The Roommate Invertebrate
(section of a letter to Jordan, written in the converted garage that was my room and shared studio workspace in Redhook Brooklyn, Wed. 03/10/04)
So here we begin on an elliptical note. Though the word 'elliptical', should be omitted for a more appropriate word like, paroxysmal, thereby making the word 'elliptical' the most elliptic part of this ellipsoidal note. I will let it remain however in the hopes that the sum of the plane curve that this note is bound to make, will prove constant.
As I write now at my little desk, I feel an occasional tickle in the white hairs on the backs of my hands. Ants. I cannot find the source of where they are coming from or where they are going. They are not in any militant formation as per usual. Most find them in a tiny vibrating single-file line across a linoleum kitchen floor. Now they are emitting pheromones randomly, split-up, and more scavenger-like. I’ve killed 6 already in these two paragraphs of writing. I’m reminded of another time a while back. I was sitting at my little desk writing to you as I battled with a horny cricket. It sat in some non-existent corner rubbing its wings together in desperate search for a mate. It took a week of sleepless nights before I found the little bastard and tossed it in the garden. Only to be surprised by more chirping from several of his relatives. After that it was genocide.
In this little space I have been accosted by:
Spiders as big as your thumbnail, brown with a beige stripped pattern on the thorax, building sticky homes in the cracks of the walls and the open mouths of my unworn shoes. Their diminutive offspring scattering about to build homes of their own. I wiped them out with one of the very same shoes they once dwelled in.
A plague of moth/flies. These started slow around the dampness of my bookshelves. A tiny gray dot on The Trial, a whisper of a movement across Gray’s Anatomy, traces of gray dust on the jacket of Paterson. After a few days their numbers were in the hundreds. Not knowing what they were or how to get rid of them, I looked them up by way of description. The name, Moth/fly /psychoda alternata, is appropriate as they look like a cross between the two. No bigger than a match head, the female will lay up to 300 eggs at a time. As soon as a larva reaches adulthood, which is usually in a few hours, they seek out a mate, “make love”, and die. I wiped these out with a power vacuum from Home Depot, sucking dozens at a time into the bowels of the howling machine. In the end I think it was the cold weather that killed them. As spring arrives, I search for signs of their return.
The horny crickets. (Though “horny” is an appropriate term for all of the insects listed here-in, the cricket will carry its weight as, unlike the rest of the soundless arthropods, it makes its intentions irritatingly know to all creatures with ears and/or feelers as it were) No doubt the rest of these pests turned a blind eye (though the moth/fly hath no eye) to the killing of the crickets. I wiped them out with a can of Dust-Off, freezing them and then depositing them in the bus yard beyond the back wall. I found in this that, Dust-Off, has a strange effect on insects. When inhaled, the chemical released from the can into the jar somehow, I believe, sucks all the oxygen from the brain, causing visual/audio impairment, light-headedness, and an overall minor to acute brain damage. Essentially they appear to fall over in a peaceful death. “What a fantastic way to capture and kill a small insect while keeping his shiny black exo-skeleton perfectly intact, feelers and all, to use for further study in my drawing experiments!” thought I to myself, cold can in one hand, jar of cricket in the other. Alas, this is what happened; after blasting a noisy cricket with a white, scentless shot of Dust-Off, he became instantly silent, paralyzed, dead-seeming. I dropped his body in a jar and placed it on my shelf of other experiments for later observation. That night, (several hours had gone by) I woke from a strange dream (I was playing tether-ball in an empty play ground lot, getting hit repeatedly in the back of the head by the ball as it swung round from my punches), to the distinct sound of, chirp chirrp…chirp chirrp... I climbed down my bed ladder and switched on the lamp. Sure enough, the cricket was up, walking the jars circumference good as new, rubbing those filthy wings in utter delight. Baffled, I shot a spray of the Dust-Off into the jar putting him back to sleep so that I too could climb back into my bed. In the morning I could feel him staring at me, mocking me with his cries. I set him free.
And now the ants will come a marchin in, hurrah! They will be easily dealt with. They are sporadic, despondent. There is no food down here, no water. They are without their Queen, without their system. They are as good as dead.
Enough about my roommates for now... To complete the curve one may say that there was in fact no curve what so ever. The two fixed points are there, the sum is balanced, however the note in and of itself ran linearly, A to B counteracting the intensions of the ellipsis altogether. Though in this final closing paragraph one would see that the over-all hypothesis of elliptical thought and/or writing has in fact proved constant within the last paragraph itself. Joining the locus points of A and B, the sum of the distances of each of which from two fixed points is the same constant. Omitting all, omitting nothing.