You're Going to Argue with This Guy?

But I cannot believe that the expression of one’s ideas has anything to do with the making of literature. I don’t believe that ideas are a novelist’s problem. Ideas should be left to the people who have ideas—philosophers, politicians, teachers. Artists can be extremely dull in terms of what they believe, what they say, and what they do in their lives. Writers don’t think. . . . It was [William Carlos] Williams who said that "The poet’s intelligence is made manifest in his poem." If one is a writer one must work with words, and the words have to be set down in such a way that something beautiful is made.

Gilbert Sorrentino, in this interview.


What If

You don't get the full effect, no, without Lucinda's weary whisky voice, but Crusher does what he can . . .

I shudder to think
What it would mean
If the president wore pink
Or if a prostitute was queen

What would happen then
How would the world change
If thick became thin
And the world was rearranged

If the rains brought down the moon
And daylight was feared
And the sun rose too soon
And then just disappeared

If dogs became kings
And the Pope chewed gum
And hobos had wings
And God was a bum

If houses became trees
And flowers turned to stone
And there were no families
And people lived alone

If buildings started laughing
And windows cried
And feet started clapping
And out came inside

If mountains fell in slivers
And the sky began to bleed
And blood filled up the rivers
And prisoners were freed

If the stars fell apart
And the ocean dried up
And the world was one big heart
And decided to stop

If children grew up happier
And they could run with the wolves
And they never felt trapped
Or hungry or unloved

If cats walked on water
And birds had bank accounts
And we loved one another
In equal amounts


An Open Letter to a Stupid Fucking Fuckwit

Dear Stupid Fucking Fuckwit:

Fuck you. And fuck off.

For many reasons. For emailing me last night to ask when is the midterm exam in our Business Ethics for Future Assistant Managers at McDonalds class. When I wrote the date of the midterm in the syllabus. When I read the date of the midterm out loud to you and your classmates the first day of class. When I have announced the date of the midterm several times since then. When I included the date of the midterm in the sample questions I emailed you a week ago. When I announced the date of the midterm . . . I need to stop here and repeat myself: Fuck you, dear stupid fucking fuckwit . . . ok . . . When I announced the date of the midterm in our last class.

For that. And for making me have to include instructions like these on an exam given to people chronologically older than four years old:

Use a pencil to fill in the bubble on your score sheet corresponding to the correct answer for all questions in Part I. You may use a pencil or pen for Part II.

Write your answer on this page. You may use both the front and back if necessary.

Otherwise, you and your fellow fuckwitted stupid fucking fuckwits would try to write exam answers with a moldy carrot on a rock. How do you not manage to have a fork in your eye by the end of every meal? Really, I wonder.

And fuck you for fuckwittedly complaining about your quiz score on these grounds:

Like, ok, him and me [pointing at Friend Fuckwit], like, wrote the same stuff and whatever but he got a better grade, how come?

No. That is not what happened. Friend Fuckwit wrote a quiz answer that was almost but not quite entirely fuckwitted. Your quiz answer was entirely fuckwitted. Got it? No, of course you don't.

And, yes, fuck you (and fuck off) for fuckwittedly complaining about the paper assignment. Yes, the documentary we watched DID address in more detail Issue A than Issue B. And, yes, I did ask you to write about Issue B instead of Issue A. But, no, I don't want to know that you'd rather write about Issue A, you stupid fucking fuckwit. See, you're the stupid fucking fuckwit and I am the "teacher" in this "college" "course." Which means I get to craft the "assignments" and you get to "complete" them in your remarkably stupid and fuckwitted way. An important division of labor, one you'll see appear again and again in your stupid and fuckwitted life. E.g., when the manager of the Cumberland, Rhode Island, McDonalds tells you to polish the fryolator at 11 pm on a Saturday night.

In sum:

Fuck you.

Fuck off.

And read the fucking syllabus before you ask me another question.

Professor Crusher


Not That There's An Answer

Alone on Christmas Eve in Japan

Not wanting to lose it all for poetry.
Wanting to live the living. All this year
looking on the graveyard below my apartment.
Holding myself tenderly in this marred body.
Wondering if the quiet I feel is that happiness
wise people speak of, or the modulation
that is the acquiescence to death beginning.

Jack Gilbert


Coffee Break

You walk down your street, past the party where the Portuguese kids are running around on the sidewalk, in and out between the recycling bins, working off their sugar high, and past the fancy lingerie shop, the outside of which has been painted this daring and actually quite charming pink, and past the Japanese restaurant where the chefs seem always outside and smoking and unhappy, and past the Indian place where the tiny, pretty waitress once shyly asked why you never use the straw she brings along with your Diet Coke, to the coffeehouse that just put in new chairs and the pretentiousness level of the students working/appearing there has to have a set Sunday-night record, where you get an extra shot in the cappuccino because it's going to be a late night, and you head back, noticing that your new shoes are finally breaking in, and nicely, and these old jeans of yours make you a sexy beast, at least in your own mind, and better there, yeah, than anywhere else, and the fleece pullover is softer than Lorie Stone's kiss in 8th grade when you took a break from skating and it was "Y.M.C.A" playing, and the night is inky blue and the blown-around clouds are a gray that reminds you of campfire smoke and as you fumble for your door key, somehow, campfire smoke makes you remember a girl from high school gym who changed her name midyear to Sunshine and how long her legs were and the impossibly white Nikes, and you wonder, opening the door and returning to the desk, when she finally was embarrassed by that ludicrous, lovely choice, and it became something to blush from, to joke about, to forget, and you boot up and find the file you're working in, hoping the coffee helps you finish what's due by 10 next morning, and yet you still see her, falling down in the dust of the track around the football field, turning onto her back, rolling from side to side, laughing a breathless girlish laugh in snorts and gasps, long tangled hair the color of weak coffee fallen across her face, the one you don't remember no matter how long you sit there, screensaver casting falling stars down the reflection in your glasses.


Crusher is fascinated by the differences between the biblical Jewish worldview, expressed in the Hebrew, and that of later translators (Jewish and Christian). This short article by Robert Alter concerning his new translation of the Psalms touches on a lot of the important ones.


And Here Is Exhibit No. 38

CONCORD, N.H. -- A Concord man is giving up the fight to reclaim a mummified baby that he said has been passed down in his family for generations.

The mummy, known to Charles Peavey's family as "Baby John," was seized by the state nearly a year ago to find out exactly how it died. There was no sign of foul play, but officials said that it could only be released to a relative.

Peavey said he was saving money to pay for a DNA test, but he has given up the fight because the test would cost nearly $1,000.

"I feel like I've been robbed, honestly and truly," Peavey said.

Police were prompted to take action when they saw a photo of the mummified infant next to a live baby, Peavey's great nephew. Peavey said that the mummy had been in the family for decades and was displayed on a bureau in his home. [Crusher: Was it also used as a Thanksgiving centerpiece?]

Family tradition holds that the infant was the illegitimate child of Peavey's great-great-uncle and a woman with whom he had an affair. But after a long fight, Peavey said he doesn't have the money to prove that the infant is related to the family.

"I called my niece and said, 'We've got to raise $900 for this,'" Peavey said. "Enough is enough. Let the attorney general's office do what they will with him."

Peavey did not show up for a hearing this week to try to get the mummy back, a decision that Assistant Attorney General Richard Head said surprised him.

"It's my understanding he no longer wants to pursue this matter, so the remains will be released to a proper funeral director," Head said.

The mummified infant will likely be buried at the Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord, which has offered to bury it for free.

In the meantime, the mummy's memory will be kept alive with a MySpace page Peavey's niece designed. The page opens with the theme from "The Addams Family" and makes joking references to Baby John.

"It at least raised some question as to what Mr. Peavey's intention was related to the remains," Head said.

But Peavey said his intentions were to put Baby John in a cement coffin he bought with the hope that he'd some day reclaim the family heirloom.

"John was the last thing we had left connected to our past," Peavey said.

Because Peavey didn't show up for Wednesday's hearing, the judge gave him 30 more days to prove that he's related, but Peavey said he doesn't plan to appeal the decision.

Crusher took this from John Dufresne and will display the story on a bureau in his home. Crusher family legend has it that Dufresne is the illegitimate offspring of Baby John (See? He was named for his father, obviously.) and an unknown woman.