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Akilah Oliver

from The Putterer's Notebook: an anti-Memoir





The line, non-continuous remainder

                        Waking and walking those streets post drag world, two rationed cities situated in soviet anti-revivalism

            schwarze’ appears to be a declaration but I knew I couldn’t trust him when he pretended he didn’t know that word plus in Boulder once, that lousy apartment building on Canyon and 22nd,  he sold me fake meth.   a broken light bulb is a sad conductor

                        foreign then faint

mediocre I first learned on normandie avenue when walking past barbershops, those men & beards and what they do when men gather with electric razors and scissors sit in high chairs,

the world  a postcard of old black men sitting on folding chairs in front of Brooklyn brownstone with the caption ‘my Brooklyn, 4th annual photo + essay contest exhibition’

but looking now

                        I can see they are not so old, just captured by a lens that condenses a body to a dissipation, to a relic, to a mail slot

(this tone must have something to do with the not so alive, i.e. dead father)

                        I this now, 

if this is not how one spells ‘leprechaun’ then it doesn’t exist as an idea or curatorial curiosity

I had a breakfast nook when I didn’t pay for anything

                        Keeping the steady pace seems to be the key, not to look down at the cracks but rather memorize their proximity to the leg’s, stride, the motion, so as to not tip (and pour me out)

On the way to the beans and  rice, red would be better today rather than pinto, I think I hear a bell-bottom pants leg flapping in a mothership, but that would be the los angeles coliseum hosting history in ’72 or so, the humidity here ,
but not a here that would indicate there, that place,  now pestering the mind like hunger

                        Shhh, stop that racket, derrida’s whispering about the politics of friendship & that French accent is making it two times hard to hear already, like the ‘hissing of summer lawns’, fanon in his masks

I want the radio on again to discover the new music and it be perhaps sexy, the butt slapping braying on a video screen, wouldn’t it be nice

There was a song about a teapot, won’t you tip me over and pour me out, & now I see how young you were then,
fun is the password

                        Daddy’s here in a silver buick leSabre and it's time for the beach, goodbye mother, so sorry you’re not happy but could we have pork n beans next Friday and hug

            The beginning notes, an entry into a dream that is a faille like texture, one that does not need to hesitate at the entry into the messiah’s denouement

            False documentary declarations, like “when time moved forward," as if time were able to do things like that, as if it were an action rather than a calculation, a marker, a decision and counter, a mathematical construction

It was as if they had switched themselves, physically, and I had not moved though I had, and by many narrative accounts tragically so
            remembering one unmentionable which I told once to my ‘best friend,' now hoping she’s forgotten that intimacy 

Such as such intimacies present as the declaration of a perimeter




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            you were not concluding a desire, backed against the wall, your upper thigh exposed through the riddling stockings   

as  an event can simultaneously be happening and not be occurring, a
very first morning

a passing across the self,  & my old friend the radio, red velvet hot pants, a fashion show graduation from the Sears Charm School for girls, mix and match 

I wanted a self so badly, I turned the dial to see what was on the other side, joan armatrading, we tried chance translations of ‘jah’ based loosely on context clues, that girl my sister, I saw her last month in l.a. at the wedding, I thought she’d be a surfer or the wife of an O.G., surprise all the time, Christian lady, you look so much younger now, as if all the blighted apartments have been repaired 

 what a pretty world out there

I am a new occupant, but this particular morning, for example, found me wandering in terrorist shadows 

The death dreams are often sexualized, the first, a morphing pool of consecrated limbs floundering and touching in what appeared a murky body pool

to get to, one had to pass through a portal, not a door exactly, more like a veil, it was duplicitous its appearance, both sensuous and repelling, quicksand like, pleasure in the going down, the limbs indistinguishable from the souls,  a man who was neither good nor evil seemed to be the sentry

I kept telling him not to go, I couldn’t stop him from going, I tried to trick him with an earth-based attachment to me to keep him from going, I had to witness him go down there with the altered bodies, there to that feast


a recovery that exposes itself as an expectation

            as if to speak requires dream

            single lines staged as tracks

            we are not stating a truth

            a truth would require more negotiation than water rights

            an expectation relegates mystery to a rack

            it may be true that he was saying “dismissal”

            it may be true we expected more, then gradually less

            as if a dream expires



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