the dada magazine about nothing
N A D A
Abstract: Ernest Hemingway committed suicide. Ernest Hemingway's father committed suicide. Ernest Hemingway's sister and brother both committed suicide. Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea. Ernest Hemingway was friends with Ezra Pound, who introduced him to James Joyce. Ernest Hemingway also knew F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. But Pound, Joyce, Stein and Fitzgerald did not win Pulitzer Prizes. Hemingway did. Then he shot himself in the head. I apologize if I offend, I am simply striving for complete journalistic integrity. It is necessary for me to deliver the straight facts in order to deliver my hypothesis: Music>Theatre>Acting>Dancing>Craft>Fine Art>Writing>Poetry>Suicide.
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WHISKEY I’m at a bar, alone in a booth, drinking beer and watching a cowboy movie on the TV hanging from the ceiling. I pick my nose. Vaguely self-conscious, I look around and realize no one in the bar notices. An immense loneliness wells up inside of me at the realization that I’m the only person on Earth who is aware of the fact that I’m picking my nose. I become paranoid that a gang-related shooting is about to occur right outside the bar and a stray bullet will shatter the window’s glass and drive itself into my brain. Michael Jackson never would’ve been a victim of random violence –the force of his personality was too strong. It’s always the nobodies who get rubbed out being innocent bystanders. The next time the bartender comes around I order a double shot of whiskey straight up, inspired by the cowboys in the movie. By the time I order my third I’m seated at the bar, calling men ‘sir’ and women ‘miss,’ and explaining to the bartender how much I want to defend someone’s honor, maybe in a duel. FILM I find myself in a movie theater watching some loud and ridiculous movie starring Mark Wahlberg. It begins with him being chased through the streets by tanks, helicopters, and a heavily-armored SWAT team. I think at this point in the movie I’m meant to believe he’s been framed or there’s been a mistaken identity or something of the sort. He’s giving a voiceover in a weary tone. Eventually they catch him, his hands go up and he surrenders peacefully. The last thing I remember is the courthouse scene, and a big stern judge with a phallic nose shaking his gavel at Wahlberg’s character and promising “a quarter of a million years at least” behind bars.
REFLECTIONS ON FILM I wake up in my bed, fully clothed, clutching an empty bottle. My radio is blaring, stuck between two stations that cater to different demographics. I turn it off. I don’t remember coming home from the theater. I recall the line about “a quarter of a million years at least” and it sounds completely absurd to me now; not even the most mindless Hollywood film would have included that line. I go to the bathroom. Claire bought me a toothbrush with a suction cup on the bottom when we first started seeing each other, which I’d stuck on the mirror above the sink. Now every time I go in there its disgusting yellow handle thrusts out at me, like an accusatory finger. It makes me uneasy, but for some dark and complicated reason I can’t bring myself to take it down. PHONE I am laying on the kitchen floor with my right hand over my chest like a man who’s been shot or who’s made a promise on a Bible. My phone is on the counter, inert. I am waiting for someone to call, so I can ignore their call. “I’ve been lying here for four goddamn hours,” I say.
your mutilated thumbs is art you say? well yes, it is the purest form. haven't you ever wondered what it is like to hurt yourself in such an intense way. i mean pain is as subjective as any other person's opinion. now those who are on suicide watch, now they are the true artists. those are the ones with people looking over their shoulders and necks, watching every move they make. they watch closely, taking note, like a bob ross program, getting up in the early morning light, happy as a tree. my thumb is really as far as i'll take it though. really i'm not great at all. i can't lift a fucking finger to those who died for their art. do you want another line? hey sam!,,, two lines over here, in fact, lines all around. (the crowd goes wilder!) it is the fifth "line all around" in the past half hour. i rub a little coke onto my bleeding thumb, it's the only time the two have been in the same room together and i don't know when it will happen again. i like doing the coke, for the anticipation of doing coke. we are so lucky to live in this country because we can get coke. i'm sure the coke south of the equator is just fine and dandy, but i have many friends in the service and they tell me that all the countries south of the sun line are shit, hopping around with their fancy toes kickin' around that soccer ball all day (soccer, not football), juggling in the jungle, on the trails, with the jaguars. i hear australia is alright though, they welcome you with open cunts. vaginas like kangaroo pouches. he told me he was workin' on this one chick at the bar, and remembers going with her back home, kickin' off his boxers (they said NAVY across the back) getting real up in there, you know with the balls clapping against the ass cheeks. next thing he remembers is waking up on the beach, cuddling with some seaweed, naked. she must have carried him there, in her vagina pouch, and queefed him out on the sand, waves lapping. you can only imagine if he'd been fucked on coke.
so i keep it simple, a little blood on my thumb and my white shirt is good enough for me. you really aren't listening to me are you? you keep smothering my words with your lips, and right at the source. not ever the screams of hell can get through those lips. let me tell it to you right in your ear, is my tongue in there deep enough?, am i pounding out these waveforms on your eardrum?, what? i can't hear you. here, you shove your tongue in my ear. oh?! you want more coke. then more coke it is! sam! two more here, and fuck it! lines all around! (the crowd goes wilderer!!) but really, i know we're both blacked out,,, actually i know i am, how about you?, actually i'm lying on my bed i've just waken (i trained my you see) i rub nasal crusts still healing thumb, and make
and it's 8am and body in that way, of coke with my a pot of coffee.
X She wasn’t memorable in a socially convenient sense; she didn’t have a projecting voice or charisma that sticks to your ribs. In groups she fell back in corners, taking in the scenery, occasionally piping in when called on. “Irene?” they’d say, “She’s constant. A nice girl.” I lived in her bedroom change jar for weeks---the apartment had to offer. Her apartment was small and she looked strange in it. Tall and full her head often bent down under matted curls, nervously scribbling notes. There were notes everywhere, on the walls, on the counters, piling on couch armrests. She was releasing ideas, I would learn. It most often happened in the middle of her morning reading, she’d lick her page-turning finger and nod out the window. That’s one for the pile! she’d mutter, eyes squinting and retracting as she filled a post-it. This happened multiple times a morning, and afternoons, when she’d return from her job. She’d eat a bowl of cereal on the couch and watch taped newscasts from prior years. There were stacks and stacks of VHS, all with outdated newscasts. The day JFK was shot, the day Microsoft released Windows 3.0, the day Laverne and Shirley reunited on television. If I can immerse myself in diverse time, maybe I will whirl into genius. She mused to her neighbor Philip who had brown, yarnlike arms. He came over to read Irene’s notes and brush her thighs. Often I would spy them on the couch, his head cockled over a handful of papers. “I like this one. A story about possums destroying the Berlin wall! Ha.” Irene always made coffee when Philip came over, drinking it fast, pretending to be unaware of his comments. Whatever I pick needs subtlety. I have to keep writing.
Her bookcase was full of Pulitzer winners. All the books she read were Pulitzer winners. Their conversations always circulated around this fact. She was a steady flying arrow, bent on hitting her target. “A Pulitzer Prize” Philip said, “requires far more than skill. It requires connections and exposure and divine intervention.” No, all it requires is the perfect idea for the time. A sculpted, fair idea carried out with exquisite ease. Sometimes she would dip her hands in the jar and rub my paper, she’d pour out the jar and count us, coins and bills. I imagine she was thinking about how much more she wanted-- how much she was reaching for with her ideas. I don’t know how Pulitzer winners live, I have yet to be handed to a bonified winner, but I imagine the piles don’t stop. They likely have prettier counters, deeper mugs, and more neighbors crowding couches. But I imagine the piles of post-its only get more frantic, the collections, the reaching. “You know Irene, you have to start a book in order to write it.” Only the right one, Philip, will do.
The light was wreathed around her black long hair- her hair of moths and of split ends-the single bulb of the kitchen reflected back, into her eyes ( also black) off the formica counter- giving her an off-white halo. I didn't say anything to her for a long time, just watched, hunched in the doorway, her pursed lips murmuring, as she leafed through scraps of paper. Hamid, i said after so long of being sucked into the abyss of light and glass and her aching eyes and her messy black, what are you doing? I'm looking at poetry, sorry if I woke you up- flashing her teeth, orange and white like an old piano. I didn't know you wrote poetry baby. I don't, I mean, i used to, but I've quit, twice, actually; once when I was nine, then i started again, when i was seventeen, then six months later, i quit again and started painting. But Hamid, you don't paint now. I know but how can you paint when you have no home. We held each other in the eerie quiet of the kitchenembracing one another as if we were embracing everything- the forks, the spoons, the pots and pans, the empty corners and rotting food ( we dine out far too much), all the people we have lost but also the cities the sand the buildings the trees- those echoes we gave up when we became exiles. So why are you looking at your poetry if you don't write anymore? Because it occurs to me that I may never paint agianeven if I were to go back- the lands black with blood and teeth and rubble now- I had a dream last night, an army of faceless children riding great horses through the desert, eventually they set fire to Damascus. Muhkmedâ€™s dead. I'm so so sorry I sigh, still holding her as I grab the white wine off the counter and take a swig, then hand it off to Hamid ( who, in spite of herself, smiles- because [deep down] she still feels that drinking is somewhat vulgar. Why did you stop writing poetry baby, was it because of love? Hamid never nods or shakes her head to show affirmation or negation, rather, she seems to push her eyes past the bridge of her nose, letting them simmer in delight or fear. When I was seventeen, yes, it was for love, Gibril was such a beautiful sweet boy, he was dumb, yes, but he was sweet as well, truly sweet. I wonder what happened to him? Why did you stop at nine, was the reason the same (for love)? No. When I was nine I was only in love, with what, I suppose you could call, the essence of Damacus ( its ancient streetsâ€™ buildings that could only exist in dreams the people crowding the marketplace the lights which in the dawn would spark all at once purple and then fade to their sickly yellow haze the mazes), and my father.
It may had been from the lack of eatingfrom the madness that erupts when you immerse yourself in God and dismiss all that is realbecause it was the eve of Eid de Fir, and my father always did believe in fasting ( its purifying qualities ) more than he believed in the Prophet and God. An hour or so before dawn I heard his footsteps rustle against the walls. A murmur or a pray for the ghosts or angels swarming the city ( so they could have been demons, or even the devil himself, because i remember him saying 'swarm.â€™ How can hope swarm anything?) I watched from the dark of the living room, him leave, and crept through the streets after. He was so calm, so direct in his actions, that it occured to me that this has happened before, if only in dreams. He walked to an old improvised neighborhood around the outskirts that I had never been to before ( like it had been unleashed from the boneyard under the shifting sand). where he halted when he came upon a small courtyard into which three narrow streets fed. A one armed man dressed in all white came out of one the streets and nodded at my father who seemed not to notice. They walked in circles ( counterclockwise to one another) for a few minutes. The one armed mAn carried a scimitar reverently by his side. He and my father began to have a pleasant, albeit, not very serious conversation. the scimitar- I noticed only then, as it came out of the shadows- was covered in blood. The man in white set it down and traced his fingers through it before extending his hand ( soaked) to my fathers forehead, drawing a swastika. I guess I don't get it Hamid. Itâ€™s simple really. We're just cursed.
SEINFELD Everybody always said Seinfeld was a bad actor because he could barely keep a straight face through most of his scenes – even ones in which his character was receiving terrible news of one sort or the other. I think this particular trait in fact made Seinfeld a great actor, because that’s how people should react to crises. They should giggle and have to hold their mouths closed because it’s all so cosmically hilarious. When you look at a situation, with all the scientific knowhow we have these days, all the forces that once appeared divine or destined now seem chaotic and arbitrary, and should warrant no more than a shoulder shrug and a smiling shake of the head that seems to suggest: “Go figure.” MORNING WITH JAMEY We play Halo in our underwear, eating Cheerios. She says she hates playing with me because all I want to do is shoot the marines on our team and listen to them beg for mercy. After one such killing spree I develop a terrifying erection and am unsure whether it’s the result of simulated murder or the little patch of pubic hair coming out of her panties that I can see in the reflection on the TV. Before I have to think about it too much I grab her off the couch, carry her to the kitchen, bend her over the counter and fuck her. IN BED WITH JAMEY It happens like this sometimes, after sex. She says she can’t go to sleep if someone is touching her so we separate to opposite ends of the bed. We are both awake but I'm pretending to be asleep because if she thinks I’m awake she will want to talk to me and I can’t stand her. It’s hard to fake sleep in her bed though, because I’m always too hot or cold and have to keep moving my feet and arms in and out of the blankets. “Hey, you awake?” Her voice sounds hopeful. I lay still, consider my options, and after a moment make a guttural noise in the affirmative. “What are you thinking about?” I wait a long time before answering. I can’t hear anything, not even the blood circulating in my brain. “What hospital rooms are going to look like in the future.” She turns over and goes to sleep.
JAMEY’S DEAD I wonder if I got hypnotized whether I could remember stuff that happened while I was blacked out. Like if that Mark Wahlberg movie even really exists, or why I have a pair of Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses in my car. Jamey fell out of a third-story window at a hotel last night. DRIVING WITH ALICIA Alicia and I have been driving for an hour, past gas stations and whole towns the colour of mud and abandoned mills and all the other mundane tragedies of rural America. We’re listening to the soundtrack from Midnight Cowboy, which she miraculously has on cassette. “People living lives as routine and unremarkedupon as a pair of tits on premium cable...” Alicia says, staring out the window. It’s raining hard. The flecks of dirt on the windshield look like weird lumpy birds against the sky. I have nothing to say. “I imitated Gena Rowlands from A Woman Under the Influence last night at dinner with my mom and dad but I don’t think they got it,” she says.
Our oak-floored white cotton bedroom powdered yellow light suspended in the warm air vintage mirror creating Gaussian blur over our spik 'n span 12 by 15 square feet, and my flawless skin. We have easy ideas and laugh, we nap energetic dream careers friends family art dog responsibilities personal growth and change and wake.
Clamor by night betokens nervousness.
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