Next Steps

Monday, February 24, 2014

by Joanna Penn Cooper and Todd Colby

"We Bought a Zoo" is a kid's movie. Please enjoy the awkward
nature of being alive in this century at all. Enjoy it the same way
 you enjoy being helped across the street by a manic fellow
with a gold grille on Valentine's Day. You will take what you can
from the thousands of dogs making their yellow urine canyons
while we breathe in our rattles of phlegm because that is called being grateful.
Your better angels are standing at your shoulder in Burberry coats
making notations on what you think, feel, and see. "3:00 Bedford Avenue,
gangly 12 year-old boy in sweatpants lifts arms like a dancer and steps
over his dog's leash with a Fosse-like hop." Your angels approaching
job burnout just want you to quit your yammering. Wow... I would like
to to get acquainted with you. If you don't press against
certainly? I hope we are similar? Tell, if it is not difficult, what's your real name?
and by the way what are you doing now? Forgive me I have forgot to tell you
my last name. My surname Lyudmila. Mainly
I am search my soulmate here, I want to have genuine relations. You agree
with me? If you have thoughts for the same it will be Perfectly!
I expect to hearing from you soon..
Your answer, is important for me. Lyudmila.

Paul Auster on winter

Friday, February 07, 2014

from The Invention of Solitude:

There is no light to sink his teeth into, no sense of time unfolding.  Rather, a feeling of doors being shut, of locks being turned.  It is a hermetic season, a long moment of inwardness.  The outer world, the tangible world of materials and bodies, has come to seem no more than an emanation of his mind.  He feels himself sliding through events, hovering like a ghost around his own presence, as if he were living somewhere to the side of himself-- not really here, but not anywhere else either.  A feeling of having been locked up, and at the same time of being able to walk through walls.  He notes somewhere in the margins of a thought:  a darkness in the bones; make a note of this.

Make Your Own Luck

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

by Joanna Penn Cooper and Todd Colby
Signs abound and puddles of slush, so you leave the house

like some latter-day Candide exclaiming "Nice hat!" to Orthodox ladies

but really we're all just skulls beneath the moisturizer, making the calcium
function as a shell over all that electric gooey mess. One time
I told a class that desire speaks of mortality.  Cradling the body
of the beloved is like to trying to stave off death by owning lots of shoes.
And that cute thing of lying with your face close to the other's face
and sharing breath immediately becomes the memory of lying there sharing
breath.  Therefore sex is death, everyone.  Let’s start an improv group called
Memento Mori Everywhere. The class just looked at me.  When you’re twenty
sex is just sex. February, on the other hand, but I digress. Let me introduce
you to the second law of thermodynamics: if you light a match
and extinguish it by pressing it against your forehead, it will not only hurt,
but you'll get burnt. The resulting mark is called the Mark of Cain and it helps
distinguish the well-intentioned from those who live above the law, to wit,
artists.  Or am I thinking of Ash Wednesday?  Death and resurrection
are constant themes.  Small talk and pleasantries until one day
you just throw in the towel & float to some ascension magnified not by doubt
but the realization that we are all so fucking alone.  Throwing in the towel

is what we're here to learn how to do.  Using that same towel to pin to a pole
and wave around like a flag is a form of personalism so broad & crisp
it makes my teeth hurt.  Groucho Marx said that.

(More of our collaborations can be found here.) 

Open Letters Monthly

Sunday, February 02, 2014

My poem "Crown" appears in a great new issue of Open Letters Monthly.  Thank you to the editor, Maureen Thorson!

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