Verbatim 23 february 2000


  1. exquisite corpse dialog, first speaker had to be a character named "Norm."
  2. 1.

    A Manager’s Plea

    Setting: a café, nightfall. A Wednesday

    Norm: Jordan, I need to talk to you for a minute before you go.

    Jordan: (looks out window, wipes hands) Uh, sure, what’s up?

    Jonah: See, Jor, Norm and I have noticed that whenever your shift ends, all of our power tools are out of place and videos have been disappearing.

    Norm: And, um, you leave used toothpicks by the cash register.

    The Lady Walking By:

    Say why does that guy hold a chainsaw behind his back? It’s a nice one too, ST1HL-026. Hmmm.

    Husband of Lady Walking By:

    Now, Beulah, whenever you get that look in your eye I wind up having to fend you off with my cattle prod…

    Norm: The thing is — the point, I mean — integrity. Small change adds up. As a warning, the weak usually end up squished, and honestly deep-down, Jordan, I like you. You never return my phone calls.

    Jordan: Okay, Norm. if I called you, if I tried, I’d find that your phone doesn’t work, because it never does. Integrity doesn’t mean anything if you can’t communicate it to anyone. Since you’re wise to the small change and chainsaws, I’ll stop, okay, I’ll stop.



    Norm had watched the young plump girl with her hand over her nose for the past 45 minutes. She seemed sheepish and had only gotten a third ways down her cup, 10 years old probably at the highest. She waved to someone’s back through the window, who never turned around. She waved again and put her hand down over the welt on her nose, and touched it like she was wondering how it felt. She pulled the seams straight on her shirt and saw Norm.

    Then very quickly, before the look of recognition could spread to her mouth to form a smile or even a silent "What do you think you’re looking at" the plump young girl glanced back at the tabletop. Her knee invisibly rocked the table’s center support so that it looked like her glance had struck and tipped over her cup. The spill quickly ran over the old wood. Now she didn’t know where to put her hands.

    Parrot: (imitated sound of a phone ringing) Answer, answer yourself Norm.

    Norm leaned in after three steps and pinched her cheeks, which seemed to loosen her eyes. The girl didn’t look resentfully back at him. She seemed less conscious of her nose as she pressed her hands against her cheeks, and looked at him with a little trust, a little question, a little fearful dip of her irises.

    Norm remembered that day as a young teenager, when he’d gone hunting with his friend…




    Norm shifted his weight against the hull and watched for seals without his scope. When he looked west he saw a big bank of clouds and when he looked south there was only sun and three colors of water. If he looked out past the stern he could still see the white stretch of town on the shore.

    Denny tugged on Norm’s parka. "I’m hungry," he said, "and bored. This is boring."

    An uneven wind sifted through the boy’s bangs. It would be a mile’s walk back to their home, made long by the weight of the bludgeoned animal shared between them. But the fields showed no sign that moment would come any time soon.

    Suddenly, an eight-pound moss of tumbleweed rolled by and rammed its thorny edge into Denny’s calf, sending him reeling in agony.

    "Beautiful," the other one secretly thought, "more blood for me." He had been running out of the color red, and back home the sunset was only half-painted on his wall.

    Denny let out a muffled groan. "You keep the deer, Norm," he whispered, "if we ever get one that’s not so heavy. This tumbleweed has got the best of me, I’m afraid, uhhh…"

    Norm reached for Denny’s arm, and then his ankle, but it was too late. He was still attached to the tumbleweed, and the tumbleweed was continuing its wind-powered course down the rutted road. All that remained of him was that jumbled trail of articles from his pockets — a hand-crafted whistle, a flotation device, some corn, and a key labeled "B.S."

    It was then that Norm considered buying his eight-person inflatable raft. He put the key in his mouth and it tasted salty. A short shudder of mourning quickly passed and he leapt toward the car. Good thing he had parked right off the I-5. there might not have been much game wandering the Central Valley, but now he could drive straight home at 95 mph. He might even get the raft on the way.



    Eight-Person Inflatable Raft Halts the MUNI

    Norm: I won’t comment further until my lawyer arrives.


    I think that’s him in the white tee-shirt and an umbrella.

    The Mom:

    My kid has always been a good kid, and when I ask him if he’s been to the store or not he never lies. He’ll tell the truth if he went out and got some chips or not. Although I can’t deny he wore a white shirt out of our home, the fact that he holds an umbrella does not nab him, necessarily, Peanut-Breath. It’s been raining for days and we are all sick of it.

    BART policeman:

    Well, ma’am, we are. But I’m still going to have to hold him here until we settle this matter.

    The Mom:

    I predict you’re about to hold your tongue or you might get called something under my breath that would shame you and that tight little badge of yours. My kid’ll tell me the truth. I raised him. When his aunt Mrs. N. found her bowl of almonds depleted he stood up like a fine young Mr. Isn’t that right? He always carries an umbrella but it doesn’t make him a criminal. What’re you looking at?


    Sorry I’m late, my bowling match ran overtime…

    Norm: That balloon above the telephone wires. I’m tired of everybody’s confessions.


    Why doesn’t someone remove the raft from the tracks?




    Sordid Polemic of the Good, Naughty & Moodless

    Norm: well, that’s got to be it! It’s the only bank in town we haven’t tried. And I’m beginning to feel like I know exactly what’s in that safebox.

    Stanch: tut-tut, not so fast hombre’; a deal is a deal, and I haven’t had my ice cream yet.

    Norm: always hesitating. I’m thinking I’m gonna ditch you. I should’ve gone to another country anyway.

    Stanch: watch it or I’m gonna take you up on that not-so idle threat, you bum. How could you know what’s in the box?

    Norm: ‘cause Lucy was always hinting around about her Uncle Charlie’s National Geographic collection. Besides, let’s just go and see.

    Bell-Jar: Norm? Is that you? You look so pallid! How are you? I haven’t seen you since we…well, hello…

    Cyril: Don’t "hello" me, where’s my thirty seven bucks?!

    Bell-Jar: Where are my gloves?

    Norm: Lady, forget the gloves. Hey, Stanch, you remember the, uh, stuff I got from the café’?

    (A pretend explosion furrows from the core of the city-scape. Fade to a slow white movement of something: is it snow? Is it static? Is it pollution?)



  3. Exquisite Corpse lines o’ poetry, one line each

Cinema seam seeds my
Misty highway nostrils
When I hem inward
Under Butte.
Dakota motion
Outpacing doorways
While Temina waits
Lord, hear ye,
Supper cost
Dimes and then
reduced porridge
corrugated whims
can’t fix me
lock pock sorrel
your fleeting
armpits damp my
wampum? Whenever
you want. Whenever
the mathematics
slay my ample
tendencies, flicking
ash shawlward,
hovering tenderly over
nightfall’s meatballs,
sweetly. Like spice
against love and
sparse choruses.

Beatles wheezing in a cyclone of cologne
stop thinking! Mosby! Tsarina! Drop
it now, skiff along the trough
and accrue firearms droopy with disuse.
O, Profusion! Hello to Honolulu! Heya big-lug
suck punks. Jim Beam whiling maddeningly
slinging spit bomb lung-shards at sharks.
Pooling hurdy-gurdy contrabend, we spun!
We’re nimble however blond, from Bloomsburg
par avion. Abundantly jeweled. Kudos? Surely,
lewd and ultra-veloured firefighters avoid
spandex. Wife-like Q-Tips excite them
into a stalled stupor. You want some?

Etienne, skip punch, suck gompering fixation,
trump sunny poprocket. Bunk weekly in Barbados.
Tirades against Triump TR7’s exhaust punched wowzers.

Eggplant is
confection, leaves
something to disdain
or embrace. Therefore,
in Senegal and San Francisco
dumbbells dangle precariously.
Looming largely, muscle laden cub-scouts
mountain tops, whistles, preparedness, astute elfins
gorging their chops with turpentine and orange bergamot.
Earl Grey mornings in-country rims eyelids.
Circuitry, illicit fluids electrocute them.
Cook foolery (Steve, leave that) (lie) again.
Isn’t it bibbed? Tangier’s bible laced with blood.
Incendiary contingent made firm.
Loose-lipped tangerines peeled slowly.


Henry V, finish peas.
     ed. III 1979’s dawn Treader post-combustible whirligig
     seamlessly stitched before
       two azul ankles.

Music fills my ’73 Nova. I
was shakin’ shoes exuding
yuppie smell displacing dampness,
loafers sick with Sharon’s witness
with gumption and
hoops, darken these mines,
except within caves dampened
and sorely sheepish, pink pink sand sinks quickly toward
for you, sunsets please —
my putrid downtown whump;
worldly other-matron liaison
disciples’ heaving rotated
lips. Puncheon
if you only increase mileage while thumping
than Boise, Idaho with
your pimply drip
drains skyward pinkly.

Tallow dripped aplomb murky eyeballs sink
into guised hyperbole
wonder why? Gonna sneak around
the globe, mama. Top this with that!
Going off randomly, score boards stop
the guillotine, strip joints, make
pro-bono figurines sing out,
samba trombone Michelangelo
foresting Dr. Rockridge’s rodeo trophies.
Leaky pipes. Drano.
Onto 36, I shift into drizzle,
peeling pith of imaginationary
lights as issues; scenario’s missiles
shan’t stilt outwardly glances
slightly askew.
Likenesses thwarted dinner plans
so-called messiah.
Chummy deathwish fennel. Hopeless
dishwash-water, the fennel
a lukewarm penitence, not yet enough.
Denver omelet well done. Danger zone.