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Matthew Dinaro | Electric Cereal

Author: Matthew Dinaro

Matthew Dinaro is a writer and musician living in Western Mass. He has been published by McSweeney's. He blogs at The Short Wave Mystery.


I should have known they were going to turn my hearing off. I hadn’t paid the bill in two months, and their emails had become more frequent and passively judgmental.

“You may want to consider the ramifications of losing one of your senses,” one of the last ones said. “The Somatic Revenue Service was established for precisely this purpose: each of our bodily abilities is a precious gift of quantifiable monetary value. Your refusal to pay your bill like your fellow citizens thus suggests a lamentable lack of self-worth, not to mention a barely disguised contempt for society. Should we be forced to terminate one of your senses we will not be responsible for any effects on your public or private life…”

They knew from my NeuroChip reports that I’d been to primary and secondary university and I still didn’t have a happy love life or a job fitting my abilities, at 37. I was reminded that most people are well-fit with partners and jobs by 30, and my inability to pay the bill was the price I paid for sloth.

“Until you pay your outstanding debts, you will be rendered deaf on Monday, March 10th at 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time. When you do pay, your hearing will be restored as soon as your credit card is processed. We hope you will find your deprivation a motivating experience.”

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Summer 09

Alex, somewhere on the shoreline,
Massachusetts, summer 2009,
driving, after much scotch,
hugging corners like lost lovers
with reckless self-abandon,

lost in his profound expectations,
lost in his lack of ambition
not committed enough to his
Christ complex
and feeling guilty for it,

riding along the ocean,
faster and much faster,
lynn shore drive,
the salt comes through the air vents,
this car is out of freon,

the wind is decidedly not
in his hair,
the wind decidedly not
at his back,
the sunset as of yet
to ride into,

Alex with his bad luck,
Alex with his shitty series
of temporary jobs—
he must wear a white shirt and tie
but is allowed a bit of stubble,
all day he reviews foreclosure documents
he pours over records of sadness,
of frustration,
and his heart grieves—

the foreclosure lawyer he works
for went to Burning Man,
he thinks this makes him alt—

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