Dylan had been walking a Border collie and some groceries back to his University Heights duplex when he was stabbed twice in the side. One of the blows chipped his fourth rib, the blade twisting harmlessly into the muscles of his abdomen. The second tore a small hole in his right lung.

As he lay dying, Dylan smelled milk; the milk had broken as he fell. Blood began gurgling to his throat with each breath.

The kid didn’t even rob me, he reflected.

Dylan James McCorey’s last living thought was of how annoying the frozen concrete felt on his neck. There was a swelling burst of white noise, a sound like a single note played on a piano in an empty room, and then nothingness.

.

Suddenly, Dylan became aware again. The hallway he walked down stretched far before him and resembled the long corridor that led to the separated gymnasium of his elementary school. Soon Dylan realized that this was the hallway from grade school. It was a playback of his life. Quietly, Dylan’s consciousness looked around for a fast forward button. To his surprise, he found one. In the lower right-hand corner of his vision he saw a flashing red button display that resembled the one on his VCR… sort of. Something seemed out of place. He wasn’t really there and neither were the buttons, but Dylan exerted all his will at the idea of pressing “F FWD.”

The images blew past him at a mercifully blinding speed. He could catch little glimpses of scenes, and pangs of emotion as well. The vision could give him his emotional feedback at the time of each replayed event. His life was moving so fast now that Dylan barely had time to marvel at the beauty of it.

Most of it was pretty boring, to be truthful. Elementary school: unkempt blond hair pushed back over freckled ears, kickball, awkwardness. Middle school: acne, standardized testing, more awkwardness. High school: introduction to sex, marginally less awkwardness, 9/11, sweaty Prom-night hands…

Dylan paused. The images paused with him.

9/11. I’d like to see that again one more time, he thought. Dylan had been in a class when the news came. He’d skipped the rest of the day and glued himself to the television with the rest of the nation until late at night when the first fighter jets lifted off from a nearby air base, startling him out of his dumb shock. He wouldn’t mind living through the day’s emotions again with an older mind to see if he could process some of the heartache now. Unfortunately, as he looked at the button display again he realized what was missing: the rewind button. Dylan decided to watch more carefully from now on. However, with 9/11 already passed, he realized that he could remember pretty clearly what came next and none of it was worth watching.

F FWD. He flashed through graduation, his first few years at the University at Buffalo, other, more successful grocery trips, and finally the unfortunate events of that very morning. The screen went blank.

Dylan didn’t feel as though he’d learned much. A few perceptions had been corrected, a few memories clarified. He had, in fact, been the one who’d started the prom night argument that led to a mid-summer break up with his girlfriend at the time. “Funny Cide” really was a prize-winning thoroughbred and a brand of novelty beer, settling an unfinished bar bet Dylan now realized he would never collect on. And the little rat-tailed murderer had robbed him.

Dylan bitterly cursed the existence of all snot-nosed troubled youths, swearing to never again, if given the chance, feel sorry for them and the broken homes they may or may not have come from. He felt jealous of their life and the second or third chances they had to use it wisely, to take advantage of life, to have fun, instead of the quarter-century or so of awkward fumbling Dylan had just lived and reviewed. He wished bad things upon the boy who’d killed him and everyone else like him

Just as his thoughts were reaching their most crudely graphic apex, the lights came up and revealed Dylan’s surroundings: the pearly gates of Heaven. He saw St. Peter, clipboard in hand. Dylan was a body again, with eyes and hands and a brain and a mouth, a mouth that worked, that was connected to the brain, which was engaged in some fairly colorful imagery at the moment. Dylan tried in vain to shut himself up

“–and their cocksucking baby factory mothers, too,” he finished, right on schedule. 

St. Peter gaped. The silence before his gates was thick and sweaty, and Dylan felt he could see cool blue flames in the old man’s eyes as he folded his arms over his clipboard and waited for the big gear-shift he knew was coming.

“Er… hey,” Dylan began.

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A boy, an aspiring poet named Rhyson, walked into his science class late, as ever.
“I don’t even want to see you come in anymore if you can’t make it on time, Rhyson,” his teacher, Dr. Spectacles, said. “Go down to the front office and wait there for the rest of the period. You’ll be making this one up after school. Detention ’til 4:40, right here.”
“Aw, c’mon man…” Rhyson began.
“Go,” said Dr. Spectacles.
Rhyson went.

Around 3 p.m. Rhyson was sitting at his desk in Dr. Spectacles’ classroom. He could see out the window, which fact he loved and hated in summer, which it was. The school sounded quiet and underpopulated. Girls he could only just tell were girls but knew were pretty were practicing field hockey maneuvers on the fields far out to about his north-northwest, if his desk was north. Late spring air drifted lazily in through opened windows like truant children.

“Hello, Rhyson,” said Dr. Spectacles as he came in, mispronouncing the name for the nth time.
“I told you, Doc, you say it like ‘reason,'” Rhyson said. “Like, ‘the reason I was late before is ’cause–‘”
“I don’t really want any excuses, son,” said Dr. Spectacles. “Now, as far as today’s lesson, when you walked in we were talking about simple machines…”

After about twenty minutes of screws-and-axes-talk, Rhyson had had enough. Dr. Spectacles was in the middle of a deft illustration linking the common wood screw to the class’s more recent lesson on applied forces, which Rhyson had also missed and didn’t regret missing.
“Hey Doc,” Rhyson said, hand in the air. “Why hasn’t there been any new simple machines?”
“There are only six, Rhyson,” Dr. Spectacles said. “And stop calling me that.”
“Until someone invents a new one though, right?”
“No, there are only six simple machines. Those are the six simplest machines you can have. There are no others.”
Rhyson glanced at the clock, glanced out the window.
“Well, what about a slinky?” he asked. “How come that’s not one of the simple machines?”
Dr. Spectacles abandoned his chalk and sat-stood at his desk, hands crossed on a knee. He appeared to be riding the desk side-saddle.
“Because it doesn’t do anything,” he said. “It can’s move an object anywhere.”
“Sure it can. It can move itself downstairs.”
“Gravity does that.”
Rhyson thought for a minute.
“Well, gravity moves a ball down an inclined plane, doesn’t it? Why isn’t gravity the simple machine?”
“Well, yes, but–” Dr Spectacles began. “It’s different.”
“Different how?”
“Just different. Now, we’ve really got to get back to–”
“Doc, what about a belt?”
Dr. Spectacles frowned. “Rhyson, a belt doesn’t move anything either–”
“Sure it does.” Even with all his willpower focused on the task at hand, Rhyson couldn’t help a small eye-tic towards the northwest. “It stops my pants from falling down. It defies gravity, so it must exert an upward force on my pants of at least 9-point… whatever… whatevers… right?”
“Well, no, technically it’s exerting a force inward, creating enough friction to counteract the forces of gravity on your pants.”
“Ohh…well, waht about a bouncy ball? When I throw it at the ground it switches around the forces of both gravity and my throw, causing it to redirect and defy gravity.”
“Well, first of all, it involves rubber, a complex man-made substance, and–”
“Hey! Rubber! Rubber is a simple machine!”
“Er…no, you see–”
“Doc, we just invented a new simple machine!”
“No, it doesn’t–”
“The Bouncer!”
“Well, it really doesn’t–”
“Sure it does.”
“It does what?”
“It bounces. Watch.”
“Okay, yes, yes, but…you didn’t invent the bouncy ball, now did you? Someone else had to. So it’s not our invention anymore, now is it, Rhyson?”
“Oh, I suppose not… jeez, Doc, this is hard. How did the great ones do it? The da Vincis, the Einsteins, the Picassos, how did they invent so many new things?”
“Well, Picasso wasn’t an inventor, but–”
“Sure he was. He invented a painting in my house.”
Dr. Spectacles began to protest, but thought better of it.
“Rhyson, the great inventors of the past, they learned theories of science, tested them, and built on the successes of their predecessors, just as I do today.”
“Okay, so… da Vinci, he learned from someone else before him, and, say, Newton learned from him, and now you learn from Newton?”
“Something like that.”
“But if there was always some scientific authority before da Vinci, Newton, Einstein, and you, how does anyone invent anything new? How does science progress?”
“Well, they – and I – advance scientific discovery by questioning the accepted theories of our predecessors.”
“But didn’t I just question the theory of simple machines?”
“Yes, but you’d have to prove it wrong to advance another theory. You didn’t do that.”
“This is ridiculous.”
“I was just thinking the same thing…”
“So what you’re saying is that da Vinci, Picasso, Lincoln, all those guys–”
“But Lincoln didn’t–!”
“Five dollar bill. So what you’re saying is that all those guys made new theories by questioning the old theories…”
“Yes…”
“…and the reason that people believe their discoveries is that they took the time to prove them…”
“Yes…”
“…and so if you think about it eventually someone will come along and disprove the current theory of, say, gravity, if they just take the time to learn the old theories, question them, and disprove them, right?”
“Well, possibly, but–”
“Boy, I really think you’re wasting your time, Doc.”
Dr Spectacles’ eyes narrowed.
“Really? What gave it away?”
“What’s the point of advancing new theories if someone is just going to come along and disprove them?”
“Ah, well, yes, well, the end-goal of all scientific inquiry is to create one Grand Unifying Theory, which serves as an umbrella theory, by which we can understand all of our previous efforts and discoveries.” Rhyson noticed a vaguely glazed look creeping into Dr. Spectacles’ eyes.
“But won’t someone just come and disprove that theory?”
“No.”
“But Doc–”
Dr. Spectacles practically barked at the interruption.
“The Grand Unifying Theory will be capable of explaining all aspects and relationships of the scientific world, identifying with and humiliating them all simultaneously, like post-modernism for lab geeks. It will take all theories and accepted rules and unite them in one common algorithm which will provide us with the answer to every question in science…”
“…and it would be based on the previous theories, right, Doc?”
“Yes… it will take all those theories and make them fact… indisputable…”
“Based on the same theories that are being disproven as we speak?”
“Yes, but this theory will be perfect… Every unknown that man has ever not known, every phenomenon he couldn’t explain, every time some little bastard kid asked Science ‘why,’ and Science couldn’t answer–”
“Little bastard kids like me, Doc?”
“Yes, Rhyson, just like you. Er… no–look. Every aspect of life and the universe will be explained by the Grand Unifying Theory. No other theories will be needed… it will be un-disprovable… it will be perfect in every way… in short, by discovering this theory, Science will have burned off the mists, we will scrape off the moss, we will have turned over the murky mountain hiding place that is the realm of God.”
Outside, Rhyson could see acres of green grass, freshly cut.
“I dunno, Doc. Sounds like bullshit to me.”
“Rhyson! Detention–you–tomorrow I’ll tell the–how dare–”
“You’re going to base a theory which you make out to be Truth, big T, and the discovery of God and whatnot, on other people’s theories that, by the very existence of this Grand Unifying Theory, will be completely disproven and flawed? It’s a friggin’ pipe dream. You’re losin’ it, Doc.”
Dr. Spectacles stared, his mouth like a trout’s mouth.
“You know, Doc? You really should have gone into poetry. Way more common sense and practicality in poetry.”
Dr. Spectacles began to sputter and foam.
“What?! Common sense in poetry? Poetry is the pipe dream! It’s completely impractical! At best, it’s frivolous entertainment. At worst, it’s some snot-nosed, air-headed smartass twentysomething living on bread and cheese in some Brooklyn footlocker scribbling verse after tortured verse, thinking they’ll be the next Bard of American Truth, big T and all… when really all they’re doing is wasting their own time and potential, countless efforts on the part of their parents to set them straight, and thousands on thousands of taxpayer dollars when they realize what a colossal mistake they’ve made and end up on welfare in a Southern California trailer park.”
Rhyson sighed, stood up, and began packing books into his bag.
“Yeah, Doc, but at least the poet has the sense, the spirit, and the guts to admit that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.”
He patted Dr. Spectacles on the back on his way out of the room.
“4:42, Doc. See you around.”
It took a good twenty minutes or so before Dr. Spectacles got up and saw, through the window, across well-mown lawns, a crowd of flashing white uniforms and tanned legs, little curved sticks and ponytails, bustling and floating and darting around a tiny, distant black speck.

I think I’m really late to this, because they haven’t posted new material in awhile, but it is nonetheless too awesome and nerdy not to make its way into MC:

GALFRIDUS CHAUCERES LYNES OF PICKE-VPPE:
-Do sheriffs administere thee to those who breke the kinges peace? Bycause thou lookst “fyne.”

-Yf thou were a latyn tretise ich wolde putte thee in the vernacular.

-Ich do deuote myn diligence to studye of the anatomie of engendrure. Ich haue happed vpon an abstruse passage in the werke of Constantyne the Affrikan De Coitu, the which I kan nat construe. For lernynges sake and the goode of wisdom, woldstow performe the acte of venus withe me so that ich may interpret thys clause in propre wise?

-Ich loved thy papere, but yt wolde looke much better yscattred across the floore of myn rentede dorme roome at dawne.

-Art thou a disastrous poll tax? Bycause I feele a risynge comynge on.

-Nyce bootes. Wanna swyve?

There’s so much more. Happy Monday! I’ve got the day off and I’m doin’ this with it. Long is the road, and hard, which leads through darkness up to laundry.

12 November 2007

The world needs criminals to
keep the police and politicians
honest. Or, at least, non-violently
deceptive, thieving, and full of shit.

No one looks like a criminal
until they’re sitting behind
the defense table in court.
Then everyone does.
(Added 12/11)

– Buspan maintenance
is about more
than Laziness

Adolescent friends are
(often)

– The best adolescent friends
in Suburbia are usually
kids who overreact to
their own largely garden-
variety familial problems in
the same way as you

26 April 2009
Buffalo, NY

Stuffy mothball smell in
a dark closet above an
old stripper’s home, where
penachle (?) and convo
replaces thumping bass
and grabbing hands.
Toilet paper in my ears.
Strange silhouettes of the
window frame set off by
amber street light on a
bed sheet coming in.
Minor chords jangle a drunk
spine. I hear harmonics
through the toilet tissue.

Beer cans and two
drum sets in this room.
So many influences being
piled into one effort,
competing with each boy’s
soul and the polluting ego,
trying not to seem like
you’re trying not to be
impressed by what you see.
Honkeys in the practice space.
Beer spills into carpet that soaks it up.

Sounds suddenly… weird.
Not even yet ready to
admit that I think
I might, possibly,
if they turn down the bass
and toss the lyrics, like what
I’m hearing.

Posturing postures falling flat,
and in front of everyone
you never knew held an
opinion you valued!

Good? How to say it?
Wait for someone else.
Riff off a riff.
Dilute your meaning.
It’s cool, dude,
it was great.