nothing but fog

The Best Stuff I Read This Week

“The new ease of our lives sometimes feels like a betrayal of those who need it more, though I know that the guilt of privilege pays no debt.”

— Melissa Febos / “Iowa Bestiary”


“. . . And as he eats my gleaming soul, I am one with him
And stare out his eyepits and I see nothing but white
And then I see nothing but fog. . . “

— Dorothea Lasky / “Monsters”


“… our most precious contribution may well be that at the time of the plague we did not flee; we did not hide; and we did not separate.”

— Dr. Jonathan Mann / Former Head of the W.H.O. Global AIDS Program


“there is a reason for the phrase a riot of colors.  witness the fury of the poppies …
… let’s talk about the peony held down by the weight of the rock.”

— Lois P. Jones / “Between Fulmination and Adoration”


“The threats we face are overwhelming, way beyond the scope of our powers as individuals, or even as individual nations—and yet, as individuals, we must bear the grief of all that we know. This knowledge exacts a toll.”

—Lisa Wells / Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World


“I like taking ideas from one place and putting them into another place and seeing what happens when you do that.”

— Brian Eno / “Pushing Back the Limits of Speech and Music”


“Rhyme is cheap.
So is pop.
Easy to be obese
in a land fat with rape.”

— Maureen N. McLane / “Another Day In This Here Cosmos”

What I’m Listening To:

“Fame and fortune is a stupid game and
Fame and fortune is the game I play”

— Mission of Burma / “Fame and Fortune”

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we’ll float away

image: daniel nyblin, “detail of maria wilk’s obstacle” / c. 1884, in public domain

Endgame Countenance Tanka

Two ice-adjutants
Count and wait for the melting—
Then we’ll float away.
The elision of reason
As the desperation grows.

image: christiaan huygens, “death taking of his head” / 1659, in public domain

What I’m Reading:

“But beating back a pipeline is always a good day’s work.”

— Bill McKibben / “Score it a win!”

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the ostrich seeking

What I’m Reading:

“We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison”

— T.S. Eliot / “The Wasteland”

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where you going

Trickle & Tone

She said, I long to shape
a moon from bone.

I heard that before,
somewhere—
it resonated. A chord
struck—atonal
& dissonant.

A wound—a pickaxe stymie,
a hurricane hole
in homogeneity.
Monosyllabic
trickle & tone.

Where
you going—where
you been?

I’ll find a planetarium
to bathe in—
nothing more
to say.

What I’m Reading:

“How does it feel to be dead? I say.
You touch my knees with your blue fingers.
And when you open your mouth,
a ball of yellow light falls to the floor
and burns a hole through it.”

— Ai / “Conversation”

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author of sharps

Breaktime

Time off from his seedling firebomb.
A ferment.
A long liquidizer, he calls it.

He’s the provost
of powerful concussives. Cursive clash
send-off specialist for hire.

Spontaneous handicrafter and score-
keeper.
Author of sharps embedded in walls.

The outsider poet of archangel
dynamic plosives. Send you
on a one-way trip.

What I’m Reading:

I am the target
of mysterious arrows
I myself let sling

— Maureen N. McLane / “What’s The Matter”

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strainers and yachts

the fishmonger’s three wedges

— good judgement of strainers and yachts
— moonbeams that boast mainframe intelligence
— peg leg dossers named skeet

image: xr boston

What I’m Reading:

“Never mind what it means. Get it down. Get it written. Perhaps you do not know what it means. Let others tell you what it means to them.”

— Harold Pinter

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smelled of lithium

Slightly Dirty (redux)

His fragrance remained in the room when he left, and she picked up notes of Ambien and gin.

He turned into a dragon and blew smoke up his own ass: in this manner he floated away on convection currents over the next county into the tri-state area.

She was disputatious. She said she loved living in Bwana Johnny Time — the epoch of real mealy mouthed crying. She said she had cramps. The walls cared nothing of it. She insisted and sang “Silent Night.”

He was tall with small joints and thick limbs. His hair, tufted, was buffeted by the winds which were strong and cool this high in the atmosphere. Before he blew smoke up his ass he washed windows without panes, and took pains in his assiduousness. (His father once digested him during a midday snack — and since then he felt as if he were covered in a film.) He felt slightly dirty and smelled worse.

She was small with oblong limbs, and royally blonde-haired down to her quadriceps. She analyzed the filigree in the milliner’s shears and chose “deckle” as the word of the day; and cellophane was “thee” fabric. She smelled of Lithium and a life roughly lived. She ate only the crusts.

His name was Funty. Her name was Frenta. He blessed his goldfish. She fried hers. “Orange Poppers!” she proclaimed. His favorite animal was the Pileated Woodpecker. She peeled his navels.

She was obsessed with the texture of his body. His tortured male narcissism despaired. He happily fathered a wonderful future in Hades. He wanted to write a skeezy text in the underworld.

What I’m Reading:

“I don’t know
what to say

and go on
saying it”

— Maureen N. McLane / “Late Hour”

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shoplift a thong

The Best Stuff I Read This Week

“The soul of our politics is the commitment to ending domination.”

— bell hooks / Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics


“Crows, crows, crows, crows
then the slow flapaway over the hill
and the dead oak is naked”

— Ed Ochester / “Fall”


“Mark my words. The war on inflation is about to get ugly – especially if the people who are drafted into it are mainly average working people and the working poor rather than top corporate executives and major investors.”

— Robert Reich / Substack Newsletter


mayhem doesn’t mean what we think it means, mayhem

— Bernadette Mayer / “Marroon, Muckle & Me”


“Chickens died or struggled to lay eggs, pigs were hosed down by fire trucks to keep them cool and Sichuan’s famed pandas lay on blocks of ice. People hoisted food to their apartments using buckets and ropes because the power blackouts had left elevators idled. Some simply fled to underground tunnels to stay cool.”

— Matthew Bossons / “What My Family and I Saw When We Were Trapped in China’s Heat Wave”


“To have an ahistorical world — to forget the past — can be dangerous. Paradoxically, it can make society less able to perceive and respond to change. The modern American relationship with history is inconsistent and fractured.”

— Madeline Ostrander / At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth


“Reading it will make you want to burn the world down or at least shoplift a thong from Victoria’s Secret.”

— Tea Hacic-Vlahovic, on Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School / Lithub.com

What I’m Listening To:

“In your eyes, I see the weight
Of the planets
And it’s sucking me out”

— Aldous Harding / “Weight of the Planets”

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wing by haunch

Nothing Truly Connects

We’re above an endless plateau of cirrus. Look at that wisp of crescent moon nailed to this impossibly saturated blue sky. The moon out at noon. Proof, and more proof, that I’m being watched.

The wolf ponders the caribou and presidium of both frogs and finches.

All creation conceptually pressed together like dried flukes onto grainy pilgrims carrying the resolve of photochemical interventionists.

Two photorealists connect and diverge as the narrative’s historical, artistic and scientific linearities are placed upon one another with enlightening translucence. But nothing truly connects.

Through the fog and supervolcanic water vapor saturating the stratosphere we see finches, cane toads, and poison dart aristocracies working wing by haunch at their various outposts across the world.

It’s all visible from this height. And this must suffice.

What I’m Reading:

“The acceptance of disastrous fires and other such crises is hard, I think, for a society like ours that has such trouble relinquishing control … The denial of climate change has always been partly fed by an unwillingness to let go: if you acknowledge that the atmosphere has limits, then you must also place limits on human desires.”

— Madeline Ostrander / At Home on an Unruly Planet

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we’ll skip it

The Chromosome Counter

Once again he applies murderous fillings to his ding-dongs as his antagonists in an old feud fail and fall—one after the next.

Life is gentle waxing suspense to him, but ultimately an infusion of toasted morning treats wins the day, and he’s ready to go, go, go.

Does this read like a report from an official legation after a tawdry jet-set romp? It ain’t.

He’s an up-and-coming caudillo quoting amphibians and sexing tadpoles outside of his posted office hours: this one’s female, this one’s male… (you get the drift).

This next part is tedious so we’ll skip it.

Then the camper vans arrive and stretchers bearing strumpets and gigolos make an endless procession out of the fire and into the west wing of his villa—a trifle thing overlooking the eastern expanse of the Laptev Sea. (Nothing really to see here, but his all the same.)

Initially, the villa oozes with entitlement and extra Y chromosomes—this provide him a silo of serenity, but he’s often homicidal. Proof is in the outlandish taxidermy room and festooned along on numerous walls in his villa.

Outside his wing, however, he chomps on an effusion of waning ploys. Ultimately, it takes the cruelty of his schoolteachers—“how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”—to snap him out of the strongman trance.

It comes to him in an instant—I’ll annex everything I see. Every whim, every ill-fitting idea that suits me, I’ll bring to fruition. Because I am. Because I exist, I get to have everything I imagine realized. If I think it is—it IS.

I’m just that special. That extra Y guy! Ain’t it great to be me? Ain’t life grand?

(and the rest of us, we all, swoon … ain’t life grand?)

image: p. remer

What I’m Reading:

“Cultures of domination attack self-esteem, replacing it with a notion that we derive our sense of being from dominion over another. Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their sense of self and identity, their reason for being, resides in their capacity to dominate others.”

— bell hooks / Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics

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