What would a pain language look like? Sound like? Written, I imagine on the body and the sheets, clothes and pillows in shit and blood. Projected like movies. A stuttering, irritated series of marks with an almost rhythm (always almost). For neuropathy it would be etched on shoes and socks, gloves, the steering wheel, keyboard. Charred and raised red, engraved in boiling marks, for the sizzling sound that should be there. Like bare electrical wires hissing as they buzz and threaten out of sync.
The aching would be the terrible drone of wailing mourners, the white hot broken place that’s…
It was the year the Pearl River flooded the trailer park where we lived. The worms were driven up out of the ground rising to the water’s surface in writhing bubblegum pink bodies. Creeping up in ways you wouldn’t expect, the water covered over the things low enough and circled what was highest, turning the world into its own topographical map. It made strange island chains out of the asphalt and gravel and we gianted over them claiming and fighting for the largest, then whatever was left. The man from the bait shop paid us five dollars for each bucket…
This is what really happened.
They weren’t hippies, they were monkeys. I went downstairs to get a soda and they were attacking the vending machines. It was around two in the morning and the dorm was so quiet, like another place completely, an abandoned place full of emptiness and silence, not students and all their useless noise. So empty I probably could have walked downstairs in my underwear except that it was a little creepy all alone in those great big abandoned hallways. Like post-apocalyptic zombie movie creepy especially since it’s always the girl in her underwear who dies first…
A million years ago, I started doing a 5 things blog post daily based on Ashley Ford’s, which I adored. Ashley has started hers up again here on Medium after a long hiatus, and I’m thinking it might help me actually get things written because my thoughts are too fractured to consistently write long, coherent pieces and essays at any speed.
This week’s 5 things.
1. We recently “adopted” a kitten and she started going into heat a few days ago. And by adopted I mean that she was sickly and dying in the bushes outside our apartment and I…
“for what is quite literally at stake in the body in pain is the making and unmaking of the world.” (Scarry, 23)
Above is one of several sketches I made during a particularly bad flare-up. Delirious with pain and exhaustion, I decided that there must be a pain organ somewhere making all this pain. If I could just turn it off or find someone to remove it, the pain would end.
But when I tried to picture it, to draw it and describe it, it got bigger and bigger until it exceeded the body. …
The awesome folks at matchbook not only published my flash piece, Good Girl, but nominated it for a Pushcart and a Best of the year.
The lovely folks at Longleaf Review published my CNF flash piece, maybe even the sea.
Death Rattle, my novella about a woman who is entered in a contest to be in a Kelly Link Story and wins, is featured on Medium. There are ‘zombies’ and smart phones and the end of the world.
My flash/poetry piece, when your body (is like my body) is also featured on Medium
some of the books I read and loved last year (to be updated because I know I’ll remember more)in no particular order:
The Undying by Anne Boyer
Negroland by Margo Jefferson
The Priory of the Orange Grove by Samantha Shannon
The Incendiaries R.O. Kwon
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories by A.C. Wise
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
You think you know how your life will go: a good college then a successful career and somewhere in the middle you meet your soul mate and everything fits together so perfectly nothing could separate it back into its original parts.
But that is just a dream. A fantasy. I know exactly how my life will work because she tells me. Flickering like bad video, she reveals things about my life, its unraveling, but doesn’t give anything away, except the future. And only the parts she cares about.
“When you get to the corner of Chrystie and Houston, stop. Don’t…
Note: this essay is a sort of companion piece to my CNF piece, “maybe even the sea” at Longleaf Review.
When I say there was a flood and it destroyed everything we had, I know what you’re thinking: You see that movie disaster flood in your mind. That giant wall of brown (or sometimes beautiful blue) water punching and slushing its way through canyons, tearing out trees as it heads toward the tiny toy houses in that tiny model town or city that is just no match for a floodzilla of water. …
The death rattle is full of teeth
and broken ear stones
baby’s breath and stolen words
Bits of dead cell phones
“It’s from the original Death Rattle,” Ben answers like Jessica asked. “Anabel hired someone to hack the server for the deleted file.”
Ben is dressed as that guy who was eaten by coyotes in the Gunks last year. He and Jessica are standing at the door to Anabel’s apartment. Jessica is thinking about why she’s not going in. Her boyfriend Ben is thinking about it too. She knows because he’s asked her that question three times. It’s going…