Stripes and Dashes

My socks surprised me this morning. The thin navy blue horizontal stripes, once stretched over foot, divided into even dashes creating an orderly grid of countless blue rectangles over a sea of connected white hashtags underneath. These Rectangles were stripes when the socks were slack. They’ve populated all seen surface area between denim jean and boat shoe and totally on their own - what an organized bunch of inanimates. The perforated suede of the shoe leads gracefully to the sock grid created from the stretching.

Unbeknownst to me pre-surprise the selection of new socks for future today supply much needed private joy. I decide to listen to a song called Private Joy as I look at the combination of orderly division. The suede and its circles. The sock and its lines and dashes. A blue white highway of crosswalks. An intersection of intersections. My feet do a dance ‘cause my brain sends a wave. They do the Chaplin fork-in-roll maneuvers I used to practice in diners late at night in high school.

I hear a voice emerge in my mind. It is my voice at its most calm. It is probably not what my voice actually sounds like. Ever. Now it is suddenly the voice of Michael Douglas, the actor, because I am thinking of Michael Douglas’ voice, because a Dan I know finds it soothing. The voice says, embrace the fact that you got something you didn’t even know you wanted.

At moments when Michael Douglas’ voice softly suggests something to your mind you tend to tend to it. I didn’t know I wanted this, Michael. I only knew that the repetition of tiny white floral prints on my navy shirt was going to look good on my body today. I thought the shirt alone would bring some new happiness - knowing without having seen it on me that it would fit, clicking the appropriate links, filling the online shopping cart, and taking advantage of the spring sale, and the warm scent, of the world waking out my window. The shirt on the man on the website spoke to me too, it told me, you’re gonna feel and look like a great version of yourself within the walls of cotton this floral print shirt provides. 

I almost wholly ignore the pleasure of the new shirt, so distracted by the unpredictable power of sock change from expected stripe to mind blowing dash. When you buy a striped sock you do not expect a striped sock to dash. When a striped sock dashes you don’t know what trickery is upon you. You survey the room - searching for an answer behind the mischief afoot. Afoot! You think to yourself. My foot! These feet! These pants: don’t pleat. 

When a wild inventor makes gum taste like meals, and popcorn taste like home movies and babies sound like tiny avalanches you remind yourself anything is possible. I want this stripe dash scenario to happen to me again. I want it to happen to everybody. It’s a baby delight. It’s like a whisper party. The whispers are yours to yourself. They’re from friends of yours. They’re Michael Douglas’ too. It’s a containment of unknowable energies. Everyone in a room barely audible to each other. It could go either way. Silence is it’s own form of saying something. Maybe people would hate the whispers. But maybe, if you play the game, it will turn for you. It’s a room full of hidden mystery, a drawer full of unworn underwear complete with colors yet to be named. It’s a birthday party. It’s your party, baby. Come on over. Show your stuff.

DM

Keep A Low Profile

This is what I look like when I’m brushing my teeth. This is what I look like in a suit. This is what I look like when I’m holding a brownie. Ooh! A moustache! This is what my brother looks like. This is what we look like together. This is us on a boat. This is me with a dog. I don’t own a dog. Who’s dog is this? I don’t even know this dog. This is me drunk. This is me sunburned. This is a dinner on a porch on an island. This is the sun setting. This is me in workout gear. This is me sweating. This is me loving it. Check out this body, baby. Full body shot. Smile shot. Money shot. Blaow!

Message me if you like water. Message me if you slice avocado. Message me if you split oreos. Message me if you make money. Message me if your face is on the money you make. Message me how you take milkshakes. Are you allergic to liquids? You should see someone about that, medical someone. Message me for an answer. Message me if you stood up today. Message me about Kambucha. Message me if you like the word aggregation. Aggregation is a part of the definition of gravel. Message me if you like gravel. Gravel is an aggregation of pebbles and small stones. Message me if you like how that sentence sounds. This is me telling you I like it. Message me if you like it when I tell you I like it. 

Talk to me when you think of singing. Talk to me when you’re on your way out. Talk to me if you rent jeeps in Puerto Rico. Talk to me about the scent of a mown lawn, about the sound of a long yawn. Talk to me. Pick up the phone and talk. Talk to me how Peaches talks. Talk to me about ice cream. Honk if you like ice cream.

How many olives am I holding up? What’s that lemon doing holding that glass of milk? How many crayons are in this sandwich’s mouth? What’s your idea of robotics? How far do you think we’ve come? What are you doing later? What are you doing after that? You free for a coupla hours? You busy for the next seven years? 

Meet me if you want to tell me over a drink. Meet me by the fountain in the park. Guess which park? Meet me in a dress. I’ll wear my favorite shirt. Meet me with your friends. Meet me. 

Take me to the space food machine where science determines what our bodies need when there’s nothing holding back our weightless feet. Take me there. Make it easily understandable. Tell me to let go. Don’t ask me. Tell me. Tell me to take part in the seeking. Tell me to take off of work, indefinitely. Tell me there’s another way than this. And take me. 

We both have a sense of humour. We both need a sense of humour. We both ask about the laughing and we write it down on napkins and we whisper to each other until one becomes the other.

Do you believe in teleportation? Have you discussed muscle strategy lately? If we’re gonna decompose and reappear we better get invested. We should plan on being vested. Futureshock might be a cold blow to the torso. I’ve got a ticket for a panther vs. shark fight. It’s underwater. It’s above ground. I buy tickets in pairs. I bought it months ago, because months ago I assumed I’d find a girl like you to go. When we’re finished breathing underwater we just concentrate on leaving and let our bodies do the work. I don’t know if we get remotes when we sign up for the teleportation. Let’s get telekinetic. 

We can tiger stripe. We can ketchup fight. The ketchup’s more fun on our hands than on our tongues. Do you like time travel? Do you like biscuits? Can we play frisbee? Let’s make music to the beat of a three hole punch slicing through paper. Let’s get a slice of pizza. I want someone who wants a slice of pizza. 

I have a sign on inside my brain. It’s a bright and white and neon light. It flickers and fades from day to day and occasionally is fixed by a bulb replaced. I want you to pull the light chain and turn off my brain, from time to time. Tell me there’s time after time. Tell me it’s a calm place, the time after time. We can go together. Just dematerialize.  

DM

This Is What Makes Us Bark

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What if instead of saying what’s up, you said, want soup? but didn’t tell anyone. Like: Hey, want soup? And then somebody says, Sure! And you’re like, What? And they’re like, I want soup and you’re like, who said anything about soup? 

Now imagine you’re a dog. A dog that wants soup. And you hear this idiot asking everybody if they want soup, and you start licking your lips (you’re ready to win). This guy walks around this party at your owner’s place and he’s asking everybody if they want soup. The guy wears this: yellow t-shirt with banana on it, sunglasses on inside, blue jeans that smell like popcorn oil, and blue leather slip on shoes. You can smell the sweat and the leather and the baby powder because of the bare feet in the leather. You keep hearing what this joker is asking everyone. Then you realize he’s playing a joke on people, but nobody is in on the joke. 

This is what makes us bark, you think to yourself. This and fucking. Both of these things drive us insane. Food offerings and the sex act, their aromas, the latter’s noises, making us want to grind our terrible mangled privates against anything we can find, just posting up and dry humping like there’s no stop watches or onlookers in the whole world, just me and the wooden chaise leg, star-crossed lovers. 

You realize you’ve been staring for a while, and the banana fucker notices you’re paying attention to him. He’s pet you like three times. Ever. And he reaches for your head and you bark. He smiles and he says, Want soup? And you’re like, Motherfucker, you know I want soup. so you give him a growl and walk away from him, making sure you’re tail is way up so he can see all of your asshole. 

You’re laying on your daybed. And you hear this fucker approaching, describing his joke to a pretty girl and you want badly to pee all over this turkey’s shoes. You keep your head down. You pay no bodily attention to them - but you keep an eye and ear in their direction. He thinks he’s funny, this Want Soup character. He’s spinning a web. 

Want Soup and the girl sit on the couch in your favorite spot. And then somebody else uses Want Soup’s joke on another girl and you realize this whole fucking house is about to get laid on this joke. Everybody likes it. Girls like it! WHAT? Girls are supposed to be smart, and they smell good. Their smell is like the third human thing that makes your hips thrust. Food. Sex act. Girls. This is the order, off the top of your head. Dogs are first - other dogs obviously, this is like a totally different list. It’s like: Other dogs. Other dogs’ butts. Your own butt. And then the human world stuff. It’s like a big dry hump festival in your brain. The list goes on forever. 

When you were a puppy you’d frantically paw at closed doors behind which soft touching was taking place. You’d follow the teeny moans, and the bed creaks, and the thrusting of others. And this would make you bark. You’d bark and bark until you were howling, until you got scolded. Eventually you stop barking. You’d get tired of him coming at you naked, hard dick and all, and lifting you by the collar and throwing you all the way across the place. So easy to take flight. You liked the airborne part as a pup, your ears flapping against the upward motion. The impact wasn’t so bad, the feeling of falling. It definitely stopped you from barking and thrusting. For a while anyway. 

Now, slightly more mature, but still totally distracted by all the distractions, you can ignore a knuckle-sandwich like banana-man but you cannot ignore the lights going down and the crazy amount of making out that’s starting up. It’s like a bacchanalia in here. There’s about to be parts on parts. You start scratching an itch like an addict. There’s so much food on the table and you haven’t been fed yet. And you start looking around the room ‘cause you can’t stop the thrust and your chaise leg is covered by… that banana-want-soup-fucker.

You lose yourself here. You lose yourself to the running. You lose yourself to your own motion. Tongue out. Eyes glazed over. You mount the banana man’s jeans and thrust. He’s in the way of your chaise-leg and he’s responsible for the extra pheromone contamination in the room. You mount and thrust and he tries to push you away, but you hit him with a growl and a little tooth snap, like: your leg or your finger motherfucker. The girl say’s, he likes you, and laughs. Stupid girl. And then this turkey grabs the collar where your old hair and skin are a little saggy these days and he lifts and he throws. 

You are airborne for the first time in forever. You knock into something you don’t see, but it’s light. You can feel it keeping with you while you soar away from your beloved chaise. And then you land against the thing which you were in flight with. It is a rubbery thing that someone must have been holding and you bounce off of it and the floor and land exactly on your feet, which is weird and wholly awesome.

You barely get a chance to revel in how cool this is ‘cause now you’re watching your loving owner’s massive jump across the room and his shout over everything and then his big fist moving towards banana-man’s face and the sounds of his flesh against this dumb joker’s flesh. You make the sad eyes but you’ve got the happy eyes inside. Inside there’s a big dog grin as he shouts, I’m not even serving soup at this party! And this too makes you bark, because you bark when you’re happy and you bark when you want your owner to stop doing stupid things and you bark because you’re hungry and the dumb joke is over and can you just have some fucking food already? You’re starving.

DM

Dear Science,

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I was thinking of starting this by saying ‘sup science? but I wasn’t sure how you’d react. But then I realized asking you would be safe and you wouldn’t be mad or whatever if I just asked. So yeah, sup science? Hey dawg. I wish we had a handshake we did together. 

There’s a lot of things that hurt me in my brainplace lately when I think too hard about them. So please just answer what you can, k? 

What’s up with baby boys who don’t look like their biological daddies? It is confusing in Brooklyn right now. And there are babies, everywhere. I tripped on a stroller today and accidentally stepped on two babies crossing Vanderbilt. But when I looked up from my fall it was like a wise and tiny old man was staring at me, and the wise and tiny old man’s babysitter. Did everybody give up on regular processes and s-bank it up? Is there a mass milkman messenger of semen? Are there seamen? Mermen? Is it mermen’s semen making all these brooklyn babies bounce? Everywhere! Who’s got gills? 

Man, mermen - do they really wanna be where the people are? ‘Cause I’ll trade up! Why are they such tremendous singers? Is it a throat lube thing that living beneath the water provides? Should we use more lube in our throats? Is that a thing? Does lube second as throat lotion? Mayo is like sandwich lube, which is good for food, dude. How do they make their tridents underwater? Do they chew trident? How does gum work down there? And if these mermen are the one’s responsible for these confusing babies, where are they tucking their mer-dicks? The babies, the semen, the seamen, it’s like squirrels getting milk from kittens out here. Nature is a wonderland.

I watched some news things this week. Are we gonna start reproducing the extincts? Do you have a plan for that? Or are you just gonna start mixing potions and kind of see what happens. If so, science, what the fuck are we gonna do with these woolly mammoths? I don’t think we have an awful lot for elephants to do as is. They’re kind of the giant slugs of the animal kingdom, am I right? Play in the mud. Grab the tail of the guy in front of you with your trunk. Walk in a line. Play with the ball. Get attacked by four lions. Call it a day. What do they do? How’d they come to like peanuts so much? And why don’t you make them smaller? Baby elephants. I mean, look, if you make some pet size mammoths it will be nature’s ultimate oxymoron. Tiny Mammoths? Pretty strong move. Can you imagine the little trumpet noises they’d make with their baby trunks? Fucking adorable. Are you already thinking this? Are you one step ahead of me? What’s our relationship like science? Is it telepathic? Is that gonna happen? 

What about fireworks? This is a big one. I prolly should’ve started here, honestly. Can you very simply explain fireworks to me, please? I want to rest my weary head in your big lap and have you talk me through how gunpowder makes light explode into organized shapes and multiple perfectly timed choreographed bursts. I mean, cell phones and voice recordings and music and listening to things on discmen are all really fucking cool, but can we start at fireworks? For real, my mind is blown on those things and I need your help buddy. Fuck - fireworks are unbelievable! SMH, Science, S. M. H.

If we can make things reappear, do you think we can fix this weather lately? New York has had a pretty indecisive winter, it’s been like one long bad date, where nobody knows what they really want out of the situation other than a solid point. This winter is sex without erections and its boring the shit out of everybody, so chop-chop fucker! Let’s go!

Science, I’m sorry about the whole fucker thing. I realize that was aggressive, I just get excited. I listened to a lot of Pointer Sisters growing up. Like, a lot lot. 

I feel like, while you come up with a plan to fix the weather you could start developing some pretty goddamn big ice cubes too, ‘cause the polar bears are still looking for swimmies and all the weird faced kids need to cool their cocktails while they drown their miseries with their grown men tears bouncing off the photo albums where they search for their real papas. Sad little mystery babies, what a mess.

I don’t mean to be intense Science. I love blenders and electricity. Oh, and photosynthesis is a pretty fun story too. But this other stuff, I just don’t want us to waste too much time on extinct mammals when there are giant lizards waiting around ready to be resurrected. C’mon, buddy, you know what I’m talking about. Make my little Hall and Oates Dreams come true. 

DM

Illustration by Pete Nawara

Diet

I want the yolk. I can’t have the yolk. I want the yolk but I am not allowed the yolk. I made a list in my head of things I can’t eat to appease my reflection. I tell my reflection, look buddy, I’ll cut out the yolk, okay, and the cheese, okay, and not so much red meat, okay? I’ll trim the fat like you asked. But you need a haircut, got it? And my reflection, as usual, doesn’t say a goddamn thing, it just looks me up and down with that disappointing face it makes. My reflection notices the disappointed face is actually getting to both of us, and I make a little dolphin squeal and me and my reflection laugh and laugh like good old friends playing the dominoes game. Happy days.

I go for a run and I get home and I have the coffee. I drink the coffee and I make the smoothie. I drink the smoothie and I want the bacon. Don’t make the bacon. I want the bacon but I don’t make the bacon. I want the bacon on a bagel. Don’t get the bagel. I want the salt on the bagel & the salt on the bacon. I want it. Don’t. I do it. Ffffffffffffff. Zero balance. Run + Bagel +Bacon = no result, total wash, dickface. I call myself dickface when I’m angry about bacon bagel combinations. I want to cloud compute the running, I want it faster better now. I want a single server upload to work this body body. Dual Core efficiency. I want to ditch the food craves - the salt caves of my dream place. I want to snuggle up to a salt lick and lick and lick. Wake with a mouth full of desert dryness, a sandy landscape to wash away with a tall quick drink. Nesquik.  

I get together with several of my Dans. We set up a Dan focus group CSA (Constructive Sandwich Analysis) meeting on the third of the month wherein we will discuss the transformative nature of tomatoes, the melty softness of avocados. Will churning butter shed enough calories to consume butter? Stick to the low-fat spray can Pam, Dan, says Dan to Dan. The CSA was a product of last month’s SVTD (Sandwich Versus Taco Debate).

The bread options tilted the opinion in the room to S. Dans like sandwiches. It was decided and now here’s this summit on construction and the organization of consumption. The Dans estimate that we’ve burned eleven calories at the meeting and twelve getting there, and will burn an additional twelve going to our respective Dan resting places, nesting spaces. One calorie burned when we undo the laces. How we gonna get this body fat traceless? Four or five Dans deep the discussion turns to thirst. The Dans want the alcohol. We get the alcohol and count our caloric regression and forget about the lessons learned at the CSA and discuss cooking everything in duckfat.

We don’t want to go to every everywhere with the extra fat and heart attacks. We want to feel powerful and new. We want the oiled bodies when we’re on the Italian scooters. We want to wear our linen looser. We want our t-shirts white, heathered. You can’t go to any anywhere feeling all out of sorts with the you that’s you. You gotta make some rules. And then break ‘em, and then remake ‘em. The spaghetti doesn’t always stick to the cabinetry. You gotta let that water work. But we don’t want other people’s bodies. We want to be young and dumb and have fun and drink rum and chew gum and use thumbs. We want our bodies to be ourselves. We must be happy with our bodies. There’s just a little baby bit more work to do, some dustpan and broom shit, a little more trim to trim, and prim to prim. Go limb for limb.

We want to get to the magic place of zero. At the end of every exercise there will be a balance reward. We will go on pizza runs from now on. Essentially there will be a zeroing out of the effect of the future pizza eaten prior to the eating. The run will burn the exact amount of calories to enjoy the pizza and beer that will be toasted over gingham cloth and and Frank Sinatra wall portraits. 3.5 miles to Grimaldis - half pie. 7 miles to Patsy’s - full pie. 5 miles to Spumoni Gardens - round up - full pie! We will love ourselves more, our bodies will be beacons of light, rays of hope, filled with the pizza of our dieting dreams. Pepperoni slices & cheese stacked in threes. The pizza will be perfect and we’ll be better men for it, better Dans with better glands. Diets. What a constant joke. I vote Pizza Runs. Gotta get these bodies baby.

DM

Illustration by Pete Nawara

Wings

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A small little gathering of cherubim flutter into my room most mornings to make my bed. You can smell their downy-fabric-softner-sweetness as their tiny wings work their little wing hearts out to lift the chubby little babes’ baby bodies. The cherub is among nature’s most adorable and exotic little creatures. They are delighted to come in and fix a princess’s dress just exactly when she’s in need. They’ve never been defeated in Sky Olympic bed making. Cherubim are the helpful mice and birds of the winged baby empire. They flutter hither and thither, filling rooms with their pudgy merriment, floating in flocks, the sweetest lil’ angels.

A cherub’s wings are a mystery to me. Their wings are so tiny yet their little bodies are so plump. It doesn’t make sense, although it’s a noticeably clumsy flutter,  that they should float through air at all. The proportions are out of control. Those little wings are working, overtime. But, look at those hospital corners! The beds they make are little miracles.

When I think of having wings, beyond the ability to travel great distances in the air, I think of how muscular and wide my wings would need to be to spread and lift me, to keep me moving skyward. I think of the new balance my body would have to come up with under such tremendous appendages. Is flying the only wing workout? Eventually, would I be too tired to fly? What’s a good cruising altitude? And what about stretching? How would my wings be incorporated into yoga? Could I hire an illustrator to present the proper look and feel of each wing specific technique? Could I hire the same illustrator to draw how winged men and women should behave in the event of an emergency on airplanes. Wait, would there be no need for airplanes?

I watched a pegasus take off from a gallop to a soar and thought an awfully long time about how much work those wings were doing before liftoff. Triple work, ant work, the work of ants. I think the art director of the pegasus did not compensate a large enough wingspan to lift its horse body, just like a cherub. I liked that even while its wings propelled him skyward the pegasus’ legs kept running on the air.

When I think of having wings, after a lifetime of flying, I think about wing upkeep. I think about how wet wings would be on a cold morning. Would they be dry on their underneaths? Could I wrap myself in my wings if my arms get cold? What about clothes? Putting on a jacket is pretty easy without wings. Putting on a button down shirt is too. Putting on a button down shirt when it’s already buttoned is hard. The idea of putting on a button down shirt over two gargantuan feathered appendages hurts my brain place.

John Travolta was able to wear shirts and suspenders with his wings when he was an angel, and overalls too. I don’t buy it for a second - the wings are so big, how would they slip into wing holes in shirts? Okay, maybe I could wear overalls, but who wears overalls these days? Not many people these days. Travolta also covers up his wings in a trenchcoat in that movie. I don’t want to be the guy with wings who covers the wings in some big overstuffed trenchcoat. In fact, I don’t think I’m gonna look to John Travolta for any advice, ever, period. Accept, maybe, Michelle Pfeiffer advice. Grease 2.

I bet this winged version of myself would have given an extra spin to the sixth or seventh season of that show called Wings, after Thomas Hayden Church went into witness protection.. Joe and Brian could have stopped arguing for just long enough to see me up there flying alongside them, and have a moment of solidarity against the new pilot in town! I think a winged character would be excellent at complicating the complicated relationships in that hangar they all loved so well. They spent a lot of time in that hangar, and they kind of had their own wings - but they weren’t wing wings. Not like mine. Maybe I’d learn some lessons from the wingless cast of Wings. But, I bet if I hung around there too long Roy Biggins would try to cook my wings and eat them, and I don’t want to be around for those kind of hypothetical situations, or for all the wing jokes, or for all the Roy licking his lips cut-aways. It’s too stressful to think about.

When I fly around the city I’ll see all kinds of things. I’ll see the pigeons on their perches below me. I’ll see the pigeon lady and she’ll still disturb me. I’ll see the runners and the walkers and the body traffic in midtown.  I’ll see the office people and miss the suits I can no longer wear. I’ll miss the warm embrace of the blazer. I’ll start a fashion movement that is just the clip on fronts of shirts, because going to restaurants topless is already tiring.

When I go to sleep at night I’ll fly up to my bedroom from my living room with two huge flaps. This will be my drunk answer to my spiral staircase which is too twisted and narrow for my feathers. The gusts of air from these flaps will make a huge mess to find in the morning. The cherubim never clumsily flutter in when I’m hungover because I yelled at them that one time. So I’ll have to clean the living room up myself, with these enormous wings bumping into everything behind me. But, I’ll have wings, so, fuck it, right? What are you doing today? Flying. That’s what.

DM

Illustration by Pete Nawara

Fog

What’s fog made of? Is it rain? Is it dreams? Is it car spray? What’s car spray? The wiki machine says its a stratus cloud. I didn’t think about it being a cloud. Now that I know it’s a cloud I only see it as a cloud. I have no recollection of the precise feeling I had about fog before learning that it is a cloud. I think of fog being very calm and sometimes, when it’s really thin, I think it has an upset stomach - I guess that depends on whether it looks fluffy or hazy. full or empty, satisfied or sickly. 

A big thick fog is naturally a fulfilled fog. A thick fog will make a bear lose his place in the woods. A thin fog will make a bear confused about a memory it once had, but that bear may not be set off course by such a fog. I know nothing upsets a bear’s stomach more than chasing a cloud it’s confused for a marshmallow, and forgetting to eat for hours on end, until the cloud evaporates or the fog clears.   

Bears know about marshmallows because of humans. Humans transport the sweets into woods to place between the cinnamon crackers with the chocolate. Inevitably one or more marshmallows are dropped, shot out of a marshmallow gun, forgotten, water damaged, and left to contemplate their puffy-white existence in the wilderness alone. When a bear happens upon a real marshmallow the following occurs: 

Step one: Background check. 

The bear surveys the surrounding area looking for a) human beings, b) field mice (which bears hate strictly because of their mutual fondness for marshmallows) c) ducks, because ducks are delicious, and bears, like all other animals, agree that you don’t turn down duck - you eat that shit up lickity split!

Step two: Approach. 

Deciding that the marshmallow is safe to approach the bear will first roll once all the way over to the left, landing back on all four legs, and let out a soft little purr. The bear will then do a full somersault, calculating first, the space needed for its bear body to hurl itself forward, and second, the exact position of the marshmallow. The bear’s successful approach ends in a human sitting-upright position with the marshmallow on the ground between its hind legs.

Step three: Humming and picking up and playing. 

Once reaching a proximity close enough to assume ownership of the mallow the bear will hum flight of the bumblebee. The surrounding bumblebees will exhale communal sighs of relief having learned long ago of a bear’s affinity for marshmallows. While it hums the bear will paw the little white nugget and eventually maul the mallow, intentionally getting it stuck on his paws and his claws to slowly lap up with its bear tongue for as long as it takes. The marshmallow, from being left to being found will simply delight in its neverending sugar high, and repeat the words grass grass grass or sticks sticks sticks depending on the ground it has been left to sit upon until the bear approaches, replacing its listing of location with its relocation from paws paws paws to tongue tongue tongue, to nothing, nothing, nothing, this, this, this. The marshmallow drifts away as its sugar crystals evaporate against the sandpaper tongue of the bear.

The city is housed in blankets of these low lying clouds today. From my river perch the buildings disappear into the cloaks the clouds provide. Fog is everywhere. I wonder what it’s like for the people in the cloud buildings to disappear for the day. They’re well lit in their offices, but it must be nice to have no giant building staring back at you, to forget the city and think of floating, to look down from tens of stories up and imagine a river where the street usually is, to see bears fishing for salmon where there is usually a line spilling out of a Starbucks. 

It rained enough last night to make it all the way through into my apartment. I sent out pans and emails. Pans to catch the water, emails to repair the rotted roof. I wonder what the bears do when they wake from hibernation, startled by something outside. Do they just switch sides, left to right, with a little belly roll? Do they take a stroll to fulfill a tummy hunger? The rain hammered down on the skylight all night. I awoke to the storm, to bright flashes of light like midnight paparazzi. 

On a cold wet morning like this I like it when my eyes glaze over and there’s temporary blindness. You stop thinking about the cold and start thinking about your own safety, about safely crossing a street. My tears have never frozen on my face, but they will someday, I know it. There could be bears in these streets, on a long winding southern migration from the appalachians. While we’re all crying from the cold, stuck in the wet, they could slowly be drifting in with the fog, lost on their way to sleep as we head to work. They’ll scare the city dwellers while they search for their marshmallow fixes, undisturbed by the soft rain against their wet fur.

DM

You Like This

If you click the thumbs up hand, you like it. If it’s a deer, a little doe-eyed deer, you like it. If Marisa Tomei says it, you like it. If it’s a beer that you’ve tasted that you feel even a little eensy-weensy need to support you like it. If you’re looking for what she likes you’ll know she likes it if she likes it. Look at her profile, does she like it? If you like it you like it. If I think I like it, I probably like it, so I like it. Tortilla Chip - like it. Salsa dip - like it. Sperry-Top-Side-Like-It. Click the link and like it. Do it. Like it.

I see a stripclub version of a little Mermaid song and I like it. My friends like it. We all like it. We sing it ‘cause we like it. We like it ‘cause we like it. We do a little booty dance and like it. I woke up late today and liked it and went to brunch and liked it. The waitress was cute and everybody liked it. I woke up early yesterday and liked it. I drank some coffee. Then I drank some more. I really liked it! And then I looked at my like and was told: You like this! Dogs in hats. Cats in Flats. Crabs with abs. Rats on bats. Stacks on stacks, on stacks, on stacks.

I went to a party in my brain and we all dressed as facebook. We had to throw the party in an airport hangar to accommodate the community. Blank white walls on all sides. Two exits. We waited in perfectly long lines until new posts were posted. When you post a post you move to the front of the line. Each time somebody likes your post they move behind you. Sometimes side lines spawn from comments on posts. When everybody liked something everybody ran towards that line. Then another post and another line of likes. The room was divided. The room came together. 

One of my friends posted a pic of their baby dressed as a puppy. I liked it. I posted a comment. Then my phone exploded. A lot of people I didn’t know liked it - a line formed. They told stories of their babies in puppy outfits. I was surrounded by people posting pics of puppies. I had to leave the thread. 

When people messaged one another they went to a private room in the airplane hangar. While the messagers whispered words to one another in their private talks the lines became crowds. Somebody spiked the ruby red punch, the crowds grew angry, then the comments got lewd and the likes got crazy. Thumbs ups abounded. It felt like a basketball practice with infinite balls. Keep the balls bouncing. 

The amount of likes and comments kept some posts towards the front of the lines all the time. People came into the party that we didn’t even know in high school requesting to poke us. The pokers walked around poking and the party people got overprotective of their time and everybody moved to private rooms. The private rooms soon became popular and the pokers found their way in there too. My friend Nicole whipped out a spool of printer paper to block the pokes. We went to someone’s store, next to their farm. We bought tape rolls and fastened them to carabiners on our belts and taped the paper to the pokers’ faces to block. My high school substitute teacher tried to poke me. We blocked him. He tried to like it but was blocked so he couldn’t like it. Last I saw him he was walking - arms outstretched, paper taped to face, aimless. We had to hand out the printer paper fast to block the pokers. Then, to find a sense of calm and affirmation, we liked the block of the poke. You blocked a poke. You like this!

The airport hangar party lasted weeks. The party made a lot of noise and attracted attention. We had to move the party to the field surrounding the hangar because of all the posting party people. The room was fit to bursting. When we moved from the hangar to the field posters took to wandering. Without the white walls and constant chatter the party people parted ways with the crowds. Many people stayed inside, posting songs they could hear the whole way through because there was suddenly less posting. But those who wandered went ever-farther into the fields, occassionally playing games like throw the ball, and picking up the fluffy flowers of their youth. They’d focus on the Real-D 3D look as they blew tiny white seeds off stems that spread across the grass and the simplicity of feeling a cold draft running down their spine. 

I find myself in the field. I lay on my back by myself and look at the stars. I don’t know how far out from the city I am, but you don’t have to go too far to see stars. I don’t know how long I’ve been laying here. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve spoke. I hear crickets and distant jovial laughter. I am surrounded by discarded keg cups that are dispersed in no particular order, their owners slowly mining the grass for discoveries. I picture a giant metal detector swooping over the field collecting our phones and all the useless pennies from our pockets. As the phones float away we keep getting texted but they’re just out of reach, just too far to read. 

I look over and see my friend Nicole wandering. Nicole tells me a joke and I think it’s funny and I say something that she thinks is funny. She suggests that we post it! It’s cold in the field now, and too quiet. We run back inside and I tag her in the post and we both like it. I think again about the field for a moment but then I remember I have to use the bathroom and there aren’t any good places to go in a field. 

DM

Dreams

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When in a dream do you realize you’re dreaming? I don’t think I’ve ever come to this place within a dream. I invest in my dreams wholly, I believe in them. But they’ve allowed me no control. Even when the realism is gone, even when entirely, knowingly abstract things occur I never know in the dream that I’m dreaming. I’m still there as the me representative of my brain that feels in control, but no control. My dreams take my self control. Totally Branigan. Plus, I can’t fathom the strength to fly! I have friends that say they make themselves fly around in their dreams, all the time, and I’m like, damn, what do I lack as a man? And then I sob. And then I seek comfort in animal crackers. Barnum and Barnum and Barnum baby.

We don’t choose our dreams. If we chose our dreams we wouldn’t leave them. If I chose my dreams snow would be pissless and edible fresh. We’d make healing drinks with the snow, and houses, and tracksuits. Chosen dreams would be sextastic and full of flying. This would very naturally lead to flying sex and probably some underwater action as well - because you’d obvs have forever breath underwater. And you’d probably Mer it up down there too. Nobody would be allowed to call sex “action” though - that’s the worst. We’d ride dolphins into day-long sunsets. I’d catch fish in my bare hands and cook things out of a blowtorch in my pointer finger. During sleep in my dreams we’d be puppets and reenact hilarious moments in bear history. If I could choose my dreams they’d last every fucking second of my sleepy time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dreams. A LOT. Like a parking lot for giants lot.  And that’s big, because the giants in my head are miles tall. They can jump continents and to them this planet is disappointingly small. These giants all have bad eyesight and this saddens them terribly, because they can’t focus in on all the smalls. They don’t kill humans because they like the tiny sounds of our voices, the same reasons we don’t kill talking insects, because they all speak with such adorably small british accents, nibbling on impossibly small cookies, with microscopic crumbs that tickle their tiny tummies as they fall to their feet. The giants can’t hear the bugs, so we smalls translate their stories to the very talls in shouts that sound like whispers.

I don’t think I dream enough as is. And when I do my dreams are typically rife with fear and longing and sad things, or hyperrealistic bizzarr-o shit that although on remembering is typically lots of fun as an idea, is not necessarily fun as a moment in a dream.  Lately I’ve been dreaming of plastic organs, of seeing the toy insides of ourselves. Last night I dreamt of my ex girlfriend. We lay in her bed contemplating whether sleeping together again is a good idea. We are already naked. Her entire midsection is cleanly halved, which is entirely normal. I rub her back and look at her halved organs which are a shiny vibrant plastic, clean, clearly manufactured by Fisher Price. In the center of her stomach is a perfectly halved eggplant. It’s not chopped or chewed, it’s bright purple plastic, shiny, new, just like all the organs in there.

My brain does not connect the dots of - holy shit why can I see the inside of the stomach? Holy shit where’s the other half? Holy fuckface why isn’t she in pain and why are we flirting on this bed/3D operation table? I want to ask her if she chewed the food. I want to know how the eggplant got in her whole. I’m amazed. I wonder if the eggplant will turn to shit. I wonder if I continue to focus on her insides I’ll see this ugly transition, but then I look up and she is smiling and I forget entirely about the eggplant and fall back into thinking how nice it is to see her. It’s been years.

I wake and am like, woah-town, I just dreamt some really realistic feelings about someone I have not seen in a long time. Was the eggplant a baby? Did the eggplant represent my recent bout with constipation? Am I a half that is not whole? Should we get back together? Am I just hungry? What? The more I think about this dream, the less it makes sense. And definitely not a pick for what my dream of a dream factory should churn out. Stupid dream factory. Why am I not thinking about Karlie Kloss? Have you seen her new haircut, dream factory? Why am I not with KK on the Stegodactyl we should be riding while we battle it out for human survival? Karlie, baby, I’d say, summon some lightning bolts, they comin’! And then Stego would do a little swoop towards the volcano eruption storm on land and Fur bikini clad KarlieK would blast some motherfuckers with her goddess lightning.

Me and Andy Samburg once had a deeply philosophical conversation about his face being on the Hot Rod poster all over buildings in New York. Brad Pitt and I went on a mysterious river cruise on a flatbed raft of our own construction. He steered us like a gondolier, with a long stick pushing off the bottom of the bayou. We found ourselves in wonderous places, with swimming pool clear crystal waters under canopies of arched trees with giant leaves. The shadows danced across the water riding the wakes from the quiet ripples of our raft stick. I remember him calm, quiet. I talked to Jennifer Aniston in a wedding dress in an abandoned, yet immaculately clean train coach car. I remember thinking how nice it was to… you know, just talk, us girls.

I woke to wolves attacking my hands the other night, viciously jumping towards them trying to rip my flesh to pieces. I was frantic when I darted awake. The way I was sleeping on my arm had put my hand into a dead sleep. When I attempted to move it I could do nothing. I had to take my awake hand and slowly move my whole dead arm, careful to keep my hand out straight so as not to bend or break something I could not feel, and rest the appendage to my side. I looked to the ceiling in the dark of the room and thought of the wolves, about their wet mouths and tiny yelps and bellowing growls. I thought about the safety of my bed and the thread count of my sheets and I looked to my left and I was alone and thankful for it. No wolves in the bed, that’s a new rule for me.

The wolves felt like a reaction my mind was making to my dead hand. Does this mean all dreams are filled with meaning? Does this mean I’ve got to dissect whatever my brain remembers. I dreamt I was the road once and when I giggled I quaked and made a fun ride for cars who weren’t used to the road ripples or flight. What does that mean? Huh?

I want to dream that when I get off the train car I’m in the destination has an external soundtrack where whatever I’m listening to everyone can hear, like a musical, the people walking from here and there to the wherever places they are heading do so in lock step with the music, every once in awhile everybody stops for an overhead Thriller clap and continues on their merry way. There’s no time for troubles here. People walk with purpose and fights are always break dance battles.

I don’t like waking up groggy, or soggy, or funky, or tired. I like waking up with fresh scent, already deodorized and bright eyed. I want to wake from adventure. I want to wake from my dreams feeling like I will cure the world of its fears and approach the days with blinding inner light. I want to wake up having spent a lot more fucking time with Karlie Kloss than I have lately. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake with a new sauce recipe? Just, like, damn, ‘bout time I put in some thyme. And then you mix in the perfect shrimp and we’re making something special, you know, for KK.

DM

New Brain

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My brain is going to implode from the amount of revisions I’m making on excel documents. There are now revisions of revised revisions of a list that was revised several times before taking new shape in the excel format I revised for the revisions. I guess we’re all revising, constantly. But when all the information on the screen keeps changing versions (10, v11, v26, new number pattern, organized by date, organized by date, by hour, reboot system) you start to think about how the new brain will replace the old one, about the full space replacement - the plastic forming where there was once soft tissue. Take careful consideration of what you are getting in the new brain when the old brain goes kablamo - when it blasts like an inner suction cup - rapidly becoming a tight little belly button knot in the place where it used to be - you’ll have a few moments of thoughtless calm, and then new brain.  

My new brain is gonna be made of hard plastic, like the sliced open models in science rooms from high school. I’m done with soft tissue. Over it. All it does is let my brain be all subject to implosion and shit. And I want this thing to last this time. And for this to be the last time, enough with the implosions.

My new brain will have a sharper focused memory machine in it of what was held in my old brain. I’ll be able to choose whether to remember my memories in regular mode, or in 8-bit pixelated format. My new brain will be widescreen and panoramic. I’ll have memories of things I couldn’t even see in real time that went on behind me. Think of all the things that happened in the world every time you took a sippy sip from the water fountains of your youth.  

My new brain won’t be a lame brain. It’ll pack a punch and demand a better diet. Its tubes and portals will have a masterful respect for the ebb and flow of my body with a predictive response to danger. My new brain will keep me warm in the cold. My new brain will make muscles flex when I’m not even paying attention. My new brain will activate my abs into sit-up mode until my six pack shows. My new brain will have dolphin communication, a preternatural purpose for porpoise.  

My new brain will come loaded with a deep knowing, a compassionate understanding of excel. My new brain will shit spreadsheets with so many multifunctions people will be wholly consumed by them. I’ll create an army of these spreadsheets to surround me and kill anyone willing to tussle with their self regenerating cells. 

My new brain will know love when it’s staring me in the face, and come up with a new system of rules for me to live by. I’ll be a better man. I’ll be better tan. I’ll make better flan. 

I’m so excited for my new brain I can hardly stand it. But, I feel like this old washed up brain inside me has a lot of great stuff in there, even though it’s hobbling towards its way out, so filled it’s fit to bursting, bursting in on itself - a bullet that becomes a hand that becomes a fist that becomes gunpowder and turns into a tiny little skin nugget.  

I wonder if I’ll remember how to balance the jell-o while factoring in the wiggling of the plastic spoon. I wonder if I’ll be more sensitive to the headphone volume. Will I remember all the songs I remember? Does the upgrade change my library preferences like it does when I change my itunes from apple device to apple device? All those playlists have to be rebuilt. I hope it’s not like that for the categorization of my likes and dislikes and kind ofs and sort ofs. Can I just make myself a cloud? Can I be a vapor? I want telekinesis coming from the plastic prosthesis. 

If my new brain thinks it’s so healthy that it no longer delights in making a twizzler into a straw, letting the straw sit in the cold wet of the drink, then eating the chilled twizzler in big chomping bits until the last bit is left to just suck on for a while, scraping its deteriorating layers away with my front teeth, than I’m gonna reconsider the entire implosion. If my pleasure principles aren’t transferred correctly I cannot be the man I’ve made myself to be. What will become of the tiny delights, the micro-highlights of my inner life? 

I’m starting to rethink the upgrade. I’m starting to rethink the upgrade. I’m starting to rethink the upgrade. I’m starting to stand still again and freeze up and this is what tipped the scales from thinking to knowing there would be a new brain in the first place. The plastic picture I have in my head will be in my head, it will be my head. Well, it will make up a large percentage of it anyway. Every way. Which way why ways. 

I hope I can fly with this thing, and rewind with this thing, and keep the things that made the old brain so full in this new plastic thing. Also, I hope I can regenerate fingers and limbs, so I can be perfectly reckless with knives from here on out. Period.

DM