July 4, 2012

(Happy 236th birthday, USA. I’m halfway through the latest novel. Also, I’ll be doing a reading in Brooklyn on August 4 as part of the Boog City Festival. I’ll post more details as it gets closer. Enjoy the holiday, be safe, and hopefully, you’ll see some fantastic fireworks.)




     have i gone mad? i think in terms of water, of the rippling effect of gas on the ground, of how a square can fit into my hand without slicing the bone. but those aren’t the normal things to consider. the owl gods watch me closely, their eyes wide, yellow pupils sticking out of the gelatin. [we are ruined, the owl gods whisper. of course we are ruined. would we have been ruined if the dirt hadn’t become water, if the sky hadn’t shrouded the mountains in bright red, if you hadn’t slaughtered the beef with a shake of your head and disregarded the importance of golden fat clots? why do you stand still, concealed in that corner, your muscles peeled back from your shoulders, and if you come too close, then we will eat you with a quick peck of our beaks against your flesh. now go away. release the wolf gods from the thundering stone in the distance.] the owl gods rest on the ground near me. the owl gods shrivel into little feathered sausages. a series of beaks, each one with a straighter point than the one before, and all with the same narrow tongue poking out of the joints, crack against solid stone and break concrete into glass shards. they peck hard. they peck until the ground is rotten with ash and dust. they peck and i groan until my throat closes up with a stitched flesh sensation. [what have you made out of the glass, the owl gods ask.] they twitch and their beaks poke out of the skin. i blink three times, dramatic blinking that forces my lids closed for at least a second, and the owl gods disappear into the dirt. [they’re gone, i whisper but the owl gods reappear in the sky above me, their hovering bodies covered with bees.] i extend my arms over my head and the bees swarm my wrists. [SAVIOR BEEMAN has killed you, i cry. he has yanked the skin from your throat. he has forced you to swallow broken toes. why did you let him? why would you stay still long enough for the bees to implant their stingers in your throats? aren’t the feathers heavy with protection? i thought you were sick with iron shards and copper sheets but now i realize you were always cotton. all of you. every last owl god, born of the cotton branch and mixed with thick brown dye just potent enough to wash the gray from your skeletons. oh, god.] i drop my head onto the dirt and the owl gods bury themselves in the small stones scattered around me. [we are brown with sickness, they cry. we are gray with illness. we are yellow with infection. we are silver with disease. oh we, oh we, oh we.] they turn suddenly and their talons stick up in the air, nails curved towards the moonlight. i press my fingers against the claws and push them into the ground. [i don’t want to see long nails, i whisper. who likes talons? not me. they disgust me. they make my stomach shrivel with acidic bile. let the monsters come close to me and i’ll tear the skin off their shoulders while cracking their throats with a touch of my thumbs.] i sit on top of the buried talons. nail remnants cut the bottom of my spine. i shift my hips slightly, pushing the claws in further, lightly burying my hips. thunder echoes in my ear. i tilt my head and cold rain drips onto my head. i tilt my wrists towards the sky and rain pools up in the bone hollows, silvery blue water welling up in the shallow spaces while rain drips into my eyes and mouth. i stick my tongue out and catch droplets with the tip. water fills my bones and sloshes over the sides. i bring my wrists to my mouth and slurp the water out of the holes. i am frozen. icy water chills me. it wells up in between my vertebrae and when my bones move, they slide through the water, then dissipate. [the flesh is no good, i whisper. the flesh has never been good.] i lower myself to the ground and lie on my side. dirt coats my skin. i press my jaws together and rain covers me. dirt covers me. mud covers me. yes. i have gone mad and i look at this rain as the only water that can ever return my sanity. [you think too much, the owl gods murmur in my ears. you think about the end of time and the days before and the dirt existing after and if there is stone, there is something beyond and if there is madness, then you are putrid with another piece of fire and we think you should look towards the sky and wait for the orange spiral to drop out of the air in your honor.] i squeeze my eyes shut. i smack my knuckles against my cheeks. my bones thump as they collide. i bite my tongue’s center. raw meat folds around my teeth. [she is ruined, the owl gods shriek. she is ruined with bees, with dirt. where is the capsule god to yank her out of the void? where is the great wolf god to ease her lactating suffering? oh, she is rotten with age. she is ruined with time. what do we do? what do we make? how do we survive this broken bone?] the owl gods shake beneath the dirt. they vibrate back and forth. dirt churns fiercely, grains foaming like salty water, like a milky froth. i cover my eyes. i press my palms against my face and hold my breath. [stop it, i whisper. just stop moving. why can’t i turn the dirt into meat?]

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