"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
"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
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
Today is the day it happened.
Today is the day that I stopped thinking. It happened for three seconds between the sundown hours of nine and ten while I was running on a track under a waxing moon. I love that lunar cognomen most of all so let’s say it to ourselves again: waxing moon.
When I run I’m always thinking to myself, not like some people who reach a point where they’re beyond mental stream of conscience. My thoughts are moving so fast they’re hard to outrun. Too fleeting, it’s hard to remember exactly what happened in that moment. It must be like when people die for a few seconds, or minutes and how most of them don’t remember anything about it. They just remember coming back. I remember coming back. But just like you know you were dead you know you weren’t thinking. It’s like trying to find the exact moment before you fell asleep or the exact moment before you woke up. It’s the closest we have to another dimension. You are so different then, aren’t you? You lean over the edge of the universe, you see the shadow of reality bending in the exploding lights, and worst of all, when you return, you are exactly the same.
Is self-mutiny attainable? Desirable?
before I go
I think we should call it self-hijacking. Yes! Now there’s a metaphor for the ages. Not so much that I’m looking to destroy myself or take myself hostage but really I just want to set a new course.
It cannot be done? The system cannot override the system? Does it require external or internal rigging? Is that a metaphor which I should read as: you need outside help.
An I the vessel or the controller? Or both?
I’m just full of questions aren’t I?
No, just full of shit.
This past while I’ve been thinking I was angry with you. And maybe I was but now I’m not and so I’m thinking maybe I never was. And maybe some of it was jealousy, but you can’t end it there if you plan on reaching the top of this mountain. And okay, maybe there was some anger, anger because why do I have to watch you get older? Every hour and minute and second and thought and dog barking (in literature we use those to mark the passage of time) is you growing older, and I guess I just felt this was a terrible injustice you’ve done to me. Are you going to hand yourself over to me when it’s near the end? When we’ve found the horizon at our feet (doesn’t it look like those pavement rainbows that happened when the sun came out after a rainstorm?)
What I want to say is: You’re the most infuriating person ever and for that I can not simply let this go. Because you’re infuriating for all these new reasons. Because I feel like I need you when I don’t need anybody. Because I like you better than me when I don’t like anyone better than me. Because you make me want to be naked when I hate being naked. Physically and otherwise (stars, planets, galaxies, that stuff “beyond” us). Because I feel like you could set me free when I thought I’d already set myself free. Because I want to teach you all my secrets when they’re supposed to by secrets. You think I can tell these people?
Who am I kidding. I loved your eyes. They were my infinite portal to every person who ever lived and ever would live. When I saw myself in them (wait-where they too dark for me to see myself? they were quite dark) I saw myself floating in a pool and lasting forever. My being had become astronomical. And by the time you blinked it had become like the laws of space. And if I feel this way because I looked into your eyes while I huddled atop you, begging your body for warmth on a frozen night, kissing your forehead, reaching for your hands, than you are as big as all the feelings you give to me. Is this the enormity of love?
You are the quilt
You are the conquerer
You are the everything
How many second chances does a person get? I must be on my fourth, or fortieth, or four hundredth. I wouldn’t blame anyone if I didn’t get any more. In fact, I constantly worry maybe I didn’t get that many at all. Maybe it’s too late. Maybe I’ve been hoodwinked. Maybe I’ve missed the message, or maybe something is eating away inside me at this very moment, and will only reveal it’s ugly head later, when it will look at me and tell me I was right all along in my gut, that I didn’t get those second chances at all, that I didn’t deserve them. It’s a sick joke, right? To think something is redemption when it’s not. Even worse, when you’ve lapsed the thirtieth time, and you say, “Wow, I’ll never make that mistake again,” and you think you still have time. But you don’t. Because you weren’t in a place to deviate from, you already did and you were just going deeper down that same path. You were speeding up the burial. How much time do I have?
I’m making no more promises, only gestures. I sure as hell hope I can salvage benevolence from this burning heap I’ve left behind, but if not I understand why. But I’m telling you from here it doesn’t matter, because things have changed. The reason I know is because all those other times it was easy to say things had changed. I could plead for chances as if they were scraps of food. But this time it wasn’t easy. That’s change. There’s no begging your way out of trouble. That’s not real. There’s only willpower. There’s only muscle and the brutal, savage, stuck up strength to go on.