Between the bars and rolling back eyes,
Sucking in guts in smokeless rooms,
Dreaming of a full-bodied Gretsch
And second dessert.
"What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more." Hamlet, IV.iv.35-37
Between the bars and rolling back eyes,
Everyone in Saint Paul is sulking,
sucking down cigarettes in alleyways
and allowing themselves to look
as petulant as the weather feels.
Why us? May as well be the refrain,
because May isn’t supposed to do this
to us, ungrateful season turning into a
grate full of snow and ash ends.
If the storming did just kill us now,
would we ascend to some bright heaven?
Or would we remain below the clouds
to complain again together?
It’s like Odysseus, right? He was sailing between the Sirens and the whirlpool, and each one if those would kill him. Yes. So, so what does he do? He lashed himself to the mast and puts the wax in his ears and tells the crew to follow him, and he’ll steer them through to safety. He just had to go straight. And that’s the lesson, you just have to put the wax in your ears and lash yourself to the mast, go straight ahead. Don’t listen to the Sirens or go into the whirlpool. Just lash yourself to the mast and sail straight.
It’s a good thing this is a Business course, and not Classics.
Thao: Shop closed Sunday starting May.
Pops: You’re closing the shop on Sunday starting in May? Why’s that? You aren’t making money?
Thao: Family upset. Work too much.
Pops: Oh yeah?
Pops: You aren’t that old. You aren’t as old as me, anyway.
Thao: Twenty years, seven days a week, cut hair.
Pops: You been cutting mine for five of them. But I don’t usually come in in Sunday anyway. What’re you going to do on Sunday?
Pops: Yeah, that’s a good thing to do.
Skeet: Well if that don’t beat else?
Abner: What is it?
Skeet: You, showing up in here, with your sad-ass face.
Abner: I’m a man who can do what I want when I want to.
Skeet: I thought you was working?
Abner: I’m just done with being conscripted into anti-government gang in the form of an ill-conceived and poorly led protest.
Skeet: Well, I don’t see how that should hold a man up from making what they tell me is an honest day’s living.
Abner: The foreman was leading the protest.
Skeet: Well then he ain’t going to be the foreman for too much longer then, is he?
Abner: Not to be expected. He won’t be for anything any more, is what I hear.
Skeet: What’d you hear?
Abner: The whole thing was a ploy.
Skeet: A what?
Abner: A ploy - a plot, a ruse, a graft, a game.
Skeet: What for?
Abner: Seems the foreman got himself into some trouble with a razor and making himself all pretty.
Skeet: That foreman’s uglier than a baby’s butt, what he need to be pretty for?
Abner: Well, when no-one gets paid anything, a man has to try all sorts of things, and this thing that the foreman was trying, had to do with that smoothness of the baby’s butt that you just mentioned.
Skeet: You’ve lost me, friend-o.
Abner: The foreman was trying to make some normally hairy areas smooth, to make a desert of the forest as it were.
Skeet: He cut himself shaving? And that’s reason enough to round up a gang of ill-fed miscreants and hashhead laborers and disrupt the peace of my late-morning drink and whatever god-appointed task the governor finds himself upon?
Abner: The foreman cut himself, but not on the face.
Skeet: He was trying to smooth out some other area?
Abner: As far as I hope they might be from my mind, that is how close the foreman’s nethers were to the razor.
Skeet: And so he lead a protest to the governor’s office?
Abner: Because the compound has the best nurse around.
Skeet: Did they do anything for him?
Abner: Well, he went in to negotiate and came out much more tranquil, and told the gang to go away, so I can only imagine that the best has been made out of the foreman’s self-inflicted misfortunes.
Skeet: But not before inflicting those misfortunes on everyone else.
Abner: If not screwed on one hand, then screwed on the other in this line of business.
Skeet: What line of business is that?
Abner: Being broke and not having anything to do.
Skeet: Take away a man’s home and job and livelihood, it’s still a wonder what a man will do when his pecker’s in trouble.
Abner: I’ll drink to that.
Bettye: It was where?
Lorene: In Boston.
Bettye: And they were running?
Lorene: Running a marathon, yes, and then there was the explosion.
Bettye: Oh my Lord.
Lorene: Oh yes.
Bettye: Were the kids killed?
Lorene: Oh well, I don’t know. There were some people killed.
Bettye: But no kids?
Lorene: Maybe. Maybe one of them was a child. I don’t know.
Bettye: Oh those poor children. That’s so cold.
Lorene: It is, so cold, yes, so cold.
Bettye: And they don’t know who did it?
Lorene: No, no-one knows. But they’re going to get whoever did it, I promise you that.
Bettye: But they don’t know what nationality or whatever the terrorists were?
Lorene: I don’t care if they’re orange or pink or black or white or yellow, they’re going to pay.
Bettye: But that’s so cold.
Lorene: I’m just glad that they didn’t kill themselves. I hate it when they kill themselves, because then they don’t see no justice. Someone does something like that, they got to feel that pain.
Bettye: What kind of person does it take to go out and try and hurt people like that?
Lorene: I’ll tell you, I lost my son last year.
Bettye: Oh no, just last year?
Lorene: He was driving home from school and hit the black ice. Flipped the Tahoe seven times over. Broke every bone in his body except for his little toe.
Bettye: That’s terrible.
Lorene: He weighed one hundred and thirty, thirty seven pounds when he was alive and when I buried him he weighed two hundred and twenty four, with the way his body swole up.
Bettye: I’m so sorry.
Lorene: But that was an accident, and that happens. With this, whoever did this is gonna have to feel it.
Bettye: It’s just so cold.
When we talk of democracy,
We mean dying more slowly,
Than we would under one fist.
To turn sour together,
Disperse the power of the hemlock drop.
None of this
Comes to terms with the messiness of Tahrir.