I'm going to change my clothes a few times . . .
A text I received recently: "Feel bad and also feel no desire to eat anything bad."
I can't think of anything to twitter. There are four cigarettes in the apartment. Rent will be due in a week.
Is there anything I can write that would be the same as a bird flying? Is there anything I can write that would give the reader the same feeling he would while watching a bird flying? How like a bird flying is any piece of writing? What piece of writing is the most like a bird flying?
The cat wants something. There's a glass of water. There are still four cigarettes, or five, or six.
A New York Magazine review of a bar I went to recently confirms what I thought.
My girlfriend smokes cigarettes. Later she says things like "Why did you let me smoke those cigarettes?" and "Ugh, I feel so polluted."
I google the word "proseca." I see it's spelled "prosecco." I look at the word "prosecco." Will I remember how to spell it? Prose. Two 'C's. O.
Photo by Thomas Shelley
was born in 1988. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. His first novel, "Eat When You Feel Sad," will be released by Melville House
in February 2010.
Some poems . . .
i change my mind about everything as of five days ago
i dont care what people say
you are not a turtle
you are a bunny
i never thought
a little bunny
would be such a good fucktoday i thought i had a good idea but it turned out to be maybe not such a good idea, or maybe it was a good idea, but really i dont think it was
i was tired of forgetting to put on earrings
so i took a needle and string
and a seashell
i sewed the seashell to my ear
it hurts like hell
maybe i should have sterilized the needle
or maybe sewing things to your head is stupid
my permanent earring is very pretty though
aside from the crusty blood on iteverything i own is pink
i dont know what age i began to be such a little twat
(im guessing about five or six)what does it feel like to wear those glasses?
well, it feels like i just got out of jail with thirteen counts of child molestation under my belt and im going back to my job on the school bus and i got a pocket full of jolly ranchersmy hands are really quite clammy right now
my lover is wearing a business suit
she looks very important
she is interviewing at a hedge fund firm
i am taking her very seriously right now
i am going to masturbate in the bathroom
when she leavesi change my mind about everything again (this is getting awkward)
i fall in love on average
twice a year
i'm not sure
if thats a good ratio
Kendra Grant Malone.
Kendra Grant Malone
's poetry and fiction has been widely published worldwide. Details of her forthcoming chapbooks can be found here
Reading Instructions . . .
They had to restrain me. Give me some kind of sedative. And it had all started so calmly. Hold on. Let me think. That could be so different. They had to restrain me, give me some kind of sedative, and it had all started so calmly. That’s better. Or is it? The first has an imperative feel. Direct. Urgent. They had to restrain me. Fact. Am I still restrained? If I am, then the sympathy is with me, the empathy. If not, I have escaped, I am the hero, the revenger. If they let me go, then where am I? Hiding in a broom closet? Beneath a table? In the boot of your car? Could this be a tale from beyond the grave; a manuscript found hidden under the thin mattress, written on sheets of toilet paper using blood as ink, a tongue depressor for a pen? Or a memoir – now rich and famous, be-robed in Egyptian cotton, ensconced in a sumptuous suite, recording how I rose from oppressed individual to advisor of kings and governments. Perhaps nothing really happened and the narrative you are reading is a fancy, drawn up to keep you amused while other more important things are played out behind your back. While you’re not watching. For what we have to ask is: who are “they”? Why no names? They? It’s rather vague isn’t it? Some shady organization? An experimental medical facility kidnapping people off the street, drugging them, tying them down, injecting them with viruses, diseases, bad blood. They. Or family? A Christmas argument. An insult. The dredging up of not-so forgotten feuds. A wisecrack about weight. A complaint about the turkey, the lack of chestnut stuffing, the consistency of the cranberry sauce. They. Or friends? A confrontation. An intervention – all of them there when you come home, the women sitting on the sofa, the chairs, the men standing against the wall telling you you have to pull yourself together, stop drinking, stop taking drugs. Or someone stopping you punching someone who spilled your wine, your beer, insulted your girlfriends, your favourite football team. Stopped you going around to your ex-wife’s or ex-husband’s house to: give him/her a slap, kidnap the kids, abuse the new lover, slash the car tyres, sit outside hunched in your soon to-be-repossessed motor. They. But it was I they restrained. They. The faceless mass, the nameless throng, the shadowy crowd. It could have started so differently. He had to… She had to… You had to… Or better. The police had to… The doctors had to… The nurses had to… Or better even… K had to… X had to… V had to… Or better still… Sue had to… Mike had to… Gary had to… Whatever it wasn’t, what it was was, “They had to restrain me.” They didn’t have a choice. Nothing they could do. I didn’t give them an option. Or you. If I wrote, “They didn’t have to restrain me,” or “They didn’t restrain me,” or “They failed to restrain me,” then I would be free and there would be no They, no imperative, categorical or not. And not in my case. I’ve just thought. Maybe you are they. The you of you with other yous lost in the they, the them. And if so, then you must want to know the story. Must want to know why you restrained me. Why you were impelled to restrain me. What I did that made you join in with them, lose your you, become one with the throng. What did I do? They had to restrain me. Had. The past of have. The saddest words. Have. Has. Had. He has money. He had money. The book has a meaning. The book had a meaning. I wanted to join the priesthood but they wouldn't have me. I have a role in a film. I had a job as an extra. Have a great trip. I had a bad time. He had pancreatitis. He has diabetes. I have morals. I had ethics. Have him bring me wine. They have no beer. He has two brothers. He had two sisters. He has a beautiful wife. He had a faithful girlfriend. He had the balls to question my actions. The book has a flowing narrative. He had a large nose. I will not have any distractions. Rumour has it. He had it. To have neither love nor happiness. To have a monster of a child. He has you where he wants you. After you have finished this story you might think you have been had. This sentence had me stumped. I had a devoted follower. She has left me. She had left him. I have to go soon. You had better get home. They had to restrain me. They. They had. They had to. To. Not from. Approach and arrival. Insistent. Help if you want to. I went to the house. The road was clear all the way to the off-ramp. The road runs perpendicular to the facility. Turned to me and said. Loved her to a fault. Brought her back to life. The time is four in the morning. Slept from one to three. Stepped out to relieve myself. A rag to the wind. Take me to a doctor. Had the room to ourselves. Guiding the blind to the darkest room. Their faces close to the whirring blades. Nose to nose. Searched for the bullets to the gun. Calling for an answer to my prayers. Unsuited to punishment. An outlook different to the doctors. Pull the door to. I’d like to leave. To hold back. Restrain. They arrested me. They put me in binds. They fitted a white polythene bridle in my mouth. Chained me to the bed. Confined me in a room. Constrained me. Contained me. Controlled my breathing, my blood pressure, my heart rate, the flow of my urine. Curbed my flight impulse. Curtailed my freedom. Delimited my liberty. Detained me. Fettered my limbs. Gagged my mouth. Handicapped my legs. Harnessed my body. Hindered my movement. Hogtied me. Held me. Impounded my papers. Imprisoned my family. Inhibited my movement. Jailed my friends. Limited my access. Locked me up. Manacled my hands, my feet. Muzzled me. Pinioned my arms. Prevented me from escaping. Repressed my natural instincts. Restricted my vision. Subdued my thoughts. Suppressed my ideas. Tied me up. Tied me down. Twisted my words.
’s novel Balzac of the Badlands
will be published by Future Fiction London
in October 2009.
Cops . . .
The two of us are bent cops. I use those words deliberately. Although we speak with English accents, the landscape of the city we are in is American. We have just come out of a Federal building of some sort. They are on to us, it seems. Or at least, on to you. You are upset, distraught, on the brink of cracking and throwing the whole thing away. Maybe you’ve been caught or punished before. Maybe this is your last chance. The important thing is to calm you down. I try to calm you down.
It seems like you haven’t been in the city for some time. Perhaps we work in another city or a smaller town and have been summoned here for you to be questioned at the Federal building. Perhaps I came to keep you company, to make sure you don’t crack. I keep telling you it’s the same city, it’s the same old city. I talk about the marvellous sights, the wonderful places to visit. You’re almost in tears, trying to hold it back, and I think my tour guide patter helps. We get in a taxi of some kind and begin to drive through the streets as I point out monuments, towers, museums, galleries, whole districts, areas of local colour. After a while I suggest we go to the Blue Beach. I tell you it’s just the same as it’s always been, suggest it’s just like it was when we were regulars round here. Did we work here?
The taxi we’re in is a boat. We’re on the sea, so it must be. Though the sea is also the streets. We turn out of one watery road and left, up towards the Blue Beach. Our driver (our skipper?) forces the boat right up on to the sand and we glide to a halt, the impact far less than I was expecting. The sand is an insipid colour, the kind you buy in sacks to fill kids’ playpits. But across the surface, as if deposited there by the sea, is a thin scattering of bright blue copper sulphate crystals. Without looking at you – I stopped looking at you as soon as we started walking – I comment on how the beach is just as it’s always been, how good it is to be back at the beach which is just like it’s always been.
The sea must have risen a little because we’re floating again and our driver or skipper sets the boat moving, this time without any suggestion from me. He aims for a little alley between two houses across the bay from where we entered. We move slowly along this narrow concourse, the buildings high and grey on each side of us. The road ends in a T-junction a little way ahead. He cuts the power as we approach the turn and we move forward, a kind of ghost motion, until the prow of the boat bumps against the garage of the building opposite. I presume it’s a garage, although it’s one of those roll-down, segmented metal shutters, so perhaps there’s a shop behind it. The shutters boom, empty, as the boat hits.
All three of us jump out and we’re standing on sand again. We ask the boatman whose house this is and he will only say that we don’t want to go in there. He says it in a way which means we shouldn’t go in there, that it would be unsafe to go in there. The boatman has curly hair, a halo of it, and leans against the wall by the garage door, very relaxed, but quite insistent about the house. We knock at the door on the other side of him, the door of the house he doesn’t want us to go into. He tells us, still calm, that we can see our parents. Are we brothers, you and I? Or are they all there, the four of them waiting for their two sons? We don’t ask him that. Perhaps it would be embarrassing to ask him that. Instead we ask him where our parents are. With his head he signals out to sea and tells us they are two hundred metres away. We knock at the door. He tells us we shouldn’t but we do. We keep knocking and he stops telling us not to. Perhaps he stops being there.
When the door swings open we are met by two creatures. They are birds of some sort, or like birds in that they stand on two legs, although they have no wings. But they have no arms either, just these two spindle legs. They are about the size of partridges or pheasants, a dirty brown colour, not necessarily feathered. They have our faces. Our faces are stretched and distorted and move oddly, as if the images of our features are being projeceted on to the blank screens of the animals’ heads. But still, they are our faces. There is no sound, from the sea or the streets or our driver. The acoustics seem to have closed up deep inside my ear, as if I’m underwater. The two creatures walk out of the door, jerky, with the twitch and tic of prey. They move towards us, each aimed at the one with its own face. Mine taps its side into my leg and pushes me back a little. Or, rather, causes me to move back. Because I don’t want to be touched by it. Because, for reasons anyone can understand, I feel unsettled by it.
I look down at my trainers and there is a hole in the toe of the one on the left, ragged, a friction rip. My creature moves its little head down toward it as if examining the damage. It tips its head on one side and then the other. I don’t know where I am anymore. The light seems very grey and the tourist spots of the city are forgotten. The only sound is a long, low rumble. Without warning, the thing is sucking itself through the hole and into my shoe and I can feel it in the space between my big toe and the next, even though I know there’s no room for it there. Then it’s inside me and I look up again as if the most important thing left is to see how yours will enter you.
writes novels (Clear Water
and The Heritage
so far, both published by Faber & Faber) and (kind of) runs Big Dada, a record label. There's a good piece about him in the Independent
here his blog is vernaland