Tuesday, February 17, 2015

=cent*i*pede 4=


cent*i*pede 4

A journal in pieces



"Like the lady in the play, I have always depended on the strangeness of my kind."
—Gary Lutz

1.


A Play by Daniil Kharms

(staged by Meeah Williams)


2.
Painting with Ox

At 6.30 am, the cat steps
        into the bedroom
meows three times
and dashes off—
                          Just enough to wake us.
             Was the cat just here,
                          we ask each other.
      I thought it might be a dream.
 Downstairs we go.
 The usual routine.
              Coffee in the filter
                  six cups of water
                            in the carafe
                                  turn on the burner
                            under the frying pan
                     plug in the bread griller.
         Is it snowing yet?
         Not yet.
                       Semi-dark
                           over the neighboring rooftops
                       it’s not hard to see
                 the sky like Chagall did
         no reason for an ox
         or an angel playing a violin
except he needed an ox-shape
        or an angel shape
                      in that very spot the way
         another artist might think
a splash of magenta
          a dab
                  of yellow ochre.

3.



[2 by moan lisa]
4.
Another #10

It was a terrible dream.
It was pouring rain
and I was chewing on a cube of meat
that wouldn’t go away.
You were you but not you.
You were Obama.
And then the order got messed up.
And the pizza didn’t come.
And the woman on the floor.
And the thing with the tattoo.
You pretended everything was normal.
That was the worst part.
And then...
And then...



5.


(notebook pages)

6.




7.



8.

9.

A priest officiating over an internment at a winter funeral closed his remarks by calling into the icy air "And verily Christ hath risen!" To which every dead person lying under the frozen lawn within earshot instantly replied, "Good for him! Now what about the rest of us!" Inside the flowered-covered coffin, the newly dead man, up to now filled with a resigned calm that had surprised even him, for he had known no such calm in life, began to violently shudder and spasm, realizing he'd been hoodwinked into taking death lying down.

(inspired by a story from Daniil Kharms)


10.




11.


(Susan McAllister)

12.



(Richard Canard)

13.

(notebook pages)

14. 
(notebook pages)

15. 

(2 by moan lisa)

16.

(notebook pages)

17.

(notebook pages)

18.

Does a rock sin? Does a tree sin? Does an animal sin? Or does man alone sin?

If man alone sins that means that all the sins of the world are located in the human proper. Sin does not go into a human but only comes out of him. Similar to food: A person eats up good food and expels bad. Nothing bad exists in the world, only that which passes through a person can become bad.

—Daniil Kharms

19.


(notebook pages)

 20.




(notebook pages)

21.

When it is worthy of the name "literature," writing is always queer.  —Helene Cixous

What can you depend on in this world if not the strength of hate?

That's the question
our marriage
left me asking.

*     *     *

Everyone is so busy talking
to themselves they never hear 
a word you're saying

I take comfort in that, you say.
It's an antidote to regret, I say.

*     *     *

I am not important enough for you to kill. 
Hurt, maybe.
But you drop me like a tooth-marked ball rolling away
from the jaws of a disinterested dog.

*     *     *

It took me a long time to feel safe.
It took me a long time to feel anonymous.
And then it took a long time for me to feel anything at all.

I thought: you'd shoot me in my bed.
I thought: you'd smother me in the crib.

*     *    *

What I take comfort in. 
Come in, then.

*     *     *

You, over there.
Me, over here.
The stone between us.

*     *     *

Mine is the unseen body
the uncategorizable body
because you formed no category for it
the invisible body
because it's the body you don't want to see
the body in-between
the body intervening
the intervenous body
that diverts the flow
the obstructive body
the body without appropriate organs
for which there is no room at any inn
the wandering jew of body
the golem body
the nomadic body
the body awaiting inscription
the body awaiting conscription

the body awaiting redemption

*     *     *

I set off, forced to be my own Isis, 
looking for the pieces of my scattered body. 

I found them all, 
all save the penis, of course. 

That was fated to belong 
to the man who would love me,
the lost Osiris.

*     *     *

I made a great mistake
in thinking I could love
without being loved
that i could be loved
without being known
that I could be known 
by explaining myself.

*     *     *

If I don't hate you
it's not because hating you
would be unethical
and unreasonable
but because doing the easy thing
is unethical
especially when it's also reasonable.

*     *     *

How could we not have foreseen
       that after the genital revolution
after the long night of knives
                                     of wives
after the phallic timber
at the site of the gory ground zero
another tyranny would take root
        would rise
out of the chaos
                         if not vertical
                      then horizontal
                     like an infection?

Do you think there is freedom now
that all bodies have been freed
that we've all emerged from our tombs intact?

We are the new outlaws,
the unpartnered in crime,
the unrisen.

*     *     *





22.



(envelope art)

23.

You see that guy over there
the one with the pillowy pink face
no, not that one, the one next to him,
in the thick gray turtleneck
and the wispy white mustache
sipping the espresso
the one with the gold signet ring
on his pinkie
where does he get the nerve
he has a dog he brings around
one of those toy breeds, I think,
white…it snapped at a woman last week…
what's he always scribbling in that little
red notebook of his, anyway?
well, of course you don't see him,
I just now stopped thinking of him
he's finished, gone for good, 
through the trap door, so to speak,
along with his little dog, his coffee pot, 
his ticking kitchen clock, his memories, 
his balky liver and  don't forget you
can be next.
                     In the meantime, see
that woman sitting alone
against the wall over there, the one
                    wearing with the black lipstick?


24.

Chocolate Cheerio Pandi-cakes

my husband had just said, 
                as if I were writing
a sonnet about all the ways
I loved him
                and looking for another
couple of reasons to stretch
the rhyme.
                 It was one of those
billion-dollar ideas 
like reality tv
or pet rocks
that you wish you'd come up with 
a total no-brainer
after the fact.
We had a box open
                latenight- snacking
at the kitchen table
                              the cat, unnamed
as yet, sauntered in
          as if she just happened
          to be in the neighborhood,
Rod McKuen had died
                      earlier in the day.
Back in the day a guy could get laid
pretending he liked that treacle,
                      my husband says.
No wonder real poets hated him, 
says I. He nearly won an Oscar and sold
millions of books.
                            How does a cat
manage to convey utter disdain
for humanity just by leaving a room?
         That's a trick I'd like
to learn. Did Rod McKuen know it?
Once he wrote: "Cats have it all,
admiration, 
              an endless sleep,
              and company 
only when they want it."
                                     Tomorrow night,
I announce, I'm having chocolate cheerio 
pancakes for dinner. I watch the cat's
sashaying asshole disappear
into the shadows of the living room.
               Good for you, my husband
says, you only live once. And many 
not even that, is my reply. 
                          And for the record,
                          no one 
                          ever 
could have gotten me into bed
                             using Rod McKuen. 


Chocolate Cheerio Pandi-Cakes

Basic Pancake Batter

1 cup flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1.5 tbsp veggie oil
.5 tsp vanilla extract

spray frying pan with Pam & heat
pour batter, wait for bubbles to appear & flip

Filling for Pandi-cake

Chocolate Cheerios
chopped walnuts
Calabro nonfat ricotta cheese
cinnamon

Spread ricotta cheese on pancake, add Chocolate
Cheerios, chopped walnuts, & sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Add a second pancake, Chocolate Cheerios,
chopped walnuts & cinnamon.

Stop there & eat…or add more and more layers
of pandicakes, as many as you like!





(before)




(after)




(after after)

25.


26.



(notebook pages)

27.



(notebook pages)

28.
(book recently read)

29.

Cold that will break you
if you let it in. Staring
into the koi pond
on the door leading
into the unused hall. The shape

of a memory. Drink up
a cup full of holes. You
handed me the funny
pages. Something must be very wrong
with your eyes

you said. I could form no 
sentences around the absence
you left. I look down;
I'm standing on nothing.

Silence is another way of seeing.


30.

(sealing the deal)

31.



32.


33.

The Other Women

twelve of us
in the dungeon
the brides

we jokingly
called ourselves
infected 

not with immortality
but the inability
to die

diminishing by
half-lives
forever some trace

to keep 
the homicide detectives
at bay 

*     *     *

my throat I
wouldn't resist flashing
like a thigh

my jugular river
wide and slow
and warm

he walked into
arms upraised
purified for the rites

& I know it's 
my blood
you will drink

the pale piety
of your moral
majority

christened in church
parking lots
the jelly

in your jelly rolls
a sugar sham
the coffee 

in your styrofoam
cups not enough
to keep you awake

five minutes 
i've had many
of your husbands

and you never knew
sucked their cocks
after listening

to their lamentations
with a sympathetic
ear

the immortal tedium
of their lives 
with you

*     *     *

oh well i know
they'd stake me
through the heart

in devotion 
to appearances
but shadows

show the true
shape of things
if you cannot

reconcile yourself
to the fact
you're all that is

you're doomed 
& death 
will be hell for you

be a self-starter
in the salvation biz
start with yourself

& work backwards
to infinity
you have nothing

to lose 
but your soul
go ahead

take it out
show me where it is
right now



34.


It's not you, it's me
A man in an expensive black suit sits in an empty room somewhere inside a large house in which a party is taking place. He’s there, waiting, expressionless, his hand resting on an automatic weapon on the table in front of him and sooner or later you must leave the party to keep your appointment with him; and, like always, he’s cold and silent and utterly professional.

He’s there for one reason: he’s there for the kill. He’s a hitman, a technician, a priest. And maybe you’ve allowed yourself to forget him for a while as you enjoyed the party, but deep down you know he’s there, you know he’s waiting, you know he’s inevitable.

He’s the feeling of coldness and hardness you have inside you all the time: a feeling like a tombstone in a lonely winter twilight.

And the disturbing part is that as sad as you feel it to be, there’s no changing any of it; it’s just the way things are now, just the way you are—and, really, deep down, you’re glad.

There are some betrayals, some hurts so all-pervading and so absolute that a lifetime of rage isn’t enough to express one’s pain and one’s disgust: it’s inexhaustible. The only thing you regret is that some people can only die once because you’d like to bring some of them back to kill again and again and again.

Instead, you have to sacrifice others in their place.

Tonight the man in the expensive black suit is here to sacrifice you, my dear.



35. 




36.





37.





38.

Let's demand nutrient-rich
bullets to nourish worms made
robust and prosperous on our endless
American shame.
       
The time has come for
       unreasonable

fuck health care
     let's demand magic
goldfish with therapeutic kisses

yes it is time we serve unreasonable

—c.a. conrad


39.

(notebook pages)

40.
 (notebook pages)

41.



42.




43.


44.





45.

(mini-manifesto)

46.

The snow melts in the car mats. It only lasts
     seconds: a whiff of my daughter's sweaty
     scalp when she was nine.

47.

How is it remade each morning? I lay presiding like a flickering mother over the fragments of my body.

48. 




Paintings are always windows to another world. Paintings on doors even more so. 
Since one seldom exitsor entersthrough a window. 


49.




47.


48.

49.

50.

51.

When our country
     spies on us
invades our privacy
     we no more want 
            to think about it
than we want to think about
            what daddy does
when he creeps into the 
                 bedroom in the middle
            of the night 
                              or catches us
                              still damp  
                              from the shower
when our country
              drops bombs
on villages killing
               innocent children, women,
               men,
we pretend it doesn't happen 
like we pretend
we don't hear
mommy falling to the floor
and begging not
to be hit again
              and when our country 
destabilizes rightfully elected
governments, 
imprisons, assassinates, and threatens
populist leaders who won't obey
               and installs  in their place
enabling
puppets
we get the message
& we deny it the way we deny
that daddy becomes a stranger
when he's been drinking
                                  and does things
he'd never do sober.
                        And the more you insist
that daddy is violent
& out of control
                        the more violently
we'll deny it until we become
just as violent in his defense
as daddy himself
                           because who wants
to believe that their family 
is fucked up beyond all reckoning
that their bed is full of worms
that the man we've been raised 
to love and respect and honor
to see as the highest form of good
in this world
our protector
our model
our author
that this man
we depend on for everything
is not who we thought and were taught
to believe he must be
                      & now that we've seen it
just in a glimpse through a crack
in the door, heard it in the terrible 
threats echoing through 
the heating ducts where we 
crouched by the vent on the floor,
who wouldn't want to run silently
on tiptoe back to bed, crawl 
under the covers, pull the pillow
over their head and stick their fingers
between their teeth 
and pretend all is well 
because I ask you
where can you go
to whom can you turn
just what are we supposed to do about it?


52.


53.


54.

The Limits of Pure Logic

Did you ever hear the unfortunate story about Patrick Mahone Dent? No? It's a sad, true, funny story all-too indicative of human nature and it tends to stay with you once you hear it and not just because I just said so. Patrick was a philosophy student and a would-be bank-robber who had yet to commit his first bank-robbery. To prepare, he made a systematic study of bank robberies past and present, as well as a close observation of typical police behavior so as not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors. Two things jumped out at him: 1. Most bank robbers get caught. 2. Police cruisers drove right past cemeteries without so much as a glance. He concluded that the small percentage of bank robbers who succeeded in getting away with their loot must therefore be zombies. So he gave up the idea of bank-robbery and became a grave robber instead. And that's how he was arrested at the Peaceful Acre Cemetery, standing knee-deep in a grave with a  shovel in his hand, digging up a corpse. There you have it: the unfortunate story of the philosophy student Patrick Mahone Dent in case you hadn't heard it. 

55.



(Richard Canard)


56.
(Borderline Graffix)

57.


(pictured below: book recently read. 
above: book currently reading)

58.




59.




60.

61.

(book recently read)
Entertaining, well-written, fun—it's social satire, but Pynchon laces it with a lot of dated ethnic humor and conspiracy theories equally dated now that 14 years have elapsed since 9-11. We've heard most of this before. More importantly, I wonder if the U.S. government/corpocracy hasn't long passed beyond the reach of satire—even at the hands of a master satirist. How can you effectively satire a reality that has become a manifest satire of itself? Perhaps the problem here is that Pynchon doesn't go far enough; he's simply too tame, too timid to really go after power tooth and nail as, say, certain dissident Russian authors did during the Soviet/Stalin years. Pynchon voices his strongest condemnations of the U.S. government through the mouths of characters whose judgement is, at best, suspect to paranoiac coloration. When, in fact, the worst hypocrisy and danger is right out there in the open for anyone with eyes to see: "secret" prisons, black ops & private "contractors" who operate beyond international (and humanitarian) law under U.S. orders, routine NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens, "enhanced" interrogation, arrest without formal charges, the list goes on and on…and all now perfectly "legal" under current American "law." There is no "secret conspiracy" any more, no need for conspiracy at all: the ugly truth of unbridled power is right out there in the open for everyone to see. The only "conspiracy" is the conspiracy of silence and shame, of fear and self-blindness that prevent us from pointing it out. It's the powerlessness we feel in the face of it, the sheer disbelief, and, worse, the refusal to believe that what we see happening is actually happening. 

It's wincingly painful at times to read a supposedly "renegade" American author such as Pynchon ignore these catastrophes and turn what's going on in this country into a comic romp.   

62.
All language is a rational phenomenon meant to communicate thoughts and to explain actions in rational terms. What we need is an irrational language with a new vocabulary, something like what modern art is trying to find for the expression of the 'sub-conscious.' —Otto Rank

63.




63.




64.


65.



(envelope art)

66.

In their different attempts to work out a psychology of the individual, all three (Freud, Jung, Adler) seem to have reached a similar conclusion, namely, that the evil from which our personality suffers is over-individualization; hence, they agree in the remedy consisting of an emotional unity with something beyond the Self. Freud sees it in sex, Adler in social fellowship and Jung in racial collectivity. In this sense, psychology is searching for a substitute for the cosmic unity which the man of Antiquity enjoyed in life and expressed in his religion, but which modern man has lost—a loss which accounts for the development of the neurotic type.

—Otto Rank

67.




68.


Another dead visionary turned into an exploitable resource by capitalism.

69.
It does not make much difference whether the individual is judged by a religious, social or even a self-ideal; in any case he "makes out" bad, be it in terms of sin, guilt or inferiority. Psychoanalysis, despite its naturalistic terminology, does not accept human nature, because it is based on a social ideology aiming at the individual's conformity to the prevailing standards of goodness.

—Otto Rank

70.


a Vivian girl


71.
The Black Doghouse
A play



Kessler and Hormel meet in the park under the statue of General Landers.

Kessler: Did you hear what happened to Krueger?

Hormel: No. What happened to him?

Kessler: He wanted to paint the doghouse in his backyard black. But he had no doghouse, no dog either. For that matter, he had no backyard.

Hormel: So what did he expect, the fool?

Kessler (shrugging): Maybe a tuna sandwich. 

Hormel: So it's a happy ending, after all. 

Passing Dog: If you say so.

Landers: Woof.

A bird lands in the grass a short way off. It tilts its head, pecks at the grass, tilts its head, pecks at the grass, etc.

Krueger: Curtain.

72.

The dessert you make when you've run out of time
to make Italian Ricotta Cheese Cake

Because I've been slaving away at a hot keyboard
all morning
                 writing porn
for upload on Amazon Kindles
sticky all over the world
even in the Netherlands
human animals shaking all over
cumming to my words

Because I've been slaving over a hot oven in the afternoon
to fix dinner
                  don't say I'm setting
any woman back I'm happier
than I've ever been
tied into an apron
handing the end of my chain
to the man I love
only a jerk would jerk it unkindly
I realize that now & that
I can take the leather handle back 
whenever I want.

But listen, this little poem popped
into my head this morning: 
a man and two small children
their faces like smudged thumbprints of newsprint
are looking up the street
in the wrong direction
for the bus. There's no city bus route
on this street, you say. Maybe, I say,
they're waiting for a school bus?
You seem doubtful. In any event, 
they're looking in the wrong direction. 

Well, I suppose, you can look in any
direction you want to find 
salvation—and, when you think 
about it, isn't it reasonable to look
in the most unreasonable direction
of all?  

In other words, this is how you make
the creamiest rice pudding ever: you
start with two cups 
of cooked Arborio rice in a pan,
add one-and-a-half cups of milk,
one-third cup of sugar,
and a quarter teaspoon of salt.
You cook this over medium heat
for fifteen to twenty minutes
stirring frequently, lazily passing the time
dreaming up deliciously humiliating
sexual ordeals for your alter ego
to suffer next. Then you beat an egg 
into a half cup of milk, add a teaspoon
of cornstarch, and pour this mixture
into the pan, stirring rapidly
and constantly for two more minutes
like you were finally bringing yourself
to orgasm.
                  The rooster timer goes
brrrrnnnnnnng! startling you back
to consciousness.

This is the point where you take the pan
off the heat, add a tablespoon of butter
and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir.
Divide the pudding into ramekins
if ramekins are what you choose 
to serve your pudding in. Walk over to
your husband, let him lick your spoon,
& grope under your dress while you
sit on his lap. All this has implications
later, at 1.30am, when you'll wake up
to find him staring at you from his pillow
with his hand meaningfully inside your
panties.

But for now, cover the ramekins and put
them away in the fridge to cool. A few
hours later serve, warmed or cold,
with or without a dollop of whipped cream
or sprinkle of cinnamon, raisins, walnuts, 
etc. whatever……...enjoy. 

*     *     * 

Okay….forget that recipe. Here's an even better rice pudding recipe. 

It's supposedly based on the original recipe upon which the famous Kozy Shack pudding is made. But it's better—creamier and richer than the store-bought, factory-made stuff.

It goes like this:

First you pour a quart of milk into a pot. Add a beaten egg, 1/8th of a teaspoon of salt, and one-third of a cup of sugar. Heat this stuff up for about ten to fifteen minutes, stirring continuously. Add cinnamon. 

Next, you slowly stir in the rice. Bring what you've got in the pot now to a simmer. When it starts to bubble, lower the heat. The pudding will begin to thicken. Add more cinnamon if you like. Stand there stirring for something like 35 to 40 minutes.  You don't want the rice to stick to the bottom of the pot, which it can all too easily do. It sounds rather tedious to stand there stirring a pot for 35 to 40 minutes, and it is. It's not the sort of thing we're used to doing in this day and age. No more than fifteen minutes in you'll probably be thinking, "I should have just picked up a damn container of Kozy Shack when I was at the supermarket." Ignore yourself. Keep stirring. Consider it a spiritual exercise. What I did to pass the time was read a little more of Otto Rank's "Beyond Psychology." It took me about half an hour just to understand 10 pages, but it was a rewarding effort—both the book and the pudding.

When the forty minutes are over, take the pot off the heat. Stir in a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of vanilla. 

Let the pudding cool to room temperature in the pot for fifteen minutes or so. Then divide and refrigerate the pudding in whatever sort of container you're planning to use to serve it. A couple of hours should do the trick. Dust with more cinnamon. 

Yum. Really good. Serves 2.  To make more, do the math.



(super-creamy rice pudding)


73.

Nationalism represents a form of individualized immortality as compared to the survival of mankind in general. All antagonism between neighboring clans and feuds among related tribes resolve themselves, in the last analysis, into a competitive struggle not merely for biological survival but for eternal survival, i.e. immortality. The question of who is the "chosen people" to survive all others accounts for the perpetual struggle between the striving for likeness—in order to be included in the privilege of an eternal life of the group—and the emphasis on individual difference, be it personal or racial, in order to exclude the different ones from the blessings of eternity. 
—Otto Rank

And so we have people willing to die for their country on the one hand. And people willing to die for their religion on the other. 

Because they are surely going to die as individuals, they attempt to give themselves an immortality by identifying themselves with something larger than themselves—nation, religion, family, some other large "eternal" notion, such as art, science, etc.

Give one's life for one's country, for instance, and you "live" on after your death  in the continued existence of that nation, inscribed, literally or figuratively, as a name chiseled into a wall or the base of a monument. Of course, in terms of immortality, it is a worthless sacrifice. Because nations die just as individuals die; so do religions, it only takes them longer.  

Children die, too.  

In spite of our knowing quite well that anyone at any time can die, why is it commonly considered such an "unthinkable" unnatural tragedy when a child dies before its parents? (Of course, a century and a half ago, when infant mortality was much higher, it was quite conceivable, even half-expected, that children would die often and early). The tragedy lies not entirely in the death itself, but also to the largely unconscious belief that the child guaranteed its parents a link in the chain of an existence beyond their own deaths, a form of immortality. With the child's premature death, the parents  have lost their link in that chain. They are now irrevocably lost in death.

Ernst Becker, in his reworking of Rank, most notably in The Denial of Death, would come to show that much of the insanity of history right up to the history of our own time—all the war, greed, oppression, corruption that makes our world such a horror show; indeed, the very propagation of the human race via reproduction—is a direct result of our suppression of the fact of our own mortality. Our leaders wage war (and soldiers fight them) to ensure the "immortality" of our nation; the rich exploit the poor to ensure the "immortality" of their name and fortune; the religious persecute those they deem sinners to justify themselves a place in an eternal heaven, and people continue to have offspring doomed to age, sicken and die in their turn, in order to perpetuate their genetic line. And on it goes.

We are afraid to die.

What else is new?

All the same, the most obvious fact of our existence is the one we keep most determinedly hidden from ourselves 24/7.  


74.

(book recently read)

"The only way to ruin your eyes is to keep looking at people." —Gary Lutz

Rarely do you find a writer courageous enough to write stories about vaguely unpleasant characters. Evil characters are plentiful in fiction. Readers enjoy reading about out-and-out villains. There's an allure to evil, a dark glitter. Everyone has a part of them that wishes they had the guts to be so one-sidedly bad even as they can conveniently dissociate themselves through their cowardice from absolute evil by reassuring themselves, "I am not that bad."

It's the vaguely unpleasant who are the real challenge to depict, to make the stars of a story. That's because the vaguely unpleasant are a lot more real than the purely evil. They have no allure, dark or otherwise. They're small-minded, mean, tawdry, petty, and spiteful. They cheat. They lie. They haven't got any real guts. They deny what they are, they admit what they are, they can't change what they are. 

In other words, they are too much like people we know. Worse, they are too much like the people we are. To encounter them in stories is like looking at a photograph taken of ourselves unaware, from an angle we didn't control, before we had time to compose our face to the one we wanted to show the world.

Gary Lutz writes stories about exactly such characters, which is why his stories generate such strong reactions in readers, those who love them and the many more who are repulsed by them, and the great majority who don't know them at all. 

There is too much honesty per square sentence in a Gary Lutz story.

That's what makes them loved, loathed, and worth reading.


75.

I knew exactly what I wanted to write: narratives of steep verbal topography, narratives in which the sentence is a complete, portable solitude, a minute immediacy of consummated language—the sort of sentence that, even when it is liberated from it receiving context, impresses itself upon the eye and ear as a totality, an omnitude, unto itself.

--Gary Lutz on his devotion as a craftsman of the sentence, the basic building block of literary composition. Read his illuminating essay, The Sentence is a Lonely Place, in full here:



76.
Why do conservatives and religious-right types oppose gay marriage? What could it possibly matter to them if two men or two women marry? How does it effect their marriage?

Why do the majority—moral and otherwise—take a knee-jerk combative stand against anything that dares stand outside of their own way of life, their own "straight" system of hand-me-down values? In other words, why can't these people live and let live?

Otto Rank offered an answer:  

Prevented through his ego-centricity from accepting any kind of difference, either within or without, [mainstream man] feels compelled to change others according to himself. Such cravings for likeness in the face of all the multiform differences—individual, social, and racial—originates in man's need to counteract the negative aspect of individualization, in the last analysis, death, by the most primitive and elemental idea of perpetuation: namely, the immortalization of one's own self in another resembling it as much as possible. —Otto Rank

So understand clearly: When you assert your right to fuck who you will, worship or not worship what you will, to eat, drink, smoke what you will, to use your body and mind as you will make no mistake: you are posing a direct threat to those who think that there is only one way to live. They consider your act not just sacrilege but an act of aggression, indeed an act of "murder."

What you are threatening is their immortality, their conviction that there is one formula for life everlasting and they have it. When you dare to mix up another formula it throws them into doubt, whether they like to admit it or now. What are you drinking over there, anyway? Everyone, to their way of not-thinking, has to drink the same stuff or it makes them profoundly uncomfortable. Maybe they aren't drinking the right stuff after all. Because there can only be "one" right stuff, right? The more variety there is the more uncertainty there is and uncertainty means the risk of being on the wrong path. Otherwise, what would they care if you were going to hell for your choices? In fact, they don't care. What they care is protecting their own patent on Truth, the one and only.

You're threatening the fragile world-view of a close-minded person. Remember this the next time you dare to live your own life according to your own nature.  

Then go ahead and fucking do what you want to do anyway. 



77.



78.

(Richard Canard)

79.


(Diane Keys)

80.


(Richard Canard)

"These are the artifacts of our daily lives…If these things are not worthy of our attention, then what does that say about our way of living?" —Richard Canard


81.






82.

Last Thursday, 3 p.m.
A Play


The setting is ancient Greece, Tuesday, 3 p.m. 

Three minutes elapse.

{Curtain}

The setting is ancient Greece, Wednesday, 3 p.m.

Five minutes elapse.

{Curtain}

The setting is ancient Greece, Thursday, 3 p.m.

Four minutes and sixteen seconds elapse.

Enter two men in togas from opposite ends of the stage. No one notices the kangaroo.

Parmenides: Hey Socrates.
Socrates:   Hey Parmenides. What is Truth?
Parmenides: I don't know, Socrates. What is Truth?
Socrates:   I don't know, Parmenides.
Parmenides: Okay. So long, Socrates.
Socrates:   So long, Parmenides.

{Curtains}


83.


(book recently read)


84.



85.





86.


(mini-manifesto 3)

87.

88.



89.
(grand total of money earned writing "serious" literature in 2014)

89.

90.



(Amy Irwen)

91.


Could this be the purpose of our existence, the reason why God created Man and Woman—so he could move around in the temporal world that he created? Are we no more than the equivalent of avatars in God's video game, killed off one by one? God playing his game with unlimited lives...

92.


93.



94.
Women Do Not Make Good Absurdists, Why?
A Play



The setting is the moon. In the background, Neil Armstrong is looking around on the lunar surface for a dime he just dropped. He's sifting through the dust with the American flag that he still hasn't planted. In the foreground, a typical Starbucks as one might find in any suburban mall. Angry elephants sounds, etc.

Two women, Svetlana and Jane.

Svetlana: Did you say that just to upset me?
Jane:  Green tea sucks!
Svetlana: I'm not enlightened, Jane.
Jane: I'd like to get a green tea.

{Curtain}


95.



(reliquary)


96.

(book still reading)
…and likely to be reading it for a while yet. 
It's fascinating, brilliant, illuminating but dense, at least to my flitting, intuitive, non-analytic brain. Twenty pages at a time seems to be about the limit I can focus on and parse out in any given sitting.) 


97.



—Philip K. Dick, "Valis"

98.


99.


What Kind of Poem This Is

This is a poem 
without any epiphanies,
where nothing gets resolved,
nothing happens,
hell, I don't think
anything even gets described.

This is a poem through which
no bird flies
no tree casts a shadow,
sheds a leaf,
timbers over,
where nothing natural appears at all
not even a clump of dirt.

This is a poem where
no dad shaves, no mom
dies of cancer, no love
is mourned, nothing
in particular is remembered
at all.

Nothing rhymes,
needless to say.

This is a poem
where phrases like needless to say
are needlessly said.

Lines are truncated
for little 
or no reason.

The word cunt appears
only to liven things up.
The words red cunt appear
to make things even livelier.

This is the kind of poem where
I say I got fucked in the ass last night
and tasted cotton candy
as if the cock probing inside me
activated some olfactory memory lost
in some otherwise unreachable part 
of my brain and in a flash I'm twelve again
under the boardwalk
watching the ferris wheel, hearing
the screams from the rollercoaster
discovering sex for the first time 
even though
none of this is true
nothing of the sort happened. (see 
the verse above).

This is the kind of poem a cat walks through.

This is the kind of poem
where you figure
well, she must be trying to say something
even if unsuccessfully
even though I swear to you
I'm not trying to say anything.

This is the kind of poem
where both of us 
are always wrong.

This is the kind of poem 
that you get lost walking 
around inside
like a new apartment before you've
moved in or like an old
apartment after your stuff
has been moved out
and you think wow, 
where did all the life 
I lived here go?

This is the kind of poem
where somewhere in the middle
the poet starts talking to you
directly or starts talking to herself
as if the reader isn't here at all
as if she were alone.

This is the kind of poem 
that you begin to suspect
was written by a poet
who is just pulling your leg
but you have to wonder
doesn't she have anything
better to do?

This is the kind of poem
that never gets published,
never gets read,
never gets even so far
as being written.

This is the kind of poem
that you figure can only be saved
with a fantastic verse at the end
that ties it all together
that blows open your mind
that it sure the fuck better 
or you're going to feel really cheated
and pissed off that you've wasted
so much of your time reading it.

The kind of poem 
that the poet herself
interrupts to tell you right now
that there will be no fantastic verse 
at the end, that you 
are wasting your time,
that you might as well stop reading
right now if you're thinking
there will be some kind of payoff
to make it all worthwhile.

This is the kind of poem
that tells you this 
when it's already too late
when you've practically 
come to the end
when you figure
oh what the hell
I might as well read 
the rest of it.

(Manipulative bitch. Never read
another word by her, 
you'll end up muttering,
walking away when you're done,
I practically guarantee it).

But this is the kind of poem
that doesn't care what you think
that leaves a blank
between brackets so you can imagine
the poet laughing
at your hunched diminishing 
back as your feet
stomp you away […………………..
…………………….
………………………….]


This is the kind of poem 
that you're left looking
for what it is a metaphor
for even though the poet
insists it's not a metaphor
for anything, honest injun.

The way people will insist
on finding meaning in divorces,
loss of limbs, natural disasters, 
sudden deaths, that's 
not her problem.

This is the kind of poem
that lets you go on deluding 
yourself if that's what
you've set your mind to doing,
it's not any skin
off this poet's nose.

This is the kind of poem that 
doesn't care if you're listening
or not, like a radio playing
in a room the only person 
sitting in has just
walked out of.

This is the kind of poem the cat walked through again.

This is the kind of poem 
that can't remember 
whether it said it didn't have any
similes in it and if it turns out 
it did say such a thing doesn't
care if it violated its own 
rules or contradicts itself now
nor will it go back
and change what it said
earlier.

That's because 
this is the kind of poem that 
revises itself
by addition as it goes along,
it doesn't look back.

Furthermore, 
this is the kind of poem 
that invites you to add a verse
or two yourself.
Go ahead, add three,
or a dozen, knock yourself out,
be my guest
don't just fucking sit there
do something
get involved.
I don't own this poem any more
than I own the words
it's written with,
the hand that holds the pen,
or the brain attached 
to the hand.
None of it is mine,
nothing.

Publish it yourself if you like
if you can
under our own name.
Do you think I care?

Add your own lines here: [




                                          
         ].


This is the kind of poem that allows
your mind to wander off,
to come back later,
or never to come back at all.

This is the kind of poem
as if you couldn't 
have guessed 
already
that doesn't give a shit about you
at all
and why should it
did you add anything to it
like you were kindly asked to
just a couple of verses above
or did you just sit there
like a bump on a log
expecting all the work
to be done for you
thinking your passivity
your inane criticisms
were enough?

Look, this isn't the kind of poem
that pretends to be your best friend
or your lover
or even your ex-wife;
it's none of those things.

This poem isn't your goddamn mother.

This is the kind of poem the cat walks through
for the third time now.

The kind of poem
that looks across the table at you
and says it's over
I don't love you anymore
that ends
just like this
without warning

or not
the kind of poem
just hanging around
in case 
you have another line 
to add
something more to say
that might convince it
to linger
a while longer...

The kind of poem that lights 
a cigarette
and when you snarkily inquire 
since when 
did you start smoking
tilts back its head
and shoots a flawless stream of smoke
straight up in the air
smirking conspiratorially at the stars
it cannot name 
as if to say
just who the hell 
do you think you are 
to even ask.





100.



Isn't most communication of any sort a one-way street anyway? Shouldn't she have been content with the inner sentences of hers going on for miles and miles—an entire continent's worth, for that matter—without anyone in any oncoming traffic taking any notice whatsoever?

—Gary Lutz