— From EF —

What’s next? What happens now?

That depends. If I forget to check the zucchini plants for two days in a row, it means researching a new recipe. If I suddenly stopped going to all my pre-med classes, it meant I got kicked out of college. If my mother and her lover were careless, it meant I got born. If Fukushima had multiple meltdowns, who the hell knows?

We agree to believe in a thing called Time. This moment, then the next moment, and the next, and it’s gotta be connected somehow. Then along comes that moment everybody knows about, “déjà vu all over again,” and you wonder if the universe had a short circuit. It’s very dangerous to read about the political and financial shenanigans that led up to the Great Depression, because it sounds so freaking familiar. Likewise, the mechanisms that led to the rise of Fascism in the 30’s. It doesn’t feel safe to ask “What’s next? What happens now?”

Maybe I’m saying it backwards. Maybe what matters is not “What’s next?” but “What’s happening now?” In the middle of trying to finish doing my taxes, I decide that what I’ll take to the Full Moon Circle is a huge pot of gazpacho. That means hours and hours in the kitchen, peeling and dicing and blending and seasoning, just standing there dumb as a post and doing the job. And then what happens is heaven in the mouth, and the little animal sounds of pleasure from the folks around the table.

“What’s happening now?” The sunflowers are taller than the fence today, and the Scarlet Runner beans have wound around and around and around those thick hairy stems and are spurting out red-orange flowers and reaching six inches up into thin air. What will they do next?

I was on a vision quest, and I asked for “manifestation.” I had never seen Elizabeth myself, I only saw reactions from others. So my vision unfurled, and I’m holding an empty plastic milk-bottle crate in my arms and it begins to fill. It fills with ugly things, horrible images, and I think, well, OK, I need to accept and embrace this. But all the things have sharp corners and knife edges, and I can’t. What’s next?

A friend comforts me and suggests that these are just toxic debris, the words my adoptive mother used to hurt me, and I think “Well, damn, maybe that’s why they’re in a crate, I can put them out with the trash.”


All my ability to make plans and a daily list has just crumbled away lately, and it feels as if I don’t believe in a tomorrow. If I could attach myself to Now as effectively as the Scarlet Runners wind their way up the sunflower stalks, who knows?

And the question is still there, “What happens now?”

— From the Fool —

My sister’s doing better these days. She got a self-help book from the library that convinced her there’s no future as a hooker working truckstops. She’ll be replaced by automation, it said. So she lost 20 pounds and looked for other opportunities. Now she’s working for a firm in the Financial District called Snavely & Snavely advertising “Consultant Services,” catering to a string of single gentlemen.

Which has gotten her more political, realizing that her livelihood depends on the state of the economy. “These guys get more kicks from the bucks they spend,” she says, “than from the wad they shoot.” My sister was never one for delicacy.

So she’s watching the candidates. She’s not highly impressed. Course she don’t like the ones who hate Wall Street, that being money out of her pocket. The others, well, she never took high school Civics class seriously, having other concerns like not getting too pregnant. But something must have stuck. “At least one of those assholes ought to have a brain,” she says. “They ought to do a CAT scan to see what’s there.”

In fact I read they CAT-scanned a random sample of the populace and found these big lumps in the skulls. Gristle, cholesterol, cancer, or maybe just nobody took out the garbage that week. Not what you really want in your head. Or in the heads of the ruling classes, though I guess there’s nothing in the Constitution that rules out hog fat.

So my sister’s mixed up on the politics, but at least she’s in with a better class of pigs. She only keeps fifty percent of the going rate, but she does okay on tips. We’re still pretty close for brother and sister, I guess, considering she doesn’t approve of Fools.

— From CB —


The morning news and I see the
coffins arriving, the daily shipment, all
uniform in length and sealed for freshness
like lunchmeat in the cooler at the Safeway
(check back of package for details).

Just me imagining…

A transit warehouse where they
sort the produce for shipment back
to hometown wombs in Iowa, Montana
Texas (Remember the Alamo!) and
all points west and south.

Just me imagining…

This nursery of industrial ceiling height
corrugated walls, the floor a concrete slab
to catch the spills, sterilized personnel and
a rank of forklifts to take up each bassinet
as if in a mother’s arms.

But that was the old days
before they stopped the photos
in respect for privacy and so it’s
just me imagining…

Next shipment due at two p.m.
and it’s only Tuesday.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2015

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