January 24th, 1946
I was so sorry to hear about your bird dying, Why don’t you write a story about Chips ? Just as if you were writing to me, and tell all about it right from the beginning, and all the cute things she did. That’s what makes stories interesting, to have all the little details just as if you were telling a friend, and soon you’ll find how easy it is to write.
Elizabeth Taylor, aged 13
Whether it’s games, alcohol, painted figurines, film continuity, or conversations where we’re convinced someone doesn’t like us because of something we said, nerds obsess. We zealously deconstruct. We have that very active internal monologue. I think many of the things we undertake are, in part, attempts to drown out that monologue. We are hyper-self-aware. We have difficulty “chilling out.” We tend to suffer from depression and anxiety. Sometimes it can get really bad. If you’ve never had a panic attack, for example, I’ll describe it thusly: Imagine being fucked in the heart. In most of these cases, barring severe chemical imbalances, the raw material here is obsession, and with practice obsession is harnessable for good.
A “nerdist”—or creative nerd—shares all of these traits but controls them in a way that allows them to deconstruct an idea and map out a plan so the idea can come to life. A nerdist can learn to turn off that internal monologue and calm the mind, the better to think about getting to the next level and its advanced set of rewards and challenges. And while a nerdist will obsess and deconstruct, it’s all in an effort to reach a goal. It’s the nerd’s greatest weakness that is the nerdist’s greatest strength: a laserlike ability to focus on something.
The quiet, the bitter, the bereaved,
the going forth of us, the coming home,
the drag and pull of us, the tome and teem
and tensile greed of us, the opening
and closing of us, our eyes, in sleep,
our crematorium dreams?
The brush of us one against another,
the crumple on the couch of us,
the spring in our step, the sequestered dance
in front of the cracked mirrors of us,
our savage suffering, our wobbly ladders
of despair, the drenched seaweed-green
of our tipped wineglass hearts, our wheels
and guitars, white spider bites blooming
on our many-colored skins, the din
of our nerves, our pearl onion toes
and orangey fingers, our effigies
and empty bellies, our plazas
of ache and despair, our dusky faces
round as dinner plates, our bald pates,
our doubt, our clout, our bold mistakes?
Who needs the footprints of us,
the glimpse of us in a corridor of stars,
who sees the globes of our breath
before us in winter, the angels
we make in the stiff snow,
the hack and ice of us, the glide
and gleam and busted puzzle of us,
the myth and math of us,
the blue bruise and excuse of us,
who will know the magnified
magnificence of us, could there be
too many of us, the clutch and strum
and feral singing of us, the hush of us,
who will hear the whisker of silence
we will leave in our wake?
more the idea of the flame than the flame,
as in: the flame
of the rose petal, the flame of the thorn
the sun is a flame, the dog’s teeth
to be clear: with the body,
captain, we can do as we wish, we can do
as we wish with the body
but we cannot leave marks—capt’n I’m
trying to get this right
the world’s so small, the sky’s so high
we pray for rain it rains, we pray for sun it suns
we pray on our knees, we move our lips
we pray in our minds, we clasp our hands
our hands look tied before us
I remember, capt’n, something, it didn’t happen, not
to me—this guy, I knew him by
face, I don’t remember his
name, one night
he’s walking home from a party, a car it
clipped him, for hours he
wandered, dazed, his family, his
neighbors, with flashlights they
searched, all night, the woods, calling out
here’s the part, capt’n, where I try to tell a story
as if it were a confession: once,
in elementary school, I was hiding out
on damon rock, lighting
matches & letting them drop to the leaves
ups, flash fires—a girl wandered
down the path, she just
stood there, watching the matches fall from my hand—
capt’n, I’m trying to be precise: hot
day, a cage in the sun, a room without
air, the mind-bending heat, the music
metallica hey britanny hey airless hey fuse, I
don’t know how it happened, I was perched far
above, I offered her a match
to pull down her pants—one match, her
hairless body, hey
little girl, I dropped it unlit.
I didn’t know what it was I was looking at.
hey capt’n I don’t know if I’m allowed
hey capt’n years ago I’m walking
down a road one drunk night, even now I
wonder—sometimes still I
imagine—was I hit by a bus, am I stumbling am I
dream this confession, hey
little girl is yr daddy home, hey capt’n hey
sir am I making any sense?
the boy stood on the burning deck, stammering
the boy stood in the burning cage, stammering
electrocution, no—the boy stood in the hot-hot room
stammering I did stammering I did stammering I
did stammering I did stammering everything you say I did
hey metallica hey britanny hey airless hey fuse
hey phonograph hey hades hey thoughtless hey
capt’n this room is on fire
capt’n, this body will not stop burning
capt’n oh my captain this burning has become a body
capt’n oh my captain this child is ash
capt’n oh my captain my hands pass right through her
capt’n oh my captain I don’t know what it is I’m looking at
it’s important to be precise, to say what
the sun is fire, the center of the earth
is fire, yr mother’s cunt is
fire, an airless flame, still, still, I don’t know why
she pushed me out, this cold-cold furnace, we all
were pushed, a rim of light around our heads, she
gave a kick, sent us crawling
out, toward the flame, toward the pit, the flaming
pit, yr lover’s
cunt, the flame her tongue, the flame
everyday, capt’n, sir, captain, I was
left, a child, after school, I was alone, I found
a match, under the sink I found a can, a spray
can, ly-sol dis-infectant, it made a
torch, I was careful the flame didn’t
enter the can, I knew it
would explode, somehow I knew, I’m
trying to be clear sir—the flame
shot across the room, then it was gone
Everything is brushed away, off the sleeve,
off the overcoat, huge ensembles of assertions
just jars of buttons spilled, recurring
nightmare of straw on fire, you the scarecrow,
the scare, the crow, totems gone, rubies
flawed, flamingo in hyena’s jaws, noble
and lascivious mouth of the gods hovering
then gone, gone the glances, gone moths,
cities of crystal become cities of mud,
centurion and emperor dust, the flower girl,
some of it rises, proof? some of it explodes,
vein in the brain, seed pod poof, maybe
something will grow, another predicament
of bittersweet, dreamfluff milkweed,
declarations of aerosols, vows just sprays
of spit fast evaporate, all of it pulverized
as it hits the seawall, all of it falling snow
on water, flash of flying fish, breach and blow
and sinking, far below creatures of luminous jelly
constellated and darting and baiting each other
like last thoughts before sleep, last neural
sparks coalescing as a face in the dark,
who was she? never enough time to know.
We are dancing through each other as doorways.” —Marge Piercy
Salinger, I’m sorry, but “Don’t ever tell
anybody anything” is a string of words
I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink
to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract
by laser from the ribcage of all of us
who ever believed it, who felt afraid
to miss someone, to be the last one
standing. “Tell everyone everything” is
not exactly right, but I do believe that if
your mother looks radiant in violet
you should tell her, or when a juvenile
sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles
and reminds you of a lover’s eyelashes,
you should say so. We are islands all of us,
but we are also boats, our secrets flares,
pyrotechnic devices by which we signal
there’s someone in here we’re still alive!
So maybe it’s, “don’t be afraid.” We can
rewrite Icarus, flame-resistant feathers,
wax that won’t melt, I mean it, I’ll draw up
a prototype right now, that burning ball
of orange won’t stop us, it’ll be everything
we dream the morning after, even if we fall
into the sea—we are boats, remember?
We are pirates. We move in nautical miles.
Each other’s anchors, each other’s buoys,
the rocket’s red, already the world entire.
David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, perfectly sums up his views on women. So articulate.
Nice one, Cam.
…everything here seems to need us…
I can hardly imagine it
as I walk to the lighthouse, feeling the ancient
prayer of my arms swinging
in counterpoint to my feet.
Here I am, suspended
between the sidewalk and twilight,
the sky dimming so fast it seems alive.
What if you felt the invisible
tug between you and everything?
A boy on a bicycle rides by,
his white shirt open, flaring
behind him like wings.
It’s a hard time to be human. We know too much
and too little. Does the breeze need us?
The cliffs? The gulls?
If you’ve managed to do one good thing,
the ocean doesn’t care.
But when Newton’s apple fell toward the earth,
the earth, ever so slightly, fell
toward the apple as well.
Moa Karlberg captured these unique candid portraits of strangers by using a one-way mirror, capturing what it looks like when people look at reflections of themselves.
2. Learn something 1 x a day
3. Play more music
4. Save the World
5. Keep feeling sorry for yourself because that’ll help (WARNING: Past-Charlyne, you were being sarcastic about that one. Do the opposite).
6. Dance more
7. Eat (food)