Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Your money sleeps inside me

Awakening from haze of red-eye flight
staring at muted syndicated TV sitcom
with unexpected subtitle filling bottom of screen
a one-liner that comes into view
while shape-shifting into jet lag blur:


Who is the subtitle translating?

The twentysomething actor speaking
to the girl who bucks the system
and decides nerd sex is de rigeur?

Or is it just more autohallucination

a deep interior projection
from the "collage" professor
whose field of expertise is slipping
into something much more comfortable?

The writer seems constrained
not by his own free will but by
some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant
who has him in thrall

says Virginia

who looks so great in profile
dignifying all that is frivolous
even though she too cannot help herself
(and must text her way into oblivion)

She tells me she is no longer set
on providing me with a residual plot
in her admittedly modern fiction

What's a plot anyway?

(she asks)

(and then answers herself
almost immediately)

A representative burial spot
that embalms the fashion of the hour?

(she often answers a question with a question)

It is clear that she wants to keep this thread going
and will not be distracted by manipulations

The tyrant is obeyed and the novel is done to a turn

(she continues)

But sometimes a momentary doubt
triggers an unexpected narrative event

(something like, maybe this, or this --

or the news of someone dying

even when not abruptly)

A physiological spasm of rebellion
accidentally leaks on her dress

She wants to laugh at herself

At the luminous halo that is now forming

At the fact that she can no longer control herself

At the fact that she is writing to find out what she is writing about

But the blister of pages that write her hands raw
fills her heart with too much satisfaction

There is no longer much of a need
to worry about how inhibiting
the tyrant's presence may still think itself to be

Her left eye wanders back toward the screen

toward the syndicated sitcom and its beneficent subtitles


Her eye she notices is drowning in its own
glacially paced waters as they pour down her face

A smear of plasticized membrane
sheathing her formative vision

Is this the customary way?

She asks herself this question again (and again)

Is this the customary way?

Virginia wants to know

What exactly is the customary way?

Is it always this exacting?

Is life like this too?

Is this exacting difficult to explain?

How can I frame my question differently?

Does this mean that novels must be exacting too?

She questions why men write the way they do

Look within and life (it seems)
is very far from being "like this"

She claws her hands as if hooking someone in


Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day

The mind receives a myriad impressions

An incessant shower of innumerable atoms
as they shape themselves into the life of Monday or Tuesday
or the day after tomorrow or as soon as I can get there

But the data signal is jammed
and the download times drive us catatonic

The trafficking in hubris is unbearable

This is making us go all neuro

(she says this as though she has discovered something for the very first time)


(she keeps the thread going)

this everyone going neuro is what we are really born to do

How many ways can one go neuro?

(she says it as if there is no custom to it at all
it's just something that you inevitably do
part of a release mechanism meant to relieve one of boredom)

Face it

Biography is considered complete if it
merely accounts for six or seven selves
whereas a person may well have as many as a thousand

Come now

Let's take our place among them

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