(A week ago, I said I was taking a break from novel writing to focus on some independent pieces. Well friends, I lied. I lied like a terrible little writer. Because somehow, the pieces started to come together as a strange sort of novel. So I went with it. The natural progression of narrative and all that. I spent a long weekend in Boston with my husband. It was a short honeymoon, during which we visited the House of the Seven Gables in Salem and went on a ghost tour through Boston. Because of the trip, my project is now about a hotel while not being about a hotel. There are angels involved. And odd letters found everywhere. I got to go into a cemetery in the middle of the night. The wind picked up, leaves rustled against the gravestones, and I apologized to the dead for walking over them. And my husband gifted me a new journal and Daniel Fights a Hurricane by Shane Jones. I haven’t felt this inspired in awhile.)
…..(((letter found floating in the bathtub))) today, i sniffed an orange. it was not any orange. it had a wide face. i am afraid because it had a face at all. and the face was rancid. the face came towards me, screaming ugly words like KUMQUAT and SANGRE. i didn’t know what the orange meant so i shouted into my twisted hands and whimpered until a man came to save me. but the man was imaginary. he had a face powdered white and bright blue streaks near his ears. [come touch me,] he said. but i didn’t want to touch him. i never wanted to see the man again. i bit his chin and his blood soaked into my bladder. i never knew that my bladder was so close to my mouth but it was. that frightened me. i tried not to be frightened but couldn’t stop. the fear came into my throat. it strangled me. it moved back and forth, slobbering and turning yellow with mucus. [touch me, touch me,] the man screamed. he shouted so loudly, the blood spurted from his chin like a fountain. and i dug my hands into my eyes and pulled the gelatin down and that was nice. the gelatin was warm and wet. i felt much better. the sun rises over the sink. the sun sinks into the sink. who thought the sink would have so much power? i thought the sink would come out of the bathtub and scream but i was wrong. that sink moved up and down. that sink continues moving. that sink won’t stop moving and i can’t get into its prowling pipes. but the hotel won’t stop either. the hotel whispers, [do you think the pipes are nice? they are hot pipes. but sometimes, they are cold pipes. and when they are not pipes, then they become worms. and i eat them up. i eat them with old pipes and with dead carpeting and with little pebbled feces collapsing on the floorboard tongues. but do not tell that sink it is not the perfect bathroom god.] and the hotel is right. thousands of gods live inside the sink. they froth in the walls. they come out of the drain, lifting up and bending pipes studded with their names. they are ugly gods and i want to shave them on the floor. i want to treat them like wood splinters. but i can’t do that. i don’t know how to do that. but i know how to close the sink. i know how to turn the sink off. but i don’t know if the sink wants to be turned off. it might. or it might not. it might reach out of the hands and shriek softly. [i am not here! i am not here!] is that what the sink sobs when it sinks deep into the ground? i am not here either. i have never been here. because i am the sad woman and the sink does not respect me. but the sink has never respected me. the sink has stayed close to my gut and shrieked gently. the sink has gobbled the floor up. but what if the sink gobbles me up? what if i drop down the drain? please don’t let me. but i should read the bible tonight. i should hold the bible to my face like a plastic curtain. and i should change. i don’t know what i should change but i should change something. i should change my hair or my shirt or the door. i should change the toilet bowl. but i don’t know how to change anything else. i think the sink lies when i lean too close to the doorway edge. i think the sink whispers, [what do you think you’re making from your hair?] i don’t think i’m making anything from my hair. but maybe i’m wrong. maybe i’ve always made something from my hair. maybe i keep making something from my hair and i might never stop making something from my hair. but i am in so much pain. something crawls into my stomach and nests between my kidneys. [do you like the way we twist your grout around,] the something asks. [do you like the way we turn your knee to the side? they are nice knees. but i think we should practice carving them out of stone. concrete. it has to be concrete. if it isn’t concrete, then at least some alabaster. but i don’t have any alabaster in my knees. i wish i did. then i could keep my knees on a shelf as if it were a priceless statue. vision of my knees. hardened visage of my leg joints. look at me. then look away. look at the floor. look at the window. look at the carpeting. look at the ceiling. look at the vent. then stick your hand inside. put your tongue in. move your tongue around. let it get stuck. but i keep talking to myself. i sleep and talk. i bathe and talk. i vomit and talk. and i whisper, [i can see you. i see you in the mirror. i see you in the back end. but is the back end turned around? i would like that back end. i meet the back end. someone tucked the back end into the wall. but it wasn’t my wall. it was another wall. but that wall was not an end. was it ever an end? was there ever an end? and why was i whispering? why was i vomiting over the ground? i think i should sleep now. i really should sleep.] but did i sleep tonight? i can’t remember. did i sleep at all? or did i lie there with my eyes open, my lashes stuffed against my eyebrows? i think i tried sleeping. but something woke me up and i stared into the doorway for hours, wondering what the voice was yesterday, why the sink dribbles on and on for hours.
Cemetery stones in the middle of the night.
The House of the Seven Gables.