Ocean Groove, Ocean Grave

"I listened to the darkness..."
--Kris Asay

"Many who come to stay a week, stay a lifetime..."
--Ocean Grove Chamber of Commerce


[Disclaimer: 1. This is the author's first solo assignment. He was recently promoted from in-house rewrite facilitator, "a glorified sentence restructuring manager," as he has called it; to replace the first author who was reassigned due to job-related stress and "moral concerns" encountered while on this assignment.[1]

         2. Author neither condones nor condemns intergenerational liaisons. That coercion impels many "spring-autumn" relationships is understood. But the portrayal of the very real "compensatory retaliation of defiance"[2] of K. reacting to "the antisexual heritage of [her] childhood."[3] imposed by "abusive" parents who tainted their authority with their own fears and regrets is imperative.

         3. K., it must be emphasized, was self-reliant with a precocious, if hormonally-skewed, sense of the adventure inherent in wisdom. She heard her anatomy speaking. She turned to the main character, B. [not to be confused for the author], to learn its language.

         4. Author in no manner disputes the diagnosis of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)—in soldiers who have seen actual combat duty.

         5. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the author or the editors.]


1.         Remember this, dirt brain, she loved me and only felt sorry for you. She had a big heart, and as a scavenger, you fed off the weak side of that heart. She gave that weaker side to you, nursing you, and entertaining you in an assortment of constraining fashions. I'm not going to elaborate because perhaps you're engaged in some kind of body art. Maybe the hi heels (borrowed from your mom, is what I hear. They say she doesn't mind!) slow down any attempts at escape. Maybe the constrictive garments and gadgets will leave her lightheaded, beside herself, exotic, beyond possibility.[4] I mean to cut off circulation for extended periods of time can have detrimental effects on brain function, on reason, the ability to make rational decisions, reduce I.Q. But maybe you know that and maybe that is your exact purpose.

         You knew she'd be devastated if you died on her. That's why you flaunted that maggot-infested part of your soul so much. You knew she'd believe it was due to her neglect. You knew that, you petty fixation simulator![5] And you knew you wouldn't die. You wouldn't really live but at least you wouldn't die. I read up on the likes of you, H. Found articles in the Asbury Park Press about you. You've been quite a piece of work for some time. The Hitler picture under your pillow in the brig was a nice touch, H.

         The note K. left on my doormat was folded tight as a kid's fist. Is how wound up she got around you. But it was written in the flamboyant and robust loops of a teen on the brink of smelling (being enveloped by) the flower of her birth month—each letter a libertine flourish, bodily, heaving, curvaceous, extravagant, exploring the voluptuous limits of handwriting—the handwriting analyst mostly just blushed.

         It reiterated what K.'d already told me in (what served as) my kitchen. That the first thing she'd do is burn your wash cloth and blow the ashes out my window. But then she'd break down, go soft and you'd get lucky once again. This is how it went right up until the end, didn't it, you half-eaten maggot.

         K. said she loved my place—get this—because I lived there. She wanted to leave home, and escape a difficult caretaker thing, is how she described you, "difficult caretaker thing"—putting the most polite spin even on a jellyfish such as you. Where would she live?

         "Well, maybe the Seaview. Be a chambermaid there part time. Far away from my mom's temper and my dead dad's smells."

         She wanted to live alone or with someone of her own choosing—me—if I would have her. I would have, and not only for her sake but for mine as well because she was willing to do anything for me. And anything can be a lot if you know what to make of it. But maybe you were more capable of making more out of nothing than I was anything out of anything. But I also would've maybe taken her out, let her know what life was all about, take her for a stroll past your place and have you stew in the acrid stink of what you call your apartment.



[1]  "I absolutely do not consider myself a writer..." Michel Foucault, The Politics of Truth. Semiotext(e), Brooklyn, NY. 1997.

[2]  John Money. Venuses Penuses: Sexology, Sexosophy & Exigency Theory. Prometheus. Buffalo. 1986.

[3]  Money.

[4]  "Respiratory excitement has always been a conspicuous part of the whole process of tumescence and detumescence..." Havelock Ellis Studies in the Psychology of Sex.

[5]  "Someone with real symptoms who continues to cling to them to improve his lot, manipulate situations." Hans Binneveld. From Shell Shock to Combat Stress: A Comparative History of Military Psychiatry. Amsterdam University Press. Amsterdam. 1997.

[Bart Plantenga/text] [David Sandlin/graphic]

Bart links:
Wreck This Mess, WFMU
Ocean Groove Ocean Grave
Writer's Net--Bart Plantenga
Fellatio Botanica
bart on the unbearables
Yodel-Ay-Ee-OOoo review
Brain Damage
Amsterdam Literary Festival

David links:

Hammer Gallery
The Comics Journal
Last Gasp
Egg Tempura studio work
Lamar Dodd School of Art
Printed Matter
Jonathan LeVine Gallery
copyright thin ice press 2007
copyright bart plantenga 2007
copyright david sandlin 2007