We enter the cabin—it’s often a cabin, a house of wood: lights dim, click off. This is how it begins. Girls play guns in the woods, stack stick-piles by the creek and summon fire in Shinto dirt. They stick fingers in the dirt—never like this, not a blood soaked ritual by the grave. It ends up like this. Shane is the first to go: lopped off legs, eyes gouged, hair torn, mouth zeroed. There are no football players in our house on this night of red—not anymore. First names are not written, they are jack ‘o lanterned and lit. Do not use a hacksaw or a meat grinder or an ax. We know this. We know how to throw rocks in empty windows as if hitting a ghost-girl or a rivered spirit will release the darkness of being a teen. Shane is a teen, so is Eva, Linda, John, and Bill—dead, dead, dead. They are not fashion models. This is not Milano. Cut. Arms pile in the fireplace of the cabin: a fisherman’s net, a brick, a saw blade, rope. This drip is the sound of teen snapshots on Tumblr. Leave. Suck drugs from the soaking lungs of bones in the closet. Burn the oven. Torch the cabin. A step does not make a sound. The rocks we throw in the windows of the cabin in the woods, when we hold them in our teen hands, they are soundless oracles. They never make a sound and I would like to think of that ghost-girl in the dark by the window. She is still there and knows this night is a teen slasher, a way to ruin parties: the sex, the drugs, the blood, the dirt. Turn off the lights.
the body or the tree around which it wraps or is enraptured as the way the body is entangled to the world. sink. or the pull. how your face as a point of non-entry, the point where i stop believing you could ever help me up out of the muck. i have fallen asleep in the yard again. i have had to breathe autumn in the yard again. and to think of the object of the body as a disappearance, something melded to earth like smoke, to dirt, to space and to notice the lack of you not being here, but a frozen you will never melt. you are all face, the only white in the overgrowth. here is the way to die. there are thorns, branches in the decay of the agony you express. keep it hidden. only in the backyard is there peace for this silence to bloom. is it sunday? is it not thursday, for in japanese, thursday is day of the tree, but you are not a tree, you are a human turned plant or vine or growth, something puzzling in the way eyes shut, but there are no eyes here to stare into, only black rims, blackened lips, the dark beyond and this is not shinto, this is not buddha, this is a movement. to ever grasp space in the light of the void is the perpetual downward thrust of the legs kicking. be object in the void like being born to a weed or a trap. not to be trapped is to become space or water and in this black frame, your body is only a shell, not a vine to be cut or a tree to grow over the house. there are no houses inside your body, only shells of who you thought you were, but slip wrong and get caught in the dirt: walk slow, step small, step invisible. space dirt is white, flecks of white float you down in a loop and it is the pattern of how you refuse to turn and face the light while ohno is the world itself, a way for the cosmos to enter from a straight position via the body. there are two bodies, but each body is a looping body until yes, yes, we fall cold in the heap of these frozen solitudes perceptive enough to understand the magnitude of what it means to bask in the oddity of the body-form. keep twisting you wandering shell, but you have given ears to the grass, have decided to wait for the worms to bring message of your monochromatic twirl. it is all ice here in the black and white void where there is only hair and caked-on make-up gazes for men who are women and women who are women. the void manifests in ways of which we have no way to combat, except to enter the gaze, enter the heart of the gaze as gaze eternal and cast this body up and out of itself to the trees, to the deep, to the black or the sunken loop that will spin forever. forever.
Bud is in black suit, helmeted along the track. Engine jazz. A tank top and a towel. Load the van.
Profile closer than passenger, it’s grain. No matter the gas station girl, we are the focal point.
Gleam splattered bugs on windshield. A mailbox. Wood panels. I’ll kiss you with both hands in five minutes. Hurry to leave. I am a tail light like an empty mailbox or a highway.
The blurred profile is a sky made of houses and cars. A stop sign and too much green to behold. The green is how I blend into a picket. I have a brown sweater. I’ll wait at the door of a house where I don’t know how long it has been since you’ve been home.
Red hair turns orange and bored. Birds chirp. Nothing but a bunny rabbit. I live in LA where it’s small. There are no children there. Everything is brown. I’ve grown, too. The pool has been drained. There are no pools here anymore, no tablecloths where food should be.
The road melts black hair in Ohio. Roadside in leather. It’s a tired song, but rain is a car.
A pet store holds birds and fish and puppies and kitties and bunnies. Bunny life is five years, six until death. I want to forgive you.
Fried rice and chicken. Wash hands over white tiles. It is summer.
At the rest stop. White shirt. Your halter top landscape. I’ll walk past you. But when I turn, sit close, your face is a Lilly. Lips stare. The comfort of ghosts. Wait for the sun to turn blonde grass into hair. Frame it by an unending slope to silver.
I want to be tender. Fields are tender. Write the horizon stretched forever. She’s there in white kisses alone on a motel bed. The sheet is a skin. Be a comb or a gaze driving mountain to salt. I’ve held the edge of a door. I’ll block wind-sun from your watered squallor. Drive it to the edge and slip, curve the night-trucks due west.
Gasoline. A strip of fuel for the flat.
Be a speck once more. An angle to hover. Pure light. Glass spectacle turns grey concrete to the air of this love.
Nevada in the perpetual spring glitz. These are the ghosts of who you could be the future I dream. Rose is a flower that reminds me of you. Beauty is how we drive, circle, drive. And Rose is a necklace. She is pierced, but you and her are planets apart and I am terrified of being with you.
Seventy-seven. I’ve grown tired in the way. Your street is a sunset silhouette framed empty. This is where a family used to live. This is where Daisy used to live, lives here no more, not now. I’ll pin hair in a bun, watch sun drip, leave a note for you on the door.
Here is a room of white. Sleep is a way to cry. The way grey smokes crack. Sit on the bed. Daisy is made of light. Sit on my lap for a hug. Nothing is spoken from a pipe. This is not Bay Street. There were other boys there. Kiss me and throw up. Nothing you say is true.
We lock lips to be still. Ours is a shattered lust. I am sick in love. Out of love. The fragment of my face, your face. Tighten hand, the hip, the bare back. A strap. Feet smear to fingers. And a lost child. Yes, there was once a child. On a bed, your blue heels. Death is a choke, Daisy.
Leave Los Angeles. Leave earth-desert lost. A face made of light.
I am open, freezing hope.
1. I am in the shed singing, “Eternal Weekend.” It is nineteen ninety six or thereabouts. I have a jacket that reads, “Steve,” in cursive across the left breast, but that is not my true name. I am creek walking, staring white water and hot pink. I hear: sing of spring. Sounds wrap rust-wire around knuckles. Spread fingers. Let the blood streak dry on your leg. We are not finished. Friends come by and smear their names on the shed door. This is harmony forever.
2. We are on spring break. There are no bikinis here, no alcohol, no motels or gold teeth. There is water. We bike down to the mill and crash against the “Stop” sign to see how far our bodies can fly before they are stopped by water. I touch the water’s edge in a canoe made of bottoms. The Real blinds me.
3. Saint Maximos the Confessor writes, “In the beginning, passion and pain were not created together with the body; nor forgetfulness and ignorance together with the soul; nor the ever-changing impressions in the shape of events with the mind. All these things were brought about in man by his disobedience.” And we, in the shed, are disobedient. Our “Eternal Weekend” is a fleeing. It is the joy of the Now stretched to the horizon of “fun.” It was a girl-less summer, those days of stopping water.
4. [Girls], Nick Cave sings, “who dance at the water’s edge shaking their asses” like #springbreakforever or Spring Breakers who grind religion on a beach in Florida. Some are not clothed. This is not Disney. She wears a pink ski mask. I wonder if Cave’s girls wear bikinis, rob fast food joints and stitch unicorns to their brows. “All of you young girls where do you hide?” Shut the door. I’m in the shed being electrocuted by an Ampeg. Passion and pain course through my body like waves of heat.
5. “White strings flowing from their ears (Cave)” is the electric delirium of how the eternal manifests in the manipulation of sound. Too much dust in the air. I am thinking “breaker” in the electrical sense and pounding the joy of spring with the mantra, “I am no more workhorse.” It becomes the anthem of this blossoming. And can there be harmony in noise? Eric Hoffer promises that, “Modern man is weighed down more by the burden of responsibility than by the burden of sin.” Could Maximos have anticipated “modern man?”
6. Rubbing the dark undertones of spring. For those who don masks to create or be redeemed. Kenneth Burke said something along the lines of,
“no construction without destruction.”How would Hoffer suggest us in the direction of a responsible destruction via Maximos’ orthodoxy? There is a scene in Gummo where friends wrestle furniture to the ground in the kitchen. We build a bike ramp to jump. Trash Humpers affix themselves to Nashville as if the world were a gigantic toy. Cave sings, “It’s the thrill of love.” Spring break.
7. Perhaps it is the thrill of love that resonates in the shed on the day of our rehearsal. We play teen noise not to break eardrums, but to grow new strings from dead ears. I think the eternal is a tone, unchanging and ever present. I think the harmony of the present is a break from the doldrums of habit, a cleansing of the world-temple. Our water is hot pink and a fever of bodies rubbing is not a burden, it’s a joy to behold for the girls and boys of spring break. If the language of water is a cleansing, then I will wait there by the edge forever in the light of revelation until it comes to me like a face or a tremor in the dark, dark, dark wound of spring.
This collection began in a classroom where I was teaching Lee Thayer’s communication theory to high school students in Beijing. At the same time, I was steeping myself in fiction, eating up Robert Coover, Shakespeare, Eugene Marten, P.G. Wodehouse and more. And then the Players arrived, all of them, and you will meet them all. We spoke. They were rehearsing for a live show and I was privy to join them. I studied their ways and became one of them, was shown grand things that blended with my memory of this life and this world. Everything converged and these essays were born.
Or, perhaps I saw a call for a chapbook competition from an esteemed publishing house, but too shy for lack of talent, too word-beaten by failure, I kept these pieced hidden, never submitted them. Unwanted. Weary. Or, did I submit them to a world-class publishing house only to be rejected after an eight month period of waiting and wondering? Yes, I did. The Players forgive me, though, and they needed a home. The Web is their new home. Please enjoy their home.
If you are interested in the idea of performing a life, please sample a few of these pieces. They do not have to be read in any kind of order. Make them meaningful to you.
Writers/Mixers/Artists: If you wish to “remix” an ELECTRIC DELIRIUM essay, please get in touch with me to discuss possibilities or simply do so and send back to me. I’ll be in the vault with the tapes.