An X Is A Kiss But Not...

And Lo, the traveller came at last to the sky's edge. He put down his staff + poked his head thru the fabric of space, beholding the mighty clockwork of the cosmos, the great turning gears, the merry go round and the ferris wheel. He smelled the heavenly corndogs and heard the calliope music. And he said, "Hey wait for me you guys!"

 
An X is a KISS
 
but NOT when
 
playing SCRABBLE
 
by  LAIKA PUPKINO
 
 
 
When I was six, or thereabouts, and out in the car with my folks,
and seeing all the things they never seemed to notice...
 
I wrote the name of this---let's call it a neighborhood---on my sleeve
as we sailed past on the freeway, so that I would always remember
and could someday come and live here. Well not on my sleeve...
 
 
At that age I could not read what the letters were by copied them
down exactly with the long strokes of this single-edge blade I found on
the soft white underside of my forearm- all those x's and X's and x's and X's from elbow to wrist spelling VIDI-LAVU. Spelling YALLOW ISLAND APARTMENTS. Fascination in seeing the thin red trickle---a private rite unobserved---as the family car bobbed across the channel on those big swollen bright yellow tires.
 
 
This island hasn't changed since maybe 1943. The palms and
Victorian cottages bursting from green hillsides, and still with all these orange/yellow/red/green gorgeous and well-nigh edible looking tilesaround the doorways of every shop, and even HEY around the corner down here in the back, I mean this wavy-topped little white plaster retaining wall enclosing the dainty tin miniature trashcans at which you can soiree with the racoon family, break bread on the leaf-scattered flagstone steps. Break skin
and meat to spell out the name of this pagan bordertown Mexico
you saw in a dream...
 
Spelling TRASHCANLAND. Spelling WILLOUGHBY.
 
 
Like a HOLLYWOOD sign, it rode up there. Copying down those
proud upthrust (but on closer inspection years later somewhat slapdash
in construction...) plywood letters up there on that weedy ridge. Looking
at my faint reflection in the Ford stationwagon's side windows as I did it,
 
those two gray eyes looking hard and pink and moony under my reflected self's too serious brow and Leave-It-To-Beaver crewcut...
 
Although inside myself I was oddly peaceful and for the first time really happy. For determined I had a plan...
 
 
So here we sit in this carnival pierside diner over a decade later.
I could not tell my folks, nor tell our Church's nervous moustachiod
Whoah-Nelly-I'm-way-outta-my-league-with-this-sickie-kid preacher guy;
to whom I would never try to explain the "why" of that automutilatory
X-X-X wingydingy. For I knew that in their bullheaded way, with their
banal hexmagic and schooly blandishments and with time as a lever
they could make me forget, easy as gutterballs!
 
Which is the why of it, you see. A pact. An appointment in time + space
with this place. Burning their bridges, not mine...
 
 
Now I am 22. I can read pretty good and am going for my GED, mellowing somewhat and sort of wishing I hadn't carved the name of this place-
 
On my face actually. But everyone here in BUMFUCK EGYPT understands; like I had intuited they would, even in that first winking glimpse of this
place---this decahectare of sidereal real estate---from up on I think it was the Harbor Freeway, our roadbed hefted way up on like a solid bank of candy wrappers. My neighbors seem to think I am just very enthusiastic, some do-it-yourself Afro-Islamic scarification kit, junkyard boosterism
for this CITY OF MOONBEAM HULA, where there is no tenant's association and you can let your house get lost under the reeds if you want...
 
Primrose and bougainvillea, old couches moldering in leafpiles under thatch ramadas. I was glad I was allowed to find it, by whatever gods, many aren't. They get just a glimpse, followed by a lifetime of confusion and sadness. Try the Willie the Disk Omelette, #14 there, it's excellent...
 
 
We have a top notch education system, the kids, and then on rainy days we take them into the X's- the Slinky races down the endless spiral staircases, stairs and rooms and tunnels inside these towering capital letters up here
on the hill, the kids' voices screaming down the windowless dim barebulb interiors, you know, all of them running up and down, playing tag, teaming up to trip each other it's a wonder none of 'em ever got killed in there .............. Oh wait that's right they have and they will and they do. Human life you see is cheap here but fun, and-
 
HEY, LOOK OUT!
 
For almost as if to illustrate someone is tossing syringes full of curdled green fungal ook into this joint like we was a dart game or something, you should've been quicker! Don't worry, they are quite sanitary about it,
I'm sure. No, sit back down your arm is not turning into bubbles,
SIT DOWN! You'll be okay eventually ......... Probably.
 
 
Remember when you were a boy or a girl or whatever, and you rode that banana-seat Schwinn Stingray down the alleys, way down from where you lived, to this part of town where your peeps would have shit if they knew you were down here (and maybe humming that dunn-da-da-dunn-dunn James Bond theme on yer adventure); and the alley turning to gravel and then to
a rutted convexity of dirt + patchy grass; the tall plank walls on either side of you bowing out at you in graffitied segments, now abruptly giving way to weathered pickets or to no fences at all, to where you could see right into people's back yards. the delicious impropiety of it...
 
Weeds. Tire swings. A cadaverous black wrecked De Soto. That old brick trash-incinerator from way way back. Those lost places.
 
Spelling PACIFIC OCEAN PARK. The blue-painted concrete waves you see surrounding all these more-or-less permanent carnival rides denote a heavy nautical theme. These thick rope railings. Evenings from 7 to 10 is for movies that they shine on the big pale green cylindrical water tower that's visible from nearly every porch and balcony on these twisty hillsides and canyon streets. You can even see it from the roller coaster! One night some months back I was riding it and looked over, and there on the water tank the movie was showing footage of zooming down a roller coaster- HAHHH!
 
 
The guillotines? I think they have something to do with the Population Lottery, or the bumper cars or the auto da fe ....... I'm not sure, and I'm
not really too curious to tell the truth. You may recall a time when---for
a spell in a certain segment of the culture---'dropping out' from worldly information about government et cetera was considered a noble venture,
a means of pioneering into new realms of the Spirit .......... But so anyway,
the accused or whatever they are-
 
Barbaric? Sure, possibly. But out there in your world
everybody---EVERY-FUCKING-BODY---dies and dies
and dies every goddamn day! So there you are...
 
Spelling CLARION ........... Spelling THIS WAY XANADU.
 
 
Places only dimly remembered from back in those standing-on-the-front-seat-thresshold-of-memory days. Places you saw---OR DID YOU?---that were torn down or maybe you moved away to another part of the state before you could come back and corraborate whether they actually existed. Remember that place, Mom?
 
WHAT?!! Are you talking about THAT PLACE again? Forget about that place! No such place that we've ever seen. And your father and I are real observant, aren't we Edgar? You keep thinking about that place and you'll never be happy working at Waldobooks, Junior.
 
 
This is Wanda Lee. She's one of our official Guillotine Sluts, and will be your guide on the next leg of her tour as soon as she's done here. Thank you for visiting BRIGADOON. Thank you for visiting Bali Hi's melty siren song calling you, thank you for visiting THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS.
 
Smell of corn doggles, screams from the No-Parachute Ride. Cries from the Deep Six Review: "It's coooooooooooooold down here!" Crowd all around this scaffold hoots and waves little Nationalist Chinese flags that we got
20 cases of somewhere for cheap. And the spoilsport Star Of Our Show
keeps bobbing his head back up until Snappy Tom the henchman smash
it one time hard against the wooden neck-holder thingy...
 
Drumroll. Flash of metal sunshine. Red gouts of lung-blood bright as poppies!
 
Wanda Lee, a natural comic presence up there on the scaffold yanks up her short yellow polkadot skirt to reveal heavy bloomers with an applause sign across the front of them. Relieved titters from a cadre of Christian-type gore heads who feared for a second that this public execution would be in violation of good taste. NEXT SHOW/ NEXT SHOW/ NEXT SHOW smiles Wanda Lee sweetly.
 
 
And now we go....
 
Okay if you say so. My my, you're turning into bubbles!
 
But here comes the little steel car here. And look, this one's Felix the Cat, one of my favorites! These tracks are just about everywhere, I'm always tripping over them. Say, were you gonna finish your toast or can I have it? Thanks ......... Help our friend in, Wanda.
 
 
Into the little cart with Wanda Lee--- ain't she a fun gal? ---and around this tight bend, bumping through these plywood double doors and down Muffin Tin Road to Happy Land. The steep tunnel down. "Please keep all digits, wingnuts, monads and extremities inside car..."
 
I'd say you're right on schedule.
 
 
 
Bubble
 
bubble
 
he he
.
 
.u.
 
.
,
 
[This was part one of the AEONS cycle, a series of thematically related surrealist pieces.]

 

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