“The truth is that mental illness can be deadly, and suicide is the end result of ongoing symptoms. Cancer kills when it spreads so much that the organs can’t function. Mental illness kills when the urge to die becomes louder than the urge to live.”—
In the end, there are five bear cubs underneath your porch. You name them after U.S. Presidents. Taft dies of starvation. Carter disappears into the flowers. Hoover is carried away by hawks. Roosevelt digs into the ground to get away from ghosts. Lincoln grows up. Lincoln becomes a mother, with five cubs of her own. You are very proud of Lincoln. After Lincoln eats you, you adapt to your new life. You are still so proud of the bears you have given names to. Maybe they were dogs.
"I guess I’m still coming to terms with the fact that when I walk out of a room the story line continues in the room I just left instead of following me around like a security camera." - Chelsea Martin, Even Though I Don’t Miss You
“Jellyfish cosmology is unusual in that it contains no devils; jellyfish are drawn to the good lie, the myth of benevolence, like scraps of metal to a magnet.”—I have five animal poems up at Hobart today! (via outsidewarmafghans)
“you say you don’t have any interest in what Scott McClanahan and I somewhat jokingly (but mostly seriously) refer to as ‘bleeding on the page.’ Why is that? do you think you can be a successful writer without bleeding? Is this really just a comment about your wife’s writing?”—
In Finn’s absence, I crave the attention of women. I jump at the chance to be around females, in public and private settings, with friends and strangers. I have sleepovers with my friend Lily that we call adult slumber parties. We go to bed early, side by side, and cook breakfast leisurely in the mornings. I also join an online dating site. (Remember when you went dyke shopping? The Female Woody Allen asked me over the phone recently. That sounded exhausting. And depressing!) I am a social fucking butterfly, I accept all invitations — and often I do the inviting. One Saturday I go on three dates in a row with women I meet online.
I had my bags packed and was getting ready to leave with two insane-seeming girls who offered me sex in exchange for a ride to Cleveland when a few patients stopped me and essentially pushed me into the lecture hall. I don’t know why I didn’t put up more of a fight - maybe because I didn’t actually want to leave, maybe I was just too tired - but I’m glad I didn’t. I began to understand and appreciate the value of friends, the importance of having people around me who’d tell me when I was fucking up, and the value of listening to them. The thought of leaving became increasingly fleeting, and I started doing the things that people were telling me to do.
chloe caldwell’s supa’ hypnotic novella Women available for preorder. (out in October!) check out madison langston’s series of texted ‘blurbs.’ lol also shout out to maddy lang, congrats on her CCM poetry collection, Remember Never to Get Better, forthcoming, 2016! whaddup, mad-lang.
Talking to Reed also made me realize how stage-managed and, in some senses, artificial the X Games’ vaunted progression can be. One of the signature achievements, on a par with Tony Hawk’s 900, was Travis Pastrana’s double backflip, on a motorcycle, in 2006. “Travis was like, ‘Oh, I need the ramp set up like this,’ ” Reed recalled, explaining that part of his job was to be in regular touch with the show’s talent, to find out what the stars are working on, and to incorporate as much potential for iconic moments into the event program, whether by tweaking the rules or the format. This year, he’d added a quarter-pipe to the freestyle motocross course, at the suggestion of a French rider named Thomas Pagès, who planned to perform a “bike flip”—that is, the bike would rotate in his hands while his head and torso remained still. “We try to make sure we build and position everything, so that they can come in and perform what they want to do,” Reed said. “We like to think we’re good at producing what the athletes are doing.” It’s as though Bud Selig consulted with R. A. Dickey on the development of his knuckleball, offering to change the elevation of the mound to showcase its effects.
Reclined on an alpaca rug, I don’t see
past my fingertips. A sad outline blows smoke
rings toward a rental’s ceiling, composes series
of odes to omnisexual barflies, canticles
meditating on a cricket that lives in the cornice
of my dining room—the poor little ticker,
protesting its heart out, probably starving.
Who else will entertain this philosophical grabass?
On who’s bill? How foppish is this bug,
verdant suit, buttressed legs he rubs together
in song, too often, worrying inseams.
His color sticks reluctantly to exoskeleton.
Watch those legs grind down like pencil lead—
How lording over a single room in a house,
much too large, is like trying to hold a column
of cigarette ash between two fingers.
Indeed, it seemed one long worry, my friend,
but it crumbles; the real worry is.”—
Mary Miller’s debut collection Big World, published by small press Short Flight/Long Drive in 2009, offers a compelling case study. Miller’s stories of young white women who live in gentrified Southern suburbs often feel as if they could take place anywhere. The characters patronize fast food restaurants, read tabloid magazines, and watch Hollywood movies. They get drunk in karaoke bars, sober up at Mexican restaurants, and follow the Atkins diet. In some stories, Miller gives no place names at all. Others, she locates in Shelbyville or Gatlinburg, Nashville or Pigeon Forge (all in Tennessee; Miller herself is from Mississippi), but those places are populated by “tire stores and ethnic groceries and gas stations” that localize them exactly nowhere.
"Four days before starting My Struggle, I reported for jury duty. My fellow prospective jurors and I filled out a brief questionnaire that asked about our occupation (doctor); marital status (married); if we were married, our spouse’s occupation (doctor); if we had children and, if so, their ages (yes, 2 and 18); our highest level of education (M.D.); if we or a family member had ever worked for an insurance agency (no); and our hobbies (jogging, reading). I was among the first 12 selected for interviews. We sat in a room, together and in two rows based on our selection order, and the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant took turns asking us questions after scanning our survey responses. The woman seated two spots before me had also put down reading as her hobby, because the plaintiff’s attorney asked her what books she liked to read (‘Mysteries,’ she said. ‘Who’s your favorite author?’ he countered. ‘P.D. James,’ she replied, and she was eventually chosen for the jury). I hoped the attorney would ask me what I liked to read, because I thought it would be hilarious to answer ‘lyric essays.’”
"I thought it would be hilarious to answer ‘lyric essays.’”
“The sun asks me what I want to do. I say I want to get out of here. Go anywhere. Day comes early. A woman shaped light descends. She picks up the glass shop where I work and carries it to her palace. This is where she never stops shining. My clothes burn off my body. But I feel safe without tanlines. I love the hot black fingerprints she leaves on everything she touches.”—Carabella Sands in Hobart <3 (via tracydimond)
There is a girl and a boy sitting on a curb
next to the ocean somewhere in Oregon
where the rain, which has just stopped, has caused
a mud puddle to form in the foreground, just in front
of the boy’s white shoe: his pants
are blue, his jacket is red, and he is not
smiling at all, which I think
is what makes her faintly upturned lip
look so much like a smile.
Never mind that these people were real,
that one will grow up and keep on being real,
while the other will grow up and be dead.
Never mind the brusk presentation or presumptuous
implications the speaker in my poem employs:
he should be excused on account of his grief,
and frankly, it’s probably for the best
that we ignore him and just stick to the facts. For example,
the boy is nearly five years old, which makes the girl
nearly seven years old, which makes it nearly 15 years
before she drove past a stop sign and then,
didn’t do anything ever again.
Despite the fact that here, she has just
pulled her legs into her chest, has just set her chin
on her knees, turned up the corner
of her lip, and here it seems as if she could,
for a moment, break through the artifice of time,
the static nature of her disposition, and say something
utterly irrelevant, something
I won’t pretend
to understand.”—Caleb Curtiss: Self Portrait With My Dead Sister (via swingingaxes)
Today, the seedpods on the Milkweed
growing along the road between the airport
and the place my grandparents will die
began to open themselves, imperceptibly,
as if each were the beak of a baby
crane at the first change in pressure that comes
with their mother’s circling descent. I saw them like this
from the window of my father’s Buick, saw each
one of them pass us by, their cracked
mouths and eyeless heads, and said
nothing. Soon, after watching my father stand
in unsteady synchrony with his father,
I will lift myself from the davenport in the lobby,
and head for the patio where I will stand at my father’s
left hand, his father’s right, and I will smile
for the camera, not noticing how the seeds on the silver
maple behind us have nearly matured. How some
have already detached themselves from its branches,
have begun their slow, spinning fall.
We smile these facsimile smiles, lips taut
over straight, white teeth, because we feel
a sort of pressure in the air: something that tells us
that we are mortal, that we will be here
I’ve been traveling these last few months and not especially writing, and I think sometimes it’s quite good to be quiet, but I did pen this short little thing that hobartpulp was kind enough to publish, so thanks, you guys.
"Still, it bothers me about the flowers.
It bothers me about the flowers because I think these people need them most. Celebration of a life or mourning, the flowers—which grow along the mortuary’s brick and are the first thing these people see, the last thing they witness after witnessing a body—are theirs, I think, not ours.
That my roommate would pick them to put on our table—for what, a day? or maybe two?—evidences, to me, a vast discrepancy from the life she lives and the one she claims to live.
“If you’re feeling weird, you might as well face this fact: we’re all weirder than the next, for sure. We’re all bouncing around in weird Jello, bumping up against other versions of weird, just hoping to be tapped out of a top hat like that, like snap.”—Micah Ling, “Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense,” published in Hobart (via bostonpoetryslam)