And, she called out to her gods and demons, saying, “wherefore and to what end?
The sun begins to rise and, still, you refuse me the password to sleep.”
And, she called out to her gods and demons, saying, “wherefore and to what end?
The sun begins to rise and, still, you refuse me the password to sleep.”
Ending up with grandmother’s wedding china because I was the only one unashamed to use and chip it.
Gobbled down and choking on a lack of appetite..
Only one of us made it out; I still pay penance for it. An empath loves the narcissist, everytime. One ideates, conceives, while the other perceives.
Scour my skin to the bone. I am asking for it. I will disabuse you of yourself; just don’t abuse the Looking-Glass.
A sovereign holds the realm when this body alchemicalises into the temple’s adytum. Walls forged of a steely, alloy blend.
Iron and carbon. Chromium. Not allowing pliability of constitution. Intolerance. You ought to don a mask should you choose to galvanize.
It is cool to the touch and smoother than the current state of your aging flesh. Calipygian ass shining and scattering the light.
What is the difference between reflection and refraction?
Ball bearing production won a second world war. The sustenance of victory gardens yielded sustainable consumption.
A stake in envisioning the desired outcome.
“Let them bake cake.”
“All hail the queen bitch.”
Just a moment to bemoan feeling alone.
Rain patters like swiftly boiling water, in spite of the shining sun. The Morning Star beating his wife again.
As quick as it comes, it will go.
Either the sun.
Or the rain.
But, the mathematical solution to 0! equals one. Seemingly impossible. Impossibly erudite. Contemplative pornography.
Like eating a raspberry just to feel its little seeds gum up the curvature of molars.
She has nothing to say during the day time.
Saving it for night time’s shade.
Knowing next time, she’ll sow these seeds into the desperate nightmares that will become your dreams.
Cowards in the cul de sacs of tax payer paved streets.
I wilt tread over these as much as I please. Let your puppy bark, your motion sensor lights trip. I am a stroller not a prowler.
And, as much as I am uninvited, you are not entitled.
You are a dead end at which I make my u-turn.
I remember you. Yeah, you. You stood next to the burning acacia bush. Hard to forget.
Whilst the girl stood before the podium, clutching her tome, a man held her tresses with scissors poised. A confusing ancient image.
Nowhere else is where she’d rather be. Snip the dead ends and make the sheep shorn.
Hopelessly old to be so young.
And, in dreams did I endlessly empty the carafe into the stone basin. Naked and milky white liquid ever-flowing. My eyes trained upon a single stone upon the ground. A star, a wizard wearing a vizard.
Two pillars of sycamores framing me.
I heard your caw.
I answered with mine own trill. Basil tinted and chai scented.
The folk of Zakopane take for granted the mountain air surrounding. Snug in chalets insulated against the Kasprowy Wierch. While opening the parcel, I confuse feeling wretched with the sensation of a heart being wratched. And, all at the sight of the Slovak postmark.
Because it makes me recall the not exactly cream cheese they call qvark. White cheese paired with fruit and a terrace. A simple ripe raspberry atop to boot.
Prattle and pitter patter.
Refreshed at being carefree sans carelessness.
You are comfortable, he says.
No. You just find me cozy.
And, they threw out all the words I firmly etched with his letterpress.
Into the depths, off cliffs of Tatras,
The Fool forever falls.
Looking like an ever-loving swine in sunglasses. Peacocking. Tail feathers all a’fan. Such a pretty fellow, just ask him.
I over hear a man dropping something in the parking lot. Cursing loudly.
Ten minutes later, he yells out at a neighbor’s squawking parrot, “shut up, you fucking freak.” Pandemic conditions do not become him.
“I’m just saying,” she not only, but also, says, “I’ve watched a criminal amount of cute animal videos this week. Like, if I was on the stand and used it as an alibi, it would go like this:
“Like, see your honor, my tablet history clearly shows I was four hours into binging six hours of watching cute cat videos when this crime was perpetrated.”
“Let the record reflect the witness is not guilty of this crime, but will be charged with something because of the egregious waste of time and countless brain cells. While I cannot formally find her in contempt, let the record show, this court sure holds her in contempt.”
“Like, I would not get a new job if these records of time spent watching were included in background checks.”
I hear the old man in the overhead apartment, creaking support beams in his pacing above me, while aggressively complaining at his phone. “Who wants to play a game,” I think. “What’s the creepiest pet name you can imagine?”
There is a cat named Mister Daddy. I know because I was in the house when it was naughty as I heard its owner crying, “No, Mister Daddy! No. That’s a bad Mister Daddy.” And, you know what? Mister Daddy, being a cat and all, just looked at this sweet girl like, “Ahh. I don’t care. Get outta my face.”
“Sounds like a real soul-shattering experience.”
“I lost sleep for a week.”
“It’s returning to the stranger of your previous self passing you by on roller skates.”
“Everyone commits unconscious fraud, but crimes against your own humanity remain largely unenforceable.”
“Don’t be silly, I just wanted to hear you say you think I’m pretty.”
“You walk with the confidence of a much taller woman.”
Because she hadn’t had a moment to breathe. No bit of space to call her own, even if she did have the back of a Camel pack, a portal of the porthole in the plaster, and sometimes a view.
Sometimes a forest, sometimes a cave; sometimes a sound.
A fault line. A tyranny of averages.
And, what I thought was an ever accumulating posse of ghosts was just me coming to notice them. For, they had been there the whole time. Like when I came to understand when someone begins a sentence with “I hate to mention it”, most of the time, they mean to say “I love having a chance to bring this up.”
When I do come back it will surely be as a book, or a bit of English in a pool game, or the illegible scrawlings penned by someone in ecstasy. And, I know God and I are playing in this moment.
“I shudder everytime I hear the record’s scratch.”
“I like it.”
“It sounds like breaking. Rumination.”
“Sounds like creation.”
“Oh, shut up, Shiva. Shakti the eff up.”
Falling into a swoon of kisses before saying “Dummy,” and slapping him from his reverie.
Lucid dreaming comes easy. Lucid living becomes tougher. I see fantastic stories through windows. I only watch real briefings to enjoy the silent signers providing translations for the deaf. I like the chorus more than the talking bobbleheads.
I recall the slight mass of you. The feel of thin, increasingly inelastic, skin covering the meat of your body. Neckline, nape, and collarbone. Connect the dots; then, come and paint me by numbers. Sign your name with a dripping brush’s tip.
These past days, I have been thumping animal hide stretched over wood. Striking a drum head, softly. Purchased in a foreign market of an alien continent where cattle roam the markets. Haggled over; Hand made; Had at a bargain. Despite being single, that day, I wore a fake wedding ring to increase the currency of my social capital. It’s all in the details innit?
And, the majority of talismans donned subliminally indicate”don’t tread on me.” A woman stranger in a man’s strange land. When in Rome, signal in Roman with protective signs.
I carried the drum on my back for weeks before sailing with it across the ocean. Talking drums teach the impact of saying things by leaving them unsaid. Cowardly lions, heartless tin men, and straw fellows appearing solid until picked apart as disappointing carrion by the mouths of old crows, before finally being blown away and scattered into bits by the slightest breeze.
Dorothy was just trying to find her way home. Wherever that place is. On her way, she sees Shiva stars exploding and feral Nataraja dancing.
“You’ve been needle-pointing with your yarn, Ariadne. You must keep moving.”
“No. I must first knit some socks for your cold feet, dummy. Otherwise, you will certainly slow me down.”
The Goddess and Godhead grew weary of playing the same, old god games together.
So, they exploded. Blew themselves apart into a billion scattered jigsaw puzzle pieces. Awaiting once promised reassembly. Now, we all seek out one another in our presently incarnated iterations. Looking for another missing piece with whom I may hold hands. Spending a spell of time choosing to walk each other home to ourselves, until each of us arrives before a door we remember forgetting.
Introductions suspended while we undergo this live exercise.
New and emerging.
Novel and multicrowned.
Coranated by all together, through multiple tiaras given by the calling of too many names.
Cut like fingernails into quick. Sandpaper rubbing and Indian burns.
Salves of salvation and balms as alms for the bottom.
People now pay per view the fights they saw for free in middle school halls.
These expansive Plains of Repetition.
Iron Lightning could take a walk and return with horses.
I come back with a bit of skin darkened by the lightness of sunshine.
“Then, where are you?”
“In your nightmares.”
“While I dream in heaven.”
“Thank your gods for your Haven, fool.”
“How dare you tell me what to do. How dare you presume to know of my gods.”
“Oh. Are they so extra sacred and unique?”
“No. But they are mine.”
And, though things were terrifically strange, she felt oddly disinclined to speak.
But, she realized that she might be interested in her thoughts on now, a few months from now.
And, she enjoys tapping out characters as much as an enthusiastic pianist paws out notes from hammer and strings.
And, all the talkers were just saying the same things.
Then, she felt narcissistic for thinking about enjoying remembering her previous thoughts.
So, she shakes her head and scribbles.
So, twist and howl. Nothing else to do.
And, she feels boorishly derivative yet, impeccably derived.
So, she began each preceding sentence with inanities such as
And; but; then; so
And, she feels restless and pent up despite already being a bit of a metaphysically hermetic, solitary creature.
But, the public solicitude to solitude made her space feel imposed not chosen.
And, while the difference was arguæbly negligible, she found it curious how much the distinction perturbs her.
“Insert sentence g here?” Æ, speaking to myself, prompts.
“Okay, here goes,” I reply to Æ.
The body awoke ready to go, bit chomping.
The mirror folded; I fell inside.
Slipping between thighs. Breathy ardour.
Missing the coverage provided by the forest, traded for the raw exposure upon the lapping shore.
Everyone can hear my morning stomach growl, but doubt they do.
What’s the point?
The finality of a punctuated period.
The capital letter leads the presentation of the subsequent subject of a sentence.
Verdict of friction made visible by the absence of the fricative.
Does it taste as I imagine? Salty and acrid.
Does it pass through the nostrils in musky humid drafts?
Expelled and rolling down cliffs of pronounced pelvic bones.
She catches a chill and undergoes a shaking spell.
Then, she is overcome by an awful heat and feels each pore producing perspiration.
But, she refuses to yield to the wind’s howling blasts. Wet hair whipping her cheeks as she walks under the gray sky.
“I am inexorable.”
And, she is glad to have a little, physical battle to fight. Anything to distract her from thinking of her subliminal war.
And, though it is Friday night and she strides down Main Street, she passes no one.
She recalls how it stayed cloudy all day. The light did not change.
She studies her left hand, as she thinks she could be dreaming. But, it appears innocuously mundane.
“Daydreamers are still sleepwalkers,” she realizes, giggling.
Then, she feels too silly for her age and too aged for her years.
Unnaturally timeless. And, still, the moment passes but her face remains essentially the same.
The restaurant had been taken hostage by some invisible organism/s which may or may not be present.
The siege occurred five days ago.
Ever since the onset of the hypothetical, immediate threat of possible hostile occupation, the front of house staff has stared out the restaurant’s windows with tea saucer eyes like anxious animals in ASPCA advertisements.
Please, sir, won’t you come inside and have another?
Prisoners of a war that may or may not need fighting.
In the back of house there is a shell called the ‘skeleton crew’.
The chef runs the silverware through the industrial dishwasher twice when we run out of clean spoons with which to reset tables.
The absence of the spoon in her settings, distresses.
So, a hostess gets uppity when she runs out of spoons.
She gets especially uppity when it happens on slow days.
But, today it does not matter.
So, she cares not, just notes it needs doing and notes whose rotation it is to eventually do it.
Today there is no dishwasher. They called him off.
We take turns with the task.
She simply sets tables without spoons;
knowing full well, no diner will be seated at the incompletely set table for quite some time.
No patron will arrive to suffer this mild inconvenience.
Aesthetics suffer almost imperceptibly while the bottom line suffers devastating loss.
But, she goes through the motions automatically.
There is no need to increase hygiene standards.
That shit is always first and formost.
Global freakout or otherwise.
“Funny how the WHO’s commercial guidelines for handling this threat are exactly the same protocols we already follow,” she mumbles to the owner.
“Who do you think is actually the problem?” he asks, through a thick Vietnamese accent.
“Let’s all just wash our hands, not touch our eyes often, and get on with the business of being alive,” she thinks.
She brings him oatmeal with his favorite fixings, without being asked.
Just like everyday, she makes sure a table is spotlessly clean, disinfected with properly diluted commerical cleaning agents.
“What is the real price of convenience and luxury?” she wonders.
The hourly wage of one dishwasher’s full shift.
The daily hourly wage of a line cook and sous chef.
Two hours of a hostess’ time.
One hour of the second in server’s time.
The present guests receive the best service possible.
Everyone plays dead for fear of becoming dead if they don’t; but,
a few diehards refuse to sacrifice quality of life for speculative quantity.
And, she bebops, dreamily hosting the modest volume of today’s lunch service.
She notes a newly added sign over the hand washing sink at the server station.
It says: <insert restaurant name here> EMPLOYEES. PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS. IT IS GOOD FOR YOU <insert punctuated, smiley face here>
She knows the sign is not for the benefit of the restaurant’s staff.
Your server is far more worried about catching something from you.
They wash their hands to keep you off them, not to protect you from them.
Her energy always turns over when the clock reads 3:33.
She doubts her shift will last this long.
Her focus refreshes at each daily 11:11.
This occurs approximately eleven minutes after her clock in today.
She renews herself everytime she recalls her own selfhood.
A startling state.
A man at the bar counter suddenly catches her eye.
Her mind wanders and the tray perched above her left hand, rocks like a drunkard trying to walk.
A drinking glass full of used water falls and shatters.
Bomb of contagion spraying soaking shrapnel.
It soaks her entire left side.
It sounded crisp. Quite pleasing.
It is her first time dropping a glass in the restaurant; and, she fears she might quite like breaking another.
There is the window.
There is the empty tub.
Here is the towel rack; and,
on that hook is a robe hung.
The robbery of the spirit was abetted by the victim.
No one to blame, so
don’t take it personally.
Take a person-ally, one who will sing the body electric; and,
hold them dear even when they diss-appear
like leaves of grass
under winter’s precipitation.
Like snow, so heavy, ceaselessly falls,
a voice sings, “I will bury you all.”
The light stayed dusky; water gently splattered from the sky.
Tears of tedium; the guts of Humpty Dumpty, raining from the wall of the Earth’s atmospheric dome.
After she caught him sleeping, Alice felt his big fall shake the forest.
Portentous of the lion and the unicorn.
She grabs a pewter ewer filled with water.
ChAlice of ecstasy with which she seeds grails, making them holy.
She wonders if someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.
The black kitten or perhaps the white one, or maybe that other sweet thing.
Alice shakes her head for no reason except to shake out the sing~song thought “someone’s in the kitchen, I know.”
The diners share a conversation.
“What are your thoughts on this?” he asks, turning to her.
She pours water into his glass, saying, “I think I do not have an opinion regarding the matter.”
“I adore fresh slates,” he says, pupils dilating in anticipation of diatribing.
“Sshhh. I adore not having to opine on inanities,” she replies.
“Strumming on the old banjo,” she thinks.
“What do you call yourself?” he asks.
“Your snake-charmer, making venom drip,” she says.
“Speaking of which, I had to disassemble two outlets to deal with a leak,” he responds to her omitted question.
“When you discovered the outlet wiring goes through the sink of your stomach?”
“Hum. Automatic articultion of your abstract mindscape needs practice. ”
“The sky is so blue.”
“I don’t know.”
“We shall look up the Word.
He rolled over, having fallen fully asleep.
My cape slipping away.
I roll over and drape myself across his back.
The refrigerator starts humming.
I tap out a rhythm with my right foot’s big toe.
The tap comes easily so I’m not dreaming.
yet, the bed remains empty.
She smiles. She shakes her head.
She admits. She misses him.
What would you want to know? Ask it.
Do you remember telling me of how you called forth the wrath of the Holy Roman Empire?
Okay. I was wondering if I made that up.
No. Æ did. Is that your question?
No. My question remains “May I ask additional questions?”
If I say “no.”?
I ask myself “Can I ask additional questions?”
We both know you have a metric fuck-tonne of questions at any given nanosecond.
Thus, of course, I can; so, if I may not, I’ll simply compel your response with my high quality kind of curiosity.
Take the day. Grease your lips. Tend your nails.
Past time of prettification?
A’yup. A’purposed this time.
Our conversations must seem odd to the outsiders.
That is why they listen.
They often see themselves as you.
Æ know. Æ am your subliminal signaling, your beloved shadowy unconscious. I’m your other half.
My sneaky roommate in this skin.
And, a strange heaviness settles into her heart.
Pulling a momentary black hole that causes her stomach to ache.
Surprised at your own impatience?
And, that restlessness is why we took today off.
I walk in the back door of the kitchen to the little bistro.
Announcing hellos to the line and the singing chef.
“What are we going to do today, Casey?” the chef asks me.
“Same thing we do everyday day, Hector. Try to take over the world,” I reply.
He resumes his singing in Spanish.
Ponchito sings harmony.
The Beach Preservation Busy Body Society is buzzing on coffee at 10:00 a.m.
“Thanks for asking, Judy. Not great, but I’ve switched to Metamucil,” says Jeanie, still recovering from hip surgery, amongst other things.
“Perseverance!” says Judy.
I start a fresh pot of decaf. I snatch up the urn of caffeinated, good stuff (Tony’s, Songbird blend).
I go around warming up people’s morning cup as a priest pouring sacrament.
Paul, an ex-New York state prosecutor, is holding court at table one. A two top right by the window.
“What the hell are you doing at this table?!” I tease.
He never eats at Table 1. He does breakfast at table 6 when playing chess and he does his business lunches at table 21. Both in the back, albeit opposite sides of the dining room. Table 21 is in the bar. Table six is not.
“Well, I figured if I sat up by the window, I’d attract people in for you,” he says.
I don’t recognize his companion, but after five months I know Paul well enough to say, “You are a pretty thing.” Turning to his companion, I say, “He is, right?”
The man squirms; Paul cracks up.
“He usually eats there or there,” I say motioning directly. “Fancies himself something of a local celebrity,” I add, walking off.
Coffees warmed, tables reset, and empty plates cleared, I perform my morning ablutions: sweeping the front mat in the entryway, cleaning the glass free of sticky smudges from syrupy fingers.
Showing the nearly hundred year old building extra love and attention.
It’s all in the details, innit?
Polished brass and dusted, wooden ledges.
I sweep the outside mat, leading directly off of Main Street.
“Hey, it’s the auctioneer,” one of a pair of joggers says.
The locals finally accept me.
The line to the bistro regularly overflows onto the high street.
I usually run a waiting list by ten a.m.
The best system I’ve uncovered is to yell from the sidewalk:
Table for so-and-so going once.
Table for so-and-so going twice.
Table for so-and-so SOLD to the next party.
It is a pragmatic thing.
For when that absentee party I called, invariably returns, angry that their table has been given away, I have multiple witnesses who will enjoy laughing and saying, “Oh, she tried to call you.”
The other jogger notes the unfilled dog bowl we leave out.
“You need to put water in that,” says Jogger two.
“Why? You feeling thirsty?,” I think, but do not say.
I slowly reset table four in order to better eavesdrop on table three’s conversation.
What writer doesn’t revel in moonlighting as a thief of the conversations of others?
“She never asked me not to leave,” he says.
“Didn’t you say anything?” she asks.
“No. It wasn’t my place.”
It is a moonlit night in the forest. I am running.
I wear a black lace dress, giving only a pretext of covering my body.
Breasts bouncing freely, pointed appendages of low lying bushes ripping the delicate fabric grasping my thighs, allowing my legs to stretch farther apart in their stride.
I hear the sea gull behind me. One moment its call is a mocking laugh, the next it is hysterical crying.
Laughter and tears.
But, the gull is actually the moth. And, this realization makes my runner’s stride spark into a frantic sprint.
Because, the moth is actually the last man I fell for.
“Turn and face me. See my eyes again,” the moth/seagull cries.
“No. You will wreck me again,” I holler.
I want to feel you chase me: I howl, telepathically.
Peals of laughter erupt from his beaked mouth.
“You are chasing me, heyoka!” he bellows.
And, I send my perception into the starling flying overhead, my shadow spirit.
And, I see,
from on high, looking down on myself and him below.
I see how we run in circles. It becomes impossible to tell who is chasing whom.
And I realize: We’ve been doing this for multiple lifetimes.
A tree limb snatches the collar of my shredded lace nightie and I trip from its unexpected pull.
The gown tears away and I am laid bare and naked.
The forest melts away and now the moth and I are in a horse’s lunging pen.
We are tethered. One moment he lunges me in tight circles, tapping my ass with a long whip. The next moment, I lunge him.
We work each other out.
Jimmy (tha motherfucking) King appears, peaking over the fence of the pen.
He is furious and hurt. I’ve not seen this lover in over a decade.
He accuses, “This is what you are doing? This is preferrable to life with me?”
“I never wanted to bear your children. You wanted twins. To dress up identically and take to an Easter Sunday church service. You broke me when you told me that desire. I was twenty two. I would have taken that dream from you if I stayed,” I pant out.
The lunging pen melts away and I find myself at the little bistro where I work.
Seated at table six. The four top table at the very back of the dining room.
Moth, Jimmy, Sam, and I sit there.
I see Kim. sitting alone at table 7.
I’ve not seen you here: I say to her mind telepathically.
I’m here to play mediator: she says to my mind.
She smiles and I feel safe and held dear in her mind.
Moth’s mouth hangs open in a grotesque grin. Tongue hanging out of his lips. I lean in and suck his tongue into my mouth like I’m giving head.
Jimmy shudders in disgust.
Sam looks completely disengaged and tells me, “I hated you for years. I hated you before I asked you to marry me.”
“You abused my loyalty and I am glad you came clean and we never made it official,” I tell him.
“But, I’m rich now, thanks to you,” he challenges.
“I loved you when you had nothing. I could not care less about your liquidity.”
“Tell moth the truth,” suggests Kim.
“I showed you the story I was telling myself. You showed me how to deconstruct it, edit and revise it. I shall never forget you. And, it hurts, so I howl. Thank you.” I whisper.
“I did nothing but enjoy you,” he responds.
Moth suddenly cries out in pain.
“My ankle! My leather brogues!”
I look under the table.
A sweet, little one of a man is curled up on my feet like a dog. He wears vinyl short pants and a cotton sports bra with a lovely crisscross over his back. (The bra I lost on day two of visiting moth.)
I discover I am holding a leash connected to his collared neck.
“Don’t worry about him. He is mine,” I say.
Jimmy, moth, and Sam look stunned and scared.
The man at my feet growls.
I toss chicken bones under the table to occupy him.
“Careful, pet, they may catch in your throat,” I coo lovingly.
Kim’s laughter is so loud it awakens me.
I sit up suddenly and feel the pit of my stomach ache.
I am thirsty and the water tastes like ecstasy.
What if they all hate you? Æ challenges.
How can they hate me? They don’t even know me.
Thinking you hate anything outside your skin is a misperception.
You hate yourself for hurting.
Just like I do. Just like them
So, when I think “go to hell” what I mean to say is:
I’m sorry you ever had to ever hurt.
Because I know that feeling.
Because the whimsy arc of time’s arrow, once arched, can be cruel.
When I think “you are exasperating”, what I mean to say is:
Because, patience requires testing to find its grace.
Because, I know what it is to find out someone thinks you’re exasperating.
When I am stupefied in surprise or fury, or admiration, at you, what I mean to say is:
I care for you.
Because, I have an opinion at all.
That turned sappy fast: is all with which Æ can counter.
Well, you posed a ludicrous question.