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Here Is Your Pencil @ 01:40 am

From: rsiken@hotmail.com
Subject: Here Is Your Pencil
Date: November 4, 1998 1:40:23 AM PST
To: exit2k@hotmail.com, afw10@columbia.edu, mrvisible@worldnet.att.net, sowinski@inetdirect.net, sejohnst@midway.uchicago.edu, shorning@willamette.edu, gbrennan@willamette.edu, emcgarry@willamette.edu, and 22 more…

So you have caught the full moon in a bucket and seen our faces,
sleeping, at the bottom of the well. Have we been walking through your
dreams again? At night we leave the windows open and the morning finds
our shoes caked with mud. Our joys are the same as twelve Ethiopian
goats standing silent in the morning light. Our sorrows are slabs of
meat and ingots of copper.

At night we place the milk pails in a row and morning comes and finds
them empty. Are those your footprints on the windowsill? What are you
trying to tell us? Do you simply want to remind us you're alive? Are you
trying to build a suite of rooms for yourself inside our heads? Okay
then. Here: go on and pencil yourself in:

I'll steal a car and take you to Hoover dam. We can stand around looking
nonchalant as one hundred thousand gallons of liquid fury pour out below
us every second. I'll let you paint flames on the hood of the car. I'll
let you drive. Or how about an all-night barbeque? A dance on the
courthouse lawn? Fried chicken and warm beer as the radio aches a
languid tune that tells the story of what the night is thinking. It's
thinking of love. It's thinking of stabbing us to death and leaving our
bodies in a dumpster.

Tell me again how you don't believe in love. I'll tell you again how
you're a liar. Tonight, by the freeway, a man eating fruit pie with a
buck knife is carving his lover's face into the motel wall. Let's be
like him, the minutes gone plastic in our blood. Here: more stains in
the night. Here: more whiskey and kisses for everyone.

I wish I could tell you that I don't sleep, that I see your face
everywhere, that I wander through the house at night, knocking over
lamps and tilting picture frames, lurching through the dark as if I had
coffins on my feet, grasping at the empty November air as if I could
somehow reach you. I wish I could tell you that I'm inconsolable, that I
come down to breakfast every morning tight-skinned and bleary-eyed. That
I sit there, poking at my eggs with a spoon. I don't, though. I sleep
just fine.

My burden is a giant pear that floats like the moon. Your absence is an
armful of lilies cut for a shallow vase. Our house is one hundred
pitchers of clover honey. I wish I could say these things with feeling.
But why pour brandy on the fire? Why say anything at all? You put me on
your list as if you're trying to tell me something. So what are you
trying to tell me little falcon, salt of happiness, favorite of all the
cats? Are you carving wooden shoes for me? Do you want to read the book
of my dreams by the light of the whites of your eyes?

The space between all of us spells a word that you want to put your
mouth around -- Twilight, Doorframe, Riverbed, Skin -- a word like this
but not these words exactly. It should taste like bourbon and sound like
the hum of distant bees on a summer's day. So imagine velocity, imagine
you are traveling fabulously towards us, a thing of cream and stars that
becomes, you know the story, simply Heaven in that faraway big band
sense that lasts for one song maybe.

Here is a map with our names for a capital. Here is a shovel to dig your
way in. Act Two, Scene One: backyard plays and cakes and dreams where
you take us and explode us with a more pure joy.

Come on, Slugger. Do it. Give it to us.
 

Re: Here Is Your Pencil [rescheduling again; two fuckers biting at our heels but we love them SO much] @ 11:11 am

From: horsestorideon@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Here Is Your Pencil [rescheduling again; two fuckers biting at our heels but we love them SO much]
Date: November 4, 1998 11:11:57 AM PST
To: rsiken@hotmail.com
Cc: exit2k@hotmail.com, afw10@columbia.edu, mrvisible@worldnet.att.net, sowinski@inetdirect.net, sejohnst@midway.uchicago.edu, shorning@willamette.edu, gbrennan@willamette.edu, emcgarry@willamette.edu, and 20 more…

i tried responding to this last night when i first got it
but had already typed up the night's mind-flush and was unable to stand what
i'd written
so i scrapped it
it was all about gesticulation, though
so i guess i will fill in your structure here
mister godly-eyes
forcing our worlds into yours
[i do want to try and explain it like this--- this raping of reality: it's
how we see it...
"all my pictures are confused"
this shaping of metaphoric sardonism doesn't come all that naturally to me
i'm forcing everything trough a small dimpled tip to make pretty designs on
a cake for all my sweet hearts...
i'm vomiting, i've been told.
i'm trying too hard, but..]

Richard Siken wrote:

So you have caught the full moon in a bucket and seen our faces,
sleeping, at the bottom of the well. Have we been walking through your
dreams again? At night we leave the windows open and the morning finds
our shoes caked with mud. Our joys are the same as twelve Ethiopian
goats standing silent in the morning light. Our sorrows are slabs of
meat and ingots of copper.

you all flit through my mind
every one of you
[cute as a button]
though i rarely hear from the most of you on any sort of consistant basis
i have no idea as to what your lives are
[and hope they aren't Just the mundane struggle of repeditive -every - day -
questions]
if you aren't thinking of me
like i'm thinking of you
at least you'll know i'm thinking of
or have or did or will
it's HERE, you know
not like it's anything special
it just is.



At night we place the milk pails in a row and morning comes and finds
them empty. Are those your footprints on the windowsill? What are you
trying to tell us? Do you simply want to remind us you're alive? Are you
trying to build a suite of rooms for yourself inside our heads? Okay
then. Here: go on and pencil yourself in:

i'm trying to figure out if i'm alive.
it's not all that easy
you can push people over all the time
if it's just two corpses in a row
one pushes one
the both fall over
it's not much of an accomplishment, really.
i've tried to crawl into the spaces you left ungaurded
with your help, ov course: you're the ones pulling me in...
or not.
it's like supplimental thinking, dear kid
i'm giving you Milk
[she knows what i'm saying]
i'm vomiting in my little birdies mouths
[that's love, isn't it?]
if you don't get enough from you
maybe i'll give you a little
and if you don't get enough from me
maybe you'll recognize it and do something.
maybe you don't need to
maybe you've got a whole fucking field full of cows...
maybe i'm a wolf.



I'll steal a car and take you to Hoover dam. We can stand around looking
nonchalant as one hundred thousand gallons of liquid fury pour out below
us every second. I'll let you paint flames on the hood of the car. I'll
let you drive. Or how about an all-night barbeque? A dance on the
courthouse lawn? Fried chicken and warm beer as the radio aches a
languid tune that tells the story of what the night is thinking. It's
thinking of love. It's thinking of stabbing us to death and leaving our
bodies in a dumpster.

Tell me again how you don't believe in love. I'll tell you again how
you're a liar. Tonight, by the freeway, a man eating fruit pie with a
buck knife is carving his lover's face into the motel wall. Let's be
like him, the minutes gone plastic in our blood. Here: more stains in
the night. Here: more whiskey and kisses for everyone.

your sordid examples really aren't helping
and i ask you to listen to me while you're making the accusations
i don't give a shit about the quiet desperation
i feel it all the time
i'm trying to start screaming:
it may end up in a song
or my thoat will just bleed forever
but it's better than that fucking passivist bullshit of staying quiet one
more time
"one more time dear, i'll let you have it tonight--- if you don't tell i'll
pretend not to notice.
i'll keep taking and you'll keep crying and i really love you because this
is all you're gonna get"
you want a story about love?
it isn't that simple
and it's hard to believe
it's like Faith, mother fucker
which i don't understand
and i have no proof for
it's a feeling
like i don't have feelings
it's something Around the words and underneath...
don't ever tell me i don't think i believe in love



I wish I could tell you that I don't sleep, that I see your face
everywhere, that I wander through the house at night, knocking over
lamps and tilting picture frames, lurching through the dark as if I had
coffins on my feet, grasping at the empty November air as if I could
somehow reach you. I wish I could tell you that I'm inconsolable, that I
come down to breakfast every morning tight-skinned and bleary-eyed. That
I sit there, poking at my eggs with a spoon. I don't, though. I sleep
just fine.

My burden is a giant pear that floats like the moon. Your absence is an
armful of lilies cut for a shallow vase. Our house is one hundred
pitchers of clover honey. I wish I could say these things with feeling.
But why pour brandy on the fire? Why say anything at all? You put me on
your list as if you're trying to tell me something. So what are you
trying to tell me little falcon, salt of happiness, favorite of all the
cats? Are you carving wooden shoes for me? Do you want to read the book
of my dreams by the light of the whites of your eyes?

dearest boy
[sigh]
i don't ask any sort of dependance or despondancy...
i'm just telling you little bits of everything.
this has no point.
there is no grand message here.
nothing is being accomplished.
it's just a game for kids
with empty heads
washed by dreams.
i'm trying to give you armfullsofflowers or saltedkittensofshoes
anything you want:
just take it.
this isn't mine
it's just part of me.



The space between all of us spells a word that you want to put your
mouth around -- Twilight, Doorframe, Riverbed, Skin -- a word like this
but not these words exactly. It should taste like bourbon and sound like
the hum of distant bees on a summer's day. So imagine velocity, imagine
you are traveling fabulously towards us, a thing of cream and stars that
becomes, you know the story, simply Heaven in that faraway big band
sense that lasts for one song maybe.

Here is a map with our names for a capital. Here is a shovel to dig your
way in. Act Two, Scene One: backyard plays and cakes and dreams where
you take us and explode us with a more pure joy.

Come on, Slugger. Do it. Give it to us.


i'm on my way, but
have i ever?
[really, i leave the bursting up to you]
 

Re: less than a cheerleader, more than an answer @ 11:13 am

From: horsestorideon@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: less than a cheerleader, more than an answer
Date: November 4, 1998 11:13:14 AM PST
To: exit2k@hotmail.com
Cc: afw10@columbia.edu, mrvisible@worldnet.att.net, sowinski@inetdirect.net, sejohnst@midway.uchicago.edu, shorning@willamette.edu, gbrennan@willamette.edu, emcgarry@willamette.edu, gdelling@willamette.edu, and 20 more…

eli, i feel like i've answered all this shit before...
maybe i'm getting old and making excuses as my mind goes
maybe i'm just trying to escape this one
but what do you need to know?
why?
why.
i don't know WHY
..
not on this one.
i don't think it's particularily useful..
i can tell you a story...
here goes

once i met this guy i never met
we still didn't meet
and it took a long time

but then we met
and when we met we were really glad we'd met
but i had to leave.

i'm sure i didn't really have to leave or anything
but i'd decided to
[i think all of you know about that]
so i left and me and this man kept meeting like this
very partially
and it was a different game with different rules
and there were many things we couldn't say
and somethings we just didn't know how to
and we made up a little plan
and we tried to follow it out
but
you know
things happen
and lives cave in
and when the dust clears
it's empty.
[phew]
which is great
but harsh at times.
so, great but harsh, right...
and "if i asked you for something"
the whole point of the game was to follow the rules
by not being able to see or touch or say anything all that important to
eachother about what we thought about eachother
but to talk about ourselves to eachother
in such a way
the other might learn something about us

ground work
"HEy, leave the light on
just in case
so i can remember where you come from"
see
can you grab my tail?
can i take you for walk?

here: we'll tour the folds.
if you have five seconds to spare
this is the story of my life
[et cetra]

if i give you everything will you still smile at me?
oh,
will it make you smile more?

i just had this conversation in the real world
'when you lose respect for someone you begin to see them as they really are
then they're just a person
and you can deal with them a lot better'
i'm sure you remember, i was on the phone with you,
angel.

are you looking for an answer? you couldn't be so foolish.
but if you were, why would you be looking to everyone except the one who
knows you best? it's an old trick, and i'll pull it again.
why don't you ever read anything you write?

why don't you follow your own damned advice?

,pause,
i'm looking for an echo
each little rock has its own face, yeah?
i'm listening to the wind.
now, then there's me...
yeah
i suppose i could read it
i suppose i should
but it's so new
it's so close to me
if read it right now
it won't make any sense
and i'll want to change it
and i don't want to do that

you are far enough away from it so you can get a perspective
maybe it doesn't make any sense to you either
but maybe it can.



You seem scared. It seems like, if you don't do it fast and hard and
all the time you'll stop and you'll never do it again, never anything,
nowhere. It seems like that's stupid, and you've made us your familiars
in a black magic spell
I'm a rat can type.
You're a rat can type.

yeah.
i feel like if i don't do it i won't do it
i need to do something
and i don't know what to do
look
i'm a kid
i'm just exploring
it's what kids do
just stupid kids, exploring.


Do you exist when no one is looking?
Do you exist when less than forty people are looking?
How did you make the list? Do you know if anyone is enjoying it?

well, i haven't been able to close my eyes all the way yet
so i'm always looking
and i can't give you an answer beyond that, mr question.

i made the list by time
my thought an action
every person on here has either seen me or touched me or made me want to try

they've all given me life
if only once
if only sparse...
it means a lot to me
if only a so small
i'm still small
maybe i need all of these people to keep from disappearing...
you know i'm trying to stay around, eli...
i'm trying.

and you know some of them are enjoying it
and it's there: so criticize.




This is public speaking. Hello, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to ask
you all why we are here, who you are, what I'm doing here, and why we
don't all leave. I'm been very ill for a few days, so I'm shaking a
little and I think I need to go back to bed, or at least eat breakfast.
Thank you for your time.

Mr. Eli, signing off.

this is a very kind guesture, eli
but do you really think they'll respond?
this tactic has never worked for me...
but i guess one can always try.
 

brittle attempt at humour @ 11:14 am

From: horsestorideon@hotmail.com
Subject: brittle attempt at humour
Date: November 4, 1998 11:14:55 AM PST
To: exit2k@hotmail.com, afw10@columbia.edu, mrvisible@worldnet.att.net, sowinski@inetdirect.net, sejohnst@midway.uchicago.edu, and 26 more…

i watched this movie last night.
these thoughts were written on my arm
i didn't get there...
not all the way there
but maybe later...
here's a bit.
it's part of the job, but i've got to say that i just don't understand your politiks..

i almost feel sick.

i used to say that writing is failing.
that is, if you push it all out instead of just trying to live it
you've killed off and put into words
you've failed and left behind a body of works...
exhumed from your own living shell
now tell me what you have left.

i used to listen to people talking about days that were better
and me
in my realm of speculation [books and films and]
i saw many things that seemed, if not better, purer.
maybe less comfortable
maybe less simple
less affordable...
but they had their reasons and they had their consequences
and if you took their reasons you took their consequences
and you knew what you were getting into as you did it.

you had a country and a name.
respected your father... who loved you even if he didn't know how to show it.
the people you dealt with may have been just as worried as you
but they did what they had to get along with you
as you were all they had
in the days of lesser transport.
shoes weren't as comfortable and many people still walked with bare feet in the grass; on the dirt...
they pants scratched your legs up
no deoderants to cleanse you
no sun-block on your naked-skin.

the rules of living were the hard-facts
or facts of life
and were never said to be easy...

those men who had to work knew the meaning of their work
they sweat and lifted and moved and pulled
their purpose came from their loyalties and love of their fellows

so it goes.

i wasn't there...
or, if i was
i left something un-finnished.

looking around me now i can take things in different ways:
i've learned the art of fooling myself so well that i couldn't really tell you if i wasn't.

if you pay no regard to the meaning or the message from the creator of the piece
you don't care about God anymore

and if you aren't interested in what's going on outside of your vision
then you've learned the rules of the nuclear family

if you lust what you can't see in yourself [anymore]
and take it in hand in an effort to hold it close
[close enough to be a part of you]
you've learned some excuses you know how to use.

i see it being cast off everyday, the importance of things.
it's like any other lubricant
keeping things quiet

the large of the world got that way from practice
here
it didn't happen because they needed it to move a plow or lift a pole
it was taken
hand in hand
as a sculpter
gleaned from magazines and co-workers
paid trainers.
men in gyms shaping themselves to the idea of what they want to be
with no idea why they'd ever use that mass outside of putting something back in the position they'd moved it from
[repition, like calendar days and alarm-clock settings]

i wanted to be big, once
i saw the strength in farmers in a rural town
and the movement of their swollen bellies under their shirts
the tightness of their shoulders as they lifted hay into the traughs
but i was so small then
and only trained in gyms
or on lawns, manicuring an exhibition of a some-dollar bill to the neighbours and strangers passing by in their cars
in these pointless acts [with out love, just the appearance of]
i thought of those i'd seen who carried around the burden of having prepared themselves through their everyday life
to live the next day
and week
and month
until it swallowed them whole.
they drilled late into the evenings, til the end of the year

so i'm riding around in a truck
and my feet hardly ever touch the ground anymore.
my jobs are less than sitting at a desk
speaking in a telephone
forcing the computer in front of me to think for the company that pays its wages

things are getting easier and softer and they fuzz out of focus before i can see them
it must be so hard
to pay all those bills
and swipe all those cards
and speak all those numbers...

i imagine why we're getting thinner...
some of us.
i think of what it's like when you start losing weight and you go about your business
when there is less and less of you touching the ground
your foot-prints get lighter past every sun-set
and you speak so little these days, sir
as if you had nothing to say to us...

the dreams of being in love with the world
of seeing those people
lush with life
with juicy arms you could dive into
shoulders made to swing up a lover onto a back
legs to go running to catch their desire
bodies alive in the air and the light
smiles with out pills and dentures and tooth-pasty grins
skin with out sores and bruises and
hair where there's hair and skin where there isn't
acceptance of living this life that they have

[it's yr one go, kid... make the best of it or it'll be hell]

it's so rare these days to see people who haven't given up
given in, to pay-checksand bills, medications and surgeries... nightly news and their favourite dramas
the excitement of lives that they'll never be living



if i took off my shoes now
and touched the ground
could still go walking here
or might i get shot by a hunter?
a land owner?
a security gaurd?
if i took off my clothes
is there a way i could keep from getting arrested and fined?

this isn't the life i signed up for.
i didn't want to have to do it by the book and by the numbers.
i didn't want to have to leave behind my body for pacemakers and prozac
i didn't want to have to be wrong for leaving my class
i didn't want to be so far from everyone else
to have to keep secrets
to have to say those things i'm not even thinking

i don't want all of my thoughts tied up in despair
but i don't want electro-shock therapy
and i don't want any drugs
and i don't want the radio or television or church to give me the answer
 

Re: less than a cheerleader, more than an answer @ 05:16 pm

From: exit2k@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: less than a cheerleader, more than an answer
Date: November 4, 1998 5:16:28 PM EST
To: horsestorideon@hotmail.com


and you know some of them are enjoying it
and it's there: so criticize.




This is public speaking. Hello, ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to
ask
you all why we are here, who you are, what I'm doing here, and why we
don't all leave. I'm been very ill for a few days, so I'm shaking a
little and I think I need to go back to bed, or at least eat
breakfast.
Thank you for your time.

Mr. Eli, signing off.

this is a very kind guesture, eli
but do you really think they'll respond?
this tactic has never worked for me...
but i guess one can always try.

actually i was being sarcastic. i did have breakfast tho, and that was
helpful. for lack of any better thing, and perhaps for other reasons,
i've been thinking all day, about mostly this what i wrote about. it's
something that still puzzles me, and it's something which seems
desperately important which you seem wildly blind to -- and yet can't i
speak it? i can try, again.

so we'll start with a metaphor because we love metaphors, and we'll
avoid similes because this morning i remembered the difference and was
filled with righteous anger against the one and that deep, sacred love
for the other.

you just might be a baloon filled with hot air. but not a hot air
balloon. a party balloon. and this might be the party to which we were
all invited, though not individually -- which is an offense. we were
invited at a stroke, and we remain, and some of us are talking, but we
are blind-folded. you are the hostess, and you are feeding us best.
you are a party balloon filled with hot air, and you are making popcorn
inside, where it is hot, and the popcorn bounces around in the rubber
and the balloon gets bigger.

does anyone else have a feeling of impending disaster?

so the party balloon that keeps gettin hotter that is making popcorn
inside, this seems very important to me -- but in the world of black
magic nothing is what it seems. and now the strenuous exercise of
shedding images and saying what one means.

which one is that? oh yes, me. here i am again, saying what i mean.
yee-ha.

the whole point of the game was to follow the rules
by not being able to see or touch or say anything really important >to
eachother about what we thought about eachother
but to talk about ourselves to eachother
in such a way
the other might learn something about us.

just like a party.
usually, i admit, i hate parties.
especially when i'm not warned long in advance.
but i'm having fun. i'm playing ...
but the rules ... why do i always feel like i missed the most important
part where everyone said everything that would allow everything else?
my problem i guess. attention dues ... but, alas, having missed the
rules i do fail to follow along. o. well.


so, to say something important about something i think of you, Dominic,

I think that for as long as you can remember they all adored you and
they thought you were amazing and precious and you thought you were
worthless and you didn't know why anything. You asked questions. It
didn't help. You played along. It's gotten you pretty far.

So this is the game. Everyone you know reads everything you write,
unless you read it in time to decide it's worthless, in which case not.
If anyone writes it's not about what you've written, which is ostensibly
what you wanted (? or a response in kind, but why would anyone else want
to do this? or, if there is someone who does, how did you know they
did? why did you think we wanted to play by your rules? what Are you
expecting from this? i'm asking questions again, very sorry ...) but
rather about how amazing and precious they find you to be, which may
ostensibly not be what you wanted but seems somehow to be what you've
arranged the entire game around creating ... or am i hallucinating again
... eating expensive paper ... wastepaper ...

i don't think of you as amazing and precious and i don't cherish every
word you write. i accept, but out of devotion, not praise. out of
curiosity, not commitment. i always hate parties, and i always stand
around wondering Why is everyone saying this again? Does anyone notice
what is going on? Has anyone wondered why we're all standing in this
small room, drinking thin poison, waiting for oblivion or intercourse?
And I feel the same way now, and I want to play but I don't understand
why anyone likes this game.

So I'm asking you, the person I know best at the party, to turn to me
and keep me company; you, who invited me to a party of people I don't
know, and have been regaling us all with stories for so long, and
haven't been hearing back and haven't been noticing.

I'm tugging on your sleeve. Dominic, I'm blindfolded. Please, tell me,
are we having fun yet?

Are you having fun yet?

Are you forcing yourself to do something you hate?

Are you enjoying yourself?

Why is everyone watching you enjoy yourself?

There is some piece I'm missing, some element of the dynamic which
escapes me: loneliness? intoxicated abandon? how it feels when i need
a disaster? a '?' after 'i exist'?

i'm asking questions. i never stop, do i. do i.

i'll give everyone a story soon. it's just parties: i feel isolated,
judicial, insubordinate.

i'll play by the rules, i promise. tomorrow.


the balloon. i think it is getting too big and nothing inside it is big
enough to sustain it. structureless bits. it is getting too hot. it
will pop. all the elements will survive.
 

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