1. Self-beyond-self, the subjectivity defined as (not by) an intense, paralyzing yearning, as of a
    socket for what would grind against its insufficiency in a joint.
  2. Self-more-than-self, a vague prototype articulating in wands and runes and alembics this
    headlong imploring, “Please let it be me.”
  3. Self-in-excess-of-self, whatever is responsible for the disturbance you feel but cannot ascribe
    to any other agency, principle, or entity.
  4. The self of the not-lover; the self that is the not-lover.
    As in, “Strange celebrations came to me in my mercy.”
  5. Done with the high-minded narcissism of a god or parent.
    As in, “A mercy killing.”
  6. Done secretly in the best interest of one’s idea of oneself. Selfish, but in such a way that the
    agent of a mercy-event will die happily knowing that anything done was done in such a way that
    it appealed to some fictional, higher self. If the hands shake, they shake with holy resolve. If the
    eyes close, they do so to be closer to the world-soul.
    As in, “If the mouth is dry and the teeth chatter, it’s so the body can eat itself down to bone and
    then further, down to spirit: a mercy-chewing.”
  7. Done blandly, yet somehow skirting (with temporary hip dysplasia, or with a small hop)
    As in, “I like my coffee like I like my reggae: sans mercy.”

Joe Milazzo is the author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie, two volumes of poetry — The Habiliments and Of All Places In This Place Of All Places — and several chapbooks (most recently, @p_roblem_s). His writings have appeared in Black Clock, Black Warrior Review, BOMB, Prelude, Tammy, Texas Review and elsewhere. He is an Associate Editor for Southwest Review and the Founder/Editor-In-Chief of Surveyor Books. Joe lives and works in Dallas, TX, and his virtual location is http://www.joe-milazzo.com. Here in these definitions in danger are what these words now mean, or might mean, or must mean if they wish to escape the new world incommensurate with the perceptions they’re accustomed to inhabiting.

Eric Lindley is a musician, writer, and artist living in the bay area. His writing has appeared in Fence, Joyland, Tammy, and elsewhere, and other work at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Machine Project, Telic Arts Exchange, The Knitting Factory, and The Smell. With Janice Lee and Joe Milazzo, he co-edited the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing] from 2009 to 2015. You can find Eric’s work online at https://likeoverflowing.com/