4.12 / December 2009


He’s too rough.   She has other complaints as well.   She doesn’t like his friends. He doesn’t make enough money.  There is a bruise of many colors on the soft skin of her arm.

The red of the Coca-Cola signs is the same all over the world.

This face is completely different, yet its expression is the same. The change has come too quickly to see.   It isn’t physical.

Men with shovels are digging in the soil, making room for a length of clean gray pipe.   The men are clad in dull-hued clothing.   Coal gray.   Khaki.   Gunmetal blue.   They have on scuffed day-glo orange hard hats.

The clouds are gleaming white on top, where the sunlight strikes; the lower halves are shaded white merging into gray, difficult to distinguish from the neighboring blue of the sky.   We do not see where clouds end and sky begins.   The boundaries between blue and gray have disappeared.

Mark comes out of his office, deep within the brokerage.   He wears a lemon-yellow shirt, a blue knit tie, gray slacks, brown oxfords and dark blue socks.   He sees a young woman talking to Carol, the receptionist, evidently applying for a job. The young woman is blonde, with the kind of vaguely Slavic features Mark has previously imagined as sexually ideal.  He lingers to get a better look.   She has on black tights.   Mark imagines the flesh of her thighs.   She’d never understand him.   It would never work.

The belief in luck is in substance a habit of more ancient date than the surviving predatory culture.     To the archaic man all the obtrusive and obviously consequential objects and facts in his environment have a quasi-personal individuality.  They are conceived to be possessed of volition, or rather of propensities, which enter into the complex of cause and effect and move events in an inscrutable manner.

The car is ivory-coloured, with shining chrome.   Wire wheels.   Wine-red leather seats.   Note the distinctive hood ornament.   The car’s left-turn signal comes on/goes off/comes on as the vehicle slows to a stop.

A song goes through her mind.   She can’t get to the end of it.   How does that little part go?   She hears singing, along with an amplified beat which threads its way, distant pulse from a faraway star.   It fades out and picks up again, with only a semi-momentary glitch once more at the start.

The children are digging, building riverbeds, setting up their little plastic figures. Thoroughly engrossed, they want everything to be perfect before the violent end of the world.

Empty buildings.   Concrete.   Suspended black wires.   Telephone poles.   Gravel and weeds.

Anna Mae Richmond, 83, has been evicted from a house 157 years old, so that a new on-ramp to the freeway may be built.   Anna Mae turns on her call-light but no one comes.   They’re not interested in walking down the hall.   They’re talking about the break-up of someone’s romance.

In all relations with the other, one’s behavior is at first exploratory, almost random– later contacts modifying and redefining variables until some kind of an interim crystallization can occur.

A cobalt-blue elevator, not part of the structure but a temporary external addition for the benefit of the workers, slides up the side of the building-in-construction.   A man in a hard hat is looking at something.   Hammering noises, then the giant echoing buzz of a machine.   Layers of sound.   Harmonics.   Cars, trucks, buses passing by.   Honk of a horn.   The wind is blowing.   The big noise stops.   It starts again.   Half-audible voices, words lost in the wind.

James takes Mary into a room and asks her to sit down on a wooden chair.   Mary suspects she is going to be criticized for her recent lack of enthusiasm.   “Do you realize,” he says, “that through your attitude you have allowed Satan to come into this house?”

The modern airport is beautiful and well-planned.   Listen to the music in the long shining corridors.   Look at the runway.   Look at the brand-new pieces of luggage. The tower, with its arrows and lights.   The runway.   Here comes another jumbo jet.

Sarah chooses the can of tomato sauce because of an attractive illustration on the label.   She pushes the silver shopping cart onward up the aisle, past an old woman who is staring, seemingly abstracted, at the vast selection of canned soups.   A man with a curly black beard walks past, humming to himself.   Sarah’s mind goes blank.   Should she buy some cheese?

She doesn’t like his friends.  He doesn’t make enough money.

A rat is placed in a box with two compartments, one of which has White walls and a grid floor, the other Black walls and a wooden floor.  The rat explores both parts and shows little preference between them.  Then it is placed in the White compartment and given a strong electric shock through the grid floor.   Most rats soon escape the shock by running into the Black compartment.  This sequence of shock in White and escape to Black is repeated.   Then the rat is placed in the White compartment without shock.   It runs into the Black.

There is an SUV parked in an almost empty, blacktop parking lot.   No one innocent will suffer, the men are assured.

Clouds.   Cars.   Colors.   Brick wall.   Trapezoid.

Wooden palettes, weather-beaten and gray.   Broken windows.   Suspended wires.   Some shards of broken glass.

Coca-Cola’s beach ads repeat the image of beautiful women in horizontal positions as men move in and out of the picture.   The word “fun” is mentioned as a blonde woman, lying on her stomach in a scant bikini, lifts up her head to look between the legs of a man as he hands her a vertical bottle of Coke.

The face is completely different, yet its expression is the same.   The change has come too swiftly to see.

Rrrrrr of a motor.

And then, before the customers have time to move, the next dancer appears.   “Hey, let’s have a big hand for Stormy!  Stormy!”   She rolls her pelvis as she moves on spiked heels, breasts wobbling while she smiles.   She seeks eye-contact with those in front.   The music pulsates.  Her labia are dry.

Someone is throwing garbage out of the fifth floor window down to the street below.   The brown paper bags explode on the gray cement: egg shells, coffee grounds, cat-food cans, banana peels, empty milk cartons, melon rinds, chicken bones and limp brown lettuce bounce up in the air before coming to rest.

In older men, full erection is often not attained until immediately prior to ejaculation.   Nipple erection, muscular tension, rectal sphincter contractions are all diminished.

There could be no present tense, no present, without forgetfulness.   A veil must fall over reality — in order to eradicate the poisonous past.   And yet the past never really dies, nor can it be killed.   Reality wears a mask, and behind the mask is but a mirrored face: the mirror always lies.

CODE 3:1

NATURE OF CARE: Assault — multiple head contusions/lacerations



Patient was assaulted with fists approximately ½ hour prior to our arrival by male acquaintance.   Negative loss of consciousness.  Complains of pain facial/skull area, generalized pain (L) rib cage and (R) lateral leg.   Denies neck pain or shortness of breath.   During assault, patient was dragged across floor, occasionally kicked.


26 year old white female, ambulatory to ambulance with assistance. Oriented X 3. Swelling ecchymosis about the eyes and face — eyes swollen shut, with bleeding from beneath the eyelids.   Broken teeth, blood from mouth/lip lacerations.   Ears clear.   Multiple hematomas about the skull.   Thorax symmetrical, lungs clear.

ASSESSMENT/IMPRESSION: Multiple facial/skull contusions, lacerations.

PLAN/TREATMENT: Transport without incident.

The creation of the universe is very painful: the separation into air, water, fire and earth causes loneliness and pain.   Everyone suffers.  Please, the elements cry, we want to be together again; we want to crawl up onto the bed and hide under the covers and go back into our mom.  We don’t want to be alone.

Unable to see each other’s face in the dark.  Breathing.   The flow of blood through bodies made warm through contact flesh to flesh.   Some– sounds.

And then the lights.