Category: New Writing

Fan Mail & Fan Mail 2: Nanny Time Approacheth & Abridg’d Epic & Voice-Over & & Now

Fan Mail

Those hair extensions look so real, everything
looks so real about you like so real
the logical explanation can only be

you got a time machine and went backwards,
to the sepia days when your hair was longer
and cut your hair from the past

to make extensions with and now it’s so
real-looking it’s like not having hair extensions
at all, oh my god. And effects so real are like

real, like almost totally real, right, so my question is
in two parts: a) where do I get a time machine
and b) do you really set fire to your co-stars

or representative portraits of your co-stars
without warning? Like, they come to set one day,
maybe an early morning call, maybe a midnight

shoot and then it’s like INT: fade in on [you,
or something that looks a lot like you] totally on fire
all of a sudden
. We need to know these things, it’s vital

we know what we’d otherwise just suspect
like it’s important to be able to kill everybody
and their families and cripple any potential future

families a million times over, right,
like that’s what makes a country—but I digress.
Remember the hippopotamus who was your friend

and made all those unpleasant yet humorous
quips? Write me back, write me
in your own blood.  c) don’t I own you, and c)

do I not own you?  c) will you lie down
with me? What do we have to know? What
do we have? This nuclear winter

will be our nuclear winter. You can trust me,
I’m always the one saying you’re not a snake
unless you are playing a snake which is when

I let everyone know how great a snake you are/were
like the realest, greatest snake, oh my god.
O, can’t someone just press the button

already? I knew a woman who stripped
the cotton from my eyes, the light
like a deep breath drawn in the Arctic.

I knew a woman, I had a life, it’s true
then it changed once I realized you were
embellishing it. Like I was imagining you taking

an arctic breath and I couldn’t see myself
taking an arctic breath and now what’s real
is less. The gauze crimsoned, the horizon

nearing, is it like this for you? I was the only one
who got how genius it was for you
to add ventriloquism to the rogue police detective

who is secretly the moral center of the pre-apocalyptic
world that writhes and feeds as though the apocalypse
has come and gone without saying goodbye

and I’m like “Is this even a movie?”
The thrown voice underlines the lack
of individual agency and plus it was weird

but in a cool way. I like lettuce do you like lettuce
why don’t you like lettuce like I like lettuce?
I’ll sleep at the foot of your bed

but I can’t promise I’ll sleep.
Do you really know what it’s like to be
a private detective/ice cream magnate/father,

or are you pretending? I thought we could go
on a ride. You could pretend it into a balloon ride.
I can pretend us into the celestial metropolis

you thought was just a trick of the light
once light was combined with the gratis cocktail
waiting in your trailer. I thought maybe

I could be the gratis cocktail waiting
in your trailer, I thought maybe I could
lope through your green screens, my eyes

like tongues like fingers watching you,
like the lord and like the lord I will always want
in, to step out of the backdrop, to step out

from the dust and the light fiddling the dust
into little suggestions—d) I need a wink a lightning
rod a prayer stage-whispered, ticking beneath

the catchphrase, beneath the tweaked defiance
a split second before you open a portal
or find the missing dog or turn over the impossible

poker hand which means everything will be
after all alright. I never turn over
the impossible poker hand. I alone prowled

the message boards with a deep sense of how real
it was for you to be garbed in Victorian regalia
on the trail of a monocled demon

who fed exclusively on the hearts of desiccated animals
and blonde college freshmen. Now I need you
to do the same for me.

Fan Mail 2: Nanny Time Approacheth

After the nuclear war, the only people left
will be ex-celebrities and out-of-work nannies

I expect, and my intuitive calculations
concerning nannies are never wrong, totally—

mildly errant would be a better way to describe
my intuitive calculations concerning nannies,

a gift I discovered after your turn as a nanny
who brokers a cessation of hostilities

in the Middle East—a farce with no superheroes
in it, in this day and age, oh my god—via

much toughness and falling down
and exaggerated accents and a fat, gold,

democratic heart. Or brain. It must be said,
I am less accurate when it comes to

ex-celebrities. Sometimes at work I find
I am drawing a picture of your heart

only it looks like a fat brain, it’s gold
but it’s damned democratic and then

I am inventing new colors for it, gold
is not enough, oh my god. The Times found you

cloying, I find the Times a cinderblock
covered in moldy oatmeal and anyway

those of us who understand
the secret hardiness of true nannies

know better. Now: who writes your red carpet?
What will you say after the nuclear war?

When it happens I think everyone
should pretend it never happened—red carpet

will chase the horizon, and we will need
to say many meaningless things.

Sometimes you seem sweaty
and completely dry at the same time

and I feel that this will come in handy
as we begin to rebuild. You might say

that nuclear winter is where nannies
separate the wheat from the chaff, the nannies

from the baby-sitters. Life will grow
more competitive: fewer children, greater

tasks, the gathering of groceries
suddenly Herculean and violin lessons

an exercise in nerve-harsh
that would dismantle utterly

the most frozen-veined black operative.
You know, like the one you played

in your first comeback, the one
whose dismantlement by a random children’s

violin recital first made me feel
like all the missiles could launch

and still something would be, in the end
or after, okay. Or that we could act like it was

so convincingly, it almost
would be.

Abridg’d Epic

First the thing but before that thing
another, much-maligned thing
which caused the in medias res thing
to come into being which, in the irony
that powers the cartwheeled mise-en-scene
that is the angularly ballooning universe,
it would be the fate of said middle thing
to reverse then reverse again—Still with us?
There was blood, lots of it. The monsters
got smaller, but the damage
got bigger, ships were built for so long
some of them went into the sky.
Oceans were crossed, some had stars in them,
we all had stars in us, mirrors were
fought, somewhere in there
kindergarten. Next, the thing—traumatic
or no, it was quite a thing and it altered the river
if you get my meaning. The architecture
of nests advanced as the debris proliferated
as if all the thing-doers were geniuses
primarily of the undoing of things.
If the hazmat suit fits, &c.
There was a boy, there was a girl, there was
an entity who wished not to be identified
save as visible solely at an angle
through the cracks and fissure that appeared
in the tapestries depicting things big and little
connected connected connected like the yarn
that makes up all balls of yarn.
No leering, thank you.
You humans with your names and tags.
There was a boy, there was an entity,
there was a girl
isn’t there always? Entity the Sky Thing,
entity the Tribe, entity the State, the Self,
the Plot, not necessarily in that order
but not not. Stuff was delicious
before the air got hammered into shape
rattling through the mouth cut into
the sound delicious. And here we are, declaring
stuff delicious: fate! I would be remiss
to leave out the helicopters, that Helen,
that other Helen, that Helen that was
the systemic oppression of a variety
of exploited underclasses, that monster
and that monster’s mother, that search
for parentage, we went through a land
and it was so hot, it was so cold,
it wasn’t even a land we went through.
We went generally in search of specifics
and there they were, everywhere, a downy wing
floating to the floor of the hot attic,
a jump rope coiled beside a drain in the showers
of the penitentiary, a bowling ball in a flowerbed,
some awesome ghastly music not unexpected
except in the form in which it arrived
i.e. totally unexpected. Before a hot mic,
yes, an accident not at all an accident
and so many custodial dead because of.
The dead, always the dead with their tables
of multiplication. Both non-epic things
and things other-than took forever.
It was centuries before we could tell you
with any accuracy what a countess was.
History adolesced and kept adolescing
until we could never be sure. Now
someone else does our slaughtering for us
unless we are the ones doing the slaughtering
in which case we are doing it for someones
else. The point was to get home
when what was once home is no longer
yours to return to—just watch
how we give chase, the lunacy of the heart
like a horse in an interminable desert
who catches the scent of water, the point
is so sharp. Everyone got everywhere and still
no one seemed to get anywhere, to arrive
was to begin figuring out that some thing
wasn’t quite right and sometimes you were
that something. To sum up: we were there
and we kept licking our hope like it was water
in this desert, so much water we must need
to build a boat. To sum up: we were there
and now we’re here. To sum up: The sun
came up, as it often does. Our shadow grew
then disappeared. Yet, somehow, there were
moments of total urgency. We rose to them
like figurative language, we helped
as though we weren’t all alone.

Voice-Over

She walked across the room like a swan
on an oil-slicked river licking through
a scorched city, she crossed the room walking

bi-pedal, like a human, toward the desk /
the wardrobe / the abyss like she’d heard a lot
said of her, over her, a thousand times

too many. She talked like smoke
purring into a ravine where you
had just gone missing. You try being a femme

fatale in a world full of chewing gum
commercials. Shadows chiaroscuro, so many
rules, you try being a femme vitale

in a world she walked and talked her story
into the story I would be the last to tell.
There was some interference. She walked like,

talked like and like. She asked for help like she was
in a movie. The movie should have asked
for help. It was clear I was some

interference. Clear as that kite
in your memory of almost swooning
to death off a cliff overlooking the Pacific,

the Pacific like a beckon of glass muscle
which is to say fronting clarity while all the while
something clear not at all. Not my scene

but I walked on anyway: I stopped caring
whose marks I hit. It was like being in the movie
playing on the television in the background

of the antepenultimate scene of a movie
you think I remember explaining to you. She said
I had a gift for analogies but analogies

were a poor substitute for a disjunctive
syllogism. Something something murder, blah blah
blackmail, something else stocking agleam

as wet, white paint on the palest clematis
ruckused by a ribboned lattice of cigarette smoke
breezing through. You could see it plain

as the soon-to-be-broken nose on any passing face:
she walked not yet talking west
across the model of manifest destiny

that was the bargain carpeting, talking by walking
she walked into talking before she even opened
her mouth. She talked like debris

in a champagne flute before she smoothed
her hand from her glove then smoothed her glove
from her hand. Any beginning explodes,

every introduction springs violently
in all directions like a horse with a thorn
in its lion, like an echo talking back,

a preliminary understanding of how the world
feeds on us, walking, she says Hello, Hello she says
like someone stepping out of an airplane cargo bay

in a dinner dress like cold black coffee poured over
the ballerina segunda. This scene is really all
that talking, we might as walking

be talk between two different fingers
on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I’ll allow my talk
was walk, my ear bent, tongue detective

and crooked, I mean she really said Hello, things
were livened up considerable, as I saw them, her
hell. She balked at the office of my office,

I made all the talk of her Hello a plank
walk, stalk of echo, the long goodbye
of any star, any startle, any start—

& Now

Look at me, I am break-dancing. Next
to a tornado. While doing a stand-up
comedy routine which is made
of my impression of Pauly Shore
doing a stand-up comedy routine.
In front of a mirror. You don’t have to
imagine his sadness when the last light bulb
above the mirror gives a snap
and goes dark-you can see it on my face
and this is called teaching composition.
You don’t have to remember who he is
to follow my directions.
Somewhere and it is possible
even within walking distance
there is a house. Upstairs
the window is open and that it is
has been forgotten. Look,
there is a fire, you see yourself
in it, you think of how acquiescent
paper is. Look at me, I am Pauly
Shore break-dancing until I can’t stand
up. If it were possible to close a book
that were already closed, if it were possible
to double-unread something, that would be
the look looking at me of a Wednesday.
The window wants to close itself
and the animal that is the being open
is nervous. I worry, too, I too worry
and worry. I am holding a watch
in my hand, the watch I am holding
no longer works. Something
is going to happen. I begin a dance
a series of movements it is like
I am laughing. I am reading.
There is breaking. This is not nothing.
And now you are happy.
This is not nothing.

white castle powder puffs
SEVEN STEPS TO A GNARLY AWAKENING
safari

white castle powder puffs

baby wanted     the kind of diamond     encrusted friendships     celebrities seemed to have     
madonna     whispered to gwyneth          who tied a red kaballah string around oprah’s wrist,      who pulled the levers          of the capitalist enterprise          cha-cha-cha- cccching!
& made the whole goddamn          world tick     like finely tuned rolex watch.     baby wanted those sort of friends.

she wanted     razzle-dazzle-spinnnnammazzle friends.     she wanted to travel     in a pack of well-coifed girls1     whose glamour      would seal her fortune forever,     girls whose beauty
could erect a fortress     against all she wanted to keep out, shame &     solitude &     penury &     general freakishness2.

baby wanted it easy; she wanted to luxuriate     in the decadence of high class friends. she didn’t want to toil,     among the        hhhhhrrrruumppfff!        m-m-m-m-mmmiddle class,      w. their low-brow tastes          their knock off bags,     and payless loafers.

… no, she wanted a life     greater than that – she wanted a life bigger. her     friends,     she was sure,     would seal her fortune.     & so     each night,     she’d rank her friends in her notebook.     she dreamed     of the perfect combination     of friends     & fun & popularity.3

& so—
she wrote,

1. jenny
2. lila
3. davida
4. tabitha

or sometimes,

1. jenny
2. davida — lila ??4
3. lila — davida??
4. tabitha

& very, very, occasionally

1. ???
2. ???
3. ???
4. ??? jenny ???5

surprisingly, or not –     baby didn’t think of boys.     she didn’t think how boys might figure          into her evil empire;     this empire included mostly women &     mostly women
w. impossibly large tits,     small waists,     rich fathers,     or rich sugar daddies     and little else     to their name.

sure, boys figured into          baby’s dream     of towering popularity     in so far as they might catapult     her farther into the castle.     baby wanted to be at the center of it all     & suuuuuuuuure     boys helped.     boys made baby     even more popular & hot boys     made baby     even more popular.     secretly,          though baby didn’t think much     of boys;
most boys were stupid     & gross & had long schlongs     & often wanted baby          to do things w. them     baby did not like …     things like suck & fiddle & pinch & snap …     things baby was not     very comfortable w.     and things baby surely did not tell     lila     or jenny     or davida     or tabitha about …

it was women who ruled,     it was women     baby wanted: jenny     & tabitha & lila & davida.
there was nothing     beyond the horizon          of those four golden girls – nothing more:     baby could see. she was blinded     by want: liposuction & lisa frank & 400 dollar-bulimia-trained          therapists …      jessica & elizabeth wakefield     cavorting around          the cul-de-sac of sunnydale, ca     110 degrees out     climate change     ssssssizzzzzzlinggggg     dis world     dry     making martians of us:     making us:     alien-          ated franc-          ine
pascal     was it
or was it     her ghost

1. the girls would all be date raped at age 14, 16 & 21. jenny would also be gang raped, and davida would have a secret affair with her lacrosse coach – and while it wasn’t violent – before sexual intercourse, he would sit on her head and pour gatorade into her vagina, and it would take years of therapy for davida to learn that no, this was not, in fact, “normal” teenage behavior.  
 
2. one day after practice, jenny grabbed davida’s hair extensions – pulling on her long black braids – as she screamed “horse hair! horse hair!” afterwards, jenny would claim that she’d heard hair extensions could burn quite well and she’d thought they’d make perfect flammable material – along with firewood and twigs and bramble – for the school bonfire that would happen in spring.  
 
3. davida’s lacrosse coach was convinced that davida was a “mature girl” and he used such logic to justify humping and pumping the brains out of this very beautiful black girl. since he knew about ida b wells and he’d studied sociology, he was well suited, he surmised, to be davida’s very first lover.  
 
4. lila and davida were actually arch-enemies and they’d fought over jenny – for jenny, cruel as she was, stood at the pinnacle of popularity. jenny would play one off the other, sometimes spilling secrets – lila’s bulimia, davida’s herpes – or other times simply telling tall tales. “davida hates you, lila. you should beat her with a pipe.”  

5. five months later baby would crumple this list, throw it in the basket & scream at the top of her lungs: “i am done! i am done! i can’t do jenny lowenberg!” five months later, baby wore clogs, himalayan scarves, and had a girlfriend named lani. she would publicly forsake her plastics, her lists, and her obsession with power & privilege and begin to rank, instead, her feminist fairy godmothers — hooks, foucault, and butler — in various towers of truth.

SEVEN STEPS TO A GNARLY AWAKENING

STEP 1 – “the meaning of life” – and its corollary, fulfillment – was an equation
          baby was constantly, secretly trying to solve.

how could “the meaning of life” include such superficial bitches
          like jenny & davida & lila? how could “the meaning of life” be hung
on the glittering ladder of power & privilege?

did power give things meaning? did meaning exist beyond —
          all that silliness, all those surfaces, all those plastics?
baby didn’t know, she just didn’t know.

was it happiness? did happiness = achievement? did achievement = success + love?
          or did meaning = joy + suffering with a sprinkle of happiness?
she didn’t know. she honestly didn’t know.

baby thought that surely, surely – meaning had to include
          the variables of truth + love + power ; but did meaning = fulfillment?
if meaning = fulfillment then why did she pine after popularity

like a dog w. its blue tongue / dragging to the floor?
          … & so “the meaning of life” equaled, baby surmised – exhausted
– w. thinking & scribbling & shuffling the cards –
          equaled popularity + social hierarchy + friends

                    & baby’s friends were pretty, rich things –

STEP 93 – baby had never heard of such terms like “unreliable narrator” and “post modern apothecary.” she didn’t understand such terms & quite honestly, she didn’t care for them. she didn’t care for universities or professor-goats or any of the verbose motherfuckers who liked to pontificate about literary theory.

          she wanted to write!
she wanted to write! unimpeded by the barrage
          of w-o-r-d-s that wouldn’t stop –
w-o-r-d-s that would pour over her / like clear evian water.

(note: there had been a food fight in the cafeteria & jenny lowenberg had “accidentally” thrown a bowl of red pasta sauce on baby’s head, and then kindly took baby to the bathroom where she poured evian water on baby’s hair – as if to clean it, as if she cared.)

STEP 4 – what didn’t make sense, baby knew, was how desperately searched for silence within words. she hated words & yet she needed them. she hated language & yet she used it. this was all she seemed to be able to say …

1 – 2 – 3 & A – B – C

it was the same repetitive loop on the record player; it was the same spin-cycle
in the dishwasher: sense & non-sense, sense & non-sense …
          … sense & non-sense … wake up, you dumb bourgeois bitch!
bertha had wanted to say, sense is real – you make sense – it makes sense –
          – cents – sense – scent(s) …

baby wasn’t ready to believe she made sense;
baby wasn’t ready to believe in cents.
baby would continue to write pallid poems & scratch the surface of reality
and press the same hopeless key of the T-83 calculator over & over & over again …

this is it! this is it! this is it!

x + z = ABC x + BBB = CC
x + z = ABC x + BBB = CC
x + z = ABC x + BBB = CC

STEP 23 – bertha knew baby better than baby knew herself … but baby was still convinced that the way to know oneself was through oneself, and so she continued to fall into the same solipsistic traps that led her to the self-help section of barnes & noble where she’d pick up a few gems, like eckhart tolle and doctor phil, and pray to god that these men could help her recover from her depression and crippling anxiety.

STEP 12 – baby doesn’t trust herself at all, not ever, not a lick.
she trusts herself only when confronted with the awful reality that she herself is all
she can trust: the truth is baby’s the last stop on the block,
she’s the only real statue to which she can pray.
          sure, there is the statue of liberty, the green mildew goddess
whose skirts lap at the island nation of man-hattan, the greatest borough on earth,
          a city that teems with promise of six dollar cappuccinos & polish tea crackers
                    & a faux down-market hipster aspirational flavor.

          … sure, there was liberty, there was hipsters, there was doctor phil.
          … sure, baby could find hope – or – maybe direction – or maybe
the slim compass needle set clearly on meaning & community
          … but really, truly, baby would always find herself –
a self placed on a shelf – a baby doll – a: ________ : an empty cracked – baby-doll
          if only baby realized this, bertha thought. if only baby knew

STEP 445 – what bertha knew and what bertha wrote …
     1. baby is post-suicidal.
     2. baby is “neutral as yogurt.”
     3. baby is loved.
     4. baby is loved.
     5. baby is loved.

safari

on her third day in south africa, baby saw a giraffe, a rhinoceros, and a zebra having a threesome. it was her first day at madike game reserve in kwazulu natal, south africa, and baby didn’t think she would see any animals, let alone any animals mating; she definitely didn’t think she’d see three very rare animals mating with each other. yet, there they were
—a giraffe, a rhinoceros, and a zebra each pounding each other in a mad, tropical blur, each exploding like tiny bright fireworks.

back in scarsdale, baby had a whole crew of creatures in the corner of her bedroom: a snake named harpsichord which she usually called harpy, a jackrabbit named louis, and two fat hamsters named tweetle dee and tweetle dum who were brothers and lolled about indolently. baby had saved twelve jelly jars of quarters to make this trip1 and it was very exciting, then, that she was now in kwazulu natal among wild animals, not pet animals.

while baby watched, a little man peddled up to baby with an ice-cream cart2 that had, splayed across the belly, the words “cool cool gorrau gu”. she gave him a nod, transfixed by the animals. she did not know but “gorrau ou” meant “white person” and here, in south africa, baby too was a gorrau ou.3

she ordered a strawberry ice cream cone — “rainbow sprinkles, too, please,” — and the little man fussed behind the cart. when he appeared with her cone, she gave him one rand note and returned her gaze to the animals humping on the horizon.

“yum, yum” said baby and settled into her collapsible chair.

suddenly a leopard sauntered over; its pink tongue slipped out like a secret and began to lick baby’s ice-cream cone. usually, she was fussy about her food,4 but she waited patiently as the leopard took his time licking the ice-cream.

“you like that?” asked baby. the leopard continued to lick, not saying a word.

“aw, you do — you do like that,” said baby and gave a smile. again, there was quiet but for the licks of the leopard.

a few indian business men drove by and ordered two ice cream cones as well. their suv was rimmed with five armed guards carrying guns that hung from their chests. when a herd of zebras appeared, the men dropped their cones and whipped out their cameras. they click-click-clicked as the zebras stampeded away, the red african dust covering their business suits.

the leopard sniffed the indians fallen ice cream and nuzzled the cones, and then returned to lick baby’s ice cream.

the leopard smiled and baby smiled back. the leopard licked, and licked again.

“may i call you nelson mandela?” baby asked.

the leopard leapt up and devoured the entire ice cream cone in one gulp. baby began to cry and then the leopard leapt up and ate baby too.

1. mother and father would only let her go if she made an estimated one-fourth financial contribution to the trip because mother and father were goddamn sure that their little baby was not going to be a spoiled little motherfucking baby.

2. there were a great many carts that speckled the horizon; carts that sold tee-shirts, bottled water, key-chains, and dinky bobble-head dolls of zulu warriors. those dolls, baby knew, were racist. those dolls baby surely did not buy.

3. yes, baby was white, even though father was a second-generation ashkenazi jew and mother, who was of german ancestry and whose ancestors settled in the minnesota in the eighteenth century, volunteered with urban youth at the ymca and liked to wear dashikis in july.

4. baby brought with her four jumbo tubs of smooth jiffy peanut butter in the very likely event that she didn’t like the native food. what she did find herself liking, however, were braii boerewors because they reminded her of hot dogs.

HI BABY

light theory & monody broken by our mouth & her high arch & birdshot & a knife to sing the ghost

light theory

how long will there be nowhere experienced in two fragments
the moon and us

we here
with the weight of everything at once
sell it to the two hundred six bones of the living
that reflect the body’s dark

we here
with this weight moonshining on our teeth
bounce the shadow of my tongue soft brick
between soft brick in hundred percent humidity

we here
rock between two shadows, sing a mouthful,
and walk the axe through green pine into clay
no bedrock to chip that axe
rust
like when the chimney bricks remember
they were once earth
washed in from the river

we here
the angels to the dead
can say we know nothing
can really matter. we know nothing
can hear the voice of the present
without the blood torn out the veins and looked at

we here
hail the hearse back from the taxi stand
because no one should be sorry anymore
for anything

monody broken by our mouth

bring a little jazz for him to die to
like an angel masturbating on its wings
have you ever seen a book before
those wings going nowhere all at once
being in the rain
that emptiness filled up
names corrode so easily
and there’s that stink again
dead bodies this time
singing in doorways hallways attics highways singing
everywhere it isn’t noisy
everywhere it is never stopped
no one singing
even if they can’t sing
we’ve all sung
and if you haven’t
you’re a liar
when’re you going to stop
doing that not singing with your huge mouth
every dead person I’ve seen
mouth all the way open
lungs out in the sky
can’t even kiss them right

her high arch

the child outside will come to the razor
with two rusted fingers and a splinter ready to sharpen

her hunger the light beast
laid like fire between each blade of hair

comes to the lighthouse with shovel and sugar
to sweeten the machinery of the wreckage she rebuilds

the gardens painted on grey boxes
the flowering lights stuffed into sockets

this one child with her instep grown over the bridge
touches both sides of the river

she in the early hours of the night’s morning
folds wings from each bird
smart enough to die outside

the skin she scours from all sources of daylight
become the child in a brass barricade

who needs to imagine darkness
I can see her drown

birdshot

she started some no thing in us
how we could open her to the air
with this new document of sorrow

I spent this morning within the voice of a dream
and some say we need an original trouble
to work us through this sleep

she hid gunpowder in a false tooth
in case she needed to whisper

her lips and the thunderstorm dark clouds
split the purple blight on the horizon

she to fill her mouth with buckshot
and have you to kick her in the chest

your face with the weight of lead
to see the shine from her bare feet

the floor that crossed underneath
as we ran the hallways above the earth

you to have no idea where I am
you to not receive that human gesture

there to be fevers to leave us dead or with visions
and there to be no narrative to lick among your fingertips
you to be left with just one eagle feather in your bootsole

a knife to sing the ghost

when we get to murder a liar a thief
cut them across the cheek
remind them the wet of blood

do any harm will it

I watch the sky      drag
the birds from the trees
wilderness stains my tied up shoes
who cares what kinds
of birds they were
we’re jealous when they fly
so we lie to our arms and torsos

we’re only good at falling
but damn good are we

I bullwhip the leaves off a young tree
I speak to it
shit tree under here
the fragile body
falling through the branches
where we will end
too low for birds
not to die too easily
the mention of laundry soap
in the fountain
the hardcover crows
peck the eyes from baby blue jays
two empty holes
the size of caviar spoons

from Death is a Festival

16.

I cannot defy my own mutinous followers
to turn me out of office, the baser elements
have mutinied against the golden sun: the
beggar makes a mumping face and knocks

at every gate. I cannot do better than study
the history of the middle ages, like a blighted
colander—tradition of construction in brick.
A cigar or cigarette is held in the mouth,

obscure clouds molded by the casual air,
a glass-cutter’s pattern, the opening of the
suture of the infant’s head—I heard what
you said when you grabbed that rope. Our

ghost is clad in white, not dead mull-mull
or nainsook, but whiteness the abstraction.

17.

Down I fell on my back, down the dead
flight of stairs, a faint clop-clop of Mahbub’s
retreating feet—Glenn Gould might well be
sitting at the piano gazing wistfully at the

hockey game outside. My boots go clop
along the stony ground, I, sir, dedicating
genius to the cloacaline floods. Twenty-
seven folio volumes cleanly drilled through

by the larva of the beetle, a prison for
Indian princes standing around or about,
bystanders, their faces cicatrized with
little patches of burnt furze. O cicerone,

in so wide a kingdom, point out to me the
clapboarding on the sunny side of chaos.

18.

The fairest oratrice to win my attention:
tears orb themselves beneath the prof-
essor’s lids, the part of the catechism
written for the lower orders. Such a

process is called first-order, converging
to death. I mean the oriole, the roar of the
outboard engine splintering my dreams,
I mean more prolific in breeding than

big-mouthed thunder, the old sea-rovers.
The “other place” never seemed to me com-
plete, here is the fellowship of the other
orienteers in front of the oldland stream.

It is just like a furnace, a man advanced
in life, synonymous with father or mother.

19.

Pets are in highest demand with non-persons,
best for woodcock shooting, norfolk suits—
a right is a no-right, in opposition to all other
churches and chapels. I think in a few years

the people should increase to a notable no.
The root of dandelion being cut in November,
the first use of numbered leaves, the bird
living on wild nutmeg, a great bed of now-

existing shells: a hundred francs goes no-
where these days—by those surprising nods
of the poles a dead sort of a dinner. We all
collected nori, the seaweed along the beach.

Now the police are away, I insist upon hear-
ing, there are some gaps in the clay material.

Exercises for the recovery of childhood

Exercise #40 for the recovery of childhood

Close your eyes. Now, you’re invisible.

Exercise #38 for the recovery of childhood

Lick the bowl, lick the mixing spoon, stick your finger in the
frosting. Eat the cookie dough but not the cookie. Roll the
scraps of pie crust up and pop them in your mouth. Eat
loose candy found beneath tables and chairs, or found on
the sidewalk. Eat butter straight from the butter dish,
whipped cream straight from the canister. Lick milk, as it
spills, from the top of the table or the edge of a chair. Chew
the gum you find stuck under desktops. If, however, you are
offered a food you’ve never eaten before, no matter how
carefully presented, no matter how diligently prepared,
refuse to take a bite. Do not even take one. Not without a
fight.

Exercise #56 for the recovery of childhood

Practice belief. When a friend, relative, or stranger offers
information to you, believe that they are telling you only
the facts. No matter how incredulous it makes you feel to
hear that the moon is a planet, or that there is a mirror
world underneath the surface of the ocean, or that the man
teaching you to skip rocks is a six-time national champion
in rock skipping, believe them. Furthermore, incorporate
this information into your working concept of the world.
For practice in said incorporation, repeat the new
information to anyone you talk with for days, for weeks.

Exercise #30 for the recovery of childhood

Let the free and discarded items of the world become your
treasure. Amass it wherever you go. At the doctor’s office,
ask for toys. At the insurance agency and the bank, take
stickers and suckers and cards. At any office or store in the
world, you’ll find plentiful handbills and fliers. Take them
all. Pick up rubber bands, hair bands, pins. Gather bottle
caps, playing cards, balls. Bus transfers, balloons, milk
carton tops, twist ties; pebbles, shells, seedpods and petals of
flowers. Take ketchup packets, take salt. What the rest of
the world abandons shall be your treasure. It shall fill your
pockets, pile up in bowls, rest on tables and shelves. It shall
serve as decorative beauty. Cherish it. There is little that
does not deserve the celebration of your gathering hands,
the validation of touch.

Exercise #59 for the recovery of childhood

Sit and stare, for a long time and with apparent disinterest,
out an available window. A car window, perhaps. A
bedroom window or a picture window, if not. Or else, the
little window on the landing halfway down the staircase. Do
you see anything out there? Do you see anything in there?

A Tree Planted in Summer & The One Who Speaks & Toucheng & Tail

translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

種在夏天的一棵樹

我喜歡   這棵樹   我向它走近
我向完美   更完美走近   一棵樹
絕對有可能完美   黃色皮膚
黑亮眼睛   纖細四肢   春天時
睫毛一閃一閃   夏天甩著長頭髮
秋天它會彎腰   冬天雪可能
落下   蓋住它一半的靈魂
另一半甦醒   向東方探索   但不
急躁   樹   絕對有可能前進   前進
到最完美的故鄉   所有親人聚集
坐在小板凳上   品味某些事物   掉落的
某些事物   就被稱做故鄉   只是因為
掉落   例如有花瓣的裙子   例如毛毛蟲
還有你   被風托著的小小馬尾   我記住
並且費心   把它種下   這棵樹就住著
一個母親   夏天的時候   就生出一種
味道

A Tree Planted in Summer

I fancy    this tree    I approach it
approach perfection    approach more perfectly    a tree
can absolutely be perfect    yellow skin
black shiny eyes    four slender limbs    in spring
eyelashes twinkle    it swings its long hair in summer
bends over in autumn    snow may fall
in winter    covering half its soul
the other half comes to life    explores the east    but
patiently    a tree    can absolutely advance    advance
to the most perfect hometown    all kin gather
to sit on little stools    savoring things    fallen
things    will be known as hometown    only because
they’ve fallen    for instance a skirt with petals    for instance a caterpillar
and you    a little ponytail dragged by wind    I remember
and go out of my way    to plant it    in this tree lives
a mother    in summer    she gives birth
to a flavor

說話人

1

我是說話人
我來自第一世紀
我要說
茶樹
在山坡上
發亮

2

我想到你們中間——
竹子
蕨類
香蕉林

深綠和淺綠
住在一起

我想到你們中間——
我也可以
綠得像
什麼

3

十萬張
萬萬張
億萬張
金面
菩薩
住在山中

太陽露臉了——
我也是金面

只因一時
經過了
那座山

4

告訴你
故鄉是黑色的

居民穴處
和禽獸同寢

世紀之前——
水白色
和綠色
輪值

那時魔鬼
也要出現

——只因我們
總不了解
宇宙

The One Who Speaks

1

I am the one who speaks
I hail from the first century
I want to say
tea trees
are glowing
on the hill

2

I want to be among you—
bamboos
ferns
banana forest

dark and light green
living together

I want to be among you—
I too can be
green like
anything

3

a hundred thousand
a hundred million
a billion
golden Bodhisattva
faces
live in the mountain

the sun shows up—
my face is golden too

only because I happen
to pass by
that mountain

4

let me tell you
hometown is black

residents sleep with beasts
in mountain caves

before Christ—
water rotated
in white
and green

devils too
appeared then

—just that we
have never understood
the cosmos

頭城

                ——悼F

初夏的黃昏你最好
坐6點5分那班火車

龜山島的腳剛被薄霧洗過
房屋的白牆壁
把黑窗襯得更黑
黑得有點讓人心動

然後火車經過隧道
然後樹也變黑了

然後比豔藍還亮的淺藍布帘
漸漸掉落火車的窗口
最後掉在村子裏
電線桿的路燈上

那時你特別聽到
跌落山谷的一面鐘
細細叫著蟬一樣地叫
向右掠過水域騷動
龜山島淺淺的睡眠

列車長來剪票了不知為什麼
他說了謝謝又說旅途愉快
而那正是我想對你說的

Toucheng

                —Elegy for F

in an early summer dusk you’d better
take the 6:05 train

the feet of Turtle Island cleansed by mist
white walls in houses
black windows in a blacker contrast
that moves one to tears

and the train passes through a tunnel
and trees blacken

and pale blue drapes brighter than cobalt blue
slowly fall off the train windows
falling at last on the village
on streetlights of power poles

at that moment you hear
a clock fall off a valley
cry softly like a cicada
skim past water on the right stirring
the light slumber of Turtle Island

a conductor punches the tickets and not knowing why
he says thank you and bon voyage
the words I want to tell you

Toucheng is a town in Ilan County. Turtle Island (Guishan Island) is a volcanic islet and famous tourist destination. Visible from Ilan, it is approximately ten kilometers east of the coast of Toucheng.

尾巴

「我常常感覺不住在
這裏。
我的外觀有一點改變。
十年前的臉頰豐腴一些。
眼珠子也比較明亮。」

「但名字還是一樣。
還是被認出。也跟人去
看電影。定時坐火車。」

「拿鑰匙開門回家。
有人喊我。我也回應。」

「奔跑時也希望神在
旁邊幫助我。」

「被噪音觸怒且無可奈何時
知道神的力量有限。」

縱然──

「沒有人知道,一些話語被吞下
進入胃成為食糜,到了小腸
大腸。再排泄出來成了
什麼形狀。」

「沒有人知道另一群親友團
進入我的莊園,在種植,
工作,且生產花蜜。」

「沒有人知道一個夢進入
夜晚,在搬演一些我親手
撰寫的劇本。」

「沒有人知道我讀書時凝神
看向虛無──我問話時的遲疑
我回答時的隨機──」

「有時我噑叫。笑出聲來。
心臟劇烈跳動。」

「是來自不被看見的尾巴──
頭上的角,手臂裏的翅膀。」

Tail

I often feel as if I don’t quite live
here
my looks have changed slightly
plumper cheeks ten years back
brighter eyes

but my name remains unchanged
still recognizable    I go to the movies
with others    take train rides at fixed time

holding a key I open the door and go home
someone calls me    I respond

when I run I hope for God
to help me by my side

infuriated by noise and helpless
I know God’s strength is limited

even though—

no one knows some words once swallowed
become chyme in the stomach, into intestines
small and large    turn into any shape
in excretion

no one knows a group of friends and kin
enters my villa, planting
working, producing nectar

no one knows a dream enters
night, staging some plays
I write by myself

no one knows I read with rapt attention
look to nothingness—my doubt when questioning
randomness, when I reply—

sometimes I howl    laugh out loud
heart palpitating

from an invisible tail—
horns on the head, wings in arms

[non-] & [a-] & [re-] & [twi-]

[non-]

to talk freely in active vegetative growth
            of material being

                                    *

lacking a flowering that is not fictional

            when dissolved failing to do what ought
                        to be done

            refrains from interpretation

                                    *

negation of being
            all the postulates of Euclid

when melted
            negation of being

                                    *

a combination of nine instruments or voices
            different, fraternal

at loss as to what to say, think, or do as run-off from a farmland

            not any not one nobody

                                    *

unperson
            when exposed in a thin film of speech sound

germination is possible

[a-]

the pericarp of a peach / (in bitterness of words) / whose thin outer
covering / no center, stalk, or stem / branches joined end to end / (in
sharpness of words
) (in error) / where the needle does not dip / spiritual
indifference / all senses develop from the sense of around

[re- ]

flood water
the marks on the houses the height of

                        a lapse of time            from last to first
            in arteries and nerves            in evidence of

a reverse process
in thought talk or memory            as after a lunge

                        as land from the sea            as paper into coin
            an angle bent back            towards an earlier question

or a stroke in rowing
to become harsh or raw to become active again

[twi-]

the angle through which
                        a thing is twisted

            atmosphere and its dust

threads pass over one and under two
                        ethical and diagonal lines

            full light a double thread            to bring forth

the movements of
            an ascending column of air

A Conversation with Robert G. Elekes

A Conversation with Robert G. Elekes

Interview by S. Whitney Holmes

Robert G. Elekes

S. Whitney Holmes: Can you talk about the title of your book? What does it mean, both literally and in the context of the poems?

Robert G. Elekes: The title of my book “aici îmi iau dinții-n spinare și adio” is based in Romanian on a wordplay. The idiom “Îmi iau picioarele în spinare” (literally meaning taking your legs onto your back) is used to express a very fast and sudden getaway and could be translated into English as “to make a break for it.” I substituted the legs in this idiom with another body part, the teeth (dinți). The choice of the teeth hints to the poetic space that dominates this book. The mouth is a central metaphor for me, a catalyst, a space of virtually infinite meaning. It is a space of encounter, of communication between self and world, food, air, water, words find their way in and out through it. It is also a space of sexuality, of shame, of death. Biologically and symbolically it is a true microcosmos, a world within a world and the way it can open up and deconstruct poetic discourse fascinates me. The title, as I mentioned before, also suggests running away. But it is not poetic, social or existential escapism that I hint at with this title. It is a running away that Deleuze and Guattari conceptualized in their book “Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature.” It is a running defined by intensity, not by efficiency or direction. It is running, vehemently, profoundly in the same place, an exhaustion of self, an escape from oneself rather than from some external threat. The social, ideological and existential monsters that we so often try to fight are so difficult to defeat because they built well-guarded outposts within ourselves.

WH: What are some of the other recurring images in the book? 

RE: I think some other recurring ones are images expressing bodily and social frailty. I am very much interested in understanding and feeling the ones on the fringe of society and on the fringe of themselves. I like to play with images that mess with identity structures. I like to poetically kick concepts of masculinity in the butt, to recalibrate stereotypes of femininity and put them to a revelatory use. I like to screw with images and with syntax in such a way that it interlocks the personal with the social, the subjective with the objective. Whatever recurring images, metaphors or linguistic structures I use, I use them to destabilize some kind of personal or social certainty or truisms.

WH: So you’ve won a few awards for this book. Can you tell me about them?

RE: Yes, I won to my utter surprise four national awards for my book. I think the one that meant the most for me was the first one that I got, the Iustin Panța Debut prize for poetry. Firstly because I absolutely adore Iustin Panța, the Romanian poet that the award is named after, and secondly because I respect a lot of poets that were in the jury of that prize. The other three prizes I basically got from different institutional incarnations of the Romanian poetry establishment. It is an establishment that has made in the last years a lot of controversial and dubious decisions and that is very much contested by young and old authors at this point. Nevertheless, I accepted and I cherish in my own way these awards because I think Romanian literature right now needs communication and cooperation more that personal grudges and interests in order to further its potential both nationally and internationally.

WH: You speak a handful of languages, and I recall you saying even that you used to compose poems in German. What languages do you speak and what are the reasons you’ve chosen to write in Romanian?

RE: I speak four languages. Three of them are part of my family—Romanian, Hungarian and German—and the fourth, English, is an adopted language. I started writing in Hungarian; I failed. I continued writing in German; I did not have a German speaking public that somehow fulfilled my ambitions (the vast majority of German minority in Romania emigrated during communism and during the years after the fall of the regime). I chose Romanian because it was difficult for me to choose it and because I could reach out to a much wider readership. The first reason is personal, the second is pragmatic. The situation of ethnically diverse individuals here is not that different from that of Hispanics or Asians in America (and I am speaking here strictly for my generation that endured ridicule and aggression in their youth because of this. Today things are much more relaxed). There is an instability, a homelessness, a being-unhinged that characterizes our existence within these borders. I tried to embrace and at the same time to overcome these difficulties by writing in Romanian. I embraced them by injecting Romanian poetic discourse within language games played by the other languages that linger under my skin, and I tried to overcome them by writing in the language that was paradoxically (because I lived in this country since my birth, but I started having a good relationship with its language and culture only after I attended college) the most foreign to me.

WH: Was this your first serious try at translating your own work? What’s that like? Do you think there are any unique challenges or advantages to translating your own work rather than some else’s?

RE: For a multilingual individual, the concept of translation becomes very relative. A decent amount of my early work in German and Hungarian found its way into my poetry written in Romanian. Is that translation or just diversified reiteration? Within the language-spectrum that I know, translation is a very fluid, inherently personal process; it becomes in this sense a social and existential need. I think there are both upsides and downsides to translating your own work. The upside is that you maintain a sort of (probably illusory) poetic coherence, and the downside is that the chances to redefine and recontextualize your work in another language are inherently slim. It has to be noted that my translations were aided by you, Whitney, and another American poet currently living in Romania thanks to a Fulbright scholarship, Tara Skurtu. I did translate the bulk of it, but the subtle and so very important target-language decisions were made by you people. This proves that translation is in such a beautiful way, a collaborative endeavor.

WH: I can’t speak for Tara, but I think you give me too much credit.

Your line breaks are significantly different between the original and the translation. How do your poems feel different to you in different languages?

RE: Yes, in one of my poems, “Endodontia IV,” the line breaks are really different from the original poem. It is because in the moment of rewriting it I felt that the poem asked for different changes in this sense. The bulky form of the original poem could not be translated into English. Instead I chose to make some language games in English by breaking some sentences and hopefully highlighting the power that certain linguistic structures and images gain in English.

WH: What poets excite you right now? What are you reading?

RE: I am reading a lot of currently published Romanian poetry right now because I want that, but also because I feel the duty to do so. I think that reading each other’s work is a sign of basic respect in our little and weird and inherently egotistical poetic world. We poets are a people of self-involvement, and reading needs to be the hammer that breaks that wall down. There are so many notable and young and talented Romanian poets that this endeavor can become overwhelming. Livia Ștefan, Alex Văsieș, Radu Nițescu, Andrei Doșa, Octavian Perpelea, Radu Vancu, Claudiu Komartin and Teodor Dună are just some of the contemporary and currently published Romanian poets that I think could win international recognition through translation. Other than that, I recently read Miranda July’s “The First Bad Man” and I absolutely loved it. Thanks to one of my American poet friends, Jeremy Hawkins, I started reading Jorie Graham and she had quite an impact on what I am writing right now. I have also recently reread almost everything from the German poet Paul Celan. I do that recurrently to remind myself how poetry can reshape a whole linguistic and cultural landscape.

WH: What are you working on now?

RE: I am mainly working on myself. I am a big hot mess and I need to find some kind of rhythm that can somehow harmonize my creative, social and existential self. I think I should also give a less unnervingly honest and pompous answer to this question, so here you go: I am working on a new poetry book that somehow does not want to be written and that tries to subtly destroy me; I am organizing a poetry festival because what else should I do with my spare time and money; and I am translating the complete works of a German-language poet from Romania that deeply, and to this day in a very much unnoticed manner, influenced the national literary landscape. I am talking about the amazing Anemone Latzina.

WH: Is there anywhere else English speakers can find your work in translation?

RE: Well, not really. I have on my blog one new poem that I translated with the help of Tara Skurtu. I am translating my entire debut poetry book into English and German, but that will cost me quite some time and brain cells. Right now I am also intensely set on the idea that Romanian contemporary poetry needs to be read and heard throughout the world, and somehow especially in the U.S. I think it would resonate with the social and individual concerns that impact America right now. I think an English language anthology of contemporary Romanian poetry is long overdue and I am going to work toward transforming this project into reality.

Biofilm & Panopticon CFR & Endodontia IV (The Dream)

Biofilm

e primăvară şi pretutindeni
morţii încolţesc şi înfloresc.
oamenii îşi părăsesc blocurile,
se plimbă mână-n mână printre ei,
se aşază în parc la soare
şi-şi lasă zăpada
care li s-a depus între urechi
să se topească în timp
ce albinele zboară de la mort la mort,
le sug nectarul,
se scaldă în ei
şi îi împrăştie în zbor prin lume.
de la atâta moarte în aer
cetăţenii hipersensibili
se strănută violent pe asfaltul oraşului.

e primăvară şi pretutindeni
morţii încolţesc şi înfloresc.
copiii aleargă pe câmpii,
îi calcă în picioare,
se tăvălesc printre ei,
îi rup de la brâu în sus, îi miros,
îi împletesc într-o coroană
şi-i culeg pe cei mai frumoşi dintre ei
pentru a-i pune acasă în vază.
iar părinţii îi privesc mulţumiţi în timp
ce un mititel se arde singuratic pe grătar
şi fumul se ridică mut spre cer.

e primăvară şi pretutindeni
morţii încolţesc şi înfloresc.
şi undeva, la colţ de stradă, un copil
vinde morţi cu capul plecat:
trei la cinci lei.
şi undeva el o surprinde pe ea
cu un buchet de morţi de ziua ei
şi undeva cineva bea un ceai de mort
şi undeva cineva fură un mort din grădina altuia
şi undeva cineva se dă pe faţă
cu cremă de mort ca să rămână pururea tânăr
şi undeva pe o pajişte morţii intră
pe o parte a vacii şi ies pe cealaltă
şi undeva cineva suflă cu toată puterea într-un mort
şi îşi pune o dorinţă în timp
ce îi vede toate mădularele plutind în jurul lui
şi undeva cineva pescuieşte un mădular din vânt
şi-l bagă în decolteu ca să îi poarte noroc
şi undeva cineva îngenunchiat
cu un mort între dinţi
cere în căsătorie pe altcineva
şi undeva o fetiţă cu un mort în păr
îşi linge mulţumită îngheţata.

e primăvară şi-n cimitirul din bartolomeu
tatăl meu încolţeşte şi înfloreşte
aşteptând, ca-n fiecare an,
să încolţesc şi să înfloresc împreună cu el.

Biofilm

it’s spring and everywhere
the dead are sprouting and blossoming.
people are leaving their blocks
walking hand in hand among them,
unwinding in sundipped parks
letting the snow melt
that fell between their ears
while bees are flying from dead to dead,
sucking their nectar
dipping themselves in
scattering them through the world,
from so much death in the air
hypersensitive citizens are
sneezing themselves on the asphalt of the city.

it’s spring and everywhere
the dead are sprouting and blossoming.
running through fields, children
step on them
roll around in them,
rip them from their waist up, smell them,
braid them into a crown
and they gather the pretty ones
to put in a jar at home
and their parents are watching
them with satisfaction while
a lonesome sausage is burning
silently on the grill.

it’s spring and everywhere
the dead sprouting and blossoming.
and somewhere on a street corner, a kid
is selling his tilted-headed dead:
three to five bucks
and somewhere he surprises her,
with a bouquet of dead for her birthday,
and someone somewhere is drinking tea of the dead
and someone somewhere is stealing somebody else’s dead,
and somebody somewhere is putting cream
of the dead on her face to remain
forever young,
and somewhere in a pasture the dead
are entering one side of a cow and escaping the other
and somewhere someone is blowing into the dandelion
dead and making a wish while watching
all their limbs floating around
and someone somewhere is fishing
a limb out of the wind
and sinks it into her cleavage for luck,
and someone somewhere on his knees,
the dead between his teeth,
asks someone to marry him,
and somewhere a girl with the dead in her hair
is satisfied, licking her ice-cream.

it’s spring and in the Bartolomeu cemetery
my father is sprouting and blossoming.
waiting, like every year, for me
to come
into blossom with him.

Panopticul CFR

Patrocle îi vede pe toţi,
aceeaşi
carne vagabondă
îmbălsămată-n acum,
se leagănă încet
unii lângă ceilalţi
în răbdare, în somn,
într-un imediat
fetişizat, plimbând
molcom cu limba
acel punct negru de timp
de la o carie
la alta, şi râcâind
gând după gând în
pielea uscată a lumii.

aşteptarea lor îi creşte
lui Patrocle ca o floare din piept.
încercă s-o ascundă
dar banalul e o căţea
căreia-i place să miroasă tot
şi să urineze pe unde eşti
tu mai frumos.

Panopticon CFR

Patrocle eyes them all
the same
vagabond flesh
embalmed in now
they rock themselves
from one to the other,
in patience, in slumber,
in an instant
fetishized, pushing
lazily with their tongue
that black point of time
from one cavity
to the other and scraping
thought after thought
into the crusty skin of the world.

like a flower, their waiting
grows out of Patrocle’s chest,
he tries to hide it
but banality is a bitch
that likes to take a smell at everything,
take a piss where you are
at your most beautiful.

Endodonţie IV (Visul)

Deschizi uşa apartamentului, te întâmpină un miros greu de picioare şi ştii că tatăl tău e acasă. Te duci în bucătărie unde mama ta taie o ceapă ca să nu se observe că plânge. După câţiva dracu şi cristoşii mă-tii începe să râdă în hohote. Aşa face mereu. Înjurăturile o fac fericită pe mama ta. Vine la tine şi îţi trece mâna prin păr şi se încâlceşte în mizeria cuibărită acolo.
       Atunci schimbă gestul cu unul mai puţin duios şi te trage de păr înspre baie. Bate la uşă şi-l întreabă pe tatăl tău dacă poţi să intri cu el în cadă. Auzi ceva mare ieşind din apă şi apoi linişte, până când se deschide uşa şi el se uită la tine de sus, din turnul său de carne, zâmbind. Îi trebuiseră câteva secunde ca să îşi acopere goliciunea cu un prosop. Acum e gata să te primească în cadă.
       Te dezbraci şi te scufunzi în apa cenuşie de jegul lui de la serviciu şi tatăl tău începe să te spele. Mai întâi capul, care e, ca de obicei, cea mai murdară parte a trupului tău. Apoi spinarea, braţele şi coşul pieptului. O ceaţă groasă se formează în baie. Respiri aburii şi ţi se lasă oboseala pe pleoape. Brusc ai impresia că apa din cadă te taie în două, pentru că nu poţi să-ţi vezi partea de jos a trupului de murdăria care se adunase în ea.
       E cât pe-aci să adormi; tatăl tău se prinde şi începe să te gâdile. Îl gâdili şi tu şi în zelul jocului îl muşti cât poţi de tare de braţul drept. Dinţii ţi se înfig în carnea lui, simţi cum îi străpung pielea. Nu dă nici un semn că l-ar fi durut sau că s-ar fi supărat pe tine. Zâmbeşte. Îţi scoţi dinţii din braţul lui, dar un dinte de lapte îi rămâne înfipt în rană. Sângele tatălui tău picură încet în apa murdară şi aburii te fac tot mai somnoros. De prea multă emoţie faci pipi pe tine şi te uiţi cum sângele, urina şi murdăria se amestecă şi se varsă împreună cu tine în întunericul din gaura de scurgere.

Endodontia IV (The Dream)

You open the door of the apartment, a heavy smell of feet greets
you and you know that your father is home. You go into
the kitchen where your mother is cutting an onion
so you won’t see she’s crying.
After a few hells and goddamns she breaks
into laughter. That’s what she does. Cursing makes your mother
happy. She comes to you and goes through your hair
with her hand until she gets stuck
in the dirt that nestles there. Then she changes,
her gesture into one far less affectionate and pulls
you by the hair to the bathroom. She knocks
on the door and asks your father if you
can get into the bathtub with him. You
hear something big coming out
of the water and then silence
until the door opens and he looks at you from up there
from his tower of flesh, smiling.
He needed a few seconds to cover his nakedness
with a towel. Now he is ready to take you in.
You get undressed and sink into the water, ashened
by the dirt he brought home from work
and he starts washing you. First the head,
as always, the filthiest part of your body. Then
your back, your arms, your chest. A thick fog
gathers in the bathroom. You breathe it in
and weariness falls on your eyelids. Suddenly
the feeling that the water is cutting you
in half because you can’t see the bottom
part of your body due to the floating dirt.
You are close to falling
asleep; your father notices this and tries
to tickle your sleepiness away. You
tickle back and in the heat of it you
bite him with all your power into his right arm.
Your teeth force themselves into his flesh,
you feel his skin tearing. He doesn’t
show any sign of pain or anger. He smiles.
He pulls your teeth out
of his arm but a milk tooth stays
imbeded into his wound. Your father’s blood
is dripping slowly into the murky water
and the vapours are making you
sleepier and sleepier. You let yourself go
in the bathtub and you watch
how blood, pee and dirt blend
and flow, together with you, down
into the darkness of the plug hole.

from DATACLYSM.jpg

DATACLYSM0029.jpg

you indecipherable accident of mirage
doing your dumb gazework
your whoosh of revision
the spirit predates the self
a vitriol unfolds amongst the brackets
its a matter of hate really
a rotting kinetics
oftscaled in the worst ways

DATACLYSM0030.jpg

to body such investiture
the V of her
faux virgin/foe virgin
queening
rotted harbinger
unaccustomed to the wet
the redundancy of
supreme texture
the corpsed morphosphere
of a necrotic moon
elided from sky

DATACLYSM0031.jpg

previous experiments yielded
a certain breed of happiness
too much for some
fuck the haters
the air flaunts the naked word
the word stripped
bare of its bachelors
finger the empty
the slick contrivance
some people aways step
in the same river twice

DATACLYSM032.jpg

there are infinite types of darkness
and infinite types of light
like the lasting of loud
shoes in a museum
or an “i like myself” kind of pocket
one does not have a literal translation
for the detritus garments of
muted hearts spectralnestled
in the somewhen