Stupid Never Stops

The problem with stupid is its relentlessness. It just goes on and on. And on.

Smart is its own worst enemy, thinking itself to exhaustion, especially how to explain to stupid, which never works.

Stupid hates smart for being smart. It will not stop for anything, even survival, to be heard. There’s hope you say? Based on what? Stupid has always won.

Tarkovsky’s “Nostalgia” Half Asleep

Why are Andrei Tarkovsky’s films even a thing? They’re a meandering mess with endlessly long shot after long shot, slow tracks in and slow tracks sideways, sophomoric monologues about coping with existence dribbling on. Pretentious artsy crap. But I’m obsessed.

I was over tired when I went to see the recently restored version of Nostalgia. As much as I was enraptured by the opening shot, I was already falling asleep. It seemed a volatile thing because that’s where Tarkovsky lives, on that line between consciousness.

On the verge of madness? Was that it? Or clarity? A distant voice called out. A following tracking shot across a drained pond. I was almost scared. Or maybe I was and couldn’t admit that. I was understanding something, or forgetting what I thought I knew.

Listening and Not

I woke the moment you leaned. You listened. That’s what you said. You knew I was lost and found something in that. You had been where I had. Mine was yours. And then it was gone.

You didn’t understand that my state of rest is the argumentative. That brings me peace, not being right or wrong, but that you only have to argue a little bit harder to be heard.

A Baby to Expunge

As much as I love this scene, it doesn’t work for my novel, The Vanishing Pill.

Punter’s film had finally uploaded and was ready to view. It opened with Punter handing over a kilo of cocaine to the Head of School, Lilly Castor – played by the Head of the Fine Arts Department – as a bribe to not expel him. The meeting concluded with Lisa accepting the cocaine and then doing a gang handshake with Punter. The class exploded in laughter. Davis, dumbfounded, watched the following where the boys, assumedly all high on cocaine, ran around an apartment like maniacs; he abruptly stopped the film. “What the hell is this?”

“New York New Wave,” Punter proudly declared. The class laughed at that.

“This film is garbage, Punter.”

“It’s a question of taste, isn’t it?”

Davis went to Lilly’s office immediately after the class. “I just watched Punter’s film.”

She had disconcertingly wide eyes and a tight fat mouth. “Our meeting isn’t until tomorrow.”

“Lilly, I just saw his film where you play the head of school.”

She turned her rolling chair half toward him. “He certainly put a lot of time into that. He’s such a dedicated to film-making.”

“Lilly…” Davis made a series of gestures, unable to say what he wanted to say. “The opening scene is of you accepting a kilo of cocaine and then doing a gang handshake.”

“He told me that it was going to be a morality tale,” Lilly explained.

“It only gets worse from there,” Davis replied. “They pile the cocaine on a table and run insanely around the apartment. They students were stunned.”

“You didn’t preview the film before showing it to the class?”

“The opening shot was of you taking a kilo of cocaine from one of our students.”

She stood up quickly. “I don’t like how you’re speaking to me, Davis.”

“How I’m speaking to you?” Davis made a half back step into the hallway and then back into the office. “Lilly, do you understand that right now every one of those kids is telling the story of that film to everyone else in the school?”

Her cheeks and chest flushed a heavy red. “Davis, you need to leave my office. Our meeting is tomorrow.”

Climax of “The Cx Trilogy: Em”

Something of an ode to the finale of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, combining archival imagery of atomic explosions and Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again, the film version of Em is to feature an onslaught of missiles coming after Em and Dee on the final ship off the planet.

Final images of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

As they rocket out of the bombardment, Fast and Furious style, explosions everywhere, in the air, on the ground, The Partridge Family’s That’ll Be The Day will play at My Bloody Valentine levels.

When the chains around me no longer ground me
and my soul can sail away to a better life –
That’ll be the Day

And when the silence is broken and words unspoken
can finally have their say, then we’ll all sing out –
That’ll be the Day

Hopefully Cx Trilogy: Em is little more engaging than Transformers.

And when those feelings I’ve hidden are no longer forbidden
and our love is here to stay
Then we’ll all shine on –
That’ll be the Day

Pre-Teen Book Shelf

When I was a kid, I had a long low book shelf crowded with souvenirs, magazines and books. My souvenir shell frog from Florida was a favorite as was a wooden bear toy my parents brought back from Russia. And of course I had the ubiquitous giant eraser.

I was just beginning to grow my book collection, including Treasure Island, Sterling North’s Rascal and a book about Red-Tailed Hawks.

More than anything, I was into nature magazines, especially National & International Wildlife. I’d decided that I was going to work with animals, maybe be a zookeeper, and was determined to read every article in every issue to start my zoology education. But then I lost my focus and realized these magazines were a good hiding place for a new interest I had begun to develop.

The Land of Broken Boys

“We live in a land of broken toys.”

“Broken boys?”

“Toys, broken toys.”

“What’s this? Who’s a broken toy?”

“You. Me. Everyone.”

“Why broken toys? What’s that?”

“You know, from the Rudolph the Reindeer movie.”

“That’s the Land of Forgotten Toys. Not Broken Toys.”

“Forgotten, broken. Same thing.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Well, we’re broken, right? Played with and fucked up.”

“You’re speaking gibberish.”

“We believed in something when we were small. And now that’s all gone.”

“Believed in what?”

“What our parents told us.”

“All my dad ever taught me was to shut the fuck up.”

Easy Prey

The horror lies within your imagination. Nowhere else. Sleep and you’re easy prey.

Run, run, run, but it’s right there with you. The darkness of being mauled and eaten comes from within because we know what that is.

We do it to every living thing and pretend we don’t. Anything but that. That’s what we say.

Awake and Not

I woke and thought about dying. I didn’t feel right or like I might expire.

There was no pain or discomfort, just a sense of something not working or not wanting to anymore. I changed sides but the feeling remained.

I was just going to end here. Not even a whimper. It was hard to get back to sleep.

The Genius of Failure (or Vice Versa)

I can see it clearly: the musty one-bedroom apartment, two floors up, a view of the parking lot out back. There’s a hotplate, mini-fridge, cabinet full of booze, an old wooden frame bed and a handicap accessible bathroom. I’ve seen it many times, and I will be there soon enough.

And I can see this: the back of a limousine, window half down, the warm desert air shuffling in as it begins to get light. There’s a band of pink strip lighting, mini-fridge, cabinet full of booze and a young woman curled up across from me.

The thing is that they’re same thing, just at different speeds.