scruta

Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Huaihai Road

Give yourself to warmer nights that drizzle on your tounge

Feel the pavement scuff the soles of your shoes

As the taxis fly by with lulling passengers

And the construction workers toil through the night

Tunneling around, beneath, between your feet

And Huaihai Road never ends

***

Give your mind to the flashing-light shoptowns

Let your judgment slide with the icicle lights

As the bottle of booze in your hand grows lighter

And you feel like the street could become a runway

And Huaihai Road never ends

***

Give yourself to those thoughts of home

Where you once uttered words that meant more

Than the friction of two strangers passing

Comparing the marks on their hides

And Huaihai Road never ends, Huaihai Road never ends.

posted by ferret at 11:25 pm  

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taking the Piss Out of Publishing Dreams

I’ve often fantasized about publishing something I’ve written in the pages of a top literary journal. The fantasies always begin with a certain swagger in front of the mirror as I imagine how proud I’d feel about it. Plus there’s all the all the cool shit I’d get along with it. Then I start to see things for what they are:

I get an agent. I get somebody who never leaves me alone and always wants to know when I’m going to finish what I’m working on, or worse still tells me what to write.

I get some money, i.e. some money, not a shitload. In fact, if I’m lucky probably just enough to live in China for a month. Unless by some strange coincidence somebody in Hollywood decides to option whatever I write for a movie. Then I might get a shit load of money, but I get to watch whatever I’ve written morph into a photo-shoot gone wrong at worst or a classic of the genre at the best. Writing the book that inspires a classic has its downsides too – nobody wants to be the author of the book that was “almost as good” as the movie that it spawned.

I get laid. It’s going to be either the intellectual ones who’ve read my work and just want to pick my brain about it and play interviewer with me all the time, or the ones who just like the idea of being with a famous writer, for bohemian cachet or what-have-you, probably don’t read all that much. I’d probably do better trying to pick up by telling people I’m an actuary…

I get to meet other famous authors. I get to do something that I’m thrilled to do, but which I’m sure a number of famous authors are not. A lot of writers are not always the most affable of people either, which would probably make the whole thing rather akin to dental work.

I get to join the literature talking circuit. I’m forced to talk about my finished, published writing, which frankly is probably the last thing I want to talk about. I’d prefer much more to talk to the doe-eyed beauties sitting in the front row, but that kind of favoritism doesn’t go down too well.

I get something impressive to say at parties. Do I really want to go to parties where I have to do that kind of shit anyway?

I get to have the satisfaction of publishing, seeing my book in print. I also have the immense specter of “Will he ever publish again?” lurking over my bookshelf, heckling my slim volume lost in the veritable sea of world literature.

I get my own page on Wikipedia which people will undoubtedly change to say that I fuck goats or got my inspiration for my work by huffing gasoline.

I get to make my parents proud. This is okay, but I have a feeling they’d be proud of me regardless. And really… have I gotten that desperate that I’m bringing them into this?

***

Despite the rather negative spin that I’ve put on all of these things, I still think that becoming a published author would be sweet. It’s madness, but I suppose most endeavors are when you think about it…

posted by ferret at 3:07 am  

Friday, March 26, 2010

False Start #38

The mind of a person with ideas is a party constantly unfolding to reveal hidden relationships, some comic, some tragic: Who knew that you felt that way too? Who knew that we could get on so well? Who knew you could combine this music, these words, this food? Who knew that sexual fantasies could incorporate a palm frond so actively? Who knew that the world could be compared to a balloon animal? Who knew that you could make a night of shopping cart bumper cars? Really? A palm frond? et cetera, et cetera.

This process of unfolding is often aided by the presence of alcohol and dramatic lighting.

posted by ferret at 1:51 am  

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Words: Haycock and Clapper

Haycock

Clapper

posted by ferret at 11:45 pm  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Crash

[It's the middle of the night. It's Friday night, but Ferret is trying to get some sleep because he has to get up early the next day. Suddenly, a loud crash outside his window wakes him up. He figures that it was something someone had thrown from their window that hit a car (this happens often at his apartment complex). It's none of his concern. He tries to go back to sleep.

Several minutes later, just as Ferret begins to doze off, he hears commotion outside and the sound of police on their walkie-talkies. He gets up and looks out of his back balcony to see the body of a man laying underneath a truck, covered in blood and convulsing as it gasps for air. Policemen circle the body, trying to figure out what to do. Ferret isn't sure he can believe what he is seeing. He goes back inside, gets dressed, and then heads out into the street to get a better look.

When Ferret gets there, he sees the body of The Man folded up under the bottom of the truck. His right leg is pretzeled over the left. There is a pool of blood collecting underneath his head, flowing slowly down the pitched concrete. He sputters every once in a while, gasping for breath. On his way down, he had hit the corner of a truck, ripping off its right side-view mirror. Pieces of it lay scattered around the man's body. Ferret looks over at the Security Guard who found The Man. He shoots him a look of helpless resignation, perturbed by the events that have taken place. After another minute of looking, Ferret turns around and walks away. As he walks, he sees Two Young Men stick their heads out of the fourth floor of an apartment tower. One of them speaks to the other:]

Young Man

什么发生了?

What’s happened?

Ferret

[overhearing and calling up to them]

一个人自杀了。他跳下来。

A person killed himself. He jumped.

Young Man

男的女的?

Man or woman?

Ferret

男的。

A man.

[Ferret turns to walk inside. He realizes that The Man isn't quite dead, and that he told the bystanders that he was. But there's no way he'd make it. There was too much blood. On the way back in Ferret notices a giant duvet crumpled up on the top of a car hood. Was the man trying to take in his hanging laundry and fell? Did he try to kill himself after all? Or had that fallen from somebody else's laundry? There was no way to know.

Ferret is shook up. He goes inside and calls a friend to tell him what's happened. He chats online with others. Fifteen minutes later, he hears screaming and wailing outside. He glances out the window to see that The Next of Kin has arrived. The Policemen hold her back from the scene. Soon an ambulance arrives. The Man isn't breathing anymore.]

posted by ferret at 2:39 pm  

Friday, March 19, 2010

We Got Legs

[The following dialogue happened online in discussion between Bald Eagle, Ferret, Parrot and Parakeet concerning a the above picture which Parakeet took of them, titled "Plastic Legs".]

Ferret

Wow. Best picture ever. You’re one kickin’ photographer, Parakeet.

Bald Eagle

Yeah, we all look a bit legless though. I suppose we could pass it off as just being footloose and fancy free.

Ferret

Way to toe the line, Bald Eagle.

Bald Eagle

Sorry, puns are my Achilles’ heel.

Parakeet

This banter is impressive…

Ferret

No worries, Baldie. You’re a tough opponent to de-feet.

Bald Eagle

Parakeet, I think you just put your foot in your mouth there. If you want to take part in this thread you knee-d to be throwing in some puns at every step.

Parrot

Yeah, nothing so pedestrian. Let’s toe-jam.

Bald Eagle

Good to see you are taking this in stride, Parrot.

Ferret

That’s right, Ms Parakeet. You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

[There is a long pause.]

Bald Eagle

What? No more? Or is something afoot?

Parrot

I understand Parakeet having cold feet. It’s pretty intimidating going toe to toe with such sure-footed feet fetishists.

Ferret

I guess it’s only fair that we should give her a leg up.

Parrot

Go on ‘Keet. Put your best foot forward. Baby steps.

Parakeet

Thanks for the encouragement, guys. It’s just further proof that you’re my sole mates.

Ferret

I knew you had it in you, Parakeet. Daring to go where most fear to tread.

Parrot

Parakeet, you’re pedicured!

Bald Eagle

Bam! Knee deep in puns and Parakeet manages to step up with something completely 新 [xīn, "new"]. Nice work!

Ferret

Way to kick it into high gear, Baldie. I got your 信 [xìn, "message"].

[Time passes.]

Ferret

Okay. I have an errand to run. I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll be booted from the conversa-shin.

Bald Eagle

I think that it’s taken one step beyond anyway. Maybe it’s time we kicked this into touch and, following all these painful puns, took time to heel.

Ferret

I feel you. I feel you.

posted by ferret at 2:14 pm  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St Paddy’s Day 2010

I hear there are no snakes in Ireland

Because St Paddy plowed them out.

+++

But where did they go? Into the sea?

Did they flit and swim happily through

Kelp as refugee eels, never trying

Never lying at God’s court of appeals

For displaced animals?

+++

Were their skins scattered in the sea,

Coating the coasts with an endless

Supply of translucent hides

Shuffled off in flight?

How were they used?

Did the weaver’s wind strange undergarments

For concubines and Catholic courtiers?

Did the skins sing in the lacquer of ornate lutes and fiddles?

Did they hang in the light of windows as kaleidoscopes?

posted by ferret at 2:56 am  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blockheads

[A new building is about to open to the public, a giant 50-story monster of an office building soaring towards the sky. The marble for the new plaza in front of the building is being laid, but all the workers have stopped working. They are watching Project Manager Wang is talking heatedly with Procurement Officer Liu.]

Wang

What were you thinking?

Liu

I just thought that the number for the marble you chose was written improperly. I meant no disrespect.

Wang

Are you questioning my judgment?

Liu

Absolutely not. It’s just that the marble that you told me to buy was very slick, and-

Wang

And what?

Liu

And I thought that people might slip on it when it rains.

Wang

You understand nothing! Everyone knows that all plazas in China have to have bands of ultra-slick marble crisscrossing them!

Liu

I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. Please accept my apologies.

Wang

How many projects have you worked on?

Liu

Not nearly as many as you.

Wang

That’s right! So-

[Wang sighs, then starts:]

What would happen if we didn’t have people watching where they were going when it was raining? Making sure they don’t slip?

Liu

I don’t know.

Wang

Chaos, Liu. Chaos. Get that expensive, coarse marble out of here and order a truckload of the slickest marble you can find.

posted by ferret at 7:22 pm  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Circles

[Ferret sits in a crowded, noisy bar on a Saturday night. There is a live band of mostly percussionists playing a herky-jerky, world music voodoo vibe. The singer chants over and over: "我的身体没有问题。我的精神没有问题。我的健康没有问题。没有问题。My body has no problems. My mind has no problems. My health has no problems. No problems.'" Ferret begins to write in his notebook, taking in the vibe. A Peacock next to him sees him and asks:]

Peacock

What are you writing? A story?

Ferret

It’s all kinds of things. Notes on all kinds of stuff. Poems, ideas, words, names of medicines.

Peacock

Do you write in the circle or out of the circle?

Ferret

Umm…

Peacock

You know? Like write outside the circle?

Ferret

I don’t know what you mean.

Peacock

Like outside of everything that you know, like what people know.

Ferret

Well, writers always try to go outside what is known into negative spaces. That’s the point of–

Peacock

No. I mean, like God took us and gave us only elementary school. We didn’t get anything else man. There’s so much we don’t know. We’re just animals, man. Only animals!

Ferret

Well, that might be true in some sense, but–

Peacock

We’ve got to get to the high school! Or the college! We’re just stick here in this circle man. We can’t get to God. We’ve got to get out of the circle.

Ferret

Well, I think that it’s important to realize that we are more than just–

Peacock

Now you’re just taking it too far, man!

[The song has finished. Peacock gets out of his chair and yells at the singer in the band in Chinese, and asks him to play with him. The singer says he isn't done yet. Peacock storms off. The band starts up again, and Ferret begins to write:]

The truth is that you talk in circles – this is I suppose the way all insights begin, as a sickness, a thing that builds and feeds on itself. Then – there is the moment that you break out – and you see the circle for what it is in its delinquency. That is the art of overcoming, the defining part of man – the thing that makes him more than an animal and less than a god – these circles that revolve one after the other, on and on, on and on, on and on…

posted by ferret at 11:26 pm  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Written on the Back of A Coaster

This is the poem that filled a

coaster, but filled the world as

well. You know, the world -

that steaming, heaving mass of

shit and piss and blood and boiling

tempers and great unparalleled insights,

whispered on the lips of daydreamers

and bridge jumpers, pimps and

plagiarizing banshees, howling at

the moons of tragedy and unspoken

ecstasies, that sung from the

bowels of the universe, and imprinted

themselves upon this coaster, scrawled

in a backsliding hand, pleading forgiveness.

posted by ferret at 4:16 pm  
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