Teetering on the edge of sage advice, twice told with hampered weather, a tolerance for jest and jolt; beds built as if in a tube, encrusted with hues of blue and jaundice; terror ports tendered awash in the fragile gift box marked with blood red; Elisa spread around garbled with motion. A treacherous roundelay of he said/he said/said; movements coded simply need the language to gauge them. A beat-box dance left lingering in the streets; trouble, truffl’d.
I speak for days on end: to no one at all. A movement describing motion as words, belittling the very act, according to taste, as they remain – in the air, on the page – aloof and alone as solid objects stuck in the center of the city and remain there until untidy children erase them with black markers and malice. A slap across the face, calling the child a bitch and a whore and put those cookies down you little cunt.
I buy my beer and call it a day.
When it all began we were in a room, with a man with a beard we knew and a man with a ridiculous moustache we didn’t. There was wine and cheese. It was the cheap kind of cheese, the kind that tries to cheer people up at literary things, but only adds to bloat and bemoaning of the fact that the wine was probably cheaper. We didn’t not speak for some time, perhaps slightly cautious of each other, but bonded over cigarettes instead of trips to the bathroom. There were only a few of us smoking (then) and the traditional bond of such specimens was formed, the old-fashioned way. Similar criticisms of the work we did not like bonded us further, even if our own writing was as dissimilar as could be.
I remember a time, when watching the fat girl read her poem about volunteering at a prison in a poetry workshop, where she fantasized about a sexual encounter:
She was wearing prison black and white and the entire scene still seems absurd in my memory.
Like all memories tend to do.
I have been wondering if, all things considered, that this life is the life that life gives you. A tremendous blanket of hardship; little breezes of joy; a torrent of filthy bodily functionation. The idea that “all things happen for a reason” seems a reasonably optimistic view, but belittles the cynic’s eye: it’s absurd, the very fact that things happen. The only place today that was still covered in snow on my way home from work today was the stretch of sidewalk in front of the church on my block.
I nearly slipped both on my way to and from work at that very spot.
Was a god trying to say something? The church has been shuttered for months…
My introduction to poetry, as most people are introduced to poetry, was through the work of Robert Frost. I can’t imagine a single more boring person to introduce a person to the art; which, possibly, explains why it is such a tired genre only read by its own proponents. Who cares what path you take? neither of which will lead you to a direction that is potently practical. The idea that money can be made from the art is fraudulous from the start, an illogical investment that practically withers on the wine. Literature, even, is an every specialized niche that stays stagnant within its own community: an erotic bookstore recently closed next to my apartment that, up until closing day, advertised on a chalkboard “3 books for $20, 5 books for $50”.
Perhaps it’s the marketing, rather than the product, that is reducing the viability of the art as a sustainable activity for income.
My neighborhood is easily looked over, and I like it that way. It’s laborious living in a city where everything runs at full volume, strangers staying strangers, lifers living far easier lives than transplants. Still, living a quiet life in a loud city takes a toll, when even traveling in front of a church can be a life or death situation.
INTRODUCTION TO “INDEX LIBROUM PROHIBITORUM”
The other day, K said to me “you know what’s worst about it all? that there’s no one to go to that’s real.” I thought about it, and that fact that it is truly true. There’s stepchildren of all sorts of penance; vulgar drunks at the bar; friends who view friendship as another obligation of friendship. I stopped for a minute, took a drink of cold water, and sat there confident that she was right, and, in being right, was impossibly wrong.
On the afternoon of October 27th, 2012, I stood my traditional stand: I would not be working the Saturday event at work. I stayed home, with a weather forecast of misery, trying, once again, at automatic writing. I kept at it, with a feverish pitch unknown to those unused to espresso and espresso, that ended with a 30-page tract of near-gibberish that only but the best of friends could even peruse, let alone read in its entirety. It was an attempt to regain some writing focus, some entitlement to even being called a writer, and it struck a blow so low I was crippled for the day after. I stayed in bed all day drinking tea and watching TV, taking two valium in the evening and went to bed, in bed.
When the automatic writing began, we were in the room with a bottle of whiskey. Numbers running tables against the grain as a situation to be fucked with and let seeping with cum. A bucket of flowers as tried and true inspiration as if on an image; the better to relieve the stress of the streets seen before. Banning no books from our memory, the results come tumbling out like clichés lived out like clichés: drunk writers on a binge of multiple regrets and few lived in accomplishments. My boyfriend at the time didn’t like you and resented the time spent, even more so when we had split up. A pigeon perched in a nest of shards of scotch glass and broken condoms and missing socks. A comment about two shot glasses being left on the counter after a night out with you elicited the response of “I was a little tipsy and I guess I grabbed another one”.
His phone read differently. And we read differently, at the time.
Whenever I received a certain signal she soon finishes with a standard statement of dismissal. Frontiers may pass the time but they remain limited by there own vision; no one sees clearly when they’re looking at the future. A prohibition on ingenuity remarked upon by many, scolded by others as cynicism, remain “on the table” and still there to be received through a “pro-active” reaction against reaction against reaction against turmoil. The passion for the body to li(v)e for others and still die. Nobody’s perfect product becomes a home and nobody’s perfect. The only wit in the nation is summed up by a vague mistrust and disintegration of that that is in our heads.
For the same reason we ban our books, we ban our authority by preemptively attempt to exert it. Our nouns are begging for a metaphor, singled out like facts or cards on a Vegas tabletop. Rooted in naturalness, we can no longer declare it. This is a deep reaction to recent facts on the fence: there are women in New York City who will cut in line just in order to obtain your favorite seat on the bus. A fine sieve for a newspaper, totally read yet left alone on the bus after last stop arrives.
Because they must, as they explained, soon finish the wretch that is the present and process towards a future worth relating or reading about, we know such a thing is impossible. Close the covers and hide for cover. And if that wasn’t enough, try perhaps.
Tolerate the issues that befall the wondering; a nice lady, a grandfatherly man with bags of groceries taking up 3 seats on the subway, the fantasy of every being called back.
The diametric images of my relationships cannot withstand acute scrutiny. Like diversions around an axis of hope, we release our energies onto t-shirts already full of snot and semen.
The smell only arouses the image of decay, science, and fact.
The automatic writing and speech during sleep must live a little weary in the future. A trace of nonsense, here and there, can be composed, compiled, even comforting, yet unable to sustain a thought all the way through. An upward changing delicate can be as smothering as a pillow on the face by one you love. Banning thoughts is like banging a butt full of shit: you’re not going to come out clean.
The tent persimmons are as sweet as the salt we throw over our shoulders. By the noise we have forgotten, there remains a ringing of rage that always comes out when we take a shit. The autonomy of our bodies, not ourselves, creates a creak in the nature of how we look at the world: I sneeze, cough, belch, fart, yawn & tap my feet at my desk at work without any control of any of these things. Some are presented as public, others private, yet all exist in all of our lives. A bird may shit on shoulder just as much as sit and nibble on my ear like seed. There is a vast difference between the control we think we have and that that we do.
Our own bodies are not set up to be “pro-active” about any of it’s actions. Nor our emotions or even rational thoughts.
We do what we do because we do them. The desperation for explanations seem irrelevant to me. The fantasy that any other body is looking out for yours is one of the most painful fantasies of the world.
Exposition in sleep came to an end with the fact that sleep comes to an end. With snow outside this morning, accumulating in inches, the thought of calling in sick crosses my mind.
But a little turbulence on the plane is better than it crashing.
It’s all turned around like a dead fish in an aquarium: on the beach, or promises of beaches future past, a likewise unworthy attempt at apathy.
The first version of this book looked like a computer screen. The traditional touches of domesticity have molded it into something, not living, but trying to live. Deny it and the built up bursts. A breeze came in through the slipped through something, something we couldn’t assign but left us with the feeling of painful nostalgia. Ex dubrus dex. You say something to someone in a language they don’t understand and you seem smart; you say something to someone in a language they understand and you seem stupid.
You say something in the language they understand and you can seem smart or stupid or simply invalid of a reply.
The blame lies on the listener, not the hearer, nor the point of it all.
When the proof sheets came I looked them over like the reports they were.
Just as much as if there was a there as if an if.
We always spend our days in weather. Good or bad, it’s always a very simple, predictable fact. I long for something that is simply stable, something that equates one thing to another, something that finishes what it starts.
These are not numbers on the table, not numbers ever heard of or yet created, the ones that make me feel truly comfortable.
I might have gone on reading for two or three years more had they found you and the minutia of the scene. I can still just as well hang from walls of coal and steel and shaved bits of the beards of our elders. If there was something worthy, I’d worth it, but there’s not. Our lives are meant to be banned; from each other, for simple politeness and respect, and from ourselves. The obsession with a truth like a toothpick is as much a negative as an optimistic positive.
Let’s face it, Wittgenstein was right.
I have heard my wife in the broken speech that is normally associated with those that do not exist: she is cryptic and a torrent of nonsense. She is wise and futile, unable to keep me along the lines of matrimony but still keeping me under the lines of good taste. She says “let’s have sex” and I say I’m not in the mood, gay, and have a headache. She babbles on about how all I do is sit in my room and read and write and drink cheap wine. I tell her that I’m frustrated and am attempting to make sense of that frustration and still be able to calm myself into a reasonable man.
She says I am not a reasonable man, never was one, and that I would be better off leaving.
She says this and I still love her; I imagine her as being somewhere closer, not further away.
I tell her I need time to ponder that notion, perhaps somewhere by a beach.
Some, perhaps all, of those readers I most value, will perhaps take this spell as an utterly self-involved involvement not worthy of their time, beating around the bush like a bashful squirrel, hunting for something that may not even exist. A cure to this has yet to be found, as finding a squirrel in any park will yield similar results. I don’t demean the game, I simply want to play it my way.
What do you have in your hand?
I can only hope it’s my heart, beating and bleeding still.
Some will associate an entirely long introduction to a book having been long published, yet never published at all, to be, at best, conceptual and, at worst, stupid. These, like all, are valid responses and I do not wish to elicit responses of any kind (I like my privacy even if I can go on and on about my life here within).
Yes, but, there’re no yeses in butts. A pleasure for plenty, a pain for others, a fear that grows deeper with each deep shit. There is no saying no to it, it’s existence utterly translucent under the deep scarlet velvet shades.
New York City has made me amazingly anti-social. The constant socialness of the city itself requires retreat, and I take it as much as I can. I associate touch itself as a negative. And I’ve kept myself untouched for a long time.
This could be due to my own associations with the city, touch itself, being tied with things that I should not be doing. I’ll admit this freely, and without any real remorse. No bothering about any direction, no whining about what might have been, no tethering oneself to the idea of an ideal. And each familiar shape can still be made unfamiliar just by closing your eyes.
Some will ask what this all references to. The simple reply is nothing, it’s fiction, and hasn’t a bond to a book or an idea or a thought.
But of course this is a fiction. All writing by being writing, it’s a fiction by being writing. Nothing is happening, or happened, within these pages, and that is all I can recommend you believe.
A different view is that these are “opinions”, which implies that an absolute truth can somehow be danced around.
But, no, even facts are always fictions depending on the point of view. A cripple could win the Olympics and still be a crumble when he comes home. And his own medical bills could make him a cripple further still.
Our lives are on a considerable still. Like pigs at a trough, we swill, but still are on the verge of bloat, shutdown, death.
Do not be elected to the Senate of your country. There is nothing to be done, nothing that can be, and the state of the state is nothing. There are some things that can be helped, while others simply have to wither on the vine, as they say. I do want to thank you though for your support through a trying time on this coast, life-changing and sagging, but all the support has left me in a positive light.
I know a significant blight on our friendship was caused by my casual dismissal of a friend’s death. I apologize for what you took to be a far too casual response to that, knowing that you felt deeply about it. I cannot help myself, though, when it comes to issues of life and death. Being raised as a diabetic, with doctors and others saying your life will not be ideal, but, probably, not ideal for long, I have lived in a world where the idea of my retirement is a fantasy at best, a significant barrier to living at worst.
It’s terrifying to know that you will die, for all of us, but even more so for those who know the fact they have what they have will shorten that span between what you hear and what you know ever so close. This doesn’t mean that we’re dead, far from it.
In fact it could cause a greater reorientation of one’s perspective and priorities than any healthy person might
What do we ban when ourselves eventually get banned?
I send you the introduction to a book which will, when finished, proclaim a new divinity. I do not know what form it might take, from a he said/she said romance to a volume of gibberish. The fight for something that is right, or even makes sense, can tire a person even beyond their years.
We only have so much time and to suffer a cliché, we just have to make the most of it. I don’t care if we both waste it on a fantasy that is past (see above) or if we change the world we write about. I care about the world I live in now, and hope that it will somehow emerge with the one in my head.
But I am realistic enough to know that is not something we can possibly do.
What it’s like to die: lots of moaning and then nothing. The nurse’s humor doesn’t mean a thing at that point, the flowers on the table by your bedside (hiding the warm, curdled single carton of milk) a joke without a punch line. The hospital room shades get drawn and you are taken out, across the front of your roommate, as if it’s the most solem Pretorian parade ever.
There will be tears dripping behind, from those who bothered to come, and they will be dry in hours.
I couldn’t care less about how I die. It’s a final finale of whatever. What I care about (and hope you do too) is how the life left is lived.
We’re not going to go around banning anything, staunchly saying we are right. We should let things that are being be, and be grateful for that advantage.
Life can be so full of insults to injuries that we no longer treat the injuries as they should be.
It’s best to have a sense of humor about the whole mess, the sauerkraut on our plate, rather than add more mustard than needed.