by Moneta Goldsmith
MNEMONIC MIND MELT: SOME THINGS I LEARNED TODAY Burning Man is sometimes known as the Slut Olympics. ‘Twentysomethings’ are little more than the actualization of the dreams of past ‘twenty somethings’. George Orwell coined the phrase ‘Cold War’ in 1945, in an essay. Many people believe that one’s facial direction really takes off beyond one’s control around age 17, although this can sometimes occur a great deal later. A group of people in the Czech Republic has formed an organization that sets elaborate obstacles for and unique challenges involving masturbation. The group calls themselves Masturbation and its Discontents: ‘MAID’ for short. At a diplomatic meeting today John Kerry refused requests to take questions in French. There are speculations that he may have forgotten how. The opposite of an entrepreneur is an anti-peneur. Not the kind of person we can expect to hear from very often. The first person to gain public recognition from MAID was a man from the English chapter who successfully masturbated while reciting John Milton’s poem ‘Il Penseroso’. He achieved climax during the line ‘While the bee with honied thigh’. During the 1950s especially, the resort known as Acapulco has long been frequented by Hollywood movie stars, who needed to fly under the radar a while. The resort has long been considered safe from Mexican crime and corruption. Until yesterday morning. It is better to mull over knotty problems at one’s desk than to do nothing at the beach, according to studies. The underground cult MAID gained universal traction after a racecar driver died attempting to masturbate during a race. It is believed that the racecar driver achieved climax moments before his death. After the racecar incident, MAID’s group skydiving challenge was duly canceled, presumably due to the recent casualties that the organization has suffered. A Sparkleponie is the term for somebody at Burning Man who has very little to offer in the way of basic survival skills, but makes up for it by being naked pretty much all the time. A stone beneath one’s feet is not a valid object of observation. Or is it? Here are some books I stole today from the ‘Friends of the Library Bookstore’: Hay Fever by Noel Coward The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard The Boom Boom Room by David Rabe Laughing Wild & Two Other Plays by Christopher Durang There may be one or two others, which I can’t remember now.* When I went back to buy a book that I saw in the window the woman behind the counter offered to hold my bag, the one with all the other stolen books inside of it. The word humble comes from the Latin word humilis, meaning small, low, or close to the earth. The price tag was missing on the book I wanted, so the woman behind the counter charged me $1. It was a rare First Edition of The Lover by Marguerite Duras.* Tomorrow I hope to return to this bookshop, allowing myself more than five minutes of shopping time. I wonder if I am supposed to be embarrassed to be alive. ~November whatever, evening *This particular edition of The Lover by Marguerite Duras sells for upwards of $100 on Abebooks. *All book titles have been changed for the purposes of this poem. *No books mentioned in this poem were abused or mistreated, without their express consent.
INTERROBANG Hey mountain!? I see you looking all good up there reaching for the sky, all trying to be infinite. Hey mountain!? I like the way you flirt with the clouds like they owe you something (mmm yeah, you a cock-tease, mountain). Hey mountain!? You make me want to invent a .99 Cent app that lets me lop off the top of your head so I can play etch-a-sketch with your vegetation. You make me want to sing Wander Vogel songs, mountain. Hey mountain!? You look like a serious speech I am afraid to interrupt. You look like a conversation I meant to have like eight years ago (you can be a pain in the ass, mountain). Hey mountain!? I see you curl up all into yourself when no one’s watching, you look like sleeping dinosaurs, yo. Hey mountain!? Your summit looks like a halo in the shape of a Frisbee, I am not catching what you’re not throwing down (you’re the firmament’s bitch, huh mountain?) Hey mountain!? I want to open an art gallery in your deepest, darkest forest, and decorate its walls with smart-phones, their screens all set to pictures of the Himalayas and of Mt. Everest, and of other, more impressive mountains!? Hey mountain!? I love the way you let yourself go (mmm yeah, you an eroding mountain). You make me want to erode too, mountain. You make me want to stand on your chest until you apologize, mountain (until I prove you wrong).
DANCE, DANCE, EVOLUTION Last night around the fire someone suggested we draw on activities from our everyday lives for radical new dance moves. And so we danced a while this way until we grew tired or bored – such is the unfortunate fate of all rituals in history – until it no longer looked like we were dancing at all, but more like we were playing a frantic game of Pictionary in which each of us was performing together before an invisible audience. There was the one guy who acted like he was cutting people’s hair while his feet were on fire; others pretended they were in the shower rubbing themselves down with imaginary soaps and oils, scratching their heads and armpits like monkeys. And so it was that trivial tasks like cooking and bathing were transformed into humorous mimicry. And so it was that we became a cult of mimes training in silent opposition. Whatever it was that we were doing, I thought it wonderful to learn how each of us might dance when we thought the world was going to end. As we began to run out of resources, we drew from events that were more and more dramatic or, in any case, out of the ordinary. Some brought out imaginary guns and machetes as if fighting their way through a rain forest. When I noticed you feigning the movements of a chef, pouring something—spices? sauce? paste?—over a hot skillet, I have to admit that I pretended to eat the soup or the curry or whatever it was that I thought you were cooking. Your friend followed my lead, before we both fell to the ground from spasms, a kind of competitive food poisoning. At one point, I might have taken things too far, pretending to call 911. I was, in fact, re-enacting an actual call I had to make the day before. Eventually, the others started imitating this new ‘dance move’, each creating little emergency telephone calls with a mixture of excitement and alarm, until about an hour later, when most of us were dozing off to sleep, two policemen showed up on the farm with flashlights. Someone must have actually called 911 during our game, although none of us ever found out whether it was a coincidence or a neighbor’s punishment for our egregious pleasure. You were the last one to see what was happening. The look on your face as you woke up beside the smoldering fire was a look – somewhere between utter confusion and drowsy exuberance – that seemed to capture the faces of the officers perfectly. It was the look of a hunted man caught dead in his tracks, a runner who lies down in the snow with aching lungs; it was the kind of look that a man might make when he can’t ever again be a man, and it is what I want my dance move to look like in the next world, whatever world comes next after this one gets tired or old.
THE MONK WHO FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SKY There once was a young monk who had secret ambitions of becoming a writer. His central problem was that he felt ashamed to tell anyone about his dreams. Each time somebody would ask what he had been up to with his time, he held his tongue and after a few moments, pointed toward the sky. The monk did in fact write many things. But anytime someone would ask to see what he wrote, he would always point up to the sky. This was a trick his master once taught him. When you are confused, his master said, just point to the sky and nod as if you were on the brink of something profound, like enlightenment or something. The monk was generally speaking a loyal monk and so he listened to his master’s advice. Anyway, he reasoned, it didn't make sense to tell people ‘I have been writing’ unless he was writing at that very moment. That is, unless he was writing all the time, which was something physically impossible to do and to talk about at the same time. Yes – the monk thought to himself without actually saying – there is such an enormous difference between the writer being and the writer doing. And so it was that the monk gradually grew ashamed of wanting to be a writer, and he never did learn to think of himself that way. Not reasonably at least. Not without his master or his master's gods getting all upset about it and berating him in his ear, as if there could be toes to be stepped on in such things. Then one day, when his master was away on a long journey and he had the entire temple to himself, the monk gradually tried to write, out of boredom mostly. He wrote so much that very soon there was no ink left, and he absolutely refused to go to the market without having some excuse or other for which to buy something. And so it was the monk never wrote again, not that it changed all that much in his life per se: Over and over again, whenever people spoke to him he bowed his head and went on pointing to the sky. Right or wrong, the monk had to admit that the sky was a true master.
MONETA GOLDSMITH holds a Master’s Degree in Literature and is a recipient of the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholarship (2012), which is given out each year to future critics, academics, and other tweedy, career-minded professionals contributing to the commercialization of just about everything. His semi-coherent writings can be found in magazines such as Sparkle & Blink, Gorilla Troop, Harlequin Creature, Frank Matter and East Jasmine Review, among others.