1.15.2017

Imperative

Roll out of bed. Kill the alarm. Scramble up the spiral stairs. Rummage through coat pockets and fish out the headphones. Commence daily untangling. Plug the jack into the phone. Join the conference. Greet the others and mute the speaker. Open notebook, mark the date. As each person speaks, note their name. Indent. One new Roman numeral per person. Calm the cat that does not understand your lack of attention.

Spend two years considering in the recesses of your brain, at night, or on walks, the protagonists of two books. Stew in anger, in doubt at their lack of agency. Think about how “agency” is a word you have never used in that way. Think about the question posed, “When did you first know you were a powerful queer?” Struggle over an answer.

Go see the play. Delight in the blackout, the ghost illumined by flashlight, encounters with the Devil, escapes through rhyme. Go to the movies, remember the Devil; think how the stories that most moved a young you had witches, angels, or gods changing to cattle.

Listen to a recording of a poem in which there are no verbs. Bookmark it.

Send a message to an old friend. “Merry Christmas!” “Merry Christmas!”

Send a card to an old friend. Return to sender.

Send a message to an old friend. Message Send Failure.

Borrow the car. Get milk at Quick Chek. See an old friend. Hug. Trade family updates and compare dental problems.

Watch yoga videos. Fold forward. Focus on the breath.

Visit a church. Join in the songs. Listen to the pastor say we are headed into a tough period. Amen.

Read the news. Avoid the news. Read the news. Do not read the news before bed. Scan the news before bed.

Debate how to best engage. Decipher what she meant by “active constructive resistance.”

Sit at a Mexican restaurant in the East Village. Share guacamole and stories of who you each were in high school.

Withhold congratulations on his engagement, which you only know of through “social” media.

Make a list of the things you like in novels, and the things you dislike. On the list of things you like, include “coming-of-age stories, LGBTQ stories, stories with magical/supernatural/fantasy/sci-fi elements blending with real world, dialogue, memoir, stories about friendship or friend groups, mysteries sometimes.” On the list of things you dislike, write “stories that feel too preachy, violence, malicious unreliable narrators?”

Tell your family in a conversation about books: “I need someone I can root for.”

Wake in the dark. Dress for the cold. Start training for another relay. Regret selecting the indie playlist.

Take down the tree. Wrap the ornaments. Sketch a picture of the bow and the tree underneath an idea for a writing project: Whippany River Anthology? Contemplate how fulfilling it might be to write all those deaths.

Drink too much to start the new year.


Read Just Kids. Highlight “The things I thought would happen didn’t. Things I never anticipated unfolded.” Then listen to Horses.

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