Snagged Epistolary

The fairytale is a traditional form significant in its artful capacity to alternately mask and reveal dynamics of power and desire. It leaves its traces in the hidden messages, warnings, auguries, rants, citations, footnotes, obscure references, commands, translation effects derived from techno and house music, skipped beats and irregular rhythms, annoying rhyming, projective fantasy, sheer nonsense, redundancy and noise of legalese and police interrogation in the following prosoid stanzas.


My Dear Nice my dear Neptune Dear Son Dear Tip of the Dawn and Pencil of the Sunk Dear and Dear Person Who is Always about to Stand Trial Whether It is Apparent or Not Dear Echo in Experience and Dear Daughter Dear Water Light and


Hair Dear Justice Plus Injurious and Dear Air and Finally My Dear Receding Horizon Limit and What No One knows including All Who Shall be Forgotten and Dear that Who Befriends and Other Recipients of These Epistles, it might take an effort


to discern which sentences now belong to whom.
Shall this be kept a secret? I mean what is then aimed at others.
And who are we separately?


Dear me, (I am writing to myself as well). A diary falls open and we are in it together! Did you know? A drawing on the margin shows our divergent BODIE molded in the form of a ball, the mythic work of a precision machine I believe


No, not that. It’s the work of an exacting artist last seen escorted by Square Pusher through the entrance to electronic parts. Yes, What No One Shows, I can NOW almost read your thoughts THEN but ask you to nevertheless consider. An outline of a fleshy


Grasping Hand1 on our paper-nowhere seems to be positioned in the direction of that image, the ball made of us I described to you. I described to you I described to you the ball made of us described to you I described to you the ball made of us


My Piety Punched. Who is never confused. I’m throwing you a bonus, a ring to the tone. What no one will hear but. Is that not the m-m-message Who Is Always About To Stand recorded? What no one will hear but? But you? Yes Yes Dear Prison Sentence


It was just as it had been explained: the language was not convicted whose tongue was not confected Dear Prison Sentence. A candied sentence is intended as a gift, to be swallowed in an abstract social arrangement sense and Dear Traipsing


Weather when the tape plays back freeze in the after-breeze of a pelting rain Memory trembles with soft corrections. Statutes harness documents again. With punctuality, sounds wearing crash helmets slip out with punctuality, memes


wearing crash helmets slip out of symbols dressed up with punctuality dreams wearing crash helmets slip out of symbols dressed up in DNA: what No One shows, it can NOW. Burrrrr, cold. NOW proceeding


from these actions—speaking, stroking, sleeping and slipping, recalling, traipsing, irrigating, and time wasting—we derive the regulations for Intelligence that clarify (after the 13th c. concubine Lady Nijo’s Confessions) time management among


“Our hard working
Enforcements” patting
The innocent’s cut


Rootless [flowers] though you are (Nijo), Salute! –when an event is never here or when it is in jury’s ear. A midnight stranger arrives again at the bedside cradling Porthole to the Spill in her arms. The phantom was near your bedside too


And one of you knows this.
And some of us are yet-to-meet.
Now Stand—


Do you recall when we opened the diary a second time the Profile of Note had been redacted? Is this not a mystery No One has time for? Is this not a mystery No One has time for here? Here a Dying Song shells obdurate therefore. Consequently


a criminal lineup makes an arrangement cut on the bias of mass incarceration. In a maze of cookie-cutter houses, there are stories 2 B told, Dear Hair. Lock up!. Is this not a mystery No One has time for? Or is this Not a Mystery No One Has Time For?


Here! Here!
There is city in the country and country in the city too.
Dear Next to Be Tried.


Was that you arriving from the Township with a new drop of white hearts? Then the cop was the robber and the robber was the crop. Redactions took place in the summer and fall. A round item crowded with figures in a tangled mesh might


conceal an impression. Who knew? And can’t tell. Turnips remain silent in the urban farm. Echo primes a lyric: In the summer and fall, we’ll nourish your spring. Will the nourishment get to you? Postscript: Seeking good souls above reproach and the


delight as well as complexity of communion somewhere in the labor.
Yours as ever. Dear Next. Play the game trademarked
It’s a Game. Win the game and pay it back. Now. Lawyers move to the next. Screen


glowing in Anasemia. A moth slides on a blue moon. Next a witness is dismissed for dreaming blood type O. Everything once was as clear as Iceland, according to Feral Pencil’s Stalemate. That sly one has turned child’s play into a problem for Poets!


“Even the silliest dreams exist as foam”
which gives all that we’ve conjured just in fun
an objective requirement: accurate aim and a tree frog


Either True Blue, swaddled under the spank of Northern Lights, crashed into a symbol stained on the parchment of mesmeric thyme or a spun gun is a knife stolen by rhyme. (Dolls echo and toys mimic). Be my infant. Just pull the string!


“Erroneous content” is the opinion of the courts while ships! Blister with truth, truth up to its knees in a pond. Dear Tip. Nature burns its image into the face of old weapons. At dawn you are who you really are and others a little less so. Dear


Brevity, there are more shadows in those time slots than anyone can ferry in a letter. (You sly one). And the sentences have yet to be dollied out, our dear Reseeded Harvest. Sometimes one must speak for oneself alone. Who is Anyone or A. Sun.


Dear Maudlin Recollection. You are who you really are and others a little less so. Pitched voices swirling “around Ferrand’s ears repeat meaningless jumbled words and confused tones.”2 Dear Warmer is it hotter than me. Wait. Then get it on. Oh,


frame that sentence switched for rushing streams, steamy air, climbing daisies, flora that grows so high you have observed blooms resting their heads on shields raised against Anyone. Nobody’s nature plus nurture thesis is burned onto the face-weeping


drone. Big Babies shred light over the spilling-over. Please do not repeat, whining dog! Stay. A little longer. Drone Babies Army shreds light over the pranks spilling over onto banks slurping up houses, hurling promises across surfaces that had


once been immune from creative destruction. Then, the true canine of floods went with people to Earth. Nature itself amplified Ferrand’s perceptions of the jumbled worlds, whether these were anomalous or merely rumored. Dear Provider,


The sentence is yours for a hush. A Quill should exact something from a joyous person, even as we have recently arrived at the point where one of us appears to be dead and impossible to trace. Might I pause? The sum is


greater than the total of
its blind alleys.


Nulling and Voiding reach deep into the grab bag of mechanical activities. Signing off and waiting for Girls Gone Vinyl. Yrs, Snagged. P.S. “This waiting will not go to sleep, however many times it has been buried”!!


P.S. “This waiting will not go to sleep, however many times it has reached deep into the grab bag of mechanical activities and Snagged. By Yrs. Waiting for GGV and high growing flora facing outwards. Dear That’s Foam, we recommend: deliver the diary




1. “A child grasps at everything to find out what it means” (Ernst Bloch, “Much Tastes of More” in The Principle of Hope).

2. Ferrand is a character in “The Symbol,” a chapter in a fairytale novel by Amelie von Helwig. In it, he is guided by the female spirit Welleda into a womb-like region where he loses his orientation. The allusion to male sexual inauguration and the womb space of mystery and knowledge in von Helwig’s tale has seeped into an anti-narrative writing in which the female author identifies with Ferrand.

We are the ones in question

An experiment in CALLING TO SITE by Lyn Hejinian and Christopher Patrick Miller

A Note on Procedure: What follows is an experiment in call and response.  The basic constraints were that one of us could ask the other a question and the other would respond in five lines followed by another question.  The impetus was to have the opportunity to ask and respond to questions at once intimate and expansive that don’t seem accessible in ordinary conversation,  perhaps because it seems too much to ask of another.  To remain in the question, we found, is a difficult process and often leads us to places, attitudes, or styles of discourse where, some time later, we don’t recognize the person who troubled to speak and be present there.

Does your place of birth suit your imagination of yourself?

My stone, my stanza, my heap of salvage metal. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. We sank beneath your wisdom like a stone. The way I would walk around the edge of our property, or what I thought was our property, trying the gaps and recombinations the weight of a certain person may cause. Whatever I was born into, I always had the sense that it was falling apart, that birth was falling apart with the people who willed it into being, and now I call that birth New England and describe its various qualities of superstition, reticent candor, and narrowed vigilance from the stranger who visits, who is always visiting, for longer than he may have been willing to admit at the outset.

Do you find the personal wherever, or whenever, you resist it?

The personal was what I was educated to become, myself, albeit nameless, as a personal person, though not my own. We have and get had, and acceding to that is a social bargain I personally can’t ascribe to. As of when, you ask (or might ask)—you, a person, particular and unique and known to me with a pronounced name—when did I resist it, but that assumes that I do. “I” could be anyone’s, anyone—the sort of thing John Wayne might say, though not of a river crossing or mules. The interiorization of self-reflection is a political, social, thing.

What is required for you to feel that you are somewhere?

Lamps seem the closest thing we get to living with apostrophe, vital animations we come home to, watch others approach, and reach to quiet when our bodies would love something other than this day. I mention this about lamps and apostrophe because they are a mere coincidence—light and the things it lights occurring together—which is the shortest definition I can manage for home. How we feel light is another question and gets us into the fray of skin, memory, entropy, time travel, etc. Driving up the dark road we may be surprised so few people are home at 7pm on a Tuesday evening and then maybe we realize that the power is probably out on the road and that we are confident the sun must rise tomorrow so everyone is new to the habits they have waiting in the form of furniture and music and food. Feeling this one is our home, feeling for a switch, our bodies hum with the decadent rhythms of hope and explanation.

Has there ever been a moment when you have doubted the continuity of who you are?

I don’t see how anyone who has consciousness of history, or consciousness of being a participant in the eventfulness of reality, can avoid experiencing him- or herself as becoming, at key junctures, markedly and perhaps lastingly discontinuous with whom he or she had been. Indeed, according to Whitehead’s metaphysics, we (along with all other real things) are each a sequence of events, and different at each site of our eventfulness. The real question is, how does one feel for the switch, the event-shift switch, which is not connected to a lamp, but to circuits of the brain, the mind, the social, the senses. I switch to a different language, and to a different sensorium.

The language of poetry is a language of metamorphosis. If so, what can or do you, as yourself, believe in?

Belief is looking into the multiple faces or stomachs of doubt as they surface recurrently, like objects you thought were drifting in someone else’s ocean, with some errant race of alligators, but float back and show us the swollen bellies of their numbers, cluttering the coasts. We learn how to talk to them, to instruct them, and to strain them from the waters and then, in turning, mistake this process for some personalization of such doubts and the waters as safe for swimming. Leviathan into a behemoth, mermaids into priests or professors. Isn’t it funny too how well crowded our coasts are, how we set up overlooking the oceans in houses that, like Nietzsche’s gay real estate, draw as much color from the monster of the sea as they do from the shifting cataclysms and buckles of land. I myself have never lived in such a house, only visited them, and often dream of the discarded lives revolving in the oceanic vortices of garbage and such privileged vantages of faith.

Can one visit a friend, a home, or a place, that one believes in and still address it as a doubt?

I believe in almost everything that exists in the present and almost nothing in the future. I’m rampantly gullible, but everything projects its own doubt forward and into its path. The significant events in the life of the perceptions unfold as experiences of belief or of doubt, but doubt isn’t the same as disbelief; doubt doesn’t negate belief (though it does make fun of gullibility), it isn’t even a failure of belief. Doubt expands belief into its ramifications. During the visit you ask me to imagine (to “a friend, a home, or a place”), belief and doubt are bound together in the fact that the visited scene has the holding power that we call temporality.

Do you ever feel that you are being visited by ideas?

In fact, by which I mean in bone the being of spirit is, that is the only way I feel by way of ideas: visited, alongside, with, inaccessible in part. Cora Diamond has this notion of companionable thinking, a thinking with or alongside something (in her case with “animal life” that is not antagonistic or at variance from human life) that may still be sought as company because its consumption or reproduction lies outside of reasonable bounds. We seem to believe that ideas are much more easily reproduced, made self-identical. Listening to a program this morning where economists were anthropomorphizing the market all over the place, even describing its “psychology,” and spinning prognostications from Ben Bernanke and the Fed Reserve’s recent announcement to stop buying assets, I was struck by how ideas like inflation or cash reserves are for them not companionable figurations/ideas but markers of how their expertise is generative of their realities, the reality they take everyone else’s necessities to be dictated by. As Marx taught me, I do not just believe in a different premise for social reality, but I believe that being social enables me to be visited by ideas from other forms of life, realms of necessity, and tremors in the voices that would declare them.

Given your gullibility, a quality I think we share, do you ever worry that you (and I) lose (y)our ability, at times, to sort the concretions of the present from the seductions of endless indeterminacy?

Why make a distinction between the “concretions of the present” and the “seductions of endless indeterminacy”? Aren’t the former the very sources and terms of the latter? This may be precisely what the Federal Reserve and the other makers and mongers of monetary policy don’t understand—or won’t: that the present is the site at which history presents the future as what might be, and as what might be beyond determination. All the present is is things changing, shifting position, becoming and ceasing to be eventful, etc., but also with the peculiar characteristic that, despite its momentariness, nothing of or in the present disappears, no true negation of event is possible, whatever happens will never not ever have happened, etc.; all closures are illusory, all compensation is futile—or am I being gullible? Well—no need to answer that question—more pressing is the awareness that one would have to be gullible indeed to believe that yielding to the seductions of endless indeterminacy is entirely distinct from a death wish. W.J.T. Mitchell (in What do Pictures Want?) says that the term totem, derived from Ojibway, properly means “a relative of mine,” and with that in mind, I ask you this, my real question:

Insofar as you undertake “companionable thinking,” are there terms/images of thought that are totemic for you?

Maybe the strongest totem for me, what I have been calling lately my tendency toward a community-effect, is the collective pronoun: we. And maybe there is a death wish lurking in this social positivism, what Lee Edelman-via-Freud might call a drive that leads us to act the unraveling of normative reproducibility of nature by a non-reproducible discontinuity, an impersonal rift in the archive, that can also lead to disastrous moments of shared desire amidst linguistic and representational ruin. But this too seems a fetish of non-reproducibility and non-normative response, a denial that we don’t act beneficially, for ourselves and others, as we “ought” to act all the time, sometimes knowing full well such a normativity is provisional at best. What seems to me lacking in so many accounts of the turns to a productive confusion, shifting revaluations of the present, and truth-as-suspension of coercive and exploitative social mechanisms (these being examples of what “indeterminacy” is sometimes a short-hand for) is an account for how such revolutionary potential enables direct responses to our varied, but shared, histories. The fact that I so often rediscover my totem, “we,” signifies for me both a desire and a failure to not explode indeterminacy but apply it, set it to work, so that elaborate compacts like trust can have a more definite speech.

If we were to end here, how would I know where I began and you ended?