Inappropriate Knife Usage

While a youth, I witnessed many an incident involving my step-mother chiding my father for using her kitchen knives in place of some tool he had misplaced. They would have bent tips from screwdriver duty, or blunt edges from god only knows what. They were dirty and could no longer be used for food. They had wooden handles and each pore was filled with some oil and grime mixture. They were sometimes found in the yard, where he had worked on a car, by a lawnmower, THRACK and then out the end with the grass. My father’s non-chalant disrespect for their intended usage has become, without his knowing or prompting, a family tradition. Here are a few of the creative ways I’ve used knives, in list form. Most are still being used for food.

1. Drugs- Is there nothing more decadent AND tough than knifing out white power out of a bag and holding to your nose? Also, when retrieving small amounts of power from little plastic bags the fine tip of a steak knife makes for easier measuring the more precise chemicals that require mg levels. “How much did you take?” “A tip’s worth.” Hot knifing hash with the butter knives is a great throw-back to those parties that always “went too far”.

2. Back Scratching- It’s the desert, I’m white and this shit makes my skin dry out all kinds. I can’t possibly drink enough water to moisturize. The knives reach that middle, hairy part of the back that needs the most work. Knives are good for fast skin removal, for itching and perhaps for surgery.

3. Tools- Like my father before me, I’ve found these babies make great screwdrivers, scratch awls, dry wall cutters, wire strippers, patching trowels (really, any trowel) testers for electrical continuity, chisel, planing tools… the list could keep going. Oddly, these things never make it into the tool box, because they are not tools, but back in the kitchen, where they belong.

4. Drum sticks- Not ideal, but they”ll do in a pinch.

5. Threats and Intimidation- Who’s never grabbed a knife in anger and issued a few threats? If you haven’t, you’ll have to tell me how you keep it all under control. Knives are great, much better than guns. They get the point across while having a very low chance of really hurting someone. It takes a lot of work with a knife to seriously hurt anyone and I hate work.

6. Games and Recreation- Ever played that game where you trow a knife between the legs of someone standing a few feet from you? Me too! Knives also can replace the pinchers in Operation, or the spinning pointer for Twister. I’ll leave out all the sexy, kinky games with knives, I don’t swing that way.

7. In Place of Other Utensils- I have more forks and spoons than knives, but I hate washing dishes so I consequently find myself with no other utensil option other than a knife for eating food. Rice, ice-cream, cereal- I have eaten all these things with a butter knife. Sometimes it will go on for days until I finally break down and wash the dishes, usually when I run out of knives to use. I then stand in front of the sink, shamefully looking at the dishes and wondering how it ever got this far. However, I never utter promises to be better, I’m comfortable enough with this cycle.

8. Cutting Hair- I’ve only done this once, but thought I would mention it for full disclosure.

There are many things I have not used my knives for, but have thought about, like: juggling, knife fight with the wrists tied, removing plaque from my dog’s teeth, removing plaque from my teeth, in place of the stick that comes out of the steering column to change the gears for a car’s transmission, performing with a post-apocalyptic circus throwing them between my beautiful assistant’s limbs whilst tied to a large wooden spinning wheel, surgery (see #2) and hunting the world’s most deadly game.

Kinves.

Wind whistling smoothly across Grand Abyss fell short, a near miss, not landing, but dissolving back.  “Wells theys gosts  the three egg and four egg and there’s one with just whites, or theys got those kreps with fruit,” and below the bubbling of all that happened and through the vague, thick and opaque well of memory and habit and instinct rests a placid pool of cool and rare and the birthplace of Home and Being and God and Understanding.  “I went up to the Smokies, they ran a gun shop and I helped em on the weekends.  Theys got a room with a shark tank.”  When it almost became too much that pool would allow but a trickle.  Now, it had seemed to run dry.  All comfort and any faculty left to administer disappeared, leaving but a silence.  Not a hole or some emptiness, but as if there had never been a hole or dirt, no emptiness or fullness, simply non-existent, a false memory.  “I got my foot suck in one a them, ihh, i’s scared it’d eat me.”  “Is there any sugar?”  Wonder is perhaps the lover of Impetus, and upon such flesh vows rests some certainty.  “We ran into sum truble…” and the plan was for the goats to eat the kudzu on the hillside. The goats would give us milk, work the land with us. The plan was to keep on going, the same way, somehow.

When contemplating, as I do, in the succession of usual thought patters of a day, rocks appearing over the course of billions of years, all seems less perfunctory and more casual.  Casual was a word that has obsessed me lately.  Words usually fall from the brain or hair, but Casual manifests without causation.  One of its main charms is its pairing with events of seriousness.  Casual Surgery.  Casual Bombing.  Casual Catastrophe.  “There she lie, beautiful as ever, well, I did not want to lord over her, nay, frighten this grace, my accidental fumblings and bulkiness betraying my purest of intentions.  With held breath, I reached out for the clarion and as I am here talking, she stood, then fell down into my palm.  Hot and pulsing, she weighed near nothing.  Oh, was there some chance of catching something, No.  Gathering thresh berries and I become more soiled than she had ever been.  The clean wind rushing across her form had cleared all, leaving only a slick and taught shell.”  When rocks had  been given due consideration amongst the learned class, we then begin to see a shift in the dynamic of the entire argument of Essence.  Downers might call into question the necessity of the question or of its relevance or of its logical nature, but such protests can quickly be dashed aside when applying Occam’s razor.  Everyone than began a discussion that wouldn’t have been able to take place years ago, with the elderly still cringing and producing unpleasant scowls at even the mention of such dubious affairs, much less its inevitable necessity.  Essence then began a slow decline, not as its need or even its influence waned, but as it began to spill into all else, the eroding mountain becoming beach on a sand.  “When ever did I dive so deep, I always forget myself, I ask for forgiveness.  One can forget one’s self from time to time, all thought becomes tangled and you don’t know if it’s a dream or real, or if the thought you had was happening and what is happening is a projection of a play.  We learn it as children, and least we forget it as adults, to know what is proper and not.  Were there figs today, I must have forgotten them if I did, there simply aren’t any here.  Figs have to be around, Peters might get upset, but they can break Pepperson’s heart, he gets so set on something sweet, he just forgets himself.”  Turning out from night to daybreak a fog appears and holds steady for days.  No one knows why, and few are now talking about it.  At first it landed upon our minds much like it did the land, slow and effortlessly, and you just breathed it in and did what you had to do, it was early.  By mid-day we were all talking about it.  By the second day it was a wonder, jokes were made, awe had been inspired and even the melancholy were pulled out of themselves to find our town so different.  By the third day, unease set in.  Some of us missed the sun, others tried to forget by staying indoors, in fact, the third day I recall few on the streets.  The fog had become a stranger standing too close.  “‘Pass the rhino spear, pass the Rhino Spear,’ they think I don’t know, think it’s stupid.  Cold, stupid, cold.  If I had a car, or a horse, or a chancellor for a husband, stupid husbands.  There isn’t a dress for me, there isn’t a home for me, there isn’t a caller, ever, Nothing for me.  My room is full of handed down knackery.  I’ve got to call my aunt and tell her what is happening.”

Of Green and Blue, or What We Caught At Bluewater Lake

My fish have been dying.  I noticed fewer fins at feedings.  My daughter doesn’t suspect yet, she still sees the two that are left and that’s fish, plural.  I haven’t seen the bodies, as they are quickly devoured by the snails.  I also have a snail problem.  I suspect they are involved in this trend of disappearance.  They look disgusting and I’m sure can’t be trusted. They are either creating imbalance in the ecosystem or using their stupid snail brains to take out the fish one by one.  pH- good.  temperature- good.  fake skull- still funny.  Maybe more water changes are needed, or maybe I should somehow break up the monotony of doing nothing but swimming and eating and fucking all day.  Fish fuck, trust me.  All of this served with a frozen strawberry fruit bar garnished with guilt. Maybe I should get a fish that eats snails.  And a frog.

I opened the box, where my newspaper usually appears sometime after 8:37 a.m., and found two small creatures nestled together on top the news print.  Nearly two minutes passed in confused contemplation, attempting to gather a thought that would provoke an action.  I decided to take out a pen out of my pocket and poke one of them.  Assuredly had I thought of anything remotely better I would have done it, including closing the box and walking away, pretending the papers simply didn’t come.  Past my blue corduroy pants and into the box my pen pushed slightly, even gently, into a haunch.  A sort of pitiful, whiny sound emitted.  The animal I know the best, though in no way completely or with any certainty, the human, makes that sound when hurt or sad.  I surmised the only option was to lift them both and place them together in my coat pocket, on the right side.  When my fingers just began to wrap around the bottom of the furry pile, exerting a bit of pressure into soft parts, a thrashing, hissing, biting of the most horrible sort sent blood onto my clothes, lining the inside of the box and even onto the sidewalk.  In the seconds it took to pull my hands out and close the lid what looked like a lot of blood was splattered everywhere.  My hands were cut viciously, but no bone seemed to be exposed.  Suddenly the thought of having just contracted rabies entered, was taken note in my mind, and placed aside for another moment’s focus while I  began to wonder how I would stop my current rate of bleeding.  The box was dripping blood from the bottom and movement inside could still be heard.  Again, for the second time in so few moments I stood wondering what to do, and again it took minutes until I started to move.  Taking care of this myself would be best, I thought, and casually began to step back with a throbbing from wrists to tips.  By then, however people had been gathering and some were looking concerned, and some were so concerned they asked me if I was OK and talking in such an unsettlingly panicked way.  This, more than anything else, made my heart race and my face become cold.  Home was not an option, nor was a hospital.  At that moment, of all moments, I remembered my house in Missouri, the house I grew up in.  I used to sit by the small creek that ran just beyond a hill behind our house.  I used to sing songs to myself, mostly stupid rhymes about what I did and saw, in some melody that was in no key or relatively in tune.  There, with all those eyes before me and my old home in my mind, one of the few songs whose words I still knew became loud, louder than the questions and the cars passing slowly and the movement inside the box.  My disjointed melody started to seem like it was being sung by those around me, their mouths moving along with my stupid words.  If it was coincidence that was fine with me, but that they seemed to know the words irritated me.  I blinked, coughed, inhaled and then ran.  It wasn’t that I thought a running bloody man could get help faster than a standing bloody  man, especially if he, like me, had no destination in mind.  It seemed, rather, that it was time to leave.  As I got further away, I wondered if  that particular incident of mauling wouldn’t be the first thing I thought of when turning the corner and facing the box sometime after 8:37 a.m.  One day there would be other neighbors, other shops opening in some different season and I would walk past, maybe no longer living there myself and thinking nothing of the running I had done through the street, bleeding and throbbing.  If there were only a creek nearby, I thought, my hands would have found their way there, submerged then healed by the magic healing powers of mud, rocks, water and aquatic waste.  The nearest house seemed respectable and perhaps housed someone with snese, with it’s tasteful trim and elegant landscaping, and I ran onto the porch and kicked the door a few times.  An elderly woman with thin orange hair who seemed no taller than 4′ 5″ opened the door and blurted, “what the hell?” as soon as she saw my hands, but maybe her question was rhetorical, because she didn’t wait for my reply and quickly asked, “are you on drugs?” to which I said with certainty, “no”, though certainly I was a bit hungover, and high, on coffee and weed.  “Come in!” and she grabbed the elbow of my coat and tugged me inside.  The house was warm and sweet, much in the way of old people’s style.  Everything seemed made out of cake, including, I swear to God, a painting of a cake that I later saw hanging in her hallway.  She seemed prepared for such an incident and was in no time had my hands clean and being wrapped.  Perhaps she was a red cross nurse in the second World War, but I didn’t ask.  Within minutes I was eating a cookie and drinking Ginger Ale.  “What happened to you?”  she seemed to demand, not out of curiosity but out of obligation for my repairs.  “Some porcupines bit me.”  I wondered if the lie would float or sink.  “You were bit, or were you scratched by their spines?  What, were you trying to grab ’em?”  “No no, they bit me with their teeth, not the needles.  They only use those for backup defense.  This was a full on assault.  They were purposeful, vindictive.  There was a plotting on their part, to be sure.”  Within seconds I felt less welcome and uncomfortable, so I said thanks and made to leave.  She reached for me as I stood, a grasping that was desperate and strange.  I managed a quick manuever and jumped through the doorway and into the street and broke into a run.  Slowing after turning left onto another street, I realized I’d yet to get a paper, and it was already after 11:34 a.m.  If one is to get a job one must beat the pavement early and  I might have ruined the whole day’s search.  The one good thing would be avoiding the churning of the days maladies, whose culmination into a dissonant chord accompanied most of my days.  Recently any movement or thought was the background of a single nausea.  I wondered if Jackson Pollock ever said to himself, “damn, that was one too many splatters, I’ll have to re-do this whole corner.”  I pretended I was made of wood and wondered why I couldn’t get a job.  Something was surely conspiring against me, making me unable to gather applications, making me late for interviews, causing companies to send their most inept employee to interview me, keeping me in a hotel room watching TV and rubbing curtains on my face.  Funds were running low and friends had long ago gone from politely refusing to give me money to ignoring me completely.  I thought back to a few days before.  Walgreens was advertising some food on sale and I thought I would be able to eat for less than a dollar.  I walked in and went to the office/school supply section for some browsing before breakfast.   I was drawn towards a box of crayons, when the smell and their promise of vivid colors sent me back to when I was young and in school, and chants and taunts, reprimands and refusals filled my mind and I began to cry, in isle 4.  I was paralyzed, enraptured with sobs and regrets.  The next thing I remember was thinking that biting into a crayon would surely break the spell.  The crunching brought me back to reality and made me aware of being approached by two employees who escorted me to the street, the while asking me, “what the fuck?” and threatening to call the police.  I told them, “if you ever want help, don’t call them!” but my advice perhaps went unheeded.  It’s hard to trust a guy you just saw eating a crayon, I understand that plainly enough, but hopefully they will think about what I said, once they had calmed down.  Days later, with moderate wounds thinking about an aborted Lunchables breakfast, I began craving cheese and ham on crackers.  I entered a store close to my hotel, bought some malt liquor, job hunting relegated to another day, and a Lunchable.  I took them to my room and consumed them during The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  “The worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens, not half as bad as you figure it’ll be before it’s happened” made me laugh and laugh.  It sure ain’t, I said in my best Curtin impression, sure it ain’t.  Later I fell asleep on the floor, thinking about piles of good, too.

Bits from a Stupid Notebook, or Why do I even Try?

“Are you OK to drive?”  Her question managed to get through the haze of alcohol and confusion born of earlier events.  “Yeah, I’m fine,” though I really wasn’t.  The question then had little effect on me, but later I began to analyze the question asked towards that version of myself.  There was, now after a bit of reflection, serious concern in her voice but more perturbingly my mind twisted some unknown intent towards a character judgement, and perhaps her words were even spoken with a bit of disgust.  I wondered what she might have thought of me, as a person, as a musician, as some dude that just happens to be around.  Earlier I had told her everything, at least everything that I hadn’t told anyone heretofore.  It seemed, at that time, quite an appropriate subject of conversation and of importance that I do not normally give to past events.  There I began a fragmented but exposing picture of myself.  The “Self,” as well as various value systems, I do not care to worry about, making me become somewhat of an open book for any passing inquisitive reader when I let down my guard.  I do not quite have a reason for my words or actions, only regret for forgetting the fact that most people share things with friends and family, stories that they were told but were only intended for those original set of ears.  Being known is a grand fear, unreasonable perhaps, and I also posses the same skepticism in needing to know that much about any one else.  The “Self” is no single entity, it is not one solid object, but a fluid, changing, evolving mass of organized matter, pushed by genetic impetus and circumstantial inertia.  It is being thought of as a single incident or string of words that seems wrong, no such singularities, even over large periods with a bit of consistency should be the definition of such singularity.  This, I cannot be.

Extreme good fortune has put me in this body, placed me on this planet, at this time, to have self awareness bestowed, to allow the greatest of all sights, the life unfolding. The Becoming is easily lost, to a degree, to the answering of belief and sets of beliefs, habits, knowledge, culture, solidifying the flow of experience to a few solid moments that are but mere shadows compared to that which they were derived.  At some point we are no single thinker, may you rest in peace my great Descartes, but a conduit, formed of a singular path of existence through which flows the essence of the expanse that guides and shapes and Is, Life Complete.

In a dream the other night I stepped through a door from the blackness of sleep into a large ‘complex’.  I was in some war-torn country, much of the images looking like the iconic images of war in Iraq.  There were gunmen set up between turrets, firing throughout the dream.  The floor was a polished marble and clean.  On the internal part of the complex was what looked to be an open air mall or outdoor shopping center.  The chains all looked to be brand names, just like any other mall, but the shops were a bit smaller, perhaps because the demand for clothing is much smaller in situations like these.  Guns were blasting, smoke whiffed through the air and the danger just outside the walls seemed omni-present.  The clerks at the stores all seemed fairly calm, the store signs all of the same font and coloring, perhaps military regulations.  Even the clothes looked similar, but there must have been at least a dozen shops.  The clerks folded shirts and brushed off dust.  As I walked along each looked eager at the prospect of a sale, welcoming and encouraging me, telling me how handsome I would look in one or another shirt, how strong the fabric was, how it was made of 50% Radon and 50% Helium, what a collared shirt would do for my neckline, how one may repel dust better.  I wasn’t scared and did not feel sorry for these clerks, standing there all day as no one came by and round after round blasted in their ears.  I was quite astounded, but gunmen stayed focused, clerks busied themselves and in the distance were mud houses, blasted and full of holes, distant enemies and dust blocking the sun, creating a blanket of hot dirty orange.  An officer came walking quickly towards me and asked what I was doing.  I told him, “shopping, I think.”  “Carry on,” and with that he walked past looking annoyed but satisfied with my response.   I turned to head back to the door, but it was gone and in its place stood some shelves with equipment placed on them.  I approached and there was a helmet with my name on it, a large gun and some MREs, all labeled “Donut and Coffee.”  I had been conscripted.

desoladora

[crunch crunch crunch]  pine needles and decaying wood underneath a pair of booted feet broke the silence of the still Mexican air.  The boots’ owner meandered, with no direction and nothing to do, and could not even consider himself rambling.  Walking was inertia and its exhaustion kept back any thinking.  Warm air wrapped his body, but his mind had no such comfort or closeness; it was a remote singularity, on some distant plane in another time.  Through breaks between trees he saw the distant blue that he always imagined was a pane of glass, thin and built by God.  His mind grabbed these things he saw, held them and played with them.  All he carried were these thoughts, picked up and left so easily.  Around others he built a barrier, the mortar dry for a few weeks but cracking and flaking, silence eroding it fast.  A clearing appeared ahead and, as it lay along his current path, he entered it.

The sky opened before him and just above the tree line a single wisp of cloud lay atop the blue.  Its singularity and defined shape frightened him.  So benign and soft, it turned monstrous in his eyes.  It was seeing another in a private and sacred moment.  He looked around at the circle of trees outlining the clearing.  This inner, open expanse of small, scrubby brush was broken by a protrusion on the other side, a bit taller than the patchy tufts.  As he approached it the smell of death entered him.  It was a rabbit, missing part of his face and covered with blood, some of the red mixed with the dirt clumping beside it.  A heat seared in his temples, and for the first time since his journey he thought of the villagers. He only allowed this one thought, of how they buried their dead but left others to rot.  Once he felt as they did, that rotting was a desecration of life, but now found it beautiful.  Those villagers would hold their virtue and smile, at the death of others not like them, smiling a vicious, sneering smile, so righteous and careful, so casual and clean, all horrid.

He could not leave.  The searing retreated but the thoughts, that he tried to leave behind or hope would dissolve of their own accord, were still there, just behind his eyes, inescapable, mixing with his blood and no longer bound as words or images.  Every breath stirring them, letting them live on inside.  His journey started less as escape and more to find pure experience, to be burdened no longer with ideas or words or the past and simply be.  Ultimately he was betrayed, by something inside himself.  Starring at the rabbit, he wanted to bury it and felt this was part of his betrayal.  Visions of shovels and carts appeared.  He also wanted to say a prayer for this rabbit, less for any sanctity of this creature, but to make profane the act of prayer.  He wanted to fly just then, to touch the thin glass pane with his tongue, to taste God’s cleanest creation.  The rabbit had become a part of him, rough fur against his neck and ears, and there was only one thing left to do.

The decision to die was made, but he would die by decision only.  He would lay down and will himself dead.  He had heard of that before.  People just tired of living could tell themselves to die and, if they wanted it badly enough, would collapse instantly and for good.  There were stories like that from the village.  Stories of great loss, stories that ended with someone dying, and one story is much like his.  A fisherman, so it is said to have happened, saw the suffering of the world and could not bear it.  He was not strong enough to do anything, nor did he posses the common quality that allows most of us to disregard suffering and concern ourselves with ourselves.  He jumped from his boat, but before actually drowning, he willed himself dead.  He would not allow the water to kill him, it was his deed to do and not the water’s.  So our booted man, filled with what could not be called courage but absent of fear, lay prone, next to the rabbit.  He tried to relax, but some muscles twitched.  It was the first rest since he started, so long ago.  For a fleeting second he wondered if he should say a prayer for himself, but what would he say?  To whom would he say it?  What good would it do, when he was giving back the one thing those outside forces had given him?  No, it was better with no words, for he was alone and should die that way, evoking no one and wanting nothing.  Slowly the light past his eyelids faded, the rabbit and sky and cloud and trees almost gone.  The muscles of his body finally stopped twitching.  Breathing slowed.  Gravity was there, but it was lessening its grip, pulling gently, loosening then letting go altogether.  Breathing stopped and his heart no longer pulled and pushed.  Thoughts were now gone, gone at last.  Finally, finally yes!, will itself, the last remaining visitor, closed the door on its way out.