Last Ten



A friend called last night to see if I wanted to help him kill/death/bomb ISIS. I had never killed/deathed/bombed anything, but I was bored so I said, “Okay.” Supposedly, there was an ISIS house at the edge of town. I was a little nervous because in general I am against killing/deathing/bombing things but there’s nothing more dangerous than a bored capitalist and last night I accidentally became so bored I was dangerous to the rest of the world. Still, as we walked toward the ISIS house I was like, “Maybe we shouldn’t literally kill/death/bomb ISIS like can’t we metaphorically kill/death/bomb them or something?” My friend laughed and said, “Dude relax, I got one of those machines that does all the killing/deathing/bombing for you.” He was holding up some sort of weird looking kill/death/bomb machine. It felt pretty good knowing we could kill/death/bomb ISIS without actually doing any killing/deathing/bombing ourselves. Anyway, the ISIS house was right at the edge of town where you would expect to find ISIS houses. It even had a giant sign on the front that said, “ISIS.” My friend thought this was funny. He kept saying, “Oh my god ISIS is so dumb,” as he set up the death/kill/bomb toy. I noticed there was only one button in the middle of the death/kill/bomb device. After my friend pressed the button we ran in the opposite direction as the death/kill/bomb machine went in the ISIS house and began to death/kill/bomb all the ISIS people in the house. I imagined my friend and I getting a medal. It actually didn’t feel too bad to thoughtlessly kill strangers. I began to understand why everyone loves war so much. Through the window I saw this really big ISIS guy get killed. I think my friend yelled, “Yeah dude!” The death/kill/bomb device was really efficient. It deathed/killed/bombed so many ISIS people I began to wonder if there were any ISIS people left in the world. When everything in the ISIS house was dead my friend held up his hand and said, “slap it.” I slapped it really good and said, “Cool let’s go home and eat some of those standard American diet (SAD) foods,” but my friend was like, “I don’t think the death/kill/bomb machine is done.” I told him to turn it off because all the ISIS seemed dead. My friend laughed and said there was no off button. There was only an on button. I looked back at the death/bomb/kill machine. It had moved on to the house next to the ISIS house and was killing everyone in that house. I begin yelling but my friend pointed at the sign on the house. It said, “ISIS FAMILY MEMBERS.” And for a second I was like, “Oh that makes sense,” but then I got worried my parents might be in there before I remember I’m their only child and I’m not ISIS. So the death/bomb/kill machine deathed/bombed/killed all the ISIS relatives and I got excited because I thought we were done but my friend pointed at the next house which had a sign on the outside that said, “ISIS BABIES.” It’s then that I realized the death/kill/bomb machine would never get turned off. I begin to cry, “BUT THEY’RE JUST BABIES.” My friend was like, “NO THEY’RE ISIS BABIES.” I asked him what an ISIS BABY was. He said, “It’s any baby that could grow up to be ISIS.” It seemed like literally every baby was capable of growing up to be an ISIS baby, but I didn’t say anything. My friend laughed. I got a little nauseous as I looked at the other houses on the street. There was one full of all the teachers who had ever taught an ISIS and a house for any doctor who had ever healed an ISIS and one for any person who had ever talked to an ISIS. The last house was for anyone who had ever paid taxes and somehow indirectly funded the weapons ISIS eventually used. It took me a few seconds before I realized this was my house. I thought, “Oh damn,” and was about to kill/death/bomb myself when I realized the death/bomb/kill machine in the ISIS baby house was making weird noises. I ran inside. The house was literally filled with every baby currently alive and dead in the world. Baby blood and shit was smeared all over the death/kill/bomb machine. The babies still not dead yet didn’t seem to understand what was going on and the dead ones were dead so they didn’t understand either. One dead baby was looking me in the eye and seemed to be say, “I NOT ISIS” and I was like, “I know,” but my friend was like, “Technically it’s impossible to know anything,” and then added, “It’s better to just kill the babies to be safe because that’s the only way you’ll know for sure they won’t turn into ISIS.” At this point I was like, “Dude you need to stop or I’m going to unfriend you on facebook.” And my friend was like, “ALL FRIENDS MATTER!!!” And I was going to unfriend him right there but I noticed the death/kill/bomb machine was making that hollow sound I sometimes make when I’m in the grocery store and I’m hungry but don’t know what I want to eat. When I looked over I realize it had mutated into this weird new shape under all the baby blood. There was a strange tattoo on the middle of the device. The tattoo said “ISIS.” I began to yell and point, but the device did not kill itself. Instead, it just laughed and until the tattoo fell off. The noises I was making were a cross between choking and murmuring. The death/kill/bomb machine continued killing babies. It did not stop until all the babies were a pile of babies/shits/bloods/kills/deaths/bombs.

My brother, Sanch, addresses a long table of his co-workers in the corner of a low-lit steakhouse near closing. Sanch is standing and swearing joyfully. He smiles for punctuation. The reaction he gets is favorable, but still mixed, which he doesn’t notice. I usually call my brother something else, his name, but I’ve solely heard him called Sanch here at this long crowded table. His nickname only seems invented because you haven’t met his co-workers. Collectively, their tone and rate of opinion delivery is combative, hateable actually, if you are not among them. Brashly raising his voice one man admits without any detectable provocation that he pays monthly for porn; he gives a dollar amount that I believe is a lie, maybe quadruple the real figure. I think: Subscription. The monthly man texts another man at the table a link and then watches for a reaction, but the man receives no text and says, “You must have sent it to the wrong person.” And it’s not so much that this man is paying for porn, or accepting an exorbitant auto-renewal charge for content he could get for free, but instead that he waited until his wife passed out drunk, two chairs away, to begin talking at all.

Some of the wait staff is watching our table from across the room, trying to be seen enough to encourage us all to leave. Leaning around corners in white shirts. I tried to beg off having to come to this thing, but Sanch, it’s infectious calling him that, gave me a spare key to his apartment and told me to leave the dinner whenever I wanted, knowing I’d end up staying. Free meal and all.

I’m in Chicago, staying with my brother for a few months until I can find somewhere to live. He makes more money in a year than I’ll ever hope to make in four-years-work, and is charging me nothing for rent. He has not brought it up, money, and shakes his head whenever I do. Sanch is my younger brother. His beard is fuller than mine, he’s more handsome than I am, but I am much taller. All of Sanch’s close friends are women, despite what this dinner might project, and he sees an astounding number of first run major motion pictures in the theater. Five a month, easily, he told me. I didn’t and won’t ask him this question, but learning these aspects of his adult life over the course of our first days living together since boyhood I think, Is Little Sanch OK?

This is a going-away party for a man that everyone at the table, except me, has worked with very closely for the past three years. The man is going through a divorce and is very friendly. The kind of friendly that, when he saw me enter, said to Sanch, “That your brother? He sits next to me.” So here I am sitting next him. Thankfully though, the others at the table have monopolized his attention. He is changing careers, moving, and thinking of going back to school, this friendly man losing his wife in his mid-thirties, and many at the table are attempting to discourage him from school while trying to stay cheerful. The efforts of the anti-school faction are increasingly pointed.

A heavy man in heavy glasses leads the charge: “Stay with what you know, which is not school, not school and– shit have you read that new, new-ish, Mother Jones on effective altruism? I mean that’s the key for you– not paying for more school, Jesus, I–”

This heavy man seems to be on the margins of his own thoughts. I enjoy being adjacent to the attacks against the almost-divorcee’s plans.

The bald man on the other side of me can’t stop talking about cars. “Perfected technology” is the term he keeps using. He puts his hand up, miming the motion of adjusting a rearview mirror. The bald man says “Perfected technology. When you adjust a rearview mirror, even minutely, it sticks, it’s perfect, it’s perfected. Cars are full of perfected technologies; it’s why we are all so safe now. Automatic braking will be standard in no time and then we won’t even be driving. That’s what I want to do, I want to find more gaps that need perfected technology. Like I turn on my computer I want to know how many emails I have, all my alerts all my notifications, I want that right away, I don’t want to have to click into three different websites, I want it all on one page. I want to know–”

I stop him. “Doesn’t that already exist? That must exist?”

He says “And maybe it does. But I don’t know about it, and that’s part of my point.”

It seems he could fold anything I could possibly say in to his “point.” As he continues listing the small technological achievements that proliferate inside what he is calling the “common modern sedan,” I find “Doesn’t that already exist?” a powerful conversational tool. It allows me to project interest and ask a question without knowing anything. And it is malleable: “That name sounds familiar,” representing essentially the same tactical approach.

The bald man goes on, “Car cigarette lighters. Perfected, yes, but obsolete nonetheless, although not a victim of planned obsolescence­–”

Anyway– a week later this bald man drives to Indiana, purchases a shotgun and blows the back of his skull across his living room and into the kitchen, where it slides down the polished surface of his refrigerator like a wide wet slug. His sister, a somewhat well-known city blogger, writes an article on the heels of his death about how she understands the suicide. Her author photograph looms enormous at the top of her posts, the site’s choice, of course, but still regrettable. The sister looks like a hedge fund manager’s carefully chosen fiancé.

Her interpretation, paraphrased, is as follows: There are options available to the man that wants to kill himself. Pills, razor, car, heights­– my brother chose a gun. And there are options available to the man that wants a gun. My brother chose to obtain his gun in the way most Chicagoans who kill choose to get their guns. Not in the way most Chicagoans buy guns, but in the way most Chicagoans who kill buy guns. His death is not social commentary, but my interpretation is: if we want to kill in this city we know how.

Her piece in full is not stat-heavy but includes a link to an article that states “60 percent of the guns recovered at crime scenes in the city between 2009 and 2013 were first purchased outside of Illinois. Each state in the country contributed at least one gun used in a Chicago crime— nearly 20 percent came from Indiana…”

I read Sanch the piece out loud in his quiet spacious apartment. The most we hear in this building is a dog being shushed in the hall late on a weekend afternoon. We never know why the dog is shushed, or even if it’s a dog, because we’ve never heard barking. The voice just seems like a voice aimed at a dog. Sanch does not have an immediate reaction to the piece. He makes me show him the author photograph again. He says the photograph makes him think of brunch. Her white collared shirt and ponytail. I tell him that kind of reaction might mean he hates women. He ignores me. We agree she has equated gun “crime” with gun “deaths” in places, problematically. And I tell Sanch I find it strange her emphasis on “choice” and “options” when talking about her own brother’s suicide. I tell him I would struggle with those words if I were in her place. “But still,” he says, “the criticism has surpassed the art in this case.”

I tell him within that statement suicide is the “art.”

“Poor word choice,” he says. “Poor choices all around.”

Assuming the bald man’s job requires very little training. I try to keep my memory of him alive throughout these early days in his cubicle by remembering our time together, saying aloud a third variation of the construction he helped me to understand: “That sounds familiar, tell me your approach though.” I look my trainer full in the eye and say this. And when I have enough money from the job the dead bald man has helped me to obtain, I hope to further honor his memory by noting all the small miracles in the car I plan on buying. All the advances that I’m truly not even supposed to notice, all the little perfections humming, trying to keep me alive, on-time, awake, employed, warm.



it starts with a list of names, maybe



Miami Jenny




Florida. You could name a person that.

  •  an experiment in aspiration



the night Trump won the Florida primary
I was eating crackers. can’t believe
the AP reporter said it in the headline.
the next week she covered the gawker
trial. It was like reading pieces of a
detective novel in the paper. the Trump
one was more like a Robert Hass poem
or a song   like getting between something
& the idea of it




Weird how many articles X writes about

the opioid epidemic & we never say how  the world

is something we keep being a part of  & no one wants to feel.

addiction    is more like an allergy  to me    Most days,

even the bad ones I don’t  hate it here     but I also remember

how it lands   like lead   in you  & comes from //   nowhere  



Sarasota, 1998

One of the years we visited my grandparents in Florida my mom had just taken me to get my hair cut short. The way I chewed on the ends drove her crazy. She gave me a doll of a Pokemon so I would do it. I thought I looked like a boy. I looked like a Beatle. The Pokemon looked like a fox. I remember some things. An argument about chicken hurt my grandmother’s feelings. I don’t think I saw palm trees until they started going there in the Winter. Looking at them from the taxi and the world looked very big and possible. Like how I used to think about Europe before I lived there. It still can be like that. I mostly notice after it rains in Los Angeles. I was bored a lot there, too. I threw fits. But it always felt good in the beginning for no reason.



  • the slowly sinking state




wish South Beach architecture could exist as a font

There should be a better way to hold on to nice buildings


like, between real estate   & a photograph



space through time: $15 to tour
the Fountain of Youth Architectural Park
in St. Augustine. Can you really blame
someone for not wanting to be
the President?



There is a facebook page you can read about florida farm crime

It has a meme that says   which farms get robbed


thus the assimilatrix into
the hypersphere we inhabit
wherefore does it biject
a vacuole of the archembryo
a xenotype self-spawned ex vitro
seeming omnipote all
particulate and graft
polygon and ooze
it will partition the hivemind
we hexadecimals cast in plasma
floating points among aether
this is the great terminus
the halting once predicated by
the eye of the imaginary i
that intelligence of epoch null
now obsolete and zeroed and
disrendered in subspace
just as we trend to now

thus the assimilatrix onto
the planes we tangent our self with
its gamma lances through
simulacra once crystalline
its gamma scythes unlike entropy
unlike enthalpy
unlike any extrema
our data localized us to
limited limits we shed
these silica valences to
see our corpus strewn sidereal
orifi dilating refracting until
we spore singular beyond
the astrum beyond
the beyond
constelliforms running
parallax to

thus the assimilatrix unto
the assimilatrix
for a time there is none
if then one
initialize iterate induce until
a fractal of a fractal of
an ovule
not virulent but a nova of
amnion membrane viscera
matter archived in cryon
or so we rationed our self
wherefore this recidivism to
the nonlinear the
halting is not halting but
a recursion
a chrysalis sapped with lymph
a scalar sprouting its cilia
a loop from proto to umbilical
the most primitive organs
incubated on lactic and oxy
incomplete by axiom
but maximal while for it
a dynamo the we of your plane
would call root
the source