2 February, 2013

Prog. 1.0

by Jon Fey

My mother first told me she planned selling the house in the spring after my father died. I felt the scratch of the phone static had somehow crawled or jumped, maybe, up inside her throat. I, on my way to a conference in Phoenix, walking on the moving sidewalk toward my gate during a layover in DIA; “could you help me get everything in order?” came the static through her, then back through the static. Suspension of disbelief, then suspension of belief, then the collision and intermingling of the two as I came simultaneously to the floating sidewalk’s end, adjusting to the new ground beneath me, that it was moving backward almost.

Later, on the plane, a young woman, almost a girl, or a girl almost a woman, in pink sweatpants in the seat next to me, and a child in the seat next to her, child playing a colorful and loud game on the phone belonging to I assumed the pink sweatpants. I shut my own off fourteen minutes prior, but it began to swell like a wet dish sponge heavy in my pocket. Labyrinths was open in my lap, I having intended for a long time to revisit with some expectation of re-experiencing that familiar strange, strange for its content, assertions, banal tone, strange for the tone, the environment of Borges’ words around me. Rather, I heard Flora Purim, her voice, clearly, maybe clearer than when I’d originally read the story Uqbar on the floor of my apartment years (two dozen already?) ago. Is that right? Did I sit on the floor next to the record player before there was furniture? I worried I was misremembering it. Things, once disparate, joined, became contiguous. An example: i’d reduced young mother and child now to a singular unit; mother-child-thing. I lost my place on the page, and started over. At some point the morning paled into afternoon, out across the bare Tarmac, weather beating tribal rhythms, ancient, I thought, up against the aluminum and carbon fibre of the cabin and wings, respectively. How do they go about joining those materials, I thought to myself, series of catastrophic failures reeling off vaguely in an adjacent part of my brain. There was, I guess, some question of the weather and would it let up long enough to get up in the air, though the snow seemed to intensify as I thought about it. More Flora Purim. Tropical.

Shuttled off back down the way we came, down the jetway, like little material units. I followed sweatpants-and-child  back toward the gate and terminal and taxicab with a voucher for the nearby hotel which smelled strongly of cotton lint which is just the smell of fabric softener. Adjacent the hotel were situated a seven eleven and an Applebee’s, arranged in what I imagined to be a positive feedback loop, real western oasis. The expansiveness beyond the oasis intensified the suffocating feeling of it. It occurred to me at the front desk, sterile and mildly opulent, that English lacks the word for the impressions of handwriting on following pages. Like a sort of palimpsest.

I found myself pocketing a rental car key, fingers like pencils colliding and making colliding noises in a coffee tin where you might keep pencils, all in the silent slowed-down downpour of colorless lint, then unpocketing my bifold, where in the bifold’s own pocket, I removed the house key which she’d sent me a few years prior. I understood the key an implicit suggestion to maybe bring the family out for a week, away from the city, all this which I’d not quite gotten around to yet, and resented her some for my own feeling of guilt over it. The key was her strategy, I thought, as if the tactile presence would make it happen. Even so, the key found itself in the bifold. And then I found it, there, in the bifold. Neither my mother nor my father lived in the house in the last three years of my fathers life, though I knew my mom would sneak away from the more convenient house nearer dads job, while my dad was on business trips, for the inconvenience of the old house.IMG_0362

27 January, 2013


by Jon Fey

There’s an array of
light up from the
water’s surface.
Alejandro, I say,
tearing, at
nothing in
particular, turning
shoulders meanwhile
away, your shampoo
mouth moving
like the ocean foam.


22 January, 2013

10, 31

by Jon Fey

Alarm goes off no fewer than a dozen times before he is feet on the floor shuffling in the half dark toward slippers in the arm cold of the front bedroom.

18 January, 2013

10, 26

by Jon Fey

Micro holes in the ceiling, and whether they leaked a porous light, would be something one might consider after waking. Sometimes thought was like walking, had the qualities of walking, was something for sorting out. Other times it was not. What were those holes for and maybe they were not for what someone would expect. The apartment in daylight, the ceiling, under a magnifying glass, was not any different than expected. The door exited to the outside, under an array of branches, needle-like, past which the sun pressed its tungsten gaze up against everything and the ply-siding. But the light was not hard that day and would be later in the season, when the clocks are set back for winter. Annexing parts of her brain, she feels, Laurie into that mid-fall cold, stepped cautiously, certain that she would wake the tom sleeping on the rail directly outside the door. The teakettle meanwhile, which she had forgotten, reached climax, sending both Laurie and the tom in wake-up frenzies to full consciousness, Laurie back through the bedroom and to the galley kitchen, and the tom in his fur caromed down the stairs.

Someone would sit half-covered in a half-full tub, lukewarm (body and bathwater), for hours. Her neighbor in the apartment above her. A milieu of tub sounds reverberated insular downward through the ceiling. Laurie, on her way out the door.

16 January, 2013

10, 25,

by Jon Fey

There was fennel and fennel was a part of it but it was the part we added. Not natural I guess but it wouldn’t matter. My laughter felt like tar which was like the blackening and peeling back skin of the fish onto the foil, only when its just about right, which was something you had heard your mom say about it. This was all sometime before another time, which was also before a time which is now. 


You would maybe be looking around you and there would be knowers but also there would be those who did not know. Most would have dead faces. There was a man, neck camera-slung heavy, body rocking against a chrome pillar. Non-knower. Journalist, he told the older woman, dark skinned who had just now told him it was illegal to take pictures on the train. Asshole. I would think about it later with my eyes mostly closed, closing out the turbulence which is not unlike the train which we used for leaving Park Slope, where you had tried to get inside the greenhouse, walked around it unable to find the entrance. Must be the season I had either said or thought, to which you agreed or acknowledged in a visual way. You don’t always remember. And on our way back the photo-journalist. A real artist. I thought about Corbusier, now on the plane. Must have seen a patterning of light on the ground out the window. 


The foil and the salmon’s skin are sometimes indistinguishable, but this was in my own apartment back home near the mountains, among furniture and before the Journalist. Your teeth ache on accident sometimes. You run too-cold water over them. You chip away at those delicate veneers over time with ends of pens, which crack like a glass just taken out of the dishwasher and under cold water, stupidly, though I did not have an automatic dishwasher there. You pointed out the foil in my teeth which would have otherwise been fish-scales. Non-natural. We had forgotten something I think, in the recipe, but it was something I later forgot too, and in our haste had mis-timed the rice in the rice maker such that the salmon and the asparagus got cold while we waited. Everything was a distraction: the naked skin of your lowest back close to my face and moving slowly, like something to touch. No thats not right, but you would have forgiven me for it. 


The train did not feel like the bus nor did it feel like the plane but was something of its own. Transferred from the Queens-bound local to the Queens-bound express and let you off at Herald Square, backpack swinging as you went up the stairs away from the platform but meanwhile looked back for me. I consumed myself with little calculations and little miscalculations about the train and the bus but this was all before there was time to be thinking, even, really. I stood in the little accordion apse in the middle of the M60 where it swung about me like a fish swimming up-stream through traffic, but not up-stream, down-stream. Everything was a body, even within bodies, and this was not what I thought at the time but would think later, when I had a chance to think about it. That there was an order to this, you could say was self-evident, but you could also say it was not, and that the order was a mistake of synapses was also reasonable but did not exactly prove either way. Some of my friends would not understand it. Al was like a glowing bud of cigarette, speaking from somewhere behind that glow. He only understands some of it but you were trying to go to sleep, kept scratching at my sides like a bear in the ink-dark on the futon. And if I had been a bear, or even like a bear, would have wanted to catch a salmon in my teeth for you, but by the time I came back, would be already hibernating on the futon, you would be. It would not have been necessary to season the fish with fennel seeds. 


Where do you put those kinds of things, you asked me, when you don’t have a way of writing them down. I think they mostly get lost was what I would have probably said had there been any time for saying it. But then there’s the doors opening like a grocery store, and like a grocery store, the updraft of neutral air, and you had to squeeze my hand and I squeeze yours and then you’re up off the platform, backpack swinging behind. I would have liked to have retained it as a photograph but you don’t take pictures when you’re on the train, even if its not a law.


Waking up in the wall-grey late morning, eleven-thirty, I watched you dress in the yellow crack of the bathroom door, before the last trip for coffee: the R train to the Union stop west of Park Slope, but would walk through Park Slope. There was something about how you’d like to raise kids here. I thought about The Squid and The Whale, said something about it. Really, it could have been that same street. Had initially intended to sit down at the Museum, but found ourselves in the Botanical Gardens. 

12 January, 2013

by Jon Fey

The street peoples itself. It is in accord with the sun. That these revolving doors (sun, un-sun) did so revolve, and in their revolving did absorb that street was taken as fact.

9 January, 2013


by Jon Fey

Slow moving airplanes, or what would have been slow moving, you never really knew because there’s no scope up there—no point of reference, and as they come down one by one, at perfect intervals, their predatory screams, they perforate the low air.
There would be time enough for work. What is work.
But Wednesday under a winter sun felt like sorghum. The stiffness would infiltrate bones. The flicker of aluminum as they leaned themselves over like not so much bodies but vessels like thy are, that they cascaded downward in a swallow of laminar stability, signaled out toward the plain unpatterned, unreceived.

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5 January, 2013


by Jon Fey

There are ways you might run into yourself in the street, at turns inward and outward, be it a little tree shaded street crammed with bungalows and corner-groceries and laundromats or, big ash-colored streets which are tall and also crammed with corner-groceries and laundromats. Was something he thought to himself in the doing of the thing. Down past two dog-scarred doors, down wooden stairs post-fab flanking tightly the building’s panel exterior, the split-up sidewalk, in the sunlight, he would sometimes walk but if it was warm enough or he adequately dressed. Tungsten vision, that is to say, the hardness of new light on low eyes, and then the blood throb of feet on the sidewalk to that corner-grocery, the bell hanging up  high behind the door, accompanied half familiar smells, rather, familiar smells but not in this configuration. The stale old ice machine which in its own way is an institution of every one of these stores, an asthmatic really, hiccuped athsmatically there behind the glass counter with neighborhood ads, old, out-of-date, scotch-taped to the top and homemade cakes under that scratch-glass where he faintly made out his own figure. 

5 January, 2013


by Jon Fey

I imagined briefly
the moon a
streetlamp screened
by crystalline branches,
bare, field for division.

29 December, 2012


by Jon Fey

She is a thrombosis. No that’s not right. Standard shirts like varying oatmeal, what might be called Oatmeal, and when they come off there is a thrombosis. Our mirror breasts press against each other’s. And like cats on the rug in the afternoon beneath the bay window we clean each other.


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