notes from this long late winter:

The great something to be said for the presence of hands, the letting out of blood, the weighing of voices, dried, the ever inlet of the body, the night.

Their eyes wet like late-night small-town duck ponds, smoke curling upwards, bodies pulsing in quieted machines, all bathed in grocery store moonlight.

-

Let us speak in the bodies of code: one listing sigh, two pulsing wrists, one blossoming eye. 

Let us speak in the rhythms of time— your breath, my ballooning ribcage, faltering and stiff, the membranes of my thoughts of you that cover me.

Slowly tease the teeth from my mouth, play oracle, be kind and deft and murderous in your dispensation of truth.

-

All my letter-writing could not do what your canine tooth accomplished in one aching moment.

-

Let your long blond hair wrap itself around my teeth, shake the sugar castles in our midst with all our quaking limbs. Turn to me on the end of a bridge and say, “Look, the life that we once clung to, slowly slugging its way downstream. And here, we, above the river, gleaming, are.”

-

I held all her steaming sentiment inside my mouth, the wolf I kept there keening. The littlest of girl smiles like a hunter’s horn. I am drooling for a bloodletting, and so the words seep from out my lips, and I don’t know about the changing of the guard but I know a high wall I could throw you over.

scrap thoughts

I am still here in the belly of the beast:

the sour wine of every ocean’s discard slopping round my banks

the distant call of some strange nation’s fog horn lights.

my teeth grow ever crooked more and I can’t walk these heaving halls without the picture of you in my head

you in the general sense, I guess

making a scattered quiet nest of all the plucked out brow hairs and letters unresponded, perhaps I will sleep easy when all obligations are—not completed but discarded, like a witness name escaped.

imagine here a large white bed of feather down and pleasing textures, a tan prince body in mid-morning sun, steaming cups of tea and dedicated pleasures

I am forever running myself into the ground because I belong in the dirt

perhaps all this is a clever excuse for my disposition, mournful and antic in turns (the hamlet that i was gave no warning to the ophelia i also was)

what music this then that seethes and rages in all my blood

and I am always so cold, and the night too quiet, when I am trying, alone, to sleep. 

fragments of indexed desire

I am a pitiful animal of desire. I want your dirt in my mouth. 

and here, vertigo in all my—

I want to learn by feel the shape of all your injuries

assuage the fear that there would ever be an end to all this unremittant code, this indexing of wants. this lettering out of all desires need not cease. I want you I want you I want— the inarticulate fear that my desire is a weapon turned on you. that I add my lust to the litany of abuses the world has laid upon you. but I should like to treat you tender while you bleed.

each part of my delidded eye is drawn to the seductive object. all words collapse with these mazes in the room. I wrap my phantom hair around these pillars, my body tenses in all the spaces between, my god the air the air that hangs heavy damp between.

this keening sound will not stop coming out of me unbidden, it has marked you with a long and foolish knife as one more site, as one more true north to all this desire I cannot control. a flood, a flood. 

meet me at the rooftop table, worn and weather-beaten. hold your hands close to my skin, but do not place them on me. we will quietly imagine setting our bodies to burn in the evening air. 

let my teeth fall out, if only the right words would come forth with them. 

furloughed limbs and dripping fruit, I am falling off the bone. 

I must stop counting gazes. my account will never find itself in black. in obsession I am always the victor. 

the making of marks, the smooth slide of lines. the ape drawing its bars. I have no right to this misery, to mine, to yours, to the blooming out of language from my broken body into time. but I should beg to assuage it. to forgive myself for all this cultish lust. 

I want to get inside your body like you got inside my head. 

Brother, tell me, do you have bad dreams? Do you see them, the Furies and the angry gods? The ones whose voices worm their ways into your head? Sometimes I think the voice you hear must be Apollo. It shattered all your hearing else. He whispers to me, sometimes, late at night, sometimes, just before I fall asleep. The sound as clear as day. And I think that I have begun to dream before I have ceased being awake. But there’s a part of me, there’s a part of me that wonders.

Your mind’s made up, my brother?

Yes, and do not hold me back. There is an avenue down which I go, all shadowed by my father’s prayers, and dark with Furies answering his call. Do these obsequies for me, when I am dead, and Zeus reward you with a brighter way. In life there’s nothing left for you to tender me. Now let me go. Goodbye. 

My destruction as Fate allows. It is spelled out in our polluted blood. I cannot stop the clockworks of Fate. We did not see the darkness rushing towards us, up from the murky water in a car with no plates. The madness rising from our blood like steam. Knife drawn, I have no enemy to turn to. Every bullet I would take for you litters the floor where I lay howling. I am no worthy guardian. I am sibling only to the night’s difficult passing. But still the sound of thunder declares the will of the gods, the sound of breaking glass ringing in our father’s ears, all his sins around him like a blanket. No turning back. No halt in silent march. A little halter in a house of dark deeds. And I fled the ocean, but everybody knows you can’t escape your blood. 

——-

text from an audio sketch I made this week. you can listen to it here; it begins with an old cassette recording of me and my brother playing music as children, skip to about 1:00 in for the more sound art/textual stuff. 

the italicized section (as well as a couple of short phrases throughout) is excerpted from Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, the scene in which Antigone and her brother, Polyneices, speak for the last time. 

I was feeling very adolescent about something and so I made a mix about it. Here it is for you, Internet. The image is a detail from a self-portrait I made years and years ago using my hair and some Raymond Carver and some other things. 

Neutral Milk Hotel - Sailing Through (demo)

Smog - Came Blue

Nine Inch Nails - La Mer

Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron & Fred Squire - O My Heart

The Velvet Underground - Oh Sweet Nuthin

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - B.S.A.

Joy Division - Disorder

Fiona Apple - Valentine

Set Fire to Flames - when sorrow shoots her darts

Rasputina - Hunter’s Kiss

Patsy Cline - Just Out Of Reach

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds f/ PJ Harvey - Henry Lee

Silver Jews - We Could Be Looking For The Same Thing

Don Covay - Come See About Me

Mark Lanegan - Consider Me

Songs: Ohia - Captain Badass

that feel when someone you had a one night stand with years ago is now married to the woman he started dating after that, and it’s not that you’re jealous of them specifically or marriage generally, or feel anything but a general goodwill toward someone you never really knew but know even less now, but that you suddenly become very aware of the passing of linear time.

realizing just how long ago it was that I was a girl in a tiled vestibule, that in the time since a particular phone call, republics have risen and fallen. I have risen in and fallen out of love so many times, large, and small. always managing to feel so young and like so much time has passed. 

huh.

So, some candor, some reckoning:

I find myself deep in the belly of the worst depressive episode for some time. I cannot say in how long, the memory slimes out of me, I lose track of time, I cannot recognize the year of an event or the woman who has written so many of these words, I unravel, my body fumigates itself against the recollection of all this pain and the chronology gets muddled.

But here, I am. Up to my neck in thick, inky blood. Questioned, ceaselessly, to which I can only respond with a violent shaking of my throat, organs unhooking themselves from their stables and threatening to bolt. My eyes are crawling out my mouth. It is so, so dark, and this high keening tone will not leave me. 

My fat red heart beats sicker and sends its fuck-hungry tendrils out, desperate for a point of contact, the flesh to sink some anchor into, an unhaveable man to drag down in the mud with all my wallows. 

Each unturning head undoes a stitch in all my holding, foolish stupid. 

This has always been, and shall likely always be, a fight for my hand to raise a knife against. 

Loneliness like an ocean raging at each ear, sewn into my chest, rip tides shredding off the skin of my thighs. 

But stupid, stupid, to think that you are utterly alone, or to think that if the unending need inside you could somehow be satiated you would stop finding yourself here, alone with the pale wet underbelly of your thoughts, tragic weak weapon in hand.

This time last year, my thoughts and limbs bolstered up and tangled in his, all the many kindnesses— now I can hardly stand to speak with him through long-stretched wires, because to be reminded that someone so good once stood beside me and is now so far away is often more than I can bear.

And so again, and so again, I fight until this passes. Forgive me all my too-much speech, my desperate clings and ill-timed advances, give me what love you can spare and I will try to keep myself in forward motion. 

I imagine myself as a little girl, diving into the deep end of a swimming pool, no adults in sight and no swimmies on. I remember sinking, I remember sinking; but so too I remember standing back on land. 

Some small part of me, flawed with possessive and obsessive need, keeps having this fantasy in which you ask me to marry you, in a certain sense sight unseen, waters utterly untested. Foolish and daring and desired. The first kiss the one that seals us up together in the fever dream of impulse. Or rather, the impulse that stays and stretches itself languid out through time, sticking its fingers into many days until finally: there, blooming forth to the surface with the appearance of spontaneity. It seems only appropriate, that the rules could only be broken or changed, risks taken, when you are certain I will not abandon the game, that it and you are not some toy to me to be discarded when the novelty wears off, when some days the toy does not shine or sing or crawl across the carpet when it’s supposed to. No. It seems right to use so grandiose a gesture to assure you, the moments when you falter and drop are as valuable to me as when you swagger through in perfect time and say the clever thing. Both the breaks, and the things between the breaks. Not only the sumptuous articulation of pain, but the pain itself, in all its sloppy, petty inconvenience. I want to breathe into your mouth when words fail us, when our temper tantrums and our skittish hands get too far ahead of us where games can’t save us. I want to forgive and be forgiven and be condemned and be regained and victor and child and the face of god and the rotting leaves, in a flick of those eyes looking up and down across a room. 

I dream we are on a train, hurtling through the night on the upper deck. I lost the ability to discern dream from desire, one method of fabrication from another. 

You look back at me over your uniformed shoulder, stern, and I know we are headed toward punishment. The infraction matters less than its swift address. We follow the rules, except when we don’t. I crawl down the aisle, past grey cushioned seats. I carry the leash in my mouth. 

We are on a sunlit sidewalk in a foreign country, Belgium, maybe, and I follow just a step behind you. Every few blocks you reach your hand back and slide it under my skirt, just one second’s touch, less, just the slightest press against my cunt to check again that yes, I am not wearing anything underneath, and yes, this belongs to you. 

We are in a large white bed on the shore of a lake, and your hand is on my throat. You kiss my cheeks and my temples and my gasping mouth. 

We are sitting in a familiar bar. We are in the bathroom of a familiar bar. We are in the alley along the back of a familiar bar. I am up against the wall and you are up against me, and the air is full of summertime night, sliding along our pushed-aside clothes. You make me beg. 

Jason Rosenthal, August 26, 2006. Photo by Sid Branca.

In the midst of a slog of archival narcissism, the digging through of digital boxes, the unexpected pinch of the long thin twisting needle of loss up in my guts. the losses of time, the losses of death. to come across a pile of poorly-lit pixels, spelling out your face. The face that I knew, years before your death. 

This is, I suppose, a reason for photographs; a site for eternal revisiting when the site itself becomes one day barred to entry. Starved of the sight, we cling to the contracts we’ve signed our memories to. I am so afraid of forgetting what you looked like. 

Remember, remember. Your skin was soft, and you were kind, and you liked crude jokes and certain voices. This is what you looked like, and may the sound of your quiet voice speaking my name be one of the last tapes to be rewritten.