I’d need to put a lot of effort in to lose myself. This is not to say that I couldn’t lose myself if I wanted to. I really could. Many times in my life I have been lost. Not physically lost like the time I couldn’t find the train station in Granada. It was dark. I did find a train station. The closed train station. The one the city had left to weeds. Which was inhabited by anarchists. They offered me beer, bread, and avant garde theatre. Probably it was just anarchist theatre. If you must know: there was a zebra in the play. Not an actual zebra or a person dressed as a zebra or even a sign that that read “cebra” to make it obvious to the audience that a zebra was a part of the play. Still, there was a zebra in the play. I was not lost in that way that night.
I stay inside a lot. Inside of rooms. Inside of myself. Sometimes when I am outside of rooms and in the world, it still feels like rooms. For example: when I am in Florida, it is a room named Florida. There are walls and that is the distance. There is a ceiling, too. I hope I don’t need to tell you what the ceiling is called. Anyhow, I stay inside a lot. Sometimes there are windows to other rooms. They speak and mostly I listen. I hope I don’t need to tell you what windows are called.
note about finding things the way they should be: I am never sure: if they should even be found a particular way: this is not about: finding a dead human body: I have never found a dead human body
note about finding a dead human body: I have friends to tell me those stories: sometime I will tell their stories to you
note about stories from friends: a friend hid in the bushes: that was their story: told a few times: another friend: had a story about how she had sex with a bank robber: the sex happened before he robbed a bank: after he became a bank robber: the story went like so: they had sex in a lake: then: the end: before however: it was just sex: the location wasn’t mentioned: before his name was bank robber: his name was Mark: as far as I know: he is still at large
note about evil: after dinner: in the dark: on the screened deck: no one wanted to bother with lighting a fire: it was already hot: we were already lit by our phones: someone shared a post from their feed: the post: “Has anyone else noticed that L-I-V-E spelled backwards is E-V-I-L?”: we went around in a circle: making sure everyone: even if they had forgotten: had at some point noticed
note about trapping a rabbit: I was led to a field: far behind the trees you can see from the road: the grass was short: my guide claimed no one mowed the grass: the point: rabbits are known to visit the field: my guide needed a birthday present: my point: I had to catch a rabbit: not with my hands: with a live trap: my guide asked me to set the live trap and catch a rabbit: I looked for the warren: rabbit paths: clues: bones: tail fur: I set the cage in a place: I was unsure: about the place: about a wild rabbit as a birthday gift: we waited ten minutes: then ten more minutes: my guide questioned my ability to capture rabbits: I suggested we try to set the trap in another spot: in the field: or my guide should consider a gift card: or stuffed rabbit: my guide explained how children have pet dreams: sometimes pet dreams are visions: my guide explained how we must fulfill his vision: how the rabbit will be white
note about returning from a long absence: of course: you want someone to mention your long absence: you want someone to express how they missed you: you want someone to notice the absence of your little left finger: you want someone to ask about the absence of your little left finger: really: you want someone to be too afraid to ask about the absence of your little left finger
note about what people ask: when you tell them you are considering converting a used school bus into a living space: won’t that be expensive to drive?: like for a blog?: what’s the mpg on a bus?: have you considered joining the national guard instead?: how will you shower?: like a drug dealer? like for a reality show? how will you lock the door?: like a child molester? won’t that cost a lot to upkeep?: how will you start a family?: have you given up?
note about encouraging the hobbies of others: my roommate likes glossy magazines: fashion and celebrity: she will show me pictures of: examples: Rihanna and I will say “oh hello”: and she will show me more pictures of Rihanna and I will say “oh hello” for each until there are no more pictures of Rihanna: or pictures of Jena Malone and I will say “oh hello”: and she will show me more pictures of Jenna Malone and I will say “oh hello” for each until there are no more pictures of Jenna Malone: or pictures of Emmy Rossum and I will say “oh hello”: and she will show me more pictures of Emmy Rossum and I will say “oh hello” for each until there are no more pictures of Emmy Rossum: and so on: and this goes on until my night alarm rings: my night alarm reminds me to sleep: even if I am not sleepy: before: before I learned about her hobby I would say “yeah” or “okay” when she showed me: examples: pictures of Aubrey Plaza: pictures of Emma Stone: pictures of Olivia Wilde: and she would not show me more pictures: because I “seem(ed) bored”: and then she would seem bored: somewhere else: in the apartment: the air changed: felt like bored air: I do not know how I stumbled upon saying “oh hello”: or how “oh hello” opens the door for her hobby: which in a way is now my hobby too: before: I recall trying “nice”: “whoa yeah”: “hmmm yeah”: “wowya”: “yolo”: “damnnnnn”
note about how this is an age when all kinds of dreams for all kinds of people now come true: example
note about a bird near my office: can mimic the sound of a car alarm: a distant car alarm: the bird starts up: overheard reaction: “wait I need to check on my car”
note about worrying: the more I watch how-to videos: the more I will depend on them: note example: I wonder “what if I shampoo the wrong way?”: then after how-to shampoo video: I learn that yes I shampoo the wrong way: not now: I watched the how-to shampoo video
note video example was bad example: because I was shampooing wrong: correct shampooing video was helpful: however: now doubting the correctness of my other daily activities: to watch this evening: how-to: clean litter box: load dishwasher: fold clothes: vacuum carpet
note about my jokes falling flat: it’s a terrible habit to think everything is funny: what is worse: communicating the funny thought: it never works: note example: at Indy Reads bookstore: near the recycling bins: for work: the bookstore manager: mentioned receiving a mattress donation instead of book donation: funny thought occurred: I said funny thought: “this place isn’t called Indy Sleeps”: a frown occurred: then tornado siren began: a fortunate intervention
note about forgetting something brilliant I said once: it was about pockets: it was said three years ago: she didn’t remember where: or what we were wearing: she remembered I said something brilliant or beautiful about pockets: one or the other: but I stopped saying brilliant or beautiful things about other things after that: it was about the time we broke up: then: if I remember what I said about pockets: or visit Vegas: email
note about water: falling then not: without clouds: out of the blue: the actual blue sky: am unsure how many times in the last few weeks: seems like a lot: there are maps: note they show the maps on tv: weather channels: news programs: on the maps there are places without water: they are red: brown and red: that brown and red color: sometimes so red and so brown it is purple: I think about hot purple land: hot purple grass and trees: with purple fire: this is a land inside of me: before maps on tv: one more childish thing I can’t shake: note the colors cover most of the map area: not my map area: my map area is green: there are a lot of green things here: but not everything is green: personality on tv discussing the map remarks: “a lot of places could use some relief”: note a lot of places could use some relief
note about seeing a man with prosthetic nose: I saw a man with a prosthetic nose: it was shaped very realistically: the skin tone was wrong: the man had a sun burn: almost beyond sun burn: note his burnt skin reminded me of rotisserie chicken: in contrast to the skin the nose looked bright white: however: with matching skin tones I would have never noticed his nose as being prosthetic: note I had no reason to speak to the man: however: he made me smile: he made me think about the cartoon ducks of my youth: specifically Daffy Duck: the bright beak: the dark body: their opposite natures working to form a whole: but the man’s head skin could use some relief: note the man was bald as well
note about my favorite movie: a place that could use some relief: I’m thinking of relief for my favorite movie: it is a movie with very few moments of relief: note about thinking about relief: I think of Christmas: note Christmas is not my favorite holiday: but I am thinking about Christmas in my favorite movie: it would not be snowing: Ripley would give Newt a present: something she found while scouting movements and positions of xenomorphs: really the gift is a scrap of someone else’s life: note former life: most of the colonists of LV-426 died: note the gift is wrapped in scrap paper: maybe pages from a sports encyclopedia: maybe a basketball star yet to be born is pictured on the scrap page: note this might mean something to Ripley: note that in a later movie in the franchise: Ripley briefly displays her skill with a basket and ball: note that movie isn’t nearly my favorite movie: even though it borrows elements from movies I like: note what matters: Ripley hopes the spirit of Christmas will give Newt some relief: Ripley returns from her scouting mission: note in the sub-movie of my favorite movie all of the space marines are dead: it is just Ripley and Newt living in the sad and dirty ventilation: Ripley and Newt are sad and dirty there: okay: maybe Hicks is there too: but he is injured and sleeping: note what matters: Newt unwraps the present thinking Ripley thinks it’s her birthday: Ripley will explain the meaning of Christmas in that ventilation: it won’t even really be Christmas or Christmas2: note in that future there will be christmas2: it will be just as warm and full of meaning: and full of relief: note like Ripley in my favorite movie: you can celebrate Christmas2 anytime: because it is about the heart and about love: you can carry that with you: here on Earth: or on LV-426
note about the sun burn on my ear: I continue to apply sunscreen to my left ear: I drive a lot: it is the ear to the sun when I drive to work: drive home from work: I travel in a straight line: this city is made of several straight lines: note to return to the condition of my ear: it is always burning: it is peeling: it is uncomfortable: it is swelling: I am worried about losing my ear: to melanoma
note about spending time with my son: my son wanted to spend the evening watching Naked & Afraid: he likes survival shows: note sometimes after watching survival shows he asks if it is illegal to buy a snake from a pet store so you can eat it: note I do not know the law regarding this: note I tell him it is an illegal act: he would like me to find a restaurant where they serve snakes and tarantulas and bats: there are more animals on this list: note he asked about giraffes last night: note butts on Naked & Afraid: there are lots of butt scenes on Naked & Afraid: I may think it is a good show because of the butts: however: they do not show all of the hardships: note a lot of places could use some relief
note about my Grandfather and his prosthetic ear: my Grandfather had a prosthetic ear: the left ear: he lost it one day: car accident: fell asleep at the wheel: drove a semi down a ditch: side view mirror sliced it off: note I once asked if the ear was found: then if it was buried in a little ear coffin: note no: and no: not even an empty little ear coffin: note the prosthetic ear: did not match grandfathers skin tone: was skin tone of dead chewing gum: spearmint: not fruit chewing gum: was sponge like: but plastic like: you could fold it in half and it would spring back to shape: however: it left a crease at times: note Grandfather did not appreciate this: note many people did not recognize the full worth of my curiosity: in the era of my curiosity: note that era echoes into my current period of curiosity: a sad ghost: note my opportunity to fold prosthetic ear: my Grandfather collected aluminum cans: note he was not an environmentalist: he liked money: he liked finding things in dumpsters: my job was to hold his ear: so it did not fall off in the dumpsters: also: to make sure he did not have a heart attack while dumpster diving: also: to tell my parents I was dumpster diving instead of my grandfather: if they asked: note I was paid for my time and lies: note I do not remember what I spent the money on
note about these notes: was going to title the post NOSES and write about noses I noted during my life: maybe another time
Pop Serial is a literary magazine. This issue features Steve Roggenbuck, Ben Brooks, Brad Troemel, Scott McClanahan, Guillaume Morissette, Blaise Larmee, Heiko Julien, Ana Carrete, Crispin Best, Chelsea Martin, Rachel B. Glaser, Timothy Willis Sanders, Mike Bushnell, Ashley Opheim, Andrew James Weatherhead, James Ganas, Theron Jacobs, Shaun Gannon, Cassandra Gillig, Michael Hessel-Mial, Jackson Nieuwland, Dave Shaw, Zachery Wood, Megan Lent, Chad Redden, Lucy Tiven, Marshall Mallicoat, Chris Dankland, Bianca Shipton, Dylan York, Ralph Moffettone. Cover by Tao Lin. Layout by Cameron Pierce. Artwork throughout by Blaise Larmee. Edited by Stephen Tully Dierks.
hey i wanted to say that there is a lot of great work in Pop Serial 5, but my favorite stuffs in here is from Cassandra Gillig, whose awesome “bitch im the central park hello kitty” finally sees print, & chad redden’s “The Crystal Plague” is an eerie off-kilter sci-fi New Age nightmare gone wrong? the whole thing is pretty much worth reading.
PS5 is in print and will be online soon. I appreciate being in a shout out with Cassandra Gillig. I’m still taking the issue in, but Jackson Nieuwland’s “The moon has nothing to do with snow” made me need to go to bed, wake up and meditate, then read it again, then go back to bed again. My boss skyped me with concern as to my absence and silence. It’s been a few days now. I don’t know what to reply. What to type other than ‘Things are different, bossman.’