The Unswung Bat

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

'Tis the Season

Well, for an inscrutable and hopefully insane reason, Max has decided to represent me - in what I can only assume is a figurative sense - not only as some kind of insect, but one that lays eggs. In addition to which, I am also full of metaphorical vinegar and baking soda. Well that's just great.

You can not crush me in your hand, young Hazen, for I am fast and strike with deadly precision.

Halloween's a comin and we're all real pleased.





I wrote Kate a comment on her blog. I wonder if she'll find it.

Saturday, October 25, 2003
Oh. That Massacre

Good Question, Timmy.

Depending on your situation, the best way to respond to a ridiculously scary thing may be to reduce it to merely ridiculous. How, you ask? Why, by means of clever ridicule, of course.

Therefore, regarding the Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

There sure was a awful lotta big sharp hooks just hanging around that town.

Hey look, gang, it's someone's severed jaw. Let's split up.

Quick! The abbatoir looks like a safe place! We'll hide in there, and avoid additional shocking images, too.

"How embarrassing" . . . yeah, some a you know what I mean . .

Ahh! Leatherface! Let's brilliantly attempt to flee through this wall of tangly hanging sheets, 'cause otherwise getting away across this open field would be a little . . . too easy.

I'm sick a you guys tryin to scare me, I'm gonna go into the dark dank room full of creepy machinery with strange noises comin from it and sulk for a while.

Possums . . . .

It all gives the viewer pause to consider: Who is the real victim, here? These dumb kids or Leatherface himself? With just a little love and some group hugs, Leatherface might have grown up not swinging a chainsaw, but singing a chorus of joy and humanity across the world as a member of the musical youth troupe "Up with People."

Shit, my door just made a funny noise. Aww, I'm not gonna sleep well tonight. Well, I could probably write on, but let's not. Instead, let's calm down with a little story about Killer Robots Escaping to Wreak Bloody Havoc.

Nevermind the Bollocks,


(I promise not to do this very often.)

Friday, October 24, 2003
Exit, Center Stage

The next time they saw each other was years later, at a gallery opening an exhibition of her work. He came with his girlfriend but the two quietly separated to gaze at different paintings. He was looking at one rigidly, as though he was a statue carved to look at the picture without seeing it. But he was watching it, and with the rest of his body frozen his eyes were deeply immersed in the canvas, searching it for all the signs of life he'd known in his friend, and he knew when she walked up beside him.

"What do you think?" was how she disturbed years of silence.

"You always were an English major."

She was quiet after that for a moment. She seemed much the same as she'd been in his memory, except without a trace of the limp. Stiffness could never stay with her for long. She breathed smoothly. She probably slept like she was made of feathers. Lofting and lulling gently, settling and rising again.

Between them now stood a third person's-worth of space, the almost human spirit of the opposite of love. Even so, as nothings go, it was small. Much smaller than its converse would have been.

Only to the two of them did a wordless span of time seem to pass before next she spoke. His eyes no longer searched the painting. They clung to it.

"Why don't you look at me?"

He let the question into his mind, to hang there for a moment, and then answered from a part of him that could be both patient and horribly abrupt. Such a part that long ago had coiled around his heart, sometimes to guard it, sometimes to sink in its own teeth, and whisper with a forked tongue.

"I suppose that right now I'm looking at you and away from you," he said, but though his eyes stayed fixed on the painting they had lost sight of it. If he ever sighed, he did then, and turned to face her. Saw there the time unspun, that had stayed neglected in her, and his in him. Looked in a pile of yarn and saw woven warmth.

He permitted in his face the lightness of a small smile, bowed his head cryptically, slightly. Then somehow they were holding each other, and he found the desperation he had locked in his eyes broke out, and flooded through motionless arms, hands. And she said nothing but life is hard. And he said nothing but yes it is.


Elliott Smith is indeed dead.
iTunes is indeed cool. Goddammit, now I want a Mac. Fuck.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
School is Going Well

Haven't we all?

This week the weather wouldn't make up it's mind. It started by giving us the year's first taste of winter in cold whipping breezes that made people think of shivering, frosty breath and scarves for the first time in three seasons. Then it was too hot.

Today the heat broke, which it should have seen coming. Can't no one stand up to a Canadian winter. But when it broke, we got rain, which none of the university students, for whom real-world knowledge is a zero-sum thing, expected to happen. At least it isn't humid.

In the meantime, Mary Somebody says to wade in the water. Don't you know that God's gonna trouble the water? She might as well just say to walk down the street, the way it's coming down out there we'd be wading. But what can a young American do? Sit inside listening to too much music, and think about diving. Think about swimming through the harbor sunken to depths no one alive can reach. And surfacing to scatter the poems of the place, merest nothings, to the wind. It's been a water day. I looked in and saw the bottom of the pond instead of my reflection.

There is love
(In the water)
In the water
(In the water)
There is joy yeah

The Same Thing that Happens to Everything Else
Let me axe you a question. What happens when a seagull flies into a rock wall? Allow me to express my answer onomatopoetically: splark. (That's a combination of the splat of the seagull and the choked squaking noise it makes). And yet they say that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Specifically, that means the wall goes splark a little, too.

Thursday, October 09, 2003
This Message Will Self-Destruct
Ahh, Max, how do you always manage to make everything so personal? I happened to be in the middle of a discussion on Sigmund Freud this morning, hearing about the way he was sure that for civilization to exist - as he thought it must - it was necessary for every person to repress their sense of themselves. It's clear it was something to disagree with, but if it's so clear, why am I so unsettled today? Has nothing to do with you, as usual, except that you've got it peeled open maybe a few layers deeper maybe sometimes I get the feeling. Or maybe you've just got a flair for laying it out flat. Good and bad and better and the rest.

A cold boiling.
Hot popsicle.

We're all in the gutter? We should all get the chance to laugh about it every once in a while. Maybe there's less than I thought to Getting The Fuck Out of Here. Maybe there's more.

St George, Thursday Night

Lights against the window mesh, in the night. Two rows of streetlights penning in all sorts of headlights and traffic signals. Against the mesh they blur out into little crosses of light. The red and yellow ones seem low-energy, the white and green intensely cold. That may be wishful thinking. This is my view.

Grad house, just down the street, is a massive block of a low-lying apartment building with an apendage that juts out, ponderously beneath high-rising shoulders, like the neck of some overworked beast of burden. Where the eye would be, from the side I see it, is a lighted window with an inexplicable circle of shade in the middle, like a pupil. What if the buildings secretly are alive, I wonder.

What if it were to decide it was tired of stillness, the grad house down the street whose side-facing eye stares at me. If it felt the irresistable urge to move, the same one that shoots down my legs when I'm trying to sleep, makes me shudder and know I'll be awake for hours to come. What would happen to the people inside? Would they try to jump out the windows, for fear of being digested by their dislodged dwelling, only to find tough skin had grown over the mesh screen, trapping them inside?

Perhaps it would simply carry them somewhere else. March like a cyclops down Spadina, headed south for the water, to drink heavily after years of standing parched. Perhaps its doors would remain open for people to come and go as they pleased, with a permanent residence but no fixed address. I would like to see Robarts come to life.

It's standing on the corner like some enormous bird with its wings folded in on itself. A monolith built in triangles around books. Moist from the rain, blemished by a few streamers of ivy, but these seem tenuous, as though the monster could shake them off with ease, if only it cared to.

Me and What Army?

How emo is that for a title?

Now you're in trouble, boy.

Not too much on my mind, just thought I try posting this picture which, in my opinion provides undeniable proof of the existence of, if not God, at least invisible bat-wielding warriors.

I'll probably smooth this out later. maybe not.

Things What Don't Fall

So it's come to this.

It's just you and me, little bug. Crawling up the wall like half a scorched pistachio shell with legs (you, not me) and feelers waving around like leafy branches in the wind. Light from my third-storey window is glinting off a stack of cds to throw a pale rainbow against the same wall you're pulling yourself up. Is that what you're following? If there's gold at the end, I want half. I mean, this is my room, you fat little beetle.

You're in assorted company on my wall. Suspended from it, in addition to you, is a rectangle of green and pink foil folded to look like a shirt, a calendar marked with dates - the fact that I have only two days to submit that play to Stage Blue is stuck to the wall as persistently as you. There are other things, too, but what do it matter to you? You couldn't notice these things. You must be more aware of the stolen jazz coming out of my stereo, swiped off the internet and made public in the sense that I play it loud. Right now Coltrane is playing Naima, as much to you and me as to the trucks huffing by outside. If your ears are in your antennae, they're half as long as your legs. I guess you hear it.

You don't know a tenor sax from a truck, just don't let them squish you.

How it is you don't fall was one of the first things I wondered about. Well, not you specifically. You're much younger than me. But how a bug can stand on a wall piqued the curiosity of a juvenile me, many years ago, back in the playground age.

Man, I was staring at a helicopter just last night. It just hung there. It wouldn't move, at least not relative to the ground. Suspended in three-dimensional stillness, ten meters from the nearest surface, which is to say, the ground I was standing on. It just wouldn't fucking fall.

But you're not a man, you're a bug. Me on the other hand, I am a primate. My species has made helicopters. We even made that wall. Someone in my species, though I don't remember who, even explained to me how it is that you hold onto that wall, and walk up it like your feet were on the ground.

You're almost at the cieling now, little pistachio. Are you going to disappear into that crack between the crown moulding and the cieling? Maybe that was your plan all along.

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