The pattern is there is no pattern. Only thrills split from the inside of nightly dreams. Fireworks imploded. In the background of Jaws, the captured sound of the ocean insistent. Tumbleweeds untitled. Lives carefully leashed. Forgiveness now sold at cost. It’s cheaper than a full-bodied excavation or postponing uninsured vacations. Those flag waving contests, sacred competitions, enunciate the ascendant feelings. Clear and bright. Rising suspicions, surges of delusion, all of it natural as dredged wetlands or pipelines exploding to spectacular affect. The variants are just following the rules of long division. A simple prayer; please. Insert more coins to keep living. The transactions of ordinary time. Freedom to fill an empty page. Phantom whisper networks now interstellar contextual markers. Parabolic welcome wagons. There is no pattern, only recognition.
“But I wanted never to adjust my explorations to the anticipated expectations of others. Writing was enjoyable for the reverberation I got out of it, and the reverberation had to be discovered, not planned. — William Stafford, You Must Revise Your Life
Were you raised in redemption?
You’ll likely recognize its siren
as a concept—a never-ending story—
a seductive and subjectively
generous way to live one’s life.
Were you born with a shy body?
There’s love there,
you just have to be patient.
Have you learned
fucks with stasis? See also:
acceptance, risk, glory, grief,
and madness. Winter light
breaks through in layers,
kernels of stimulation.
Atonement becomes a paradigm;
it is a grind to keep believing.
Maybe it’s time to examine
your one dramatic life
when inertia is salvation
in an authoritarian state.
Are you ready to receive?
“All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.” ― Blaise Pascal
I was told salvation is coming. It could be any day now. My earliest memories integrated this knowing as a worried occupation, equal parts faith in and fear of the odds. Much later, I learned trees share similar survival stories. Expressed urgently as generosity, with occasional pause to report danger, trees communicate through elaborate, networked underground comms systems. This year, they’ll wait for a response not aware their friends and family didn’t survive wildfire season. We all wait in this sense of unknowing as predictions of unimaginable loss dampen relentless holiday sales pitches. Our cumulative temperament is tuned towards intermittent reinforcement, an addiction to hope.
Lately, as a ritual of escape, I wander between landscapes of turning Japanese maples and persimmon trees, flickering reds and faded orange, as palms stay evergreen while limes and lemons transform sour. Take this lust and ride its crest. I want to believe this could be a new beginning as waves of survivor’s guilt swell, then spread.
Poetic principles like allowing for improvisations and diligence of testimony guide my guarded thinking these vanishing days. I create deliberately, in curious inquiry of being in a state of suspended exile. Forgive me as I loop.
what survives in me
i still suspect.
–Sonia Sanchez, “Fragment 1”
time signatures bridge memories spread wide, open as my early childhood landscapes
we moved most often when work got too hard or you simply wanted a change of scenery
self-destruction a competitive pursuit, or why my syntax lacks a particular kind of self-love
I found an aesthetic: beg
more of a grasp than a hold
& I define how tight
shattered pieces create the best whole
naked sounds vibrate the loudest
most thoughts end
Tell me, what’s the joy of giving if you’re never pleased?
— Blood Orange, Champagne Coast
the sun rises at eastern edges
yellowing twilight blues
when there is nothing
if there were Christmas stockings
we always had an orange
such persistence can feel joyful
when there is no other choice
Dystopia in real time is not like the movies. We’ve digested so much spectacular violence we know no tender alternatives. Fighting feels so good. The characters we play on screen form dead weight on the streets and sink us in our bedrooms.
Persistence is extractive.
As surf buries smoothed rock, we turn the calendar page to July and spread like picnics under cloudless skies. Our flesh a moral document scrolling beyond politicized reach. After all, the bottom line is always evolving.
Sea levels have always been inconsistent.
Ideological battles are taken for granted outside a schema of pursuit. This adoration, a relationship of necessity, remains prone. A curious posture. Abuse is normal. Its purpose is to feel. Subtly is weaponized.
Perceived as commodities, we trade.
Auspicious tensions act as purifiers for taste, a basic sensation. Our judgements psychic protection. Didactic fracturing agitates into frothy comfort. Perceptions gain value for their ahistorical subjectivity.
Aspirational dissent is the chorus and the bridge to ——
If we listen carefully, joy is elegance reproducing itself into near future referential fits and starts. Inspiration is a slow bleed. Murmuring into abruptions delightful as salt penetrating unhealed wounds. An intimacy as ancient and poetic as opiates or fire.
Christmas fell on a Sunday, as ordinary as on a Tuesday.
Wants were absence so we honored each other’s realizations.
A modern birth narrative.
Liturgy presupposes witness as its baseline function.
Transitions have made you partisan.
Dancing as walking.
Sidewalks are walls.
Stoplights are lamps.
Eating as warfare.
Bombs are poems.
We find comfort in staying warm and undefeated.
you got no fear of the underdog / that’s why you will not survive – Spoon, The Underdog
This violence looks good on you. Fitted. Proper. My opinion, of course.
All apologies have been returned to sender. Transparency is seasonal.
No stability is guaranteed. Can we at least agree it is sacred territory?
This is a good-bye letter. My reasons rolling out like smoke from fire.
Let’s hold each other with a tenderness we never earned.
I humbly confess I have no strategic solutions, today.
Tomorrow does not exist within our current embrace.
Messages were slow to be received.
Communications were tangled passing through enemy lines.
All arbitrary and always binding, like paper hearts.
Solicitous profit tied up with bright strings of gratitude.
This time of year pulls tension to the height of joy.
Shadows flash, sparkle even.
Conscientiously objecting is expression beyond fragility of emotion.
There’s a masculine way to do this or something more powerful.
Place bets on queerly stacked decks as panic breeds discos.
All this, and more unsaid, guides us like the promise of beginner’s luck.
Glory bound towards trust towards you towards truth.
Come back. Let’s fight.
what is your habit energy?
We perform our own strategies of consumption.
My short-term memories are hidden between my thighs.
Othered desires are masks. But for whose protection?
Entertainment is currently discounted as politics.
Feeling expendability like breath like faith.
You can order custom misfortunes or xxx or standard subjectifications.
Our stories are our truths.
This is my museum-quality curated experience.
Always dress your best
for the world may end.
The days hum, a frequency (consistent).
Flashbacks are low-grade returns.
There is seduction in being loved
and always something you can learn
from an interruption.
A moment when clarity
finds you knowing.
Look how much you
love me. Little maps.
from Bruises by Leah Horlick
The clouds formed an amphitheater
over a city transformed, a super city.
Its atmosphere thick with performance.
Listen to the bubble pop—pop—pop.
Queering our lust for gratification
becomes dominant economic ritual.
Golden greeds & auspicious competition
financed this super spectacle.
Watch as ceremonies of repressed aggressions
become baptisms unfurling (catch & release).
Physical bodies manifesting entertainment
as reward & pleasure, a violence that feels good.
our days have been brighter
an optics, a behavior, of being awake
this year’s declarations:
* occupying neutrality is poetic nuance *
* embody love as deep as it can go *
* shame has subjective exchange rates *
* judge listening and justice as actions *
* what feels good and safe is happiness *
* it is ok to change your mind, to leave, to quit, to cry *
* apologies and forgiveness are patterns of endless appreciations *