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  • My Index of Slightly Horrifying Knowledge
  • Paul Guest (bio)

Masturbation interrupted at Normandy by strangers who fled sobbing to the surf. Or by your mother, arrived early from Little Rock, her muumuu throwing floral light at the wall. Or by janitors at the Chinese Consulate. By members of the Team Arthritis Tumbling Squad, flush with the swagger of artificial hips. By Richard Nixon, That Time He Came to Town for Reasons Nobody Can Remember but It's Commonly Agreed He Slept over There. By the priest and by that other priest wearing a clever disguise. By Charles Nelson Reilly, who seemed only vaguely offended or disinclined to join in or just bored, as one feels in the airport of a connecting flight in a town everyone is leaving, everyone knows it, and no one wants to be the last one turning off all the lights, one by one by one a part of the world turning to dust, and, anyway, he died the other day after long illness, which is another horror. As is realizing encyclopedic fervor isn't a virtue. Moving on. Metaphysical constructs like Texas and mayonnaise and coleslaw and vegan water parks and the Bob Dylan Naked Network and the strain of pernicious insanity suffered by the curious. The id detonating like an improvised explosive device. The toxic spill of puberty. That time. That time after that. The one before. The encrypted slush of hotel pornography. Snow covering the state. Facts about clouds. Their immensity, the exact tonnage of the crushing vapor sailing past like a camel. Or a castle. That the hair and nails [End Page 152] of the dead only seem to grow as the body recedes from itself like a flood. The time she said no. The time she said yes. The time she did not choose. Her tired face in the morning. The mirror's interrogation. The crafted answer. How you hate it. Remedial rage. Nature all up in your grill. The dolphin's prehensile penis, fifteen inches in length and adroit in the act of mating but not at dealing cards. Or passing the salt or reaching for the remote or that out-of-the-way itch. The monstrous seven feet the blue whale lugs beneath the rolling waves with disturbing extravagance and the bifurcated penis of the marsupial and the swan's feathered member Zeus once took for his own before falling like a cloud into Leda's lap. The animals presumed by science to be extinct only to be dragged dead into boats. The brute coelacanth like a frayed epoch. The Laotian rock rat coaxed from the caves of our guilt. The ivory-billed woodpecker flitting about the ancient ruins of Arkansas. Bigfoot. Depending on who is asked and whether his tenure status is certain. Plesiosaurs. Because Polaroids of rotting flesh weighing several hundred pounds snagged by the crew of the Zuiyo Maru off the coast of New Zealand in 1977 are really all you need to welcome them back to the party. Weapons of mass destruction or aluminum tubes or yellow cake or the half-life of sweet, sweet Crisco coursing the byways of my broken heart. Decency and its granite headstone for which Science designed [End Page 153] something based upon good taste and accurate data and no funding. American women who are able to belch on command: forty-two percent. The Anti-Christ commanding them. The rest of us trying to choose between continued sentience and celibacy so serious it borders on asexual fascism. The stupor of powerlessness, often confused with summer. That guy with the shitbox van with Valhalla crudely airbrushed on each side, blissfully unaware Ragnarok went down in the seventies. Vain attempts at negotiating with Kim Jong-il who won't stop calling. Kung fu masters who fill me with existential dread instead of broken bones. But not the master of the ice-cream truck who fills me with sugared variations on the theme of winter. Memories of the woman I loved for three pulverizing years through the miseries of her marriage. When she left me, time's heartless crawl. The librarian in the deathless stacks of orthodontic history. My teeth aching like a...


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pp. 152-157
Launched on MUSE
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