Mark Cunningham


She said you can repeat a word over and over until it loses its meaning and he said you can say that again. The man shifted the shells and said he’d give us a dollar if we could tell him which one wasn’t genetically modified. With my eyes closed, I can’t tell the difference between the taste of a red and a yellow raspberry. I can’t with my eyes open, either. The dead are doing a pretty slack job of burying the dead—then again, we aren’t paying them much. I told her she was getting sleepy, but she was too tired to listen.


Last night, I looked out the window and it was so dark I couldn’t see a thing; this morning, I have a vivid memory of not seeing a thing. When he didn’t do well on the test, he pointed out the pupils of your eyes are black because the light that enters never returns. I always like the guy who, in a forty-second-long film from 1903, say, stands at edge of Niagara Falls and points to the rushing water, so you’ll know what to look at. They proved I didn’t exist—as if I was going to let something like that crimp my self-confidence.


He said he was the risen Christ, which would have been fine, except he started getting up at four in the morning. After a vote, we decided that translating “other people have to live” as “that’s why we get to do whatever we want” would get the message across. Since it was a place she had to go to every day, she didn’t want to get involved with the people there. I tried to convince them that no man is an island, but I think they could tell I was treading water. Using footage of Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in our StairMaster commercial was a natural.


She showed us her new product, and we didn’t see a thing, and she said that’s because it was so new our nervous systems hadn’t evolved to the point where we could perceive it yet. I wonder if it means anything when my mucous is clear as plastic wrap. I love Tex Avery’s early Droopy cartoons when the wolf’s arms and legs jump away from his body and his tongue jags out like lightning and his eyes fly off by themselves for a closer look and then everything returns to its normal position. Among those listed as “particularly well suited as stimuli” were “unexpected fright, produced by scream, the bursting of a balloon, the stroke of a loud gong.” When the doctor asks if you hear voices, ignore him.


Harold Budd’s soft-focus piano music reminds me of those gauzy photo layouts in Penthouse. The tribe worshipped the constellation Draco and the chiefs looked to it for guidance, so we replaced night with day-for-night stock footage and got the mineral rights within a month.

Mark Cunningham's latest book is Scissors and Starfish (Right Hand Pointing). Otoliths has put out a book titled Helicotremors. An e-book, 71 Leaves, is free on the BlazeVOX site for anyone curious enough to Google it.
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