Machine Stalker by Ray Ogar

>>> COPYRIGHT 2000

in tracking him down i have had to succumb to many
types of men.
they each entangle me with their
own brand of wet technologies.
at first i tried to hide in the abandoned long houses of
the white northwest but eventually found i am
too simply a warm target for newly migrating
surveillance devices.
i don’t know how to hack,
nor how to change my own background information.
i usually leave densely encrypted emails to myself
that i’ll never decode and
currently i have been leaving a credit card trail several
thousands of dollars thick.
i look at the receipts,
having purchased self pleasuring devices or
new thoughts in the form of books,
they are laced with 12 point and 8 point fonts,
except the laser jet print disappears too easily in light.
i figure the irs can make up what they think i spend,
what they think i owe.
it’s tedious.
sometimes i leave myself phone messages just to
hear another voice talk.
soon though, i get over my boredom and i find
pieces of him littered in the sex shops,
sometimes a gutted condom where the machines
burst from inside him,
maybe where the code decided to
take a chance on a warmer depth deep in his skin.
i see the odd pieces of paper he leaves me,
some folded a thousand times like little puzzles.
he knows i have an obsession to solve things—in this
case these folded toys are pure equations,
rather they are mathematical formulae that reveal themselves and
their solutions if you fold the paper correctly,
unfold it correctly,
refold it correctly.
they are also clues to his whereabouts,
and to what bank account you can use to track him.
the last puzzle was a set of diagrams,
they looked like folded glass windows,
but they were just some cheap transparencies with laser print on them.
finger caress.
and the solution was a schematic for a biological warhead,
in this case some breathable virus that he has inserted in himself
and into many other young men around the country.

some nights i’ve watched the paint shrink on the walls of
hotel rooms.
listening to the ac act on the paints and varnishes
laid so thick about the walls and ceiling.
i think he’s slowing down.
anymore his clues are too obvious.
he’s tiring.
the most recent phone trace places him in a communist lounge
called massiv; it’s just outside of oklahoma city.
you choose which one i’m talking about.
so i rummage through the city,
no rubble now,
just excellently redirected downtown traffic flows.
just perfectly executed government safe zones.
i find club massiv lying shrill
under a geologically retarded fault.
it’s a story or two below ground.
i move deeper into the joint.
there i find an unconscious young man in the closest bathroom stall,
tight deposits of machine are left around his mouth, hands and ass.
106 107 is written in black marker on his forehead— i have one
more to find and for some reason i feel i will be 107 of 107.
for kicks i start to search my own body,
paranoid that the mark has already been laid into me by
one of the last ten or so men that used me.
i turn in the rest room.
i leave the kid comfortably unconscious,
knowing he’ll find a way to dispose of himself in several months.
that is, if not tomorrow when he wakes.
so i leave.
i leave all the buildings behind.
and remove myself from the dense hole that was the club.
and yet the buildings all seem to reorient on me.
i shrink under their sulking and pouting,
they hurt me most when the sun reflects off each window.
now 10 thousand versions of the sun aggravating my body,
forcing me to skirt my own shadow.
and i fear i may have his disease of machines
in me at this moment.
should i just walk to some other point of heat and motion?
should i ignore the daytime star overhead and actually think
about the dark room that my spawned ego inhabits—
maybe the equipment that surrounds him?
how he built himself up from a young man,
he’s was a dj,
wants to be a dj
except now he samples life
and spins that into a different sickness.
a different type design.
that is this younger clone of me that i always stalk.
he uses people like records.
record a fragment,
take it in,
fuck it back in a slightly different way.
a physical meme perhaps.
did i do this?
when i first met him i carefully watched him.
i was younger then.
now though i could never understand the talk or
language he speaks so directly to others.
with the machine inside him.
with his ability to reconfigure.
he’s become efficient in his own world
and he’s pressing that world into others.
so i stalk him and
try to attend to him in other ways.
cleaning up the mess he makes.
and sex
and violence.
i pursue him like so many points of gravity thick under his feet.
as i’ve watched
and gathered statistics
and printouts,
i’ve seen how money seems to show up around him.
he seems to win small lottery awards once or twice a week.
that is so he’s said to me in one or two of the
puzzles he’s left behind.
some nights i am not the only person that pursues him.
i have found bullet holes or blunt marks across walls
where he has hung out.
these are special locations where maybe he dumped machine
into another and got caught.
at least temporarily.
and he flees.
i think it’s all a pose with other renters to make his money.
i’ve closed in on him once before,
but all the flaws and faults he’s now corrected in himself
i seem to have taken on.
i pursue him and
somehow my own genetic programming
and my own genetic material erupts with that machine like cancer
he spreads so easily.
i think i give him that power though.

i webbed in this morning and found
him on the internet.
choose your favorite
i cried but downloaded everything.
showing himself off like a trade.
but i had to get new data.
place this part there.
how do i move to this point?
and then i get an email from him.
he cons me into meeting him at some place called the orbit room.
he explains that he’ll be throwing his own brand of vinyl at 2am.
i grin and think it’s just a ruse to get me there.
to spill machine.
to show off his last act.
to leave his last trace.
107 107.

i wind up leaving the club,
he left no victim behind.
or he never showed.
i walk west,
into the metal towers and the glass that cage the city.
in my mind hundreds of windows blow into the streets,
and they all just wriggle and flail like crystal beasts.
they all seem to grab for me,
trying to throw me back to the orbit room.
i sigh.
and sense he’s spilled machine everywhere.
and i itch.
he is on his own for the moment.
i disengage.
i leave him.
go away.
and i walk.
falling into the tunnels that thrash under the city like
the sputtering heads of a read/write moment.
i make my way through to a parking garage.
i watch skater punks,
each one a reiterative clone of the other.
i skitter as their wallet chains drag on the ground,
sparks—their billowing curtain pants perfectly glide
above each wheel deck.
and they move away like cotton flurries.
i sit and smoke a cigarette.
kind of fearful that the machine will rear up right here.
that he’s spilled something in a nearby puddle,
like maybe thousands of radiolarian assemblies,
each one waits to pounce and hack my genes.
a security guard putters by in a golf cart,
orange safety colors on his vest.
i walk back into the tunnels,
toss my cigarette.

4 am and i make it to my fortress on the west side.
elevator and now at the top of the gutted high-rise,
top floor and i walk to sit on the ledge,
i wait for the sun to rise through the building across the way,
to pierce the black metal and plexiglas and bring its
hulk into xray so i can see each worker and each office.
i doze and he seems to appear out of no where and he’s mad.
he collects around me like an abstract blackness.
for a moment he’s just a voice and
i could be hallucinating that he’s everywhere.
“you’ve found me,” he just states it as if it mattered.
“ages ago,” i can’t make eye contact, “did you ever complete
your last infection?”
“that won’t work,” he reaches over and awkwardly digs into my
pants pocket and retrieves my cigarette box,
a small torch seems to light under his face.
"will it ever end?" i grow tense but can’t calm myself.
“what?” he shrugs, “i have one more to infect,
anything more would be giving in to overt sexual urge.”
“that’s what you want though,” i panic.
“let me be the fool,” he curls his lips.
i could end it now.
but i’d only wind up killing myself because i
fear this is just not real-time.
i breathe almost too deeply and officially understand
he is not here.
i’ve simply missed an entry in his last post to me.
maybe i never got the correct puzzle piece?
i sit and watch the building across the way.
the sun never rises.
later i find that the news says its because of the fires and
smoke from mexico.
and for some reason i know he’s there.
the fires are his fault.
so i just hang around the city and
it’s weeks before the sun rises.
i give myself another week to decide if i’ll continue
the stalk.