Today BURNAWAY welcomes Melissa Broder for this month’s Authors on Art, a series of creative responses by poets, novelists, and experimental writers curated by Blake Butler.
Many years ago while vacationing on the right coast of death I swallowed my timeline front to back. Numbers shattered into waves. My carcass sped up and what was left was space: infinite and horror-conscious. This is the problem with living in cities and visiting oceans only occasionally. Galleries have made a pact with surface. Museums cannot really prepare you for time, because they have no throat. You’ve got to have your body eaten into infinities at least once before you go to the ocean. Otherwise you’ll have a very bad trip.
Not narcissism. Mammalian emergency. I imagine Jesus receiving a lecture on boundaries. I will not be prime til I’m near dead, the deader the wetter. A boy is reading The Story of My Life by Giacomo Casanova. He says Casanova had to fuck a woman who was beautiful but very old. She was 32! I ask gawd to please make me a whore and gawd turns me into an elder statesman. I try to venn diagram my life and I get one circle and a mirror. But in the red hotel I do not reflect. I absorb. I am a shank digester, a cock cake with liquid legs. Filling milk is mental health and I am milkful. Dick. Ball. Ball. My sweet little bowelhole handler. Make a fist. If you know how much I think of you, you’ve already left the room.
I saw time fold into a carful of women and they dropped their cunts like husks. I’m afraid of turning purple. I don’t want to hear any alarms under my hair. O sanctus sanctus sanctus varicosis-minimus lolitas roseus coralus salmonus tightest pinkest jonbenet jonbenet jonbenet. PINK—1. Pale red. 2. The highest degree. 3. Prime. 4. To prune or trim. 5. Beefcheeks’ maiden voyage. There is no need to be pink when another woman is already pink. Jealous women jealous me into being jealouser. If I soften I get to meet Joan of Arc. We snow into an ashtray til she asks whose ashtray is this? You must learn to love all the women. I am proud of my me in Joan’s hair tonight. I am proud of my no-game. The universe hums the theme song from Platoon but so what?
Well okay I care. I will maybe stop being of service to illusion. I am uninterested in the ways that numbers fail until they fail. Heaves of mourners form villages around the dead numerals. At the funeral I finally find my eyes. The game of my small coal needs drops down. I am defrocked by prayer emergency. The nudity is a wholesome pyre.
One companion of romantic obsession is Walt Disney. Walt in your cubicle with rilly bad boundaries. Walt closing a pink desktop folder labeled NOT PORN. Walt with his hands on the good side of your spine. Walt making peace with rot (for now). Walt busts a sperm, stares at gawd’s big belly, and wins the dynasty. Still the neck of his suit is going to rip rip. Still the bones of his neck are going to break break. Still still. Yours too. Get eternal.
Melissa Broder is the author of two collections of poems, most recently MEAT HEART.
Nodes and Networks
Carley Rickles creates a study around dead ends, lost places, and memories of interstates for this final theme story around Nodes and Networks.
Claire E. Dempster visits Prospect.5 and considers the sprawling, entwined art across the city of New Orleans.
Burnaway takes a close look at Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body, an exhibition by RaMell Ross at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.