Sunday, July 31, 2011


Empty chairs
Positioned against with 
looking out crowded windows
Reminiscences crushed by
Stuffed cushions

Leaking gradually the
Faulty legs curving into structures of waiting
for something else not to happen

Empty chairs
Silently poke holes in groups and cheese

Back rows shaken forward
by words tearing open gaps
in standing and hesitation
that once stared at haunting
light projected on unfathomable
connections of lips soft lips
divided and hardened by

Sitting down
Nodding off
Die to this die to that

Nothing musical about chairs
Maybe a little dirge

Hiding unasked questions
Underneath seats
Tugging on stubborn lines
Chewed into the forgotten
Reminiscences crushed by
Stuffed cushions
Leaking gradually with
Faulty legs curving into structures of waiting
for something else not to happen

Chewing until it resonates
with the flavor of the mundane
Returning to claim
another channel to channel
from channel to channel
story to story
pushing buttons on the plastic control
drawn closer in
further remote

Stacking and stacking
never higher than what is organized

Chewing on channels and venues
Venues and channels chewing
Glued to the virtual
Broken down into emptier containers
filled with the bottom line
adhering to chairs of turnover
rotating around procrastinated

- Max Stoltenberg

Friday, July 29, 2011


Among other things
Where did we get off to?
To stress our points
And get lost in the rows of chairs

Moving from halls
To chambers and basements
Fluorescents spraying their territory
From circles to squares
Cross section of a breast
Her breast revealing ice trays
Capsized and shattering cubes on the tile
And bruising bare feet

Battered and pregnant
Jarred awake from our growth
To be among other things
Consciously hampered in the mud

Wrists swollen with pausing
Among other things
Among us
Another sword is born
Brandishing among other things
Across these wrists
Palms displayed upward
The sacred leaks down one's thigh
Sitting in it
Among other things

Vaguely the lake
Fills watery eyes with chords
Responding evaporates
Swallow another gulp of empty
Air whispering hollow promises
Swish the lake drains
Between pages
As the binding separates
Half a story in each hand
Each hand both hands
Thump to the floor with a groan
From wrists busted hinges
Turning on their betrayal
Velleity chirped by the birds
Leaving for food that eludes them
Among other things

- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


How open ended do you want it?  The houses can stand aside for a narrow mind.  Walking straight so straight threaded by and like the folks of the resolve to pound the salt of enhancement and perspiration's explosives to building audiences that watch brains bloom with the expanding cloud of caution.  The walk combined with steps and dice over the open ended cracks in the world spread apart by solutions and tarred together with absence. 

Approaching the main street of the main thing only a particle a faint line of the main thing mainly filling the canvas of all parcels tumbling onto and from the where.  Approaching the open ended crowded with movement getting somewhere passing through here nowhere but here with these treads treadmarks of instants moments and instants.  Brain will bloom with the glass of windshields gathering pin points vainly trying to glue the froth of shards overflowing wider and narrowed fields of sight and sound. 

This is where it slows down these treads treadmarks of instants moments and instants where the cracks in the world are awash in the water of where it slows down into floating in an ocean of frustration washed in the grossly normal.  Under large ships under large animals stretched for neighborhoods elongated by daily consumption of masses broken down into smaller devolutions subatomic subhuman once human where did he come from?

He kicked the stopper and the tub drained no time left to rinse the suds still slowly popping out of existence on his tanned chest legs and tops of his feet.  Each bubble cluster of bubbles disappeared into nothingness he opened his eyes wider at his skin existing there upon the this this of this is where it slows down these treads treadmarks of instants moments and instants.  Where it slows down between words into the fractals of thought thinking he doesn't like it this traffic passing through passing over him jumping up into it in front of the oncoming observance with arms and fingers painting over covering traffic with his canvas his play tub valley canyon dungeon where fear is obscured by cobwebs.

The Cobweb Web
(pieces of a poem found in a dented coffee can)

Let hence from now
The under destined people
or figures of speech
Never mind
Grounds for making and remaking
Thinking on a metal bed
Watched from time to time to time
And too late for the blade
From time after tissue
Broken up for mouths of anger
Minds of the maelstrom
Close and not so close
from ever flushing completely
Numbers make the bodies rise
Back to the outer circle
To spiral from the edge to the
middle to the edge
to the middle
again and what have you

what have you?

Been over that got us nowhere and now nowhere has been painted with an address and no one seems to notice until the yard is adorned with too much blight accented with shingles blown from the roof or the paint has dried the address into the prominence of illegibility.  Been over this and been over that with pens markers dry and permanent emaciated ink and the kind that seeps into kitchen tables forming place settings for the next take out.

what have you?

what have you

depends on nothing much that doesn't find anything in common with the sense that whips the flowers with the gusts of being so right from the outskirts of town middle of town underskirts of town only to be refrigerated into aerial photos.

depends or what have you

have you?

nothing to see here the nowhere move along

Girl:  Move along where?
Man:  Move along.
Girl:  Where?
Man:  Along.
Girl:  Along where?
Man:  Along the way.  A long time. 
Girl:  But, not too long.  Makes you late for dinner or lunch.
Man:  That happens. 
Girl:  A long time happens sometimes and then my stomach gets my attention and I run back home for a little bit and then I walk and then I run and then I walk and then I it's walking most of the time.
Man:  Do you ever run into them or walk up to them when they come up to meet you from looking for you?
Girl:  They yell at me to hurry up and eat when I get there only when I get there when I make it there at last.  They never look for me.  They just wait.  I wonder if I waited and waited and waited even more if they would just keep waiting waiting and waiting and waiting even more in the house they call home for now the house they say is our house but really belongs to someone else people I never see but they wait but not too long for us to send them the money to stay in the place they call our house our home for now or what have you.
Man:  What have you?
Girl:  Yeah, what have you.  They wait and they say that a lot.
Man:  They yell, huh?
Girl:  For losing track of time.  It makes me feel bad and I like to lose track of time.  Do you like to lose track of time?
Man:  Yes, yes, I do.
Girl:  What are you doing here?
Man:  Looking at the traffic.
Girl:  Why?
Man:  To watch it pass by.
Girl:  Are you waiting to cross the street?
Man:  Maybe.  Maybe not.
Girl:  You've got to be careful.
Man:  Tired of being careful.  You must know what I'm talking about being a child and all.
Girl:  Yeah, sure.  They say I never get tired and they always try to wear me out and they end up getting more tired themselves and yell at me more or they get too tired to yell and they just wait with more of their waiting for something and then I wake up and it's the next day or next week and I don't remember falling asleep and what I was doing.
Man:  Sounds familiar.  We should move away from this traffic and get some distance.

what have you

Dust blows through an alley and gathers around the roof of a house as if smoldering from a fire the fire that engulfed the diaries with words that went nowhere from the edge to the middle to the edge and back to the middle burnt into the charred patterns of the walls still left standing.

Man:  Not that far.
Girl:  What?
Man:  Nothing.
Girl:  I should go.
Man:  OK.  Wait.
Girl:  What?
Man:  I was going to ask you for . . .
Girl:  For what?
Man:  A reason.  It's nothing.
Girl:  A reason?  I try to give them reasons and they usually say that my reasons are just excuses.  Goodbye.
Man:  Goodbye.  When you want a path to the abyss it's never clear, just cluttered.

The man stands in silence as the little girl runs off and then walks and then runs some more and then walks some more and then she walks mostly most of the way like she like she just said.  And they wait and wait for her in their house they say is their house and belongs to someone else they never see at the address whose paint fades and fades each day each day that they never look for her at the address whose paint fades and fades while the man wanders back to the traffic.

- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Following and followed
Nerves digest quickly
The impatience of arriving too soon
No host no guests
No clues no hints
Nerves stopping up each other's
Depressions and regressions
Foot on the accelerator
Gas stations ride in subway cars

Nomenclature of the eternal
Stuck on less than an eighth of a tank
Jettisoned into the right eye
Left, was it?
No mention of heard words
None whatsoever
It flows downstream
With the blood from between her legs
Her her her knees
Hands reach
That was the next to last
Next to last
Last before
Following and followed
Fired by a cannon of birth
Into a time
On the wrong page
Obliterating with the red ink
The red that drips from between her legs
Her her her knees
Hands knuckles sting
Life bites death
Between gums spiked with skull fragments
Away and away

No mention of heard words
Paint dries off the sides of caves
Hidden from light's eraser
Scrawling equations
On the dark fresh asphalt
No but what
Clicking and ticking
Pressing with turns
U turns and circles
Coiling into dead ends
Where there is only room
To exhale apologies
For others

Rotating shifts
Hands lotioned with styrofoam
Earning reprimands
No host no guests
No clues no hints

Window glass
Permanent scratch
Etched with a blackened
Finger nail

- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Listening pains one more than the everyday dull ear ache and they return in their percussive nagging for attention.  Attention to what?  Can tell you now while you still are in the mood to concentrate that it's been growing in the yard a sense of shadows out of the corner of the eye both eyes both sides of both eyes growing a sense of something among them among them all don't count anyone out of it this is an inclusive thing the only inclusive thing that can be called genuinely inclusive or genuine and authentic for that matter this sense of the yard and everyone wanting to get at this this closing off they won't have it they won't have it at all someone who wants to remain silent in this world of noise this world of broadcasters everyone wanting to broadcast something as the usual intermittent drum solo of the ear ache is footnoted with voices that demand to be replied to this cello held by fingers too narrowed by competing loyalties that keep breeding from the same tainted pool stinking with words sprayed with the latest deodorants and oldest deodorants flush and flush their contemptible phrases cling to the sides of the toilet they'll fester in the dark and slink around to reposition themselves to help crack open the blinds and usher in another sunrise to re-program the eyes these eyes those eyes these eyes with more leashes can't shut them up as they ask so politely so damn politely to cut in they can't overcome their obsession with cutting in cutting into this inaction this insomnia caffeinated with content that romances with sweeteners and syrup to make more words stick to this dying body that they won't leave alone with all their sensational gimmickry and mimicry of droppings disguised as blessings from above.

The boy looked for a kite he thought he heard his family once mention or maybe he once mentioned it that there was a kite somewhere in the house that shrank with every space that it was not to be found.  And where every space offered up no kite he continued to look inside his mind for memories that vanished along with every space that it was not found in the house that shrank.  The story did not go was not going where he wanted it to go and as he watched less and played more and more and less and less and found less and less he became more and more aware of how the story did not could not would not did not go where he wanted and did not want it to go as it stopped as he stopped dead in its tracks his tracks that left greasy sneaker prints from searching along the world covered in the waste from cars without windows hoods trunks engines wheels seats only metal that looked like dried burnt toast without butter or jelly.  Did he still have an appetite for anything for the rest of his life or would he stand there in the dehydrated field dusted with years of drought to stick his tongue at the corner of his mouth to see if any jelly lingered between thoughts that squinted to form ideas that toppled over like wooden blocks that refused to cooperate with hands and a mind that could not grow fast enough and did and crumbled quickly along with fading vision of the last days that lasted too long.

- Max Stoltenberg

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Relegated to their separate corners
Pushed into and through each other

There is no supposed to say anything
Forced to choke on the voice

Torn and bleeding anguished synonyms
Stitched up and disinfected with contradictions

Where are they who are they don't care
No faces no names trampling snuffing out this spark

What is that clicking?  What is being loaded?
Dead silence terminally waiting the annihilation
Is withheld
Once more

Opened briefly for a breath a word
Surrounded by punctuation

Grass filled with dirt
Dirt covered by eyes
They are not here
Disturbing what hasn't faded completely
Not yet completely
With their eyes

Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Almost.  Almost was.  Almost was able.  Almost was able to.  Almost was able to hold.  Almost was able to hold on.  Almost was able to hold on to.  Almost was able to hold on to despair.  Almost.  It didn't work.  It almost worked.  It hardly ever works.  Despair that is.  Almost. 

When these words have finally been forgotten or these laptop buttons get permanently stuck with sweat with crumbs with gravel with lint with oil with grease with seeds of of of this this these seeds with seeds of theirs of his of hers of its wasted seed that can not fertilize a damn thing when these words have finally been forgotten and deleted and wiped away and blown away then maybe then maybe only then there will be an end to this miasma before it gets its power washing and made pretty for a window a big shopfront window before that these words might be finally forgotten and deleted and hollowed out with the dull peal of bells funeral bells to peel away the last layers of caked on meaning with its cloying treacly frosting for the remaining performance that remains to perform surgery to remain to remove that which can be instead used to congest and occlude the spaces between these buttons these keys these fingers that type with such compliance to the pealing of the bells the funeral bells to impede and finally stagnate and congeal these thoughts these words almost not really almost this despair just so these words can be rearranged again from one sentence to another from one paragraph to another from one page to another from one illusion to another from one room to another and its odors can be covered and revised and rearranged and they will you will inhale and exhale and inhale the wretched effluvia from mouth to nose to mind to nose to mouth to hole to hole to bloody to shitty to bloody hole bleeding hole to hole to hole.

Almost kept it secret almost kept despair almost fully embraced it almost consumed almost kept it from becoming from being from becoming public almost made it small too small for their microscopes to search in vain in these veins clogging with stuff their stuff this stuff enough never enough stuff never enough almost never had enough unhappy enough to be rid of it for good almost good when will this stuff put together be almost good this junk that gets mailed in that gets mailed out that gets sent out that comes back almost near almost too far from the ocean almost dead to take it away instead it almost flows it almost flows in these veins outside these veins almost have a rhythm almost have a theme almost gets off the ground almost breaks the surface almost gets under the ground almost lies down almost dies almost obliterated and gets rearranged for the next nose next mouth next hole next label next box next meeting next show next event and this never this always this never almost this always turns out the same no matter how it is knitted line after line after everafter surrounded by rearranged and deranged concentric rippling circles of laughter craftier laughter.

Her:  What was that?
Him:  What was what?
Her:  What was that whatever it was that I can almost tell what it was?
Him:  What do you think it was?
Her:  It almost sounded like you said something or were about to say something.
Him:  And what does that sound like?
Her:  It sounds almost like your breath almost gets sucked into your mind your head almost more deeply for just a moment and then it stops almost as if it will never continue again and then it almost comes out of you to almost say something that could almost surround me with something almost intact or totally leave you for the last time almost. If that was what was happening or almost for you or just pretend that was almost the case for you what would it be like for you?
Him:  For me?  I don't know. 
Her:  What's the first thought that comes to you or the last one the most recent or almost next to it that comes to you come on.
Him:  Well, I think of the kid who was almost my friend in that place we almost got to stay more permanently but couldn't and they ended up knowing someone who almost got involved with that guy who almost made it big in a field that was almost left alone but wasn't.
Her:  I think I know what it was that I thought I heard.
Him: Really?  What was it?
Her:  It's almost there I almost have it almost on the tip of my tongue.

There was almost once upon a time a person who almost got across almost to the other side where they were waiting they said they were there maybe they never were but they said they would be almost once upon a time and so almost once never happened or really almost never happened and so it went on that this person almost got across and stayed where they were for a long time after this almost once upon a time.

Her:  I almost have it like it's almost like the peeling off of layers of an annoying song that gets stuck in your head your fabric of life and can't be ripped out without destroying the fabric with what is it called that word that brings our eyes together in a dark tunnel for just us closing in what is that word?
Him:  Despair.  Almost able to hold on to it in our embrace with it with each other.  My head, too, echoes a low dull echo ringing almost like what you are saying or I think you are almost saying about peeling off the layers of an obnoxious tune that is eradicated for a moment with the dead tone deeper that any empty space left enough to ring with bells funeral bells.
Her:  Funeral bells.  Funeral bells?  Almost.  For me, it's more like something else but I almost think it sounds more almost like something I'll think of soon.  Almost have it.

Almost kept it secret almost kept despair almost fully embraced it almost consumed almost kept it from becoming from being from becoming public almost made it small too small for their microscopes to search in vain in these veins clogging with stuff their stuff this stuff enough never enough stuff never enough almost never had enough unhappy enough to be rid of it for good almost good when will this stuff put together be almost good this junk that gets mailed in that gets mailed out that gets sent out that comes back almost near almost too far from the ocean almost dead to take it away instead it almost flows it almost flows in these veins these almost ruptured intact mortally intact veins.

- Max Stoltenberg

Monday, July 18, 2011


What a way to
And it is
Next to that
From the
Nor could they

Weekends perhaps where
All continuing
As seeing fit
Cannot decide among
Of episodes

In case of emergency just
The box says to
What is in the
They want more
She left because

No matter the
Processing less
Face down on the ground
What kind of chance

Wheels on a
Sounding like
No matter the
Doesn't quite
Fill in

Tomorrow's schedule for
How many are
No matter the
Less of
Blue eyes that

Broken pieces of
Was everywhere
It wasn't until
Beyond what she
Face down on the ground

No matter the
Her hair that
A window looking into a
Infections and
Will there ever

No end in
Out the
Hard to
Cannot decide among
Don't want to

And next it's
Same old
Tired and
No matter the
Face down on the ground

Hearing a
Water that
Tiny laugh in the
In case of emergency just
No end in

- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, July 16, 2011


On the hole painted ourselves around the issue trying not to fall for shades of disaster and make them of a crisper crispier taste for the eyes that's what is for now on the hole about to become nothing to worry about don't let it get to you while on the hole as we circle and look away to let these crisper crispier eyes stare off into the final frontier of space so open as make less room for anything else already here as we pay less attention distracted on the hole front 9 back 9 turn it on turn it off alive one moment dead the next and rolling pin of celebration is brought out in all its concern seeping out of the woodwork the seething woodwork painted ourselves smiles around the issue even when it gets on shirts sleeves fronts stomachs inflating with perimeters pushing space beyond our further beyond our disregard for the next one on the list that was thrown away when finger nails punched a code that still ran a program of a loop while it lasted for the probably lasted for the probably the last message of the final message from someone.

There was once lying at the bottom of the pool where that pool where in the diseased and now deceased were rolled painted past edges to splash without expression without color only as a percussion of ending concussion of the Earth's merciless ingestion of all that sprouts before becoming before becoming fat thin dead to be retracted from those all those ignoring heads turned from sprouting and painting around the issue let alone to gently fall away on the hole for nothing that there was once the sediment of affinity hair that lost its body lost from its wandered from that body her at the bottom of the pool dug for a reservoir where both could claim could be claimed and lost those fingernails pushing into that palm those palms these palms where a tongue her tongue licked up little dashes of blood like reading music of a pianola in lover's code fraying strings of code to separate and escape from where it cannot make roots on the hole a ground hardened by light that light hardening the plane the field the level and dead even playing field emaciating glimpses of her face and multiplying rules and fences fences and fences rusting around rusting vehicles for destinations that will elude their reach for on the hole painted ourselves around the issue trying not to fall in falling in would be better than slicing and dicing our curiosity bled of shape bled of form bled of thought only the kind to follow too scraped and spent to flee on the hole painted ourselves around the issue issuing as it does on shirts sleeves fronts and stomachs inflating 
inflating with perimeters pushing space beyond our further beyond our disregard for the next one on the list that was thrown away when finger nails punched a code that still ran a program of a loop while it lasted for the probably lasted for the probably the last message of the final message from someone.

- Max Stoltenberg

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Had it with over there.  By the way had it with over here.  Had it with here and there.  Had it with over.  Had it with never being over.  Ridiculous calm down walk away take a walk let the nonsense vaporize as feet take the rest around the corner nothing to go around nothing to turn just make an adjustment an adjustment adjust it yourself and get back to the rest of us with the rest of the whole mess.  Vaporize yourself and we take care of the rest each other yeah right each other living on our own taking care of ourselves each other right yeah right oh yes believe it hope in it and get back to us when you can get off the ground and out of the tall heaping pile of bullshit horseshit birdshit babyshit baby talk talking shit and nodding off as your thing veers to the left to the right your thing this thing you call whatever you call it you believe in tell yourself keep telling yourself yourself yourself yourselfishness get down off your high horse of horseshit.

Stay up there for all we could care less capable less wanting with more want to care less lots of want less want less is of that thing again keep it up there as you yank it up there to be with you on your horse your domestic thing domesticated violence nice going around nothing to go around no turning any corners only the corner of this room the walls absorb more words and take more light with them had it with pictures still so still and so dead had it with pictures they only cover how much the walls absorb of this aging this aging thing you are not building but taking away take it with you up on your high horse up there domesticated and domestic domesticated violence they never came back to hold one last time the holding as the colors of their clothes those little clothes get sucked into the walls the pictures had it with pictures that cover where the colors go into the walls and leave only a trace of all the cover ups and mess ups and hang ups all the hang ups around the uppity so uppity people staying up there on their high horse domesticated in their domestic violence staying up who told them to do that?  Was it what was it turn it there are no more turns just adjustments little tiny squeaky screechy squealing reeling adjustments from all the reeling and getting nowhere so fast so slowly so so eh don't know you really don't know don't want to and we the dissolving we dissolving in your flooding wash coming out in the wash it's nothing but a wash it's nothing as wanting with all that is wanting and wanting more wanting less caring less don't know what that means tomorrow it will be a little better until looking up to see you up on your high horse domesticated in your domestic violence those little clothes in pictures on the walls covering the colors getting sucked into the walls dry greasy blank discolored walls on the surface one level at a time with more underneath not enough time to dig with fingers writing spreading the chest lungs apart to get what's left out and into the space before the walls take it all.

- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Counting on fingers that would rather tap a tune interrupted then forgotten what was it up to or down to between what and what the and adds nothing to what was being counted on in the first place or second place or last place or numerous numbers of fitting befitting refitting filtered drama as the filter flashes yellow then red then green then yellow then red then green then yellow then red then green places dissolving and fading over zero that round egg drain sinking feeling that sinks into the sink and fills back up and drains again and fills back up and drains again and fills back up and backs up and even cracks and breaks even uneven even this even that even you are not in the mood to count on proxy for the expression letting it get less on the cheese grater grating and berating no more no less and lie down lie up lie about it to just about everyone except the one two three or for whom the mesmerizing sharp soft shapes once counted on to bring one or two or more or less closer or further away from finishing or starting right or left behind or in front of the middle in it in it in its face those hideous eyes like a friend emptied of listening long time past when counting on took place on took you took him took her took her took you took you away when you were too small to count to count on to count on leaving for back to where it seemed to start and go around in aiming for a center swept off the table by arms that swept him swept her swept her swept you swept you off your feet off your and out of your head it derails from the tracks of your thoughts like a film running away into an empty next chapter that never comes and shows up like a show that will always be a show to show how the show is nothing but a vision divided into division and subdivided into subdivision and subverted into subversion submission no longer counting on a mission but remission of the same old symptoms counted on to identify a subverted introverted introversion posing as an extroverted pose that reposes into counting backwards until it ifs ands and buts up against the wall of losing track of the story that keeps partitioning into smaller situations quilted together over the surface of positions blended into less and less and less one big one big one counted on to be the one and alternates with the blink of sunset into nothing added nothing gained nothing almost most of it lost to prolong the counting on and not counting on off the track derailed from the tracks of thoughts like a film running away into an empty chapter that keeps partitioning into cubicles what each sits noisy and still counting on no longer on off the mark dry erased by the long hollow tube of the arm sweeping figures from the table where they sit one by one and none by none neither falling or standing for or against against each other back to back to back to support each other in counting on no longer counting on as it ticks away only in the teeth grinding in time to losing track of time derailing from the tracks of thoughts like a film running away into the next empty chapter to be filled and refilled with the same old fight same old climax same old celebration colored in by little hands big hands dried out hands no longer soft no longer counting on counting off sounding off not sounding a thing like the same old thing sounding achingly familiar with the muscles counting on sleep to untangle knots beyond count rounded to the nearest and typical of predictions and maledictions and benedictions sending us off to be counted the counted on no longer counting on and off one's count picked up again and dropped on the table to be swept off and told it never happened count it again and this time make it come out even in the end to start again in the middle somewhere near somewhat near approaching the center of no longer counting on.

- Max Stoltenberg

Sunday, July 10, 2011


The image was frozen and those who were observing it were also frozen.  Some were frozen because of other reasons and some were frozen because of the office temperature and some were frozen because of the image frozen on the computer screen.  One of them who stood frozen might possibly have been frozen because of reasons that were slightly different if not completely different than the reasons that made up most of the other reasons that kept some of them frozen in contrast to those who were frozen for reasons of office temperature or the image that continued to be frozen on the computer screen as everyone else for all their reasons stood frozen staring at the frozen image.

Etheliliczak:  They certainly keep it dark in here.
Numorant:  Helps them practice keeping everyone else in the dark.
Witzphorio:  Should I turn the light on?
Zakrinkle:  Actually leave it off.  It's better for seeing the screensaver.
Fremf:  Like watching a movie in the theater except the film gets stuck.
Etheliliczak:  You ever been in a theater when the film gets stuck and a giant hole melts in the middle and the soundtrack sounds like a huge freight train crashing to a halt?
Zakrinkle:  It always sounded to me more like a drunken orchestra sliding down the side of a mountain and crashing into a canyon full of bagpipes.
Witzphorio:  I watched my cat just sit by the window and observe the scene outside as if the ice had penetrated the window and chilled his her muscles.
Numorant:  How long have you had your cat now and you still can't get the sex right?
Witzphorio:  There's a lot about sex I can't seem to get right.
Zakrinkle:  Ice probably did penetrate and freeze the whole damn window it's been so friggin' cold.
Witzphorio:  You're right.
Etheliliczak:  Can the image get burned into the screen if it stays frozen up there too long?  I've heard about that.
Fremf:  That's why it shuts off after a while and goes into hibernate mode.
Zakrinkle:  I'm due for a hibernate mode.
Witzphorio:  I think they jipped me on my PTO.
Fremf:  Remember, in September you were out a day with a 24 hour bug and then in October you were out two days with food poisoning from that new pizza place you tried out, then you were out three days in November when your urticaria allergy got aggravated, and you were out 4 days in December with a laceration that got infected after you tried to clear a paper jam in the copier in quality assurance.
Witzphorio:  You're right.
Zakrinkle:  I'd like to have a big generous mug of warm milk and hibernate for a week.
Numorant:  I could hibernate for a month.
Zakrinkle:  And a donut and then hibernate for a week.
Witzphorio:  Wish I had a month of PTO for a nice hibernation.
Etheliliczak:  Digestive, allergic, and photocopier trauma will put a dent in one's PTO.
Witzphorio:  You're right.
Zakrinkle:  A jelly donut and a profusely abundant stein of hot chocolate and then go into deep cryogenic hibernation for 5 days cradled between two dead weekends of comatose sleep.
Fremf:  Now we've moved from warm milk to hot chocolate?
Numorant:  Doesn't hot chocolate have caffeine?
Zakrinkle:  When I'm extremely tired caffeine doesn't affect me anymore.
Etheliliczak:  Then how do you explain your caffeine intake when you get here in the morning?  You always look so exhausted with those triple saggy burlap bags under your eyes.
Zakrinkle:  I don't know.  Leave me alone and stop grilling me with such invasive questions.  You've been watching too many of those investigative shows.  Keeps a person from hibernating unless they're already dead before the show starts.  That's a good way to avoid all these questions and investigations and background checks and applications and reviews is to already start the show dead or even better get written out of the story by the scriptwriters or never even make it into their ideas in the first place.
Numorant:  I hate those stories where they show the main character has things set up so it can be as if they've never been born and there they are standing around seeing what things would be like without them never having been born and the lives they never get to touch.  When they make the protagonist unborn they should just disappear and pop out of existence.
Zakrinkle:  I don't know, that sounds like my life as if I've never really been born into what's happening around me and it's all just going on without me and I put my arms out in front of me and I'm looking for the invisible portal to finally enter and get here at last into it and others will actually know I'm here.
Numorant:  Will you put your arms down?  You're blocking the screensaver and you almost hit me in the nose.
Zakrinkle:  It's like I'm trying to find the unseen entryway slit of some transparent birth canal of a see-through vagina.
Numorant:  Do you have to go on like that?
Zakrinkle:  What if I want my arms up and about and around moving through space?  You want me to stop to stay frozen and return to my non-existent spot out of your view your point of view.
Witzphorio:  You're right.  It's good aerobic exercise.
Etheliliczak:  So what do you make of Bremson's new screensaver?
Fremf:  I don't see the big deal you've been making about it.
Witzphorio:  Yeah, did you have to drag us all over here to see this?
Etheliliczak:  Hey, you chose to come along.  No one held a gun to your head.
Witzphorio:  You're right.
Fremf:  What are you seeing that I'm not seeing?
Etheliliczak:  It just gives me the feeling that something significant has shifted inside her that's all.
Numorant:  I couldn't imagine anything significant shifting inside that Queen of the Icebergs.
Zakrinkle:  Is this one of your mysteries you want to solve?  Because Bremson's not an open book like the rest of us you want to conduct one of your investigations.
Etheliliczak:  I like investigating it's one of the few pleasures I have left in life.
Witzphorio:  How much time do we have?  Their meeting must almost be over.
Numorant:  Their department meetings always go long.
Witzphorio:  You're right.
Etheliliczak:  Probably because Bremson's probably waxing philosophical and obscure, probably.  I think she's hiding the fact that she can't really do her job.  I wonder what her real education and experience are.
Numorant:  I think she's unprofessional and unsuited for her position.
Zakrinkle:  I think you're both confusing unprofessionalism with intelligence and critical thinking which she appears to do really well.
Etheliliczak:  Actually, I'm confused about whether you want to penetrate Bremson or that see-through vagina.
Zakrinkle:  Coming to work every day and encountering you guys does bring one to choose abstinence from life.
Witzphorio:  You're right.
Numorant:  You are such a yes-woman.
Zakrinkle:  You mean a "you're right-woman."
Numorant:  Whatever, always agreeing with everyone.
Zakrinkle:  Like someone in the dark following other someones in the dark?
Witzphorio:  Agreeing with others gives other people the idea that I really give a shit when I don't.  You show off your sharp teeth and all you get is a reflection in my safety goggles.
Numorant:  Are you kidding me?
Etheliliczak:  More like the "roll over and play dead" routine if you ask me.
Witzphorio:  I didn't ask you.
Fremf:  Where did that come from?
Zakrinkle:  A good come-back was written in for her this time.
Witzphorio:  Never get written in often enough.
Zakrinkle:  I'll probably get my next one while I'm incoherent from sedatives during my final hospital visit before the screen goes blank for good.
Witzphorio:  Me, too.  You're right.
Numorant:  I'd like to be sedated.

Etheliliczak continued to insist that there was something more there in the screensaver.  The others in the dark office began to insist that Etheliliczak's screensaver had something more behind it and that their whole jaunt to stand in the darkroom with Bremson's screensaver projecting its frozen light out into the dark was nothing but a projection.  His despising the nicknames of "Ethy" or "Shack" or even "Ack" abbreviations were followed by derivations, synonyms, antonyms, and the ubiquitous litany of acronyms.  Another took a stab in the dark the frozen dark to penetrate the ice of frozen projection at conveying something that could be pushed up as a proposition or insight rising short of anything more lasting between the tectonic shifting of glaciers through their insistence for all they had was insistence an insistence that generated an ephemeral thaw only to be chilled by the retort of another accusation come-back projection insistence.  The sequence would sometimes change from insistence persistence accusation come-back retort projection to projection insistence resistance (is futile, you know) retort resort to change of subject absurd non sequitur to reference back to the canyon full of bagpipes to insult insistence retort distort lack of confidence overconfidence to diffidence as they shuffled minimally in the dark the frozen dark then standing still in resigned silence as they together watched the frozen image and rocked slowly trying to find something more behind it and insist there was something more behind something else or insist there was nothing behind anything at all nothing more behind each other open books trying to keep their covers shut and anymore of their older pages from being whisked away by the frozen winds of forgetfulness and disagreement and vainly pressing together their remaining blank pages from having the same old routines and investigations and inquiries and questions and confrontations and projections and rejections printed and re-printed copied and re-copied on them as they waddled slowly together like a rookery of penguins trying to protect their fragile shells.

The image was frozen and those who were observing it were also frozen.  Some were frozen because of other reasons and some were frozen because of the office temperature and some were frozen because of the image frozen on the computer screen.  One of them who stood frozen might possibly have been frozen because of reasons that were slightly different if not completely different than the reasons that made up most of the other reasons that kept some of them frozen in contrast to those who were frozen for reasons of office temperature or the image that continued to be frozen on the computer screen as everyone else for all their reasons stood frozen staring at the frozen image.

- Max Stoltenberg

Saturday, July 9, 2011


The father leads the way. He walks up the street of the neighborhood. Followed by his three children, he widens his eyes looking up at the setting sun. “Get there and back before dark,” he thinks to himself. His daughter is sandwiched between the older and younger brother. She moves ahead only to be overtaken by the older, only to be overtaken by the youngest. “Hey!” she cries. “Let me be first,” she demands. “I want — ” the youngest begins to exclaim as he is interrupted by the oldest who announces, “I'm the oldest. We should walk in age order: oldest to youngest.” The daughter considers her plight in silence as her shoulders lower and slump.

The father examines in a trance-like perusal a large two-story home that fills the block in the manner of a castle. He moves his gaze as if peering through binoculars from window to window of the edifice. His mind is filled with thoughts of profession and how the determined associations of the words march along on a mechanical conveyor belt. Back to him and his smallness. It is getting darker and they are not even half way there yet. He notices that all three kids have shot ahead in an effort to free themselves of the ephemeral order. It is not long before the littlest is left behind and sitting down on the sidewalk. He remains there until the father reaches him and joins him in his smallness.

Don't get up too soon. Stay for as long as possible. To stay small. Disappear.

There is shouting. The two older children remind the father of their mission. Their quest to get to the “hilly place.”

“Carry you?” the father offers with his hands tentatively orbiting the little one's compressed form. A sound is thought to be heard from inside or outside the tiny clothing. Hands and arms surround the hollow word. Up and on towards the next street where pavement dissolves into dirt road.

The father wearies of holding the small burden as it expands and sprawls eager to move again. The little one's feet make contact with the dirt and accelerate to catch up with brother and sister. As he observes his youngest son's energy, the father becomes aware of the heaviness of his breath. He has never felt emptiness take up so much space within him.

The dirt leads to another stretch of pavement that fades into the half-finished fence around the abandoned field named by the children. No more neighborhood. Its incompleteness feels welcoming for no reason. No reason. Moving to the very back of the field where the corner of the end of the fence opens to the top of an escarpment covered in rebar, nails, and a lone shredded tire. The father lights a cigar and puffs the first few exhalations of smoke that are taken by an increasing breeze. He turns his face back to where his children have been running up and down the various mounds of unused earth.

He begins to look back over the escarpment as his children's competing voices beckon, “Daddy! Watch me! Watch me!” “No! Watch me!” “No!” The father utters words put together to be compliments. Compliments echoing over fading sunlight.

His head gradually rotates back to over the escarpment and squints at rabbits sitting on the dead grass below. They sit as if frozen. They have been noticed by his dark form. He watches their frozenness with the growing realization of their possible activities that have been interrupted for the moment. The father is distracted by the activities of his children who are very much in motion and descriptive banter. Above the banter rises the daughter's voice speaking to her brothers, “I'm leaving my souvenirs here in my hiding place.” The father is this moment intrigued by those words, the words “hiding place.” She catches his brief glance as she holds up a curled piece of metal and proclaims, “Little Bo Peep.” He quickly looks back for the rabbits that have disappeared over the moments that have continued to sink away as he feels his breath in the missing light.

More of the moments drain with the light into the shadowy mounds with little silhouettes created by far off artificial beams. They are ever more muted silhouettes of grounded kites trying not to slip further into the summits of their soft mountains. The father tries to form out of his escaping breath a call to return home. A call muffled by thickening darkness.

- Max Stoltenberg

Thursday, July 7, 2011


There were walls and there were no walls at all. She opened her eyes. It was as if she was awakened by the sound of her breath or the position of her body. Soon she discovered that she was lying in her daughter's bed. Her little girl lay next to her with a leg lying atop her belly. Those little toes. Youth. Childhood and playing outside. Climbing up into trees. Where was her mother? Can't get down. Moving silently through the dark and coming upon the edge of mom and dad's bed. Reaching the edge of a dark lake where friendly creatures rested in the depths. Waiting. Just waiting for her. There were no walls. Mother accommodated her little body that managed to fit into the cave between soft boulders that stirred when walls were rubbed hard enough. Stirring and grunting. Welcome the little one. Within the walls of the dark cave. The lake that was deep, dark and dry with no walls at all.

Stirring and no motion at all but breathing inside a silent cave. Their bed seemed to stretch on like a forest. The wood. Their bed was made of wood. Her little girl's bed was made of wood. She had the softest mattress. Couldn't feel the softness so much when her daughter smashed her body against hers. Squooshed between her mother and father. Which side were they on? She turned her little head slightly to the left and to the right. Their bodies seemed to go up into the night sky that obliterated the stars and the ceiling disappeared to reveal the morning sun. It was paler than usual. Her daughter's bed trembled beneath her now adult weight. A small bed in a small room. The walls reverberated with thoughts and the edges of beds. Beds made and unmade.

Making time that rushed away inside another room. Get back there. Get back in time to sleep some more. Some more time before more things. More things to get for the family. Mom and dad in their bed. Without walls and walls so tall to block out the stars. Where were the stars? Ceiling. That kept it all out. Where did it go? The window that poured in the morning light. Pale light as if through a sheet that dimmed its efforts. Efforts and things. Beds made and unmade.

Eyes opened again. No little toes. Turning over into empty space. Books behind her. She could hear her little girl's voice reading.

"Clouds float close together as they march along. Wait your turn. Stand in line. The flowers planted closer together. Flower petals brush against each other in the breeze. Breezy gusts that bring clouds marching closer together. Stand in line. Wait your turn. Wait. Wait. The line will move along. March along. Fast enough if the wind is strong enough. Strong enough to stand in line. The air is still. No wind at all. There will be more of a wait."

Lines and waiting. Efforts and things. Standing in lines. Lying down in beds. Beds made and unmade. Stirring and remaining still. Eyes opened again. Silence is muffled by the waterfall of thoughts. She no longer hears her little girl's voice reading or talking or whispering about the things she likes to whisper about. Her little girl liked to whisper questions. Questions that could never be answered. Only put off by sleep. And her sleep was punctured by thoughts of beds made and unmade. Holes threaded by memories that slipped along in the dark. Memories that were awakened and vanished in the morning light of the next day. Paler light. Overcast by the questions that remained and formed lines to wait one's turn towards efforts and things. Beds made and unmade. Beds so far apart and close together. Tugged together by memories. Memories that snag on those questions. Questions that her little girl preferred to whisper. Questions that could never be answered. Only put off by sleep. Sleep punctured by thoughts of beds made and unmade.

- Max Stoltenberg

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Dreams burn in the Sun
The Sun burns dreams
Lighting the way for worn out shoes
Worn out shoes along the way of light
Heat singes nerves
Nerves singed in the heat
To us a vomit falls with the gravity of illusions
Illusions with the gravity fall vomit to us

People pair up real and false
Real and false pair up people
Do do you you do do
Says it with the best of the worst
The worst of the best with it says
Go away away go leave go
Dens thousands counting thousands dens

It's all numbers disappearing reappearing continuing
Continuing reappearing disappearing numbers it's all
Elastic faces faces plastic stretch yourself
Yourself stretch plastic faces faces elastic
Feces feces feces paint paint feces feces feces
Plan your stand as terribly escaping into the plan
The plan into escaping as terribly stand your plan

Wood planks crashing into wood planks underneath
Underneath wood planks into crashing wood planks
Flat mind waste churn and churn waste mind flat
Notice nothing down squeeze down nothing notice
Cause because cause stuck still cause because cause

Window of a place that cannot be reached
That cannot be reached window of a place
No chance choice or choice chance no
Not a chance
Not a determination
Not a flux

There were eyes of a hue
That sang of a color of something
And ran out of words
Sinking into worn out shoes
Worn out broken heels
Propping up hopelessness
They recite it as a book
Pages gummed together
With the tenderized muscles
Of dreams burning in the Sun

Dreams burn in the Sun

The Sun burns dreams
Lighting the way for worn out shoes
Worn out shoes along the way of light
Heat singes nerves
Nerves singed in the heat
To us a vomit falls with the gravity of illusions
Illusions with the gravity fall vomit to us

- Max Stoltenberg


Checking for the directory on the computer's list of documents led instead to an old one. It was not where the mind or the fingers wanted to be. Fingers or mind. Knuckles. Head. Heading towards the major directory to create a new folder. Distracted by the title of a story that still resided within. With. In. Letters with each other to separate into silence. Can silence have a title? Or a name? Only to distinguish it from other things that vainly attempt to make the garbage smell better. Throw it away and wait for the dead air to stir and restore the order of decay to only go over it and rearrange the order of decay to only go over it again and rearrange the order of decay to only go over it again and again.

- Max Stoltenberg

Monday, July 4, 2011


There are questions that persist in their eluding answers.  However, there is one person who cannot elude suspicion and that is Mr. Mustbee.  He is the kind of person who more than just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
Conscious decisions to associate with people who he would be better off not associating with are made and on more than one occasion and on more than a couple of occasions.  Mr. Mustbee's patterns direct the spotlight on him and expose a personality that renders him an obvious candidate for failure and not just failure but relentlessly unavoidable and constant disaster.

A neighbor Mrs. Karlenskitorff has commented on his predilection for self-sabotage by stating the following:

"Mr. Mustbee must be some kind of person who enjoys making himself and others suffer and experience discomfort and pain and torture of exponential proportions.  It's as if his imagination is set in genetic stone on the genetic level to spend hour upon hour in his dark room or lab, I suppose, using his demented imagination and misguided and twisted creativity for evil to devise more ways to hurt people.  Even though he ends up hurting mostly himself one can make all sorts of limitless suppositions on his potential for diabolical endeavors to undermine other people's happiness and progress that actually does more damage to himself, the unlucky bastard."

One is left confronting this concept of luck in not only Mr. Mustbee's case, but in the types of criticism that is generated by this troubled and defective personality.  Sometimes the quality of analysis of Mr. Mustbee's life and character is that on the order of rather insightful and cuts to the foundation of the structure of the self and others present with a quality that borders on, teeters precariously, and falls over into mischartered regions that could only be considered absurd and wild guessing that resembles the inebriated unloading of one's automatic firearm.  

One key characteristic of the discourse on personality that provides examples of the surreal possess this tendency to include the dimension of probability.  Mr. Mustbee's aforementioned neighbor Mrs. Karlenskitorff used the word luck after making such a promising go of it but degenerated into musings upon indeterminism and other similar theories that cannot compete with modalities of more sound and consistently reliable empirically objective evidence forming their construction.  

Remarks on personality as in the representative exemplification of Mr. Mustbee must be of two types: (1). either focuses on the essentialism of basic characteristics that contribute to an individual's actions and behavior; or (2). include circumstances and random features such as luck (as in the aforementioned commentary of the aforementioned neighbor Mrs. Karlenskitorff with her aforementioned referencing of the term luck with its regressive effects and other confounding variables of a more arbitrary nature).

Elucidations of the aforementioned specimens of aforementioned mutterings and scuttlebutt that have come before and will certainly and uncertainly reproduce themselves and issue forth in birthing and rebirthing pains and endless agonies on the faces and lips of others will seep through the printed pages to stain the fingers of the reading and illiterate public to put their two cents worth in for all that is still worth.  And these formulations of criticism of personality will either take on the version of two diametrically opposed theories that fit the metaphor of two gears in a machine that grind against each other in their incompatibility or an unending array of displays like a holiday parade with an infinite number of floats that go on for hours and hours or an unmonitored youngster who creates an unending cast of characters in a video game to unleash a multiplex of ways to slaughter giant insects and other mutations.

Please disregard the preceding paragraphs they were cut and pasted together by a mind that could only be described as confused and lunatic.  Some minds such as the mind that wrote the above (at least the beginning had some inkling of common sense until it deteriorated) prefer to cloud and obscure issues that can be explained in a straightforward and uncomplicated manner.  Too much attention was given to Mrs. Karlenskitorff's remarks and remarks about remarks about her remarks and remarks like hers and not like hers.  So to redirect us toward a path of simplification, the following has been put together and broken down.

Just as the maddening noise of chickens can make one question getting closer to the land, so personalities like Mr. Mustbee must be at the root cause of making one question getting closer to other people.  It prompts one to question one's reason for living as in the following journal entry by a former anonymous co-worker of Mr. Mustbee:

"Mr. Mustbee is one of those people who has the type of personality that makes you wonder why people like that exist.  And the very force or energy or inner current that slithered, if you will, through the insides of his being like some serpent, or what have you, made you wonder so much why people like that existed that it made you wonder why you or other people existed for that matter.  His personality had such a pointless and destructive quality that not even working a different shift from him made you feel like everything was pointless and you just spent most of your time thinking of ways of being destructive yourself to yourself thinking about sharp objects to stick into yourself and pull out of yourself and look at yourself that you pulled out and look at this part of yourself and say to yourself, that must be Mr. Mustbee, he got inside me and fucked me up, he did.  Shit!  I'm fucked and it must be Mr. Mustbee."

Mr. Mustbee lifted his pen from the spiral notebook for a moment as he tried to halt the cloud of thoughts that lit up with lightning and only collapsed into a nebulous ball of steel wool.  He lowered his pen back down to the page and wrote:

Must be Mr. Mustbee that character with the character that must be full of nothing but disabled functions that can never be turned back on and can't turn them on because he doesn't want to turn them on because of dysfunctional internal switches that have been permanently dicked by a personality that is sinister to say the least and sown together by entrenched choices embedded in attributes that conspire to bring down a fallen ego that can't look beyond its own boundaries imprisoned within its self-absorbed walls imprisoned within rooms without windows that if there were windows would only let this incorrigible type look out at layer after layer after layer of wire fence reminding its intractable occupants of their hardened and unteachable ways.

- Max Stoltenberg