nahmean, you gon’ cut off a lot of that fat b. A lot of that shit and you gon’ be good for a minute. You know especially if you take her somewhere theres a beach and y’all just go lay out get a couple of massages from the hotel. Y’all laying up, doing shit. Nahmean, playing whatever little volleyballs they got on the beach and doing everything, the activities. Y’all go down to the motherfuckin hotel, they got a bunch of activities y’all can do. Go on boat rides and shit, you do all that shit. Even if its a 2 day vacation nahmean, y’all come back y’all gon be good! You gon be good. So its like um, basically…you know. Make her something to eat. Take her out, you know. Come back, put some candles in the tub, for her. Do things, you know. Run the water for her. Buy her a lingerie or pajama set so she can put it on after she get out nahmean. Have a little cake for her or whatever whatever whatever. Whatever you know, just make the scene nice and sexy and romantic and soft and warm. Ynahmean, the ill, I don’t care if its a Luther or Barry CD or something like that but just, you know, tell her you love her man. The whole shit is just shocking them. Shock the bitch b. Not to call her a bitch like that but you know what I mean, just shocking them. She gotta be like “Yo this nigga just fucked my head up!” That’s the best shit. Making your girl happy man. Then after that, you know what it is! You gon’ go in there and you gon’ make love to her. But don’t make love to her without the MUSIC on! You gotta put that SLOW shit on and you fuck her reaaal slow. And for those of y’all that don’t eat no pussy, you might gotta eat her pussy. You feel me! You eat her pussy, thats even a extra 100 points. But you gotta eat her pussy tho, nahmean. Don’t suck the shit too hard nahmean they don’t like that. Thats why a lot of girls like girls cause they know what girls like. Nah mean, you gotta know how to do that shit right b. But I’m saying tho, you gon’ make your girl happy. You feel me? But yo, just take it from me man. It’s Tony Starks in the building. I know. #GFKWordsofWisdom


Like A Clam Ripped From Its Shell

Animals in space

It takes death. It takes change. It takes work. It takes settling. It takes exploding. It takes laughing. It takes cold. It takes warmth. It takes learning. It takes music. It takes shifting. It takes distance. It takes falling. It takes distance. It takes crying. It takes being. It takes letting go. It takes closeness. It takes breathing. It takes running. It takes friendship. It takes compassion. It takes understanding. It takes giving. It takes receiving. It takes the ocean. It takes love. It takes time. It takes heartache. It takes wonder. It takes strength. It takes courage. It takes change. It takes life.


No Expectations

Sunrise over horner park

The needle was past empty. Unwashed, speeding on the New York Thru-Way, I was out of gas. In fact, the service station I had been counting on was out of gas. A road sign read No Fuel. I turned off the radio and slipped behind a tractor trailer, into the draft stream. Coasted on fumes and just made it.

Self portrait by accident

I pulled into town as the sun was coming up over the lake.