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in a restless world like this is

november2.jpgin our final chapter the grass burned red; the moon had grown teeth that gnashed and rattled nervously against a fraying sky; the sun dimmed to a specter of itself, became a ghastly spectator, appeared as a stranger’s eye at a keyhole. this is what we wrote into our afterword as our story drew to a close. it’s what i saw in your afterworld the last time you called my name and asked me what it meant to be true to oneself. with the conviction of youth, i asserted there was no such thing as a true self, that it was all self-invention, fabrication, mumbo jumbo; i barreled through crappy analogies, likening individual life to a small wind through a void, a sound that resonates briefly and is then resigned to silence, no longer singular — and i saw your eyes in that moment. some essential part of you was lost. fin. end of story. close the book.

if we were to rewrite this conversation. if you were to ask me again, “what does it mean to be true to oneself?” i would answer honestly. that i don’t know. then i would say your name — maybe once, maybe fifty times over — and tell you, “this is who you are, someone worth saving.” and maybe that would recall you back to yourself. because a name spoken with love is a glittering mote in the fog, a charmed note that breaks a sad spell. you gave me the joy of being named and recognized by another human being; i should have done the same for you.



  1. The way in which their hands, so nearly touching, form wings in negative space, phantom yellow feathers streaming into a black and red void, and swan-necked, pecking into the nook of the ring finger; in that way, the image reminds me of this, this white hand covering an inadvertent shadowed mouth, a formless night sky muted under a perfectly halved moon.

    And probably a mistransliteration in the URL, an l for an r, another minimal pair. Selene, serene.

    Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink
  2. susie wrote:

    serenading your lunatic saint? be careful, john, ‘cos you know what she’d say… “when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that a moray eel.” (i don’t think she’s the sort who minds her l’s and r’s. some girls exist to test the liminalities)

    Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  3. Liminal riminal criminal. When the moon hits your eye, or any part of your body, that’s immoral!

    The night before I left for Seoul I wrote this song, “a liminal hymn,” and subsequently listened to it several hundred times on the streets and subways. It was a very in-between time.

    Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  4. susie wrote:

    so pretty and thematically appropriate for my mood of late. i like seeing/hearing your work!

    Monday, November 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  5. Thank you. I’m glad! Your work always speaks very directly to me. Even at these intermittent intervals.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink