This story is not about to be recited, only retold. I just want you to know I’m sticking to the rules. We’re all grown folks here and what do grown folks do if not retell.

Rode the elevator up to the 20th floor from somewhere in the middle, the doors parted and I stepped out into a field of eyes and a sea of sound, a small podium before me like a restaurant check in, and they looked at me and I knew it was wrong, knew the 20th wasn’t the top, […]

Falling into a diametrical opposite, into what is diametrically opposed to that out of which you’re trying to climb and separate from, not realizing the dialectical arrangement is itself the snare. Don’t mind the grammar here, it’s inessential.

I sat there in my train seat with the book open on my lap hoping he wouldn’t look over and see what I was reading. That was years ago.

Why do I keep counting all the ways you might not count on me, says the mouse inside, all the ways this “I” might fail, stuck on gelastic fantasies drawn off sheer fear and memorial disquiet of the sort that blood breeds, cut through with equal parts darkness and light, one might say in a […]

Thank you for looking and seeing that something’s here—my sum, perhaps, or maybe just some pieces. Sum pieces. Clever, no? I don’t know, perhaps? No, not at all, not really, but thank you for the half-grin, the up-curving lip corner and askance glance with not-cold eyes, knowing me and my rhapsodic persuasions,

P.S. – Believe me, I’m not trying to embark on some regular correspondence, just offering a splat snap smattering of uncalculated afterthoughts and feeling Los Angeles as if it were a psychological condition but I’ll leave you to decide what that means

There’s a thing I started writing a couple years ago and never finished. A thing about threes. In it I started and never finished saying that important things come in threes. Just look online. Profundity comes in threes. Steps to success/achievement /perfection come in threes. Good things come in threes. Meaningful things, delicious things, great […]

Everything I tell you is a story, or a part of one, and I’ve no inclination-desire to be less esoteric, only to be more poetic. The tussle with content and form, with self, in fact, un-fact, and all its reconstructions, even selflessness with the “I think” qualifier to down-tone the pathology, and how and in […]

You know most of this already. In the car with them, sitting in the back seat with her up front passenger-wise and turned back to me the two of us and talking fast like always like she had something to sell that she knew we hadn’t the cash or care to buy and the rain […]

Richard Byrd was a person and he said “no man can hope to be completely free who lingers within reach of familiar habits” and I remember seeing the dark brown-bronze statue of him in his bear suit and loyal dog companion in its dog suit down beside its great master’s leg in the old public […]

There’s a hole in my chest where the truth’s supposed to be. There’s a hole in my head where this creation’s supposed to be. I’ll pour everything in, I wonder, filling it, suppose, and what will be left. What will, answered, but French-braided ambiguity.

Is this your girlfriend? The guy at the next table asked me loudly in one of those booming broadcast voices, pointing at her, as if she couldn’t answer for herself and was some kind of stranger even though she was clearly sitting with them, clearly sitting and smiling, and clearly smiling at me when I […]

Read something in a dream last night that was better than this so I revised it—this, not the dream but in the dream I could plainly see the words and world and almost taste them both, so when I woke up I exhaled and did.

I think sometimes of her parents. How her dad was a public defender and her mom a schoolteacher on the southside of Chicago. But more like “that,” though, more “that” than “how.” I know the that and can only make up the how and now feel compelled to apologize for the “ “ but this […]

Bearded young man, late twenties, early thirties, in a dark forest kind of green Marmot jacket and clashingly green cargo pants and green-brown knit hat with a brim sitting beside a blonde woman in a black top and gray pencil skirt and I wonder which is more uniform and what their first encounter was like. […]

Some might say I lack enthusiasm. To some I’d say I don’t wanna. There are two rails on which my life runs, academic (ha!) and artful (double ha!), linear and squiggly, but I tend to end up straddling the third and we all know where that leads, treading lightly fearful falling from where I belong […]

Not sure why I do this, why I keep coming here to make words thinking they’re worlds or might be if rightly strung together. It’s like thinking if you throw shit at the wall long enough it’ll eventually make art as long as you learn the right size handfuls and angles and velocities and distances. […]

The flight came in two hours late, right on time. Every day of being here has been like that, almost. Constant state of fight and fright, afterflight. So much of how we speak is based on vision, I think.

If you wrote me a letter I promise I’d read the greeting and closing first at breakneck glancing speed and then scatter my way through the rest to shake it down sifting till all the pieces fit more or less stuck snug together and then maybe I’d write some poetic-esque reply that started out fine […]

Heed need and forever save the paper hearts she cut in descending undiminished order smaller from palm to thumbnail and placed like a simple breezeblown windfall scatter on the winter pillow like autumn hadn’t ended, an imperfect moment’s so completely perfect act of perfect imperfection, which is precisely how this kind of ambling love line […]

If my life were a book I’d call it Mostly Open and this chapter would be Lowercase and Rising because I don’t really think it works like that we have covers but don’t turn pages no matter how germane the metaphor, we just throw in some commas for breathers and plant a few periods like […]

Hello again, my dear uncertain someones, I should’ve said every other week or so, yes, and been clearer. A weekly update letter may just be too much when there’s so much to say and so many words in the way but here we are and ain’t that a contradiction. Wrote a thing recently called “ambiguation,” […]

what if you’d become the model you seemed secretly destined when we were kids to be and ended up on the perpetually adolescent arm of some sultry interminable troubadour contemptuously entitled to his own terrible el jefe reputation and I wouldn’t be able to watch though I’d sure as hell dreadly look from time to […]

  Dear All Of You, It is Saturday in the realm of writing stuff. My Saturday writing stuff realm thought is: maybe I should write about writing stuff instead of writing stuff for a few minutes, but like a letter, at least once a week, like on Saturday. Or Saturdays, as in more than just […]

I come home tired and the sun is thick and the air is shining thicker and contractions seem inappropriate, fast like the blood feels through my brain’s constricted vessels

Always in need of time, and sick of this fragility, the mind-body problem as antiquated and alive as ever seeming senseless, though, and jigsaw-puzzled and all in all contained by nothing but an heirloomish box with a porous lid of chance, four fickle sides of swirling words for grasping these torrents of feeling and maybe sometimes […]

He, gentle no one, opens the driver’s side into traffic, careless, without so much as a glance and I wonder in my quick reaction swerving what can I do to change that dumb shit the dumb shit we the great grand so many people do without thinking without heeding without even seeming caring, piled on […]

They said you can taste poetry, it must be bodily before it’s intellectual. I can’t separate the observer from the observed because… because there’s no because—it’s mind and body, present and past, art and cognition, each a universe creating. But not separate. Separate, no, not at all.

It’s not easy to sit here and tell you what’s wrong with me. Not when I spend so much time thinking there’s nothing. Or nothing I can’t handle—big difference, seems, seems especially now, now, now, now that I’m feeling a little beneath the task of being. What does the past look like and feel like […]

Once upon a time I believed I was lost, but when I did what I thought was get found I saw I didn’t know what “lost” meant was missing. Lost self, thinking lost soul, soul self hung and dripping thick blooded romances like life was something to be won over, charmed, but also carried and […]

High heels on concrete clack               Train—bell clang and engine rumble, squealing wheels on tracks, metal on metal, too close              Garbage truck as if through living room                    Young man clan talking too loud all […]

Looking at Marshall while an old blue-hair scholar sort in a wheelchair wheels around, silent hard rubber on smooth stone floor, wheels around and up to wall-sized nail-hung canvases like tarps thick with paint and all kinds of consciousness—Stono, Rococo, Chicago—and offers half-whispered, breathless assayances to a shuffling handful throng of acolytes who’d surely love […]

Bound to wear out sometime, he said he was. Sometime is not yet, but coming, begun. I left today and the gate attendant was kind, kind to us all, shufflers with too many bags and too many tickets and too many too manys, more than dutifully kind which made it feel real, like he too […]

It was just that he would wonder why | why he could have a vision of laying on his back with her in the yellow-green grass, hands behind their anything but lazy heads and eyes lazy glazed upward gazing at a day sky blue-gray overcast and seeing the scene like he was the one taking […]

Oughtta be ashamed of myself, writing like this these days, about love and happy macabre heart things and there’s that word again in the face of it all and full on days deep in it, Poe turned Dahl, he said and I laughed, of course, a little mordantly, knowing mostly what he mostly meant and […]

Once I was six or five years old and did things kid backward like I do them grown backward now and I remember one day doing my six or five year old backward best to ponder nonexistence because it struck me ponderably, little ponderable thing I was barely getting used to existing and ponderance in […]

If we played operation, I’d touch the sides every time just to see you react. Before when I studied a new someone something person idea I’d work from old to new, like a sequential movement through a body of work, then to now but maybe never make it back from some slightly more recent then, […]

Chuck B said “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, ‘I’m not going to make it.’ But you laugh inside, remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.” Not sometimes. But sometimes with a laugh. And remembering all those other times without laughs is precisely the problem, Charles, or has […]

What a year a difference makes. Still here, though, still this, still that, still looking, still wondering, still hoping, still hungry, still putting words away and bringing some new ones out, still trying, listening and hearing still sirens and car horns and wet tires on wet streets and still chilly wet rain from low multi-gray […]

Three sugars and two creams, he says, fatly, and no that’s not a typo. No relation at all but it reminds me of the Matt Dillon look-alike with the black-and-white bowling/leisure shirt who slammed a napkin down on the bar in front of the drunk girl at least a dozen years his junior and who […]

Airborne now and climbing, just skimming the white whispy tops all blue above and grounds of browns below and that’s when the thoughts begin to form and separate, moving and still, careful and reckless, me and you, rooted in our creativity, our eyes full of our strange language, keeping.

I have this memory of sitting in a field of wildflowers with bees buzzing about and Tchaikovsky and Wagner in my ears and nearby children float in a sea-themed carousel, rising and falling, rising and falling and gliding past clinging to plastic painted fishes rising and falling a mechanical grotesque fish school with strange incidental […]

standing near the dark lounge’s entrance—all reds and blacks and shadow curtains—and the maître d’ weaves through to me; he glides on measured steps tuxedoed and slick haired blonde like wheat stalks, face cheekboned-high and clean straight-razor shaven with a shot of absinthe punch in each hand looking like glow sticks and I wonder split-second […]

So beautiful it almost hurts, I say mellow and dramatic, and then you come doctora it away. Your sweet mutual inclusion, my assembler, telling me how we me and you see singularity in everything because we feel it always and I stand at awed attention like a toy tin man filled up soldier marveling at […]

Real is a face we slap on places—it’s all “real’s the way it is” like a slogan for something you probably use all the time but don’t need, adamantly overstated and buffpolished triteness so the words shine no matter what they say and that’s ok but not really so I’m dreaming on up instead, up upon some […]

In my lesser moments I see wonderings like glass bubbles dangling just barely hanging by frayed threads from the way up ceiling and as I walk through I worry I might brush one too brusquely and break it where it floats and a small sparkling shower of near paper-light jagged and splintered pieces will flutter […]

Don’t want to know, but wish to somehow, wish to know more, do want to wish and see and seek, do and don’t and wish and want and can’t help it, because something might happen, something might, as soon as you don’t expect it that shred of goodness or decency or uniqueness or beauty, daresay, […]

And I see it’s all material, sure, that’s fine, again material, more material, immaterial and otherwise and with depth, yes, of course, I’m not mad, of course, not quite, not yet, of course, but I just can’t let the idea go, not quite yet, because I like to start things strangely and because where would […]

If the past turns to poetry then what’s the present say and how, he asks, is it prose somehow, a string or stream of word-senses, all at least a little insufficient and chosen for fit and consistency out of the small-scale cosmic and the macro chaos—and does that mean poetry’s past, or what. Past or […]

Maybe, I said, it all may be, and that’s the beauty of ambiguity and its spaces for mays and bes and broken chords of individual arpeggi differentiation acknowledged as the whole way of things and our own very own thingness, all rolling around and scrambled up in frying pan parts and people pieces for creation […]

The best nightmares are the ones with fight, desperate and subdued but augmented by the sense—not fear, but sense—that time is running thin in breaths hurried and shorter and it’s all as if I am and life might not let me out into the light alive, so I stay dark in the mean time under night […]

If deserving matters then it must be a matter of not anti- but non-matter like aridity and openness and that’s all, starting there in minimal sparse-seeming but full life teeming and lit up neon sun subtle as whispered nothings meaning everything glowing warm in deep dark spaces after sunset words, following and preceding, follow and precede and sometimes […]

Molto allegro, allegro molto, says the joker, not joking, though, punched drunk and sing song speaking up tempo through sights high, low, and fast-sung in the hope that lost words swift-strewn and strung beneath skylines tall and deep tree rooted will blur into images long held in heart minded and tended and love heat-blinded by now, reconciling […]

We had two dogs when I was growing up, brothers they were, one called Sammy and Moxie the other, both black and brown and white, some kind of beagle-shepherd-wolf-bird-dog-bear mixes or something magical like that, the latter with longer, scragglier fur for catching burrs and getting caked with mud and all manner of undesirable substances […]

Night Peopled-out and tired tonight with gladly shell-bound head and heart transforming in chrysalis, post-crawl and pre-flutter. Shell-bound and bundled up but ears and windows open for smelling roses both sweet dead and blooming while pulsing strong and slow inside and not sad, not mad, not at all broken but healing and that’s just it, […]

All I do is see her name and each time it’s as if the person from then gets layered and wrapped within the one out there, around here, now, first outside, then within, swiftly making all news old news, all news but these news, olds and news subsumed, interfused, and commixed and it resumes anew, completely […]

I write under the name “Mischa” but that’s not my real name. Well, not anymore, usually, I mean it’s real, and it really was ceremoniously bestowed upon me by the power vested in my parents and the state of Virginia, but I tend to go by Mike or Michael—or Fernandoquan inside inner secret insider circles—because […]

Magritte was here, over two years ago now, and I visited him at The Museum on a cloudy, drizzly, seasonably chilly Chicago day in an early Chicago October. Time wrinkles like that and here I am on a not-hot-enough early July Chicago Sunday thinking how last week’s heat is right around the corner ahead but […]

I see children and I don’t want them but I’m glad someone does. They’re probably hungry and in need of discipline. Weekends come and go like deep breaths between five-day spans of hyperventilation and all I can think about lately is how I want to be apart, to be left alone but not lonely, no, […]

Sure, it’s been a couple years and I’m sure in my way that although I never say so I sometimes wonder how she is and oh so secretly sometimes wish she’d just say a little something like hello or even venture a tentative and brittle how are you but what then and why what difference […]

Someone’s always leaving, someone’s always on the way in, always saying they’ll change, always it’ll be different now and that’s true it won’t from now on always be, but only now in the saying, on the way, like the last now’s leaving and the next is breezing in but there’s always something, isn’t there, always […]

“For now when she was with him she could think. And for now is time too.”[1]

If I lost the ability to see, that etching of the nighttime burning house I bought from the beautiful girl with the pursed-lipped smile and dusky, aestival eyes won’t be there on my wall anymore, as far as my daily passing days would say, and I’m afraid I’d have to tell her—no matter stranger status—maybe […]

There are cavemen in the courtyard across the street and they have red plastic cups, coolers with wheels and handles, and at least one woman. It is hot today and they’re shirtless like me and she has long, tan legs that are probably as nice up close as from a distance and I wonder which […]

I read somewhere—on a museum plaque, I think—that, in essence, luminism was an effort to portray a “transcendental unity in the contemplation of nature’s stillness” and I wonder what the antonymic would be—to capture a descendant fragmentation in hasty reactions to urban chaos, perhaps. I might call that lifeism if a name was needed, one […]

Tempted to say he’s lucky, maybe even you too, but you two seem more assigned than found and it’s hard for me of all people to believe congrats are in order if chance is dealing you that kind-of-sort-of maybe hand when it dealt us a full house even though I folded, I know, so cheers […]

Saying “spinach” like it’s spelled with two i’s and two n’s. A pair of each, yes, me and the animal inside, both i and double no, instinctive, negative negative into a singularly false perfect ok positive with a one-word name, mine, these outwords trying to align with inner constitution and somehow that’s what I think […]

We’re all writers here, aren’t we? The following is my new (permanent) standard cover letter for fiction and non-fiction submissions alike. Dear Editors, Please accept my short piece of shit, “Short Piece of Shit,” for publication in your piece of shit journalmagazinesite. I think you will find it intellectually stimulating and evocative and also notice […]

And here again I go, I know: Should I be thought by you. Made by you. Taken by you. Loved by you, that is, forked, knifed, and skewered so you can see me through the gaps in your fingers as you cover your face and call it a gift. That’s loved, you’d say, by you, […]

Cut up hydrocodone and bourbon turns an already weak heart way down to a murmur and no I don’t mean that now just remembering and I’m a little afraid it’ll sleep on that when it skips a few and then beats like hell to catch back up but that’s ok like I was till I heard […]

The times I’ve lied by omission vastly outnumber those of downright falsification but I’m not sure which is heavier though my guess if I had to and I don’t but I will is the weigh station counts them all the same

Love did not help me find the words, infatuation did, infatuated impropriety, as always. Love let me lose them. These, my real fictions.

Everyone you meet, they all seem repeats, so I address you in language different, alternate of alternating sense and tense and reference, of surface-teasing depths and depth-hinting surfaces, hoping we’ll stave off the inevitable and only ever talk about anything but nothing, teasing and hinting something or other, something other in and out of both, […]

Just look at the way she brushes her hair back from her face full-handed with that over-the-head gesture going straight seamless into a nervous unconscious sort of neck scratch, a scratch that’s more like just a thing for fingers to do while eyes rise to meet, hand lingering soft on collarbone, slowed to a halt but breathing, low, no portrait […]

My second school was a school for smart kids where posted on all doors were little signs that said “pull” and we’d stand around and argue and debate and pontificate and procrastinate and obfuscate and subliminate about who should push and why and in what manner said pushing should—I mean could; no value judgments, please—commence while […]

To Prague, say, why not, and stay, yes, not just go but stay. Alone, too, fuck it. For how long? Who knows. Why? Because it’s … adjectives, superlatives, demonstratives… and, well, the airport is a cab/train ride away and my bag’s somewhere around here but who needs it. Could be there in a day—anything less […]

I knew Nikki Giovanni and also a guy named Giovanni Turner at the same place and time who thought he was Nat but with a higher education and a microphone and I thought he should give both back because he was giving everyone a bad name.

These things writing, saying, they breathe, he said. Lately that. I know what you’re thinking, he said. You’re thinking when the night strikes it’ll be like daylight did and sundown’s when the breathing starts, lately. Multichroma seen felt under optic fingertips, the smooth stark darkness marked by jagged light sketches and it’s inhale for more […]

Half-slept the night through sleep-sliding fast on an invasive, full occupying sense of wrong done, wrong done, there it is that done wrong feeling again, like ziplining toward a brick wall but not so cartoonish so don’t you dare laugh, or do, do dare. Doesn’t much matter—do you? I don’t know what I dare do. […]

I write a lot about writing, you say a lot about nothing, and I’m losing track of the difference. Happiness breeds complacency when it mates with fear and I wonder what the above combination produces after a wild, drunken, half-remembered night of animalistic fornication if not the same thing.

Show me, unknown. Show me more and stay there, where you are and as. Don’t come out where things are given and given over given up and given in to explanation, don’t come out here for something so goddamn dumbfuck gloomy as having. We have conditions, have money, have jobs, have problems, have sex, have […]

Current content is meaningless and fast. I’ve read Knausgaard (slowly)—he thinks something’s off with my capacity to resist and yes I’m happy to put words in his mouth if they serve my purposes, that’s fine, that’s what words and mouths are for, because words in mouths are as delicious as kisses if deep steeped and […]

My weekend? Great. Sure. I did nothing. Nope, nothing. Friday I left the office, went to the gymnatorium to push things and also pull them and just generally move them around. Then, satisfied with my dumb movery, I went home, bathed, and stared at the wall.

Why write. I have to, I suppose. That’s what I tell people, and it sounds pretty good. I don’t really feel compelled to lumberjackery or carjackery or crackerjackery or whatever elsery anyway. Looked into haberdashery once, but it just didn’t pan out, because no one knows what that is anymore. Sophistry, though—now that I understand.

Wild things. They put on their wild thing suits and get all stirred up and wreak wild thing havoc and are sent to their rooms without their supper, rooms by which, however, naturally, of course, they cannot be contained because they’re wild things, after all, and so they drift off to a wild thing wilderness—or […]

From here, I hear, from my chair in the corner, too tired, I fear, to do much more than notice. Cool air through the windows, wide open because I can still smell the food I cooked for dinner and I want to smell the storm coming instead. Lightning flashes like it’s sneaking a picture and […]

Why am I receiving Men’s Health magazine? This is now the fourth issue to arrive in my mailbox. It is terrible and I did not subscribe, but it keeps appearing and appearing (and appearing and appearing), at intervals I, in my mail-retrieving irregularities, can only see as completely irregular, as if every so often the […]

Broke my best spatula today, just snapped into three pieces. Was attempting to get under a pancake in need of a flip, pressed down a bit too much, and it exploded. I shed a single tear and promptly buried it with ritualistic solemnity by throwing it from my seventh-floor balcony into the street below. No, […]

Tired and irresponsible, plain not thinking. What is all this now? I love to think, but I hate to love anymore, yes, anymore I hate to love so I guess I’m lucky it’s all just my imagination. That’s it, really—little more than a sensation, a sensationation, a silly byproduct of certain synapses and stimuli and […]

Yes yes, going to be hanging out with you this weekend, chair and desk, desk and chair. Doing big things. Big chair and desk things. These things. Us things. Me things. Wait—is that like Me Time? Because if it is, we might have to think about inviting someone over, even if they just watch, or […]

Complete indelicacy, maniacal and severe in its blandness. Brusque movements, rough and choppy, lacking nuance, manners, courtesy, decorum. Making only noise, noise of a purely, plainly noisy variety, not sound, asonorous. Reactive, deliberately inadvertent, even negligent, triumphantly so, giving impulse and instinct bad names. An atmospheric sloppiness of language which speaks to a world distilled […]