sleep: a tonic for a broken ocean. I learned today a song about a martyr. I forgot about eyes. how they get brittle, stop making up for their defects. I was told my intestines will shrivel like worms in the sun. in the dark. I could la-la for you if you were not further than cell phones. there is still interval and rhythm. bones have these. you are a marksman, I am a gown of loosening flesh. I am shoelaces of muscle. you do knot. If I think us, the dream will bury itself in a root cellar and will infect all the drawers in all the rooms of the house with filamental damp and ache. mold crochet. you had hands like blue waves. once, the rocks, the jetty. nothing happened. we were not quite young enough.
I’ll tell you a thing: staying
true hurts. It hurts
when I am not who I want
when I shame my dog when I run
loose-haired through the street or later
shave my head to feel transparent.
When I don’t ask you about
your day because I am so inside
my own wizardry — it hurts. The lack
I am is the lack you see and
would that I could take myself
out of the photo.
The earth is cut. I know this
from the mercury
it bleeds. Warming
is something I do with quilts
a pan of hot water, face steamed
like a plate of peas. Those aren’t
tears. The sky is
condensing on my skin.
If it ever dries, the soot
will show. I broom unnecessary
chimneys. Poetry is
a scab that itches.
1. 1Q84 book 1 – Murakami
2. All the Pretty Little Horses – McCarthy
3. 1Q84 book 2 – (yes I am counting them separately, so what?)
4. 1Q84 book 3
…and I am half-way through a long overdue re-reading of A Canticle for Leibowitz (and Danny and I are reading Butler’s The Fledgling at night to each other).
It feels good. Perhaps not so spec-fic heavy in February, or maybe I’ll go all in. I haven’t decided.
I want you to go there.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See above, my family, and Frida Kahlo.
There’s a black-and-white photograph of FK in my kitchen, and every morning I stare at her. She stares back, and in those brief moments she tells me, “Go. Get out of here. Go to work. Don’t tell lies. Tell your own truth, and make yourself proud.
I was invited by Sian Griffiths (whose Eyre-esque Western-ific novel Borrowed Horses is blessedly coming soon!) to participate in this blogosphere party. Here goes: What is your working title of your book (or story)?
My second novel does not have a working title. Correction: all of its working titles suck. It is either–The Trouble with Mattering, The Rate at Which She Travels Backwards, I Neg–You Neg–We Neg: the Conjugation
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea was for a world so saturated with media that white space cost, and cost dearly. Artists become the purveyors of absence–whores of nothing.
What genre does your book fall under?
Hell if I know. Sci-fi, spec-fic, psycho-opera.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Aster is a butch (and living) Audrey Hepburn, Vineya is Okwui Okpokwasili, and Tree is Bjork.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Nothing is what you thought it was, also — it’s all covered over in layers of white gesso.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I love my agent. I would marry her if I were in the third grade and someone dared me to.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s not ripe yet.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Labyrinth (Pan’s), Labyrinth (Bowie’s), Labyrinthes (Borges’)
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write this book after looking at the art of Agnes Martin and listening to my radio on static– wondering if all art truly provides is an interruption in the texture of what surrounds– I went on to wonder what would happen if everything that surrounded was false, a reprint… is an interruption in a series of falsehoods a kind of truth? Oh, and also there’s a secret society in it plotting the takeover as the world-as-it-is-known and there’s sex and almost-sex and maybe-kind-of-sex-but-not-really.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Maybe the sex parts? That it opens with a really aesthetic death? That Philadelphia is a character in the book? Or, wait, maybe people do not like Philadelphia…
Once there was an animal different from other animals. This animal lived completely inside its hide. Hidden there. It was a terrible business inside of her, a city of industry, an analytical fleshing, but the horrorshow did not show. Her within passed show, and that hurt more than could be said.
“Why quiet?” the animal’s keepers asked her. She did not answer. Pawing inside herself, over-and-over she scratched her ess-oh-esses. But because she also was the asphalt clawed at—to them her constant, pointless fidgeting read as so much stillness.
She learned to hate her keepers.
As she grew in cognizance of her rage, the animal came to say. Focused, she found the power to force drops of inner population through an eye, through a needle, toward others.
She said “out,” and her keepers breathed easy. They’d feared she was their fault, and though she was, that single word made them think their onus for her pain gone. “Okay then,” they breathed. She was not okay. She was an animal with a living city inside of her. They took her for walks when she wanted exorcism.
All structures made her ache. All museums hospitals and theaters. All firehalls bars and offices. Her anatomy was round as any animal’s—with slopes and spirals, with joints that pivoted and joints like crucibles. But the city drew its spires and rectangles along every soft and slanting-twisting part until it was scored with geometry. Until it was strutted with scar tissue. Inside, she was all connecting lines and abstracted infrastructure, and the calculus razored.
It became a habit: the keepers daily meandros wanderings with the animal. They showed her everything that was left. Aon and the Hancock, Chicago Temple and the Shedd—its lakeside glass witness to so, so many species’ ends. Inside was outside, and the animal’s skin and fatty tissue would ever trap her between. She learned the word “civilization.” She learned the words “manufacture” and “fashion” and “assemble” and “devise.”
The animal settled on “render.” Given such a narrow sieve, her only choice was connotative. She would mimic and make. Burn, reduce. She would render unto keepers what was theirs.
nothing is as blue as this blue
no thing forever
I have no forevers in the category self
no foot in the door
under the borrowed places
burrowing my speakeasy way I find
speaking’s not easy
I listen wrong too, too interested
as if other people
were – but the ones I like
the smart ones know they are not
and I am exposed as a fraud
by my eager nod
my whistle my sallying forth
the way my head tilts up to catch
a drop of the day before the day ends
which is a deeper color than any I’ve called
or than any color that has called me black
new ink made the world surge
sixty dead from trampling few
of them men
if I were
a member of the stampeding
party? fireworks gone
bananas, the world churned
afterwards children crushed petals
what power is
this power — foot on ribcage can’t
look down sometimes in crowds
who kills like that or lives
anonymously when no charges
a clean shirt on the next
day over no marks
on the body in the world
the bruised flower clothing
on the street all broken
stalks swept away
ashcan ashcan ashcan
Andria at word love is very kind.
I just finished the beautiful and affecting Sleight by Kirsten Kaschock, and I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it. It was a novel written in poetry, in dense, brief little chapters — each one a rounded, shiny truffle with a spider lurking inside.