"Most of the cruelty in the world is just misplaced energy."
Zadie Smith, On Beauty
"Wanna make a monster? Take the parts of yourself that make you uncomfortable - your weaknesses, bad thoughts, vanities, and hungers - and pretend they’re across the room. It’s too ugly to be human. It’s too ugly to be you. Children are afraid of the dark because they have nothing real to work with. Adults are afraid of themselves."
Black Telephone (Richard Siken)
I’m leaving Paris tomorrow, and I’m excited but I’m also a little upset about it. It’s a weird feeling. I have my first real apartment waiting for me in New York.* I have been applying for jobs. I feel like I am becoming more of a real person, and I was expecting to be more scared by that than I am.
For our last class, we wrote poems after Paul Violi’s “Index”. A lot of people made lists of what they did here, but I wanted to write a poem of negation without a first-person speaker, so I have this.
*waiting for me starting August 15. Can I sleep on your couches?
Notes from the Museum
1. Water sounds are the most soothing
2. The sound of burning brush comes in a close second
3. I don’t speak this language
4. Can we have skulls in art without thinking of Hamlet?
5. Is this ASMR?
6. Who the fuck cares?
7. Bright lights, big pity
8. Is the point of the opera that we fall asleep?
9. The man deflated and died, but the movie restarted, so it was almost like he never died
10. There are screens on the floor
11. Emma don’t walk on that
12. Just because it’s on the floor doesn’t mean you can walk on it
13. I’m too sad to tell you
14. Just say no to family values
15. Everyone is a total deception
16. We need flashlights
17. Today the world died. Or maybe yesterday.
18. Humanity without art, that’s like god without believers
19. Such a wonderful feeling (I’m dying)
20. I’ve plotted my own genome chart and I’m waiting for the hour of my death now
21. I’m sick of self-sufficiency
22. My sticker fell off
23. It’s dark
24. I wish I still had my flashlight
25. I can’t offer more than this
Tonight I reread Mary Ruefle’s “I Remember, I Remember" and then looked at her website, which I usually end up doing after I read it to see if she’s up to anything new. (I don’t think she is.) I looked at the erasures she has posted there, and I think I’ve read them before but for some reason, this time, these two pages in particular stuck out to me.
babes leaning on walls
"Flowers seem to me to be truly narcissistic and they drive me completely insane. I mean they seem to only stand there and admire themselves enormously and expect you to do the same. And besides that, there are all these little bugs on them. If you bend over to smell one, admire its beauty a little, horrible little black things are crawling around on it. Furthermore, bumble bees, which I am in terrible fear of, are usually lurking nearby. Weeds I don’t mind much, although I actually prefer pavements and sidewalks. Well, I like the countryside too, but there are a lot of bugs in it, I must say."
Ted Berrigan, Sonnet Workshop
"It usually starts with a scene, or a sentence. A half-formed idea. Maybe you have an idea for a sentence. You repeat the sentence in your head until you know it by heart, then you want to write it down. Or you have half an idea for a scene—it’s in the distance, it’s a little foggy, but you can see it’s there. You aim for it. You start making your way down the road towards it. You either eventually arrive there, or, you get sidetracked and end up somewhere else entirely."