Vonnegut Made Me Do It

Bafetimbi Gomis is such a great name that I thought I’d write a story about him. Not a whole story, just enough of a story to pass an ad break or two. He’s not even getting his own story but being dropped into another. The story he’s being dropped into began with the infamous hijacker, D.B. Cooper, boarding a plane, ordering a drink and it goes on like that…

That part of the story is here somewhere under the name Little D.B. Needs to Fly. Bafetimbi is flying the Boeing 727 that has just taken off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. D.B. Cooper is the only passenger left onboard and he’s just become 200 grand wealthier. Bafetimbi knows this as he arranged for D.B’s conditions to be met. The money has been handed over, along with parachutes, meals for the crew and it goes on like that…

Both men have been remarkably calm throughout the experience. D.B. Cooper is remarkably calm for a man who has just hijacked a plane and extorted the United States government out of 200 grand. Bafetimbi Gomis is remarkably calm for a professional football player who has never flown a plane before. By the standards of professional football, Bafetimbi’s career has gone well but not great. He’s played for Saint-Etienne, Swansea, Galatasaray and it goes on like that…

Bafetimbi suffers from suspected Vasovagal response. This means he faints at times of stress. His co-pilot, William Rataczak, knows about his condition but hasn’t had the chance to raise his concerns with the bosses at Northwest Orient Airlines. Rataczak hasn’t been able to catch a break all day. He started the day by pissing on his socks, then tripped over the dog leaving the house. Now the plane he’s co-piloting with a French footballer has been hijacked and it goes on like that…

Where will it end? Somewhere over Nevada, D.B. Cooper asks the crew to join Gomis and Rataczak in the cockpit. He requests that they stay there. Cooper begins lowering the aft stairwell. Rataczak notes the change of cabin pressure indicated by a dial on the control panel. Gomis nods in recognition even though he has no idea what Rataczak is talking about. All the while, D.B. Cooper is getting ready to leave; he puts on a parachute, takes off his clip-on tie and it goes on like that…

Gomis and Rataczak land the plane in Reno, the ordeal ends. Bafetimbi Gomis cries openly now, clasping William Rataczak to his chest. Rataczak doesn’t cry, he just wants to raise his concerns about Bafetimbi Gomis to the bosses at Northwest Orient Airlines. After Gomis has let go, Rataczak is first debriefed by law enforcement and then by the aviation authority. William Rataczak then finds a Northwest Orient union rep, requests Grievance Form 4J and it goes on like that…

D.B. Cooper remains on the aft stairwell somewhere above Nevada. A ferocious current claws at his legs, chest and face. D.B. Cooper has eternity to stare into the deep void beneath him as paper bank notes are sucked away, one at a time. He neither jumps nor falls nor lives nor dies. D.B. Cooper is descending the aft stairwell, descending the aft stairwell and it goes on like that…

CRK Guernica


Evening fell and as I attempted Proust, all my guilt came home to roost.

All at once, my shame it rose, jolting limbs from rich repose.

I knew well this sad sensation (a diurnal fixture of my resignation),

but tonight was different, tonight was new.

In my bones a fresh malady grew.

No longer was a simple spectre brewed,

no longer the chill of my lost Blue Nude.

The visions that held me then, and the horror that holds me still,

is the carnage of Guernica and dead horses in a field.

Dead horses in a field cast my stomach black.

Franco’s fleet foot incendiary yield did my conscience rack.

Where was my saccharine melancholy?

The prize for years of mortal folly,

of grandeur sought and storming mood,

my sweet misty release, Blue Nude.

No thoughts could stand still in that dead horse field,

no dreamy reflection of the fate I’d sealed.

All that stood was acrid panic, rictus features and ash Germanic.

Good God my appetite has been so crude!

Crying hunger, whilst on fat I chewed, leering and aching and waltzing Blue Nude.

So when market day came I took to that field, her as my armour, my Svalinn Shield.

There in Guenica I stood and floods of fire fell,

as black fat cracked under grinning shell.

Evening still falls, far off bells do peal,

whilst in Guernica I lay, twisted amongst those dead horses in that dead horse field.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

This play is for the Meadow Cows,

on the creaking lane, ‘neath the creaking bows…

Horses in audience for the grieving Clown who casts himself in;

Run Out Of Town!

How stunningly daft this theatre of fools, with it’s Watermelon and it’s Swimming Pools!”

The player, a spectre, pacing a well worn floor…

“For my unhearing Love! I love you once more!”

“Unhearing! Oh Boots…”

Turned away in her chair,

Clown exit stage right, pursued by a bear…

Absent Without Leave

For those of us who’ve picked it up just to put it down,

found it wanting

and thrown it around.

For those of us who return the next day

with regret in our eyes

for what we’ve chucked away.

For those of us whose keys don’t fit,

whose bridges burn

beyond paths dimly lit.

For those of us who walk slow in the rain,

who wince at the touch of the Boss and the Chain.

For those of us, I propose a toast!

Or maybe an apology,

a letter in the post.

You didn’t see me coming

but then neither did I,

for those of us who yelp and rage and fight and fly…