You find cloudy days by the ocean to be the most depressing of all. You used to look away when women looked at themselves in storefront windows on the sidewalk, but now you stare in amusement. You have imitated poets before, especially Frank O’Hara and e.e. cummings – you are embarrassed about the latter but not the former. You use the back of your hand or your fist to open doors, like your mother taught you. You used to resent people for your losing contact with them, but no longer, no longer. Others have already beaten you to copying (or “trying out”) the style Édouard Levé’s Autoportrait. You’ve been called an excellent teacher by several and an excellent drummer by far more. You are familiar with the bell-clapper deformity. You got slapped on the back of the head by a guy who wanted to fight you but you stroked his face and said he didn’t have to do that and he should just apologize and you followed him around the bar until he did. You once pissed in a hole in the Bolivian desert. Some people think you look like Ryan Gosling, others like Luke Wilson, others like Bill Pullman. You’ve spent some of the past decade trying to become like a character from a black and white, swirly-lined cartoon you can barely remember watching when you were four years-old. You sometimes cannot sleep late in the mornings because you want to wake up and listen to music, and in this way, even though you can be quite a bummer, you are ultimately an optimist. You enjoy looking at trees and the sky most, but you find yourself looking at people more, uncontrollably and regretfully. You have had very few direct ideas about where you want to wind up. You put a cigarette out on a spot above your elbow on New Year’s Eve, 2003, along with some close friends who did the same. You have cheated on only one woman. You have spent over sixteen years living outside the country of your birth. Your mother once caught you biting your toenails. A Pittsburgh cop on a bicycle once tried to give you a ticket for throwing a match out the window of your car. You continue to find grey hair on people your age slightly shocking, though you have some of your own. You are usually aware of your posture, but only about half the time are you motivated to improve it. Once or twice you saw fruit fall from the branch, in your grandmother’s yard, on a crab-apple tree. Not becoming a train engineer or working on the railroad has become one of the biggest regrets of your life, but there is still time. You are ashamed of how pushy you could be when you had friends over your house aged ten. Your father recently made a cobbler from some sour cherries that had been in the freezer for twelve years. You prefer rivers and creeks to lakes and oceans. You can picture yourself getting involved with the model train hobby within the next twenty years. You recognize at least the oak, the maple, the fir, the beech, the poplar, the cypress, the weeping willow, the dogwood, the cherry, the pine, the palm, and the coconut tree, and you feel that is only slightly better than pathetic. You had two goldfish at age five named Plus and Minus. You sleep well in hotels and find the anonymity, (hopefully) fresh sheets, and mechanic buzz of the room comforting. You once read that Hemingway considered the verb “utilize” very masculine and have been a fan of that word ever since, though you are overall not a fan of Hemingway’s. You played many team sports, but only excelled at playing goalie in floor hockey, because you developed the strategy of diving face-first for the ball. Daily you fail to learn that other language, the one you can use on the streets where you actually live and physically exist, you fail to memorize the words and understand the grammar, to recognize that the syntax is a sociality and not just a diagrammed headache. You smoked the stubs of three to four cigarettes you found on the ground outside your apartment in São Paulo, Brazil when you were thirteen. If you had one wish, it might be that you could sleep whenever and for how long you wanted to. Nearly all the apartments you have lived in have either been on the ground floor or the 19th floor. Looking through tree leaves and branches to the sun on a warm day is one of the consistently greatest pleasures of your life. You do not feel the need to see animals until you see one somewhere – usually cats and birds, but also horses, squirrels, rabbits, lizards – that you like, and something silent and powerful strikes you. You like the idea that houseplants are around more than actually looking at them. You spend a fair amount of time with plastic in your ears: earphones in during the day, earplugs in at night. Bicycle crashes stay in your mind for a long time as lines of infinite contingencies and you remember all the accidents you have ever had, which makes you wonder about all the accidents you narrowly avoided. You once thought you were taught how to hoe corn more than to analyze books, much less ideas, but now you realize that is untrue. You try to maintain the most positive memories of your father. You take effects and make them causes.

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One thought on “THE COPY

  1. Reblogged this on LETHATECHNIQUE and commented:
    Mnemonic copy.


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