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Sometimes on a day like today I want to break out and dance across lawns like a barefoot ball~rina tossing jellybeans to neighbors singing "I'm in love, I'm in love."


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She tells me he fills up her body but leaves her mind empty & someday soon, silent, the rage will burst hard and like a dangerous woman she'll shout seven dirty words and pull away.

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I remember when love meant sneaking in the Henning's yard rolling in spilled beer and leaves me wanting only kisses you wanting to get in my blouse with october chill comes hard nipples the smell of burning and my lips unsatisfied












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Editor: Larry O. Dorin Art: Caitlin Clifford, draconian measures, pub. by Zenith D Francisco, CA 94119. (c) 1990. All ri\1h upon publication. Send all correspondang

for Bill How can I explain the moment time stopped between two streets the moment traffic light changes I stand there breathless my stomach tightens to brick saying oh my god I can't believe I am here I am now make me disappear, be invisible lift me off of t~is point right then, right there my eyes lifted to see you.



I kept a strict diet of fruits and whole grains, wisely cutting back while we were on the road, knowing that I wouldn't be burning as many calories while driving. But Alison, every time we would stop for gas or to use a restroom or buy a map, Alison would pick up a bag of potato chips (or a Chocolate bar) and a can of soda. When I offered her a piece of fruit, she suggested I pull off at the next exit for a slice of pizza or a burger. She would sit in the passenger seat and eat the stuff in a frenzy, like she didn't even enjoy it or taste any of it. She would have chocolate allover her fingertips and oil around her mouth from the potato chips. When we stopped at restaurants, she would talk to people at other tables. She would ask them what it was like to live in Mechanicsburg, pennsylvania or Sandusky, Ohio. She would make a spectacle sometimes and imitate their accents. She said this was to reach them. She said she knew how to communicate with all levels of people, and she even used those exact words: all levels of people, when she explained it to me. I met her on the island of Martha's Vineyard in late May. She had another year at college and I was moving out west to California at the end of the summer. Labor Day was going to be the end of it for us, but her student loan didn't pass, so I offered for her to come out west with me in my VW van, share a room with me in some cool little town out there until her check came through in



December. That was my mistake. I should have known that when it's time to leave the IS,land, you leave it and don't try to take any of it with you, like the stone that caught your eye when the sun hit it just right in the shallows. You put it in your pocket and take it home and place it on your mantel next to your car keys and your phone bill and it looks no different from any other shell or rock. The lustre is gone. It had been my third summer on the Island and Alison's first. She bartended at The Breakers, and I poured drinks at The Islander. I would go and watch her work sometimes when it was crowded there and I didn't have a shift at my place. She was deft. She was athletic and cool and all response' the way she whipped the bottles around and sped-poured the drinks--four, five, six at a time--and then bing on the register, change on the bar, tip in the tip-glass and Alison looking into the eye of the next tan customer. She knew it. She had it down. One night, I found an empty stool at the bar and stayed until nearly closing. I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice all night to get her attention. She noticed me. People notice me. "I work at The Islander," I said above the music and the voices and the energy. "I tend bar. Come by and watch me some night." "I don't like bars except to work," she said and picked up a few singles someone left for her. "Too much smoke," she said, waving her hand back and forth in front of her face. She went to the register and stuffed the bills in the jar next to it. I could see her in the mirror, watching me watch the muscles of her calf move as she went up on her toes. "Seen you at the Nautilus," she said turning around again, "You work out pretty hard. I could use a good work out partner, someone who pushes me." We worked out fervidly together, concentrating each day on different body parts: chest, shoulders and triceps on Mondays and Thursdays, back and biceps on Tuesdays and Fridays, legs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We lifted beyond the point of pain, through the burning sensation of muscle fatigue and into ecstacy. We tore the rich fibers under our skins with zeal, knowing that when they re-grew, they would be bigger, shapelier. She would push me when I thought I did not have any more strength left, when I couldn't or didn't think I could get the bar off my chest one more time. I would do the same for her, whispering commands in her ear, telling her she had one more repetition in her, and she did. I was very fit, and so was Alison. We were both cut. Defined. When I held my arm sideways and flexed it in the mirror, I could see the three muscles of the tricep. Most people don't even know that there are three--that the tricep is a tricep because it's actually three separate beautiful muscles. And Alison, she had the most developed abdomen I've ever seen on a woman. Her body fat had to be down below seven percent. She was a sorceress at sex too. Unearthly. She had recently broken off with a three-and-a-half year boyfriend, and was well-versed. She didn't want to go back on the pill for me though. She said she couldn't handle the pill again after being on it for so long. That was fine. Rubbers would do.

We were more than midway through Nebraska now, and it was raining. All it did through the whole state was rain. I couldn't wait to get to Colorado. Two hours ago we ate at a truck stop and hadn't spoken since then. The glare from the rain and the headlights off the slick highway were getting to my eyes. Even though the driver's seat of a VW van is higher up than a car's, you still catch road-glare on a rainy night. I turned my head toward Alison and looked back quickly at the road before I started in. "You used to be so cool the way you would sit there and not say anything. You never said anything, and people thought you were cool for that. You were a presence." She didn't answer, so I continued. "It embarrasses me when you start talking to people at other tables, especially when you use a phoney accent," I said. "Excuse me for not keeping up my mystique," she said. "Excuse me for having fun." She reached into her purse and took out a chocolate bar. "And that's another thing, you're eating like a fool. What is it with all of this junk food all of a sudden?" "Let me drive," she said. "You're tired." "I'm not tired. Besides, I want to drive when the weather's like this. I told you the driving rules." "Well, if you're not tired, you're being a jerk." She glanced at me sidewards and then looked definitively out the windshield "Do you know how many bags of potato chips you've eaten since we left the Island?" I asked. "Jesus!" "Seventeen. You've eaten seventeen bags of potato chips since we left Martha's Vineyard--sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, nacho cheese, Hawaiian Kettle, barbecued, unsalted, lightly salted. Your mouth tastes like them when I kiss you." "You don't stop to complain." "And you're getting fat. I can feel it. It's like a little extra puppy skin allover." "Jesus, shut up, would you please!" "Why don't you exercise with me at night? At least I'm trying to stay fit until we can settle down and find a gym to lift at." She didn't say anything. She looked down at the candy bar and started to fiddle with the foil wrapper at the end. "Why don't you do anything?" I asked. I rubbed at my sore eyes and then opened them wide and held them that way until they burned. "Why am I here?" she said. "Why am I going across the country with this man?" She started to unwrap the candy bar. Her hands were shaking some when she put the first piece in her mouth. "M-m-m-m," she said, and smirked at me with her mouth working the chocolate. At least she had the composure to smirk. "I'll tell you why I'm here," she said. "There's only one fucking reason why I'm here, and that's because my student loan didn't come through. I wasn't going to go home, and I wasn't going to stay'on that island and get stuck with some fisherman for the winter. Don't get a big head. This choice isn't any better, just different." I took turns rubbing first one eye then the next. I licked my index finger, putting some saliva on it, and dabbed some in each

eye. It was something I did when my eyes were tired. "Okay," I said, "as long as we're on it, that loan thing doesn't make any sense to me because I know your folks are loaded. Why not just hit them up for tuition?" "I wanted to pay for my last year with my own money." She took another bite of the chocolate bar. "That's bullshit," I said. "They cut you off." I rubbed my eyes again, digging in hard with the side of my hand. "Don't do that," she said. "I hate it when you rub your eyes like that. I keep -waiting for one to fallout." "Don't try and change the subject. They cut you off, didn't they? Why?" "If I thought that was something you needed to know, I would have told you." I went to rub my eyes again, but stopped. I knew Alison had Visine in her purse. She used to bring it with her to the beach all of the time. After workouts, we used to go to the nude beach at Gayhead, get high, see if any physiques paralleled ours, and talk about what we would cook for dinner before our bartending shifts: fresh bluefish filets with whole grain rice and steamed broccoli, or skinned breast of chicken (broiled) with a garden salad topped with cracked crab and lemon juice. As we watched the colored sails of the catamarans and other small craft on the water and listened to the familiar sound of the lifeguard's whistle, we revelled in our post-workout soreness, knowing there was only one thing that felt better, and we always had that to look forward to. "Can I have the Visine?" I asked. "My eyes are beat." "I can drive," she said. She reached into her bag and handed me the familiar squeeze bottle. Some chocolate was smudged on the label. I downshifted and pulled the van over onto the shoulder. I tilted my head back and squeezed a few drops into each eye, letting some extra run down my cheeks. "I can guess why they cut you off," I said with my head back like that. "It's not too difficult to imagine why some rich girl's parents take her credit cards away or won't pay for school any longer, but most girls I know aren't dumb enough to let their moms find out. Or did you tell her?" I held out the Visine for her to take back from me. She slapped the bottle from my hand. She didn't say anything else. My eyes were closed with the drops in, and I imagined her slumped over in the passenger seat looking at the candy bar wrapper in her hands. A flash of light went off in front of me when her fist connected with the side of my head. Before I could do anything, she was out the door. The thing of it was, I really needed her, and I think she needed me. I just wanted her the way she was back on the Island. "I'm sorry," I said. I sat there and turned off the headlights. I shut off the motor and watched the rain run in sheets down the windshield. I listened to the sound of it, then the noise of an approaching car. The entire inside of the van lit up and then grew dark again. For an instant I could see the chocolate bar wrappers and empty bags of potato chips and the unfolded state maps.


When Alison opened the door, I was nearly asleep. She was panting, soaked and muddy. "What have you been doing?" I asked. She didn't answer. Rain dripped from her wet bangs down through the mud on her face. She had been running. Her cheeks glowed. She looked at peace with herself. Was it myoId Alison? "Do you want to towel off?" I asked. I left my seat, ducking into the back for my travel bag. I took a clean towel from it and tossed it to her, still outside the van. "You'll get sick," I said. She caught the towel and held it inside the van so the rain wouldn't touch it. She regarded it for a moment and then climbed in, shutting the door behind her, the van becoming dark again. I inched my way back to the driver's seat, trying not to touch her as I passed. "I thought I would make enough money bartending to pay for school," she said softly. "I really thought I could do it on my

poured. I prayed a state trooper wouldn't stop. The rain was freezing for September. When the can was almost empty, I stopped and held it for a second. Her feet were up against my shoulders. I had her legs pinned against my chest with my left forearm, and her arms were shaking from the strain of holding herself up. "If you're pregnant, we can keep it. You don't have to get an abortion this time. We can settle down in California together and you know, have a little family. We can do it. We can do anything." "Just pour, you idiot. Pour!" WILLIAM DORESKI

She started stripping down and toweling herself dry, first her face and hair, then her shoulders, chest and stomach, then her legs. I watched in the rearview mirror. When a car or truck approached, she was illuminated gradually as the shadows moved through the van. For a moment she was completely visible and then covered by darkness again. She was so intent in what she was doing. She was as much alive as I ever had seen her. I didn't say anything, but I reached back and touched her and then left my seat entirely and crawled into the back with her. Her skin was still cool from the rain. She wanted to make up too. We usually climax at the same time, so even with a rubber on, it was very wet when we were finished. This time something was wrong. I could tell. It was too wet. When I pulled out, I saw that the rubber had broken and what was left was rolled back. I stayed calm. I thought for a second about not saying anything. It had been too perfect to ruin this way. It was something that shouldn't be spoiled. "Jesus," she said. "Is there something you can rinse with? Do you have anything like that?" "I can't believe this," she said. "I fucking can't believe this." "We're not too far from a town. I can drive to a pharmacy and get some spermicide." She tore away from me and started digging in the well in front of the passenger seat. When she came up with a can of Coke and stepped back out into the rain with it, I told her I thought that was an old wives' tale. "You idiot, get out here and help me!" She stood next to the van, shook up the soda, and started shooting it up herself. "Turn me over," she yelled. I climbed out of the van with the wet towel Alison used to dry herself wrapped around me. We fumbled about as I grabbed her ankles and turned her upside-down. She handed the can up to me, and I

All day the plumbers thunder in the kitchen, their wrenches so heavy and cruelly sensual the sound of them, metal on metal, withers my flesh. In my stUdy, crouched over useless notes, I marvel at the retreat of the sexual from my life. Even the memory of my first encounter, in a car parked on a snowy woods road, can't stir me to the slightest faith in the body's regenerative force. Instead, I think of the surf at Point Lobos, backpaddling sea otters, pelicans nodding on the bluff conglomerate boulders. Such innocence can't be preserved except by the coldest act of will, cryogenic sentiments grieving for the abstract, heartless future. The plumbers rattle the pipes and smoke and speak so loudly their voices stall like old-fashioned biplanes in the pointless blue. Too cold to walk in the woods and absorb a heady dose of silence. My books reproaCh me, page after page unread, unloved. Noise converges like an icicle in my heart, real worlds displacing mere imagery, the shock of hardened steel as finely tuned as the poetry of Yeats. The hands of the plumbers crawl like creatures fresh from the sea, their big rubbery faces completely erasing my own.




In gray, wet cold, she laughs, says I should do well on the road, being twelve with no money, taking only the clothes I'm wearing and no food, no way to get it with nothing to offer. I save my breath, hang tough in wait for the moment when I will possess the meager requirements to leave. A week later, I am running anyway, but with her, fleeing instead from him, to hide for years in the house of her sister and brother-in-law, hearing true stories of terror and infidelity, twisted by time. She relishes seeing my face redden with the mention of his name, the color of my hate fueling her own fire, but when childhood rage fades into midlife pleas for a truce, for friendship, she mutters daggers: Had it not been for you, I would not have left! Then she snakes her arms out to me, sniffling her love, as if three words and a few tears are good enough for resurrections. uJAL/

PH \ Ll/ PS




Wonderful music is supposed to blow you away. It isn't background filler, it isn't disposable. It should touch your soul, at least a little bit. I first heard the cowboy Junkies at 3 a.m. on an Ann Arbor station. I was depressed and here comes the CJ version of the Hank Williams classic, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and that did it. As music from the heart becomes more and more rare, the Cowboy Junkies are like angels in the night. So I conned my way into an interview with singer/writer Margo Timmins (which took place via telephone from a Days Inn in Atlanta). Ms. Timmins was quite friendly (I was supposed to talk with her brother Michael, but the desk clerk gave me the wrong room), and spoke with me before the band soundcheck for their performance that night at the ROXY: AG:

That was our concern and our goal with this one. It was a great thing because we found out it's not the room you record in, like recording in a church, it was the equipment and learning how to use it. It was how we play live that counted, not the studio, and I think we overcame our fear of technology. Three days is pretty fast ••• day we pretty of those days. of funny. We do (laughter). to make sure a couple over;


We had the place for three days and the first much recorded all the songs, it was just one The band was playing really well, it was kind went in the second day and didn't know what to So we sat down and listened to the tapes everybody was happy with their parts. We did tried different arrangements. So you did just the ten tracks?
Earth Now),


So you've played AnD Arbor a few times,


know. AG:

We re-recorded some old stuff from our first album (Whites Off "Me and the Devil," the Robert Johnson song, and "Dead Flowers," The last time songs.

Yeah, when we first started to tour in the U.S., Ann Arbor was one of our best places. You have that club, The Blind pig ••• it was always a nice club for us. The new album is out, and it sounds great. Are you happy with it? Thanks, we're really happy with it; it turned out the way we wanted it to, which is always nice. writing it and working on it was a weird experience after The Trinity Sessions. It was the first time we've ever done an album we knew people were going to actually listen to, critique it and compare it to something •••for the first time that's a strange thing to work under. The studio was Eastern Sound. Tell .e a little about that.

saw you, you were still doing both of those


"Me and the Devil" is still a big part of our set, and "Dead Flowers" is one of our encores, but it very rarely makes it into our main show; it really doesn't fit in with our slower things. One thing I was impressed by is the new album is loaded with great original tunes. Are you having an easier time writing material? I think Michael and I as a singer/songwriter team have found a groove, because we know what each other's strengths are and we have a lot of faith in each other. By that I mean Michael writes a song and hands it over to me, he doesn't tell me how to sing it. I just sort of go and do my thing. It works easily and it all comes about because we both have so much experience now. I have a lot more confidence as a singer and he has more confidence in me as well. It works out really easy, he feels he can write whatever he wants to write and I have the capability to sing it.
I want to talk to you about your roots, the music you've built on, the entire cross section of pop history.,.all the good stuff like Robert Johnson, Lou keed, Neil Young--the strong songwriter tradition, Most bands can write maybe one good song, and that's it. You've written lots of great things and that's why I've always liked the band.




It's a really quiet studio in the middle of Toronto, a place where Gordon Lightfoot records. It's tiny and intimate. We rented it for three days on a weekend so it was empty. studios can get a little crazy during the day. It was a good experience. Recording there was no pressure, nobody running around. The one thing I liked about 71u! Caution Hones was you captured the same kind of "sound" as The Trinity Sessions, but you got a better quality of tape without losing the aura of the first one ••• AG:





I don't know about other bands, but I think one thing we've always done with music is listened. Neither Michael nor myself have ever been big dance fanatics, so music was always something to sit back and listen to, I guess. The strong writers have always been the ones who attracted us. I've always read lyrics and I read a lot of other things as well.
80 what

minutes and you're supposed to find some sort of mood. We usually have a bad time, but the Letterman thing we played really nicely.

80 how do you deal with "from olubs in Toronto halls in Japan," as the liner notes say?

to oonoert





I've read a Jot of things, anything from the old Russians to modern Americans. I've been reading Larry McMurtry lately. I've just finished The Last Picture Show; we're going to south Texas and I couldn't go there without reading that (laughter). I like science fiction, especially fantasy, rather than the technical stuff, and Michael is the same way. I like a lot of history. When I went to Italy I was reading The Rise and Fall of Rome (laughter)--the perfect tour guide. It just depends, Where are you playing on this tour? Larger venues •• ,? Some are the same size because we didn't fill them last time. The larger cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, we're doing two nights. You're

(Laughter) That's pretty Weird, our Far East trip was a real TRIP. Everything was so upside-down. The playing to a Japanese audience that couldn't understand much English or our culture or where we were from was bizarre •••but they listened, really really intently to every single word and when they liked something they would clap, become enthusiastic and smile, it was great. After the American audiences they were the best we've had. How many oities did you play? three of which were in Tokyo.



Six gigs altogether,


Did you do any tourist things? Of course, we were big tourists. We visited the palaces and Mt. Fuji and all that. It was great. Unfortunately, a lot had been bombed so not a lot was left (laughter), but it was wonderful.
I want to talk listen to?


in Atlanta

now? We've been doing

Tonight it's the Roxy •••it's an old cinema. here.

about your




do you


What about the rest of the south? The south has always been a weird place. We've done great in North and South carolina and here. Florida is very strange, there's always been three hundred people (laughter) •••we played this huge, beautiful theater with three hundred people. That's what makes touring so interesting. One night you'll get a lot of attention and sellout, and the next city you're begging for attention. It keeps you honest, that's for sure.
80 it all depends


on the airplay you're

getting? AG:

It depends on the album. For the slow songs, a lot of Merle Haggard and his ballads; his ballads are really, really slow. So I listened to his style and how he used to phrase things ••• he just moans, it's amazing how he can wrap one word around for three minutes. And I've always listened to Emmylou Harris, she has a really natural tone: it's strong but it comes out like she's breathing, without any effort •••that's something I wish I could do. For this LP, I listened to a lot of Nanci Griffith.

It also depends on the university, if there's a strong university with a strong college station. And the newspapers and their attitude, normally if we get enough coverage there will be a good word of mouth. saw your April David Letterman acoident, and it was a nioe number.


is a great album.

I listen to her because her writing is in a real storytelling vein. Michael's is that way as well. I was listening to the way she would present a song •••she's wonderful. You did a patsy Cline cover ••• Yes, and I'll probably listen to her more for the next record. Not that I have a Patsy Cline voice--the thing she does is just sing, really sing. She doesn't get involved emotionally in any way but she's so clear, right on it, every note and then intentionally off the note. On the next album, the thing








Great. It was one of the best TV things we've ever done in regards to our playing, for us anyway; it's hard to get a groove going, it's OK, they rush you out and you stand there and it's, "NOW PLAY!" You have one song that is cut to three


I want to do is sing with a lot more strength--not louder, but more sure, and Patsy Cline was a singer who knew exactly what she wanted to do. AO: NT: What next? After this tour, we're taking six weeks off and then we'll begin writing for the next project. Then in September we'll be touring with Bruce Hornsby, a series of outdoor gigs, and during those dates we'll work out the new material to get it ready for the next album. Then it's home to record again. Are you happy with RCA? It's amazing, a real shock to us, We had all the mythS that record companies are out to destroy you •••they said with The Caution Horses, call us when you're finished. They didn't even show up in the studio. You don't need record company types watching you in the studio. So what have you been listening to lately?



Well, today on the tour bus it was Townes Van Zant all day. The boys are into a lot of the rap stuff •••when you're called a bitch every five seconds, you get kind of turned off (laughter). I don't listen to much new stuff. Wbat about you? I just bougbt the new Lou Reed/John Cale CD.


I bought it the other day, and I've only listened to it once. I wasn't really blown away with it. I've gone off on a CD kick but all I seem to buy is old stuff •••

soon, anyway. Next, he starts rolling around in the leaves. Are you showing off? Come on, pal, that's not impressive: can't you fly? You gray little gopher ••. I let him make one last circle around his world, guarding his master's land, a star-gazer and an overgrown rodent exploring their twilight together. You proud descendant of the wolf, the jackal, you grOWling manipUlator, filled with human needl You live a human's life, knowing the lie, knowing you're a hairy reflection, a canine alter ego, here to dress up my loneliness, a shaggy shadow on a sunday night, a companion for the evening Moon Walk ••• MyoId friend has almost outlived his welcome in this life, exulted by the flowers, a sniffing, twitching pup grown old, beyond his time-but he looks at me eagerly, in a private dog heavenl He's tough enough to be my best friend, if I was really doing something worthwhile: his shadow pauses suddenly in my moonlight, to mark his territory, like his owner still filled with the urge to say, this is mine.

BERT HUBINGER The floodlit Victorian town glowed above the rocks, shrouded in mist: the old McCUllum House, the Seagull Inn, all the rich wood finish of the tourist trade, surrounded by all the frogs in the world, croaking their chorus in a muddy field. We laughed and danced to the music of millions and next morning scrambled through the ultimate breakfast at Cafe BeaujOlais before hitting the Russian Gorge, all stinging nettles, newts and salamanders, all the tenacity of a solitary pine gripping the headlands, roots hanging out in mid-air. We toppled over in the light rain, we un-bushed, we strained, we loved and always the rocks like the bows of stranded ships clearing the surf at Pine Beach Cove, below Jughandle Creek. "Everything smells so green,"

Maybe it's just because I'm sad, but I look at this fat moon rising and think of it as mine, my very own orange light sitting on the Richmond Bridge, and I walk myoId dog with a torn gray heart, following my moon through my trees, the small dog sniffing at every bush, every shadow on the ground. So let my orange light fall on this old terrier; let him drink my moonshine--it's going to swallow hUn


catherine said. "So naive." That night at Gregory's, with duck and pepper steak and a good Pinot Noir, we watched the old lighthouse cleave the dark as frogs grunted their love calls-"like the stock exchange," Catherine said. The waves exploded against the rocks as we split the bill atter a silly tight, Catherine passing out her business cards; I stormed outside to argue in the fog, fuming past the great collections of modern kitsch in the brightly lit store windows, A small boy with a flashlight chased down the sounds of frogs. How could he challenge them? Those eyes that glittered in the wind, those fanciful eyes that fancied freedom from all the ponds of this world. By midnight Catherine and I were reunited at the cottage, she so happy to see me, she only stabbed once, our last flare bursting over no man's land; idiot, couldn't I see we were liquidating? How we glared at the blind moon, running in his wake-and saw the heart retreat before a glaze of honesty! That dawn, the frogs moved quickly to the suburbs; and by early afternoon we were driving south again with the rain that never ended, racing ahead of the flood, chasing the hidden sun that always ran just ahead of us.

and I'd sit there blurred and fuzzy and sooner or later Mary Fabian would bring me coffee and I'd drink it and smoke and look around me like someone awakening from sleep. And faces would pass before my eyes: Mary Fabian and Mary salazar, who flirted with me at Woodward's and Mary Diaz, my foreman, and Roy Guzman, my supervisor, and Raoul, my buddy, a wetback, no English at all but we understood each other. And they'd pass before my stoned gaze while I sat and smoked and sipped my coffee till my will returned and then home to supper and bed but only after I'd stopped at G.C. Murphy's. And now the faces passing before me again in this new time that draws toward a close, having just given notice at U.T. where I've worked nearly two years now and the work easier than the furniture factory--in a way-and it's like a wind blowing through my life now, tugging and Whispering "Gol" and that's how it will be one day soon: I'll go. And this here now will be as much a dream as Mary Fabian and Mary Sala~.r and Roy Guzman and Raoul and Woodward Furniture and Manpower and I wouldn't hold on to any of it but still ••• I write this in the bright, fluorescent day of G.C. Murphy'S with the dark outside and the rain falling to say that all these things have been (theydw happen) and now they're gone. And I didn't say it really (I knew I wouldn't) but I had to try, you see: it's like shouting into that wind. PATRICK JENNINGS


I'll try to get this down, sensing already that I'll fail: coffee at G.C. Murphy's in the late evening, sky dark, drizzling rain, drawn in here by a memory, this place I'd stumble into off the bus from work, numb, eXhausted, dirty, sight blurred, fuzzy-headed from the long day at Woodward Furniture Factory and, before that, Manpower, this when I first got back to Austin, broke, crashing at Bob Bryant's at first, then later--after my mother died and the flight home for the funeral and my sister laying five hundred dollars on me-getting a place of my own in a nearby complex. But this place a focal point then: I always had to stop here before making it home because the lights and the coffee-smell were too inviting to walk past. They drew me in like a magnet

In a year's time, the complexion of music retail will have been permanently altered. This is the year, say the pundits, when the vinyl LP will vanish, having been rendered sufficiently moot by the compact disc. They're probably right. The LP is dying by degrees. Soon, the format that birthed the form (the record album) that molded our listening patterns most strikingly this century will be rather casually discarded. Personally, I don't think all factions have been polled. The recording industry did not care much about independent record stores' concerns in the '80s (I know: I've worked in them continuously throughout the decade). The CD offered an opportunity to increase list prices (from $8.98 to $16.98), increase sales, and consequently increase profits. You may ask yourself, why do CDs cost so much? The public has stated emphatically on many occasions that it will not tolerate higher prices on LPs or tapes. As a result, the list price of new



release major label albums has not risen a penny over $8.98 since 1977 (except in 1982 when select "superstar" releases began" carrying the "premium" $9.98 list, which has now pervaded to include, for example, nearly every new release on the Atlantic Records group). Do not think though that this means the labels have had to suffer all the pinges of cost of living increases without product prices increasing. Some of that grief they meted out to retail by raising the cost of albums while keeping the list price stable. It's not difficult in this case to see who got the mine, and who got the shaft. But, even after sticking retail with threadbare profit margins, the industry was still in a tailspin. They knew they had to be able to raise prices to keep up with inflation, as the other entertainment industries (book publishing, filmmaking, live entertainment) had been able to do. They needed a new format, with technolOgy so attractive to consumers that they would dig deep for it. Finally, after the long hard early '80s, they found it in the compact disc. Cheap to make and easy to sell, the CD was an industry wet dream. Even at nearly double the list price of the LP, it quickly became the format choice across the country. But while CDs sell like mad, they are not selling to as wide a group as LPs did, nor to the same group. Those who buy CDs are generally in a middle-to-high income group. They buy CDs by the wad, "investing" in them as if they were CD accounts. The increase in units sold does not, however, reflect the amount of people who cannot afford CDs, and Who resent that the format of choice is being selected by a society of which they are not members. In the industry's eyes, the LP, as a format used by the lowermiddle to upper-middle classes, is expendable. Let's make that stronger: they want to blast all the LPs into space in a rocket. But to those of us who cannot afford to spring $15 for a new CD album, and who detest the sound quality of the pre-recorded cassette, the LP is a warm, affordable friend, especially really cheap used LPs that you can get for two or three bucks. (Those of us in retail do have it easier; we can buy used CDs for $3 to $6, new ones for around ten b~cks). Audiophiles and industry insiders notwithstanding, the LP iG loved, desired, and utile. Why can't we have both? Certainly the CD has not been irrefutably named the champion of sound quality; it has many detractors. It has its benefits and its handicaps (but that's another article). Don't kid yourself that this has anything at all to do wit~ upgrading the form's technology, except perhaps where ease and convenience come in (always a soft spot in the American consumer's heart). No, this is an economic issue, a class war, always has been and will continue to be, and it's certainly not the first time that national or corporate economics have left the working class out in the cold. Unfortunately, it looks like a war that's already been won. Soon, Tower Records will be pulling all LPs from its bins; Capitol Records and Polygram Records have already begun releasing new titles without a vinyl alternative. It seems as if it's too late to stage a revolution. Perhaps all we can do now is wait and cross our fingers that CD rot turns out to be a reality.



She used her blood for spells along with some stolen item, a letter, a photo, a cigarette butt. Witchcraft is really so simple she thought, turning in a circle, saying a name, binding some man to her heart, her body. Then they came to her, obedient as little pups, docile and bewildered. But she couldn't work spells in reverse, so each month with her flow they all appeared, the numbers increasing, the front steps littered with roses and candy, the telephone ringing constantly, the neighbors complaining about the howling of dogs.



The twisted gold wire inside the circle of my new antique opal pendant undulates like the twisted metal that roped and strung several fingers, and the neck, of the grocery-cart man (phenomenon I'd never seen before in this small city, still caught between cotton and conglomerate): he had many trinkets. Pieces of string, more bits of wire, old papers, letters or bills. He had a beard and earrings, shoes that matched, plaid shirt and Army pants and his cart parked outside where otherwise the Toyota might be. He looked tough--I guess he'd have to be--always having to find some new place to sleep, or a way to guard the cart. He's the oddest one yet in the Krispy Kreme on Saturday night: even on weekends you usually just see surreptitious drunks who maybe think you'll believe they're sober just because they're drinking their coffee quietly and eating jelly doughnuts, the occasional




who strikes up a conversation as soon as you mention "Florida," the retired security guard who brings his younger friend every week to recount to him what Europe was like during the war, one or two women you don't ask what they do for a living, the kids in cleats or Adidas, depending on the season ••• (more convivial than even Shoney's, where the lady in the booth across from my friend Jane and me two nights broke into our talk to get reassurance that she's right to tell her fifteen-year-old about the dangers of sex-even with love--and "stay off pot.") The man with the cart had coffee too (maybe he'd wished enough money up from the Big Spring downtown, caught in a sunken park between two banks: on sunny days slung coins flash like scales tossed from the City's gold fish). I'd have talked to him if I hadn't just heard on the news how the local molester who relished women with small children whose husbands were at work had just been caught ••• Instead I listened: he said things like "More cream, please," "got a long way to go." and ago

hair receivers decorated with gold. I told the man in the shop I have five opal rings already, two other necklaces, and earrings too. I think the man with the cart might agree though, that pendant's one of the best things I ever bought).


Since then I've seen him on the streets more than once, wheeling that buggy--What does he do when the basket gets Sell or bestow its contents at the city dump? Who knows? Perhaps one day I'll find an assortment on my doorstep, old milk)ugs, egg cartons, dish-soap bottles like those children somewhere make into dolls, plastic mesh baskets once filled with strawberries, colored stones and marbles, dimes found outside the Post Office, old tickets to the show (at this rate it could take forever to name all the possible junk,


longer at least than I spent in the antique mall at Five Points, in the historic district East of Park, spring, courthouse, banks, and defunct Cotton ROW, where the first thing I saw was the opal pendant, where I thought of it all the time I looked for two candle shelves for Grandma's candelabra to go on the living-room wall beside the lithograph of Sussex, while I watched the colors of the green-and-blue stones bloom through six rooms of pressed glass, cut crystal, Duncan Phyfe-style couches, Victorian chairs, old books, starched lace placemats, belt buckles, dough bowls, bedsteads, china

Nick and I met in a bar on Fairfax near Wilshire. I used to go there after work to think about the life I was getting ready to leave behind. I was trying to get used to the idea of being single, wondering how I was going to do it--how I was going to bring myself to say good-bye to my family once and for all. I had no idea where I was going to go--only knew that I had to leave soon--that I wouldn't be able to take it much longer. I was working up to it--drinking and watching the people in the bar --thinking about the different possibilities: the men I could become involved with, the different ways I could leave: I thought about doing it with a lot of drama, like during a party or family gathering: I'd go in my room and pack my things and walk up to my husband just before I left. with suitcases in my hands and everybody watching, I'd say to him, "This is it. I can't take it anymore. I'm leaving." I also thought about doing it silently, during the day when no one was home, or I might just do it tearfully, with my immediate family there--my husband and my two kids--but without the drama. I carefully planned out each possibility in my head. That wasn't the first night I'd spent in that bar. I'd been there many times--went there almost every night during that period of transition--that time in between when my husband and kids and I all knew it was over but we still kept our clothes under the same roof. We were hesitating--waiting for/dreading the day when Mom would get crazy enough--hopped-up enough--to find the courage to come home and pack her things, and most likely never be seen or heard from again. You see, we were depending on me to do it--to leave--because we all knew that my husband would never have the guts to go through with it (just like we all knew that I'd never have the guts to go through with the family thing). Somewhere inside of us we knew-each in his own way--that ending it would be the best thing for everyone. I don't have to tell you that those were rough times--all that knowing, waiting--always surrounded by the background of our house

and routines, the memories we saw in each other's faces of better times--or what we thought were better times--that flashed before our eyes like subliminal messages--only for an instant and then we'd be back in the present, staring at a face overcome by the breakdown of what we once thought was love, and the knowledge that those illusions had been destroyed forever. There was so much tension it was unreal--like the air was charged with something--like electricity--like part of the volume was turned up but at the same time something--the visual part of it maybe--was turned down--muted somehow--and we were all just going through the motions of daily living. There were some changes of course--like me going to the bar after work instead of going home--sometimes staying out all night--but still we went through the motions--slowly, heavily, like we were all on some powerful drug that numbed us into automatic pilot. We went through those motions/movements through the days, the weekends, with a strange sense of personal distance--like we were all removed from it somehow--like we were all watching from a great distance. It's painful, even now, to look back on it all, but at least --thank God--none of us pretended during that time that everything was all right. Mostly, we just tried to stay out of each other's way. Which is what I was doing when I'd go out at night: I was staying out of their way--out of my family's way. The bar was close to where I worked--I was a secretary--and the people who went there were regular people. It wasn't one of those L.A. meat markets that people go to all dressed up, trying hard to sell themselves to someone else: The women sell sex--they wear expensive, revealing clothes and paint on greasy faces that start melting a couple of hours into the night, With the men, it's success. They try to look successful, or at least like they've still got some chance at success. This place wasn't like that. it was comfortable--a place where people went after work to unwind-somewhere my husband would never think to come looking for me. He'd be more likely to lOOk in the other places, since somehow he'd convinced himself that what I wanted was the illusion of the comfort of money. That's how well he didn't know me, or maybe it was just easier for him to think that it was the money that was driving me away--I don't know. Anyway, I'd go to this bar on Fairfax because I could go there and be myself--and once in a while hook up with someone who was like me--someone who was trying to work something out. During that time--except for the people at work, and I wasn't close with any of them--those men I met in the bar were my only source of companionship. Needing male companionship was the only way I still needed people, and in my emptiness and isolation I clung to that, even if I only followed through with it--actually going home or to a motel with someone--once in a while. The night I met Nick, he was there as part of a "spiritual journey"--those were his words, not mine--during one of his periodic sojourns to the "other" world--the world across town from the bus station--that "middle class reality of automatic movement,"

as he calls it--where to him it's all the same: "Some money and a lot of money," he says, "an honest meat market, a dishonest meat market-- it's all the same." It's all the same, he says, because it's a place where life continues to go on as usual, and it doesn't matter if you're dressed up or not: It's all the same because everyone is still weakly pretending that everything's all right, and everything is definitely not all right. He takes those trips to the other world about once a month. He told me about it--about this "spiritual journey" thing of his--the night we met, but it didn't make any sense to me then. This is how it was that night: I was in the bar, it was about five-thirty or a quarter to six in the afternoon. It was sUD1lDer. I was throwing darts with an airplane pilot from Chicago and his daughter who was only four or five years younger than me (I was twenty-eight). She was a dancer --tall and very pretty. I don't remember either of their names. One of the big basketball games--I think it was basketball-was playing on the television up in the corner by the ceiling. The bar was full of excited men. I saw Nick when he walked in. I watched him while he walked up to the bar. He was looking all around. He saw me, kept looking at me and I looked back at him, When the stare finally broke, the pilot, who couldn't help noticing, looked at me and smiled and winked. He continued to throw darts while his daughter and I watched. He was standing directly underneath one of the ceiling lights, which made it look like he was standing in a spotlight. The daughter said to me, "Did you see that guy? Did you see the way he looked at you?" She was smiling While she said it, friendly. I looked at my drink and said, "Yes, I saw him." She said, "He's good looking, but doesn't he look a little strange to you? Different looking?" I said, "I don't know, maybe," but as I said it, I thought to myself that she was right. He did look a little strange, but not in a bad way. The pilot threw darts a little while longer, then the three of us--he and his daughter and I--went up to the bar and ordered more drinks. I didn't look at Nick, but I felt his eyes on me as I walked up to the bar. After I sat down I looked at him and he was staring at me. he didn't look away. I drank with the pilot. He'd been paying for my drinks since I got there. He was wearing a white shirt and khaki pants. He was very clean--had a clean, honest look on his face. He seemed to be in a lot of pain. I asked him, "How come you came to L.A.? Is your whole family here with you?" He said, "Well, everyone except my wife--me and my five kids are here." I thought to myself, Five kids?1 This poor guy's wife left him alone with five kids! I said, "You can't be serious about that-about all those kids." He laughed and pointed to the daughter and said, "She's the oldest. I don't know what I would've done if it wasn't for her." The daughter was talking to someone else and made off like she



didn't hear but it was obvious by the look on her face that what he said made her feel good. I said, "Where's your wife now?" He laughed again--embarrassed--and said, "Oh, I thought I already told you: My wife died two and a half months ago. She had cancer. She was sick for a long time." I told him I was sorry and we talked about her while we drank. I didn't particularly want to talk about her--he did--but it seemed to be doing him good so I was glad to let him talk. I'd ask questions every once in a while to keep the conversation going. He was lonely, It was obvious that he needed someone who wasn't one of his kids to talk to. There was nothing between us. The daughter was talking to a man on her left. I didn't think ~oo much about it then, but now I realize that she must have been in a lot of pain too. Once in a while I'd look over at Nick and he'd either be talking to Betty the bartender or looking at me. After about an hour of sitting there--talking and drinking-the pilot and his daughter got up to throw more darts. It was a deliberate move: I was grateful for their sensitivity: Timing is important in certain bar maneuvers. As soon as they left I looked over at Nick and he was looking at me., . It was a few drinks later--for both of us: We were both more relaxed than when we first saw each other. He slid over to the stool next to me, where the pilot's daughter had been sitting, and said, "I guess you know I've been looking at you since I came in." I said, "Yes, I know." He took my hand and shook it and said, "I'm Nick Godward. I used to be an attorney. Now I'm a prophet." I didn't know what the hell he was talking about. I said, "Well, I know some attorneys--I work for attorneys--but I've never met an attorney who was a prophet." He smiled and said, "Remember, I said I wed to be an attorney." I told him my name was Sharon. He took my hand in his and kissed it and said, "I'm glad to know you, Sharon." Then he kissed me on the lips--for a long time --just like that--and there was this long moment of shock and silence--we were both surprised by what he did--and the drone of the bar seemed to disappear for a minute: The people were all still there, but there was no sound--and the two of us just sat there looking at each other. Then he said: "would you like to know what I'm doing here?" I said, "I think I already know." He laughed and said, "No, I don't think so." Then he said, "Of course I love to meet women--and that's always nice--but that's never my primary objective when I come to places like this." He paused. He was waiting for me to ask him, so I did: "So what's your 'primary objective' when you come to places like this?" He said, "I'm here tonight, in this bar in your strange neighborhood ••• " He drifted for a few seconds, then came back: "I'm here to observe time and humanity."

I said, "First of all, it's not my neighborhood--I work nearby but I live in the Valley. And besides, you said you were an attorney--I mean prophet--not one of those space aliens that people say come down here to earth all the time to check us out." He laughed but he didn't say anything. He looked me in the eyes, then at my body up and down a few times. When his eyes finally rested on the bartop in front of him, he pointed to the spot he was looking at and said to me in a serious voice: "Would you like to know the key to the universe, Sharon?" As he said that and I was looking at him, I noticed he hadn't shaved for a couple of days. He had dirt under his fingernails and his clothes were dirty. I thought to myself, This guy's really got something wrong with him, but don't misunderstand me: That didn't turn me off--I liked it: It was kind of interesting--more interesting than the pilot, who was nice but there was absolutely no chemistry there-like I said before, there was nothing between us. I smiled at Nick and touched his arm and said, "Okay. We're both drunk, so what the hell? What is it? What's the key to the universe?" He said, "The key to the universe is a circle and a line." I looked at him like he was crazy. "It's not one or the other--that's where they've got it all wrong," he said, "because it's not all circular, and it's not just a straight line either." The tone of his voice was very serious, I didn't get it--had no idea what he was talking about. "I don't like to think of the symbol for this answer as a circle with a line drawn through it," he went on, "because that looks too much like the symbol people use for zero, and I think it should be more positive than that." With his finger he first traced a circle with a vertical line going through it on the bartop (1)--to represent the possible symbol--and then a circle with a slash going through it--like the sign for zero--for comparison (2):



He said, "I like to think of it instead as a circle with a square around it--like this .•• " and as he said it he pulled a pencil and small pad filled with notes out of his pocket, and drew a picture like this:


I looked at the drawing. I said, "I don't want to upset you or anything--I know this is important to you--but that's a circle and a square." And he said, "I know, but a square is just four lines." He smiled and pointed at the television up in the corner and said, "It looks kind of like television." I said, "Are you trying to tell me that the key to the universe is a television?" He said, "No, no--that's not it at all--though the television can certainly tell you what you need to know ••• if you know how to use it properly," I thought about my kids at home--eating McDonald's, watching TV--trying to kill time--and I started to feel bad, but then I looked at Nick and just had to laugh •••• No one I knew well would be able to see it, but I knew that he was really something special. He ordered two more drinks. Then he looked at me and said: "The key to the universe is that you have to consider all possibilities--not just one way," and he tore the drawing out of the notepad and handed it to me. "Here," he said, "keep this and think about it. Look at it sometimes." We sat talking like that until the bar closed. I didn't even notice when the pilot and his daughter left. We were the last ones to leave. We said good night to Betty and stood outside on the sidewalk at a quarter after two in the morning. We were both too drunk to even think about driving. We started walking toward Wilshire. He said, "What should we do now?" I told him my office was close by. I said, "We can go there and sleep a few hours and then go home when we can both drive." He laughed like I'd said something funny and then he said, "Isn't that a little strange?" There was a weird sarcasm in his voice. He said, "I didn't think people were supposed to sleep in office buildings. I know I never did when I was working." I didn't know what to say to him. I must have looked at him like he was crazy again because he looked at me and laughed and said: "Don't worry. I did other things I wasn't supposed to when I was working ••• I just never spent the night in the office with a woman." It was cold and quiet outside. You could hear the electricity

from the power lines and see the red stop lights flashing in the mist at the street corner. I looked up at him and said, "I think it's all right. I've done it before and it's never been a problem." Then I thought about it a minute and said, "We're not going to steal anything, and the guards all know me and they know I'm not going to do anything stupid--just avoid having an accident. It'll be all right." He took my hand, "You don't have to convince me," he said. He waited, then added: "And you don't have to always be so serious." We walked down Wilshire Boulevard a few blocks to my office. The guards let us in the building--no problem--nothing said except hello and good night. They were as tired as we were. They might have been drinking themselves. We took the elevator up--the only one running at that time of night--and walked down a long hallway to the office. As I shut the door, he said, "This is pretty nice." I left the lights off. We stood by the window--the entire wall was a window--directly behind the reception area. We looked down ten stories to the street, the cars passing by, out at the lights of the city. That night was a turning point in my life. I'd never gotten into trouble for spending the night there, but this time I did--it did turn out to be a problem--because once we got there--after we finished talking and looking out the window --we made love for a couple of hours. Don't ask me how when we were both so drunk but we did. We were exhausted by the time we finished--fell into deep sleep--and suddenly, as though no time at all had passed, we found ourselves startled awake, half dressed on the couch in the reception area. One of the bosses came in at seven in the morning with a client. Of course I was fired on the spot. The boss said something original like, "Sharon, this time you've gone too far," but 1 was too hung over with sex and alcohol to even begin to think about it. I don't even remember the client's reaction. We put the rest of our clothes on and left the office. We cleaned up in the restrooms and then went to the coffee shop downstairs to have breakfast. We were sitting at a small table watching people come in before work. We talked while middle-aged waitresses called out breakfast orders in the background. Nick said to me, "What do you want to do now?" I said, "1 don't know. My last idea didn't turn out too good," and we both burst out laughing. He asked me: "Do you have an apartment?" I said, "I live in a house." I looked at him. "In the Valley, with my husband." There was silence, then: "Oh, 1 see." "I don't really feel like seeing him right now." "No, I don't either," he said. Then he said, "I've got a place. It's not much, but you can


come over and rest, clean up •..get your thoughts


if you

We finished eating and went out into the daylight. We walked a few blocks toward my car, then he asked me: "Do you need anything out of your car?" I said no. "Then let's just take mine," he said. "We'll leave yours here for now and both go in mine." He had an old faded light blue piCk-Up truck with a parking ticket on the windshield. He took the ticket and stuffed it into my blouse. We drove down Sixth street and stopped at a liquor store near Vermont and picked up beer and whiskey. We were silent--smoking cigarettes and listening to the radio as we drove across town. We parked in a lot somewhere near the bus station. I looked around, a little surprised at where we were. I thought about my house and family and smiled. I looked at Nick and he smiled back and shrugged his shoulders. Of course I didn't understand it all the way I do now, but looking around as I sat there in the truck with him, I did have a strong sense of where I was and what was happening. The feelings --from everywhere--were so strong it would have been impossible not to feel something. But even though I was harder then than I'd ever been before, I was still very naive and there was a lot I missed. Now I know very clearly--from passing by and watching and thinking about it every day--that where we are while we're going through all this--what Nick calls "spiritual"--that where we are right now is a good place for us to be. We're near the bus station --which is a sign of hope--a reminder that things--that everything --can go either way. Because the bus station is both the beginning and the end of the city all at once--the mouth and asshole that receives new flesh and blood--new hopes and dreams--many times a day. It pushes out/throws up the rejects and failures just as many times a day--just as indiscriminately--with the same indifference as the drunks throwing up outside--not knowing or caring whether it's the last bottle or the last meal that's coming up--only that they're making room for more. This is especially true for cities like New York and Los Angeles--especially Los Angeles because of the movies. Back on that first day, in the truck with Nick, I just sat there and looked around for a while. Then we got out. He opened up the hood and took out the battery. We walked a couple @f blocks, then up two flights of stairs to his place--this place--him carrying the battery, which he set down just inside the door, and me carrying a brown paper bag filled with Jack Daniels and beer. That was a year ago. I've been with him ever since. We never did go back to get my car.

Now he's away in the other world again. Like I said before, he does that every so often, and sometimes I go with him, but he felt like this time he needed to go alone. I know what you're thinking, and no, he didn't want to go alone so he could be with another woman--I don't think he's got

other women on his mind right now. He just felt that this time it would be better for him to go alone. I sit here thinking about the last time we were together. He knows everything there is to know about me sexually. He says things to me about it--about what I feel down there--that I'm sorry--but my make-up--my background won't allow me to repeat those things to you here in this way. I can go back into my memory, into the near past, and sneak into that last time together--those few days that have to hold us until the next time. I place myself there like a fly on the wall-like a point of consciousness that's just a piece of dirt or part of the shadow of a piece of furniture that's stuck up there on the wall--watching us like a Peeping Tom peering into windows that people forgot to make sure were completely closed and covered before they started doing it. There we were. On the couch. He was on top of me, I was on top of him, we were next to each other. We were making love. Both of us still had most of our clothes on--we couldn't wait to get completely undressed. We'd been drinking, We'd been anxious to do it--started feeling it when we were at the bar--something someone said--someone who was part of a couple sitting near us--that made us start to feel like we needed to be alone together So we finished our drinks quickly and hurried home, We ran upstairs and opened/took down/off Whatever clothing we had to in order to do it. We finished, then he pulled out and rolled over so that he was sitting on the couch. He looked straight ahead at the blank wall while I looked up at a corner of the ceiling. I was lying with my back against the arm of the COUCh, my skirt still up, blouse half open, legs touching his. He got up, went to the bathroom. I heard water running. He had the door closed. I looked at the door, from the COUCh, and thought of him standing there, on the other side of the door, at the sink, washing his face. Washing the rest of himself. He came out of the bathroom with a hot towel in his hands. He walked over to me, helped me clean up--kissed me--very wet kisses all over--then got up and went into the kitchen. He came back with two drinks and sat next to me. He touched his glass to mine. I smiled at him, drank it down quickly, like I planned on drinking down, with one or two or three big swallows, what I knew he'd have saved up for me in the next half hour or so. He knew what I was thinking. He looked at me, smiled--reached over and touched me there. Then he got up to do something, or get something, but he seemed to forget what it was and came back to the couch and we did it again. It's incredible how he drinks so much and still has such a strong sex drive. I've asked him about it, and he says intoxication is a positive thing. He says all of God's creatures have ways of getting high--and that's just how he says it: "All God's creatures have ways of


getting high." He says it's a "cosmic safety measure"--that those substances were put on the earth to protect us from ourselves--like medicine for our minds. I tend to go along with that. Because what better time to take that medicine than during the disintegration of humanity as we now know it? This time which has been going on for a long time: Then we're crossing over into another way of being--new ways of thinking--and technology that for some reason seems to be driving people crazy. I'll say it for Nick and I'll say it for myself: Everybody in the country's getting high on something--from all walks of life--taking drugs or drinking, or becoming addicted to causes--whatever--whatever suits their particular make-up. Doesn't that tell you something? Can you blame them? Just pick up a newspaper. Look around you: The world is a very crazy place. A lot of bizarre things are happening here. Yesterday there was this story in the paper about a woman who fell in love with a man who threw acid in her face and scarred and blinded her because she rejected him. He was rich. He pleaded relentlessly for her forgiveness--from prison--in TV interviews, newspaper ads he took out, letters he wrote. He said he loved her more than anything and that he was sorry. He begged her to please forgive him. She fell in love with him and they were married while he was still in prison. I think he's out now, or will be soon--I don't remember. I know they're both going to be on TV soon. There are weird things like that--people maiming/killing/ hurting not only strangers, but people they love--every day. Some people say human beings have been like that--have had that element of twistedness--throughout time, and that may be true to some extent, except that now we have the added dimension of not only destroying ourselves, but we're also destroying the earth in the process. And no one seems to get it: If there's no earth to live on, what are we going to do? I ask myself how people can be so selfish and live their own lives without ever looking beyond themselves to the lives of others. Then I think about how hard it is to find any meaning, and it can be pretty hopeless sometimes because it seems like people have always had this problem with finding meaning. When I think about the things I learned in school and try to think about some good time in our existence--human existence--I can't think of any time in history that we can look back on with total pride and selfrespect: It's like we're demoralized--repeating the same mistakes over and over--each time in bigger, more aggressive ways. Nick says to me when we're drinking, when we're laughing: "Why experience it sober when you don't have to?" And I have to say--once again--that I agree with him. Getting high doesn't always mean you're "hiding" from reality. It can mean that, which I think is all right--understandable--given the state of the world--I do it myself sometimes--but often people do it to see things differently. You can use intoxication to see the things you might not otherwise be able to see--or to block out what you don't want to

see--like the true character of the friend you're talking to--the one you pour your heart out to in your most vulnerable moments-their character, which of course can be good or bad, or the way things are in general--the things you see and hear about every day. You may not be able to controlffie world, but you can control ~ world, at least some of the time. That's why I sit here and drink and watch television. I've got the original drawing Nick gave me the night we met--of the circle and the square. I've got it on the bed beside me. I look at it sometimes during the commercials. I always keep it with me, even if it's just in my purse or in a pocket and I don't look at it. I sit here and drink and watch television--and wait for Nick --because those are the things I do best now. Those are the things that I can do well, and knowing that makes _AH@_AH= feel confident: For the first time ever, I feel like I've got some control over my life. I've got the TV tuned in to a local station. I'm watching an old movie--an old movie and the commercials that come on every five minutes or so. There's a commercial for Cal Worthington. Tonight his "dog spot" is a big cat of some kind. Maybe it's a panther. Now there's an ad for an auto parts store. They're talking to customers--they've been doing it all night: They ask this fat middle-aged woman in a loose-fitting print dress, "How'd you hear about us, Ma'am?" She says, "My neighbor told me to come here because you fellas have the best prices," and as she's saying it, I see there's this guy in the background that looks like Nick •••IT IS NICK! And he's got a new battery for the truck! Now they're going up to him, asking him: "How did you hear about us, Sir?" And I'm so excited--I can't believe it--and I'm touching the drawing, drinking my drink, and looking at the TV screen and he's saying: "On TV. I heard about you guys from your ad on TV."



The pile of donkey heads is very large, There is not enough leather on them to make processing Worthwhile, explains the guide. He points at a skinner. The workman's it is impossible to trace the sequence knife moves so fast of action.

The tourists hold the bundle of mint (given to them at the beginning of the tour) to their noses and listen dutifully. This is the Third World, they think, this is the Third World.


As they leave the damp stench of the tannery, a mob of vendors, waving leather goods, descends on them, shouting.

and will be survived by 302,000,000,000 Tuesdays .•• according to Channel

Of the five businesses located is left: Jimmy John's.

on Route

1 in '44, only one Eve is perfect-twelve years old, near blind, shedding daily. Doing no wrong, she destroys the new rug. Snarling when disturbed, chewing my Hieronymus Bosch, eating last night's garbage ••• never listening. I love her so. In the garden hiding her bone not noticing the apple hanging low she pees on the tree, perfectly.

Jimmy John sold hot dogs and root beer from a stand he packed away at night in the trunk of his coupe. He worked hard, saved harder, stayed out of trouble, stayed in luck. OVer the years Jimmy John's has prospered: the rest, folded.

He enumerates the dead businesses, the dead faces of their owners. Each one lives again in detailed failure. He has a brass plaque with their names on it for all to see. "And the 'Carpet Barn' across the street burned week," notes Jimmy John. down last



Joseph Bonano, we have a lot in common-both waiting to die. You with emphysema, grasping for breath, me, with only tomorrows that take care of themselves, Together we watch the days go by.,. Joe B. sitting on his porCh, waving ••• me running, saying hell-o as I pass. Not so bad, though, My friend has raised a fine family, leaving three healthy sons and two married daughters. I read the papers, watch lots of T.V.,


it was her last day on this job she was leaving to start her own business it would soon be obvious she hadn't been key to anything here and it would also quickly be clear the world wasn't waiting for her business she would become that rarity: one stranded and aware of it

she threw out all his pastries and candies and crunchy things like chips and pretzels


and installed a bunch of fruits and vegetables and stubb sat there scowling of getting so healthy he might have to start explaining himself more

As a boy his exultations had jockeyed high wave crests: at the idea but now in old age he's drawn toward the worn, battered sides of a cliff charged with its suffering of huge green rages.

all the beautiful girls in the university library all the dead books the young know that words don't say much unless feeling gets involved a lot as an old man passes . dry as most books young men stop at sociable tables where they proceed to read the girls

She gloats on the refusal of a stone to compromise, its wet black "no" under rain. She likes weather for its own sake: fog trailing filaments of a spider spinning--as well as branch-cracking gusts. She dotes on the fantastic facts of Maori tattoos, totem poles, baby turtles rushing to dive into a never-known sea. Snug in her neat shell, she's self-contained as a boxed egg.


4e ~C)W\t'



he looked into the computer studied the dancing symbols technology had come quite a long way but so had nonsense henry david thoreau had spoken of improved means to unimproved ends long before anybody had thought of putting man's sillinesses and meannesses into electric green



if "she" sees a flower standing straight here then this is me telling you where to stick it in case I don't laugh and thorns never prick



To ro~rdf~'tS
This old man's griefs, hates are packed into harsh-ridged mirror of weather-broken in sea cliff above. skin, surface

pullies close curtains of orchestral maneuvers with the come-hither hula of spines pushing the backs of women that stand with hands to hips showing us the chin that points our eyes into furthering the paths where breasts hang


" "

GINA BERGAKINO recently rocoived Foundation supporting the writin CHRIS CAUSEY was born and raised-in Boholl lives in San Francisco ... CAITLIN OLI~~ORD quite-famous source, "a inigma", hor work ha. of dm editor L.O.D.'s tirst 0010 oa.sotto rolwuuw, Punishment •.. WILLIAN DORE8XI haa reoontly publish Literary Reyiew, Fine Madnoss, Hind, and hi _e_ forthcoming from the University of "i is a full-time freelance writor. JPBS Radio, M regularly airs his poetry and fiotion, and appear in the mass-market anthology, Shock Troatmont GOLDSMITH 1 ives in Ann Arbor, Miohigan, whe: .. employee of the Veterans Adminiotration Modi freelances for The (Detroit) Motro TimaQ and currant BERT HUBINGER grew up in Miami, graduated trom Oartm lived in California tor about tittoon yoare. Ho ie an advertioing copywri ter for AAA ••. ALBERT HUI'1'8TIOkLI!IR'. book of pooms, Walking Wounded, won the 1989 Austin Book Award •.• PATRICk JENNINGS was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. He reoeived his undergraduate degree in fine art photography trom Arizona State University, and currently is enrolled in the graduate film program at San Francisco State ••• CARLA ICANDINSkY is "living in the smallest studio apartment in Berkeley" and borrowing her neighbor's cat to act as her familiar. Her latest colleotion of poetry is Time of Wings ••• SUSAN LUTHER lives in Huntsville, Alabama, but being a perpetual victim of wanderlust, has travelled allover ••• PAUL MARTZ plays drums and, for a living, does oomputer stutf (these days in Salt Lake City) • •• DARLENE MOORE lives in San Francisco. She is currently working on a novel ••• In addition to poetry, ROBERT NAGLER has published computer software and scientific abstracts, mainly in the area of cognitive rehabilitation. He is the editor of ~, an invitational-basis poetry journal, and ~, a journal of experimental literature and the magnetic media ••• The son of a musician and a singer, WILLIAK E. PASSERA was born in New Orleans. He moved to New York City in 1981, pursuing a career in painting; after six years attempting to sell his work, he took a job in the city school system as a substitute teacher, where he began writing poetry .•. Guillotine Press is publishing a book on WALT PHILLIPS' thirty-plus years as a small press figure ••• ROSE ROSBERG's book of poems is called Trips--wi thout LSD. She is interested in the occult, and employed as a librarian ••• STACEY SOLLFREY sent me this note: "1'm typing this real fast before/ going out to take a walk with my fiance/ after having our day of lounging around/ being intermittently disrupted by/ partial decisions forming permanent agreements while shopping/ for kitchen wallpaper and by experiencing that little/ surprised feeling when you get home and talk about while seeing/ how nice everything will look" •••.


~' ..-iir',.





P.O. BoX 1""11

9tt\l9- (~11

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