Postcard (color)

23 Oct

lunchtime in the city! get your hot dogs here!
get your bruised fruit and bottled tap water and anemic greens!
candy bars and old bagels and bologna sandwiches!
and mayonnaise…real mayonnaise here made with eggs; rotten eggs
but they’re real…what a deal!
cheap lo mein made with microscopic shrimp on special!
get your fast Chinese food just like you like it; greasy and hot and packed
chock full of MSG.
MSG on everything; so much you can smell it in your urine…
all beef franks here…mechanically separated cow parts by the Machine!

from the roof of the central committee building
a scene of precedent horror: the daily ritual of ingesting carcasses
only to be later disposed of in private washrooms and portable outhouses.

business suits stand around in front of café tables, long streamers of
yellow and red-tainted saliva hanging off their chins,
stomachs growling noisily waiting for their turn in line;
dragging on long, girly, Indonesian cigarettes and exhaling with a nasty,
gurgling noise.
others ejaculate at the sight of women trotting by in short skirts
despite the cold air.

street vendors sing their songs imitating passers-by
with baboon-like obscenity: “you want? fi’ dollars fo’ scarf. you want?”
one insect customer is trying on a black top hat,
admiring his couture in a small mirror hung from a rack.
the vendor is salivating with greed: “hat cost ten…”
the insect does not hear him, he moves his pupils with vanity,
in love with himself.

junkies are littering the streets, sitting against the edge of buildings
with paper cups rattling change.
catatonics decorate the parks like charred tree trunks begging to be cut down
for firewood in the winter.
agitated IMF workers rush through the streets with grease in their hair
and cheap shoes looking for a legal corner to smoke on.

the taxicabs are working their pistons overtime
honking with angry impunity.
they speed through intersections dodging crossing animals…
they run red lights, tires screaming from burnt skin on pavement…
they make u-turns over double lines in search of freight.

there’s one waving his hand frantically on the other side of the street,
the cab stops suddenly from full speed, tires screeching to a halt,
momentarily paralyzing the lunchtime traffic behind:

a gang of howling students swing from dormitory balconies and trees
defecating and urinating on passers-by, faces sweet with melancholy:
“…aah, but if only we could study meteorology forever, that would be graaaaand.”

the Golden Triangle boys and girls patrol the streets in their
bumblebee yellow garb looking for lost tourists and confused citizens.
they wear gigantic yellow mesh caps and large buttons that scream:
“may I help you find soomethiiing?” they linger on the end of words
like molasses.

dancing girls from the nearby brothels strip-tease with bloody tripe
and haggis;
grind, bump and rub the organs obscenely over private areas
inducing vomiting from a nearby table of greedy diners.
religious fanatics and nihilist preachers harangue the crowd
with leaflets and posters inscribed with catastrophic
and end of the world prophecies and messages.

a battalion of proud, well-fed rats prowls the streets
in search of scraps to be collected for late supper…
a couple of pseudo-intellectuals—bookstore clerks on a cigarette break—
are leaning sheepishly against a wall holding their fags
between the thumb and forefinger and discussing the state of literature:
“of course the only writing worth considering now is of the state
and only to be found in textbooks and periodicals…”
they are wearing black turtlenecks and black jeans
and stir up the garbage with their spurs.

the ugliness of this spectacle buggers description
the entire celestial brain has begun to atrophy.

a Chinese street vendor is abusing his wife
in front of the crowd, kicking her in the ribs with cotton slipper-shoes
as he screams out obscenities in Mandarin and spits on the ground
next to his stand…
a gang of teenagers, dirty around the mouth, huffing on brown paper bags,
is watching like black insects overjoyed at the shenanigans…
one youth is digging inside his nostril looking for salty blood…

the fruit man—a coprophage from Tunisia—is sitting on his folding chair
behind his stand eating from a plate filled with his own vomit.
“mmm, mmmm” he says with pleasure oozing from every orifice,
“you want tangerine or big grape with seed? one dollah…”

the tall, redheaded, scarecrow-bum is gliding down the streets
with his dirty gym bag looking in trashcans for discarded bread.
he finds a slimy slice of roast beef and stuffs it in his mouth,
salivating from the taste of raw sewage mixed with infectious lysteria.

the Nicotine Boys are out pacing within their assigned area,
slinging their arrows at unsuspecting pedestrians…
one of them mocks the striptease of a whore dancing with a bloody
swine organ, dragging on his Dunhill.

a hypochondriac is running at full speed screaming at the top of his lungs
about a deadly, infectious virus and begging tourists for an opium
suppository: “please have mercy on my condition,”
he hangs on a business suit walking and eating a hot dog at the same time.
the suit flings him to the side and expectorates a yellow glob of phlegm.
“dirty swine,” he mutters under his breath and crosses a street
gridlocked with steaming cars.

politicos and their hideous women litter the streets
biting savagely into cheese-filled pastries, rushing on their way
to something urgent.
a midday cocktail party, perhaps, complete with out of tune
string quartet and menstruating socialites perpetually distressed
about their coifs and forever salivating over their recently-purchased
the well-connected swine bounce forward on the cracked pavement
stepping over bat guano and feverish bums and soiled homeless.
“this is the third time they’ve stolen my Mercedes; those bastards…”
“perhaps you should lock your door, sweetie. EH?”

rock and roll and new wave adolescent throwbacks storm out of a
small international newsstand smoking old, dry cigars and blunts.
they rush down the streets bouncing from awning to awning,
opening doors to establishments and screaming obscenities at the patrons inside.
they carry small ferrets and marmots on their shoulders,
who periodically spit out saliva in disgust at their forced captivity.
the hoods swing hammers and axes at underground water pipes,
play chicken with stationary automobiles, stab themselves in the face
then pour acid on the wounds, urinate on the sidewalks in front of
food vendors and customers,
flick ashes and cigarette butts at women’s faces, burst into hospitals
wearing white gowns and carrying sharp scalpels and scissors,
administer injections with rusty, tetanus-infected needles,
disconnect artificial kidneys and respirator machines, drive various
herds of doctors, nurses, and candy stripers into the foul streets
and defecate on their sterile robes, wiping themselves with
various charts and paperwork.
“by eliminating the present medical establishment,” starts one of the punks,
“we pull the proverbial trigger on the Republic.”

a gang of fascists and communists move rapidly towards each other
and begin a slow, deliberate dance;
homosexual congressmen walk hand in hand with their Queens
snapping polaroids of various bubous, acne-infested posteriors
exposed in bottomless leather chaps, drooling at the anticipation
of the developing image.

a group of striking custodians and El Salvadorean night-shift maids
is yelling something obscene in Spanish
and goose-stepping up and down the sidewalk
in front of a large structure…

so it all started in Mesopotamia and made its way into The City
over the centuries, but these are modern times.

one world, one channel.

now the infectious buboes swell up in Prague and Bucharest,
New Orleans and Jersey City, Frisco and ol’ St. Louie.
and the disease shows no predilection for race;
equal opportunity employer, freak!

nearing the allotted time for the frenzy, the queers—calmed
by the soothing powers of sustenance—begin to file back into
the cold office buildings.
one by one, holding hands like kindergartners back from a field trip
with sad faces and slobbering wet bottom lips and running noses,
they enter their workstations at the assembly line.

images fall slow and silent like heavy flakes of snow
in Himalayan Mountains over frozen glaciers and bodies of
once-admired mountain men.
it is a quiet, methodical retreat inside as if the earlier scene is now shown
in reverse without the audio track.
the closing of a dam, blocking the river on its upper side.
sellers of fast-food and quick fix snacks are packing up their stands
and wheeling them on rubber tires away to be attached as trailers
and hauled to shelter.

cockeyed salesmen of magic potions and relaxing aromas,
brokers of titanic dreams of lottery jackpots and freedom,
doctors skilled in the immediate treatment of mortal snake bites
and diseases dormant in the concrete pillars of a doomed city,
men of science trained to invent maladies of the laboratory
and biological war…
all file back to their cubicles at the conveyer belt like larval entities
in their safe cocoons.

The City gathers its children slowly and returns to normal mid-day
work mode, raising its drawbridge and re-installing its defenses.

the last of the stragglers shiver down the infected boulevards,
cup of warm liquid in their hand.

Machine is shutting off its valves and firing the pistons again,
ready for the second half of first shift.

quick flash to silver.
carcass of a crushed black squirrel.
afterbirth of a laboratory rhesus monkey.



8 Responses to “Postcard (color)”

  1. Geoff 24/10/2008 at 2:19 AM #

    Alex, This has a great Beat/ Brave New World/ Metropolis feel to it — the rhythm of the words as they tell the story … the people and the Machine. I’m sure it would be a terrific performance piece, too. I’ll be back for a second or third reading.

  2. (S)wine 24/10/2008 at 7:56 AM #

    Thanks Geoff. Yea, “Naked Lunch” comes to mind.

  3. Erin O'Brien 24/10/2008 at 9:18 AM #

    Hieronymus Bosch has landed in NYC?

    Now I want to spend the entire day browsing through weird images on the internet.

    Anybody ever read “Maldoror”?? I couldn’t get through all of it, but by goddamn, I tried.

    I want a Butterfinger.

  4. Slyboots 24/10/2008 at 10:32 AM #

    Yesterday I watched “Roma”. This has a similar, if less happy vibe. So if you are channeling an unhappy Fellini, so be it. Any Fellini is a good Fellini. Or conversely any Alex is a good Alex. And yes, I know I am not making any sense. It happens.

  5. (S)wine 24/10/2008 at 10:47 AM #

    Erin, I tried and failed to finish as well. But Dali and Man Ray and the rest of those guys apparently did.

    Sly, I was just thinking yesterday of rolling again “8 1/2.” Instead, I tried “Wonderland” with Val Kilmer (didn’t work). Should’ve opted for the former.

  6. mikey camel 27/10/2008 at 10:41 PM #

    oh mi god

    just shoot them all

    then shoot yourself

    why not?

  7. mikey camel 27/10/2008 at 10:46 PM #

    you’ve said it all now

    you can just stop this blog

  8. (S)wine 28/10/2008 at 6:34 AM #

    Mikey Camel! Good to see you back. Am loading up as I write this.

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