A Dinner Guest
“I just want to get you thinking in the right direction,” the dinner guest said. ”For
example, suppose you take your old life and you make a new one. You might do it by
selecting an intellectual steak sauce to marry to the latest minimalist inquiry.” He paused,
gesturing with condiments.
“And yet, if the people in your village really did buy all the things they needed and
never sold anything,” the guest continued, “they would soon be out of money. Among the
workers would be your relatives and friends. A streamliner with a signaling apparatus
might prove very useful. You might wish to produce an action painting of chunky men
unloading thick trucks or a scene in a busy necking collection center.”
“You might even ask, when those paintings sell and you’re drinking a fine wine,”
the guest speculated, “how you could develop a bladder to hold all your liquid gold. After
all, men are not the only builders of this world. You could learn to take charge. You
might want to dismiss several portions of your landlord. You might want to appoint a
committee to alter the banker. You might want to pontificate. You might want to erupt.”
So that the person is not crowded too much.
So that a string from a piece of chocolate that does not lead to Ecuador simply does
Perhaps two or three students could get together and invent a small genderless
merchant. Perhaps this merchant could find the viaduct leading to yet another assemblage
of thick trucks. Did you notice the numbered tracks for switching torsos or the lime
colored lice carrier attached to the dispatcher’s brilliant uncertainties?
Some of these ideas have been around a long time. You could cut them out and tie
strings to them or organize them according to ancient symbols. Maybe an ear to stand for
an ear, an eye for an eye.
So that all we have to do is exchange the losses of one part of the world for the
losses of another part of the world.
So that a man who was walking up and down in his mind was not simply walking
up and down.
So that these stories could be assembled as myths. Because it’s true that the few
men remaining in them have hunted in many different dangerous countries. And it’s true
that the guest is often yourself.
Perhaps you could teach me to eat now.
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.