Listen for exits
For a brief eternity, nobody was fucking anything that already got fucked and that was when the leaf started falling & another then a whole earnestness of them. Fuck. The way to keep strong is being meticulous about noticing clouds and writing shit down I stopped wanting to rain, I’ll fall asleep smoking. I’ll fall asleep smoking in some movie where my brogues are black as the wet night this all was conceived, draw my red curtains away from the moon that Nasa had a claim on and think about salad days, my nails painted trademark Billie Eilish lime. O salad days pacing restaurants, the rain is on; I remember the leaves swept in the door and they too were victims of a fate in their genes, once green. So I took samples and pressed them crisp between Moleskine pages in the sleep dimension, my writing was automatic and sullen, chlorophyllic, squeezed between menus, I was windswept inside it with the beach pouring out it was heavy. File this under the brush, bush, brush it back into language. I listened to the intricate complaints of the shrubs.
Between myriad Tuesdays, I became a psychiatrist of seashells, pressed to my ears their exquisite misery.
Time was a month of afternoons and then rivers of weeks and the sexual appetite of the hours then none. M. said in emails it all feels like soup. In no time I drink echinacea tea and wait for you in black velvet trousers, my pretzel crossed legs. The black velvet night is missing from other suns. There is no time. My chest is clearing itself of the leaves and a mysterious spore they call viral but is it just metaphor, is it the just continuum of falsehood, heavy as my tongue in your words and letting the owls out is only fake news. A black velvet night full of owls. The way to keep going is smoking at the window notwithstanding the smoke, I mean lean out like me and catch it. Someone drops loneliness pills from high windows, highest, like the song about throwing pieces out a twenty-storey flat…Your browser does not currently recognise any of the video formats available. And yet that song and for the love of bread and jam and here in our crumbling houses. Seedless. My brother does not understand tenement lust, the trend for it, but a tower-block remains in our town. Black velvet surrounds us, slapped between lunar slices cut from the nightmare of twenty-twenty. It isn’t your vision.
At five, he would drink all day diluted wine and snort at jellied nature. I love receiving your comments and photos and learning what is an amethyst deceiver and those in history who wanted us killed. If I am held down by world, I had a cold shower and lived in the hades of a woodlands that didn’t belong to me. Smell of tomato all summer in the glow of my window. Smash it all over your clavicles, the insides of your thighs, between your toes, the secrecy of your neck. Flesh of a very red vitamin C. Imagine owning the woodlands. Not to eat, I typeset all night to the sound of sentences, insects, let them lay me down later, I am all this humming snow. What sleep is it that comes three hours at a time, at a time without time that is never quite dark and five hours late. If the clocks go back. You say it’s impossible to write in these times and you are right, as anyone is to say of the impossible I feel it, here and closing in and peeling the skin from my cuticles. Not this. Backwards. When you ask what I’m doing, I’m quietly bleeding. In the hazard assessment, failing to be meticulous is not this. Failing violence. Touching green. I have a good kick at the heart and the head. The men are all down. Held down. You and I get so tired.
I want to know how she dies before the novel even opens. Lain down in the grass; the spine is split, our folds are torn. Because you say nothing I go into the orange department and juice my feelings very slowly in rapture. Waking up is to know not what happened. A blade is working in spiral formation – a blade tornado. What would rip us from orange and up, up to our tower block office at home? Dream pith all over the air around us, sticks. Walter Benjamin is very anxious about this, that you should not write dreams down before breakfast, should not attempt to narrate them. You break fast to break with your dreams. I dreamt I wrote copy for an orange juice company, who wanted their ingredients relayed as sonnets. It seemed impossible that orange juice should be so teeming with things other than oranges. The names were beautiful: canola oil, sodium citrate, beta carotene, cellulose, sucralose, Neotame, potassium sorbate, yellow #5, yellow #6 – and what could be seven? What could be less than seven! We are, we are…In the mix, at the end of the nineties, “soft drink turned a girl yellow.” I remember this as though I had been in hospital and the walls were all yellow for how much I stared at the pale and acceptable middle-class blue. Where was this, surely not in the news. I paint my eyes girl yellow, the colour of soft ghosts; I practice quietude, then sugary schemes of rhyme.
So what is the meaning of soft in your work, is it ordinary eggshells around the thing itself, is it orange peel, goldfish, autumn maple. I tread lightly on the question of being at all. These terms are so loaded. K. is reading novels where people casually set off fireworks, they do it all the time: they grab them from supermarket bins and set them off in the carpark because why would you wait. A catherine wheel for Asda and my blues is spinning, my blues in the washing machine, O rocket, a felt sense I could hug you then and the blues left a stain on the radiator. Dashes sparkle. We sit in old meadow in mud and the dogs roll over each other. We are not drinking cocktails. The transience of dalmations. What is the meaning of soft. Softness as a kind of value. I wish I could learn precision in language but it goes running over my senses and to be soft is to experience aphasia. Say in the meeting we stammer and get to the question, late morning before this, zoom before zoom, arranging the clattering scale weights and spices. I slept with Bachmann’s Malina under my bed. A blue skirt stain on the radiator. Blue heat rises. Dad says, “have you been listening to seashells again?” I fantasise gas flames.
Conch, scotch bonnet, wentletrap, simnia, drill and murex. Rose and sharp-rib, American carrier, Gulf oyster. Marmite mushrooms frying on the stove. You know there is a shell called ‘Coffee bean trivia’. In Brighton you could buy trays of them for a fiver. I bought Guinness instead, a half pint for you and I on the last hot day of the year. There was a kind of listening to sunlight. Softness as what could be damaged inside us: organ spleen, aura lamina, the shell of our bodies. Your cells soft mint as the cure. People are cycling to work; I barely leave my sofa. Various adrenalines assemble inside us. So far the shells have daddy issues because of the sea. Scrub hard and anything shines. I am under the influence of rainbows, umbrellas, a rim of salt.
I was fired from the orange department for wearing this blue on my sleeve. In the atrium standing there with Styrofoam coffee, swished blue from my dreams; compliments from the manageress and frowning at the meeting that never would last, and something we didn’t say. ‘Divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions’, writes Jackie Wang. I sat outside Perch and Rest with lemongrass steaming from a cup I had purchased and the leaves blew into my face with rain, they were soft and important, licked and wet.
We were about to make love but one of us took concussion from the piece of citrine beneath my pillow.
I dreamt rabbits were climbing my beech tree the way goats do in Israel.
A small porcelain jug of milk, a blue jug, was all I could glean from the orange department, after my passing. Carried it home in cardboard, I passed through the walls. It is all because the clocks go back and a crack on the wall. Anhedonia, that I hold breadcrumbs and nothing left to imagine. At the late-night snack bar, composing these empty sentences. Do we get paid for the hour we lose? A soft wound is still a wound. “I would like truffle fries, I would like oysters…” This is something I once seriously wondered. Pools of oil in shells, a meltable system. You break crockery and throw it at the sun. It goes like fuck; it is fucking you brightly. There are still exits, listen.
Thee Oh Sees – Goodnight Baby
Little Comets – One Night in October
The Cure – Underneath the Stars
Oneohtrix Point Never – ECCOJAMC1
Moses Sumney – Neither/Nor
Massive Attack, Young Fathers – Voodoo in my Blood
Bicep – Apricots
Autechre – si00
HEALTH, 100 gecs – POWER FANTASY
Animal Collective – Bridge to Quiet
Pharoah Sanders – Astral Traveling
The Raincoats – Only Loved at Night
U.S. Girls – Velvet 4 Sale
Jenny Hval – Conceptual Romance
Tomberlin – Floor
Sharon Van Etten – Let Go
Julien Baker – Faith Healer
Julia Jacklin – CRY
Sun June – Karen O
Soccer Mommy – crawling in my skin
The Weather Station – Robber
Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
Jason Molina – I’ll Be Here in the Morning
The Mountain Goats – Rat Queen
Bright Eyes – Miracle of Life
Admiral Fallow – Dead Against Smoking
Adrienne Lenker – heavy focus
Kevin Morby – Valley
Lana Del Rey – Let Me Love You Like a Woman
Four Tet – My Angel Rocks Back and Forth
Julie Byrne, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Love’s Refrain