1. You get it; your arms, even, know the dance. It’s so ingrained that the hoop they form looks good even in the shadow-scraped stucco walls of a southern dwelling. You dance like electrons pulled through the conduits of addiction—a horrible and boring Catherine wheel of habit in the frontal lobe: this is familiar pain. This is the look I give myself in the mirror when I’m crying and snap out of humanness for just an instant. A smile filled with snot. I drain slit the ceiling for
the mice to fall through.
2. You wake up seated at the head of a table, and are asked to teach. This happens so often that you find yourself teaching again when you are asleep. You meet yourself as a child and teach her to undo her stitch in time. She does, and something gasps in your chest, but you can only teach to the nearest railing until she has completely done whatever she will do. You teach the sweat back into your scalp, knot your tie tightly, and put each loose foot in front of the planted one.
3. You wrinkle in proleptic forbiddenness. What was once food has turned predator, tentacled with “no”s. Don’t think bread isn’t post-post-colonial. You encounter yourself wizened and try and learn from your own archaeology how to splice the baby-talk back into the baby-doll. Its takes baking shovelfuls, worse than gravel. HIstory isn’t time, it is time’s catabolysis.
1. To be read. As in, “When I set up shop here I just wanted a place for people to come who loved books and might want to talk to one another while they sipped coffee that my wife makes and thumbed through the things that I had found at times in my life that just might be meaningful in some if not the same way to them. But as the novels drained, I drained too, and found that youth wasn’t wasted on the young so much as the living.”
2. To be given the solemn ceremonies associated with burial but to be left afloat, on either air or water, for an indeterminate span of time. Akin to being marooned or stranded, but with the additional connotation of “for reasons morally fictive.” As in, “I like me liking you. Don’t drain me; like my liking just as much. Let me be your sickly student.”
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/