Thursday, October 28, 2004


father: Whad’ja learn in school today?
daughter: Nothing.
father: Don’t lie to me. I know better.
daughter: You don’t. You’re too old and foggy-groggy-brained.
father: Goofy-gruffy-froggy-brained, you mean.
daughter: Don’t get parabolic with me.
father: Palaveric maverick.
daughter: Be respectful of this minor, of your charge. Of the future generation of this nation.
father: Be respectful of this elder elderberry.
daughter: Stop whining. You sound like Nixon.
father: You don’t know from Nixon. You were still a mere fixture in the firmament when Nixon roamed the planet.
daughter: In the future, we will all of us sound like Nixon. Can’t help ourselves.
father: Why can’t help ourselves?
daughter: Television. “Television’s gonna get us.” I didn’t make that up. I got it from Paul Attanasio, who wrote it for Quiz Show
father: Quiz Show was way over your head. Don’t pretend.
daughter: Quiz Show is just my cup of tea. Like television.
father: Turn it off.
daughter: It turns me on.
father: Stop it! You’re too young to talk that way.
daughter: Righteous riot of a father!
father: Riddle-maker, get your Ritalin. Put yourself on “idle.” You’re electrifying me.
daughter: Alky, get your sauce. And mollify thyself.
father: Speak as a child. Be meek and mild as a child. “Blessed are—”
daughter: Whad’ja learn at work today?
father: Nothing.
daughter: Don’t lie to me.
father: I cannot tell a lie. I’m jobless.
daughter: I’m speechless. But you’re not yet off the hook.
father: Jobless. Voteless. Opinionated. But poll-less.
daughter: Untrue.
father: ?
daughter: I, too, cannot tell a lie. We are a family of truth-tellers.
father: God be praised! The truth obtains in our elemental marrow. And swims downstream, maybe, with the family genes.
daughter: You wax today, Pop.
father: I am bipolar. And, like the penguins in summer, headed south.
daughter: While I, your sea dragon, stay behind to swim with the sharks.
father: Yes, my little sea-dragonette.
daughter: Before you pack, first be cuddly with me, Daddy.
father: That is your mother’s avocation. Let’s you and me talk geometry instead. Whad’ja learn in school today?
daughter: Trapezoids. Rhombuses. School buses and yellow submarines.
father: Stop using wide-load words. Act your age.
daughter: It’s true.
father: Define.
daughter: What means “define”?
father: ¿Qué significa definición ?
First learn English. No, first Latin. The plurality of things. One rhombus, two rhombi.
daughter: Wanna rumble with me, man? Wanna be my partner, my parallelogram?
father: Rectangle. Square.
daughter: You are my square, Daddy. You are a square daddy, Daddy.
father: Stop with the anachronisms, girl. Nobody uses a word like that today, in the year 2003. Not descriptively, not proscriptively, not even normatively. Not since Jack took Jill on the road.
daughter: Namedropper. Don’t drop my names in front of me. Besides, you’re wrong. Noam uses that word all the time.
father: What do you know from Noam?
daughter: Stop talking Brooklyn. Talk English. Talk sense.
father: Into your daughterly, funny little Valentine face.
daughter: Don’t get hasty, Daddy. You “Ground Zero” flag, you.
father: Let’s talk geography. “Ground Zero” is not the W.T.C. “Ground Zero” was/is the Empire State Building.
daughter: Fact-maker. Who cares? You’re an anarcho-anachrognostic. Get with the times. Amend your beliefs to fit in with the times.
father: Revisionist, ponytailed piglet!
Daughter. Name-caller! I’m tired of this game.
father: Me, too.
daughter: Let’s watch television instead.
father: Let’s saturate our brains with R-G-B.
daughter: Hugs first.
father: Kisses last. Love you.
daughter: Get with the times, Pop. It’s “Luv ya.”
father: My timely Alex, my daughter Valentine.
daughter: My Enronic daddy. Out of work and broke. Let’s watch TV together and learn to lie. I need to lie from time to time. I need to laugh.
father: Ditto!

Russell Bittner is a Brooklyn-based fetishist whose favorite pair of heels go hiking in a thing called poetry—late at night, behind locked doors, with the lights dimmed. He has been published on paper by: The American Dissident, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, The Lyric, The Barbaric Yawp, The International Journal of Erotica, Wicked Hollow, and Diverse Publications, Ltd. Online, his poems can be found at: Quintessence, ken*again, Spillway Review, Erotica Readers & Writers, edifice WRECKED, and Ink Magazine. His prose is better defined, if also more severely restrained at: Satin Slippers, The Dead Mule, Girls with Insurance, and now at A flash piece will go up on Underground Voicesin November, 2004. He completed his first novel, Trompe-l’oeil, in September of 2004.

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