Issue 22: Joan Harvey


       What is the story? I put things in motion, then get squeamish. A beautiful Korean model kills herself. Hangs herself in Paris. Birds flit, peck, all crazy. I want it all to happen, but possess neither nerve nor noose. In a way I’m not here. Sit up straight, they say. Smell the goddamned rose.

       Time was, I lived in a dog patch. Was eating beans, was eating dogs. Was eating disaster. Was even present, but who did I need? Idiots were savanting all over town, it was the fashion, air kiss right and left, up and down, a race between time and material. Would you call it a conversation? Perhaps, though bored, with a smattering of glitter.

       Don’t slump please. They never leave me alone. On the other hand she is leaving me for the bright lights and fat paychecks of New York City. Well, wouldn’t you? Bien sur. Sur tainly. I get out my store of profanity. Who, I wonder, will reject me next? They remind me, you are not a dog, I am not a dog, we are not dogs. But I hate you for my grief. My obverse and disgraceful relationship to you. Which is all under the table, I mean it doesn’t exist.

       One can say anything. It’s not a question of that. No stable position. Do you desire to desire? Be all pink again? It’s part of your pattern. But we’re having a game, a dance, a flick of the wrist. They tell me I don’t listen very well. My niece in a bikini in Zanzibar. Here I just need a good sheen. A good gloss. Another reminder of whatever. My dreams make fun of me. Quantum rats in particle wave patterns.

       Light and heat in the weird. It’s a Saturday. Everyone ventures forth, imperfect embodiments of universal form. It’s all history; we don’t remember the Alamo or the night that preceded it. Money, money, makeshift breakdowns and other anomalies. We continue to work, forced into the race. Our nights spent with the wife of Hugh Hefner.

       The thickening of the blockage. Becomes a thought, scratched. But the voice gives me pleasure. There’s a deep need to buy snorkels. Pain, and some lack of love. Heartbreak, disaster, blah blah blah. Swirls of digestion aching along the back. If I could be self-peripheral I would be. No matter what they say, I am like a dog, contented or miserable. Or like some kind of cleaning product. My body: an answer to the broken fling of feeling.

       A tremor here, which is something beating fast too fast and light as a bird’s heart. Morning, and the night stretches into the frozen wastes of dire culture, nothing improves or it does, the trees are light in the air. What is attitude, what is defeat? I don’t know where I want to get. A soldier dying, where is the image from? Did he gamble, is he gay? The old newspaper and then the reframing of history in its crumbling ashes. A man who murdered two people at Fort Carson says he just wanted to have his voice heard.

       Arousal and pressure concentrate the body. Something trying to grow in the wrong place. Sitting in a brightened room not listening. Not improving, not receiving mail or sending it out, not waiting for nightfall. Not useful to the fat republic. I could cry, but I’m too old for tears. I become a sort of lemur or bat, clinging to existence. It feels complex. A correlation between rats and wrongs. I’m trying to fix part of a sail. Holding up a white flag. Surrender. But with difficulty. Unwillingly. Surrender to what? I can’t get drunk now. I hear the dogs on the lawn. Actually there is no lawn.

love history in noise

       take something without fixed incredibly blade cut through little bits yes hello so when i knew he was you don’t tell me i created started to nothing in mind sometimes throw out the window for the fantasy through bad warp wave so beautiful we don’t have no words we beauty of one recall became oracular groan on the pale air

       distortion voices available a formula candid to this investigation not what skills not how you think about life baby special break down habits and expectations collisions novelties by logical thought the going about that not long after came to velvet made it fucking amazing nothing before in furs sex and smell

       hear a bit of the rest of me nod to the tiny blips of ontology open the swim machine no fear sing the warm elastic with a grassy overdub open up your blood sideways in your bedroom something ice falls i want you any more we wick the lamp and then something happens gentle and surprising oh my god i live in the shift

       we met a beautiful couldn’t read other taken voice in blood certainly different interesting have a good communication refused it turned out burn magic available to see some form happening pulsing feedback carried on doing including this in the fun house in rooms in rain rooms in snow rooms we wore out history not waiting not wanting the information that precedes the event

       charming and helpful transmissions third mind about it nothing clear we book silence everything can be sound in the closing mutter breaking down lets try doesn’t matter neck the weird exploding its possible its urge complete it amplify don’t talk no money machines made for us leak into fetish

       surveillance bug in the mercenary brothel atmosphere we sequence the quenching random massive information don’t matter buy a side of everything we listen and like and do again walking across ridiculous sound association something churns obviously instead of joy engine hits the high notes the chorus for our wounds swallow again a throb a scream a shriek fight chant and hate each to each other in pleasure and defense against the music

       life with the death of the secret how did it end up we carried on image was a long way away you don’t know me to be credible cease and refuse blank here we go crash oh no extremely visceral intimate invitations by serious unnerving what else do i explain to death abasement the pit and no broken we build the fix and do it wrong by mistake random signals speak and monitor the history no reassembly before the marvelous if you see a door always a leave your foot strategy

       parallel split lives why learn who won didn’t change shit across the globe always been there in your life yes how many exited our just genre not afraid in your heart deadpan with a big thing shock to degradation of the instrument years to persuade experiments did finally listen skip go back we here our history catalogue its sound went yammer yammer never one yammer marching through the sunrise soon on my knees selling silence the voices what the hell it really says what it really says i met and i’m away from you ha

Joan Harvey’s fiction, poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in dozens of literary journals including Bomb, Web Conjunctions, Blaze Vox, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Blackbox Manifold, Drunken Boat, Smokelong Quarterly, Otoliths, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Tampa Review, Another Chicago Magazine and many more.

She’s won prizes for both poetry and fiction. A piece she wrote about the 2016 US election, “Ghost Ship of State,” was performed as a small opera. She is a monthly columnist for the blog 3 Quarks Daily and is a graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

Copyright © 2019 by Joan Harvey, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.