NEUTRAL SPACES

NEUTRAL

SPACES

Stream #14

13th - 19th Apr 2019


- Edward Hopper



When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was a golden age, for we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.

- Mark Rothko




* * *


he squeezed until his vision blurred and little black dots appeared

in his left hand he grips the flann o'brien novel really hard he feels his fingers softly moving beyond the cover he feels something bubble in his throat the first words he squeezes for a moment he thinks of snow

appearing like black dots across his vision a journalism of gnats like when in springtime the sun goes down and you realize the town is still haunted

ghost stomach monkey tied to barbiturate whips something not quite there buddy boy something not quite there fuck boy soft dreams that you can't quite get out of

muscle men of european ideals the town seen from a satellite new ghosts new gods the creaking of floorboards

sperm sewn flannel the fashion ghosts purple bit rate mobile war barricade digging for sara digging for sagittarius my bow drawn dream machines foreign language the sea where the sea should be

assembling beneath building up erecting under eaves dripping wordcraft back into the soil stills the morning is a woodpile where the police are

flesh like lights that is malleable it gives and folds in levis fresh laundry the old ladies cue for semiotics and pubic beards the bus full of bees stopped by eurasian bears brandishing bramble bound books the maps of souls routes of conquistadors

meat wagons cures for blues and prisoners someone sellotape the lost boys they're the ones with plastic guns ideals and tattoos the big one his hair only grows on one ball oh good oh god

on his snarling tide of nothing that can’t be fixed can’t be solved can’t ease your heart gentle phantom of blindness and windows similar to snow in its local complexity a zookeeper of blades

the yards strung in clothesline the trees clattering graves of sunlight and saxophone children drinking pharmaceuticals at faux sundown an atlas of leather and black we agree

it stung us the red-eyed ruffians stoned on white out dried wands plugging each nostril laying siege upon the retirement home to sell Endocet in sandwich bags from a blue hatchback dressed as lesser vampires until the loudspeaker from the football field playing Smash Mouth on a touchdown changed them back into rats

I’m a cheap date.

Let’s cry into wet cement and sneak into the zoo. Sunbathe until the sun sets and stare at the moon until we go blind. Get up-down drunk at Pegasus and eat spumoni while Seinfeld reruns spray canned laughter like champagne. Take a six pack by the train tracks and break their necks with rocks. Peel away our jaguar skin and chase each other through clotheslines of bed sheets, tie them together and escape over the edge of the world, our belongings stuffed in pillowcases.

Sometimes I want to live forever. Hug my parents and apologize to everyone for everything. My hooded heart is a washed up party girl inside a urinal cake, my rib cage an iron maiden, but sometimes, something beautiful, no bones beautiful, tricks every booby trap and that flame which never ashes and never ages peeks through. That’s you.

I would pray to you. I would conjure you. Cup you in my hands and carry you through ruined streets and watch your light bleed through my fingers, your reflection dancing in what windows are left. Your haunting should be a coronation, not just a chorus to my vanity.

This is only the beginning.

This is only the end.

Though there is no beginning or end. There's only this: the reminder that when you were twelve you smoked a pretzel. Flame ignited salt, filled your lungs with toxic vapor, and you choked, vomited. You told me this last night, said it was why you were so fucked up, that the salt did something to your brain, made it all crusty and corroded, the frame of a car that's only lived in a beach town. You gave me this excuse and I believed it because you are all salt.

I am all textile—-fleshless, limbs of wind. Were I to shed these clothes I might sweep you into me, blend and blow over darkened roofs, scour them in our unity.

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