A master of distraction attempts to create a character.
I got doughnuts the other night before what seemed like a musical love child of the E.T. soundtrack and songs of Oompa-Loompas. T was interested in the musician who was not only performing but put the whole thing together at a place called Ham and Eggs downtown.
It came after checking out Chisme y Queso put on by members of the Center Theatre Group. The experience entailed improvisational skits inspired by chisme, which means gossip in English, written on the back of promotional coasters by people in attendance of a quaint bar in Boyle Heights. The reward for the most tantalizing gossip included tickets to a showing of Into the Woods, bottle of wine and a gorgeously giant wheel of cheese (one of those that can be easily melted over food and more conveniently consumed in slices cut straight from the plastic casing).
After a few rounds of applause-influenced evaluation for the winner, D won the prized package of goodies with his poignant piece of chisme. Unfortunately I missed the reenactment of his writing because I stepped out for a cigarette with T and was lured to dance in Mariachi Plaza by an elderly woman. She was dressed in a turquoise blouse, eggshell cardigan, denim shorts and comfy brown leather boots. It was like my spirit animal could tell the smoke was a mere distraction from being enticed by cumbia blaring from a stage that held a modest dj stand. Moving the crowd to dance from the stage was a short bearded man with a knack for strumming his güiro.
When we returned to Eastside Luv, we caught the last round of chisme and participated in the judging the winners of previous rounds. While D won the main prize, second place went to V, which was an inevitable consequence given his fantastic talent in storytelling. I don’t even think my story bit was pulled from the large plastic container holding everyone’s pieces of gossip. It didn’t matter. My mind was on doughnuts and I knew Ham and Eggs was just two storefronts down from a Dunkin Donuts. After a slight detour of foosball and some more dancing, we left Boyle Heights and concluded the night with a grand gesture of solid carbs.
A song was written
about a young woman
and charm of a person
by which she’s smitten.
The rhythm was off
but the theme was evident
of a romantic pursuit
forced to remain secret.
Why in this season
do energies shift
and influence admirers
to reveal an eerie twitch
when trying to determine first
whose number will be uttered
and consequently lend to the
spreading of various ignorances?
Rhyme and reason do not enough
in explaining the dynamics
of amorous affairs.
He said, “Think twice not
about such a scandalous fraud
as stability tightens in throngs.”
Though to himself he applauded,
foreboding reproach did flutter and dawdle.
She felt her lungs collapse as she made
her way to the cool area of the cheese
aisle. Nothing else was on her mind except
to feel the ice-cold racks pressing against
the back of her thighs, though she continued
to pull at her unusually long hair bound
together. She exhaled only briefly until she
saw a man of thirty-four in strange winter
attire to her right who gazed upon the
massive wall of cheese. She caught her
breath and felt at ease by the mere act
of observing this pensive life form.
Upon the wall of cheese, the block marked
mozzarella caught the attention of the
gentleman with a cane and an oblong pink
wig. He stared for a moment, squinted his
eyes at the hanging eight-ounce bags, which
he ripped one off its hook to read ingredients
listed on the back. His eyes widened at the
reality of potato starch in his cheese, which
triggered the reaction to slide the bag onto
the hook from whence it came.
He gazed at the natural blocks of cheese
next to the hanging bags and contemplated
whether a whole or two percent milk block
would make a degree of difference. He
snatched the reduced calorie block and
furiously read its list on the other side.
With only four ingredients, free of potato
starch, he nearly twirled himself with glee.
He exclaimed softly, “That’s so awesome,”
without realizing there was a woman sitting
on the low dairy ledge watching him, almost
eager for an inclination to engage in a
“What’s so awesome?”
The only thing on the gentleman’s mind
was the amount of toxins he’d been putting
in his body during the holidays so he
figured he would tell her of the good news
regarding the cheese’s low intoxicant list.
The woman’s facial muscles levitated for
a moment, then returned to an animate state.
She insisted, “What? I’m deaf. I need you
to talk louder if you’re going to tell me
what’s so awesome.”
“The cheese! It has no potato starch and
other ridiculous ingredients!”
She paused. “Wait, what? Who cares about
“Isn’t it important to remember what we’re
eating and not to forget there are some
things in common foods that have such
harmful chemicals? Why not use more caution
in deciding how we fill our bodies?”
Her head tilted, then she exhaled heavily,
“Wow, that was such a tweet. Oh my gosh,
I’m going to have to tweet that. Remember
me though,” propping up her index finger,
“I’m going to be famous.”
The gentleman laughed as he turned away
to walk down the aisle. Before facing
the opposite direction, he stretched his
neck in her direction and said, “Ah, yes,
darling! And I as well, please do the same!”
Oh, the day’s been long
and it’s not quite ten.
Brain cells may very well flee my head.
So long, I hear myself say to the boss
until I think about the inevitable money loss.
Change may come but never fast enough.
Perhaps slow it needs to move
while one sits in wonderment
of where the spirit should travel.
I remember the days I would daydream
on the vast school playground
watching clouds float by
and other kids move about,
never present was I
rather in a flight of listless thought.
Pausing to contemplate
the movement of my body
as it rotates in a chair,
the scent of salmon
in the midst of oil and butter
soothes the day’s exhaustive chatter.
As though movement between leaves
on branches could be illustrated
so gracefully by the hissing and
whistling of changing winds, off
to the right at the end of parallel
lines of monstrous trees is a
doughnut shop convenience store
with a doughnut sculpture of equal
proportion to the branched greenery.
Through the glass doors walk a gentleman
of a husky frame and one of a six foot
skeleton whose narrowness provided
structure for billowing pants and
pocketed dark purple cardigan.
The scent of fried dough rushed
through the nostrils as frosting
oozed off of doughnuts lain on the
metal rack. Both men approach the
register quietly but carefully eye
the display. The cashier approaches
the register after tossing a large
coffee filter in the trash.
Cashier: What I can I get for you?
The two remain silent.
Cashier: Hey, I said what can I
get for you?
The narrow gentleman reaches into
his sports coat pocket and pulls a
small gun and points it at the head
of the cashier who remains frozen
but expresses the same demeanor.
Cashier: I have no money in here.
We’ve just opened for the day.
Narrow: Just give me a fucking
half dozen mix of whatever you
think we’ll eat and hurry up! You
clearly have some baking to do.
The cashier whips a box from under
the register, eyes glued on the
gentleman brandishing the gun.
Cashier: What kind?
Husky: Did you not hear him? Just
put whatever in the box so we can go!
Narrow: Hold the fucking glaze. I said
to get what he thinks I would like
not just whatever.
Husky: Can we not do this here?
Narrow: Don’t jump into my conversations
then, you dumb fat fuck.
Cashier: Please, please, I give you full
dozen for you to stop calling each other
names and using such awful language.
Narrow: Get on with it then!
Husky: Guess it helps to jump into
The narrow gentleman pulls the trigger
and punctures the wall parallel
to the counter.
Narrow: It really doesn’t.
[This is meant to be hummed/sung as an exploration
of the blues through an omniscient narrator.
Think Pink Anderson, J.D. Short, Otis Rush, Sonny Terry]
Through the screen of a window, the sun shines brightly
illuminating leaves small and still dangling
from branches reaching far above the lazy streets.
Suddenly, a sweet female voice shouts with fury
to confront a gentleman whose tone’s so raspy.
Their argument resembles the blues
if two voices could be used
to show how emotions
can lead to such confusion.
Words are unclear until the woman exclaims,
“Boy, you’ve got me sitting idly
only to tell me someone’s waiting on you.
I said why you got me sitting idly
when someone’s already waiting on you?”
The gentleman sways his body weight to the other side,
flings his arms up, then loudly declares,
“Now, now, now don’t go chasing me with your insanity
just cause you couldn’t come to that party,
though I won’t deny seeing you then would have been mighty nice.”
To which the woman responds with an extraordinary howl,
“Don’t you dare try that move,
I hear about what you’ve been up to.
It’d be best to use less trickery
so I don’t keep feeling like such a fool.”
With disbelief, the gentleman replies,
“I wonder why you act so funny
but your words show me you misread
why I have to go run and hide.
I guess you don’t, no, you don’t know much about me.”
The woman can’t help but laugh with a bit of surprise,
“Honey, hasn’t there been enough time spent
reflecting on our likenesses?” Even as he nods his head,
with pity she says, “Don’t talk to me
like I’m a fool who shouldn’t walk the line.”
When the gentleman pauses, his eyes widen
and jaw drops so he can express,
“This only proves what wasn’t meant to be.
Damn, now I see what woes may come
in more forms ’an one by over thinking compatibility.”
Hidden behind her hands, the woman gasps incredulously,
“I can’t believe I wasted time
helping you find comfort in being divine.
Oh, why does this happen
whenever I help minds of a new light?”
All of a sudden a car in the distance
screeches noisily to a halt
but the two continue bickering
as though nothing happened at all.
Before the gentleman opens his mouth,
he points to the smoky scene,
“Maybe that’s a sign you ought to consider
in saving some of that energy.
Yea, you may want to learn how to use that energy.”
This makes the woman cringe and reply abruptly,
“You take and take but stand without
any respect for my universal love.
So silly, oh, so silly to think
you’d be there in my time of need.”
Stomping her heel against the ground
making cement seem quite hollow,
she advised him, “Send me no more temptations
to things you know I like to doing.
Time enjoyed was heaven sent, was it ’cause I’m such fool?”
The woman repeated, “I said the time enjoyed was heaven sent,”
then the two said in unison,
“And I’ve met the self I’ve suppressed for so long.
Maybe you’re the reason why
it’s easy for it to be hidden and found.”
Sunday seemed like a day meant to absorb curious energies of books. Upon entering the store, Nigellissima was the first book to catch my attention. I flipped through images of fresh produce and divine Italian recipes with occasional pauses to smile in contemplation of the length of time Ms. Lawson used to determine how best to showcase her fondness of culinary art. In seconds a glimpse of figs, though they are quite delicious, deterred my interest in looking any further so I closed the book and shuffled around the center tables to the end of a shelf near a family seeking counsel from customer service. The cover of Barrel Fever caught my attention and my eyes followed a few lines of crafty humor until the absence of caffeine in my system threatened the lighthearted nature of the literary excursion. The energy of the family was pleasant but the noise was slightly taxing on my eardrums so I escaped into a mass of fiction.
Shelves filled with work by authors whose last names clutter the end of the alphabet seemed to beckon my spirit. Within seconds I found The Imperfectionists with the cover facing the aisle, which was copyrighted in 2010 but currently dons a silver Notable Book badge of The New York Times Book Review. The cover also advertised a conversation between Malcolm Gladwell (for some reason I thought his name wouldn’t evoke the red squiggle on this computer) and Tom Rachman at the end of the story. With its speed, detail and humor, Rachman’s method of storytelling immediately enraptured my attention; however, my curiosity of his conduct in interviews bubbled more as familiarity blossomed between Lloyd and myself.
The transcription of Rachman and Gladwell’s conversation unraveled the threads of my creative blanket under which I no longer find solace—clarifying what was meant clouds my original thought—and incited a unique enthusiasm, which sparks, effervesces, and dissipates like ripples in the water unpredictably. When I returned to the beginning of the conversation to read the description of Gladwell’s current activity in writing, he revealed a plan to publish a new collection of old work epitomizing his days in New York. Immediately my mind raced through recent examples of the exceedingly prevalent tendency to collect.
A recent example arose when a friend discussed someone’s fascination for propaganda of the Second World War, which manifested itself in spending a significant amount of money on an original pendant of significant weight strung on a loop of beautifully dyed plies.
Though examples of collecting are visible in front of electronic devices and in personal spaces, I suppose an electronic device could be considered personal space as well, conversations about collecting have been surprisingly frequent this season. In the case one produces an adverse reaction to the habit, if in fact the last word of that portion of the sentence is the appropriate term, the matter of sustaining one’s time with intangible indulgences comes to mind. Then comes the question whether the unenthused party finds a similar release of endorphins when actively feeding their literary imaginations, in which case the degree to which one feels fondly for a book would come into question as they may find solace in continuing the free cycle of textual institutions.
Fiction, how you baffle me. How long did it take Rachman and Gladwell to collect, assemble and execute their fragments of thought?
The story of a more recent thought cloud of mine includes the journey of a gangster princess who navigates through intense circumstances that test her will and courage in ways she can foresee without being prepared to address the issues at hand. For some reason, the theme seems quite similar to the work environment of most recent times. The negotiation process required to get individuals to endorse through taking advantage of an opportunity to lower the amount of money owed to creditors. Perhaps mafia energy of an older generation would fit better in contemporary Detroit.
The first episode could be a meeting where a new alliance with a formidable record in advertising is entertained in order to garner support with hopes of building communities but it’s a trap from an underground force slowly gaining momentum, which is under the false leadership of someone physically unappealing but charismatic. The handsome leader of the rival group eventually makes the acquaintance of the princess after they meet at a jazz club but to her dismay, and before any suspicions arise, his celibacy forces the princess to reconsider how she carries herself in public settings.
So true it is to create a story from immediate mental leaps, one will confront messy and impractical barriers compared to assembling fragments of thought smashed between dull pages of notebooks with varying thickness. At the same time, what becomes of the censoring voice? Goodness.
What can be said about the Guantanamo hunger
strike if information is not being shared honestly
by those who can deem information appropriate
for public consumption? How surreal it must
be to live in a community in which top tiers
of a hierarchy can be occupied only through
hospitalization as a form of identity preservation.
Are there more examples of working toward self-
hospitalization as we strive in the direction
of goals with fulfillment being the least
contemplated aspect of relevance?
A way to recover from the horrendous facts
of the prison’s deterioration is to celebrate our
purpose, determine how we can share our strengths
and dismantle the umbrellas of power, which create
and bombard chaos. A wave of hope enters the mind as
Mykki Blanco is elucidated as an entity known to
celebrate the self and declare eccentricities as a
culmination of a powerful character. Discussions
of progression with one’s identity, whether focusing
on educative or frivolous tangents, can reap innumerable
benefits for future generations in the realm of promoting
identity awareness and expression but who can think of
the self when prisoners with alleged criminal backgrounds
are treated so horribly as national leaders have yet
to address or implement viable solutions for the violent
treatment of individuals making claims of injustice
with the only tools of protest available, which are
losing stamina to strive as body mass shreds
as quickly as their dignity within Guantanamo?
Do diplomatic responses to troublesome matters
usually invoke questions of societal contribution
to the matter rather than speak directly to the
topic at hand with clear indications of a plan
to address abusive marginalization? Sluggish
resolution with immovable forces seems
strikingly similar, in the midst of conflict
regarding identity especially in terms of
restrictive energy and the absence of viable
alternatives for the security of prisoners, while
progressive efforts are made in expressing one’s
identity. These topics seem so prominent at
this hour, on this day, through these tinted
lenses which conceal a swollen eyelid but why?
Maybe Mr. Quattlebaum’s persona is an epithet
of overcoming trials and tribulations while securing
in space and time an opportunity to share with the
world ideas worth contemplating, much like prisoners
are fighting in space and time to uphold rights
and ethical codes in the face of undisclosed
withering operations whose progress is unknown.