The kids like zombies and vampires. Why?

Zombies are the people of every day, up out of the grave and staggering around in all their droop-lip banality, threatening to infect them, to engulf them, to make them one of their own.  The zombie is the guy in the street, a cross-section, as it were, the people you pass every day and look down on. As Chekhov says, "There is nothing more vapid than a philistine petty bourgeois existence with its small change, provisions, vacuous conversations and useless conventional virtue."  The walking dead.

Both are diseases. If they break your skin you become one of them.

The kids fear the zombies—but they long to be vampires, to be artists, night people, exceptions, drinkers of blood.  H. L. Mencken: 
"The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable. No virtuous man—that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense—has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading."

If there is romantic interest in a zombie, that means that he/she is overcoming his/her zombieness, his/her deadness. Zombies come out of death, until they rot and sink back into it. Vampires go into death, and live happily ever after. It's a class system.

March Weather

Contain me, contain me, I
Would be publishable, I
Would be small and inky, I
Would plant here the seeds of a
Mode of being and become
Great. Start with death, that, though we
Grunt under it, happiest
Of facts (what other faith but
Cloys with your self pity?), then
Redescend the tunnel of
Sensation, quivering with
Spasms. You cannot pick up
An image and be it, it's
Maddening. (Love me for this,
I am brave: death is not the
Annihilation of the
Personality: life is.)
Lightly across smouldering
Memories hasten barefoot
Toward unconditional
Absolution for all that
Does not concur with this your
Straightjacket, your own arms bound
Against remissive gestures.
Strain toward ignorance of
Self, for that is your only
Dignity. Say what in my
Civilized naivety
I could lately not have said:
The solution to problems
Is to ignore them. Do I
Pirouette? Shall I be held
Still? And to what project? To
The psychiatrist I will
Give no ground, I will hold what
May not be mine, nor guess at
Its nature: reality
No longer really interests
Me, frustration's final grace.
Everything can be taken
Two ways: Up. Down. (Two keys in
This score:) Only decisions.
There are no decisions. The
Mind not a thing but an act,
Though "act", you seeWell. Quicksand.
I exonerate myself.
I exonerate myself.
Reduce the impact on me,
I would enjoy. Nothing is
Stable. Sex, impersonal,
And when it comes knocking you
Can't quarrel with the shape it
Takes. Hold what ground? You know too
Much, you can't afford a
Personality. The whole
Effort takes more tact than that.
Tiger of wrath. Criminal.
They'll put you in a cage. I
Am in a cage! OK, think.
I worry about being
A less fortunate. How could
I bear the envy? Isn't,
Though, that other happiness
Accessible to all? Not
To you. Spring may yet destroy
You, wake your impatience with
Melancholy, so wait. Tear
Up your notes. Joy outstrips all
Formulae, and will recur.
In each of these, your phases,
Unsupported, you follow?
Clean. And then there's the moodless
Mood, backstage, in control. One's
Feelings on the john taken
Against one's feelings in the
Shower. You are a blot of
Mustard, an undigested
Crumb of cheese, your intestine
Plays you like a saxaphone
Until you are reduced to
Believing in miracles.
Hang in. The trouble starts when
You stop trusting your charm. Run
The whole bluff, go ahead. You
Don't want to know who you are
(What an intolerable
Burden that would be), for to
Know nothing is ecstasy,
Though granted not sustaining.
A gentle and erotic
Life, to speak tenderly, at
One with your trajectory,
Although to live is to be mad  
You do see that. A madness
Without glamour, an unrest,
An incapability
Of exhaustion. Unclean. Let
Us not transcend life, let us
Look into its mirror and
Go fucking nuts. Let us take
Life on its terms, if such can
Be deduced, like a poem.
The beyond but mirrors life,
The wonder, the completion
(Come on, now, bring it on), for
Is goodness not moving? Can
You help but betray it? No,
Forget that. Your being has
More import than your art. I
Can't keep track of what I am
Or what I feel. I squander.
On the other hand, no steps
Need be taken. Are you with
Me? Don't try to grab your soul,
If you like. Your body too
Knows more than you. Truth hard to
Come by, overrated. A
Low tolerance for crap is
The most you have. Between these
Horns, the charging beast's forehead
Bouncing back your shells of Faith!
Innocence! Joy! I will kill
You if I catch you. Come here.
Don't you trust me? I cannot
Contain myself but I can
Contain the world, in a way.
I can't get it right. Let slide.
Pleasure and amusement, the
Only discipline left. How
I spent my time on Earth. This
Is the Arc de Triomphe. The
Future is not as closed as
It looks. You were not meant to
Be prophetic. Forget your
Body's decay, your dramas
Of digestion, your dreary
Hypnosis. Walk another
Line. Dare to be shallow. Spurn
Especially the traps of
Sentimentality, the
Forsaken's arguments, the
Entertainer's ingenious
Ways of injuring you. Is
Not the naked spectacle
Sufficiently heartbreaking?
Speak gently. All suffices.
Something to believe in would
Compromise the perfection
Of your faith. Cultivate the
Principle of minimal
Effort. You can't become real
Anyway, you've tried that. And
Thank you. Your hysterical
Attempt has persuaded me.
You will never contain me.

The Salesman of Certain Eases

The salesman of certain eases
Does pretty much as he pleases
With whatever chances he seizes.
But if his honey-babe so much as sneezes
He freezes,
Embraces her tightly and squeezes
Till she wheezes,
Protects her from insolent breezes,
Does searches on several diseases,
And counts up the gods he appeases,
Even Jesus.

Toby books:

Pretentious Pictures Presents:

A comedy with a dark center

A Beverly Hills woman wakes up "older" and finds her life with a younger man undignified. The stage version was produced in at the Creative Place Theatre in NYC.

Attached: Bo Derek

Diana, the Hamlet at the heart of this comedy, is a clothes designer with a boutique on Rodeo Drive, a house in Beverly Hills, and a younger lover, Jim, her kept man for two years now. There’s nothing she can’t handle—except getting older.

She deals with a birthday by throwing him out. They're right for each other, she regrets it immediately, but she can't take him back, because her daughter Jackie, who idolizes and competes with her, tells her Jim has seduced her, and Diana believes it.

Proposed: Richard Dreyfuss

So she makes do with the respectable but empty life she'd thought she needed, with her lawyer Griff—more her age, and on her success level. Griff has been in love with her for years. Now’s his chance.

Proposed: Gael García Bernal

Jim is happy with a champagne-and-sports-car life, but he’s also a talented script-writer who’s postponing seriousness into a future that never comes. Together they’re fast company. They must have been brilliant at her birthday party last night.

This morning, though, even while he’s making love to her, she’s spooked. She tells him he has to go. She wants something more presentable, more—respectable—before it’s too late. Which shocks him. He takes life as it comes, but this is a bit violent.

Proposed: Jennifer Coolidge

Betsy, the suicidal widow of a husband she drove to suicide, is too scattered to pass a driving test, takes a lesson with Jim, spins the car onto a Mulholland Drive cliff and is ready to gun it and take him with her. He calms her down and she takes him home. But he can't forget Diana.

Proposed: Adelaide Clemens

Jackie, Diana’s daughter, idolizes her and so misses no chance to pick at and defy her. Inwardly shaky, she is outwardly impish and sexy. She thinks she’s in love with Jim; in fact what she needs is a father.

Proposed: Owen Teague

Betsy's son Dylan—eccentric hair, psychotic eyes, twitches constantly and rhythmically as if keeping time to music he doesn’t much enjoy—is in the same class at UCLA with Jackie, over whom he moans uncontrollably. He disgusts her.

Proposed: Rosie Perez 

Maria, Diana's housekeeper, is the deadpan foil to Diana's Hamlet, secret ally to Jim, and the one person Diana doesn't dare defy.

Proposed: Amy Brenneman

GWEN is Diana's mischievous best friend and alter-ego. She'll take Jim if Diana doesn't want him! Just kidding. In an attempt to bring them back together she throws a party and invites both of them, but it turns into a confrontation....

And the final character is Beverly Hills—the tone, the climate, the village size and ambiance that make it inevitable for these people to collide.

Pretentious pictures presents
a comedy with a dark center.

Attack of the Giant Feminists

(Exerpted from Will You Please Fuck Off?)

Naked, zombie-eyed, they loom over the landscape, advancing slowly, almost aimlessly, arms limp.

We fall to our knees in wonder, rabbits in the headlights of a final revelation. Their gaze excludes us.

Tall as banks they tower over us, are almost upon us. We must act or be trampled. Some of us run forward open-armed only to be flattened by the great feet. 

Their size and savor force us to rethink the line between desire and disinterest, and turn gay.
Others scatter and hide in the hills. Arms reach over the horizon, groping for us. We squirm together in crude hiding places, not daring to breathe.

Those who trust their gifts for flattery venture forward to negotiate, and are pounded down by huge fists.

We jump into our Porsches and race back to the city.
Behind us whole sections of countryside rise up as giant women, wounding our eyes with their beauty. They spread their arms and fly over us, menstruating on us until the sky is red. Their odors, which we have always understood to be natural, terrify us, and we speed on.

Under the wail of air-raid sirens we abandon our cars and crowd into the downtown trains. When we arrive the streets are already being barricaded.

They will not accept our surrender. Huge catapults are erected from which volunteers are shot into the arms of the enemy. They catch us in mid-air, wantonly suck our heads and swallow us whole.
We watch, appalled. Behind us our own women swell monstrously, bursting buildings as if being hatched, and rise against the sky.

Searchlights whirl. Huddled in a darkened bar we can see their silhouettes as they wander without, seeking what they might destroy.

On the radio they exhort us in flat, dead tones to submit. We will not be harmed, they say. We exchange looks.
A familiar calf appears in the street, and I run to the window. Carol!

Only now I have been consoling myself with thoughts of her shoulders, her proud kiss, her childish mouth—gifts I acknowledge with little gestures of passion. It hurts me that I do not install her in rooms, tell her my secrets, impregnate her. But no, the hell with that.

Now, rampage. She lurches on, unseeing.

We are calm. What has happened transcends our understanding, a thing we are used to.

Drinks are poured, rumors murmured. Brain-washing, the hot knife.

“Big,” says Chester, “sure they’re big. But they can hide in grass you wouldn’t think a cat could crouch in.”
We drink, pour. After a little silence Fulton speaks up. “What they need,” he says, glaring defiantly around, “is a good fuck!” Of course he is drunk. We stretch our jaws, study our drinks, glance up at one another.

Soon the mission is organized and we are stealing through the streets with each a bottle of Chivas in his shirt. It is less dangerous among the ruins of the core than in the flatter precincts at the edge.

We move along rail tracks, ducking when a giant profile moves past. A flare bursts into agonizing seconds of broad day and we flatten ourselves to the ground.

Not until we reach the suburbs can we be sure we have penetrated their lines. Patrols pass. We take cover in gardens, garages.
We have regrouped and are squatting for a drink when suddenly we sight it: the camp. One by one we rise to our feet while hilly farmland emerges as a vast terrain of sleeping giantesses. The horizon alters as one of them stirs.

We scurry across the road when our awe subsides and prowl in among them. They lie in loose array. Many snore heavily.

We freeze when one of them moans and threatens to roll over on us. Fulton gives us a knowing look and we pass on.

Suddenly another one rises to her elbow and nuzzles through the whimpers of her neighbor. They wrestle. Big as cinemascope they roll and thrash before us, shaking the earth. Only when they have mutually extorted whines and shudders do they drop back into sleep.

We stand rooted. It is some time before we can shake ourselves to and resume our purpose.

Arguing over specifications we search among them until we find her. She is lying spread-eagled with exhaustion. We leap into the air with glee and tiptoe around her, appraising as we go, until we stand midway between the sweeping forelands of her feet.
Cautiously we move in, subdued by the height of the canyon and the deepening darkness as it narrows. We can no longer see the upper slopes of her thighs outlined in moonlight.

We are close. Under the faint fish-cannery smell we form up defensively. And there, yes, as our eyes grow used to the dark, it is.

We hold back. Someone has to be first. I steal forward. The seam is a pucker of delicate elephant skin, so tall I must arch my head back to see the summit. I pat it with both hands, gentle it, put my ear to it for oracular rumbles.

Pulling nervously at my pants I glance up at the crests of her thighs. If they close I am done for.

Holding it, as it were, by the lapels, I engage. It is a potential cavity! I press my cheek to it and give it my best stuff, pry at it with my tongue, surrender to its warmth.

The fear seizes me that, tickled, she might bring her finger into play and pop me into the pit. I hover, do I not, before the primal abyss, and could easily slip in and be swallowed.

The moment passes. I’m going good now. From high over the mound comes a dreamy sigh. Pride engorges me. I grin back at the others, perhaps foolishly, for who can be dignified with his pants at his ankles, humping at a pair of theater curtains.
But they have already gone, scattered each to his tryst. And I, when I have confessed and collapsed, nestled and smoked a cigarette, I too buzz off to another flower.

It is a big night. We push ourselves to the limit, not noticing the streaks of dawn when they appear in the sky.

In sudden military unison they sit up and smash at us as at ants at a picnic. We scramble madly, colliding with one another, striving only to survive another second. At each blow the ground bucks beneath us and worries our confusion.

I dive for a ditch and skitter into a culvert. Fingertips block the ends. It is unearthed, lifted, shaken, bent in two, in four, thrown down. I lurk, peek out, run like hell. 

Oh, how I run!

An acre of shadow around me. She crash-lands almost on top of me and seizes me in her hand. “I want you,” she breathes. Wanda. She twists my testicles.
I am strapped to a chair, Wanda pacing before me. Her legs are so-so, and I have never found it necessary to look at her during conversation. Normally I pluck a hair from my chest and examine it. Even now my attention drifts.

Around me, debriefings, lectures on hand-to-hand combat, greased vibrators. A squadron in training chants, “Kill! Kill! Kill!”

I am slapped awake. Electrodes are taped to shaved patches on my head and thoughts are implanted, doctrines of sameness as dreary as all the wisdom of the East.

How long it goes on I can’t say. I am tired, tired.

Suddenly I am on my feet straining at the straps. “I’ve tried!” I scream. “I’ve done my best! I just don’t have a position!”

I slump to the ground still bound by the wrists, but the motion has freed my ankles, a fact that I am able to obscure as I am forced back into the chair. All night I work the thongs against the arm-rests. When they give I rub my wrists, look furtively around and vanish into the darkness.
It is days before I can get back into town. The bar, still undiscovered, observes black-out. Some of us haven’t made it.

We start on the Jack Daniels, exchange stories, back-slap to keep up our spirits. When troops pass in the street we appraise their ankles.

Mere bravado. We are beaten.

One night we catch one in a covered construction pit. She roars and kicks. We stake her out like Gulliver and whip her until she hurts. Then we let her go. What’s the point?
Then, slam-bam, everything changes. I am doodling on the bar with my swizzlestick when a nudge directs me to a shape on the ruined skyline—a shape with a swollen abdomen! We run to the window: more of them! Pregnant profiles everywhere!

They break ranks, forage, claw at delicatessens. Now they’re really mad.
We swagger against the bar and puff cigars, stand rounds. The rucus outside delights us. Have we fathered giant versions of ourselves, we wonder, or will hundreds of our own size emerge? Bets are arranged.

But even as their bellies swell the women themselves begin to deflate. Soon, with only a few exceptions, they are on a human scale again, and come looking for us. Now they want to get married! This is no good either.

At the last minute the Nude Police arrive to restore order. After months without contact the outside world has sent help. The Nude Police wear day-glo jockstraps color-coded according to rank, and affect high voices.

“OK there, that’s enough of that!” they shout. “Form two lines!”
Now there is only uneasy calm and the work of rebuilding civilization. When we invite the women to dinner they discuss the merits of their fathers’ as opposed to their husbands’ surnames. We are silent. They seek reasons to laugh at us, and stand when we leave the table.

Of course the Nude Police are vigilant. They are posted on each corner and shout “Just watch what you’re doing!” at everyone who passes. But incidents occur.

Some women snatch cigarettes from our mouths and break them. Others travel in groups and wait for chances to ambush us.

Two of them catch me in an alley and shove me back and forth between them, do the point-to-something-on-your-chest-and-tag-you-on-the-nose trick, and shove me back and forth again.

The other day I saw a rehabilitated feminist walking down the street and saluted her cautiously.

“Don’t forgive me unless I ask you to,” she said.

(Exerpted from Will You Please Fuck Off?)