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  • - * 13 DOORS OF X* *Meeah Williams* The Barking Cat Press * 2015 Brooklyn, NY * Seattle, WA copyright 2015 Meeah Williams/The Barking Cat...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

=correspondance 26=

I have to write this down. 
The doctor said so. 
Every day, three pages. 
Every day, no exceptions.
It doesn’t matter what I write. 
The content isn’t important. 
I have big, loopy handwriting so it’s not that hard. 
It really doesn’t amount to a lot of work. 
The doctor doesn’t complain about my handwriting.
If he  knows I’m cheating with my sloppy penmanship so I don’t have to write that much he doesn’t say anything. 
He doesn’t seem to mind. 
Maybe that tells him more than what I actually write, which can be anything, which can be this, what you’re reading.  
Who knows? 
I’m not a doctor. 
I carefully fold the paper in thirds and put it in an envelope under my pillow and wait lying on top of the sheets until  he comes by on his rounds. 
He asks me if I did my pages today and I say “Yes doctor,” and he says “Good girl,” and then he has me lift my head and he reaches under the pillow and removes the envelope. 
He takes the pages out and reads them quietly and I turn over on my tummy and raise my fanny in the air. 
When he’s finished reading he wets his thumb and sticks it inside me, like he’s sticking a thumb in a pudding. 
He pulls it out and presses his thumb print to the last sheet, refolds the paper, and puts it back into the envelope. 
He puts the envelope into the left pocket of his lab coat, where he carries his stethoscope, and the envelopes presumably containing the pages of his other patients. 
In the meantime, I’ve pulled my nightie down and my panties up and turned over on my back. 
“Okay then” he says, and pats me chastely on the thigh. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” 
“Okay doctor,” I say and smile because somehow they teach you that’s what you’re supposed to do to make the things that happen to you in this world that shouldn’t happen to anyone in any kind of  world worth living in fuzzy enough to be bearable. 

And the strange thing is, they’re right, it works, it so fucking works it's crazy.

=Raise your antennae. A shake-up could see you. Patience. When retrograde, life will show. Take advantage. Some time away. Thanks, Jupiter!=

=Today on Twitter!!!=

I cut something out of the Village Voice!

Friday, April 29, 2016

=Book recently read: House of Incest by Anais Nin=

Daddy spent a lot of time in the basement. No one knew what he did down there. "He's practicing his bowling," my mother said and left it at that. We knew enough to question her no further. Night after night, sitting in the family room, we heard the sawing, the hammering, and the clanging of pipes coming from under our feet. We heard the sound of women's laughter down below. We turned the volume on the television higher to hear our cartoons better. We did our best to ignore the racket. One day, daddy didn't come up for dinner when my mother called. "Go get your father," she tells me. "Tell him dinner's ready." Why me, I think, it doesn't seem fair but I go down the stairs to find him all the same. Someone had to. Every story needs a sacrifice. I mean, a hero.

I guess it has been a long, long time since I've been in the basement because it seems a lot larger to me than I remember it. What I recall is a damp, poorly-lit, concrete room with a furnace, a dartboard, and a disordered workbench. Now the one room leads to another, which opens onto another, etc. There is an entire labyrinth of rooms beneath our house. Each is rough-hewn, unplastered, hastily hacked from the raw earth, as if my father, not finding what he was looking for in one room, his car-keys, for instance, impatiently abandoned it for another. And now I feel like I am following in his footsteps. Because I find no answers in the room I'm in, I imagine another and another. I am continuing my father's work.

 I walk for what seems a very long time, calling out, "Dad? Daddy? Poppa?" but there is no answer. After a time, I grow tired and frustrated. I don't want to admit it but I am also frightened. I decide I'd better turn back and tell mom I can't find him before I get hopelessly lost. But when I turn around I realize it is already too late. I have no idea where I am or how to find my way back. Every room looks exactly the same and there seems to be thousands of them. This is the real house, it suddenly occurs to me, the house beneath the house we all thought we were living in. Now that I know the secret I have to tell someone.

I find a broom standing against a wall in one of the rooms and thump it's handle hard against the ceiling. I stop and wait and thump again. There is no answer from above. Instead I hear one of my siblings turn up the volume on the television, just as we'd always done. Mother, you sent me down here to do a man's job, but I wasn't a man. I wasn't even a boy. Nor were you a mother or even a woman. It was a case of mistaken identities all around. We were both virgins and this labyrinth was intended to be our tomb. The truth is slowly dawning on me. I am fated to live alone with my father's secret. What was he thinking, this man who was not my father any more than I was his child? What was the purpose of this labyrinth? Did he hide his sin down here, his monster, the thing that was never to see the light of day? Had he ever bowled a perfect 300 game? I will be down here forever trying to answer these questions. I will live in fear of finding the monster who will devour me when at last I stumble upon the final room in this maze. But every room is the final room and I am the monster in every one.

=correspondance 18=

What I like to imagine is that there is a very thick plate of plexiglas between me & the world. Better yet, a one-way mirror. I can hear & see everything but no one can hear or see me. Actually this is all too metaphorical & requires far too much imaginational hardware. So I think of myself as a ghost—a far more realistic & supportable notion inasmuch as I feel as if I were born half dead already—& remain only half-alive. In spite of myself, I can be seen sometimes, albeit hazily—and I can still move & knock stuff over. I can even be heard though I try not to make that mistake too often as it is almost always to my regret. As it is, I'm only perceptible by very sensitive people & fortunately there aren't too many of those around.

=Book recently read: Ugly Man by Dennis Cooper=

What kind of anti-social dysfunctional asshole goes to a wedding with a book under her arm?

That's what the-mother-of-someone really wants to know.

She's taken a seat next to me outside of a secret bathroom for use only by the wedding party.

Dammit, just my luck.

I stumbled upon it by accident, looking for the most out-of-the-way place to which I could retreat from the menagerie in the main hall, all those nightmarishly looming faces, booming voices, and bared teeth.

Somewhere on the periphery, where the volume of the thought-pulverizing band is reduced to something approaching ignorable, something that could arguably be the bruising soundtrack of someone else’s life.

"What are you reading that's so interesting?" she asks, smiling, forcing herself to look semi-amused at my literary dedication.

Me, the backward, bookish, boorish wallflower at the ball.

The cutting of the cake, the tossing of the bouquet, the moving exchange of individually composed vows, the cocktail hour, the people you haven't seen in ten years, won't see again in another ten, and wish you wouldn't have to see ever again if you live to be two hundred.

That’s not enough for you?

That’s what she really wants to ask and who can blame her?

Instead, here you are, by the secret pissoir, reading?

And not your iPhone, but a freaking book?

What, pray tell?

"Dennis Cooper."

I flash her a look at the cover, singularly unpleasant, illustrated with a grotesquely phallic pickle.

"I don’t think I ever heard of him," the mother-of-someone says.  She's unconsciously picking imaginary cooties off her lap that she fears she's caught from such close proximity to yours truly."Is he any good?"

"He's a disquieting genius," I say, quoting the blurb from Vanity Fair that's featured across the pickle. “He’s Bret Easton Ellis before there was a Bret Easton Ellis,” I add my own imaginary blurb.

"So you like it?"

 I should just say “yes” and leave it at that but instead I hear myself saying:

"Well all the gay sex doesn't do much for me. Personally I’m far from a prude when it comes to sex-stuff in general, but to tell you the truth, I can’t help but wonder is this representative of what gay men really do? It’s all so…so obsessively, monomaniacally anal. I mean, it isn’t the penetration and violation of that orifice for unnatural purposes that I find off-putting, lord only knows. It’s the unending descriptions of the licking, the sniffing, the tastes, the odors…asses are described like faces, with emotions and expressions, as if they were an entire cast of secondary characters in their own right. Correction, make that the main characters for which the people to which they are attached are little more than an Uber service ferrying them to various sodomistic rendezvous. That aside, though, I like the general idea of what he's trying to do. You know, the transgression and all."

Did I really say all of that or was I just thinking it?

How much did I say?

How much did I have to drink?

Was that vintage-age Xanax more powerful than I thought?

Have I become deranged?

"Is being gay really all that taboo nowadays?" she asks lightly, now plucking at her corsage.  “I thought it was fairly mainstream by now.”

She's not fooling me.

The mother-of-someone is as republican and straight as the day is long, even if she votes democrat.

Or says she does.

"No, but I’d venture that all the casual killing still is.  Half the people in this book get off on killing and the other half get off on being killed. I might be exaggerating the percentages a bit, but not by much. Necro-fetish. Yeah, I think that's probably still taboo."

"I see," she says, still smiling.  “That is disturbing, isn't it?”

“The really disturbing thing was that I didn’t find it that disturbing at all.”

Her eyes dart off to the sides.

Is no one coming on whose behalf she can excuse herself from my dark gravitational pull?


You can almost hear her thinking, What the hell are they doing in that VIP toilet anyway?

She turns back, reluctantly, to me.

Social courtesy can be hell; it's like I'm punishing her with this fact, taking my revenge on a world of propriety and hypocritical politesse that I've always despised.

"Do you think real people actually have such a fetish?"

She asks the question as if she doesn’t really expect—or want—an answer.

This is where I should say that I have no idea.

This is where I should shut up.

Instead, I’m like the Ancient Mariner in the Coleridge poem of the same name.

I stoppeth my one of three.

I say, "Well, I don't fantasize about killing anyone. That wouldn't turn me on at all. But I can easily get turned on imagining being killed. But not by a gay guy. It would have to be a straight guy. Or guys. And it would have to be relatively painless for it to be sexy. But that's the problem. Even in fiction. It's just not realistic to stay sexually aroused while you're being beaten or stabbed or butchered. The characters who volunteer for death face that fact in the book and you'd face that in real life, too. The killers promise to make it as painless as possible but either they're lying to get the victim to go along with the fantasy or at some point they lose control and just start doing whatever they want, which is always pretty gruesome. You really can't blame them either, I suppose. I mean, they're taking all the risk by killing you. If they get caught, they're going to jail, even if you were a willing victim. Even if you sign papers, a contract, let's say. It’s not legally binding. You can’t legally give someone the right to kill you. Your life isn’t your own, when you come right down to it, sad as that is to say. So who can ultimately blame them? If they're going to put their own futures on the line by killing you is it really reasonable to suppose that they're going to let you dictate to them how they're going to do it? Don't you think they're going to go for their own peak experience and goddamn you? Are they really going to allow themselves to be topped from below? They'd have to really love you to allow that kind of extravagance and let's face it. What are the odds that someone who agrees to murder you really loves you? But that’s where the idea of sainthood comes in because the willing victims in the stories are sort of like saints, suffering for the ecstasy of others, and for their own ecstasy, or, at least, a kind of apotheosis through erotic agony. Think of that famous statue of St. Teresa of Avila, for instance. The one by Bernini.

Again, I wonder if I really said all this out loud. It seems hard to believe I did, even at my most inebriated.

The mother-of-someone sits there, jaw slightly unhinged.

I swear whatever corsage that is pinned to the front of her dress has shown considerable wiltage since she first parked herself beside me and no amount of fingering will revive it.

It looks like it suffered through one of those time-lapse photography things when summer turns to autumn in about three seconds flat.

"I should be getting downstairs," she says. "I think they're…well, I think they're doing something I should be in attendance for."

She looks vaguely worried.

“I thought I heard some kind of announcement.”

"Okay," I say brightly.

Later, I spot the mother-of-someone on the parquet floor in front of the melting ice sculpture—once a swan now a dwarf twisted with some kind of horrible degenerative bone condition—slow-dancing with her husband.

She presses her lips to his ear and whispers something to him and he cranes his head up over the crowd to get a better look at me.

He's never had much use for me up to now.

In fact, this may be the first time he's ever really noticed me.

Later still, as the die-hards hunker down for the long bitter end ahead and the band gets increasingly peevish  and aggressive in the face of  their inability to drive them home with the most terse and hostile renditions of “I Need a Hero” and "It's Raining Men," my boyfriend and I say our good-byes.

The mother-of-someone looks past me with an air-kiss that safely flies high above my cheek.

She says how good it was to see me while making eye contact with the next person in line.

Her husband gives me a hug.

I feel his knobby little fingers playing around on my butt as if they were exploring combinations of buttons on a game console, looking for shortcuts.

Forget it, you fat little sanctimonious toad, I'm thinking, I'd never let you kill me, not in a million years.

Then on the ride home, and again later in bed, I'm picturing random scenarios and there I am splayed on the buffet table and split down the middle, oozing warm stuffing, garnished with fruit, and the mother-of-someone's husband has his fist shoved halfway up my ass. 

I'm shocked to find him standing there.

He smiles and winks.

Then he flexes his hand, knowing full well what it will do to me. 

I guess it really is possible to learn something new about ourselves and each other, something that changes everything.

 Life really is full of surprises.

=Consume your entire world. Love will conjunct. Pave the way. Then, on the 12th, it will feel like walking. Revel. Time is glue. Notch'em.=

=Today on Twitter!!!=

The way I would leave if there were a fire!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The relief I keep forgetting to feel when I remember that life is totally pointless and irrational and therefore not deserving of a reasonable response or an ounce of respect with regard to the consequences of absolutely anything.

=Mr. Ned=

Life is pretty terrible.
It’s like being strangled with a shoelace
for sixty or seventy years.
And if you try to plant
a bullet in your brain
they call you insane.
Then it’s a matter of pills and jabber
until you finally convince them
you’ve given up horticulture.
In the corner of my eye
there is a starving dog.
(You have one, too)
He sits there on his bony haunches
with his long hot tongue lolling out.
His sparse yellow fur is no doubt
crawling with fleas.
He does not bother scratching.
He is waiting for me to die.
He is so lean you can count his ribs.
I have three decades or so left.
It’s going to be a long wait
for both of us.
I have decided to think of him
as a pet.
He never comes when called.
He just sits there.
I’ve grown quite used to it.
I have even given him a name.
Mr. Ned.
I know if I throw a stone at him
he won’t budge.
If it hits him,
it will bounce off
and he'll just sit there.
He is my dog.
He knows it.
He has no one else to love him.

=from Susan McAllister=

=Today on Twitter!!!=

What my feet look like while I listen to someone talk about hams they've eaten!

Your fish shrink today. Call them up! Share your interruption with a friend. Good or bad, it’s used. Flyover. Time’s up. So? Monkey juice.

Monday, April 25, 2016

=Cities of the Interior (Document 6)=

=The Man Who Does Not Dream=

Sitting on the bed,
he takes out his teeth
and puts them in the goldfish bowl
on his nighttable.

He takes off his hair
and places it carefully
on a styrofoam head.

He sighs as he removes his feet
and stands them side by side
toes pointed towards
the open door.

He claps his hands and the lights
go out.

Lastly, he takes out his eyeballs
and puts them inside
the souvenir shot glasses
he bought at the train museum.

He lies back on the bed
pulls up the sheet
and crosses his arms.

Inside the shot glasses
the eyes glow faintly
with the day's lost light.

=Today on Twitter!!!=

At the wedding I see some wainscoting!

Push yourself out in the open. Beat your bush. Heavily transparent. Read the same page. Blank balance. Smile. Tiptoe. Be normal. Then…zoo!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

=new day grid=

You suddenly realize everyone around you is a better person than you are. Everyone! No, you're not just saying this to feel sorry for yourself: it's literally true! Even the people you hate, the people who hurt you the most, are better human beings than you are. No wonder they hurt you. Even if you didn't deserve it in this or that particular instance, as a general rule you did. They sensed what kind of person you were and acted instinctively and accordingly. You deserved it, whatever it was. Own it, baby.

=Book recently read: Cities of the Interior by Anais Nin=

The smart money is on the diaries. Has been for decades. Consensus pretty much concludes that Anais Nin's fiction doesn't measure up, that it's too airy, convoluted, "poetic," interior—at best a fictionalized and diluted version of the diaries. What do we need her invented novels and stories for when we have the diaries of her actual thoughts and experiences? The diaries are the "real stuff."

But at the same time there are the critics of the diaries. Who see in them a self-justifiying, self-aggrandizing, self-mythologizing Nin, not always faithfully recording what "really" happened, often blind to her own faults while imputing faults and weaknesses onto others. They seem to expect in Nin's diaries a kind of legal testament, the truth and nothing but the truth, and they feel cheated and outraged when they don't get it. They willfully miss the keystone of Nin's aesthetic, repeated many times in the painstakingly clearest of terms, which is that there is no "truth" save  the one that emerges from the intersection of the perception of ourselves—which includes our past lives, our dreams, our fantasies, and our desires—with events and people in the present. Like filters laid over each other, our resulting view of the world around us is colored by who we are and who we want to be. Nin quotes the Talmud in this context: "We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are." In short, we create our realities. Nin believed this to be the case in her diaries every bit as much as she did in her fiction.

Therefore, one really shouldn't expect much more "veracity" in her diaries than they do in her fiction. Reality, in Nin's view, is necessarily, even desirably, fictionalized.

To say exactly what happened, who said and did what, is not only categorically impossible, it's not even the "truth." In fact, it misses the truth of what really happened.

If I have an encounter with someone, a simple transcription of words and actions won't record anything but the raw stage directions of the encounter. What's going on in my head, what memories are evoked, what desires raised and frustrated, dreams reawakened, tragedies relived…and the same for the other person…these are all a part of the reality of the situation. Without attempting to capture this otherwise invisible context, what happens between myself and the other is one-dimensional and true only in the narrowest sense of the word. It's like trying to give testimony in court and having the judge gavel us into silence every time we try to explain the "truth" of a situation, our answer hammered into submission with the preemptive order to reply with nothing more than a "Yes or No." Within such constraints, we can't help but lie and we know it. But to do otherwise, to answer outside those constraints, is punishable as contempt of court.

What Nin tries to do in her diaries is capture the multi-dimensionality, the open-endedness, the theatricality of her life—and by example, all our lives. Critics, cross-referencing and comparing her accounts with those of others as well as records of "objective" facts, have called what Nin does obfuscating and lying. But they miss the point, which is that we create our lives as we go along, both unconsciously and consciously. Conventionally, this is a far more acceptable practice in fiction than it is when writing a diary. But it happens in both.

By condemning Nin's fiction as being too introspective and at the same time condemning her diary as playing too fast and loose with the "truth," the critics have  cast Anais Nin into a literary limbo. Not a major writer in the 20th century canon, her main biographer Deirdre Bair concluded, but somewhere in the second tier.

Nin always wanted her stories and novels to make her literary name. The diaries she considered just that…private diaries, records of personal encounters, behind-the-scenes workshops for her fiction and ideas. But it was not to be. Henry Miller pushed the idea that the diaries were the thing. And eventually, reluctantly, finding the roads to recognition and appreciation of her literary efforts blocked in every other direction, Nin came around to his point of view. So she became a prisoner, in effect, of the diaries, which she never intended for publication.

And, of course, when her fiction was celebrated at all, it was her pornography they praised. What she considered her "real" work never found appreciation.

But having read the five connected "continuous" novels of "Cities of the Interior" I think Nin's fiction has been grossly undervalued and unfairly maligned. As a result, it's simply not read anymore. I think it's due for a serious re-evaluation. I think the novels of "Cities of the Interior" better than anything in the diaries. They are, in fact, everything the diaries are—and more. They are every bit the crowning achievement of her life, art and ideas that she estimated them to be.

Skyrocket. Set up a loose hose. Interrupting your mind won’t mind. Help with a leash. Don’t make it sound like a lecture. You need a nail.

=Today on Twitter!!!=

A band-aid I took off!

Friday, April 22, 2016

=Ways to Prepare for Disaster=

I read that Prince has died suddenly and I won't lie. I don't give a damn about Prince or his music, never gave a thought to either, but all the same I feel upset and jittery about it for the rest of the day. And the next day, too.

Was he like a brick supporting the foundation of our common reality that can't help but destabilize things once it's pulled out, whether we "think" about it or not?

For sure, everything seems a little bit tilted to one side.

=Today on Twitter!!!=

Something my husband found in the street!

Push. You can catch up but--. A spark or two. It’s your job on an elevator. Strange talk. At an intersection. Return. Pick a spot. Eyeball.

Friday, April 15, 2016

=Cities of the Interior (Document 5)=

=Book recently read: This is Not a Novel and other novels by David Markson=

I try not to be intentionally inhuman. I'm inhuman enough by nature not to have to make any special efforts in that direction, confessed Virginia Woolf.

Thomas Paine believed himself endowed with ESP. Although in 1785 he wouldn't have called it that.

The contemporary news reporter who apparently labored under the impression that Ramone was the real last name of at least some of the members of the band The Ramones. And that they were actually brothers.

T.S. Eliot had a fear of mouthwash. And camels.
So reported Pound, who had a fear of spaghetti.

William Blake died of an infected toenail.
Which he refused to have treated. 
Believing it to be the manifestation of the Archangel Gabriel, dictating a prophetic poem.

Reviewer acutely aware of the pointlessness of writing another book review no one will read. And, besides, who is there to care about her views on anything? And who could blame them?

Weddings and funerals bring out all I loathe most about human nature, so quipped Dorothy Parker.
At last I now have the perfect excuse not to listen to anyone's idea of music but my own. Said Beethoven on the consolations of going deaf.
The last time I'll have to look at any of their cow-stupid faces,
a blind Milton consoled himself, thinking of his critics.

F.T. Marinetti never learned to drive an automobile.
Alfred Jarry was buried upright on his bicycle per his deathbed request.
In full bicycle racing regalia, seated backwards.
I owe everything to the Jewish people. I couldn't have accomplished one-tenth of what I've accomplished without them. God bless them. 
Said Adolf Hitler.

All in all, not such a bad guy to have over for pot roast, said Charlie Chaplin.
Re: Josef Stalin.

The stubborn rumor that Lincoln was homosexual.
The stubborn rumor that Washington was also.
And that Andre Gide was not.

Reviewer writing this review in the form of the book it is purporting to review. As if that isn't obvious enough, she points it out nonetheless lest anyone accuse her of not being half as clever as she thinks she's being.
An awful lot of crying over spilt milk.
Being Nietzsche's summation of Schopenhauer's philosophy.

Who will be the first school-shooter to proclaim that his actions were intended as a work of art? Who will be the first to apply for a grant from the National Council for the Arts to finance the planning and enacting of a performance of "homegrown terrorism"?

Often reciting in her head the memorized poems of Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath confided to her diary. In order to pass the time while fellating Ted Hughes. 
Einstein's fetish for women's footwear.
Noted by Enrico Fermi.
Wittgenstein was a championship caliber ping pong player.
Even with his off-hand.

The impossibility of laughing all the way to the bank. Or all the way to anywhere, as pointed out by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Reviewer unaware of the frozen smile on her face while recounting a horrific childhood trauma. Until the psychiatrist asks why she's smiling.
John Cummings being Johnny Ramone's real name.
Jeffrey Hyman being Joey's.

He has no right to complain to God about the evils and injustices of the world and the sorrows of life who himself nevertheless decides to bring a child into it.
Said Maimonides. 

Mina Loy earned money as a dominatrix.

Lyndon Johnson kept pony-girl porn in a bottom drawer of his desk in the Oval Office. 

Reviewer's unsubstantiated but nevertheless unshakable belief that David Markson committed suicide. Although it's reported simply that his children found him dead one morning in bed at age 83. And his ex-wife's confirmation that he was suffering from cancer.

The persistent rumor that Van Gogh did not attempt suicide but was in fact shot by the pimp of the woman for whom he cut off part of his ear.

Ben Franklin, who had a slave hold the kite string during the lightning storm.
Just in case.

Georg Trakl tried to drown himself unsuccessfully three times.
Before finally succeeding to kill himself via erotic asphyxiation after a cocaine overdose.

The rumors circulating at the time that Byron murdered Shelley and made it look like an accident. Or that Shelley drowned himself.
Suspicion of suicide, Roethke, too. 

A parody, a cry for help, a petulant demand for attention. These being a few of the things this review might be.

A sly form of autobiography being another. 

Napoleon who apparently believed that he could be raised from the dead. And planned his triumphant return from the grave to reconquer France with the aid of a necromancer. Who was actually in the employ of his captors and hastened the former emperor's death via arsenic poisoning.
A tasteless joke, another.

The hushed-up evidence that immortality already exists, but only for the super wealthy elite, who fake death to appear mortal and lay low until they can safely return to the world with a new identity. Steve Jobs being onesuch. 

Reviewer considers this not as far-fetched as it might initially appear. Consider, for instance, the ancient Egyptians, for whom immortality was also a privilege reserved exclusively for the elite.

Reviewer inquiring, in all serious, if her husband knows where he might procure a cyanide tablet so that she wouldn't have to survive him, should it come to that.

The chances that Emily Dickinson ever performed oral sex on anyone. Are they greater or less than those of a comet destroying the earth within the next eighteen months?

Upon his death, the discovery that Wallace Stevens had let his own life insurance policy lapse. To his family's outrage. 

Atilla the Hun had an angelic singing voice—with which he would serenade the prisoners he had disemboweled.

A Frida Kahlo at loose ends in New York City, estranged again from Diego, once papered the city with ads soliciting the services of someone to strangle her.

The mysterious "Laure" who toyed with the idea of letting her lover Georges Bataille murder her. A human sacrifice, she would become the sacred transgression cementing together the secret literary society Bataille hoped to form as a new kind of religion, now that God and the old religions were dead and obsolete, respectively.

Reviewer thinking she would seriously consider the idea of becoming a blood sacrifice herself had she been Bataille's lover.
You never know what's enough until you regain consciousness in an alley bleeding from the rectum with three of your front teeth loosened, said Oscar Wilde, riffing on Blake.

The purest surrealist act would be to fire a loaded pistol randomly into a crowd, people like to forget Andre Breton once said. Or prefer to think he was just being surreal, especially since 9-11. 

Found in Osama bin Laden's bunker after his murder by Navy SEALS: Horton Hears a Who.
Found open on Theodore Geisel's bedside at the time of his death from oral cancer: The Qur'an.

Do your best. Laugh at yourself. 
Being the best advice David Markson could offer in conclusion.