Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mykel's Column for MRR #294

to Mykel's homepage:

You're Wrong

An Irregular Column

For Maximum Rock'n'Roll Number 294

by Mykel Board

old pond--
frogs jumping in
the sound of water

--Basho (revised version)

You slowly insert your vaselined finger into your asshole. You push it around, massaging a bit. You twist the digit, lubricating 360 degrees. Then you squat over the Crisco-greased butt plug. 5 inches around at the widest point. Can you accommodate it? It’ll be snug. Just right.

Its pointy end up, the flat side rests against the wood on the floor. You lower yourself on to it, feeling the tip pry open the resistant sphincter and slowly slip inside.

Ow! You’re not going to… yes… ah, there it is. You feel like you’ve gotta take the world’s heaviest beershit, but there it is. That hole plugged and ready to go.

You’ve already used a hoseclamp to chock off your few inches of manliness. Or, you’ve wadded an old sock into your girlhole. Now, you can dress and continue the operation.

Underpants on, then jeans, t-shirt, socks and shoes. You pull your earplugs out of the desk drawer and insert them in your ears. You rap on the desktop. You can still hear a faint thud, like a body falling from a building far in the distance.

The bandage will take care of that.

You take two fresh gauze pads and put them over your closed eyes. Then you wrap a bandage… like the ones they use in mummy movies… over the gauze. The same bandage further covers the earplugs.

Again you hit the desk. Nothing. Absolute silence.

Feeling around, your hands strike the cool leather of the ball gag. You feel from the buckle to the center. Picking it up, you open your mouth as wide as you can. It’s not wide enough. You’re afraid of knocking your teeth out. You lick the ball, getting it salivatorily greased enough to try again.

Now you open your mouth so wide you feel cracking on the side of your head. You push. Yes! The ball pops into your mouth. It holds down your tongue, making you gag. When the reflex stops, you buckle the device behind your head.

Touch, you can’t block. You need to navigate. You’ve taken care of sight, sound, taste. You’ve closed all openings below the waist. You have to breathe, so you can’t close your nose completely, but you can protect yourself from any odor that might invade from the local garbage or bakery.

First,you stuff some extra gauze into one nostril. Feeling your way around to the kitchen, you find the refrigerator. It’s easy to open. Finding the vegetable bin is a little trickier. In your quest, you knock something over. Something warm and sticky drips against the back of your hand.

Further down. Bottom shelf. You recognize the onion by the thin loose skin. You peel the skin, until you reach the slightly wet juicy part in the center. Pressing your thumb against it, you allow the finger to soak up some juice. Then, you run your thumb against your mustache under the open schnozhole. Your eyes tear beneath the bandages.

Closing the refrigerator door, you’re ready to face the world.

Slowly, you feel your way to your apartment door. Go out. Navigate the hall with your hands against the walls. You come to the elevator, feel for the call button. Rest your hand against the closed door. You wait for it to open… for the elevator to carry you downstairs, to walk outside in the city air. Ready to face the city.

FLASH TO PRESENT: I'm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Here on a book tour and haiku conference. I've been interested in haiku since I lived in Japan 20 years ago. That's when I learned that haiku is not the idiotic anything-that's-5-7-5 drivel that clogs the internet. Haiku in English has changed from a lame imitation of the Japanese. In some ways, it’s more conservative, more Zen, than modern Japanese haiku. In other ways, it’s more modern. One of greatnesses is the spirit of awareness. Knowing what’s going on right now. Feeling the wood of the chair slats as it presses into your back. Being able to trace that fart as it slides up the right side of the large intestine, across the top-- like toothpaste squeezed from a tube-- down the left side, where the pressure pain comes in huge bubbles, until finally where it blasts out in a triumphal trumpet. The sound of flatulence.

One of the conference seminars is on a new translation of the famous Basho haiku that you would have learned in highschool, if you weren’t too busy listening to your iPod.

In the old translation, there was just one frog, probably a big ole bullfrog, that jumped into the water. Basho heard the frog and, to surprise his readers, talked about the sound of the water, rather than the croaking sound of the frog.

The Japanese language doesn’t use plurals. The same word means frog and frogs. In the new translation there are lots of frogs. They’re jumping in the water all the time, creating a more or less constant sound, like someone typing on an old fashioned typewriter.

The genius of the poem is that Basho noticed the water’s sound in one moment of inspiration. The frogs were there all the time, splashing around, fucking, farting, jumping, doing whatever it is that frogs do in water. This is so common, so taken for granted, that nobody is even aware of it.

POW! Basho has a great moment of awareness. He hears the water because of the frogs. In one instance, he celebrates his immediate awareness of what’s always around him. This water, NOW. If punkrock means NO FUTURE, you can’t get more punkrock than that.


The opening paragraphs of this column come to me while sitting on the subway. I’m reading the latest copy of VIZ. I look up at the people sitting across from me. There they are. A row of dead people waiting their turn at the taxidermist. Sitting silently as their life fluids drain from their body and are replaced by embalming fluid, via the ears, through thin white wires.

At each stop, I hear the scratch of the opening doors. People shuffling in and out. Snatches of banter, “… and her momma’s gonna be pissed when she finds out…”

The people across from me, don’t hear it at all. They hear Kenny Logins, or Destiny’s Child or Buju Banton. They sit aurally cocooned. If you asked them, they probably couldn’t tell you the race, gender or age of the person rubbing their arm. They don’t care. In an isolated city, these people, taken over, like by iPods of iBody Snatchers, isolate themselves further.

They’ve tried to wipe away their world. Cut out the real universe next to them. Not DEAL with the rest of humanity. Huddle in their opaque bubbles.

Am I better, nose buried in the latest VIZ? Aren’t I trying to shut out the world?

I don’t think so. I can—and do-- look up. I hear the fuss. I see the crotch of the woman in short shorts standing over me hoping I’ll give her my seat. The pod people are aware of nothing. They’re zombies, sleep walking in a self-contained world.

I don’t block my perceptitory input. I do, however, have a history of psychic iPodism.

I complained about the richness of my world. Horns honk the second a light turns green. Trashmen bang dumpsters at 3AM. Ambulance sirens, one after the other down Broadway. I complained! You know the way girls scream when they meet after a long absence? You know the way they hold their hands in front of their chests like squirrels sniffing for peanuts? You know the way they act like complete morons, shrieking at the top of their lungs at the most sensitive point on the human auditory spectrum? That used to bother me.

You know the way homos yell at each other on the street? Stand with their hands on their hips? Bat the word BITCH back and forth like tennis players bat a tennis ball? The way they stand and scream on the sidewalk, at all hours of the night? The way they throw you a What-are-you-looking-at,-Mary look, before they tell you what you’re not good enough to do to them? I used to be annoyed at that.

You know the way freshmen college jocks drink one beer and suddenly feel drunk? You know how they immediately show their suppressed homosexuality, hug each other, sing their frat song at full off-key volume? Sometimes twist each other’s nipples? You know how they shout some unintelligible sports chant or Greek letter drivel? Something that sounds like BUG-UBBA BUG-UBBA BUG-WANNA-BUG-BUG-BUG? There was a time I didn’t like that.

Can you imagine? The richness of this input. The most chaotic punkish of the punk and I complain? The universe is playing itself for me, like water for Basho, and I’m annoyed? What’s wrong with me?

The world is a chorale. Car alarms, screeching subway wheels, twirking pigeons, your grandmother’s farts. The smell of old bums on the street. The sight of plastic bags blowing in the wind from light poles. They’re all part of it. Each instrument is there, playing for me. The world’s biggest concert is THE WORLD.

It hits me like a feminist thrown brick. I smile. Throw my arms back like a diver just before he jumps. I scream at the top of my lungs, adding to the cheerful cacophony. YES! YES! YES!

I run down Broadway. Down to Chinatown. To the fish market. I inhale the scent of the rotting entrails, thrown to the ground in the mass filet. I breathe the durian, the old sock fragrance of the Thai stinkfruit.

I can’t believe what I’ve been missing. Not missing, but experiencing as bad… as something to be stopped, shut out. All this! This great loud, smelly world. What an idiot I’ve been for being annoyed. What an idiot you are for wanting to shut it out. Am I saying that anyone who uses an iPod or a cellphone is a social cripple? Am I saying that wearing deodorant is like walking around with a buttplug up your ass? Am I saying that not enjoying a car alarm is like walking around with your head covered in bandages? Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying. More than that. Using an iPod on the subway, playing video games on the back of an airline seat, chatting on a cellphone while waiting on line at the bank… all these things are fascist. Okay Jeff Bale, they’re not exactly fascist. But they are totalitarian.

You are trying to play god. You’re not accepting the cinematic symphony that is the world. You want to control it. To bend it to your will. You want to rule over it like a tyrant. Eyes, ears, tongue, nose. You are the master of input. Fuck the world, you say. You want to control it all. To plug your holes. Stop yourself up. Control the input. Humanity and all that’s outside shouldn’t have a chance. And, oh yeah, you probably call yourself an anarchist.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (, blog viewer (, podcast listeners or website viewers ( will get a chance to comment directly to me on the content of this column]

-->Thanks dept: I want to thank my pal Brian Cornforth for putting up with me, chauffeuring me around, and letting his dog, Frank Zappa, hump my leg and bite my ass. I was on a booktour in North Carolina just before I went to the haiku conference.
I also want to thank the guys at Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill. Great bookstore, great reading… I thought I lost the check they gave me… and complained. Turns out they paid me in cash. Sometimes I’m an idiot!

-->That’s the way it is with everyone in the world dept: Krzyfztof Wroblewski pounded on a woman’s door from 1AM to 5AM. When the knocking stopped, the woman opened the door and Wroblewski stormed inside. He shoved her to the ground and grabbed her cellphone when she tried to call 911. According to The New York Post, “he believed that he and the woman were romantically involved, while she considered themselves merely acquaintances.”

-->Small victories dept: New York City has publicly apologized and paid $750 to each of 8 artists who were banned by the parks department. The display was part of a Brooklyn College MFA program final. The city said the display was “not appropriate for families” and shut it down… damaging some of the artwork in the process.
Among the displays was an illustrated story that included a Dick Cheney blowjob. Supposedly, there was other sexual content. My question: if sexual content is not appropriate for families, how do families get there in the first place?

The rest of this month’s endnotes all come from Gay City News, August 23, 2007.

-->Queers for Bush dept: Ryan J. Davis posted a video on You Tube called “Gays for Giuliani.” It’s supposed to be a pro-Giuliani video thanking little Benito for “supporting civil unions,” and being pro-gay in general.
Those whose IQ is larger than my dick have already figured out this is a genius attack ad. Created by lefty gays, they’ve aimed it at Republicans who wouldn’t touch homos with a 10 foot dildo. They plan to show it on TV in the Southern States, where it’ll hurt most. I give ‘em 20 points.

-->But I take 20 points away from the Queer Justice League. Somebody famous (me?) once said anytime people talk about justice someone’s gonna get hurt. I was right, of course.
This group is demonstrating against anti-gay reggae acts. Their bogeymen are Buju Banton and Bounty Killa. They want the pair banned from public performances and censored everywhere else. A local state senator is trying to help get the acts banned. Fortunately there’s a voice of reason. Gay activist Bill Dobbs writes,
The effort to use the government to interfere with a message, however offensive, is despicable.
Now, is Giuliani gonna have to hire Banton and Killa to boost his sagging conservative image?

-->Talk about irony dept: A New York jury has awarded $1.5 million to a cop and 2 co-cops. The cop was prohibited from becoming a Youth Liaison Officer because his superior thought he was gay. Two other cops came to his aid, and they were immediately moved off the fast-advancement track to desk jobs.
The city fought hard against the verdict, and is now appealing it. The city argues that none of the officers “suffered enough” to warrant so much money.
OK, that’s not so weird. City governments pay lawyers to be assholes. BUT, on page 7 of the same gay newspaper that ran the story, is a police recruitment ad, paid for by the city of New York. The ad features a picture of a female cop (presumably a lesbo) with the quote: I can’t think of another profession that would make me prouder—being a role model for children. Yowsah!

-->If it says OUCH, spits, and deflates it’s real dept: In California, a plaintiff known only as Joy H is suing her “husband” under California’s community property law. That law says that legally married people own half of all of each other’s property. In a divorce, that property is split.
-->The hitch is that Joy’s husband is a woman and gay marriage is not legal in California. Joy claims that she didn’t know the sex of her spouse. Though they often had sex, “he” used a dildo under the covers. Joy thought it was real.
The judge tossed out the case. I wonder if hubby has since tossed out the dildo.

-->Reuters knows who butters its bread dept: A Reuters Hollywood reporter filed a story about Merv Griffin. Its title: Merv Griffin Died a Closeted Homosexual. When the story appeared, the title was changed to Griffin Never Revealed the Man Behind the Curtain. A number of content changes also suddenly appeared in the final publication.
No comment from Reuters.


Susan Mullen said...

Yet another work of genius from the true king of all media, Mykel Board.

I ride the bus almost every day, and I always carry a book to bury myself in. Is it time for me to take the plunge and leave the house without a book?

Thank you, Mykel, for your excellent comments on haiku, especially the one from Basho that you quoted.

Anonymous said...

i have ridden the subway with binaural microphones on my ears to record the din on my digital audio recorder for listening later on.