Saturday, May 14, 2011

ALL HE COULD: 8 Micro Essays


I’ve never driven a car, slept with a woman, fired a gun. I’ve never gambled. I dislike violent sports. In eighth grade I faked an interest in Marlboros and girls, hoping to get into Danny’s pants. That’s it.

In spite of these disqualifications, I discover that, just like every other thirty-eight year old man, I want to drink beer at the lake with the guys and go fishing.

I hardly know any lakes, guys or fish.

What’s this fish fantasy doing here? Or is it just part of the male equipment?

OK, so there are homo undertones. Like, I can see right up the shorts of the guy rowing the canoe. Skinnydipping abounds.

Also, in my fantasy, despite all the bluster about having world-class rods and tackle, and despite all the beer cans rolling around the bottom of the boat, no actual fish are harmed.

6 Dalai Lamas

The 3rd Dalai Lama was an innovator, the 4th was born in Mongolia, the 5th was great, the 13th embraced modernity, the 14th is what hope we have left.

There were, however, six or seven lifetimes in the middle that didn’t add up to much of anything. The 6th liked to sleep around, the 7th was controversial, 8 through 12 didn’t live very long and, even if one did live for awhile, he was completely useless.

Somehow it makes me feel better to know the lives of the Dalai Lamas are not so unlike my days. A clear-sighted one may be followed by three of uselessness. Some are obviously false, others hardly get started. Five repetitions of upright behavior are bound to provoke an orgy.

On the other hand, after stumbling for centuries, a light may suddenly appear. Is it possible the stunted misspent days and lives fulfill some odd purpose of their own?

Even the Dalai Lama is not sure. The Great 14th admits he cannot make sense of the six or seven lifetimes in the middle. “I never dream of them,” he says.


If only another Buddha was available, like the buddhas of the past, to illumine the strange events which led to the strange shapes of the present.

For example, what karma gave rise to this: a beautiful and devious woman with one foot winds up briefly married to a former Beatle?

Gay Fashion.

2008 was the year it was fashionable to get slapped in the head. Fashionable in Amsterdam anyway – likely it was a year earlier in Paris and later in the provinces.

In 2008 I thought it was just deplorable, while happily sucking cock, to be all the time slapped in the head. It was a sign of something, entirely bad, about how gay men treated each other, rendering straight people’s homophobia completely superfluous, since we were so good at destroying each other and ourselves.

Now 2011 has come around and I discover that I’ve gotten all nostalgic for being slapped in the head. Nobody slaps me in the head anymore! Am I doing something wrong? Don’t they care? Do they think I’m made of porcelain or something?

Now the fashion is to spit into each other’s mouths. (Or maybe that was last year?) And, of course, double anal.

Double anal! The sheer sound of it: surely someone somewhere has already introduced a cocktail called Double Anal.

In a few years will I be all dewy-eyed and nostalgic for double anal? I can’t imagine.

Oh, why can’t they bring back getting slapped in the head?


“Sex is not on top of my list,” he says.

Well. It wouldn’t be on top of my list either, if only somebody would help me to dislodge it.


It’s like the premise of a sci-fi story, except it’s our actual planet. Such a peculiar idea, as a writer might come across when he’d already exhausted time travel and telepathy and talking heads in jars.

Not a bad idea for a story really, though it may seem unlikely and even a bit bizarre: this world where everything changes when you accept it.

All He Could.

If only she had a thousand bodies, she wished, so that she could appear wherever he was, douse herself with gasoline and set herself ablaze each time he told an acquaintance, “I did everything I could.”


Multiple miniscule escape vehicles. Bomb shelter. Back staircase. Backpack propeller. Didn’t work for those other people.

Failure is no obstacle for us. Secret passage. Secret chamber. Secret hideout from the Indians. Secret hideout for the Indians.

Into the escape pod. Up the last tree to the very top.

Then what?

There is another tree, from Heaven, growing toward us. From the very top of the first tree, we can just barely reach it. . .

Proceeding then gingerly upwards we may at last reach the sturdy trunk of the tree, the roots of which lie buried deep in Heaven.

Let no one infer from this that Heaven is upside down. Of course not. Heaven is right side up. We are upside down. Thus that infernal ringing, forever in your ears.

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