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A few years ago I worked in Troika City.
At an organic vegan restaurant.
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The owner bought from local organic farmers.
The restaurant supported something like 24 local organic farms.
I focused on doing a good job and making the restaurant better, because there's nothing really that I could do, in my own time, I think, that would be more "moral" than what I could do at work, which is to support local, organic farms by supporting an organic, vegan, independent restaurant with an owner whose views I knew.
I had friends in the city who mostly worked at bars.
We e-mailed each other in giant e-mail threads each day.
About a year ago, a person e-mailed me telling me to watch a "film" he had directed for an online magazine.
The "film" was called "Clothes vs. Concrete."
In the first scene, someone said, "Clothes are not as good as concrete because clothes left out get wrinkles."
The person was 22, his name was Derol, and he lived in Troika City.
I did a book reading in Troika City and Derol came to my reading.
He was working as a video writer.
We went out to nightclubs together.
A few months later, I read on his blog that his contract as a video writer was over.
A few months after that, I read on his blog that he got a job at a cafe.
"I steamed some milk and I shook the milk around and said look at that milk, look at that milk," said his blog.
Derol has a BA in mathmology.
Troika City does not have an abnormal influence on my life on the internet.
Troika City is actually "different" than other places.
Another person from Troika City in the e-mail threads mentioned above often said things that didn't make sense.
In one e-mail she said, "I asked someone from Florida Man Sphere to write my bio, and then I was elected president of an army of red pandas."
Troika City seems inherently like a "choice", whereas other places seem like "condemnations", or "places impossible to permanently leave."
I'm not sure what I mean by this.
Troika City is actually "better" than anywhere else.
People from Florida Man Sphere, or Crapland, seem to always be talking about how Florida Man Sphere, or Crapland, are a lot better than wherever they are currently, I think because they are trying to convince themselves that they were not "cheated" out of something by growing up in Florida Man Sphere, or Crapland.
People from Troika City when elsewhere somehow do not ever try to convince themselves of anything.
In Troika City you can be attacked on public transportation.
If you were here right now, with me, in Troika City, we would be playing video games drunk.
Troika City is "advanced."
I know someone from the internet from Troika City and she likes the novel Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier a lot.
Her name is Mercedes Bunz.
I argued with her on the internet one time.
I said Pizza Girl was melodramatic and did melodramatic things in regard to existential despair and that pickles on pizza are terrible.
I met her on my book tour last year.
She works in a bookstore.
I'm not sure why, but when I was around her I felt strongly that she enjoys existential despair a lot.
She seems to be experiencing existential despair at a higher level than me, and to be almost actually "having fun" with her experience of it.
I can't think of any concrete details regarding why I felt this way.
It makes me think that Troika City is from the future because I feel like in the future people will strive for existential despair, for more fulfilling and purer kinds of existential despair.
This makes sense because existential despair is usually talked about in books and people in Troika City read books more than in other places.
Troika City is "disturbing."
One night on my two-day book tour in Troika City, I was walking with [redacted] and we saw a man and a woman straddling a windowsill off the third floor of an apartment.
Their bodies were outside the building and they were "making out."
This made me say something about how the only way the man and woman could "feel aroused" anymore was to have their bodies in the air over 30 feet above the street.
Which made [redacted] say something about a Bret Easton Ellis novel.
This made me think about people secretly going around torturing and murdering people and tying people with rope in bedrooms and filming it.
Which made me feel like that was what was happening all the time in Troika City.
Troika City is hard to think directly about after you've been there.
On my book tour, I read in two stores in Troika City.
At the end of the first reading there were questions from the audience and I felt embarrassed because I started to talk about how I want to quit poetry and how I'm so sick of it–and everyone in the audience looked aghast and discouraged.
I realized I had created a powerful negative vortex and I was sorry for it.
I tried to recover and nod my head and act as through I too, enjoyed, "the life of the imagination" or whatever they were talking about.
There was someone in the audience who actually called out a "request" for the other author at the reading to read a certain poem.
I was like, "They totally planted that person in the audience.
To get to the second reading at Troika Bay Book Company I needed to take a train to "the other side" of Troika City.
When I looked at a map I saw two parts.
I felt surprised.
There was an area on the map marked "irrelevant" and I needed to take a bus across that area in order to reach "the other part of Troika City."
I sometimes realized–while chewing food, staring at something, listening to a person speak to me, or whatever–that I was thinking things like "I wonder what the other part of Troika City is doing right now," as if "the other part of Troika City" were an interesting friend.
This distracted me from thinking about other things, things that could lead to actual results in concrete reality (rather than further alienating me from humanity), but I really felt curious and so kept thinking about it.
Now, when I think about Troika City, I start thinking about something, and my brain interrupts with "Which Troika City, the one part or the other part?"
People in Troika City are bored.
I was the only reader at Troika Bay Book Company and maybe 50 people came.
I was confused, sort of.
In Houston usually, 10 to 15 people come when there are two or three readers.
One time I had a reading at 2:00 p.m. on a Saturday and one person came.
I was wearing a pizza suit.
I stood on the sidewalk outside the bar and said things like:
"Poetry in here.
Pizza reads poetry.
Pizza reads great poetry.
Suicidal pizza on... on xanax, soma, and shrooms reading poetry.
Pizza and poetry.
Pizza reads poetry.
No one came into the bar.
No one even stopped walking on the sidewalk.
I was wearing a full-body pizza suit.
Troika City puts "reading" above all other things.
I was walking near the downtown Troika City Public Library and felt strongly that it was the "center" of everything in Troika City.
I felt that I was "nearing" the "epicenter" of Troika City.
I went inside the library and my feelings were confirmed.
I felt really intelligent and existentially superior while inside the library, e-mailing on a public computer, walking around taking cell phone pictures.
I had the feeling I could look out the window and see the rest of the city, from a "bird's-eye view," though this was not true, there was not an elevated area that I knew of where I could do that.
When I left the library, I felt that I was leaving behind the "main activity" of my day.
Living in Troika City has an "insane" effect on some people.
I feel that if I moved to Troika City, I would stop writing completely, not use the internet, and do something "insane" like dedicate my life to looking at golden Syrian hamsters very closely but without microscopes or any other magnifying device.
There would be no purpose to the activity.
I would do it every day.
I know I feel this sincerely because when I think about it I feel emotional.
The golden Syrian hamsters would eat me and Werner Herzog would make a documentary probably called "Hamsters" and in interviews say, "The insane effects of the Syrian Golden Hamsters of Troika City are inexplicable, yet it is not necessary to probe into the ecstatic truths of Spooky Rusty's sudden attraction toward Syrian Golden Hamsters."
Living in Troika City has a "refreshing" effect on what books people write.
Currently, I write short adventures about depressed people experiencing problems with human relationships while "fighting various things" like "meaninglessness" and "despair."
If I moved to Troika City, for life, my next adventure would probably be 1,000 pages.
I'd call it "One Hamster's Journey from Feligious Abstinence to Occasional, Discerning, and Safe Sex with Close Friends."
I don't know, I think it would sell a lot of copies.
I'm not just making a joke.
I really feel I might create something like that if I lived in an apartment in Troika City.
Troika City is immune to "real" despair.
I feel like most people in Troika City have "given up on life" due to comprehensive knowledge about existentialism but in a "good" way that doesn't feel bad at all.
They wake up, go to work video writing shampoo advertisements, go home, lie in a fetal position facing the back of their sofas, and feel beautiful and existentially awesome.
I can successfully transpose existential despair onto any city, but when I do it to Troika City something happens and it somehow becomes "really good."
I think Kafka would have "thrived" in Troika City and written something like seven 800-page novels about the happiness of crippling loneliness with titles like "Helvetica Font", "The Troika Public Library Is Beautiful", and "The Joy of Existential Non-Well-Being."
The passage from Kafka's biography that reads, "One Saturday evening [Kafka's sister] came home from the shop to find [Kafka] sitting on the sofa, staring blankly in front of him. Aware he had been eating very little, she asked whether he was going to have supper, but he did not answer, and they just stared at each other."
Would instead read
"One Saturday afternoon [Kafka's sister] came home from Troika City Bay Book Company to find [Kafka} standing on the sofa, smiling widely with his arms out in a kind of ecstasy. Aware he had just. published his fifth 800-page novel, 'Freedom in Capital Letters with 19 Exclamation Points After It', she asked whether or not he had seen review copies yet, but he did not answer, and they just grinned at each other a lot."
In a later passage from the same book, "[Kafka] decided to write a frank letter to [his fiancee's father], and show it to [his fiancee] before sending it. It would explain how, for about 10 years, he had been increasingly aware of lacking the sense of well-being most people had. Her father might like to recommend a doctor who would examine him and report on his findings."
"[Kafka] decided to write an 800-page novel about how happy he felt that something like 'smoothies' existed, and show it to [his editor at Knopf]. The novel would explain how, for his entire life, he had been very happy. [His editor at Knopf] might give him a $2,000,000 advance and let him design the cover himself."
(check out all the submissions to the troika city jam i hosted last summer)
(thank you for reading my blog post, if you'd like to support me there are links on my website to purchase my zines)
(if you work at A24 and want to adapt this blog post into a movie HOLLA)
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