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September 20, 2023
The Rachel stands tuned  
            to multiplicities, 
aslant in a territory of longing,
            where she becomes foreign.

            What has she found?
She listens, acknowledges another sound,
            diffuse, multiple,  
pulsing thought, oscillations, whisperings,
            never only one.
September 13, 2023
I had yet to discover the source of that star, it came and it passed but from where it sprang and then fell to fading remained a mystery. In cycling its light lent its powers to coloring my tablecloth a lighter shade, relieving pigment from its duty to darken, except for those spots where I placed my bottles and cups, shielding only parts of the piece from fading, threads left closer to their original hues hewed to others abandoned as wraiths to their fates, a darker ring the mark of those who stayed behind.
September 6, 2023
Where the trees blackened, I saw,

Quickly, three deer lean into goldenness.

It seems, although wildfires rage

Out of control, this world remembers

Some portion of its first purposes:

Superfluous beauty
August 9, 2023
In Memoriam (1932–2023)
Keith Waldrop will long be remembered for his kindness as a man, for his generosity of spirit, for the nuanced beauty and disarming simplicity/complexity of his poetry and translations, for his tireless work with Rosmarie Waldrop at their influential Burning Deck Press, and for his inspiring and magical (for Keith was purest magic) presence in the lives of his friends, fellow writers, students, anybody who was lucky enough to know him.
July 26, 2023
The postmortem simulations are designed to prep the soul in the art of travel. The goal here is to navigate certain archetypal features that serve as doorways between worlds. Rivers, tunnels, bridges, stairs, tubes, pits, warrens, graves, and environments that resemble sewers all recur in multiple iterations.
... “The Egyptians were aware of how disorienting the underworld is,” Quarrington says. “According to some of their fables, the deities created it like this to eliminate souls who are not properly initiated. It’s not enough to survive into the realm beyond death. We want to bring our consciousness with us.”
July 19, 2023
Early mint. Intimate. Lace of now
leaves now in spirit. As infinite
as if. In spirit within. Is now.

New. Is new glorious. Daylight
embracing that shade of late

morning. Your every last minor design
for which. Only

let therefore eternal loss offer.
Ecstatic decline.
July 12, 2023
The plan was simple: to get from here to there.

But there were obstacles. The first was that he had two children, two daughters, six- and nine-year-olds, to get into the car—which he supposed wasn’t so much an obstacle as the plan he’d been planning for nine years and nine months. There were other obstacles like traffic, and specific needs for specific caffeine delivery systems, and a nine-tenths empty tank of gas he’d intended to fill. And yet none of those obstacles were the obstacle.

The obstacle was that he was 44 years old and a little before midnight he’d eaten way too big a gummy, and now he couldn’t feel his toes or tongue.
July 5, 2023
A Collage from the Archive of Edward Gorey, Including Unpublished Texts and Images
Edward Gorey to Consuelo Joerns:
Our behaviour to one another is most of the time venemous and peculiar, and, infrequently, overly kind and considerate but still peculiar.

From “Edward Gorey and the Tao of Nonsense” by Stephen Schiff, The New Yorker, 1992:
“I thought I was in love a couple of times, but I rather think it was only infatuation. It bothered me briefly, but I always got over it…. I realized I was accident-prone in that direction anyway, so the hell with it.”
June 28, 2023
Sometimes there’s a secret room—
my daughter is one, I think. 

She is infinitely regressive. 
Every night she says I love 

you even more until 
I stop saying it back. 

The idea that we 
are not our own 

is as old as words 
allow us to think it. 
June 21, 2023
This morning     the bruxism     from the night before    deep in the jawbone        and two crows circle over hairy yuccas          caw and caw long high and gravel-gulleted      at the periphery of the wash      you are in their dominion           within reach of the moment their circling sinks       to settle behind ridge        and yuccas:        deck is anathema to the flat extended promise of a view:
June 14, 2023
I recalled the early days of the glacier, its slow advancement from uneven patches of ice confusing scientists until becoming a fat, white tongue thickening in the dried-out lake bed, and how for so long we had resigned ourselves to the emptiness that comes with extinction, no longer hopeful of rewilding, no longer sunbeams in Sunday school singing praises but chanting under our breaths Jesus wants me for a catastrophe that we surrendered to the glacier’s demands willingly and without question. If Miss Z had indeed walked out into the glacier it was nothing exceptional. Every day of my childhood men and women wandered silently into its emptiness. And the glacier grew whiter and thicker.
June 7, 2023
After we immersed your ashes in the river Ganga, I wrote a letter to my friends back home: “Our journey began in North India,” I wrote, “but this story really begins in South India in Tamil Nadu, in a place called Kallakurichi, where my father was born.” It was where your father, my Thatha, became a spinner of cotton and a diviner of water.
May 31, 2023
Ice worms first start communing with me in Forlandsundet, a miles-deep sound north of the Greenland Sea. I don’t speak Norwegian, but I can parse: For. Land. Sun. It’s completely black outside. Det means “that or it.” Det, that’s easy, I’ve been one all my life.

The KV Svalbard is an icebreaker. From the foredeck, the rocky screes sweeping west are the planet’s emptiest place. No one between us and the North Pole.

Det,” I hear, “Oi Det.” I can’t locate the strange, oblong voice, more of a nose whistle. Near me? but not inside me. I soon give up.
May 24, 2023
Of course the book she writes—the lesser book, the book about nothing—becomes a popular text, one that readers adore. When they ask her what she will write next, she says she is going to write the book over. Over? they ask her.
       Again, she says. She isn’t really a writer, she tells them, she’s a transcriber. She transcribes stories.
       Across languages? they ask.
       No, she says. That would be translation. I used to do that but stopped, she says. Now I transcribe. I take texts and transcribe them into another version of the same language.
       So you rewrite, they say.
       No, she says. You’ll see.
May 18, 2023
For thousands of years, the peoples of the Marshall Islands have entertained a bustling interisland travel by canoe and small sailing craft without any of the tools—compass, sextant, nautical charts, and, these days, GPS—on which the rest of the world has depended. Within a purely oral tradition, Marshallese navigators developed a highly refined system of voyaging, relying entirely on their senses to decipher the subtlest of codes in the aqueous environment. Theirs has always been a world of waves.
May 10, 2023
With photographs by the author
I’ve been snorkeling in this river for sixteen years now and documenting a small stretch of it for about thirteen. Once a week, year ‘round, regardless of the weather, I will swim for several hours, picking up trash as I go, but mostly photographing what I find—fish and turtles, plants and rocks, even the contours of the riverbed, which change depending on the flow. Based on John Burroughs’ maxim—“To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday”—I decided a long time ago to focus on the half-mile reach that runs from City Park, through Sewell Park, and on to the spillway below Spring Lake.
May 3, 2023
I dream the master tells me:  for poetry 
                                              you need meter, meaning 
                                              and lust    

This sounds plausible enough     I am attentive 
to the master    
I write her dictum
                         in my small black notebook

But all the informal pronouns have been discarded    littering the streets
March 29, 2023
He had understood marriage as a way for people to be close together by maximizing their respective, individual isolation. He suspected that people got married so that the mirror of blame and excuses could point away from their respective selves, a way of blindly dismissing their own accountability. Had they been alone, they would have been forced to face their own terrors and demons. They would, at least, have tried to tackle some of their weaknesses instead of directing the velocity of their failure toward their “seemingly” innocent spouse. Zeaz understood this on a fundamental level and so, in the Year of the Tiger, he prepared legal papers to divorce his white wife and faced what he feared the most: himself, a biracial man with intermittent epileptic episodes, who was less dominant than a leaf.
March 22, 2023
To survive sadly is still. 
At a boat’s bottom, allegedly a boat. 
Allegedly an anchor. Allegations of a law. 
Oh splinters that split us, oh those who spit on our black gaberdine. 
The skin rolls the water off. That is what ash is, actually. 
Accumulation of spittoons and the water’s detritus. 

Hump day is a whale, freer than us even in capture, even in tallow. 
No one said: this isn’t a whale, even as they strung it up to cut its meat. 
No one said: this is something tbd. They said: mammal, leviathan, child of god, named by Adam. 

We got a new name. Something made up. We managed to live. In that hole name.
March 15, 2023
He’s been coming around a lot but I’ve only recently started calling the dog Jesus because if Jesus were to return, this is how he would do it. In this shape, in this form, in these times. I’m sure of it. My best and only friend, Holy Amy, who thinks of herself as a kind of very powerful and sexually budding nun, disagrees. She says Jesus would return in the form of a handsome kisser, not some ugly mutt. Someone with a beautiful face, so we would know it was him. I say he’s not ugly. She says I am “vexed,” “cursed,” and that I am doomed to repeat the mistakes of those before me, though I’m not sure whom she’s talking about. All I know is it’s true: he’s not ugly. The dog suit he wears isn’t even a dog suit.