Go Away (in progress)

Go Away, far
Far Away.

Chu!I reach my heel back, swift kick to the rockhard gut Chu! Then airborne, squinting through approaching twilight, searching for marmot holes in the impossibly mottled grass. I will never ride as the Mongols do. There is something about being raised on horseback, coming from the greatest horse-people in the world, gyroscopic blood. Raised Wooden saddles, floating inches above the horseback; short stirrups, tied together beneath the belly, that would make our knees lock and scream. They fly in frozen standing stance, slouched to one side, pole-lasso in hand, poised in galloped rhythm — familiar as their own pulse.

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate”. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again” to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
Pico Iyer, Why We Travel: A Love Affair With the World

“What a fucking ridiculous place”

Vietnam, home of rice paddies and shards of American shrapnel embedded in jungle soil.

Mongolia is nowhere, nothing. Marco Polo and Chinggis Khaan. He is still Genghis to you.

Mongolia gives new weight to the phrase “Golden Years”. Nostalgia on a new plane.

But now’s your chance to see Vietnam. Before it develops they say.

Realize there is something morbidly fascinating about (post)-communism.

Choose Mongolia because you get to spend two weeks herding sheep and goats, and living in a _ger_in the countryside.

To lands returned
To realms uncharted.

Develop some stock answers to the question, Why Mongolia?

You become a minor celebrity in certain circles. Your mom’s email list. Your sister’s friends. Relatives. No-one at your school cares, or they hide it well. It is likely they resent you for out-exoticizing-internationalizing them. This makes you happy.

Go away–far, far away. You are tired of living comfortable. Which is ironic, since for a rich white male, you’ve had it less than easy. Then again, that’s not saying much. You long for culture shock. To be hung by your feet and shaken until everything falls from your pockets.

You want to make sure your Mongolian language skills reach a decent level. Find one of the five Mongolians in Boston and organize private language lessons for th etwo weeks before you leave.

Buy “Colloquial Mongolian” by Alan J. K. Saunders and Jansangiin Batereedüi.

Six months later, the most played track in your iTunes® will still be “Lesson 1, Dialogue 2–Fast”.

Have a sinking feeling halfway thorugh track 2 on the cd. Sample words: Sandal, Kharandaa, Tom, Jijig, Gobi. Goiv? Gobi. Figure it must be a mistake or typo. How can Gobi become.. well the G is swallowed, and calls up from the bottom of your throat, leading to a slippery o that somehow terminates in a soft V. Realize you won’t be learning this language from a book. You need corroboration for these crimes against reason. Wish you hadn’t dropped Chinese.

Enjoy thinking about how you must appear, Mongolian phrases emanating from your throat as you practice to the recordings on your daily commute on the wonderful MBTA.

Be glad you dropped Chinese.

Try not to think about how knowing this language will help you later in life. Fill your head with lots of liberal-arts learn for its own sake bullshit.

Mongolia is fucking awesome, that’s why.

Mongolia—vast in her emptiness, tragic in her exile from sea and arable land, breathtaking in her humble beauty.

But don’t go for the food

Ode to Pepto
O Pepto, how gracious thou art
Calming the stomach’s sea
Thy fair complexion glows as a rose in Spring
Thy taste, as sweet as the finest chalk.

All romance is dashed,
Upon that first encounter with the infamous phantom
That is Montezuma’s Revenge.

Or the sting of your hands,
As they freeze one morning
In October.

In Mongolia, vegetable soup consists of:
onions (
cabbage (optional)

In Mongolia, the girls walk home to their slums wearing fake designer jeans and faux-fur-trimmed coats.

In Mongolia, Dogs are not man’s best friend.

In Mongolia, Chinggis Khaan is the God of Gods.

In Mongolia, marmots steal frisbees and other bright white, fast-moving objects.

In Mongolia, your cab fare is computed using a simple formula:
(distancekm*300) / (mongolian language ability) / (number of mongolians with you) + 500 \* (number of gringos) + random \* 100

Big Brother is watching, don’t say the
Wrong thing, look the
Wrong way.

Traditional systems dis-
Integrate. Morals, ethics, freedoms and structures of life on the steppe.Such as traditional land use practices, and the freedom to migrate where one wants.
Yet what happens when Big Brother falls?

Stone Flagbearer
Soviet Memorial

The veil is lifted, euphoria blossoms;
The image of the Tiger mesmerizes,
Nurtured by romancing Western winds.Reference to the assurances from Western advisors that their policies would lead Mongolia to become the next ‘Asian Tiger’.

I gingerly held on to my seat as we bounced through marmot holes and over patches of grass, feet perched solidly on the footrests of my host father’s motorcycle as we sped through the night. The cool air soothed my skin, each molecule a reminder of the authenticity of the moment, and my very mortality. The motorcycle’s lone headlight danced its way across the steppe; I leaned back, resting my hands on my knees, and gazed up at the endless starry dark. My stomach full of боодог (boodog, Mongolian roasted goat), сүүтэй цай (suutei tsai, milky tea), айраг (airag, fermented mare’s milk) and архи (arhi, vodka), I smiled at the uniqueness and beauty of this experience, and drank in the Mongolian night.

Yet change proves illusory, as do the goods
That once lined the oppressive shelves of state-owned stores.
A dissatisfied electorate speaks with their vote;
Old are replaced by new: the heroic Democrats

Stumble forward.
With the suavity of a toddler’s first step, they apply the shock;
Sparks fly, illuminating their fresh faces frozen in naïveté and terror.
With the ferocity of a dead fish the Mongolian economy coughs,
Collapsing into torpor.

I took what must have been my 100th lap around the ger–I had struck a rhythm; long underwear snapping against the canvas roof to the beat of my stilted step. My right foot always hitting harder as it centripetally held me in an orbit–clockwise of course, even when committing flyicide.

31 August, Afternoon

Flies are everywhere. On my arm.

Fuck these godforsaken fucking flies. Wow, I sound angry, no?

31 August, 5:30pm

Now Lkhakvasuren is running around the ger rambo-style with a towel in one hand, and my pillow in the other, windmilling her arms.

4 September, 3:55pm

Midday is definitely the worst time of day. It’s hot, and there’s nothing to do. My [host] father usually naps or watches TV, or both, while I make flashcards or do homework. Meanwhile, the flies go beserk. There’s no point in even trying to wave them away.

Right now the only sound is of flies swarming above and around me. A chorus that ebbs and flows to its own chaotic pulse. Usually, I get up every ten minutes or so to clear my side of the ger, if only to lessen the number in my immediate vicinity, for a few moments of relative peace.

It sorta works. At least I don’t feel helpless. My [host] father is going to tend to the sheep now…

8 September, 3:47pm

When this baby screams, it’s like the sun is shattering, screeching-swerving through space. Except less cosmic, graceful, grandiose, or poetic. The shit is just LOUD and SHRILL.

It’s also the witching hour. Or hours. WHen the flies all take their afternoon dose of speed and then go Bat-Shit-Insane all over the ger. Todo: Become zen so I don’t care

9 September, 3:00pm

…they joked that I should give them burzag blah blah, that I was a poor host –pause to kill some flies–

9 September, 3:55pm

Phew. There were 100’s, now there are, like, 20. The war is un-winnable, but I figure I can win a few battles to make their level at least tolerable. And strike some fear into their grimy hearts.

The Herd
One mass, assembled
A stream of fleece
Flowing, bound by ground
Horse and voice

An architecture whose elegance
Could only emerge from Time’s
Eternal forge, casting
Function, form, philosophy.

Swarms of flies, driven mad by midday sun
Melt silence into winged static.

Timelessness embodied in wooden chests,
The malchins’ mournful voice serenades his herd;
A wood-framed home in a woodless land.

Learn that everything extracted from, or grown in Mongolia goes to China; that everything that can be bought is made in China, perhaps from Mongolian materials. Which you hadn’t dropped Chinese.


We are walking down the main drag, heading to or from a bar. A man is standing by the roadside. he is a dark shape revealed only in the passing slices of headlights, wearing a shirt that was once white, but is now streaked with red. Presumably blood. His face, also revealed by the headlights is similarly painted — and wears a timid grimace.

He is trying to get home; with one hand struggling to pathetically hail a passing car, as he hunches over into himself.


Don’t go to Mongolia for the food. Unless you like three things: Mutton, Salt and Fat. Then you should rather enjoy the cuisine.

The American doctor at the local Korean Christian hospital thinks Mongolians have high rates of kidney disease from not drinking any water. In the countryside, they drink suutei tsai (literally, tea with milk). Perhaps a more apt name would be davstai tsai (tea with salt). It is the beverage of choice when you’re not drinking airag (fermented mare’s milk, or koumiss), and can be conveniently used as broth for any soup or noodles.
Main Dishes

You have the infamous buuz. Buuz are like Tibetan momos — little mutton-filled boiled dumplings. Except momos are smaller, and have spices and vegetables. Buuz have four ingredients: Mutton, Mutton Fat, Salt, and Onions. For cultures from the colder regions, the highest of culinary achievement is glorious lard.

Put the onions, mutton and fat in a dumpling wrapper. Make into dumpling. Boil. Eat with suutei tsai. Your first bite may be dangerous, you bite into the familiar dumpling shell only to receive an onslaught of flooding ”juice“. Your mouth fills with mutton grease and the uniquely pungent taste of mutton itself.

Mutton is a uniquely fatty red meat, so bad for you that the Mongolian government runs a health campaign, promoting BEEF as the heart-healthy ”other red meat“!

Up next, khuushuur. These are like hot pockets (maybe the calzones), but filled with one thing: mutton — and then fried to oblivion.

Tsuivan. This was my staple dish when eating at the only restaurants that exist outside the city (the capitol). Zoogiin Gazar, Buuz-eria, ”Mongolian National Fast Food“. they serve several dishes, most which are randomly sold out at any particular moment.

I always order Tsuivan. it’s a simple dish — a safe choice mostly, though a few times I was served it with ketchup. Which threw me off a bit. Essentially it’s Mongolian lo mein. take flat wheat noodles, fry lightly with a generous amount of oil, slivers of mutton, and maybe a few veggies. even the noodles will take on the pungence of mutton, absorbed into the oils.

I arrived in Mongolia approximately August 23rd.

On August 29th, I recorded in my journal that ”maybe I just don’t like mutton“.

I had just finished my first week.

First of fourteen.

One would think, given the number of livestock (35 million) and their centrality to Mongolian culture and lifestyle, and that all the main livestock varieties produce milk fit for the purpose (sheep, goats and cows) that Mongolia would have developed a robust cheese-making tradition. But no. There are two types of Mongolian cheese: aaruul and ”Mongolian Cheese“. Aaruul is the traditional cheese made in the countryside and dried for weeks in the sun on the roof of the ger. It is hard. As a soft stone. Sure, you could bite it, but you’d be risking a ticket to both the dentist and world of pain. one of my buddies’ host mothers made this mistake. She must’ve been lving in the city so long she lost touch with the culture and forgot how to eat aaruul. Though city dwellers don’t drink as much cuutei tsai so maybe she was calcium deficient (thus the broken tooth).

So aaruul is a hard and very strong-tasting cheese. very salty.

Cheese #2/2 is textured pleasantly, between mozzarella and cheddar. It’s a bit rubbery. looks delicious until you take a bite. And realize it has no taste. Who knew it possible to make cheese with utterly no taste? i always figured cheese got most of its flavor from the cheesiness. y’know, milk (ie. goat vs. sheep vs. cow… all the cheese taste different) and the cultures…

But here was proof of the futility of my self-delusions. Stark in its blandness. My host family laughed when i bought some, and referred to it as davsgui byslag — cheese with no salt. So the one place I would gladly have welcomed a bit of salty tang, of course it is utterly absent.

The one thing that is wrong with all Mongolian Pizza is the cheese — and understandably so. When mozzarella is $15/lb, and you earn $400/month if you’re rich, then Pizza just ain’t gonna be the same.

Not that they don’t try… (Pizza King… )

I stared at the metal bowl placed unceremoniously before us. It was a matte-gray metal pot — like a wash bin – the standard vessel for all cooking outside the ”apartmented gentry“.

I only got sick once in Mongolia. No, twice. Neither were especially severe – as in, long lasting – but rendered me physically weak, emotionally drained, and gastrointestinally anarchic.

Sickness, such as this reminds you of how connected and unified your GI tract really is. We tend to separate at the stomach. The top is for eating, the bottom for pooping. Yet once food passes the halfway mark, it falls under the realm of the nearest escape route. So on that fateful day when I drank a glass of Mongolian Coca-Cola with breakfast (my host father later told me my illness must have been due to that) the contents of my GI tract decided to riot and collectively exited my body.

Luckily (or unluckily, depends who you ask) I never experienced a majestic GI phenomenon known as the Wind Tunnel. When both sides of one’s GI tract decide to exit simultaneously, one is left in an interesting logistical quagmire. Then, a state of vacuum is created in the center of the body as you spew digested and undigested food simultaneously into the nearest drainally-able vessel.

It took me two weeks to learn how to get to school. Every school day we went the same way. From our rooms at the top of the student hostel, we descended to the increasingly frigid streets of UB. A short walk and a wait later, we were aboard a Korean trolley bus, creaking our way down Peace Ave. I still don’t past the east crossroads is a long stretch of empty road, only one stop or its 2.5 km. Then the trolley arrived at the end of the line, the war memorial. That’s what we called it.

Mongolia, land of the clear blue sky, transforms at night; her blue skies fade to reveal the blackness of empty space, overwhelmed by a silent swarm of stars, frozen in a distant dance. The moon, if she is out, burns with epic brightness, casting a cool glow across the shuffling herd, who peer at me with amazingly complete incomprehension.

(I stood outside the doorway to our ger, toothbrush hanging from my mouth. Gazing at the chaotic swarm of stars blanketing the night’s black. Mongolia, land of the clear blue sky, transforms at night; her blue skies fade to reveal the blackness of empty space, punctuated by the glow of distant stars.)

Bring lots of energy bars. Lots.

If, at any point, you manage to perform an act of explosive and/or otherwise notable bowel movement–be sure to proudly proclaim so to your travelling companions. If they fail to recognize you for your achievements (i.e. survival), realize they don’t get it (yet) and have faith that their time will come. Or find new travelling companions.

Develop some form of superstitious logic to explain how best to preserve your gastrointestinal health–if only to maintain some semblance of composure (sanity). The mind does not take well to dreading diarrhea after every meal, arbitrarily.

Halfway home, the bus breathes its last breath. It’s really more of a wheeze. Watch the driver frantically fan at the flames peeking out of a hole in the bus’ side panel as you walk away.

On Anthropomorphism and More

Q: Why do we anthropomorphize?

For the same reason dogs dogropomorphize“Are you a dog?” from Milton is a Shitbag, a short film by Courtney Davis http://www.miltonisashitbag.com/; it is all we know. THough seeing a dog owner crawling around her NYC penthouse — rope toy in mouth growling wholeheartedly, neck-snapping tug-of-war juices flowing. One begins to wonder.

Goats have had their share of rough treatment over the years. It started as far as we can know, about 10,000 years ago in the Zagros Mountains of Persia.

In the Bible, it was decided that Sheep and Goats were Different; those of the Nineties know the refrain: “Sheep go to heaven, Goats go to hell.” So true, indeed.

Goats were given the humble and thankless duty of carrying the sins (read: bubonic plague-ridden clothes) of a village into the woods (i.e. Carrying the “sins” to the next village…).

Words: Fire Truck, Purple, Ger, Goat

The goat saunters by like a pimp in a cadillac — one touch look from a cop and they freeze in terror, but then they’re back to bizness as uzual.

The life of the goat is driven by a raw spontaneity that has little human equivalent outside of: childhood, senility or mental illness — and perhaps those hippie free-spirits who dance around in fields all day or drop lots of acid.

The kinetic momentum of a stampede, in the middle of the night, out on the empty step. Not a real stampede, like the kind that killed Simba’s mother. More like a shuffle-pede. One goat gets startled by a thought or a shadow or a gust of wind, and runs, headlong into another goat, who then runs in another direction. Rustling builds, then fades out as the energy dissipates. A self-reorganizing system — to the tune of their own internal “il-logic”.

Why does ice cream taste better in the morning? Are we really so biblically cliché? Perhaps it reminds us of the sweet sucklings at our mother’s (or father’s) teat.

I have an idiosyncratic taste for food. I call it simple, others call it picky, or naïve, or even just boring. I say it’s simple; nay, elegant. But I have done my share of experimentalizing: boiled sheep heart, lungs, liver, blood sausage, spinal chord, fish, sushi, raw beef filet, mussels, fine goat cheese and wine on fig almond cake; whatever. Just give me a slice of sharp cheddar, or pizza; a nice chocolate chip cookie, and I am content. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food – I just need less exoticism to satisfy my culinary appetite, as it were.

Goat cheese–it all tastes the same (except for _aaruul_, more on that later) like it smells. Pasty, thick, herbal and congealed; like cream cheese gone horribly, horribly wrong. Sour, sickly sweet tart turned sideways, always a bit past not quite there. (It’s not really _that_ bad…)

Now chevre is another matter. Cut up some fresh slabs, throw in a bowl layered with hot rocks; ladle in some water, then cover and let simmer until ready. To seal the seam between the top and bottom bowl, lay wet rags along the crack to keep in the steam.

Pass the time by drinking airag, vodka and singing joyfully. If you are not Mongolian, try to ignore the food-poisoning paranoia-gremlin that turns every gurgle into a prophecy of impending gastrointestinal doom. And drink lots of vodka.

Goats are not people; but are we really wrong to ascribe to them our own abstracted behavioral metaphors? If the model works, then what’s the harm? Now we can’t be kidding or deluding ourselves, creating expression where it isn’t; but neither should we needlessly ignore evidence of emotional complexity beyond that of a brick. Goats are not people, true; nor are they bricks or pieces of lead pipe (or robots).

But this is dangerous territory. We have already gone this way with our dogs — and those who see their dogs as pals recoil in utter disgust at the thought of eating one of their beloveds. But do we lift the goat and sheep and cow and pig to such a place? Never. To protect our selves from self-condemnation. _You_ try watching ___Babe___ then sitting down for a nice meal of porkchops.

Bondage Goat Zombie

Several events over the course of human/goat-history have shaped our Goat consciousness, at least in the Judeo-Christian world (empire?). First, deomestication: 10,000 years ago. Then, the pagan traditions which are eventually immortalized in the Bible (Sheep go to heaven, Goats go bring the plague to thy neighbor so you can return to village bizniss). Third, medieval expounding on Biblical ideas, and the Knights Templar trials.
>The diuell..dooth most properlie and commonlie transforme himselfe into a gote.
_–R. Scott. ‘Discov. Witchr.’ v.i.89. (1584)_

5. Black metal — the most tongue-in-cheek and heavy form of goat bedevilment. (See: bondage goat zombie)

Song of Solomon 4:1
[ Lover ] How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.

Job 39

1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

2 Do you count the months till they bear?
Do you know the time they give birth?

3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
their labor pains are ended.

Jeremiah 50:8
“Flee out of Babylon;
leave the land of the Babylonians,
and be like the goats that lead the flock.

Daniel 8:5-8
As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saintsOr rebellion, the armies and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Turis Fatyr the Viking Goat Pirate

Words: Flight, Root Beer, Viking, Title: Turis Fatyr the Viking Goat Pirate (Turis?)

Turis the Viking Goat who sailed the seven seas — with trusty crew manning the ropes, for Nature is a cruel mistress, who saw it fit to deny Turis Fatyr the use of opposable thumbs (one day!).One more seemingly impossible obstacle to overcome, one more leap for Goat-dom.

And here he was , sailing the seven seas with trusty crew of roughshod sailors. He stood atop the poop deck, front legs planted solidly, gazing over the sea’s vast expanse. Wide open ocean as far as his goat-eyes could see, and see they could. Oh, how he longed to feel the cool waves lap against his skin — yet again, nature was cruel.

Warmups & Fragments

On my desk: Some old stains of paint and glued-ripped paper pulp. An unopened bottle of Borland’s Natural Root Beer, sweetened with pure cane sugar! A light blue lamp. A Boston Vacuum Mount Self Feeder pencil sharpener. Some papers on goat quotes (don’t ask).

I ate goat once. It was delicioius.

3/24. From the exercise “Fighting with the Tofu” from one of my writing books (I forget, google it). Basically, write about anything. Anything. For 10 minutes. “About how terrible a writer you are…” whatever. Then rip it up.

“I see you’ve found yourself a goat.”

From a five minute in-class exercise using the following constraints: must contain a ninja, a goat and take place in Belgium, in the rain

>Bring me a bowl of coffee before I turn into a goat.
_–Johann Sebastian Bach_

They walked without saying a word. Kurosawa was glad he was no longer alone; his black shirt and pants clung to his skin in the rain, it rained endlessly here, was there ever sun? Down from the grey skies, over tiled roofs, and down cobblestone streets; into labyrinthine sewers older than time itself.

She recognized him at once; he was the only Ninja in all of Belgium, and he sulked his way through the rain down the main boulevard, looking less like a ninja then a dejected schoolboy in November. She did not, however, recognize the goat by his side.

The sky was stained crimson the night they met–it was in Yokohama, 15 years ago–before her trouble with the police pulled them forever apart. Or so she’d thought. She fell from the face of the earth. And she was averse to admit it, but she had grown used to life alone. It replaced that dislocated longing for completeness that only comes from many years of solitude.

“I don’t need anyone to protect me!” she said, to no-one in particular. The young man at the table behind her looked up from his newspaper, only to cock his head in goatish amusement, and return to reading.

The little dog started barking, its owner had left it tied up in the rain, and it was beginning to take on the look of a drowned rat–she was pulled from the haze of memory into the very real, and surreal moment of staring a goat straight in the face.

“Hello Kurosawa,” She purred. “I see you’ve found yourself a goat.”

Cats, Marbles, and a School Teacher: Another Un-braided Braided Essay

>I don’t know what whore you give the tip on this Night of Joy, but our boys have been in there almost every night and they haven’t turned up anything.
–from “Confederation of Dunces”

The __cat__ had escaped through an open window, onto the fire escape of their 13th floor apartment in the City. It began its descent to street level.

Every day she rode the red line through, well, under Cambridge, past the putrid waters of the Charles river, and into Boston. There, she switched to the Green line, which took her out to the lily-white streetcar suburbs of Boston.

The machine screamed and ground to a halt. “Shit,” he would surely be fired. They had no time for lost production, it was the height of the __marble__ season and they were already two weeks behind schedule. Assuming he still had a job, he could be sure there’d be no year-end bonus coming his way.

She padded her way purposefully down each link of the fire escape, pausing only once to watch a man groggily swat at his blaring alarm clock. She continued.

Through the chaos of this, the first train station in America, _Park Street Station_. She thought about how different the city must have been then, as she passed the historical display plastered with nostalgic Black & Whites.

He wiped the sweat from his grimy brow, and squinted into the murky bowels of the machine. At least his wife made some money teaching those rich white kids in suburbia.

On Leftist Gorillas and Industrial Decor (with Kyle)

Pipe-fittings adorn the wall, screen sconce fades its light across antique chests and clean-cut stone counters.

_To some people, the five South American dialects she spoke and translated, sounded like birds clicking and squawking at each other–to her it sounded_

like rain on a summer’s eve.

The house sat in the middle of the rain forest–each piece having been lovingly hauled across the root-covered ground.

_A pebble on the ground caught her attention–she didn’t know the word for “pebble” in this part of the Amazon. She asked, then put it in her pocket. She collected new words like some collected shells._

Her husband had been kidnapped by radical leftist gorillas. How ironic; if anyone would appreciate her industrial decor, it would be them.

_She walked inside the house, pebble in her pocket and ran her hands across the walls, the pipes, the stones. She wanted to live here forever, in her industrial-amazon dreamland._

But not until she rescued her husband.


From 3/2/08

A Circle

Round curvilinear. A square connected gracefully from midpoint to midpoint with no corners, none. It is a measure of perfection–circumference to diameter always. Circle forms the basis for life; our life, at least. The sun, an abstract circle shining light onto the 2nd most prolific — the moon — both gazing down onto our humble blue-green oblate spheroid (sort-of circles).

A Spiral Staircase

The only way to enter the forbidden chambers are through a secret door, and a dark, dank spiral staircase. Torch in hand, its flames licking the moss-covered stones as they whirl past, you lose track of time and space. Up or down? Moving, or merely trying not to fall as the world spins around you? Never able to see beyond the next edge…
Get one today! 1-800-Spiralz

Classical Music

Through this confluence
of sounds we
gaze into worlds gone by
a saccharine pop ballad
for a lady with corset-fractured
ribs, and impotent, hunting husband.
Play on, as the shark-infested waters rise,
lap across your leather loafers
Yet the waltz swings overtop,
floating effortlessly over the screams of
drowning passengers — conjuring a mirage
of civility amidst the embodiment of civil

Water Fountain, Terrified

Cold, grey steel; a bar embossed, PUSH. Chrome pipes crawled from the wall up, up, into the bowels of this infernal contraption. The stream of water would surely explode, filling the hallway with the roar of rushing torrents–and sucking undertow.

The water fountain of DEATH.


Green Bananas

People who eat green bananas are weird. The fruit is not quite ripe, I submit — the toughness of the skin is telling! _Wait, I’m not ready yet. I want to live up to my full potential!_ But the eater is hungry and impatient. the skin is bent-cracked split pulled. Upside-down. Assuming that monkeys know bananas better than us, we are going about the act __all wrong__!

But that’s not even the worst of it.

The pale residue — it’s hard, firm, you could say, and you really have to bite and chew. the taste is pleasant enough at first, if underwhelming. Banana. Only slightly tart, with a hint of bitter mouthfeel (if such a thing is possible?). Swallow.

The phantom residue clings to your mouth dry-hairy coarseness that no amount of water or milk can disperse. As if the fruit hadn’t been fully separated from its skin, and took bits of skin-adhesive with it, leaving traces for the eater to ponder.

If they even notice.

Pico Iyer on Traveling, from “Why We Travel: A Love Affair With the World”
>We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate…. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again–to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”

Titles for pieces to write sometime:
Notes on Watching TV in a Ger in East-Central Mongolia
The Sheep Trap Plot
Fly-icide (in progess)
On Urbanization and the Eating Habits of Town-Center Dwellers in Delgerkhaan, Hentii, Mongolia
from my field notes: “To write: POEM: _I want to kill you, goat_” it came to me when I heard myself yelling this at a particularly stubborn goat (I was herding).
__Maxcax__: _v._ To desire meat

It lurked in the shadows, behind every counter, beneath every menu waiting for the opportunity to take hold of our GI tracts and wring them for all we’re worth. I made it for 1.5 months without getting really sick. The others weren’t so lucky.

But come, my day, it did…

Quote (title of finished piece?):
>What a fucking ridiculous place

Random Incoherences

4 score and twenty years ago, land was created by our great lord and savior, or rather, his cousin, but I digress…

And I forgave him despite his lossinlgy end of days — it was too much for us to move on in synchrony, pulsing in the wake of each other’s acquiescence. And so it ended in a most disagreeable manner.

I rand own the stairs of the post office, the vodka I’d taken that afternoon having worked its way through.

Did someone say “Damage control?”
How is _Damage Control_ related to _Pain Control_?

2/23 Exercises

Words: Wiser, Slot, Induced
Slot induced syndrome is a debilitating psychological condition that has puzzled the gnomological community for decades. A gnome would be sent on a covert mission – usually into a game of chance, or perhaps an AFM (Automated Food Machine) to gather supplies for the colony. Upon return, close family began to notice subtle disturbing differences in their daily behavior. Sudden bursts of euphoric singing or raging fury. Slot induced hypomanic imbalance reached pubnlic eyes and ears from a leaked Gnomegon memo, detailing the disturbingly high incidence of gambling and vending behaviors among veterans of the FEG (Forces Especial du Gnome). Wiser politicians opted for a cold coverup. There were no such missions. But then how do you explain the Doritos? The Gnomish Congressional hearings always returned to the telltale MSG-laden orange residue left behind by the crunchy corn snacks.

Words: Lightning, Completeness, Scruff
He gazed down at the singed scruff of his brother’s face, tears flowing unobstructed across his pale cheeks. Smoke and the wretched scent of burnt flesh collected in his sinuses, and filled his stomach and throat with bile. He saw the lightning strike again and again. his brother’s face was peaceful in its fall to earth from the brotherly plateau it had long occupied. He was alone in the world. Zeus had taken everything and everyone: his dog, his parents, his house, and now his brother. What cruel fate had left him, utterly lacking, his lack of desire to live in the world quickly approaching completeness.

Words: Mimic, Underground, Temple
Self-mimicry, with rehearsal. All I had to do was retrace my steps. I’d gone this way a dozen times. Half by jeep, half on foot. Most in daylight. Granted, it had taken our drivers an hour to find it in the dark, with the family on the phone giving directions. I squinted into the cool ebony air. Nara had left the day before, and I was alone. I wanted to just burrow underground and sleep. What kind of sick joke was this? I could write a 40 page research paper on the livestock trade in Mongolia, but not find my way home? To what temple had I failed to pray? By what God(esse)s had I been forsaken? I continued to wander through the night.

Mongolia is a land long forgotten by the West. Is it part of China? Russia? People ask with blank looks of awe and indifference. Genghis Khan, perhaps, is evoked. The leader of the hordes that stormed Europe, and whose (grand?)son Güyuk would tell Pope Innocent IV on just whose side God appeared to be.
A great and proud people descended into obscurity and irrelevance — save for their happenstantial location. That they were not swallowed by either of the hungry regimes on their ….