(take the r out of boring)

A Russian absurdist performance piece collaboration between distant & recent past versions of me.

Sybil still had her coat on as she lounged on the humid bed to write. The lice in her head were numerous but something new was chewing on her.
"Hello? Who's that in my head?" she wrote, surprised to witness her hand respond.
"Why, it's me. Sub-text. The writer's companion. I will be your assistant, noting and commenting on everything you experience."
"Ah." she sort of exclaimed, (but what she really meant was "And whyyy would I want you around?")
"I can deepen your meaning."
"Oh." (Though what she thought was: "But...I am therefore I mean.")
"I think you´ll find that in writing: you mean therefore you are."
Sybil was flustered as much as a russian immigrant can be and, biding for time, she wrote down Sub-text's comment while trying to figure out another nickname- Subti? Texty? S-T? STD? yesss, STD. Sub-Text Discourse. Sybil was also trying to figure out whether or not she really wanted a narrator to hitch onto her implicit life. Or was she simply afraid to know thyself? She could hear STD cracking up. Sybil got to her feet and whilst wondering where sub-text began and she ended, she decided on a test.
"So, are you capable of helping me out with this humor thing?" (What she really meant was: "Can you give me what i want?"
"I can only do post-treatment. Reflection. Digestion. Afterthoughts. Etc. With maybe just a hint of anticipated double-entendre, if you know what YOU mean...that is."
"Figures..is there anyone else in there who can give me a hand? My funny side, maybe? A gag writer lurking in the wings?"

There was a long pause. STD reflected that Sybil could hear her uncle Sadge having a coughing fit next door. Unable to find a remedy over these past few months, she just wished he would be quiet.
Hard to be funny when you're trying to keep control.
"That's a start! Enough with linear reflection." Sybil changed tack and reached for the old radio, turning up that old song to the maximum static threshold:

It's all about timing (teeda).
It's all about giiiiraffes.
It's all about jews and the bush,
blondes and the tush.
(Tada dada dada DA!)
It's all about... idiosynchrosy (teeda).

It's all about falling so low

that the hit makes the punchline

bring home the shame to you,

but ob-ject-ivity makes for


'cause sooner or later

you'll get hit with tomato

and the fool who'll be singing iiiiz you!

While STD was concerned about what was going on, trying to get a handle on Sybil, she was off to make sure Grandpa peed in the right spot. Any and every moment was ripe with humorous potential but our long lives give our innocent joys an improper mangling. Sybil didn't feel like giggling at Grandpa's forgetfulness- today the plant pots, tomorrow the umbrella holder. She had sub-text on her mind, and this STD was back on track, paralleling and countering all her rapid switchbacks.
But then STD flinched. Sybil was reaching for a poem... oh no! not a poem!! Sub-texts don't know what to do with poems. THOSE intercourses just lead to a squash-ball game in a hall of mirrors!

Sybil knew she had got STD into a corner. So she swallowed the poem and ran off down the stairs, jumped on to her bicycle and rode with the flowing night air. STD was worried, fading, awash with the shallow current, the present reduced to an all-encompassing bubble of time. It's all about timing. If there is no later than now, then who needs sub-text. (Unless you're lloking for sex, of course!)
Sybil rode and began to rave out strong & loud to get the pretext to initialize instantanealism with the mutter of the beckoning rhythm and the sacred incantation of the poem:
(take R out of boring)
(take the R OUT of BORING)
(TAKE the R OUT of BOrING)

Ahhhh, the froggy smells of spring spring to my nose like welcome doglicks lapping through an avalanche repose. Ohhhh, the blinking carlights light up their turning flanks like anxious children tugging at their parent's pants.
The seasons and streets alternate pulses pulsing nervous air
like red and blue blood chilling heat flashes thru my hair.
The well-adjusted street clocks mark marks in my bicycle's belt as the wheels reel past tttttick-tocks bouncing off the cobblestone's pelt.
Gingerbread regurgitations rise forth frothing tasty bubbles
into my low-hanging raving sleepless mouth starving for a jam-colored pillow.

And so it was that STD subsided, disgusted. And so it was that Sybil did not know what to think anymore, and felt at peace. Chaos. She had found the vaccination for her new fever. Yet a little voice could be heard whispering into the fractals of her mind:
"And so, what did you mean, anyway?"
STD had a little weapon of its own, doubt. And so it was that Sybil's bicycle veered off course, and she found herself plopped into a pile of droppings. One of the old poos cleared its' throat and declared: 'Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying.'

(poem written in 1995, piece written Feb.1 2010)


New York to Mallorc’

An Immigrant's Journal
(aka: Freedom Takes Discipline)

Eve escaped New York when they began the fear experiments during the gULF wAR under the regime of bUSH the fIRST. They continued the horror movie under bUSH the sECOND, after a brief cLINTON commercial break. And Eve swore to not touch American soil until it was purified by the tears of remembrance for a dream of peace, fredom and happiness for ALL. But the newest suffering of veterans and distant victims made their tears the blinding kind. What you can’t see, you won’t believe but Eve had seen enough to break her faith and her pride for the U.S. of A.

Eve used to love her country of birth. She even contemplated enlisting in the National Reserve Guards at some point but her peace-love side revised the thought and came up with joining the Natural Reserves Guardians. She applied and received a post at Bryce Canyon in Utah. But Eve was a red-head and often changing her destiny as an experiment, she ended up giving into her teenhood ambitions and went to art school.

Nothingness. The moment between hits and highs. Eveything is okay, not great but not terrible either. Just another Limbo Bimbo.

Eve burned an amber-scented candle in her room. The cats outside were in rut, scrowling in the shadows. Winter seemed tired, drained of sharpness, and Spring was not ready. Is this living between climates changing neutralizing our torments into insipid grey streams of half-breathed air?

Eve observed the human-shaped dinosaurs and decided she was not going to let herself let them. In whatever way she could expose their selfish ambitions, she would graffiti, curse, commentate, share her rage at the constant wasting of her new-loved land. She would not let it happen again. She saw it happening. Was it too late?

Mallorca was a resourceful Mediterranean island full of peasants and seething with a cornucopia of seasonal celebrations. Mallorcans were self-sufficient as island folk can be: joyous/hot-blooded/hard-headed as the occasion requires. But then came the cold grim tourist.
Full of burdens to unload.
Uptightness. Low pay. High inflation. Rain year-round. Trip to the woolied sheep and verdant hills once a spring-time. Then grind, grind, grind. For what? Paper clips, an appropriate tie, four disconnected kids to care for.
Here everyone could play out their posh fantasies: Daddy got to play cards and drink in the afternoon. Mommy got to swim 15 laps and get a manicure in before souvenir shopping. And the Snots were untouchables, keeping the hotel crew running for their meager seasonal pay. So the grim tourists fell in love and brought their grim existences to the island of the goddess.

Like a woman, this land is a treasure chest of hidden surprises and rich promises. A tour around the island takes a few hours but knowing it takes a lifetime. Lady Mallorca is fat and full of heart and strings and horns. The Tramuntana range rears up as a warning to not try to ride this cow. Just pay for her to go to pasture and mate. Once her babies have drunken her sacred nectar then, maybe, she’ll start to negotiate the leftover milk with you.

Eve has let on too much already. Stop. Don’t come. She wants to be the last immigrant. She wants to keep it whole in honor of that dream childhood that was wild and time was free and all were awed by the extreme demanding beauty of the land. As a girl, Eve mistook that particular dimension for the whole reality show. She was sure everyone in the world was Mallorcan, or at least wanted and strived to be such. But, no, it was not the way out there. She yearned and prayed and manoeuvered to return for good.
Finally, at the chi-filled age of 31, she did. And never looked back.

Mallorca is hard as the omnipresent grey-white-red rock that has helped build thousands or even a few million terrace walls. Stepping across the terraces are the vegetated feet of the gods. Sweat from these awesome stalkers is called olive oil as in “O, live!” The locals call it the elixir of life. They live old here.
But locals they are not. Being local is their becoming. Most of all Mallorcans are ship-wrecked, treasure-seeking, situation-thrust aliens. Their ‘spanish origins’ range from historical immigrants from the south of Spain all the way to northern Catalunya. Then there are the jews on the run from the inquisition, to Moor babies turning more Mallorcan with every passing generation, to pirate spawn surviving on the fast and low trade of thieving forgotten treasures. Later came the French orange and perfume traders, the German and Swedish luxury refugees laying low in cheaper luxuries, and the English numbing the safe grounds. Meanwhile, the Russians are sniffing out the fresh prey, the Chinese suction-cup web expands within, and the Americans are ready to regulate while the Belgians buy out land for Saudi investors.
Mallorca is gorging on homo-diversity and the rampant artists are sucking honey straight from the royal antechamber of Europe.

Eve has got lice. Since fucking August. That was one of the worst months of her good life. The heat was penetrating. The whole other side of the family was everywhere in the house. The lovely young ones galvanized the elders into healthy outdoor activity but there was that deep gagging cough that was going chronic. And there was the show to put on: loads of artists- all women, all amateurs, all accomplished.
The morning of the show, he strangled Eve twice by mistake.
They hear arguments like this every Sunday across the orange grove when the taxi driver stays home. Him, the obese son, the very unhappy wife and the elegant big black & thin dog shout, scream, bellow and bark for care and attention.
Now that she lives here, she has come to dread August. Now, she understands why her father dreaded them. On top of working and having the family visits, August was the only time of year when things were really hopping. Parties, events, beach clubbing, dinners, reunions, hangovers and stoned resolutions to change the world again.
Meanwhile, they all grew up and grew old. They became legend, another row on the millenary olive terraces, while a new growth gets their chance in the sun.

Mallorca takes her time to choose you even after you’ve fully embraced her. Ten years is considered an adequate trial period. Meanwhile, the homework of your immigrant children is in Catalan, they speak Mallorcan and you realize that slowly you have managed to learn the three requisite languages of the area, including Castellano (calling it ‘Spanish’ would be considered an insult.) This is how it works over the years: you see each other at the market, at the playground, the shops, during the annual village fairs, at church on Easter and dancing with the devils on St. Anthony’s day. You lose a dog- meet and speak to more ‘locals’, travel hidden paths, learn the philosophy of the work horse. You stroll with your baby- advice and wistfulness flow from the older ladies. You walk into the mechanic’s shop- no one stops to attend you. One year later, with your first baby steps in Catalan, you come back in, holler “Uep!” and all heads shed their “what-do-you-want-and-let’s-see-you-try-to-get-it” masks. The treasure chest loosens its locks. Doorways became entryways to multi-leveled worlds.
Mallorca decides on you when she feels you are ready.

So, what was Eve going to do about the wasting of Mallorca and what right did she have anyway to try and do so?
Walk more. Talk more Catalan. Drink orange juice everyday from the trees on her property. Distribute the rest. Release the healing and all-worshipping images of her deceased father. March. Inform and get informed. Flush her toilet less. Boycott the megacorps taking over the mami and papi shops. Befriend the critical.
Exchange: knowledge, art, car motors, ski trips, a crib, some shutters painted. Everything is on the table in this land of illegal need and plenty. The garbageman is now the mayor, and will probably retire with his cokebag nice and full. The medecine merchant has his nicotine patches. The doctor grows his own herb. The policeman is coming off a night on ecstasy, but willing and able to solder cementary stones for poor artists. But the insurance agent isn’t going anywhere, his wife has moored him to the dining room table. Someone knows where the kids are and everyone else is busy dancing.

“Paradise if you can stand it.” Commented Gertrude Stein when she visited.


“Haven’t you got old eyes?”

Here and there, 1984-2004
I wanted to see more. And clearer, and further.
To see without my glasses preciously placing a frame on every moment. Or else preciously getting crunched under greater weights like my car wheels or even under my own shoes.
To see without poking my eyes out every morning, placing in lenses that made me feel like I was placing acid tabs on my eyeballs- everything everywhere always in too much detail. But a visual orgy with eye condoms is a lonely act of perception. I wanted to see naturally, without filters.
To pass acquaintances in the street and acknowledge their names, rather than answering a surprised and muffled “oh, yeah, HI…um..” to their distant familiarity. Shyness and stutters masking my myopia.
I kept losing my little brothers at the beach among the multitudes of blurry human forms. I wanted to have my own child and see that child, no matter the distance, no matter the crowd. I was ready to cut myself at the risk of going blind, so that I could see, maybe, that child. A small risk and yet it seems greater when you willingly place yourself in harm’s way. And laser! How could slicing open your eyeballs be safe? Isn’t that the image that haunts all self-respecting surrealists? Well, the statistics and testimonials were convincing, so, like childbirth, if so many had done it before me, why couldn’t I?
To see, that was the answer.

Barcelona, Winter 2004
The first clinic could easily have been a failed teleport station with its lonely modern furniture, fraying from cheapness. The long strips of swivel-closed beige blinds enhanced the sensation of floating through space. Wan tunes wafted fuzzily from somewhere else that was also empty. And deep inside a dark room within the mushroom-shaped building, a sweating accountant tried to toggle the jammed knobs, desperate to send the next client into the next century. The secretary kept looking and smiling at me- not a good sign. Shouldn’t she be otherwise occupied with obscure tasks? There was nothing much to look at after a while and I was losing my motivation.
This was not where I wanted to experience my visionary renaissance but I stuck with it, as one does when committing blindly to finding out the proverbial light within the darkness.
“How many people have you operated?”
“What are the dangers?”
“How long does the operation last?”
“How long do the new eyes work for?”
“Have you ever been sued?”
Oops, poor red-faced chap. One question too many. The wrong one to ask in Europe. The indignant eye-surgeon did not answer my question. “Either you trust me or I can’t operate on you.” Phew: relieved of the sales pressure. Start over.

I finally found a place that conveyed to me the promise of skill and the best choice of intentions. There was beautiful original paintings all over their modernist office walls. Dark wood wall panels and deep green carpeting muted the crisp bustle of the clinic. And the leather-clad waiting rooms were clean, well-stocked with entertainment and packed with people. I was seen on time and all my questions were attended to. I was examined, tested and approved.
Okay. Before christmas. Let’s do it.

My bigger little brother brought me to the grand hospital on the hill. He was to be my guide on the return trip. Balty is younger, but it was his usual princely poise that made me get stoic. I smiled as I left him and faced the operating room of five professionals all there for my eyes only.
The rest of my body faded away from consciousness as they isolated my eyes. ‘Clockwork Orange’ clamps were applied. Machines whirring and spinning around the periphery of my sight. An injection in the eyeball. Eyeball anesthetized and immobilized.
One machine purrs as it slices a hatch around my cornea. Everything goes blurry as the flap is lifted. Okay, okay, breathe. Good, I can’t feel a thing. The laser comes in at an angle, soft red. IS THAT SMOKE COMING FROM MY EYE?
Buñuel, eat your eyes out! I am the living future of your surreal dream come true! Grandmother! I will avenge your blindness and leap out from the darkness, with eyes fuming!
Flap down. Next eye. Slice, flap, laser, smoke, flap.
My intricate body machinery being tuned and soldered. God forbid they mess with the hardwiring- mistakenly wiping out my childhood dreams. 10 minutes later: eyes bandaged and I’m out. My brother laughs nervously. I must have looked fly-eyed and Oedipal. Adrenalized, triumphant but somehow… wrong. We come from a family of vision worshippers. Does he think me strange to do such a horrific thing to myself?
Balty takes me on his arm through the subway. Smells are promoted to the forefront of my senses. I am practicing being blind, just in case. The smell of urine means a wall. The smell of newspaper means a person. The smell of chewing gum and rats means the traintracks. The gust of wind means the subway is arriving: step back.
Half an hour later and home, my bandages are off. I can see. Perfectly. God, my apartment is dirty. Naturally. Thanks to microbots, seeing naturally. This seeing is just as good as the first day of the rest of my life. No one will escape me now. Not even me. I have no more excuses to be anti-social, drive badly or live dirty. Balty looks relieved the potential drama was not played out. The answer has been answered and the suspense is over.

When I go to my check-up later that week, I can see all the paintings in glorious detail. The effect is like that of a reunion with long-lost loved ones. It is possible to love again as before, to be close even from far because I can see every excruciatingly wondrous detail of life painted into matter, just sitting across the room, spying on all my brain desires.
They give me a video tape of the procedure which to this day I have not looked at. What a peculiar parting gift for my vulnerable new eyes. They work. That is all that matters to me. I wouldn’t have minded if they operated on me with chopsticks; as long as the science works, my trust remains whole with the world. Before, we saw and we conquered. Now, we are made to see and we are conquered. Enlivened by energy.

Mallorca, 2010
A curious coda: my three year-old son insists on changing my eyes every morning. Something he picked up after seeing the movie “Wall-E” where a robot replaces his own broken parts. I happily accept the daily eyes and really do see better after I am reminded that I have a child to look at and to look after. What I envisioned has come to be.

How much further beyond the event-horizon can we truly see if we are willing to take the risk of reviewing ourselves? How are we surviving in a present that knows so much about the past? How can we get to the now with such a weight as the then? Reviewing my current present, just where CAN I see myself ending up?

I can see myself, surrounded by a thousand lasers, carving into me, refashioning me into a glowing smoking sculpture of my former self- changing my nature, burning away my discomfort, placing me in the garden of lights.
Beyond form, there is intensity. And beyond intensity, there is impulse.
I think you will find me there, my heart beating out a regular stone-wave of ultraviolet flashes reverberating amongst the vibrant jasmine and the glowing coconuts of the disco in the night jungle. Other ecstatic wave-forms dance beside me beneath the chaotic skies.
And you, in what future can you see yourself appearing ?