Photo: Protesters topple & set fire to a mobile spotlight outside speaker’s appearance at UC Berkeley, Feb. ’17
I know he said she said that. I know they heard him and you when I saw her tell me he said so. You know she heard them tell us not to tell you. We said he told me she told him not to. He said she. I heard she said he already told them. Her idea all along was just that you told them he said I said that. They said I said it. I heard she said those words to you about what he said. You said they said I knew. What they heard about this that she said to you I heard before. He told us we heard their version.
We’re Gonna Build A Lake
We’re gonna build a lake, it’s gonna be a great lake and M is going to pay for the lake. I would force them to pay for the lake by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of gallons of water. Until they do we will, among other things: increase fees on all lake-crossing cards—of which we issue about 1 million each year. The cost of building a permanent border lake pales mightily in comparison to what taxpayers spend every single year dealing with the fallout of illegal immigration on lake communities, schools and unemployment offices.
Friend Zone: Arsonist
He burns a copy of this famous book using a lighter and an earthenware pot that came with the apartment when his friend moved in, many years ago. The pot is nicer than the book. It would’ve cost more money, his friend said, if they had to buy it instead like the one friend did buy the paperback. The amount of water in the pot suffices to douse the flames once the book is really on fire and has to be dropped. The face of the author (deceased) on the cover, all charred to an ugly burned grey & blackish, the drawing reproduction flaking; it was of course a reprint of the old man’s work from so many years ago, way before both the two friends’ time. Not a hard thing to find for cheap at all. One read this book in public and people would smile and later say they saw you reading it somewhere, that is if you ever had the pleasure to meet them again. The friend’s point in burning it was that the action was a necessary symbol of transgression, new beginnings, and getting over things. Now the one friend wishes they still had their copy available to try and see if they really like this author’s work or not, and the friends are glad they don’t live together anymore.
We’re working on a special hotline like the suicide one, but for when you’re waiting to get a text or call back from someone you like. This is someone we can assume is a romantic and/or carnal prospect for you, more than just a friend. So you call and say it’s been three hours and they haven’t texted you back. We help you rationalize the situation, the likelihoods of whether or not the person is going to text you back (tell us more) whether or not you should’ve ever texted them in the first place. Should you have ever texted them in the first place or should you have called instead, or are they perhaps going to call you? perhaps even as we speak… Well then hang up now, dear customer! You could also let it slide for three days and then call, or should you text them again? Should you resort to e-mail if for some reason you have theirs, or should you resort to social media outlets, etcetera…should you forget about them entirely and seek a new prospect, a new date. What happened on your date with this person? What kind of a phone do you have? Did you notice what kind of phone they had? Perhaps it is better than yours. Perhaps you have already spent enough time around this person. Our person on the line will help you come to grips with it. You can stay on the line for as long as you like, but you do pay by the minute. The idea is you can stay on the line until your person answers you back even if it takes a day. But you know, the more you tell them the more they can help you.
To publish for their magazine, they would have preferred that I give, write, perform (for free) what they called a “close reading.” Of what? They basically said it could be of anything. Anything at all that they can see & confirm is agreeably literary and/or artistic, nice to look at…or of anyone at all, like an individual, who could be contemporary or even historic by now; who is clearly somebody worth reading, and closely. It would seem. I might’ve argued that it doesn’t get any closer than these guilt-stricken eyes reading a beautiful wound: the sharpest little needlepoint made sanitary by flame alone that is dipped in India Ink has already written something that may at first be quite painful for its’ subject—the receiver not the giver, the page not the printer—and this is of course illegible from far away. Not at all in-line with the once-popular “bird’s-eye view” or Aerial School of criticism, either. One adjective a close reader might use here is “Kafkaesque” and cite the short story In The Penal Colony.
Remember as well the love triangle we find in Dante, when Beatrice is taken with a second, a different, another…man. Her lover is someone other than the author of the reading. He is the one she fell for “…[on] the day [they] read no more.”
I have also been to a lot of readings that have felt close. Some of these close readings made me come to feel like it might be impossible to ever be close to certain authors or their work(s) again. Vice versa must also be true, in some cases. An author’s personal body hygiene might be the biggest impediment to close reading in our times.
If their magazine still exists, I am sure it is most likely due to the swift implementation and subsequent regulation of their most trusted author’s good body hygiene (during close reading) to avoid cross-contamination among the varying interpretations.
BEN TRIPP is the author of a poetry e-book called What About Frasier (Gauss PDF, 2015) and has also published numerous other ficciones & critical writing(s) with Brooklyn Rail and HTML Giant, respectively.