Sunday, November 12, 2006

Notes at ease

A paper napkin doodle dandy tapdances a jig around Jimmy Cagney atop a manila folder. Over there he unfolds a xeroxed blueprint in the sultry summer afternoon sun, his baseball cap melting. One by one, kinfolk follow his steps blindly, each touching a sequence of primary colored dots in procession. And so Master Po asks Grasshopper (the young Kwai Chang Caine) to ponder the true meaning of chinoiserie...but he hesitates. In ascending order of white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown and finally black, his harelipped mouth uncurls and money immediately exchanges hands furtively. The project is way behind schedule without clout. But somehow it works a quick sidestep, almost an electric slide powered by reverse current, to complete the job above budget.

Behind the golden section guarded by stanchions, her portrait hangs high in porcelain inside the pavillion. The performer hired to reenact the complicated moves nearly breaks his back from the constant contortion. His pain is captured digitally by an amateur shutterbug hired by the family soothsayer.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Notes after a full month

The numerology luckily divined equals twenty-five strokes, each lap a full length shy of two feet by three and a half inches. After nine centimeters of thirty hours and sixteen minutes, the mathematician recalculated and ultimately deferred the word problem to a handwriting expert to work out another solution. Instead he called long distance seeking spiritual validation.

Outside, an odd couple wheezes very loudly, sinuses simultaneously blaring a full retreat. The sportswriter of the two is looking for an outlet to plug in his portable electric Smith-Corona before midnight. His teams are in first place clinching divisional titles by wide margins. But first, ask the nurse for some Tylenol, his temperature is well past normal and a delicate constitution needs to be written.

Inside their antiseptic room, both agree after she relents and lets him be happy: in the middle before plum makes perfect sense despite his awkward attempts to anglicize. But the question still lingers as whether to hyphenate or not. Such trouble from a dash no one could anticipate.

Overnight proved restless as jaundice settled in, the result possibly of a viral infection. Another Oscar, a Goldman authorized as a precaution, a bionic tube that sticks out from the top of his head. Even inveterate gamblers refrain from betting against the house, making sure to wash their hands first with antibacterial soap. And so after three consecutive days, the newborn family goes home again a second time, just in time to become a miniature Mister T three days before Halloween.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Utopia toppled

Somewhere out west three consecutive dots followed by three rapid dashes followed again by three rhythmic dots dissipate over the Nebraskan sky, unheard.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Notes about last night

The four blue walls remain undisturbed as it were and all is still. Only in a momentary lapse of concentration did the olive velour cocktail loveseat greatly escape. Swiftly, the Gestapo called out the German shepherd to hunt down the lost stray and both concluded the matter over a barrel of homemade moonshine without even so much as a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Now it guards the unprotected corner where the Cooler King forever bounces his baseball, perpetrating an Orientalist way of life for the time being.

Underneath the Queen, sand pebbles collect and surround the crumbled red envelope. It, too, must stay in place. No one is permitted to move around.

In the other room, talk circulates of imminent relocation. Every night just before supper, the two principal heads gather their thoughts, each mapping out possible scenarios based on careful calculated measurements.

"How about simplicity?" Rob Lowe says.
"But the wood creaks," Demi Moore replies.

Both sit down and wait for night to come.

Songs from Chinatown whisper in the dark. The Hawaiian is banned from humming because his voice evokes nightmares. Yet a quarter past five as dawn breaks, she materializes out of the blue. Her stunned son, lost in conversation, stops in mid-sentence. He smiles, rises and hugs her, blurting repeatedly in joy, "You're back but where have you been?"

Her maternal face beams pure happiness.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Notes to go

An origami ziggurat lilts forward, its hollow spine a ribbed pagoda of trapezoid flaps as if built by Simon Rodia. Towers upon leaning towers of waxed two-ply cardboard bleached white darken the brown gravy within. Underneath, the thermal heating lamp stutters an order to go.

The mother of chef Ming Tsai breathes heavily, flipping spatula and ladle together in clattering harmony. Her dish, a lunch special of stir-fried steel noodles enough to build a thousand miles of railroad track is overcooked but she needs to feed a billion mouths. Beside the wok on the counter is a Tardis of a take-out carton that a whole emigre nation can fit into. She begins to scoop the subgummed melange of moo gai pai just the way the boys over there enjoy. Fragrant steam rises in a billowy cloud that hides Yan Can who is cooking up a tempest in a porcelain teapot while he wails a Cantonese opera about a plane running out of fuel and falling straight out of the sky over Staten Island.

Inside the party room, a network of Soviet nesting dolls disguised as industrial spies trade kulak artifacts for ancient Chinese culinary secrets over a friendly game of strip poker. Boris Badanoff ups the ante to a liter of Kikkoman soy sauce, hoping to bluff with a pair of deuces. Meat cleaver in hand, Hop Sing calls.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Notes on urban parking

Walk on a flying carpet of nails suspended thirty feet in the air gingerly.

Below stubby oak stumps whittled away span upward, a city of angels. Or tall, narrow columns interspersed. Fake wood grain, plastic veneer cover medium density fiberboard arranged in tribute to Tatlin. No leaning tower of Pisa or Babel instead atop each faux bamboo pole is perched athletic shoewear spray-painted gold or some metallic finish in enamel.

Every level is marked and color-coded for your convenience.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

On projectile regurgitation

Three separate moments, a simultaneous jumble of far-flung joss sticks, about thirty seconds apart run parallel in marathon time. Who knew things could misalign so perfectly? Yet not surprisingly, the bizarro neighbors straight from an unfinished manuscript are aghast nonetheless.

She pauses and swallows, every meal a Poseidon adventure. Water rushes in, washing away the coral reef, turns and explodes in an upward stream-of-consciousness.

The technician deftly moves the mouse connected by antique plugs to a snowy black and white glass tube and the pixelated image glows, a checkered pattern of visualized Morse code causing eyes to wander. Chutzpah four inches long presages the next coming. On the tarmac each moniker is aflame, shot to pieces over the Pacific. In unison, ghosts shout, "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

Asleep, it crackles a spark and then goes black.

Therefore life is good, Charlie Brown.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Notes from going underground

Across the silk-covered room, the fairy tale begins swiftly, a flowing iridescent current. A failed thought pauses in distraction and then floats harmlessly by.

Somehow before it fades, an Asian police officer wearing a green gray uniform urges a speedy retreat from the scene of the crime yet to happen. An unavoidable anticipation pervades and hangs thicker than fog as I follow. The trap is being baited though to what extent remains very uncertain as a frightful deja vu lurks from behind the shadow of a wooden door left ajar. Through it lies our sole means of escape, some think, salvation. But from what or whom? No one directly says, however.

And we move fast through the door and descend an impossibly linear spiral staircase, three steps at a time in a blur. Seen from above, it is a dizzying funnel of steps headed to a central vanishing point. The tessellated perspective distorts any sense of reality, elongating our legs in slow motion until frozen in Futurist space as if a rare Marcel Duchamp canvas. The hunter becomes the hunted, lost in the rabbit hole. Trin T. Minh Ha whispers from the balcony above, something mouthed disguised as words. Who do we run from now? Are they immediately behind us?

Upstairs a clear light shines through the gauze window curtain but from the inside outward, a luminous air permeating thin skins. A mysterious figure is about to appear. The silent cinematographer moves aside, his 35mm camera rolling and shoots from a wide angle, unnoticed.

She calls out without reply.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The tao of poo

Incessant caterwauling squeakily reverberates over the partition so much so that it fazes the normally plastic Yao Ming leaning in mid-dribble, shoulder lowered into the beige receiver, clearing room for a running hook. One hundred t-bone steaks dancing a waltz with one hundred bacon strips along the wall, watch in silence.

Behind the leaden wall sit two aliens of the nookie persuasion, jabbering static in gesticulations. Finally the words, "...dancing on a minefield" become discernable causing consternation among government officials monitoring the exchange from the broadcast booth above the netted homeplate area. Who is the sleeper?

Suddenly a confused Woody Allen appears onstage telepathically repeating that old joke of a bear and a rabbit shitting in the woods where the bear asks the rabbit, "Rabbit, does shit stick to your fur?" to which the rabbit answers, "Why, no, Bear" prompting the bear to grab the rabbit to wipe his ass.

The scatology of chili infiltrates the collective consciousness.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Notes on not eating mussels

Wonder ugly and hop a leaf. A ponytailed girl with fish lips, puckering wood-grained graffiti is left hoisting a tangled ball of orange extension cords. Noguchi using Japanese paper instead, smirks. Are the cut-ups really enough to arouse guffaws? Hopefully under a pseudonym, Chow Yun Fat displaces the neon cool of the John Woo ilk. And the hapa haoles surface en masse, driven from their cubbyholes to seek the daughter of a man whose paintings live only overseas, an indictment on the previous administration fumbling the football.

Beads of plastic sweat cling to the pigmented surface but who knew how to figure out the complicated formula to figure out square footage? Murakami can, though and proceeds on a superflat beeline to that imaginary vanishing point. No one sees Toulouse Lautrec drinking out of the blue-faced lady, his beard shorn.

Six males of Asian descent, mildly drunk but majorly aghast, rant about an impending catfight, placing bets of varying odds. Go ahead and order the duck brioche as the Earl of Sandwich.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jerry Yee

He draws a charcoal line, wavery in the misty rain as the doppelganger reflects a weird shadow from underneath a tree limb overhanging a grassy plot. Naturally it dissolves, washed away by a torrent of tears. But no one is near to hear you ask, "So who will come and wipe clean the memory?"

Waxen, the prone figure rests comfortably, undisturbed by the surrounding begonias and lavish carnation bouquets. Vertical rows of ideograms on long ribbons of satin argue against the logic of upright Roman text, nearly causing a Trojan War. The walk home is uneventful until the third kidney shrinks out of proportion. Only then does the luncheon resume. Luckily for the pastor, his nephew, the parking lot is empty in front of a leaking restaurant.

Afterwards, all lights, red, yellow and green lead a direct path, illuminating the ranch as if stranded in the Nevadan desert. Throughout the wood panelling sits a fuzzy zoo, thousands of miles removed from sustainable bamboo and inedible bramble. Visitors rest at the dinner table while old acquaintances examine the backs of quarters, looking to make sense of green tea leaves and pistachio shells.

Disembarking off the jet, sad faces pop hard candy into their mouths. And a week goes by quickly for the slow ride back.