In the holiday spirit someone sprays fake snow on the glass window of the courtyard door in my apartment building. But spray paint, here, is a temporary note from the city– it means the area is condemned or marked for destruction, it means we promise we’re coming back eventually to remove the danger, to mend the down power lines, reinforce this failing bridge with steel cables, in the meantime we recognize the problem with an unreassuring x.


So the job doesn’t evoke Santa or Christ or Snow and “X MAS” is added. Ah, “x-mas,” of course, an apologetic citation instead of decor. Still, I like it, because at night the window goes black and the lobby looks like Halloween and I don’t mind mixing holidays.

In a moment which I cannot even attribute to dysphasia, I accidentally use the word passionate. When looking for what I mean, it occurs to me and I discard it and then knowingly return, deploying the word with apologies, because for a moment I can neither be adequately fast nor adequately right. Passionate is one of the words on my top four most-hated-words list. Denoting a saturation of feeling, it is left nearly empty. I only like to use it in religious contexts.

In the negative space of the holiday fanfare, an accretion of remarks: mitigating, advisory, unintelligible.

It seems I’m not the only one who finds the decorations could use some editing. Over the week, passers-by rub in new words.

The text reads x mas: but what they meant was: have fun.

To the left of that a name is tagged.

The text reads: x mas have fun but what they meant was: love them while you can.

The text reads love them while you can:

After a week off, my friends have temporarily (I expect) stopped complaining about my failure of personal pronouns. You already know that I’m more comfortable in the second person singular or the first person plural. By you, I mean I. By us, I mean I.

A story not about you or us… or me… even.. at all:

Despite the fact that they have never met, they are familiarly uncomfortable around each other. As if there has been a schism or at least an argument, they fail to speak. About another situation, one set on perpendicular sofas, in which two people neither look at each other nor touch, E remarks that it sounds like the way 4th grade felt. But to return: and with no negotiation, they confound the hosts and agree to take the room with twin beds. All day they have waited to be alone together so that they may converse as if casually without any observers noticing the palpable, transparent as-if-ness. But instead he turns out the light and slips into the other bed and they both feel a heavy cord which has strung them together all day, fall at last level and parallel to the floor. This cord can sustain 2100 lbs of pressure. It can be used for rigging or to support a ship. It is for a truss or a locomotive and all day they have been dancing around each other, awkwardly not talking and not touching and sustaining a heavy apparatus which, if not properly handled, will knock down an innocent bystander.

In a dark room, without even a cord between them, they are released and ramble freight-heavy into a different conversation. Whether or not the trial and execution of Charles I had anything to do with the coincidence of solstice and lunar eclipse, she is working on a poem about it. And when she says something, he knows what she means. This is not unique but irregular since, most of the time, her dialogue follows a well-established route, branching off for quick detours and then returning when the brush is too thick. She is accustomed to sharing the first sentence of a complicated thought before being derailed. But now they are moving together.

What I meant was: I am an L turned into a V. With a gentle, deft slide I am swung closed and rotated on pointed end. This is dance translated into letters— not even words, just lonely, simple letters. And I am the filthy, branched V– balanced and open-mouthed. And every turning-gesture, every line, every closing and closed space, fights back and is full. What I mean by passionate is that we were saturated. We were saturated and you were, too.

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