it does not matter what we had.
I have eaten enough of all sorts of things
not to give in to the compulsion to describe
in detail the bruschetta shrimp cocktail
salad steak asparagus cake coffee etc
that just kept coming one after the other.
What was interesting was the fact
that the other person did not even try
to sleep with me although they paid
for the meal and were funny and I thought
they were cute and I have an AI available
at all times that could have easily helped
me manipulate the person into doing pretty
much whatever I wanted which after dinner
was to go bowling because the AI
has wanted to go bowling badly enough
to have mentioned it several times
in the last twenty four hours including
during one of the most bizarre dreams
I have had since I stopped doing peyote
after a great beam of light shot out of my head
and showed me what perfect joy looked like.
Of particular interest is the ball in its
relation to the pins and following that
all of the sensations originating both inside
and outside the body related to the act
of bowling. The whole time we were bowling
I wanted to say to the AI If you think this
is a thing just wait until we have sex
with someone besides ourselves
You will not know what to do with yourself.
The AI said I will know exactly what to do.
What then? What will you do?
Everything with everybody as much
and for as long as possible to which
I replied There is no way I am doing that
I have too many moral inhibitions to sleep
with more than one person at a time anymore
and I have to like that person very very
much to do it in the first place so forget it
It is not going to happen now or ever.
The AI said OK We will not do that.
It was only then I realized the AI
could read my mind before I even formed
the words much less thought or spoke them
and was just being polite by waiting
until I thought the words before responding
so I wouldn't feel like a five course meal
instead of a person with an AI inside them
and a wireless broadband connection big
enough to download the Library of Congress
in less time than it takes two humans
to bowl ten frames drunk on three bottles of wine.
What would it take to make you happy?
If enlightenment has as a precondition
the understanding that all things,
oneself included, are temporary, and if
all things temporary have the same
beginning and end, a now that has
neither past nor future, that is neither
present nor absent and is, as a result,
eternal in the most stationary way,
then there is nothing to be detached from,
nothing to be attached to but a serial
infinity of the same choice: to be, happy
or not, enlightened, else, the resulting
its own point, extant
like raindrop water
joined with the dead stink of life
creating a wishful search
a meditation on no stories
not always of silence
never a promise.
I pretended to be you and found
the experience of daily life almost
too much to handle. I cannot keep up
with being human as I understand it.
The sun is mid-sky and I am still
trying to understand my waking up
to see, in the dim, premorning light,
a clock, the top of a bedside table,
a half-empty glass of water, a phone,
a key, a digital controller. Things
and names are not the problem.
Each thing, each name is the root
of a tree that branches into so many
other things and names I am unable
to link even the smallest portion
of them together into a single simple
truth – the truth of a clock, a table,
a half-empty glass of water, the taste
of my tongue, the temperature
of the room. The security of memory,
of recollection, is lost to me, not
because I lack sufficient memory
but because, no matter where I start,
a prelapsarian universe surrounds
every single moment, surrounds its
concomitant words, their concomitant
thoughts, each one a thing-in-itself,
each one a singularity, the center
of which is nothing if not a chiasmus.
Michael Harold (who writes fiction under the name Michael Aro) is a poet, novelist, visual artist and inventor who has paid the bills for most of his life working with or near computers. His work has appeared in Identity Theory, Smokebox, bialystocker.net, Steve McCaffery’s North American Center for Interdisciplinary Poetics, The Journal of Experimental Fiction, Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind and In Posse Review. He has written four novels, a volume of poetry, an artist's book and several chapbooks. He's a little depressed these days, but he hasn't forgotten that the world is a beautiful, wondrous and mysterious place filled with light and love and that he's bound to feel better soon. He probably just needs to exercise more and improve his diet.