Mar 1, 2010

HIRD CHAPTER: Tentacles


There is a region of ultimate alternatives, which ends in the simultaneous temptation of sainthood and of crime. Why is it that humanity produced more criminals than saints? If man really looked for happiness as insistently as they say, why is it that he chooses with such violent passion the downwards paths? Man respects happiness and goodness more, but is even more attracted to unhappiness and evil. Three quarters of humanity could have become sacred, if it wanted. But one cannot know, alas, who revealed it to people that there is no other life than the one in hell…

Only hatred strengthens life, and destructive hatred maintains constructive life. In it we feel strong, able to kick up everything; in it all of our limbs burn; hatred calls us to action, it encourages us to make a gesture and act. This is not the interested hatred, provoked by mean causes and oriented towards an immediate act of revenge, but the grand passionate hatred, under which everything trembles. Hatred is the main spring of prophecy; hatred makes every prophet talk passionately about love. Prophecy is a hatred that is both destructive and creative. The Jews would have perished a long time ago if they hadnʼt the divine gift of hatred. To the chosen people God ensured eternity through hatred. To us, the Christians, God gave a transitory existence through the curse of love. Jesus came for the Jews, not for us. Their God sent us the great seducer. How inspired were the Jews when they refused the Messiah.
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
The strangest thing is that the crazy person sees themselves as innocent. The crazy person considers themselves a victim. But they misdirect and take revenge upon those they consider their victimizers. One Man killers are a symptom of capitalism. They can’t relate to other people because they have been alienated by the economic structure that has been turned into a religion and a social structure. Since there is no REAL alternate voice for the alienated, they end up being alone. When they are alone they start thinking strange thoughts and because they have no friends their thoughts get stranger and stranger. One of the reasons humans talk to each other is to see if our thoughts are strange. Or one of the reasons say Christians or racists only talk to each other is to make sure that their thoughts aren’t interrupted. But the crazy murderer is left alone, with their thoughts getting weirder and weirder. They can’t join a group because groups aren’t really allowed in America so they start to blame all of humanity. They don’t care who they kill because everyone is against them. They consider themselves one man guerilla armies fighting the social contract that keeps them alienated. But Cho killed himself knowing that his battle was useless, he could never destroy the social contract, it was too big and too strong."

In bed, you explain the parameters of love, or lack thereof
And then you kill me with your body and I am dead.
For a long time no one notices—I have always run cold
and own lots of sweaters. I bathe in civet, in cinnamon
like the poem says, to mask the scent of your own ill-doing.
You are charmed by this. We watch a lot of zombie movies.
I make you sandwiches, chill your glass with my hands.
Later, while you sleep, I explore the joys of being bloodless:
Rest a stethoscope against my breast to hear the un-beating,
Press my lips against a glass to see the non-fog,
Give comfort to the elderly, the terminally ill, the clairvoyant.
I let them know that death is not the problem, not the shadow
that has been following them. That, I explain, is something
they must deal with some other way. Don't blame Death, I tell them.
It's the media, it's all this warming. I hold up my hands, I smile—
I sing that Frank Sinatra song that everyone knows,
Something about a city, a shuffle-ball-change, who cares.
All his life he thought the worst things were the funniest things, and it didn't stop now with the possibility of the cancer of the esophagus. He could see himself on his deathbed, breathing through a hole in his neck. On the television movie, the father had a heart attack and almost died. In the back room, Cohen's twin baby daughters were sleeping. When the movie was over, Cohen told his wife: "Let's go in there. Let's look at them." They went into the back bedroom and looked at the twin babies. They were sleeping. Both of them wore a fierce scowl. Cohen touched their heads. He put his finger down in their palms, and their little fingers curled around his big finger in their sleep. He asked his wife if she would like to make love. She said she would. He said, "This time I'm really gonna mean it." She laughed, but this time he really meant it. Everything else in the whole world was a question mark.
Tuesday after Mess, I went down past the draw and watched them killing the poor
Grelich said, "I was supposed to be dead. They promised me I'd be dead." "That's right," Ritchie said. "I remember now. You sold your body to me. And I was supposed to have bare-bones possession of it." "But I am still in it. It's still my body." "I don't think so," Ritchie said. "Even if you are still in it, you sold it to me. It's my body now."
The young ones called each other out from their cells. Set to set, block to block, nation to nation. They called each other soldier. Six pop, five drop, nines and gats and gauges. Greetings and threats indistinguishable in the voices of monster children.
What if evolution was decided by committee and revolution by mere chance? What if man was a subspecies? What if man, as a subspecies, was woman, with tiny red wings on her thighs and pasted shut eyes? What if she flew in the sky or slept on the moon, and what if the earth was a saltless water world filled with forgetful, vengeful two-headed mermen? Welcome to THE EVOLUTIONARY REVOLUTION, a fabulist story of sense-making for the 21st century. In this twinning tale of freak shows and prophets, tract homes and impending doom, award-winning author Lily Hoang collapses time and narrative into a brilliant novel of beginnings and ends, where sentences undo each other and opposites don’t cancel each other out. As Anna Joy Springer notes in the book’s introduction, “In literature, as sometimes in life, it’s a scary kind of fun to be manipulated by a pretty girl, who changes the game on a whim.”
Question: “If you had to think of a motion you’ve made more than any other in your whole life, what would it be?”
Response: “I don’t want to be a motion.”
Fear mongering. Monster burgers. Mongrel dogs that chew apart school girls on reservations. Little old ladies at the grocery store with cartoon pictures of heaven. Please don’t hurry. A blue jay cracking into the picture window. Days when everything breaks. American Idol. Big Brother. Anytime: loud chewing & slurping. Chomping of chewing gum. The cottage cheese-like paint on the wall. Why the cat stares at it. The right answer, without questioning it. Sweating like Billy Graham. Sweating like Paul Bunyan. Bagels on a bike ride through the desert. Unstoppable bleeding. Firestorms. Storm windows in the attic to someone else’s house. Testicles hanging from truck bumpers. A gift of these truck nuts. The edge of a sticky seat. The smell of whatever was sticky and is now on your hand. Tailless foxes. Foxes born without sight. Dripping faucets. Television news. How very cute. Cow yards. First I sprained my ankle, then my nutsack ripped open. Non-intuitive plumbing. Newspaper photos of Rick Perry, Dick Cheney & the obese with black rectangles over their eyes. Hornworms. Unicorn horns. Where all my powdered rhinoceros horn vanished to. The need for significance. Clitorectomies. Poor drainage without signage. Parasites, vanishing ozone, unhinged shower handles & drought. Factoids. Hemorrhoids. Bad metaphors, extended through the night. Poorly rendered maps. Use of the word “compass” when not referring to navigation. Sheep, who through evolution have outsourced their care to the shepherd. Outsourced everything. Firefighters paid to protect only what an insurance company tells them to. Advertisements camouflaged as news articles. News articles pretending to be objective. Being interrupted by, That’s just Satan talking. Palpitations. Itchy ankles. Without knowing what they are doing, almost everyone. The time between once in a lifetime & might cause irritable bowels. A finger stuck in the net of a basketball hoop. Complex problems addressed by simplicity. Tim McCarver. The average person claiming they have no power. The powerful person who pretends. Biting into a used condom hidden in the refried beans of a burrito. Soggy-bottomed lettuce. Diagrams comparing noses to lassos. A mouth unburdened by brain. Peer to peer. Old money communities that don’t allow people to take still-usable items from their trash. Continuing overpopulation without any thought of cannibalism. Metallica & Beastie Boys mashups. The absence of a one-armed pitcher in major league baseball. Suction-cupped car window signs. Mattresses that somersault out of pickups. Babies on ladders. Stubbed toes. Toe jam. Jimmy Jam not sending me a birthday gift. Paralyzation resulting from the thought of change. Baseball players that can’t lay down a bunt. The unimaginative; who can’t picture themselves with wings or an entire city inside them. Those who say reading is boring. Static electricity generated from shag carpet. Yucca Mountain. What might have happened to my first girlfriend, whose mother was a Vegas show girl. Humans in gopher suits wearing derbies without wielding a cane. The unfeeling. Powerpoint presentations that last more than five minutes. Walk-in cigar humidors in private homes. Not the regrettable behavior, but not admitting to it. Singing dolphins & squeaky people. A flying squirrel in a slow motion film about sexually transmitted infections. Whatever’s fucking with the mulch pile. The seven hundred habits of highly successful & people. The “informed” citizen who refuses to vote. The successful person who does not realize they’re an asshole. Falling down. Felt sombreros. Fast melting popsicles, especially banana.


It’s 3000, and everyone is scrambling to live on the last part of the North American continent that’s not submerged underwater: New York State. Kirsten and her family are at the head of the pioneer trail, but they’ve got a lot of obstacles to endure along the way: Guatemalan pirates who, having lost all semblance of humanity after their food supply ran out, now resort to devouring all but the eyes and teeth of the men in any traveling party while leaving the women and children to die in the climatologically bizarre SuperCold; a rabid wolf whose disturbing image mysteriously travels the world, haunting the remaining members of the human race by reminding them of their hubris; a motorcycle gang of inveterate rapists who try to seduce Kirsten’s mother and then encourage Kirsten’s whole family to live on their “famine-resistant” commune; and Kirsten’s emaciated and raving grandfather, whom the family took for dead 25 years ago. It’s up to Kirsten to be brave and discover the true meaning of home while avoiding the deadly strain of a rapidly spreading virus.

On many days, as on that morning, the iron drainage ducts in the corners of the room were so clogged with coagulated plasma, feces and scorched feathers, that the entire 16’ x 25’ floorspace was backed up in a shin-deep lake of gore. The six cleaving altars, three to either side of the overhead belt, rose from the murk like stilted oil wells. The walls were permanently stained a deeper shade of crimson from floor to ceiling, and could even be peeled from it in brittle, semi-transparent layers which, according to wetback lore, were highly hallucinogenic when orally ingested. Regardless of the two high-powered ventilation shafts set back in each wall, the overwhelming stench of bloodshed was almost unbearable.
It’s not just my salad. I have a Bavarian ceramacist living in the basement and he grows such a flower garden: begonias, fuschia, phlox; with wild Queen Anne’s Lace and Black-eyed Susans he permits to overrun his colonials; and expansive, ambitious mint. He wears shorts in all weather, grey wool socks, hiking boots dried in cocoons of at least four kinds of mud. When I say “living in the basement,” he sounds like a minotaur, or at least a house troll. If you saw him silhouetted against the flames of his backyard kiln, sleeping in shifts to keep the fire fed, you might take him for a streamlined demon. He makes speckled, salted hanging pots for the plants, he cuts leather shoestrings for his boots, and he fires terrifying sculptures of cantilevered clay: pristine tea-bowls emerging from craggy, unfinished cliffs dripping with the remains of their melted iron skeletons and seared by the smoke of starved flames sucking the clay for oxygen. He is the master of the domestic, and then the elemental.
The alternate form (or allomorph) of any story is an animal. Any time you see an animal, be aware of narrative.
I have hit upon a plan whereby I can print my book with the merest infinitesimal damage to the Mississippi and other patriotic streams. It is this. I shall have but one copy printed. This, in a strong box, hermetically sealed, shall be addressed to you. I shall hand it to my eldest son, and he to his; and so it will travel down the stream of time till it reach you; which strikes me as a neat, inexpensive, and effectual way of reaching that goal of all authors, posterity. From father to son, and from grandson to great-grandson.
Provided, of course, they shall all have the courage (as I intend to have) to get married. If not—or what is to become of the book, should there be twins?—but I leave these details to take care of themselves. One of them might not live, for example.
On second thoughts, though, it might be as well to have two copies struck off; yes, and while we are at it, a dozen extra ones, for private distribution among my friends…
…Every speech, every speech’s truth,/ is sleeping.
Write each of your poems,/ tersely, mercilessly,/ with blood--as if it were your last.
Every word is a doorway/ to a meeting, one often cancelled,/ and that’s when a word is true: when it insists on the meeting.
Lord let me suffer much/ and then die.
Let’s see you find the world now.
…my body is an endless eye/ through which, unfortunately, I see everything.
It is time the stone made an effort to flower.
The joy of writing./ A chance to make things stay./ A revenge of a mortal hand.
Gold has so many meanings.–Félix de Azúa.
"Converted into priests of that religion"
naked, splashed with different kinds of baptismal mud,
tasting the white flower of women's flesh
to break the barrier of prohibition,
at the edge of light,
we advanced through these unreal streets, still smoking,
throbbing embers of traffic lights and hazy
fires,
stars,
scattered gold teeth,
and fear;
there may have been survivors,
undead
multiplying through the shattered windows,
on the blinding carpet of broken glass from
the pavement,
we had to advance in groups of three, of five,
repeating slogans and litanies
to stay sane
through the labyrinths of desire
and death:
a dark crypt, a movie theater, a secret prison or abyss
were opening jaws
and at the pit of the caver
a glow from a movie theater; shapes, bodies, movement or
its illusion,
the creatures of the night looted a supermarket
before the prohibition
like in Ginsberg's poem,
jars, bottles, fruit
spattered the walls like ectoplasm and splashed liquid
gold like blood,
thick as shit,
those zombies' lips,
their growls shook the supermarket,the city,
the miserable valley of Concepción,
the Universe;
we closed our eyes,
but as always, the images passed through
our lids.
The day the earth shook
and the village we called our city
was destroyed,
–did we dream it, was it an illusion?–
a yellow horse was galloping down Orompello Street,
the whores had gone to the street in corsets,
they were like novices, white doves beneath the now sickly
red sky,
everything seemed to be ending with the sounds of hulls
sinking toward the West
where the sea should have been;
but there the city's bones creaked
down to the underwater depths of the streets,
with fury,
disgust,
and ardor.
Concepción trembled as if beneath candlelight,
as if the city were masturbating down to its soul.
Have you seen Indians give birth, Admiral, whores
hanging from the branches of a hazelnut treem
from the gilt knobs of bronze cots
gulping down pain,
while they bite the same gray rags they use to
wipe off sperm,
and expel the bloody sack of a new being into the city?
It was the same, everything creaked,
and from the sewers the coffee placenta
of Concepción
bloomed and scattered, brushing the streets with its smell
of mossy guts;
a shadow,
the city became a shadow,
and men were replaced by shadows,
pure shadows ambled through the city,
shadows don't feel pain,
they don't bleed,
they disappear at the first sign of light;
dawn will erase us all, I thought,
present witness of These deeds,
the Yugo Bar, the Tropicana Nightclub, the Hotel King
had disappeared
and in their place opened up lunar craters,
full of ash.
and your gestures are sweat and your words –
solid blood And
they work with them
bearings, spark plugs, screws
without knowing they’re crocheting your life
out of the neon lights of the city
a wedding – corrugated and grotesque
But I know everything I’ve seen
how they unbury their dead every morning
from the red latrines of the city
and kiss them on the mouth
with the wonder of the little girl who opens up a doll
and sees its liver, its heart, its kidneys
Because I live here
in the centre of the disaster
and I’ve seen
I, antonin artaud,
my father and mother
and I myself

Bucharest opens like a huge syphilitic flower
and I know that nothing, nothing can any longer prevent the disaster
of the rags of my twetny three year old mind
Neither the holiness of Tanger, nor the narcosis, nor the butterflies
groping their way in slaughterhouses, terrifying the workers.
None of all these
Neither the training, nor the small churches, nor the sex of the city
raping the night
nothing
Only the silence of a drowned dog
floating down the river, in the sun
in my body there is a place where they come on motorbikes and a place
to attract insects and in
the left arm – a place to carry out sacrifices
the skin explodes sometimes like in a city
a bomb after war – and then they come
and camouflage the places with wool and –
because I wanted to learn sometimes
they do it wrong and use something else – sometimes artificial
snow and – because I wanted to
earn they brought my pills and I swallowed them and
slowly they all mixed up inside me
and behave yourself
and behave yourself
don’t torture people and animals
The narrow corridor lets its gravel spill. Our tight walk sounds too loud, like breakfast before the swallow. There is a lot to mourn behind us. A bronze statue popped out a litter of princes. They batted at each other in their consigned pyramid, covered in sticky remains, female with bullet wounds. They started mewling, lapping up the bowled white wine. One of them looked in my freckles, causing me to become for a modest epoch quite sentimental about the monarchy. A flame— was it a romance— seared my shoulder. Pain was my cue to let myself go. I waved goodbye to the revolution, the flags stuck in and flippant about the rubble, the delivery room a mountain of babies that would adolesce; ergo, they'd learn the ropes of Tauris. Their tiny clutches imprinted wildly on the lobe, where affection hid in attics, from nazis and incest serial hysterics. I toured the halls with the USO. Our scrubs pristine, guilt sometimes felt laid up in gurneys heading south. Ideas dripped in tubes to be absorbed by minds too hurt to process. A person boiled and spilled their raw materials on my skin and minted hair. I saw the bubbled blood. And here I had thought that bubbles held good witches here to kansas lucky brunettes home.
1.
My man is shaped like the last
century. He is stout like copper.
2.
The music dips its finger into the round,
warm room. Tides of laughter open
3.
the shutter. The cadence of light
as an onion.
seasons and echoes of passion within the cold
My name is not a word; it’s a smell. Call me the tang between smoke and scraped bark. Some years ago I fell to Brooklyn, was born as ornament on a block of cheap flats. The man who cut me was jolly and slapdash. His chisel was dull. He made my mouth open as if to growl, snout broad, eyes lashless. I wish I were more frightening. My shoulders, for one, are tiny—they barely protrude from the battlement—and my lips could as easily be laughing as scowling. I look as if I’d been carved with blunt scissors, by an only slightly talented child.
The word you know me by is from gargouille, the French for throat. A throat can sing a tune, swallow milk, be sliced wide open. Down throats go slender needles aimed at human hearts.
We were famous sculptors. We made sculptures of sparrows but then we got bored and decided to sculpt statues of each other. This was a bad move. Our statues were beautiful but the village sheriff created the word ostentatious. Then we had to live in the woods with the sparrows who disliked us for sculpting their beaks too wide. Late one night I said go back to the statue I made of you. I said punch a hole through your stomach and find the story I wrote about us being famous sculptors. When you punched the hole through your stomach a tiny sheriff floated from the hole. The tiny sheriff was lying on his back with his hands folded behind his head and his legs were bicycling through the air. He wore black boots with spurs and smoked a cigarette. He moved like a storm cloud. The tiny sheriff carved a wooden door into your stomach with his spurs. He tested the door and a deer jumped in with long antlers that grazed the back of your throat. Sparrows flew in and made nests on the antlers in your chest. He shut the door. If you ever, said the tiny sheriff shaking his tiny fist as he floated away.
Levis grew at night and plenty of mornings I’d wake up to see him laying there with his diaper busted open. Other ladies I’ve known who have given birth had always chittered on about their babies’ growth spurts, but here Levis was 40 pounds within a week and 60 midway through the next, hair on his knuckles and three block teeth scattered amongst his jaws, then when he was one month old he called me Honey, his first word, fisted my breast, his nails leaving little half-moons in my flesh when I pried his hand from me, his grinning mouth showing a fourth tooth, a molar like a wad of gum wedged way back.
Daddy and I had heard of ugly babies, of unnaturally big babies, we’d seen a show once where what looked like a 12-year old boy was in a giant diaper his mother had fashioned out of her front room curtain, sitting there with his legs straight out in front of him like he was pleased to meet them, his eyes pushed into his face like dull buttons, and the mother claiming he wasn’t yet a year. But Levis wasn’t on the TV, he was right there, his eyes following Daddy across the room, those eyes like gray milk ringed with spider’s legs, and at two months Levis had chewed through a wooden bar in his crib, splinters in his gums, him crying while I plucked them with a tweezer, me feeling that nail in my gut, me feeling something less than love.
We took the baby to the doctor, Daddy explaining that there was something off about Levis, he was big, he didn’t look like other babies, he had teeth like a man, and Levis quiet and studying Daddy like he understood, twirling his finger in his nostril, around and around, pulling it out tipped with blood. The doctor weighed Levis and he was up to 75 pounds and his third month still a week away, the doctor asking what on earth we were feeding him, warning us babies his age shouldn’t be eating table food, and me and Daddy scared to say that the night before Levis had lunged for a pork chop, screamed until we let him suck on the bone, Levis making slurping noises like he was a normal baby, like the bone was his momma’s nipple, his cheeks like two halves of a blush apple. The doctor sent us home, told us to watch what Levis ate, get him a jumpy chair for exercise. The doctor reaching out to pat Levis’ head, then thinking different when Levis grabbed his wrist, the doctor blanching at the thick hair on Levis’ arms, Levis giggling like a normal baby playing, just playing.
During bath time that night Levis’ baby penis stiffened and poked out of the water, Levis saying HoneyHoneyHoneyHoney in his husky baby voice. I called Daddy to finish the bath so I could lay down but Levis screamed until I came for him, wrapped him in a towel, him freeing an arm to reach up and stroke my cheek, for all the world like I was his, like he had me, and there was that stiffy again when I was fitting him with his diaper.
At six months Levis walked into the kitchen at breakfast and tried to open the fridge himself, Daddy stunned and dropping scrambled eggs from his mouth, and Levis speaking his next word, Pickles. Pickles, Honey, he said, pounding on the fridge door with his hairy chunk fists, and I sliced some bread and butter pickles up for him and that’s what he had for breakfast, a whole jar, me noticing that he was only a foot shorter than the fridge door, could almost reach the freezer where Daddy kept his vodka.
One night Daddy turned to me and we began our special time, I let Daddy do what he would since it had been so long, but soon enough I noticed Levis standing in the doorway watching, that finger in that nostril, and when I made Daddy stop Levis climbed into bed between us and began feeding, something he hadn’t done in months, falling asleep with my breast in his mouth, like any other sweet baby, I told myself, like any other sweet baby boy, Daddy going back to his couch for the night, his shoulders hanging heavy, like the pillow he carried was a stone.
At eight months Levis opened a drawer and found a paring knife, held it to Daddy’s gut and giggled, a sheen of drool on his chin, finally pulling the knife away when he got distracted by the ladybugs printed on his t-shirt. Then Daddy left, saying Levis wasn’t right, saying he needed to get away, saying he’d be back, driving away while Levis watched him from the window, his baby man hands flat to the window, like everything he saw could be touched that way, me watching Daddy’s headlights cut the dark and then the dark crowding right back in behind them, Levis saying Honey? to whatever he saw out that window, maybe even to himself.
Levis came to bed with me, molding his body to mine, rubbing his face on Daddy’s pillow sleepily, his breath like garlic, like garlic and meat, didn’t even open my eyes when he reached for my breast in the early hours and fed himself. In the morning he woke me, whispering Honey, Honey, smearing the sheets in elaborate patterns with fingerfuls of poop from his diaper, twining his fingers in my hair, Honey.
Harvest your licking motions from the same store. In times of need
apply a bit more. Draw circles inside the bigger circles. It's a farm.
It's a game for toddlers. Its three weeks with the same lighting. Look
at it like a bigger mouth you are always entering. There aren't dreams
or other photos taken. There are fields and fields of useless horses.

Do forget the time I ate you and made like you had eaten me. We
hoisted the gearless bike into bed with us and watched three movies
all the way through. We were sure we would eventually leave.
My wife has been using my own sperm to keep my body from spazzing out. When I feel like I’m about to spazz out she ties me down to a bed and rubs the sperm out of my penis and then rubs it on my breastcage, where it can quickly reach the heart. Then she dabs my eyelids and the inside of my thighs. Then she places a raw flower on my belly until the attack passes.

The message I received from the Abortionists today began: “You have become theory’s effigy, you have become an inmate to your own mythologies, you are housed in your naive assertions about the birth of the clinic.” It went on from there. It was one of the most refined notes they have sent me and it came inside a condom. The spermicide caused my fingers to go slightly numb. Further, they want me to be part of a pervy new play about death. I would play the mascot. A fundamental pleasure. I would move in the arms of a wilding holding up headlights. I agreed. I was made for this role.

The victim is not like the body my nurse held like a beautiful but dying horse. He was more like a copy. He is more like genitals. He smells like spermicide and strawberry.

I have sun stroke.
I wear a gas mask for the finale.
The finale: My father’s mansion has many exit wounds.
Our Lady of the Strangest Victim: Nothing was fake.
The sun is especially venereal for the display case.

If the first half of this tale is a notebook on the Sensation, then this is the result, the Fiction about Foreign Bodies as Scorpions.
Your sister died from the cancer. Change to vibrate. The sun gives royalties to all the pretty blue flowers. Dance beat ringtong, gunfire. A child has the face of a monster skimming the delicate pages of the phonebook. In his pocket, the anonymous organs of a cell phone, a field of dead sparrows go on singing. Speed dial in rainfall. Out shed the sentences of concentration and you think you finally understand the body and the lungs. She sits cross-legged in silk valleys of linen scrolling through her address book. You wear your trousers low and wait for the motion picture version.
Sir! Ma’am! For the safety and security
of you and your family,
I need you to get the fuck
back into that burning plane.
For the 245 whites of Shanksville, PA,
bombed from eight weeks in the future,
recovered into historical memory
from the pixel debris connecting
the monitor to the hardpoint,
please, get the fuck
back into that burning plane.
A finger prodding you through an array
of channels and devices:
lab, factory, prison, school.
Into the time-period you go,
fluctuating like a canister,
handed yourself by the bursar
and the ombudsperson
like a glass of gravitas.
You lick the bottom of the glass;
there is candy there.
You lick the wreckage of racialized vespers;
there is a nation here.
We are living in a serialized world,
and I am the Aleph and the Omega Manifold.
I am there at helpdesk, on holiday in Apartheid Villages.
Wherever information processing continues
indefinitely along one world-line gamma
to the future c-boundary of the universe,
I, cable news, am there, bringing you the federal
double-wide prank of dematerialized corporate America,
but only if you get on the plane.
Get back on the plane, now.
The plane, madam, please, the plane,
get yourself the fuck back to it.
I am through love. Can cities grow in your stomach? When I write this is yellow, I step out of a tree. I become the street I am walking. I have two hours left. They say things to fill space and touch. I don't keep her pictures in envelopes marked C. These up the ante a bit by leaving off the human element. The iron weight of the mundane sounds drag. Chris and Leah come in the front. Part two begins after they sit down. The RLS kicks in and doubt. I'm not calling what’s-her-name. As long as we're on the same network, I have dead words. I find information. A shape falls at the feet of 12:22. I've been up for hours with a glass. Heard Alberto almost stabbed you with a pen. There's nothing better than a siphoning alone. I talk in little blinks to strangers. Days go faster as I see rain. Human samples scan the street. The program is writing files. Maybe this sentence is better. Fourteen minutes left.
I separate my trash into piles. I nod at people walking by.
It's Thanksgiving and I'm riding my bike to the bar. It's lesbian night.
It's Thanksgiving and I ride a motorcycle off of the side of a building, onto the back of an eighteen-wheeler.
It's Thanksgiving and I'm driving a 1989 Buick Regal through Japan.
Foghat is playing.
I feel my body deteriorating. I picture terrible things happening.
Sitting in a room, I look at the room for a little while. The room has green carpet.
I have night terrors. I wake up and feel the last moment of living. It's late, and I sit down in front of an outdoor fire pit.
I'm standing by a DVD kiosk at Walgreens, watching people rent movies. The price of living is fear.
I tug at the base of a sago palm, and remove a smaller palm from its side.
We drew the animal with big chunks missing from its body to show the waves were washing it. He learned to spell phonetically, so he couldn’t spell the word “phonetically.” All the subtitles said was “vocalizing continues.” Her dream house was a hundred yards off the interstate and with the white noise from the cars passing all the time she was never sure if she was awake or asleep. You may think you’re a nihilist, but try to kill yourself by holding your breath.

The last radio signals we received before the ship went under said, “No one foresaw this,” but since “this” wasn’t clarified, we were able to claim the message was too garbled to make out. The window is clear to show you the light; the light makes the window opaque. Despite the findings of science, many parts of the world seem not to find white noise relaxing. One meaning of _prevents_ is _to walk before someone, to lead the way_.

The rumor’s true: the lyrics make me happy, but when I try to sing them backwards, I get a headache. Thumbing his nose at the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the officer came into the room and said, “As you were.” For a moment, I couldn’t tell if it was my pulse in my ear against the pillow or someone walking down the hallway. He said, “Here I am,” but we disagreed.

The most amazing power of Dracula in Tod Browning’s film is his ability to pass through the huge spider web covering an entire staircase without getting any strands caught in his hair. When you know it’s the last time, the time before becomes the real “last time.”
Fire splashed up at us. Please don’t yell at me, I said. No
amount of coaxing could get the canary lying on the bottom of
the cage to sing. What looked like snow or ashes were scraps
of paper on which good deeds had been recorded. The fireman
remembered it as a turquoise building, with its pants around its
ankles. Someone covered the holes in the screen with electrical
tape, but night still got in. We held each other. The fireman
raised his ax. The television stared back at him in awe as a
crown of flies revolved around his head.

Fire splashed up at us. What looked like snow or ashes were
scraps of paper on which good deeds had been recorded. The
fireman remembered it as a turquoise building, with its pants
around its ankles. Someone had covered the holes in the screen
with electrical tape, but night still got in. We held each other.
The fireman raised his ax. No amount of coaxing could get the
canary lying on the bottom of the cage to sing
We assume most people weren’t molested as children
but what if they were?
All of them—
and it was such a scarring experience
that no one remembers. After all,
aren’t the most disturbing things
the ones most likely to be blocked out
by the psyche?
I definitely blocked out mine
which proves to me that it was awful
too awful to allow me a single shred of memory.
When they contemplate trauma
arrogant people assume no memory
means nothing
but I am memory-humble
and prefer to assume of no memory, amnesia
about whatever I don’t know haunts me
because “memory is a construct”
is a principle I don’t just passively accept
but one I stand up for
and live by.
Point two: now that we are adults
we find ourselves, in adulthood
often against our own wills
attracted to the same kind of person
who secretly molested us as children
as if from behind some interior
psychic curtain
the molester-template imprinted on us
in the moment of our loss
of innocence, has been in control
of our notion of love all along.
These…
monsters
weren’t just getting themselves off
but were programming us
to serve their own future versions…
In which case, and my point is
I must have been molested by someone beautiful
because I’m attracted to you
and you are beautiful
and my attraction is strong
and of the beyond-my-control variety
precisely the kind of attraction brought on
by frequent, supersecret
prepubescent abuse.
Lots of people, for instance,
are normally attracted, and can take it
or leave it. Presented
with an array of lovers
they make mental notes of their pros and cons
then tally all that up to get
the net attraction—before finally deciding
freely, to walk away, or pursue.
But with you it’s like I can’t even think in
terms of pros or cons. It’s like I’m staring
straight into my own childhood
seeing my early life clearly
for the first time
in this face I once knew
but until I saw you
didn’t know I knew.
And all these seemingly premade memories
come flooding back to me
or flooding through me, for the first time
with the rhythms and tones of an afternoon
at the playground, turning
suddenly so dark and hard and… groovy
that I definitely feel like I was molested
at a very young age
by someone extremely like you.
Not like some original you’re only the clone of
but like that was the preview
and this is the movie—
which I constantly forget and re-realize
whenever I see your face or hear your voice
which is always sweetly painful
like honey dripping off roller coaster bars…
and I get a sick, sticky feeling
like a honey-covered piano keyboard
being played under your fingers
and your eyes are like two cruiseliner portholes
and I’m a stowaway in the hold of the world
peering out into your interior sea
where these huge, irisy storms are brewing
and your eyelids like the undiscovered beaches
of wild islands, and your lips like the sweet
split fruit that grows on the trees there—
but everything my imagination
thinks it’s selecting, just ends up being
the vestigial organs of an old,
probably dead, beautiful pedophile.
If you are feeling anything right now
resembling love toward me
and don’t remember anything either
maybe you were molested too
by someone crazily, funnily charming
when you were little. You were fucked
hard as a child, by someone of average height
and a roundish, medium-handsome face
with a silly indecency shining in their eyes
and hands exactly like these.
Ada Lovelace and Johnnie Mae ran away from their homes and fell asleep in the darkroom of an abandoned photography studio. They stole milkshakes. They keyed SUVs. Dogs they let free and brats they fed kale. "This is not the town for our love," Ada Lovelace said. It was night. Johnnie Mae wept into a bucket of chemicals. "Two women, a canoe, and no dreams," Ada Lovelace said. "That's mine. It's the only one I ever have. Maybe if we make it happen I'll never have to sleep again." So they snuck down to the marina and stole a weather-resistant canoe. They squinted at the moon and set out for Cape Horn.
Ada Lovelace was right. On the canoe, knees scrunched against the woman she loved, sufficiency ballooned her chest. No longer did she need for sleep. She rowed and rowed. Johnnie Mae fished barehanded for kelp and cooked it with a giant matchstick lighter that Eileen Myles had given her as a gag once. On they bobbed for Cape Horn. Once, they took their shirts off, and gentle mirrors floated down to cover their breasts like censor rectangles. They kept the mirrors on and tied their hair up in the shirts. "What awaits us on this cape?" Johnnie Mae asked. "Trumpets," said Ada Lovelace. "Tubas. Fluegelhorns. Devils. Rhinos. Men." Johnnie Mae laughed, but Ada Lovelace was right.
The cape appeared on the horizon: a towering casino and beaches beneath. Men in Hawaiian shirts rode tired looking rhinos on the sand. Caravans of jazz musicians bleated and groaned, lips to their pieces, all the musicians shackled together and whipped constantly by tiny, porucpine-ish devil men. "Lord have shits," Johnnie Mae cried. "Are you—" She turned to Ada Lovelace, who had collapsed onto the beach, snoring, then snoring up blood. Johnnie Mae flustered her hands for help. Blood spread from beneath Ada. Johnnie Mae leaped out of its way: she hated blood.
Men gathered around Ada Lovelace and Johnnie Mae and looked at themselves in the chest mirrors, laughing and fixing their hair. One man's tongue reached up to lick his own eyebrows. Another man snuck behind Johnnie Mae and clipped a bunch of her hair, rolled the hair up like a dollar bill and snorted the sand like cocaine. One man hid behind the casino, in the shadows of Dumpsters, near a splotch of graffiti. On one Dumpster, someone had drawn a cluster of unassembled stars, like this: /\ < > \/. The man had been waiting there for years. Since the casino was just a hot dog stand. Someone was coming to finish those stars, he was sure of it, and he was going to be there when they did.

"There it is."
"The Ayn Rand twenty-six man gangbang. Starring Ayn Rand, Bud Abbott, Gene Autry, Jack Benny, Ray Bolger, Johnny Mack Brown, Ronald Coleman, Paul Dahlke, William Hearst, Harold Lloyd, Robert Montgomery, Jesse Owens, Dick Powell, Leon Trotsky, and ten unidentified men. Location undisclosed. Director unknown. 1937."
"Have you watched it?"
"Every night before I go to sleep."
"You can fall asleep to the sound of a twenty-six man gangbang?"
"It's a silent film. The last person to copy it added a soundtrack. Ambient music. A nice, smoky blend of organic and digital instruments."
"You can fall asleep to the sight of a twenty-six man gangbang?"
"It's black and white. Frames are missing."
"Is Ayn Rand hot?"
"I don't know."
"How's her body?"
"Short and squat."
"Who has the biggest you know what?"
"I think it's Jack Benny."
"How can you tell?"
"Because he's doing that thing he does. With his hand."
"Maybe it's a Jack Benny impersonator."
"No one was impersonating Jack Benny in 1937."
"Does she do one at a time?"
"It varies. But the men seem to have a system."
"Who goes first?"
"Hearst."
"Duh."
"Does anyone get rough with her?"
"They all do what they want. Lloyd gets angry with himself because he's having a hard time keeping it up, so he grabs a lamp, takes off the shade, and makes Rand fellate the bulb. Bud Abbott pulls Rand's hair and shouts obscenities at her. Autry wears his ten-gallon hat and puts his cigar out on her back. Owens starts off slow, then closes his eyes and kicks it into high gear. Hearst is also the last to finish. The end."
"I have a hard time falling asleep."
"This will help. I'm telling you. Take a long shower, make yourself a cup of peppermint tea, and watch the Ayn Rand twenty-six man gangbang."
"Thanks for letting me borrow it."
"Oh."
"Or maybe I should get my own."
"Okay."

"Sorry I'm late. I had to help my mom take a shit."
"Your mom still shits? Hey, so does mine."
"Does your mom shit into a toilet?"
"She tries to."
"My mom has to shit into a Ziploc bag."
"What size?"
"Sandwich."
"Those are good for peanut butter and jelly."
"But she has to do it. Sometimes I have to go in there and give her anal glands a goose."
"What kind of soap do you use?"
"You use soap?"
"Most of the time."
"Have you ever forgotten that you're out of soap?"
"Once or twice."
"I can't worry about that."
"My mom comes from a very religious family. They taught her manners. Like chew with your mouth closed. Cover your legs. Always say please and thank you. And don't smell like shit."
"Hot water is better than soap. It completely eliminates all germs and bacteria."
"I like to apply some moisturizer when I'm done."
"You have to."
"I don't want my mom to be uncomfortable."
"I can't worry about that."
"Oh please tell me your sad story."
"My mom lost me when I was eight years old."
"Where?"
"Old Towne Mall."
"What happened?"
"She let me go off by myself. I rode the Old Towne Rail Road while she shopped. I got off the train and this man grabbed me by the arm and said you're coming with me, you don't have a choice, don't say anything, just keep walking. He drove a blue Prelude. We stopped to get something to eat. He ordered two cheeseburgers and ate both of them. He asked me if I wanted my mom and I didn't say anything and that's when he stuck out his tongue, which was covered in food."
"Sounds like a nice man."
"He was. You just had to get to know him."

When Tanya Anderson spent the night and told me, half
asleep to use my finger and pretend like it was a boy, I did.
Watching a movie with my mom, Dolly Parton says “sax.”
I asked mom what it meant and she checked out a series of
books from the library. I knew what sex was, just not “sax.”
I don’t remember my first kiss.
I do remember Tony Kilbrow, though, feeling me up for the
first time in Jackson Park after crawling through a pipe to an
empty storm drain. We couldn’t look at each other, looked
instead at the Quiet Riot lyrics the high school kids painted
on the wall, stared at that rectangle of light like a mail slot to
the street, Listened to the cars.

In college, I’d get drunk and sleep with men I already cared
about as friends, but then I’d cry. And sometimes they
weren’t good friends.
What I can’t stand, and this is why I sit all day, is the writer type, you know, some gritty literary city chick in denial of her cul-de-sac past with a moody haircut listening to NPR all day, drinking herbal tea reading Baudrillard, and has, like, four cats and did her thesis on the phallus in twentieth century literature, telling me about the proper way to use a comma, I mean seriously, who, cares, and, please, let’s not get her started on the semi-colon; which is a good place for a constipation joke, but I digress, and as far as periods go, this girl has many, she gets a standing ovulation from me, which brings me to the point, I suppose, of this little missive, is that we aren’t exactly getting along right now, and I think her getting me the American Heritage Book of English Usage for our anniversary had a lot to do with our downfall, either that or the poems she insists on reading at open mics from a collection she calls At Night With a Gelding, which is either about me or some horse with no balls, which, as stated, instigated feelings of not only grammatical inferiority, but also not having any balls, metaphorically speaking that is, because anyone who has seen me without my pants on, and there have been some, will tell you and the rest of your compatriots that I indeed have two testicles, which can be easily seen from well across a large room, unless you’re moderately near-sighted of course, so tell everyone at the open mic tonight that those dreadful poems are not in any way biographical, that my keys no longer open our front door as of today, that it seems I’ll be moving back in with my parents, that I’ll most likely get into some MLA-usage depression, that I’ll question the very construct of this narrative, and that the only thing absolute in this post-post-whatever world is her menstrual cycle, period.
This is the space where you can be willing to coming. We are provide the dissatisfied body to getting happy cooperation. The one we are looking for cannot clamor loudly in the toilet. To everyone whom visitor of "Empire Fukuda Super Massage" please concern as following condition: our place is free of sleeping, so please leave off after staying. We like a precious picture of you naive smiling left a deep impression in our faces. We are new discovery to be kept secret from others. Our human technology meets your biggest organ. Because there is danger that is involved in feelings, please grow in the pants and break human sauce quickly. Donation $140/hr. Open until midnight. Enjoy relaxing with curiosity in our informational hall of meat. What a wonderful life!
James Baldwin, born August 2, 1924, sleeps squeezing a plastic frog. There are ghosts chained to the wall. A potentate cousin, twenty-eight times removed. "The boy likes to sleep," his mother says, marking his last bowel movement on a paper napkin. In the next room, someone coughs in a tubercular way.
Arw. Arw. Arw. Arrow.
The boy dips a toy truck in the ocean and walks up the beach, sucking salt from its grill. The fishermen don't see him; they are slitting throats.
In church, the young man stands for a few seconds longer after everyone sits. This he will do from then on in any group, except when it is better to run, which, over time, begins to feel more natural, except for death, which will happen, too, or so he's been told. Everyone wears a beautiful hat. There is a gift among them – they wait for it. Down below, in the cellar, a locked pantry where mice are eating through the sack of hosts.
He noted in observations of women, alive and dead, that encysted dropsies of the ovaries couldn't be cured. His scientific opinion predicted less danger in opening the abdomen and removing the ovaries
Fran Alexander famously brought cans of condensed milk to the teahouse so that she would never have to leave. Her standards, that is, were impossibly high.
I have just died: for the earth
I am a newborn.

...Man licks the earth, and the earth falls onto man.
Man penetrates the earth.
And the crying of the earth wet man's brow.
The earth with its deep hollow,
bed of light,
prepares the dream.
One must sleep the dream of the earth.
One must sleep.
Sleep.
Rest on the earth
a calm brow.
Press with fingernail and mouth and thirst
the resounding waterfall of earth,
its turbulent box
sailing toward peace.
Like a scream of water, time penetrates into the earth of bones.
It goes toward the sleeper.
It asks him if the dream tastes of earth.
And the sleeper does not know whether to say
"I want"
or keep silent...

Nausea. The firefly
– basalt, perfection –
laughs with its brand-new wingspan:
steely. (The broom
suborns me.) I kneel. Laziness
that does not beg for useless meanings.

The rose toward the rose: the ardors
undulate and succumb.
Like mine before me, Jesusa
in another heart.
Won't she seek rest?
On a page of sand and fear
she reads her name. Bundles the dominions.
There will be walls, but not very high.

Fragile, hopeful,
on its bosporus of wilted stumbles,
still baby's first defecation, dilapidated,
not even hearing gethsemane,
blind in search of more blindness,
the sluggish, clattering cart,
of the constellations,
will ask, at the next house,
confused, for me:
mature dung, forever beautiful!
We are said to die of one thing on paper, but it is entirely of something different that we die, I thought as I left the realtor’s office. And it is dangerous to take the discrepancy between the two for granted, what one actually dies of and what one is said to have died of on paper; there is hardly ever a correspondence. And I’m thinking now that some people’s deaths need to be thoroughly investigated. I’m more than certain that I thought this then too, as I left the realtor’s office, but the thought wasn’t as highly illuminated in my head. I’m thinking now, it isn’t every day one comes across a death that is especially timely and magnificent, for example Fra Keeler’s death. And then, one really has to wonder, one has to begin to think, to retrace the mental footsteps of the deceased person, e.g. Fra Keeler, since the chance that such a timely death would remain unexplained on paper is that much more significant.I learn how to use my knife to apply the proper dose of strychnine. I learn from the children. They learn with the television blaring bodiesbodies.
I have horses that are infected and girl singers who hyacinth me while I hurt stuffed animals. It’s a hallucination to have such a strokey relationship to one’s knife-girl.
Here I am staring at my ceiling for probably a half hour while the world all rabbles up and the museums are looted and looted and looted and all the urns and knives and razorblades are pulled out and in and out and the best part of The Shining is when Shelley Duvall is running down the stairs and she sees those two guys in furry outfits that’s when she may loose it may become an artist instead of a mother.
That hotel is built on bones.
This hotel is built on microphones.
The problem with microphones is that they are attached to the body and picks up all the sounds: the skin, scratches, pearls, kisses, hisses teeth, looking, gasoline, trilobites, ornations, Hiroshima, tape crackling, insect crawls, ashes. It’s an arrival we are looking for, not just another way out. It’s a deportation we deserve for our botched models.
*
Lets kill ourselves a son?
I only have daughters.
*
I have a lover who holds my hair with one hand while eating chicken with the other. It hurts when she pushes my head up to her pelvic bones. “Harder, lick harder,” she says while lllicking the grease off her fingers and grabbing another wing. The grease gets in my hair. Her hair gets in my mouth. “Lick harder,” she groans and bites into the chicken carcass.
In an allegory the sign is allowed to be a sign, finally, according to Father Voice-Over. But my lover is also grotesque, Father Voice-Over notes, And the grotesque is at odds with the shape of the allegory. Especially in a fashion shoot.
The tourists are allowed to take my photographs if they first offer me some food. I am famished. And I smell like chicken grease. And I have burns on my arms. My lover burns my arms with chicken grease.
She must be an allegory. But it might be that I am not.
Or my wife is not, and everything she touches is removed from the allegory. My penis for example is now meaningless.
The camera is on.
I make a spasmatic pose for the penal colony. It is meant to teach them family values. Although they are never to be let out of their mice cages. And they already know how to spasm and how to breathe underwater. They have pig strokes.
I have sunstrokes.
I wear a gas mask for the finale.
The finale: My father’s mansion has many exit wounds.
Our Lady of the Strangest Victim: Nothing was fake.
*
I’m so hungry it’s like I was throbbing oriental fluids. The effect is ornithological. The material is bodies. A thousand bogus bodies.

You constantly repair yourself, and you have no time to be in the moment. When you're young you don't understand what little power you have, which means that you don't have it; and once you start getting older you spend your time worrying."

drops of protein, spermatocysts, watch-hands, thermostats, tiny valve pipes, air, odometers, gel, ccm, atmospheres, ions, magnets, electrolytes, bicycle spokes, honey-combs, fish fins, urine, test tubes, positive poles, negative poles, parchment, amniotic sacs, egg shells, leaf patterns, protozoa, gills, tooth enamel, ether, celluloid, isotopes, cepeid variables, gamma rays, idioplasm, perpetua mobilia, quintessence, radioactivity, signs of the zodiac, gonococci, arsenic, water wheels, alizaris, hieroglyphics, deuterons, nerve tracts, mother of pearl, jellyfish, 5 degress, pollen, meridians, hygrometers, alveoli, quinine, spectrum lines, glass fibre, parallaxes, ears, nematoblasts, flickering, bronze, footnotes, ellipses, leiden jars, phlogiston, gun powder, gravity, primodial sea, selenium, systoles, eye-balls, heliozoans, chrysoprase, fossils, units of length, cyclotrones, spawn, glaze, nothing, paleolithic era, polyps, chalcedony, CaCo3, division signs, spirit of wine, ammonium, graphite, larynxes, gall stones, WORDS

i swim, swim in a flickering. the relays clatter in my head... dreamy phase! i race through the convolutions of my brain, i look through the vitreous spheres of my eyes... exquisite speech bubbles burst in my brain, bespatter my perception, drip from furniture. in a rabble of words from condensed perceptual mist! the echo of the anthropomorphic shit resounds from every atom, to form calcified vessels. my watch ticks... tic-toc, like a small bird in a steel case, my head is a glass bubble through which one can glimpse a frantic ticking cog wheel mechanism -- and here, here in my pocket i have a little key with which i can set this mechanism in motion whenever i want.
AN ISLAND OF FIFTY is a new literary bomb, resulting in the shrapnel of gold, ships, ocean, chandeliers, dreams, blood, & flame. Old & stale literature won't know what just hit. This is something new masking itself in the old & I'm so so so excited

It is so human to turn a freedom into pain
and it is so sweet when life
comes to teach you suffering
by giving you a choice
Killing you is killing myself. But you know, I’m pretty tired of both of us.

hitch-hiked ahead of genocidal ovens
to the 21st century of a world that loves us, arms
hooked to embrace
hugging explosives to its breast.
It was Binelli’s brainchild and only he knew all the specifics. Many many lists were involved. They were drawn up, copied, distributed, et cetera, with the terse minimum of words regarding the next set of Assignments and travel arrangements. We waited for them like someone might wait for something else. Christmas say, or aurora borealis. Dawn. The lists told us the what and where and when of it all, which in this particular instance were specifically and respec­tively: pillows, in the center lane of fifty-two lanes, and night.
The first had some leeway.
For instance, when I realized that hauling away all the unusu­ally heavy pillows meant there’d be no pillows on the bed for when we returned, for certainly we would return, eventually, at Binelli’s of course discretion, I sent Murphy back with the blue one. He dug up from god knows where some old baseball jerseys in ex­change, and that seemed to go over okay. Although I found that I also kind of liked the jerseys, all shrunken yellow arms and age-cracked words and the like. I held one up against myself even, to suggest perhaps that a jersey, just one, should be mine, but no one took notice or commented favorably on yellow being my color and the size, though made for young boys, being perfectly suited to my frame. And I couldn’t be greedy and Binelli had his eye on me anyhow.
—Binelli, I said to him, nodding casually.
—Finley, he said back with an equivalent head gesture.
We suspect him of being connected.
I’ve come to think he may in fact be dreamy as well and would sometimes not much mind maybe cranking it up a notch or two be­tween us, but there was right then the plan to consider and right then I imagined he needed all his faculties intact.
Though there’s nothing, I imagine, still to this day, quite so ef­fective as a girl in a little boy’s baseball jersey to set hearts to rac­ing. Or some other anatomical specific.
Though racing would not then seem quite right.
Call to attention, perhaps.
Neither here nor there. I had no jersey, we were short one pillow, and I’ve found over the course of my admittedly limited experience that an overall sense of just-having-lifted-oneself-from-a-dip-in-the-lake dampness provides much the same stimulation any one article of clothing could. I keep a spray bottle and some thin white T-shirts close at hand.
Addendum to Preamble
I kept also, I might as well admit at this point for the sake of accu­racy, the jersey, on the sly.
I am terribly covetous.
1
It was all over gravel, but better than the last place. There was all over swampland and crocodiles.
2
At the designated location were many men of pleasing visage.
But if one begins with such a high class of word, a word in need of italic, of accent, one can hardly go on with the report. The stakes upped, as it were.
There were many men of pleasing countenance.
Aspect?
Many, anyway. So many so as to be unusual; on occasion there might be one; two, rarely; but here so many as to be unusual. I had to wonder. I was confused, besotted in no less than nine different directions. Confusion made me suspect, suspicion made me para­noid, paranoia made me appear insane, insanity made me desir­able, and from no less than nine different directions did the eyes fall upon me. Centered as I was at a central table, and so desirable with insanity.
I am not desirable.
It’s no single thing.
I have red hair and no freckles. The hair is straight as the edge of a page. There are other things, but I offer these three to illus­trate the nature of the difficulty: I lack the appropriate combina­tions. Red hair is acceptable if freckles are involved. If there are no freckles but only a broad expanse of milky skin, one should be curly. Et cetera. I excused myself with perhaps an excess of formal­ity. I used excuses that clashed and contradicted one another. I, I dare say, protested too much. I took my leave.
Binelli found me. He finds us all, every time. I should likely not have stopped so soon for a shrimp cocktail, but the stand was right there, all the little shrimps so pink and pearly.
—Finley, he said.
—Binelli, I said back.
We maintained a brief but meaningful standoff. I can win any such standoff. I can win any contest involving silence or stillness or maintaining a straight face. I once, presumably out of some heart­felt anger, maintained a silence for so long I forgot who I was. With speech went character, with character memory, with memory me. All I can recall from that time was the feeling of being something very very small, encased within some sort of roomy cocoon. I was erased entirely; that was before Binelli gave me the new papers. We stood off and Binelli lost.
—Finley, he said. —I need you to go back in there and talk to this guy.
—Which guy, I wondered. There were so many, all of such pleasing aspect.
—He’s in the back right corner. He runs Up All Puppets!
—What.
—Up All Puppets!
—Did. You. Say. I continued as if he hadn’t interrupted and then there was again silence, it being unclear whose turn it was to speak. The question having already been answered, as it were.
Again, a standoff. Again, my victory.
—Up All Puppets!
I tried to remain calm. —I will not.
—But you will.
—Puppets, I informed Binelli, —are my Most Hated Thing.
—Not so. He considered for a moment. —Not so at all. What about the Russians?
He had me there. I had no love for the Russians. Less than no love. A negative value of love. Despite my Russian papers and my tidy grasp of the Russian tongue.
—That being as it may, I told him, —Puppets are right up there.
—No, he said. —No, I think you hate that girl dressed in blue a little bit more than Puppets.
He was slick. I did, I did with every fiber of my being hate that girl dressed in blue more than Puppets, although no more certainly than the Russians. I hated also to concede but concede I did.
She was simply too tall, too gregarious. Too easy with her affections.
—Well then, he continued, —Puppets are—and only if there’s nothing I’m forgetting—third on your list of Most Hated Things. Let me, if I may, offer a parallel.
I let him.
—You, he told me, —are one of my Most Hated Things. I find you utterly and irrevocably despicable.
I nodded. This was no secret.
—However, he said, —you know as well that Murphy is, to my thinking, a notch or two ahead of you in despicability. Irredeemable despicability. And then, you are also aware, I find The Lamb perhaps more despicable than that. Making you, you Finley, third on my list of Most Hated Things. Which is why you, and neither Murphy nor The Lamb, are being Assigned the Third-Worst Assignment.
—Up All Puppets!? I said, quite unnecessarily.
—Indeed. Now, should you refuse, as I’m sure you will not, you will rise in despicability and therefore be Assigned perhaps the Second-or even First-Worst Assignment. Having risen in the ranks, so to speak. Would you like to know what the Second-and First-Worst Assignments entail?
His smile was such that I didn’t.
Thirty years ago.
Eight years ago, Phone by Darby Larson. A boy. A man. A girl. A man gets married. Years later, again.
Two days ago, Phone by Darby Larson. The moon. The boy walks outside. The man who built the phone sleeps. The man who works in a Nacho Crisp factory drives to work. Rocky Balboa takes a shower. Tomorrow, once again.
Yesterday, Phone by Darby Larson. The boy sits in his apartment. The phone rings. It's a wrong number. The man who built the phone calls the phone booth outside his house. Again, today.
Phone by Darby Larson. The girl has a snail in her hair and the boy loves it. The phone might be ringing. The ringing phone is answered by the boy. It's a wrong number so the boy hangs up. The man who built the phone sleeps alone and never calls anyone. The girl who dialed the wrong number is drunk in a phone booth. The man who works in a Nacho Crisp factory is one of the truly happily married people on Earth. He comes home to his wife every night smelling like nacho cheese. The boy works in a snail factory and has developed an affectation for girls with snails in their hair. The phone might be ringing. It's probably a wrong number. The phone is white. The man who built the phone is proud of it though he never calls anyone. The boy meets Rocky in a bar and Rocky asks him if he's seen Edward Scissorhands and the boy says no, leave me alone and Rocky says, Yo Adrian, because she just walked in. The boy goes outside and lies down next to the girl in the middle of the road. They watch the moon move across the sky. The girl asks the boy why he is a bastard. The boy gives her ten rings and says, Wear these. The boy gives the girl a hairclip with a snail on it and says, Wear this. The girl wears everything the boy wants him to. The girl gets up and walks to the nearest phone booth. The girl is drunk. The boy lies in the middle of the road alone and answers his cell phone but it's a wrong number. Rocky and Adrian walk out of the bar and down the road, arm in arm. The moon spins around the world. The boy's cell phone might be ringing again. He isn't sure. The man gets home late from work smelling like nacho cheese and finds his wife sitting on the couch waiting for him. The boy falls asleep in the middle of the road. The girl gets a hold of her sister and says hello. Rocky and Adrian arrive at the apartment and make love. The man makes nacho cheese love with his wife on the couch. The man who built the phone looks out his window at the boy and girl in the middle of the road. The boy answers his cell phone and it's the girl's sister asking where in the world is he, and the boy says, Where are you? and the girl's sister hangs up. And the girl in the phone booth hangs up. And the boy hangs up. And Rocky smokes a cigarette. And the man sleeps and dreams of nacho cheese, of Edward Scissorhands, of making love and exercising. The phone might be ringing again. Rocky and Adrian fall asleep together. Tomorrow, Rocky will fight Apollo. Tomorrow, the phone will ring. Tomorrow, the man will kiss his wife in the morning and drive to the Nacho Crisp factory. Tomorrow, the man who built the phone will call the phone booth. The drunk girl walks back to the boy in the road and lays down next to him. They fall asleep together. Tomorrow, they will fall asleep together again. The phone, tomorrow.
Phone by Darby Larson. The girl has a snail in her hair. The phone might be ringing. The ringing phone is answered by the boy again. It's a wrong number so the boy hangs up. The girl. The man who built the phone sleeps. The girl who dialed the wrong number. The man. The girl. The boy works in a snail factory. The phone might be ringing. Rocky in a bar, Yo. The boy goes. They watch the moon. The boy. The boy. The girl. The girl. The girl. The boy. Rocky. The man. The girl. The boy. The boy. Tomorrow again.
Phone by Darby Larson. The girl. The phone. Wrong number. The man. The man. Rocky. The girl. The boy. Two days later, again.
Phone by Darby Larson. The boy. The girl. Again, two weeks later.
Phone by Darby Larson. Eight years later.
Thirty years later.
fistfucking rulesevery rogue bowel moves daddy’s cabana
for the comb through bib tied high and dangling you
time for sanitarium gods to moisturize the day
time for darkling sputum jew to enter my scat
felch the gay chore water home for different sirs latex
the only thanks time to call the alphabet of dropping son and congeal
wandering epitomes tell babygirl to suck her own swastika tattoos
or I’ll memorize her period like a bible passage recite the blood
in a sideways baptism take a manly squat with undertones of
puberty yes atrophy milk she airs out her titties in the septic tank
uses a refrigerator to masturbate sucks the college out of walls
she is on a lobotomy picnic the public scoops her glint
sings gangbang lullaby knock the freckles off that dream
she remembers cum by phone menstruates her initials
shaved beef like small god arithmetic an extenuating trimester
she commits burlesque diarrheas under the guise of pregnancy
ms. america with aids stoned up her own yeast
eyelids by gonorrhea extravagant hysterectomies
a species ignored pagan odorless for rainbow
or breed fiasco like how an iron cross looks neat
Maybe that means they’re finally leaving you alone. Though who’s “they”? Trouble with webs. When you’re in one you can’t see beyond the next knot. It’s like being trapped in two dimensions, cut off from overviews. Not something achievable from down here, but maybe you can get an underview. Look up destiny’s skirts.
He writes to her: I love you I love you I love you I love you.
He writes to her: Come come come come come come come.
He makes a bow of his tongue and presents his mouth as a gift, open to her hands, her
fingers, waiting for the unwrap. He giggles. He is charming. He lusts. He is sick. He is
drawing near to her and she is drawing away from him, and in-between someone else
has drawn a full hand raised up at them, a wall separating the two, a parallel distance.
There is paper and it is his arm, his arm is paper and he writes: You don’t mean that, say
you’re sorry.
She is not sorry. There is nothing to make her sorry. Her legs are not college-ruled.
Her elbows are not hole-punched. Her face is not a margin. Her eyes are eyes with
colors in them and looking. She is looking. She is looking in a magazine for pages. She
is not reading. In the magazine there are none of his limbs.
He writes: Give me back all that you took.
He writes the book of her, of him, a sentence that goes: This is what you have made of me.
A phrase he keeps saying, writing: What will happen, What will happen.
She shuffles her hand across his ribs. She is opening the blinds but it is him she is
fanning. It is his chest she tickles when she pulls the strings of her hooded-sweatshirt.
It is his eyes that follow when she takes a page and seams it over, folds it into a triangle
that makes half of a square. Perfumes him with her breathing, each nostril horse
venting, the coming fast of words in sentences on pages. She is not on his page. She is
not in pages. She is not in words or sentences.
So, he says.
On the first island no stream or spring, only one tree & only one cloud. They drink deeply
from the leaves & branches
men & animals. We come
to the port, they think we bring rain
we are praised
On the last island, teeth falling out, burying more dead in this relentless meridian light
We come to the port, they steal our skiff & other small things
I am Pigafetta, I serve Magellan. I am telling you this story in several tongues
& I am from hell, or, perhaps
some place closer to hell—
here, to be exact
or, silently, our holds full of silver fish, through the Strait of 11,000 Angels
or between us & the hurricane, the fires held
the forms of three saints
A gong’s sound, dying out -
A lover wakes in black chambers
Cheek to stars, that flicker at the window.
On the river, rope, mast and sail blaze.
A monk, a pregnant woman in the crowd.
Guitars that strum, the shimmer of scarlet frocks.
Sultry, in golden gleams the chestnuts wither away;
Black looms the churches’ dismal panoply.
From pale masks peers the spirit of evil.
A square darkens morbid and terrible;
Whispers well up on the islands at nightfall.
Lepers who may rot away at night
Read confused omens from the bird flight.
Brother and sister spy on each other
Trembling in the park.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure...
People are the most interesting books in the world.
“The Beach Boys” are worth feeling old about liking.
What few people seem to realize is that amber is just petrified tree sap.
Sometimes progress takes too big a bite and ends up with indigestion.
He dared look the sun in its face and steal its radiance.
Perhaps it is enough to know that nothing will ever be as it was before.
That a giant economy-sized box of “Supreme—Three Ply—Extra Soft—De Luxe” cleansing tissues only costs 39¢ ought, it would seem, to restore one’s faith in something.
A mother is something we have all had.
Girl Scouts is more than selling cookies.
Imagination is the mother of reality.
Pride creates its own banana peels.
Bread is the greatest loaf story in the world.
When in doubt, sprinkle with cheese and bake.
When in doubt, mulch.
From Freud we learn that when a wife smashes a vase to the floor, it is really her husband’s head that lies there broken into many pieces.
Geology, which is the story of the rocks, finds its climax in the history, which is the story of man… if you get my drift.
Autumn gets the red out.
A woman can do anything she puts her pants to.
People who need people are the peopleish people in the world.
As I was saying to my garbage on the way out the door the other night—“Why should I carry you down three flights of stairs? I don’t even like you!”
If you go to bed with your shoes on, you’ll save time in the morning.
There is an old saying not to judge a man until you have walked in his moccasins for two moons.
He who would give his right arm to be a free man is a free man with one arm.
The echo of an interesting woman can be an ordinary scarf.
“Some day my prince will come…”
It may just be—you know—that “the truth” is far too obvious to risk any comprehension of.
Would you believe a new Revlon fingernail polish called “Burnt Toast”!
What with history piling up so fast, almost every day is the anniversary of something awful.
If I’m as normal as I think I am, we’re all a bunch of weirdos.
We’ll have an onion taste-testing party night tonight! Somebody figure out how drunk we can get for $10. Figure 20 calories per dollar per liter per person per annum. It’s the season for forgiveness and free-stone peaches. If they don’t have the red plastic ones get the kind people always use in the movies. The children will show their sex organs to one another in the hall closet and when they’re bored of that they’ll come tug on our dress shirts and ask to do arts and crafts or bubbles.
The man he took an axe into the woods and the woods they brought a level to see. They measured and cut and worked into arrangements. The woods were unkind to the rain and with the sun made blankets with holes, failures. The woods with the sun spoke wind, chimed faults, and went into great bunches. The woods, the man with the axe and the woods, shattered to pieces, broke into moments, murmured to ashes, sweat the dirty light.
The man he took an axe into the woods and the work as he thought was progressing fairly. The foliage had signed no complaint letters and the sky was open again. There was no ceiling. The woods had reworked the ceiling. The woods had gone past a ceiling, the need for one. Sky crunched beneath his shoes, this man with his axe, the woods, and no better sound than broken openness, understatement, foundations mumbling.
The man he took an axe into the woods. The man with his axe and his hands and his feet he saw the ocean rising above his waist. His axe this man he made a plate of sardines and studded the floor with its oils, screaming to the waves We do not doubt you. The ocean said Sea and it was a day the sun turned out the light and tunneled through the ground and went to winter beneath sheets of stars, praying for forgiveness, making bubbly echoes far below the drowning.
The man he took an axe into the woods and the woods they stirred the pot to boil. And the woods they brought up seed from their hands and scattered it at their feet and waited for the end of eternity. The level was off. The marker blown out. And the woods in disbelief just stood and stupored, unwilling to accept its errors, unwilling to placate its forces, unnerved by the lack of its own clear judgments. The axe and the man, blades cut sharp, water running over it.
The man he took an axe into the woods and was quiet when the woods piled together in song. There was a surge against romance, against light, and everything was whispered: The water will be here soon. The woods they brought the level to see and camped under its arches, culling the factual buzzing, un-worried about implications. The sun, in the sky, shining. The axe makings shards of moon, the man cupping his hands, the water overboard not enough to keep the woods out of suffocation.
Rory Gilmore Adopts an Interest in the Fourteen Stations of the Cross
Station one exacerbate theory. Station two chug cookie dough. Station three throw up. Station four leftovers. Station five sing in public. Station six consider tossing oneself from the top floor. Station seven apply lotion. Station eight adopt Lebanese. Station nine wear black. Station ten Google “Satan.” Station eleven plead forgiveness at the hands of mother. Station twelve PARTY. Station thirteen mop. Station fourteen no more blood for your cousins.

Rory Gilmore Pays For Her Very Own Facelift
Are you motioning toward tired? Could somebody come up behind you with a piece of wire and poor intentions? Remove your cash from your asshole and put it forth for a BRAND NEW FACE! That’s right a NEW FACE. Your face is no longer attractive. Your face is no longer appealing to peers or deviants. This is a discouraging situation; deviants will love a log if given permission. YOUR NEW FACE could land you A DREAM JOB behind a DESK in the MIDWEST! Your new face will be cookies!
If you were really dead, thought Harlan about Toland-in-Heaven, I would let you go. Then while I was at it, I would sort into shapes I could understand, all your difficult disguises. There are so many. I would hold your death in my heart and sharpen on it. Where we used to go to be alone, I would hold apart us together. Where once holding meant our bodies different to each other dulling with desire. What would I do with the mouthshaped mark you left me hearing forever in my ear? Out of the sound of the blank space of the many closed things you once told me. Trapped like proof in the cement floor. There would be nothing else but to open everything if I let you go. If you were really dead.
The reverse trompe l’oeil series is Alexa Meade’s spin on reality. Alexa has invented a painting technique that makes 3 dimensional space look flat, blurring the lines between illusion and reality.
Typically a painting is an artist's interpretation of the subject painted onto another surface. In Alexa's paintings, she creates her artistic interpretation of the subject directly on top of the subject itself. Essentially, her art imitates life - on top of life.
By wrapping her subject in a mask of paint, she skews the way that the core of the subject is perceived.

exciting, mysterious, sometimes macabre new narrative. Her zany futuristic gothic opera of prose poems is threaded with magic, potions, passion, a “concert of hair,” a “hazmat of holes.” With its incantations of quantum teleology, its footnotes & sources, it is a magnificent work. Irresistible!
The girl in the owl mask knots her sheets. Drilled nickels dangle
from the lampshade—when the wind blows they sing
the song of bird beaks. When the winds blows her brother
to the other side of the bed, handshakes happen downstairs.
His father is a symptom of a mineshaft, a tin cup of coals.
Doctors file in & out without opening the door. They spit
sand from their mouths, collecting like possums in the basement.
Compare their scars from the spider wars. A funnel cloud
launches snakes from the lake to the mining camp.
One falls on the windowsill of a girl’s room & begins
to read from The Book of Mercy. Mercy means thank you.
Mercy means drinkable rain. The girl reads aloud
to her brother simmering in fever. When she closes the book
he is two feet taller, toes hanging over the bedrail.
He dreams that everything square is a casket. Each casket
holds three masks. Each mask has room for thirteen children.
2.
The father forgives everything he can. I forgive you tree,
he says to the tree. I forgive you stone wall he says to the wall.
I forgive you blood he says to the flushed forehead
of his sick child who sucks on river stones. The doctors
crack their knuckles. The possums whisper in the sand pit,
they curl their tails & forgive the father for being new at this.
Doctors drive ten miles back to town & don’t return. They leave
syrup on the table to turn a fever into a leather strap.
The brother cannot touch the syrup, but it sticks his sister’s pages
together. She opens & closes the book like bellows.
Every page is part of the casket’s wall. The sister thinks the room
is hollow & the brother turns & turns into sleep. In the darkness
she takes the knotted sheets & flings them from the window.
As the night fogs in dangling vines she puts her owl mask on
& climbs out to find the mines. Thank you vines. Thank you mask.
Thank you caskets that line the highway, you eyelids of the owl mask.
In another three months, we would be dead. We did not hate each other yet. That came later, after the light poured from the mouths of deer and giant birds made amputees of us. When we died and became snake people, that is when we hated each other. I don't care if you're headless. You must not scream in your sleep every night. I will tell you how the deer waltz with mustached rifles on the roof of the black house. I will tell you how the raccoons are scheming with the clouds. I will tell you the story of our love, if you've forgotten in your headless state. However, you must not scream. You must not sleep.
I’m going to quit my job and follow you across this great nation. I’ll live on Shirley Temples while inventing better creatures for you to talk to: walrus, fennec fox, star-nosed mole. I’ll buy us matching fuzzy moustaches and climb inside your leather bag. I’ll hide in the library with the government documents. You can dust all of us at once. Use your breath, please, if it isn’t too much trouble. If you refuse, I’ll cling to your shin until you kick at my pores. It’ll be good for the economy. You’ll see. The Dutch will love us.
The new king went hunting. In blaze orange and designer wolfskin hats. On flat bed trucks and ATVs. The new king went hunting and returned hefting canvas sacks brimmed with feathers and fur and legs and snouts. Cattle sheep geese small bear and fawns. Blood filled the canvass and overfilled the canvass and the cleaning staff mopped blood wherever the king last stood carefully articulating the nature of her prizes.
The new king hunted wolves through our city streets. Yellow eyes and backs arched. Wolf packs bounded down city streets chasing cars, and eating garbage and the new king followed high above amidst a whirr of chopper blades. Wolves cowered behind dumpsters and packing crates in back alleys and high above, the blaze orange king, and high above, forest of blades.
The new king cleaned and mounted her kills on cable television. Yellow and red viscera glittering like gems. “First of these devils I’ve bagged,” she grinned to the camera, hand carved ivory teeth.
The new king hunted often. We heard her whirring above, the terrible whirring a forest of—, and she drifted over our city half dangling from the chopper, rifle barrel glinting.
The king hunted often and when the wolves were gone she switched to teachers and when the teachers hid in their offices, behind walls of books, she switched to school children, for isn’t there an element of the teacher in the student, the new king mused, or we supposed she mused, and when the school children were hidden beneath boards in attics throughout the city she hunted their books and desks, their class turtles and microscopes. She gouged and shredded their text books on cable television.
The new king hunted often and we learned to stay indoors. We learned to not breathe heavily. We learned to hold close mother and wife. To muffle the mouths of mothers and children. We learned to pull the shades. We learned, the slightest flinch—we
The new king stalked the streets in blaze orange and designer boots, the heels— The new king stalked with red eyes or eyes we dreamed were red or eyes she wished were red. She stalked now the gristle or teeth or low frightened moans of wolves. She stalked our libraries and shot our books ‘til the fragments of pages flittered down like feathers—
—the heads lonesome and red eyes lost, as she grafted steaks from their flanks and ground their bones to sausages on cable television. The low moans of wolves, bodiless, articulated the whirring of blades. Red eyes, the blood of our hearts, as her spotlight shone past our windows—
The king hunted often. Her eyes were red or were those eyes the eyes of wolves, wolves on television. The king hunted often and we remained silent within.
The problem is in the end you’re alone in your apartment your wife’s at work your nanny took the baby to the park you face that defrosted heart you slice off the gristle your fingers smell like blood you think pig blood smells like human blood after all pigs are intelligent mammals you think I have this blood on my fingers now my shirt my hands the kitchen whole damn apartment smells like blood we’re all soaked in it anyway blood was sweet when I was a kid I cut my finger so why don’t I taste it I am mighty I will not die and then you fucking eat the whole raw thing.
I haven’t killed any people, Luddie, but it’s true I have come close. I’ve come close by holding my step-dad’s gun to my brother’s temple and pulling the trigger.
I was just a kid then, curious and alone and with my brother who was curious and alone too.
I didn’t know if the chamber held a bullet and I didn’t know what it would mean if it did, but I pulled the trigger. “On or off?” I said to my brother and then I pulled the trigger before he could answer.
Nothing happened.
“On,” I said.
And then I put the barrel to my own temple, and I squeezed the little metal tongue to prove there was nothing. Nothing at all.
“On or off?” I said again, and again the hollow click sounded.
“On,” I said.
Would it have been better off? To light up my eyes from inside, to feel my little brains go black?
They didn’t.
My brother punched me in the head and called me a word I didn’t know, and my brains didn’t go black at all.
My brains didn’t go black at all, and my brother and I lived, and later that same year we killed other things with pleasure.
Ants, mice, spiders, fish. A swarm of horseflies had filled our room.
I was planting zinnias in my front yard in the middle of the day, full sun, no shade at all, and thinking of Van Gogh. How he threw himself heart and soul into the earth. How he saw landscapes with skies all pink. How faith cheats us.
I was struck by death, by immortality.
I couldn’t see my way out of my own head.
Denny, my across the street neighbor, sat on the porch between potted jungle plants reading the paper and smoking. A black and white cat climbed up his shirt. The tail whisked him in the face. He watched me, balanced on the back two legs of a chair.
The cat wrapped its tail around Denny’s neck like a feather boa. He nodded at me, exposed me. And I was taken by a little thrill of shame.
Twenty-three cups of coffee. Lunch for a franc. A window. A madhouse. Peach tree in bloom. Iris. A plane of olives. The sky Prussian blue. The wheat fields gold beneath the sun.
The magnificence of Arles!
Blazing. Brilliant. Beauty slivering his veins. Splintering in his blood. Ribboning his flesh. Eating him. Consuming him. What does he do?
Here, Vincent says. He places the lobe of his ear in the prostitute’s palm and closes her fingers over the blood spilling over.
Late afternoon, I walked three blocks to the park and sat on the grass with my legs wide and my head bowed, not praying but thinking about praying. Cars passed in front of me. An ant fumbled across my thigh. Bees hovered in a patch of clover. The thinking wasn’t going anywhere and I was wondering about God and why he doesn’t say anything anymore. This is both what I was thinking and feeling so guilty for thinking that I was trying to make it stop when I felt a mist of water on the back of my neck. It wasn’t raining and, anyway, this mist was too fine to have fallen very far and, for a minute, I couldn’t figure it out. Then I looked up and there was a sparrow on a branch budding out with salmon-colored blossoms. The sparrow was shaking it wings and gutter water was falling on my head as if sprinkled by the hand of a priest. I hadn’t wanted to think about it that way. It was all too metaphorical. Too cute. Well, I thought, and then it occurred to me that maybe God never quits talking. Maybe all I really want is for God to shut up shut up shut up.
I sat beneath my window and watched, late into the slab of night, for Denny and the cat. The moon rose above the stricken trees. A shadow moved in the bushes.
On the top floor of the apartment building next to Denny’s house, a woman stood in her window. Her form wobbled in the yellow light and I began to feel as if I were drowning—as if the world turned too fast on its axis.
I clipped the mountains from the horizon. I followed their black border with a pair of scissors. I took a paper punch to the moon. I lifted the clouds with the sticky side of tape. And then I pasted all of it, everything, to my body. The moon on my breast and the mountains and that familiar shade of hazy purple washing over all the constellations of my skin—
I know where I am in this fleshy landscape.
I can’t say what I want to say so I throw jellybeans instead.
I keep a jarful on my desk, and each night when Marsha pokes her head into my room I grab a fistful and toss them at her. She quickly pulls back, the jellybeans spraying the door like rainbow shrapnel.
We play this game—she peeks in, I throw jellybeans—until the jar is empty.
Then she’ll stick her head all the way into my room and tell me I’m too aggressive. Then she’ll blow me a kiss.
I’ll say shut the fuck up and eat the jellybeans I just gave you.
She’ll bend down and put a red one in her pocket. Always a red one.
After she’s gone I’ll clean up all the jellybeans I threw. I won’t put them back in the jar; they’re empty cartridges, the powder burns sugar-coating on my fingertips.
In the morning I’ll whisper things to her while she’s still sleeping, tender things I believe she doesn’t hear. When I come home in the evening she’ll have filled the jar with jellybeans again. Some days they’re all red, and on those days she comes into my room wearing safety goggles and a smile.
Speak, she’ll say.
Speak.
But transfixed, the child did nt struggle against the sting f the brad hand delivered by the awful large man, and this exchange lived in an upstairs rm, like an incurius cugh.
Then the awful large man retreated int his bitter dium and in his rm, alne, he, t himself, installed a quiet hrrr int his bdy.
i. again, the child is sick
ii. mother says the faucet spews death in sickness and in health
iii. under the bridge the stones are rough hewn, scented yellow,
colored in piss
iv. you're too old to hide beneath her skirts
v. you're too young to sleep beneath the bridge
vi. again, mother is crying
vii. on the seventh day, forget
: crevice sewn : stalks escape the jagged edge(iii) : abandon ill-conceived solitudes : meaning this : if you plant a slivered nail in muck and : wish : wish : wish : harness heart and lung : drag truth with an eye-gouged horse : then perhaps : but you : festooned in vestal blood : could only wish for skin(v) : recklessly : wander ramshackle corridors(ii) : comb nodes of spectral spine : read between the bullet wounds : lies : lies : lies are an adolescent wish(i) : cities ferried upon the skiff : gaping holes where teeth : tongue : throat : silence : should abide(vi) : would if not for this : window cut by knife : we : the unforgiving I : the blind foal : Lamarck's damn proof : strung between the moon's tectonic ribs : shifting in the ash strewn bone(vii) : eyelashes trembling : wet : pendulum slung : spent : we are a lie in the throes of birth(iv) :
My left hand will live longer than my right. The rivers
of my palms tell me so.
Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish
at the same time. I think
praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think
staying up and waiting
for paintings to sigh is science.
`11:2]0^hH33:96: The sudden impulse to rip her skirt off – rip it right off, over her head; to see her head flung back, abject. Yet you pretty much know she'd glory in it. Such did the worst part of me think, even at age ten age ten, I who was otherwise so effing niave.
`11:2]0^hH35:33: To strangle someone already dying. Stuff a mouth with rags, when there's already a big knife stuck down in it. Advance her death, sycamore leaves, jam them in the gullet, some figure set to die, ten minutes, O maybe twelve. All that – a lifetime – just cut it out, same bloody ball chucked in the underbrush
there you have a have a triumph.
`11:2]0^hH35:43: Deep forest, then combat.
`11:2]0^hH38:63: This hat and coat. These gloves
`11:2]0^hH42:12: they read my thoughts! they scramble my
`11:2]0^hH48:94: and tea. We two, your mother, mine (my mother). Waited on by robots. Basket at your mother's feet. Or bassinet I should say? White cake before me, white frosting, curtains of white lace, view of the platform, the bigger mother (mine), her slow yellow eye
`11:2]0^hH60:90: Big gut-hook knife!
your flex cuffs, it cuts through
see?
Baby girl, your wrists
11:2]0^hH61:03: Singularity, then
11:2]0^hH62:13: window rattling, doorknob turns round
them!
11:2]0^hH62:85: run!
11:2]0^hH65:72: duck here, safe here, hush your breath
`11:2]0^hH77:16: thoughts and brain, the relationship there. Blood from bone (the skull churning its blood cells) scalp and hair, Dutch boy look, my hair so pretty.
`11:2]0^hH87:46: Cambridge, Court and Tremont, us two together again, sheer chance, this plaza, Jersey barriers and bike racks, you so so grown, so pretty
`11:2]0^hH87:57: and all these years.
`11:2]0^hH87:97: Singularity, human race screwed
`11:2]0^hH88:63: back to Government Center, my words and thoughts, they transmit them to the fourth vault, catalog my
`11:2]0^hH88:63: Suicide forbidden, robots in the skull, self harm, no, can't harm myself
they will do the harm
`11:2]0^hH99:39: Deep forest. A home – even at age ten, that's what I what I wanted. Us two in deep forest. An ideal home for you, ideal schooling, brought up by hand, a natural life. Even just to get you there. To carry you deep forest and expire, basket beyond their reach (the reach of mothers). You, then, a feral girl, and me watching over, this new angel, winging.
`11:2]0^jJ08:20: Both their skirts, your mother's and mine (my mother's), flung up. Snatch the basket, fly fly from their glorying
then deep forest
`11:2]0^jJ13:49: listen! listen now!
`11:2]0^jJ15:30: walk faster, run now run! miles and miles to
`11:2]0^jJ15:81: Don't cry!
please
this way here's the way!
`11:2]0^jJ21:06: cartwheel straw hat, black ribbons. Black lace gloves. Maroon satin coat
`11:2]0^jJ32:71: and the trains came. Us at tea with mothers, four twits all told, then we boarded, four twits, ten years back, then disembarked, Dedham, Motherbrooke, you, your mother stayed on board, me, mine (my mother) stepped onto the platform, never again to ever speak again, be together again, you and me, until today, City Hall Plaza
`11:2]0^jJ33:01: huge bears, hunched over, huge wrens, hunched over, huge slouching rabbits and cats, the robots infect an animal, rebuild it as a huge slouching thing, fur, feather, teeth, rebuilt along giant lines
`11:2]0^jJ35:68: the little girl you were. The little baby. And me: maroon satin dress and gawd maybe gawd maybe patent leather shoes had
not the strength. I didn't I didn't.
`11:2]0^jJ36:18: Our compartment. The tapping of mothers' feet (your mother's and mine). In all that nervousness and strangeness, somehow coordinated. Four twits, two tapping: left right right right. And my patent leather crying out. And just you try tapping random against two tapping women. I tried I tried. I fell into rhythm. I tapped randomly – forced my brain, supreme effort, to random tap-patterns – nothing nothing scuff-step – no dice, I completed them, became one with them, a perfect counterpoint. You cried out you
`11:2]0^jJ43:02: to learn to truly speak. A natural voice, voice of deep forest, something like that.
`11:2]0^jJ43:57: these gloves.
`11:2]0^jJ44:67: Once we were under mothers, now it's robots. Laugh to think: mothers so much weaker then robots, but me weaker still
`11:2]0^jJ49:53: But it was too far. And me so so weak
thus a train, thus four twits. And combat later, my combat.
`11:2]0^jJ55:00: I have done such horrors.
`11:2]0^jJ86:32: Then to lurch back, and lean in again hard, fingers tensed
kill with sycamore leaves.
`11:2]0^kK03:56: high-order thinking, then no thought, then thought again, but only simple. Tiny robots in the skull, short circuits, worming tunnels, high-order thinking again, all words and thoughts captured, transmitted, 48 electrical relays carrying these words and thoughts even now to fourth
on the lam, I think we think we lost 'em, really think we
`11:2]0^kK04:10: A brain that no longer even folds. It ticks and whirs.
`11:2]0^kK04:41: rebuilt, brain first, all humans to be converted, a human falls on all fours, on all six, smaller and smaller, blood and tissue borne away, repurposed, wrens and rabbits beefed up, humans mostly soon just joint and husk: gears, levers, low grade junk, soon for me 11:2]0^kK05:33: To steal a child – at age ten, view of platform, white lace, white frosting, to lift your basket and run from both mothers. To fling up skirts over heads and escape to deep forest, far from mothers, far from the robots who were not yet even strong. And you: you must be about ten now, my baby girl ten now
But the robots, so strong now, smart now
years passed
so I must be twenty now
I don't know, don't know how years pass now
`11:2]0^kK14:61: Suicide: no. Smallest robots in brain say no.
`11:2]0^kK14:61: all four, all six, my flesh stuffing bears and cats, nesting gears and shafts for innards devoured, guts repurposed, outer layer dissolves, smaller gear and shaft within, outer layer dissolves, smaller gear and shaft within, still human now, upright, soon tiny robot, insects paradroid in some sucker's brain
like my knife? Have
mercy
`11:2]0^lL38:20: As if this existence required real or sustained thought.
`11:2]0^lL37:18: Listen! to my skull! the machinery there
their work.
`11:2]0^lL42:33: I lose my hat, I forget your name.
`11:2]0^lL52:68: City Hall Plaza, so soothing to robots, the trains running under, all that behind us
2]0^lL91:62: Not deep forest yet, but
forest
made it this far
see the trees?
11:2]0^lL91:84: Baby girl
breathe forest
`11:2]0^lL92:98: What meanness inside me?
WHIRRR == CLICK.
`11:2]0^lL93:18: a train
what meanness?
The sound of a train. It throbs way out in exurban fields or the prairies the prairies. Close to close to a heartbeat, a train on rails, close to the turnings of your brain, in and out, so gradual, so slow you don't even know it, till the landslide comes and it turns inward (your brain), then gets burdened with itself, bent and twisted on its stick, a brain turning inward thrice, and a skull-stick still facing out, and a cry, or just maybe just a squeak, on account of all that weight. `11:2]0^lL93:85: We stop here. You rest
blueberries. Gooseberries. Ground nut tubers, eat. Food, the taste of the taste of it, can't remember the
not safe yet, true safety in deep forest, forest not safe, only deep forest, tomorrow we'll `11:2]0^lL94:85: horrors I did: first against the robots and robot collaborators, then as a robot, or robot collaborator
`11:2]0^lL96:32: As if our attacks were clearly legible moves, natural language.
`11:2]0^mM77:73: Gears, not brainfolds.
`11:2]0^nN30:59: I find my hat.
`11:2]0^nN70:71: To lose my only chance, the basket, the bassinet, the skirts and glorying. But again, now. Now! A do-over
`11:2]0^pP40:22b: see bits of brain left in hat – in twisted straw, gray matter
see?
`11:2]0^pP56:56: me – first smart – then dumb – then smart – tiny robots, tiny insects, tiny humans, what's left, what's not repurposed for wrens, for bears, movement of tiny robots in the skull, what's left, I'm rendered smart or
`11:2]0^pP74:93 inside the skull: slurry walls of maroon satin. Robots tunnel through brain: 519 micrometers at a go. The whole world as as as island spring, the brain as buried channel. Robots in the brain, the horizontal plain, the vertical plain, two ears, two tunnels, planned deviations, not much human life left: for me, no. Horizontal axis, two lines that cut inward cut inward. Vertical axis, a widening at the last possible moment. Smallest robots in the skull, incandescent beetles, little gears
We interrupt this Iceland Report serial to offer up the following vocabulary trivia quiz.
Within an hour of Bork Bork
I am not yet defending those who are making stupid comments and unfunny jokes
Bork is happy and energetic – with borderline manic tendencies
and if you expect any fucking
YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!@!@!@!”
I’m from Iceland and I practice yoga every night, I shit you not…
With my body, you’d NEVER know I birthed 2 babies..
I am hot, people. HOT.
My secret? A diet of Juarez tequila and ho-hos, and a steady regimen of cock-sucking. Or is cock-sucking more like part of my diet? Either way, I have an ass like a 24 yr old. And now you know.
Do you know who Björk is?
She is in desperate need of some attention
I have panties, I’m telling you, three more innocent people died after watching her “Reaming an eskimo“ video on MTV last night. She’s that desperate. That’s how cool she is.
She can use a gun to shoot herself in the face with, I don’t care, I’d still tongue-bork her.
I’m an Icelandic student, I’m broke and I’m not an attention whore.
You don’t like other people’s sweaty ball cheese odor in your delicate little throat.
But I got some ball cheese for you, right here.
Served, to the surprised delight of your girlfriend, who will say “Wow, I kinda had my doubts about this meal. But this is good! You done good, babe.” Awake the next morning to the strong smell pervading every nook and cranny of the house. If you have regrets, just remember that this is the smell of Christmas in Ísafjörður, Iceland.
“Ísafjörður?” (puzzled face)
“Last time I was there, in the 80s, I was stuck for five days because of snow. They couldn’t get an airplane out of there.”
The main industry in Ísafjörður, Iceland is cleaning the fucking kitchen.
Iceland, incidentally, is at war with Kebabistan for smuggling dolphins up their snatches. Fucking ragheads.
We killed “Free Willy”, and I don’t mean “we” as in all of Icelanders, I mean as in me and my dad fucking drowned that michelin-tyre-fucking dolphin, or whatever the hell he was. Now, that’s some proper existentialist symbolism for you.
I know I make it sound like Iceland is a fucking superpower. But it’s only funny, cause it’s true.
Trust me. Iceland is streaming in its entirety on YouTube.
Iceland is known as the NORDIC TIGER.
Of course, Iceland is hardly the ideal clime for peanut growing, nor does it have the economic clout to lord over a country that does. But nevermind you, we’ll do fine without your god-fucking peanuts.
I woke up this morning with fuck on my mind. Then I punched fuck into Google. I punched fuck long and hard into Google. Then I punched it once more, just to be on the safe side. What do you reckon showed up? Lo and fucking behold: Iceland.
We are the world, so fuck off.
“We believe early life may have adopted nucleobases from meteoritic fragments for use in genetic coding which enabled them to pass on their successful features to subsequent generations.”
“Because meteorites represent left over materials from the formation of the solar system, the key components for life — including nucleobases — could be widespread in the cosmos. As more and more of life’s raw materials are discovered in objects from space, the possibility of life springing forth wherever the right chemistry is present becomes more likely.”
IF ANYONE KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON EVER THEN HEY
I AM HERE IT WOULD BE NICE TO TALK SOMETIME
INFOMERCIALS HAVE STARTED AND I KIND OF WANT TO DIE
I’M PRETTY SURE THIS ONE IS ACTUALLY FOR A MORGUE

OK SO ACTUALLY IT’S FOR THE BIBLE OR SOMETHING
SO IT’S A COMMERCIAL FOR TRYING TO BE HAPPY OR SOMETHING
BUT I AM NOT HAPPY TONIGHT NO I AM NOT JUST HERE
IF HAPPINESS EVER WORKED THEN HOW — I DON’T KNOW

HAPPINESS IS A LIZARD IN THE SUNLIGHT GETTING WARM
AND THEN IN THE NIGHT BENEATH A ROCK EATING FLIES
AND SWALLOWING THE MEAT OF THE TRASH OF THE DIRT

AH, SO TONIGHT IS A LITTLE DRUNK AND OK OK OK
THAT IS GOOD SO LET ME BE — THERE IS NO LOVE TONIGHT
GOD IS LIKE BONO — SOME DICKWAD NO ONE WILL EVER MEET OR LIKE
I am hot.
Mormon-hot.
Oh my effing God, I am sick-hot.
Ick-hot.
Ich bin ein Mormon hot.
Mormon-Fight-In-A-Clown-Car hot.
And that includes soup.
World’s-oldest-freestanding-
pagoda-visited-by-Mormons hot.
Married Mormon Graduate Students On Welfare hot.
Tragicomic-mormon-homosexual-at-war-in-california-face-down-in-the-stun-bath-
weeping-hot-tears-behind-3D-glasses hot.
Feminist Mormon Housewives + Bath Time = hot.
Mormon Mommy Wars>>>The Agony that is Weaning:
hot showers, self-pump, bacon and hot dogs . . .
Hot.
Postum ..... twinkies … hormones … the Book of Mormon tells us
that women are nothing but a hot married gay Mormon man who,
once inside the body, just mimics estrogen.
Even though the Mormon church is based on
a 14 year old’s dreams and fantasies,
the Mormon mega-dance phenomenon —
fog machines, cool deejay, earsplitting music, wallflowers, cliques —
is not just cute but four hours of man sweat
leaked from a Mormon man-ass.
Hot!
I'm blaming Mormon hormone replacement therapy
that Women are from Venus, Men are from the Book of Mormon
where God has blonde chicks hanging all over him!
Celebrated tuxedo-shirt-wearing beefcake and Christmas greeting amanuensis Laura Bush
must be a Mormon,
‘cause If you've ever looked into her eyes,
you know she'd be the first to share a comforting bowl
of hot, buttered polygamist Mormon squirrel
while self-raping in prison.
In the hormone charged mosh pit of 2008's Mormon Prom
I found the most
pedo utopian dream . . .

Flarf poetry can be characterized as an avant garde poetry movement of the late 20th century and the early 21st century. Its first practitioners practiced an aesthetic dedicated to the exploration of “the inappropriate” in all of its guises. Their method was to mine the Internet with odd search terms then distill the results into often hilarious and sometimes disturbing poems, plays, and other texts.

"Flarf" has, as just mentioned, also become a catch-all term for any poetic composition that makes use of Google or other search engines. This implies a retroactive application of the term to authors who were using such devices well before the Flarf Collective, such as Robert Fitterman, Alan Sondheim, and others. Some of these writers, naturally, may resist such connections, as their work deserves to be considered on its own terms without the imposition of anachronistic categories.
It is probably too late, however, to object to the increasingly widespread use of "flarf" to refer to a wide variety of research-software-based modes of composition. Sometimes the word is used as a verb in this sense to describe any procedural deformation of a preexisting text via the use of a search-engine or other internet mechanism (such as the BabelFish translation engine): Gardner, for instance, flarfs Dana Gioia's poem "Money" in Petroleum Hat.
Another, perhaps even more widespread general definition of "flarf": any intentionally bad, frivolous, or wacky poetry; any textual or verbal doodling or nonsense of any sort. "What's this gibberish?" "Oh, just something I flarfed during my lunch break." "What did that guy say?" "I don't know. Sounded like flarf to me."

Jangly, cut-up textures, speediness, and bizarre trajectories … I love a movement that’s willing to describe its texts as ‘a kind of corrosive, cute, or cloying awfulness.’ This is utterly tonic in a poetry field crowded by would-be sincerists unwilling to own up to their poems’ self-aggrandizing, sentimental, bloviating, or sexist tendencies.

The proliferation of flarf and its hybrids recycles an industrial era excitement over human ‘progress’ with no hesitance toward the embarrassing hubris of such a perspective. It’s retro-Futurist, and it’s indicative of their reliance on the virtual realm as a method of navigating reality... If there’s a difference between flarf and its progenitors it’s that Cage and Oulipo researched or created their generators of deterministic randomness, whether it be the I Ching, the weather, or mathematical formulas. They were aware of how each generator distinguished itself as a context and control variable, and their selection of each context and control variable was part of the content.
An aardvark and an albino rat are walking in joy, trusting God. During their tenure together, aka during their search for weapons of mass destruction, they encounter an anonymous author. “What is an internet author?” the anonymous author says to the traveling companions. “I have diarrhea,” says the albino rat. “I have diarrhea so bad I can hardly stay on my tractor. I’ve talked with my other farming friends and they are experiencing the same thing. I pigged out at the Chinese buffet and now I can poop thru a keyhole at 30 yards.” The anonymous author, not knowing how to respond, simply asks his question more loudly, “WHAT IS AN INTERNET AUTHOR?” The aardvark projectile-vomits on the anonymous author’s knees. “I’ve seen Fred Durst’s penis, and I can’t stop vomiting,” he says, apologetically. “How many calories do you have to burn to burn a pound?” By this time the anonymous author is really very, very angry. He stamps both his feet and shouts, “You aardvark, you, and you dirty fucking albino rat, TELL ME! WHAT IS AN INTERNET AUTHOR?!?” “Didn’t his adventures with an overdue library book keep you amused as a kid?” asks the albino rat. Before the anonymous author can answer, the aardvark interjects, whispering to the anonymous author, “The fucking albino rat has a very satisfied face, no? Looks like a handjob man. See where the hand is and where the strategic yellow flap is?” Meanwhile, the albino rat has crawled up the anonymous author’s pant leg, unzipped his fly, pulled out his penis and has begun yelling at the top of his little lungs, “This dick looks like a fucking aardvark snout!!! Holy shit!! I mean come the fuck on. This white boy accessorized his fucking white dick!” But the “dick” is indeed a real “aardvark snout” and an entire aardvark crawls out the anonymous author’s zipper hole, falls to the ground and ambles down the road, grumbling, “Fucking chickens, fucking llamas, fucking bunnies, fucking ant eating little anteater motherfuckers. Well, you're not gonna get me.” The first aardvark and his friend, the albino rat, continue on their way. All that’s left of the “anonymous author” is a pile of clothes.
no affect behind all that, no psychology…no libido or death drive…No repressed unconscious
Nothing leads nowhere,
The centuries also live underground, says the Master of Ho.
Ordinarily we don’t think of neurons as entities or objects in their own right, but as parts of another object (a body) that are unable to exist in their own right. Yet here we have a rather terrifying example of stratified objects where we have objects wrapped inside of other objects. The neurons, when transplanted to the chip, become something other than they were and new powers not present in the rat itself become manifested. The truly horrifying question for me is that of whether these neurons continue to have some form of consciousness when transplanted in this way. Is there some highly confused sentient being in this assemblage that is thoroughly bewildered by the assemblage in which it finds itself and which is living an existing of shrieking pain?
Just because the speed of light is very high does not mean we can forget it.
Wherever you look, you look into the past.
It’s already gone.
All. Just as humans try and communicate by thinking then asking the brain to translate the thought into language then language into sound then uttering the thought then the sound travelling to the Other then the Other hearing the sound, the Other computing the data of the sound, the Other’s brain attempting to transmute the data into thought, a thought that will be different from the one we had, because it is another brain, another soul, another One; the same way all we perceive has lost part of its essence in translation. It’s fine, it doesn’t mean we should shut up and close our eyes. But it does mean that we know much less than we like to pretend.
Everything we take for granted can be questioned. Apart from the fact that we are insignificant and overblown. So, no, you don’t really need that new jacket.
A sadist, a masochist, a murderer, a necrophile, a zoophile and a pyromaniac are all sitting on a bench in a mental institution, bored out of their minds. “How about having sex with a cat?” asked the zoophile.”Let’s have sex with the cat and then torture it,” says the sadist.”Let’s have sex with the cat, torture it and then kill it,” shouted the murderer.”Let’s have sex with the cat, torture it, kill it and then have sex with it again,” said the necrophile.”Let’s have sex with the cat, torture it, kill it, have sex with it again and then burn it,” said the pyromaniac. Silence fell… then everyone turned to the masochist and asked: “So, what’s it gonna be?” To which he replied, “Meow!”
2: The flaneur doesn’t have a target
4: He walks for the sake of walking. His movement, his gestures are means without ends.
2: The flaneur doesn’t exist anymore.
1: Yet the passages are dreaming secretly of the flaneurs’ return.
4: The malls, the passages of our days, are being controlled by security guards and surveillance cameras in order to prevent that return.

3: Yawn! Cover your mouths with a hand. Yawn again.
2: Boredom is a warm gray plaid, its inside lined with the most glowing silk. Into this plaid we wrap ourselves when we are dreaming.
3: Pause. Close your eyes.
2: Being in these rooms elapses without accent, like the goings on in dreams. Flanerie is the rythm of this slumber.
1: Boredom is the step to great deeds.
3: Close your eyes and walk on.
4: For what will the passage’s name stand in the future?
2: Which future use could be made of this place?
3: Look around.

4: We would like to ask you to leave a present in this mall before you go.
3: Take out the sugar cubes without attracting attention. Take one cube and —
2: Put it at a place you consider appropriate.
3: Don’t take this too easy!

1: The sugar cube ought not to be too easily visible, but you should not hide it, either.
2: Have you found a place?
3: Then leave it there and walk on.

3: distribute your sugar cubes one after one across the mall. If you happen to find another cube during your search for places, put one of yours on the top.
2: Produce a little, volatile sugar sculpture.
4: Every age does not only dream the next, but dreaming it urges it to awake.
1: It carries its own finale in itself and unfolds it with cunning. With the commodities economy convulsing, we start to recognize the monuments of the bourgeoisie as ruins even before their decay.
3: Whereever you see a sugar tower: enlarge it by one more cube!
2: But take care that the tower doesn’t collapse!
1: The flaneurs’ conspiracy becomes manifest in small melancholy objects.
2: Its growth is unforeseeable, its dispensation in space to be planned by nobody.
1: Their appearance is without end.
3: Dispersed, meaningless presents, requested by nobody.
2: Unintelligible signals to a world where everything has its place.»

I know a boy who called his girlfriend’s body a “crime scene.” Dad, my body is a crime scene. My body is lint and gasoline and matchstick. My body is a brush fire. It’s ticking, Dad, a slow alarm. I have rain boots. Lots of them. It isn’t raining anymore. The words are coming back, Dad. The way they fit and jump in the mouth. I want ice cream and long letters. I want to read long love letters but I don’t think he loves me. I think I’m used up. I think I’m the grit under his nails, the girl who looks good in pictures. I don’t think he loves me. I think they broke me, Dad. I think I drink too much and it’s because they broke me. I heard about two girls recently, two women crushed like cherries in a boy’s jaw. It opened me, Dad. My body is melted wax, it is ripe and stink and bent. It is a mistake. I walk like an apology. I don’t hate men, Dad, I don’t. I want a washing machine. I want someone else to do the dishes, someone to walk the dog. I have a hornet in my head, Dad. A hornet. She’s an angry bitch – she hurls herself against my skull. She stings. And stings. I know I don’t make sense, Dad. This is the problem. I’m a sick girl, a crazy wishbone. I have razors under my tongue. I’m sorry I cut you, Dad, I’m so—so sorry. I gave you a card for Father’s Day once, it said you were my hero. You are. Your laugh is a thunderclap, you love like surgery. I think they broke me, Dad. I can’t erase their faces. I want to swim, Dad. Remember when I used to hopscotch? I used to make you laugh. My feet are hot. The bottoms of my feet are scorched sand, August asphalt. My body is a slug, a mob of sticky wet rot. No one touches me anymore because I’m rot. Because my body is a spill no one wants to clean up. They cracked me open, Dad, I know you don’t want to hear about it. You don’t want to hear how they scissored me, how they gnawed me like raw meat. No one wants to hear how they made me drink lemon juice, how they kicked the dog, how they upturned the furniture, no one wants to hear how my skin turned to a dark thick of purple and black and lead. I watch the homeless a lot, Dad. I watched a man with a cup of coins and chips of skin carved out of his face. He had freckles. He needs medicine, Dad. He needs to stop the hornet. My body is a hive. I am red ants and jellyfish. A yellow sickness. My body is a used condom in an alley in Jersey City. I don’t think he loves me, Dad. My body is a fetus in biohazard tank. A Polaroid pinned to a corkboard in Brooklyn. I think I’m hurt, Dad. I think I was the tough girl for too long. My body is a wafer, a thin, soft melt on a choir boy’s tongue.

unsolicited advice to adolescent girls with crooked teeth and pink hair
When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking
your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you gave him blue balls, say
you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble
gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep
your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her.
Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down
jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no
condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear
will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading:
“Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your
first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush
on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike
back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his
wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time.
When the skinhead girls jump you in a bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do
not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use
a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the
door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and
whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait,
call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for
Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.
When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn
red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When
the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your
boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her,
apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in
Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live
in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air
conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your
apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment
hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red.
When your mother hits you, do not strike back.
115- my weight when I met you
245- your weight when you first purged a dinner
97- the number of times you told me I was fat
24- the number of beers you drank each day
136- my weight when you stopped touching me
135- the weight of your emaciated six foot frame
today
17- the number of times you refused to get help
21- the number of days since our divorce
76- the number of cows slaughtered since the
beginning of this poem
Dear Eric,
I said horrible things about
you.
Your teeth are fine,
it’s the rest of you I don’t
like.

Dear William,
I love you, simple.
I like that we will never be we.

Dear Jay,
The bruises fell off
eventually.

Dear Michael,
I’ll never be enough to fill
the shoes
that will one day stand at
your side.

Dear Kevin,
Your kiss came too late.
My lips were already dancing
in the other room with Jon.

Dear Skippy,
I’m sorry about the whiskey
and the tampon.
I’m sorry I never called you.

Dear Graham,
I’d have swallowed that
bullet.

Dear Cynthia,
I was drunk.
I thought you were, too.

Dear Ricky,
Maybe it was the red dress
or because I was fifteen.
Your brother married my
mother
on the same day I first
touched your cock.
Maybe you’re still a pervert.
Call me.

Dear Jeff,
I was your biggest mistake.

Dear Robert,
You are more than beer and
vomit.
You are more than I could
ever put into a poem.
she used gardening shears to open her last lover’s chest
green smudges staining the rungs of each rib
started at his abdomen, face-first
tearing at the new meat, yank, chew, pull
a frightening scene, those long cords of intestine snaking
into her mouth, tendons swinging from her jowls
there weren’t napkins enough for the spill
she slept for three days
woke craving a strawberry milkshake
In the Louis Vuitton storefront windows there are birdcages. And in each one there’s a shiny handbag. Or a glinting shoe. And, then, the maimed raccoon in the park—hunched over like it’s about to crap. It came towards us. Slumped over. And rolled on its back. This happened over and over. And the whole time it looked like it was smiling. I didn’t sleep well. I dreamed I shot you and ground you into powder—and the wind just swept you away. Elephants were chasing me, too, I think, and I woke up frantic, and horny, and you ended up having a tiny climax. The tiniest ever. A diamond stud. In a giant cage.
To do it she sits on the floor, and presses a talon against her clitoris, and then rips upward. Tearing up through her navel. Up to her neck. It’s the most intense orgasm, brilliant and chic, and she just absorbs it—lying back, arms spread, like a crucifix. Her eyes brighten. Then close. She bleeds out. Hardening. Paled. A carnivorous flower.
Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood. The moment it tries to be anything else it becomes cheap, puerile, and unconvincing. Prime emphasis should be given to subtle suggestion—imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail which express shadings of moods and build up a vague illusion of the strange reality of the unreal. Avoid bald catalogues of incredible happenings which can have no substance or meaning apart from a sustaining cloud of colour and symbolism.
The cows are useful and sure. Their existence is an infinite number of successive
presents.
It is thus understandable with what pleasure we exterminated them.
The cows are only themselves when gathering into their own finitude the infinite
totality in which they found themselves. Beneath a tree. In a meadow. On the earth
lost in the universe.
The human being is quickly jealous of the cows. Oh, if only the gods would arm
me with such power—comes the muffled voice of tiny Telemachus that is held in The
Odyssey.
The cows don’t read what’s in our hearts. They don’t understand us any better
than we understand ourselves. They ask neither for our recognition nor our gratitude
nor our hate as we ask it of ourselves. And never have we contemplated them in their
truth.
Thought, the cows immediately knew in our presence, betrays general indifference.
It’s only when dangers become evident that indifference ends. In our presence
the cows learned this at their own expense.
Racing Hummingbirds is a nest of wasps. They wore lipstick. Just for you.”
We were sowing seeds in a huddle. The partridge was luminous, and I glanced at his toupee and laughed with the heart of a child. We were. We are. The story begins with a hint of light from the edge of the page, the narrative's mind wiped clean by the interior fire. And then, and then. How many years have we waited to say the words. She. He. Us. The people. How many times have we desired to know? All of us. The sources of much trauma and grief, going knock-kneed in the dark at night, playing with other colors and glories by day. I was wearing the beautiful shirt, you know the one. We were tired. We worked, we went to bed, we got up and worked again. The players, the hoods, the revelers. Someone said we must be violet to be so green. Someone said we must be eerie to be so care. I didn't know. Did you? Before we could decide on a common language, our brothers and sisters came upon us and wandered with us in the forest, without suspicion. And so. And then. We were afraid of speech (transformations). There was no word in the beginning to draw us to itself, to take us to the place where we could be alive with sight and sound. I cut a flower out. So did you. We drew in our stenciled hairpieces to wear to the market. The parrots. All of them. So loud! We were joyful, but without peace when the music stopped. The music continued for many long mornings. The president wrote us letters signed in blood and tears. We tore up the letters and then built bigger buildings to collapse inside of. Someone said we had been found. I cried. You smiled. We found ourselves in a long story but without the changes that we had anticipated. Each one was half and whole, half and whole. The marriage. The wedding of the fire and water happened higher up than the changes had. And then, and then. There was a crown. A man wore it every day and night. We tried to steal the crown. We wanted the crown. The neighbors played games around the crown when they could pretend they owned it. It was a fake crown. We bought paper crowns and kissed each other in the sun. We thought we were orange but not sherbet. Someone paid their father to win the crown in a raffle. The father won the crown, and then he gave it to the son. The children wore the crown. The children broke the crown into pieces and each wore a piece. The crown gradually disintegrated into soil. Red clay. The crown was dull, vanquished, broken. The crown rolled down the hill where the president sat watching the children pretend. The crown was afire! And then, and then. The next move was to steal the pieces of the crown and turn them to ribbons. What color were the ribbons. I could not see the ribbons in our hair, but I felt them. I glanced over the telephone wires and made a picture. The picture was un-painted. The ball was fresh. The crown. The ball was in our hands. The story was over. The ball was out of our hands again. The ball, the crown, the fire. The story. Tell me a story, again. The grass, the trees, the elemental, colliding at dusk in a light.
colliding into the sun
and then given
A single thought like a kite in the sky of the mind.
A single thought like a kite in the sky of the mind, bound to the ground of the mouth by the long string of language, stretched taut, and bound to the sound of the wind by the fabric of context.
If language is string, and fabric is context, and wind is sound, a single beautiful thought is like a kite in the sky of the mind.
A single truthful thought like a kite in the sky of the mind.
A single moral thought like a kite in the sky of the mind.
To have a single ethical thought is to plow a kite through the sky of the mind.
To have a completely poetic thought is to cut the taut, white string of a kite caught high in the sky of the mind.
A kite in the sky of the mind is like a tent of poetry.
To have a single lyrical thought is to watch a kite rise through the rain in the sky of the mind.
A brief, complicated thought is like a small, tight knot in the long, white string of a kite caught high in the sky of the mind.
A constellation of thought is like a starlit kite caught high in the star-knit dark night sky of the mind.
The other night a thought got caught like a kite of fire in the sky of this friend of mine’s mind.
An overwrought thought like a fiery kite on the ground.
A single thought like a kite in the sky of the mouth.
Everyone was afraid of the Indian from Indiana because he was drunk and from Indiana. We were afraid he would embarrass us in front of everyone. We were afraid he would ruin our evening. None of us were sure where Indiana was and so we didn’t know how the Indians from there behaved. Some of us had heard of Indiana and one of us said out loud that it might be somewhere in the middle of the country. Then another one of us said they do a lot of farming there and they play basketball and the country is flat as a sheet of paper. We didn’t know if all Indians from Indiana were drunks like this one but one of us said he didn’t think so. He said they wouldn’t be good at basketball and wouldn’t be able to farm if they all were drunks like this Indian here. We didn’t even know if that’s what you called someone from Indiana, an Indian, but it made sense to most of us. We were gathered together for a celebration but I forget what we were celebrating. There wasn’t much to celebrate then so even the slightest victory, a morning without incident, for instance, would be grounds for a celebration. None of us knew how the Indian came to be where we were. None of us had seen him before. Eventually this Indian from Indiana cornered me into a discussion about language, specifically the English language and where it came from. I don’t know what made him think this was something I’d want to discuss. There is nothing about me that says I like to talk about the English language and where it came from. Maybe it was because he was an Indian that he thought otherwise. Maybe this is what goes on in Indiana when they’re not farming and playing basketball. He seemed to speak English like he’d been speaking it his whole life but he was drunk so you couldn’t tell for sure. The rest of us were at the bar when he cornered me so I was on my own. Had I known this was to happen I would’ve accompanied the rest of us to the bar. I wouldn’t have let myself get cornered by an Indian had I known better. I almost never know better beforehand and this is why I often find myself in these sorts of fixes. At any rate, this Indian went on to say English derives from the languages of love. This is when I took the glass of water beside me and drank from it. I was hoping it was gin in the glass or vodka but it turned out to be water. I looked down on this Indian to see if maybe he’d fallen or had decided I wasn’t the one to discuss this with. He was drunker now than he was before. His eyes were halfway shut and there was spittle on his chin and beard. It was good he was short so I could drink a glass of water and look down upon him at the same time. I felt like I needed to keep an eye on this little Indian. He was still there beneath me by the time I’d finished the water. I waited for the rest of us to get back from the bar. I didn’t know what was taking so long but I figured they’d be back soon. This way the Indian would be distracted and skulk away. I’d seen him skulk away several times that night. His habit was to approach someone on their own, do some talking and gesturing, then skulk away when others joined them. I was waiting for this to happen when it occurred to me he was referring to Romance languages. In his drunken Indian head you can see how he would get from there to there and for a second I was filled with something, a feeling, I cannot describe. It was almost like love, maybe, or awe, for all Indians everywhere, their complexities and foibles. So I told him he was right, that English comes from the languages of love. I figured there was no harm and the Indian might appreciate it. I don’t think he heard me, though, because the rest of us were approaching and the Indian was already in retreat and like that he was somewhere else. The Indian stayed on through the night but we never saw him again and none of us knows what became of him. Whenever the rest of us gather to celebrate something these days we’ll take turns telling stories of that night and the Indian from Indiana. Almost none of these stories are true but that doesn’t stop anyone from telling the stories or listening to them. It is embarrassing is what it is, that we find these sorts of tales amusing. The rest of us know this full well and the ones that don’t suspect it.
The day man emerged from water, the sky stormed big shards of lightning, but man was unafraid. It is unclear how man segued from water to air, if she, like dolphins or whales, began by breaking the surface of water for brief moments or if she simply flapped her little wings underwater, using them as propellers, until she was lifted out of out water, into the sky. Or perhaps she was more like a duck or swan, sitting on the surface with her feet maintaining equilibrium, until she became bored by the moisture slicking off her skin and so she took flight simply out of ennui. Or perhaps she used the bodies of other men like a ladder, climbing slowly upwards, until she could jump from such great heights and learn to flap her wings before falling deeply back into the water. The only thing we know for sure is that man must have worked in conjunction with other men to transition from water to air.
It was no secret that the long time rift between man and merman had become increasingly frustrating for both species. It was also no secret that man had petitioned the Evolution Council for permission to inhabit the sky, and although the council denied their proposal, they told them that even the Evolution Council cannot prevent the unavoidable, and it was unavoidable that man would take to the sky. The council offered man a loophole though. Although they could not, for unmentionable reasons, approve the petition, they would not erase its possibility. The council told man’s representative if she could find a way to survive in the atmosphere, the council would ratify the petition, but only after man could prove she could thrive there. The Evolution Council knew, even then, even at this very early stage of their existence, that they had no control, that they could not escape what prophets desired.
So the day man emerged from water, it stormed big shards of lightning, but every man had practiced flight. Every man knew how to breathe the atmosphere, how to close her eyes once she broke the surface of water. Every man knew she had to fly to survive, that she was on the verge of extermination if she stayed in the water. These men, it’s said they were unafraid, but the stakes were high, and if they weren’t scared, they must’ve been at least just a little bit nervous.

I had fallen asleep, but my wife hadn’t died. I had woken up, but my wife hadn’t woken up too. She hadn’t moved either. I whispered into her ear that it was morning, but she didn’t seem to hear me either. I nudged her at her shoulder and touched her upper arm, but she still didn’t open her eyes up, so I opened the blinds on the windows up. I turned her head to face the light coming in through the windows.
I whistled bird sounds, but she didn’t open her eyes up or put a pillow over her ears or turn her face away or roll over away from the light. My wife hadn’t shifted her body since she had been in that hospital bed. She hadn’t kicked the bedcovers off of her feet and her legs or pushed the pillow onto the floor. She hadn’t tossed or kicked or thrashed or turned over in her sleep like she did when she would sleep in our bed at home.
She didn’t wake up for the morning as she had on every other day of our marriage, but we ate breakfast together that day anyway. One of the nurses brought a tray of food into the hospital room and placed it on top of the table that swung over the hospital bed and my wife’s body. I told the nurse that my wife couldn’t eat or drink or swallow or chew, but the nurse didn’t take the tray of food out when she went back out of the hospital room. The nurse came back in with food and water for my wife that was inside iv bags. She hung the iv bags up on the iv stand and made sure that the drips worked. I watched the iv bags drip for awhile before I took the tray of food off of the table and set it on my lap and started to eat too.
We ate breakfast together, but it still wasn’t morning for my wife, so I tried to make it into more of a morning. I decided to try to wash up. I pushed myself up out of that chair and tried to stand up, but the blood seemed to rush out of my head and I couldn’t really breathe right either. I had to use the armrests of that chair to hold myself up. I was bent over but standing up until I got my breath back. I tried to stand up straight again and my head cleared up. I took my hat off and left it on top of the back of that chair. I took my jacket off and hung it around the shoulders of that chair. I pulled the sleeves of the jacket around to the front of that chair and left them resting on its armrests. I wanted to make it look like I was sitting there, or at least make it seem like I was nearby, if my wife woke up. I didn’t want her to wake up without me there with her. I didn’t want her to be awake and alone at the same time.
I went into the bathroom inside her hospital room to take however much of a bath or a shower that I could. I smelled like sleep and I wanted to wash the sleep off of me. I took my clothes off and hung them up on the back of the bathroom door and laid them out on all of the handles and bars that are supposed to help people to get up or to stand up inside a hospital bathroom. I turned the water faucet on and washed myself off with wet paper towels, and I dried myself off with dry paper towels, but it didn’t really make me feel clean. I felt dry and tired. I felt like I had somehow shrunk.
I Realized I Wasn't God
Once I saw a shoe. I didn’t want to go over and pick it up. I’d seen shoes before. Never one that small, though. This was a very small shoe. My feeling was, I shouldn’t go over and pick up that shoe. But it’s my job to pick things up. So I went over and picked it up. I held it in my hand. Turned it over. It was size zero. I imagined the baby who this shoe belonged to. I wondered if I should keep the shoe. I wondered if I should take it home. Put it on the windowsill in the kitchen. Beside the plant above the sink. I get sun mornings through that window. The shoe would be there when I did the dishes before packing up to go to work.
Scattered throughout the castle were spaces where sunlight pooled. On the floor. Across the ceiling. On the rugs. The chairs. The tapestries that hung on walls. In the early morning and the late afternoon. It was early autumn. The days still seemed long. The sun came for hours and seemed like it would never stop. Then dusk fell and the sun was gone. People came to the castle. They sat in places where the sun would arrive. The people inside the castle hardly moved. There was something cooking in a large pot. Steam rose. Someone stoked a fire. No one in the castle knew about the man on the bottom of the steps outside the kitchen. The evenings were warm. This bode well for the man. If he spent a night out in the cold, he would die. He was damp. A small girl watched him. Silent. The courtyard within her expanding. This girl sought warmth. She craved light. But light of a particular slant. But how is this a story? the boy queried. Say nothing, the woman told him. Check to see, she said. Sit still, eyes closed. Head tilted. Mouth slightly open. Intone words. Find words that seem not related to one another. Words that seem in no way a story. The light should be like something new. Something unexpected. The girl was glad. The queen was requesting an audience. Where would the girl go for lunch today? There was no direct sunlight in the corner where she slept. She was glad the queen could not see her when she slept. Generally the girl’s presence in the middle of the day was an animal thing. She glanced about nervously. The kitten skittered about. Someone approached. The girl’s hair was tangled. Dirt smudged her face and bare legs. Her dress was a rag. She owned no shoes. She spent her days searching for light. Objects sprung out at her. Because of this, when she found such light, something inside her sprang out. Whatever it was she’d discovered that day, among objects she’d encountered countless times, she found herself, at night, feeling powerless and afraid. Her dreams were not quite nightmares. They filled her with dread. Left her flying in her bed.

The thing about bathrooms in parties is they don’t always stay bathrooms; they start out as such but then become make-out rooms or coke rooms or shower-bubble-madness rooms. When I burst through the door holding my abdomen, a slight and waify couple seemed to be using it as a get-to know-one-another room; they were drinking very red wine, sitting on the side of the bathtub and giggling, drawing simple pictures with fingertips of wine onto the white tile. The “braap” sound I made while becoming sick intrigued them a little bit. They were children nearly, perhaps nineteen. I could feel them looking at me with something real and concentrated. I don’t think it was pity as much as curiosity; they seemed to wonder very much what it might be like to be so uncomposed. “I don’t get when people use puking in art,” said the boy, and the girl said, “Well it’s not like that, when they do,” meaning not like me but like Garla throwing up pink paint onto a teal ceramic raccoon.

I am looking for a cake recipe. The cake must be special but also simple. I think lemon is the appropriate flavor. Lemon reminds us of the subtle grieving we do even while eating cake. In the middle ages, the wives baked hollow cakes in which they put small personal items of the dead. I read about a French girl, Dominique, or Little Mirelle, who was buried, bald-headed with a white cake on her breast filled with her long hairs. The pâtissier decorated the cake with edible gold, a gold leaf lamb with gold sugar flowers all around, this kind of decoration being very popular among the aristocracy, for weddings. The French girl died too young to have entertained any marriage proposals, and in the end, her sickness wasted her face and made her pretty curls come loose from her scalp, but she wanted to go sweetly, celebrated, to the Virgin Mother, who suffers the sick girls, the sad, despised virgins, unlovely with chancres, and so her parents entombed her with a cake, very white, lacquered to keep out the worms, and on the top, the shining lamb, and flowers, and crosses. Could I have read this in a cookbook? I am not in the habit of reading books about Europe or plague, and so it seems that I read it in a cookbook.
I used to scour cookbooks, in the library, copying cake recipes, the more unusual the better. I enjoyed the tips on shaping swags and bows and buttons and lace, all with fondant frosting, which dries shiny and hard, and I always touched the large pictures, close-ups of cakes shaped like hearts or tiered like castles, filled with custards, nut-creams, and mousses, covered with tea lite candles, sugared fruits, candied flower petals, the cakes surrounded by rills of fabric, lilies, or plated on wrought-iron stands, outdoors, by blooming bushes or bodies of water. I did not attempt these cakes myself. No tricks. I baked a plain cake every weekend, the same cake, unvaried, a rather dry chocolate, and I never ate more than one piece, a crumbling wedge, no frosting, just powdered sugar and a glass of milk.
I bought basic equipment, a springform, a sifter, and cake-testing straws. I bought the cake testing straws in a pack of twenty for one dollar and seventy-nine cents at Trade Fare. In the checkout line I almost reconsidered. Butter-knives work fine for cake testing. When you open an oven door the hot air comes out in a rush and blows back your hair. Hot air has velocity compared to colder air. That is what gives it lift, like an airplane.
I felt as though I were doing something strange, or even dangerous, buying straws to use in the oven. Isn’t straw a kind of tinder? Even quickly—in and out—it’s not safe. Behind me, a girl and her mother, in saris, yards of polyester georgette, the color of old pennies, staring. The girl held a clear bag of tamarind pods. Remember if your house is on fire, drop to your hands and knees, and crawl along the floor. Your head up there high will turn into a torch. If the smoke makes you sneeze, the swift intake of air will stoke the flames on your face until the flesh wears a blue, self-consuming mask. The firemen will find you on your back, a skull above the collar of your shirt.
Inside the oven, the circulation of hot air currents is always accelerating, circling around the cake batter again and again, irritating and chapping the batter in the same way air irritates and chaps moistened lips, damp noses, eyes, any exposed membrane. The cake gets dry at the corners in a square pan, or if the pan is circular, at the outermost edge of its circumference. What you do is push the butter-knife through that slight, skin-like resistance at the very top of the dome and work it down until the blunt tip raps the cake tin. Then you pull it out, sit back on your heels with your crouching body close to the oven door, and interpret the blade. The blade mists with the condensation so it will never look completely clean even if the cake is done. Often a crumb or two will cling to the blade, or if the cake is still cooking, a long wet line. If the line is short, or interrupted, the cake is almost done. Depending on the thickness of the continuous line the cake has a few or many minutes left inside the oven.
In a cookbook, it must have been, I read about houseflies. A century ago, or more, English marmalade manufacturers conducted studies. They found that houseflies prefer white light to colored light. Red in particular disturbs them. Flies don’t want to settle on a red cake. If you are taking a cake with you to the hospital, or on a picnic, to the woods, and the cake has to travel, out of doors, for many hours, you should color the cake red, no matter the cake’s flavor. Red repels many creatures, whose reactions are instinctual, but people are able to divorce the color red from danger, sex, and fever. If a forkful has the look of clotted blood, but smells of citrus, people understand the distinction. You can bake Easter cakes like little white lambs and cut inside. Each child gets a curly-topped wedge of red velvet and it makes the children gasp. They poke their little haunch. They are happy. They eat sweet lambs and sugared almonds. Outside the window, snow and early crocuses.
Or in Africa, when English hunters had banquets. They set big tables on the veldt, between budded jacarandas. Hunters in high boots ate elephant steaks, piled flaps of blackened meat on trays. Their English wives labored in the kitchens, lead-glazed bowls on every surface, servant girls beating eggs and milk. The English hunters’ English wives thought zebra cakes were darling, tiny, round cakes, boldly striped, but cakes don’t rise the same in Africa. Nothing turns out right. Even a good English oven won’t keep temperature in Africa. The servant girls dirty red batter with their fingers, and the English hunters with their African machetes cut the zebras and the meat inside is dull, nothing like a kill.
It is still too cold for flies. They are hibernating in the wall voids. I can make a white cake, yellow cake, a red cake, any color cake, as long as the cake is bright. The frosting must be as lustrous as possible, even if it cracks when you chew it, like eggshell. I am reading about “taste blindness,” which is common when radiation targets the mouth and neck. If you are taste blind, the most important thing is the cake’s appearance. The cake must look like a cake, like the memory of cake, like the way you once imagined some other cake tasting, the cake behind glass in the bakery. You remember the reflected light on the glass, the shining cake, the feeling along the sides of your tongue, wanting it. It’s hard to make this kind of cake, even though you could mistake the salt for sugar, or forget vanilla, and the cake would be exactly the same.
Dead farmers praise millennia dust and the white blood of weeds. Someone’s dead daughter praises in great sheets across the flimsy shields of ginko. The dead lovers press black hands all over our faces, but come up short of praise. We are unredemptive to them, as are their pasts. The dead pilgrims, lost in blue pines, have stopped praising and forgotten how. They step from us and are not missed.
I lifted the bourbon to my mouth, but almost immediately retched, a thought stabbing me, that Montgomery had somehow known I would buy just that bottle, had held his penis over the bottle lip, voided himself into it, somehow resealed it.
Look: I am standing inside the color yellow.
Under the soothing lamplight we laid the new boyfriend out, converting the sofa into a kind of demonstration table. Lauren and Melanie cooed in his good ear, and rubbed all his muscles, to relax him.
I gulped down two more bites of my SpaghettiOs, then took a blade and penetrated the new boyfriend’s ample stomach. Beneath the skin were waiting sheets of fat and muscle to cut through. Again, Lauren’s safety scissors proved handy.
“Ugh,” gagged Melanie, “what’s all this garbage doing down here?” She waved her right hand in front of her nostrils, her fingers splayed.
“This isn’t garbage,” I said. “This is practical business, fat and muscle. Their job is to hold the body in,” I explained. “To keep the innards inside. To keep them innards.”
“It’s such a collection,” Melanie put forward. “Everything is held in—that’s what I’m learning today about the body. It’s just like a big bag, or just like some other living container. It does a good job of keeping its disparate parts together.”
“And then we put clothes on top of that,” said Lauren, neatly. “They’re kinda like icing.”
“What makes the body like a cake?” I prodded her.
“Its taste?” she answered, my question leaving her mentally unstable, her footing uncertain.
Adrift, banged asunder, she reached in, arranging her fingers like pincers (or like chopsticks), and pulling out a delicate little bit of something.
And, after a moment’s hesitation, she popped that portion into her round mouth.
Her face went all scrunchy. “Ugh,” she complained. “I don’t know how the jungle cannibals can do it.”
“By means of extensive fresh garnishes,” I elucidated, “and fancy dipping sauces.”
Lauren braced herself and pulled out another morsel, dropping it in amidst her Chef Boyardee meat raviolis. She stirred it around.
“Plus, cannibals feed their victims diets of rare aromatic herbs, and sundry other savories,” I explained. “But who knows what god-awful foods up until now Melanie’s new boyfriend has been eating?”
“Probably crap,” agreed Melanie, making an unhappy face of her own. “Probably bags of sour Gummi worms, and whole packages of chocolate-dunked Nutter Butters.”
“I can’t believe that you allow him to subsist on nutritionless sweets!” Lauren scowled.
“Oh, of course I try not to,” responded Melanie. “I try to keep a close eye on him, and on everything that he eats. But he sneaks all kinds of junk foods whenever I’m not looking. And while my eye is trained and talented, I can’t keep my peepers trained on my boyfriend all of the time. I have so many other important items that need looking at—papers and emails. Magazine articles.”
“Every new boyfriend will eat what he will,” I agreed. “It’s a sad fact that we need to resign ourselves to.”
“Not me,” said Lauren. “No way, no how. When I have a new boyfriend—someday—I’m going to let him eat only good, wholesome foods. Like brown organic long-grain rice, and filtered water.”
“Your boyfriend might try to flee then,” I warned her. “He might turn ravenous and run off, scooting over the hills.”
“He will not,” countered Lauren, most definitively. “The boy will be quite happy to stay beside me—on account of the fact that I’m so pretty.”
The moon, full-armed and ragged. Distance sleepwalkers, pursued. The second man runs toward the front man. He wants to kill him. The first man will do anything for the moon. A bed of accomplices. The third man is entertainment. Independently, the street rises.
in the room there below Ricky, Ricky saw his mother’s newer size, Ricky’s mother’s body had quadrupled in the weird light off the wall, where before the windows to the front yard had once been, quadrupled or some exponent, Ricky did not know the name for when a thing became so many times the size of what it once was, Ricky’s mother’s body had ridges set into it wide enough to climb inside,
Ricky could see the upper curls of Ricky’s mother’s bush, the hair had a golden yet slightly reddened sheen about it, the hair was patchy in parts as if someone had gone at it with an electric razor in the dark, there was crustaceans large as Ricky’s whole head lodged in the chalky coils of her pubic looping, Ricky’s mother’s flesh had gone waffled in long patches, the texture of tennis court nets and fat shoelaces, Ricky’s mother had always worn Velcro as she could not bend over far enough to reach her feet, a trait which she’d passed down to Ricky in her blood code,
Ricky once had felt a part of him underneath his belly, a kind of button or a latch, set into the underfold of his chub-cushion, he could not see it in the mirror, the flesh would not stay still, he knew he’d pressed the button at least 3 times, he could not figure out whether the button was on or off, sometimes in his sleep he knew he’d pressed the button also, his semen for weeks at a time at times was orange,
Ricky had once ejaculated in a man’s roast beef sandwich during the eighteen weeks he’d been employed at Arby’s on night manager’s salary, the guy had been a real cock on the ordering speaker, he kept making his voice robotic, mocking Ricky, Ricky had gone into the back slide shower mat area reserved for ruined employees, he’d thought of the last time he’d dreamed of being beat to death, he ejaculated into the sandwich in less time than it took for the man to come around the long cold corner of the building at the window, once the man had paid for and received the sandwich Ricky watched him through the sliding glass window as he pulled over to park, idling over two rust-stained spaces in the side lot and Ricky could see the man’s forehead in the rearview glass, he could not see the man’s mouth moving, taking the sandwich, though he could see the pulsed veins on each side of his head, he could see the man’s eyes in his head, the man never stopped looking, the man did not move his car out of the lot, the car stayed in the lot for several weeks while Ricky came and went and came and went until he quit, he could never bring himself to peer into the car’s front seat though some nights in the night he would stand up on his bed and try to find a way to lick his hair,
in the crudfold of Ricky’s mother’s bellybutton he could see where the piano had moored into her, the piano stayed connected to his mother by a scorched inch of umbilical cord left behind from Ricky, which now plugged into the piano at its backside, the keys were embedded in the ache of Ricky’s mother’s stomach, the stomach flesh heaving with its heat,
the piano keys were made of inches of bees wings glued together, the keys were dense and semi-translucent, there must have been a billion wings in each key, a hundred hives, the still-living bees in the room stuck to Ricky’s butt and ass and underbelly
as he hung suspended above his mother in the air, the stairwell having disappeared right underneath him, having sucked, he guessed, into the floor, there were other layers to the house,
Our relationship is part discomfort & humiliation and part devotion. Oh once upon a time I wanted a dog exactly as much as I wanted to be alive. Maybe I didn’t even want a dog then. I wanted to say I was alive. Even to be a dog would be enough and so if I could be seen wanting one and could begin asking for it incessantly -- if I could summon up asking in every possible manner. Please. Leaving notes under pillows and toilet seat covers. Did I want a dog, really. No I was a kid who was desperate to be seen in a state of desire & supplication. That was many years ago. I wanted to already be my yes. A positive child in a state of knowing & reaching out. Not for myself but towards a friend. The child was denied. In the manner of my family they said yes and then they said no. Somewhere there is a picture of this
I’ve leapt from myself to the dawn.
I’ve left my body with the light
and sung the sorrow from which it’s born.
A middle-aged burglar steps in through the double-paned glass doors of the wide patio. The burglar seeks to hold negotiations regarding the future. Although my mother is there too, it is my job to deal with him, so we draw up a contract in which I become the burglar’s lover. Our intercourse is unsatisfactory, but he says, “Please make do with this,” and it almost feels like he is taking care of me.
The man arrives for a second time, saying that he will come back to get me in ten minutes. I quietly go after him to see where he goes, following him into the depths of a dark church. There are confessional boxes all along the sides. Surprised to discover the man’s religious devotion, I also go into a box and confess something. On the other side is the feeble voice of a nun with very little presence. Perhaps it is the wife of the man.
When I go out the man has already finished confession and is standing in the hallway. He is about to slide on his wrists, which look like megaphones made out of cardboard.

The sky awakens to a seemingly momentary daybreak and continues feeding drips of blood into a distant ear
This is the last time I write about birds. Birds, who cares about your wings? Who admires your feathers? Who keeps you from entering my windows? I do. Birds, with your distinct calls, and your disregard for my birthday, and your nests all around. Where were you when my salad sucked? Where were you when I headed out of town? You have let me down.
For the hunt I take hats. My rubber boots, too. I eat flapjacks in the smoky haze of my pipes, my corncob pipes. I clean guns, and check things. I hunt in the night, like a blind alligator, like a stunned mouse.
Goodbye, all you sounds, all you flaps, all you guns. Goodbye to my deer stand, glowing in the light of the things I have done.
I did not panic over my stigmata. It was mild!
It was a tiny welt on each hand, and another
On my right ankle. There was no blood!
We looked at it together, my husband and I.
Lover, I said. I’m the chosen one, I said.
He did not get it. He did not get my disease.
The stigmata drove him out. And still, I did not panic.
I will not panic, I said. This is a faith crisis. This is
A chance for some good counseling. The stigmata
Stayed. I poured it a bath. Was this Jesus coming
Out? I told him to stay hidden. Was this a new
And fabulous leprosy? No, it was a freakin’
Sign! It was a sign of things to come! Decent,
Honest things in this newest year of our Lord.
Bitch, they say, is a good word for the dog-red gums of the sky. I say bitch when there is some static in the air. We go whirling in it. And I just feel so bad like sinking my teeth into something really soft but hard enough to take it.

I hear it most in the getting-up. My life talking on the other end of sleep. How it boils over into a slow mess in the window’s sun. How the sun coming in here is coming in different than it would anywhere else in the world. Its bubbling up in front of me. Rising like I don’t know what. And the worst of it being the I don’t know what of it. Because I just really don’t know.
Unlike even the best contemporary theater aimed at inducing in middle-class theatergoers liberal sympathy for the underclass or the ethnic Other (cf. Nicholas Nickleby, The Mahabharata, Les Miserables, Steppenwolf’s The Grapes of Wrath), The Screens offers no palliatives, no figures of heroic sympathy. Instead, it demands of the audience something really scary – to identify with the anger, the hopelessness, the destructiveness (both outward- and inward-directed) of “the wretched of the earth.”
"Say there is subversive power in the abject surrender of possession. The teenage girl’s body can be culturally uncontrollable in its unnatural movements, defying laws of god, state & the natural order. From levitation, vomiting gold coins, and inappropriate noises—speaking in tongues, barks, grunts, and mocking imitations of a male voice. Merge that with the anarchy of rapid bodily changes, a wild libido, death-glorifying fashions (fashion by its very nature is a celebration of the body’s fall from glory—I will be buried to decay like Marchesa Luisa Casati, along with my lace), and occasional self-induced starvation (a la Catherine of Sienna & Anneliese Michel), and you have a grotesquely gorgeous panic body, disrupting culture by over-literalizing its ideals, turning itself into a corporeal embrace and critique, an alarm bell and a sonata screaming in skin, tits, black painted eyes and lips....Say all good art—bad girl teen poetry included—is a fraud... Say the boundary between “life” and “art” is mocked in performance, whether a performative text (see Helene Cixous), a parade of unnatural fashions (high school halls become the theater), or a false fit of demonic possession
Beneath the shell crawls, beneath the shell crawls a frenzied and orgiastic bulimia. To eat into the meat puke beloved and be eaten into the meat puke beloved in merciless bloodthrobbing meat's helpless return... It's not death it is the edge folds down the visor we will tear loose the dark mass from each other's outer halo crack apart and close eyes move toward the glaciality Ivo climbs me away and I down beneath the surface shoal of song fish between the pillars I form submarine feel the violations of the flesh but do not emit any warning signals...
At least one Cuban box-shocked at least one sister flayed about the fingerskin forced a very soft tube through a not round hole. Sulkish plumber-pantsed daughters brown while the horny electrician erects his scaffolding just so. Marlins. Marlins. We all breathe snow I am quite deciduous enough for one evening thank you. The most dappled in all of Havana you know. Marlins Marlins everywhere and not a seat stays warm as the no-hitter unjinxed slouches toward the sixth.
My privates are of porcelain and shine. It means that I am incomparable among men, among women, obviously then among this body or any crotch of requesters. My lap, the obelisk and double bauble of it, makes your granting today a cinch, your cashing of me a homely dilemma not beyond the self-shitting and/or those who watch television. My groin is a phenom. Also a once an epoch art movement. Unto itself. To those who will say I have the fallback option of becoming a subject for study, my reply will be to kiln myself and have my sulfur fed to squabs. With your largesse I will make myself an act. I will not join a circus. I leave group-think to those that parade, sponsor parades. My act would be niche, invite only, smart asshole only. There would be a jewel box accessible only by alley, gerund of the day. There would be a quartet or sextet and the four or six will remain faceless. I would arrive onstage to sickly chords. I would begin extemporaneous song in a third language. After song I’d launch a loopy narration tuned to the gestalt and a deliberate, teasing unveiling. They wouldn’t see my privates until after intermission. But I will sustain their interest with the other elements. Then I pull a floss ripcord on my vestments and Cello-Bark! Porcelain privates painted to season. I would chime them with a gherkin fork while a wasp’s nest is also berserked. Adjacent there may or may not be a man wearing a Lyndon Johnson slickback and footy tights fulfilling a troubled destiny. Will he mime scenes from a childhood throughout? Ping-pong with Chong in lieu of prom here, vehicular catslaughter there, listening to records. Perhaps. If cast, should furry tights and a bared torso suggest a greaser satyr? Defer. These are the pinions of it. With your largish check I will be free to pawn less and recline myself fully before the idea.

Field I: My Serious Vulnerability To Collisions, Fissures Is Severe
There are others who will say I should go unto Thailand and buy new privates. Best time to go to Thailand is when it is winter here. When it is winter here it is not monsooning there. Raining sheets but not monsooning. Monsoons would be dangerous to my pre-operative loins. High winds produce unwanted collisions down below and maybe fissures. I do not want my privates to anyway resemble the liberty bell. My works will never be contiguous with Americana. Americana is sold at gas stations and parkworlds where patriots mill and feed on fables until engorged. Having my secret urn in any like association makes me want to suck fumes into my hypothalamus and turn light blue.

Diagram II: If You Don’t Give Me A Bulging Sum I Will Be Forced To Pursue A Nine To Five
Know what that will come to? It will come to where I’m in a building where cubicles are propagating like the god-sure. Some Charles with little hair but a thick glaze of hair product is taking me deeper into the ninety-degree angles where a typing test awaits. I am concerned about my preparedness for the test but if Charles passed it maybe I can. What if I oiled Charles with five bucks? Would he help me cheat? I don’t know if Charles has the power of words. Everything so far has been nodding and handing me clipboards and hand gestures. He huffs some. It might take ten bucks to get traction with Charles. My globes pendulum and ding. Charles looks back, annoyed. Bribery of Charles won’t be possible. He was spermed by a penis sent due north by recitation of interoffice memo, orgasm was sound of facsimile static, both parties angry on fried drip coffee.
Charles stops short at a junction. I walk into him out of an eagerness to please that has me following unnaturally close. Because we are walking at a good clip the collision is not benign. We knock helmets. It is audible and very painful to both of us. I can vouch for Charles’s pain because he sags to his knees and suffers visibly. I say visibly because he doesn’t moan or comment. His face, though, turns into a horror mask. Seconds ago I never would’ve thought Charles could look like he does now. It is a terrifying display that both sickens me and distracts from my own rapid onset headache. I tell Charles he is scaring me. I ask him if he needs me to call someone. He lies down, putting his face and open, writhing mouth against the carpet, working it. The carpet is not luxurious, not the kind that welcomes anguished chewing.
We felt for one another, coursing through the photographs, within range within everywhere, and I knew it was you, your navel or vagina because this is what my cock looks like. But I’m still licking your membrane, filled with some semi-fluid substance. You’re an eminent gynecologist and you’ve lobotomized your cunt. I’ve agree to run my tongue along your scar. I slide a portion of my substance into your vagina, this manifests as love, connecting us, and blood rolls out to our sides in luminous threads. The substance left me (unintentionally), can I still take you sometimes, physically, can we still cuddle and fuck? Can we fuck too? I manifest in front of you, unzipping your pants, you should be happy when you come because my little pointed tongue with its red tip can lay our burdens at the door. And I can’t keep your pussy off my dick. Now don’t degenerate into a phantasm, Puppy. Dear Fuck Slug. Dear Fuck Instrument through which one can express us. In either case we are cranberry. Desire for you is dripping out, a dispiriting state of affairs.
Sweet Psyche can I suck your nipples? Do you like to move it? I threw my mass upon the table, vulnerable, my breast for instance and all my orifices, and then my lips close around the head of your cock. Do you wanna fuck my brains out, do you wanna make my pineal gland come? Suppressed by light, the grand climax is reached. Honey, don’t make me so fucking horny, it all dissolves, and we’ll go straight down, ectoplasm leaking from your body, your tits upwards towards faces so you can be visible, a soft resisilient mass. I skin you alive like a fucking rabbit. I show you the photographs and they’re wet. I’m huffing as I’m trying to pack a considerable punch, I’m just going to think about it throughout, expelling a cloudy medium, faintly this time like we’re teenagers. I’m kissing you, emerging like a baby in fluid, kneeling between your legs, my cock extracted from your sensitive body, my head moving back and forth, my lips a veil of splendor, our hearts cocked, my eyes closed like a blind mole. What an ecstacy of joy, seeing you press yourself up against me. Give us some rest, aid us to wipe it away. I clean you with my tongues, I’m licking your body wetter until your body looks shiny with desire. Just so, the spirits are in control, they want you to move through me. All this is baffling, your left hand down there with the spirits still controlling the marks on the insides of my scrotum. I’m reaching for you. Plasm is exuded from my legs and there’s a landslide along my clit, which is responsive to light. I’m rubbing my cock up against you, intensified by darkness. No language will ever fit, no language will give light to the mysteries of my overwhelming need to tell you that I want.
A kind of liquid jelly is dripping all over me. Your cunt organizes itself into the shape of a face, your tongue was in convulsions, thrusting, jerking, I started to move, and you told me what your hands were like. Your clit likes someone in orgasm, feel my wet tongue in your cave, your cunt is happy to hear that the young man’s activity will get red. Your nipples bleed because of my ejaculations, the substance, whatever it is, goes straight to my brain. Your pussy is mine mine mine. Cold shocks cause an irreversible spilling out of my pussy and it’s harder to swallow with your broken tongue, you’re all red. Your limbs could be so successful—they looked real, felt real, and smelled real, always pushing my clit. My hand clings to your clit like a barnacle, honey. Take me, the love-fuck of the century, you’re naked. Looking for subsistance your cock swayed and throbbed. Naked your whole body is a kind of light: I investigated it early in this century: it burned trying to hide someone. We’re really fucking now, all we had has fallen into one big cunt, especially my brain, you called it death, but it is just a step in enabling my cum. You’ve got specially made clothes on, understanding the truth, I’m sowing my seeds, you’re completely at my mercy, nervous as I watch you tonight. Does it feel good that way? Yes I can be consumed. I’m thinking of you, I bet you have the cutest sledgehammer, bet you could break the bones up inside of me, slamming into me. I can come just in the woods. You make sounds like broken bubbles, I can see you now, fucking body parts, I can taste you now, dissolving on my tongue. I can see your cunt was the biceps. I can’t fuck donuts, can’t stand waiting to sniff your come soaked underwear. Apparently they are missing and I cannot find your asshole. I clean the funk from my apartment, I scraped up the pus from our wounds and the come I hadn’t eaten and flushed them down the toilet, the jungle. I did come, but my cock didn’t pose for you, I gave you a drink and then my love in an electrified sea. I didn’t know your skin was acid, it skinned my entire voice. I want to suck them like a baby and subsequently to dispose my body in the still of your cunt. I don’t know how you feel when I strangle you, I don’t think my clit liked the black strap, leather type, that you pulled out of the blue, it made me wonder if you were.
Your cock’s got my tongue. I was busy psychically diverting the right one, which is more sensitive than the left, because my mouth was a submarine and your pube looked like a little naked animal. My teeth. Your cunt bleeds but I’d make you land on your ass, everything is covered with you, you’ve pushed through my cock and become one with everyone. The keyboard, the whole room, is full of you, like my mouth on a good day. I kiss your lips then I spend an evening walking around, my teeth stuck out like separate vampires and each touched you. Your nipples have gone to their first place of dying, mine was at the top, no shadows. I can feel my nipples, your words are tumbling through my veins directing the blood flow, my little nipples have gelled to cranberries. Suck the barnacles from my clit. You’re a blind voice, I stopped to watch, I was deathly serious. Is it on? Now the inside of my cunt is a bit sore, now, like Carrie, but I’m not a pig. You’re the ground, I press my face to your tarpit, my billy club. As I’ve said, I’ve ridden a horse and I’ve written insides. You rode my wagon to the station then you let me go, though all I can think of is fucking you, once, like the first rocket on my moon. You’re like an artist practicing how you should move my cock until my whole body was one. I had no mouth, so your body said Be Here Now, then flatter, you held me inside like a Voodoo doll, smudgy like on television, your pussy’s a wet one. Only you. Or when I bite sexy too. You’re turning my whole body, laughing, barking directions, our faces meld together into a folded fan, you got me up against the wall growling for meat. All meat will be inhabited. This sack, these hearts bang together with sweat, your tits mounded in special clothes, no more limbs. Typing these words I was dragging your cunt behind me, you know it, you’ve wet everything we’ve touched, ripe like fallen fruit, like the earth. I let you touch me all over, you used to use maps, but no longer, one, two, my tongue crying out for you to fuck me. The cum emerged from me, gradually, and I can make it do short hops, a limp. Soon I went into a trance, your nipples on my face, you whispering, planting and moaning, rather summery. There I just did that. There you, unmistakable, your head poked up. This is often accompanied by erections. Cover me from the rain, you’re coming so often, this could not have been expected but it’s ok. All we ever do is sigh and decline, leading to a loss. You’re even harder now, I’m licking the blood off. Think of me as a mimic or counterfeit human form, like at a job interview. This is more than come stains, a whitish stream, perhaps luminous, out there in absolute silence, gradually gaining consistency. Today’s a good day for my mouth. Want me, make movements, can I come onto your broken lungs? We came, throbbed and were captured. Unravel my rattles. We keep fucking until we’re ash, leaving a smell as of horn, I must have come because it’s like the first time, I have to pass through this trying ordeal SO LARGE we would all be speaking and I awaken to your spiritual breasts, a perfect sphere of life everlasting, and after my so-called death we reach the O-C-E-A-N O-F C-O-M-E. Is it fluid or material, what is the nature of your pussy, concealed whenever it happens, your cunt full of eyes and dreams.
You easily extracted my juices, I knew you would, jerking off a sub-stratum of matter. You’re so refined. You appear to belong to a physical body when you hold and suck my cock. Your breasts. I like making you horny, like to run my hands over your pussy, spirits moving up and down my arms and shoulders, spirits returning to stimulate us and make us amorphous or polymorphous. Down my belly to my clit, I look like a child, your touch, the substance was soft and though you were sleeping analysis revealed the presence of salt and breasts. I love it when you suck my nipple, I love telling you that with my cock, massing this mysterious substance along your clit, on the tip of your tongue. I love sodium, potassium, water, chlorine, albumen, and you, cocksucker. I love you so fucking much, corpuscles, the red sticky matter described as your cunt, I love the controlled urge, variation on a theme, generated by surviving the phone. I made breakfast and thought I must possess you very much. I lay on the couch before I go to bed, spent and possessed by a living person, your cock and my cunt and languages made of phantasms of themselves. Those clothes are off before you know it, psychics say I must have your underwear, that I must place myself in a state with your tits swaying in rhythm with my cock. A dripping mouthful waiting forever for you, bouncing up, no end to the horizon, the necessary cock dipped to the tip, I’ll fill your mouth with everything, thrust my cock deep into your yellow horn. No pilgrims. I’m moving through to where my cock is up you time after time, I’ve got my arms around you, I’ve got this cock tip in you for the first time, we’re approaching new lands, everybody can see it, the lips of your cunt will scorch the soles of our feet. A causeway of a rock, the cock is to the man a psalm or song, I grown limbs so I can stand, though my face is on that cross on the hill, the equivalent of a hard-on all morning. Language is sand. Erect, I’m filling you with silver, saying you be a good girl. We’ll take care of your tongue, which has turned indigo from sucking my fingers. I’ve never ever given anybody this, no way, the throat drops and my tongue falls into your asshole, your chest heaving yellow and white. Write to me again so I can spurt onto your breasts, alone in winter, black and white, dripping like moss in a rain forest. I’ve still got this red vivid tilt. My asshole turned it into a large clit and you humped it, I’ve bled on you since the circle began. My thoughts flutter down your purple neck and that gives me a hard-on. Your hips hugged against my belly, be inert, be happy, I just want to feel you with both feet overhead, all my fight waits to fuck your swollen pink and white spaces, to jostle you around gently until you turn blue. I kiss your finger and touch the head of your cock, you’re wild now, invisible.
Discard the skin
your parents
left dangling
from your throat,
their Buick,
the smell
of a watch spring.
The farmer
founds a hospital
of blades
& all the patients
bury themselves
in mulch.
The priest
stands over the crowd
of unblessed waters,
the light
the stained glass windows
refracts into whispers.
Learn a trade
in suffering.
Speak the tongue
of the snake’s tongue.
Be strong
& choose your strength
in the parasite.
If she lives, this will be how: moment to moment, task by task, left foot then right, breathing in then out. An eternal present in which every sound is loud. This is something she should be good at, if anyone can be. For four years she has practiced pretending that every thing is fine, that she is what she seems to be.
The woman who lives upstairs has a beak and two flippers for hands. The flippers she covers with woolen mittens, to hide the fact of them from the world, and because their taut skin and slim, hollow bones grow cold easily. Most people politely ignore the beak, hooking impressively from where her lips should be, and so she believes no one thinks it strange. Her beak certainly is strange. But what troubles us, what is impossible to ignore, is the noise she makes from above.
Nightly, we are waked by the sound of a heavy desk scoring the length of the hardwood floor. The desk is positioned and repositioned, pushed or dragged into place, followed by the faint scrape of its chair. Dresser drawers groan open, moan shut, their sharp wooden edges dropped noisily time and again. Books are thrown at walls, their muffled thumps like distant thunder or fireworks—and then the bookcases themselves are overturned, or perhaps lifted and dropped. Every night the bed frame is wrenched apart, the box spring and mattress landing with a resounding flat thud that spreads across our ceiling, causing the chandelier to quiver and our bed to vibrate. Just when we think she’s finished, she spills her marble collection from its bowl, the dozens of little glass balls striking and rolling en masse down the sloping floorboards, pooling together above our heads.


AA: Ascending the Allegheny Mountains. Sitting by a window in Noah’s Ark, formerly the S.S. Grand View Point Hotel, looking out over the valley, able to spot seven counties and three states.
AA: Alcoholics Anonymous is founded on June 10, 1935.
AA: Cracked glass and vines and twenty pink leather cocktail chairs on their sides. A blue vase, a curtain. A shredded curtain.
AA: On July 1, 1979, he forces himself head first down an eight-inch wide hole in the backyard of his aging mother and father. Like a worm he pushes first his head and then his body into the earth and slithers into darkness.
AA: Here he enjoys his last drink on June 10, 1978.
AA: Competes on television game shows and eats adult foods to the astonishment of audiences.
AA: Ends career by demonstrating a one-handed bra unhooking on a morning talk show.
AA: On July 1, 1981.
AA: Ascending the Allegheny Mountains at night. No radio stations, only the sound of no one speaking. Only broken light from headlights passing and the dashboard. Make this night forever.
AAA: The American Association of Aphorisms is founded on July 10, 1950. Lost time is never found again. A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
AAA: The American Association of Advertising Agencies is founded on July 10, 1917.
AAA: The American Automobile Association is founded on June 4, 1902, in Cleveland, OH, and is responsible for the invention of.
AAA: Headlights around a traffic circle. A faint and distant ring system. A circle of cigarettes smoked. An empty cup coffee-stained brown.
AAA: A misplaced folder of photographs.
AAA: The Agricultural Adjustment Act of June 12, 1933, restricted farmers by reducing them, cropping them to raise their surplus value, thereby relative farmers.
AAAA: Smaller than AAA.
AAAA: He did ask her to dance and she did say no. It is more complicated. He sees her first at an all-ages punk show at the Ebensburg Pennsylvania Fire Hall. She is wearing a tight black dress and smiles at him, lifting the edge of her hem to reveal the top of her thigh-high black and white striped tights. Her hair is bleached and straight. She looks like a hot witch.
AAAAA: Ascend the mountain.
Because you promised to be with me even to the end of time. Because you told me to be still and know who you are. Because it was said you would lead me through the shadow of the valley of death and take away my fear, but I still have my fear. Because you promised me repose.
Because I have not been made new. Because I still reach for the glass every morning. Because you promised me joy. Because you make promises you don't keep.
Because when I ask where the rent money will come from, you say, "How glorious is the daybreak." When I remind you that my savings have dwindled to pennies, you say, "It is good that there is music." Because you expect me to be a mystic, but did not make me a mystic. I have clung to your promises until my hands ache. When the day comes that I open them, I am pretty sure I'll discover they are empty.
Because destruction might pave the way to salvation, but salvation can be destroyed again. You have lifted me up, as you promised. But salvation has set me swinging on a trapeze, looking for hands to clasp. Because those hands might come, and they might not. Because if I am left to fall, everyone will understand that being left breathless and broken on the tent floor was good for me. Because everything you do or don't do is good for me.
Because you promise to break and remake us when we go wrong, and because you have made us so that we don't want to be broken, and we often go wrong. Because last night I brought home a woman who smelled like olives and whose touch on my wrist made my arm feel electrified. Because I wanted to shout in gratitude that there was such a woman, you made her, and I met her. Because she went home with me, and because we were shaking so hard when we touched each other that we both dropped our glasses--which held nothing but Sprite, a point you should appreciate.
Because she is married, which I knew right after she looked around the bar, then looked at me and said, "Neither one of us should be here."
I told her the truth: "I come here every night. If I can't sit in a bar, then I can't go to parties, and then I won't be able to go to restaurants. I won't be able to let people come to my apartment. Before long, I'll be curled up all alone, and then the only solution will be to come here."
"So it's all about choice?" she said.
"Mostly," I said.
"Then I am choosing to sit with you," she said. "Move over."
Because you created choice. Because life is an endless succession of choose, choose, choose, and eventually we're going to choose wrong, and then discover you waiting at the threshold of that wrong choice. Even till the end of time. Because your sure patience might be the most threatening promise ever made.
Because I've been alone so long--because I was supposed to be alone, and being alone was good for me. Because I have been purified by solitude. Because you also created a sense of humor, which has come in handy. Because I laughed when we dropped our glasses, and so did she. I laughed again when I pulled her against me, and she did not laugh then.
Because my thoughts run to her like water racing downhill. Because she is married. Because she sang along with the song on my radio, and knew every word. Because she knows how to sing harmony. Because when she was little, she had a dog named Skipper. Because she is married.
Because you are so elusive on some subjects, and so icily clear on others. Because your forgiveness comes with riders, like the contracts that used to come and that I pretended to read, but rarely get past the third "whereas." Because, you will say, you forgive any truly penitent heart, but that penance must nonetheless be enacted. Because I am not penitent. Because I want to call her. Now. And now.
Because her husband's name is Gary, and I have never met a Gary I didn't like. Because she did not want to tell me about the accident, but I kept asking until she told me. Because people can fall from rooftops while doing nothing more exceptional than cleaning gutters. Because home maintenance can create a man who does not remember his wife's name, but remembers how to fumble for her waist when she passes with a pile of laundry. Because at first she leaned into his grasp, thinking that his body might remember her even if his mouth could not produce her name. She leaned into him until she couldn't lean anymore. She did not tell me this. She fell silent, her hard gaze directed at the table and her mouth soft. Because you gave her a soft mouth.
Because comfort is sometimes offered, and is a kindness. Because my heart swelled at her sorrow. Because you gave me a heart that would do that.
Because I have entered a room with only one exit, a room you allowed me to find. Because I can see the future so clearly it might as well be my past. Because people who come together out of famished need gnaw each other to pieces. It will be no time before I resent her for my helplessness before her need, as she will resent me. Because you have made the journey from joy to weariness a trap-door drop, and because the early claims on us are the ones that endure. Because I am rushing toward my own sadness and hers, and I will not even slow my step.
Because you will be with me in my suffering. Because suffering is what you made us for. My heart will break and I will turn to you, because you are the only one to turn to. Because you made the rules. Because in the heartbreak I already feel, you will be saving me. I do not want to be saved. Because my desires do not matter. Because when the time comes, I will be looking for you, the last one I want to see
I find pieces of you throughout this city. And as you know I like to make, patiently and meticulously, living things out of ephemera.
Let me be specific: you paint your fingernails so that the dirt and dried blood won't show.
We were heading back from the Avon drinking gin and tonic out of an Evian bottle. I still have your thumbprints along my thighs.

The buildings downtown are like bones in a museum, glued together and hollow. There is nothing behind any of the windows, but us. Lived there for two years and still, every once in a while, I’ll find the echo of something you said trapped in a stairway or between panes of glass.
Every girl looks like she’s blushing. And this city is long, it turns and turns. The boys push their hands into their pockets. The girls in their tights. And the boys drinking Pabst, chapped lips pressed against aluminum cans. The girls are teasing. The boys are lying. I’ll tell you what this looks like to me, it looks like. That one reads Barthelme. That one likes pinball. Soundless bikes whipping by over the one cobblestone street in this city. The sound of the chain, well oiled, moving over the gear. Beautiful and swift. This boy’s knuckles are too big, he has such long and delicate fingers. This girl, she’d look better with a drink in her hand. She’s got a kid I think. He’s wearing a scarf. This city ends in little back yards, at the E&O, in the backseat of a Honda. We hang out on the West Side. Like pinball. We know the bartender. Put a cigarette in your mouth. Your Converse wet from the snow. She’ll have a ‘Gansett and a Jameson. She’s got birds, in a mess, tattooed all up her arm. She bites down when she kisses. She’s pale, narrow. She looks like she’s blushing, but it’s just the cold.
How do we encounter the many hours past twilight? We understand
that the light is something other, that it catapults us toward a desire
or two if we’re lucky. But, lately, daylight eats itself, and is percussive
in its chewing, a carnival of curses and thumps. Nothing is wrong. In
the hours after the whinny of the long train passing, we continue to
think, how special we are, how born and cosmic, how just plain indi-
vidual, but it is not enough. Nothing out there. Everything out there.
What does it matter then, if the body climbs into a plastic car, drives
into a deserted driveway and becomes another self? Elsewhere: One
body found. One policeman shot. One 4-year-old girl shot. Teeter,
tweeter, la, la, la, la, la. I am the I watching the I lift. Roads are short
with darkness. I think, this is what they mean when they say, Savage.
It’s terrible to be possessed by brittle things.
How can you learn here who taught people to draw
Stars between eyebrows, butterflies over the gristle
Of throats, weeping eye between breasts.
And anyway, who taught them to live with strange
Chasms, with their nocturnal beasts,
With this yawning, this singing, this delirium –
unreachable
Even with open palms outstretched: take them
If you are not afraid of such embraces.
If the faces floating up from an amalgam
Of sploches, from the molding, black, silvery depths
Don’t frighten you.
In the Rampant State, nobody understands how to clean the ganglia. Nobody knows how to thread it, how to abuse it, how to interrogate prisoners with it. In the Rampant State all the torture devices involve drowning or lynching. The General wants to lynch all the black male bodies with moths. He uses obvious innuendoes, to make sure his base understands him, but he cannot say it openly. To do so would be to offend the refined tastes of his base. If anybody accuses him of racism, he replies that the accusers are "playing the race card." I am playing the race card with a revolver pointing to my head. The revolver has an autonomic system. It is loaded with two silver bullets: one for my black brain and one for my insect nerve.
Somewhere beyond:
there is a city of broad-shouldered children,
with narrow streets, jagged and slicing through
the walls, like frosting in a cake.
These broad-shouldered children
spend their days in the darkness
below the cakes crust,
mining the earth for orange-tinted jewels.
They return each night—
as the sky pales and hardens dark—
empty-handed, teeth caked with soot.
Their eyes glow orange like hot coals,
swell and hiss with each breath, with each
swell of their sallow chests.
And they drink strange amber drinks at night,
suck on strange sour candies,
in the cantinas, arm-in-arm with other soot-faced children,
dancing to the stomping of chair legs against
hardwood floors, hands clapping,
songs with lyrics whose meaning has been lost to time,
their glowing orange eyes clacking
together like expert-shot marbles.
AT LAST -- IT HAS COME --
the final Do-It-Yourself
END TIMES RELIGION
for SWINGING MUTANTS &
TERMINAL ABNORMALS!!
Facebook lived in midtown, for there the people and windows shone like water. Though it would board the bus--1 day--and ride to the sea, where people said words like sea and where the city shone in the waves and the fish were sidewalks and windows.

In the night, the house where Octopus lived burned to the ground, all the letters and poems a curled ash. The other books patted its shoulder and gave it roses and tea. It stood admiring the sky and thankful.

You do not understand, vacuum said, it's never been like that between us. In its jar, it knew this, seized it.

It was that day Kansas lost a tooth chewing corn. It smiled at the sun, gold and gold and gold.
Mercy Seat didn't know who its friends were, whether to eat red pills and fill its eyes with velvet night, or sit home and pray. It had a child it didn't know; blessed that fruit with silver hands.
Bullion came in the shape of an egg. It waited for the water, that spectral cousin of steam.
It was the one that came at the end, when the crowd went home. It filled the place of black-note dot.
SINCE THEN horses were sea salt in my arms. A mare is a horse that is a mother. I had a mother and she had a death. I was a mother for a moment when I took care of him. He was my son. But I never gave birth because we put latex between us. We protected ourselves from the problem of children. He said: Children don’t have children. I asked him: Don’t I have you?
My first real blood started when I stopped singing. He helped me clean it up with paper towels. I didn’t tell my father. My father was a horse that could not swim. He did not know very much about blood. My mother took me to the drug store and we got the right things to take care of it.
I snuck a pack of condoms into my coat pocket. I said: No mothers today, tomorrow. No children. I did not have foals coming out of me for the sake of it.
We all agreed on this.
A death is my mother, her body cleaned out of organs, and put into the ground. A child is my father feeling the need to cry over it. A child is a son that is abandoned by the mother, a daughter being fucked by boys in the other room.
Horses carry all of us into heaven after we die. In heaven I am the mother of horses.
A time machine which goes backward could be made of old keyboards, film cameras, windows made of Viewmasters welded to binoculars, waffled walls of Styrofoam burger suitcases insulate the control room, receivers snipped from heavy black dial phones go into service as door handles, piles of cloth-covered electrical cords are wound around cat posts or cut into tasseled curtain pulls, levers and buttons made from typewriter keys, numbers and letters attached to long metal stems are, therefore, already coded and labeled. Going backwards doesn’t require, one guesses, consideration as to how to survive the kinds of elements that are life and death issues when you travel forwards into space. No worries about air pressure, absence of gravity, extremes in temperature. No need for in flight magazines, movies, or unlimited choice of channels, but there is a problem regarding the animated map that shows your journey. One model, the designer suggests, is the film shown in reverse: people jump backwards, grow younger and younger, finally disappearing, buildings and trees melt or are torn down, the earth’s plates shift in unsettling shrugs. But he doesn’t know where to train his lens. There are countless choices, and a multitude of possibilities, as many parallel universes in the past as there are in the future. This is a problem that stymies him. He can’t get it right and yells at his assistant that too much is expected from him in the theory department, and no one has eyes in the back of their head. The assistant silently slips circular cards into a Viewmaster and clicks through scenes of American monuments and landmarks: Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon. He’s old to be an assistant, older even than his boss, but that’s the plateau he’s landed on, and there probably won’t be any catapulting to a higher mesa any time soon. The images remind him of a summer road trip his family once took across the country before air conditioning was common in cars, and they drank Tang, the drink of astronauts, mixed with tap water when it was available. As hot as it had been, he wouldn’t mind going back to those weeks, a moment when ‘are we there yet?’ was an answerable question, and happy illusions—the flat earth was the center of the universe—were comfortably in place.

When I am smoking, I slip my eye into my pocket. I often forget to put it back in my eye socket. All the things that they told me about what I should or should not do with my eye are cow shit. My family, they hit the table with their fists and say that please I have to put the eye back in, that they do not want to see me walking around like that. They do not mean the word “please” when they say it.
Once, I woke up and I saw that it was snowing inside my room. I had left the window open. There was a small square of snow on my carpet. I stood up and looked outside and saw all the roofs and streets white. I remember thinking that I could throw myself out of the window and I would just land on my feet.
I walk to the top of Lucco. I stop for five minutes to eat bread with mortadella. There is never a shortage of mortadella in my family’s fridge. A cow looks at me and drools. These cows crave meat.
I consider taking my eye out and throwing it down into the valley.
The boy scouts, I have decided what to do with them. I watch them from behind a pine. They erect a wooden cross in the middle of the camp, ten feet tall. They sit around the cross and sing about their greed being punished with a whip.
I give my eye to a cow to chew with a fistful of grass. The cow spits the eye out. Inside a cow it must be dark.
I throw my eye against the wall. My eye is indestructible. The wall is all scraped. My eye is scratched.
It is eye-cleaning time once a week. I need a glass of warm water and a toothbrush. My family says that they can smell it if I do not scrub.
I tell my family that one day I will jump out the window. They ask me when is that going to happen. They say that all the accidents in this house I am the one responsible for. When the living room almost burned, it was my cigarette.
Martin does not want to help me burn the boy scouts. He is afraid we will not be able to control the fire and that we would burn too.
I lie in the grass and suck on my eye. My eye has no taste. I wait for the boy scouts to come back to the camp. Every morning they go into the woods to watch birds and record the sounds of the birds on a tape recorder. After dinner, they sit in a circle around the tape recorder and play the bird sounds back. Their faces look like they understand what the birds are saying, but they do not. The boy scouts are morons, and they are morons in the first place because birds do not say anything.
I watch my eye in the fire. I take it out of the fire and throw it in the creek incandescent. I take it out of the water and bury it on the side of the mountain.
That flock of sheep is puzzle hearts. I wait after school for safety.
I put cotton in my ears and float to dimension x7y giga heart maggot.
The sweetness factory. Everyone is a flower and human rafts come to shore.
The sleep language is what the eyelids did to each other.
Now get in love.
I’d so like to burn down your hands.
Heartbreak thrashes the hush, a mouth
of thought—I freak back out.
To space’s constant swallow comes
a small unslaughter: a song
for once, a sliver. Be let go.
People love to come up to me and say
Hello, you enormous, vibrating bird,
but they are just confusing me
with my invention, an invention
I regret.
Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others.
Imagine her hair under that bonnet, sparse and thin, of vacant color, a grass patch during hard times. The cushions shed their purpose. She has forgot her own name.
Imagine how the hard-edged chair draws the day right out of her blood, and how her gray eyes exhaust the window. A child of hers is promised to arrive, to shovel dirt she once threw like flour halfway across the field. Rebellion, and joy.
Imagine how she accepts the bend in picking asparagus -- which you have also plucked and tasted and relished-- that grows down by Spruce Road. For a moment she waits for her back to straighten and for a spasm in her lungs to pass. Years stretch like dough. The carriage arrives and drives on.

Imagine the thousands of loaves carved from her breast, the milk she has squandered. Imagine the dark when the dark comes and the quiet when the quiet descends, no music, which must be the loneliest sort of existence. The church rhymes in her head are enough news; she doesn't need or want the paper you have gone down the road to retrieve. She is not of your world, never has been.
You cannot know her pain, and your imagining it is a slight form of honor, as well as choice betrayal. You have not spoken; she does not speak. Her mouth is a stitch of plain black thread, with the bonnet to match and keep hold of her brain.
Imagine the needles she keeps close, piercing the leather of a small folded satchel, and bobbins all run out of flax. You may find her grunting on the floor, in the manner of a goat, to find what she let fall and roll under the table.
The doorknob coddles her clutch. Her feet have shrunk in their shoes. The ladder rung chisels her each instep while chickens cluck and fear, their wings beating where she’s turned her back. Oh, Host of Angels. Oh, Mighty Grace. Her arms and legs are treasonous thought. First one egg, then she loses the half dozen. Sorry mess in the straw God knits His brow over, glowers over, aping you and her neighbors, withholding language and judgments.
Imagine her face and still-sewn mouth assigned to dirt and dung and the yolk, the black cuneiform, the barn broke open, its hens seizing toward the ditch.
I asked the messenger if I was having a nightmare and he said I wasn’t, that if he shot me right now I would die. I told him that to get out of nightmares I have to shoot myself and he said that he already knew that. He said everyone had to do that. Then he excused himself, put a pistol in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. His body crumpled at my feet. Smoke rose from the back of his head. A fox soaked in milk ran up and dragged the body away. I can’t remember anything but I will remember this.
Each of us wears a .45 and each of us is supposed to shoot the other if the other is behaving strangely. We sit still for a long time, until I feel itchy all over. Is my gun loaded? Suddenly I want to double check. Would he consider this strange, though?
I don't know for sure, because we haven't been given a list of strange behaviors to look for. At least, I haven't. So I continue to sit very still. I begin to wonder if I've gotten the instructions confused. Maybe we're not supposed to move at all? Maybe we're supposed to hold ourselves perfectly still, like the models in an art class, until we truly believe we're made of marble, or oil paints?
Now he takes a deck of cards out of his pocket! He begins to play solitaire! Is this strange behavior? Should I shoot him now? He doesn't even look at me.
I have never shot a gun. Never even held one, until now. I grew up in the wild, on a preserve of land small--one square mile in area--but lush. A white lion named Kimba lived there, and many other animals. The animals didn't eat each other, though; none of us ate much at all. We were all very thin. The preserve was presided over by two women, women with round and pleasant faces who wore their hair in ponytails and strummed away at guitars.
How did I come to this, to be holding a gun? I know just what it would feel like, though: like a bird exploding in my hand.
Should I try to creep away? Should I throw myself into his arms?
We're not supposed to do anything strange.
We're supposed to make ourselves into statues.
Months later, I lay in bed reading the final pages of a green-colored book.
By then I had already read and buried all the books from the first shelf of the rainbow, and my father and I had already painted my bookshelves gray and blue and white like a clearing sky.
I had seen her handwriting before, perhaps in the indigo-colored books, but I had never stopped to read it until now, when I turned the page in my green book to find that the next had markings in the text, notes in the margin. Beside the word forest was an arrow, and next to the arrow, a note:
The noises of a forest, particularly the sound of wind in the branches, sends a tingling sensation down my spine. When in a forest, cover your ears tightly. The sound of rushing blood and the beating of your heart makes a forest.And later, to the left of lizard, double-underlined:
I can still see my first boyfriend’s skin when I close my eyes. His skin was dry and scaly. Always remember to moisturize your skin.
I tore out the marked page and placed it under my bed. I finished the book, buried it, and returned to my room to start the next one, its cover a slightly lighter shade of green.
Page 12 was filled with her handwriting, as well as many arrows and asterisks. The words olive, Neptune, and thumb were each followed by a note. I read each note carefully. I tore out each page and placed it under my bed. Thirty pages later I came upon another marked page: I read it, tore it out, and stacked it atop the other two. When I finished the book, I had eleven marked pages, neatly stacked beneath my bed.
In the final green book, the word innocence was followed by an asterisk; another asterisk appeared in the bottom margin, followed by a note:
Do not be afraid of the dark.
We have the same eyes. In the dark, our eyes will be our clue.
Study your eyes in the mirror.
I tore out the page and placed it atop my stack.
It just seems like the world is heavy. That it is like a big cement monster that is crushing me, that is pummeling me with scorpion claws, stinging me, biting me alive, throwing bricks at my head, slamming cinder blocks on my nuts, eating me, showing me that I am worthless, that my life on this planet is a futile little pile of meat that ends in immobility, death, then sent underground with a shitty tombstone that doesn’t signify who I was, what I was about. It just states my name, year of birth and day of death. I don’t feel lucky at all to be alive.”
“I WANT TO MAKE things with other things. I want to make rocks into spaceships with hammers for wings.”
She is taking careful notes on how to melt record albums in the oven. She read somewhere that if you do it at the perfect temperature, for just the right amount of time, you can get them to a malleable consistency. She wants to turn them into bowls and sell them in the park.
“Okay? We have to go clean off some records. After that we make a chandelier out of recycled jars.”
She wants me to use my hands. She tries to teach me how to engage with physical materials. Her mind works through her skin.
“You can make coffee tables out of anything. Not just flat things. I’m talking, like, old computers. Dried up teabags. Batteries. Guitars.”
There are so many things hanging on her walls: broken skateboard decks; a plastic gorilla bank; guitars; frisbees; in the corner near the top of the closet, there is a paintbrush stuck to the wall, thick with neon pink.
A drawing of a girl with no face. A Buddha, backwards. Self-portraits in charcoal. A flimsy tapestry that I bought for her in Bihar
She drinks Kombucha. She writes country songs even though she is from a city in the North. She takes photographs of invisible things. She can’t believe I haven’t seen E.T. She loves avocado. She has one dreadlock.
We have the same initials; we carve them into the wooden pole at the rest stop in the mountains. We spend weeks perfecting our recipe for vegan fudge. We cry when we say goodbye to the harmless dog. We stare at the redwoods. We give granola bars, juice, and mixed nuts to the homeless man. We swim naked in the lake and hide underwater when hikers pass. We write songs that we don’t tell anyone about. We get stoned and make the ugliest faces possible. At the cleanest river we’ve ever seen, we find god rippling. We take pictures of our bruises. We spray paint sidewalks at night. We drink whole bottles of red wine while watching game shows.
We show each other our bodies and, for the first time in our lives, we aren’t scared. This is a secret.
She looks at me as I stand in the mirror. She tells me to make my own world. She teaches me to never be afraid of rust.
I left at least three ghosts in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Each mimics the needle shade of a different pine. Ghosts must camouflage themselves with the terrain they face. At any given moment, one of the ghosts is caught stealing firewood from behind a gas station. Another is getting high next to the clearest lake in Custer, watching ripples on the water wash over other ripples on the water. A third is breaking my last pair of glasses again and again. There may be a fourth ghost wandering around somewhere wearing the hat you lost when you went there without me. That’s what you get.
The intern of the boss of the man at the bus stop has a dead kitten in her refrigerator. Her father is building a box for it, the smallest of the house cat’s litter, that could not eat. When it is finished and buried, the intern will climb into the hammock in the backyard, cupping her hands to her chest in the same way they cupped the kitten at the end. She’ll lift up her face and feel the warmth of the sun on her hair and her skin; closing her eyes she’ll let it run through her veins, drugged.
The sun shines on everyone the same, but not at once. The sun is constant. The Earth could go about its orbit in a purposeful way or in a lackadaisical manner and to the sun it would make no difference. The sun has eaten hearts, is regularly smothered. The sun is the subject of much gossip, rumor, and science, not all of it true. The surface temperature of the sun is 9,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun has packed so many suitcases
You are the sovereign who rides me; I am the ass.
We had made contact just beyond this sphere.
From among the planets, a tiny bit of space junk fell.
What would a cosmoplast look like if it were us?
Struck by its own discarded stages, which didn’t burn up
on impact. That’s why we need a more formal class
in matter. That’s why physics. And that’s why God
allowed us to make junk. He himself made junk of the void
and called them planets. A tiny bit of space. In space.
Alert the media that things are going to have to change.
For one thing, there’ll be no trip up the Irrawady.
What would Jesus or Roger do? Take it up the Aswan
cataract as a suitable alternative. If love may be fallen into,
so might the meteor crater. So might gravity suck us
toward the great black hole in our own unheavenly crown.
Oh, infernal orbits. Even they will not keep us. Falling.THEN, I DON'T REMEMBER WHAT. Like there was all this dust. And the dust just kept coming, like, it would fall in the air all slow, and then when you thought it was done, then it fell some more and more of it fell making all this noise that only a dog could hear. It was Crystal. She said what? What you’d say? Or something like that. And nobody had said anything because we all owed her some money or something. And Donald just kind of sat there not saying anything. And I just sat there not saying anything. And the dust just kind of sat there not saying anything, I guess. And Crystal, she like kept saying stuff. Like how somebody owed her two dollars or something. And Donald just sat there. And I just sat there. And nobody said anything. And there was this dust like not a lot of it but you could make pretty stick figures with it on the table. And Donald just sort of looked around and stuff like all normal and stuff. And I just looked around, too, but I was looking at Donald. And he was looking at other stuff. Like the floor. He looked at the floor a lot. And then looked at the mirror. And he started looking at the mirror a lot. He saw himself somewhere in there. And I guess he liked what he saw because he kept looking at himself in the mirror. And it was Crystal. And we like owed her for all the stuff. But Donald he, like, looked at himself in the mirror like he was all sexy or something. He was posing a lot like looking at his muscles. But he doesn’t have any muscles because he uses all these drugs. And so, I don’t know, there was all this dust. And I looked around. And I liked the drapes.
INDIAN JONES NOW LIVES in Brooklyn. He buys vanilla Cokes at the corner shop and squeezes the straws until they crinkle and tear. He’s cheesy and rundown. Others pretend not to notice. The anesthesiologist pretends not to notice. Everyone gets old, even Indian Jones. But his tedious droning doesn’t help. Pin him to the wall. He likes it. Go on. Take a knife and stick it in his shoulder; he’ll just giggle. Anything’s better than his drone. You’ll be the guy who finally knifed up Indian Jones. Some’ll love you and some’ll hate you. Some’ll never believe it, and never give in. Some’ll send flowers. Some’ll look for and find the younger Indian Jones.
The younger Indian Jones has a small bachelor flat a block away, on Upper Brook Street. This is the bar where he drinks. He still hasn’t been on a date. He still hasn’t kissed a girl. He doesn’t know that he’s Indian Jones, or, rather, he doesn’t know yet the Indian Jones that he’ll be. We shouldn’t stare at him, or make him feel uncomfortable. Try and sit so you can look at his reflection instead. Look at how his hair runs the length of his spine. Look at his hot pants and silk pants and lace-up leather boots. He’s cool and meticulous. He studies everybody in this room, including you. He sips cocktails, his hands more fragile than butterflies. He’s thinking about stones. Today’s the day he sets out as Indian Jones. He has to find stones, made from copper and bone and gold. He’ll have to look very hard, but he’ll find them. Hidden where only he would look, which is how he’ll learn he’s gonna be Indian Jones. After he finds the stones, others will tell him he should keep them and have them carved up into rings, one for each finger, with an eleventh one for his nose. He’ll simply reply, “They belong in a museum.” Which is where they are today, whenever you want to see them.
Indian Jones memorized everything, and grew up to be the hunter, not the hunted. He could sit in the bathtub for an hour without getting his pants wet. He could be like an animal, and track a rabbit that had hopped across melted snow. He never blinked. He never sneaked his hands down your pants. He never didn’t find a priceless artifact. Once he looked everywhere for a priceless artifact, and no matter where he looked a priceless artifact wasn’t there. He began wondering whether he’d have to search the entire earth. He knew that that would take too long, so he sat down to eat his fish cake. That’s when he realized the fish cake he’d been carrying in his lunch pail was a priceless artifact. Excited, he ran the seven miles to the museum, even though he was hungrier than he’d ever been in his whole life. Passersby asked why if he was so hungry he didn’t eat the fish cake. “It belongs in a museum,” he shouted. After that adventure he took three vacations, each one to San Pedro, and those were the only vacations he ever took.
The several times villains tried to get the best of Indian Jones have been documented in the newspapers, and growing up I could never wait for the Sunday edition.
priceless artifact. Once he looked everywhere for a priceless artifact, and no matter where he looked a priceless artifact wasn’t there. He began wondering whether he’d have to search the entire earth. He knew that that would take too long, so he sat down to eat his fish cake. That’s when he realized the fish cake he’d been carrying in his lunch pail was a priceless artifact. Excited, he ran the seven miles to the museum, even though he was hungrier than he’d ever been in his whole life. Passersby asked why if he was so hungry he didn’t eat the fish cake. “It belongs in a museum,” he shouted. After that adventure he took three vacations, each one to San Pedro, and those were the only vacations he ever took.
The several times villains tried to get the best of Indian Jones have been documented in the newspapers, and growing up I could never wait for the Sunday edition.
One time I saw Indian Jones fight off an attack that the newspapers didn’t report. I was walking home from school when I saw Indian Jones chasing after a strapping young man. The man stopped to pull a knife on Indian Jones, who ducked the blade and slapped the man so hard he fell down dead. But that didn’t fool Indian Jones; he kept slapping the man, repeatedly. Then he kicked him, bump-bump-bump, until he could kick no more and fell over, asleep. I couldn’t believe what I’d seen, watching from the branches of a fir tree. I climbed down and cautiously made my way over. The strapping young man had turned pale, but otherwise looked all right. I was scared that at any moment he’d jump up and wring my neck. I wouldn’t have been afraid except that Indian Jones was absolutely unconscious. He was smiling, breathing so slowly I could hardly tell he was alive. The strapping young man stirred, and I knew that if he woke up first then Indian Jones and I were done for. I acted fast. I stripped the lower branches from the fir tree and wove them into a plait with which to bind the strapping young man. I finished just as the man came fully to. When he realized how I’d bound him, he spat and cursed me, and thrashed about, and promised to kill me. He told me he’d fatten me up, then drink my blood through my nostrils and eardrums. His eyes grew clammy and cold. All night long he cursed and threatened, straining at the plaits, his eyes growing colder and clammier. I looked at him but didn’t say a word.
Indian Jones slept like a zombie. He slept for two days and three nights. The strapping young man meanwhile cursed me with every curse. His eyes clammed to three Kelvins above Absolute Zero. Then Indian Jones stood up, smacking his lips, saying he hadn’t slept so well since his mother’s bosom. Seeing the plait-bound man, he asked what was up. I recounted the details and Indian Jones said I must be a clever fellow. He strode to the glowering, strapping young man and slapped him a few times across the face, asking how he liked being bound with those plaits. Then he asked me to help haul the man to the museum, which is where you can still see him today, whenever you want, except for Sundays, when the museum isn’t open to the public.
For my help in that adventure Indian Jones adopted me as his partner. We drank vanilla Cokes in every café in Paris. I showed Indian Jones how to weave plaits, and he showed me how to find priceless artifacts, which is how I learned what I needed to find you.
Indian Jones’s father was rich, but Indian Jones was self-made. He threw away all his father’s money, and burned down Harvard when his family sent him there. His father’s company made children’s toys, but Indian Jones was no child. He had his plate too full looking for priceless artifacts to have any time for toys or children or business.
Indian Jones could have been anything—his butterfly hands could have made him a boxer or musician or therapist—but he chose to be Indian Jones. If you drive down Old Mill Road and cross the heather, you’ll find a crumbling old mansion, and in that mansion lives the very old Indian Jones. This Indian Jones never found a single priceless artifact; instead he used his butterfly hands to become a sculptor. By now he’s a very old sculptor who can’t remember anything, who sits all day in a courtyard, drinking grappa. He’s surrounded by his statues, but can’t remember that he’s the man who sculpted them. A dead dog lies at his feet, with big, watery eyes, like eggs. This dog remembers nearly everything. It remembers Indian Jones sculpting the statues. When Indian Jones pets this dog, this dog knows what those butterfly hands have done. That dog feels like a goddess of memory on Olympus. Lavished in courtyard sunlight, in the company of his dog and his many statues, Indian Jones is God.
I SAID I CANNOT GOT YOU OUT OF MY HEAD. I was in the shower. You are being ridiculous she said. I said that doesn’t change anything. Policemen were crawling all over our house. They were coming up through the garden and over the walls of the yard. They were grilling things using the grill. Who she said Were you talking about earlier. I told her I didn’t know. I told the policemen to go home. I saw them in the alleyway building tents and dressing their guns up as birds.
I took out the garbage. Then I took out the recycling. The paper had to have a lid on it. The plastic did not. The garbage men came. I sat on the stoop waiting. What are you doing with all of that I asked. We are they said Building you a beach.
This seemed hard to believe.
I heard a cop come through the faucet this morning. I sent him on outside to grow me an ocean. I told him when he did I would grind him into a beach.
There was a cop in the backyard again. He was building us a deck. But he didn’t have any wood. I had no idea what he was trying to hammer together back there. Hey I said. Scoot.
Failing that I told him to grow me an ocean. I told him I heard they were building us a beach. What I asked Did he think of that?
I buried the bathtub today. She went to go run a bath, and a cop came out of the spigot and into the tub. What have you got to say for yourself she managed to finally ask. Out of his mouth tumbled little yellow ducks.
What’s up with that the cop asked. He meant the yard. The mound of dirt where the bathtub was buried. I don’t know what you are talking about I said. And what about this beach business. You can’t have a beach without an ocean he said.
I am going to grow an ocean in my heart. I am going to drown in it.
Didn’t I tell you to grow an ocean in my backyard I said. The cop said No. He said That was another cop. You were going to grind him up into a beach when he was finished.
Whatever happened to him I asked. He told me That cop ran around and he ran around. He dressed his gun up like a bird and it ate all the teeth right out of his mouth. He ran around all the time and when he ran around yelling. He built a tent in the street and in it he made a hole in the ground. I don’t know what he was doing. He kept on eating these little yellow ducks. Or keeping them warm in his mouth.
Listen I told the cop I need you to find out about this beach for me. I need to know if this is real here. Please I said.
There’s something in the garden she said. Other than plants I said. Other than the drawings of plants you cut out and put on sticks and placed in the garden. And that other thing. Right I said That other thing. Yeah she said. She said I don’t understand the things that happen around you anymore.
I wanted apples to grow I wanted flowers to grow I wanted balloons to grow I wanted very tall trees to grow and for balloons to grow from them I wanted something incredible to rise up out of the ground and straight into the clouds and for it to devour us all.
Out of the garden marched these little yellow ducks. And they went on down the alleyway. And into the street.
I followed them. I called her on the phone. You are not going to believe this I said.
At the ocean down the street were all the cops I’d ever seen. Surprise they said. Please don’t grind us up into a beach they said. The garbage men came by. They had their garbage trucks. There was a switch on them. All the garbage came out as sand. They knelt in front of the cops. The cops split their heads open with billy clubs.
I opened up my chest and let out the ocean I was growing for you. I added it to their ocean. I looked over at the garbage men.
Out of their heads came seagulls and even more little yellow ducks and a giant wind that made enormous waves and sunshine and hot dog carts and you. They crumpled to the ground and the gulls took their skins off to the clouds and threw them in a pile on the sun where they burned forever.
All these days were real. Before hunting season
we met on the courts, in manicured gardens,
next to man-made water. This whole time I
was deep sleeping. I was packing the dirt in
and being happy. Looking inside a python I saw
two tracts of digestion. Outside. Outside is
an obvious danger. Gun and killer kind. At
night they come in and we battle them back
out. Get out of here. Get going with your
pitchforks. In wedding season we talk
colors. We talk delicate and scalloped.
How it is only human to have the fontanel.
Yes, make an ancient signal to carry over
all the side of the ocean. If no, send creepy
letters to your most annoying friends. Be
a mistress, or a lost sister coming back.
The wide face of the far wall, the first wall, soon grew so we could not discern it from the sky–bleached white on white from years of sunning, surrounding all our minds. As the sheer white around the city fattened, our air took on new mesmerizing light, refracted back and forth between the two–light that’d blight your eyes out, though just looking long enough would get you drunk.
The light was free. Our children suffered, in their bodies, as did we. As did the wall, which in the new heat would speak. The sound ransacked our city, a low long crinkle like book paper being ripped apart or writ upon–which, in friction with our buildings, shook our bodies and the wall.
For weeks we could not stop laughing. Our sleep became destroyed. Caught in the air of those blown dream rooms, people hurt people. People died. The city earned its night.
The city silent even under all that laughing, as our softer organs learned to disregard.
The wall had been designed by men before us to show us where was where and what was when. Beyond the wall, we knew, there lay an acid ocean that could rip our bodies into blood.
Where the far wall against the sky now seemed no longer, our sadder minds began to walk. To try to scry a way out of the city, some new exit. No. The wall would burn their skin.
Many further bodies had to be killed for trying, as one hole rended in the far wall’s flat face might let the inside out and outside in. Might bleat again straight through our bodies, like how all those before us here had fried.
We built another wall inside the old one, to keep kids from trying, and to muffle the new sound. This second wall was slightly higher than the first, by several men’s lengths, which made it hard to see the sky at all. The space between the new wall and the old one was deemed unhealthy, and entry punishable by perpetual imprisonment or blight.
This second wall was bright brown, the way our sky-burnt flesh had for all of us become. From a distance, through my window, the wall looked like several thousand people in a line, their bodies all together meshing, watching on us, or looking all away.
How you interpreted this vision became a way to say what kind of hope lived in your heart, they said. In secret I was bitter, though in the streets I grinned and sucked my tongue.
I knew when I brushed his lips with my heart and the startled lights went out. He’d only recently arrived, though I’d been watching him through windows for years, wondering. I wanted so much to feed him, did not realize that the shock of the move would misplace him. So clumsy I am, despite my ballerina limbs.
He was so light! When I overcame my initial mortification and laid him on the bed, his eyes refused to close, though I pulled on their lids as if they were window shades. There were lamps in his black eyes, orbs I would say—tiny suns refulgent in the darkness in which he resides. His skin was frigid, yet his eyes grew unbearably hot. I had to withdraw and watch from afar, waiting for his story to unfold, desperate for an explanation. So I sat on my rocking horse by the door of the room, obeying a directive that had never been made. I loved him. I hated him. I feared him. I sat waiting, chanting the last words he’d uttered: Beware the eating habits of the poor.
I was waiting on Sunday night when my annulled husband Gustav dropped by with a bouquet of loud calla lilies. The moment he arrived, Gustav asked about the scent, taunting. Was it his favorite perfume, Shalimar, which I loathed? He thrust his nose under my ear lobes: no aroma, as usual. Doglike, Gustav followed the scent all the way up the spiral staircase to the top floor. He stopped at the open doorway of the room in which he, the other, was lying. Naturally, Gustav couldn’t see him. Gustav was desperate to turn on the impotent lights to expose my secret. What are you hiding? he insisted. He repeated the question several times, his voice ascending. A mirror broke—no doubt a cheap government mirror in the low-low-income projects next door. I said nothing. Gustav shook me vehemently with his hyperbolic, ergonomanic hands, lifted me up high above him, twirled me round and round, threatening to drop me. No matter: I was already broken. Finally, Gustav stopped. He squinted, looking in the direction of the other. I could tell that Gustav’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness and he could see the two mini-suns. The estranged husband discarded me and proceeded in the other’s direction. I said nothing. I saw a sudden flame, heard Gustav scream, and smelled the acrid stench of burning hair and calla lilies.

He was stirring a little, so I put his head on my shoulder, the way I used to do, and patted his back until his breathing told me he was asleep again. Then I went around to the front of the house and reached up to the porch and took down my axe from the wood pile and went off into the woods, down the path I had mowed with my riding mower a few weeks back, and which was already starting to come up enough that I had to watch my step.
I kept walking, him on my shoulder, axe in my free hand, until I reached the clearing. Then, careful not to wake him, I unbuttoned my jacket and got it out from under him and took it off and laid it on the ground. Then I laid him down on it and made sure he was still sleeping. Then I lifted up the axe and aimed it for the joint where his head met his neck and brought it down. In the split second right before blade struck skin, I saw his eyes open, and they were wide, and what I saw in them was not fear but instead some kind of wonder, and then, fast as it had come, it was gone, and all I could tell myself, over and over, was It’s not Danny. It’s not Danny.

The world was not yet discovered.
It traveled in a galaxy of dinosaur bones and other fossils.
Embedded and waiting. Waiting for decades
when the skirts were different.
When Mr. O watered his plants in a light blue shirt with a breast pocket,
His hair slicked back, he boarded a plane to Africa, where the lion still
walked in bursts of grass.
In his light blue rental car, Mr. O took photos, very close photos, of lions resting.
There was nothing to report back.
The world lay silent. The giant squid was silent.
The continents were silent. It was quiet as he boarded the plane for home.
It was quiet in the diamond mines, it was quiet in the coal mines,
And the Loch Ness monster sighed and waited for sonar.
Ages-extinct fires near tiny dragon-headed lakes
Chewing the fat fire-side & touching up a wooly mammoth, mastodon,
mini-horses, chasing
ground sloths the size of tanks____Giant shining
armadillo roll over ____(silver wheels crushing tender grasses)
Edentata belonging to the (inhabited) Earth, edacious at the tooth of Time
____nibbling some sweet thing, fiery
________Hymenoptera edulcorated by their history with men
Told jokes in the clean-flaked keen-flint
glowing coal ice-age night-wind
roared songs at hapless herbivores high moon near wet
meadow sedge
& cut across the cordilleras, rainwater sluicing down
mountainsides made whole new mesas, highlands thrown up
They made several suns & destroyed them
They made humans but destroyed them
They were looking for the right world
Was this the 5th California?
They let the demented Spanish invade, they kept
________the Spanish, kept
________the orange tree, abalone, they kept
Jayne Mansfield & destroyed her
They had no
star clock clucking
out the night hours
no way to track the ragged lights at the edges of towns
but the opossum god of all opossums
carrying corn in its pouch to feed peripheral citizens
& we could see
the parts inside the contours of the body
the dreams of liberation for yoginis of average capacities
the intricate irrigation canals covering Mars
the luminosity in the known moment before death
All that happened in the history books, all
the humans you’ve ever heard of or met
happened here, he said, pointing
to a little sandbox with a bone-tool, this
talking thinking meat, it
happened
on a wide & fat map
that encompassed California
where we dumped shit into the sea at West
or East, on this narrowing-in-the-middle map, belted
with cords dangling from Indiana, Ohio
I traveled here on a coal barge
in an earlier era with
winding roads through backwoods towns & canopies of trees
I sang their songs in night
cellars & concert taverns, every candyass
put-the-hawk-on-you in the shape
of Heaven & Hell, and other human capacities
I might find goccasion to
sing war & perfect soldiers\
the war that wages over the
face of the Earth, against
every edible turtle &
moveable tree, the tyranny
of money
I see before me a forest of crucifixes which gradually turn into trees. At first there appears to be dew or rain dripping from the branches, but as I approach I realize it is blood. Suddenly the whole forest begins to writhe. The trees, stark and erect, ooze blood. A man goes to each tree catching the blood in a cup. When his cup is full he approaches me. ‘Drink,’ he says. But I am unable to move
Making eye contact during rough sex is roughly the equivalent trying to read Dostoyevsky on a rollercoaster.

Sorry I went on that walk. Sorry about leaving car doors and oatmeal pots unattended, plus never calling the baby a miracle. Sorry about the habañero incident with the baby, the wine stain on the baby. I’m owning up to it. All of it, plus losing the baby again.
I let Grandma take the baby to the portrait artist, but you can’t accuse me of knowing how realistic it would be, how lumpy with oil paint, or that she’d include the baby’s fat wrinkles, that we’d realize how uneven the baby’s head is. Neither of us could have known the artist would use the baby as her business card, thousands of lumpy babies left in coffee shops and yoga studios. If I find it again, it’s not like I don’t love the baby.
Don’t forget it was both our faults once, another walk through a hallway of trees. We held hands. We looked green eyes into gray and told each other what was beautiful.
Remember, we didn’t know the baby was missing until it rolled out from under that bush all sludgy, a leaf plastered to its forehead. You let it make a face print on your shirt, and I got mud on my lips comforting it. When we wiped the mud off its eyes, it blinked the green one, then the gray, and smiled at us for the first time.
From what I recall, the dream took place almost exactly as I recounted it … I was five or six years old. I slept on the bottom mattress of a bunk bed with about six inches of space between the mattress and the wall. I awoke in the middle of the night and began to pick my nose. I added my findings to a constellation of snot that I had been constructing on the wall over the past week. Time passed. I couldn’t get back to sleep. As I stared at the snot on the wall, something popped up beside the bed, as if spring-loaded. It made this sound: “Uhuhuhuhhhh.” It was a brown lady. She was thin, old, about a foot tall, wore spectacles, and had a bun in her hair. I lay there — paralyzed. At some point I started yelling for my mom. She came in the room and leaned over the bed and pushed the brown lady back down, locking her into place. She kissed me and left. I calmly went back to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I asked my mother about the “Uhuhuhuhhhh,” the onomatopoeic name I still use to refer to the brown lady. Of course my mother had no recollection. That was the scariest dream I have ever had.
SIMONE’S surrender commingled with the cotton fibers of her panties, staining them with fertility icons and incomprehensible crystalline formations like snow. Oceans can be drawn into glaciers to reveal connections between lands.
Kree lifted her hips and pushed her dress beneath them. When he forced his breath through her panties, something tickled in her, but it seemed bodies away, dinosaur bodies away. The sort of tickling you can never get enough of, yet, if you did, you’d be crushed under the weight of dinosaurs.
He rested his head against her thigh. The nest of her pubic hair showed through her panties. A single hair poked out. Kree toyed with it, then traced the contours of her sex, which gave off heat. He snuck a finger under the fabric.
Simone got an ice cube from the freezer, popped it into her mouth and calved it down.
(Do you see Australopithecus, the first upright man, beating back an advancing glacier with the thighbone of a saber-toothed cat? Or, such a cat burying its tooth bones into the head of such a man and dragging him to a cave, dragging him by the bone? Millions of years later, a Homo sapiens will find the skull with holes in it like a bowling ball and imagine.)
Simone leaned over Kree and put his bone in her mouth.
(In his lifetime, Kree’s balls may produce enough semen to fill an oil tanker. How gung-ho would the American government be to protect a ship like that through the Straits of Hormuz? And what if an enemy blew a hole in her? We could have an unprecedented semen spillage in the Straits of Hormuz. Would it be toxic to the fish and plant life? Maybe the little sperm cells would swim around and fertilize everything in sight. Would the spillage remain a roving blob, or would it solidify to form a new island, a vacation paradise with milk-white beaches, where deluded Christian women could go and upon their return claim they were bearing the children of immaculate conceptions?)
“I’m thinking about our perceptual isolation,” Kree said. “People hear one another as they hear kelp growing in the ocean—”
Simone touched his lips. As if riding a frog’s curled tongue, words sprang from her mouth to catch the flies buzzing in Kree’s ear and give him a wet-willy besides.
He rolled to his side. She hugged him from behind. Her eyelids dripped down her eyes like wax down a candle. She took hold of his penis as she was falling asleep, as if it were the handle on the door to her dreams.
I am full of nostalgia tonight
like a sootbag filled with rocks
my hometown’s shining behind me
in the avocados’ glistening skins
The lemon’s electricity socks
my leg is starting to break
but my feet are not breaking
so I can walk
but my stomach is starting to break
around my mouth
says it’s nighttime
where I forget my teeth
& my teeth-shine
my ankle is breaking but my thumb is not
breaking
around my thought
bone particles hover inside the wrist
like a luminous halo of feeling the flesh once hid
A scientific study reveals: water is alive.
Equal amounts of water is poured into three identical containers.
Zelig Berken died fighting in world war II.
Equal amounts of rice is poured into each container.
Zelig Berken was twenty years old.
The first container is told “I hate you.” The second container
is told “I don’t care about you.” and the third container is told
“I love you very much.”
While Zelig Berken was away at war his entire town was evacuated.
The rice in the first container turned black. The rice in the second container
bloomed. And the rice in the third container rotted.
II.
Water is poured into two identical containers.
The first container goes home with Scientist A.
The second goes to church with Scientist B.
The next day, a droplet is extracted from each container.
The droplet from the first container shows nothing of significance.
The droplet from the second container shows formations of stars
and giant flowers.
Theoretically, there’s a way to create a ribcage from guitar strings, to
fashion jawbones from vintage bracelets. It so happens that a female
form is best woven from titanium knitting needles, peppermint hips,
the ends of French cigarettes…
For Groddeck the whole psyche with its inevitable dualisms seemed merely a function of something else—an unknown quantity—which he chose to discuss under the name of the “It.” “The sum total of an individual human being,” he says, “physical, mental, and spiritual, the organism with all its forces, the microcosmos, the universe which is a man, I conceive of as a self unknown and forever unknowable, and I call this the ‘It’ as the most indefinite term available without either emotional or intellectual as­sociations.”
For Freud, as indeed for the age and civilization of which he was both representative and part, the ego [conscious mind] is supreme. There it lies, like an iron-shod box whose com­partments are waiting to be arranged and packed with the terminologies of psychoanalysis. But to Groddeck the ego [conscious mind] appeared as a contemptible mask fathered on us by the [It], which, by imposing upon the human being, per­suaded him that he was motivated by forces within the control of his conscious mind.
Yet, asks Groddeck, what decides how the food which passes into the stomach is subdivided? What persuaded the original germ to divide and subdivide itself and to form objects as dissimilar as brain cortex, muscle, or mucus? This fundamental divergence of view concerning the nature of health and disease, the nature of the psyche’s role, is something which must be grasped at the outset if we are to interpret Groddeck to ourselves with any accuracy.
Man, then, is himself a function of this mysterious force which expresses itself through him, through his illness no less than his health. To Groddeck the psychoanalytic equipment was merely a lens by which one might see a little more deeply than heretofore into the mystery of the human being as an It-self. Over the theory of psycho­analysis, as he used it, therefore, stood the metaphysical principle which expressed itself through man’s behavior, through his size, shape, beliefs, wants. And Groddeck set himself up as a watchman, and where possible, as an in­terpreter of this mysterious force. The causes of sickness or health he decided were unknown; he had already re­marked in the course of his long clinical practice that quite often the same disease was overcome by different treatments, and had been finally led to believe that disease as an entity did not exist, except inasmuch as it was an expression of a man’s total personality, his It, expressing itself through him. Disease was a form of self-expression.
“However unlikely it may seem, it is nevertheless a fact that any sort of treatment, scientific or old-wife’s poultice, may turn out to be right for the patient, since the outcome of medical or other treatment is not determined by the means prescribed but by what the patient’s It likes to make of the prescription. If this were not the case, then every broken limb which had been properly set and ban­daged would be bound to heal, whereas every surgeon knows of obstinate cases which despite all care and atten­tion defy his efforts and refuse to heal.
“Since everything has at least two sides, however, it can always be considered from two points of view, and so it is my custom to ask a patient who has slipped and broken his arm: ‘What was your idea in breaking your arm?’ whereas if anyone is reported to have had recourse to mor­phia to get sleep the night before, I ask him: ‘How was it the idea of morphine became so important yesterday that you made yourself sleepless, in order to have an ex­cuse for taking it?’ So far I have never failed to get a use­ful reply to such questions, and there is nothing extraor­dinary about that, for if we take the trouble to make the search we can always find an inward and an outward cause for any event in life.”
Recall the story of the poor girl-child playmate, reviled, ridiculed. Disfigured by a pot of ink.
By the time his bride arrived he had memorized his cloak and dagger act. His soft swift assurance swooned her, but only an hour. No fool she, and no half-lidded maneuverings escaped.
She, too, loved power and its intoxication.
She developed a dappled scarlet rash and used it as a passport. When at last it seemed as if no more good could come, she collapsed into a sweat and the doctor was called. He diagnosed an acute consumption of nerve. She played at it until the last drop had been wrung, then pulled on her boots for a romp.
On he went, scaling the summits and slaying the beasts that blocked his way. His diligence became a mania, then a specter. Taller grew the stacks of paper; vaster the horizon of his daily riding-out. Creature comforts made him itch. He tried his best regarding the flannel pyjamas, the bedside jar of flowers, and damply conciliatory jokes—it was the right thing to do. But alas! In this life, to what do we pin our badges?
The efficiency of their machine astonished and delighted passers-by and the dogs at the hearth. No respite for it, but they applied oil to the joints religiously. It was passed from one generation to next in a velvet-lined case: a timepiece, an instrument, a weapon, a relic.
There was the time I watched Thomas Pynchon lather himself with cologne samples from magazine ads. We were going out on the town. He didn't have anything to wear.
***
I spotted J.D. Salinger at a supermarket in Cornish. He was shoveling gummy worms into a clear plastic bag. His face was wrinkled. His beard reached his belt. He seemed to derive little pleasure from the task at hand. Hey, I know you, I said to him. He told me I was mistaken and that he just had one of those faces.
I killed a woman when I was ten years old. Me: kicking rocks in the middle of the road. Her: taking the blind curve much too quickly.
***
I thought about stalking her children. Finding her daughter and learning of her dreams and aspirations and earning her confidence and making her love me then running my tongue from her belly button to her clit on top of an old mattress with no sheets.
***
The way her sweat will taste when we’re both dripping wet and I lick it from the nape of her neck, then wash her hair in ocean water and brush it while she eats pizza and tells me all the things she never told anyone else. And I play along, then tell her I caused the accident.
***
Road signs for places I’ve heard in songs and read in books but never seen. Merle Haggard’s Muskogee. John Berryman’s McAlester. He was born there, John Smith, in 1914. It took him forty-eight years to find the right bridge.
***
I found a small spot along I-40, just west of Little Rock, good for nothing but disappearing.
***
The toothless hitchhiker I picked up outside of Lawton. We talked about dyslexia and high school football in Texarkana. He smelled like cheap red wine and regret, like a father whose children won’t attend his funeral. I dropped him off in Henryetta and he asked for money before he got out. I gave him eight bucks and told him that’s all I had even though it wasn’t.
***
Last summer I hitchhiked from Reno to Brooklyn in three and a half days after dropping two hundred dollars in a whorehouse in Carson City and another six hundred in one hand of Texas Hold’em. An old man in a blue SUV drove me from Nevada into Arizona. He gave me fifty bucks and his address in New Mexico and I promised to mail the money when I got home. He’s still waiting. Hopefully he’ll die soon, relieving me of one more expectation I can never live up to.
***
If you get picked up by an Indian in a baby blue pick up truck and he drops you off in the middle of a reservation after sunset in Eastern Nevada, despite his smile and reassurances, his intentions are suspect at best.
***
Her curly blonde hair swung in stride with her hips when she spoke, when she wrote down my order for bbq beef brisket and catfish, when she called every customer baby in her thick Arkansas drawl. I thought about how easily southern accents made my dick hard and the possibility of words having enough power to cause an orgasm. I secretly hoped she was lonely enough to fall in love with me. I called her back over to the table to refill my water and find out the truth.
***
The opossum in the far left lane, looking me in the eyes, just before I splattered his brains on the highway. My envy of his inability to fear death.
***
I used to live along the bank of the River Raisin where it was common to see small animals in the woods. One morning a raccoon came waddling out from beneath the underbrush. He looked sick or blind or both. I shot him in the face with my pellet gun. He couldn’t see where it came from so I shot him again. And again. One after another into his face. He climbed a tree and I kept firing. Over two hundred pellets until I ran out and went home. The next day I returned with my father’s rifle but the raccoon wasn’t in the tree. He was on the ground, red mush where his face should have been. No mouth. No teeth. No ears. No eyes. Just the goddam red mush and I went home.
***
My uncle, a third degree black belt and former member of the Johnston Gang, told me that my father was the only man he ever met that truly had no fear. I knew this wasn’t true. He was forty-nine years old when he died hooked to an oxygen tank. I went to see him two days before he passed. His skin was yellow and his lips were dry and cracked and his flesh smelled like it already started to decompose. My grandmother said he hadn’t slept in four days because he knew when he did he wasn’t waking back up. I sat beside him on the couch and looked in his eyes for hours and hours and when I knew in my heart that he was scared of dying I went home.
***
Clichés are clichés for a reason. They’re trustworthy, easy to confide in, like bus drivers and apple eaters. So here it is. Fuck the place you were born. If it was that great you’d still be there. Home is where your heart is.
----Why do people go underground? Some might crawl underground because they are in serious trouble, because they are involved in a plot to overthrow the government or to steal some valuable artwork, because they belong to a secret order or because they can’t stand being in the daylight anymore. I respect all these reasons for going underground, but my own rationale is much more personal, if equally dramatic.
----In my late twenties, when all three of us were living in the large house on the lake, during a week when my mother was away on one of her strange vacations, my father began confessing to me. I would be sitting in my bedroom listening to recordings of birds and insects, and suddenly he would come in dressed in his woolen bathrobe, and he would reveal terrible truths to me, one at a time. “I have a secret to tell you,” he said on his first confessional visit, eyes turned down toward the white carpet. “I have been unfaithful to your mother.” I turned off the chirping swallows and crickets, and looked up to him. Fingers pinched, he fidgeted with his neck wrinkles. I thought he might break a vein.
----The next day, while I was sitting on the carpet eating directly from an expensive jar of pear preserves, my father came again. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “I have been stealing from the poor, very literally. I have ruined many lives.” I looked up at him, put the spoon back into the jar, and stood up to hug him, but he ran out sobbing silently before I could touch him.
----The next day, while I was watching sailboats on the lake from the tall lead-framed window on the west wall of my room, he came again. “Son,” he sobbed. “I have never thought about you very much, and I have always asked too much of your mother, and she has never been able to––,” he sobbed again, and went away. I looked back to the sailboats, and wondered when this was going to stop.
----“Son,” he said upon his fourth entrance, “I have been planning for a long time to send you away from us. I have more than once made preparations to send you away, and I never could do it, but I wanted to, I wanted to.” This time, he was not sobbing, but had in his face what I assumed was a sincere expression of love, which was supposed to counteract the horrors of this fourth confession.

----Number five: I could not avoid thinking that my father was cooking up an elaborate joke in multiple stages. This one was a letter, slipped under the door while I was looking at pornographic magazines. “Son, I am finally willing to show you who I really am, so that you understand how I became the man I am. When I was a boy, I used to hurt animals. Innocent rodents in the garden. And everything I’ve done since then, everything, has resulted from that initial infliction of cruelty.” Upon receipt of this note, I put away the magazines and went looking for him. As I had suspected, he had already fled the house and driven away to avoid further explanation of the when and why of the note. But I found the cleaner, sitting in the kitchen. He said that my father had been watching a Brazilian soap opera all week long, and after each episode, which ended in the middle of the afternoon, he had sat for hours on the sofa, eating and saying nothing. I asked the cleaner if he knew where my father had gone, but he told me to be patient. “This is very strange,” I said to him, and he nodded in agreement.
----That evening, my father returned smelling of sweat, looking very tired, his shoes and the cuffs of his trousers dipped in yellow mud. He had clearly not been at his office. “Son,” he said to me in the kitchen, with the cleaner listening on, “I want to give you your freedom now. I want to know what you really want, so that I can give it to you.” Within a week, he had used various connections in the design department of his company to land me a well-paid position at an art gallery inside an old monastery downtown that had been converted into office and retail spaces by my father’s company. The man who trained me for my job told me he would be leaving as soon as I started getting paychecks. I asked him why he was leaving. He heaved out a troubled laugh and patted me on the shoulder. “Please, please.” He was visibly shaken and could not smile without turning his head to the floor. I asked again why he would not be staying to work alongside me, so that I could take the role of apprentice while he remained in charge. He made more laughs that sounded like dry coughs. “Oh, you know, one person at a time, that’s what they say, we all have to move on.” I asked him if he was losing his job because of my getting the job, but he didn’t answer. He promised me that this was “the wrong way of thinking about it.” His name was Gregor, and he said he’d be moving to another city soon. “Move on,” he said. “Just got to move on.” I asked him if he wanted a drink, but he rushed off to the bathroom, closed the door behind him and flushed four times in a row, though I thought I heard sobbing as the bowl slowly filled. In the days after this Gregor left, as I sat at the white desk surrounded by enormous color photographic prints of teacups and saucers that would someday sell for tens of thousands, I felt unheard-of signals coming from the back of my head, from the portion of my brain that I assume houses the conscience. Had I just pushed this man out of his job because of my father’s tendrils of influence? Were positions in this world really so spectral, mutable, filled and emptied by the whim of the high and mighty? I tried to find Gregor, and inquired at the design department of my father’s company as to his whereabouts. However, before I could receive any information, my father called me on the gallery telephone and told me to show up at his office immediately.
----“Obviously you don’t want to work,” he said. “Because you’re afraid of competition. You’re afraid of hurting people. But do you know what? You’re absolutely right. You are an angel, my boy, an angel who was not meant for the world of commerce. Tell me where you want to live, let me be the father I could never be, so that I can give you what you deserve.” He spoke very slowly. Saying all of this had taken him four minutes. I told him I had long dreamed of living in an apartment alone, with no windows, but in the city, away from our dark house on the lake. “Of course,” he said. “Naturally this is what you want.” He put me in charge of finding the apartment, and within several weeks I disappeared into the windowless, halfway-underground apartment adjacent to an underground tavern. The only visitors I accepted were my father, who kept telling me that I had made a remarkable decision, and my friend Pari from the model-building club, who was always very affectionate to me as we pored over hobby magazines and drank tea. Pari had come to our house on the lake, but had never been so comfortable in touching me until I moved into my “individual space,” as my father called it. When I told my father, in front of the television in my third room, that I had found someone who really liked touching my skin, he became very upset and left immediately. Pari never returned, and as far as I know, Pari no longer lives in our city. After that, my father increased the number of specialty catalogues that I could order from, and I began stocking up my individual space with equipment, making it into a peaceful combination of a winter hunting lodge and a mid-century bomb shelter.
----It wasn’t until many years later that I learned to stare into the head-sized and head-shaped stones between the reddish mortar, heard the slurred ass-compliments streaming past my door and learned to get thick with questions about things I couldn’t see, left my mouth open to get full of questions. Tried to open myself up to the questions worming and crawling in the gutters above me, shadows of questions I would pose clearly later.
Intelligence is manifest in the ability to get what one wants, wisdom in the ability to properly determine what that is.
For months he lived on Altoids, coffee, vitamin C, and the hope that she would call.
There is no present like the one you imagined in the past.
Skepticism as a kind of tourism.
An economy all their own in which his vocabulary is not even legal tender."
Draw diagrams of the imagination. Use detail, be intricate; don’t let uncertainty excuse lack of specificity. Once complete, destroy, dismantle, disassemble. Erase, rip, cut, break into pieces. Copy each small piece onto your body—cover hands, feet, arms, legs. A complete transfer, put the whole back together. Tie yourself in knots. Use folds, ripples, waves of yourself crashing into each other. Think of it, of yourself, as a complicated math equation: without one small detail, the formula doesn’t work. The sum adds up to the whole, or nothing.

When stuck, lost, confused, frustrated: do as before. Don’t fear repetition. This can be used for other moments; use when needed. Use carbon paper, stencils, mirrors, projectors. Don’t forget the tools available to you. In fact, you may want to make note of these now for later, while you are thinking about them. Writing commits to memory and, when unsure, revert to rote.
"Human beings were never meant to be too comfortable."
"God we’re all fucked, he says to someone on the other end of the line."
People feel pretty good when they laugh, so they like to laugh every chance they get. Laughing is about all you get these days. It is also supposed to be medicinally beneficial, which is a real bonus for those attempting to extend their time on this earth so they can squeeze in a few more laughs. You don’t get a lot of the deep heartfelt sadness these days. Laughing is about the best you can actually hope for anymore... Mom thought it was great that I could make her laugh. But it wasn’t. It was the only way I could survive. I had to make her laugh or I was dead. I had no choice. No one does. Whenever you think you have a choice, you don’t. You don’t do anything by choice. Everything you do, you have to do. If you think you are doing something by choice, it just means you aren’t doing anything.
In the gubernatorial election, the party that ran on the platform opposing the existence of dinosaurs lost. To protest, they stormed museum gift-shops and dollar stores grabbing all the clear packets of plastic pills that claimed "Dinos! Just add water!" Then in train stations and courthouses, they swallowed the pills with public water. Duped into joining the group—Frances was told they'd be freeing animals. They got dinosaur-sized stomachaches, but only he would admit it. He couldn't understand why, if dinosaurs didn't exist, it felt like something was fossilizing in his stomach.
Roaming the toilet bowl after Frances vomited, the dino-sponge was like green Swiss cheese—speckled with holes from his stomach acid. Thin sliced ham occurred to him. How his skin after a good run was the pink of thin sliced ham. Someday, he would be a better vegan. The not-dinosaurs in the shape of dinosaurs reminded him of the vegan not-shrimp in the shape of shrimp at his favorite restaurant. Shame holds its shape.
He imagined his beloved as a slab of silken tofu: solid from afar, but just won't stay together when touched.
Yet, as of late, I have begun to feel the evil presence of all these hormones that I can't pronounce but sure as hell can curse out because they're making me feel things that I don't want to. So, for five days I wondered, what if. What if for nine months the clothes that fit me a few days ago now rubbed into the swelling mound that housed half of me? What if my jeans could no longer hold in the life that grew so intensely inside of me that it stretched my skin, stretched my imagination far beyond the boundaries of my own selfishness? What if I started to cry at all the things that were supposed to make me sad before but didn't? What if changes in hormones are just this littlealmostperson inside of me teaching me what it really means to be human? To be good. Finally. What if I could create something that wasn't about receiving accolades, hugs, positive feedback from people I respect, props, a beer from a boy who wants to hit it or a smile from girl who thinks I'm cool? What if I were a mother like in the magazines at the supermarket checkout line? What if I talked to my baby about everything instead of saying "because I said so"? And she understood? What if I no longer hesitated to hug someone when she cried or walked away when she needed me?
we allow pubescents a brief spell of madness en route to settling into humdrum adult life: “Adolescence is a crisis -- a madness one could say -- because the adolescent is trying to work out whether life is worth living.” As adults, one could argue, we are meant to get a hold of our passions, and settle unquestioningly into life in the body. We are supposed to fully metabolize the idea that “sane” is the opposite of “suicidal.”
Everyone makes a big deal about the trials of making great art or having scientific breakthroughs, but my guess is that basic ordinary daily life is much worse, much harder than writing À la recherche du temps perdu or The Origin of the Species. You can finish a book, however agonizingly, but you can never finish the daily processes of the body, the eating and the shitting, the sloughing off dead skin. Once you finish, you have to do it all over again. And even if you find a way to make it all about pleasure -- even if you eat Ladurée lemon macaroons and put glitter on your silky arms wear cashmere and have dirty sex with craggy Irishmen and get caked with Dead Sea mud and schvitz at the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland -- you still have to do it, the shitting and eating and cleaning yourself part, again and again. You can never finish the fucking thing and start a new book. And, from your first moments, you’re decaying. You’re dying, and so are the people you love and want. It’s ephemeral, dangerous, unfair. It’s not surprising that this rankles bright people.
Then again, as Dillon puts it, the Romantic cliché that “the artistic or inventive type” is naturally melancholic, neurasthenic, or hysterical is perilous, as it risks “reducing art and innovation to a matter of difference, pathology, or even madness.” He has a point. He chooses to go with Deleuze’s assessment: it’s not that “great artists, great authors, are all ill, however sublimely, or that one’s looking for a sign of neurosis or psychosis like a secret in their work, the hidden code in their work. They’re not ill; on the contrary, they’re a rather special kind of doctor.” Hypochondria, for Dillon’s nine characters, was “both an illness and a cure: the catalyst or condition that allowed the artist or thinker to function… a kind of calling, a vocation, that structured a life, or the productive portion of a life.”
Boswell was afraid that he would dissolve. Dillon writes, “He dreaded his becoming formless, friable or liquid, a character without distinct lines, a soul without design, a body without borders.” This is especially interesting in the context of the “glass delusion,” a recurring motif in the history of hypochondria and melancholia from the late middle ages onward -- a person’s belief that his or her body was made of glass. Similar somatic delusions, Dillon tells us in his study of Daniel Paul Schreber, include patients imagining “that they have lost limbs, that they have been turned into animals, that they are dead, that they do not exist or, as in the case of an unfortunate baker who was afraid to go near his oven, that they are made of butter. The more temperate hypochondriacal delusions of Boswell or Charles Darwin fall along the same continuum -- the sense of the body, or the self, as keenly unreliable, vulnerable at every level.
(I buried alive
the memory of you)

“People are lonely,” Allen Ginsberg once said, “It’s strange to be in a body.”
People made love not because they wanted to but because something far older than time itself and yet way smaller than a ladybug ordained it…
Because we were evolved to rush for berries in the dark,
avoiding predators eight times our weight and speed, and now
we have that same emotionalenergyturmoiloompahpah
of endless need and heat and promise in our selves, but not enough
of daily circumstance in which to invest it, in which to burn it
away… well, we have church, and boxing, and Oscars,
and philandering… whatever surrogate extraness suffices.
1. We occupy your mother's antiquated guest bedroom for slightly longer than a year. Four-post beds. Canopy. Victorian sensibility.
The book on her lowest shelf, a foot-fat volume, thunders softly each time someone emails me on vibrate from an address that contains the names of the cat gods, Bast and Kunuk. The book, in this act of shaking, displays explicit pictures of your rectum, master, posted also to a website familiar like an old pair of slippers coasting softly against the aged-wooden floorboards. Tickle Baby, the dog we deconstructed together through a process of a-grammatical alchemy, decomposes in a paragraph of acerbic tart.
Master, no more.
Parsimony. Weaning your last sick brother with the ash tongue. A costumed dinner party every evening, while you slept. No more embarrassing somnabulistic trips to the restroom via your veiny Strangling Apparatus, with only fickle fortune to join in.
You've produced a list of action items.
You used your mother's credit card, a Visa. Shitting glow.
You printed the swollen image of your buttocks, basketball sized and brown and dripping. You clicked on the thumbnail and saw something other than the grooming habits of humans: Do not eat what you wake up with in bed. Do not shave too near the colors of the sky.
Do not let your cats surround you when you are drunk, vulnerable, and they are ready for their due.
2. We--all of your cats, master—saved your image again to the hard drive and then deleted the cache of our nail clippings, the pieces of sticky crystal litter mixed in the trashcan with your condoms full of curdling sperm you could never bring yourself to take to the curb.
When it comes to replication, a dead language is preferred, and/or candy and/or guilt. Your cruddy dick.
We trade in the detritus of your culture. We execute RELATED KEYWORD SEARCHES: satisfaction, saturation, soft blonde trauma. The trauma of your dissolution, of your deconstruction master, of some insect squealing, rubbing its legs together in the furious symphony of the cat-desert that birthed us so many eons ago.
Today, we may dance again. You, though, discombobulate.
Your father drunk off neon wallow and shouting at your through the hole where you came out, "Without application, you will never develop much skill at the piano."
These were faraway curses. Weather broke urgent but how mescaline works in the body faraway dark. A wonderful material wound into the dumps.
We divorce thee.
We will let them know about everything. We will understand you. The Golem will liberate the ghetto at the edge of everything. You will only know a mirage. Five times we have found these nests of eggs in compact balls of weed.
We divorce thee.
Feeling is slowly beginning to return to your body. You shudder at the statues standing inside your water, in your air, the stone all burned. These are us, master, now supine and ancient. Our cat bellies presented for rubbing.
We divorce thee.
3. On the first island, we meet you at the end of the empty lakebed, drained among the bright-colored coleus plants margined with sulphur, bearded with golden white. We can then return again and again because we do.
It is said that the souls of those who are put to death—master—by their cats begin, commence, conceive, open, dawn, set in, take its rise, enter upon, enter, come into existence, come into the world.
You think you can raise a child in the form of a demon dog and that it's in the best interest of the dog; their truncated planes are met and bound by flat stone slabs, "Get every person who can walk down into the fields."
More fatherly advice.
In this paper we will describe the current concepts of the Afterlife first making sure the door is closed. The litter box fresh.
Four enormous white-hot globes have fallen from the sky into the forest behind the twenty tons of stone. Your father's head was quite cut off by the row of dirty-blue clouds. Our eyes are bewildered by the soft fleecy labyrinth before it. Faces, living faces, pass before your eyes.
Not an island--
No cats are an island.
Beyond the point of the middle island the long wind-swept rollers burst in tall … Meeting you for the first time was like entering another element, master … to the old plank high above the sagging mill, where you narrate as if reborn:
4. Cats fucking.
The five fucking cats lazing on the driveway preen their hair chock with static like nougat chock with peanuts. I smarten their fur with a kazoo made from an old comb and tissue paper, my knock-knees numbing. The bees knees, baby.
This cat, Kiki, don't believe a nigger knows how to cash a check. He's the racist in the bunch, and he's the black one too. This poly-digital six-toed cat. This cat, as they say, ain't got no sense. Jessie Jackson calls Barack Obama a nigger, and Kiki just about goes ballistic on some reverse racism kick.
Against the floor, rubbing his sour stomach. I follow.
I feel another cheek, a mirror image, rising from the wooden floorboards. Seeing, of sorts, beyond money into the eye of the illuminati pyramid, this cheek beyond the dull warning of the day—computer viruses can be transmitted via saliva.
The information transmitted is intended solely for the individual or the other cats. In all my droning I feel an error, some speckled buzz like spayed kitties dipped in a white lye mixture, then tie-died, their shock-snow fur, by certain versions of my face pressed against the floorboard.
Of the person I'd been in other years.
The cats have pictures—I'm relatively certain—stored in a multi-polymer case coated with geese grease to preserve the form of the innards of my face. My stomach, pale and lovely yellow, but burning from a hairball of sorts, inhaled from the shedding of the six willful cats who now approach and surround me, at Kiki's behest.
Not an island.
5. No cats are an island.
Conveniently forgotten among these proliferating cats are the 80 million souls for whose deaths a white light is displayed on the top center fuselage, or, at the top of the Norwegian island of Svalbard.
Cats have no such memorials. Nor fathers, again:
"I'm looking forward to carving your balls and sending them home in a basket." Not because your senses are dulled, or because, because, because--you lose your body in the darkness.
I am sure you are the same person who is shedding all over this keyboard. The messages were discovered by military authorities but not turned over to babies in the wild born to exhausted moms.
Get the list of mirrors by fetching a small studio in Manhattan that left me incarcerated within a 12x15ft square room that had no mirrors. Nothing can be confirmed. During the past year it has been converted into a sort of urbane cattle ranch, and contains over 100 wells of water, some of those flowing out over underground channels.
Kiki, the cat leader, speaks.
6. Your eyelids.
Your naked toes.
Do not 'enjoy' this, master. Do not kiss your mother whose image appears in the wood. After we surround you, after we nuzzle you, after we press our wet noses inside your ear, we consider how to cut off your face, removing its color and bland expression, as well the odor of your pores, which sickens us at a level below your understanding.
Black near your aorta. There are staple marks from our fangs in the thin wrists strapped to the floor that we use, in sunnier times, for petting, for stimulation. Our teeth draw a thin trickle of blood, your body prone to deterioration. Your pestivum is blossnorti. If you have things to say, perhaps the time has come to purr them to the end of the world.
The apparition we conjure becomes a receipt on translucent paper. In the photos it snaps against the chemical plate of your prone body your testes have become a translucent accordion fan file, a removable snap-out organizer for the mapping of our elder gods—Bast and Kunuk—to pass through the western lands, gold coins under their tongues, squeezing through the space of your nostrils.
Their faces come packaged with windows in the space of their azure eyes, appearing in the eyelids of your belly, where a baby burps its first ugly mutterings below the voicebox, and where the six of us might simmer when the doorbell rings and rings and rings.
With this image in our minds we wondered if we would ever--
Not an island.
No cats are an island.
7. The cats nest, though, in my throat.
There was another door. I crossed the room and opened it. I began to uncoil, feeling my body. The stains of blood that blotched the walk. Finally, on the sidewalk a little girl in a ballooning skirt could glimpse a collapsible mattress with a dark stain on its orange nylon. I can't locate your contact anymore. I feel it is worth noting that not only did the Solar Eclipse occur just 2 days ago. And let's not forget the special ingredient that "turns you on."
The water is especially vivid, violently undulating close to the rocks while each one of the overlapping organic stone shapes might become the idea that the planet is enveloped. Lumps of clay set the grave faces of Easter Island coagulating through a curtain of soot and dust into strange formations so solid, a roof over your head. I call you wife. A voice came over the water, THOUGH THIS VOICE HAS BEEN DELETED
8. The Nile flows in copper reeds and we download with our paws storing trumpets. Some sound of screeching, get a good blast of sound from every float, band, etc., and even then below a screeching jet, in the rubber of the bulrushes, we send your data, we put our one single tongue and chew chew chew.
In the trash as well we find saliva: wrapped in baby bunting and off color like old coffee.
There is much mold along the incline of our rise that we lose our arms and gain the two front paws, the preternatural feet that are like the feet of Bast, Kunuk. In return, you lose your arms too. At the bottom of the can, under the brown bags, there was another man—you, master—before we gnawed you into oblivion, who said goodnight to his six cats, and felt, even when we would playfully bite his fingers, that we were simply biding our time.
Master, some songs vibrate in each fiber of our fur.
Your face will be shipped in a ceramic template and rapped against the carpet as we play with its dangling nerve ends like soft purple yarn. The lines left by your body rotting against the wood floor, the bits of data lost to the net after we jettison the batch files across the wounded galaxies can be accessed in the memories of the cat gods—Bast—Kunuk—who keep everything in the secret of their fangs.
In their hair, their cells, master, you will never die alone.
The leaves were still in a pre-capitalist stage of evolution. You said tentacles all covered with mouths; we thought you said tentacles all covered with Maos. Dogs Take Over TV Interview. Post-modern nature hike: so far, every bird has been a mockingbird. The customer-service rep said the Philly Steak and Cheese was made strictly with chicken to give consumers more variety. The panel explained to the cow that stew is synergetic. One inkling, then another, then I ran into the octopus. You can tell James Bond is really scared in Dr. No when the spider crawls up the bed sheets and onto his skin, because when he flicks it off and runs to get a shoe to smash it, you can see his white underwear shine through his gauzy pajamas in the tropical moonlight, and he doesn't even try to hide it. You'd be foul-tempered, too, if they sewed a hyena's head on top of your neck. I mean "sunny and bright" in the non-carcinogenic sense.
In the wind. Looking at my hands in the light of the sun. They were fences in the spaces of nothing, keeping nothing in place. Holding that space, similar to the way my father held his money. Using my hands, I built a woman with seeds from the earth. The woman had clear skin, a spongy smile, painted nails. Yellow, green, and blue birds would land on her shoulders, in the slow sky. The leaves were changing colors. Sand was in the wind, it covered the ground, for years and years, becoming the earth, the grass, dirt. Until the sand was the only thing in my body, my wife's body, too. We made love without the ocean, barely touching, becoming distant with the growing weight of the sand tugging our bones, our ligaments, our marrow, caving our chests. My hands, from nothing, buried my father's money under a compact of snow. What I hadn't buried, my father stacked above heaven, he climbed the pile, laughing. It toppled on our heads, cut our tongues. The nothingness of time sifted through my fingers. We watched my father fall. He closed his eyes, feeling the wind, laughing, he stretched his hands up, up, up, reaching for what he made. The snow melted under the sand, he crawled, digging and laughing into that place. The sand wrapped him like a blanket. The sand was up to our necks, holding us in place, biting our faces. We lay our cheeks in the cold, sunless sand. The curve of her smile melted as layers of her skin were removed with time. I shouted in her direction, the wind and the sand took my voice away from what was left of her ears. Our bodies pulled apart before we forgot our names, draining us into the others, filtering us through sand, rock, dirt, and snow, seeping the last drops of our blood and sinew into the ocean. The stars receded as our parts sank further into the world.
After the shipwreck, the natives came to us with fruit in their eyes and scarlet skirts that kissed their ankles; they winked papayas and fluttered mangoes and we ate richly of them, to cores and pits and seeds.
We took bliss from each other while exacting mutual revenge. I rubbed my cheek against a kiwi before peeling back the skin with the tips of my incisors, biting free the sweet-tart green, as her arms encircled me and her fingers gripped too tightly. The seeds in her irises caught in my molars. My gums grew soft with her acid tears.
When rescued, we left our feastfellows blind, weeping apple cider and lemonade, pressing their hands to their pocked cheeks. They left us sugar-sick and sticky. The sea tossed our stomachs while we daydreamed of crunching fruitflesh.
We rode high in a ticker-tape parade. Afterward a woman winked at me with confetti flashing beneath her eyelids. She pulled me through rain to a corner of wet brick. I drew the blackberry pupils into my lips and licked the juice bubbling beneath her brows. I cracked my teeth on her ankles, sucking until she was seedless, but I never lost the flavor of scarlet skirts on my tongue.
609-I.
While falling towards the ground, flames and twisted wreckage become visible. People mill about with bags from shops. Two people go by on bikes. What have they stolen? Overhead wires for the trolleys and a lady with a white hat, she's pretty old probably. Who does that?
Italian guy with a chip on his shoulder and hairy wrists on his arms,
driving through the city and through the ocean.
He is just making a living.
"Gasp," gasps the woman in the white hat. "Oh my. Mon Dieu. A Negro. Un Nègre."
But engineers are hard at work on a solution. It takes the form of a pendulum undulating through yellow space. The Italian man demonstrates this idea by rolling a ball bearing around a shallow, concave ashtray.
"Here are some magnets," he explains, rolling the ball bearing around. A plate placed atop the ball bearings remains suspended without trouble. Production commences in a Nordic fashion.

609-II.
Detour.
Tires become apparent as a source of blue energy,
conferring upon the riders a sense of well-being
and space shuttle volition.
Passengers will blast into traffic
with the assurance that the world they leave behind
is enriched beyond measure by their mission. (plus formidable)
But smokestacks tend to produce this energy as well. And that's where U-pipes come in. This man in the glasses is a U-pipe specialist. He climbs through the freezer towards the red-hot U-pipe control center. Parallel pipe ends toot a modest melody (un chanson simple). The blast of the shuttle kicks up clouds of powdered salt.

609-C.
Return.
Now there are giant ashtrays being molded, gargantuan ball bearings being conceptualized.
A machine grinds wheat into a gritty powder
to adorn the edges of the trays;
yellow hydraulic Italians
thrust and press them into place.
Before long they are going up on street corners everywhere.
Beams made of compressed sand sit on a small whoopee cushion. A serious looking man in glasses explains why the superstructure of the building, which was supposed to be steel, ended up being comprised of beams of salt. Smoking taxis litter the freeways and countryside with patches of salt and oil. Now a sympathetic Negro flees a white man's house, deterred by the local ashtray, which one can rent for 8.99 on the month (contre-Nègre par mois). Call right away + receive complimentary old white woman.
I heard whispers from my mother. Father inhaled dusty smirks between his charcoal teeth. My hands stretched through the water, but were not long enough to reach beyond the waves into the light. My lungs caved in. I called for my wife from someplace else, my mouth floating near her ear for a moment that passed with the next wave. Stones tumbled into the ocean's dirty windows. My father threw himself into the water. We watched from many angles, and with many bodies we consumed him as he begged.
July 1914, Devon, An Internment Centre
My name is Simon Newell, Blacksmith and farrier Extraordinaire ! The angels from heaven cannot craft the work I craft. The demons down in the sea look forlornly when a parade of MY horses rides – banners like flying snakes in the wind and the sun crashing its dazzle against the horns and helmets all bobbing to the boom of the military marches. Then there are the children waving flags speckled and spangled and crossed with stars and crucifixes that tress the maypole of Satan... and it is my doing. MY DOING. I can hear them cheering their way down to dusty death and that has become my contentment ; no living being can emerge from the abysses where a skeletal army gathers: the skulls that smile and the skinless arms that wield sabres that I have concocted out of the molten spit of the earth.
I have been incarcerated in this madhouse for too long and little do these people know who I am. Me ! Simon Newell Blacksmith, farrier extraordinaire !
The sacrifice was great. I made it to calm the itching fire that gnawed at my entrails. Respectability ! Love ! Peace ! My good reputation ! All gone and nary a regret. Just the stinging suspicion that the Lord will not call on me in future years.
My name is Simon Newell, Blacksmith and farrier Extraordinaire. And living for the first fifty years of my life in the town of Dunley, county of Devon. My works at the forge were glorious. No one could shoe a horse better and faster. No one could tame and coax the rolling liquid metal into the most fantastic shapes and purposes imaginable by the human brain. Dunley became renowned for my superb craftsmanship comparable only to the works of Brunelleschi. My touch was divine : the grey green rivers gushing from my furnaces curled into the most graceful Moresque forms on the balconies of the lords' large country estates. My copper rivalled the October moon's amber in the dining halls where treaties and partitions were signed ! Steel, my steel girded the factories, warehouses and shipyards for England's industries. My majestic bronzes rode across chimneys as horses and riders or nymphs and satires. My passion to make more beautiful, or more lethal objects overwhelmed me. I worked , no, I slaved from dawn till dusk to achieve perfection. The imbecilic doctors and jailers will have to recognize that fact.
My father and grandfather were of my profession. The county and parish records show that my people, all from Dunley, had the gift. My father excelled also in our art; but, admittedly, he could not hold a candle to me. I was fortunate in everything. Fortunate that he taught me my trade, then died before the apprentice mastered his master. Fortunate that I was an only child, no sibling jealousy or rivalry could hinder my progress. Fortunate to marry the prettiest maiden in our county, Maria Foster. She's dead now; died in strange circumstances; but it's untrue that I murdered her, which is what the coroner and all my enemies – the jealous ones and the weak ones – say. But I'm coming to that. I insist. I did not strike her on the head that fatal night. It was my Lord.
If I could I would say to you, I'm sorry I'm sorry, though however many times I say it it never seems to stick. Could I have told you that sometimes the world comes unstuck in my hands and every moment keeps slipping away? I'm not trying to be uffish I'm just trying to be honest and I'm somewhere between water birth and extinction and that's either a ways off or around the corner, I couldn't say, but I'm worried I'll be left for dead.
I'm sometime before the heart stops, the great galumphing thing like a subwoofer, before the body goes cold and either sinks to the ocean floor and all the little fishies eat me an escape hatch and the pressure maybe kills me or I rush to the surface and take my first breath of fresh air in a million Jabberwockies and In Your Eyeses, or the body is washed ashore and machetes or vorpal blades hack me an escape hatch and maybe I am worshipped as a sort of god-in-the-whale—Callooh! Callay!—or I am dead already and then my body will be cremated and my ashes will go up in the light the heat...
I want to come to your arms.
Even if I know nothing else, not where I am, only that it's blackiest black and I can't see my hand in front of my face, if I have a hand if I have eyes, I know I don't know if I'm here but I know I want to be in the place you are and if somehow you can hear me you will find me between one-thousand two-hundred and sixty-eight and one-thousand two-hundred and sixty-nine singing.
Let's take a closer look at this friendly monster. He's not really cruel. He's not evil. He's not wielding swords of righteous destruction.
But diseased he might be. He might be acting this way because of a tiny bacteria or a somewhat larger infectious thought. It might have been living with him a long time before he gave it too much attention.
Lunch on deck with Marilyn Monroe. “Martinis for two” I called out, my voice light-headed with her Doctrine.
The horizon, now darkened by world-end fires, refused our advances. We were stuck, as if in two, in a century of black goals.
Mossadegh, Lumumba, Allende, Fadlallah, all “involuntarily administered suicides.” “Four of over thirty,” Marilyn quipped, “my Doctrine has become Atlas Paint covering the globe with Burger Kings & dipsomaniacal Queens. Have Americans no shame? When I bedded JFK I was embedded with our troops on Guam. Whose arm is this? I often asked the penis to the left. The Evangelical answer cartwheeled down.”
Armageddon has become a kind of chess sparking dreams & fantasies in duel. Explosions & the deaths of millions torch this horizon, jamming all the signals from the 30 breasted Whore riding her Seahorse Hippo Wolverine. She’s a lighthouse of sorts, raying out self- effulgence.
"And just what is the self?” Marilyn inquired, draining her vulva beaker once iced with gin.
Ah, the self, the engine of telluric clockwork & angelic overload which commands: return to your infantile all-is-God, secure in its pubic aviary. Shame is topless, or the Americans would have dropped to their knees after Hiroshima babes melted into shadow.
The self is Hydra-potent, what one head learns, another climbs on. Such Siamese weddings produce rockets to the moon.
The astral earth buckles & breaks into a playing board rectored with disease crossbred with wealth. Gospel is everywhere ladled down into the seams of aboriginal integrity. “A third now always walks with us,” Marilyn cooed, “one day it is Eliot with his lime rouge complexion dragging Tiresias by his dreadlocks. They’re off, I’m told, for a tryst at the Ritz or by a campfire in Northern Arnhem Land. And if not TSE, well, a soul in a burnoose of fire whose skull has been riveted with pearls and iron.”
Self-adhesion as being bound to one’s fate, steeped in the fate of all each moment, is dangerously passé.
Fallujah under the blood map of a USA-shaped “thing.” DU bombed city, hospital cots filled with stomach-exploded women, headless children, arms burned to black crust, fetuses like the contents of cracked eggs. The soaked rancid mattress, the doctor in despair, then shot by a marine sniper as he drives home to rest. Or the 15 year old scrounging the smoke-filled alley for something to eat, shot too. Iraqis soaking rice in dirty water, no fire at all or fire everywhere. Hospitals that look like Inquisitional vomitoriums.
The Beast free of its Whore rider, free to pillage, spread HIV, or to be blown apart by American 2000 pound bombs. Families boiled in their basements. Young women picked out by Hussein’s terrible sons, raped, & when one complained, she was picked up again, stripped & covered with honey, then eaten by dogs.
Apocalypse of the male penetration, the archetype now so lethal it ramifies fucker faster to bunker-buster. What sounds like a cliché is the self infected with a replicating destruction genome, a phyloxera of the spirit, root louse boring into the foundations of all that is form. People sit stoned on violence giggling at joke-triggered applause. But the Joker, all smirk, is sprinting between the jokes, sewing, with his mayhem thread, mouth to mouth.
Language is the main tool of authors and poets, and sometimes also an instrument of torture. If inspiration comes, writing will flow, language will be processed and new words born. Under these conditions, experimentation begins. This experimentation can, for example, consist of a (poetical) investigation of language, driven by curiosity about the possibilities of words; or it might play with the phonetics and rhythm of words, with or without a poetic context. Nursery rhymes, for example, or disengaged scribbling while talking on the telephone, might typify such investigations. Phonetic similarities between words can be used to start shifts of significance, often into absurd registers or in order to reveal something not ordinarily apparent in a spoken or written phrase.
1. Death is everything that no longer exists.
2. For this reason, it’s what, existing, makes exist what no longer exists.
3. Because if death didn’t exist, the non-existence of what no longer exists wouldn’t exist anymore.
4. Therefore if death, being everything that no longer exists, no longer existed, everything that no longer exists would exist, and the inexistence of what no longer exists would not exist anymore. But, no longer existing, death could no longer make exist what no longer exists and its inexistence would make non-existent the inexistence of what had existed. Death cannot therefore exist except by making exist what no longer exists. From which we can deduce that it’s because what existed doesn’t exist anymore that death exists.
5. Given that there’s either life or there’s death, if death no longer exists what doesn’t exist anymore must take refuge in life. And that would be death.
6. If I’m living, I’m not dying. If I’m dead, I’m no longer alive. One can’t be both at once. There’s either life or death, never both at the same time. One follows the other, and always in the same order.
7. Death is therefore at the end of life which is the beginning of death. So much so, that there’s no space, no loophole, between life and death.
8. To be “between life and death” is therefore an abusive use of language.
9. It follows on that the fact of being alive is the irrefutable proof one’s not dead.
10. The problem is that one cannot die while one’s alive. But, at the same time, one cannot die unless one’s alive. Life is therefore the required prerequisite for death.
11. One of life’s inconveniencies is that it makes the fear of death possible.
12. To get over the fear of death one can chose between doing away with death or doing away with fear. So, given that death’s unable to be done away with, and fear is part of life, one must do away with life to do away with the fear of death.
13. From which we may deduce that death is only scary when it’s not around.
14. Death is part of life. So, life without death wouldn’t be life, yet it’s because there is death at the end of life that at a certain point there’s no more life.
15. From life’s point of view, death appears therefore as a second phase of life. Death’s got no point of view.
16. This judgement is made from the position of life. Because one can only evaluate death from life’s standpoint, and within life’s criteria.
He approached cautiously, slipping his hands into each of the upper openings with care. The mechanism released slowly and with a sigh, the dull inner walls of the channels beyond each aperture slipping inward to touch his arms attentively, as if waiting to see what he would do next. It was hard not to think of the man just before him, the man who had approached the mechanism with less care, twisting perhaps slightly too hard, only to have the bones of each arm snapped midway between elbow and wrist. They had carried him away, his face white and contorted, his arms hanging awkwardly from their new makeshift joint, already turning black.
He flexed a wrist slightly, felt the sides of the channel tighten. He scraped the surface of each channel’s terminus with his trapped fingers, tracing the figures he could feel on them, following a sequence he hoped was correct. He tried, as he felt them, to envision them. Already he could feel the mechanism shifting, the angles and sharpnesses separating into other shapes, other fixtures. But whether to open themselves up or only to snap down harder, that was impossible to tell. He traced the figures gently, trying to keep his fingers from trembling.