QUIET LIGHTNING IS

:
a monthly submission-based reading series with 2 stipulations:
1. you have to commit to the date to submit 2. you only get up to 8 minutes

submit@quietlightning.org

sub scr i b e
1 year + 12 issues + 12 shows for $100

a

k

i e t q u

l i g h t n i n g

b

e

l

i

n rk

sp
l

sparkle + blink 45
© 2013 Quiet Lightning ISBN 978-1-304-49629-4 artwork © Cate White catewhite.com Invocation: An Essay by Jennifer Cheng first published as a chapbook by New Michigan Press “Roses” by Mira Martin-Parker first published in Ragazine book design by j. brandon loberg set in Absara Promotional rights only. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission from individual authors. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the internet or any other means without the permission of the author(s) is illegal. Your support is crucial and appreciated.

quietlightning.org
su bmit @ qui e tli g h tn i n g . o r g

CONTENTS
curated by

Chris Cole, Meghan Thornton and Evan Karp
featured artist Cate

White

Set 1
SEAN LABRADOR Y MANZANO Clerestory KELLY EGAN Ducklings

1 5 6 7 9 19 23 27

Pastures Nancy
KEN GROBE

DAVY CARREN

The Hardcore Pornography of Tennesee Williams

NAOMI GOLDNER Tunnels

Lydia Deetz’s Final Suicide Note CHARLIE GETTER Untitled

set 2
JENNIFER CHENG NEIL CARMAN

KAI CARLSON-WEE CHLOÉ VEYLIT

Invocation: An Essay from the diary of j. robert oppenheimer

37 75

Deer Bones 83 Thresher 85
JANET FRISHBERG JASON SCHENHEIT

gough cough - philip roth… anomie All Sorts of Stories That Body

87 89 91 93 103

MIRA MARTIN-PARKER Roses

E T L IG I U Q

HTNING IS SPONSORED

BY

lagunitas.com

QUIET LIGHTNING
A 501(c)3, the primary objective and purpose of Quiet Lightning is to foster a community based on literary expression and to provide an arena for said expression. QL produces a monthly, submission-based reading series on the first Monday of every month, of which these books (sparkle + blink) are verbatim transcripts. Formed as a nonprofit in July 2011, the board of QL is currently: Evan Karp founder + president Chris Cole managing director Josey Lee public relations Meghan Thornton treasurer Kristen Kramer chair S.B. Stokes director of volunteers Sarah Ciston director of books Jacqueline Norheim art director Sarah Maria Griffin and Ceri Bevan directors of special operations If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in helping—on any level—please send us a line: evan@quietlightning.org

QUIET LIGHTNING

TOUR THROUGH TOWN
In 2013, Quiet Lightning is teaming up with a different literary organization each month in order to bring together the many outstanding series and organizations of the Bay Area literary world, and to introduce its various audience members to programming they might like but not yet know about. For these reasons, we will create custom-designed shows that combine the defining features of Quiet Lightning with those of each month’s partner organization. This month’s collaboration with the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers—finale of the annual three-show summer series The Greenhouse Effect—is the eleventh show of our Tour and our fourth year in partnership with Litquake, San Francisco’s literary festival.
For details on the TOUR T H R OU GH T OWN visit our website:

QUIETLIGHTNING.ORG

- SET 1 -

SS

S

S SSS

SSSSSSSYSMSSZ

C L E R E ST O R Y

SS

S

They cannot speak their names it is the only violence left widespread and moist all who will ignore them will ignore them all who will ignore them will not know of the night they will ignore their stoicism for indifference ignore the stoicism of her cuntcervix ignore the cicatrix of her stoicism they are circumventing tunics and reinventing cunt captivity they are circumventing tunics and reinventing slippage and are slop drunk they are circumventing tunics and staggering slop drunk chancel dancers they are circumventing tunics and redressing providence’s carillon coda they are circumventing tunics and tumbling down and tumbling down they are circumventing tunics enlisting the night tulips enlist fucking tulips tumbling down tumbling down what window what open window an empty vase an empty widow
1

they will stare out that open window greet st. Ignatius of the panhandle of the panhandlers, Caravaggio strokes pieta an open fist in an open window they will find curled and mercurial and speculate what widows do with unclenched fists they do not still themselves they do not allow for fascination there is no stillness in the kiss what cunt open and widowed they will be affixed in stanza they may see themselves paginated editorialized in a poets rag his rag mouth a vacant room for courting vagrant and profane writing in the shadow of st. ignatius fucking in the shadow of st. ignatius for them dark discrete antimonianisms bed the next laureate a fog builds the Headlands at the toll gate tongue relaxes cunt and the gatekeepers enjoy these annual conquests open submissions for anyone crawling the space between legible and palimpsest a woman who needs a new pen name submerged in a footnote
2

she is open to her un-naming and re-naming she can undress skulking self-redaction hollow as castaway artifact, ripped fabric and floating in private space gesturing ligatures he genuflects she lifts she lies on her side he traces chevets sweating the corporal she takes the shape of a sound belled and hourglassed they are poets fucking mad in the presbytery what fictions will they make of themselves to remain unmoved to remain unheard in a syllabic cloud by grammar or votive the lover is a true modernist of the late late capitalist postcolonial period he shrugs the orthogonal rapture for every dissertation accepted and shelved there is transaction before st. Ignatius widows the body tumbling her down tumbling her down he thinks of fucking when he should be thinking of poetry he thinks of poetry when he fucks, thinking how she will appear in his next poem. These auditions, no one believes or questions when anthologized.
SE AN LABRA DOR Y MANZANO

3

Watch Sean Labrador y Manzano read "Clerestory"

KKKKKKKKKK

D U C K LI N G S
The last duckling in the line squiggled to catch up, squiggled to catch up, squiggled to catch up. The last duckling in the line squiggled to catch up, squiggled to catch up. Always just a foot behind, the last duckling in the line squiggled to catch up. The others all just seem to bob.

5

PASTURES
The caterpillar landed upside down but didn’t pause. He simply swiveled his furry yellow body around and continued as if there had been no fall, as if the great brown plank had not in a blink given way to the pine needle paisley of the forest floor. No pause, only many legs finding the ground and keeping on toward a horizon of tall grass. Both nothing and everything could change his path. What with all those feelers, and the speed at which change sets a course, there would always be something in the scrambled pastures beneath the pouring sun for a furry yellow body to touch.

6

NANCY
In the arched casement of the tower a sturdy candlelight gleamed a welcome. Nancy Drew ran her hands along the wooden panel, searching for signs of a spring. Inside the front cover, I’d scribbled my name in purple ink. I was ten, I was eighteen, Titian-haired, fashionable, and searched in the cobwebbed corners of old, ornate houses for clues. I crept through drafty hallways of mansions at midnight, discovering spiral-stair passageways leading to candlelit towers where secret doings were underway. I dusted for fingerprints on chandeliers and cruised in a blue convertible down yellowed country roads, faint outlines of concrete and marble suggesting a city somewhere on the outskirts of Chicago. I’m right, she thought, It is a twisted candle! Something must be hidden behind there. But how do I open that door? I followed suspect characters
KE llY EGAN

7

to abandoned houses on the edges of town. I wore a skirt and tights, blouse and a hat, carried only a flashlight and lock-picking kit. I was knocked out, thrown into closets, wrists and ankles bound. When I came to, I waited, listened for sounds, snug in the spiderless dark.

Watch Kelly Egan read "Ducklings", "Pastures", and "Nancy"

8

KKKKKKKKK

THE H ARDCORE PORNOGRAPHY

O F T E N N ES

EE W IL LI A M S

(A recent discovery in a Florida Keys storage locker uncovered unfinished works from the legendary Tennesee Williams. A short scene from an unfinished screenplay written by Mr. Williams, Damnation’s Crest is reprinted here, complete with notes from the author.) [OPEN on The Wainwright plantation outside of Decatur, GA, 1944. The living room of the “big house.” It is a scalding, mid-June evening. Simply sweltering.] [LORETTA WAINWRIGHT shines from the divan, wearing a kimono and nursing a cool mint julep. She is a handsome, shapely woman, late 40s, hardened by the departure of her husband and the immanent failure of her crops.] [The doorbell rings. LORETTA strides the room to address it.] [Young LAWRENCE FITZGERALD, 21, stands in the doorway. He is a shy, muscular man with brooding, Sal Mineo-esque looks. His breath quickens at the sight of her.]

9

LORETTA: Why, little Lawrence Fitzgerald, as I live and breathe! LAWRENCE: A pleasure to see you, Mrs. Wainwright. LORETTA: And me in my drinking Kimono! I did not expect you. My Steven doesn’t return from the Army for another-LAWRENCE: I didn’t come to see your son, Mrs. Wainwright. I came to see you. LORETTA: Why, whatever for? LAWRENCE: Please don’t play the ingénue, ma’am. It ill-becomes. LORETTA: I’m certain I don’t understand-LAWRENCE: Mother says you haven’t been to a D.A.R. meeting in months! And you’ve stopped chaperoning the cotillion.
10

LORETTA: How could I, Lawrence? As a girl I LED the cotillion three years’ running! And now look at me! LAWRENCE: You’re every bit the vision today! LORETTA: Oh, dear. I refuse to humor such mendacity! May I offer you a drink, Lawrence? Bettina’s made a pitcher of juleps and I’ve only half-finished it. LAWRENCE: Mrs. Wainwright, I’m worried about you. It’s been two years-LORETTA: Please, Lawrence, I beg you not to-LAWRENCE: --TWO ENTIRE YEARS since Mister Wainwright left the plantation. I have stood by as this land wilted and curled like a plucked carnation. I won’t see that happen to you. I intend to freshen your carnation as if it were nourished by the sweetest morning dew. LORETTA: Oh, my. Lawrence, are you…calling on me?
KE N GROBE

11

LAWRENCE: Yes ma’am, I am. I am calling on you. I’ve wanted to call on you since I was a boy. LORETTA: Lawrence! I don’t know what to say. Please leave at once! [MRS. WAINRIGHT turns to the julep tray, seeking solace in a syrupy glass of deflection. LAWRENCE rushes to her, kissing the back of her neck. His calloused hands clutch her broad hips before moving upward to cup her heavy breasts as if they were life preservers and he were drowning in a sea of pheromone.] [I feel I must interject that normally, I would never stoop to such base prurience, even in a Hollywood screenplay. But my agent informs me that due to the success of last year’s DEEP THROAT, even the grandest studios are green-lighting pornography.] [But let us return to LAWRENCE’s rough fingertips as they separate the silky panes of Mrs. Wainwright’s kimono, exposing those pendulous mammaries and a surprisingly flat stomach for a woman of her mileage. His trembling digits then edge into her bloomers. She moans at the intrusion.] LORETTA: You’re surprisingly skilled for so young a man.
12

LAWRENCE: I’ve yet to expose the breadth of my skills, Mrs. Wainwright. LORETTA: I’m less interested in the breadth, Lawrence, than the girth. [Yes, I am aware of the juvenile vulgarity I am scrawling. I blame my agent and Hurricane Bethany, the latter of which left my Key West estate in considerable disrepair. And so I take to the Underwood to cobble 70 pages of lucrative smut. I suspect I shall be finished by lunchtime.] [I am, however, cursed with a minor handicap, in that I lack experience in matters vaginal. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I am gayer than Truman Capote’s perfume table. Thus, I will allow this film’s doubtlessly-gifted “director” and on-set “talent” to choreograph the mechanical rutting that is to occur, and the victorious effluvium that shall conclude it.] LORETTA: My, my, MY, Lawrence. I can barely catch my breath. You have worked me like a Turk! LAWRENCE: You’re no wilting spinster either, Mrs. Wainwright.

KE N GROBE

13

LORETTA: Please! I can’t bear to hear my surname from your precious lips. LAWRENCE: Whatever shall I call you, then? PATSY: What about “HARLOT?” [Enter PATSY DEVEREAUX, a virginal blossom of plantation womanhood in a pastel tea dress. She is a flawless southern belle, the type LORETTA once was before life shattered her every aspiration.] PATSY: Lawrence Fitzgerald! I suspected your sniffing after this wizened piece of trash. But to find you together in post-coital embrace? I DARE you to explain yourself. LORETTA: Patsy, in the name of all that’s Christian-PATSY: I shall NOT receive a lesson in Christianity from an adulterer and a fallen woman! Why, the very mendacity of it makes me feel… strangely… flushed...
14

[Predictably, the trio embarks on an acrobatic program of molestation, during which some sort of music should play. I recommend it be the type with the wukkity-wukkity guitar sound and flute solos that underscore so much of the onanistic fodder sloshing through adult theaters today.] [In case the director requires some copulatory interjections, might I suggest:] LORETTA: Oh, my goodness! PATSY: Heavens! LAWRENCE: That feels marvelous! [As well as:] LORETTA: Ravage my nethers! PATSY: Where is my parasol? LAWRENCE: That does not go there!
KE N GROBE

15

PATSY: MENDACITYYYYY! [Let us assume the groping and thrusting have concluded for now.] LORETTA: Would anyone care for a mint julep? [The doorbell rings.] PATSY: I wonder who would call at this time of day? PIZZA MAN: Pizza delivery! LORETTA: How curious! I certainly do not recall ordering pizza. [My agent informs me that successful pornography must always include a pizza delivery scene, involving a moment of confusion, followed by a surprising moment of exposure, then several encased meat enténdres, and a predictable but energetic return to sweaty coupling. Directly afterwards, the delivery man forgives the young lady’s debt as regards the aforementioned pizza. None of which explains the presence of pizza delivery in 1944.]
16

[This is an excellent time to reveal that I broke a bone in my foot during the hurricane and am writing this script entirely on morphine pills.] END

Watch Ken Grobe direct "The Hardcore Pornography of Tennessee Williams"

KE N GROBE

17

NN

NNNNNNNNNNN

T U N N E LS
He says he thinks of me every time the BART train stops in the tunnel. That stillness, the momentum halted and left hanging so that the fluorescent lights become all at once blinding. He says he looks around and sees other people who are nervous just like I would be. He thinks of me when the BART train, for no apparent reason, stops in the tunnel before a stop, anxious ears all eagerly listening for that low high pitched roar of the train picking itself up where it left off, gliding with ease into the station. It’s not just tunnels, it’s elevators as well. He doesn’t think of me every time he steps into an elevator, but I do that thinking for myself enough. Great grandmother in her retirement home, ten flights up, and there I was, climbing each floor for every weekly visit. Holocaust trip in high school, Polish hotel, floor 11, up the flights of stairs three times a day. He knows I don’t like the closed spaces that won’t let me out when I need to be let out. So he opens the door for me. “You know, if you were one of those husbands who said they would leave their wife if she ever had an affair, you know I wouldn’t stay with you.” It’s an
19

afternoon in our kitchen, my eyes are dripping onto the table, I have a bowl of salted and roasted peanuts in front of me. He is drying the dishes with a bright pink kitchen towel that I know isn’t clean enough to be used for wiping dishes, but I let it go this time -- his eyes fall on me, ready to answer. “Yes, I know. That’s why you married me.” He opens the cupboard and places a stack of porcelain dessert bowls on the shelf. His knees crack as he kneels down and his smooth skin is revealed just below his waistline. His words comfort me but also do this thing to my insides, this thing that I’ve felt before but cannot link to a memory. He stands back up and faces me, flinging the dishtowel over his shoulder. “Just don’t tell me, that’s all I ask.” His words are simple, and I think of the tunnels and the elevators and how he says he thinks of me when he finds himself in one of those BART cars, book in hand, lifting his eyes to see who is nervous like his wife would have been were she sitting here beside him. And I know his words are true, they fall onto our ugly brown linoleum floor one at a time like small pebbles making almost no sound and no dent, just falling one by one and finding their place after a short roll. Just. Don’t. Tell. Me. When I was seventeen and met him, he told me I was disabled. He told me that not stepping foot into an elevator because I was scared was the same
20

as not being able to go down a flight of stairs in a wheelchair. So I took his hand and descended that one long flight into the basement of an art show he had taken me to. We were Tel Aviv hipsters without yet knowing the term, his hair combed back with grease and his boots pointy and worn. And once in, I didn’t want to get out of that elevator, wanted to seat myself comfortably in the smallest of spaces with him for eternity, to never have to search for a distant horizon in an open space again. I saw small patches of heaven in his green eyes. I married him. Seventeen years later he tells me he thinks of me every time the BART train makes a sudden stop in the middle of a tunnel. He tells me that he thinks of how I would start turning pale, then bright red, how my palms would sweat and I would get this look in my eyes like a beast in a cage ready to pounce and kill and destroy. Seventeen years later and we are sharing an afternoon hour in a San Francisco kitchen, oceans away from where our love first hatched. He’s now done drying the dishes but my eyes are still leaking at the thought of him thinking of me forever in those dark tunnels; thinking of me sharing a ride with someone else, a stranger, who might hold my hand and reassure me once the elevator doors have finally opened, that there is always a way out.

NAOmI GOlDNE R

21

Watch Naomi Goldner read "Tunnels"

DDV

DDDDDDDD

FI N A L S UI C I D E N O T E
It’s wedding weather, bleak with bright, but I am still so utterly alone. Utterly. Sable eyed and stabbed by grief like Polonius through a curtain. Well, here goes one last something. My toast just popped right out of the toaster and onto the floor this morning. I am tired of smiles, of pop songs, of endless iterations and reiterations of names, of license plates, of background music, of bad carpet, of people who laugh too much and people who do not laugh enough, of the crimp of ill-fitting dresses, of styles and stipulations and storks who never come calling. Can’t somebody, anybody, please come around and pay me some attention? Anybody? Mostly, I’ve just grown tired of being me. Numbness follows me wherever I go. It layers me with casual despondency, with a lather of duped solace that doesn’t suit me at all, but it does its work nonetheless.

LY D I A D E E T Z ’ S

23

I mailed a postcard to a sick friend yesterday. On the bottom I wrote, “Edgar Allen Poe was an asshole, Best Fishes!” Okay. Okay. I must, at some point, come to the point of this. Because this “this” is all that will be left after I shove off here for one final “that”. I realize that there are no take-backs in this hari-kari business. It is strictly a one-shot deal. All I want is a sunny courtyard with a few palm trees, a nice breeze trickling in, a good place to sit. No nags of responsibility or gothic chimes. Perhaps I will not wear black. I’ve retraced other options at least. Have I become lame in my later years? A grumpy outsider out of touch with everything I once held dear? I have the worst hat-hair on the planet: a deranged dahlia chomped with marigold teeth. Take a picture of me. Go ahead. It won’t make this last any longer. Ignore me. I want to be ignored. I want to paint circus colors deep into the sidewalk. Don’t notice me at all. Go ahead. Every last damn thing around here just makes me mad. I don’t count my steps anymore. I don’t catalogue the TV commercials in a notebook for dangerous keeping. I don’t make carp-bone salad sandwiches or roll my eyes at horrible faux-art sculptures. Can’t keep complaining forever; but I still do. Utterly, utterly.
24

Stuffy is my middle name. There is something irrevocably wrong with me. Bathroom tiles are ebon seashells. The water’s dashed with iodine and the tears of sham friends. Toads reign in the box spring. The dull notes of sanity ripple through my brain like air conditioning. I breathe with the horrifying wheeze of normal life: the one I pretend not to be leading. Whatever takes the place of the heart’s gone. Like a wild rye ear with awns, scraping by. It pouts. It moons. It is not always yours to keep. It is too hard to believe, the traction of this melancholia; so I won’t. Have you ever wanted to die? Before there were places to go, things to be or do; but now there is only muck and ruin. I don’t ride on trains anymore. I don’t follow the shapes of deteriorating buildings into fields of Brush-footed butterflies. I am suspect to creaks in the framework. Nobody helps me on with my coat anymore. Call me in for a late supper before the streetlights come on one last time. And for my final meal? Fried Bald Eagle eggs with a side of steamed dandelion stems. I am no longer in control of my personality. A fad of saying thanks to the person to whom you are giving something. I want Nurse Salt, not Doctor Pepper; that is my only radio station. There is a place in my mind that I have reached from which there is no turning back. My heels won’t click without me. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetle… oh hell. It’s no use.
DAVY CA RRE N

25

Mad, sad, and dangerous to know. The whole world is black and violet with me. Sundry devils in my mind, only a “will not” where there used to be a “could not.” No return visits. The chalky rind of whitefaced deliverance, and so utterly alone, as always. My choices are no longer my own, except this one last one, that is, really, not a choice at all, but a necessary extrapolation on the strange and unusual pastures of being ignored. And so, my time’s put in and out, just to say things like, “Having plummeted off the winter river bridge,” and to leave all the by-the-timeyou-read-this hackneyed business to the feathers of fall. There are upside-down umbrellas filled with asparagus soup in my shoddiest daydreams. The witches of Belvoir are flying low. Prince Valium’s gone to the mice, and I do not own a single cat. This is not a warning. This is blue roots and a mood to match. I will call my own name this time. Maybe it’ll do, at last. The blackbirds are not singing my song, sloshed with nothing to embrace, grubby inside and out, it won’t hold or dance or stay with me, sway with me, take the tune to my wrecked head and smash until it’s pulp. Finally, there might be something to write home about. Finally these letters might end. Kindly, sadly, stupidly, and utterly, utterly yours, L Deetz
26

Watch Davy Carren read "L Deetz's…"

CC

CCCCCCCCCCCC

UNTITLED
I live on an iceberg It’s cold and lonely of course and the mail delivery is spotty at best but I don’t think I’d want it any warmer for fear I might drown in th-the cold water in the cold cold water my iceberg has only a little bit poking above, most is underneath and most people can’t get close because of the hidden ice but I know as long as there’s ice I’ll stay afloat it’s even colder water that saves me from the cold from the cold cold water from th-the cold water when I was a kid
27

read about a plan to tow a giant iceberg down south to the Persian gulf so oil billionaires could make cubes from Arctic Ice but no lawyer attached to an emir has ever knocked on my door across the cold, the cold water, the cold water, Hermits blog, you can’t avoid the fact that Hermits blog everything is connected and rerouted and stitched back into everyone else and that’s why it gets so lonely and that’s why icebergs get denizens I want to eat alligators whole I want to find the Holy Grail I want a giant motor and propeller and I want to sail the equator
28

until the water swallows me up but I’m quiet when I should speak up and talk too much all the rest of the time and I want to get away but instead I drift with the currents at the whim of a world that’s warming so that someday Santa Barbara will be relocated to the north coast of Canada and polar bears will become quaint things people used to remember and if I am to live forever I’ll need to grow gills but the sea has many fish in it and unfortunately many of them are much bigger than me
CH A RlI E GE T T E R

29

I dreamt last night of a log cabin on a mountain where I could slowly starve as an aesthetic praying all day until the heavens reach down to snatch me up and the mountain sighs happy to be rid of me and it stands up on its hind legs and vaults itself into space tired of this planet it chooses to be its own asteroid and the sky burns itself like a Buddhist monk who doesn’t agree with something and the sea sees the space vacated by the mountain and claims it for itself flooding the new plains swallowing the lowlands while God plays scrabble on his phone
30

and would be paying attention but he’s trying for a triple word score but none of this is real it’s just a tumble around a mind who floats around on an ice cube and sometimes the sun comes up out of the fog and I sit on a block of ice I’ve cut into a bench to sit on outside my door and clouds float by slowly without any discernible wind and I think I’m floating south which I guess is a bad thing and I’m not sure if the water is cold because it just is or if the water is cold because I’m on an iceberg I make the water cold around me the cold cold water
CH A RlI E GE T T E R

31

th-the cold the cold water if my iceberg were made of rocks they’d call it an island and if it were more rocks yet it’d be a continent and I might be the iceberg because I’m not made of rocks and no man is an island but man is at least seventy percent water and honestly there’s no continent I’ve stood upon that I haven’t felt out of place and I’ve been on three of seven and that’s a pretty representative sample but as they say on one of those continents «ne me quitte pas» or maybe that’s just a song, so «ne me quitte pas» although I may quitte on my own damn self but if I do you can read it on my blog somewhere in the water
32

in the cold damn water on a block of ice somewhere

Watch Charlie Getter perform "Untitled"

CH A RlI E GE T T E R

33

Watch Quiet Lightning 50 video with music scored live by Stella Peach

Now watch Stella's bonus track

- SET 2 -

JJJ

JJJJJJJJJJJ

INVOCATION
A N E S S AY

37

The world begins with a voice shut tightly, a closed throat.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

39

40

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

41

When I speak, bitter molasses drips from my tongue into still water basins. A sound in water wants to find the surface, but depths of water fill and push down. It happened one day that the body tried to open its wings and found it could not make a noise.

The speech act runs parallel to the act of assertion, of proof. She aligns her feet under the table. Self-portrait entitled How to Part the Seas so the Sun Shines On It. Before moving to Iowa, she was often called Loud Small Girl.

42

If it is true that the number of sentences coming out of my mouth is in direct relationship to my body in the world, then bones will become smaller, vacant. When I speak to the lady behind the counter or the person sitting next to me, I can never predict how my voice will sound: smooth, abrupt, flat, brittle, lingering. Now, it comes in tiny microscopic knots or large empty spaces, often then followed by Did you say something? or a continued conversation elsewhere around me. So that afterward in the darkness as I am riding home, I am looking out the window, thinking of octopi on the ocean floor and what they see at night.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

43

44

There are those who are born mute and those who develop levels of silence later in life. In hospitals there are patients who know what they want to say but cannot form the correct sounds, so it emerges as gibberish to the ears of the hearer—a kind of disconnect. And in other places, in secret places now hidden away, words are simply broken and language is splintered; sometimes there are children who stop speaking for inexplicable reasons, unknown even to them. And there is a kind of void, an absence, as if God was being flown away on a loose string in the sky.

(As if, at the same time, the world was hovering lower.)

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

45

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

47

The Breadth of an Utterance: 1. In a house crowded with other people, the night ends with her sitting on the floor in the shadow of a chair, eating slowly with a fork. It has to do with not knowing a way of being, of using language, a rhythm of body, which is to say it begins with uncertainty and ends with something darker.

48

2. When you are a child you are instructed to speak with a six-inch voice. This is to control the projection of words—a barrier that encloses your sound. 3. Eve, who was left with nothing to name and so wandered off alone into the moonless forest: wisps of lead-colored moss. 4. In a pool that is five feet deep, the water covers my head and I tiptoe-drift in the lukewarm encircling me, sun refracting shapes. I open my mouth, exhaling, vibrating, watching my muted sounds float tensely to the surface in little off spring bubbles.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

49

Ghostly antics: Before women were unseen, they were unheard. They lived in silent rooms. Children who are repeatedly forgotten by those around them soon begin to slip. They find themselves in a place feeling like something of a foreigner. Illness: If you can’t understand the ways of the people around you, like subtle shifts in movement. If you never felt that familiarity, and you are overwhelmed by the largeness, the lightness of the bodies surrounding you. Shut spaces: If the cavernous silence extends to the turning of the earth, where all gods and winged creatures drop over the edge.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

51

52

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

53

As if Jonah had been left in the whale, and the tree had withered on its own. As if a moth had fallen into a glass jar and lay bare. As if the air were made of a thick, viscous liquid and at the same time something empty. As if it had all turned to salt. As if a great shape had somewhere departed and in its place, a hole.

54

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

55

One sun-lit afternoon I fall asleep on my white bed, the thin curtain at the window completely still, and dream my mother is dead. I wake in my sheets, wet and crying, my body heavy and aching. I walk around the silent apartment aimlessly, the light still coming in through the window heavily. I call her on the phone but do not speak.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

57

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

59

I think of small creatures beating softly in the darkness, of seahorses treading lightly on bright pebbles, wrapping their tails around blades of murky, shadowed grass.

60

Somewhere in the midnight, a childhood across the sea, a black ocean constellation. Sometimes children stop speaking because, lost in a stranger’s land, they are left with only their bodies. Without maps, they trace lines of light on the palms of their hands.

Tucked into the folds of growing stalks and stems, the only sound they hear is the silence of their bodies, turned from frozen glass.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

61

Before words, things were formless and void. Darkness was hovering.

(She walks through the grocery store while pushing a cart. She waits in line. She pays the cashier. She washes vegetables, turning each leaf over. She closes the refrigerator, sits at a table. She turns on the water in the bathtub. She looks at the tiles, blinking through droplets. She puts on a shirt, brushes her teeth. She turns off the light. She curls on the bed. She waits for her eyes to adjust to the dark.)

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

63

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

65

Sometimes the body reacts automatically and only later does the mind recognize and name what it is feeling. Sometimes the mind never recognizes so the body just continues. And amidst continuing, there are hollowed spaces in the corner between ligament and bone, the first step upward and the foot on the ground, my body touching the couch that is touching the floor that is touching the earth.

I make noises, stop, try to move my tongue, tongue over lips, tongue to the palate, mouth open, closed. Rain drips down from the bridge across the street.

66

And I wait as I sit riding on the bus, as I walk in and out of buildings. I wait for lines of air to move upward through the lungs, through ridges of tissue, oscillating. Circulating out through the oral cavity. For light to diffuse in through the curtains and catch on hanging birds. For the excavated space following me everywhere I go, just behind my head, to be filled with some sort of shadow and the whisper of a name.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

67

And somewhere just outside, on the doorstep of my house, even the saints do not wait; they lurk with lips sewn shut.

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

69

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

71

JE NNI F E R CH E NG

73

Watch Jennifer Cheng present "Invocation"

NNNN

NNNNNNN

J. ROBEM T H E D I A R Y O RT OPPENH EIM E R
august 5, 1945 they called me a traitor only because i cared enough to know what they would do to my little boy once everyone had been spoken for. i was alone when he was born from my head & raised his clarion cry of war to the broad sky. ouranos and mother gaia trembled to hear. i was alone when they sent men from the alphabet agency who bared their teeth and told me “you will not lay a hand on the boy. you will not do anything to him. now we know that you fear god,
75

FRO

F

because you have not withheld from us your son your only son.” it is true: we gave everything to the war effort, and walking down any main street i saw the blood & the sweat running in rivulets, rosie the riveter, gold stars (burning holes) in widowed windows. & today there exist in temples book-chests which we ourselves have seen and when these temples were plundered we are told they were emptied by our own men in our own time. it is true. i cried when they salted my land & destroyed my house. but why would i look back? i heard ancient voices struggling against a world
76

which constantly threatened to crush them guiding me to the edge of town before i gave up. so when i reached the king’s highway i started walking and never stopped & a thousand years fell before me as i flew past the deceit of the missionaries & the despair of the strip malls. tail-lights raced away from me in streaks carrying hopes and dreams with them all routes to the sound of their own panicked breaths before they disappeared. that day i was alone with thousands of flowers blooming in avenues running both sides of the road to forever wherever bicyclists and the innocent had been mowed down. when i crossed the dunes

NE I l CA RmAN

77

to see the candles the oil derricks hold above the ocean i found you on the shoreline with the wind blowing the sand past your legs the same way it moves across the elysian fields the same way it whispers to the saints. and you looked so beautiful it went beyond physics and desert country; for one whole minute you made me forget (i could just reach out and change the world). november 26, 1945 after the subduction of the barely-legal centuries we were free to make mountains out of molehills (greeley said “go west” but he meant up & america popped a star-spangled boner at the thought of homogenizing morality, progress great intangible aspirations and skyscrapers:

78

building the vast phallic frontier) & no man was too unimportant to take up no case too daunting to take on. justice! that blind bucking bronco was now as relatively brilliant as einstein and his speed of light so they put her in the cultural pantheon for the benefits of ooos and aaas & the indoctrination of children on field trips. as the latest proceedings unfolded, i was joined in the jury box by a tumbleweed from los alamos a palm tree from bikini atoll a cherry blossom from japan & henry fonda’s steaming corpse. they were cross-examining an ideology, one of those formalities that don’t expect any real answers
NE I l CA RmAN

79

(like when the cashier asks you how you’re doing). & then i remember the prosecutor said he would show us fear in a handful of dust. to be in nagasaki in august was to see the realization of the secret cause of death the dead and the dying joined in nuclear hara-kiri, lying on their knees in (the ashen center of a four-cornered mat marked luke and john) their own pride, laid low by excess made examples of small benchmarks for the future to measure its missiles against. the surrender on the aircraft carrier was understanding nothing could ever happen know and grow back home for a long time and i floated across the land in the still air searching for something louder than the cemeteries.
80

then i heard that old sarabande the wind mowed on the mead, a faint ticking that signaled life’s end radiating from the ground, old men’s hearts and midnight. telegraphy by means of electric light -interrupted conversations, lost messages transpacific pain and sorrow transitively specific, the rhythm (one two three, one two three). february 1, 1961 so here’s to the armymajor who played a cowboy in that film (but for lack of real Tombstones in Hollywood i saw, i heard a eulogy for its dead) who was cowboys everywhere before they had to change
NE I l CA RmAN

81

here’s to that saguaro, sasparilla sonofabitch who wears the past on his face, hides in it and on his legs -- he just wants something to believe in who knew that progress makes dreams of our paths and wires and talking solitude and exile: he left the desert with a bombshell in his arms, following the second star to the right which wrinkles know twinkles no never land, to wit -- it’s home. ***

Watch Neil Carman read From The Diary of J. Robert Oppenheimer"

82

KK KK

KKKKKKK-KK

K

D EER B O NES
after Robert Bly

I felt the roof of my head break and clatter to the floor. I felt the particles dance in the empty and electric air, turning around in circles like plastic bags caught in a draft. I thought the river would swallow me whole, and the seagulls would never stop sailing away. Now the deer bones rattle on the bare wall. The night winds rest and clouds advance on clouds. Days fall back inside themselves like water. Now the river takes its color from the weeds and my friends are half asleep in their anticipated lives, dreaming in the vain styles of their age, painting their childhoods over their eyes, walking the ribbons of highways like crows. Now my mind moves back to my father’s Easter sermon, walking alone in the dark garden, lighting the trashcans on Division Street on fire, watching the fat police lumber to the flames. And my thirteenth birthday, setting off flares in the train-yard, scraping my name
83

on the rust-lined door. What became of those abbreviated years? Now they slump inside these passing days like sand. Now your face is hard to look at when you sleep. Your words become like putty in my ear. Now the cold hours wake me in the night, the oak leaves fall and linger in the wind, the swallows leave the shadow for the bridge, and the carp float dead in the metal grates below.

84

THRESHER
There has to be a tree. There has to be a sky. There has to be a chicken-hawk skating the dust rising out of a thresher. A ploughboy walking with a turtle in the head-high corn. There has to be a pool with a swirly slide entering the water. A chain-link cut by the field where I took Kerri-Ann to the river when the river was flooded. A burnt knife lettering her knee. And a song being played— All the girls are gone, All the head-strong good country girls are gone—from the window of a painted Accord. Her father standing drunk in the screen porch watching us dance. There has to be light falling into his body. And a muskie we pull from the mud puddles under the tracks. A reason we throw it in the pool where it wobbles and floats in the shivering wave-lines. Her father still watching us dance in his sleep. There has to be a fight, a cross-fade of landscape surrounding those liquor-marked breaths. Him catching her thigh. The two of them wishing to god they were drunker. And the black lines of telephone wires rise quiet as old men or grocery store crosses. The scarecrow in silhouette losing its face in the hypercolored dust and the clouds. There has to be
KA I CA Rls ON- WE E

85

light. And a circling car. And a song moving out of his body like something he names. A chicken-hawk rising on dust trails over the ditch where the boy now plays. The river still flooded, the dissipated clouds in the late-day in awe of their own color fading. There has to be a flood. And a promise of love. And a fish in the pool, and the pool gone dark where the turtle glides under the leaves.

Watch Kai Carlson-Wee read "Thresher"

86

CCC

CCCCCCCCC

GOUGH COUGH - PHILIP ROTH - A MORTALITY - PLAY ON THE STREET, MEN - IN MASKS PLAYING MASTER - MISTRESS AND - SHE SWALLOWED - SWEET TEMPERANCE
DANCING PENNIES - DOG ON MY CHEST - KNEES AS GOOD AS ROSE HIPS - THE TOWERING WOMAN BENDS AT THE WAIST - MOTHER OF PEARL REFLECTS THE EYES, CULTURES THE MOUTH - NO CALL - BIRDFLIGHT IN DIVINATION - WROTE - I’M TRYING TO SAY - LONGSHOTS, FROG BELLIES - I MISS YOU - TOY HOUSES, PAPER FIRE - MYCOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING OF TIME - THE IPAD BRIMSTONE MOUTH - PORTENTS WHIZZING DIAMONDS, SHRAPNEL - BURSTING STARS MY SISTER IS THE FLOWER ON THE BRANCH - CONGRATULATIONS APOLOGY - THE RING OF A CUP - 2012, EAR OF THE APOCALYPSE JUST SOUNDED RIGHT - ALL US SURVIVORS - HUDDLED - WATER - PLEASE PRESS THREE - MORE OPTIONS
87

ANOMIE
many fingered bureaucracy lapping at throats slow waving anemone on this april no last april or the april the year your sister first dated that jerk (which led to a line of jerks and now your sister’s eyes go baggy and you hear them on the phone inhaling and exhaling like cats) and heavens, you’ve filled out the wrong form, we asked for your dreams, and see, you’ve written, “at night the black tar comes up from the shoreline into [your] bedroom on the second floor, wading fruit trees, the black tar matching [your] knuckles, [your] throat, [your] ears.” triple-threat, what is, beige carpet ceiling, jeopardy in your pinked stuffed giraffe, complete with tiny pill body accompaniments, slinging mom’s new needles into the black leather sofa, while you wait for the doctor to pinch off another toe, which jumps up immediately to recite Hamlet, the Constitution, and sing you to sleep with Algerian lullabies (bullets) you’ve known so well

CH lOE VE Y lI T

89

Watch Chloe Veylit read "Gough Cough" and "Anomie"

A L L S O R TS O F ST O R IE S
“Who knows,” I told my friend Leah, sipping red wine from a sparkly glass on her black down comforter. “There are all sorts of stories.” She raised her eyebrows in that roof-of-a-house shape that shows she means it. I could have told her, “You might never see him again. Until it doesn’t matter to you anymore or you pretend it doesn’t.” He and I don’t speak anymore. It’s been 2 years. We share San Francisco and LA like they’re our children and we delegate custody through our Facebook statuses. A self-centered, sunny, smoggy boy for you, a foggy, smug, earnest girl for me. I could’ve told her, “I still feel the space where my head used to fit on his upper arm.” Or that sometimes on my naked body at night, his guitar-calloused hands are tracing my sides. Instead I said, “There are all kinds of stories,” and raised my hands up, open, which means, who knows? Not me. I told her, “I have a first date this Thursday.” I still
91

JJJ

JJJJJJJJJJJJ

don’t know if I’ll shave my legs, put on mascara. I watched my friend Ange and her boyfriend dance around each other this weekend, cooking chili, and wondered if and when I’d ever dinner-tango with someone again without stepping on each other’s feet. I have a first date this Thursday, like a stone I picked up at the beach and put in my pocket. It has a smooth spot on it now, worn down from my hands massaging it. But still I rub it, its cold sleek body comforting to my fingertips. Small. In my pocket. I double check to make sure: it’s still there.

Watch Janet Frishberg read "All Sorts of Stories"

92

MIRA MARTIN-PARKER
ROSES
Wali watched skeptically as Rasool crouched on the floor unfolding the carpet. “I’m not buying right now,” he said. “The store is way too full.” He lifted his arms and gestured around him. The floors were entirely covered with stacks of rugs, the walls were draped with ancient Chinese and Afghan pieces, and every isle was lined with either a Turkish runner or a faded Kilim. Just outside the door, greeting the numerous cars and pedestrians on College Avenue, was a stack of camel bags resting on a sawhorse. “Come on, Wali, just have a look. This is the most beautiful Gabbeh in the world, I swear,” Rasool said, winking at Wali. When Rasool had the carpet spread out evenly on the floor, Wali walked around its perimeter with his arms folded across his chest. “The colors are too bright—synthetic. And it can’t be more than fifty years old,” Wali said. “C’mon man, it’s beautiful! What’s wrong with you? You could sell it in a day and you know it,” Rasool snapped back.
MI RA MA RT I N- PA RkE R

93

Rasool was right, it was beautiful. Probably the most beautiful Gabbeh Wali had ever seen. Unlike the others, it was not dominated by eccentric geometric shapes and figures, making it look as if it were woven by a child. Instead the entire field was filled with brilliantly colored roses—magenta, orange, fuchsia, and gold, each lined up side by side, separated by an almost imperceptible square frame. It was also true that Wali could sell it in a day. In fact, he had at least three clients who would buy it unseen, over the phone, at whatever price he asked. Tribal carpets were hot, and Gabbehs the most collectable. Turning over a corner to inspect the knots, Wali realized the entire rug was as soft as a blanket. “How much?” Wali asked. “I won’t take less than ten thousand. You know it’s worth twice that—easy.” “But you still owe me five from the Mercedes,” Wali said. “Okay, five,” Rasool said firmly. “You’ve got to give it to me today though. My landlord’s going to throw me out of my apartment.” “Your wife’s on the phone, Wali,” Alexander the shop assistant called from the back of the store. “She wants you to pick up a bag of rice and some yogurt from Safeway on your way home.”
94

Wali did not respond. Instead he bent over and began folding up the rug. Rasool grabbed at the opposite end. “How’s Zara?” Rasool asked. “Fine.” “And your daughter, does she like college?” “Sure, she’s all right. Can you take a check?” “As long as it’s good.” After Rasool left, Wali put the carpet in the back office and went home for the day, leaving Alexander to close up. *** When Wali opened the shop the following morning the entire back office smelled of flowers. Not the sharp smell of a cheap perfume, but the intoxicating wine-like fragrance of a large blossoming red rose. Wali was reminded of his mother’s garden back home. “You see,” she would say, bending down to smell a rose, “they are sweet, just like God.” “Good morning,” Alexander said, arriving late for work, as usual.

MI RA MA RT I N- PA RkE R

95

“Good morning,” Wali answered, not looking up. “Hey, Alexander, did you have a girl in here last night?” Alexander was at that age and Wali knew he occasionally brought friends into the shop late at night to party. As long as they cleaned up after themselves and didn’t start a fire, he didn’t mind. “Of course not!” Alexander said, pretending to be offended. “Why?” “The place smells of flowers.” “I don’t smell anything,” Alexander said, sniffing at the air. “I guess it’s nothing. Forget it. I’m sorry.” Wali thought of calling Dr. Weinsfeld about the new Gabbeh. Then he remembered how pretty it was. Maybe I’ll hold off and keep it in the shop for a few days, he thought to himself. What do I need money for? Zara will just spend it on a new washing machine. No, I’ll savor it for a little while. Besides, it will be nice for the customers to see. Wali sat at his desk waiting for Sharon, the young girl from the hair salon next door, to come out for her morning cigarette. Unlike the other carpet dealers in town, Wali did not go out at night drinking or keep a mistress. Instead, he limited the pleasures in his life
96

to three: his wife’s cooking, spoiling his daughter, and visiting with Sharon in the morning when she had her cigarette. The problem was that lately, for some unknown reason, his wife had begun withdrawing the one last remaining bit of joy she still managed to give him. Her rice was almost always sticky now, her vegetables pale and lifeless, and she hardly ever used spices anymore. Lately his evening meal had become little more than the necessary acquisition of sustenance, ingested at a silent table. To make matters worse, his beautiful, most-beloved daughter had just started college and was hardly ever home. Sharon was all he had left. The minute he saw the edge of her flowered skirt in the front window, Wali grabbed his pack of cigarettes and leapt from his chair. “Good morning,” he said, smiling. “Good morning,” she said, smiling back. “How’s things?” “Okay,” Wali said, looking down at the pavement. “You look tired, Wali. You work too hard. What you need is a good massage.” Sharon stretched out her long, ringed fingers, and kneaded at the air like dough. Wali stared in enchantment. “You should come over to my place sometime after work, I’ll give you one. I’ve taken classes, you know.” Wali was blushing like a teenage boy.

MI RA MA RT I N- PA RkE R

97

“What’ll it be today?” he said, trying to change the subject. “A dragon, a lion, the Tree of Life, what about diamonds?” Each morning, Wali would ask Sharon this question, and then dash into his shop to look for a corresponding theme in a carpet for the front window. “Actually,” Wali said, remembering the rose rug, “I have a surprise for you.” He then stuck his head in the door and asked Alexander to hang the new rug in the front window. Now, Wali owned some pretty impressive carpets, and he was not stingy with what he allowed to be exposed to the harsh afternoon sun. Why, just yesterday he hung up a Nain that once belonged to the Shah of Iran, simply because Sharon asked for birds gathered around a fountain. But nothing, not even that silk Nain, had ever made her eyes sparkle quite the way they did when she saw Alexander unfolding the rose Gabbeh. “It’s beautiful,” she said, putting out her cigarette so she could go inside for a closer look. “Wali, it’s beautiful!” She repeated, brushing one of its soft corners against her cheek. “Where is it from?” “Iran. It was made by a nomadic tribe.” “Nomads, cool! How much is it?” Sharon had never asked Wali the price of one of his carpets before. This was a good thing, in his view,
98

since he knew she would not understand. The Nain up the day before was worth eighty-five thousand, maybe more. How could he possibly tell this to a young girl giving massages after work to earn extra cash? “Oh Sharon, I don’t know. I haven’t priced it yet.” Sharon spent the whole day popping out of the salon to have a cigarette and admire the rug. Every so often Wali could overhear her proudly explaining to one of her coworkers that it was woven by nomads. *** At about four o’ clock that afternoon a middle-aged man driving a vintage Jaguar pulled up in front of the store. He stood for some time looking at the rose carpet before coming inside and asking Alexander to take it down. Wali sat in the back office watching. The minute Alexander brought out the step stool, Sharon appeared with another cigarette. Wali waited a few minutes before getting up to greet his customer. “Good afternoon, sir,” Wali said, finally making his appearance. “Wonderful piece, isn’t it?” The man didn’t respond. Instead he walked slowly around the carpet. “The dyes are mostly synthetic,” the man said, stopping to flip over a corner of the rug with his shoe,
MI RA MA RT I N- PA RkE R

99

“and it’s not terribly old either.” Wali glanced outside at Sharon, who was pacing back and forth like an angry animal. “No, you’re right. It’s not very old, maybe fifty years.” Sharon motioned for Wali to come outside. He pretended not to see, but then she leaned her head in the doorway and softly called his name. “Excuse me for a moment,” Wali said. “Would you like some tea? Alexander, please bring this gentleman some tea.” Sharon stood nervously in front of Wali. “Is he going to buy it?” she asked. “I don’t know.” She then leaned close to him, so close he could smell her. It was the same intoxicating fragrance that filled his office earlier that morning. “Wali,” she said, “whatever that man offers, I’ll give you twice as much.” Again she stretched out her ringed fingers for him and rubbed a mound of imaginary flesh. “Twice as much,” she repeated in a whisper. Wali was drunk with her smell and the sight of her young hands when he walked back into his store. Twice as much, he thought to himself. Twice as much.
100

When he returned, the man was sitting on the edge of a large stack of carpets, holding his cup of tea and scowling down at the rug. “I’m very sorry to keep you waiting,” Wali said, as he quickly began folding up the rose carpet. “Please, don’t take it away. I’m thinking of buying it. How much?” “I’m sorry, it’s already been sold. I’ll have Alexander show you some more tribal weavings.” “I don’t understand,” the man replied, clearly irritated. “I’m very sorry, sir, but this carpet is sold. I have to leave now. Alexander will help you. There are many more beautiful rugs in the store. You will find another you love.” Wali held the rose Gabbeh in his arms like a baby as he left the store. The girl is so sweet, he said to himself. Like God.

MI RA MA RT I N- PA RkE R

101

Watch Mira Martin-Parker read "Roses"

J JJJ

JJJJJJJJJ

JJ

THAT BODY
Elle Macpherson (born 29 March, 1964) is an Australian businesswoman, television host, model, and actress. She is well known for her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue beginning in the 1980s, leading to her nickname "The Body." She is also known as the founder primary model and creative director for a series of business ventures, including Elle Macpherson Intimates, a lingerie line, and The Body, a line of skin care products. SUBMIT YOUR OWN PHOTOS The My Body Gallery project needs real women! We need your help to develop the project and build a collection of photos that will help more women see themselves more clearly. Upload a picture of your full
103

body. Our photo submission process also allows you to block out part of the image to protect your identity, if you wish. Please note that you must be 18 to upload a photo. Click here to begin. And maybe you think that because it’s my body I should love it and that I should think I’m beautiful. That I should somehow ignore all the standards the world imposes on me every single day, standards that make up “beautiful.” That I should make my own standards, and tell myself that I can just create my own reality. That I should pretend that I can never be judged by the standards of others. Maybe if I just love myself enough, other people will be able to climb into my head and begin adopting my standard of beauty and the world will follow and my formula will be the new standard and I will become The Most Beautiful.

104

Or maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe the fact that I don’t love my body isn’t really an issue. Maybe the problem is that everyone thinks I should love my body. That loving my body is some kind of standard of womanly goodness in and of itself. Meet Nikki Lee. She's a 5-foot5, 117-pound Caucasian woman with brown hair and a B-cup. She is the average porn star. At least, according to "Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers," conducted by Jon Millward and published on his website earlier this month. Millward, 26, spent the last six months examining the profiles of thousands of porn stars on the Internet Adult Film Database -- the X-rated equivalent of IMDB -- compiling data about appearance, age, sex acts, and even choice of stage name. The U.K. resident has comprehensively researched and
JAsON ScH E NH E I T

105

written on a variety of topics, "all to do with psychology, leaning towards naughty things," he told The Huffington Post. He says his aim is to "penetrate an idea and just investigate in a really deep way."

Watch Jason Schenheit read "That Body"

106

Subscribe quietlightning.org
info + updates + video of every reading

Order lulu.com/spotlight/sandblink
back issues

Scene litseen.com
calendar + reviews + interviews +purviews

- october 14, 2013 -

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful