__________do you know what a semicolon is?



                                                kari edwards


the ringing continues. I can’t move, I am unforeseen in an ice pit for
meat goods.
the ringing and meat goods feel solid. particles and other things
resemble something else, that something else knocks at my head. the
ringing is in my body, in the air, and on the ground in the form of an
over charged memory. memory in block letters. a sign reads, “not this
way - buster.” I do not know who buster is or was or what the way is or
was, but the sign keeps passing through my head towed by an ancient
the ringing continues back, some song vanishes into darkness. there is
a location of pain without a map. the ringing moves forward to sin,
durga’s army tramples across my skull, wailing in great slashed
strides. the sky is blood red. I dial "this is my number," and it’s

something particularly nasty splits into two, one side continuously
plays slap-happy-sing-along-looney-tunes -
“what’supdocwhat’supdocwhat’supdocwhat’supdocwhat’supdocwhat’supdoc .
. .,” only faster. while the other side plays the same thing only the
theme melts in my mind, melting my body, the tube looses vertical hold,
the floor is parallel, the walls are perpendicular, and at odd angles.
this is the floor in my bathroom and this is where the ringing lies.
somewhere doesn't exist, but I must get somewhere, to work, to a job I
no longer have. I must get someplace where the horizontals make sense,
where the mind signals left, where there is a knee cap response, where
the body is a multidirectional entity able to move beyond a bathroom

being one with the bathroom floor entails a certain commitment to
space, an occupation of space, a consumption of space, a being one
with space. this requires a time element, am I ready to purchase the
deed to this fetal position at constant rest? am I ready to to sign
the mortgage for my own personal time allotment and abandoned
evolution? am I willing to take the fine print to its point of

for the first time I notice the bathroom is vertically lit with high
noon heat, how the tub suffered from the loss of one of its legs, how a
collection of things from elsewhere were hidden under old moments of

can I move beyond the typical substantial and make requests of limbs
to follow. should I start with something small like a toe, a finger, a
lip movement that resembles an emotional response to stimuli, or, just
jump up to attention, salute the proprietor of self gratification and
return to the arbitrary story line?

on the other hand this could be an act of renunciation, a path to
enlightenment, the buddha sitting under a local tree in dead people’s
clothes, christ going to the desert and not knowing what restroom. this
could be the counter point to the self, a self cleaning oven. I might
spend days contemplating chaucer, einstein, and jackie bonner benny
amuse-us-till-the-cows-come-home, the possibilities seem endless. if I
lay in a state of rest I might be able to feel quarks move and
neutrinos dance through the very tips of my loose knit cellular
structure, signaling morse code, dictating a long winded declaration
never heard before.

on the other hand, maybe someone will call an agency for the alone
and abandoned, they could come and visit, make an assessment and since
my door is unlocked they could enter wearing their neat little
governmental outfits, all crisp and polyprewashed never needs cleaning,
carrying notepads to keep notes on, and asking repetitive questions.
-how may I help you? there's been a report of noninvolvement with
normal functioning required by law of all citizens, living or dead . .
. how do you plead? how may I help you? how do you plead?
-I thought you would at least ask why I am here . . ..
-it’s not my job, all I do is enforce the laws, I neither care whether
it’s choice or
will. I’m merely a technician of the law and my job is
to write reports that get filed . . .
-but . . . ?
-but nothing, or everything or it doesn't matter. I’ve been doing
this job through six and-a-half presidents, one thousand and forty
three international incidents and I don't know how many changes in the
code of noninvolvement. it’s my duty, or could I say, I take it upon
myself to say you have no rights, since you do not meet the
requirements of state sponsored nonfunctioning. there is the supervised
nonfunctioning, the partially functioning, the decapitated functioning
and nearly on the edge of something functioning, but you see . . . you
don't fit into any of the categories. we have no category for laying on
the bathroom floor, pretending to be future floor covering or a silence
that could never be understood. we have no categories, no measurable
distinction. I have no choice but to say there is nothing I can do but
walk out that door and then through the other door. on the other hand
it’s within your rights to file an appeal, start a new twelve step
something or other, which is stated in the code book dated on this date
as your optional option, but then again this does not indicate or prove
anything. a form will be filed somewhere post crematorium. so my
suggestion is to make a duplicate filing within known categories. I
can leave a list that describes the criteria and services offered.

there didn't seem to be much more to be said. before I could glance
up, the front door shut, I kept smiling till I heard the second door
shut, which I didn't ask to be shut, which seemed to indicate an
assumption that when one leaves a room one shuts a door, but leaving
the door open would have at least let the outside in, which would have
left me an arbitrary option. it came to me in this optionless option,
as strange russian troops marched through the bathroom on their way to
yet another uprising, to yet another stronghold. I couldn’t miss it,
the same way hypocrisy is measurable, like Marilyn Monroe's some like
it hot credo - "you can always teach a new dog to turn on a dime in
five inch heels," there was trouble ahead and it’s spelled with “t”
and rhymes with pool.
I heard something, I think it was the four horsemen from the
apocalypse who had arrived on main street proclaiming a legal holiday,
a time to get your affairs in order.

just then a scream from a former set of panics - "the concorde’s
down." for a minute I wasn’t sure what had fallen, then it hit me -
"the plane . . . the plane . . .." the wright brother’s dream, fast
forward or way back to when someone said, if susan had intended us to
fly we would have wings and then just like that, the wright brothers
flew, only a little faster than one would have with wings. but what was
all the excitement about? planes crash all the time.

silence on the set.
crash. things fall into bigger things - what makes it such a tragedy?
tragedy is seeing the rats from the sewer sit on your neighbor’s front
porch smoking cigarettes. tragedy is not hearing the shriek air makes
when it is struck with cold stainless steel. tragedy is hearing the
birth scream, and wanting to go back and try door number two before the
distant near mother is separated out as an object.

-there, there.
constantly saying.
-there, there.
the distant mother would stand there or call and ask about the
weather, always talking about the weather and real-estate prices, “what
did you say the price of your home was? and how's the weather out
while someone is crucified to a fence, another suffocates as
paramedics chant holy holiday ghosts rituals, propagating correct
genitalia placement, at the same time a graceful castrati sings
heavenly songs for the pontiff royal.
there must be some way to crack the distant mother syndrome consistent
inquiries about plastic seat covers, and do you want to be a
millionaire? do you know the answer? do you feel like a million
dollars? do you feel that parenthesis around time and is it going to
rain? do you feel my side aching from laying here on the bathroom floor
all night saying-
-do know what this means?
-what do two notes sound like?
-do you know what a semicolon is?