Distant Machinery


As is often the case, my eyes are drawn, as if by some peculiar magnetism, to the most unpleasant of things:

A bathtub full of stinking water. A drowned mouse, floating upside-down, under a surface of grease polygons and writhing mosquito larvae. A pair of women’s panties lying crumpled on the wet ground, bloody and covered in scintillating flies. The sound of dishes clattering through an open window followed by a burst of foulness, whooshing out the end of a black plastic pipe. The tub slops over and onto a patch of rank weeds. A toddler, pocked with weeping impetigo sores, sits sullenly in the filth, poking at it with a stick.

We’re no better than insects I suppose, or maybe even bacteria.

Yet today – on this glorious day – I feel like King of the shit pile.

Under the great aluminum dome of a sky, with the crows scudding across it like a flock of lost eyelashes, I watch an old hippy, with a head like a polyp, tie shards of glass to a string.

The neighourhood dogs and cats  lie roasting on a fleet of stolen barbecues, their coddled fat  sputtering into pullulating turquoise clouds.

It’s all just so–so god damn beautiful. Those garish painted panels of multi-racial, stick-figure children playing with talking killer whales. The Munchkinland of lysergically proportioned flowers, the red earth steaming beneath my feet.

Everything is all right again. All right, all righty, right-o, but it was touch and go, oh yes – it was touch and go, there for a while, on account of what happened in that gloomy grove, that seething viridian of needles, where Tessa, bless her asphalt heart, appeared to me, chiarascuro style, backlit by the sun as it vomited its last rays from behind the strip mall. Her eyes quivered at me, rheumy sapphires, squished between  cherubic cheeks and the dirty blond bowl of her hair. She smelled like Velveeta, girl stink wafting through the dingy green wool of her cardigan.

After that, everything changed. I’m eating all kinds of stuff now - dogs, cats, the neighbours. Raccoon stew? Would you like some Raccoon stew? It’s a little greasy – greasier than you might be used to, but then – how greasy would that be? What are you used to?

Used to, used to, there is no more used to. There is only the fresh blood on my sleeve. That’s all that matters in this age of bludgeoning and crushing. Every carport  an abattoir, every cul-de-sac a killing field. Suburbia is burning, and I’m singing 'round the campfire, my dog meat hanging from a pointed stick. Dog meat, you say - Dog meat ? Why yes, it’s good, really good, especially the brisket. Have some ! I harvested it myself. I thunked, it yelped, I thunked again, a corona of blood spraying into the air, then freezing for a moment, because time just stops when you’re having this much fun. Real Harold Edgerton stuff, high-speed photography flashing through my brain. I see  playing cards cutting through bullets, or is it the other way around?

Is it all really over?  Under the grey orb of the sun, the carp are battering themselves to death in the dry concrete ditches and the white cabbage butterflies impale themselves on every available thorn. Then there is this matter of the limbs – the brittle legs of  prom queens that lie all over the streets, the fresh ones still twitching.

We’re all mayflies now. No more room for senior citizens – their gutted carcasses strewn across the putting greens like last summer’s canoes. The shopping carts are all on fire in the underground parkades and there’s nowhere to go but up!  So come on, come on, Get happy . . .


Happy as the white worm who slips through my gut, nodding its eyeless head before it digs in its hooks.

As happy as Mister Elephantiasis whose scrotum hangs so heavy, he has to push it around in a wheelbarrow. It must be over a hundred pounds by now. Hey Mister Elephantiasis! Isn’t it a lovely day? Nothing ever gets you down. You’re an inspiration to us all and pass the butter, will you please? So I can rub myself in all the right places.

Land ‘O’ Lakes, Land ‘O’ Fakes, I’m chewing on a plastic Indian and his polypropylene feathers get stuck between my teeth. It makes my sperm taste funny. Protein on the fly, a laser pointer in the sky, meets the eye, of a pilot who crashes and bleeds all over his instrument panels, the charred passengers still wriggling in their seats.

Familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest emergency exit. Will that be chicken or fish? Make sure your seat belt is securely fashioned and your tray table is stowed upright in the locked position. We hope you’ve had a pleasant flight.

Flight .

Or fight? I almost forgot . . . It’s time for the baby fights! They’re screaming in their cages and ready to go at it. the steak knives are taped to their elbows and it’s time to place our bets.. I'll put my money down on Junior there, in the saggy white diaper. He looks like a real killer. Now this is what I call a sport . . .

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