inman square, duet

her hips wiggled the tide
caught in jazz gravity
lordess of post-noel
harmony-seekers and
hard cider sundays when
man numero uno put her
on planetary spin then pulled
her into orbit did smooth math
on boozed brunette in possession
of dangerous heels and such snap
rubbed bones lit a spark
over a vamp thawed icy december
outside her dress a magnolia
burnt at the rim silhouetted
against the solar flare that ribboned
from each electric pluck

duke robillard played chief
as grad students crowded
the bartender threw nickels
for last call and some south
american spanish upstairs
latin night stomped the twilight
frost into condensation that dripped
to a sidewalk freeze before the sun
went down and moon brought it to
a molasses beat and our girl
got salt and vinegar with 
man number two a little rough
around the rest but with a 
budweiser belly adequate for
maintaining centrifugal force

they wobbled a dancing eclipse
tightwire ostinato snow stragglers swung
open the front door and a winter
draught caught the duet mid temptation
tightened waist against waist
the hard dueled night dissolved at the hip
the loser blown back to infamy
which is to say all the way back
to the original syncopation
how ancient is anybody’s guess
but the ritual still sends moonquakes
shaking up our spines

Tags: writing

desire

comes sailin in splittin the moonlite
from darkness the dark led into darkness
the liteness/whiteness of winter
straight sailed from the tropics
don’t worry wounds gonna frost over
and then they’re gonna hit the docks
desire the coffin come out the living dead
the reborn to slap on a pair of shoes
eyes of all the people upon them
as they climb the hill to meet the pharaoh
don’tcha see there’s a city to build?
"if we shall deal falsely with our God
in this work we have undertaken…”
o pharaoh o undertaker o city urbane
she taken under a starry nite sky
bodies taken under a bow
her taken under a man a white piece
of moon, her charon across the golden triangle
praise the lord and leave her to sink
in the harbor desire is fleet
but good work is forever
and now they’re waiting please hurry
the men are waiting please hurry
the men will be waiting for
desire please hurry from providence
please hurry your desire
who’s hurry? please desire
your desire who’s desire?
who’s desire for the sun inside
skin cells the suns inside men
what men are these men and
whose men will these men be
whose language do these men
speak do they speak
the language did anyone ever speak
dark languages on shining hills
glittering flickering shiny pearl hills
cities on hills they set out from providence
"Now they only way to avoid
this shipwreck…” went the hymn
this hurricane blown straight from providence
they sang they ate all the butter
who’s butter skin crawls
when the moonlite gathers in the yard
who’s children these children
these moonlite children
these butter churned children
made of desire the maidens of desire
them no one wants anymore
no one wants anymore
our heart is in a valley
our city has sunk into the ocean
the wanting is old who wants back
two sea-crossed lovers
who envies these sea-crossed
lovers love her who sickens with love
who thickens with love
who calls this love? can you
ever call this love? i can’t call
this love who’s eden in chains
does dance around the river
who will desire the names
who will desire her name
who will name her
who’s been done had
who will want when
all the wanting’s been had
and done? can the wanting
ever be had and done?

Tags: writing

travels in american hyperreality

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Ladies and gentlemen,

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

"You can’t constantly put the blame on the world. You can’t talk about, you know, complicity and think of Islamic republic. Talk about brutality and just think about the world, from Palestine to Iraq to Darfur. At some point you have to say, that world, part of it is inside me. You know and I have to not only confront it but to give it a name, by acknowledging it.
There is a book which is rather different from mine but I was reading Alice Sebold’s ‘Lucky’, her, have you read her memoir, it is her memoir about being raped. It came before Lovely Bones. I told Alice Sebold I didn’t read Lovely Bones because, you know, like my book it became a bestseller. But ‘Lucky’ is a very interesting book because one night she’s walking in a park and this guy, and she’s a virgin, and he rapes her brutally, beats her, and batters her. And she said that from that moment on everybody who looked at her identified her with that act. Her parents, her sister, her schoolmates. That rapist had taken away her identity. She had now become a victim of the rape. Like the Islamic republic when I come from there you are not a woman, you are a woman coming from that country. Your identity is stolen, it is identity theft. And she sets out to take back her name, that is the important thing. She goes after the rapist and she writes a gorgeous poem, actually I don’t have it here with me, and she addresses her rapist, and she goes on telling him what she will do and she says, ‘You will no more be my rapist. I will give you a name. You will be John, or Luke, or Paul.’
The fact is that the world is cruel, and the cruelest of all is not just a tyrannical regime. We are every moment facing death, and we can do nothing about it. Except through memory. Except through making conclusive evidence that we have lived despite the fact that we will not live for ever."

— Azar Nafisi speaking at Los Angeles Public Library. January 13th, 2009.

"Döblin goes on to say that the lack of justice in this world proves the existence of another reality. He is not, in spite of his conversion, talking of the fairy afterlife of theology nor of any metaphysical conceits. He is not referring to an ineffable state of being beyond the borders of our senses. He is speaking of a craft, the making of stories, from which, he says, “omens and coincidences and signs flow into the visible world.” Döblin calls this movement “a sort of ‘softening’ of reality” that becomes, he says, “transparent” in the telling."

— Alberto Manguel - The City of Words

(Source: ofmyreverberations)

"If writing were as fun as falling in love, I’d get a lot more written, but most of my Realizations come as pinpoints of light while staring at the dismal tundra of an empty page. Given my average event horizon, most of my ideas don’t have the bursts, the color spectra of world-altering discoveries like Newton’s did, or Galileo’s. Mine are minor stellar occurrences, but strung up as a necklace of small lights, my bright ideas dot the boundaries that define my life. When one occurs, then, it’s a Birth Day, like the birth of a new star far off in the universe."

The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins

"I have remained true to my deepest convictions. I mean the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy-for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"

Penelope Fitzgerald

Exhuming the Heart

My heart was buried so deep  in the ground, a pounding radish. The veiny root chords, the arteries scraggled across the surface of the dirt. And instead of tugging and ripping away, you reached your hands down into the dirt, sifted away everything.

I’m no longer heavy, carrying the world upon my tissues.

You cradle me in your hands like a baby bird and kiss me, kiss me again, blow warm breath on me and it fogs up your glasses.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

We could laugh like this.

Fallen over with laughter, rolling with it across the earth, tangling together our limbs, organs, hair, breath. This will be hard to undo, but maybe I want that. You asked me if I liked your hands. I do. They keep me warm in the seasons of solitude and frost.

Ready the Ice

I would like for all of you to share some of your cynicism, some of your sovereignty, some of your no good, hundred year old Russian patriarch’s attitudes that are harder-than-it-is-to-find-a-good-man. If you have an elixir, now would be the time. If it is in the blood, offer me a taste. If it can be taught, I have the money. If it cannot be taught, I have the time.

Try as I might, what they call hopeless romanticism-it plagues me like locusts, rare but devastating, chewing away at all the nerves until my brain prohibits my body function. And the hopelessness, you know what they mean by that don’t you? I do. It is this sense of romance that scatters like flower petals across the fields of my perception every time a soft breeze blows, it tickles my imperceptions, it is this sensibility of a New England morning, of where the sea meets the sand, of cooper pots and black and white photographs, of watching rented videos all day on a hot, sunny summer day. I cannot sever from this constitution without abandoning myself entirely and therefore I am hopelessly and eternally victim to it.

I am like flowering tea. Dusty, dry, shriveled. All colors are lost on me. But sunken into hot water I blossom, I throw my arms open to the sky. I am soft, I will disintegrate, the world will have me! My essence will saturate their air! My vitality copious in their tea cups! It is required not so much to be a scientist as to be a technician and channel my amorous releases towards those whom I love. It is not complex. You need no brain, even Ichabod could feel it. Wait, what? Love. Love? Ha. Now before I go any further, please.

If you’d be so kind as to ready the ice.

The Experiment by Wandering-Street-Radio
I guess today the problem is: we need to figure out what to do with ourselves. And, no matter how hard it was to do the work, in generation past you at least knew what the work was. You tilled the fields, you mined the quarries, you built the great walls, you milked the cows, you picked the berries, you sold the goods. 
But now…what do we do now? Like a chlorinated pool supposedly the air we breathe is shocked with freedom. Inevitably some among us find success but, to what great progress that could surpass that of those who came and went already? It looks like we have three options: settle for the nearest mind-numbing, addictingly lethargic, non-confrontational lifestyle; scrap our way to the savage top climbing over mountains of flesh and traversing rivers of blood and saliva; or languish and drown in the water as the storm surges, because we do not know in which direction to swim. 
And the latter is overwhelmingly abundant. Every self-righteous apocalypse-hunting baby boomer with a business degree wants to sneeze their socioeconomic doomsday all over our faces.
The future appears more distant with every step. We are retreating. We do not want to venture any further into the dark forest. Wey day a cannot see in such thick obscurity and we do not know how to respond to it. We are losing people every day and those who live live as singularities scattered across the frostbitten crust of the earth. Entropy rules the day. Who’s laughing now? We are running back. The experiment is failing. Who kept the keys to the cage?

The Experiment by Wandering-Street-Radio

I guess today the problem is: we need to figure out what to do with ourselves. And, no matter how hard it was to do the work, in generation past you at least knew what the work was. You tilled the fields, you mined the quarries, you built the great walls, you milked the cows, you picked the berries, you sold the goods. 

But now…what do we do now? Like a chlorinated pool supposedly the air we breathe is shocked with freedom. Inevitably some among us find success but, to what great progress that could surpass that of those who came and went already? It looks like we have three options: settle for the nearest mind-numbing, addictingly lethargic, non-confrontational lifestyle; scrap our way to the savage top climbing over mountains of flesh and traversing rivers of blood and saliva; or languish and drown in the water as the storm surges, because we do not know in which direction to swim. 

And the latter is overwhelmingly abundant. Every self-righteous apocalypse-hunting baby boomer with a business degree wants to sneeze their socioeconomic doomsday all over our faces.

The future appears more distant with every step. We are retreating. We do not want to venture any further into the dark forest. Wey day a cannot see in such thick obscurity and we do not know how to respond to it. We are losing people every day and those who live live as singularities scattered across the frostbitten crust of the earth. Entropy rules the day. Who’s laughing now? We are running back. The experiment is failing. Who kept the keys to the cage?

(via dansmonlivre)

Bricks

bricks are heavy things but I can throw one pretty far and good if it’s already in my hand but ah, if it’s not already there, I can’t stoop so low. i mean, that red dust on my hand? could it be any more obvious?

I don’t wanna hurt nobody but at least when your hurling bricks, if you’re not hittingsomeoneyou can shatter those blocks into a thousand pieces.

but they’ve stopped throwing bricks I noticed but you know what they’ve done? Something much worse! I’ve seen it, I know. You wouldn’t believe what I saw them doing down on the corner. They were, how do I say this. well I guess it’s pretty easy actually. They were building a wall!

Trying To Rationalize My Mother’s Fear of My Impending Drowning

I don’t even remember when I found out about Ma’s fear that I would drown someday. She is so certain. She dreams about it. She dreams of me falling off of ocean liners, slipping off docks, being taken by the surf, swallowing seas, sailing sinking ships. I’ve drowned so many times in my mother’s dreams. 

Drowned so many times my mother put me into swimming classes, had us swim in my aunt’s pool every day in the summertime, had me get a job as a swim instructor and a lifeguard for six years. I’ve saved three people. 

One summer when I was three of four I slipped through an inner tube and began to sink to the bottom of a pool and my mother dove in after me. I wonder if this is where it started. I remember it.

I can swim a mile in Providence Sound and I can swim an hour and a half straight in an indoor pool and the worst that happens is that my ears get so water logged it sounds like someone’s tapping a microphone with every sound. 

My uncle has a bought and we would go out on it all the time in the summer. It’s called the Innamorata. Whose? Mine. She was mine. We docked her in Warwick, and East Greenwhich but most of all I remember for a few years we docked her in Eastie. You floated before the glittering gates, a city on a cloud, her rocking back and forth, planes landing behind you. 

A couple people in the family have drowned. If you read the death certificates they say: “Lost at sea.”

Drowning happens so fast. You die when your lungs fill with water. When you drown you literally die overwhelmed by the world surging into your body. When I was three of four I almost drowned and unlike so many childhood memories I remember that one. I remember my complete and uncompromising calm and how I thought to myself about how I needed to move my body in order to swim back to the surface. But it’s always been a mystery to me. I don’t remember being grabbed by Ma and being brought back up. I don’t remember the afterwards. Maybe I never came up at all. Maybe I’m still down there at the bottom of that pool, trying to pull myself towards the light rippling in streamers at the barrier of death and breath. Maybe I’m still pulling myself up, slowly. 

Maybe I never came up at all. Maybe I’m drowning.

i’m fucking sick of writing romance for fictional characters. no more. they don’t deserve it.

Here Is What I’ve Been Thinking While You’ve Been Talking To Me

I want to run my finger across the bridge of your eyebrows then down to the very tip of your nose. But you’ll need to remove your spectacles for me, but don’t worry I’ll where them for you, I’ve been told I look good with them on; that I have a look of class when I’m behind two slices of glass. Besides, I don’t get sick with them, I can actually see sharper, which is why I’ve always suspected I need glasses. My barber confirmed this to me the other day and I tipped her extra for the diagnosis. 

Looking at all the quinceañeras arriving in the park, I’m wondering how many color schemes could possibly exist when you consider tints and shades and black and white and greys and metallics. Will I live to see all the variations? On what goods grounds do I stand that I’ve never been forced into wearing a silk turquoise vest? And what would happen if I pushed the birthday girl, posing for her picture at the edge of the pond, straight into the water? It’s pretty damn cold and so it’s appropriate to wonder how long it would be before she could catch hypothermia. I remind myself that once she was out of the water, she would need to take of her pastel dress because it would be soaked with the frigid liquid. That reminds me that there is a skate park right on the other side of the pond.

What’s happening in your brain right now that in ten whole minutes you’ve managed to not stop talking yet only said one thing. And that one thing is how orgasmic nutella tastes to you and I’m looking at you’re euphorically rolled eyeballs and those sucked in lips and feeling guilty because in my head I want to call you stupid. Stupid girl. No! Life is too short to spend that long praising a hazelnut spread! Death could be just outside those doors! See how drastically forward the human minds moves? Three paragraphs in and I’m already on the subject of death. What is this curse on humanity that we are made to spend so much time thinking about death during the short time we are given to live?

Who can escape this wrath?

Does he know his eyes are going to fly off his face some day? There’s something beautiful about they’re smoothed rhombus shape. I want to peel them off like stickers. Then what would you look like?

I’m embarrassed by where I live and I there is this snarling hatred towards myself that stirs from the shame. I am not ashamed, but then I am. I am on the defensive and worked hard as shit to make sure you didn’t see the dog turd some neighbor left in the middle of the hallway. We’re good people. We’re good people. That makes up for everything. Somehow it doesn’t. I’m so apologetic I’ll never call you again.

Your fly is unzipped (Remember this is only what I’m thinking.)

What does “fake it till you make it” mean, anyways? What is she getting at? I’m thinking of orgasms, again. Do people mean improvisation when they say this? Improvisation and “faking it” can’t be the same thing or else it would be called improvisation when I told you I got what you were saying, and Dizzy G would be a phony. Please stop texting while driving me crazy. And put on a different blouse before you tell me the best days of your life are over.

Come closer to me. I know you like biology and I’m trying to think of some good one liners that are better than asking you to “study my anatomy.” 

I forgot to do laundry. I forgot to pay the woman I rear ended. I forgot to call her back. I forgot to go the keys?? No, of course not. I forgot the money. I forgot the rain. I forgot the long walk home. I forgot the Turkish delights. I forgot the page number. I forgot to buy a new pair of pants. I forgot my name. I forgot the house. I forgot words.