Preface

for Holly Melgard

I’m an idiot
I’m a real idiot.
A dang ol’ idiot.
I’m the big dumb idiot.
The big hunk of stupid.
I’m the stupid idiot from the hated idiot warehouse.
From the idiot ditch.
I’m a giant idiot made of embarrassingly writhing idiot pieces.
A mulch of idiocy, wrapped into the shape of a human.
But it can’t hide how stupid I am.
A shape stupidly pummeled into existence.
A pathetic silted heap.
The gurgling dungeon of a billion moronic whims.
Swirling in vicious counsel with one another.
Wailing their songs that describe being a dumbass.
I am a dumbass.
I am the assembled dumbass.
Built out of all the dumbass things I think and do.
I am the dumbass piece of shit who cannot move their brain.
My brain sits in its wobbly home that is the stupid crap head of an imbecile.
A derivative machine belching nonsense.
My brain is a dimpled mess of leaks.
My brain sucks.
It will never not be a maligned crust atop my being.
I will forever be the dim fool it encases.
Listen.
Put your ear to my gurgling throat.
Listen to the addlepated murk it is a funnel for.
I need you to be its audience.
I need you to know how stupid I am.
I need you to believe in my worthless bullshit noises.
Their gargled spate.
The avalanche of croaks I hack up from the bungled cradle of my shitty imagination.
And the total stupidity of my character.
Believe it.
Believe you me.
I’m just a huge, stupid moron.
I’m a giant dumb idiot born from the primordial soup of dumbness.
Sloppy and covered in my own imagined filth.
I have the sloppiest head of brain-mush.
I’m a soppy mush beast of rancid judgement.
I’m the hole terrible ideas get thrown in.
A horrible hole-head of grotesque foolishness.
My mind is a bucket of turgid dregs.
It stews obtusely in my terrible skull.
The air in my head is recycled pablum.
My mind is abreast in refuse.
My mind plugs away at being bad.
A diligent bureaucrat of creating useless gibberish.
It sits around, sopping up ugly brain mud.
My mushy mind of waste.
It feasts on waste.
It wantonly designs more waste.
It pumps that waste out into the world.
It ejects constantly this wasted thought.
My wasteful thoughts of stupidity.
That spew from my mouth like a diarrhetic fountain.
Polluting the world with their tragic clumsiness.
Their staid sucking of goodness from the earth.
They subtract intelligence from the earth’s collective brain power.
The earth is hurt by my living.
By the life that gives my caustic brain access to the world.
The earth is made to suffer.
My brain weasels its way in.
It leaves a trail of havoc.
Its wake is a twisted path of terrorized innocents.
It is made so by the dearth of my cognizance.
My wanting brain, like a weight of dumb terror.
It is a mistake of nature that lets my brain exist.
And nature has paid dearly for that mistake.
All the world’s genius, no matter its deftness, is undone by my brain.
It is a pox upon thought.
My brain is a conspiracy against insight.
I can barely contain its hunger for embarrassment.
It overpowers my better judgement.
A better judgement which is itself suspect.
Because, while somehow determined to be contrary to my general thoughts.
A check against my worst impulses.
It is still, and forever, a part of me.
And therefore stupid.
Which is probably why it does so little.
To protect me from myself.
I stumble into danger constantly.
I stumble into morbid, shameful circumstances.
My accidental catastrophes are a plague upon the living.
Disaster careens out from my uneasy gait.
I am a stumbling bringer of mortification.
I’m the sloppy brain polluter.
I’m the moron from the pits.
My head-pit full of dung.
Awash in the void within my skull.
My skull is where the universe dumps moronic nonsense.
It is a universal toilet for misstatements.
It is where I must marinate in the catastrophe of my horrible imagination.
My imagination is a refuse-strewn corpse of thinking.
It is a rodent’s graveyard of thought.
I’ll just come out and say it.
I’m a fool.
I’m a stupid fool.
I’m a goddamn idiot.
I’m a stupid piece of shit fucking moron.
Goddamn fucking stupid-ass piece of shit.
I’m very serious.
To me, it is not a game.
I’m not joking.
I’m not playing this for laughs.
I’m not out here, making this stuff up.
Hoping to elicit some mirthful response.
Some joyful chuckle, validating my cleverness.
Proving how adept I am at bringing a sunny lightheartedness to our conversation.
How the banalities of our minor banter might become elevated in the cup of my wit.
How I surprise and delight.
How I engage and enrich.
How those who would lend an ear to my speech might find in it some truthful self-reflection.
Borne atop the gusts of my humorous self-ridicule.
My self-skewering observations.
That, like the embrace of an old friend, secure us in a sense of humanity shared.
An understanding that proves us to each other.
Well, not this time, buddy.
What’s really going on is that I’m ridiculously shitty at being smart.
I’m a pile of horse-eaten crud left to dry on the perpetual underside of the lives of geniuses.
The shadow of their actual smart behavior.
Its inverse twin, as far from it as the moon is from the bottom of the sea.
I sit there in the dark and twiddle away my life in the despair of being a thudding shithead.
I’ve got a brain of dry, dead grass.
I’ve got a brain of weak kindling.
My brittle twig brain.
My brain of dusty sediment.
I’ve got a brain full of dead mice.
A little mouse haven of death that is Hell for smart things.
The dumb dead mice exist in the space where my thoughts should be.
They mock me in their lifelessness.
Death props their bodies against my horrible head.
They give me nothing but brain-wasting silence.
Rodent shit exists in the space of my brain where normal people think.
Dense and trembling.
Sometimes I wish I weren’t so dumb.
But there’s nothing to be done.
So mostly I just accept it.
I accept that children call me “the fool with a mind like shit.”
That they think of me as a weak imbecile.
They gnash their teeth and scream at me.
They poke at me with their strong, willful fingers.
They rummage through my bag.
Through my pants.
Their hands jabbing into my pockets
They steal my food.
They steal the rag-like ribbons of cloth I call my clothes.
Tearing them from my spindly frame like dry bark from a twig.
They run laughing into the night.
Flinging the clothes in the air as they go.
Flinging them into puddles.
And there’s nothing I can do.
I’m too stupid to resist.
I can’t challenge them in any way.
They have outfoxed me at every angle.
They see the feral ether of my constant failure.
How I’m just a dumb lunkhead.
How I’m a graven load of imprecision.
A skewered meat lump.
How I’m a ponderous sack of pestilent worry.
I stuff my sack head with dirt that makes me stupid.
I consume the exhaust of wrongheaded babble.
I wolf it down like greasy eggs.
I use it to fuel my own rambling snot mentality.
Such is the pitched depravity of my lackluster intellect.
It makes me a target.
It makes me ripe for exploitation and abuse.
My body a rancid meaty receptacle for craven blunders.
It is a pathetic embarrassment.
I am a mocked travesty.
I am a malfunctioning dongle.
I’m a real bump of crud.
A seeping patch.
A rollicking piddle of deranged jargon.
I’m a clod-thinking louse.
I’m a drool-brain.
I’m drooling all over the dinner table.
In the style of an oaf.
A crappy oaf.
Me, ruiner of meals.
I am the ruiner of tables.
I drape my mess of a mouth on their slick surface.
I let the ravaged excess inside me dribble out of the holes in my skull.
My big mouth hole.
My corrosive maw.
My imagination is like a pustule.
Oozing from my fetid tongue.
My botched mouth.
The deficient orifice reeking loss.
Like the bankrupt yawn my intelligence is constantly awash in.
Washing in that sleepy dirge.
Salivating at the idea of letting rip another dumbfuck comment.
Drool defines my way of life, my being.
A slovenly bundle.
I have no more sense.
I blew it all on trying to think of more stupid bullshit to eke out.
From the fallow wastes where my minuscule brain cells try to grow cool thinks to talk about.
They fail of course.
They are all lost to their failure.
Awash in the agony of disuse.
Withering into sodden decomposing husks.
Crushed by the overwhelming, inevitable fact of how fucking stupid I am.
How stupid we are together.
Together we know that we are both dumb as an iguana’s freshly left shit.
I stare into my own brain and see only these piles of fresh shit.
Now my wits are shot.
They’re like break pads worn down to a nub.
They are incapable of decelerating the full-throttle tumbling on of crap my mind invents.
It is as if my mind is my enemy.
I can’t trust it.
It betrays me at every moment.
It’s like a malfunctioning blender.
A jagged mockery of purposeful use.
The only use it has for me is to make my life worse.
Because of all the ridiculous babble it hoists on me.
All of the vicious games it plays with my trust.
I open my mouth imagining it will send some delightful quip through my throat.
Some anointed observation, elegant and true.
And instead it embarrasses me.
It croaks out a cracked yelp.
A dud.
A palpably wrong assessment of the most obvious sort.
It echoes amongst the civitates.
It rampages through the halls of the proudly smart.
And the usually thoughtful.
And even the middlingly thoughtful.
It exists as a warning to all.
The people fear it.
And if they don’t yet, they soon will.
That screech of my failure.
The waking nightmare that my constant dithering has become.
My uselessness.
My total ignorance of how to think.
They don’t “fear it” in the sense they would a despot.
Or legendary beast or impending natural disaster.
They “fear it” like they fear a mistimed bowel movement.
Or an unnoticed massive rip in the crotch of one’s jeans.
Such is my stature in the thinking community.
It is a mortifying lapse.
My dumb vacant face.
My plunking cluttered voice.
My grasping thoughts.
My gnarled speech.
It is a weed, or an invasive insect.
It is a blight.
A sinkhole of tar.
A stain upon the world of competency.
It is like a bag of packed organs left out in the sun.
I am an awful stuffed bag of festering organ product.
I am as smart as the inflated dead bladder of a cretin.
I am as smart as a dead bag of piss.
Oh, yes.
I am certainly a dunderhead.
I am certainly a wrecked gob.
I am most certainly that.
I’m the bearer of the terrible brain.
This is my burden.
To obey the repugnant theses of my torrid pudding head.
I have to think like a jug, for all eternity.
The moronic glug of my thoughts.
Here is an example.
Let me tell you a story.
Here’s something that happened to me because I was so stupid.
This one time, in a fit of stupidity, I went to stick a hand in my brain.
And all I found was a thick sludge of babbling trash.

 


JOSEF KAPLAN is the author of Poem Without Suffering (Wonder, 2015), Kill List (Cars are Real, 2013), and Democracy Is Not for the People (Truck Books, 2012). A new book, Loser, is forthcoming from Make Now in 2020. He lives in Philadelphia.