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Lo, Body and Soul--This Land

"it's always ourselves we find in the sea”

5/14/12 02:07 pm

let it survive as a capsule of effort

7/29/10 08:40 pm

two word phrases from captchas

the seduction
distillery mains
investigations ovule

6/17/10 12:47 am

jhb

4/7/10 04:43 pm - Keeping This Alive With Poems and a Story

4/07/10
Replicants nonexistent before Time
Big bang pow wow wow
A sentient suicide machine
There was one of them inside all of us
A sun flower of arcadia that never dies
Wilting towards oblivion
A failure of evolution

We're failures of evolution
Before Time there was nothing
Nothing was a very good thing
Oceans never viewed
Dolphins birthing out of the water
Orange and red light sinking into the horizon
Stillness
Nothing

Before Time there was

After Time there will be

A belief in the afterlife
is holding onto a railing with desperation
when you're about to fall into a deep red canyon.
But you're going to be forced to let go eventually.
Slip.
Fall..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
The End

4/06/10

Randomly tossed into an ocean,
Tristan remarked that life
was an odd thing to experience.

3/23/10

"After Life"

Recently, I stopped breathing.
The major consequence
of this was my death.

I found myself nonexistent.
How I'm recording this experience,
I don't know.

After dying, answers lose meaning.
You begin to float with the questions
rising from your buried casket like a stench.

Into where? Into where?
Into where? I don't care.
I don't care. I don't care.

The other nonexistent
people I've met seem to agree
existing was nice, if difficult.

The worst part about existing,
we've come to agree, is that you've no idea
when you'll stop doing so.

But, that's life.

3/25/10

Redneon-eyed rabbits
shaved and twirling on a cumstained
pole for scientists.

3/19/10

Lazy skyscrapers
could dance
if they jerked their feet
out of the cement.

But they just gawk
at the sun and the clouds,
insides on view,
and allow us to dissect
them.

3/31/10

"after reading the Dada manifesto by Tristen Tzara from 1918"

headless in our garden
there was a gnome
shouting GRRRRRRIIIIIZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
eloquently with abandon abandon abandon
lobsters meeting for lunch with the gnome who pays for it meagerly
with his life
worthless stars
worthless but anyway anyhow anywho anywhere anyway
there was a man schifffffffffff fffffffff fffffff ffffffffffff
those are the sounds of the screams of the birds
smashed under volcanic tears
falling from the widowed left eye
a gnome glanced up and saw nothing
NOTHING is a rather small thing
the size of Alaska

4/06/10

"Daniil Kharms impression"

Randomly tossed into an ocean, Tristan remarked that life was an odd thing to experience. Of course, he died. We expect this of people, that they die. It'd be extremely surprising if someone didn't die. My Uncle Martin once told me about a man that lived until he was 800 or something. He's liar, that's what my Mom says.

4/06/10

There are certain songs that make you feel you're going somewhere--gonna do something real big--with their bang on the table and scream real loud choruses enormous tidal waves of crescendoes that crash onto your dry, parched shores. And there are certain times when songs like these need to be played.
I am speeding down 376 into Pittsburgh on a windows down, hand out the window summer day in a used Ford I just bought down at a used car place. The wind sings through the windows its rapid melody of a blank future.
Two hours ago I landed here with one duffel bag full of my entire life. I took a taxi from the airport to the nearest used car place and drove off.
I don't know anybody in Pittsburgh. I knew people in Sampson, out in Wisconsin, but I don't want to know them anywhere. Pittsburgh! Home!
Stealing the money wasn't that hard. My parents were never home, and they hid their money underneath Dad's collared shirts, so I just slowly took it, evaporating their pile. They were stupid enough not to know. That's why I left Sampson. It's town full of stupid people with stupid plans. Got my license, got the hell out.
This is euphoria, my friends. And the radio, the radio tuned to 91.3, plays a divineness little known to man, the ecstasies that are pure sound emotions as I am spirited into a tunnel by the wind, into alternating orange and white light as the angels of sound float higher and higher and I drive faster, a canvas of light expanding in front of me until I burst through it and see the entire future planned out into a city in front of me. Heights and rivers! Concrete and glass! Bridges and boats! I am home! I am home!

"THE WOODS"

I don't remember most of my childhood, but I remember the woods around Uncle Nat's house.
I was seven or eight. We, my parents and me, were staying at his place for a week in the summer. Their house was far into the woods in western Massachusetts.
When we drove up to the house, Uncle Nat was outside chopping wood. Evening was coming and the sun was lazily shining orange light onto one side of his sweating face. He had peppered stubble on his lightly flabby cheeks. All our car windows were down, and we could feel the heat too. When he heard our car coming, he stopped with the wood and went to the house. He opened the screen door and screamed, "They're here."
By then we had parked and were getting out the car. Uncle Nat leaned on his axe and wiped his forehead. Dad opened the trunk where our three bags were. Dad stood there staring at Uncle Nat with his face expectant. "You gonna help with these?" Dad said.
Uncle Nat dropped the axe and came down off the porch. "You should let Calvin do it," he said, grabbing a bag and putting it down beside him.
"He couldn't lift one of these," Dad said.
"I could.” I walked up to them and stood between my dad and Uncle Nat.
"You're gonna hurt yourself if you try and lift one." Mom said.
I took hold of the handle on the bag. They all watched me. I began to lift, but it was nailed to the ground. They started laughing and Dad said, "See, I told you." I tried to drag it forward and felt the distance between my arm and shoulder increasing. I leaned forward, still holding onto the bag, and let my legs go slack. I let go and fell to the dirt.
"I assume the drive was awful," Uncle Nat said.
"It wasn't that bad," Mom said.
Uncle Nat grabbed the other bag out of the car and took the two of them to the porch. He set them down, looked into the house and yelled, "I SAID THEY'RE HERE."
"It was a pretty bad drive," Dad said, shutting the trunk.
"I don't know," mom said.
"What'd you think? Hey! Boy!" Uncle Nat said.
"What?" I said. Still on the ground, I had been staring at some black birds swaying up and down on a branch high up in one of the tall trees that surrounded the house. I got up and looked at Uncle Nat.
"Was the car ride shit?"
"Nat!" Dad said.
"We're trying not to use...those words in front of him." Mom said.
I hadn't really thought about whether the trip was good or not so it was good that right then Aunt Marley busted out of the house saying, “Hello! Hello!” in a voice like a squealing cat. She had a brownish drink in her hand that was swaying back and forth, the liquid almost spilling out like it was rehearsed. She sped down the porch and began hugging my parents and loudly kissing their cheeks.
Joyce and Max, my two cousins, walked out of the house. “Hi,” Max said, looking at me. He walked to the edge of the porch and leaned on the rail. He was a year older than I was, and we had been brought up together here and there across school breaks and vacations and summers. We’d gone to the ocean and we’d gone to Disneyland. We’d also gone to museums and historic battlefield grounds because my mom read in a book that educational trips were good for children.
“Hey,” I said to Max. I looked at Joyce and smiled. She leaned back against the house and started playing with her long blond hair. Aunt Marley grabbed and squished me, her angular body wrapping itself around me, a tight bow. Her drink spilled a bit on my back. It felt cool slowly kissing my skin. She let go and looked into my face, a smile stretched across her face making her bright red lips thin like a mouth drawn by a child with crayon.
“You are the picture of youth,” she said.
“He looks like I did,” Dad said, walking over to me and putting his arm on my shoulder.
“You were uglier as a kid,” Uncle Nat said. Aunt Marley walked over to where he was and bent her face towards him. He didn’t look at her. She hit him on the shoulder with a parody of a punch meant to be quirky but just drunkenly awkward. He looked her way. She pouted her lips and made a fish face.
IF someone asked me to make a series of paintings of that moment, of that day, I could. It’s tattooed itself on my mind. Joyce was standing with a loose leg bringing one shoulder down so she looked like a rag doll standing next to the door on the porch. Max was leaning on the railing with his head peaking out from underneath the porch’s roof, the diving sun splashing some light onto his baby-fat face. Aunt Marley was laughing about something in a floral print dress that hugged her like she hugged us, her body all revealed by a thinness and tautness of cloth. Uncle Nat was walking over to Dad, his face even more sweaty even though he wasn’t cutting wood anymore, and explaining how he had really come up with the design of the house himself, that the architect, the builders, they all were just following his plan, and isn’t that impressive. Dad was listening and saying yes, yes, that is impressive while rubbing his hairy hand against the beginnings of a beard that were showing on his square face, and then going to lock the car even though Uncle Nat was saying as he did it that he didn’t need to. Mom was saying it’s safer that way while pulling the edge of her white tank-top down, and then walking over to Uncle Nat and saying you want to show us our rooms. Me, standing taller than I ever had before because of a growth spurt and still getting used to the new perspective, walking into the house with everybody else and closing the door on the hole in the forest the house occupied, on the red twilight that comes just before night.

During dinner, the parents talked about what they were going to do over the week, Joyce kept silent, and Max kept talking to me about the clubhouse he and his dad built earlier in the summer. He said, “It’s for my exploring club. You can be a member.” He picked up his cheeseburger and took a bite. “Some nights, Mom and Dad let me sleep in there.”
“You think we can do that tonight,” I said, eating a salad because my mom wanted me to eat well.
“That’d be awesome. We should! I’ll go ask my mom. Ask yours too.”
I got out of my seat and went over to my mom who was on the other end of the long wooden table Uncle Nat had built. “Mom, Max has a clubhouse, and Uncle Nat and Aunt Marley let him sleep in it sometimes, and we want to sleep it tonight. Can we? Please?”
She finished eating a piece of her salad, and put her fork down in the bowl. “That sounds dangerous, Calvin.”
“Max’s parents let him do it sometimes by himself!”
“I don’t know.”
Dad noticed we were talking. “What’s he want to do?” Dad said.
“He wants to sleep in Max’s clubhouse.”
“Max has a clubhouse?” He turned to Uncle Nat. “Nat, did you build Max a clubhouse?”
“No. We both did it, me and Max. It was great, working in the sun on the weekends with him.” Nat took a bite of his cheeseburger. “It turned out good, I think.”
“How long did it take?” Dad said.
“Couple of weekends. Not in a row, but over time. Maybe like five or six weekends.”
“Pretty impressive…You let Max sleep in there?”
“Yeah. It’s safe. Me and him built it. He’s slept in there a bunch of times. They want to do that together?”
Max leaned forward onto the table and said, “Yeah. Come on, please.”
Uncle Nat said, “Why not?”
“Is it close?” Dad said.
“Yeah. Right in the forest.”
“Ok…” Dad turned back to Mom. “Let’s just let them do it. I think it’ll be fine.”

After dinner we went into the woods.
We held sleeping bags under arms. Max led the way through a big clump group of bushes. The bushes surrounded the woods in a ring. There was one opening on the far side of the field away from us, but Max just took me through some bushes near the house. “It’s not that far into here,” Max turned to me and said, pushing his legs hard through branches and leaves. I was wearing shorts, so the branches were scratching my legs. I stopped while going through and looked down. There were red lines on my skin. Max turned to me. “Come on.” so I pushed myself through.
The trees became tighter as we went in farther, knotting together, meaning we couldn’t walk side by side, so I walked behind him. He hummed an unrecognizable song. I would have asked him what it was, but I was looking up at those tall trees all clumped together, forest skyscrapers.
It all reminded me of this one time when, late at night, I heard a cat meowing outside my window. It sounded like crying, so I got out of bed. Underneath my window, there was a cat flopped on concrete, moaning. I opened the window. It was cold out and I was in pajamas, but I climbed out my window anyways. It was middle-of-the night dark. The streetlamps were either off or not doing anything. The alleyway next to my house was confusingly tight and tall. I knelt down to the cat, who was still whining with confusion, and began to pet it. Its gray fur was thick and matted. It purred and purred and stopped wailing. “Where’s your family?” I whispered into its small ear, close enough to lick it like its mother. It looked at me with large yellow eyes. I put my hands underneath its thin sides and picked it up, bringing it to the warmth of my chest. I held it, and hummed. Then I pushed it through my window. This left me alone in the corridor between the buildings.
“It’s right up here,” Max said. “You’re gonna love it.”
That’s when I saw it. “Max, wait…Max.”
“What? I’m right here.”
I pointed at it. “What’s that?”
“What?” He went over and knelt in front of it.
I went over and knelt next to him. “Do you know what it is?”
“Maybe?” He leaned in. Then came up and faced me. “…I’m taking a science class right now, and I think it’s a heart.”
“That’s not what a heart looks like.” It looked like it had been swallowed and thrown up. It was covered in a brown green something that looked thick and hardened.
“No. It is. We saw pictures.”
“Really?”
“Yeah. It was in a movie we watched in class about how the body works.” He looked at the heart again, then he stood up. “I’m gonna get my dad.”
I stood up too. “Yeah…Let’s go.”
“No. I’m just gonna go get him myself. You wait here.”
“I don’ wanna wait here. There’s a heart on the ground.”
“We gotta show it to him! He’ll know what it is, I mean what to do.”
“I’ll go back. You wait here.”
“I live here! I know the way. You’ll just get lost.”
So I waited, stuck next to a heart in the empty forest. I turned away from it. But I could hear it beating next to me, thumping loudly up and down on the forest floor. It got harder and louder, then began pounding, filling the forest with its percussive bangs.
I turned to it. It was still on the ground. I stared at it, knelt to it. It didn’t smell like anything. I poked its brown green hard exterior. It wasn’t thick at all, but fleshy, giving to my finger, a dead thing wanting to embrace me. I wiped my finger on my shorts, dragging a vomitous streak onto them. I sat down next to the heart. I said to it, “I think it’s going to be ok, alright?”
An owl hooted somewhere near us. I picked it up. It wasn’t heavy at all, but it did sag in my cupped hands. I brought it to my warm chest. I cradled it, close, humming a made-up song to it. Then I put it back down. My shirt was stained with the brown green. I heard the owl’s wings rise and it take off.
When I started to cry, I don’t know, but I know that when Uncle Nat arrived carrying a flashlight, he kneeled in front of me, and said “Buck up, kid. Wipe your face.”
Max stood behind him. I stood up and wiped my face. Uncle Nat kneeled down in front of the heart and shone his flashlight onto it. It made it so clinical. He stood like that for a moment, a detective and a scientist all in one. He moved the flashlight around the forest. Off to the left, the light found some other organs. I don’t know which. They had the same brown green color.
Uncle Nat stood up and looked at us, the light still on but fallen onto his side, illuminating his dirty jean shorts and tan brown work boots. He said, “Well, I think a hunter probably came here, shoot and killed a deer.” He motioned for us to start walking back, so we did, back to a warm, orange home. He followed behind us, using his flashlight to show the way. He continued, “He probably just took apart the deer here so that he could stuff it and stuff later. Those are the deer’s parts.” He stopped talking and the sound of our feet hitting the ground filled the forest. His big work boots made the loudest noise, a thunderous wallop.
When we got to the edge of the forest, he said, “It’s nothing big. Happens all the time.” He took the lead through the bushes. We followed. In the house, Uncle Nat explained what had happened to Mom and Aunt Marley. Mom hugged me, her whole form surrounding me so I was in a cavern with a little lake that had waves swaying back and forth with a comfortable sound. She let go and said, “Why’s your shirt like that?”
“I don’t know.”
She opened her eyes wide. “I’ll start up the hot water.”
“A bath? Sounds good.”
Mom brought me upstairs, turned on the hot water, and helped me undress. It was nice being held up in the cupped hands of someone else. I went into the bath.
“Does that feel better?” Mom said, sitting on the cover of the toilet.
“Yeah.”
I used the soap to try to wash. “That deer’s dead.”
“Yes,” Mom sighed, “That’s what dead means.”
I put shampoo in my hair, tangling my fingers into the sun-blonde mess. I said, “Do we die too?” and dunked my head into the tub’s soapy water. I opened my eyes and couldn’t see anything. They started to sting, so I closed them. I could hear my heart beating in depths of my ears, near the brain. I brought my head back into bathroom. Mom was looking at me, her blue eyes anchored on mine. Then she looked away.
She said, “Yes, we do.”
“I knew it.”
I got out of the tub, and she wiped down. I went to the guest room, put on pajamas, and went to bed.

I was in the forest again. It wasn’t night anymore. It was early morning. Instead of hunters and deer, there were just people around me lying on the floor of the woods. Their whole torsos, stomach and ribs, were slashed across, bloody, and dripping with organs, heart, intestines, lungs—sacks of flesh leaking life. I walked through the bodies.
An owl came down and sat on my shoulder. It turned to me, precise eyes in mine, and said, “You think this is pretty bad, don’t you?”
“I guess so.”
“Expected it. I expected it.”
“I’m sorry?”
“Don’t be sorry. Anyway, It’s not your fault. You haven’t seen the half of it.”
Tags: ,

1/23/10 02:27 pm - Some Recent Poems

1/5/09

I found the anthology of dreams I am going
to have, ones where Estelle puts me in a concrete
suit and then we go swimming, ones where I put myself
into a concrete suit and go swimming,

ones where I've forgotten how
to swim, ones where the word "swimming"
become two separate words "swim" and "ming,"
and they become a declaration "Swim, Ming!,"
and then I'm not sure whether I'm Ming but I splash
in anyway and am underneath a bridge where the water's murmurs
mix with traffic's yelps and they become orchestral grumbles,
become Wagnerian operas and my ears begin to bleed
and the blood slips into the water as I start to fall into the void
and above me I see the red trail echoing out of my ear, following
my fall like a journalist of drowning,

ones where I've forgotten what "swimming"
means.

12/26/09

Drunken chimpanzees
in a shopping cart speeding
on a frozen lake.

1/11/10

Colin lost his cellphone, doesn't have a home phone, and can't find any pay phones. He really needs to tell you about his day because if he doesn't tell you about his day then he didn't have a day, never got on the 61C to go down to the Southside and had a brilliant conversation with a bandana-wearing quiet genius about Coincidence and Chance, never bought a music box at Goodwill that somehow, somehow whispers the exact tune that his mother used to whistle to him from above his cradle, never met engineering school dropout who has crafted a new instrument that Anyone can play and that when Anyone plays baritones brilliance bonded with That Thing That Doesn't Exist, that is, The Human Soul. None that happened because he can't call you and whisper it into your ear, which is telephone-cabled to Humanity, which is the determiner of whether or not a person exists/existed. So he fumbles down the street, throwing out his voice in any direction, hoping it lands near a pen. It does. He uncaps it and begins scrawling his day onto the parchment skin of people around him so that he can confirm his existence.

3/7/09 (edited 1/14/10)

I've been here before,
to this field of one thousand unknowable
sunflowers.

It was last December, with your father.
That's where we found your watch,
that heirloom
to infinity.

I saw his body today. It has turned to ash,
and is a shadow
on the snow.

His eyes remain, but have shifted into concrete clock
hands. Out from where his heart used to tick-tock
births a young sunflower.

1/12/09
(written 1/13/09)

After you die,
you get into an elevator.
There are two other people
there, one of who you think you recognize
but aren't sure of it so you say nothing.
It's pretty awkward.
There are two buttons, both blank.
You look at the person to your left, person to your right;
neither are doing anything. Then the dilemma.
You think, one is heaven and one is hell.
Up must mean heaven, and down must be hell.
But then, what if it's a trick. A fooling.
You think, and you think, and you think.
And then you lie down, curl up like a dead insect,
and think, I'll have a sleep on it.

1/21/10

The oysters laughed
at the human's gaff
of goggling up so close,
trying to peer
at the shining sphere
so that they could posture and boast.
One exclaimed
"This must be a game
since they call themselves intelligent."
Another said,
"Maybe they're led
by a another sort of agent."
A third uttered
that he had wondered
about it being a joke,
killing them all
just for a gleaming ball
that isn't worth a note.

12/20/09

(written 12/23/09)

With red juice lipstick spread around his mouth, an eight year old
wearing a green sweatshirt and a brown bowl cut ambles
up to the woman sitting next to me at the airport terminal.

She has two dogs with her that she rescued.
The child comes up and converses with her and plays
with the dogs.
He leaves and comes back with pretzels.
He leaves again and returns, leaves and returns,
always playing with the dogs,

mentioning that his old dog died,
that besides his mom and baby brother, the rest of his family
is not
coming with them to Florida so he got his gifts
from Santa early. He keeps playing
with the dogs, then his mom calls to him and he leaves.

12/5/09

Our bodies are American Dreams
turned into nightmare topographies

full of paved sunburnt
roads laid down by dead grandparents.

speeded on by cackling, drunken
hoodlums

with perpetually glued
on Charlie Brown masks.

11/23/09 05:36 pm - making sure this stays alive--Horology

Horology
1.
Yawning squawks
and tired growls,
the forest’s cacophonous alert of morning.

2.
We call it a clock face
because it is an imposition
of ourselves.

3.
Do owls
hoot “day”
for “night”?
¬¬
4.
Our’s is an attempt
at corralling chaos
into a mimicked orb celestial.

5.
Are crickets and roosters
Nature’s
alarm clocks?

6.
Adam,
not God,
was the first clockmaker.

7.
For a fly, the changes
of light in just an hour
are a decade in time-lapse.

8.
Sundials
get lonely
underneath the ocean.

9.
Do monarchs
change their rhythm circadian
when they flit through zones of time?
10.
In certain circles Chronos’
nickname is Loki,
and he doesn’t deny its truth.

11.
There are flowers
with petals like eyelids
that reject the sun and greet the moon.

12.
This is true:
trains are why my watch
says the same thing as your watch.

13.
A murder of crows
nudging the dewy
ground, part of how we used to know morning.

14.
Time
flies
when you’re on your deathbed.

15.
Galapagos
turtles just need to be rewound;
then they will have correct perceptions.

16.
Death and Time
are fuck
buddies.

17.
Without the sun and moon,
how do the oddities at the bottom of the ocean
know when to sleep?

18.
It’s all
because
of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.




19.
Trees do not know
they have rings
inside them; it’s always shown with a circle.

20.
“I went to the dresser and took up the watch
with the face still down. I tapped the crystal on the dresser and caught the fragments of glass in my hand and put them into the ashtray and twisted the hands off
and put them in the tray. The watch ticked on.”

21.
Dolphins do not wear watches
but they still
die.

22.
Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

23.
The oldest living animal was a clam
found in Iceland. It was between 405 and 410 years old.
To find this out, scientists had to have it killed.

24.

9/21/09 10:53 pm

9-20-09
the night is immense and overwhelming
like revelations,
like blue eyes in an empty cinema.
Black eyes and simple thoughts.
Robins through fog.
Empytness. Anger. Absolute love.
And the fullness of the night.

2/20/09 12:22 am - this is in a movie i like called F for Fake

'The Conundrum of the Workshops'
by Rudyard Kipling

When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden's green and gold,
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould;
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, "It's pretty, but is it Art?"

Wherefore he called to his wife, and fled to fashion his work anew --
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;
And he left his lore to the use of his sons -- and that was a glorious gain
When the Devil chuckled "Is it Art?" in the ear of the branded Cain.

They fought and they talked in the North and the South, they talked and they fought in the West,
Till the waters rose on the pitiful land, and the poor Red Clay had rest --
Had rest till that dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start,
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: "It's human, but is it Art?"

They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks "It's striking, but is it Art?"
The stone was dropped at the quarry-side and the idle derrick swung,
While each man talked of the aims of Art, and each in an alien tongue.

They fought and they talked in the North and the South, they talked and they fought in the West,
Till the waters rose on the pitiful land, and the poor Red Clay had rest --
Had rest til the dank, blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start,
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: "It's human, but is it Art?"

The tale is as old as the Eden Tree -- and new as the new-cut tooth --
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: "You did it, but was it Art?"

We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice- peg
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yelk of an addled egg,
We know that the tail must wag the dog, for the horse is drawn by the cart;
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: "It's clever, but is it Art?"

When the flicker of London sun falls faint on the Club-room's green and gold,
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mould --
They scratch with their pens in the mould of their graves, and the ink and the anguish start,
For the Devil mutters behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it Art?"

Now if we could win to the Eden Tree where the Four Great Rivers, flow,
And the Wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept and softly scurry through,
By the favour of God we might know as much as out father Adam knew.

12/31/08 09:45 am

Father’s eyelashes cover the house like straw. They fall whenever he cries. The other townspeople take them. It’s said that if you want the sleep of bears in winter, you must use Leo Rowling’s eyelashes as bedding.
    Mother says it has always been this way, but Charles Nabar, the town doctor and an amateur historian who, when he isn’t healing us, chronicles Pokton in pamphlets he leaves in front of each house, told me it began twenty years ago.

    My mother and father met working at the movie theater. Father was the projectionist and mother cleaned up after each movie was over. To ask her out, he projected, as she was cleaning as she always did, a filmstrip cut together of the most beautiful things he knew of.
    A woman’s lips. Orange leaves in crepuscular auburn sunlight. Two silhouetted hands touching in dawn fog.
    Mother stopped cleaning.
    A clock not moving. Her face. Her face. Her face. A faux kiss stitched like a gorgeous Frankensteinian photo out of a shot of him and one of her. He stole the one of her from her house. After watching it for days, noting when people came and left, he surreptitiously scurried through an open window. Standing for a few seconds in her room like a kouros, he was in awe that she was here and now he was here and, without time, they were both here together. Then he scavenged for a photo.
    “Tomorrow I will marry you,” she whispered. Her words became butterflies. They flitted in the particled air, crept through the projector’s rays and became shadows on the stitched-together kiss.
    Seeing the butterflies, father knew he had to run. She was only his when she wasn’t his. He ran. The butterflies followed, got ahead, warned the town, which caught him and dressed him for his nuptials as tomorrow came as it always does, that inevitable enemy of single images, seconds.   
    A white wedding passed. They copulated. Father began the sobs that would never end, dropped the first tear of this river that riots from his eyes—his eyes that see images intertwine into time.
    The tears fell on mother’s naked body, as did father’s falling eyelashes. Soon it was as if she had a coat and could go to the arctic and have the angry wind whip at her and be completely warm and safe. In his naked, crying state, father would have died in the arctic. At that moment, he would have enjoyed death in loneliness of somewhere like Siberia.
Now, he is used to the tears and the eyelashes, but still will be silent if I ask about them. That’s why I tried to talk to mother.
When I asked her about it, she said that the first time she met father, he was crying and shedding eyelashes. It was in a butterfly conservatory, she said, and they had both come there separately. Walking through the protected and covered garden on a rusticated stone path, mother only saw one butterfly, which was odd. Usually they flit around whoever’s on the path. The single butterfly seemed to wait for her to meet it, then it flew forward, and mother followed.
It tugged her to him.
She said when she first saw father, he was covered in a suit of butterflies and crying, and eyelashes were falling, and, because perhaps of some radar inside her or guiding system, she knew he was him, the man for her, crafted for her out of river mud by nebulous hands. Only his lips and eyes were visible. She kissed him. The butterflies took off. In the covered garden of butterflies, mother said, they sewed their bodies together through conversation.
“Are you scared of them?”
“I love them.”
    Mother saw that his eyes were a brilliant green, and that the color seemed smeared around by the butterflies or his tears. “Why were you crying?”
“It just happens.”
    Mother knew this was true from flatness of it, like a dry riverbed where the skeletons of extinct species are found, but she needed to lasso him. “I don’t believe you.”
    “No one does.”
    A silence almost curtained on them. “What does that mean?”
    “It doesn’t matter…I’m Leo.”
    “Tess.”
    “You kissed me.”
    Knowing he wanted an explanation, mother thought. But she had just acted. For her, it was that simple, as if there was a magnet underneath her, pulling her along, making life and decisions easy. “You were covered in butterflies and crying and your eyelashes were shedding.”
    “I don’t understand…I came here to talk to them. Sometimes I just stare and they tell me what I need to know. It’s in the colors of their wings; they’re like tapestries or carpets. Today I was just where you found me, talking about how I always come here and talk and expect to be alone and want to be alone kind of, but, even more, I want there to be someone, maybe not listening to me talk or watching me talk, but hearing me talk and seeing me talk. And then the butterflies descended and I started crying and my eyelashes started falling out, which always happens, and then you came in and kissed me and here I am rambling to the girl that just kissed me.”
    As they made love, incipient butterflies burst from cocoons. Mature ones mapped the air around the two naked bodies. Father cried. Eyelashes fell but did not stay on the ground. The flapping of the butterflies’ wings made them go into the air, and they seemed like confetti to mother’s orgasmic eyes edging upwards towards the tops of the vividly green trees and to the glass of the conservatory and to the Rorschach clouds and stars she couldn’t see that were exploding all the time that she could never explode but that she felt explode because she was exploding.
    Naked, they lay on the stone path that led around the garden in a loop that one of the workers on the conservatory, when working on the zenith of the roof, had thought looked like a clockface.
   
    Dr. Nabar says everything is a lie. He maintains that only he knows the true history of Pokton and its residents because he has researched it and even asked the places where things have occurred what happened. Most of all he asks the people in events what happened. He has a machine that puts people on and it doesn’t look for facts because Nabar can ask those of them. It looks at their hormones and brains and finds out the emotions people had when they experienced something. Dr. Nabar said that is the most important facet. Through an equation he won’t tell me, he figures out what has really occurred and prints it in his pamphlets.
I told him what mother had said. “That never happened,” he told me while repairing a man’s heart that, the man said, had been faulty ever since his Cleo died and his kids’ feet stopped growing and their faces began to be covered in hair. “It’s typical of your mother to create a story like that that has her at the center of it and your father saying some grand statement. Has your mother ever really acted in her life? Has your father ever sounded that poetic?”
“Well she could be embellishing…”
“But she isn’t. She is lying. Every time I ask for her take on an event for my pamphlets she always does that sort of thing and other people always correct her…Here: Why didn’t anyone come in on them naked in the conservatory?”
“Luck?”
“That place is always busy. I think it’s because she made it up. Look, you want to believe her, I know. But for a moment just think. It’ll do wonders.”
Dr. Nabar finished the operation, and the man woke up and swallowed. “I feel awake.”
“That’s good,” said Dr. Nabar. “Don’t put too much strain on it, and you’ll feel awake for a long while now.”
“During the operation I had this dream…but it was a life. I traveled, saw places and things I’ve never seen—exotic birds with motley feathers and long talons in quilted-by-snow towns constructed from the ruins of shipwrecks. And I kept list of all the places in a notebook I bought from a one-eyed gypsy who said he lost the other eye making love to a baroness named Sylvia who along with it took his heart, his heart and now his chest was empty and wanted me to pay for it with my heart. I just gave him some coins instead and felt kind of bad but just kept going on, going on, seeing more.
“And then, in my dream, I died. But I still saw everything. Someone found the list and took a world map and put pins in all the places I had been. Then they connected them with pins. The figure was a butterfly.”
Taking a tome from his bookshelf, Dr. Nabar looked for what butterflies in dreams mean.
“Huh. The page they’d be on was torn out. I can tell you usually travel means you find your life stagnant.”
“I don’t need any meaning. It was just an interesting dream.”

My first memory is of butterflies, their winged eyes staring at my examining orbs. Around me was wheat, yellow like a cat’s eye, which the butterflies flitted among. I followed them. They took me to a tree canvassed in the motley passion of butterflies. They seemed to eat the tree, which, I remember, seemed like a sundial with the string-attached sun being tugged beneath the horizon, throwing the tree’s shadow into the wheat field.

The house was like a swimming pool. Most of the townspeople were on vacation, as it was Christmas, and no one likes the west during Christmas. The eyelashes were all gray. Swimming through the pile, I found him. I lifted his tired body and placed it above the eyelashes. It floated on them. As he undulated on its natural current, he awoke.
“Is it Friday?”
Standing next to him, my hand on his wrinkled pant leg that replicated his skin, I said “No. It’s Wednesday. Why?”
“Is it night?”
“It’s around four.”
“I’m tired.” A bag of unwanted cats, his body sank through the eyelashes, and I tried to hold his leg but lost it in his lashes. I attempted to find him but couldn’t. Mother would when she got home from the theater.

From my room’s window, I watched Fiona. She was dancing. A swan. A snake. A cat reaching for a held toy. We were in school together. At a school dance I once asked her to dance and we did and we floated. Above the crowed, our bodies were close as they swayed, but then the song was over and I fell and hit my head and can’t remember the rest of the night except for that ecstasy.
When I asked her out, time stopped, and it began again when she said yes.
Mother says I idealize her. But mother always lies and thinks what she thinks is what is. She said Fiona is a slut with her dancing. We saw her do Swan Lake last month at the public theater. Fiona, my Leda.

Her bell. Her body.
“…Do you want to see a movie?”
“…Yeah…sure, Theo. Now? Come in. I’m gonna get my coat.”
Her house smells of soap and beauty. With her coat on, she’s a movie star.
The movie was two minutes long, but I didn’t watch. Fiona did. And she laughed and the tectonic plates under her face shifted and earthquakes of smiles shook her body as laughter erupted from the gorgeous volcano of her mouth.

“Your hair smells like oranges.”
“Your heart’s beating like a train.”
“Will you marry me?”
    “Yes. Do you love me?”

Explosions of dynamite in caves out west where wilderness is, was, is, was. Nabar was right.

Tears like a landslide began to tear the landscape of my face. I am a tree in autumn and my leaves fall. This is how it’s always been, how it’ll always be—right? Right? The questions are razors. Now I can’t see because of blood but I do see as butterflies rape me in the bestial sketches of the quotidian, of the looping path in the conservatory that doesn’t exist because mother made it up, right? I cry, but I don’t have to give in like father and fuck the butterflies. I can kill them.
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12/24/08 08:49 pm

i need to update more often. here's something


My First Memory is of Butterflies
Father’s eyelashes cover the house like straw. They fall whenever he cries. The other townspeople take them. It’s said that if you want the sleep of bears in winter, you must use Leo Rowling’s eyelashes as bedding.
    Mother says it has always been this way, but Charles Nabar, the town doctor and an amateur historian who, when he isn’t healing us, chronicles this town in pamphlets he leaves in front of each house, told me it began twenty years ago.

    My mother and father met working at the movie theater. Father was the projectionist and mother cleaned up after each movie was over. To ask her out, he projected, as she was cleaning as she always did, a filmstrip cut together of the most beautiful things he knew of.
    A woman’s lips. Orange leaves in crepuscular auburn sunlight. Two silhouetted hands touching in dawn fog.
    Mother stopped cleaning.
    A clock not moving. Her face. Her face. Her face. A faux kiss stitched like a gorgeous Frankensteinian photo out of a shot of him and one of her. He stole the one of her from her house. After watching it for days, noting when people came and left, he surreptitiously scurried through an open window. Standing for a few seconds in her room like a kouros, he was in awe that she was here and now he was here and, without time, they were both here together. Then he scavenged for a photo.
    “Tomorrow I will marry you,” she whispered. Her words became butterflies. They flitted in the particled air, crept through the projector’s rays and became shadows on the stitched-together kiss.
    Seeing the butterflies, father knew he had to run. She was only his when she wasn’t his. He ran. The butterflies followed, got ahead, warned the town, which caught him and dressed him for his nuptials as tomorrow came as it always does, that inevitable enemy of single images, seconds.

    My first memory is of butterflies, their winged eyes staring at my examining orbs. Around me was wheat, yellow like a cat’s eye, which the butterflies flitted among. I followed them. They took me to a tree canvassed in the motley passion of butterflies. They seemed to eat the tree, which, I remember, seemed like a sundial with the string-attached sun being tugged beneath the horizon, throwing the tree’s shadow into the wheat field.
   
    A white wedding passed. They copulated. As he came, father began the sobs that would never end, dropped the first tear of this river that riots from his eyes—his eyes that see images intertwine into time.
    The tears fell on mother’s naked body, as did father’s falling eyelashes. Soon it was as if she had a coat and could go to the arctic and have the angry wind whip at her and be completely warm and safe. In his naked, crying state, father would have died in the arctic. At that moment, he would have enjoyed death in loneliness of somewhere like Siberia.
Now, he is used to the tears and the eyelashes, but still will be silent if I ask about them. That’s why I tried to talk to mother.
When I asked her about it, she said that the first time she met father, he was crying and shedding eyelashes. It was in a butterfly conservatory, she said, and they had both come there separately. Walking through the protected and covered garden on a rusticated stone path, mother only saw one butterfly, which was odd. Usually they flit around whoever’s on the path. The single butterfly seemed to wait for her to meet it, then it flew forward, and mother followed.
It tugged her to him.
She said when she first saw father, he was covered in a suit of butterflies and crying, and eyelashes were falling, and she wanted him then because any man that could deny the beauty of butterflies would be the perfect husband and father. Only his lips and eyes were visible. She kissed him. The butterflies took off. In the covered garden of butterflies, mother said, they sewed their bodies together through conversation.
“Are you scared of them?”
“I love them.”
    “Why were you crying?”
    “It just happens.”
    “I don’t believe you.”
    “No one does.”
    “What does that mean?”
    “It doesn’t matter…I’m Leo.”
    “I’m Tess.”
    “You kissed me.”
    “You were covered in butterflies and crying and your eyelashes were shedding.”
    “Is that why you kissed me?”
    “Does it matter?
    “…I came here to talk to them. Sometimes I just stare and they tell me what I need to know. It’s in the colors of their wings; they’re like tapestries or carpets. Today I was just where you found me talking about how I always come here and talk and expect to be alone and want to be alone kind of, but, more even, I want there to be someone, maybe not listening to me talk or watching me talk, but hearing me talk and seeing me talk. And then the butterflies descended and I started crying and my eyelashes started falling out, which always happens when I cry, and then you came in and kissed me and here I am rambling to the girl that just kissed me.”
    As they made love, incipient butterflies burst from cocoons, and mature ones mapped the air around the two naked bodies, and father cried, and eyelashes fell but did not stay on the ground because of the flapping of the butterflies’ wings that made them go into the air, eventually create what seemed to be an igloo.
    Naked, they lay on the stone path that led around the garden in a loop.
   
    Charles Nabar said that’s all a lie.
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