generics -iii

The association in her case was not transparent. If she introduced the darkness to light, they might achieve net neutrality and no one would have to pay. She would funnel all the nonsense down the pipes built expressly for that purpose, and run the drainage of his company into a far corner of the yard where nothing ever grew, she thought. Then reproduce the unkempt sound by some peripheral brilliance, and follow a stream into its relentless river, with side effects of curling back and slowing down. She saw herself surfing a wave and tumbling down, again and again until she got it right. The sharks would circle, yes, but she had chum to feed them. Some day she promised herself an escape from undertow, the gravity above all.

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involved

god was involved

When they threw the book at you, you caught it and began to read. you sure had plenty of time, son. soon you were self-educated and ready to go out in the world. in your homemade uniform you promised to kick some pretty ass. you didn’t even bother to comb your hair. a child playing with a deck of cards on a doorstep, looked up when you passed by. they stood up in their overalls and saluted you. that was the moment we knew god was somehow involved.

swallow

Some kinda store. Little Bit took off as much as she could chew. What was her purpose so to do. The red book back was broken and quite mostly paper-maiche. In look, not essence. Essentially a book and no longer readable. Tragic, were it not for the hope of recyclables. Postconsumer waste repurposed, like even after she got through mashin’ the shit out of it, too! Who? Little Bit, pumpkin shopping in September, true true.

typewriter.15

one morning you sit down
to your work with your coffee
beside you and

the tides have been broken 
they have turned on the ocean!
this is what you came for
so suddenly
emergent

disciple to words
the reading
the writing

the sea and the healing
fresh atmosphere replaces
the ceiling! an absence of the world
you recollect so unfeeling

your voice is upon you
you’ve found yourself! finally
the struggle is gone
you no longer push into page

strangely awakened
enveloped by an undercurrent
you sing the song you were born to sing
you come thrashing to surface!

like faith
you cannot see it
you only feel it
you know

these are the moments a writer lives by!
when time loses interest
appetite gone silent
and the sentences form on their own

full of spirit!
making meaning
full of feeling!
with rhythm and rolling

you collide with the page
like a strike
when you’re bowling

thank the stars
thank the gods
you got lucky
kid

typewriter.14

My younger self reminds me not to forget my shadow, not to leave it out of the story, for without a shadow what are we? Nothing of substance, for anything of substance casts a shadow. The world needs a recluse, the world wants a freakshow, some deep failure, fatal flaw. So they can see themselves through it, otherwise they cannot often look. And when they see character lost in its shadow, well, contempt may turn to stone and break, and inside the contempt may we find our humanity in another’s vulnerability. And find our compassion again. Toward others and toward ourselves! In a book, on the silver screen, in a play, in the news, at an opera, on the streets. We all are born into lives with our limits. We come abbreviated! Short-changed from the start. Getting alienated and thrown out of the womb, severed, the umbilical cord. What awaits us are further separations: from family, friends, community, self. From shadow. We need guidance to negotiate our way back into relationship! May books be always our guides. To the one who you know who knows you, too, I tell myself, may you steer your pen and the keys, to help and relate, not to please.

typewriter.ten

I was a proud twenty and five and wasn’t gonna grieve some misspoken awkwardness in a common beehive. The world then was an accident before it got taped off, a natural intoxication, a Dionysian dream. How could I turn away? I wanted to be out on the streets and not miss a thing. Only when confronted by the sadness of financial insecurity in a large American city, would I submit myself to a nine to five, pushing papers like a mule. I was young and full of pride. I skipped down the sidewalk, afternoons away from work. Whatever I witnessed I either photographed or wrote down in my journals, then took home to type up — only that which had captured my heart.

typewriter.nine

i carried paper with me
everywhere

in a knapsack
or an overcoat pocket in the winters
of west side chicago

alleyways
my back against bricks
i held them under weak hanging
lights threading open mics

the Appalachian trail
did not stop me

the subway trains
the bars
the libraries (of course)
into parks where the sky
opened up all my thoughts

often i lay them out
beside my jack
rocks

i felt the social
vacuum
around me

dead air

i didn’t
care
so alive
was i