(A possibly true anecdote from the youth of E. F. Scarfley)

A non-play

The players: Scarfley, Jim, Book.

Enter, Impresario. Addresses the audience:

Ladies and Gentlemen, a preemptive aside, of little consequence: Imagine you enter a cleanly lit reading room and find there two men talking; they do not stop to address your entrance. You position yourself at a slight distance from the two men, and you notice they are verbally inserting punctuation into their discourse. Peculiar? Yes. Will you remember, after you have left the room, the subject of their conversation? I think not. Enjoy, and good night.


Act Only


Scarfley and Jim are sitting at a desk in a library. Book is open on the desk, between them.

Scarfley: See? Listen: "If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the correct mark of punctuation is a semicolon."

Jim: So?

Scarfley: So, you wrote, "Katie is wicked hot, comma (makes an air-comma with his left index finger), I'd do her." You should have written, "Katie is wicked hot, semicolon (makes and air-semicolon with his right index finger), I'd do her."

Jim: (Rolls his eyes) Ok, ok. Whatever.

Scarfley: I'm just saying. This test is important if you want to actually pass English this year.

Jim: Fine, so what do I do?

Scarfley: (Mockingly) Why don't you go the rest of the day verbalizing your punctuation? For example, comma, the way I just did, period.

Jim: (With visible disgust) Oh, come on-You've gotta be kidding me!

Scarfley: (With much amusement) You mean, "Oh, comma, come on, dash, you've gotta be kidding me, exclamation point"?

Jim: Ok, we're done here.

Scarfley: (With growing excitement) You mean, "Ok, comma, we're done here, period"!

Jim stares at Scarfley for a very short moment, stands, and walks off-stage, agitated. Scarfley follows quickly after, leaving Book open on the table.

Book: I tell you what, colon, there go a real couple of idiots, exclamation point.


order/through guilt/to victimage

she left me one day
,my muse, like one
unaware of my presence [varjak paul, date unknown]

there are days when i think, as vladimir did, there's "nothing to be done." though, i do not think it aloud. instead, i pick up a pen, or a book. today, i read these words:

"Here are the steps
In the Iron Law of History
That welds Order and Sacrifice:

Order leads to Guilt
(for who can keep commandments!)
Guilt needs Redemption
(for who would not be cleansed!)
Redemption needs Redeemer
(which is to say, a Victim!).

Through Guilt
To Victimage
(hence, Cult of the Kill)...." [kenneth burke, the rhetoric of religion, "introduction: on theology and logology"]




i was going to post today, but all that came out was...

...the excrement of writer's block. Posted by Hello


something funny, something else, something beautiful

they're right: good things come in threes.

[something funny]

the other day, our answering machine greeted us with this message: "is this the phone number associated with donna's quality leather? ... if it is, please give me a return call at... it's with regards to, uh, doing some stitchwork on, uh, some fabric suitcases. i would appreciate that if indeed it is. thanks very much. buh-bye."

[something else]

(from the journal of varjak paul) "... then emily asked me if what i had told her was really the whole dream. i told her it was, and i told her tomorrow night would reveal what trice did when he woke up. that seemed to satisfy her well enough. i kissed her forehead, tucked her in, and said 'i love you, em,' and left her to dreams of her own. it occurred to me as i left her room that the dreams we have are not really our own, but they belong to all those who dream, as part of the puzzle of beauty and truth. that is why trice's story is important: it is only one piece, but without it, completion is impossible.

[something beautiful]

Posted by Hello


we are the bloggers

we are the bloggers, the spotlight hoggers, living lives calibrated to the warhol meridian. in a hundred years, historians will arbitrarily mark 200* as the year society entered its post-fame lassitude.

we are the bloggers, the spotlight hoggers, calibrating the world to the (enter your name here) meridian. in a hundred years, there will be a historian for each of us, devoted to our lives of 15 minutes. but, not one will be found able to piece it together, because in 200* we all, at once, with one great voice, and with confidence supreme streaming from our lungs and our modems, shouted, "that's stupid!" and set our sights on mastering some tiny fraction of reality.

we are the bloggers, the spotlight hoggers, and we are gods. gods in tiny universes, masters of none and slaves to the ignorance of every other, tiny god. supremecy or perspective? we have chosen, and history will be unable, for our choice, to judge us. but isn't that what we have always wanted?

we are the bloggers, the spotlight hoggers, and we know that adam, too, chose to place himself above judgement. we choose also not to see where it got him, lest we see also the end of our own path. "apples and oranges," we say. "dust to dust? that's stupid," and we turn our attention elsewhere, any elsewhere.

we are the bloggers, the spotlight hoggers, and we stand condemned. let future history take note and rise from the crushing weight of our iniquity. let just one among those historians see these things to which we have already blinded them. let just one, and we are saved.

we are the bloggers, the spotlight hoggers.

i swear i am not making this up

for those of you who might be offended by the very notion that i receive, with unmuted pleasure, the sports illustrated swimsuit issue, here's a picture i took of (and i swear i am not making this up) a building in the form of a giant basket. Posted by Hello

c'mon, winter isn't all bad...

you were right, j-man: this picture-posting thing is really easy.

on a completely unrelated topic: as much as i hate cold weather, i guess february's still got it's bright spots. Posted by Hello


"A Personal, Narrative Threnody on Throughing So-Called Tragedy"

i wrote this in the hospital last month, and i hadn't looked at it again until today. revising it now, "tragedy" seems too strong a word; "misfortune" might have been better. still, perhaps what is tragic is relative to a person's normative life experience. in that sense, then, last month was indeed tragic, but it was not "real 'tragedy.' "

(pause, while i sigh in bothered reflection.)

i analyze, i analyze; "bitch, bitch, bitch!" enough of me–the story is what it is.

("A Personal, Narrative Threnody on Throughing So-Called Tragedy," posted with my apologies for the profanity and some subject matter of questionable taste)

Global warming, my ass.

The first half of this winter was too mild, and global warming was all over the pages of Scientific American and Discover magazines, and all the while I bemoaned my less-than-tragic life. Then winter got bad, my stomach got all fucked up, and now I'm in the hospital.

The ease of the non-tragic life is painful in its own way. Real tragedy is Virginia, sick for so long and then drowned herself; real tragedy is Ernest, married too often, drank too much, and then shot himself. My tragedy is once having a girl I really loved and never going after her and never getting her. And all the while I wasn't getting her, I wrote, thinking, "This is great: this is tragic. Unrequited love is so tragic. This is why writers write, how they become great." This too: ease, as the absence of tragedy, is often accompanied by the searing pain of masochism. Still, out of pain, beauty does come.

Writing is really fucking hard. It makes even a meek piss like me cuss, though mostly on the inside. So here, in the hospital bed that smells because I haven't showered in five days, where I can smell my own sweatydirty crotch stains on the blankets, I'm trying to write. All I can see is the crap that precedes this period.

(That one.)

(The period after "this period”.)

I doubt my crotch has ever smelled like this before. It doesn't smell like after masturbation; it's not a smell you want to think is clean. It's purely dirty, that smell of the refuse left by a growing society of bacteria, clinging fiercely to sweatydirty loose skin. And mixed with the occasional flatulence. But, no one wants to read that, so here's something to give pause: my new hospital roommate is sleeping, and snoring (the pot-smoking Buddhist left earlier today–he was odd, but he didn't snore).

So where does that leave me? Same place: writing is hard, and I can still smell my last fart.

They're going to keep me here at least another three days, and it's all I can see. Where's Margot Macomber when you need her? Hell, that's a stupid thing to think. It's a stupider thing to write, I suppose. Gawd, "stupider" isn't even a word.

Goddam I.V. I can't bend my arm, so the paper is too far from my eyes, and I have to squint, which means my handwriting is even worse than usual. At least no one is watching. I mean, there's God, but He already knows. That Orwell was a genius, but aren't we all chanting "B-B! ... B-B! ... B-B!" and thinking of ourselves? I think yes.

Still, out of pain, beauty does come, and now is the springtime of my release.

Writing is really fucking hard. Not the moving of the pencil or the typing, of course. Not even the revising and editing. It’s the part where the writer becomes his own Big Brother. I love Big Brother too, because he is me, but no longer will I be afraid of him. He's like God: he already knows–he simply is. It is the rest of them, in the dark, who are yet waiting: should they know? I think yes.

Really fucking hard, but worth the pain; beauty always is. My stomach's all fucked up, but my pencil is still moving and who am I to stop it?

Now is the springtime of my release. The chains have been loosed and I am freed. Freed, from the tyranny of my own sickly, savage self. Fuck global warming. I've got my voice, I've got my stomach, and I need no mistress Tragedy. Amen.

some news and a poem

quite a bit has changed since december 10, 2004, not the least of which is this fact: i no longer have to go to the library to access the internet. other events of note:

christmas: i got some cool stuff, you got some cool stuff, let's just get past it: we all got some cool stuff. and, on church stages all over the world, tiny plastic jesus-dolls were born. ahh, the miracle of the incarnation. (pause for reflection)

on a more somber note: my grandfather-in-law, frank thompson, passed away december 23. according to those who knew him best, he was ready to go, but those same sources were not. he deeply loved all of God's children, and he will be missed. he made me laugh.

january 17-24: i was in the hospital. crohn's disease can be a real bitch. (here's some general
information for the unaware.) in short: the week was not a fun one, but i have grown tremendously since.

enough of news. i will, i hope, begin updating this with a bit more consistency, which means there will be time for more news later.

now, here's a bit of poetry, for those of us with a softer side:

The street-cleaners have come
(a psalm of the conflicted)

The street-cleaners have come
again and again to find us in our home
safe and warm, if not dollars nearer
winter’s stinking breath and closing jaw, and death (Selah)

Soaking, I walked, in early summer,
blocks to that supermarket job I hated
while the lazy man just inside me waited,
his breath, stinking too, and baited (Selah)

February’s weeks you spent in that hotel
still drawing from your well of I-don’t-know-what
and telling me we’d be ok living,
living on what we’d lived the year before (Selah)

February’s weeks I spent in that hotel
still drawing from my well of selfishness,
my mind to TNN a faithful whore, and hell?
became the realization of my conflict:

You are not me; that simply will not do.
Or so I’ve thought a thousand times, and dreaming,
as you counted out our days in dimes,
of better things than all my weakness brings. (Selah)

Yet, I do not know what better things there are
than late-night games–canasta, one-on-one–
but we may find them if my words are truth:
resolution is the bedspring of the life Adam bestowed,
its sheets and pillows are our age and youth. (Selah)

As such, I do not wish to bow, or worse, to master you;
instead, I wish to synchronize your steps and mine,
to match you breath for death, and heart for mind.

The levity of an afterthought

Conflict brought all things, and brings still more
together, but alone? it simply will not do
to keep these words inside my head, and
too conflicted, show them not to you.


a closing thought: conflict is everywhere, with everyone. before we begin to say, "but God is not conflicted!" we must note that our own system of beliefs is fraught with the "perils" of paradox (kenneth burke has much to say about this). "perils," in quotation marks, because we are yet slow to realize that paradox is merely another kind of resolution: it is a marriage of perspectives in which two singular identities are faithfully preserved, just as the sum of the partnership becomes greater than that of its parts.