mitigated by the sound of chewing and water refills

November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dear ________,

It was good seeing you last night. I confess my mind was torn away from our conversation at times, the awkwardness mitigated by the sound of chewing and water refills, by thoughts about the grand jury announcement moments before we met. I’d made a note as I waited for your arrival: “The slow approach of the inevitable ends in a dead sprint.” And as I watched the small gathering across the street, everything seemed deflated. The cops patrolling, vaguely disinterested; the megaphoned voice, exhausted. And as I was falling asleep I wrote, “If America is broken, what of our will? — has it been pulverized into the powdered poison that might finish the job?” Whereupon I awoke around two, tongue-dried and wanting water. And as I drank I imagined someone pinned by a large, nearly immovable stone, both puncturing his bowels and holding them in place, and scribbled a third note, “the very one that’s killing you would do so even still if you figured a way out.”

Ah, but how did you enjoy the dinner?



“was in fact looking for somewhere to lay its eggs”

November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

An amateurish photographing & merging — itself a perfectly sloppy kiss — of two adjacent pages from Hervé Guibert’s exquisite The Mausoleum of Lovers.


could be undone with but a sneeze.

November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

A context-free edit:

Have you considered the possibility you’re rushing justice too quickly into the bed of peace? You know my aversion to end-points. Creation implies the complexity of  movement, and movement requires friction, and friction, well, that always rubs somebody wrong, doesn’t it? If there’s to be a real peace, surely it is as tentative as a handshake deal. When, in the history of its proclamation, whether as an achievement or a goal, has it not come with a boot on the back of somebody’s neck? Our sense of an ending comes too easily. Mourning and remembrance end long before our bodies do — our ashes burn longer. Even if your fundamentalists are right, it’s because our wicked ways are as fertile as our bodies, the wages of sin a hand-me-down prize, for the earth and its beasts. Even when these bodies and all that they carried within, the rights minted as credit and wrongs compounded into debt, are forgotten, the breath once sucked in by one, was inhaled long before by another, and will be breathed again, repeatedly, elsewhere. This isn’t to say we don’t and shouldn’t pick our moments when to say “enough,” to name some thing by calling it peace. This is language, after all, and is meant to be used. But these agreements we make, the inevitable acceptances even in the course of a sentence let alone a life, could be undone with but a sneeze.

“I thought that if I scrolled quickly down the manuscript, I might finally reach the end. “

October 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

I thought that if I scrolled quickly down the manuscript, the torrent of words might waterfall and that within the cascade, the crash where the gaps between words slam into letters, all that senseless spray, I might look and see not simply noise, like the babble of media, social and non-, slobbery like a baby without the insight or wit, but sound, itself and its other, that measure that’s the same, where silence slips into and through indifference, groans into moans borne by the wind that tumbles the stone that flattens the bug that feeds the bird that returns to the sky in search for a place to nest.

The torrent, though, dried quickly into a stream, and became a bath for the smallest of creatures, most the size of notions, and quicker still into a pool, an oasis for others who dined on the bathers, but isolated to itself, until it turned to steam and then into green, these unaware, killed by the tips of their tongues.

I thought that if I scrolled quickly down the manuscript, I might finally reach the end.

Reading is a kind of writing, the room seemed to wheeze

September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Paragraphs were torn: their topics decapitated, bodies rent, conclusions riven. So many page ones exiled from twos, who were now strangers unrecognized to threes, though neighborly enough with fours to borrow flour and power tools. Editorial arrows lost their tips; and these, their quiver. The infidelity of salutations unsigned, Dears divorced of Sincerely, and promiscuous signatures, Yours, without addresses. The tower of letters, when felled by the wind, crashed like a wave, mixing meanings as though they were metaphors. “I want you” . . . to do what, though? The page underneath, now a different letter entirely, offered no clue. It spoke the same language but with a foreign tongue. Simple requests thus became amorous declarations, but what of the nearby “FUCK YOU!”? Was it missing its “I WANT TO”? The characters of this correspondence, sensibly in extremis, contextually exhausted, collapsed.

Reading is a kind of writing, the room seemed to wheeze.

What sense could be made of this mess?

September 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

The window blew a breathy sigh through the open window and toppled the totemic stack of papers. Its collapse was hushed like a secret kept and as sudden as one told. Loose leaves, lined and unlined, fell together and scattered apart. Handwritten letters, whose tonguey loops lapped up the blanks below and licked down everything left above, bent forward, suffering legibility like a mule its load but unable to bear a breeze, spread across the floor like languages at the razed foot of Babel. What sense could be made of this mess? 

“Irving, add water, we’ll make a man.”

September 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

He loved the shop, the smells of the naphthas and benzenes, the ammonias, all the alkalis and fats, all the solvents and gritty lavas, the silken detergents and ultimate soaps, like the smells, he decided of flesh itself, of release, the disparate chemistries of pore and sweat — a sweat shop — the strange wooly-smelling acids that collected in armpits and atmosphered pubic hair, the flameless combustion of urine and gabardine mixing together to create all the body’s petty suggestive alimentary toxins. The sexuality of it. The men’s garments one kind, the women’s another, confused, deflected, masked by residual powders, by the oily invisible resins of deodorant and perfume, by the concoted flower and the imagined fruit — by all fabricated flavor. And hanging in the air, too — where would they go? — dirty, the thin, exiguous human clays, divots, ash and soils, dust devils of being.

“Irving, add water, we’ll make a man.”

– Stanley Elkin, The Franchiser

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