Monk’s Dream

Suggested Listening: The 1963 Monk’s Dream album by Theolonious Monk Quartet

WHEN THE LIGHTS WON’T COME ON
THE ENDLESS STREAM STOPS
THE FEED ADDICTION—
THERE WAS A SOLAR FLARE?
YO THE ALEXA JAWN GOT CO-OPTED BY FOREIGN HACKERS AND SELF-DESTRUCTED THE INTERNET!
THE SERVER FARMS ARE BURNING!
THE BACKUPS ARE FAILING!
CASH WON’T EVEN COME OUT THE MACHINES RIGHT NOW
EVERYONE’S STARING THEIR NEIGHBORS IN THE FACE LIKE OH SHIT
I STOPPED WRITING PEOPLE’S PHONE NUMBERS DOWN IN 2012
HAH! WELL, HARDLY ANYONE HAS A DAMN LANDLINE PHONE ANYMORE ANYWAY
IT’S A THUNDERSTORM COMING
MY ROOF’S GOT A LEAK IN IT
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT DINNER TONIGHT—
CHARCOAL BRIQUETTES ALL SOLD OUT AND THE MEAT’S GOING BAD
SUBWAY NOT RUNNING
WHEELY CREWS AND BLACK COWBOYS AND BIKER CLUBS AND
CAR CRASHES EVERYWHERE
ROADS CLOG FAST
WATER PLUGS OPEN
ARTISANAL GOURMET ICE CREAM BBQ MARSHMALLOW BOUTIQUE CHOCOLATES BANANA WHIPS COFFEE BEANS
GONE!
OWNERS LEFT THE CITY TO CLAIM INSURANCE.
FIGHTS IN THE STREET BETWEEN THAT’S NOT YOUR PROPERTY!! DEFENDERS AND KIDS WEARING ‘MAKE AMERICA AN ENDLESS EXPANSE OF OLD GROWTH FORESTS WITH NO CERTAIN BORDERS AGAIN’ SHIRTS
SO THE EL’S REALLY NOT RUNNING, HUH?
AND ALL OF THE SUDDEN
PRETZELS EVERYWHERE
DUDES SELLING CHAIN STACKS OF THEM FROM GROCERY CARTS LIKE ITS 1993 ON PENNSLANDING
LIKE THE DEPRESSION LIKE NEW YEAR’S DAY
AND WITH THE CARS NOT RUNNING (EVERYTHING WITH A CHIP IN IT, MAN!) THE TURKEY VULTURES FROM THE BURBS MAKE IT INTO THE 215 CARRION SCENE, AND THE GRILLMASTERS REJOICE
CREWS OUT ROCKING GLOWSTICKS
CRANK FLASHLIGHTS FRICTION HEADLIGHTS AND NOOOOOOOO
POPO
POLICE
PIGS (AN INSULT TO PIGS, LET’S BE REAL)
MILITARY COAST GUARD
BUT YOU DEFINITELY STILL HEARING GUN SHOTS
IT’S BEEN A COUPLE DAYS
AND YOUR ALWAYS-WEARING-OUTDOORS-BRANDS SOFT JAWED TRANSPLANT NEIGHBOR LIVING IN A WHOLE 3 STORY HOUSE WITH JUST HIS WIFE HAS PUT UP SIGNS ON THE TELEPHONE POLES ANNOUNCING AN OFFLINE THINKPIECE CIRCLE TO WRAP THEIR MINDS AROUND THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS
WAS IT THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL OR SOME WHOLE OTHER BULLSHIT?
WHAT TO KEEP & WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND.
YOU THINK SHIT MIGHT GET CRAZY REAL FAST BUT THAT’S CAUSE OF THE MEDIA, YOU REALIZE. IS IT GONNA BE THE PURGE IF EVERYONE’S JUST MINDING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
SOME PEOPLE ARE PRAYING
SOME PEOPLE ARE RIDING
SOME PEOPLE ARE TREKKING INTO THE WOODS
WALKING TRAIN TRACKS
SOME PEOPLE ARE IN THE PHARMACIES GETTING THEIR MEDS FOR FREE
SOME PEOPLE ARE EATING CHIPS AND STOCKPILED TOP RAMEN
SOME PEOPLE ARE IN DRUM CIRCLES WHILE ROLLER DISCO OLD HEADS REJOICE TO THE BEAT
SOME PEOPLE KEEP PLUGGING THEIR PHONE CHARGER IN TO SEE IF ANYTHING COMES OUT YET.
NO ONE COMES INTO THE CITY.
THE COLONIZE MARS PLANS MUST BE ON PAUSE.
DRUMS ARE IN COMPUTERS ARE OUT
HOT WATER IS OUT
SOME TEEN ENGINEERS FROM WEST PHILLY HIGH WHIP TOGETHER THIS JAWN THAT CAN GENERATE PROFOUND ENERGY THROUGH MECHANICAL EXERTION? BY WALKING ON THE JAWN
AND NEXT THING THEY’RE GETTING RADIO TRANSMISSIONS LIKE IT’S LIKE THIS ALL OVER
A MAGNIFICENT CREW OF LEATHER VEST WEARING NOT-MEN RIDING HORSEBACK START UP ROUNDS THAT PASS YOUR BLOCK
ONE OF THEM TELLS YOU IN A KIND VOICE TO TELL THEM
IF ANY BULLSHIT BEYOND YOUR OWN CAPACITIES STARTS TO GO DOWN, GIVE THEM A SHOUT
THE BACK OF THEIR VESTS ALL SAY
‘SO BE IT
SEE TO IT’
IT’S BEEN A FEW DAYS
THE POWER’S STILL OUT
SIGNAL’S LOST—
IT’S A STORM COMING
CLOGGED DRAINS BECOME OLD CREEKS
RIVERS RUSHING
EVERYONE WHO MOVED HERE OR BEEN LIVING HERE COMPLAINING ABOUT LOUD MUSIC RUDE NEIGHBORS HOW THERE’S A HOMELESS WOMAN BEGGING FOR MONEY OUTSIDE THE STORE
START LEAVING
DISAPPEARING
WE FORGET THE NAME OF THE CITY
WE FORGET THE NAME OF THE CITY
THE COLLEGE DORMS
THE CAMPUSES
THE COURTS THE CONDOS
DETENTION CENTERS
START CRUMBLING
LIKE THEY BEEN EMPTY FOR DECADES
LEAVING
JUST US

This is more of a performance piece, so read it out loud slow and with vitality, especially if you’re a Philly kid. I wrote it for a July 4th reading that METROPOLARITY was doing with Kimya Dawson in 2018, scribbled in pencil in my notebook and never transcribed till now. Like most things I end up writing for performance line-ups, my hometown city of Philadelphia is a prominent character.

Leave a Reply