Sunday, September 11, 2005


Thursday, September 08, 2005


We leaned her brother forward. You could see his reptilian brain thrashing through his eyes. He let out an unearthly wail, choking out nothing into an already-full trash bin.

"How long has he been doing this?" she asked.
"About half an hour," I said. "He was completely incoherent right after you left, but at least he was staying put." I laughed. He fell out of bed again. I yanked his fingers out of his own mouth. "No!" I yelled. "No! There's nothing left in there! It's all already in your blood! You've got to wait it out! You understand me?"
"Ingounnhere," he murmured.
"What?" I said.
"Dounbheherne," he gargled.
"I think he said 'I don't want to be here,'" she said. I looked at him for a second. I felt her eyes on me. He sagged in my arms and his head lolled forward, showering me with flecks of bile.
"Let's get him back up," I said.

We threw him into bed again. She yanked his legs over the side, I hefted his body around and rolled him off his stomach. "Do you know the recovery position?" she asked.
"Not really," I said.
"No, me neither," she said. We watched him for a minute. She sat down in my chair. I leaned on his.
"You can sit down," she said.
"Not in this chair!" I said. She looked at it. It was suspiciously sopping.
She sighed. "I'll get him to clean your towels in the morning."
"Don't worry," I said. "Sooner or later we'll have to do laundry." I closed my eyes for a minute. I didn't really care how I must have looked. Silence. In the corner he let out a furtive whimper. I couldn't help but smiling.
"Last year," I said, "A guy lived across the hall from me who was six-five and who must've weighed two-twenty five - all muscle. Not a scrap of fat on him. Ripped. One night, he got so bad his legs stopped working in the middle of the hallway. I dragged him through the corridor and into his room. I'd had a few myself, so I was sweating gin, heaving this massive guy through the hallway, him screaming the whole way about how his legs just didn't work and how he'd never do this again. I slapped him in there and collapsed in the hall myself, just leaned up against the wall to make sure he wasn't puking his guts out. He started wailing in bed - get me some water! Get me some water noooowwww! at around three in the morning. Woke up the whole damn floor - those of us who weren't sleeping, anyway. So I ran over there and kept pouring him water the rest of the night... just to shut him up, you know? I can't even remember how I got him into his bed."
She laughed. "God, what a nightmare."
"Eh," I said. "It happens. People'll forget."
"Still, this early in the year, sets a... a..."
"Precident? Naw. Short memory. You'll all look back on this and lauuugh."
She gave up a weak smile, unconvinced. "I hope so."
"Yeah," I said. We both turned to look at our charge. He was drooling on his pillow. "He hasn't jumped in about five minutes," I said. "You should probably get on home."
"Thanks," she said. "Is there anything else you need?"

I looked at her. I was too damn tired to feel much of anything. "No," I said. "Take care of yourself. I'll have him call you in the morning."
"OK," she said. "Thanks."

I lay down and went to sleep. The next morning, he had no memory of the entire affair. I read the paper. He had something go down with some girl he didn't care about. I haven't seen his sister since. He told me she'd gone out with some fraternity kid. I watched the news and had a few drinks with the gossipmongers of the airwaves and press. "You look confused," one of them said, finishing some scintillating tale I didn't particuarly care about. "I'm always confused," I responded, grinning.

"Sooner or later," I told him one evening, "A change is gonna come. We've just got to hang on long enough to actually change it."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

What's Left To Be Said?

Holes in the head, holes in the mind, holes through the transubstantiated American fabric. Prefunctory words, visions of anger and hatred, and exhaustion. But above all, there is some hope. Hope from the children of the storm, that despite the best efforts of everyone around us from every political party and vague hack publication eager to blame everyone but the storm and ourselves, we will return to that land, like the Israelites from the Babylonian captivity, singing the songs of joy they could not sing in strange lands.

There's nothing else to say, really. All we can do is do what we must.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My City Was Gone

Farewell, Nawlins, and from your corrupted, polluted flesh may Mardi Gras spring once again like the hope of a thousand children. We have lost the epicenter of Americana, and nothing but everything will be the same.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Perpend and consider:

Are there canine philosophers? Are they *happy* lying around sleeping 18 hours a day? Do we know? What ambitions do they have? Lo, we live in strange times for such things to be considered, but doubtless such things have been considered from day one, from the first rainy hovel in Africa when man looked down at the beast gnawing the bones of their mutual catch and wondered, "is it happy?"

And so strange times continue. When the apocalypse comes, what damages will the insurers estimate?

N.B.: The spottiness of updates is noted. It will most likely continue. Deepest apologies.

N.B. i. A. t. N.B. (YMMV): Doubtless doughty readers dote doubtfully on this. Doubtfully and dolefully anyone reading the AMBERDP would read it regularly. But in case I'm proved wrong, hello, regular readers, refrigerator raiders. Hope you are well.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Iron Curtain Two-Step

He walks down the clustered side street, channeling past tourists and pickpockets, his denim jacket peeking over his shoulders, barely covering the V-neck t-shirt covered in a scrawl illegible in any language. His aviators lend his world a crimson tint, and he checks his eyes surreptitiously in every shop window. He picks irritably at the inseam of his jeans, one size too small for a woman of his height. The telltale white buds nestle firmly in his ears, tuning out Eastern Europe with a vengeance. Every town, like every tchotchke shop along every cobbled street in every antique square, is exactly the same - another fading triumph of the once-mighty dollar. A storm gathers overhead. Some seek shelter in the mass-produced halls of pewter barroom trinkets, others in T-shirt hutches or ash-blackened churches. Umbrella vendors spring from the cracks in the sidewalk. He quickens his pace towards the club.

He checks his face in the jeweler’s mirror, and the man trying to pick his pocket smacks right into him.

The thief is clearly a professional. He should have known better. But the walking patterns of tourists are strange and erratic, and he is an old man in a young man’s game. In the old days, people walked straight for their destinations, heads down, eyes forward. Prime targets. Tourists were too individual. Anything could strike their fancy – but he knows the cardinal rule – there is nothing they enjoy more than themselves.

“Fuck!” howls the tourist, whirling, hand on his pocket. He rips the buds out of his ears. He knows exactly what this is, too. It happened in Vienna, it happened in Budapest, it happened in Warsaw – just never to him.
“Oh!” says the thief. “Oh!”

There is the uncomfortable pause.

“What the fuck are you doing?” says the tourist.
“OK,” says the thief. “OK” is the most commonly understood phrase in the world. The second most-common is “Coca-Cola,” but that, as the thief knows, signifies something else.
“No,” says the tourist. “No, not OK.”
“OK,” says the thief, smiling. “OK, buddy. Buddy. America. Yeah. OK.”
“No,” says the tourist. “Fuck, no.”

The pair take halting steps away from each other.

“Don’t…” begins the tourist. He feels a slight twist in his coat. He turns his head slightly. The thief bolts.
“Bye!” says the thief.
“Fuck you!” screams the tourist. There’s a frazzled silence. A drop of rain hits the Soviet manhole chiseled into the cobbled street. The tourist jams the buds back into his ears – but his iPod is gone.

The second thief buys a pair of headphones for a few dollars. More expensive than last year, he thinks. Not good for business. He strolls home in the rain, head down, eyes forward, listening.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Handsprings Eternal

Who knows who lurks when and where and the miracles and mysteries of modern love (I know when to go out, I know when to stay in) when we are driving down the highway at a thousand miles an hour in our shiny death machines (did you know? SUVs support terrorism - also marajuana and liberals and conservatives and libertarians and authoritarians and eating red meat or reddening eaten meat or meeting read eat-ins) we become heroes of the radio.

In aviators reflecting the distorted truth to the sky I see the genetics of the radio hero bursting forth through unclear channels, sapped but never sappy, lifeless but full of hope of life, proof of life, life of right and wrong and the songs that will never once make a corporate playlist.
Down beaten abandoned highways and overtraveled excized expressways and marked metallic megaopolisi I see the foundations of a breakdown, a shakedown, a beatiful noise unheard since Arthurian legend. Spring, spring handsprings eternal in the springtimes of your lives for now is the time, and this the chosen hour. Stay awake! You know exactly when the hour of the Price Is Right will come, but is it worth it to light your lamp that long?