Dead Letter Game
December 27, 2003
stunned at the site of two stones placed -- one in the ether by the other's roomy darkness -- careless, without sleeves, scratch at the end of the yard arm

even this loving sugar-appled tongue, who could not grieve for want of a future, had too much "filling up form," not enough detail and data -- no time for interrogation, the room then swarmed with empty calories, the dunce's density

the promise of the happy return is the deception with which the past ensnares the one who longs for it -- the past of the happy promise ensnares the one returning to a deceptive longing -- the long and the short of happy reception ensures the promise of one returning

all that aside

who/what emerges out of this history in succession/recession? -- or in the rules : how list? how escape?

through clash of wills and the free play of the ventriloquist : a tender reading refusing to render a tired future -- you invite passersby to participate, to assimilate emotive responses to the contents of pattern vaults lining the walls of this crypt -- this "shows the weave" a little more than a story collaged out of disparate voices ("joe," tabloids, or the joke of sponsorship)

with cunning this assimilation feels normal, a justification of enrichment at the expense of others -- bemused and bothered by irrational sacrifice, our hero nonetheless escapes "by sacrificing himself" -- in other words, the history of renunciation plays out at a different angle, perhaps perpendicular to the game of red-autumn reclamation playing out here

12:28 a.m. : cured of death, i find in thoughts of death a curious path to forgetting

12:21 a.m. : the truth is actually a sum of truths or "leadings," valid insofar as they lead to or from the practical

12:14 a.m. : but what is the cash value of asking?

12:07 a.m. : at this point the pencil scratched crazy over the page, in literal frustration

12:00 a.m. : future inventories, assessments, bring surplus, which is outright
December 25, 2003

{For me, they must exist, the contents of that absent reality, the objects and occasions which now I reconsidered. -- MLBLH}

wake up (on a day ((was everything

working again, or have you heard? -- he managed, at last, to "follow the ball" under a different lens -- or something to that refract??

i guess, but really -- hush, retract the senses -- do as i say, not rash cartesian summaries -- that business about sleeping and waking reality, a thin thread weaving "must resolve" and the poorest tabloid thinking -- a dream joining us under the paradox of one life -- recognition circa separation

language is blind, is stiff darkness -- fast forward to the defining moment, in pursuit and thrilled by this advance on hot electric rails -- in hyperspace the sources disappear in a form of reverse consumption -- to code silence in language (grief, epiphany) is to mark the disappearing "eye"

elegy focuses on the lost heat within and between bodies, elaborating space as synapse, a thing unique to the pause or cut breath made reductive to a new coded silence -- words are more than conveniences, because the space too must be accounted for, within and between


PARMENIDES: day and night are one

ANAXIMINES: day and night are opposites

it's a public problem, a too-late deed in the crossfire, power's impalpable "best not share" -- at the border, pure pleasure that i can be done in this lifetime, within these boundaries and seated at the edges of your most powerful play of equipment -- elicit and envision :

not "this total" but a neighboring "want to," wishing it done -- putting us (pure pleasure) out on the rooftop in a wished-for summer (future forward) -- suddenly in with larger company whose words (in practice) suffer the head-count of weighted skeletal rattling

day withdraws, another night -- another day drawn out of night -- the first and last are templates at a doorstep, a kind of trellis hung with shadows and other forgotten segments -- now i am at the window and you are outside (segue) stammering over an empty box -- summer fastens another lengthy apology (shared years)

so there's no fun in it anymore, the fire's dead where it wasn't much needed anyway -- you sport a flunked will, a drab constitution, heavy with rage and dead all over -- but remember, way way out there, past the lighthouse, we are not raised here, nor do we know the place where land gives way to sea, this way and no one else's, your silent gift, trapped on an island, moves on water, not us

alchemy: time drying in the sun -- convertible contents, "all things wrapped in appearances" -- arm in arm, eased out of repetition and symmetry : this is what i had in mind
December 19, 2003
(MOVE/COUNTERMOVE: corpse meets elegy)

his face was not in impenetrable shadow, as the other objects in the room were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar -- it was not angry or ferocious, but looked at me as it used to look: with spectacles turned up upon its forehead -- the hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air -- and though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless

i did not by any means feel waggish then -- the truth is i had come to observe, in increments steady as wax drops, real evidence of alienation among dizzy mythic forms -- i took notes as a means of distracting my attention, and keeping down the terror, for his voice disturbed the very marrow in my bones

more than riddle, less than text, skilled in the making of sweet puddings, brassy eyewear for a stuttering visage, till the tears dry up and the last of the laughing (ho-hum) trickles -- "clearing the way" for the apparition, who walks backward from me -- with every step the window raises itself a little, so that when he reaches it, the room is wide open

"I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere."

"But who, and/or what are you?"

"I am the glut, distinctions blurred, Blake's sister-wisdom, nature carvings, vision wanting to be whole, a big fan/statistician, wasted fuel, pipes clogged at the source, an old man ogling, jet stream, fossilized cities, no doomsayer, the noose of influence, branch clippings, and the rubbed out print of the past."

"Long past?"

"No. Your past."

it would have been in vain for me to plead the weather, the hour, that bed was warm, the thermometer a long way below freezing, that i had a bad cold at the time -- the grasp was not to be resisted, and so my former self grew larger at the word, and the room became a little darker and more dirty -- my heart and soul were in the scene, and yet slowed in traffic, loam-like, i could not make out this new, "american form"

"Lead on! Lead on! The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on!" -- to a bare, uncurtained bed (on which ((beneath a ragged sheet

a something covered up, which, though it was dumb, announced itself in awful language
December 15, 2003
(COUNTERMOVE: corpsaic)

from the cellar under the barn i crawl -- to punctuate my eight months absence, i have grown a beard and learned a language or two -- fissures in space and time healed thereby -- i appear with nothing i wouldn't normally give for the good wind of dead winter, who loses her temper

surviving on ritual and sugar-coated insects, i lived out a soul's life in loaves of bread, each of which, aloft, holds out against arsenals of collapse -- stark digging lights my way, overwith -- meanwhile, memories of otherworldly flame, white floods, an alkaline flush each morning to mark the cold-weather closed-book festival about to begin

my job ... my speed ... my undisputed line to the earth king ... my popular support ... and my legion of underground loyalists ... all ferried from dead zone to green zone, where my garden fulminates under the sting of their rapid deployment -- an exciting day, this current of rise and fall, these tricks we play while the world sleeps -- behold, a safer place

what i do to you, you have done to yourself a thousand times before -- each occasion a voice on an otherwise quiet stage -- are you sure the body cannot breathe unless caught in a crossfire? -- are you okay with the prospect that by this time next year, the western mind will pause in its progress while economies overlook this revision (you must have thought so ((to suffer us saying so ?

i wear the cloak of cinderella and ride a boat i remember from my childhood -- the story begins in all three rings at once : red (over and back); blue (here for good); and green (never been there) -- a voice so dim on the radio it seems to race through a dense reed cover, a crippled wavelength -- in this rather heavy (but appropriate) "ghost suit" i come into the light of big-game laundry

now the burden of proof lies with the guy in the golden bowl, too bashful to name such horrid abuses, seed bodies brought to a latent cell, ripe earth torn in late spring when the rocks came a-calling -- but this, i'm afraid, is the mad-mad badly discolored dead weight of "all i have" -- so breathe and be ready -- night's tune plays different now
December 10, 2003
(MOVE: elegiac)

enough light for whom? -- and even in this parallel meeting (dream for the dance) the wave of concussion : is that not a secondary light? enough?

i have nothing to say, or should be held to a whisper -- the room's now aluminum cold keeps the bad guys out, nibbling in the walls -- the old "dream of bugs and decay" returns, enjoying the calendar grid as a mix of friends now lost in the ice blue blunt rigor mortis of "going public"

along the way, the flags "Mystery Brother" number one sent limp and untucked to face the purge, the nothing of hinges pealed back, the in-walking "end-all" in bright battle dress -- thus the intellectual exercise of "Joe" begins as a grade school science : method as musical practice, and powered by the new machine of such tabloid thinking -- ashes, ashes, the lifeboats of formal rules

down there you are short on space, funny really as if by inference -- the moon doles an indecent white among the stars, and up here (by your request) i have sampled the salt water and launched my own invasion, stones pried from their garden beds -- and yet, with all this digging, no sign -- or rather, everywhere, signs
December 9, 2003
(COUNTERMOVE: corpsaic)

i begin with a book of travel and propose to record the results of a journey into a region that lies at our own doors -- it is unpleasant in these underground cellars where the vilest creatures hide from the light of day, where it is dangerous to breath for some hours at a stretch an atmosphere so charged with infection and poisoned with indescribable effluvia

the worship of the beautiful is an excellent thing, but to dig down deep in the mire to find the soul of goodness is far better -- that there are remedies for the great evil which lies like a cankerworm at the heart of this region is certain -- but we are false to assume the several cures of the living, born as they are in light, have any effect in the dark depths of this place

i should know, for i have solved this riddle a thousand times by dying off as a healthy laborer -- there is no "grinding poetry," no "salvation" here, and no large families to drag at the tails of the bread-winner -- there is hardly any child-life here at all, for the men are thieves and highway cheats (co-opting their like), and the women reap their harvest in the long hours of darkness

take the omnibus and the train, the magicians of transport which will eventually bid this evil disappear -- but the services of these magicians cost money, and there is none to spare in the pockets of the dying

the last rag covers the shivering children -- the limit of their wage has been reached -- the degradation that awaits them has tightened its grip -- wretched, stunted, misshapen, they come down to this world unfit for the rigors of such battles

beware the rhetoric of self-preservation, which rises from below where you are standing -- benighted pariah, i take so little solace in your "bouquets of the East" -- they travel well, their beauty holds its edges, but the stench is unbearable down here
December 5, 2003
(MOVE: elegiac)

no, not "I am the one," but "I must be that one" -- does anything does not cease? -- getting a drink that day watching the news i'd seen most of it -- she waiting (ripple in spine) i don't suppose

the old work is an editor's paradise -- someone before you tugs at the knots, smooths out the cloth, and then : "abundant substance" peppered nonetheless with dying insects -- today's work, a crawling under disposition -- novel objects born

so tell me about your project again -- what can it mean this "organized intuition" of the world's surplus anger? -- so real you can die from it? -- i feel it means to hunger in the same breath and then a brief interrogation -- concealed voices, perhaps, or a figure at a distance as a "regulatory" body

euphoria, the storm current of apprehension -- i don't know who to consult (so much correction, so little cure) -- but, having heard it all before, i sneeze a kind of "magic domino of imagery" and the other man's boat sinks to oblivion -- buoyed names, numbers, and qualities -- drunk on an "extra minute" of solid matter
December 1, 2003
(COUNTERMOVE: corpsaic)

please do not assume that what the dead really want is to return to the living

what they want (i won’t speak for them) : what i want is a second shot at the game of reparation -- better yet, a chance to meet my makers for a pre-dawn writing of the rules -- to take the bunch to litigation, to go on strike, in sympathy and solidarity -- illegal, they will no doubt say, you are all illegal -- and so their song begins, equipped with the critical prerequisite (distance ((plots recovered

snippets of conversation, mud-muted, reach hollowed-out ears, so rest assured i have known a certain wall of desperation not as contamination (innovation) but as the kids might know it, tumbling about like clouds through their own long, lumbering shadows -- this spirited talk (above) revives me as a shallow breathing might revise the tethered appeal of method mastered

so i listen with consummate care, taking notes and adding numbers while the years go sunless by -- meanwhile, seeds need planting, plants tending -- even these letters, as innocent evasions, conceal the fact implicit to all this mending : time in tatters

or every word’s quiet cry : it’s cold down here, in the alleys where money matters, in the streets where thoughts collide – quick, if you’re into it, take a good look, turn the eyes into busy inspectors, and brandish your just reward : visions like eggs in cups on a shelf in an early scene – notable skills of the luckless living
Round One: Ex Nihilo [06.05.03 - 08.22.03]

Round Two: Futures [09.30.03 - 12.27.03]

Decom(press/posit)ion [01.01.04 -

Flip the Page: the body of the assassin {blog}

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An experiment in memory excavation and obsessive existentialist detailing, Dead Letter Game is ideal for one or more players ages 12 and up. The game once started plays indefinitely. Players will soon recognize that the end is in sight but ever receding on a horizon replete with potential outcomes. This is not a continuous present so much as a persistent continuum. To stop and start again is to play the same game only differently. Do not be startled if patterns emerge, which is normal under ideal playing conditions. The game as played here is neither the all nor the part of it. Down to the very letter as well as out beyond its margins you will find the dead letter game, whole and in progress. An open-source document, DLG automatically self-absorbs upon completion, returning to the epistolary commons from which it came.

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