It was a wave all along.
It was a wave all along. It was repeated, your breaking, the you in the otherwise of the morning in the thick of the overgrowth. Form disappears in a video of a small piece of glass shattering into powder.
It was a wave all along. It was repeated, your breaking. And then somebody holds your wild you and sends you a postcard in the shape of a text message, a picture of the page of a book.
It was a wave, the glass breaking into all those tiny shards and the cup of your holding. A book is a picture in the form of a postcard. Read receipts exist for the purpose of cataloguing attention or the trace of it. Before the glass is broken, it is heated, and a drop of molten glass falls into cold water, causing it to harden with an immense amount of potential energy. They call the ability to shatter an immense amount of potential energy. They call the shattering.
It was a wave all along, the repetition of the tide is a way of watching the morning. I watched the glass break. It is in the breaking that the form articulates itself all at once and disappears. They call that disappearance a powder.
It was a wave, a text message. Your wildness made to be broken as a picture.
It was a wave all along, the glass broke and in its shattering into powder its function was realized. It was made to be broken. The form of the glass is such that it holds an immense amount of potential energy, so when you send a text message you might see a trace of it. A postcard is a picture of the page of a book.
It was a wave all along, the patterned breaking of the video of the tide. I repeated the pixelation. Form is a way of holding what they call an immense amount of potential energy. They call breaking into disappearance, articulated as form. And then somebody holds your pixelated you in the shape of a text message. Read receipts exist for the purpose of cataloguing attention.
It was a wave just the waves. The book disappears into a video and somebody holds a text message out to you, repeating the tide. The repetition of the morning is something other than form. They call what’s left over a powder. Before the glass is broken, it is heated, and a drop of molten glass falls into cold water, causing it to harden with an immense amount of potential energy. Send somebody a postcard in the shape of the page of a book. Text messages exist to catalogue attention in the form of energy.
It was never a wave. The tide articulates form as that which is broken. A postcard is a video of a book in the shape of a text message. They call that disappearance an immense amount of potential energy.
Friday, January 20, 2023
It was a wave all along.
Saturday, January 14, 2023
So much is lost in the everyday doing. Yesterday the midst of an e-mail broke some small thing in me. Misted plastic sheeting showing a small fissure. The call creates the landing. E-mails insert pointed arrows to indicate previous utterance in a moment of refrain, says Sawako Nakayasu. I say, again with the breaking, the body. Refrain from holding what holds together.
How slow it is to body the loss. How slow it is to keep going. Can not letting (grief) pass also be a passage? ask vqueeram and Vishal Jugdeo. Yes, I say, and walk the passage from the kitchen to the door of my room, illuminated underside of the question turned fortress, turned awning away from the rain. They say, more desire than function, and I say once more for the sake of breaking, for the sake of the light in the kitchen which is also hole to the sky.
In the book about a touch you can really feel, it says to touch the pages of the book as though the paper was not paper but skin, and not just skin but that which you desire to touch. It says, go cliché it even further, make the soft threads into the you of a sleeping wildness, a caress from some past or distant longing. It says to put the paper against your face. Not just touch, feeling. And if not that, the want of it, that substrate feel of the not-yet thwarted, the pickled remembrance of the how much want, of the immeasurable overflow. The rain, falling straight to earth, asks, is it ever possible to be directionless?
Monday, December 26, 2022
This is the improvisational underside of some other conversation we were going to have but forgot about. Instead, it was an image of a page and the edge of your hand. Instead, an invitation to go to the cables within which our shared passages pass for data and pass under the whatever of content and containerization. We share under the banner of banality something so precious we can’t even name it—can’t bring it into the right folder or give it the right tag. We let it pass and so we let it go. We pass small notes between thousands of miles and years of time. We’re trying to find another excuse to put everything down and talk about heartbreak and a piece of the sky. We’re exhausted with the calculus of the application and the approach, our own bullshit we took on without even noticing. Re-opening the same document under a different name with a new heading, we moved the line from the end of the fourth paragraph to beginning of the third. Do you hear it, or is that just the sound of the space heater doing its thing from across the room? At some point the need to distinguish becomes indistinguishable from what we’re trying to get away from. There was a flurry of snow and all I could see was white butterflies from that summer pulling into the humid garage. I mean, there was a fluttering and I wanted to touch you. I read an account of the world we used to live in together and cried when the author said that home happened when we were twenty-three. It happened when we were twenty. What we have in sequence are our shared failures to make something of the afternoon and a blanket that makes up a small mountain range. Illegibility was the first awning we met under. Turning our bodies into questions always runs the risk of not being oriented toward each other. But what other choice is there?
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Face wash in the kitchen sink across from a small bag of green onion and eggplant, murmuring. Speak. Don’t speak. Don’t pause. The exactitude of my writing is a three-point turn, inconsequential movement toward rest, its failure to name being something to try to find measurement in. And if not measure, what do these words add up to? Could be six extra limbs. Could be three more mouths. Could be, but what of when being dissolves into a finger?
Ruler, timestamp, word count, message—send. Don’t park there without the right sticker. The moon rises next to mars and another planet doesn’t twinkle. Last year I thought I’d seen Saturn rising over the sunset, only to watch it grow into an airplane. Don’t speak so fast, don’t talk. Don’t fall asleep in the midst of speaking. I fell asleep in your arms and woke up there, not knowing. I drove the same passage of road to read you. I asked, and you answered a song of stars, a galaxy, valentine’s day spent by the ocean making out in a car.
Lips move and the numbers add up. A whole mouthful is packed into a small jar and placed before you, before language cracked on the fault line between here and LA. One month teeters over, then another. A science is formed in the space between two hands. Bits of sediment break off in a resuscitation of a forgotten collection of love songs from high school, not homesickness exactly, but a catalogue of longings for what was before the winter. A pause, pockets drenched in sand.
People develop their own code that pulls them together. Little language of less than a year’s time. Is the ocean the same as the ocean, does the metaphor still read, lingering in blue?
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Too much excellence. Even the dissenters speak from a small ledge in great style, perfect anonymity, excellent font choice, footnoted hypocrisy acknowledged into more excellence. Official communications dissolve into two, break into four, shift into eight, something into sixteen, and keep shifting, inbox at eighty percent capacity. I still received the updates and marked my tasks done, gave my reactions, and conspired in encrypted messages. Behind every paragraph formatted into Garamond is a passage of someone else’s writing that I took a photo of to show you. I want to give it all away and still believe something else is possible. Generosity has no font, no method other than remaking, other than walking to the edge of the unknowing, even if such a movement isn’t graceful and the appointment was missed. The plea is not to read me, it is to find another way. A room with the others who failed to get it together on time or got preoccupied with whose hair is in the borrowed book, or whose recipe reminds me of when we first met. There’s so much aching generality of the limits we have. How better to body the loss than to try to know you. We come together at the end of the world to finally be, and from there a whole sea expands from our wanting too much, our asking too much, our hunger, our yearning for something other than an internship and an advisor. We’re here for the secret book club where we go to read each other. It is to linger, to not linger so long. There are so many others. We need to get back to each other.
Monday, December 12, 2022
What is broken, what does not break, what is breaking in the broken, what is movement against which we break with desire? What is exception, what is comparable, what list of compatible, what is replaceable breakable, what waves to you? What is moon, what other planet where instead of two there is one, what is one, what is we, what is waves breaking over, break us into desire, into moonlight, what light broken into lightness? What is lightness, what needs assistance from the cashier, what is too light to be measured, what is the assistance that needs a break, what is the wavelength, what is the barcode, what is edged out of summertime, what calls itself December? What is the break in the waves, what is hands cupped hands, what is behind the ear, what is on its way, what is too early, what is overnight day-late next-day, what is sleeping next to us, what is next door? What distance keeps us, what widens it’s smile and shows its teeth, what gives itself away, what is the desire in the breaking, what is the shape of your breaking? What is desire now, after all we know?
Sunday, December 4, 2022
I'm thinking today about puddles and the capacity to be moved—the capacity to be puddled—in the muddying sense—might also be the capacity to be out of sense, out of step with the pace of things, something not quite right—a puddle-break with the sense-making—puddle the morning by reading the invitations we keep sending to each other—puddle the sky with the sky—puddle the capacity with its own reflection, streetlights and passing cars, wavering droplets and set of bicycle wheels—puddle the movement we call puddling—puddle writing without waiting, without promise—without saying we know what we’re are talking about—puddle in what we know—that we're asking for more puddles
Friday, December 2, 2022
I said we but mean I. I said you but mean me. I was tired and something slipped. Some apologies are merely ways of repositioning power, default of the default of some forgotten memory of being pushed in the mud. Polka dotted umbrella opened into the escape I don’t want anymore. It wasn’t the plan to bring you into this, but it was already a mess—already entangled or drenched or whatever metaphor someone else will come up with to name the thing we are for each other. The rain collects itself on anything it can, and we keep each other without asking. Some things are not about the asking. The exhaustion of gender is the question blown into noise, noised into color, pattered into screens which say something about what was once called representation, when I still thought I could talk about that without lying. But there is no lie here. When I said you, I meant you. I meant we and the apathy of puddles.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Linger on the lingering, unwrap in the citrus air and fog.
Barthes says that interdisciplinarity is about making something that belongs to no one.
Which means not even us. Which means what we are after is a giving away.
Less a honing, a sureness or even a losing. Less writing without writing to you,
and less a response than a call—a continual shifting, a listening, a pause.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
In a moment of pause, we talked about the inability to articulate what it was that we were trying to study, and how actually that was a place to come together under—the umbrella of the as-yet-unexplainable, the repeated failure to name a destination other than the refusal of what has been assigned, or the desire to get through with it so we can go eat dinner together. My own interest is in articulation and its failure, writing about writing or whatever we call it when we sit down to talk together after class. Even if it’s not a real thing of study in the way they want it to be, I don’t care. I love the thing we make in the continual renewal to find each other.
Then there was talk of studying puddles, and I speculated on how to write in puddle form. A puddle takes the shape of its shallow container, is temporary, and reflects the world in its immediate proximity. Is the puddle an excess or everything but? And fragility, is the puddle fragile? How to write like the liquid stumbled across when the clouds clear, the torn-up asphalt edges of the sky, leftovers of tire treads and the residual softness, all that blue pouring back toward sky. A body takes shape around the possibility of a new form, and we take in so much without ever realizing. “I want to poke a hole in my words so that people notice you are not here,” writes T. Fleischmann. “Comfortable divots you could fill some day, if you wanted to.” Doesn’t that sound like a puddle?
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
The question is broached: who are the entries addressed to? Who inhabits the “you” which ripples through this series of rubble, successive reaches toward what is without use, small piles of picking up the day and trying to explain it to someone. Articulation is not what I am after, even though it is my material and form. Rather than fixity, I’m interested in direction: the opening in language which moves out toward you and you and you—and still somehow misses. I’m interested in that redoubled missing. What I am after is the excess of the afterward, the walk home, the dinner on a whim, what might be possible over coffee or sandwiches or in our shared frustration in a lack of instruction. I’m interested in the way that in my loneliness, writing to you makes something possible, even if it is an impossible destination and in truth isn’t even you. This is a kind of sensemaking that remakes writing toward a distance which calls itself missing.
T. Fleischmann: “Let’s go to where the mail goes when it’s in the mail, waiting to get to your house.”
Roger Reeves: “What war / keeps me from saying Please, please / do not wash your hair tonight. / We are still trying to find each other.”
Saturday, November 5, 2022
How can we talk about the reach (the gesture: I am writing to you) without talking about hands? And how to think about hands without thinking about you, without hands holding hands, or the descriptive act that hands make possible? My writing is a trying, the attempt to call something into being through a reach, through description which breaks open when the project reaches its limit, its own edge as hands. The project falls before itself, fails in the act of describing anything other than writing or blogging or speaking into the void of a small rectangle. Hands on cold plastic keys. Hands on pages of ink. Hands scrolling through the numbers, the dumb analytics of hands. The problem with blogging is both that no one reads any of it and that someone might be. Someone’s hands navigating the a different kind of same. Plexiglass and plastic and rubber and self-grime. We like that kind of thing. We keep walking toward each other even as distance accumulates. This project is an accumulation of attempts to make description itself a kind of devotional object. This project is something my hands do.
When the poem says: "nothing can go wrong, do you understand / nothing can ever go wrong," is this an affirmation or a threat? These days I notice the small circle that follows me across town, minor weight of an attempt at trusting the body in its own way beyond grasp or understanding. It’s not that I’m trying to stay confused, it’s that I’m trying to hold some other space for what is not yet here. Or, to come at it from another angle: I’m trying to chart some small history of the desire to annihilate the self in the name of Objectivity, the overdetermined turn to remake the world as image, to look out there. Within this anxious checking every desk drawer, anxious searching as many carpet fibers as can fit in a hand, anxious car keys, anxious meanings of unread messages, I am trying to write toward the leaky problem that spills into every day when the door inside a word opens up and meaning evacuates. Do you understand what could go wrong? Nothing can ever go wrong.
Sunday, October 16, 2022
And if the lesson is everything you don’t want to hear? And if that might be some other truth, silent, along with the three-sided die, the water’s edge, and a morning thick with fog?
In the story about the young botanist and the trees, it was the recognition of a difference which always related back to oneself which marked the beginning.
In the story about the grieving man and the ocean, it was the unholding of the waves that broke the possibility of an ending.
A story makes none of it easier. Sand still moves over sand. Writing still walks up to the edge and looks across. There is still nothing to see, save for a phone call across some small distance.
I mean hear, listen, hear this.
What the trees don’t say, what they shade with their cover, is exactly what they’ve made their home out of. Which to say a certain kind of breath.
Years ago, when trying to find my way, I tried opening a sentence up to itself. I split it into its twelve parts. I made each an anchor from which to make a small journey.
The problem, then, the same as now.
Saturday, October 8, 2022
A sense of belonging is just that, a sense. Moving breaks that open, the sensing part, and the insides spill out: intestines in brown ceramics with an opal glaze, red lamp stomach still chewing on the unfinished from six years ago, the drips of some past relationship and a small but expanding bookshelf, filling up with dust. I tried not telling you something that I wanted to, and if nothing else felt some small sense of control. Remember, maintain a focus on the bigger picture and don’t get too involved. And when access to that larger scale is shattered, shifts behind one of two doors and then behind the one just passed though, what then? Someone said that to become critics we have to desensitize ourselves. As if criticism could be described as anything other than the reach to name a wound or the practice of tracing a silence otherwise inaudible. For a time, the questions happened slowly and there was enough time to ask them twice.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
I know, I know. I get distracted and come up with an excuse. I needed to clip my nails, didn’t I? The new year happens and is celebrated in scattered voices, all crunched down on the phone. In the quiet walk for a burrito, in the darkened alley passing someone else also speaking to some other place, our voices were pulled away. Fragmentation of the floor. What to do with the way it was always dissolving? To reach for the reaching, that ground which at times seems to be nothing more than a play of words, the belief in language, or a way of keeping the fear of falling at bay. In your apartment we talked about our changing beliefs in what an adequate goal for writing could be. No, writing won’t take it all down, but what, you asked, could we truly seek to do? Your goal, you explained, was to write one really good sentence. To be both concerned with it all and make one thing work right—or work beyond your grasp. I said that there has to be a reason to stay in this world, and that my struggle in articulation and its failures happens in that space. I’m infatuated with description and the possibility of what could be. A reason: to walk back down the thin line of steps before the sea, past the stones and the tree that leans toward the water. Each of my projects is an excuse to spend more time with the people I love. Everything is not endless. I want to be with you.
Friday, September 16, 2022
The thing that I’m after, it’s unspeakable. Every poem is the same poem because I can’t seem to say what I’m trying to. And because what I’m trying to say isn’t made in language and is only gestured to. I want to write to you about that opening, how it slips through my hands. The mouth that traces a word—how can description get there? To its own outside, the place behind the camera, the place made by being unuttered, by being unfilmed, the next-to-the-thing that somehow drops off, lips unopening. I mean the door that we make out of our two edges, the sometimes-possibility of sitting down to speak or carving out time for a short call, or not carving anything but calling anyway. I’m thinking of that movement, the silent question that marks a long series of beginnings. Exegesis of the outside. Before we begin, notice what’s already here: breath, a few little jars, the sound of pencil. How can we write about love without language itself being broken, unmoored? The point of love (and writing) is to be changed.
Not processing, not wanting to—the little loading screen with the spinning bar that’s just a running in place, an imaginary to fill the time when what’s happening can’t yet be understood. Wheels turning and thousands of bits of information turned into nothing: an image on a screen. Dislocation here becomes a means of holding a sadness at bay, and the sadness of holding that (not reaching out in the arc of your reach) brings with it another weight. Last week it was 20-minute calzones, ice cream from the place across from the other place, baleadas twice in a row, and the tenderness of newly pierced ears. Not in that order, of course.
This week, I sat in my car and watched the sky. In the faded light, a flock of geese flew overhead, and with them, the possibility of everything, for a moment, being released. I had to take a photo to show you. I swiped to open the camera, but instead swiped to mute the volume on the music I’d forgotten was playing. Silence. The same gesture that asks for a pause. The same inability to hold what’s passing by. When I said that I loved you, it was a way of breaking something loose—a door opening to the wind of what isn’t yet known, and the possibility of hands. Who can ever get good at saying goodbyes? Even words yearn for a place without language.
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
How much of love is walking to some edge and imagining another? When bell hooks talk about love as action, she does so to demystify what so many seek but are unable to name. Rather than an unplaceable feeling, love is locatable as an action of care.
Elizabeth Povinelli: Every location is unlocatable except as a focus of habituated attention.
If attention is what brings place into being, is it the same place that’s brought into being when me and you become we? Togetherness is made through an us and an outside. I mean, is it the same coming into focus that is predicated on a closing off? The vibrating edges of perception knocked out by a pair of thick framed glasses and what’s possible to speak of. Attention is the turning toward that’s also the turning away.
Simone Weil: Attention, taken to the highest degree, is prayer.
I’ve thought the same for writing, walking a page to say the same thing, hands working the plastic over and over to make something else out of the same breaking. Months ago there was an exercise to listen to the bird calls in your neighborhood. And when there’s nothing to hear, notice in the silence where the mind goes to.
To acknowledge that we all die, Ross Gay says, to acknowledge that we all die softens us.
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
is that even possible? holding no expectation
as a means of not being crushed by what is, to not be crushed,
keep running with those small blinders or a tamed horse.
before your reading, we spoke of a poetics of an open field,
how the shape of a word moves us somewhere, how far, how together
such a listening might create some somewhere.
less me, more you; less waiting, more wanting; more grasses, more mouths
wet with the morning; less mourning, more losing; less holding, more opening
a door; the the wooden doorstops it took months to buy
from the artist who kept apologizing and calling me angel.
the engraving reads: what words could keep the door open?
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
To stand at the edge of myself and not be afraid. But what is there to fear here? The splitting up of the self, a body into two—or really into the here and the not-there, the inside and the inside-somewhere-else. I’m being loose here, grasping at imaginary divisions. I’m trying, in naming the process, to send some little metallic ball down a little metallic chute toward a little metallic hole: like pinball but without all the dinging and flashing lights and counting score. Actually, keep the score because something should keep track—a ticking clock or a word count or the skin on the back of the hands.
Why go at all toward oblivion or speak to the beating body? Why make a project out of description-as-wind? To keep the space of waiting open / to expect another call / to reach, again, towards what never was but still, somehow, feels like a return. An opening, the coming into clarity of a certain pressure system, this always moving somewhere-else-motion of a question.
Lou, quoting someone or some song: “You don’t know who you are, it’s a question.” This says it all, sums up the entire project and names its central contradiction: the answer being a question again, an open field, a voice tracing a word. Drawing a line in the sand knowing full well the tide is still rising.
I’ve asked the ocean for so many answers, for a way through or a new language or possibility again. A call against a call. The same tumbling, unending response. The same answer, approached again and again in shadow. I’ve spent months spent trying to understand a line from Michael Palmer: “The answer was / the sun, the question”
Saturday, June 18, 2022
When writing was a way back in, the way was a holding, breath, the rhythm of a hot morning before anyone else in the house wakes up. There were drinking games that no one seemed to fully know the rules to and a series of unanswerable questions. Hands taking hands: there, beside the river with a full moon rising over us—I mean so many of us, so many moons and how many futures. A dedication is simple: a direction (an unknowing).
Cristina Rivera Garza says that we are usually confronted with either an excess of language or its total loss. Words obscure us from each other. When I showed my poem about our meeting on the bridge to some friends, someone suggested navigating along its underbelly. And where would that place us? And where would we go?
Friday, May 27, 2022
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Friday, April 15, 2022
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Monday, April 11, 2022
Sunday, April 3, 2022
I’m trying to answer a question with another question, draw an edge with water and a few videocalls. Last year we played kickball under huge redwoods, and I tried to find the reason why I hadn’t come to visit earlier. For months we met each week to make an intimacy out of light and stuttered sound. I imagined what a living room would feel like with the three of us inside and you invited me into a week of purple: sweaters and flowers, strips of plastic and other people’s photographs. This year it’s the same again but when a picture of two dogs dressed for tea showed up, I sent it to you. Between us is a year of subtle knowing, hundreds of miles, touch or the idea of it. Poetics is always concerned with the question of relation, and thus, distance.
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Now there’s a real one, a bridge made of metal cubes painted orange. We walked along the underside and you picked flowers, brought them with you, and said that there was a safety in that, having something to hold onto as you moved. Later, we were on the bridge and a photographer took a photograph of us, said he’d got our good side and that we'd be in the Saturday paper. We’d been scouted, you joked.
The possibility of “we” is still confounding to me. How the two of us could both be enclosed, reach towards the same place, even if only in name. For example: Remember when we used to live there, below the orange tree, the winter it rained and spilled through our door? In the making of “we” something is always displaced. Writing happens in that unnamable distance.
Friday, March 18, 2022
Sunday, March 13, 2022
If writing is a thread, how to weave it into something to be wrapped in, frayed fabric of changed plans and walks at the beach, the ocean and its tiny shells. Before enveloping, there was being. And before all that, a call—soft breeze at the start of spring, unmistakable blossoms of all the pink flowers, three years of videos compressed onto a phone, and iced oolong tea. Is the problem of comfort that comfort envelops, passes over ripples and stucco and violence renamed as compromise? Or is comfort an unwrapping, edges undone towards some beating core, a single sound at the middle of thought: breath or waves or blood. Richard Siken: “Let's admit, without apology, what we do to each other. / We know who our enemies are. We know.”
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Mid-afternoon when the sky darkens—light turns red with smoke, like last summer but without the distance of it all. This time it’s a FedEx truck on fire a block away. The air is beautiful as it burns, fullness is haunted as it’s made visible. I make coffee and think about the friends I miss. Writing: a process of getting closer. In Anne Michaels’s novel Fugitive Pieces, a geologist anthropomorphizes stone. In his “lyric geology” all things yearn and are moved by yearning, the memory of which constitutes the world.
“It is no metaphor to witness the astonishing fidelity of minerals magnetized, even after hundreds of millions of years, pointing to the magnetic pole, minerals that have never forgotten magma whose cooling off has left them forever desirous. We long for place; but place itself longs. Human memory is encoded in air currents and river sediment. Eskers of ash wait to be scooped up, lives reconstituted.”
Trying to understand longing, I watched videos on electromagnetism, solar wind, and the tiny magnets existing around atoms. Trying to understand magnetism, I returned to a memory of an afternoon on a blue couch, a hammock below an orange tree, a handful of sand poured from your hands and the comfort of having nowhere to go. On an atomic level, magnetism is produced through currents created by the circular movement inside of all atoms. A spinning nucleus and its rotating electrons produce magnetic poles on the smallest scale. Any distance, at times, can seem unbearable.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Monday, February 28, 2022
The way things open, click, come back into place. How to stay open to that? To keep the space of waiting open—what Clarice Lispector teaches, according to Hélène Cixous. Waiting calls itself and calls on us to follow. The choice is not to do nothing, but rather to attend to the sun, a passing breeze, the way a gesture can move through a hundred bodies, take on so many names. Waiting names itself in what is otherwise unnamable. In the silence, I was told, think about the sounds of birds which have gone extinct, and notice where they may have been. Imagine another listening. I want to remain open to being moved, to not imagine a future too distant, too much of a projection onto frayed tarp or a wall that fits only half of the image. The project, then, might be to devote what is available to fostering the conditions of attending. A bird sitting atop a telephone pole each day, then one day two, then for weeks nothing. A walk at the river in which it was decided that geese have a similar energy to hippos, not that there was a chance to encounter any hippos, but rather, that both should be avoided. Look: See how far your eyes can go without you. “I want to be with you, rigorously,” says Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Writing is one way of doing that—being with or noticing the fullness of you—a walk around a reservoir, speaking in and out of sleep, asking what’s held out of each, blue water and green muck beyond a rusted fence. Take me / take me, too.
Thursday, February 17, 2022
What’s held inside me also holds me in the too much overflow of missing you. I know how to keep going, that its safety I’m looking for, some structure to submit to, but always the catch: who to trust. Less divided and awake. Less divided through what I learned on the mountain, hundreds of miles from the sea.
The way space happens inside—all my feeling being places. Annie said of my newer writing that there’s a clearer sense of place, which was nice, because I’ve always been thinking about places. I don’t write about non-places, or I’m always writing about a place, the place of missing you or the place of warm wind in LA in the springtime or the bridge you talked about us meeting on—isn’t that a place, somewhere we were once in a fantasy of becoming solid?
Speaking for the first time in years, or not speaking but thinking about it. What happens there in the not doing? Writing is scrawled on the stairs I tried to save myself on, drew a door and found a way through. I did what I said I would do, finally. Writing is walking; speaking is seeing you. Hélène Cixous says, “Writing forms a passageway between two shores.” Are we shores or bodies in the water, clinging to language, a few lines of prose?
Monday, November 29, 2021
I dreamt of it twice and remembered it countless times. There was you and me and the thing between us I couldn’t figure out. It kept moving, shifting the way what’s just forgotten does when memory goes chasing after it, unsure of its shape. I brought myself to the edge of the water so you could join. I walked down the narrow line of stones you’d laid out, danced on them, that little stairway, and continued the descent. I even thought for a moment about taking you up on your offer of going back. But who could do that? We both knew that wouldn’t happen. Besides, that’s not how forgetting works. From that edge what had been the morning’s fog resolved into the faded hills I knew lay before the sea.
Pulled along by the wind, the water grew closer. Subtle movements and the possibility of an opening. Let’s go to the going and make something of the sound of opening mail. I sat in the small piece of shade I found and watched the shadows flicker as though they could finish my sentences. The breeze passed through us and the leaves shook and language opened, unfurled like daylong time-lapses of houseplants or an anemone closing upon contact with a finger, outstretched. I spoke to you even when I knew you couldn’t hear and looked towards you even when all I could see was a pale blue wall. I turned from the sea and walked back to the stairway to return my own gaze, thinking I’d notice a presence or feel my own ghost. Each time I noticed the grasses quivering they’d stop, suddenly still.
We fragmented ourselves into scraps of color torn into smaller and smaller pieces. Digital noise or confetti or grains of rice. We talked of metaphors falling off the table and the specifics of our not-yet-garden. We needed a new city to have planter boxes, irrigation, squash blossoms and lemon cucumbers in golden light. The city remade itself many times, and each time I moved it moved with me and each time it moved I'd drop whatever was in my hands. Still no garden, but spring came and in the sweetness of warm wind there was only a chain of springs. A whole season of forgetting.
There’s the somethingsomethingsomething and the windwindwind, the crash of the break, the ocean that opens again and again. I know that an invitation is only that, but I moved in your direction and wrote to you, searching for the joy of a morning below jacaranda blossoms and city smog. I wanted to find the connection between the way your lips opened reading the word you and the way description kept slipping off. The more I missed you the further away we became, and so I started writing to you again.
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Friday, August 6, 2021
Monday, July 5, 2021
Friday, June 11, 2021
There are photographs and miles of thread, a needle pushing tiny divots into paper, a vial of blue ink and a video of the sky. Each morning the birds call out into nothing and a huge swath of blue fabric is made out of an endless gray. There’s a geometry that phone calls make, that people do, hands cradled inward, head tilted up, then down, then up again.
There are idling cars and cigarette smoke, a man in a dark brown suit leaning on a crutch, a cappuccino pulled close and a gifted tote resting on a bench that’s too short. The birds call out into nothing, tiny bits of concrete are swept off the street, and a seagull appears on the same telephone pole. There’s a space that men make together, gently leaning away, unmasked. A police helicopter flies above, then a seagull, a speck, moves westward.
Lemonade, he says, standing up without assistance, adjusting his belt, and joins his friends for a smoke.
Friday, June 4, 2021
Still me, this Friday, getting back into writing like it’s some last resort or the first thing I’ve ever done. And why write anyway? It can’t simply be because not writing is so bad—because quite frankly there are times, again and again, that I disappear from writing. It’s a pendulum, a wave turning into itself only to turn outward. And when I’m out it’s a relief, that not checking in. But it’s a relief that pains me, there’s something that cuts deep about being relieved to not get so deep with myself. There’s another depth there, a doubling of depth and an incapableness to it. When I don’t voluntarily go to the depths, the depths of me rise up to tell me that they're hurt by that. The ocean within me that wants to be explored—and it’s the place that I’m always at, because it’s also always me. Agnes Martin says:
We do not ever stop because there is no way to stop. No matter what you do you will not escape. There is no way out. You may as well go ahead with as little resistance as possible—and eat everything on your plate.
Sure, I can keep passing things by and writing with other things. There are plenty of other metaphors that I can use to avoid actually writing: walking, singing, playing piano, reading, sitting on my back steps looking at the city in the afternoon, sitting on the same steps at night, pacing around the back lot of our apartment, going for another walk around my neighborhood, following the same streets, noticing the sparrows fluttering around outside my window and their tiny bouncing dance, standing at the edge of the river watching swallows hunting for bugs, attending another zoom meeting only to be instructed to close my eyes and think about a certain problem I’m dealing with then look to the sky and upon doing so noticing that the whole sky is overcast all the way to the sea. But isn’t it every morning here in Los Angeles? I’m woken up by the sounds of car doors closing, people laughing, and a generator giving my room a subtle persistent shake. The sun comes out around noon and it’s pale blue for the rest of the day.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that I’ve thought of the last three years as a process of getting back to something I lost, when it’s actually been one of creating that—since the start. I’ve been in it even as I projected it out into the future as some imaginary and into the past as some fantasy to perpetually walk to, call back out to, dig up again and again. Everything is spacial, is a place, even writing. It moves as I do, from one desk to another, from computer to phone to journal to the small stack of printer paper I wrote a poem on yesterday. Lara Mimosa Montes says:
If I am not writing, it is because I may be mortified by my own stupidity. The senselessness I experience upon coming to. A cataplectic swarm. I defer, and make excuses, and complain that I need things like money and time, knowing this is not true. You don’t need a bank account or a college degree to write. But I have these things, and more. I do not, however, always have the words, or answers to the question: “What would help you now to feel more alive?”
This is what I am trying to answer, turning back to writing again and again, printing out the pages of a blog and making them into a hundred tiny books. I don’t want to wait so much anymore.
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Friday, May 28, 2021
In my dream I sit at the edge of
an endless desert on golden sand. In front of me the sand recedes into water. A
sea opens up below a clear sky. There are two sounds: the hum of wind passing
across the low dunes and the constant fuzz of waves turning over onto
themselves, punctuated by the rhythm of the tide. It matches the pattern of my
breath. My friends appear, swimming in the water before me. I watch them, the
ease with which they float and are carried by the tide, the way their bodies
twist as their heads pass below the surface and appear again, they are in
I reach my hands into the warm sand and notice someone sitting next to me. It’s someone I know, but I can’t remember their name. They’re wearing a large green sweatshirt that's too big for them. They feel so close, and even though I can’t place how I know them, I feel an immense comfort in their presence. Their hands are also buried in the sand. The rest of the beach is empty and, looking towards the water, I see that my friends have disappeared. Someone next to me brings their hands carefully together and cups the hot sand. They reach towards me and slowly open their hands. Sand trickles onto my feet. In silence, we watch as my feet are slowly covered.
Someone wraps a black cloth around my eyes. I let them. Everything goes dark. The waves are louder now as we stand up together. I can feel their hand resting on the small of my back. We walk into the water. I reach out and feel the soft fabric that someone is wrapped in, the way it curves away from me and around their side. We walk a step further. I can hear the sound of someone's breath and for a moment I think I know who they are. I am about to speak when the water rushes in, climbing up my legs and towards my waist. Someone pulls a lock of hair away from my face and places it behind my ear.
It nears my stomach, the water, and we continue to move. It is just us in the deepening water, my blindfolded head, someone’s sweatshirted body. We are in the softest ocean or the waters of a bay. The water reaches past my chest and to my shoulders. We stop and the cloth falls away from my eyes, and everything is all bright white for a moment. I look around at all the water and the clear sky. Blue on blue. I realize then that I am alone and my head becomes so heavy. I fall backwards, breaking the water’s surface in a small crash, then quiet.
My legs rise up. I float horizontally a few feet below the surface and look up at a shimmering light. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I spin around, I dive even deeper into the water and rise up again. I realize I can breathe here, or I don’t even need to breathe at all. I want to thank someone for bringing me here, but no one is here. I want to call them or write to them, but I have nothing. I don’t even know who they are. I turn around and around, reach out in all directions, but there is only water. Only water, filling everything around me.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Oh, there are so many birds. Blink; Don’t blink! Surprise: Along the windowsill, slatted roof, and metal gate, the patterned concrete pillar, next door’s security camera situation, and the telephone pole I keep talking about. We’re outside, idling the car, just watching. How good it is to make a stop out of joy.
The vines in the living room curl back into themselves while pulling away. Every day a whole life happens in mumbled words and I hear fire on fire, the sky the sky the sky. Here at home, I keep preparing for what’s already happened.
I wonder, with the air conditioner installed, will they come sit above my desk, even closer?
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Quiet, no sound save for paper run along by this birthday gift. “Let’s stay here,” says my therapist and so, I make a pact to again come back empty handed, for what is asked for is an emptying of pockets, of a closet in someone else’s room named mine in the three tree home.
How to learn to follow a quiet shadow the thing in there that makes a place of a little field above the sea.
Walk a little closer, say, “No more,” then walk slowly back again.
When I was afraid, language was not there for me. There are edges that need tending to, missed calls and summertime peeking out somewhere. There isn’t any future, I have to remind myself, no next year, save for the promise of more wind, water lifting itself over and over again, pen and ink and word, pant pockets lined with secrets, notebooks filled with what can’t be held.
Wait—there is still something left to be said.
Thursday, April 8, 2021
It’s been a year since I started saying, hold on for, wait, a future is, wait, hold that lonely days will one day be the answer to someone else’s question, about what—
is unanswerable. When the nausea wears off and the fever breaks, something comes back into view. Some form, a body, music, maybe, and spins. It all spins. I feel it from my concrete balcony, behind my metal white pained fence, the eternal staircase from which I’ve imagined and imagined another me. A building happened. I still live here.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Mid phone call, approaching home, I started thinking about theology and how to name myself. Maybe what I really wanted was to study ritual and religion... maybe when it gets down to it, I’m not really historically minded... maybe I’m maybe and maybe, maybe. I stayed up watching video after video of chiropractic adjustments until I’d watched every video on the profile and said, goooodnight, along with the woman in the video, exhaling in her just-adjusted ecstasy.
We had our weekly video call and talked about websites, true loves moving to town, and who we wrote for. I imagined another meeting if we lived within reasonable distances of each other, a dinner maybe, or, if that’s too much, a dessert. Just tea. Just us, sitting around a table, sprawled on couches, leaning against a wall, all of us around on the floor. I found there was a whole lexicon of imaginary postures, each only half filled in.
Walking towards the ocean, I noticed tiny purple flowers breaking out everywhere—slivers of pinkblue, all those openings I couldn’t help but land on. Right before 1am, the coyotes joined together and screamed.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
I said that when I was vaccinated, I wanted to plan a trip to visit my friends in France, and you reminded me that you’d recently visited. After three weeks, you’d gotten sick of hearing everyone speaking French, stick their lips out and exhale language. At first, you’d found it beautiful, but you started to miss the bluntness of English. You wanted words with hard endings—like fuck.
English is like that, a language of bricks, each word
overlayed, placed one on top of another. Not that I could, but I don’t want to
give that up. I like the way English misses whatever it is it’s describing. The
language I have is always wrong, the words pass right by so much nuance, and so
to make up for it I keep piling them on, trying always to re-adjust, reframe, make
another pass at it in order bring into view what is still missing.
I write with simple words because I think with them. Who thinks with effulgent or gasconade? Yea, there’s a strange wonder to these words, and maybe they could be edited in, but they just aren’t wandering around waiting to be absent mindedly picked up, slapped onto my big pile of thinking.
A website that calculates the readability of a text says that this my writing is readable for a 7th grader, a 12-year-old. The site calculates this with a combination of many different readability formulas, but each involves a similar process: calculating the average words per sentence, calculating the average length of the words used, and calculating what percentage of the text repeats words multiple times. The shorter the sentences, the shorter the words, the more repetition—or so it has been devised—the easier it is to understand.
For me, though, it’s the simplest phrases that are the hardest to understand. After writing and writing, coming up with theory after theory, I was struck by the sheer force of it when my therapist clarified things for me: I miss you. I keep trying to make it more complicated than it is, turn language into some kind of netting, a gauze to place over a wound.
Somehow, complexity seems to mean that something of real importance happened, that the truth could be intricately described—and it could—with thin slices of salami, underripe pear, pork strewing in the pressure cooker, sandals left open and turned over, all that was sweet right before the end. I’d rather turn to that surface, a photo of my countertop with long shadows pulled across the kitchen wall, than sit, silently, with the weight that rests on my lap.
the missing, the missing, the missing, the missing…
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
January in Columbus
when, not quite distracted, I turn to the trees
and watch shivering branches for whom waiting means
holding oneself and all the leftover rain.
What’s hard to believe is that they’re really blossoms
like coffee filters, still silhouetted crowns
that have already done it—opened up and drank.
But then, what else was there to do?
The setting sun appears in the tallest branches
glowing like certain fog and the sky, lighter now,
so easily distinguished from the clouds.
When we die, who becomes a tree?
I watched like there was something to be said,
the very air breaking open, spilling petals
of last year, this year
the same for cherry pies made of thawing.
Then, as an answer, a photograph of hands
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Still, I keep waiting. Today I wait for the heat to pass. It’s 100 degrees at 10am and without air conditioning, there’s nothing else to do but wait. Wait for the weather to cool, for the night to come, for the breeze that will blow through our house, for the quiet of the weekend, for books to arrive, for Thanksgiving when I can see my family again, for the distant future in which my friends return to LA and we go out to dinner again, for when we can embrace and hold each other, for an easing of this pressure.
When writing about waiting, one waiting opens up into another. My waitings becomes a series of doors that with the slightest push swing open, so that the hallway in which I find myself continually gets longer and longer. Or maybe my waiting might be better described in sound, these waitings forming a wind chime and my writing the slightest wind. In waiting, each imaginary and unfulfilled desire is linked to another—and to memory as much as the present. In writing about waiting, a network forms. There’s only more waiting and more ways to speak of it. And from this web of waiting I speak to you.
The Argentine writer Sergio Chejfec writes, “I was always drawn to waiting, which sometimes I get the feeling is the only thing I’ve ever really done.” If waiting is the only thing we ever do, then let’s wait together. Come wait with me in the unfinished crumbling and building and crumbling again. Let’s keep naming our waiting something else, like writing or reading or listening, and if those don’t seem right, let’s try again, and name our waiting walking with you to get dinner, or reaching out to each other, or speaking to each other, as we keep doing, being witness to each other’s lives.
 Sergio Chejfec, Notes Towards a Pamphlet trans. Whitney DeVos, (New York: Ugly Duckling Press, 2020), 2.
It was a wave all along. It was a wave all along. It was repeated, your breaking, the you in the otherwise of the morning in the thick of th...