“. . . it’s very cheap / you can go there when you have almost no money” – Bernadette Mayer, “Homage to H & the Speedway Diner”
You meet the monster who lives in the graffiti wall on a Thursday evening, just when you were planning to go slalom skating on the pier with the group from work. You went around the corner to rent your skates and suddenly he was there. Huge blue head, eyes of dark anger, gritted teeth of fierce hunger. But somehow you liked the look of him. You asked him if monsters often live in graffiti walls, and he replied, “Only when we’re on tour.” You ask him, “What’s ‘on tour’? I didn’t know monsters go on tour-” and he says, “Oh yeah. It’s a Lonely Planet thing. We get hooked up with a local guide, visit all the graffiti walls.” “Don’t you like to hang out in other places, too?” you ask. “Like what, maybe a museum?” he answers, guffawing, and you notice his laugh sounds like a thunderclap, and everyone runs for cover but you. You stay, and your hand caresses the monster’s cheek. Before you know it, you’re making plans to go see the graffiti’d train cars out in the rail yard by the soccer stadium, and years later you’ll write a book together on the excellence in graffiti art, sold on Amazon as a coffee table book, with an average reader review of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
“on the gray sidewalks and the green ocean; / in the cars and the kitchens and the bookstores; / in the crowded restaurants, in the empty woods and libraries.” – Gerald Stern, “The Red Coal”
The first time I swam through the sidewalk I was elated. When you’re a goblin, you coast along below ground, under pavement and asphalt. It was a lot tougher on us before the parking lot, before the superhighway, before the city sidewalk. Before paving you’d have to find stone to swim in. Try that in a field of marshy grass or an empty rainforest. But now – it’s a piece of cake. Concrete everywhere.
It takes a knack to swim through a sidewalk. First you glide up real close, and then, POP! – just bubble up sudden-like, to above-ground. We goblins can’t travel through dirt, water, or ice, so we’re no good in open country, lakes and ponds, or glaciers. We need the hard cover of stone, concrete, asphalt – and humans are proving exceptionally good at laying it out for us. Getting rid of nasty natural landscapes.
Oh, what a goblin can do when we rise to the surface. Pollute the waterways. Contaminate the air. Burn down rainforests. Make asbestos.
We’re getting most of the planet under hard cover. We’re just about to make it. We’re just about to take over the world.