ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

A Postcard From Dorian Gray

Jack Kimball and Tim Peterson

What does it mean to work? I don't know that either. What I know is how to form a chorus, stake out territory and bust heads, creating an atmosphere of trust that's a hubbub of sequins. By candlelight a goat is ladylike. An elegiac current next courses through a tungsten filament producing vapors, calamity and human depravity. That's why I told the skinny guy asking the questions if I had to choose the right hunk to be my mentor, it would be Baudelaire whom I see as the greatest gang member. And with the right guidance, Tristan and Ivetta could improve. (They are two sides like beeswax to spermaceti.) Meantime I ran into Emil and Chet in the chorus line -- they've settled into their angry sublet, Memory House, with vats of cologne minimizing noxious fumes that caught me once: it was rogue status, the colognists versus the empiricons.

All day long I've thus been pissing people off, and if feels like a sincere 7-course meal of elegy salad. The poor of New York stay up late, husking corn, spinning wool, boiling sap. It has never mattered much what Emil or Chet's work is about, has it? Calatrava and the other mudholers will always tell you what truth is as is the case with charismatically mysterious people. After the gangsters left, Chet picked up the business card and flicked it into the trash. Leaves outside waved in their shock of raw arabesques. "How do I get out of here?" As the day darkened, a crowd of new gangsters waving signs got clobbered by a big, somnolent thug wielding handlebars, and I watched them all, empty as Baudelaire's conscience. Chet is an artist of formidable lyric and analytic tics. I suppose this is how the cookie marinates, some guy in whiteface said. I feel so guilty still, because we have five minutes and I should drive around the block.

Stockholm is a city built around sex. Hi mom. We empathized with the parasites, you know? I had vader stigmata on our eyeholes until I learned to hold my weapon jovially. A great tower by Calatrava, my back was itching from the melting skin and the clamps that held my face upright, but I was wishing you were here, as Emil had predicted. Just then, the left side of my head separated off into sushi. Think about what I just said, and call me once Ivetta and staff have whittled away your bone.

This interview therefore is a reproduction of one I saw in Rome. Do you smell something? A cultural institution is so marginal, see? Isn't it a dingaling chiding oracles with need? Any postcard of the night would be incomplete without a word about sleep. Man began with flint and wool. What does it mean to get up in the morning and go to work? For all my faults, I would soar higher than any other structure if Chet were to squeeze even just one of the New School graduates. Anyway, so the lid of the helmet snaps down and the sinister breathing starts, so what? You know the way I really gestate: Stockholm reciprocation. The A&E interrogator asked me about the relevance of my story, how it pertained to the present moment. "You want rogue status?" I snorted. Fa├žade or no, we waited in the de-briefing room for cake. I thought, fine, from here we could burst into the literary scene. This reminds me, accusations flew -- Emil got so angry that it made me chuckle. Is it last weekend or the one before he handed wasps to babies, encouraging their grunt potential? I'm making a scrapbook, any who, to document how I made you curdle too, like an insignia.

Saturday night is special. I killed a rival in Rome and fled to Naples. I could write a book about it. Well, why not? The past decade I've seen books on codicils, toboggans, silt, bourbon. It seems any noun in the dictionary can be tricked out into a book. It's sad, can't you see that people are dying of thirst in your politicized depiction of closed throats versus open throats? Then I stomped on the guy's neck, the most embarrassing moment of my life! After breakfast, then, I asked Chet about his own speech. It was like, double-yuck, he was delivering some kind of activist song, but his speech was particularly incendiary, overflowing with an artisinal idealism that a freethinking Santa-believer might deploy with no place to stroll, a chaotic 'nowhere' devoid of waifs to bring around for the first time. But enough, okay? Let's climb over the mountain of self-doubt and struggle through the mudholes of poetic agonism. Okay? Gulls in the harbor are flying lower, as the dusk musk dies. Their wings are kind of crumpled, marginal Nascar budget, anonymous rind. The place is busy four nights a week.

So what's the next step for Dorian? There's a parade, and you can bet I'm going to be an entire float. I want to be anorexic but I can't stop eating. Stick wheels on the prosthetic torso, and the police who had by now grown horns had stopped protecting you. It's the best floor show in Vegas. Sun exposure will be the new oppression this spring or fall or whenever, misshapen flesh outfits hanging from the mantle, right? Ivetta and I are thinner now, in the manner of folks who are very pale or very Spartan. No doubt, somewhere hippos dance in a green colony, and pride in my shirking has aligned me with a failing name.