Madeleine Stack


So who here likes audience participation?

the content moderators are on strike. the garbage collectors are on strike, happily noodling the dog’s silky ears in the bleary morning cheering us on from their antnest lookout under the park hidden by the playground where by night chemical smells emerge from high rusted tanks between the swingset and the bald dirt hill down which children throw their bodies. we are on strike too. a strike is a blow we blow each other. the striking is silky, while they strike below the streets fill with milk and it sours in the morning and I’m struck, stricken, a hand does well or a tool, my pleasure drooling my milkpuddle in the sheets. my heart beats in the wound on the palm a dark throbbing gash where I reached over, chatting, grabbed hold of the molten glass. they are all on strike we are the glassblowers the blacksmiths the castellers and their little medieval kazoos toodling all day Sunday while we devour each other in our ático tippytop eyelevel with the little girl who makes the pine sway with her climbing. all day blasting la revolución sexual, sacando un pecho fuera. blasting ave maria, cuando serás mia. all day blasting yo quiero bailar, toda la noche, all day Sunday blasting the longing of pop songs blasting plans for another world where three minutes of work requires an all day street party and they’re right. the geranium blooms fakely red and pigeon leaves the nest presumed dead and in bed fucking through the gathered cheers as the littlest climbs up the backs and shoulders, backs and shoulders of the older men the whole structure swaying vertiginously the swaying built into the structure, the whole thing works by always looking like it’s about to fall but never falling the dead photos come back from the printer lying dormant a decade full of gone faces. it’s not emotional it’s just the past. the dog yelps closed-mouth dreaming of who knows what. on strike too the girl who gave her kidney to the man who then dumped her and the girl who crashed her car and got her claw clip embedded in her skull and the girl who fills and empties hundreds of icecube trays on a loop forever. they occupy me too like dead images like the dead do, looping elsewhere. garbagetruck soundtrack dogdream soundtrack always to the day and the voices of the neighbours calling out to one another. knowing my predator who comes twinkling in the heat of the day in the used-up afternoon like a rag left on the stairs every week without fail a rag on the stairs cleaning the paws of four dogs five three babies maybe twenty adults more or less adrift in this life flung ashore on this block in this building on this corner swaying in the wind as it’s meant to, the structure knowing our worth to the coin to the letter wading in it swaddling her nose inside me little shirt little socks little belly opened and a fervent wish a roof over all our heads

Imperative’s a nice name for a girl

conspiracy was where we found her. she was counting the endings making an extravagant list oilskinning her eyelashes. her personality didn’t make her the smoothest of victims. at night in my tent I could see her behind my eyes, strolling across kotbusser tor, sleek as an mmmm sleek as an eel in her oily overcoat. she muttered to herself, that was true. I could have a woman like that. after this session was over we troops would return to our homes and demand critique from the outside world. invite critique I mean what would they say to us, would they err on the wisdom of our actions? I felt the acupuncture lines in my body glow. I wanted to pierce the need needling right through my middle and out the other side like the show-offs still do back home in the squares. next to them the meat is strung the same at market for housewives to take home and devour. this internal territory is my own report. cruising angry fast and down. rose coloured mornings in the old country. wheat over the fields that lay fallow now the men have gone from the villages. here the story splits in two, her eyes and after. she didn’t need to see what was coming. in fact she didn’t need to know. comparison keenly felt when the lamb-bone juts invitingly, morsel of meat hoping for willing mouth. the soul was undressed in those days and I never found that garment again. I was just here, unloved, riding the nightbus through the ruined city she didn’t ask why we had arrived, or when we would leave she had just asked to go on to the next piece of time available