Algae Is Empire Over The World Of Used Book Stores

Don Cheney

        When I write I do it above all to change myself
        and not to think the same thing as before.
               -Michel Foucault

        Gotta Free The Funky Fish From The Funky Fish Tanks
	       -Beastie Boys

1001 Nights and the LARGE Novel

My heart first and then I believe I'll have time to move into conversation.

Sit your ass down. But also listen to my rain.

Listen to my rain and say, "GO TEAM!"

If I repeat my self and then find that I repeat my self.

Like in "Aziz and Aziza."

And like in "Aziz and Aziza."

"Quats! Quats!"

"Two 'quats?"

"No. One quat."

So, you enter the first chapter and it's already chapter 4 and the title has changed to "Those Pip-Squeaks Aziz and Aziza." And it's in this chapter that you throw up your hot dog and scream,

"What kind of form has THIS detourned?"

Aziz talks out of the side of his mouth and out of suspicion.

Aziza moves to Arizona and grows kumquats.

The ending, however justified, is parabolic. You walk in and the signifiers are all perverts and/or jumping around in circles.

The examples the author gives are FAT and reasoning makes a bee-line for the bathroom to rinse out a cola can.

This systemization of reality happens in the novel. And sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes there you are and you're communicating through our fabulous media.

For example, you can talk about racial prejudice or jock supporters, dog feet or pony shoes.

Or the price of spectacle.

I know you're out there, I can hear you all simultaneously being in different stages of combustion.

Look how comedy of this caliber operates in "The Barber's Second Pole." In "The Second Pole." In "The Second Pole," comedy acts as the two-by-four that comes right out and hits you in the local cinema because you're being such a pest.

Now turn your journals to page 60 and tell me something intimate.

I heard a great story once about a carnival barker who had quite a collection of arguments. Even when he was swimming.



"I have my eyes closed!"

My friend Rose Anne bet me that I couldn't tell her how 1001 Nights was constructed.

And I said,

First there was a king and he loved the mayor's son. King Shahriar wanted to visit the boy, like just a casual trip to his house.

Dumb, dee, dumb, dumb.

And then he found that not only did the boy have a mother but that he was engaged to a Negro slave.

The king legged his ass out of there before the boy saw him.

So I had erected the frame, but without the nuts and bolts to hold it together.

I got my algebra out and reached for the color purple.

The boy counts his brothers. All two, thank you.

The second brother is the first to speak:

"Come here and don't tie anyone up until you see the algae in their eyes."

And that will happen right in the middle of soup.

The second brother knows if the spirit is malignant, he might as well sign-off his right to make love and start smoking paraquat.

And if the spirit is dormant, he knows the woman will make love to the two of them.

The king decides that candy is dandy, but marrying a boy instead of a woman--and a virgin at that--is hardly a matter for a Lemon Fizz.

In this way, the plot of 1001 Nights is reunited with the semantics of 1001 Nights--but only after it fizzles.

But to continue relating how 1001 Nights was constructed.

The king has 2 daughters. One of these curs, Scheherazade, says she wants to be wife and queen to King Arsenio.

The king thinks this is cute and tells her that when she becomes a woman he will be obliged to obey her decree. Scheherazade doesn't like this statement--she's 20--but she consents.

She consents to tell stories, thus proving her womanhood.

Then there's a very famous segue into the history of Scheherazade, which is narrated (interminably) by a large green man on the day of his execution.

He uses this opportunity to retell the history of Scheherazade so that it includes the dramatic rescue of a green man on the day of his execution. And that is nothing if it's not a reworking of The Seven Viziers.

In that story
(written in columns),
the convicted murderer wants
the governor executed.

But there's no MOVEMENT. And there's no MOVEMENT because no one is capable of being moved.

The viziers count days until everyone is counting and bored and the execution is dismantled.

In the Mongolian-Buddhist version of this story, Ardzhi Barzhi, the foreman at the jigsaw puzzle plant is having relations with his brother, but the brother keeps repeating the story of King Shahriar and the boy and eventually everyone gets planted in the ground.

In The Papagayo Stories, an Indian narrative, the Papagayo tells stories about a woman who wants what already is and instead gets engulfed in marriage.

What these stories have in common is a new way of seeing common household items through buying them and then sticking them in the wrong places.

Like THIS!

But everyone and their dentist knows that reality desired is not reality mixed with car exhaust. And if it is, then the last words in this paragraph's demise are "Sissy wants to go home."

We once existed as amphibians who couldn't relate to each other because we couldn't ask questions.

But with questions came the gods. And with the gods, the religions. And with the religions came their distant cousin, THOR, plastered and heading for the salad bar.

And the salad bar comes with Elvis, who has transformed himself into a Dramamine pie.

This essay is LARGE.

As large as the novel.


Alexandr Veselovsky said so in his article, "The Great Big Novel." And that article was just the base and dose-me-under opinions of the private investigator he had hired, V. Khlebnikov, who's own large novel had been cordoned-off on ten different occasions. Veselovsky said:

        I had agreed to find «in The 1001 Nights»
        confirmation of my opinions on propriety.
        But when I entered this great big novel,
        nothing was cordoned-off except a
        predetermined conception of reality.  The
        novel is LARGE but the difference between it
        and life is that, in the novel, characters
        are extremely mean and idealistic and they
        play polo.  However, in my conception of
        reality this is not the case.  A novel should
        have a heart like life and not snivelling
        pseudo bongo players who don't know comedy
        from hamburguesa.

Rough stuff.

Veselovsky and Khlebnikov were of the opinion that if they each apologized in different languages, then B.V. Tomashevsky would rush to their defense, like Clarence Darrow to On The Origin Of Species, the original LARGE novel.

Their opinions held many curiosities, but that's like saying that Darwin began On The Origin Of Species with these words:

        I am now going to give you a laser treatment
        that will make your mind seem as distant to
        you as it seems fabulous to me.

Yes, but can you find my car keys?

And if Darwin thinks the reader has a fabulous mind he should see what exists outside the novel. Outside the novel are trees and lagoons, though with less frequency than in some motel-novels I've been in.

The laser treatment bit lets me pass 1001 Nights and go directly to the brutal and famous relationship between Cupid & Psyche.

This is an old story in the sense that there are bandits and prisoners and love.

(Oh my!)

And the author uses this method just like a laser, to cut through the obligatory "adventure" and into the mind of the reader, who looms over the story like a marshmallow over the fire.

But let's not cry over spilt literary history, Rose Anne. Let's throw in theory and several examples of how I had been a monster until I modified my life to include lentils. That saved me from a life of eating sugar and segued me into literary analysis.

And even you, Rose Anne, can't explain why I'm thinking of what the gym smells like when I play volleyball on Sunday nights.

Or why my dreams count down to my alarm clock ringing.

Or why, on page 55 of Apuleius' The Golden Asshole, he describes the story of Lucy in the sky with bandits.

Apuleius begins by serving up motive upon motive in a frenzy of words. In the end, the bandits explain to Lucy that they can't free her ass because they can't mean what they say: Their asses have been transformed into men who find it satisfying to eat flowers.

These men--transformed--see a rose, but to them it looks like fried venison.

And then Lucy goes to the ladies room cove where all the old cry-babies are. Later, she legs it out of there with the bandits and continues the story by relating their "adventures."

Everything is a disgrace in the U.S. of A. (the United Suitcases of America).

This country ladles up "manhood" like it was a door that had left a jar in the hall and the hall had left the door ajar and now everything was rusting.

So, let's close the door on this manhood.

And let's open the window and (phew!) AIR-OUT this discussion. In translation, as in any writing, the first question is

Where do you put


The third question is

When your pen traces the boundaries of Costa Rica, what makes the world teeter?

And the second question is

Is it your fault that the dentist put your retainer in backwards and now you walk around listening to the dogs in your head?

Everything relates to one or to two, okay, to three too--but ultimately to the fact that, in the clarification, we've just passed the freeway exit or the exit has passed us.

After all this narrative, there appears a new section where the bandits hold prisoner a beautiful woman who continually raps them on their heads like the bad boys they are.

The bandits abandon this woman. They console themselves by saying that she was old and lent nothing to the narrative except for the occasional made-up quote from those famous pair of signifiers, Cupid & Psyche.

This consoling takes up 40 pages and introduces the reader to the method and also to the endocrinologist.

The consoling creates an image of this woman as an old cry baby who could never become a bandit, let alone have relations with any of them.

And this is how folklore works with us «hearing»--pardon me, «water-based»--animals.

We listen and we hear something that sounds difficult and then we write it down in triplicate.

In the end, the story starts to take on the same function as dynamite in a 3 Stooges short. The story implodes, just as dynamite always "blows down" in the Stooges.

Their prisoner, on further thought, is re-captured.

But the bandits are then fragmented when their leader dies unexpectedly.

They're obliged to eulogize their former captain but they don't know how to sing. One of the bandits starts singing in a falsetto voice which results in the premature ending of the story.

1001 Nights is a novel composed of 40 novels. Some are incorporated and some are incarcerated and some are sent to live with relatives.

EVERYTHING in the novel is obscured, stalled, stilted and twisted, much to the curiosity of my friend Bill's dog Lucy, who says that thinking has nothing to do with how large your brain is or how well you can walk on two legs.

The 40 novels are made up of anecdotes and variations on anecdotes.

Veselovsky affirms that the novel should not only be green with idealistic characters, it should also be blue with objections.

The same colors as the heat my body gives off at night.

The problem is that here we have the novel affirmed as being an abstraction, with no reflection from reality. The blue and green may as well be the heat radiating from my body.

There was a time when I would've torn this opinion line from line. But then the ensuing, interminable arguments would be repeated to me from one day to day four--and in triplicate.

But if you think that France has small doctors, try crossing the Atlantic in a gunboat. The only thing you'll affirm is how much time is remaining until you die.

You'll be counting the years in March and the oceans in May--along with twelve hundred million other people. And then you'll compare the numbers with the hot dogs, the anti-gods and the carnival barker from hell.

Without brutality and with a manhood so primitive it deals cards in Vegas, the numbers turn out to be on this side of numbskull. And if you buy that, I have a great big novel that's doing nothing except sitting around, copying reality.

And if you think that THAT experiment in reality was conducted in a laboratory then don't sit down or lie down--it's not natural!

But, let me propose to execute my little experiment under ideal conditions--except for the man screaming from the apartment below--and you'd have me sitting in the salad aisle of the local artificial insemination store.

And that occurs often enough as it is.

The plastic tubes and the soy sauce in my apartment are functional. They're abstract only in the minds of capitalist cowboys and kangaroos that inhabit this GODFORSAKEN place!


They're abstract like the colors of my body heat are abstract.

But what is it you want the novel to believe in?

Check THIS out:

An ancient city collapses. And everyone knows it's the only city in the vicinity with a decent anti-pasta on the menu. So you start searching the world without any luck and then you look to the universe.

You're looking for something to believe in.

Advertising takes your heart and grates it, takes the world and crushes it into sound bites, until everything is coincidence.

The grating of your heart is like a caravan of endless experiences: more and more and more (more) for those who can infiltrate and decondition their own souls, who can tear apart what the media has made habitual, what conditioning has engraved.

It's then, and the world stops disintegrating.

Difficulties and delirium tremens become part of the immense universe, from the anchors in the ocean to the disconnected people and their Ajax cleanser.

Wherever there's reality, there is the novel.

Wherever there is.

Because there is a there there.

It's over there, in the box.

What reality does is this: It modifies how you enter the novel.

And when.

And where.

In the jungles of India, the people wear pants as blue as marmalade in the cities, as green as the algae in a tortoise' eyes.

That's what I remember from my children's books.

The green people draw lines and wear blue windows of abandoned words.

That's what I remember from my childhood.

The old reality was destroyed, along with the labor unions and play time. Habits were enforced and so was happiness.

That's what I remember from age fourteen until now.

The 12-year-old boy was dead in the ocean. I revived him and bundled him in a blanket.

That's what I remember from my dreams.

Mono Lake was exhumed from imagination and brought to life as a shopping mall under construction.

THAT was an escalator.

THIS is a bad pun.

But in order to live in this new reality, and to still recognize your self, reality has to be put on remote control.

And THAT we know very well.

So this novel is LARGE, with a collection of 40 stories that burst out from a united artist front, flailing gender like it was the newest relation to labor, instead of the NEW CONSCIOUSNESS.

Fragments of this NEW CONSCIOUSNESS were improvised and a good deal of it was pasted to the old consciousness, and now it's all camped-out, warming beans around the fire and repeating stories until they become ONE STORY.

This is the life.

This is the life of modification.

This is the life of modification and of forming new connections.


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