January 18, 2020
Copy is terrible
Floppy copy, that pile of words wilted over itself ten times until folds become creases and creases become cold and snap into fragments of phonetic debris. Wind picks up and carries that debris up and you pick up the updraft breeze until you sneeze and some first paragraph splashes onto the screen, soaking through to software and deeper still into binary and then that little space between the ones and zeros. Suddenly, it’s all written up.
Whole-ass. Think about last time you whole-assed something. Maybe it was minuscule as an email, but you clicked send. And it meant something. The receiving end got a pocket vibration whiz ding tritone primal ear ping and picked up their rectangle to read your rubbish. Then they acted accordingly. You disturbed the universe. You whole-ass god.
Copy never feels more than half a cheek at most. That’s why there’s a clear natural division, so you can differentiate between what the werewolves are woofing at and what’s less. The fleshy full-moon Hendrix experience. Except instead of chopping mountains, you’re patting plastic dough on the silver palette of your keyboard. And others do the same. But their word debris gets watered down, mixed around and turned into some makeshift paint. They lay strokes, they design.
Done with design
Writers are designers. Idea architects. But designers are designers by name.
It’s a plain shame to see a work of art. Took an age to make and a brow-raise to eat. But you’re impressed by that eye meal. A design of any kind knows itself. It communicates how hard it was to hash out. Effort is immediately apparent.
Words take time to consume. A meat stick with retinas wriggles in excitement when it straw-sucks a petty poem. But real word-steak is thick. It listens to you, and you can’t possibly fit it in your mouth at once. Poems are hard, they stay—everything else is diethyl ether. Either here for good or gone.
Put your ear up close
Words are pictures. Everyone’s got their own mental museum. Picture a pink porous soft-puzzle brain. You might think it’s bubble gum mac and cheese through and through, but you’re wrong. Take an anatomy class. Brains contain little folders. Literal folders. They do. And those have pictures of every single thing you think you know.
Your own ear. Two, right? A mirror’s a mirage. You’ve never seen your ear. Put your ear up close to this. What does it see?
What we can make you do
When no one sees what you’ve said to them, there’s always someone syphoning the sound. In this case, it’s you.
It’s not required to follow the recipe.
This is the first musing after the first of Tom’s Newsletter has been sent out. I have many prompts that sound like they’d actually be of some use, but can’t remember what wise-ass things I’d planned to say when I came up with the draft titles. They won’t be written ’til I’m in the mind to whole-ass them.
Promise more whole-ass wise-ass words.
January 7, 2020
Wanted to call this one Amateur after the afterthought ending of the previous post. Decided Interrobang was more interesting.
Interrosting. When you interrogate a swarm of bees? When they interrogate each other? Perhaps the intercourse of their stings. Needle tips colliding, ejecting torsos, mutual minuscule fury, pinpoint midair mortality, yellow-black pajama joust, pointy bug hug.
A slight interest in all things and lack of specialty make an especially decent writer. Someone who will do to do, and will notice in between. Someone told to be crisp who’s cryptic instead. They laugh at concept.
The bee scene was a mind spree but lean into it. When wasp tips whip together, it’s Newtonian physics. Hubris and humility, hydrogen fusion. Hell if I know what’s happening here, but the devil knows it’s fun.
Time for Turkish tea and bedtime renegade. Night‽
January 5, 2020
It’s the start of a new decade and this is apt.
I’ve been meaning to write on self-discipline and will later, hence the hyperlink. Been littering these blue tickets around the site. They’re essays-to-be. You’ll click some and find another hour’s thoughts or an unkept promise. Literary lottery.
This one’s about self improvement. Getting better. Going nowhere certain until the ultimate certainty. Certainly insane, you might ascertain.
To feel free in some sense, I need to constantly check my two rooms. My physical room and mental room. Two sequestered spaces I should have complete control over, else flicker out. The rooms are connected inextricably. Only when some segment of my mind and living quarters are clean can I move on with whatever it is that must be moved onto.
To exercise control over these realms, I end up deleting a lot. Keeping only: what’s small and linked to a specific memory (e.g. an art exhibit entrance ticket), what I’ll need to reference in the immediate future (info about upcoming taxes), what’s the best designed version (a Muji mug), what can be left behind without care (an up-cycled ice cream pint plant vase).
List of Fate
Things by Cultured Code is the best task managing software the world will ever know. It’s where I store my immortal ordinal mandate, my List of Fate. Anything on the list must and will get done. It’s never empty and never full. It’s ribboned onto the propellor affixed to my coccyx, fluttering aft.
I want to share a part of it with you. It’s raw, titled Health: Ideals and hypotheses for self-growth, divided into two sections, and alphabetized.
Cardio (for heart health)
Fasting (intermittent, for muscle toning)
Flossing (for dental hygiene)
Reading (for inspiration and introspection)
Sleep (for more daily energy)
Writing (to balance consumption)
Caffeine (for more natural energy)
Masturbation (for genuine fulfillment)
Picking (for healthier skin)
Pornography (for greater sensitivity)
Social Media (for analog joy)
Sugar (for more acute taste)
The list is simple, personal, unimposing, measurably achievable. And I’m not sharing it to influence you in any way. It’s a sincere sequence I thought I’d test out and observe the results of after various readings and conversations.
I’ve stuck to all of them, more or less, shaping this current version of me. They’re basic on purpose, because goals that are broader are easier to hit and there’s little sense in creating a nuanced goal you’ll feel poorly about aborting or missing the mark. After molding to meet the broader goals it will be more intuitive to experiment with nuance and results will hopefully be more apparent.
The more and less lists interweave. I like the idea of being open to new interests, so try to maintain a lean and agile bodily form. Talking about this makes me feel like an incredible tool. It’s as much for me as it is for you, this spreading out. Actually walking the line is quite vexing, and as much as I’d like to go on about my observations in self-improvement, I’d also like to keep your honest interest—sincere communication between me and you—not some half-mock, quarter-spite perusal. A follow-up post is in order should interest be shown, otherwise the cards stay face-down.
I’m no model and have no regimen, having introduced small consistencies to my life that have proven well over time in an effort to more efficiently navigate all of this. There’s a tasseled lamp letting a low yellow light onto the table on which I type and it feels warm now but I can only imagine reading this later more clinically and wishing I weren’t the type of person to share such topical detail. Up to you to resonate or ricochet.
Small consistencies. This yellow light. Emit just a bit but enough.
January 4, 2020
The Liquid Sweater
Scoff at the pretension of opening a piece with a Whitman quote, then do it anyway as applicable.
Whitman said that we contain multitudes. What’s more, what we wear contains multitudes of multitudes. That exponential stuff that accumulates when we walk around and do life.
It’s simple to imagine we’re all the same and simpler yet to suppose we’re all individually complex. Look to different religious scripture and see how we’re all one soul or kinship or cut of flesh from some cosmic cloth. A wry observation is that we’re all uniquely similar and similarly different. I’m guarded and yet post unabashedly publicly, confident that whoever cares to read me will share some salt-shake of sentiment. You may say you have no secrets, all the while conveniently omitting this or that facet of your infinite personality. This is to say, as I must say for lack of care to say without saying, that we do contain multitudes, but that we only contain them.
What universes are within us are wrapped up within us, within that wrapping paper cosmic flesh cloth from which we’re cut.
But our clothes are exposed. They’re the artificial skin that skims the world we float through. The dust-collectors. Shoes more literally, but have you ever thought about the shit that gets on your sweater. It’s great. It’s a great big filter what whacks at the wind you part with the bow of your bodice. You’re a grand ship careening messily through a mass of air. And that air ain’t clean. Not in a pollution sense, not chiefly, anyway, but in the way that it’s indifferent to what else weasels through it. Spit, shit, and all matter of all else. The world’s toward you and you’re a sprung racket whizzing toward it. Particle collision of the most mundane sense. Super small sensually insignificant smashings together. Molecular sex.
I’ll bet the last thing you cleaned off your material likeness was sticky. Some amount of something got stuck on your somewhere and you had to up and wipe it off. Maybe that made the wiping instrument leave bits of itself where it tried to remove bits of the other and you ended up with less of one thing but more things than one.
I’m traveling on holiday and traveling light. That means one sweater. It avoids direct sweat as a proud outer layer. It’s brown and big and built of synthetics. Found in a pile at a place of piles peaked with sale signs at the last stop of the metro on the left bank. If time is money, it cost a sneeze.
It’s said that sundries from that market should be washed thrice with salt to oust the demons who crept in while the various garments withered there in heaps. Sulking, separated socks; sleepy, slapped ass of the past stockings; burnt, blood-clot bent-back brandy-stained blouses; crust caps; grave-digger dirt-nail dog-chewed gloves. My sweater is from such a place. It’s been washed and iodized. Exorcised. It’s okay now.
When’s the last time you got your clothes off and got off. Maybe you were with someone. Maybe they smiled between writhes and then it was done and you sat twisted flush and fresh. Happened to me recently. Except the clothes hadn’t been entirely removed and had taken artillery fire.
I found a corner of hell to write in on this holiday and I don’t smoke but they do here, illegally, and I’m fine with it. Means generally calm people and the absence of small children. Trading transitive lung hits for peace. The walls are peeled, lights are low, liquor is liquor and there are two holes in the wall to sap energy into my keyboard. My brown breastplate can’t shield the windpipes ’neath but breathes a bit of tobacco for the both of us.
I love curry. It’s so goddamn good. Nothing has flavor compared to curry. It’s potent, tastes like tiger fur and ocean current. Can’t dodge the smell and stain and don’t want to. I’m a clean man and it still gets around. Pour me a bowl and paint me a grin. Satisfied boy.
Sweat. Capillarity works its scientific wonder and it breaches cloth. Time’s the accomplice.
Sickness. Like the Passover plagues, name it next. There was a bug in the bag on this trip and it drained me dry. Count some cough on the fabric because it’s there cozied up ’cross from the rest. Fluid lineup. Residual residence.
Bean juice and hare hair. Coffee’s decent but I hate the word. This century’s done with the stuff, least I am, yet my throat ain’t. And she bought me a new winter hat quiff with rabbit coat. Don’t eat meat and feel a bit for the bun that bade farewell to footsteps to keep my forehead aflame. It’s on me now. It all is.
A mural made for no one
Got distracted, forgot how this should end. It doesn’t, really. Should wash that fucking sweater.
January 3, 2020
Whenever you should be experiencing something is when it’s the absolute worst time to experience it. I’m somewhere I ought to be relaxing in an even more specific place I ought to be writing in and it is the most excruciatingly uncomfortable place precisely because it is not at all meant to be.
It’s a curse to require such a specific environment to create. Anywhere but that refuge, writing feels like bloodletting. Language is meant to transport you to the mind of the writer or wherever they’re able to conjure, but I can assure you you do not want to be here with me. I’m slouched in a chair with crumbs and crippling music and non-music making sour sound stew, auditory shrapnel shooting pins into head cotton.
Nothing is worse than a quote and the wall across is built by them. Brittle word bricks.
How does it feel to be a Whitman in a realm rendered by all things poets’ words were written to hide us from? When the mundane to the grotesque become celebrated cerebral text, the real world is left to prove it’s capable of overcoming the protection of the mind. And that leaves us in leaves of ass. Woodland waste tissue. Biodegradable biomass, biologically abominable bile. Unpleasant.
What’s fit to publish
I’m embarrassed to promulgate the publication of a mind’s every whim. It’s 80% ugly. But, quizzically, the rest is trash. I myself am tired of what’s touted as readable these days. There must be some balance between what’s worthy of your time and what’s inseminated with the truth that makes you question the time spent on anything you’ve just exchanged it for.
Anything you think you want to read is because it’s easy. Because you and I are lazy. But that’s nothing new. Nothing is.
In defense of zero structure whatsoever. Anyone who calls themself a writer is a dick. Me included. The pen is a phallic extension of the mind.
I’m a lazy writer. I don’t make so much effort to understand parts of speech or narrative structure or anything that makes written communication coherent. When I do I feel foolish.
So you end up struggling through essays like these, trying to understand what message I’m trying to impart, in part because you believe in meaning. I’m elated to let you know, dearest you, that I cannot provide any assurance that anything created by anyone meant any more than that which was created for the sake of its creation. And I’m elated because now you understand that I am just as lost as you. It’s just that at some point I decided to snip off a squiggle and at some other point you decided to reel in the eel. Let’s meet up again when we can both make a little more sense.
January 2, 2020
Aka. Rusty Cock. An unforeseen floorboard upturned tempts the toe of my shoe. I foresee it. It sneers at me. I spit on it and kick it. It hurts my toe because it is a floorboard and I am a human bean. I just haven’t been boiled. Hard boy.
Man at the counter is a mustache. He has a grease stain below his belt to the right. The belt’s too tight and it squeezes the blood to his balloon top like a tomato paste tube. I can’t smell his ash tray breath across the counter because two actual ash trays come up to meet my clogged nostrils from next to the cash register, flanking a gilded wavy-cat. I finger the cat’s paw between thumb and index. Its small mechanism sputters epileptic in my small grip. Mustache hasn’t noticed me yet—he’s chewing a receipt and rubbing his lubber.
“I’ll take a Rusty Cock,” I say, loudly.
Mustache’s mustache slides down his pocked chin and moldy olive eyes meet mine.
“The fuck is that?” Says mustache.
“I’m at the Rusty Cock, I’d like a Rusty Cock.”
“You’re out your mind, we don’t have no such thing.”
“Make it up, you’re a smart man.”
He clearly wasn’t a smart man. His chin dripped something sticky and a rat’s tail riled in his apron pocket. I sat at a tiny table in the back. Really, sincerely tiny. My minuscule buttocks had not a chance. I keep mixing up my tenses, which is fine, because I have a porter in my stomach. And soon I’ll have a fantastical titular cocktail, whatever that may be.
I’m in the back on my microscopic chair when the door at the front of the establishment becomes disestablished. By that I mean the door just leaps up, rolls its eyes back, turns three shades of purple and disintegrates. A woman walks in, of course, and all 30-some somebitches in the Rusty Cock reel backwards to reveal her to themselves. She’s normal. More girl than woman, her eyelashes rustle like wheat and pupils dart around at the clientele like a doe’s in winter wind. She reaches for her pocket and then realizes she has none because she’s wearing a dress, then glides across the room to the WC for a nervous hand washing.
There’s a cool cold clammy closed up cloak next to me. It houses a snail. The snail is drunk of its mind and shares company with a fork and a muskrat. That sly fork. It catches me glancing at it and attempts to furrow its brow though it doesn’t have one because it is a fork. The woman emerges from the WC with a face illuminated by candlelight. The candles shy away and her face burrows into shadow.
It’s a tough scene. I’m not sure what will happen, really, and I couldn’t give a hoof. The pistols at one end are at the ends of their liquor and the harlots across them nearing bottom of their tea. Mr. Windles takes the stage. I hadn’t even seen the stage before now. In fact it’s hardly a stage—in fact it isn’t. It’s a table. Mr. Windles took a table as his stage, knocking smooth, silken, salty stocking knees together as he did so. His gills grew wide then wise then soft and supple. Then wide then wise and soft and supple. Wide wise soft supple. It sounded like a sequin in the sunshine pointing some sun glare at a blind man, which is to say no sound at all but the faint recognition of something there.
“A turtle in a turtle neck… is he just in a neck? Is he a neck?” Windles nippered.
Silence from the crowd.
“A neck, a neck, a neck,” he said, flopping a flipper at his lack of head-shoulders connector.
“Fuck you, Windy!” Travelled from the dark.
Windy didn’t fuck off, but flipped off, flipping his floppers off of the table and shuffling his stockings to an empty seat next to no one.
I was bored. Where was my Rusty Cock.
Suddenly, and it had to be suddenly as what else would rile the plot so, a sea cucumber rolled into the room. It was inanimate. Across the room, what felt like 500 meters away, a bomb went off. But wasn’t a bomb. Was Mustache. His footstep. He’d moved after seven weeks of sullen tummy-rubbin’. The man-boy slammed his foot on the ground once again. Everyone swiveled their eye-sockets. Snail sucked into the folds of his coat.
Mustache moved a severed hand across the counter, touching its corroded tips to a control pad. Some switch turned. Music started. The word “Anne” whispered lyrically across the floor, wafting into eardrums. I was so giddy, it was great.
The woman moved to the center as if there were one. She produced a herring from her handbag, which offended Mr. Windles, and proceeded to wave it in the air as an anarchal instrument. I was done with the chair that was now lodged into my anus, plucking it out and discarding it to the side. I joined our mysterious miss at the center that wasn’t the center. The woman. Her name?
“What’s your name, I must know,” I inquired.
“You mustn’t,” she said, staunchly.
At that moment, the man from the counter appeared with my Rusty Cock. Thank fuck. I drank it except for one dram at the bottom. It was decent.
“I’m shwizkdlzljfkls…” said the woman, gargling words into the fuzz of the night.
“That’s gorgeous,” I said sarcastically. I hadn’t heard what she said. I then dipped her herring in my Rusty Cock by way of raising the Rusty Cock to her herring, thereby wetting it. She wasn’t so started as amused.
“Thanks, boy,” she said across the room. Across the room?
I was at the exit. I twirled out. Mustache was waving my credit card the same way he’d waved a fan at his mother dying of horse-crab heat stroke. I faded into the doorway as he tossed the card into the bin and steadfastly resumed rubbing his continental tummy.
I checked my watch. Except I didn’t have a watch. It was whatever o’clock. The night was young. I couldn’t feel my tongue. The Rusty Rooster sign sighed above. Piano fucked me. It felt fine. I waddled down the street to my flat. Some songbirds flicked cigarette butts at my face as I smiled into the cracked mirror moonlight. The night nodded and nodded.
Some green seats need to know how it feels to be felt. When yours regales a fish dressed in fishnets, forget how many men it took to forge a forest fire. Finesse the taste of porter on your tongue. Reignite.
I have just written this in hell itself (Somewhere, Poland), please excuse me. Have a wicked night.