Blake Butler has been published or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter,
Black Warrior Review, Pebble Lake Review, Phoebe, etc. He was
shortlisted in Best American Nonrequired Reading of 2005. He
blogs at blakebutler.blogspot.com.
What to do with nowhere
In the living room my parents would sit for hours never knowing I'd hidden the JC Penny catalog bra section to the left of the television. The fan will continue to blow slower. This room is smaller than it was yesterday. I am coming down with cold. In the coming months I will not sweat. Swear you say so. The paint around the borders. In want of bulging child. I once paid a man in t-shirts to collect the smacky crap between the high walls of this home. The phone only rings at moments of cleanest calm. What my mind wants it might have. The yard is full of children. My collection of teeth will soon demolish the entire world's imagination. I don't have a problem except for lack of exit. The wire frying in the bulb. This afternoon is wholesome and yet somehow I've felt nothing but old skin. Marks of your nails from some short night. We never fall asleep. We sat upstairs in your bedroom beside your mother's and listened to her squirm. What a voice. A shot. Some short bunt. The line of white dots from white window light refracted reminds me of a woman's spine. I will be an old woman someday if I am lucky. Muscle envy. Baptism wafer. The soft head reclined or underwater. What do you think about when you're off? I'll sell my time off under sand. The sandwich was delicious. Thanks. There are so many things I need to scratch. The light's switch so far from the bed floor. Nod if you're awake. Something in my cell phone makes the monitor click before it's ringing, though sometimes it clicks and there's no call.
I don't want to get up yet. I feel pimpled. I sense the terrorizing of long veins. Fumble digits. Turtle baby. Wipe yourself off with the sheet. He had the greatest mustache, if you could imagine, if you could ever think of hair. Light blue corduroy lined coffin on backorder. You'd be surprised at the flavor a paycheck, though be careful of the paper edge. Someone once emailed me visual instructions on how to stuff a gummy worm down your urethra. I won't think to save this until it's too late. Paint below the paint. Clockwise bible. Month of donor. Mouth to mouth in hallways, gone. Any combination of correct digits will connect a caller to the one you love. What voices tie the ribbon. Covert masturbation somewhere senseless in the dark. Someone's mother made this blanket. It will not last forever.
Could you not have told me sooner. For weeks we chewed into the fan. Another thing I always wanted was my arm elbow-deep in the VCR. The wedding trellis made of paper. Vast condition. Liquid net. What splices from no brother. The commercials made my dentist who he is. Palm fronds over the window. Summer light. Evacuated. If someone kills their neighbor in unconscious terror, is it still considered self defense. The dust map on the fan blades. The weeks we could have been aroused. I will find a box large enough to ship this building. I will yip into a corridor. There are houses where the walls bleed. I believe the things I confabulated at age five. Sandcastle destination. Eternal home life. Blitz of sneeze. Loophole in the loophole. Ash fountain in the head. What sentence would most break you. What cheese would appear in your folds. The clothes purchased without fitting. One brown evening I will trip the signal that brings the whole sky to its knees. Elastic infant. Coupled cream rinse. One day there will be quiet. I've never sneezed a bird but I have ambitions. Accidental layer. How deep the nostrils go. No interruption. No blood ceiling. Fuses fused to make a ring. This bottle of hot sauce will erupt without warning on the first night of your disease.
The ice piled in the freezer will one day make someone a happy man. Dread bubble popped for no one. Leather on the breeze. The sidewalks are busy cracking. I have your vacation all lined up but you will have to send for it in writing. Sour wisdom. Attic portal. If only you could swim so far. Turn the volume down, I'm thinking of what I've shaken off my shoulders.
Golden trombone solo for the years of shit shoved in my closet. Carried with no lid for invitation of the dust. Wire nostrils. Undivided. From how far away can you see me coming when I wear the handmade puff paint sweatshirts my aunt gifted seven years for Christmas. No nozzle for this beverage. The tire wishes it were flat. I would buy you a soldering iron but I am afraid of where it'd lead. My message will be delivered when you are not home. We could spend so many weekends hid in that lard. I know what the doctor kisses with his own mouth. The grass was dead before it woke. We ordered shutters for our shutters. Whim ambition. Or you could wonder. One condition: will you still come over if I'm underwater. The insects keep finding new ways in.
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