do you know what a semicolon is?

kari edwards

__________do you know what a semicolon is?

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?

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