1. The Dream
was dead. You could tell by the look of confusion on the faces being drawn
on cocktail napkins. A dozen men huddled over their beers, doodling with
candy-colored markers intended to pen poison letters. Foreign language
was in the air but no one was speaking it. The only sound was the sententious
busboy opening and closing his briefcase.
A blindfolded POW tied to a wheelchair
casually smoked a cigarette. This was too much for you. You grabbed the
cigarette, took a long drag, then shouted, "Let me warm yıall to the notion
that as long as there is money to be made, nothing is over."
Winking at the blindfolded man, you launched
onto the bar and did some jumping jacks to heat the blood, veins, muscles
and other tissue beneath your skin. The prisoner coolly tapped his knuckles
on the armrest of his wheelchair. He was keeping a decent rhythm. "You
there," you shouted, "am I keeping you from something? This is a revolution.
Get used to long-winded speeches."
The men looked up from their drawings.
The busboy stopped fidgeting with his financial statements. Registered
on their faces were looks of honor, or was that horror. Reaching into
the secret pocket in your sock, you pulled out wad after wad of cash and
tossed it to the credulous crowd. You knew you were giving birth to a
nation, a proud one this time.
2. A Dream
You met your
love in the spring, somewhere west of Middle America. Youıd stopped at
the desert store for some seaweed and there she was, lapping curdled milk
from a wooden bowl. Small rocks clung like deer ticks to the grayish fur
beneath her abdomen. The scene resembled Kuwait and so did she. You leaned
down to grab the bowl, but she dug her teeth deep into its side. Like
a child with its favorite rubber chew toy, she wouldnıt let go, not without
a well-rehearsed fight.
"We gots udder bowls round somewheres,"
said the shriveled man sitting behind a pile of rusty shotguns. He wore
a 1918 Soviet artillery uniform once worn by Lenin. Or was it Stalin?
You couldnıt be sure either way it fit fabulously. "Dereıs de coin-operated
ones out back too."
But you were set on shaving your seaweed
in the llamaıs bowl, so you hung on, dragging the beast to the checkout
counter. "If you wanna leave wit dat bowl, you gotta pay for Kitsy too,"
said the old man, using the barrel of a revolver to extract a stubborn
piece of seaweed from his teeth. He threw in a pair of recoil buffers
to compensate for your time, but you left without the seaweed.
3. Overheard on the Street.
screaming started, I couldnıt stop. My throat opened and high-pitched
squealing emerged. Frantic screeching like a caged beast struggling for
freedom. Freedom! My lungs visible outside my mouth thatıs how loud.
Birds perched on the air-conditioner outside my window released their
bodily functions as they beat a fowl retreat."
On the way to a meeting of American Socialists
for Anarchy, you saw those birds, pasty white excrement splattering inches
from a homeless man snuggling in his cardboard bed. They headed west into
the blood-streaked sky, crossing twisted ropes of highway, turning south
towards open country until the last light of day brought them to land
on a wire high above freshly fertilized fields where Dale Johnston steered
his tractor towards the weatherworn barn, looking forward to checking
4. Meanwhile in Middle
American: the Voice of the People.
tastes like urine," said Joey, brushing chiggers off his arm. Trying not
to focus on your full bladder, you looked down at the space beneath your
feet, crowds milling as crowds do, children with one hand wrapped around
the string of a balloon, the other securely held by a parent or guardian.
All this handholding was dozens of feet below. You swung your legs, imagining
walking on air or little heads.
Suddenly your vision was altered, your
feet pedaling above the horizon, crushing clouds with your rubber soles.
It was Joey rocking the basket. "Damn chiggers. Howıd they get up here?
They canıt walk on air," he whined, swinging his arms like a child learning
The chiggers and their location werenıt
exactly revolutionary. Stalled on top of a ferris wheel, you were seated
in a metal basket attached by a series of components circuitously to the
earth far below. But you couldnıt explain such mechanics, or how the chiggers,
or any insect, could easily reach your vantage point. Your fiancé
was a swell guy but with the concentration of a bricklayer.
Then he spat on your foot. "What was that
for?" you asked, staring down at the yellowish liquid slowly making its
way to the inside of your sandal. "Chigger," shouted Joey. He handed you
his cup of coffee, then stood, rocking the basket even more.
Hands above his head, Joey leapt over the
guardrail, easily clearing the edge of the basket. Framed by the metal
bars around you, he made a lovely composition against the perfect blue
sky as he curled into a tight ball and executed a textbook double gainer
with a twist on his way to the ground.
visions of the revolution