May 12th, 2011 / 11:16 pm

Boyfriend pillow

Be careful in the cache of artistic enterprise, you just might trip over something, which is not what artist Robert Gober, his surrogate-phallic foot pictured left, was thinking, or maybe it was, or maybe thinking is our way of running away from the void, which, in better days, was known as truth, before the post-fuckturalists got to it; or maybe we’re near the end of something, the one unknowable something that we know currently, the one where a search query for boyfriend pillow yields a pillow with a bisected fisting hole, because falling asleep alone or beside someone has never been so complicated, with our television-seared synapses and tiny odes to nature in loops of waterfalls and forest rain inside white noise sleep machines plugged into a wall with an alien black cord to teach us the forgotten narrative of who we were. SkyMall is mankind’s way of saying we’d rather look at shit conceived by schizophrenics than learn, via a group of racially diverse cartoons calmly dying, how to stay alive a little longer before the plane crashes. And of course you can’t say “plane crashes” in today’s cultural environment without invoking that historical moment comprised of  a hundred frozen moments from different angles whose aggregate faux 360º view is stricken in the minds of all, the number of the perished paltry compared to what god did on his better days.

Evolution is a messy thing. It seems the better at life we become, the more obscene we look. “Toe shoes” may point to an end of human civilization, where consumerist ennui kind of took hold of us, lobotomized us with a spork. Every other New Yorker has a cartoon of a fish with legs crawling out of water on to land, a nod to the snarky Darwinian appropriation of the Christian Ichthys symbol. Atheists love arguing about God, which is not a good start. Of the many things Magritte got right, this is not a life. When our heirs discover us buried in nuclear ash, may they come across toe shoes. May they understand our sadness, how lost we became along the way. Go to a party and there’s that high-pitched voice talking about fun bullshit, often accompanied by aggressively inconsiderate perfume and a fruit-centric cocktail. Her perm costs more than your rent, and before you can grimace, before you can judge her $3,000 handbag, you realize she is humanity’s perfect mascot.

Funny how greek sculptures are missing something without their limbs missing. We expect it, deserve it. The amputation of time legitimizes its historicity. Never thought I would use the word historicity so may this inaugurate my end, as in demise not my ass. Never thought I’d be the guy using asshole words on a personal essay disguised as an “article,” which is a euphemism for blog post because blogs are ugly like the first thing inside a mirror in the morning. My heart used to break at music videos with lonely waify girls in them, now it breaks at the face of a guy with his limbs blown off for war whose origin and end people like to argue about, removed from the chunk-meat-on-gravel verity of it all. Our postcard to god is scrawled by a retard who forgot to place a stamp on it, and the former’s invoice to us is overnight expressed with no signature required.

I’ve lost this war against myself, the war against the apparition of somebody I know, the phantom metronome of her pulse, sleeping on the floor next to her bed waiting though she wouldn’t come back that night, her at her boyfriend’s house, excavating love somehow from his arms, after my dad buried hers with a knife that night, us on the street in our pajamas, which might make for a good music video or memoir, but record and book deals are like a bowl without soup: it’s worthless without something warm inside. Everyone needs a boyfriend pillow, especially boys. My mom never replaced him — not my dad or her dad in particular, but the idea of someone. I didn’t know I was trying to be him for her, until my therapist said I was a codependent fuck, so placed a hundred dollar bill next to the tissue box on the side table and said don’t call me I’ll call you. I remember drinking Cognac from a paper bag on my way home that night, wondering if the scene made me hip. Here’s the thing about being hip: you still kneed your legs to walk straight. May this end, please, with the sound of birds the next morning — each call an homage to tiny mortal things, in a tree in real life outside your imagined window, or simply inside the kindness of a sleep machine that I saw and bought in a plane when I thought I might die.


  1. Eric Beeny

       Brilliant. Jimmy Chen.

  2. Eric Beeny

       Brilliant. Jimmy Chen.

  3. Sean
  4. DJ Berndt

      Jimmy Chen, you have this ability to make me want to hug a bro via the internet. Is there any way we can hug over the internet?

  5. Jimmy Chen

      ====  .   .   ==== [extended arms accentuated with nipples]

  6. DJ Berndt

      _     _
      |       |
        (  )  

      [bird’s-eye view of internet user extending arms in “hug” formation]

  7. Anonymous

      Did you watch a sad “Wonder Years” episode or something?

  8. DiTrapano

      I thought these were eyes with teenie nostrils.  

      Great piece Jimmy

  9. Brian McElmurry

      Does codependence block the artistic process? Lost in the emotions of another so that you can’t feel your own? Is the answer loneliness and art, or sex, tv and the occasional arguements because you’re a moody fuck and just want to be alone with your thoughts? Can the two exist? Can love flourish in a Freudian world where our lovers are like our moms and sooth us, and need to be treated like a dirty girl and a princess–who wants to go “do something” this weekend and you just want to sit and write and listen to the silence of the cars passing and a clock ticking? I feel obese comment anxiety. Sorry. Codepence interests me, I’ve been afflicted before.

  10. Guestagain

      I truly appreciate all this, but I’d take the girl out, or someone else will, ya know? 

  11. Brian McElmurry

       Yeah totally. There is balance.

  12. Anonymous

  13. Anonymous

      sometimes i avoid romantic situations because i am afraid happiness won’t let me write as much

  14. Anonymous

  15. Anonymous