the dada magazine about nothing
N A D A
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Dear Tony, Tonight I read your letter aloud. I seem to always read this one, dated April 16, 2006, 1:27 AM. It's always some mortifying blend of flattery and embarrassment. Can I recall my feelings about you and our relationship now? Not at all. But I can conjure up a variety of snapshot memories, each one coming with an emotion more polarized than the last. I remember how uneasy you made me feel. I remember fondly the smell of Bali Shag, and the delicate, impressively tight mechanics of your fingers, artsy fingers, pinching the bunch of tobacco, a tangle of warm, earthy threads, and swiftly rolling it into order in the form of a slender paper bullet. Quick to pull the stragglers from the roll. A clean snake's tongue across the seam, and suddenly it was slowly disappearing as the glow chased it away. I smelled good on you. So good.... [letter trails off, unfinished]
It made her friends uneasy when she bought them lunch, which occurred not infrequently. She never used the food as a tool, but it did help to move things along with people. She always wanted to go to the same restaurant too. A wood filled place near the university and right there on the water. All the servers knew her, asked about her, asked how she was. They had the decency not to ask about dad. At the end of the meal she would pull out a blue credit card with her father’s name on it. ‘The city wasn’t going to pay for lost revenue. At all,’ When the card came back, there was always an apathetic row of zeros along the bottom where to total could be. ‘Now I guess they offered fifteen million, which is something, but one place alone wanted sixteen so…you get the idea’ Once a friend, a male said, ‘If I knew it was gonna be so free I would have gotten something more expensive. Something smaller.’ She had to smile at this though she had heard its iterations too many times before. It was the kind of food which did not last well in the fridge but she gave it to her friends to take home anyways. This, in part, may explain the unease. ‘Here take it, take it. My stomach has been terrible recently. I can’t eat unless I smoke and I can’t smoke cuz I’m at home.’
(X) It was under Telegragh ave, the Oakland side where we copped the bike, heading north, the homeless are an army breathing shaking a cranky machine with a nosebleed. bought it for 30 flipped it for 40 and got a ballon. People sway in and out the bay because it is a beacon for silence for death, calimities and sex. Its very essence fills one with lethargy. Tommorow is wednesday, thiers two cops that wheel around on segways at the Target handing out citations, so heres the deal, I stab one, you stab the other we drink their blood and wheel ourselves off the canyon. How'd you get here? (->) I'm an Indian and maybe in some sad way that is all I am. A weakness among the amphourous cells. These whites have been pouring gasoline down my gullet in the parks and even, once, when I did the ghost dance alone, in the rain, ice wind and the bones of the apache squeezed my brain until I felt the world explode, up on the hill of treasure island. So crazy horse is the dungeon and the sun is the key, the whites are the guards ( same as always) but what are we, ( same as always). I get drunk piss where I want, wont work wont rent, they hate me because my eyes are like cocks, I fuck their past, I eat away the future. Same shit different day. (=) Lets piss out our calcium bones, we have to crown the highways in garlands of dead birds and the blood of hindus, we have to get stark raving mad because the invasion is comeing into the garden into the terrace into the castle into the forest, the city is dead, is festering, is climbing a mountain is teethered to the tide, the ocean will drown us, the radiation is dreaming of the central coast. I was happy in Modesto. (0) My friend Annie called me when I was living more or less aimlessly in the lower bottoms, its a travel story, but I stayed in the same place, sometimes I worked sometimes I begged, I almost never wrote, a poem here and there, some stories I eventually burned, I listened, I drank, I siezed being the poet, one of many I began seeing a girl, we talked about anarchy, the meaingless freedom circling around us, we didn't pay rent, talked about swimming in the baja pennisula, hopping frieght into Mexico. She was tough knew spanish. I wasn't in love but I knew that If I tried I could be. Annie called and I called back, I knew I shouldn't but i did and everything settled into the sky. Sometimes its just the act of pressing buttons and then, well..... Annie had flown into SFO the night before, and was staying in a hotel in Berkley, which made me laugh at first ( I thought she was scared of oakland!). We met at a ska (?) themed cafe called Message to You in Emeryville, a no-mans land between berkley and West oakland.
Somebodies killing trans hookers in Peoples park, did you know this Ahmed? asked Annie. I shook my head, lowered my eyes, thought about swinging lifeless, falling under the suicide car or riddled in shots, about dissaperance and holy avoidance. Theirs a poet named Misha, they worked the park,though it was infrequent. really, I think they did it for fun, their quit the charmer, I really loved them. Annie's mouth scrunched into a frazzled frown, I think Annie was trying not to cry. Mischa dissapeared and I have to find them, their gone, like air. They were working that night, I believe, everybodies quiet though. Whats makes you think I can help I asked dumbly, submerged in a new and sudden terror. Your the poet Ahmed, not me. I started staying the hotel with Annie, that afternoon we called every artist and sex worker in the bay we knew ( which wierdly enough amounted to 15 people total) to no avail. Like Mischa had never existed. The cops where, of course, no help. Fuck em' Annie sighed. I slept uneasy that night and Annie,not at all.
I knew we had to find Slurp ( to clarify, everybody knows Slurp and slurp knows everything). Sharah stayed in cosmic isolation at random houses in the bay, sometimes she disappeared to Santa Rosa, she was batshit crazy, but she was beautiful in a way as well. A whore all the way down to the cells, she never stopped practicing her trade, she slept in my bed and others as well, and she never fucked anyone for nothing save a crazy rich kid caught shoeless Downtown screaming about bats (strange how a 30yr old rainbow whore would settle for such an unoriginal insanity) and instantly carted off too a private facility. Annie hated Sharah from the get go, but sharah knew most of the kids that worked the park acting as a surrogate mother of sorts, giving advice taking them to the clinic. Annie wanted to beat her when she feigned dumb and said she had never met Mischa. Regarding Slurp, she wouldn't tell us anything unless she got something in Return. Luckily Slurps roommate was a dealer. The meeting a diasater, Slurp was a junked out fake, he wasnt a pimp nor do I think he had had a hardon in years. He knew nothing. His face was eating itself bone by bone. Annie pulled out her knife. Your lying you piece of shit, where is Mischa. Slurps roommate left with sarah. Slurp bled amber brown like a sapling or a diseased river. Darling I think Misha's dead, I vaguely remember saying or singing to annie. Fuck off Ahmed, you're such a coward sometimes. The next morning She was gone. 50 $ that I drank under under the swaying blood moon was on the dresser.
(=) Crocidile tears, meet in the river after dark pledging allegiance to the devil.
(->) Murder is a circling of crows brother, wind and the sea combine to give us charity, the skulls are still under the plains, I kid you not. I was at Alcatraz in 73' the child was mine (X) The bay will turn you into an invalid, Im going to work the harvest and buy my freedom. I don't know I'm just tired. where'd your girl go? (0) Seattle, or maybe shes still in the bay, I don't know, She mentioned something about an old man withering away in Everett, harvest season, a million plans, how will any of this amount to anything more than blood shed. When I met Annie life was simple, dumb and dull, or it snaked through our spines as boredom. I can't be apathtic anymore and I can't do anything either. (=) I
welcome the storm
(->) the sky is the only graveyard (X) I feel good about the future. Its just skin and teeth on the other side, fuck the sprirt. I dream of a skin ocean and an eyeless night. (0) It cant get worse in any case. (->) its always
(X) We could be dead. (=) I think I swallowed my tongue.
1. An impersonal hiker ascending ponytail treetops. He stretches the rooms of his house inside out, a measuring tape gutting bottom drawers. The airplane ride is an oxygen swelling He sees his nose hanging there shivering blanketless. “I’m reclaiming myself this visit.” Both cans swinging, She sees him as an ugly infant, stomach bumbling in a corner, his drool growing water arms, expanding into a puddle. Her feet touch the ground lightly, two pillows Practiced. 2. Behind his mirror is a halved photograph of a stock farm, greens designed to enchant a generation back into tomato caverns. He shaves the grass off his face, Towel-patting crop circles, While she fingerlicks toothpaste Spots with her thumb, vaguely.
He wants to cover her with his love like paint poured upon pages to compare mommy issues and have pain stained upon his chest in her handwriting (letters buried under dirt like seeds that may bear fruit)
But he has seen her face and he needs more
Last night In his room he caught himself masturbating he has constructed a sigil to the thought of that rests upon an altar seeing her smile consisting of the few objects that an ache in the loins were lucky enough to have been touched caused by the notion of hearing by her sea foam fingers her laugh (held between her hands like the last shed of hope in a prayer) He begs for her ghosts to haunt him A candle burned at the base his love drips wax towards the floor her ceremonial ring covering the deck of cards of protective salt designed by the greatest beastof all loneliness staining the sheets In a dream the jism in the void he feels her hands caress although our hero knows loneliness well him like a SAW and his actions are not a product of that his blood dripping particular part of life down into rosy He would have been fine pools of redemption fine had he not met her that disastrous evening The protagonist wakes up content in the constraints of the needles point and self indulgence
He is building memories on foundations made of smoke and ash he was graced by her presence for less than a moment yet his heart is yearning for her burning towards her
The protagonist finds himself aching at the thought of her and that is all she really is to him a thought
The quiet repose of Clarenceâ€™s subconscious was suddenly and savagely pierced as if by a rusted spike of sound and reluctantly he drew himself from the warm security of his bed to switch off the alarm. Of course, Clarence was no longer his name. The trouble was that he didnâ€™t yet know what his name was; his name for the day at least. It had been seventy-six days since he had confessed to that Chinatown fortune teller that his only wish was to wake up a new man everyday, that is to say, a different person everyday. His life, you see, had not for the first time become a dull, quotidian and seemingly pointless exercise in futility. His wife, whom he had once adored, now only served to inundate him in the drivel which incessantly poured forth from her lips. He had at one time approached his career with a vigor and hunger but now he toiled merely for a deposit in the retirement account that only God knew if he would live to enjoy. He had reached points like this several times throughout his adult life and felt compelled to make a change. He had gone back to school, moved across the country, made several career changes, divorced and remarried twice now. And with every renewal that restored the sheen to the surface of the world came an inevitable dulling of everything like a filthy, contaminated river which rises almost imperceptibly until finally it bursts its banks, forcing anyone its path to either do something drastic or drown in a flood of dashed hopes and fetid, stagnant dreams. But what change this time? Divorce again? Change careers again? What was the point? And it was out of this despair that Clarence went against his usual sensibilities and sought out the advice of the fortune teller. Perhaps it was something in the tea or maybe there was actually something to that jade talisman after all. He would never know. However, the very next day he would be awoken by a phone call, addressing him as Jesus and informing him in no uncertain terms that he was on the schedule for nine and he would be very much unemployed if he wasnâ€™t at a certain restaurant post haste. For Clarence, or Jesus rather, eight hours of scrubbing dishes was nothing less than a dream come true. On his fifth day, after having been a mail carrier, a sanitation worker, a prison inmate and a convenience store clerk, all of which were interesting enough when tried only once, he woke up as a bartender named Vikki. Although he was somewhat disappointed to find himself, or herself rather, a tad overweight and approaching middle age, he nevertheless made the best of things and after thoroughly acquainting himself with his new lady bits, went off to work where he was fired for getting drunk on shift. But this would serve as no consequence and he awoke the following morning to discover his name was Carson and he was being deployed to Helmand province. He quickly learned to dispatch with both caution and remorse and on the fourteenth day, as he was piloting the number 24 bus along its route he noticed a bar and simply halted the bus in traffic, disembarked and ordered a stiff drink.
Once this threshold had been broken he ceased going to work at all. He then took to womanizing. Knowing that he woke up everyday with a fresh bank account, he found it easy to lavish the objects of his lust with drinks, dinners, and adornments. At times he would play coy, at others, knowing full well that he had nothing to lose, would state his intentions with the bluntest of candor. Remarkably, he found a surprising number of women were intrigued by this reckless, unabashed confidence. He started out attempting to seduce common tavern wenches but out of the need to keep things interesting he began bribing his way into country clubs to prey upon the lonely wives of the affluent; women who also were in desperate need to be distracted from their own comfortable yet insipid lives. Like everything else, even the thrill of the chase dissipated and he simply took to whoring. Initially he dabbled in expensive escort services but he soon found the lack of danger depressing. Cruising for street walkers, however, aroused an excitement in him. Making an indecent proposal to a woman on the street at least involved the risk of an indignant slap or the possibility of propositioning an undercover police officer. And sex in the open air brought with it the danger of being discovered. Even still, sex altogether became a bore. However, in his endeavors as a lecher he had also observed a great deal regarding the procurement of narcotics and figured he had nothing to lose from this next adventure. He figured correctly for, waking up in a fresh body each morning, he found he never suffered a hangover or went into withdrawals. He would go on the nod in a bedraggled Bowery hotel room and wake up in the prim, kempt bedroom of a suburban middle-class house. But even the drugs could only temporarily mask the reality which was now brutally apparent every morning: that his life was once again meaningless and nothing he did was of any consequence. His former family would no longer recognize him. If he awoke to find himself with a new family, they were all strangers to him. Every conversation he had was that of getting to know a complete stranger. There was never a familiar face, a lasting bond. Any actual human intimacy he had once experienced was now completely beyond any realm of possibility and he ruminated with the most bitter nostalgia for his old life. On his seventy-fourth day Clarence concluded that he could go on no longer but also that he was powerless to alter his fate. He was in need of nothing short of a miracle. He thus made his way to a church of the Old World variety in hopes of absolution. He confessed everything to the priest: his trip to the fortune teller, his seventy-four distinct existences, the lechery, the debauchery, and finally he wept abjectly and pleaded for forgiveness. The priest assigned him his penance, absolved him and as he stepped out once more into the sun he felt himself born up for a fleeting moment as he was seized by the local constabulary who then wrestled him to the ground and took him promptly to the psychiatric ward of the local public hospital. Clarence fought tenaciously against his restraints as the nurses tranquilized him but the darkness soon overtook him.
The next morning he awoke next to a warm slumbering body, presumably his wife. He roused her and told her everything. She insisted it must have been nothing more than a bad dream but he went on much to her horror. As he sat sullen at the kitchen table with a half bottle of cooking sherry before him the doorbell rang. Once again the bluecoats took him in, institutionalized, and sedated him. When he came to he realized that although he could not be sure whether or not he was indeed a madman he knew at least that he could trust no one and he would tell no one of his suffering. He slipped out silently and wandered aimlessly until he found a pawn shop where he purchased a .45 caliber revolver and then checked into a motel. As he took turns pressing the barrel against his temple, his forehead, his chest and the roof of his mouth he contemplated what the results might be. Did he truly believe in the afterlife? Surely he had sinned enough to go to hell if one existed but how much worse could that possibly be? For whatever reason, the sensation of the cold steel felt most appropriate just a centimeter above the confluence of his eyebrows and, both thumbs on the trigger, he squeezed. Before he realized anything had happened everything was white silence. Then a ringing and wisps of gray ebbed and flowed through the white which transmuted itself into every conceivable color and for what seemed like a thousand years Clarence watched stars born and die until he was suddenly disturbed by a voice. â€œWeâ€™re sorry to wake you Mr. President but we have a situation.â€?
'Shut your mouth when you’re talking to me. No really, shut your mouth. I believe you're drooling.' The suspect continues to mercilessly air his meat to the world. I am beginning to believe he's mentally disfigured. 'Have you come here believing that to salivate is to speak? Is oral moisture your prime indication of effective dialogue? Drip once for yes and twice for no. …... Alright, I believe you have made yourself clear.' Don't imagine a dingy interrogation room, lit with a single bare light bulb dangling from a chord. The room looks nothing like that. It more closely resembles an airy lounge at an overpriced conference center. Picture Westlake Center. But enough about that. 'If there's anything you would like to clearly convey please write it down. Here are some leaves of paper and a freshly sharpened pencil.' The suspect proceeds to stare at the paper. Within moments a small puddle has formed at the bottom edge of the stack. '…' 'Alright, I believe we are done here. Thank you for your time.' 'So, how did it go? Do you approve of our Mr. Hoffstead? He can really be quite charming.' Yana Mikhailovna Volkov looks me up and down. She puffs steadily on her cigar and intermittently chews the end a bit. This backroom area more closely resembles the aforementioned interrogation room. 'Are you intentionally wasting my time? The man has the artistic potential of a rotten potato. Did any part of you actually believe I would approve of him?' Fuming, I collapse on the overstuffed couch nearby. It has the texture of a bloated water moccasin without the dangerous charm. 'Short answer, yes on both counts. I hoped to inspire your pity. Mr. Hoffstead has literally nothing to lose and everything to contribute to the welfare of actual human beings. He is not what I would term a vital case. Physically, he is an ideal specimen of something close to human health. We will change that. There is expected to be no recovery from the procedure, his prognosis is death.' 'Then why would you present him to me? Consensual murder is not part of my art form. I have zero interest in death. At least give me something fun, like a pedophile. Perhaps that's mundane but it's meaningful. My current experience with castration is unfortunately limited.' 'It may surprise you to learn that there is a very limited market for used testicles. Be that as it may, you have made you're point. Come by tomorrow at three pm.'
Lorraine had taken up ecstatic dancing. That's what I call it anyway. She hops around on her good leg, wildly waving her crutches and grunting. She says it's good for her eternal soul. I walk in just in time to see her attempt to leap over the coffee table. Using the crutches for leverage she propels her clumsy body over the oblong obstacle like an injured pony. When it appears she has almost cleared the jump, the right crutch catches on the outer lip and she goes crashing to the floor. A loud cackle rises from my lungs and resonates throughout the room. Predictably, a flailing crutch smashes into my cranium. Regaining consciousness, I immediately regret getting her crutches. 'You stupid bitch! Stop fucking knocking me out! It's not my fault you have zero coordination and an overly enthusiastic style of dance.' Ducking, I narrowly dodge the oncoming crutch. She realized soon after I gave the crutches to her that the bag of gooey bananas was no longer an effective form of corporal punishment. I wish she wouldn't always upgrade so efficiently. Our relationship has been going downhill ever since. 'Use your words.' 'Goo Goo Gaa Gaa.' She said, glaring venomously. 'â€Ś' 'Aren't you even going to ask if I'm okay?' Rubbing my tender scalp I see that she is still partially perched on the coffee table. While most of her body is crumpled on the ground, the leg is sensuously elevated. Her ass is in the air. 'What, do you want me to fuck you?' 'Isn't that why you bought that shitty table?' We both laugh at that. A rare moment of complicit joy. 'Aren't you going to ask if I murdered a drooling retard for the good of humanity?' 'Is that who she brought for you this time? Goodness gracious.' Smirking uncontrollably. 'He was the worst one yet. I'm beginning to see that Yana has a negligible appreciation for the plight of an artist. It's as though she believes morality can overcome the aesthetic.' Lorraine burst into a fit of unbridled laughter. The sheer force of which upends the coffee table and leaves her spread eagle on the ground. 'How naive are you? Yana's behavior is so thinly guised that only an artist could fail to recognize her motives. She's trying to break you dumbass. How longâ€™s it been since you had one anyway?' 'A blow job? God, way too long.' 'Long enough to be willing to take anything that came along?' 'Hmm. I see your point.
The woman seated across the table would never be confused with a Greek goddess, a wood elf, sewer nymph or any other symbol of feminine beauty. She sits there scowling like a wildebeest and picking at her face. The tension in the spacious room is immense. She radiates an energy of intense dissatisfaction. 'So Ms. Walcott, what brings you in here today?' I try my best to remain calm in the face of such tangible danger. Any misstep could result in her eruption. 'I need money, like serious scratch. The kind of money I'd have to suck ten thousand cocks to get.' It's really hard not to feel bad for any penis she has ever gotten within three feet of. She has terrifying teeth. The idea of a blow job from her almost makes me piss my pants, itâ€™s that scary of a notion. 'I see. And what is it you suppose we can do for you?' 'I want youze to make me a lot of money. Like I mean take as much of me as youze can without killing me.' 'Well, Ms. Walcott, I never kill people. Other people do, but I have standards. If you were looking to find someone willing to kill you I'd have to say you are barking up the wrong sketchy surgeon. I am very relieved that you don't want me to kill you. It makes me very uncomfortable when people do that. I become conflicted because I simultaneously don't want to let them down and am repulsed by the idea of fulfilling their wish. So again, thank you very much for sparing me the discomfort.' 'Do you want me to suck you off?' My dick instantly shrivels to the size of a poppy seed. The smile on her face is the most repulsive sight I have ever witnessed. Like a crocodile bred with an oyster. 'Unfortunately, Ms. Walcott I am a happily married man. Plus it would be inappropriate for me, as a professional, to accept sexual favors from you.' 'Whatever. Mind if I smoke?' 'By all means. Do you happen to partake in recreational or habitual drug use?' I love this question. It literally makes zero difference if they have AIDS, Hep C etc. Ninety percent of the organs get shipped overseas. It's just funny because every suspect lies. The straight laced college kids play up their dope use and the hardcore crack heads lie through their teeth as they scratch at their throats. 'Er, ya sometimes. Not really. It depends on what youze mean.' (This means she's addicted to oxycontin) 'Ms. Walcott, I've penciled you in for twelve tomorrow.' 'Can youze give me an advance on my liver or something, minus vig?'
Noon came and went. I'd been scrubbed up for at least forty-five minutes when Ms. Walcott arrived. The kicker was that she hadn't followed my pre op instructions by any stretch. She was visibly intoxicated in some fashion and far from hygienic. It was after five before we could begin the procedure. Her abdomen was flabby and worn. The saggy breasts were criss crossed with track marks and cigarette burns. Everything about her physical form advertised the treacherous nature of poverty. My hands tingled as they cradled the scalpel like an aborted fetus. Gleaming, the blade slit her open thorax to groin. Rivulets of blood passed through my fingers with exquisite warmth. The cracking of her chest released a vital force that flooded through my body and overwhelmed my senses. God works in mysterious ways. My assistant wrapped the severed small intestines in sterile plastic and placed them in the cooler. At this point I commenced fashioning a new stomach out of a portion of the large intestine. It's marvelous just how many supposedly vital organs the human body can do without. Ms. Walcott would wake up with no stomach, spleen, one kidney, one lung, one-third of a liver and a quarter of her small intestine. Despite the compromised state of some of these components the surgery went along with a hitch. Soon the fun would begin. With all of the allotted organs removed (and some jerry-rigged parts added) the subject's cavity looked like a half built water park. I've always thought that plumbers would make the best pseudo-surgeons. There's not that much difference between a dishwasher and a human being. Just replace the water with blood and plug it in. It's a self-serving fantasy that life is complicated and precious. No one likes to think of themselves as tubes of meat. Reaching into my hot pink ice chest (courtesy of Lorraine on my first day of work) I groped around for the appropriate shaped packages. My hand brushed against the liver shaped package. It felt slippery and oddly sharp. 'You want a turn fitting this puzzle together?' Frank had been working with me for a little over a month and craved recognition. 'Ya sure, I'll give it a go.' He set about filling our subject back in. It was satisfying to watch a new artist at work. He set the organs so nicely a trained eye could hardly tell the difference. At this point Ms. Walcott was ready to be stitched up and shipped to post op. 'Hey Frank, how much weight did she lose here?' 'Hm, gained an ounce. Don't ask me about grams or whatever.' 'Oh well, guess I miscounted. Go grab me a soda, I got it from here. She's a quick sew and snip away from being home free.' 'Got it. Hey why don't you give her a tummy tuck while you're at it? Community service of sorts. God knows she could use it.'
'So, the procedure went swimmingly. No harm, no foul. Off without a hitch. Zero complications of any kind. Couldn't imagine a better out...' 'Ssshuuut upppppp.' 'Oh I see you're still a bit groggy. That's just the ether, it'll wear of soon. Just relax now. Recovery is dependent on rest.' 'Where's my moooooolaaaaaaaa?' 'It's all in there toots.'
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