Saturday, August 31, 2013
"What is it about Steph?" Zeke asked in the back of the man's pick up truck.
"What are you talking about?" Jed asked. The black ribbed plastic of the truck bed appeared as skewed square in motion on a concrete treadmill. "What about her?" he added.
"Why do you care where she ended up last night? Zeke asked repairing sorrow.
"It doesn't matter." Jed said. "It's stupid."
"It's something." Zeke said. "You definitely bring her up a lot."
Jed looked over at Zeke with a blank face. From above they were two boys sitting against a wall within a very small courtyard. Beyond the walls was moving concrete flowing pass them. Frothy fast gray moving river water. Chunks of asphalt erupt like waves when black rubber tires rolled over these roads day after day, chiseling them down to what they once were, a pile of stones. A rough stretch of tributary in the asphalt paths. Paths no longer dictated by natural terrain. Two boys leaning against the side of a raft on a river beyond their control, whether they knew it or not. "I just want her to be safe, okay?"
"Somebody's in love" Zeke laughed.
"Fuck off." Jed said and then turned away from Zeke. "You don't understand and you probably never will."
Zeke slumped his head in the plastic raft on the concrete river. Jed's head stared straight faced at the pavement flowing away from him.
Conceive, if you can, that Maxwell cared for someone's health and well-being other than his own. His acts, words, and thoughts on a day to day basis are decided and executed based on the notion that there are people, other than himself, who he cares about, maybe even loves. Though his actions in a public spectrum are based on a set of social and regional structures, he still also thinks, says, writes and acts on the impulse to care and love other human beings, in whatever way he can imagine whenever he can. Maxwell, though critical of humanity in certain ways, loves at least a few, maybe many other human beings.
Formulate this Maxwell in your head.
Describe what he looks like.
Possibly give Maxwell a background story based on your own impressions.
Pick a Maxwell out of people you can remember who seemed aesthetically or ideologically insistent in some way. Also, allow yourself to use your imagination, for that is the true intellectual pleasure of what you are doing. Creative writing.
Build a character with your mind.
That character is not Maxwell.
This is Maxwell.
She raised her head when she heard her shoulder pop out of place. Her hands and legs were brought together by her ankles and wrists, bound together by her pantyhose. Hog tied with her skirt above her hips. Bare white legs akimbo on the rose colored bed spread. Her clothes wadded at her joints. Her body sunk slightly into the mattress.
"Something is wrong." She mumbled. Maxwell's left hand was placed flat between her shoulder blades. His right hand held her arm up from the bed. Her right arm had popped out of joint. People need to test the scale of the pleasure pain ratio, such is the reason for free competitive sports of all sorts, and free pornography of all sorts and free exercises of all sorts, so long as one follows the rules. What rules?
"Something is wrong." She said. Maxwell could have imagined her thinking this when her facial expression abruptly changed:
This has gone too far.
I know how I like to feel and this is not it.
These are only games.
We are just playing too rough.
We didn't choose a safety word.
All those articles about bondage mentioned something about a safety word and I didn't take the time to establish a safety word.
It's fine. He heard me say something was wrong.
I'm still tied up.
This isn't funny.
What is wrong with him? He popped my joint out of place so going to the hospital is the next step of action in an emergency circumstance. What steps of emergency circumstances?
What does he plan on doing?
I have to go to the bathroom.
How am I going to get out of here?
I have to escape or make him love me.
Maxwell didn't need anyone to love him. She was tied up and he could bend her to his will. He could bend many to his will if he simply heard and disregarded their character. Maxwell was alone. He was happy or sad depending on the circumstance, but he was nevertheless alone. Maxwell learned his humanity could overcome a different humanity. He reacts on this impulse of narcissism anyway he can.
"Filthy pig" he said. He spread her legs farther apart from each other. The lips of her vagina glistening pink flesh. His penis became erect as blood engorged the arteries and veins beneath his pale skin, beneath his tight denim jeans.
"Please don't" she said, her mouth partially muffled by the mattress.
@Weirdbeardtacos commented on instagram:
-Hashtag Opium is my new Shoegaze band-
@Burritoking85 commented back:
-Hashtag Opium played a quiet, almost inaudible set last night. The crowd chanted "Quieter! Quieter!" Eventually, the conversation overwhelmed the live music. The music became a John Cage composition bootlegged on a staticky recorder. History was made that night. @Weirdbeardtacos-
Two boys commented on each others instagram posts while in the same room, downstairs with the rest of the party.
Maxwell pulled her right arm towards him. The gap between her shoulder blade and arm stretched her still elastic skin. Tearing muscle and sinew. An organic rubber band.
"Please don't" she asked. The adrenaline and endorphins were surely still flowing through her body. She probably had not felt very much pain yet, but she pronounced those two words in such a quiet and desperate way. Maxwell knew that something had gone wrong for her. Maxwell grabbed her left thigh and dragged her towards him.
It wasn't quite rape because she never said no or she never screamed out or she allowed herself to submit because she always truly wanted it because she wanted to be famous that famous victim everyone sees on television explaining how they never knew that playing with fire could somehow get you hurt.
Victims aloof of their circumstances. It's hard to understand until it happens to you. You have to learn from these experiences, understand them and realize you are not alone.
-As a conscious observer, is it your responsibility to dole out justice on Maxwell? Or is it your responsibility to tell the truth. Maxwell is white. Maxwell's family is wealthy, or at least wealthy enough. Maxwell is educated. Maxwell never had to worry about his future, so he could let his mind wander wherever he pleased. Keep calm. Do what you want when no one is looking.
-A church sign I read today, when I rode my bike to class. "The wrong train of thought can lead you down the wrong train of life." The billboard made me angry, but soon I realized there are more important things to be angry at other than sentences. "The wrong train of action can lead you down the wrong life" is what I would have posted on that sign. Thought has never truly hurt anyone. Thought is the straw that broke the camel's back. I don't want to forget the weight before the straw. The last straw. Crude oil.
-You realize that Maxwell, if not smarter than you, is at least as smart as you. He may have gone to church when he was younger, but it didn't mean what it meant to you. He never experienced the naive beauty of a child's church and he is still as smart as you. He thinks while you meditate. And he gets away with it. He doesn't kill that girl to keep her from squawking. He's smart enough to not panic and skip that gruesome fantasy. He can talk his way out of it. He'll make a great politician, someday.
They may even swing it, if it gets enough press, which I doubt that it will, that she was the one to blame. If Maxwell were a famous child, the girl would be media fodder.
A man, while engaged in physical and consensual foreplay with a woman, pulled her shoulder out of its socket. He knew it had happened and she knew it had happened. She mumbled a few words of protest, but they were ignored by the man.
They had met at the party still active downstairs during this circumstance. They spoke little at the party because the music was perpetually too loud. They danced and rubbed against each other while they drank cheap beer. After an hour and a half or so they ascended the stairwell towards the house's bedrooms.
Without much more than a frown on her face, the woman submitted to something she would have otherwise been pleased with, so long as something had not gone wrong. Energetic and aggressive sex in an upstairs bedroom. '
After the man fell asleep, the woman snuck out of the room, holding her left arm with her right hand. She tip toed down the stairs and stepped slowly over unconscious bodies on dirty carpet. She looked to the right and saw someone she recognized. His face was slumped into a couch cushion, but she recognized his t shirt. She snuck over to him, took her hand from her dislocated arm and shook his limp arm.
"Wake up" she said.
"Huh?" He said.
"We've got to get out of here." She said.
"Steph?" He asked.
"We've got to get out of here." she said again. "Will you come with me?"
They went to his mom's house where he helped pop her shoulder into place. She never went to the hospital. She doesn't remember who Maxwell is and she occasionally feels a dull pain in her shoulder if it is about to rain or there is a full moon. The only other damage was psychological. She asked him not to tell anybody about this.
"She's kind of a slut" Zeke said.
"You better fucking drop it." Jed responded.
The man slammed the brakes of his black truck. Both Jed and Zeke's heads bounced off of the cab. "Here we are" the man said stepping out of the truck to a gravel lot.
Aaron C. Molden
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Jed Evans opened his eyes and found himself face down on dingy gray carpet under a coffee table covered in monster stickers. He tried to lift himself and crashed his head into the wood edge of the coffee table.
"Fug" he barely tried to say and dropped back down to the dewy carpet.
"Hey dude" a voice from the couch said. "I was wondering when you would get up."
Jed rolled out from under the table and jerked himself up into lotus position. He looked down to see his skin tight black pants were damp around the crouch. "Fuck, did I piss myself?"
Zeke, on the couch, postulated the question. "I think Stevie spilled a beer over there last night, so you're probably good." Zeke Walters sat on the couch quietly waiting for Jed to wake up. "I think there are some chips leftover in the kitchen. Are you hungry?"
"Where'd Steph end up last night? Jed asked.
"Dude, she got super drunk super early." Zeke leaned forward on the couch. "I think Trish took her home."
Jed stretched his head back while his neck emitted barely audible pops. "Uh, good. Forget the chips, let's split before someone asks us to clean up."
Jed and Zeke walked west down Kossuth street at a sluggish and awkward pace. Both wore intentionally ill fitting apparel with patches of neon green and pink scattered asymmetrically on their limbs and core. Both vaguely dumpy in posture with sagging holes in their earlobes. Young libertines out of place and time. Proud American males unwilling to except the idea of growing old. They inched forward towards downtown without much on their mind, building down hill momentum towards the bus depot.
"What are we going to do today?" Zeke asked.
"I don't know, dude. Who cares?" Jed replied.
"It's still pretty early, so drinking is probably stupid."
"We don't have any money." Jed turned his head and contorted his face, gesturing towards Zeke as they lurched slowly forward. "So yeah, drinking is stupid." They gained momentum with each step. They walked in solipsistic silence for a spell. "Something will happen." Jed finally said. "Something will turn up." They poured down Ninth street hill with a directionless drive other than gravity.
"It's hot today." Zeke said.
"Do you know anybody with AC?" Zeke asked.
"Let's get in some AC if we can, is what I am saying." Zeke said.
"And do what?" Jed asked.
"Nothing man. That's the point."
They both stopped in front of the only purple thing on the hill. A structure on ninety degree angles half submerged in the dirt and grass of the hill. A large chair stands as defiant as an Oldenberg sculpture in an ornately Victorian neighborhood. The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette provides activities for children.
"We could head downtown, try and find some work." Jed said. "And if we don't we might know some people at the depot." Zeke stared at the purple and gray structure half buried in the dirt. "You got something better to do?"
"Alright alright" Zeke lowered his head. "Let's head to the bus station."
Zeke and Jed turned onto Main Street discussing fashion.
"This shirt was limited edition from Business?Ink. Only fifty were made and it is personally numbered by the artist."
"That shit is played out. Check out my shirt from Clean...Font"
"Did you see my sick shirt from BenignDesign?"
"You dig BenignDesign?"
"What's wrong with it?"
"Have you seen the stuff from SacrificialYouth?"
"I've never heard of SacrificialYouth?"
"These pants are SacrificialYouth." Jed said. "I'm thinking of getting a shirt."
"Is it dark stuff?" Zeke asked.
"Fuck yeah it's dark." Jed replied. " Darkness rules the world."
Their pace slowed down Main street. They walked in solipsistic silence once again.
Young children ran through the centralized depot fountain. The water splashed against their elastic bodies. They raised their heads to the sky when the water hit them. Groups of people clustered on curved concrete embankments. People of all shapes, sizes, and colors gathered around Riehle plaza. Many sat slumped in exhaustion in some way, carrying weight, tangible and psychological. Abuse, self inflicted or not, washed over their jowls and slacked jaws. Only the children seemed energetic and alive, splashing in the water.
"We don't know anybody here." Zeke said.
"Shut up, dude." Jed said.
"Who are these people?"
"I said shut up, it's the others." Jed said.
"Woot woot!" a cadence announced in the air from the south, a rebel yell. "Woot woot!" a reponse from the north. The call and response of two groups meeting at a water source.
"The others?" Zeke squinted his eyes toward Jed.
"Juggalos" Jed said. "They're everywhere."
"So?" Zeke rhetorically asked. "I have some friends that listen to the Insane Clown Posse. My neighbor, Dakota, loves them and he's a cool kid."
"They're considered a gang by the United States government, dude." Jed squinted his eyes at Zeke.
"That's crazy. It's just rap music."
"Woot woot! from the south again.
From the west, a grey bearded derelict wearing beer cans knotted together by hemp twine, creating a noisy chain mail of trash screamed "Plague!" Some looked up, but most ignored him as they ignore much else. "Plague!" he screamed again. "There are portents and omens that warn all of us there is a plague coming and yet we do nothing. Nothing!"
Jed listened while Zeke waited quietly in willful ignorance, staring at his phone.
"Jack rabbits!" the man in the can robe said, spinning in the air, turning his reflective robe into a primitive pinwheel. "We have altered the land before without fear, only to find plague." The can man said. "We altered the west to our ideal of growth and found plague. A dust bowl of unlivable life with people too stubborn to believe it was unlivable. And then plague!"
Jed was listening.
"Jack rabbits need to eat. They eat, mate, fight and bolt on instinct. And they will follow their true source of life if they are jack rabbit smart. And when someone takes that away they will gravitate toward other jack rabbits and scour the land as plague!" The can man ceased proselytizing his thoughts for a moment and shuffled his feet in a primitive tap dance.The wrinkles in his forehead and the yellow in his beard, the squint in the crows feet surrounding his striking blue eyes, gracefully swaying back and forth with his feet below him stamping and tapping. "You must give it to them when you must or slaughter the jack rabbits." He said in singsong.
"Woot woot!" A late response from the north.
From the east a tall dark figure sauntered towards them. With crablike agility he worked his way through the crowd, up the brick path. His western shirt sleeves swung back and forth. His head faced down towards his cut off work pants and boots. Jed and Zeke shifted their attention to the dark figure as the can man danced his dance to the song in his head, in a state of rapture. "What are you fuckheads doing?"
"Nice shirt" Zeke said. "I like the pearl buttons."
The dark figure looked up, casting summer light on his face as he wiped his eyes and looked into Jed's eyes. "Are you looking for work?" The man asked.
"We both are." Jed said.
The man looked up in the air, squinting towards the sun. "Alright, both of you."
"Doing what?" Zeke asked.
"Work." The man said. "Probably the only work you fuckheads are capable of."
"Manual labor?" Jed asked defensively.
"Well, I'm sure as hell not going to ask you clowns to work in accounting." The man said. "Lifting shit, hauling shit, collecting garbage, organizing what is usable to build with again and throwing the rest of the garbage away."
Jed looked over at Zeke. "What do you think?"
"What?" Zeke said. He was looking at his phone again.
The man sighed. He dropped his head back perpendicular to his body. His hand reached into his pocket and clutched his phone. His head bounced back up and his thumb hit the touch screen of his phone. He mirrored Zeke in posture and demeanor. "What the hell else are you doing?"
"We could have plans." Jed said.
The can man jerked his arms upwards causing his chain mail to rattle. He pointed towards Jed, Zeke, and the man. "Plague!" He screamed. "You may not know it, but you are all infected with plague!"
"What is wrong with that guy?" Zeke sighed exhaustively. "What could have possibly happened to him to make him act this way?"
The man and Jed stared at Zeke for a moment. "What do you mean? He's fucking crazy, the end." The man said.
Dakota pushed the tail of his skateboard down to the pavement with his left heel. All seven contoured plies of wood that made up its body had been ground down by the pavement. It's wheels were yellow. It's trucks were scratched and hammered down by something geological evolution and biological evolution would easily explain if it were not such a scary combination of words to say in the classrooms and hallways of the city schools of America.
Evolution in the classroom.
Geology in the hallway.
Biology in the hallway.
Dakota's left shoe was split on both sides from dragging his foot against the sandy black surface of his skateboard. He needed new shoes, but they would do for now. His mother was always upset by how quickly his shoes deteriorated. They always should have lasted longer. His boards, too. They are stronger than his shoes, but they should have lasted longer.
His father wasn't there. His father could not tell him, after he kept a stern face, while his mother scolded young Dakota about his recklessness, as she cleaned the blood from his arm, as she poured a chemical from a bottle in the medicine cabinet, as she wrapped gauze around the wound, as she stared into Dakota's eyes and finally smiled and finally hugged him and finally asked what she was going to do with him, that he understood. Sometimes a boy must simply move. His father had left long ago.
His mom was drunk most of the time she was home from work. When he hurt himself she either scolded him or cradled him in her arms crying, depending on her mood.
Dakota posted into a K when he stopped his board with his feet. He posed for a moment in front of the three.
"Hey guys." Dakota said.
"Who is this goofball?" The man asked.
"Hey Dakota." Zeke answered.
"Let's go. We'll take the work." Jed said.
"Bye Dakota" Zeke said as they walked to the man's truck.
"Let's see what I can let you idiots get away with." The man said.
"Woot woot!" From the south.
"Woot woot!" From the north.
East and then south up fourth street hill.
Aaron C. Molden
Saturday, August 17, 2013
He called smoking his slow suicide.
He divorced his wife
and remarried another woman.
He adopted his sister's children
when she died and then wrote
about his love for his sister
and his struggle to find love
for her children with his imagination.
The critics panned it. Slapstick.
He gave himself a D grade
in Palm Sunday,
his autobiographical collage.
He may have tried to kill himself in 1985,
the year I was born.
Do you want your children taught?
Words from a suicide case?
Do you want your children taught?
Words from a divorcee suicide case?
He was captured by German forces
at the Battle of the Bulge
when he served in the European theater
during World War Two.
He regularly drew assholes
with a felt tip pen.
He attempted to write a war memoir
and this is from that book:
"People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore.
I've finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun.
This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this:
- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
On November tenth, 1973
at an American school in North Dakota
this book was burned
in the basement boiler.
The word motherfucker
prompted the burning.
A couple of motherfuckers
in over two hundred pages.
I wonder if anyone at the school
actually read the book.
He wrote the school a letter in anger
stating he was real
and his thoughts were real
and his thoughts about the situation
He was from Indiana
and he was not particularly proud of that
most of the time
which makes sense if you are from Indiana.
But he was proud, sometimes.
But he was proud, sometimes.
He continued writing
because he had to keep writing.
What do you have to keep doing,
I want to know
because I do not know.
He wrote because it was all he could do
with his loneliness.
His writing brings peace.
What do your actions do
other than bring anxiety?
Maybe your biography will answer someday.
I doubt it.
Aaron C. Molden
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
In Tapawingo Park, Aaron Bumgarner, Paul Baldwin, Drew Gruber and I were questioned by a West Lafayette police officer about what we were doing in the park. As we approached the police officer and he approached us, Paul asked if we should just bolt.
Aaron Laughed and sighed slightly and said he did not want to get mad about what was about to happen.
Drew remained quiet.
I intended to engage in conversation with the police officer.
"What are you guys doing here?" The police officer asked.
"We run an art club that meets every Sunday to work on various projects." One of us said. "We are attempting to make land art, sculptures from the materials you find around you. What you can find in Tapawingo Park in this instance."
"Were you digging holes in the sand?"
I felt a heat in my chest and in the back of my neck, a by product of repressed instinct. He was a short man with a buzzed haircut in a full body black police jump suit. His utility belt was littered with tools of law and order and justice and torture and death. Police officers do not submit assailants with their hands and arms and feet and legs anymore. They use taser guns. They use pepper spray. They shock, submit, and pepper spray American students occasionally. When they do so, the media eats it up for a week or so and then it fades away to the fringes where few continue to obsess about it.
Without the death belt and even though I was a foot taller than him, I would have probably not won in a fair fight. I am not a natural fighter,and I assume it is Police Department policy to have their officers submit themselves to the actions they are allowed to wield.
Growing up, my father was a police officer who use to wrestle in high school.
I tried to be a wrestler, but was too much of a fat slug in junior high school. I didn't yet understand there was muscle I could build under my baby fat. It lingered on and on, defying standard childhood development.
I only won one bout. It was my blonde and less self-conscious twin from an opposing school.He was all smiles while I was all frustrated pathos. I had resigned myself to the role of guaranteed failure and was not particularly happy about it. My twin had embraced being a beautiful loser free of existential pain and anxiety. Two fat white kids wrestled to pin each other down to the mat. I won.
Eighth grade year, I quit wrestling halfway through the season. During a wrestling match, I threw up bile in the boys restroom and told Jordan Banks, a fellow wrestling team member, I didn't want to wrestle anymore. He told me how I could throw up bile again because he did it occasionally in order to get out of going to school. I forget his recommendation. I would never choose to throw up bile in order to get what I want. The pain is not worth it, but I know it is inevitable sometimes.
"They're sculptures in the style of the artist Andy Goldsworthy." I said.
"Show him the book." Paul told me.
"I have a book of his art in my bag." I said to the police officer. "Would you like to see it?"
"No" the police officer said. "Did you guys dig holes?"
Later, Paul mentioned that I should have told the police officer that the book was mostly pictures. I found that hilarious and I still do.
"We dug holes in the sand to mount logs in them." One of us said. "We filled sand in around them so they would stand erect."
"You dug holes on public property."The police officer said. "The city is responsible for it's citizens. If they fall into a hole you guys dug, they are responsible."
"We filled in the holes like you fill in a fence post." one of us said.
"You were all digging holes." The police officer said again. "You can move leaves around all you want, but you cannot dig holes." He had a strange fixation in the concept of digging holes.
"Paul said. "We filled in the holes. There are no holes."
"The point of the sculptures, besides what they mean to whoever may stop and visually and intellectually engage them, is that they are made from the environment they reside in. And eventually, that environment will changed them, They are temporary, but the material is permanent and always changing." Is what I would have said if I were giving a speech about the structures instead of being questioned by a police officer.
The police officer had no interest in what we were making. He was only interested in what we were doing. We were building. We were teaching ourselves how to build. We were learning from our peers and from what we did, what we saw, how to work with the materials we were provided in the tract of land that is Tapawingo Park. We were learning to understand the material we were working with better. We were making the material into temporary, but hopefully visionary objects. Some were better than others. Some could have been improved upon.
Here are some pictures:
The police officer did not look at them. What he saw was four adult males with shovels and rakes, all of which could be used as weapons, in a public place. If he'd have arrived earlier he would have seen two more adult males, one with a male child, his son,and an adult female. All of them building and altering various sculptures in the sand and dirt. Occasionally, some of them threw a frisbee around. Occasionally some of them climbed on the trees and walked around in the park. Most of them arrived by bike. Many of them were winding themselves down through joyful manual labors of love after the rough week or rough month or rough season they had or were still having.
"If somebody gets hurt in a public park, the city is responsible for it," The police officer said.
I looked towards the north at the massive trees on the shore. Beyond the trees the river flowed towards me. A light breeze. Shadows from the trees farther west of the river. The sun was close to setting. It was the most beautiful time of the day. I turned around and pointed to the large collapsed tree that hung over the river. A rudimentary wood diving board. An awesome living jungle gym pushed over by forces of nature more awesome than it. "If someone falls off that tree and breaks a bone, is the city responsible?" I asked the police officer.
"Yeah, they could be responsible." The police officer responded after he adjusted his hands on his death and submission belt.
"The city should probably do something about that tree." I said.
"I'm not responsible for the maintenance of this place." The police officer said. "I'm responsible for what happens here. You guys were digging holes. You can't dig holes in a public park." A broken record.
"We filled them in." Paul said once again. "We filled them in with dirt and sand like a post."
"And those posts are temporary. Nature will eventually take them down." I said,
"I got an idea." the police officer said. "How 'bout you take 'em down instead."
I slumped my shoulders. All four of us shuffled around for a moment.
"Alright" I said. "Never mind" is what I wish I had said. I also wish I had asked for his name and badge number. An asshole with a badge and nothing better to do other than go tell someone to stop doing something because wasn't exactly the same as what always happens in West Lafayette.
The police officer soon meandered off while we stood there for a moment.
"I'll go to jail for it." Paul said.
"You know what, I'd go to jail for it too. Just to see the reaction." I said laughing
Aaron laughed while Drew rubbed the back of his neck. Of course we didn't take down the sculptures. Instead, we went to a Mexican restaurant, drank Margaritas, ate chips and salsa, and made fun of the police officer.
We will be building again next Sunday
Aaron C. Molden