First published Spring 2001 in VeRT #3
Published again in March 2004 in Electric Yeti, Issue 2

Knockout / He Writes In a Vacuum

1. Sir John Douglas Cockcroft
There exists none other but that one. You may want to make a note of that.

2. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Playing the back nine it seemed like a vast frozen lake.

3. Joel Chandler Harris
Nuclear magnetic resonance. High-rise apartment building.

4. Jean Iris Murdoch
I am pointed for that place myself.

Lower world malfeasance. The five gentlemen looked at each other.

5. Anton Bruckner
Powerlifting, Chinese checkers, and a British thermal unit.

6. William Wordsworth
Fortran, Cobal, C++

7. Simone de Beauvoir
Twelve from twenty leaves eight. To think that it should rise up against me now. A modern pentathlon. Thomas Bulfinch.

8. Edwin Estlin Cummings
You must set every available man to work. Heir presumptive? Leave nothing hanging.

9. Ford Maddox Ford
High frequency speaker. Hold, Perseus! Continue!

Infighting, hurling coffee, nonstandard bingo, and an utter lack of charm. The shout was unanimous and savage.

10. Joel Chandler Harris
Golf is neither erotic nor revolutionary. We cannot support it.

11. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec
Loxodromic curve, they seek him everywhere.

12. Mark van Doren
Country music.

13. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
The rule is but to mark the limit. Here is the cheque for the amount. I paid nothing but the usual rent. What changes! And in such a short while. You may want to make a note of that. The tempest has been as brief as terrific.

We went over to join the discussion. Passive skepticism abounds. "A lot of buffalo hump is all I hear," Jorge Louis Borges said. Tennessee Williams is expected to recover, though long dead. "Nondischarge of debts is no excuse for financial assistance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is no place for situational ethics," said Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Too much cheap rum, we thought. A cheap rum floosie, apparently. We'd heard it all before. Back to the electronic data processing for us.

14. Linus Carl Pauling
Toy piano. Bad posture. Self-absorbed.

15. Luigi Boccherini
Eats da fettuccine.

16. Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington
Gravitational collapse. It was too dark to see anything. Technically, you know, it was only a technical knockout.

Worrisome, all this violence. We went to investigate, first checking the electronic mailbox. "Eggheads establish trust funds just like the fatcats!" Francis Bacon said. The newer Bacon. Firmer. Leaner. More lean. "Take a ride on the short line, buddy!" he added. A glimmer of hope. A Bill of particulars. The Diplomatic council. New developer to build stadiums. Pony rides. Billionaire proposes charitable foundation as tax shelter. We go to seek shelter.

17. Horatio Nelson, the British Admiral
Read the carefully worded mission statement.

18. Errico Malatesta, the Italian Anarchist
Read every eighteenth word to know its true meaning.

Some lay in quiet repose on the police station floor while others provide diligent oceangoing vessels access to the Atlantic Ocean. We wept at this and went back to the electronic data processing devices to check the electronic mailboxes again. Canonical hours pass. We seek shelter in the cathedral and a return to the wholesome prose of yesteryear. We check the price of zinc etchings instead.

19. Ike and Tina Turner
Modern conveniences in these luxury homes help developer to build biggest stadium ever.

20. Mungo Park
My expedition was all the talk that day, though not the hottest initial public offering that I've read about inside my electronic mailbox. Within hours I was forgotten. I went swiftly back, saying not a word to anybody.

We gave up negative transference, Bertolt Brecht and our general rudderless way of being. Fare weather friends no more, were we. We decided to accentuate the positive, and read Edmund Spenser. He became quite indispensable. The vast tumblers of whiskey stopped tilting themselves in our general direction. The electronic data processing dropped off tremendously.

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