Fits and starts

I’m worried and all of it is living like snakes in each shoulder blade, things wrapped and strangling to live or make space. Too much to sleep. I find an ad that reads,

Do you find it easy to dismiss worrisome thoughts? 
OR 
Do you worry all the time? 

Are you between 18 and 65?

and I think ‘there is nothing I do all the time.’ 

* * *

Last things

Decca Aitkenhead interviews Clive James:

If he could go back through his life and edit out the bits of which he was least proud, which chapters would go? “Oh, without number. Whenever I was cruel or insensitive.” Has that been a theme? “Yes. Casual, focusing only on my own needs and requirements, yes. Inability to know that other people are truly alive as I am.”

Barthes, quoting Wahl:

This is what death is, most of all: everything that has been seen, will have been seen for nothing. Mourning over what we have perceived.

* * *

Cuidate, querido

It is unlikely we are taking care of ourselves. So (first) I will have to stop ending emails that way;

Sophie Calle: Agreed. D’accord. Ouais. 

(Sophie Calle– “the Marcel Duchamp of emotional dirty laundry”; men-to-projects maker. Oof.)

(second) I am tired, often. 

Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: “In no love story I have read is a character ever tired.” 

(Roland Barthes– died, February 25, 1980, injuries sustained from being struck by a laundry van; everything-to-projects maker.)

I think maybe that is true, but it is stupid. Unless he is only meaning the love story, and not the endings of the stories, where we are always tired. Somewhere: the gentlest collapse–an image from a movie or story I think may not exist but is the coalition they’ve made — a seat, a sigh, because, [name], I am tired. Bleak battles from the trenches tire anyone, even if you are on the same side. 

So slowly we tire, and our concerns are only ours; take care of yourself, because I no longer want to (we hear). But we aren’t lying: I imagine, robustly– calisthenics, the last smoke, hearty meals. Care for yourself, because once I loved something there, and if I am tired it is only my fault. 

(Larkin, Philip:

Love, we must part now: do not let it be
Calamitious and bitter. In the past
There has been too much moonlight and self-pity:
Let us have done with it.
)

* * *

You Are Easy To Love

We are very careful. About what we eat, some. Nothing that spills or with crumbs, nothing that will make a mess of the bed where we live since I turned and said we shouldn’t leave. It was the best way. 

To be careful about ourselves we move enough to keep the currents running. Or would, until it was instead a metric of when there were doubts: how the movements were greater when we fought, to be sure we wouldn’t be humiliated if we chose to stand and leave. Terribly, when we argued about the garden, how it wasn’t practical, but the thought of our bed in tall grass was there already and we fought for days and stretched for hours, threatening. 

Though it didn’t matter. I’ll dream of growing trees, splitting the ceiling, and the noise is so loud I am awake and know that this is where my blood will stop flowing. And, since, we only move together, shaping spaces into the mattress that map this kind of sedentary love. 

This is the easiest thing, think, and that I am swelling, or swallowed. 

* * *

Ben Marcus on Log of the S.S. The Mrs Unguentine, a book not worth quoting from unless it is from beginning to end

…but while most of Crawford’s contemporaries were staging their loveless, white-knuckle relationship fiction in a spume of alcohol, boxed up in fresh suburban sheet rock, Crawford put his unhappily married couple to sea, rendered them as solitary as Adam and Eve, and he cursed them to be so awkwardly fit for human behavior that every kind of congress had to be reinvented and mythologized anew.

* * *

Always roaring.

April? Still? 

Not much to be done, though. I have a thing that is being worked on between increasingly equally* *ish matched office v. non-office hours, equally* dark  (it’s a heat wave! we turn the lights off! then, this weekend, it rains, and yea, power grids move upon the face of the waters). Not cruel, really, this has all gone very well, I think, minus those few mishaps (1) illness (2) lapse in judgment (3) repressive measures [200 dead on both sides, unsparingly slaughtered].

(“A thing is being”? Getting as far away from this as we can, we are. Ten-foot pole. OR longer? Oh hush. Sea change=death wish: look, it’s right here: 

“Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange…” 

Those pearly eyes we dream of. Hey: image search versus: Pearly King v. Pearly Gates. We have a clear consensus on the winner, and I don’t even know you. What’s ultimately weirdest about this is that the pearly gates were each made of one single pearl, so sayeth the verse. Tiny gates or giant pearls? From that giant-ass clam Venus came from, maybe. Relocate your swine, please.)

Anyway, a thing becoming. Soon it’s a-maying, and April won’t be any longer. We’re wringing our hearts out over here, sun-dried and ready for something slightly more open to swiftly churning tides. That, friends, is the sound of a coming victory. You and I vs. this silly stagnant pond. 

* * *

Elsewhere

Good Jobbbbbbbbbbbbbb(+/-):

—Writing is a simulated conversation. You’re still alone. It’s masturbation that sometimes later gets projected onto the wall and then couples couple and copule beneath it.

—People making love while a porno plays on the TV.

—Right.

—I don’t think you’re listening to me.

* * *

A few things:

1: Confidence, wit, interest zapped mightily by a nasty headcold. I’ve been listening to a lot of shit-talking rappers in attempts of some kind of transference which is going fine but is not doing anything for the size of my lymph nodes. They’re enormous. Bragworthy.

2: Somehow I made it this far not knowing that Pale Fire is funny. 

Conchologists among them can be counted on the fingers of one maimed hand. 

3: Newest goal is to write something that spans at least two pages so I can be personally aware that keeping things short is out of preference and not laziness. Something to look for in 4-8 weeks.

4: Swagger and action missing from previous thing. 

5, regarding 2: No? This?

Virgins have written some resplendent books.
Lovemaking is not everything. 

Conchology would be the study of mollusks, though it isn’t important.

6: Here are some Literary Virgins

7: Once my father dreamt every problem in the world was caused by sex.

* * *

How we orient

My baby sister came to visit today. We aren’t much alike but most of the time I feel I really only have one unselfish part of me, and that it actually exists inside of her but somehow remains part of who I am. The people I’m related to are the only big thing about me which is one of those rare things to be certain of.

In any case we just got off the phone because she couldn’t find the freeway, which is strange. One big thing we do not have in common is that she almost always knows what direction she’s going in while I will get lost anywhere. If you don’t have this problem, this is the worst part: you, often, are so fundamentally wrong about something and have absolutely no idea. Where I will be going feels north and everything I’ve done previously tells me it’s north and I know it’s north, which is in truth the only way I can ever figure out I’m headed south. It’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that your body could tell you something entirely false.

But hark, a website! The internet will always know where I am. 

***

The direction I am trying to go: Kevin Fanning put a story in printed-words-on-paper form. Likely this isn’t news because the left-turn right-turn map that got most people here probably started with Kevin showing support, so with luck you’ve already made that purchase and didn’t miss out. Here, go read an interview where he tells you that writing about being lost is kind of his thing but then tells you he wants to give you a map: 

NS: Another Location Scout question, just because I was curious: why did you choose to credit borrowing phrases from your former blog posts and one of Joshua Allen’s?

KF: It’s a kind of map, really. Pointing the direction to other places that unpack some of the ideas and scenes happening in the story. These are things that influenced me in the writing. I just wanted to asterisk them out in case other people would be interested. I try to include endnotes like that in every book I put out. There’s other stuff to chew over once the story is done.

What Kevin writes feels big, twofold: he’s put this thing in print for you and then shown you the places outside of it to go, with a story that in ways is about how big the place we exist is. He writes with a kind of generosity that is different from most other writing, which has nothing to do with being safe or gentle all the time but more about there just being a lot here, and here are some ways to pay attention. However much he writes about being lost seems to me more about making things wide open so that you’ll actually look, which is all you can do when you get lost, anyway. 

My favorite part is the third paragraph of chapter five. 

***

Here it is, that device

* * *

.

or I have been drinking, watching the Muppets sing Danny Boy

* * *