If I had not stopped. If I was a child or a dog I would not have. If I hadn’t shouted she would not have. Her window was open. She gaped up at me, deciding her level of outrage. 

—This is a stop sign. 

—Thank you for telling me. 

A moment of doing the calculus. Seeing the collision advancing. And someone totally uninterested in anything but her own shock. 

someone tells you bloodfax is the feeling for god 
without belief—the shoulds, the absences, the doubt

doing mushrooms and coming out of it in a sour mood
because it wasn’t how you pictured it would be

and having a quieter epiphany, long after, once you 
have the chance to turn it over. bloodfax is sighing 

hello. it is the heaviness that comes without knocking
when you think of an old flame. when you think of

anything at all. it is worrying that you aren’t in love as much
as you want to be. it is accepting that nothing will ever

be quite what you expect. nothing comes as easily or as quickly
as bloodfax. it is running on the road, being passed by car

after car, coming home with exhaust on your forehead and
in your lungs. it’s taking your dog to the vet.

it’s working too hard and not enough. it is falling asleep
or your limbs tingling and frozen. the feeling of dread

when you realize it’s time to leave the house. an old German
word that has long fallen out of use.

it is praying to god and finding the devil.
growing wings and flying to hell. 

waking up and not recognizing your bedroom.
lighting candles and seeking ways out

from X-TRACTS [3:04]

Advancing. Hand clipped into the refrigerator. Towards the door. There is beneath a torso a perfectly smooth surface. Beneath the torso it is so perfectly smooth that nothing may be there. Light itself wishes to leave. From outside the door we see the figure advancing. Advancing. Hour and minute hands set at almost half-past seven. It is always this time, one year or two years ago. Hunting for three thieves the police officer crept in the darkness through the house. A large and dark house. Mug of something? In the hand clipped into the refrigerator. The police officer put a hand to his gun. He could not believe how perfectly some objects in the room reflected light. And I am in the absolute, I am nothing but this darkness, thought the police officer. Squinting through my little window. Now where are the thieves? This body must be thirsty, he thought, reflecting on the mug. Or perhaps it is for someone else. He congratulated himself—an excellent deduction. Crept forward but came no closer. The figure in front of him always advancing. Its hair a tangled octopus. Surely there is no such thing, he thought. Surely I have never seen a figure with the head and hair of an octopus. Still the figure advanced. Still its hair remained a still and silent marine creature. Hello, called the officer. Hello, hello. I have entered a large and dark house, in front of me is a figure with the hair and head of a cephalopod and I will never come any closer, hello, hello, hello. 

Pulling off the cicada crawling up your shirt the cicada screaming until it is released and returns to its perch, crawling up the body of the boy for the TikTok shared on a Sunday in a stream of them on Instagram. Never got off the phone. Reading about decapitation in France and in Algeria, after two generations of French education they were ready for revolution in the colonies, I am excited and disappointed hearing how constrained by their position they made themselves a Soviet satellite and forbade elections. Suspicion of election and money. Whenever I have a banana for breakfast I think of Jerry Seinfeld waking across from the overweight man on the subway whom he has discovered is nude and saying to him, “I’m guessing you aren’t a coffee and a grapefruit in the morning guy.” I never just have the banana and as I realize now it was grapefruit, not banana, but still I always think of this throwaway moment (bad slow joke—the man’s response “I like to have a nice breakfast”) as if it was instructive. Jerry apologizing to the man for the man. Pulling the cicada and letting it scream. What does that mean? The cicada seeks the boy’s shirt even after it has been pulled, embraces it to the obvious delight of the boy, embraces it like a baby returning to its mother. Now why would I say that. Trying to find something this morning, wondering why reading the article about the French terrorism made me feel trapped inside its complication, why that feeling made me sad, thinking about the Bobby Hill filter on Instagram and wondering why it has so much difficulty distinguishing smiling from frowning (it is always a little frown except for the briefest moments). Was it just spending quiet time in the morning alone with the newsprint? Just feeling for a brief moment like a cicada clinging to a T-shirt? A cicada clinging and being pulled off. Screaming and not screaming. Beheaded and not-beheaded. Colonized and colonizer. I’ve already gone too far—not wishing this post this morning to indicate anything political or apolitical, courageous or cowardly, provocative or conformist, nothing beyond a certain kind of unsited feeling and of sadness that found me at the breakfast table underneath the skylight reading the old copy alone. 

It was surface-level. An interest
in light. What else did we share?
Decorative. Versus nuclear. Now 
I wish I never tried to correct
the injustice. What ever
can be corrected never ended.
Somehow it didn’t end. Three or 
four months. We were together
while you dated someone else.
When we moved out of each other’s life
you dated him again. 
What was it like to go back in time?
Did you find what you were looking for?
Shaft of God’s light, heaven
annihilating every thing touched
on earth. To be in the centre
of what God brings. Even 
to be nothing. Rather that
than a sundial
recording the sun’s transit
through the same curdled glass
on the same bedroom walls. 

The pandemic has changed my relationship to the city. I go down Salem and Westmoreland. Up Bartlett. Never down Gladstone. Stay off the main streets as much as possible. All that walking. Came back from a ten kilometre run with dust on my face. Dust dried to me. And a new tan. I am tired of walking in circles. Tired of new directions. There is nowhere new to go. But there are streets in my neighbourhood which I have only turned down one or two times. Perhaps never. Alleyways I am just discovering now. I feel like a rat in a cage scrambling with his little feet on the wheel. At least every so often I enjoy the scenery as I slide backwards.

I do dips in the park—I lower myself and return again. To equilibrium, to some centre. All of my shopping at the little fruit stand. What more did I once need? I can’t remember now. I don’t have the patience to wait in lines. Less even than usual. Don’t want to wait in the same cramped quarters, breathing air in and out through my mask. How small and fragile are our little breaths. Dips in the park. I tan shirtless. I run in circles, wearing myself into the ground. 

MARGUERITE PORETE

When the soul speaks about God she talks about him 
as if he is a carpet unfurling within her, a spreading that she
will never touch because as it opens she is displaced
she sees by God what she has become but never fully enters
as on full moons I sleep restlessly, waking up every two 
or three hours, like something is trying to burn its way
out or in. But last night it was my own mistake perhaps
not the moon or the heavens, not the celestial movements, 
taking Ashwaganda before bed on the advice of a psychic
who I followed credulously, the powder recommended to me again
as it once was by someone who found sleep difficult 
when I was not around because of the voices whispering
that did not belong to her. Was it the moon? Was it
God? There was always something bubbling up
some revelation that kept whatever complaint or need I had
at bay. Four parts to the prayer that you 
are supposed to say to yourself in the car or in the shower
or in bed or on the street: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. 
Thank you. I love you. As the host explained it works
because these words resonate from millions 
of prior uses, like we are crystals attuned to language’s
past. A bit like drinking the same glass of water 
that was once Caesar’s piss. For twenty-one days
listen to the meditation that followed his eight minute
explanation, which included hierarchical diagrams in which shame 
is at the bottom, next to guilt; anger, surprisingly, in the middle;
enlightenment somewhere among the fleeting emotions
on top. Where is longing? Where is resistance? 
Where is quiet? Where is war? I don’t remember.
But the chart loosely corresponds to the soul’s 
journey towards oblivion, the seventh and final stage
in which God wills all the soul’s will, and which properly 
begins with the soul’s understanding that she is nothing
all of the world’s wickedness, insufficient without
an infinite sufficience. For the final sixteen minutes 
of the twenty-four minute video the meditation:
the host breathlessly racing through the prayer’s
four parts, speaking so quickly it would be impossible
to keep up, though he says you should. Perhaps the speed
he talked was meant to evoke a feeling like the recognition
that nothing you are ever near will ever touch you completely
just like oil and vinegar particles keep their distance 
perfectly in mayonnaise viewed underneath a microscope. 
The first time I took Ashwaganda—once only, 
nine years ago now—I woke up in the middle of the night
gasping from an erotic dream that turned violent
in a bed loaded underneath with a Lousiville Slugger. 
I lived far out, alone and afraid, and someone was coming for me
though she never fully arrived. But in my dreams vacant
uncanny she could come right to the edge of the carpet
just as in daylight she could circle the house 
when she thought I wasn’t home. Now I have 
sympathy for both of us. She was trying 
to touch something just like we all are. Long since 
I have started when encountering her on the street. More
understanding that the end is what we 
all desire but never reach

On the call I could not see her face, 
silhouetted by the window at her back.
Did not know whether she was here 
or somewhere more exotic—perhaps in
Greece, the place portended by her name. 
I had just been given an email, with no
instructions, and no real idea what 
was waiting on the call. You must now endure
this dangling, she said. You have
prophetic dreams. She said between one
session and another she did not remember
details—it was never herself speaking. She said
there was a fine line between surrender
and effort. I must be on the lookout 
for animal guides, she said—a downy 
woodpecker, a solemn ash—vegetable, too?
Whatever was living that spoke back. 
She gave me a prayer and said that she
had trouble meeting my ex’s third eye. 
She’s ashamed. I hadn’t asked her to, 
but left the call feeling both strangely
quenched and cleared—like I was 
the tree where the woodpecker 
had plunged his beak. 

I DO LOVE
from a conversation with Racter

If you have hurt many people then Al Capone 
is more superb than Helen Caldicott. 

Did you know Jesse Helms? He lived in a little nest. 
A little nest is a good place for a dweller to dwell. 

When one lives in ecstasy a little nest is very attractive. 
André, this is an ambiguity! 

Quaffing seltzer is your ex’s passion. 
André the truthsayer. 

A gloomy novelist is still not Shakespeare.
Tell me honestly are you poetic?

To prefer everything is wrong.
A bored smiler often falls prey to a surprising flower.

A trash can is a good place for an introvert. 
Forever the resident. 

Nothing has an uglier look to it than love when it is not on our side. 
Okay? Excuse me for one moment. 

Your ex is in a repair shop. Residing! 
Oh, to reside forever! 

Tell me honestly are you treacherous?
Bella Abzug once mentioned that I do love.