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Jacket 20 — December 2002   |   # 20  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

Fanny Howe

excerpt from Reconstruction

... from Parataxis magazine, Cambridge
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It looks as if I have survived. I now stand poolside. The steam is never clearer than at night. Every inch tamed. Ducks make a splash at 4 a.m., then punch their quacks in at the bill. Roots are squared in the room, lets no circulars in. Fleet lightning off the screen. There is a brown man in the garden dignifying paperish flowers with clippers; he is closed in his gloves.

White boys careen and brutalize the outer atmosphere. I hear them and know who they are even when I can’t see them. Their violence is a form of optimism. Nothing smells. The divine is the nothing that is something. Fringe fires in the electric-like lines. So as to be homeless and near to outer space, I left the city of my childhood for this desert institution. It’s normal to want to be safe, but that wasn’t why. Passed away, more, from that battlefield.

I like to tell men who beat up women and who shout at their children that even so, their victims are free. I know this is so because the line between the genitals and rage is always open, and always free. I saw some Muslim men rolled up in paper on the screen while their mothers cried, Such beautiful children! And here, a notice: Mr. Thigpen will serve you lunch today.

The plutonium is under the sink. Post-human actions approach the millennium with the extravagant stupidity of neo-animals. Then to sit holed up in a hotel that’s called a Cathedral Without Wheels, is hell? Clip away at the telephone bill, I have no one to call. Don’t talk fat in front of fat people, but diet tactfully in secret, I was told. Slab the ice-o-cados.

To cut through all the pain you have to have a beam from alcohol, or somesuch. Now there’s something dull out there like the cost of concrete. I hear the thud for hours and can’t manage a scream. I think tangerine: concept of veins, juice, and compartments inside dry skin. The narrative of fruit is libertarian. Food is free even when it has a price on it.

Who to kill? Who not to kill? These are the two questions that interest me, besides which way to rotate the children. Is this the world? Someone keeps talking about drywall, and all I can think of is the single word COUNT, as if to say that money won the war between numbers and words. Margins remain abundant, of course, like a hibiscus bush outside a sliding glass door.

Now I know something about purgatory. It’s a cleansing through counting. Get those numbers off of me. Better to be the dancing people, the ones who drew neither numbers nor words. When I think of a person like a little midge out there in the atmosphere, well, I want to speak pidgin english and wander around with a spyglass and a fan. Guess why. I lost a person, the person lost me, we missed each other, we never met again, it is the end of the century, and thirty years have passed. I have to give up, give in to the absolute NO. The pleasure of relativity is the way it speaks YES.

Why is the uncanny so much like sex? Why is sex so much like a scary story by a fire at night? From fear to genitals and back again is an open line. Top of form. Third day in a row I ran out of gin and magic. Magic? Medics. It’s a time to think the way the majority thinks. Be ambitious; it’s nationalistic. I want to tell you why. My sex drive is like a second person, the way a pile of fat can be to someone overweight. You know. Company. As a result I never really liked to let myself out of the house. It’s time to change though. Look, I’ve had an incredibly good life. They didn’t skimp, were generous with the details. My gratitude is what’s obese here. And I have to inquire: is everybody here? more people alive than under ground ever? are we all together now? is this the end?

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Jacket 20 — December 2002
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