1. The rope in your chest that time pulls so slowly it tickles on the way out.
2. That water always flows downhill until it’s heat.
3. Any automaton. The mechanism creaks along, its parts soft. Metal strips must be procured, their conductivity rounded, their corners fore and aft arced to that the rear teeth become a tickle. The tongue, a crone. Next, a cotton reed to pretend the spine is a soul. (Remember: soft parts.) The whole thing is bound up in its own free ends. As soon as it is swallowed, the contrivance respires itself (remember: flames, like soft parts, glutton on oxygen) back into position and you hear how you speak commands to it: in the swishing, panic accents of the murderer.
1. Knowing without seeing or experiencing. Knowing by guessing confidently and persuading away the errors. As in, “If we are to survive the winter, we will need a wolf thermometer—something that tells us what should happen more than what is or what will.” As in, “The markers here are all off. What they did is wind tape around giant wheels of plastic—a mile long when you unrolled them, which they did, then rolled them up again. They did this along every road in the country, then the world, and put markers down each time. But what they didn’t count on was the tape they used. It was pure wolf, if you ask me. And there’s no going back: you and feel the teeth at the nape of your neck when you drive anywhere late at night, and the accordion of time just pushing air so you know how closed the system is. If you
ask me,” As in that old joke, “Lemonade, anyone?” The wolf ones decline, lemonade—however iced—always being boiled, thirst being pure eagerness.
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/