snakes

Thoughts were snakes shooting through high grasses. Now you see them, now you don’t. As you walk in the high grasses, you must take a stick and beat the ground. Scare up the snakes, pursue them to the edge of the field into the open and see them, exorcise them. You must perform this ritual now. In the middle of the night, alone with pen and paper, you sound out the snakey thoughts. You write one of those letters that’s never meant to be sent, isn’t addressed to anyone. No one’s eyes are meant to see this. This is a private ritual. The writer, the reader are trying to get as close together as possible. They are coming together, sealed in a word on a page where you’re trying to make the shooting thoughts come out in the pen. Shoot them down your arm, through your fingers, and out the end of your pen. Make them visible. You know it’s primitive: filling up a page so you can empty your mind. But you’re doing what you must: trying to let go. You’re starting by addressing yourself:”

-Constance DeJong
Modern Love

Maybe 5 minutes?

Re-taping the nearly flying away A4 page on the green street light base. A voice from behind. What are you advertising? I thought I was in trouble. Uhhhh, it’s a call for poetry submissions… Are you a poet? You’re too young. You don’t have the fire in your eyes! I stared. He stared. Studying me, he seemed to question himself as the words left his mouth. HA! I almost thought. No, no—I publish. Ahhh. Here it comes. At first hesitant, too inquisitive. Who’s your favorite poet? Alejandra Pizarnik. Alejandro? Alejandra. Pizarnik. From Argentina. Hmmm. But what about: names names names names. I barely kept up. But could complete a couple titles on the tip of his tongue. We began to like each other. Animation increased. Comfort rose. He caught his dad reading in secret the Henry Miller he scolded him for reading. I just read Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. Ah, yeah, but the one—Tropic of Cancer—he hated. Jane Janette! Jane Janette? From France. Existentialist. Janette? Janette. Genet. Jean Genet. Never heard of him. He was born a criminal, but man! He didn’t study, you don’t want to study, under these people in English departments who got turned down by publishers. That one guy at USF. I went to USF. You know that one guy? No, I wasn’t in Creative Writing. Took poetry with Zapruder though, and music history with Thiam. You see, I went to the MoMa recently, a friend gave me a ticket, very expensive, and this woman was trying to guide me and interpret the art for me, are you kidding me?! What could she tell me?! Yeah… you gotta get it straight. Genet read two pages of Proust and scoffed: I can do better than that! Ha! He was an antisemite, but the writing, it’s different. I brought up Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil, his eyes lit up: NATURE! Yes! Yes! You know di Parma? Diane? Yeah. Yes! Incredible! She just died. Yeah, recently, huh? Yes. Thomas Gunn? Uh, no. You don’t know Thom Gunn!? No, no… sounds somewhat familiar, but… not ringing a bell. Ahhhhh—you must read him. I saw him on Haight and Cole, at that cafe, back when it used to be something. Now, it’s nothing, just runaways, after that one girl—the mayor of Chicago’s daughter—came here and made street life cool. Once, back in the day, I saw the Hells Angels and Hare Krishnas on Haight get in a fight. Guess who won? The whites of his eyes, laughing in interrogation. My face grimaced back, I knew it wasn’t: Er, the Hells Angels…? Nope! The Hare Krishnas scared ’em outta there. Those massive bald guys! You know that woman who writes the stuff they sell even in the supermarkets? At Safeway and what not? She lives right here. She asked the city for 12 parking permits! 12 cars! Her books are trash. Ah, pop stuff? Yeah, pop. She lives in Paris half the year—you don’t want to hear about her. Charlie pawing at my calf to go. Names names name name. It became harder and harder to keep up. The accent stirring away. Trying, nodding, ah yeah… I’m from Ethiopia. Ahh, super cool. He looked at me like I hadn’t a clue about Ethiopia—I don’t. Where do you live? Right around the corner… Okay! Come find me at Cafe Oasis, I’m there most nights, I live here above the laundromat. Okay, I’ll find you. I need a notepad next time I see you… Yes yes yes. I’ll give you some books. I began to walk up the block as he turned to my puny sign and held out his pointer finger: SUBMIT YOUR POEMS: spectrapoets.org ❤ I shouted from behind, I’ll give you a copy! He smiled.

little phantom trip

Someone has invented this sinister plan: a return to the archaic gaze, a going toward the expectation figured by two blue eyes in the black dust. Silence is temptation and promise. Finale of my initiation. Beginning of every end. It’s of myself I speak. It happens to be necessary to go only once to see if just once again you’ll be granted the vision. We die of fatigue here. We’d rather not move. We’re exhausted. Each bone and each limb recalls its archaic sufferings. We suffer and crawl, dance, we drag ourselves. Someone has promised. It’s of myself I speak. Someone can’t take it anymore.”

-Alejandra Pizarnik
The Galloping Hour

‘how she tormented neurons’

absurd parentheses, with footnotes, so convoluted, so contrived, and others quiet, almost severe, that barely provoke a raised eyebrow, or a tremor of the lips, footnotes you’ll never forget, every time you remember them you aspire to repose, claim the extreme unction, the ultimate step forward, toward the abyss.”

-Hilda Hilst
The Obscene Madame D

 

🕳️

Boy writes on air the way my old neighbour Gene Crimmins says Mozart played piano, like every word was meant to arrive, parcel packed and shipped from a place beyond his own busy mind. Not on paper and writing pad or typewriter, but thin air, the invisible stuff, that great act-of-faith stuff that you might not even know existed did it not sometimes bend into wind and blow against your face. Notes, reflections, diary entries, all written on thin air, with his extended right forefinger swishing and slashing, writing letters and sentences into nothingness, as though he has to get it all out of his head but he needs the story to vanish into space as well, forever dipping his finger into his eternal glass well of invisible ink. Words don’t go so well inside. Always better out than in.”

 

-Trent Dalton
Boy Swallows Universe

heart of glass

A teary night. Heartbroken morning. Put on some tea and sat. Forced myself out the apartment. Biked to the studio. On my way, I noticed a smashed vase in the gutter. Like broken bubbles. The sun hit those curves and even the sharp edges reflected softness into my eyes. It was just a brief glimpse. Thought about stopping to take a photo, to capture the feeling—shattered. With puffy eyes that glistened like all those pieces. But I was late, so I sped past and thought I’d return later. I practiced. Got coffee with some others. Listened to them. We spoke in and out the night before. Removed myself from it. That thisness. And then, as I smiled and waved goodbye, I decided to bike back to that glossy mess and take a photograph, but by the time I returned, it had been swept away. Only one shard remained.

💧

…and this was the point where this senseless, unworthy, non-meritorious, melancholy, brooding, but all the while sweet-as-honey and vividly convincing prophetic proclamation began to dissolve into a sound of an entirely different order, the words, sentences, voice, speech, morphing into slow gossamer-light increments into a so-called eternal sound of running water… a flurry of words began to whirl again, that the Whole exists in its wholeness, the Parts in their own particularity, and the Whole and the Parts cannot be lumped together, they don’t follow from one another, since the waterfall for example is not composed of individual drops, for single drops would never constitute a waterfall, but drops nonetheless do exist, and how heartrendingly beautiful they can be when they sparkle in the sunlight, indeed how long do they exist? a flash, and they are gone, but they still have time in this almost timeless flash to sparkle…

…perhaps there really is no other day, only this single one, or not even this, which amounts to the same thing now in his quivering brain, and the same holds true in this brain regarding the stories, those too had given his brain a good scare, for in vain there might be ten, a hundred, a thousand million stories day after day in this insane inferno, on that one and only day, or not even then, in vain does this or that happen and keep happening ten, a hundred, a thousand million times in the alleys and major intersections, on this one and only day, or not even then, it’s as if among all those stories only a single one were true, or not even one, so that the succession of days one after another, or the stack of stories mounting up one on top of the other: neither of them holds up, neither exists, one cannot rely on them, cannot rely on anything, here everything operates under the aegis of a raving madness, albeit not at a command from above or below but because each and every element of existence is insane in its own right.”

-László Krasznahorkai
The World Goes On