Steve Tills – (tills)

Steve Tills

from Life Sentences

Man complaining first via e-mail then later in person that “HP Printer in Inspection
has gone South, won’t print,” listening or not listening as man who diagnoses issue
explains that the printer’s operating fine but a corrupt print job has gotten stuck
in the queue, latter man aware that complainer caught throat cancer from cigarette
smoking not right wing trash talk complaining about Hillary and Bill. Man learning
how to sweat again completes sixty minute invigorating walk third day in a row. Good
guilt or bad guilt, the way they’re processed by males and the way they’re processed
by females. Squatty stocky blocky squarish male from London plant’s Sales
Department typically verbal, assertive to get what he wants, hardly shy taking
wireless mouse back to Great Britain, different or shy man accommodating him recalls
high school chum’s English mum concluding the two of them possessing “personality,”
not talent, to get them through life. Self-described “progressive” in IT Department
receives upteenth e-mail from Emily’s List despite inability to update subscription,
donate more money the way he did in ’04 riding stock market highs
and credit cards ascendance to delusional debt. Real color in Stephen R.’s REAL
essentially local and literal, as if from a camera, rarely if ever imaginary
or figurative, yet always essentially universal, a primary thing being observed,
made mindful of, or a disciplined approach to perception eclipsing black-and-white
processing of world, including black and white subjects & objects. Hardball
host Chris Matthews, whom man has liked often but not always since year after Iraq
Invasion, when Matthews frames Bush-Cheney administration with due diminished respect,
appears in dream and listens to man as if interviewing him for something, a job,
a news interview, a road trip encounter, and as if they’ve been familiar
with each other, man wondering if by chance Matthews could have had same dream
the same evening and why did he associate the poet Ron Silliman with the
Hardball host, the both of them strong, blond, solid, determined. The
intrigue for a metaphor of Substance, what might bear weight even after the words
have been read or raped, like cupping two soft breasts in gentle, excited hands,
or like, in another vernacular crude rough and ignobling, “a handful of tit.”
The pudgy always friendly, gregarious machinist from ACME extolling early April
Trout Streams overflowing with Suckers, how “the Coons just love ’em,” heard
by younger man from IT and self-appointed “corrector’ as slur against blacks,
the latter man feeling out the older one with questions disingenuous
but effective inquiring about raccoons, what it turns out “ACME’s angel” referring
to to begin with. Source of impulse to remark Dept. supervisor’s more conscientious
demeanor located in conscience of man her oft-thwarted workplace subordinate,
not word “demeanor” imagined with middle syllable italicized. The remarking itself
both being and saying or perhaps Being and Doing or Being and Time or Being
and Caring
, the latter loudly the man’s favorite though MacLeish, Grenier,
and Heidegger also quietly quite loved. Hillary on the rocks with nation’s new dems
through no fault of her own so much as marriage to Bill and loyalty to the Old,
or by virtue of being female in a world dominated by Might and the Right.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

Man confusing a what’s the use feeling from weekend social interactions
with WHAT’S THE USE meaning of writing down phrases to fill up phases stuck
“getting started.” Word “green” in The Green River Killer not the mean,
but the means by which non-exotic colors localize meaning in average man’s sentences
neither stylized serially nor pandering to junkies for serial killer boredom. Light
yellow post-it notes on others light pink form pastel potential either figure or
ground, “Obama’s charm offensive in PA” read in “First Read” as turning off voters
in old Pennsylvania. Man in factory no longer so smug about working class
chauvinism, confused he won’t back younger man just ’cause he’s black. Letters
denoting “Company’s History” black against white background. Solid black stripe
between double-yellow lines of no-passing lane noticed for first time by man
declining to label the noticing “Finally.” Gray-haired fellow with face like
“Garland’s Scarecrow” greets younger recreational pot smoker who also did
coke but mostly only got stoned back when older man’s father was High
School vice principal and younger man too young for “Nam.” Easter-purple
Purple the color of post-modern hard plastic playground slide also not the style
of those in man’s youth back then industrial gray. Bright orange newly painted rims
bolted on Roundball court backboards hanging from bent iron poles, dark green
tennis court surface blacker than asphalt in rain soaked park last day of March.
Avocado pulp green already sprouting amid beige and brown grasses covering grounds
of town park’s 28 acres. Shallow cylindrically expanding ripples filling surface
of light brown puddles indicates rain droplets otherwise not visible to red
bloodshot left eye of man suffering from allergies and stiff sinusitis. Solid red
the color of sign labeled with White letters spelling “Stop.” Auditory
the primary coloring making avant-po pomers making their differences, phrasing for
musics not meanings, decorating substance in labyrinths of sound. Preferred woman
running for prez and desperate for donations getting next to none from man who gave
thousands for second choice Kerry before going broke chasing bad money with good.
Four decade Loyalty of hard-nosed, oversexed GM for soft-spined underhanded manager
in HONES said to extend from mutual masturbatory boyhoods. Engineer from Commercial
reporting failing CRT told to reboot by remorseless computer tech dead to the world
when domestically spent. Houses by the hundreds coveted by man walking sixty-five
minute loop and imagining himself one of 12000 owners. Sincere “Thank you” the
department manager from LVDT gives over the phone to IT man feeling not so deserving.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *

Thick four-to-six inch layer of brilliant white snow sticking top-side of 3-D tree
branches suddenly everywhere in sight & truly astonishing on late-month March
morning too beautiful to describe with bright orange oranges and bright yellow
bananas sad blather “Comparing,” matching “Mother” Nature’s visuals as “more”
gorgeous than anything verbal a person could make, man on way to work and uptight
about arriving too late observes when he’s unable to fetch digital camera
and get picture, create permanent sight, of pure white delight. Millionaire
long-loyal, gay slender bookkeeper for right-wing small-framed near billionaire
manufacturer moves across carpet at quick early Friday clip, aware that he’s eyed
by stocky IT man ascending the stairs and not like himself a three decade favorite.
Woman parting elegant beige tapestry shower curtain to look in at her husband
and point out his “thing” remarks that it’s “beautiful” whether flaccid or erect,
contrary to his turning away embarrassed by momentary, ill-perceived “smallness.”
Blue jeans and blue checkered shirt on Valve Engineering man the straight Christian
missionary headed to Africa belies laid-back dress code each day of the week casual
as big companies’ Fridays. Key lime light green on stem of deep yellow banana
and speckled green shades on Granny Smith apple appear more “natural’ than solid
blue-green color coating mouse port adapter said to “support” USB. Woman in
Cafeteria in charge of Human Services telling other female employee there Yes
they’ll definitely be hiring as meantime man purchasing fifty-five cent coffee
listens dejected knowing his wife would be eligible if she weren’t married to him.
Creamy, glossy grey covering cup in right corner seems more appropriately spelled
with “ey” than with “ay,” man working harder to employ, observe non-exotic colors
remarks in Outlook program “Notes” he immediately “Escapes” when boss exits office
and approaches his desk ten feet to the left. Uniform holes/indentations
perforating ceiling tiles assembled overhead there to shape office acoustics,
not gazer’s aesthetics, it dawns on soft working aware man remaining seated at
10:27. Voice of man speaking with woman in room on first floor sounds vaguely
too gentle to be that of AC Production’s Assistant Manager, turns out to be that
of Outsource Consultant from DOX Electronics. Woman calling from outside and
requesting assistance from man who knows she’s the sister of multimillionaire
ex-general manager who still expects free services from techs five years after
retiring, hers the ageless tired old tone the rich take manipulating the poor
into giving them wisdom they’re too cheap to pay for. Perception apparently changing
for fellow “in between golf swings” and formerly focused on taking club back
with arms or with shoulders knowing soon it must become some new synthesis
of images, man editing company’s quarterly newsletter afraid of feeling critical
of nice, amiable staff woman’s repeatedly dull writing skills. March 2008 page
graphic of tropical beach scene offered as “What If Joke” to co-worker imagining
he wins a six month vacation there but all along the shore littered with 100’s of
clones of the secretary upstairs. Fourteen hundred bucks of 2008 16-hundred dollar
great yearly bonus earmarked to publish book completed in 1998 instead siphoned off
to repair foreign car so it can pass state inspection. Inhalation challenged man
through eight weeks not smoking challenged yet again to defer gratification Sociology
prof thirty years earlier said the middle-class deferred to get a little richer.

return to SHAMPOO 36