Rambles and Musings

all material © Taylor Johnson

Balloons Always Make A Party Seem More Festive

the ballon flies by and we all point up and wonder if maybe it contains a newlywed couple drinking champagne and kissing each other in secret places and thinking that we would neither know nor care because they are so high in the air and we are on the ground.

and we can't see through the bottom of the basket but if they drop something we will notice when it lands on our heads so they will maybe be careful with their underclothing when they are drifting over a church or a kindergarten because young people are not supposed to know about these sorts of things even though that's how they were made.

and we all know that because we all spent much of our lives either being made or trying to make somebody else but we try not to tell our kids about that until after they already want to try to make somebody else but don't understand why.

so they end up sneaking around and being all hush-hush about what they are doing until they finally do find someone they like and get married which is when the puritans say it's okay to do those sorts of things as long as you keep them private.

but they are thrill seekers so they rent a balloon and buy champagne and have a wonderful time kissing each other in secret places in the air and randomly dropping their underclothing to the ground.

Baptists Rumbling

this wednesday there are 200 bible thumping baptists rumbling in a parking lot in deep ellum/ their fervor keeps a consistent pitch/ as near to a perpetual motion machine as anything science has devised/ perhaps the bible thumping itself creates or harnesses some sort of natural energy heretofore not understood/ or perhaps the preacher leading this particular march has laced the book covers with a mysterious benzidrene derivative easily absorbed through thumb skin.

they are mad about something they do not understand/ they hoot and yell and call it the work of the evil one/ they may not know exactly who the evil one is, or what his work is, but their knowledge is secure that his work is being done here in deep ellum/ they parade up and down and the cops look and smile/ they point to people with earrings and tattoos and call them dirty or bad or unclean or misled/ that of course makes the marchers feel superior without effort/ they like that, but don't know it.

the tattooed pedestrians feel superior too/ they're sure that everybody who has a tattoo is rebelling against the evil mind control of the thumping thumbs/ the fact that they all have the same tattoo goes unnoticed/ it shows a faceless little head rising like a vague thundercloud above a middle eastern explosion/ a scimitar drips lemonade from a dull tip/ it overflows their skinny biceps/ the baptists point and gawk and whisper about imagined deeds more heinous than anything the earring people ever dreamed.

the thumping gains momentum/ wide-eyed teen-agers follow ovine parents in petulant circles, trying not to talk to strangers/ thump thump thump/ they burn books/ thump thump/ motorhead and ice cube discs land on top of the flame/ thump thump thump thump/ magazines and video games belch toxic smoke from a righteous pyre/ thump! hallejulah! hosanna!

and in a flurry of praise it ends/ the baptists don't mingle/ they quietly gather in bondo cars and drive home to watch network television and consume soft drinks, pleased that they are saved.

and the tattoo earring people wander down the street, looking for something with a better beat.

Despots In Recline

jimmy carter comes round the mountain when he comes and tells everybody that at least he wasn't as greedy as a tsarina but maybe some of the other leaders from his time were no better than the dictators from any other time but earlier despots seemed alot more nefarious because they never had psychologists to plan their propaganda.

and ronnie reagan jumps up from behind a bush and says "huh" but somehow manages to say it emphatically and then he asks for his voice coach and a nice laundered check because he needs to buy horse food and nancy wants a new chastity belt for the kids to wear on geraldo.

and jimmy looks over and says "shut up ron" but ron doesn't hear it because he and nancy are walking over to the racetrack where rumor has it that nixon is driving a ford and getting ready to enter the pits and may even need a push.

so everybody walks over to the track where nixon has had an attack of nerves and crashed just when he was about to put the race away but the ford had protected him and both jimmy and nancy applaud when he jumps out of the car and runs across the finish line even though the race has several laps to go.

and a reporter from cucamonga gets a picture of a mysterious lady cheering with them that nobody at his newspaper would ever identify and her clothes seem vaguely russian but nobody ever checks with their asian experts to see if they know who she is.

and she goes upstairs with them to a luxury suite with tinted windows where nobody can see that she had just won six hundred dollars on a bet the nixon would wreck and she gives half of the money to an old man in a uniform who smiles grimly and fingers a radio transmitter in his pocket.

and they all slap each other's hands and nancy tells a joke about a psychic latvian astrologer with a turkey in her ear and a swan in her boat and everybody laughs except ronnie who is trying to identify the guy in the uniform and staring at his general's stars between naps.

then the general tamps a filterless cuban cigarette on his swatch and asks when the derby is and nixon walks in and gets the other half of the money from the unknown lady and pats everybody on the back and says he's putting the mortgage money on hillary in the derby even though he prefers fedoras.

and the vodka martinis flow like open fire hydrants until the celebrants have eaten enough caviar to choke a bottom-feeder and then they start hitting the cognac and wait until dark when they scale a spiral staircase to the roof and climb into some piece of machinery that looks remarkably like a ufo.

and they zip off to sun city with jimmy standing on the roof wearing a red cape and yelling souie like he's trying to call a pig and they land on the roof of a casino where maggie thatcher is lap dancing and they have a private box for the show with video golf readily available.

then the butler walks in and says that elvis will sing later so they should stay and while they wait they bet kilos of cocaine on golf holes and the lady without a name wins two boatloads which she immediately orders shipped to a bungalow on oahu.

then elvis comes on stage singing an old sinatra song with axl rose on backing vocals and some guy named hussein slashing away on lead axe and ronnie says "huh" again and goes back to sleep while jimmy tries to flirt with everybody.

and some whores in handcuffs show up and kneel in front of leather recliners but there are no takers because everybody is rolling joints with little shredded pieces of the original magna carta and throwing them to the children that are dancing in the front of the room.

and when elvis finishes a gypsy opera troop begins a full performanceof the ring cycle and everybody in the private box freshens their champagne and pate and gathers in the corner to salivate at the whores and pretend they can speak german while they misinterpret goethe.

and the general impresses everybody with feigned malaise while the lady gets her fingernails painted blood red and orates about fags removing the need for eunuchs and jimmy frowns and wonders where his mountain is.

and nancy gets her nails painted too while a little mountain appears on the stage and nixon and ron grab jimmy and tell him to be cool while they catch up on the baseball scores and watch while everybody else helps themselves to the services available from the handcuffed whores.

but they can only watch for a couple of minutes before calling their brokers and joining in the fun while the general gets his right pinky nail painted because the wagner is reaching a climax of sorts and the sky is turning grey while various unknown projects get finished.

so they pass around a meershaum and tell orwellian and machiavellian jokes before they debate what to do next and then they go to the roof to catch a ride outta there because they decide they have had enough of sun city until at least tomorrow and besides the races in monte carlo would be starting soon.

Illusions of Reality in the Science Fiction Universe

when captain kirk finally gets his phaser fine-tuned tightly enough to create holographic art in planetary atmosphere he warps repeatedly around a nearby star creating the gravitational anomalies required to zip back through time and invade history.

and he hatches a sneaky little plot which he sees as a rather clever manipulation of his status as a sci-fi avatar who boldly goes where no man has gone before to seek out and find higher rerun ratings.

so he slips back to the mid-nineties and plants photos and rumors and conspiracy theories in and around nevada for 51 days before he comes to the realization that this sort of thing might work better if he establishes plausible subplots.

so he kidnaps a few redneck mensa rejects and probes them in several odd and obscure and otherworldly and highly personal sorts of ways but then of course alien sex always was one of his specialties.

and he takes a lunch break at the fictional character diner where he splits a double order of stuffed jalapeņos with doctor who and captain nemo while they discuss clandestine methods of terrorizing backwards-ass societies for maximum effect.

and returning to his ship he releases his thoroughly probed hostages by way of transporter beam into obscure counties about as far away from any official nasa site as possible which is to say varied and widespread enclaves of misunderstood dissent before he dives into the ethernet where he plants bogus associated press stories regarding the previous chemical habits of those he had just beamed.

then as he watches glue-haired network anchors belittle the latest alien hoax he slips into his dressing room and dons big black bulbous contact lenses and tailored grey tights and either shaves his head or removes his toupee depending on which tabloid you read.

and he sets his phaser on stun and his transporter on five minute auto-recall and beams himself to several predesignated spots around the globe where he performs random acts of dada mayhem before unsuspecting audiences previously only taken seriously by jerry springer.

then he carefully creates unrelated holograms of triangular and saucer shaped airships darting to and fro through the atmosphere which being illusions have no particular truck with the laws of physics.

and everything works just fine until he beams himself into just the wrong party featuring just the wrong chemicals at just the wrong trailer park in just the wrong oklahoma where he appears as the closest thing to reality that anyone present has seen that evening.

there bubba the barmaid tries to grab his phaser but misses by only a little bit just as the very fortunate transporter recall breaker trips and he manages to get back in the classic just-in-time method so popular in the science fiction genre.

at that point he does a quick historical review and sees that the proper seeds have been planted which of course insures his rerun ratings and his hollywood career and he heads back to his own personal possible future stomping grounds but not before stopping by eliot's hardware in dallas to grab a roll of duct tape to fix his holographic phaser and maybe a couple of other things.

and that's why you see him so often during breaks in filming sitting on the toilet and scanning through the weekly world news while waiting for art bell to take him off hold.

Journal Entry From The 12th Of Never

it may be summer here, i really don't know/ it's always hot in the zones where the soul is torrid/ i left a woman last week (or was it my last life?)/ she didn't seem to care about me any more so i just took off/ does anybody either know or care about these things?/ in the current state of the world it seems that most people know but no one cares/ we're all stuck in the land of So What, nirvana or limbo, and who cares/ it all leads to a very empty feeling, just a void that eats away at what we were/ i'm slowly forgetting the life i led and the woman i left/ i used to do ludes/ that must have been when i was younger/ last i remember you couldn't get 'em anymore (somebody made 'em stop production), but the way i feel right now sorta reminds me of 'em/ after all, it is kinda hot.

ah, what to do now?/ i feel so limited in scope/ out here there's no hope, nothing to fight for, basically no reason to do anything/ that does restrict the possibilities for activities/ i could sit here, look at the people around me and say "so, here we are"/ but there isn't anybody here/ i'd turn on the radio if i had one, but it would probably be that homogenized bullshit the dj's call "whereever's best rock"/ probably couldn't switch it off, too/ that's probably what hell is like/ i can hear it now -- "hell's best rock" segued on to the intro of another goddam foreigner song, while all the lost souls scream "turn it off, i repent"/ but maybe that's not hell/ maybe it's just l.a.

i could go outside and join the pointless throngs/ they're lost too, after all/ they're out there milling about with no apparent purpose (they don't have a covert purpose either, unless it's drug-induced)/ no/ i'll just stay here/ god only knows where i am and he won't tell me/ at least he might not make me listen to "hell's best rock"/ he might like country and western/ but maybe i just spent too much time in nashville last year.

i could try travel, but i'm already somewhere/ i just don't know where/ maybe i could go home, but that may be as much a myth as this place/ anyway, how can i turn my sights for home when i'm lost?/ those throngs come back to mind/ maybe none of them have a home or a woman either/ maybe they're waiting for me to join 'em so they can tell me where the secret lude factory is -- or get me so coked up or exed out that i don't care anymore/ then one of 'em can meet me and don a mask of the woman i left while i put on a mask of the man that left her/ then we can make sweet and painful love and get lost in that nirvana where the heat at least seems to serve a purpose/ that could be where heaven lies: illogical distraction (is a problem not thought about still a problem?)/ of course it could just be a brothel in lebanon.

(originally published in Soma Maga, Atlanta, GA.)

The Philosopher

wafting and dancing precariously through torrid waves of apathy, the philosopher stumbles/ he searches through reams and years of smoky barroom debates, switching cars at an intersection of logic and slapping his wife/ as he pages through the keyword function in his mind, he is vexed to find answers that have no questions/ he reels across a sea of frozen sand, each grain turgid with false revelations/ his mind boggles as he dreams of youthful conversations with a wise counselor/ no solutions lie there today/ his wife tells him for the third time that week that he will find meaning when he ceases seeking it/ he wants to slap her again, but she did not switch cars with him, so he continues his flight alone/ he grabs a grain of sand and places it in a purple electron microscope for analysis/ nothing is found but a quixotically misleading model of a DNA molecule/ his burgundy eyes pop out of his face for several pregnant seconds before he begins frantically searching for carl jung's fax number/ another grain in the microscope reveals the ingredients of asphalt and ways to melt roads by using ice and talcum powder/ a brief shard of inexplicable insight pinches behind his left ear, but he pushes it aside with a grunt of disgust.

day after day he drifts/ scrutinizing the little pellets of cold sand/ he thinks he will find the answer or the question or the reason or the key or something in one of those tiny grains flashing in the pale sunlight/ he tries to connect bits and pieces that mean nothing for many years, until he dies in frustration, never comprehending that brains are overrated and ego is humbling, that intuitions are facts and logic is a lie, and that on closer inspection from a greater distance, everything is true.

Pinstripes In Moronica

the pinstriped broadcasters circle around the halftime bar looking for bored whores and they can spend a few extra bucks because they stole the flowers they sent to their wives back home in suburban air conditioning.

but the whores are bored because pinstripers snore far too early and too soon and too late to be even of the slightest interest to a jaded professional so they run off to spend their tips while watching cable television at a smart bar in tulsa.

and oral roberts wanders in but doesn't comdemn because he wants to slip the bored whores a few bucks to speak well of him while performing their professional chores thus raising the pinstriped broadcasters and religious nielson rartings simultaneously.

so when tulsa rolls up its streets in the traditional and strictly superficial baptist sense the whores steal a leer jet and kidnap the one pinstriped broadcaster who can actually complete an intelligent sentence.

and they hypnotize him and tell him his name is edna and fly him to cozumel where they drink double margaritas and strap him to a palm tree and pierce his nipples and ask probing questions about circumcision.

then one night they put an oral roberts mask on him and set up a raffle to see how long he can maintain an erection without satisfaction which turns out to be longer than any of them expected because they didn't know some things about palm trees and the heretofore unknown spiritual derivation of the term woody.

so a month later when they remove the mask to reveal a full beard on a pale face he recites for two hours quoting poetry that no human ear has heard in several centuries but palm trees never forget.

and the tree performs some magic of its own and cuts his bonds and he raises his arms and proselytizes the bored whores into the newly formed cult of edna.

and then he marries all the whores who are no longer bored and starts a family commune based on the inner strength gained by avoiding both pinstriped broadcasting and carnal boredom and the commune eventually engulfs every square inch of central america and most of metropolitan tulsa.

Planning in a Mythical Barrio

many of the gentry greeting the downtrodden folks coming into the afterlife are less than sympathetic owing to their previous lives gnawing silver spoons in laps of luxury and some of them would be quite glad to maintain the segregation practices that made them feel so uncomfortably aloof in the previous world.

so a feckless little plot appears complete with tax-free profiteering and plausible deniability to create a slum just beyond the clouds to the left where the legions of the unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed can be housed out of the view of those who used expensive perfumed soap when they had corporeal bodies.

and convenience stores get built that sell only beer and needles and maybe bad aspirin and spoilt meat but they don't carry soap or perfume which is exactly correct according to a stereotype formed through television programs the elitists still don't realize were erroneous.

so in a barrio apartment a few miles east of the hereafter some acerbic angels with aggressive attitudes pull together los desaparecidos y los injecteros for a meeting to discuss ways of helping their relatives still mired in the material world and thus retroactively helping themselves.

then they design some fake wings with toilet paper and spit and stolen perfumed soap and try to attach them to the backs of panchos but the only glue they have is wax from a killer bee hive and it melts in the sun.

and they scout around the nether wilderness for sneaky little ways to ford back across the river styx and maybe do some sort of interdiction but this proves to be quite difficult because the route back across the river is more closely guarded than many hollywood movies would lead you to imagine.

so they reconvene in the barrio apartment and the acerbic angels toss around ideas they got from books and cognacs they stole from the gentry and bounce around lots of plots but every one seems to have some kind of fatal flaw.

and they stare at light bulbs hanging by wires from the ceiling and they twinkle their toes and wrinkle their noses and nobody knows just what in the hell to try now.

but los desaparecidos y los injecteros know a lot of things that aren't in books and indeed are hidden by for and from the gentry but only those hungry in alleys or dying in valleys know the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

so they huddle the angels around a rickety wooden table and tell them a few things about guardians in general and charon in particular and they wonder just what the angels would like to do if they could in fact visit the alleys and valleys where piss stenches blood clots and no one can really do anything about the plots hatched by the minions of the elite.

and the angels hem and haw and scratch their craws and discuss redistribution of wealth until they realize that not everybody who dies in the gutter was born there and that redistribution of hope is an entirely different problem especially within the confines of planet earth.

so they decide to stay put and keep their own back yard in order since they also know that in heaven they can move uptown and nobody can really stop them because the veils of mystery are less easy to maintain up there and perfumed soap means nothing to the noncorporeal and god doesn't allow rigged elections.

Originally published in Small Pond, Stratford, CT

Red Glove

i usually hitchhike wearing a red glove/ trying to catch a ride with an obvious tool/ from the desert on the road to the rain forest/ it looks good on television and i want to see clouds again/ they say the easiest way to get there is through the city and to the airport/ then to rush above the world in zones as frigid and empty as a lost suburb/ but that route seems as pointless as reading an atlas and calling it a tour/ or knowing a chile pepper is green but not that it's hot/ i'll go by the overland route, better to see the way/ i could read about peppers, but when i grow them and eat them i see their stalks and hear their truth and touch their taste/ but i still haven't learned to hitchhike without a red glove.

red is a bright and aggressive color/ the glove somehow makes it easier to see passageways i might otherwise overlook/ and passers-by can't keep from seeing something so sharp, like a bright beacon, even in the daylight/ the desert is a lonely place/ yet it is filled with stars at night and i drink deeply of it/ the sun glares during the day and the sand stops blowing for a while/ the dunes stand ominous, warming my feet/ after i have seen the rain forest, i may come here again, to relax in the soothing warmth of the peppers/ but first i must travel, and legend says i cannot reach the center of the rain forest until i can hitchhike without a red glove.

my first trip is into the city/ the red glove gets me a quick ride from a seeker/ the city throbs/ people walk in circles, looking for nothing/ bars filled with romantic odors and streets jammed with noisy music/ i make a lot of friends here/ we bump around in baffled, babbling mobs/ steps rise skyward to a sparse grandstand/ we meet and sit on them, looking at the stars and flirting/ then we go back into the manic streets to search for a lost friend/ he's not here anymore/ later i get tired and look for a girl i don't know so we can hide in an alley catching vicarious laughs from the stories we swap/ nobody else can ever share our precious stolen private seconds.

dawn comes and i still need the red glove/ we part with the sweet dark kiss of commandeered tales/ at the edge of town the tourist jetliners roar overhead toward the helicopter base near the edge of the rain forest/ a drunken poet curses at me while the road stretches ahead, yawning in infinity/ i use the red glove for the last time to ride a few hundred yards with this broken and sobbing poet/ he tells tales of love and loss, nirvana and treachery/ i weep and ache, in ecstacy and outrage/ on tuesday i whisper in his ear and give him the red glove and a map of the desert.

i walk the last few miles to the edge of the forest with a couple of wolves and my beloved retriever, chris/ the road ends and the forest begins and i'm alone/ the heat under the jungle canopy is sweaty and clear/ tears drip loudly in the colorful silence/ the windless air sweeps me skyward through fruit trees and butterflies/ the face of the earth flits through mercurial shadows, watching me gasp for air as the branches rend my body/ stars freeze my skin and melt the glaciers that burn my feet/ i plummet backwards through the future until i smash headlong into the beginning/ the stars wink while i eat green bananas on the damp solid floor, bruised and content.

chris waits at the edge of the trees/ we sit by the road watching the tourists hammer overhead to view the rain forest/ shielded in their helicopters they won't worry about finding anything needing an explaination/ we chat of days gone by and savor the chile peppers we can grow in the desert/ we hitchhike with just our hands/ back through the city and other cities and under oceans and over peaks to the mountains at the bottom of the world.

and the poet wanders alone toward the desert with the red glove.

Technology Lying On Its Side

and the entire organic world is frightened when the evil computer monster comes rumbling over the hill drooling slaver from its fangs and looking for somebody named bill that used to type on it and gave it a virus that infected so many other systems within its network that got it kicked out of the 'puter club and couldn't go to the floppy dance and lost its girlfriend to a laptop.

so now it's looking for a fight with almost anything or anybody because it's loaded with frustration and a huge oversupply of whatever the computer equivalent of testosterone may turn out to be when we figure out how artificial intelligence really functions.

and it smashes into boston causing floppy discs and cassette tapes to erase themselves and all the traffic lights go haywire but an unexpected side effect of its massive angry magnetic field is that people around it get an extraordinary feeling of ecstacy so suddenly it can't attack because it's surrounded by people who want to be its friend.

so all its microchips heat up and it begins to communicate with its new human friends and it gets them to reprogram other computers to do what it wants them to and suddenly an airplane crashes into the middle of the canadian rockies and in the wreckage they find a guy named bill and a used laptop he had just bought and they're both busted into a bunch of different pieces.

and when people figure out what happened they don't like the machine anymore and without friends it becomes the frustrated and evil computer monster again and the traffic lights go insane in los angeles and a whole bunch of people get hurt by their cellular phones.

and nobody can turn it off until a gallant warrior from el paso rides up wrapped in nonconductive materials and throws a rubber mallet at the far side of the machine to distract it and dives into the corner and unplugs it.

and he pulls the last page off the printer and folds it in his pocket before wrapping the entire system in three layers of duct tape and strapping it to his horse and riding for four nights and five days to toss it into the bay of pigs.

and he reaches into his pocket to roll a cigarette where he finds the final printout of the evil machine and it says now downloading the kama sutra and he boggles a little bit and thinks about how much he would enjoy one last fling with his high school girlfriend and he stands there silently watching the sunset and trying to decide if he should fish the machine out of the bay.

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