Thursday, June 16, 2022

stop breathing he tells himself

Last post until Michigan probably, driving Saturday, we'll be housed in Washtenaw County, not Jackson, though I'll be discing and hiking in Jackson, same car as in April, interested to see if I pick-up my Jackson County sheriff's car tail as before, laugh, probably can't resist wearing my mask into the same country store at least once, maybe twice, maybe three times
As I type this I am not taking new tablet, triangular architects ruler, and (update: haiku rage machine)
Digibud Brad sent notice of new Borzutzky collection, no release date mentioned in press release, the two poems in this post from 2020 presumably will be in the collection of the same title of the poems (poem at bottom from 2014)
I will return from Michigan with another one of these by an artist whose name the store manager who sells them can't remember, our reputation as the crazy cat people with far too much weirdass garden statuary needs upkeeping

THE MURMURING GRIEF OF THE AMERICAS (You are on the ground...)

Daniel Borzutzky

You are on the ground, wrapped in a ratty blanket at the edge of the cage. The interpreter wedges her way into the corner. She sits on her knees, brings her head to your mouth so she can hear the whispers that barely come:

I don’t know where I am. I don’t know who my parents paid for me to get here.

She slides your hat off so the cameras can see you more clearly. You refuse to open your eyes. It is what you have been instructed to do. But the director is unhappy: with the blocking, the angles, the shadows. He asks the interpreter to tell you to look into the camera as the hat is removed from your head.

The assistants give your wrapped-up body a few rolls. They twist you into the proper position, at which point a doctor asks you to open your mouth, to say ahhh while you look into the camera.

This moment here, with your mouth open and the doctor looking into it, is where the scene is supposed to turn. Something transcendent is supposed to happen. But the director can’t figure out how to realize his vision. He yells cut, then confers with his colleagues about what should flow out of your mouth.

Their opinions differ. One suggests a butterfly. Another suggests a snake. Another a stream of the most beautiful words spoken first in a foreign language then translated by a child with a sweet voice, an adorable accent that perfectly articulates how your body and mouth convert the murmuring grief of the Americas into a currency of empathy, accumulation, and massacre.

The crew meets for several more minutes to discuss what should come out of your mouth after the doctor asks you to say ahhh. But the director pauses as soon as the cameras start to roll. He is unhappy about something. There should not be a sunset in the background. There should not be flowers in the foreground.

The world will be dark until we douse his body with light.

THE MURMURING GRIEF OF THE AMERICAS (there are children crossing the river)

Daniel Borzutzky

there are children crossing the river     some float on cardboard and some hold on to each other and some sing we are alive     there are neon lights above the river    the camera crews stand on the banks and film the river in the right light     they film the floating children in the right light     they film the sky turning purple and pink as fluffy pollen dissolves in the warm air     a tree with edible fruit is in the background     droopy white flowers with long petals hang downwards and by the tree a brother and sister     exhausted 

don’t die    the director says to the children      if you die we won’t be able to make this film and if we don’t make this film there will be no evidence that once you were alive and if there is no evidence that once you were alive     no one will know that we loved you

the children step out of the river and walk to a bridge and on the bridge there is a sign that says welcome to the promised land     but the sign is not meant for the children    it is meant for the early Americans who are chasing the children     the early Americans do not enter the scene to be documented     they are there to hunt the children     they try to trap the children on the bridge but they do not arrive in time     they meet the children on the other side of the bridge    where the camera records one of them saying welcome to the Promised Land you little wart hogs and there is gunshot     and the children run off in different directions    the camera doesn’t know who to follow     one child is shot in the leg and the camera zooms in on his blood as the early Americans drag him away    

the camera catches up with the children later that night when they set up camp on a spinach farm     the director takes great pleasure in filming the older children as they care for the young ones     they feed them and bathe them and sing songs and play games with them like Simon Says and Simon tells the children to stop speaking     he tells the children to stop breathing    he tells the children to stop wanting     he tells the children to stop thinking     he tells the children to stop being themselves     he tells the children to become someone else     to become something else     and the children say how do we do that     and Simon says you listen to the earth     at the right time it will tell you what to do    but he knows that the earth is a liar 

After Simon puts the children to bed the camera lingers on his face as he weeps    and he tells himself     stop speaking     and he tells himself     stop breathing    and he tells himself     stop eating     and he looks into the camera and says the pain in my mouth won’t stop     the pain in my eyes won’t stop     my tongue is burning     my lips are burning     my soul needs to rest he says     your soul?      stop breathing     he tells himself     I need to die again he says     because when I die again I will become the river that runs between myself and myself     I will become the mountains that separate myself from myself and you will deposit new meaning into my body as I become the story you’ve been waiting for      

But in the story you’ve been waiting for I will not be an I     and you will not be a you     and for several minutes water will run toward me and it will be the river of death and I will say no no it is not the river of death it cannot be the river of death but by the time I get the words out of my mouth the river of death will have emptied itself out and the river of death will be gone and the past will not be the past and I won’t know what it means to be dead

The age of the performer-entrepreneur
Crackers think mass-shootings are staged
Floor sealant for breakfast!
A country armed to the teeth (and strutting toward the apocalypse
Once upon a time I loved baseball and loved the Baltimore Orioles, I was at 2130
We've gotten used to death
Serendipitously, 2666 the planned Michigan failed reading (I fail all readings now)⬆️
The good kind of nationalism (and assorted thoughts
The hinges of history creak
If you can leave the United States, do!
Two new Trail of Dead songs! if you ToD
Records he'd forgot even existed
Lee Ranaldo interview, with new music!
Because I love you have another new Oneida song


Daniel Borzutzky

Because the dead felt ashamed of dying in the walls

Because the dead felt ashamed of the flowers that covered their graves

Because there was a war in my skin

My skin blemished with the guts that dripped from the rotten chickens hanging above me

Because we were trapped underground absorbing the silent fucking of the dead

Because the living felt ashamed of the dead trapped in the walls

Because the sky was so full of gas and we could not see the moon

There were pictures of naked bodies drawn on the chalkboards of the rooms they buried us in

Every once in awhile, they poured milk through the hole in the wall and we cupped our hands and drank it even though it was sour and made us vomit

We were rotting under the florescent lights that covered our bodies

Because X had no chest they filled her legs with honey and set her outside on the lawn

We watched the ants devour her

We watched foam come out of her skin and the room grew so humid

Slippery bodies we fell over ourselves and got hungrier as we watched the ants nibble her flesh

Y told the story of how X had an orgasm in the pond

She let the water rush in between her legs and rubbed her pelvis against the rocks

Her hair went out to sea

Her tingly skin her pulsating skin the wavering beat of her heart

They watched this and when she came out of the water they put her in a room to examine what beast had bitten her

They determined she had been bitten by crustaceans that had lodged themselves into her thigh and abdomen

There was no choice but to penetrate her more deeply

Funnels of foam

Funnels of ants

Squeezed into her orifices from multiple angles while the computer systems analyzed her pulse, her blood, her metabolism

They forced the minions to reproduce her body

Twenty six reproductions of her body placed in a holding cell multiplied in a systematic fashion

We were commanded not to speak while there were bodies rowing through the excrement of the flooded streets of our neighborhood

We were commanded to be silent while there were comrades choking on flesh sobbing on blood puking greenish bacon

The autopsy revealed the systematic fabrication of the clitoris

The names of our wounds were displayed on banners or painted on our bodies

The names of the corpse-emperors and their vampiry poems were pasted to our bodies

Soil on our lips raw meat on our tongues jars of mayonnaise to aliment to lubricate to bluster

It wasn’t the fault of the warden when he got an erection

A scabby finger accidentally patted his crotch

He didn’t mean to force the scabby finger onto his crotch

With a dark sheet he covered the face and body to whom the scabby finger belonged and he helped the scabby finger undo his zipper

What were the scabs on the finger from

He thought about the scabs on her finger

He thought about the blood trapped in her finger and it was not his fault he kept his erection

He thought: ejaculate and stuff her flesh with worms

He thought: reach the end and fill her mouth with foam

He held his breath as the moment reached and when it passed he thought:

The bodies buried in the wall the gutter the earth: the present is always the past for them

They must be killed again and again

1 comment:

  1. 1/i really like the weirdass garden statuary

    2/several of the essays you have linked to had interesting thoughts

    3/yesterday i had the first ct scan of my life - and i have another scheduled in three months - everybody needs someone or something to love, something to do, and something to look forward to, and i have all of these

    4/one of the most surprising facts from the narrative of the ct scan was "bilateral tonsillar calcification" - i hadn't ever heard of this phenomenon

    5/here's something from an article i read this evening, by rick hamlin

    Fred Rogers was ordained a Presbyterian minister. Once as a seminary student he heard one of the worst sermons imaginable. Before he could share any of his unspoken criticism the woman sitting next to him turned with tears in her eyes and said, “That preacher said exactly what I needed to hear.”

    As he pointed out, she had listened to the sermon in need, not in judgment. And she was the one who had grown from the experience.

    6/i was thinking today of james tate's poem the shroud of the gnome

    i offer an interpretation of it at

    i suggest “wind of change” by the scorpions as the “little known ballad about the pitiful, raw etiquette of the underworld” mentioned in tate's poem