Sulky 0

something figurative but disastrously imprecise assumes its full and terrible height and leers blindly in my direction, exposing my hiding place among the toppled vagrants and fallen girls, and I turn to another sleeping man and ask him if he can feel that awful wind through his wet cardboard casements, but his sleep proves impenetrable, however hard I stab his jutting ribs, shake his protruding shoulders, so I punt his head down the street a ways and return to my red-eyed watching of that shadowy nightmare rudely externalized, exchanged

Sulky 1

whistling something ugly you wish you could forget, you remark to yourself upon the enormous wickedness of little things, the wickedness of calling anything little, the atrocity of such a position. Walking with hard-soled, hard-heeled shoes on we hear a gross kind of crunch and are reminded of the obscenity of our stature–we–even we–who feel ourselves to forever be crushed between overlapping forces left over from the colossal struggle of contradictory gods, storming and slumbering in eternally successive gasps, and these, we consider dreamily, must be the shape-shifting clouds, the lovely wonders of the porous heavens, until they gather to weep in grayness and in unison….

Sulky 2

getting drunk for all the important occasions in life, we seem determined to destroy or forget, or at best, misremember those things that qualify our existence by way of celebration, for is this not the purpose of celebration–to mark a space of time as definitively REAL? As possessing a reality surpassing that of the lesser reality in which it is couched? And so by remembering, we are compelled to forget: forgetting that which our celebration determines cannot be forgotten….

Sulky 3

incredible degree of bombast for so tiny an affair, but it gave them the satisfaction of feeling as if the utmost had been done in spite of the public’s cynical expectations. Indeed, when the stature was unveiled, a great hush was leveled upon the crowd, and all the laughter preceding the moment was brought to immediate quiescence. The silence, however, would prove shortlived: beginning with a single suppressed guffaw near the back of the assembly, the hilarity rabidly resumed and in greater

Sulky 4

taking a dozen different pills a day to reach a state of normalcy that is quantitatively different than that which is most normal to you, your legs start to itch when the streetlamp flickers on by some distant mechanism, turned on as you are by the fast-settling darkness, you need something swift to bring you home under the airy auspices of nowhere; loneliness seems better when there’re strangers there to share it for a cigarette and a light

Sulky 5

astonishing ourselves with the foulness of our mutinies, we lash old gods to thick masts and scourge them with lashes and, batting our lashes, order a thunderous battery against flotillas unseen, crying “are we not Englishmen? Serve we not the Queen of the World?” and our words vanish in the cannon-blasts and splashes and the sickening cracking of tar-blackened tinder, seeking stillness still

Sulky 6

SULKY the Birthday Boy with WEEPY the worm

Sulky 11

while his morbid preoccupation with everything comely led the boy down darker paths than the imagination readily gives conception to, while a fatal case of lockjaw, gained while tripping over an old railroad crossing in a fit of somnambulance swept his dear sister from this world. The neighbors shut up their windows, expecting that something ghastly was in store, but for our subject, only beauty mattered, only beauty deserved to live. And oh! His sister had been beautiful–the very type of love

Sulky 12

whether or not, it’s essentially a problem of probability versus probity; by this I mean that the likelihood is not necessarily to be measured according to its application to custom. It is customary to rise when a lady sits at supper, but the chances that everybody actually will seem, to me, exceedingly small in our time. So it is with the present question. I tell you, ours is the age of the unspoken custom, the silent sacred: any polite act actually regarded as polite will surely be denounced

Sulky 13

a flimsy set of criteria directs us toward positions that are categorically impossible to hold. Panicked, we reach out for the nearest sweaty hand to grasp our own flailing extremity, finding lacerating talons where we expected fingers to be. The plunge that follows is almost too swift to be described, and the instant of impact outstrips the senses

Sulky 14

with the profane purpose of exterminating every vestige of hope. Nothing moved under that odious eye–nothing dared to, though to dare would not have increased the danger, for the stillness of that grave was the stillness of Death–the stillness of everything that ever did move. All breathing ceased. No chest rose or fell, no nostril dilated. Like corpses robbed of their due isolation, we suffered a hell of apprehensive unknowing. Light itself seemed to halt and stand in unnatural fixity at its own untouchable speed and dying before it

Sulky 15

an appalling lack of candor on the part of the litigant was made evident from the outset, calling the entire ridiculous proceeding into question and setting the jury very much on edge. Besides this, there was the unpleasant matter of perjured dental records, which a signed affidavit proclaimed to have been procured by means less than perfectly ethical, and several swore belonged to a medical dummy whose sale had been discontinued these twenty years past. By the third day the courtroom was in a state

Sulky 16

the living room was long and bright, and held up by two squarish columns like the interior of some heathen temple, so it seemed proper that it should be furnished with two Greek Revival couches and decorated with etchings from Milton’s Paradise Lost, the namesake of which the house would soon become, two winters hence when the call

Sulky 17

a terrific tumble that cost her three teeth, which you only missed if you saw her smiling from the left side, she was never able to hear the word, “hero” again in reference to a member of the armed services or to stand the smell of a soggy canine of any breed or color

Sulky 18

cordially cackling in eerie unison the circular march went on, serpentine, steady, and all the fires burned as if fueled by Sorrow itself… everything ached for utter collapse, everything pleading for its predestined end. Could weariness itself wear a mask-like face? On the last of the midnight marchers it did: a visage weighted with wickedness turned inward, made treacherous, and left to putrefy. Sabine Baring-Gould spoke of a salve, a sort of hellish ointment that, spread across he body would produce lychanthropy, or the madness thereof. Anything for milky-sweet baby flesh! Anything to run away

Sulky 19

to a so-called proper funeral observed under unbroken blue skies, where the only shade was from our brow-borne hands and the wide black hats of aged aunts who had grown old in such apparel and whose relationship to the Deceased was at best highly suspect, we drove in Indian file. Indian-style I sat at a distance, knowing it to be inappropriate, but wishing only to be comfortable in the ticklish presence of the obdurate living, I heard no prayers and saw no tears, but to the figure of a lamb beside me, I muttered my own desolate benediction upon those whom the Deity favors by preserving them in eternal stillness and eternal childhood, saying, “Everyone gets a party at the end,” and “Your last birthday never, ever changes.”

Sulky 20

in nearly-perfect silence they made their maniac maneuvers across a calm canvas of total blackness and distant winking Behemoths that seemed to recoil a little at the gross display of demonic speed, while we stood transfixed and shaking too violently to snap a clear picture. Then they went out like Christmas candles and we went back inside, where Artie was drinking a beer he had poured for himself from a pitcher the ladies had left behind, and we started to ask ourselves if those crazy stars were ladies of the wanton night who only danced for a drunken few to give them a reason to keep on drinking, keep on wondering, always failing

Sulky 21

a signed first printing by the Author of life itself sells for less than you bought it for back in 1982, when everyone was richer than they are now, and the shallowest architecture looked deeper than it does now, and everything was black glass that no one feared breaking; it’s not worth the trouble of arguing about it. Every surface is tacky to the touch and the dust cleaves to it like a fever-stricken bedmate in Heartbreak Hotel, which everyone knows is in Saratoga, though no one goes in search of it, because it’s built like a stable and its foundation is sunken and cracked right through, and when I worked there one summer, we had to put cots in the hallway, catching the overflow from the closed Memorial Gardens with their black marble mausoleums

Sulky 7 Sulky 8 Sulky 9 Sulky 10