Grits Up In Flamesor You're STILL Wrong,Mykel's March 2022 Blog
by Mykel Board
Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves
- Laura Esquivel
We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.
- Tennessee Williams
Do not go gentle into that good night... Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
It’s a candle in a jar… aromatherapy… brown letters, on the outside: VANILLA Invigorating. The plague: tired me out… fucked up my body… my sleep. With a drink or two before bedtime I sleep badly… fall asleep around 1:30AM... wake up after 2 hours... piss... jerk off... play Spider Solitaire until I lose ten games… back to for two… maybe three.. more hours sleep.... repeat. If I don’t drink before bedtime, I don’t sleep at all.
I nap during the day. Sometimes around noon... sometimes after lunch... sometimes around 9PM. I’m usually tired... fuzzy thinking… can hardly move.
It’s 11:00AM… still naked from my late wake-up… no energy to dress… I stumble to the kitchen... make my morning coffee. Electric perk: half coffee… half turmeric, pepper, and cinnamon.
I stand facing the paper instructions for cooking grits. I thumb-tacked them to the cabinet door. I love grits. They’re tough to get in New York. I love ‘em with cheese or shrimp...or… When you find them, they never have instructions. You’re American right? You should just how to cook grits. It’s in the blood. I don’t know. Tell me and I forget. It doesn’t matter now. I’m too tired to cook.
The coffee is ready… perked to a dark brown. I pour it into my Life should be a journey… not a race coffee cup and bring it to my table… a rotating double tiered table, I found in street trash. On one end, I have my Skype class computer, external monitor, remote mic and video. On the other end is a blank spot for a plate and a glass.
When I sit down, I spot the candle and figure I’ll invigorate myself. I’ve got to teach a Skype class at 12:30… I need the energy. I reach for the candle… open the top… see it’s almost used up. An eighth of an inch of wax on the bottom, slightly more along the sides of the jar.
I take the spoon from my coffee and scrape the side wax to the bottom of the jar. Then I light the wick. It glows faintly… goes out. I try again. Another failure. Maybe the wick is too old… de-wicked. I shove a kitchen match (one of those on a wooden stick) into the wax at the bottom. I use another match to light the wooden wick. It flares up… bloofff… burns down to the wax… and goes out.
This is pissing me off.
You fuckin’ stupid candle. I’m smarter than nearly spent aromashit in a jar. I’ll show you… you moronic blob of white wax.
I grab a metal ashtray from on top of the file cabinet. From the trash I take a random piece of paper… a form letter from Nancy Pelosi… asking me for money. I tear it in quarters. One of those quarter-pieces I soak in the lighter fluid I use to remove price labels from books and records I sell on eBay.
I pour the wax fragments on top of the paper and squirt a dash of lighter fluid on top of that. I set the ashtray on my Epson printer… far from any paper. Better safe than incinerated, right?
I light the matchstick wick. POOF! Into flames… burns down the stem… POOF! Into flames… big flames… flames bursting out and up… an upside down rocket engine… yellow... red… spots of blue…ashes everywhere… over the printer… onto the bookshelves… great gobs of fire.
Using my bare hands, I whack at the errant flames… EEEEAAAAH!… an eyebrow set alight by the flaming ashtray… I slap myself to put it out… a brittle singe on my face. A toxic smell slowly fills the air.
I try to pick up the metal ashtray… move it to the kitchen sink… YAIIII! My fingers sizzle against the heated steel. It won’t move… embedded in the melted plastic of the printer top.
I run to the kitchen… a spatula… I’ll slide it under the burning tray… pry it loose… enough to get it to the sink. There… slide it under the burning ashtray. It doesn’t slide. Push… push harder… CRACK! Something gives… it slides… off the printer onto the wood floor… flames splashing out… I dance to stomp on the burning droplets… smoke rises from the floor around the ashtray.
Back to the kitchen… a pot holder… an oven mitt… back to the main room... grab the now towering inferno of the ashtray… smoke rises from the oven mitt.. POW! Into the kitchen… throw it in the sink… more splashes… the flames… filled with new oxygen reach for the stars… not the stars but the paper with the grit instructions… hanging on the cabinet door… up in flames… burning the bottom then flaming across the page to The Cheese part… then The Shrimp… ashes rain into the sink while flames reach for the ceiling.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! FIRE! FIRE!
The smoke alarm… I can’t deal with you now… you piece of shit. JUST SHUT UP! I grab it from the shelf... smash it to the floor… step on it. Then back to the sink.
I reach through the falling ashes to the faucet… the handle… pick up a filthy chili bowl from the sink… run the water… into the bowl… SHPLOW! Throw the bowl full of brown water onto the grits-flaming cabinet… refill… SHPLOW! Onto the spouting sputtering spewing ashtray… FSHHHHTTTT!… The water turns to steam… More water… more steam… Then it slows… the flames sputter… turn to smoke… thick black smoke… like those chimney pictures in Greenpeace ads. I cough. My nose runs. I feel the smoke alarm crunch under my sneakers.
Acid tears force my eyes closed… I squint… peer hard… like looking through my neighbor’s drapes. Smoke no longer pours out of the ashtray. Only a single black thread rises from the tray… a snake charmer… at the end of his show. I fold a sheet of paper towel, and use it to push the smoldering ashtray under the faucet… and turn on the water. There’s a hiss… and then only the sound of water.
As I sink to the floor… exhausted… breathless… I begin to feel the pain in my charred fingertips… the burn of smoke in my eyes… the ash in my nose. I lay supine on the floor… a thin stream of something black drips from the corner of my mouth.
This is it… but only the start. The next day: I’m cooking soup for lunch… homemade... rice, bean, and chicken soup… with a dash of cooking sake… and yesterday’s leftover ramen. As the soup simmers, I watch OnePunchMan… A Japanese parody of super-hero animation… great graphics and funnier than a fart in church.
What’s that smell? The soup!! Boiling over… grab the wooden breadboard… on the table in front of the TV… grab the pot… off the stove onto the breadboard. A can of Dogfishhead 60 minutes from the refrigerator… and bang… plop down to watch OnePunchMan complain to his disciple, the cyborg Genos, about scoring worse than the part-robot on the mental section of the hero test. Of course the bald man aced the physical part.
The episodes are only 24 minutes each… made for TV with lots of space for commercials. So when this episode comes to an end I walk back into the kitchen to get some desert. It’s then that I see the flame on the gas stove… still lit… burning… never shut off from when I took the soup to the other room. There it is… on the stove top… naked and burning… a gas flame.
But wait! There’s more…
In the modern world, gyms don’t have keytags anymore. They work by your phone number. You give your phone number to the usually attractive guy/gal behind the plexiglass near the entrance. S/he types it into the computer... tells you your name... you nod… or say something witty… s/he smiles and waves you in.
Today, it’s a skinny long-haired guy… either clean-shaven or one of those beauties who never needs to shave.
“Six four six six seven four seven zero one eight.” I say. His fingers are quick on the keys.
“Nothing like quick fingers,” I tell him.
He smiles… then frowns.
“I’m sorry, Sir,” [Note: there are few things I hate more than being called “Sir”] he says, “you’re not in the system.”
“Eat me!” I don’t say. “Then I’ll be in your fuckin’ system.”
Instead, I realize that I gave him the wrong number. Six months ago, I gave up my landline after 30+ years. [I’m now convinced VERIZON is the most incompetent company in America.] The number I gave the cute boy was a bastardization of my old phone number and my newer cellphone number. Just odd pieces of each… mish-moshed together.
“I’m sorry, kid,” I answer, “I fucked up. My number is… and I give him the right number. But the memory confusion is scarier than a bedbug.”
Add these adventures to my newly acquired inability to simply move something from one place to another. Use my hands to pick up the lava lamp… KERPOW… my elbow knocks the air purifier from the table onto the floor. Grab a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye (I shit you not. That’s the real name of the booze!) from the liquor cabinet… KRAAAASH… the bottle of Everclear falls… smashing into a hundred pieces in the sink. Add water to the humidifier… SPLOOOOOSH! The seal loosens. Water pours down into the space where the electric cord joins the machine…. ZZZZZZZ! FLASH… lights out… short circuit.
And so it goes… The Star Trek captain? The singer for Black Flag? The name of the street beggar on Broadway… the one who sinks to his knees in front of his wheelchair? What you call that little indentation that extends from under your nose to your upper lip? I forget… forget… forget
Usually the answers come back to me in an hour… two… the next day. Sometimes never. But the reality is that I’m losing it. Drugs? Genes? Booze? Alzheimer’s? Enlarged prostate? Don’t test me… I don’t want to know. I will not go gentle into that good night.
It’s late. I’m tired. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try something invigorating. Maybe I can get one of those aromatherapy candles.
See you in hell,
ENDNOTES: [You can contact me on facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Through the post office: send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else (legal only!) to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003. If you like my writing, you can be notified when anything new is available. Send me an email with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Back blogs and columns are at https://mykelsblog.blogspot.com]
may be stranger than fiction, but fiction usually makes a better
case you were wondering if I made it up… as I often do. This one
was real. Here’s a picture of the printer top after its run-in with
my invigorating candle:
→ You happy you got your legal weed? dept: The website Gizmodo reports that a man in Thailand, using scissors, “completely amputated his penis” apparently due to an episode of “cannabis-induced psychosis.” The man regained his mental facilities after being admitted to the hospital and most of his injuries were “successfully treated.” Doctors, however, weren’t able to reattach the lost several inches. That’s probably lucky for future generations.
→ What the fuck? It’s money! dept: MSN reports: A mother told police that she was waiting at a store's self-checkout line with her one-year-old son who was sitting in the shopping cart.
The mother said a woman approached her and commented on her son's blue eyes and blond hair. The stranger said she had $250,000 in her car, and offered to buy the child with it. The mother said she wouldn't sell.
Mom waited for the woman to leave the store before heading to the parking lot, where she was confronted again.
The stranger began screaming at the mom... saying if she wouldn't take $250,000 for him, then she would give her $500,000 because she wanted that baby. Mom still did not sell.
See you in hell, redux,
LINK TRADE DEPARTMENT:
I read that the search engines like lots of links... and it's also nice to support my friends and enemies in their blogs. So facebook me or email me if you have a blog, webpage or something else to connect to. I add you. You add me.
Here's a start:
Here’s Richard Goldberg: goldberg.wordpress.com
Poetry and humor fans will like Justin Martin in The Latency
And my friend Mike R has a nice site with recipe hits from the past! (He cooked for me once... great stuff.) Check out Yesterday's Recipes.
And here's one by a member of ANTI-SEEN... a tour diary of sorts.
Andy Shelton has an interesting blog here.
Savage Hippie is a guy who has been YouTubing for a long time. Our opinions largely overlap... but he complains that I'm a Communist. I'm not! I'm a communist.
Chris Stecher publishes a zine called PRECIS. You can see the back issue links there... and he promises a new issue soon.
George Fertakis has a very nice graphics-heavy blog... with music and books featured prominently. If there’s no link here (I can’t find it temporarily), then Google… er… Duckduckgo him for information.
And my long-term pal Sid Yiddish contributes with his Mishegas Master Blog.
And connect to TRUST Zine, a long-running German punk zine… that STILL PRINTS!!! Yeah, they have a website too… of course! It’s here.
are a couple video links.
This from Jon Cox https://squelchchamber1.bandcamp.com/album/down-so-low
And this one from my very long-time friend Roger Armstrong.
Jim Testa moved his long running zine, Jersey Beat, to the blogosphere awhile back. You can read it here. Jim also recommended a kind of unique album… in a style you don’t see to much of these days… or any days. Neo-Hassidic Rock Opera. You can stream the album here.
Kyle Nonneman is in prison in Portland. At least he can’t be kidnapped by the secret police… I think. I post his blog for him, he can’t do it from the klink. Lots of stuff about noise metal… and some very weird politics that will either fascinate or repulse you… or both.
My long time pal, Jim Hayes rightfully complained about my leaving out his blog. He’s a great writer, so it was a tragic omission. Here it is.
Oh yeah, then there’s me. I have a blog of stuff I’ve written mostly from last century. You might enjoy it. Then again, you might not. It’s here.
Let me know if you have a blog… or a print zine… or a YouTube and want to be added to the list. You show me yours… you’ve already seen mine. email@example.com