Could Have Been the Ocean, Could Have Been the Sea


That was the day the ocean came to visit. It was very specific, but I still couldn’t
figure out what it wanted.
I wanted to send it to Reader’s Digest. I wanted the approval of insects. The ones
with large mandibles and substantial wings.
I live in a house on Elm Street. I don’t know how the ocean got the address.

The culprit might have said something like, “Invest in the future,” because she’s
like that. Like there’s only one.
I wrote it down. The Podunk Review thinks I might have something someday. It’s
all very exciting. Perhaps I should take a nice bath and show it to my mother.

Receiving little validation from my family, I decided to visit the indulgent river. It
was very very cool. It gave me chills just brushing up against it.
The instructor inside was offering free mistakes for signing up for the course. The
distance between the surface and the deeper implications was on vacation or I might have
overachieved. I never did figure out what the course was about, but then I never did take
the course.
I left some ice trucks in honor of the quickly approaching season, but I think they
melted. Or a train sculpture came into confluence with their destiny and altered them

Meanwhile the ocean was talking to me and I wasn’t listening. I might have been a
visitor, but the ocean was too insistent. I might have understood if I hadn’t been so afraid.
I could swim but I preferred to walk and I knew how quickly tired arms and legs can
wrap themselves around something way too large and not at all good for the other parts of
the body.
I just couldn’t decide how large this thing was.

If I were writing this in the future, I could say, “I was right. It was larger.” I could
say that if I had survived. It would be entirely ironical.
But I’m not and the ocean’s waiting.

If it’s the sea that’s gotten in me, the trouble’s the same, but some say the irony’s
greater. I don’t understand why.
I wouldn’t care about the difference if I didn’t have some hopes of publishing my
failures. You see, it’s a story and not a life, which doesn’t have to end the same way.

Fiction. Modern Abstract Fables.

(First edition, hardcover with dustjacket, 524 pages, $36.50 USD.)

Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days draws from fairy tales, a condescending of a 1938 Social Studies reader for 6th grade, an 1890 handbook on marital compatibility, numerous annoying educational advancement studies, the myths and legends of third-world countries and minority peoples, pulp fiction, a history of carnival side shows, folktales, frequent conversations with Crows, Owls and a wide variety of underground inhabitants, insects and the people who collect them, Joseph Cornell, Günter Eich, Russell Edson, the French Surrealist poets, the Quay Brothers, letterpress printing, and the author’s inability to channel his imagination linearly.

Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.