No curtain between rooms, no wall could keep out the unseemly or un-ignorable. Bindings are always coming undone; treads wear down to the shaft. But sweet currents live there, too— those quickenings resembling the flutter of garments with an open weave, paper thin as onion skins we used to write all our missives on, in dark, rich inks. You prime a sheet of Canson with a quick wash of water, then apply a drop of color with just the tip of the brush: then watch it spread like a rumor of lace across its surface. I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that intention is never a single arrow shot into the dark; is not a line to draw, without a waver or a tremble in the wrist, from one end of a long hallway to the other. I suspect it might not even be about starting or stopping, getting waylaid, detoured, shanghaied, hijacked, distracted or seduced— Not that the air might not be laden with the scent of salt or jasmine, coffee or bitter greens, engine oils, blood, or sex; but only that every narrative must find its own particular plot. And those dull yearning aches: sometimes they are the only stand-ins for that cheering squad or Greek chorus. Their prompts are quicker than the clapper on a movie set.


In response to I have wandered like a flood.


Joyously. Because otherwise what’s the point? ~ D. Bonta

She wonders what it’s like to go back, or if the boxes of books and papers bundled with cord are still in the attic; she wonders what happened to the cabinet with glass doors, where her mother stored the hand-sewn dresses and gowns she wound up wearing only once or twice— Such sumptuous fabrics: silks and lace, brocade, velvet; panels of crisp organza. In that time, special was always an occasion, and egg cups could be ceremonial. The point being that here where she now lives, she needs to find rapture again, even in the window blinds.


In response to Via Negativa: How to question authority.

Memo on roleplaying games

The Good Typist:

Note: When you write your article about online roleplaying games, do not say: We are not possessed by demons, we are possessed by our own life force, our incredible power is bent back on us in a world unequipped to accept the magnificence of our offerings. Poetry no longer decodes our desires and if any does, we don’t know where to find it, so we pour all of our nobility and our repressed physical courage and our keen intelligence and our telepathic connection to nature into little pixelated beings that resemble us, that remind us of why we once came to this planet to be alive. Because you’re pretty sure someone probably already said that.

It’s said that any dream of weather produces its opposite

Not so much unremembered, as splintered into humid fragments: as in last night’s dream of being taken by the hand and led into a crowded house somewhere in the countryside. Was it some kind of storage shed, or stable? Sacks of grain stacked end to end formed beds, as in a dormitory. Old women spread cotton sheets across them and gestured at what would be my space. The windows had no panes. They looked out over dust-speckled fields, skies the color of soot. You were nowhere to be found. Light bulbs swung from wires in the bathroom stalls. The drains were slow. A child showed me a door that led into a yard. Someone had fixed the rainspout to double as a shower. We tilted our chins up, but only moths swirled out of the shadows, the touch of their wings slighter than drops of rain we were sure would come.


In response to small stone (112).

The life of a painting

Clive Hicks-Jenkins:

A man and a woman were standing in front of my painting Green George, and he was speaking with lively enthusiasm about the work, explaining to her what the artist had been attempting in it, and the technical tricks he’d used to pull off the effects. She gazed up at him adoringly, basking in the light of his knowledge. What he had to say sounded most interesting and plausible. Even I was impressed.


This entry is part 23 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


Here it is, then: another message to you, sent from this wrought iron table under the dogwood where I sit writing. The birds are masters of solitude or concentration, or ninjas in disguise. They hurtle past, one after the other, intent on one thing at a time. What else would you like to know? I’ve told you about the secret name I was given in childhood to confuse the gods, so liberal with their gifts of illness and malaise; I’ve told you about the black sow my grandfather brought from his farm, a gift on my fifth birthday. I had just been discharged from nearly a month in the hospital— for what, I don’t really know, and cannot remember. They penned it up for the night in the unfinished bathroom, next to the also unfinished kitchen (I think it was being expanded). It kicked at the plywood slats all night and squealed, or bleated. Is that what you call the sound of an animal that knows it is going to be sacrificed in the morning? I didn’t see, but I could hear the men sharpening knives and starting a fire by the guava trees. I shut my ears and burrowed into the bedclothes. They were so happy I had been returned, that time had wrought its little miracles. What did I know, and who was I to say that such a feast was not in fact the payment required? I no longer burned with fevers. The purple eruptions on my lips were gone. The animal’s shirt of hair would be singed, its insides bled, its sacs of bile and pulsing liver hung up in the trees— dark garnets glinting among the leaves.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

How to question authority

This entry is part 34 of 39 in the series Manual


Loudly, so the police sirens will be abashed.

Softly, so your blood-sucking interrogator will lean in close where he can be asphyxiated by your garlic breath.

From within, so the authorities will begin to doubt themselves.

From beyond the grave, which affords some form of protection against reprisal.

Through the slogan NO, which, as nitric oxide, reduces blood pressure by expanding the veins during its brief half-life in the bloodstream.

Through songs, which spread by invisible spores and can grow six inches in a day.

In the voice of unreason, since all the reasonable men defer to whomever commands the most barking guns.

Casually, as if walking on hot coals.

Automatically, through negative phototropism.

Surreptitiously, linking to your co-conspirators only through quantum entanglement.

With an absense of authority, which calls the very logic of authority structures into question.

Joyously. Because otherwise what’s the point?


“Did I say the day was a sea? I may have meant the day is a diffusion and a scattering of trajectories…” ~ Seon Joon

Or an inlet. An inlet might be good. Might be a little enclosure, a leading into or away. Marsh, lagoon, bay, sound. Estuary, tide pool, terrace, shelf, strand. As in, to be stranded for a little while with me, myself, and I might learn to work free of pretense, defense— Tonight, even the youngest girl said, If we’re going out for dinner, can it be someplace where there isn’t a lot of noise? Guinness World Records lists the anechoic test chamber of a lab in Minneapolis as the quietest place in the world. They say, sitting in the dark in its double walls of insulated steel, concrete, and fiberglass acoustic wedges, you’d hear your heartbeats echoing, your organs paddling in their shallow pools: you would become the sound. The longest anyone has sat there is three quarters of an hour, before he begged to be released, became disoriented; I believe it. How many times have I woken at dawn from dread spreading through my chest, loud pounding in my ears, the telephone’s insistent chime? My students, facile with their shiny hoard of new discursive phrases, write of the liminal. I lodge there often, where possibility is its most ambiguous flower.


In response to cold mountain (55).