Sometime in 2011

Not spending all my days in a thoughtless daze, but that mood set in last night–one of abandon. I let the wheel go and drove several feet on the opposite lane.

A nightmare followed. If I were to describe its affect, it would be something like being let down in exactly the way you feared you would, but that you would not have expected to actually occur: the feeling of having an unlikely possibility actualize itself.

Now I sit and keep planning, knowing there is no secret to feeling better through planning, but planning because it gives the semblance of safety and control, though I very well know its legs to be as wobbly as mine.

Would have liked to phrase it differently, but I couldn’t allow myself to write down the sentence as it wanted to be. Rearranging the words was just as difficult, so I stripped it of all other words but “love” and went back to bed.



“I’m doing it all to myself,” I think, in bed, emotions clenching. Bring it down and descend. Resistance. I try again to bring it down and again it rises and I lift, too.

“You are the apex of mental and physical beauty.”

“I don’t even know what to do with you.”

“I love you.”

The roar of frustration, of not knowing how to secure that which has become too dear to even think of in such terms.

“Maybe there’s nothing we can do with each-other,” I say.

My tenderness has the capacity to crush you, so forceful it is, so charged and so immense. How can you know from the grip of it that you are in the grip of it? I release it and see the sky at your feet. And you: out of frame.

Oh, the more I start to live my life outside of you the more I come to understand your life outside of me.


Case Center

Was it stolen? It was not; it was seized and belonged to the seizer. If it eluded everyone else’s attention, she did it service by letting it go unknown, unlived. She–a mere recorder of what he was recording, many times removed from the fact but the only one capable of lending word to his deed. And his deed was only to be found in his word: nothing done that was not retold in a story embellished over a process she affronted, though sometimes blindly revered as we all do supposed mysteries, or those things we can’t ourselves reach and don’t firsthand know.

It was so with words that he would build a room with many windows and no view, curtains drawn so as to sit in the privacy of that construct. It did not occur to him to eliminate onlookers, maybe liking the thought of being secreted in front of others right in their own world’s center.

It was here where they would reliably encounter each-other, sit with books alap and read with fervor, touch arms on purpose like it was not on purpose. It was on the border of this dreary center, on a night so torrid and gusty that it inverted her best umbrella, that she learned the story’s end–an end to a truth she could only contingently spin over his.

He invented the discomfort of the season so as to provoke closeness.The puddles were black and the rain blacker. The denunciation of his own sensitivity. The near-tear jerk. The truest way to speak to the vanquished moment.


I sample through a spread of jam jars on your table, because—it seems—I can’t sit so,
not even in the full cushioned surroundings of where you normally dwell,
not while you aren’t there,
not while it’s empty.

I’m at the brink of a leave and that’s why—perhaps—I’m allowing myself
the full relish of domestic sweetness, without reservation,
to carry over its peculiar comforts when I’m aloft,
in celestial sway.

Your voice remains constant through time: I hear it more distinctly in your letters now.
My voice: points of brilliance, points of intricacy, fallen into slackness and strain.

Couched in a drawer are more envelopes than I remember receiving,
but less revealed therein than you remember revealing.

Where is Mona?


Walking past the tallest edifice in town—having listened to a song and gained from it the kind of exhilaration one feels when thinking a certain gesture is dedicated to them personally, from an important other—she looked at her feet (clean), up the legs (lavender shorts), further up to the torso (sheer fabric). The whole lot of it more worthless than what could be found in her neighbor’s trash.

On the way to the basement, then inside, the sounds earlier coming from the speakers in her room up top now coming out of headphones hugged to his skull, a faint note of it reaching her, now sitting on a couch directly across from him, feet raised over a stool, tiny and strung in by wiry sandals with bad soles. His face framed between them, Ryan’s loud voice blurting some compliment on the side, and all around shimmer of an invisible kind, a result of the dedication now brought nearer, staring it in the face, lifted by the pretense of the elation, creating the very bond needed to support the emotion. The emotion, now the one and true source of its own life, sat in the dark, an ingenious body out of its mind.

And a door was concretely unlocked for her, by his bad use of daytime, so she could lie on another couch and move his vertebra with her eyes from behind as he fiddled with keys—metal ones, computer ones—and she with paper and cloth—a book, a pillow—and then melt into a creature between the two, cloth and paper, a limb hanging on air for him to cover with something of his and slowly introduce him to the softer world of rest and letters (not violently pressed, lushly gazed at, rivers leading to a dream—to the desire for a break). For him to break, for his will to drown in that live river, for him to melt, too, between cloth and paper.

What he summoned was something of the secret night that revealed itself only to the late-looker in front of another’s eyelids as they closed. He captured this in the direct instant the other’s lashes met, and threaded it into his manner so that when she saw him she could not help but detect a figment of something she always almost grasped, but which was as soon stolen—and better so, as she could not capture it, frozen into unconscious paralysis.

Thieving ways that rightly belonged to the one who was rare enough to capture it. If it eluded everyone else’s waking life, he serviced it by not letting it go unknown, unlived. And she, a mere recorder of what he was recording. How many times removed from the context; how very capable of lending word to his deed.

His deed, though, was always in his word, nothing done by him that was not embellished to be retold through a process for which she had no respect, but which she nonetheless revered as we all do alleged mysteries, or those things we can’t ourselves reach and don’t firsthand know.

Writing is excavation into the unspoken. It is then the invention of what she supposes exists. It’s a search for something which she as readily creates. The bringing into being of what can be recovered from passage, revision, transmutation, death. Modified truth being the truest way to speak the vanquished moment.

The sensing of a sort of femininity holed by an acerbic inner chemistry, a self having lost its own essence. The near-tear-jerk as they embraced, the denunciation of his own sensitivity. Small-jawed, tight, bright little effeminate faces: you all torture me so.


Learning To Not Spill Our Numerous Problems On Strangers

the latest Distant Castle conversation poem


You’re lacking serenity, you’re mushing.

Your fingernails are the same color as the interior of Chopsticks.


But focus for a second before you snap, figure out the word for it—

pin it down like when you lay a woman down.


This woman is a lot of sound, texture, growling, growing.

I threw my bow at her and it broke in half.


The damage now is several generations away

from Amos and Andy, the society of ill illustrators,

from my first moment of self sacrifice:

cooking salad, throwing rocks at trees—I’m having Java Hut flashbacks!


He’s a sociopath, that’s why he’s important,

and that’s why you’re wearing lipstick.


Will you look at me for a half-second, Jim?

My pussy is in distress.


I’m going to know the answer: what’s the question?

Your ears are too small to put words inside of.

Don’t Try

Reading Schopenhauer—Hegel-hater, poodle-lover, inventor of pessimism—puts me in the best mood. Really. Here’s why: he has decided that suffering is all there is, and that suffering will never be eliminated. Of course, we don’t believe this right off. What about all the beauty and pleasure and enchantment that life has to offer? We wouldn’t experience such positive things if suffering was the only thing. We wouldn’t eat cupcakes, listen to music, make love, drink wine, read poetry, or fill-in-the-positive-blank if we didn’t find joy or derive pleasure from these things. This is true and Schopenhauer would not even challenge it. But if we were to really think hard about why we do any of these things, he would say, it is to escape the quiet suffering that we are all fundamentally subject to (and if we deny this to be the case, he would say we are deluded). We listen to music to fill a void or because it stimulates and arouses positive emotions, and we eat cupcakes because they’re sweet, pretty and easy sources of pleasure.

Schopenhauer claims that we seek pleasure blindly due to the striving of the will to live, which is the force governing all existence and that aims to preserve life and keep the species going. Our two most basic inclinations—consuming and copulating—are the strongest examples of the the will to live operating in us. Organic matter is constantly striving to consume and devour other organic or inorganic matter, to get the most that it can, to plant its DNA, to persist—it is always struggling to keep itself afloat. But why? Well, there is no reason, and that’s Schopenhauer’s breakthrough point—that the world is a fundamentally irrational place.

We are subject to ongoing internal discord, varied and opposing inclinations, as the vehicles that we are for the will’s aimless striving. And the will is dangerous because it deludes us into chasing pleasure and joy, thinking that we can in fact find these things and escape our suffering. In actuality, striving only leads to more suffering, and the more pleasure we seek the more suffering we set ourselves up for. What is the point of all the striving, then? There is no point. There is no answer. Except for to resign, to cheat the will and to not strive. If all there is is suffering, and no amount of striving can eliminate that, then the solution is to just not try.

If you are wondering why this puts me in a good mood, my inadequate answer would have to be that I spent the past week being a sleep-deprived, over-worked, striving graduate student (there was suffering, I tell you!) and am relishing the few free hours I have tonight to…write about Schopenhauer? I was going to write “to be lazy” and “to not try,” but I am instead writing about not trying. Give me a few years to get the hang of this resignation business.