Succulent

Moonlight is edible.

If you don’t believe me

watch the mouths of children

at night.

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There is No Curtain

Forever

and ever

is the asking price

and promise

the singer made

to the song

conjugal atomic bliss

siring the I

that right now

is speaking singularly on behalf

of the song and singer

forever

and ever.

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Born Blues

I am

the foster child

of rampant insular lyricism.

In it

I was raised wild

and came meekly to regard the moon

as a shotgun blast

from the mouth of eternity.

I, setting core to task, get greedy, rabid,

blood being a magnificent lure and cakewalk

for werewolves on the prowl.

My pupils enlarge at the sight

of unremembered lyrics, wounded, bluesy,

coming out of the woods

to find suitable placement.

I am, left behind myself,

a scorched earth child of second winds

and orphaned nonsense—

birth being a terribly continuous ordeal

of outgrowing origins.

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If This

Our destinies are molecular,

charged.

We gravitate. Toward

this and that. Other things.

The bond between

song and singer

is immaculate proof

of serviceably attuned you

blameless as the blue lighting

of the first moment

when the multiverse

sought seams and split

to romance itself accordingly.

Our destinies are persuasive gist,

lore.

Nostalgia is the sublime pretext

for innocence restored.

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Tender is the Night

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Round Trip

There is a slow lasting burn

on the road to heaven

which admits meekness

as a course of rightful inheritance,

as a ringed torch song for reentry

into the self dispossessed.

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A Man Walks Into

   A man walks into a man. He realizes it’s the same man … they’re … the same man. They merge. Naturally. Inviolably. A man walks into a man and a merger occurs.

   Who was I before I walked into myself? the man now wonders. Can I walk out on myself? The merger feels definite. Final. Inviolable.

   This man, having walked into himself, now walks into a woman. Naturally, they merge. The woman wonders if the man has become her, the woman wonders if there are now men inside her, how many, etc. The man wonders if the woman has become him, how many women, do they have names, where does woman leave off from man and become woman, or where does (the woman thinks) my thoughts remain my thoughts, are they man thoughts, are they many men thoughts … there is now a thorny gambit of beginnings and endings, and for those who don’t enjoy cryptograms this is not the most fun way to spend an afternoon or lifetime.

A man walks into a man … imitating a child. This is not unlike (the man-child thinks) opening your mouth wide and swallowing an entire miniature circus, and the circus in its zeal and kazoos and zaniness and mirthful mayhem affects you from the inside in … you are now a man who hosts a circus, that circus is the childhood you swallowed, and some might say inadvertently so … you were a man who walked into a man imitating a child and now you can kiss your business lunches and wingtips goodbye … say hello to pie in the face and running with scissors … roll up your trousers and skin your knees and then go out and find a mother made of women who walked into mothers who will peroxide your scraped and dirty knees … is that the destiny of men who walk into men imitating children?

A man walks into a bar. Ouch. The bar is metal. Unforgiving. I need a different kind of bar, the man says, rubbing his affronted nose. Let me try again…

A man walks into a bar. The bar is filled with all kinds of men and women who are walking into each other, lost, searching, fevered for the right merger, the absolute one. If the man walks further into the bar he will walk into becoming they, if he walks out of the bar he will walk into staying himself, alone … for a little while. The man clearly understands that as long as men and women are walking, mergers of infinite varieties are inevitable.

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Baffling the Sphinx

The word is my fourth dimension
–Clarice Lispector

And on the eighth and endless day, where the bottomless hallelujah meets Ouroboros, God created Clarice Lispector. Maybe. Maybe the music of that name was more pure music and vivid living syntax, and less history and persona. Or maybe Clarice Lispector’s innate capacity to shape-shift, from lantern-eyed panther to clucking hen to hothouse orchid, demands to be perceived as multiform epiphanies in an infinity of mirrors. Possibly, maybe resides at the Bjorkian core of Clarice Lispector’s output and purview. As an existential Lou Costello, she questioned with rabid circuitous intensity, again and again: Who’s on first? Who, exactly? And as a literary high priestess with a lifelong crush on void, she understood clearly that everything knows everything … we are a species of kissing cousins in a grammarless whirlpool. From mortar to manna, Lispector’s legacy in prose is one of paradoxes and trap-doors, rococo balconies kissing sea air, perfumed arias and empty cola bottles, gutted mermaids on dusty streets bleeding out brackish emeralds. In her world, silence favors its motives and heaven commits the meek to memory.

Confession: I have spent the entire summer reading nothing but Clarice Lispector, completely surrendering to her spellcasting and bewitchment. Ukrainian-born and Brazilian-raised, the iconoclastic Lispector reminds one of the elasticity of perception, how “nowhere” in a slanted mirror reforms to “now here,” with Lispector’s alter-egoism vacillating ungraspably between nowhere and now here.

There are writers you encounter, those infused with the holy seethe, whose quest is blatantly mystical as they search for what Lispector called “the word that has its own light.” This is writing as the cruciform of alchemy, as ritual means to transfiguration. Not writing that is about something — predicated on recalling and recounting — but writing that is the mysterious and ineffable something itself … language as point of origin and departure.

Which brings me to Lispector’s Água Viva. Originally published in 1973, the new edition of this avant-garde gem was released in 2012 by New Directions, the pioneering publisher which has dedicated itself to resurrecting Lispector’s canon. Água Viva is many things, though straight novel not being one of them. It is a happy birthday dirge and confessional, a sustained incantation punctuated by necessary silences, a chamber music concert performed in the bluest hours by a splintered soloist. Or, in the words of Lispector herself, “This isn’t a book because this isn’t how anyone writes. Is what I write a single climax? My days are a single climax: I live on the edge.” It is from this edge which the reader plays captive witness to a birthing process … a being’s birth prior to he/she/they/etc., the thingness of being, the it-ness of being, a being flailing at the light and at its own beingness. Here, in an airless manger, the crescendo of a tempest is played out with freeze-frame exactitude, contained in synoptical passages and refrains, in bursts and abbreviations, what you might call lyrical shorthand for a mute soul wandering moonstruck and wordless … and yet words … words upon words like a swan-fest of hands attending to an emergency.

Lispector — whose words are the fevered playthings of duende and saudade, a goblin-eyed melancholy that dances between never and forever — is spiritual kin to the exquisite agony of Saint Teresa, to the riotous firewalking of Arthur Rimbaud, to the solipsistic autopsies of Samuel Beckett. Yet no matter what is being conjured, or negated, innocence is insisted upon — “I want to write to you like someone learning” — and it this lucid naivete, this vividness of instants strung together to form textural composites, which gives Água Viva its stunning capacity to live outside of time, at the crossroads where dream and reality intersect. Its achievement lies in the fact that it is a book that could have been written tomorrow, many yesterdays ago, or is being conceived in the very moments in which you are reading it. It is a voice, moving syntactically in time to breath, that has made of its ghost something immortal and beyond claim, and yet brokenly human: “The sacred monster has died: in her place was born a little girl who lost her mother.”   

Read the full review on Riot Material.
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Dust in the Wind

Much here is caked in dust. Dust-skinned dogs and dust-skinned horses. Dust-coated houses in ruin, the staccato of ruins, the oldlife song of decay, dreams move sluggishly here at the pace of dust, the swirling eddies of dust, dust in the eyes and ears and nostrils, sunbaked granules of dust, fine stinging granules of dust, the cracking reign of dust popping and sputtering, the dust on the boots of the soldiers passing by in jeeps, the dust on the sandals of the saints walking the streeta unseen, part of an invisible parade, a fiesta not meant for human eyes (but oftentimes felt by human hearts and human spirits), sad dust days and salad days of dust (the lettuce parched and coated in granules, crunch crunch)….

It is hard to walk on different timelines all at once, it takes a lot of balancing… I am here, I am yesterday, I am tomorrow….

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Affair to Remember

Sea, I never want to marry you. I want us to have a never-ending fling, a love affair flooded with longing and desire … I want to miss you … want to remain missably yours … want to miss you when you are not there and in that absence is when I can feel you the most, when you feel nearest to me, within me, absence translating to a deeper intimacy.

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