« Secrets | Main | Fathering In The Tension Of Contradiction »

Noun Is A Word That Hides A Flurry Of Verbs

I am not I.

I write this all the time in all kinds of ways, post after post, attacking the self as a substance and the stability of identity—writing as noose or shotgun blast. Radical similes, sure, but aimed at the most persistent delusions. Truth, fact, reality: concrete illusions. When I was a younger man—idealistic, naïve—I believed in poetry. But now? Sledgehammers.

When you told me to get real I stabbed you, beautifully, with a buck knife right beneath the ribs in your hungry stomach. THE FUCK? you yelled, stumbling around, gasping, holding your fresh new wound. Bright red flowers dripped between your fingers, blooming as they fell, wilting on the floor. Carnations, opium poppies, cherries, big ripe strawberries, a frantic fire engine came screaming from your guts. And then the cardinals—hundreds of them—leaped from your wound and flew about the room, chirping and singing their brilliant whistled songs. This could never happen in real life you screamed, more than a little pissed.

So much the worse, then, for real life. This is writing. It’s textual. Sexual. Why do lovers, night after night, kill the lights and fuck each other to death? I know what the drunkard’s looking for at the bottom of all those bottles.

Everything’s like something else. The moon is a thief. The grass is all teeth. Your house is made of water. The ocean—she’s a wicked queen and the stars are all her daughters. The day is a desert where nothing grows. Beneath the sand lies skulls and bones. But the night! The night! Now that’s where it’s at. It begins in the dark, erupts in a flash of the mendacious camera, then beats a retreat back to the forest where everything loves to hide. Is it the photograph’s fault that it’s mistaken for that which abides and lingers? The photograph is a woman’s waist where I like to wrap my fingers. Oh, my hand. My hand waves. Waves on a beach. Coming. Going. Waving goodbye.

I’m not a noun. Neither are you. Think car crashes, lightning flashes, flowing waves of crazed relations, long meandering conversations, smoke and mirrors and obfuscations. We’re fictional characters, fluid creations, in a story that never ends. Truth is just one reflection in this funhouse mirror of worlds. But don’t worry. It’s not so bad—being a dream. You can always imagine that you’re real again.   

Reader Comments (14)

I seem to have chosen the wrong pill.

December 12, 2011 at 5:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterthe muskrat

You say you believe in sledgehammers now and yet a lot of the time when I read your words you remind ME to believe in poetry.

December 12, 2011 at 6:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMFA Mama

Skulls and bones and strawberries. perfect.

December 12, 2011 at 6:23 AM | Unregistered Commentera.w.

yes. please.

December 12, 2011 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterDawn B

Your writing is so magnificent, it transports me faster than anything I've ever read before. I get lost every time. AMAZING.

December 12, 2011 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered Commentercowashee


rematch accepted.

December 12, 2011 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterc.

I can't have a bromance. So I'll just have a platonic romance with you, okay? Agreed? Agreed. PLATOMANCE IT IS.

December 12, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered Commentersweetney

I swear to God that you become a better writer every damn day.

And then I hate myself a little bit more because of it.


Well written Jon. Again.

December 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

I want to climb into this post and sail far the fuck away.

December 12, 2011 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered Commenteredenland

I think you're hammering out poetry with those sledgehammers. I think that's part of the attraction. Poetry scratched with quills on parchment is well and good, but sledgehammer poetry is a whole other thing.

December 13, 2011 at 5:38 AM | Unregistered Commentertinsenpup

I have the sudden urge to stick my tongue down the throat of this post.
Raw beauty.

December 13, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterC.

If I told you I wanted to wrap your words around me like a leash and tether myself to you, would you stop long enough for me to close the hook?

December 14, 2011 at 6:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterForgotten

Your writing is textual?! I was so deep within the beautiful imagery of your writing that I failed to notice the words.

December 14, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterKara

What Eden said.

October 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commentergorillabuns

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>