Stone Sex

Remote worship

photo by Belhaven2011, flickr

Unfortunately, there is nothing to be done about the coupling of tombstones. First of all, their copulations are deafening — how they grunt and sigh! — and secondly, the sparks spewing from the friction — blue, green, yellow, and purple sparks — ignite fires in the dry season. (And when the fires erupt, corpses awaken and are enraged. They must be put down by truckloads of cool, damp earth.)  But the biggest problem with stone sex is this: A cemetery of newly formed stones.  And no one has managed to escape the certain pairing between death and a stone.

One time, a stone cutter, ambitious that his town should live, fashioned the tombstones into paving stones, stones for the fireplace, the threshold, the garden, thinking he could circumvent their original purpose. When he disappeared they only found a pile of stones beside the cemetery where he had been working.

What was convenient about the situation, however, was that the stone pile was a nice place for the townspeople to eat their sandwiches, so they stopped asking questions and began hanging out. Also, what was good about it was that the smooth stones made nice little ledges for their beer. So when a man did not return home at night, other women would relay this information to his frustrated wife: “Oh, he’s still on the stone pile.”

One night a man materialized across the cemetery where they were sitting and drinking.

“Are you a ghost?” said Jacob. He had begun driving them crazy with this idea of diverting the creek so it ran next to the graves. They could sink a barrel of ale into its cool body, he said. It would be woman for them and they could be like the man, filling her vessel, and together, they could make cool beer. He was always wild with his crazy metaphors and his stupid ideas. His horny talk was probably inspired by the horny stones they had subdued for the season by anchoring them to the ground with chains.

“I’m not a ghost,” said the man.

“Are you a newcomer?”

“ This implies I’m staying.”

“Are you God?”

“Would God do this?” and he reached into one of their sacks, grabbed a beer, popped off the cap, and guzzled it down.

“I don’t know,” Phillip said. He was the town tombstone engraver and he was a philosopher of sorts. Engraving the dash between the dates of birth and death made him shaky. What did the dash represent? It was all so ordinary. Were they all so alike? It made him depressed. “Jesus ate even after he rose from the grave.”

“Stop being morbid,” Jacob said. His wife Tatiana said the same thing. In fact, he sometimes wondered if they slept together. They said many of the same things, in exactly the same way. It made him angry, then it made him depressed and he couldn’t do anything about it. He couldn’t even prove anything definitively.

“Well I can assure you I’m not God. Excuse me, this is underfoot,” and he picked up a long-handled scythe they had not noticed before. Apparently it had been on the ground. He leaned it against a tree. “I hate it when stuff like this could bean you in the head any moment if you step on it wrong.”

A scythe, what a cliché, thought Phillip who expected more from the grim reaper. Did even religious clichés have to come true? Were there no surprises?

“I’ve had sex with your wives. They’re all very good. You are lucky men.”

Was this guy nuts? Phillip thought. They would kill him, all together, with their hands around his throat. There were about twenty five of them. But he wasn’t a cliché in this: He was pretty buff for the grim reaper.

“While you guys have been yucking it up on the pile, which by the way, is the grave of a dead man, I’ve been enjoying life. Your women are very lonely and very receptive. I’ve learned how to knit, how to dandle your children on my knee. They gave me tea and gossip and practically talked me into their beds. I love this town. I love this place. I think I’ll stay.”

“We’ve got to get rid of him,” said Jacob when the man had wandered off into the misty fields with his scythe. “Our women were fine before he got here. We’re screwed.”

“We must have interfered with the balance of things,” said Phillip. “Maybe that’s why we’re being cursed with this maggot.”

And so that’s what they did. They released the stones so they could couple, except at night, when they wanted to drink, they cooled them down with water from the creek and it was quiet and peaceful again and the men got drunk and the women went back to their creative, secret occupations which involved, among other things, ruling the world.

First appeared in the following: Danse Macabre and The Strange Edge.


Absurdist communique, re: Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei???

The Chinese artist cannot attend his own exhibit of lego portraits and kites representing human rights violations, an exhibit being held at the infamous but now defunct American maximum security prison. The word from his country is that he must do his laundry. He has improperly cleansed his clothes. And look at his shoes, they are always dull. He is always shaming his country by looking like such a dull clod. The internationally acclaimed artist who stood up for the 5,335 children killed in an earthquake due to the negligence of bureaucrats must work on getting the cow shit out of the sole of his shoe with a little stick. Perhaps the next regime will afford him a shoe brush.

The artist dries the little shit sticks and creates a miniature village of kites which flies over the terra firma of crusty dung. Although his tiny village is crushed over and over he re-enacts the fuck you with sparrow kites flipping the bird. He is then banished to a poor province to learn about peasant life and forming correct art though his installations bring the six figures at Sotheby’s. But the Chinese president is pissed. Well, he’s just being a good president, really. After all, the artist has been sitting, bourgeouis-like, softly detained, ordering the placement of thousands of porcelain flowers in the unused washbasins, toilets, and tubs of a notorious American maximum security prison. This is what the president thinks: This dude can damn well sit out the year in peasant clothes already and not be so special anymore.


I don’t know what to say when my gutters get the business


A man comes to my door. I open it and say hallooo, like that, because I was expecting my parents. I cross the threshold as if he were a party guest. I can’t stop myself from acting how I’d already decided to act.

The man steps off the porch and, jumping, slaps one of the gutters on the front of my house. “See this? The flashing is bent. I could fix this, sixty dollars. I just helped your neighbor. I can help you today, no problem.”

I do not believe a word he is saying. I don’t even know what he’s talking about.

“Look,” he says and jumps and pulls in another place. “Your gutter is coming down. It’s falling off.”

I had been too vulnerable and friendly. I am carrying my little dog in my arms. I feel insecure without my makeup. I had taken my glasses off. My parents think glasses are unfeminine.

I tell him I’ll talk to my husband.

Later, when my ma arrives, she says why didn’t you say your husband was in the back curling 200 pound dumbbells with each wrist.

The other night when I was cheering at my son’s baseball game, she said I was being uncool, déclassée. Ma made all our clothes when we were little. She cooked all our meals. She knew how to do everything. When she was young, she smoked and drank. I did that too when I was young but I’m sure I did it wrong.



a woman and her box

living quarters

After a housewife spends hours before a glowing box pressing buttons, her hands sweating, her legs and arms weakening, her pupils dilating and contracting, fluids streaming from every orifice, she goes about her tasks which did not involve punching buttons or looking at a glowing box. These tasks, by comparison, cause little reaction. She goes back to her occupation before the box as if returning to an essential fire. Her life crashes down around her, her family leaves, her house disintegrates and is taken away, and eventually someone takes the box away. She spends the rest of her life dreaming about the times she sat before the box. She dies and is put into a box. The box that had been her glowing box becomes a black box piled on top of other boxes nourishing the soil with mercury, chromium, cadmium, and lead.

First appeared in The New Absurdist