it all

Sometimes you just want to write it all the same way you sometimes just want to eat it all–because you’re hungry, and because it’s there. The sad, the terrible thing is that you can’t write it all at once, even if you could easily define “it” and “all,” which you can’t.

On the other hand, the fact that it can never all be written is also the wonderful thing, because there will always be more to be written when you have the need to write. You will always have the need to write it all, so it’s just as well that you can never write it all. It’s true that because this need can never be satisfied you will always be frustrated, but this is true of all the real needs, and so having them is how you know you’re alive.

day moon
the apple dangles
just out of reach

another way

Decide you aren’t going to sweep away cobwebs anymore. It will be another way you’re different. Maybe it’s just because you’re short but you can barely even see them up there. And when you do see them you don’t see something to be swept away. You see something spun out of nothing. You see the work that went into making a pattern. You see silk emerging silkily from an abdomen; you see the elegant, precise word “spinnerets”; you see Ariadne, and you take pity on her.

Say, “No, leave them, I love spiders.” There–you’ve caused a stir, you’ve started a rumor, you’ve launched a myth. You’ve spun your own web, and you’re at the center of it, resting and waiting.

spring cleaning
I find the one thing
I wanted to stay lost

 

the pertinent emotion

It’s like a freight train, if you know what I’m saying. It’s like the microscopic life in a drop of pond water. It’s like a deaf bat. You can just imagine.

I shouldn’t even be saying this. I should be shrugging my shoulders, folding a flotilla of paper boats, setting them on fire, watching them sink.

What would it cost to resurrect the boats, to fit the bat with hearing aids? Just give me a rough estimate. The closest approximation to love you can hazard.

drifting in the current
my answer
when you finally ask

 

 

Incompatible

It’s like a scene from a satirical movie about the 21st century. Our phones have conflicting but equally mistaken ideas about how to get where we’re going; in their incompatible eerie voices they instruct us in ever firmer tones to take more and more wrong turns. We don’t want to silence them because who knows, maybe they’ll figure out where they’re going after a while, and anyway neither of us wants to be the first to admit that their phone is wrong, so we just yell at each other over the voices, adding two more layers of navigational confusion to the general chaos.

Still I feel no nostalgia for the previous millennium; for its unwieldy paper maps that obscured the forward view; for the necessity of squinting at the trickily intersecting lines representing our path; for the infinitesimal print that silently explained everything; for the way the driver–it was a different driver then–yelled at me to hurry up, to figure out where we were going, before it was too late, which it always, always was.

longer days
objects are closer
than they appear

what I read, what I didn’t

Chapter One.

The doctor’s habit is to hold his hand in front of his face
when he’s delivering bad news. He looks like he’s about to
cough but he’s about to tell you that he saw a shadow in your
lungs. “That’s a great metaphor,” you don’t say. You don’t say,
“Wow, and then what happened?” He’s not that kind of doctor.
You probably need a new doctor, one with a literary sensibility,
the hell with how he did in med school. You take notes in your
private shorthand while wondering what part of town they keep
those doctors in.

and out of nowhere it dawns on you that blossoms are fruit

 

Chapter Two.

The Man Who’s Sometimes There asks you if you need anything.
This is a signal he’s about to not be there for a while. He needs
something to bring back with him when he returns. “Something to read,”
you tell him. The Man looks worried. He doesn’t understand what
you like to read. You can’t blame him, you don’t really understand
either. Now that you think of it, you don’t even want anything to read.
Reading makes you feel like throwing up. You tell him to bring pudding,
because he loves pudding. Then you lie on the couch for six hours not
reading. It’s the only thing you can think of to do.

all summer all the voices on the radio

 

Chapter Three.

Each Thursday from two to five, while tethered to the most insidiously
comfortable chair in the world, you spend way too long wondering
things: whether the cactus in the waiting room is real, whether your
brain will survive being poisoned, whether the nurse with the blue
fingernails would ever be your friend. Is there some kind of
professional taboo against that? What does the nurse with the blue
fingernails do with her friends? You suspect it’s something lighthearted
and wonder whether you could ever hack that. You go to sleep and
wonder things in your dreams, things too vague and terrifying and
beautiful to put into words, and when you wake up the nurse with the
blue fingernails is laughing at you. Or no, wait, she’s just laughing at
something the other nurse said, but it’s too late, you kind of hate
the blue-fingernailed nurse now. Well, it was nice while it lasted.

a sharp distinction between apples and alone

 

Chapter Four.

The new doctor, who by now is the old doctor, asks you if you saw
that new Haruki Murakami book that’s more pictures than words.
The new doctor’s got you wrapped around his little finger. That’s a
great metaphor, you don’t tell yourself. You only ever read anymore
to have something to talk about with the new doctor. You say
something about Haruki Murakami that only makes sense to somebody
with a poisoned brain and the new doctor nods the way he nods
when you’re being crazy. I’m not sure, he says, that it was a very
successful experiment. He looks at the computer where he stores
everything he knows about you and sighs, and frowns, and opens his
mouth to speak again. Opens his mouth and says some words, but
words are just words to you now. What’s real out in the waiting room?
What will someone bring you next?

listening very closely to frostbite