n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Sunday, March 05, 2006


“I don’t know if I can stay with him. It’s just that he… well… he’s blaming everything on the pimple.”

in the subway car, everyone looks at him. they look at the window, they look into their bags, they look at the feet, they look at the metallic lines. people rock back and forth as the car curves around a bend at high velocity. a girl loses her footing, starts to fall, and catches herself. she looks around above her, at the ads, at the door; nobody noticed her. they look at their books, at their papers, at their iPods. they glance at people’s coats, gauge it against their own warmth. they look at the man who sits in the corner with his hat pulled low and his legs up on the seat next to him.

but sooner or later, they are going to look at it.

it is enormous. like the citizens of Pompeii, its neighboring pores are starting to feel edgy. a slow matriculation ensues, as if maybe the eruption will layer them lighting fast in ash and lava flow. his other facial features place bets on the resulting geologic formations: whether the fallout will leave pahoehoe or glassy chunks of obsidian lodged in the angular surface of his skin.

the people on the train are staring at it. he is certain when they look away and move their hands up to their faces, rub their chins, looked relieved.

the pimple must be blamed. everything on his face blurs away from the future big bang. the pimple causes great harm.

“don’t lay everything at my base,” it tells him.

“they’re all looking at you,” he accuses right back.

he hasn’t been able to secure a job. all the interviewers scootch closer and closer to the door. he's sure of it. his residency, finished, and now nobody wants to look at his art, not because his art is any less brilliant than before, but because they are always distracted when he sets up the gallery. let's write an ode to Mt Saint Helens, his chin tells him. but his work is less brilliant than before; this too is the pimple’s fault.

“whenever i go to create art, it gets in the way,” he tells his girlfriend. "and i mean physically. it physically impairs me."

“maybe you are being too sensitive?” she says brightly. “look here. right here.” she points to her nose. “i have one too. normal!”

“you just don’t understand,” he tells her. “you don’t know what it means to scar.”

she looks away. her hand moves to her chin. she too looks relieved to discover it smooth.

his apartment is becoming less viable, now that he has no job to pay the rent.

“this is your fault,” he tells the pimple.

“maybe you should withdraw and pay me attention until i decide to go away. let's spend hours together, you and i. we'll research me. we’ll research my origins. maybe they’ll be appealing and i will go away to find my roots.”

"shut up," he says back.

his friends get antsy and leave the country. “oh, I have an internship,” says one. “yeah, i'm moving back home with my folks,” says another.

implied: there's no action too large to get away from the pimple.

it's mean and bitter; it carries a pure putrescence in its heart. at night, he hears it stirring. it whispers in his ear as he dreams.

“everybody knows what it means,” it says.

he knows it's true. they are all staring.
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