Behind this dress,
two women
in the mess of one body hardly covered
by the stiff beauty of lustrous rustle.

Behind these freckled breasts,
two hearts that rush the blood,
divergent desires –

twin to the unseemly split between predator
and prey,
the white pet-store rat
bred for the boa
and the boa that would remake
the Florida landscape in his ever expanding image –

if the one woman is the call
to the other’s answer
the answer is to keep calling and calling
into the swamp and humid.
If the container can’t lull
its contents into some sense of contentment,
the glass breaks, and out rush the teeth.

In a fixed loop, tie this sash of silk shot, plain weave,
and with a half hitch secure
against a hunger
that grows without natural enemy.
A desire uncurbed
is a flagrant thing, is a woman
in the mirror, seeing clearly.

Rebecca Hazelton

completely fabricated

May 31, 2018

foam

My mother’s poems cannot be crammed into the mouths of actors in any filmic reinvention of her story in the expectation that they can breathe life into her again, any more than literary fictionalization of my mother’s life — as if writing straight fiction would not get the writer enough notice (or any notice at all) – achieves any purpose other than to parody the life she actually lived. Since she died my mother has been dissected, analyzed, reinterpreted, reinvented, fictionalized, and in some cases completely fabricated. It comes down to this her own words describe her best, her ever-changing moods defining the way she viewed her world and the manner in which she pinned down her subjects with a merciless eye.

Frieda Hughes
From the foreword to Ariel: The Restored Edition by Silvia Plath

No story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is too imperfect and complex, too distorted by the laughter of time and the bewildering intricacies of fate to admit the straight line into its system of laws.

Pat Conroy
Beach Music

Buried There:

May 29, 2018

A bee mutating the lime green front porch’s safe space
The bee is “liminality”
The bee is gilded clit, a pun on snatch/snitch,
Free from the constraints of animal and/or woman
It is easy to name yourself, hard to tell others
Let my name be this sting cleaving red, puckered fat
Or name be the loose black hairs I gag from my shoulders w/ tweezers
Tell my name I want to be totally plastic, flat like boy or bitmap,
Real name a sinewave coiled like an ingrown hair beneath my fake name
Name boring geology of the latex bodysuit I groped with surprise
At the sex shop in LA where I basically died
Though all the tour guides were right: palms & pussy-smell & dying
There’s dying everywhere, what did I expect?
World take this labial deadname, this Motorola buzz in the grave
Or chime abscessing the flat plane, a hole for C sharp and the boy me
Buried there so no one can smell him

Reba Fay

Ideas for things come into one’s head, or bits of ideas; you feel there’s something – there’s some meat on the bone, there’s something there that lures you on. The more you think about it the more you’re led into this new world and the more of that world you see. And part of having an idea is having some notion of how you would tell the story. It’s not just thinking it would be nice to write something about the Crimean war, it’s having some particular way in mind of writing something about the Crimean war, and the idea for the way to tell the story helps you to see what the story is. The story suggests the means, the means suggests the story; it’s mutually dependent. And you don’t have very much choice in the matter. Ideas come, characters suggest themselves, and the nature of the story and the nature of the characters dictates how it’s going to be done.

I suppose if people are not writers or painters or whatever they see the life of the artist as being one of great freedom, but it’s not really; it’s as constrained as anyone else’s by the material that’s available. The thing seems to have some kind of reality in one’s head; it seems to be something that one is discovering, rather than inventing. I see that as a kind of psychological trick on oneself, because the whole point about fiction is that it’s invention. It doesn’t really seem like it at the time – it seems as if you are slowly discovering something that already exists and seeing how the different parts of it relate to each other.

Michael Frayn
On writing: authors reveal the secrets of their craft
The Guardian, 26th March 2011

Dreams

May 29, 2018

Dreams came to me with a particular sweetness and intensity after a little debauch, they came with repentance and tears, with curses and raptures.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
Notes From Underground

 

Blush me a humble hydrangea
shade of pink. Your lilypad heart
lapping. How the skirts of trust
rustle, edge my waist in hungry
red welts. What can we find
to sacrifice to the goddess who
severed her tongue so that humans
could harvest this art of dance,
even as it damages the high
marrow of their hip bones?
I want our bodies to be difficult
to explain: like the shape smoke
takes, its slow ghostly groping.
Or like a lapse of memory —
scent of eucalyptus after rain.

Emily Paige Wilson

When my friend said she had seen God’s face,
I wondered if it was an old man’s,
backlit by a playground’s night-game lights,
wondered if it was a woman’s,
fan of silver pins glittering between her lips
as she knelt on cold linoleum
turning up dress hems for money.
My friend said you can only see God’s face askance.
She said it terrified her
like the sleek and planet-eyed sea lion
whose yawn reveals a cavern of sharp teeth.
I prayed for a glimpse, but only saw
what God wanted me to see, a scarped skyline,
hard angles spangled with small panes of light.

Susan Elbe

read a lot

May 28, 2018

girl

When I was about 11 or 12 I think I must have said something about how I wanted to be a writer; I don’t remember having any such aspiration until much, much later. But I must have said something, because Lucy [my governess] wrote to Somerset Maugham and said that she was governess to a little girl who wanted to be a writer and what would Mr Maugham suggest? Heaven knows how she managed to write to him – I suppose care of the publishers. He wrote a very nice letter back saying absolutely the right thing: “If your little girl is interested in writing then the best thing she can do is read a lot.” Perfect answer; exactly what I’d say myself.

Penelope Lively
On writing: authors reveal the secrets of their craft
The Guardian, 26th March 2011

an infernal paradise

May 28, 2018

a city of the future - London

In Lovecraft’s defining stories, meaning such later works as “The Shadow out of Time” and “At the Mountains of Madness,” there is a sense of adventure. In his letters, Lovecraft often wrote of experiencing moments of what he called “adventurous expectancy,” by which he meant feeling oneself on the brink of some weird and hyper-exciting revelation that is always held in suspension and never known in its particulars. This is patently an aesthetic perception of existence. Borges described a similar feeling of the imminence of a revelation that never occurs as the definitive aesthetic experience. In Lovecraft’s work, unlike that of Borges, the origin of his feeling of adventurous expectancy derives from something terrible that is associated with the inconceivable spatial and temporal nature of the physical universe. I think that a great many people experience the same thing in their lives. I have myself. But it never occurred to me to express this feeling as a source of adventure in my stories.

My focus has fairly consistently been on what I have thought of as an “infernal paradise,” a realm where one wallows in something putrid and corrosive that lies beyond exact perception. In his stories, Lovecraft’s adventurous expectancy ultimately has its origin in something terrible, and not the child’s picture-book wonderland you find in the work of a lot of writers of fantastic fiction. But it’s still thrilling in its own way. It isn’t purely hellish, as is the case with my stories. Lovecraft was an astronomy buff as a child and so this feeling probably stemmed from that time. I was a pathological Catholic as a child, and one might make a connection between my early life and my later writings on that basis. Ultimately, the difference I’m trying to articulate between Lovecraft’s adventurous expectancy and my infernal paradise may seem superficial. I would say as much myself. But it seems to me that what captivates a reader’s interest in one writer’s work as opposed to another’s is quite often based on superficial qualities, even when there are deeper likenesses. Anyone can think of examples among both popular and literary writers. Lovecraft’s defining works portray a variety of monsters. Mine seldom do. What’s the difference? Not much on the deepest level. But monsters are a great literary hook and there is necessarily a surface adventure in dealing with them. If asked to name the definitive image in Lovecraft, one might likely say its tentacles flailing from the body of a monster. For me it would be probably be puppets, manikins, and clown-like things, even though these are more often a matter of metaphor than a literal presence of a monstrous type. Nevertheless, if Lovecraft’s tentacle monsters and my puppets and so on fought each other, I think the monsters would win.

Thomas Ligotti
Interview: Thomas Ligotti and the Realm of Nightmares
Weird Review 15th October 2015