1) The Addict
I’m lying in bed not sure if I’m awake or asleep. I hear a noise and my wife nudges me.
“It’s probably nothing,” I mumble, half-asleep-ish. But I’m pretending. I’m wide awake. And I know we need to go check it out. So I fumble on some clothes and we head downstairs.
And, there, disconnecting our DVD from the T.V. is the sorriest looking thief you’ll ever see. Probably a heroin addict, I think. Or a meth-head. (I saw a documentary on meth the other night.)
“Pl-please,” he stutters. “Help me.”
“Help you?” I gasp. (but the back of my mind’s frantic. I know this voice. God damnit, this, this pathetic little wretch here, this shell of a man, burned out and battered, this, this is Ron Silliman. The great big Ron Silliman. O, my!)
“Yes, help me, pl-pl-pl-please,” he mutters through black putrid teeth.
I suddenly feel like crying. Like when I’m in a really big church and the full weight of mortality dawns on me with deepening, dome-crescendoing, steepling force.
“Kill the rat!”—-- a voice explodes out from behind me. It’s my wife. And she’s passed me a pitchfork. “Kill him now, damnit, kill him now.”
“But it’s a living creature,” I plead. And I’m struggling.
And the decayed-rat-Silliman’s flung down at my feet. Sobbing. Beseeching. Begging. Befouling. Bemoaning. And this hurts. It just hurts.
“Pl-pl-pl-pl-pl-please,” he spits forth. “You can have anything. My wife. My children. My soul. Curtis Faville. David Shapiro and all his dreams. And all my poems. Yes, I’ll write for you. Blog for you. Chirp for you. Bark for you. Turtle for you. Strip down to just a fig leaf and be your Eve throbbing in your wounded side under the greening eyes of God and Serpent in that beautiful beautiful garden. Anything, anything, anything..pl-pl-pl-please, pl-pl-pl-please.”
The church dome’s sucking the tears up into my eyes and all around us I notice the shadows and figures of trees and walls are taking on a silver kind of blackness. And it all seems to be swelling. Something’s about to happen, I think. We’re in the presence of Grace forming, I think: a Miracle spreading its wings and closing them all around us.
“Kill the fucking rat,” my wife explodes, again. High-strung. Ecstatic. “Now!”
And the pitchfork rises up. And comes down firmly.
Back in bed I try again:
“It was a living creature. Like Robbie Burns talked about. It lived, breathed. It was filled with arches and light. Like Transtromer’s old woman in church. Arches and light. Arches and light”——
“I have no sympathy for rats,” my wife interrupts me. “You should go downstairs and take some pictures of it.”
2) The Infected
A Mr. Welsby met me at the door. It was a very nice place. Kind of like an office but like a house too. There were tables and chairs and beds. And mostly women sitting and loafing around. Their eyes were all vacant. Must be a cult, I thought.
And where is this guy? Where in the hell is he?
And then from behind a velvety armoire steps forth this fat glowing man with just a towel around his waist. And one around his head. Egyptian. Chic. Terrifying.
“I’m Ron Silliman,” he says. “And I’m very pleased to meet you.”
I don’t want to shake hands. But we do.
“I’m hoping we can do lots of business,” he purrs, unfurling from who knows where a large moleskin order book.
“And let’s get right down to business,” he continues. “I need drugs. Lots of them. The type they sell so cheap to Africans.”
“But why?” I ask. “You seem so robust.”
“Ah, but no,” he sighs, smoothly and sadly. “Look closer.”
And when I do I can see he’s covered in bright red lesions. His entire body (or what I can see of it anyways) is covered in these flaring red monstrosities. And when I look even closer I can see he’s all covered in a very thin white-yellow plastic. A full body condom.
“We can do business, yes?,” he continues, purring in a chair to my left now. And I’m in bed. And a woman in lingerie’s crawling on to me.
“This is my sister,
And, indeed, R-E-G-I-N-A is spelled across her tight white t-shirt in big bright red glittering letters.
“Don’t resist,” Ron purrs, climbing on to the bed with us. “It’s useless.”
“So many times," he purrs, licking my neck through the condom, (and God, this feels good) “I’ve tried to resist her. But it’s impossible. Absolutely impossible.”
“But how did you get so sick, anyways?” I ask, trying to sound casual.
And Ron’s back in his chair now. And
“I was Magic Johnson’s assistant,” he purrs. But this time the purring’s flawed. Sinking. Sticky. Dead.
“I’d go everwhere with him. Get all his sloppy seconds. All this turd thirds. His faded fourths. His fried out fifths. And man that guy could score. And me too! And man that guy could take it to the rim. And me too! And man he could dunk. And me too! And after that I was taken on by Oscar De La Hoya. And then Tom Jones. And Evander Holyfied. I worked for all the best. Damn they were good. Agile and long-lasting. And I was too!”
Ron looks so sad remembering. But a kind of elation tingles through him glowing.
“But you can cure me, right here, right now,” he suddenly blurts out through his condom body suit.
“All you need to do,” he says, “Is pull this silver thread from my navel.”
And when I do out comes a duck.
“Kiss me,” it chortles.
And when I kiss it (longer than I probably should) Ron turns into a German super model.
I kiss it again and Ron turns back into a lesioned body condom. I kiss it again and Ron’s a supermodel. I kiss it again and Ron’s a condom. Again and again Ron’s super. And again and again white-yellow. And so on.
And so on. And so on.
Like wrestling the sun and the moon at the same time. Fused into one. Flashing back and forth. On steroids. Faster and faster.
3) The Insane (A God?)
I’m sitting across from Ron Silliman in the visitor’s area of the Psychiatric Ward. He’s staring out into nowhere and he’s drooling. Actually what he’s staring at is a late-afternoon sky filled with tens of thousands of squawking grackles.
I look at the sky and it’s swarming. A shiver runs through me. I look back at Ron and into his eyes and they too are filled with swarming grackles. Shiver. Shiver. Shiver. Like waves of an orgasm rippling through me.
God, I think. Ron’s manipulating the sky.
God, I think, Ron’s a kind of God.
But Ron’s in the middle of ECT treatment and he’s not taking it well.
“What about yr blog?” I ask him hopefully.
“O, I’ve got Charles Bronson running it for me now,” he says. “I thought about Dennis Cooper but Charles is just so much tougher. And rougher. And huffer. And, O Rauan!!”
I’m stunned. A moment ago this former mountain of a man was dribbling spit like a retard but now he’s coming back to life with a vigor that would rival Rilke and all his strange flowers and does leaping back into those sad and long-neglected Duino Elegies.
“I’ve got plans, Rauan” he bursts out, almost singing. “I’ve got plans. When I finally kick this bird, this big fat cheese, this Jupiter, this cold damned neutron star, I’m going to really hum. Hum, hum, hummmmmmmmm…”
“But, Ron, why are you so depressed??”
“It’s all Tito’s fault,” Ron winces.
“Yeah, that midget who works on my pool and back yard.”
“This isn’t another one of those sad my-poolman-and-my-wife stories is it?”
“No, it’s one of those poolman-and-me stories!”
“O, Ron, how could you?” I meekly proffer.
And with that Ron begins to sob.
“It was heaven while it lasted,” Ron manages through his cascading tears. “And boy he could last. But he left me. Tito, Tito, Tito: that cold-hearted bastard! And went back to
And now the floodgates are completely open. But through the torrents I’m able still to peer into Ron’s eyes and there I can see the blackbirds settling onto the bare branches where they’re starting to really squawk now.
The squawk, collectively and boomingly, rising and falling, stretching into an eerie sound that kinda sounds, broken and bouncing in the middle, like “Ti-to, Ti-to, Ti-to,...”
And in Ron’s eyes I can see a young Mexican, naked and bruised and bloody: Tito. And this Mexican’s running from a big fat bull. Running down through the heartlands of
And the bull stops. And a tear runs down its cheek.
And a tear runs down Ron’s cheek.
Damn, I think. Ron is a kind of God. And I’m in awe.
And a tech came forward.
“Excuse me, Mr. Silliman. It’s time for another zap.”
And as they roll the poor and godlike Ron Silliman into the lightning’s jaws I look outside where the birds had been swirling and now instead I can see a young, gorgeous Tito, dressed immaculately, walking into his Abuela’s house where he sits down with all the family, thousands of them, and begins, long into the night to play at the eternal game of poker. One peso limit.
Grand prize: a 2 kilogram Huachinango.
And a couple of times I think I can hear Ron Silliman screaming.
Do you know how much it hurts to hear a God screaming?
Like a hog being slaughtered. Or a lobster whistling.
If you're interested in reading the older (ancient!) Silliman dreams then hit one of the labels below. Or visit this blog.