Category Archives: stories

Freezer, inside

The stairway is metal and it isn’t safe. The way it is rusted and spiral it isn’t safe. Make it for real. Make what you said real. 

On Tuesday nights they go to this meeting. Every other Tuesday. There’s this girl there, and she looks at him, and she doesn’t brush her hair. She looks at him like an anointing even though he’s not there alone, and the one he’s with, she and him: they’re going to be better. She brushes her hair, and she looks at him everyday. He’s ancient to her.

The meetings are made up of memories, and there are so many memories there she thinks to sometimes bring joss paper to burn. They’re all ancestors of themselves, worshiping.

Being small enough to play under the table. Being small enough to fit under the table and seeing a gun strapped there. Being small enough to play under the stairway. Playing make-believe. One, two: like that. Make, believe. 

The freezer outside, under the stairway: it isn’t safe. If they play hide-and-seek and they hide in the freezer they can’t get out. They’ll suffocate, and freeze. Lock it and remind them to stay away. Tell them to play in the trees, where the air is. 

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So that you may not chata’: the Hebrew word used here for sin, the Hebrew word for to lose oneself, to miss oneself. They use their sins to remember. One, two, three: like that. Make, believe, never let go of. Stay inside of. Where it isn’t safe. 

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A Guide to Living Haptically

What could the likelihood that you will experience something that has never been experienced before possibly be. That man who stuck his head in a particle accelerator; maybe he knows.  

I think we should start living haptically. Separately? Haptically. 

Are we over field guides yet? This is how you tell. Really though, a field guide to someone else is fairly straightforward. Do not touch his hair; makes no sounds between three and eight am; skin: salty. But one to us? To us to us to us. I do not know how to do that. 

Baby touch isn’t the problem. What did your tongue do in your mouth right then? Do you remember?

I don’t know if the combinations of firing neurons fall into the snowflake principle. This could be the ultimate test: my neurons and your neurons firing as perfect replicas. We’re in love then. Page ten. 

So we start living haptically and cease talking. It’s just shape-talking not word-talking. Move your gums and teeth and lips and tongue against each other if you have something to say. 

So many things would be recorded as the same, with others. My skin could be reacting chemically identical to hers. But compared to seeing let’s this listen to this here’s this take this don’t this I’m this over and over and over again? Maybe so. Maybe so. 

I don’t want us to be pegs with peg-shaped holes. Talk to me baby, with your teeth. 

* * *

When nothing else subsists

The back of the room is a home. So, too, is outside the window. Pick up and settle down where there is something like the smell of smoke. 

He wakes and it’s disappeared, each time. So he picks up and moves on. There is no peeling away, just two bags and several slow steps. Move your feet, old man. Move your feet. 

Once, nearly everywhere would be enough. But there are barriers now—laws and signs. Seek the sadder places and build the chances, but that isn’t the memory. The way it comes is pure and with no perfume of dim red lights and glass. Walk on, then, with only air as guide. 

Each home evoked, not built. What the world provides the old man follows; a spark, a burn, a breath, four walls. With every wind, though, a demolition. 

Light them, then. Light them and it’ll stay. 

* * *

The Library of Manifestos

Anarchist to Zapatista.

Early in the morning, this is how I find them, as I have found you sleeping on the floor, a night spent reversing my work. We argue mainly about systems: alphabetically, you say, people can come here to find what they are looking for. But I tell you no one comes here with something in mind; they come here looking for new beliefs. This is why I order them by effect and by issue. Symbolist, Ultraist, Modernist. The sections of deadly manifestos, the Unabomber’s Manifesto. Whole shelves for communism. But you will not agree, and this is how we spend our nights, reshelving.

I have tried to remove Futurism from our library because its placement here is a cruel joke on its creator: each time we dust its shelf we mock the eleven tenets of the dead Italian’s declaration. You argue, though, for history—for the purpose of the catalogue and for our library. We cannot remove the works that proved failures; our shelves would be empty. The purpose of our library is to give the people the words of the past and the foundations of our movements.

But if someone needs this, I tell you, I can recite it, aloud—the way it is meant. In my mouth it has movement. You say nothing.

‘We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness,’ I say, number one.

You have gone back to the shelves.

‘We want to demolish museums and libraries,’ I tell you firmly, number ten.

This is when you know that I will disregard the walls and pages—the course of our history—for the violent words of fascists.

I will write a manifesto for our library, I say. And the last tenet will not allow manifestos that call for the destruction of libraries. I think, foolishly, this is how I will appeal to you.

I will write a manifesto for betrayal, you tell me. It will contain only one command: Devour hearts.

I take the Cannibal’s Manifesto from the wall. It has already been written, I start to tell you, but you take the book from my hands and begin to carve into its cover.

Then I will write a manifesto for revenge, you say.

I find the empty pages of other books and begin to write. This is your manifesto for ignorance, and cowardice, I say, but it will be too big for our library.

And I will write a manifesto for whores, you spit.

We grab the blank pages of the backs of books, of the fronts, then the pages themselves, until we have rewritten the manifestos of history as the manifesto of our bitterness. When we are done we are left with no systems, and no one has written a manifesto for rebuilding.

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