Tags: father


metagraph to an anniversary

“Ma, sendo l’intento mio scrivere cosa utile a chi la intende, mi è parso più conveniente andare drieto alla verità effettuale della cosa, che alla immaginazione di essa. E molti si sono immaginati repubbliche e principati che non si sono mai visti né conosciuti essere in vero; perché elli è tanto discosto da come si vive a come si doverrebbe vivere, che colui che lascia quello che si fa per quello che si doverrebbe fare, impara più tosto la ruina che la preservazione sua: perché uno uomo, che voglia fare in tutte le parte professione di buono, conviene rovini infra tanti che non sono buoni.”
“But as my intention is to write something of use to those who understand it, it appears to me more proper to go straight to the real truth of the matter than to its imaginary state. And many have imagined republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist in reality; for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live, that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done, will sooner learn to bring about his own ruin than his preservation; and hence a man who wishes to make a profession of goodness in every matter, must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good.”

— Niccolò Machiavelli, Il Principe, 1532
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.
“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
“What brought it on?”
“Friends,” said Mike. “I had a lot of friends. False friends. Then I had creditors, too. Probably had more creditors than anybody in England.”
“Tell them about in the court,” Brett said.
“I don’t remember,” Mike said. “I was just a little tight.”
“Tight!” Brett exclaimed. “You were blind!”
“Extraordinary thing,” Mike said. "Met my former partner the other day. Offered to buy me a drink.”
“Tell them about your learned counsel,” Brett said.
“I will not,” Mike said. “My learned counsel was blind, too. I say this is a gloomy subject. Are we going down and see these bulls unloaded or not?”
“Let’s go down.”
— Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, 1926
Jim Bennett: I’ve been up two and a half million.
Frank: What you got on you?
Jim Bennett: Nothing.
Frank: What you put away?
Jim Bennett: Nothing.
Frank: You get up two and a half million dollars, any asshole in the world knows what to do. You get a house with a 25 year roof, an indestructible Jap-economy shitbox, you put the rest into the system at three to five percent to pay your taxes and that’s your base, get me? That’s your fortress of fucking solitude. That puts you, for the rest of your life, at a level of fuck you. Somebody wants you to do something, fuck you. Boss pisses you off, fuck you! Own your house. Have a couple bucks in the bank. Don’t drink. That’s all I have to say to anybody on any social level. Did your grandfather take risks?
Jim Bennett: Yes.
Frank: I guarantee he did it from a position of fuck you. A wise man’s life is based around fuck you. The United States of America is based on fuck you. You have a navy? Greatest army in the history of mankind? Fuck you! Blow me. We’ll fuck it up ourselves.
The Gambler, 2014

I broke bad the day my father burned in a fire that started in 2 places at once, 3 years & 5 months after sprouting my 1st crack on 9/11.

I broke bad gradually & then suddenly: 8 years of assclowning—gradually; 18 days of watching my father die—suddenly.

An asshole differs from an assclown: as cutting in line, from broaching rear entry; as arrogating privileges, from reclaiming rights.

All you giving up rights to line up for the sake of craven politeness: do as I do, or hope & pray to catch up with me on the other side.

All you frantically boarding up the rear entry: stock up on glue & lube, ere you get fisted & splintered.


siren song

She sings incessantly every waking moment. She has long since ceased to recognize faces. There is no knowing whether she is suffering. Never a whiner in her full, she gives no sign of complaining on this slide. Her erosion is a lot to envy. Five years ago being scorched into slow extinction seemed the worst lot available to man. All love meant then was wanting to assume it upon oneself. That old longing is back in force. How can she consume this degradation? Why must it remain hers alone? This privacy of laggard death is beguiling. It is worth reaching for. It will not elude your grasp forever.

sprint pcs is searching for service

    He lies in bed recovering from a cold.
    He is holding a watch. He gave it away as a gift twenty-four years ago. Now he has it back. Its plastic crystal is melted away. Its face is scorched.
    He shakes the watch. The self-winding rotor turns and ratchets. The watch starts ticking.
    The phone rings. The voice is instantly recognizable. It resumes a conversation long since broken off.
    — Who is this?
    The voice carries on.
    — Who is this?
    Its rhythm remains unabated.
    — Is that you?
    The connection breaks up. The line is silent.

nap time II

    It still goes on.
    His father is asleep in his bed. He lies on his side, plump, naked, curled up in a fetal position.
    Michael walks into his parents’ bedroom. He has the Sunday paper. He is about to tell Isaak of the mobile home that he bought for their transcontinental cruise.
    A leg sticks out from under the pillow. He tries to awaken his father, to find out what’s going on. Pinky is hiding beneath the headboard. She grins at Michael. Isaak’s head is nestled in her crotch. It doesn’t budge. They both exist somewhere else. Michael wills himself awake.

family dinner

― Thank you for visiting.
― It’s my pleasure, Mother.
― Where are we going?
― To a restaurant.
― Are you working?
― Yes, I am working.
― Do you have a job?
― No. I don’t have a job and I’m not getting paid.
― Why not?
― I haven’t had a job for 21 years, Mother.
― How did you manage?
― I worked as a consultant. Then I went back to school. Then Erin and I had our own company. We employed people. Then I worked on my own. I had several clients.
― What happened?
― The company ended up in a lawsuit. I still have clients, but I am no longer taking any work from them, for the time being.
― Why not?
― I don’t have the time. I must write.
― How will we manage?
― We have money.
― Are your lawsuits finished?
― Some are.
― What about the rest?
― I am still being sued for defamation by WebEx.
― Why?
― Because I stated that Min Zhu raped his daughter Erin and used his company, WebEx, to cover up his child rape.
― Isn’t it true?
― Yes. That’s why they will lose.
― Why did you say it?
― Because he threatened my life.
― How so?
― Do you remember going to court with me nearly two years ago?
― Yes.
― Do you remember why we went?
― You were carrying a gun. You got arrested.
― Do you remember what happened?
― What happened?
― I got acquitted. Don’t you remember the look on the prosecutor’s face?
― She was very disappointed.
― Do you remember why I got acquitted?
― Because you were in fear of your life.
― Do you understand now why I said these things about Min Zhu?
― Yes. But don’t you want this to be finished?
― I do. So do the Zhus. In fact, they have tried to drop their lawsuit.
― Why didn’t they?
― Because I wouldn’t let them get away with malicious prosecution.
― What do you want?
― I want them to apologize. If they don’t apologize, they will be shamed to no end.
― Why do you want them to apologize?
― I refuse to live my life with a scintilla of concern about their threats.
― Will they apologize?
― No. Please eat your dinner and drink your wine.
― It’s too much for me. Do you remember Father?
― Yes, I do.
― Why did he die?
― There was a fire in your apartment. He tried to put it out. He was naked. He got burned.
― How did the fire start?
― We are not sure.
― Did I start it?
― It’s not your fault, Mother. You are not responsible.
― I carried him out in my arms.
― Yes, you did. I saw the bruises on your arms.
― Why did Father lose his job?
― He chose bad business partners. It runs in the family.
― Did he do anything wrong? Father never did anything wrong.
― He worked with crooks. He got accused by association. There was no evidence of his wrongdoing. The plaintiffs withdrew their claims.
― So why did he get fired?
― He got disciplined because his partner failed to get them licensed. His department found out about it and fired him for working on the side without asking their permission.
― Was that all? The State fired Father for moonlighting?
― He had worked for the State for twenty years. He was making a lot of money. The State is running a budget deficit. They can hire two junior analysts with his salary.
― Did he do anything wrong? I always trusted Father.
― He chose bad company. That was enough.
― Have you heard from Erin?
― Erin and I haven’t spoken for years. You must mean Rachel?
― Yes.
― I’m no longer talking to Rachel.
― Is it because of me?
― No. It’s because of me.
― Are you seeing any other women?
― I’d rather not talk about that.
― Why can’t we live together?
― We would drive each other crazy. I must be able to work. We are paying our friends to take care of you for now.
― Am I driving you crazy now?
― I’ll manage.
― We don’t have to see each other if I am disturbing you.
― I like seeing you. I’m sorry I don’t have much to say. I’m saving it for writing.
― What are you writing about?
― Everything.
― Are you writing about Father?
― Yes.
― Will you be able to publish your writings?
― No doubt.
― Can you show them to me?
― Some day.
― Have you shown them to anyone else?
― Yes.
― Did they like them?
― Yes.
― What did they say?
― They always say the same thing. They’ve been saying that for decades. That’s not what counts.
― It means a lot to me.
― It’s not that important. Good night, Mother.
― Good night.

nap time

Michael’s mother Maria has Alzheimer’s. She was widowed on March 1st by an apartment fire of mysterious origin. The fire started right next to her couch. Instead of alerting Michael’s father Isaak, Maria repaired to the bedroom. She laid in bed by his side reading her book. Meanwhile, the fire was smoldering and gathering force. Her husband spent eighteen days on life support in a burn unit. Michael spent most of that time living and sleeping next to his deathbed.
    Michael sleeps furtively, in snatches. After briefly falling asleep in the reclining chair, he dreams of his father. Isaak’s face is smooth. His skin glows. He wants to stay, but he must be going. Nothing Michael can say or do will change that.

Edvard Munch, By the Deathbed, 1895, oil on canvas, 90x120cm

    Michael dreams of his mother. He is riding his motorcycle down Sunset Blvd at night to pick up Maria. She has once again wandered away to Beverly Hills. Instead of finding her on the agreed upon streetcorner, he comes across a paddy wagon. Maria’s voice comes from the back. The constables act like a couple. Michael asks them to release his mother into his custody. They refuse. Michael gets the male officer in a headlock. He draws his gun. The female opens the container at gunpoint. His mother is inside. She rests in a white cardboard box. She has shrunk to the size of a wizened doll. Her lips are moving. Michael hears nothing.

Edvard Munch, Night in Saint Cloud, 1890, oil on canvas, 64.5x54cm

in memoriam isaak zelyony, m.d.

March 26, 1923 — March 1, 2004
    Dear friends,
    We are gathered today to commit to the ground the mortal remains of my father Isaak Zelyony. There will be no religious ceremony. Three years ago, my father and I attended nearby the funeral of his elder brother Joseph. The rabbi officiating at that event offered thanks to God for a swift and easy death. My uncle’s death was anything but easy. He lingered at the hospital for eighteen months suffering from a panoply of grave ailments, delirious and inane, fed through a breach in his stomach. My father and I agreed then that no clergyman would officiate at our funerals. As born and bred Soviets, we have no religion. My father did not believe in God. I am unsure of my own beliefs, but such God as I believe in surely is no one that owns a character of any kind, in particular not of the kind that wills for any outcome or cares about his creatures, let alone heeds their prayers. My God is akin to the indifferent jailor of a GULAG prison camp, and as his inmates we are well advised to abide by the traditional admonishment of Soviet prisoners: Wait for nothing. Be afraid of nothing. Ask for nothing.
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