How does one know one’s own feelings?
I don’t think I know any of mine now. I’m too busy propping them up and taking them together.
SUSAN SONTAG, Journals and Notebooks
You get born and you try this and you don’t know why only you keep on trying it and you are born at the same time with a lot of other people, all mixed up with them, like trying to, having to, move your arms and legs with strings only the same strings are hitched to all the other arms and legs and the others all trying and they don’t know why either except that the strings are all in one another’s way like five or six people all trying to make a rug on the same loom only each one wants to weave his own pattern into the rug; and it can’t matter, you know that, or the Ones that set up the loom would have arranged things a little better, and yet it must matter because you keep on trying or having to keep on trying and then all of a sudden it’s all over.
WILLIAM FAULKNER, Absalom, Absalom!
The experiential question of affinity, likeness, similitude, simulacrum, kinship, kind, concordance, resemblance…
Wherein the barriers between a gothic mirror, American pastoral, confession, and concealed exegesis merge into critical lyric. All to say, the likeness is a likeness of the idiosyncratically rendered self-referent. I discover myself (my particularized concern) in a constant and familiar echoing. I discover myself only by the genuine realization of the other (another poet, agonized—integrated).
But have I written what’s in front of me? I have not. And who is this Julia? The feminine form of the Roman Julius related to youth. Your more canonical youth, now more present, reverential, admired—a doubly negatived doppelgänger. The I am because you are syndrome. And to the relevant breathing book?
A document as frozen documentary, oppositional to disposable commentary and the archival achievements of a treacherous concentration: the dangers of that unadorned paying attention. What classical economy in the opening—in that catapulting kick off.
In the lowlands sleep is like an irradiated small
road, a refrain.
You are like black wind now, growing more and
I read growling. Therein lives no prose poetry couplet, as such, but how we read makes attempts at assassinations of authorial authorities. And it may be she intended. As the form charges and changes.
cinched with silence.
What are these images that waver just above our
Is a dream but I don’t accept the dream. A melting signifier thawed by her wayward dream interrogations. “It is happening again.”
Gothic kitsch or how I read the forthcoming or a sincere grasping of infernal nightmares (and the turn?).
On the edge of town the butcher sleeps alone in
Did I write the darkness? What thievery? Did you? What cohering narration dictates the book? What a great writer does—writes your body and brains and sculpts them around new skeletons and places them in new skulls.
And the apocalyptic threat—a thread caught in a throat: chocking on the image. “See the child.” See the end.
No question marks. The markings of the question. The question of desperation and dust—filth, too. Julia, what do you intend? What are your thoughts on the most violent Jabèsian library? On Shakesperean commons? Let’s talk…
The fact that we get so little and need so much.
The respondent’s dose. She knows what she’s doing—guided by her ponderous guts. And figuration. New con-figurations, new skulls (skills), and then there’s no rain cleaning away anything—the tender no-thing-ness.
Madsen, the mad son of the rural academy—a bard of barbed wire. Girl-son, son-girl. Deliver us unto the almost rural anthem. “I sleep at night. I have no worries. I am becoming myself, as inconsequential as that may be. I am not something that somebody shoved off on me. I am what I chose to be, and I am it.” Bloody and shaking after. The shrouded individual cloaked in electric connections (rusted as they are).
Phantasmagoric folk as we.
You don’t leave.
You never left.
the horizon slowly pulling into focus.
a function of ink and time
You never left. This is the first step.
You. Behold a yellowed page. A country doctor replaced with the field figure—figure in a burnt out, insect eaten field. But the grass are leaves of the book and the pages under web and muck are opening. And a gun shot scares the pages back downward into nowhere but where a woman might stand. She does stand, looking at us. Something is getting you. Something is out to get you.
Next, a woman wriggling inside a cocoon.
The lyric tragedian knows when and where the wound is most vulnerable to a vampiric land that will not, for unknown reasons and rationalities, stop its blood letting.
And soon you begin to remember…
To remember forgotten ways. The book forged in forgetting and so much for the better.
The vestibular contract of being alive. Julia, you dug it up. The body. A body recumbent in a desert of the real. The real I reject but we can agree in our detailed disagreement. Soaked in blood on both sides.
But it wasn’t you.
It was a social ontology put up against my penchant for the universal existential.
Did you see the misdeed.
No questions in the finality of the period. And mayhem where…
One man even cut off his penis.
How realism reflects. But how and what to hide? “Nothing remains but to hope the end will come to extinguish the unrelenting pain of waiting for it.” Do we agree?
Slaughtered, took apart, separated fingers from the hand writing the book. A tome of solid gore. Waste and trash as an investigatory entrance or aesthetic choice. Again, akin.
“I don’t see any blood, so I can’t send you to a
She didn’t write anything down, she just told me to
go back to knife sharp.
Exploitation told in double exposure and you did write it down. Implicated in the crime, necessarily. A narrator of solid things. The thing in itself. Itself.
The hunter was out to balance the books.
(dog eared the page)
“Lying in my heap of Earth I can naturally dream of all sorts of things, even of an understanding with the beast, though I know well enough that no such thing can happen, and at the moment when we see each other, more, at that instant we merely guess at each other’s presence, we shall both blindly bare our claws and teeth, neither of us a second before or after the other, both of us filled with a new and different hunger, even if we should already be gorged to bursting.”
Gnosis knows what we can’t possibly hold in our head (decapitated or connected), no thanks to a god (absent, Julia, absent and idiotic)—a lesson both of us learned sitting on a hill watching the fields, cities, baubles, factories, bodies, hair, and isolated houses burn.
They will look for a way to get rid of you.
Of us. Resembling a red lake set aflame as well. The regret missed in a book of sorrowful ecstatics. Autobiographical convergences, if I presuppose and presume, in twin repair. An egret wrapped in paper, frozen in blocks of ice—my topography and symbolism, not yours.
I was raised in a house of hell, outside: another inferno, the other: a magnified demonic stage—and you? Rescued, also, by ancestral grace? Taken care of from without? I can’t possibly know.
To personalize a fellow poet’s place, I can’t help but to do so with this shining book dancing in me.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Apophatic. Or cannot, hobbled as we are by them. A them unrecognized or located erroneously (another divergence?).
In our dark hearts. Abandoned to winter.
I think not (in agreement) and hence the epistle as missive as cognitive romance as no one reads what we write but concludes instead. A book that shines like raised axes—investigations into the heart… and into the land… and occasionally spoken to lower depths.
“Evil being the root of mystery, pain is the root of knowledge.”
“All matter is evil.”
Might find yourself on the outskirts of town where
the butcher lives alone. He could stand for all that
has been shut down or boarded up.
Quotational or discernible rhythms dictate a specialized breed of optimistic desperation. Julia, in the boneyard. Julia, in heartland Hades. Julia, alive and dead.
Disagreement does arise and the eternal arrival of distinctions in parochial dust—drawn in broad patterns but particular in a detailed direction. But is distinction anything more than a momentary disposition? If on the fundamental, certainly not. If in the conceptual (and, herein, I believe, is the case), then yes. The mammoth yes of distinction without fundamental difference. Bond beyond the aesthetic and writerly charge. What watchword for what extreme externalities? Affinity, likeness, similitude, simulacrum, kinship, kind, concordance, resemblance…
NOTES FROM ABYSSES
—First quote taken from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks
—Second quote taken from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian
—Third quote taken from James Dickey’s Deliverance
—Fourth quote taken from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Poems
—Fifth quote taken from Franz Kafka’s The Burrow
—Sixth quote taken from The Gnostic Gospels
—Seventh quote taken from The Writings of Simone Weil
—Eighth quote taken from Aase Berg’s Dark Matter
*Collages by the author.
LM Rivera lives in Santa Fe, NM. He co-edits Called Back Books w/ his partner Sharon Zetter. His work has appeared in textsound, FUZZ, Mannequin Haus, DUM DUM Zine, and elsewhere. His chapbook THE LITTLE LEGACIES is on Glo Worm Press and his first full-length book, The Drunkards, is available from Omnidawn.