unable to moor

Day of the Drill

He hadn’t so much lived these 33 years in a daydream as much as he felt that there’d always been a scrim between him and the world. Everything was seen and felt at a slight remove. His emotions and his thoughts always disengaged, unable to moor with what was real or intended in this world. He saw how others acted, and he didn’t feel that way. He heard what others said and never thought in that manner.

Learning that trepanning removed the filter between one’s perception of the world and a true experience of reality—moreover, filled one with a universal love—was all he needed to hear.

Lead me to the drill, he said.

Nothing in his short and concentrated life was quite the same again.

What I’m Reading:

“If I was insane, everything could be made to make sense. If I was sane, nothing could.”

— Tara Westover / Educated

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this moment desiccated

Etiolated (redux)

Your voice echoes through the ages — as if from the depths of dry amphora.

Pushcarts and tumbrils full of the dregs of the failed american experiment.

A skim of cream and a puff of smoke are equal in the Inquisitor’s dream —

Spastic as a cobwebbed spindle and dry as a sheaf of faggots left in the sun of a deepening drought.

We move away from each other singed by wind-driven wildfires that ring ever closer.

Each minute hotter and drier, each second etiolating the sun.

The shining city on a hill was an ill-fated fata morgana.

This moment desiccated like the cicada’s abandoned husk.

What I’m Reading:

“What if I return to the open space, only to find that the body writes itself, pen on finger, bomb in hand? The universe doesn’t make any sense. Sometimes I find that beautiful and sometimes I find it horrible, but either way it owns me.”

— Carolyn Zaikowski / In A Dream, I Dance By Myself, And I Collapse

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happen to know

Overheard Convos at an Event U R Glad U Missed

I have not challenged myself in that manner in two years…

So what does serendipity mean?

… and she was like so hush, hush. It was so embarrassing.

I think I’ve seen him do much better. Remember his turn as Willy Loman? Or in Mamet’s American Buffalo? He was superior in those…

My god, what is that awful perfume from the people in front of us? Is it him or is it her?

… I hate these things. She drags me out once a month to this. I’ve about had it. Say, you have a tee time for Saturday?

Oh, La Traviata was wonderful. Did I tell you about how we saw it in Venice…

20 bucks for a plastic cup of cheap wine? Are you serious?

… I’m not an usher, sir. But I happen to know it’s down the stairs and to the left.

What I’m Reading:

“Your life is unraveling. You came to the big city, and you found out things about yourself you didn’t want to know, you’ve been on the dark side too long.”

— Bob Dylan / The Philosophy of Modern Song

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at the edges

(bedbugs and barnacles)

bedbugs and barnacles on the side of the bed—on this side of dread. no one understands the special relationship. no one really cares. the water laps up to the edge of the bedsheets at 3:32 every morning. incorporeal jetsam gathers at the edges of the bed. once there was a shipwreck at the foot of the bed—a forlorn caravel from a dream of ancestors voracious. conquistadors from la coruña and valladolid. rapacious. once, in redress, a pile of sodden harpies and viragos on the self-same conquistadors—a deferred comeuppance of godard-ian jump cuts to the sounds of tenny’s “collage #1 (blue suede)” emanating from the bowels of the ocean sea. it was a grand old nightmare! no doubt. doubt it will ever recur. once defenestrated—some barnacles splintered. several barnacles made quick work of the bedbugs. osterized into a hummus nonpareil. a hummus to wake the dead—as if—they didn’t walk among us now.

What I’m Reading:

“When something of hers sparked and spread in the portal, it blazed away the morning and afternoon, it blazed like the new California, which we had come to accept as being always on fire.”

— Patricia Lockwood / No One Is Talking About This

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you become poetry

The Best Stuff I Read This Week

“Writing is impossible … Maybe it’s hopeless … But oh, god, at least it isn’t not writing.”

— Sarah Gailey / “Pep Talk from Sarah Gailey”


“the idea that writing is easy comes from the frank o’hara method. but it is in fact easy, especially if you don’t try to say more than you are thinking…”

— Bernadette Mayer / “Unconditional Death Is a Good Title”


” ‘Start small and work your way up,’ her therapist suggested. ‘Start by hating Officer Big Mac, a class traitor who is keeping the other residents of McDonaldland from getting the sandwiches that they need, and who when the revolution comes will have the burger of his head eaten for his crimes.’ “

— Patricia Lockwood / No One Is Talking About This


“And what do writers do? They write. Not, they write good stuff. Not, they write stuff that gets published. Not, they write stuff that gets prizes. They write.

To claim that mantle gives you a sense of legitimacy. You understand it’s not about prizes. Sometimes getting accolades feels great, but the best thing you can do is to understand that your writing is good whether anybody likes it or not. You don’t have to have an audience for it to be good. You know if it’s good. Once you have that, you can have a healthy relationship to your work because your work is not you. It’s a big part of you. If they took it away, you’d grieve.”

— John Darnielle / The Creative Independent interview


“I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place. This doesn’t mean I produce much out of the two hours. Sometimes I work for months and have to throw everything away, but I don’t think any of that was time wasted. Something goes on that makes it easier when it does come well. And the fact is if you don’t sit there every day, the day it would come well, you won’t be sitting there.”

— Flannery O’Connor / The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor


“The worst part of not writing is that writing always lingers at the edges of it … the story is waiting. It’s perched in the future somewhere and it wants to be real and I am the only one preventing that from happening.”

— Sarah Gailey / “Pep Talk from Sarah Gailey”


“Poetry is not a career — it is a state of being. You become poetry or are in a state of becoming with poetry.”

—Joy Harjo / Catching the Light

What I’m Listening To:

“Heaven is empty
Nobody’s there
I brought my camera
It stayed in its bag”

— Aldous Harding / “Heaven is Empty”

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time to cure

Guiding the Peeps in Ur Head (blackout # 11.4.22)

Today you will require additional time
to cure.

Therefore we ask people to use the lower
door

to enter the upper
door.

Access will return to normal
tomorrow.

Apologize
for the inconvenience.

What I’m Reading:

“Creativity is infinite. It’s as much a part of the human being as vision, smelling, or any of your senses. Everybody is born with that creativity. Where it goes is sort of an accident of time, space, and circumstance, but creativity is your birthright.”

— John Darnielle / The Creative Independent interview

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be free be

Impingements

A stomach churning invasion of impingements on the ears and the inner alcoves of the cranium.

Akin to a machine spitting out screws ricocheting off the floors and tinkling in circles, in counterpoint, to the scraping of chairs and metal boxes 12 feet above your head.

As a banana might be injected with bromated flours just to make it softer, more malleable, mush—are the interior contents of the skull of the Cro-Magnon that lives in the apartment above you.

Free writing, while certainly free, takes a toll on the psyche, but in this case, it’s quite expensive—and unusually difficult to exorcise once you’ve lost all your senses—in the auditory version of the death of a thousand cuts.

Except this is a lot less fun.

Like punching a nest full of wasps inside your head.

Be free. Be free.

image: p. remer

What I’m Reading:

“Loneliness arrives on a leash of scorpions.
In my skull, loneliness opens like a parachute.”

—Eduardo C. Corral / “Lines Written During My Second Pandemic”

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i’ll bring you

nightmare no. 630 (flecked haiku)

some roads have puddles
some rivers are flecked with blood
i’ll bring you a glass

What I’m Reading:

“Allow no Christian rituals
for this bitch, but, if
you like, you might invite
a homeless dog to sing…”

— Sandra Cisneros / “Instructions for My Funeral”

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a floating shadow

Squall

I’m lost in a hanging garden.
Dark hollows.
Death in June songs.
Someone humming:
she said destroy in black New York…
Is she humming it correctly?
Get off that—
What is correct?
Who decides?
Haven’t we been here before?
Recently.
So.
I don’t detach from myself—but I am tethered to myself:
A floating shadow on a string.
Hovering six feet above and three feet behind myself, by the thinnest and blackest string you’ve ever seen.
Have you ever imagined such a thing?
Wind buffets me about—
behind my corporeal self:
The daily dwindling sack of meat, blood and bone, aplomb walking—some sort of somber put-on—
coiled for anything.
My consciousness resides more in that ethereal floating self—
jostling about like a dollar balloon
in a squall.
Who’s in charge here?

What I’m Reading:

“I’m leery of planning stories out ahead of time. Almost without exception they’ll start from an idea or a phrase, which I then plunge right into and explore. If I stop to think, This ought to be in the first person plural, or, This ought to be one unbroken paragraph, or whatever, I think it would stop me. They are intuitive.”

— Lydia Davis / “The Art of Fiction No. 227” / The Paris Review

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rejoice our dead

image in public domain

Celibates and Paraphiliacs (redux)

Sustain yourself with necro-normative inclinations, make use of what you consume, trap your inner child in an iron maiden. Spend time with your inner critic’s internal monologues parsing the sections of your Id with a rusty chainsaw giving your unconscious a case of terminal tetanus. Sublimate your inner demons to outer space—a wise man once said: “in space no one can hear you scream”—but it wasn’t really a wise man, not some mountaintop mandarin sitting lotus post-mantra, but merely a disembodied voice over in search of narrative sense, shilling a sci-fi flick—a lot of sound and fury signifying dollars for a moribund industry providing opiate delusions. Dziga Vertov once said: “film drama is the opiate of the masses.” I tend to aggress, and find egress repellant in the midst of an imminent dissolve. Cut to:

“So on this Day of the Dead in the confabulated year of 2022 CE (common to exploiters and the exploited, common to prelates and agnostic fronts, common to atheist cutlery and baptismal fonts, common to celibates and paraphiliacs) may we rejoice our dead—in those we knew who sloughed this mortal coil—and have a kind thought for the living (specifically, those who deserve kind thoughts) and may those who live now, whose great desire is to foment anger, misunderstanding, strife and division … well, may they join the dead sooner than later, so their peeps may remember them and rejoice this time next year.”

What I’m Reading:

“The verse had lodged in my mind, like a stylus hitching on a record. I resented the suggestion that the dead could rise…”

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

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