Her Body and Other Parties

her body

Review of Carmen Maria Machado’s exceptional collection of stories: Her Body and Other Parties.
“Imagine, now, an episode of Black Mirror, in which the female-body-as-haunted-house is the prime subject, a corporeal metaphor undergoing a cinematic vivisection. A symphonic series of camera angles, close-ups, rapid cuts and fade-outs commingle with bones-in-the-attic narrative and feminist bloodletting, Camille Paglia channeling Shirley Jackson, and we, the viewers, are riveted to the screen, to the exposed interior of a haunted house that seems never-ending in its shadowed corridors and passageways. The episode closes with an appropriately unsettling final scene, a cryptic air that slows time and promises an emotional hangover. You stare at the silent blackened void of the screen, waiting for music to play, for credits to roll, for something to happen. Finally, words appear in white block letters — Written by Carmen Maria Machado. This stirring episode hasn’t yet aired, because it hasn’t been written, but in a parallel realm where I get to play Netflix exec, Machado has been commissioned to contribute her unique and considerable talents to the Black Mirror universe.”
To read the full review in Riot Material, click here.
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Radio Ga-Ga

Radio interview on Cultural Energy, revolving around Nocturne Variations, the writing life, youth, Taos, Brooklyn, and other assorted ramblings.
(Show is listed as a link under December programs).

radio radio

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Leave your favorite mug
out in the sun for several hours.
Bring the mug back inside
and sit on your favorite chair
as you drink the light
that has collected inside the mug.
Feel your stomach glowing,
and tell yourself—I will drink
light more regularly.
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Ask a tree to play hopscotch with you.
Ask a stone to jump-rope with you.
Ask a blade of grass to tickle you until it hurts.
Ask a bird to help you remember how to fly.
Ask a child for a piece of bubblegum
and chew it and chew it
and then blow the biggest bubble you can
and let it pop on your face
and listen as the child laughs
as your heart does cartwheels.
Then do actual cartwheels,
making sure to fall.
Just because.
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Stare at the clouds.
Imagine yourself a raindrop
that has lost its way,
a liquid earthbound orphan
seeking a return
to the woolen prayerbeds
of cloud country.
Abolish distance,
and know that you are already there.
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Ask a child,
any child,
what the difference
is between Monday and Thursday?
No matter how they respond,
look them in the eyes
and tell them how wonderful
they are.
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Place a piece
of blank white paper
on a smooth hard surface.
Fill a glass of water.
Drink half the water,
pour the other half
onto the paper.
Savor the design it makes.
Get matches. Light a match.
Burn the edges of the paper,
making sure to inhale the sulfuric scent
of burning.
Draw a pair of lips
in the center of the page
(pencil suggested).
Kiss the lips,
then crumple the paper,
and bury it in your garden,
or if you don’t have a garden,
bury it in your neighbor’s garden,
or if you don’t have a neighbor,
or your neighbor is gardenless,
bury it in the park.
After the burial,
say a few words,
it doesn’t matter what they are,
and relish the fact
that your hands are dirty prayers.
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Find a puddle
after a rainstorm.
Close your eyes
and dream yourself
as a six-yr-old
dreaming yourself
as a magnificent
and shimmering work of art.
Or as a happy goldfish.
Whether as shimmering art,
or happy goldfish,
open your eyes,
take off your shoes,
place your feet in the puddle,
and splash around.
Notice how thankful your toes are.
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Imagine an old wooden bathtub
filled with rainbow bubbles
set in the middle of a grassy meadow
on a sunlovely day.
Imagine that you are one of the bubbles.
Feel the colors coursing through you,
feel the sun warming your bubbleskin,
know how easy it is to float.
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Find a yellow leaf, a golden leaf,
a leaf that’s mourned its own falling.
Name it. Whisper its name to it,
kiss it.
Unname it, whisper silence to it,
kiss it again.
Fling the leaf and watch it dance in the air.
Remember the leaf.
Remember the dancing.
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