When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

Jon Sands

Sensible Question –

February 8, 2020

store echoes of everything

February 8, 2020

Ideas come out of the unconscious mind: that shadowy place in which – though we don’t know it – we store echoes of everything we have ever seen or heard or done, every person we’ve met, every story we’ve read. In there, all these old scraps are melted together, as if in a furnace, and once in a while, if you’re lucky, they fuse into something bright and astonishing. I think the process starts the day that you are born.

Susan Cooper
Kids Read

I read voraciously and widely. Mythic matter and folklore made up much of that reading – retellings of the old stories (Mallory, White, Briggs), anecdotal collections and historical investigations of the stories’ backgrounds – and then I stumbled upon the Tolkien books, which took me back to Lord Dunsany, William Morris, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, Mervyn Peake and the like. I was in heaven when Lin Carter began the Sign of the Unicorn imprint for Ballantine, and scoured the other publishers for similar good finds, delighting when I discovered someone like Thomas Burnett Swann, who still remains a favourite. This was before there was such a thing as a fantasy genre, when you’d be lucky to have one fantasy book published in a month, little say the hundreds per year we have now.

Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint: A Life of Stories
Terri Windling

robot consent

February 8, 2020

I adore robot love stories because I adore robots. As characters, I mean — I’d probably be terrible with robots as they exist in our society now. Robots are an incredible filter for questions about humanity, what we value and what we are seeking as we push the boundaries of art and science. But when a human falls in love with a robot, or even engages with intimacy of any form with the human, there is a question posed by the very nature of their relationship:

Is consent possible?

And when we use the term consent in this context, we must address it both broadly and minutely. Can the robot consent to a relationship at all? Are they likely to base it on their programming? Can they consent to any form of intimacy? Are they created to do so? Can they be taken advantage of either emotionally or physically? Can they take advantage of others? Is the person who wants to enter into a relationship with the robot considering these issues at all? Is the robot?

Emmet Asher-Perrin
All Robot Love Stories Are Conversations About Consent

I’ve just been reading about how Kafka wrote “The Judgment”— in one sitting, from 10pm to 6am. He said: “Writing is only possible thus, with that continuity, with that complete opening of body and soul.” For him, writing could not happen “in little bits” — it had to come in a rush, in a wild all-night writing session, which reminds me so much of Lispector’s runaway horse. As if he’s urging this horse of writing to go on, far, farther, without restraint, without considering the consequences, like how debilitated he will feel the next day. And it’s connected, too, to what you say about discovering a new kind of feeling, and how writing is tied to these “moments” when you let go. They are moments, they are time, and it takes time to get to them, sometimes an excruciatingly long time of writing nothing, or false things, obviously hollow and worthless things that you have to throw away. This is why writers are always desperate for more time, even the ones who seem to have plenty of it. There’s never plenty of time for writing, because you have to waste so much. There can’t be plenty of time for something that takes forever.

Like most of us, Kafka was often obliged to write in little bits. It made him desperate. Monster Portraits is, in one sense, an attempt to embrace the little bits of writing: to escape the necessary evil of truncation by turning it into a virtue. Because the pieces are short, I was able to write each one in a rush. I loved writing to the pictures. I concentrated on each one in a trancelike way. I compared them to icons, and I focused on them in that way, meditatively but not calmly — my goal was to work myself up to the highest pitch. To the highest pitch of what, I don’t know! But that phrase was in my head a lot. In fact I would often mutter it, which was probably disconcerting for my students. To the highest pitch! I think of Octavia Butler writing to herself so deliberately, in different colours, her pledge: that she must strive in all ways, at all times, for intensity. Cold or hot, hard or soft, gut-wrenching or deeply stilling, utter intensity!

Sofia Samatar
Kafka, Binge-Writing and the Search For Monsters