“It is possible for the mind to go blank in a tactic of evasion or suppression, the reaction to a menace so impending, a tailored man with a suitcase bomb, that there is no blessing to be found in the most resourceful thought, no time for an eddy of sensation, the natural rush that might accompany danger.”—Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
“When you unwittingly stuck your hand into the wasps’ nest, you hadn’t made a covenant with the devil to give up your civilized self with its trappings of love and respect and honor. It just happened to you. Passively, with no say, you ceased to be a creature of the mind and became a creature of the nerve endings; from college-educated man to wailing ape in five easy seconds.”—Stephen King, The Shining
1. Crucifixion on the road. 2. bleeding naysayers writhing in the sun. 3. “no more youth.” 4. the bodies will drop in a week. 5. no more text beyond the text/no more abstraction/no more ontological freewheelin/no more liberated sextalk 6. only empty backtalk/only mystery cuts, proof that last night happened/only sacrifice and denial and the demon singing you to sleep/only the future in nightmares 7. it’s talking over knowing/it’s secret psychology/theory without words 8. see hormone-pumpers smoking black tobacco—ass fucking androgynous shapes in the shadow of an institution 9. watch the demon stripping the page—
This is a response to Tomas Boudreau’s piece: “The Blue Theatre”. Read it here
“It’s possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard. And vice versa. Actually it’s only a question of convenience. Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them; things are forbidden to them that every honorable man will do any day in the year and other things are allowed to them that are generally despised. Each person must stand on his own feet.”—Herman Hesse, Demian
“I thought it would be easy, lying in the tub and seeing the redness flower from my wrists, flush after flush through the clear water, till I sank to sleep under a surface gaudy as poppies.
But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defenseless that I couldn’t do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn’t in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get at.”—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
He translated dreams. He translated dreams with theory and liberty. He began losing sleep. Chewed valerian root. Took Valium. He dreamed her dreams, saw ghosts probe her body with undead fingers. He couldn’t sleep anymore. He got more exercise. He called the Caring Friend. Visited Doctors. Visited Palm Readers. Drank heavily. Some days he illustrated nightmares in watercolor. Slugged beer and put phantoms on canvas. Some days he took unknown bus routes, hoping the motor could lull him to sleep. Tried to take comfort in nonspecific destinations. Tried to take comfort in the vacuous conversations of people headed to work/school/sex/lunch/appointment/A Better Life. He translated dreams. He filmed the consultations and glanced self-consciously at the camera. Sometimes he took his patients to bed, fucked them, then laid awake while they dreamed for him.
This is a response to Tomas’s poem “Brain Heat”, which can be read here
How long did it take you to write, from the idea conception to finishing the piece as a whole?
When the idea first came to me, I wrote it quickly (it probably took fifteen minutes or so). When I typed it up/revised it, it took another half hour or so. Originally I didn’t include any dialogue, but I thought it broke the rhythm nicely, so I added that in the final draft. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Spiced rum commits genocide on McCauley’s guts. He smokes. Squints at sunlight glowing off the water. Yearns vaguely for loveless sex and a raw egg in beer. This is Technicolor iconography embodied: the cigarette, the spiralling seagulls, the ocean, the shadow of unnamed regrets, etc. / “If you don’t allow nostalgia to set in, you’ll regret it forever.” “Cut the romantic bullshit.” “You used to love something.” “You sound like a fuckin script.” “You condescending bastard. I’m a human being too.” “Again with the dialogue. How many fuckin movies have you seen? Jesus Christ, you sound like an Oscar nominee.” “I used to love something.” “Cut it out, for Christ’s sake, will ya?”/ A human foot drifts ashore in a wash of tidal foam. The water is pink with blood. McCauley crushes his smoke in the sand and picks up the foot. He wipes wet sand from the gray-blue skin. It feels like a skinless chicken breast. / “Don’t leave, will ya? We can talk about this, for Christ’s sake.” “You need to figure yourself out.” “Again with the spiritual movie of the week bullshit. Enough with that already.” “You can’t even have a conversation anymore.” “Cut the romantic bullshit, will ya?” / This isn’t the fulfillment of some partialist fantasy for McCauley. It’s the seventh foot he’s found in a month. He’s beginning to suspect something supernatural. Possibly something supernatural and malicious. / “You wouldn’t even hear me out. Not one time. Not one fuckin time.” “…” “Are you even listening to me?” “…” “You should have stayed, for Christ’s sake.” “…” / Only single feet wash up. Never hands or severed heads. Never whole legs. Just feet. Usually they’re bare, but he found one that was wearing a size 8 Nike. / The patter of urine makes him smirk, but he knows this is self-destructive. Ink runs off the page. Piss steam rises. “Romantic bullshit.” “…” / The feet bear no indication of violence or forced removal. No serrated gashes at the ankles. No blade-chewed flaps of skin. They seem to come from nowhere. Detectives, forensic scientists, and medical professionals walk along the beach with notepads and cameras. They theorize different origins and causes. A woman in her late nineties quivers in the sand with saliva trailing down her chin, wailing “the demon is near the demon is here the demon is near the demon is here…” / McCauley dreams of feet. They appear in the shower, in bed sheets, on shelves, in coffee cups. He sees them disintegrate in boiling pots of pasta water. Sometimes they hang from the ursine jaws of faceless monsters. / He might have the answer, but he won’t share it. He’s the sort of man who will piss on his own journal before tearing it to shreds.
“What is most original in a man’s nature is often that which is most desperate. Thus new systems are forced on the world by men who simply cannot bear the pain of living with what is. Creators care nothing for their systems except that they be unique.”—Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers
“I remember thinking at some point, as I sat on the bed mopping the sweat from my neck with my pajama sleeve, that the dreams I was enduring had all the features of a transmission, yes, a kind of radio transmission. And so, as if my dream-world were a crystal set secretly tuned to a private radio station, scenes and voices were transmitted to my mind (I should point out that the dreams had the following peculiarity: they were composed not so much of images as of voices, whispers and grunts), scenes quite unrelated to my own fantasies—I had simply become their fortuitous receptor. The demented radio drama assailing me was no doubt an anticipation of hell: a hell of voices connecting and disconnecting in a buzz of a static that was, I presume, my troubled snoring, forming duos, trios, quartets and entire choruses advancing blindly through an empty chamber, a kind of empty reading room, which at some point I identified as my own brain.”—Roberto Bolaño, Monsieur Pain