There is a plumb-black flower in my yard, about the size of my thumb but narrower and prettier. It’s on a stalk of Sundowner Mountain Flax and it is the white hot center of a month of hummingbird wars that take place every June. Juvenile male hummingbirds stake out their territory in the late spring, and for whatever reason, this particular plant is highly regarded among these thugs. If I sit on the chaise longue in the background for any amount of time in the morning or in the late afternoon I am treated to a free-for-all cage fight without the cages. Their calls are quick clicks, but if you’ve ever heard them slowed down, you’ll know they sound like trilling whales. They dive bomb each other, drink from the flax flowers, blast off and blast back, and sometimes they’re so wrapped up in the business at hand, they don’t realize they’re floating right next to me for a few seconds, until they do, and then they’re back in combat. These battles usually last a minute or two, but sometime they go on and on. There’s never a clear winner, at least to me, and while they’re obviously engaged in serious stuff, the dance of light and motion is a salve against my days.
Until Donald Trump squeezed out of America’s little brown eye last November, I had no idea there were so many gruesome, half-wit billionaires in this country. I’m not talking about Trump – primarily because I don’t buy for a second that guy is worth anything close to a billion dollars. I’m sure he’s got some pretty Apprentice coin, but I’m also sure he’s in debt up to his gill-slits to bankers, oligarchs, oil princes, and whoever else he can get to float a cover loan to pay off all his other loans.
You can see how he operates when you think about his wall. First he proposes a tacky, unnecessary, and almost certainly unfeasible southern border wall to make America safe, keep out the rapists. Plus, it will be a huge piece of art : “It’ll be a beautiful wall, a real beauty,” he said repeatedly on the stump. But walls are never beautiful ; a wall is always an eyesore, albeit sometimes a necessary eyesore. (Speaking of which, I wonder if anybody on the trumptrain has considered that as soon as a wall is built, it will become the largest canvas for anti-trump art and propaganda in the world.) Over and over he made the same unrealistic promise : “Mexico will pay for it.” Sure, whatever, but now he’s President, and he changes his tune : he wants to build the wall first and make Mexico pay for it later. It’s too important to wait because terrorismrapemurder. So now we’re paying for the wall up front and we’ll get reimbursed down the road. But what does reimbursed mean ?
It can mean anything. It can mean a balance of trade deal with Mexico where time or interest rates are shifted slightly. It can mean a tariff or an import tax. It definitely won’t mean actual cash, because Mexico never was going to pay for the wall. I’m also pretty sure the wall will never be built — not as Trump sold it — and what will be built will almost certainly be tied up in court. That’s how Trump makes money — false promises, bullshit accounting, bad financing, and litigation. So if he says he’s got (laugh-choke) 10 billion in assets, he’s got to owe 9.4 billion, minimum.
But there are all these other billionaires coming up like cicadas. Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross, Linda McMahon — all of them unremarkable in any way except for their ridiculous fortunes. And they’re all in Trump’s cabinet. That’s exciting. Now I read about another couple more billionaires — Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer. Robert appears to be a math savant who made a lot of money running a hedge fund. Rebekah seems like a woman who is perfectly capable of running an online bakery, which is what she did before investing in Breitbart and Steve Bannon and deciding her money meant she gets to make the rules. And thanks to Citizens United and the flatline-inducing level of corruption in American politics, she does. She and her father have despicable ideas about human value and they’re racists, of course. But I have to admit I really liked something Robert is quoted as saying. He’s talking to Sheldon Adelson, billionaire (yawn) casino mogul and Zionist cocksucker, and the quote is meant to illustrate Robert’s extreme mistrust of the élite political class. But I don’t care about any of that. I just like his turn of phrase.
“I don’t know any of your fancy friends,” Robert told Adelson, “and I haven’t got any interest in knowing them.”
I like how he says “haven’t got” instead of “don’t have.” I’m totally going to do that now.
In the hottest bar in Wisconsin
the singer sings about blind white panic
and crystalline faces coming in from the cold.
The dying singer sings about love,
and I can see the band behind her
sighing into the lights.
In the morning, red crows bang
the high-water pylons and fold back into the sky.
The mild sounds : a moist wing, a finger in a trout,
the girl with the hissing lantern
comes down the stairs like water under ice.
The pines are deep in snow, but they don’t know it yet.
One year, I thought I’d try writing a novel in November. This is the entire result of that herculean effort :
Lordez is the girl, the one that was at Lisa’s baby’s party, Lordez Rodriguez, which you’d think her mom could’ve said out loud to make sure it didn’t rhyme – no, not Rodriguez, it’s something-ez though. When she told me I wanted to say “Pleasedez to meetez you.” I think I did say it actually, but she didn’t hear me because the rain sounded like someone was hitting her car with hammers. We didn’t talk at the party, but when it started raining I was asking everybody for a ride and she felt sorry for me. We didn’t talk in the car either because the rain was like hammers, except she said her name was Lordez Hernandez, and she’s the girl I was talking about the other day.
What are you now ? The portion left to sleep is
crying in your sleep. They want to take your leg.
Your oximeter chirps behind you. Behind me,
Bandit steals a kiss from the Frog.
Ssomehow we smoked and snorted
our way into the same bed, mother and son.
If the Snowman and Fred saw us like this
they’d chew each other to the bone.
Alan fled New Brunswick and his people there early last spring, fled their venomous cuisine and their aimless humping, their fiddleheads and their homemade maple rum that inflamed even the oldest of turds to fits of priapic square-dancing and, later, rutting against the corner of the bar ; he fled his mother, who had convinced herself it was her shyness and crippling passivity that drove Alan’s father to walk into the sea, and who, after having found the need to “ideate” a new life for herself, sat down one evening in February, shut her eyes, and imagined a darling baby, “a beautiful baby all my own” (Alan found that particularly galling), a baby not made of skin and bone but of fear and anxiety, bundled and swaddled just like a real baby, tender and needy just like a real baby, the idea being that caring for her fear baby would help her come to terms with her weakness rather than let it shame her as it had all her life, which seemed to make sense to Alan, except after a few nights of this, he found his mother in her chair, red-faced and groaning, her hands crushing each other in her lap, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out she was choking the ever loving shit out of her fear baby, which now she was calling Alan ; but most of all, he left Moncton because Veronique wasn’t ever going to come back.
I’d rather have a cubic zirconium
Than acerbic meconium.
I fell asleep for a bit this afternoon and dreamed that I got a call from my agent. James Franco had requested me personally to teach him bird calls, specifically California shore bird calls, which apparently were my specialty. I was skeptical, not sure I could deal with a dilettante trying to learn in a week what had taken me my entire birding career, but I took the job. When I arrived, James Franco was sitting on a metal chair in a poorly lit concrete bunker, in an orange t‑shirt and brown pants, whistling like a lunatic. Uncertain if I should interrupt, I started to set up my playback system, which involved reel-to-reel tape recorders, a Super‑8 movie screen, and cockpit headsets. Franco stopped me. He didn’t want to learn how to identify birds by their calls, he said. He wanted to learn to whistle like the birds. I told him that wasn’t my thing, and he said, “David, we have to learn to speak to the birds. They’re never going to learn how to speak to us.”
What does it mean when you dream you’re at a gallery opening watching a video installation of Madonna in a nightgown and tear-stained make-up slapping a young, blond, naked Alec Baldwin with a gun ? (One monitor is a wide shot loop, one a wide slo-mo, one a close-up of the pistol nipping Alec’s stamen.)
Asking for a friend.