i remember not remembering,

being caught up in it,

dreaming and not catching myself doing so


i remember once, dreaming that an executioner had a nightmare,

but when i stood in the shower that morning, trying to remember his story, i could only remember the fear


i remembered the execution-- crowds bustling together to witness some blood and circuses, the executioner parading about (he's a performer, just doing his job), the man in chains approaching the wooden frame, given up on fighting it anymore


afterwards, the crowd disappearing, pretending to have enjoyed it with some mixed-up sense of civic pride and primitive acquiescence to each other and the axe


but i want to tell you the story of the night before, if i can remember it:


once, i dreamt that an executioner had a nightmare,

in which he saw not his own head on the chopping block, not his own fearful face reflected in the glint of the axe--but instead saw no one at all. Not a surreal loss of humanity or individuality, either, a fuzzy blur of a head--instead he saw an axe falling and landing on no one, and then a whole field of people just standing around chopping nothing but blocks designed to be chopped, the block just doing its job, the executioners doing theirs--no one punished for not doing any chopping, just chopping at nothing chopping at never stopping, blocking out memories and dreams and accomplishing


or maybe the executioner said he dreamt of seeing no one, but actually saw Someone, a real person, not a block to be chopped with someone's neck in the way, but a pair of eyes that said to him "are you sure?"


or maybe he did see his own head, but he saw it and it looked just as guilty as the rest of them


see, this is how memory works and doesnt work, now i’ve got a whole rye field full of executioners running around chopping each other up in their dreams and it was supposed to be a metaphor and there was something about individuality and people not being individual, or maybe they were, but now i’m here and i just watched a head fall and it could have been you or me or anyone—----------


now that i’m stuck in it,

i've found that knowing my own life while it’s happening is the best way to be tripped up by it,

like a person forced to listen to their own voice recorded while they speak


but not remembering my dreams, my nightmares, my moments of unaware imagination or action, my crimes against time--this is just as bad as the executioner not paying attention to who's on the chopping block, to letting it be anyone, to forgetting to remember, to killing my old thoughts, my old selves


if dreams only come from forgetting to be awake, if life only comes from forgetting to watch for it,

how can i both dream and know my life?

how can i execute my will and save myself?

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life is full of holes and I think I've found a new one:


imagine you're sitting on the tip edge of a crane, legs dangling, swirling, singing

most everything that surrounds you is inky grey

life scenes play out far away below--

there's so much air


your knees are wet


quiet,

then at first one shoe slips off, falls, lands, lightly tapping,

and an out-of-nowhere bird calls closer:

"this place is not yours!"

talons on the adjacent rod--/plunge/--


and snap out of it on a bus on a bridge in the middle of the fog,

road in front of you and behind you and a great breathing on either side,

shadow seagulls tumble in the haze:

imagine this was forever

this sound, that rumble, these people--

imagine days and mornings and nights and meals and

long-spaced rest stops to stretch your legs

on the never-ending bridge,

those faces and the intimacy of passengers

in the middle of the fog,


there's a whiteness growing in the middle of your mind:

it's the color of cereal milk

after you've eaten the cereal--

breathe in, "so", and out, "hahm"


you're sitting on a stool in the middle of a large, flat roof on a cloudy winter day:

there's curry in a tupperware, but you're not very hungry.

you've been here before, you think, as you walk

past an old shoe,

and through bird poop

shaped like marks on the ceiling of your apartment


you're lying in bed, staring at marks

on the ceiling of your apartment.

your friends are downstairs, outside, at work,

lined up one after another on a telephone line--

\

\\

\\\\

\

there are places we are told not to go,

places we're told aren't for our limbs or heads,

places outside of productive, of normal,

places we're not to stay in or see,

alone places,

unintentional places,

unsatisfied places,

useless and/or unsuccessful places,


but your bird body finds its way

down a slightly loping hill,

your wings still work, no hole can hold you.

these are places worth seeing, worth being--

places to stay, to watch, to fly from and land.

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I'm going to take this thread of your mind and twist it unravel it, don't worry just trust me, follow my footsteps leading down a garden path, sunlight leaves under an arch of boughs--to the edge of the garden is a cliff over which we smooth and zoom through the water, waves, ocean, and underneath? keep moving--


here again its morning we’re in a mcdonalds in the middle of nowhere, ohio--black coffee and a mcmuffin, hold the ham--you have to pee so you stand up to walk outside. I ask you for a hamburger. you grab my arm as if to say what the fuck are you talking about (or to lean in for a kiss), but instead I fall to the ground, motionless. you start running. outside the mcdonalds is nothing but the faint impression of hills and breathlessness in the sudden cold--you still have to pee but instead you keep running to the car, leaving me behind on that beige-tiled floor--how could you do such a thing?


you’re walking on a road

and you’ve been walking for a while

great big lumps of earth in the distance and tall grass at your sides

a path cut thinly through the field and you’re walking


we're walking on a road together, and the grass is all around us but the feeling of momentary pain can’t seem to be shaken from your skull and the wind whips into your eyes--for a second the world is drowned out by sense and force and air, and then you look up and I'm gone.

you're walking on a road, the grass is up to your chest and the lights are far between, there's a path cut thinly along the highway, and you're walking.


time passes like never-ending twilight and there isn’t a feeling but forward motion, your only goal is to keep walking--the fly swats in your way, the smell of dead earth and living air, the way the no one calls and the enormity of the emptiness beyond the ridge edge eyeline sightline byline wayside---can't be thought about. you’ve reached a town, but there aren’t any people in it--they pass but don’t look into your eyes. they scatter as you walk their dusty street and they move past, around, and through you but you aren’t theirs--they don’t mind, they can’t mind, there is no mind, are you the only one who looks? no matter--you're out of town now and the road stretches before beneath between you and sooner or later it always comes back and every time you walk it’s alone and further past the hills. and maybe you’ll find another mcdonalds in the morning, or maybe a soft delectable piece of mind to hold for a second, but the feeling of walking and knowing the road you're always lost on never leaves


maybe you’re looking for a crossroads--and maybe one day you’ll finally see it--but how long can you wait there for your travelling companion to arrive? how long can you walk and not realize that now you have to wait and not realize that this road alone takes you nowhere but the next empty town and the next empty eyes? face in the ground damp in the dirt morning comes as snow on dead grass and the possibility of something new


listen—you’re walking on a road, and it’s starting to spring. the sun rises over newly-blackened fields and a sense of readiness knows in the hills--let it sweep you out with wandering and the feeling of going home, and keep walking


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