Tuesday, October 25, 2016

143. “Ruby,” } I will see you in time.

Long ago, Danel Olsen used two short stories of mine in his “Horror, Ghost, & Gothic Fiction” course; “Weird Furka” and “A Line Through el Salar d’Uyuni.” I don’t recall the prompt—did one of his students ask me about “Weird Furka”?—but I sent a letter addressed to his students that revealed the true story behind “Weird Furka” and then, for years, struggled to make that letter a proper tale. And when Brian Showers asked for a story for his anthology Uncertaintiesananthology originally meant to skirt the edge of genre—I finally did.

Uncertainties was a fraught project. The deal, like Calrissian’s with Vader, was altered and altered again, until Brian decided he’d claim the book for his own Swan River Press. Lucky for me, because all Swan River Press books are beautiful.

Gary Fry reviewed Uncertainties volume II and, of “Ruby,” wrote, “I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Adam Golaski’s ‘Ruby.’ Its descriptions of drugs and music and the states they can invoke were slightly lost on me, but that is probably an issue that I should address rather than the author. Sorry!” Never apologize, Mr. Fry.

D. F. Lewis, of the “real-time review,” very nearly agrees with Mr. Fry, except—“I really like how Uncertainties volumes 1 and 2 are presenting all the various distinct varieties of weird fiction that I love… with some future classics of this distinctly constituted as well as multi-palimpsest genre. “Golaski is a case in point…”Ruby” is a fine example of his work, as I follow this man in blurred interface between distinct places and people of his life… but there is no way of describing this story’s ruby other than by reading about it in it. Believe me, this is class.”

[Oh and yes, D. F. Lewis wrote about every plate in the Color Plates—a review tour de force. He picked the cleft tail of Cassatt’s black ribbon and un-throated it ‘till the head’v’it tumbled free.]

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

142. Pastoral drafts } from the median.

Draft of [ Pastoral med – ian ], magenta Sharpie + type on W magazine fashion spread (a).

Draft of [ Pastoral med – ian ], magenta Sharpie + type on W magazine fashion spread (b).

Draft of [ Pastoral med – ian ], magenta Sharpie + type on W magazine fashion spread (c).

Draft of [ Pastoral med – ian ], magenta Sharpie + type on W magazine fashion spread (d).

# # #

Two poems, “[ Pastoral med – ian ]” and “Franc – / {AND} {is} / es.” appear in Vestiges _02: Ennui, published by Black Sun Lit; the launch was August 11 at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn. In keeping with the theme of the issue, it is wholly appropriate that I neither attended nor was invited. Several did attend, brought together by anti-ennui violence, including Haley Hemenway Sledge. Her short story, “Two Girls,” is my favorite work in the issue. Her middle name, Hemenway, is also the name of a street in Boston, where the mysterious [ M ] once lived on bagels and acid.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

141. Poppet show } shadow play.


Poppet’s silver shadow waits in an invisible box, tucked against trash.

A gold dress and a veil, Poppet’s shuffle and mourn; Poppet carries a swaddled golden face to the stage. Wherever her bare feet embroider a path, Poppet writes herself.

Arms above keys; breaths and: Poppet sings into herself. A spotlight lights her face through her veil.

Shadow reaches and bows—extends empty hands. The veil—sing the golden dress free! Shadow guides, shapes, retreats to the trash; now Shadow observes. Shadow opposes, imposes, Shadow mimics and leads and Shadow enacts violently on behalf of Poppet who casts.

Draw a string from. “If you’re looking for ribbons to tie over / your tired head / I’d wear this instead.”

Shadow bows beneath. Shadow retreats. Returns—no longer a shadow but a limb. It wants to cover itself but it wears Poppet and Poppet is fickle—a quivering hand along the seat of an unfolded folding chair.

Poppet’s limb fights with Poppet. A collaboration of horns. Poppet’s eyes are shut; her limb’s eyes wide.

Paper bird, will you still love me if I cover the fact and whisper?

Hooded Poppet stands center stage; her limb plays—she puts on the gold face.

Not silent it’s movement. “I am a shadow / But I am not your ghost / No I am not your shadow.”

[ Poppet is Molly Raney. Shadow / Poppet’s limb is Nina Joly. Quoted lyrics from “Fabricated Hearts” and “Rattle Coins My Bones” by Molly Raney. Photo of Poppet and Shadow.]

Thursday, June 2, 2016

140. littletell issue four } missing children.

Read from—

the littletell aesthetic. Issue four full’v children “As they get older, it becomes harder to abandon a child and get away with it.” [Jaime Fountaine] “our daughter tells what to draw. ‘Our other daughter.’” [myself] and ageing and death (thots triggered by children} “Like children dancing around a maypole, when I look at one death, I look at all possible deaths.” [Sara Sheiner] and child’s play (psychology of) “in sand play, a scene is made from figures and objects placed in a box of sand in sand play, a scene is made from figures and objects places in a box of sand.” [Kim-Anh Schreiber]. View, also, intimate furniture “Back Board” [Jordana Loeb], acrylic abstraction w/ oil-like depth “acrylic #99” [Nazifa Islam]. 

littletell issue four ought to be read, listened to, viewed in a single sitting—and can be, easily.

My contribution are two from The Rescue; to read more visit THROG SLUDGE.

[ image: "Databend III" by Jordana Loeb. ]

Sunday, May 15, 2016

139. David Lynch’s } The Darkened Room.

My friend sits in the dark in the room.

“Do you see her? I cannot see my friend.”

An object that’s not ordinary to me because I have no use for it is ordinary to you because you use it all the time.

“Don’t look at her.”

A slip, for instance,

“You haven’t been listening.”

or Tokyo.

Friday, May 13, 2016

138. To get weird in Daniel Mills’ } Lord.

Mills’ collection begins with a tree, spoiled by M. Wayne Miller’s illustration (it gives away the turn in the tale), and Mills’ collection ends with a tree, the Saint Martin’s Oak, “burned to a standing cinder.”

Tree destroyed, Muelenberg loses faith and turns to debasement; out of the bacchanal, a theater is built, where sins are performed as mystery plays (the history of theater, at least from Roman times to the early Renaissance, is here). For a time, a halt is put on the performances in preparation for a great performance, scheduled for Midsummer. Who will be the mason and who the ass?

Friedrich, a monk in the monastery where the narrator lives, understands the tree to be “the embodiment of all that we could never know.” While the story “The Lord Comes at Twilight” is “after Thomas Ligotti,” it’s informed by Catholicism, not atheism, and maybe a little evangelical Christianity—the Lord was in Muelenberg, but corruption, embodied by the leprous, masked Count, holds Muelenberg’s people in its thrall. They are, so-to-speak, “left behind.”

A little ahead of the collection’s midpoint, Mills experiments; “Whistler’s Gore” is told via grave markers and a sermon. That formal break marks a point in the collection where the stories become more complex—when they get weird. All the stories in The Lord Came at Twilight are, in terms of genre, weird—by weird, I mean, unpredictable. When Mills gets weird his stories become interesting, buttressed by his solid prose. When Mills gets weird his stories are very good.

Perhaps the best way to get weird is to break from the communities from which you seek admiration.

[Daniel Mills’ collection, The Lord Came at Twilight, is available from Dark Renaissance Books.]

Monday, May 9, 2016

137. Thirtieth anniversary } Blue Velvet.


cable car
            May 4, 2016


…audience member explains (to his son?) what D. Lynch does (in Blue Velvet or in general?): “what’s underneath. It’s like everyplace.” Patently untrue. Conventional read of Blue Velvet / Twin Peaks. Repeated by the un-thoughtful. Awful-ness reveals itself, be it the awfulness of a downtown with nothing but chain jewelers and chain coffee shops and a furrier or a rt. X strip of lighting and appliance stores and car dealerships and donut shops or the floor of a valley fitted with box stores. The phrase “Blue Velvet is about.” …audience member sets up Blue Velvet (to his friend? “I’m just glad you were able to come out. I thought I was going to go alone” ) “…on VHS. A long time ago. My brother… an actor… the theater… I was 16, you can imagine, completely mind-blowing… it really started me being interested in film… a big ginger ale... to have that experience… I’ve seen it a few times since… it’s just, like, crazy. No, I’m psyched.”

A frosty-blond woman with a leopard-print coat will pass in front of me four times.

A crush of beetles crackles.

Bored rock toss.

Father weeps in his hospital bed.

Jeffrey Beaumont “When he discovers a severed ear in an abandoned field” and ants instead the world abruptly revealed the torso of Karina Holmer in a dumpster. Jeffrey Beaumont wears an earring. Jeffrey: I found an ear. Detective Williams: Yes, that’s a human ear alright.

Sandy Williams emerges from shadow pink and blond. “I just know that’s all” and “It sounds like a good daydream but actually doing it is dangerous.” The wind and the trees, the long sidewalk. An environment meant for daytime at night.

The sounds stairs make when left all alone.

How the hall must smell; “it’s this new stuff, there’s no smell”; like ash cans and industrial carpet.

Television set in Dorothy Vallens’ apartment is “encased in wood” (29,  Nieland).

Horror of, “Do you like me?” I thought I was involved, that something important was happening to me; instead, the situation revealed: I am  stupid, ignorant, and weak.

The light is Sandy’s dream. Theater’s speakers buzz fire.

Red roses, red shirts and suspenders, red drapes, pink and purple neon Slow Club, pink neon This Is It, red carpet, red walls, Jeffrey’s red car, hot pursuit, prostitute’s pink mini skirt, Dorothy’s red lips, ruby slippers, Isabella Rossellini and David Lynch at Cannes on the red carpet and David Lynch’s red box, red-brown robins.

I know what it's like to unlock doors that lead someplace forbidden.