There is a bookmaker who plies his trade at night, plugging away at the slush pile looking for good trouble. Counting all his blessings backwards to ambiguity, his solipsistic solace. Outside, the dust hangs from a recent skirmish. He is typing vigorously against the walls closing in. He has many spies in his employ. A jezebel has found an ear in his inner circle. Maybe I’ll lift a finger to crush you.

There is a global village and it is hosting a show. Lights out for the stars, crossed. An albedo casts ribbons of sepia from urban prisms as the players arrive.

You look like someone I could hurt, and I’m down to hurt you, I could get used to it, relish it even, our exploits a jackpot, bedfellows in bedlam. Endometrial floods cascading, fertility shedding silver linings, we animate the theogony, a popular movement thwarted by a carnal conniption. We were drawn to each other at first sight and now it’s on sight. Hot-blooded we breathed on each other: Literature is back, and New York looks better this way, down in flames. Her eyes severe, jowls folding as she swallows. She scribbles oblique verse in a notebook and unpacks units on a separate legal pad. Never forget. You will regret. You left me for dead in a snowstorm. You spoiled me with head. The love is bitter, and they are against love. I’m pushing women out of windows, starving myself to write, to eat, doing everything for art, giving you everything. Heroes, villains, martyrs, insurgents.

I, conduit, shaking. Free of contempt, outgrown sorrow, defeated but not destroyed, brooding in a fallow void, vacuous gestures pass me in transit from this life. The American people are tired of taking the high road, of wedging between the extremities and living piously, thanklessly, depressed appetites couched in GABA.

I, conduit, shaking online and through telecommunications. You’ll remember this year for how alone we felt. We carried water for those who only professed to hold court with us, a savage season scandalizing our optics, to degradate and bastardize the unitary psyche, derogate from the unalloyed purity of God.

I, conduit, shaking. Luscious black behind lids, strobe lights. A muggy body heat, sweat trickling down the small of his back. Limbs swaying, twitching, jerking, push and pull, bodies just bodies, the horror. The youth are doomed. You’re about to get lucky. We’re entering a holocaust of a world where mercy means everything. The dust is settling on absent minds and the gloves slip off. And I don’t owe you anything you haven’t earned.

I, conduit, shaking. And God put a sword in my hand. I am imperturbable. One long rope to hang hypocrites. Wispy poets, cunning artisans. Femme fatale, ears burn at your contrivances. No one is acting human. I gave you a home and you burned it down. Revenge porn, don’t be so literalist. I am ubiquitous as the air you breathe, the pipe you smoke, and you associate with me structurally. Everyone is suicidal, but fortune favors the bold.

It’s undignified to wear wounds as badges, the way you write has the freedom and abandon of darting nonsequiturs, here writing things I’ll never say to you, that might catch you naked as sin, blue in the lips, God take it from here, blizzards of disjecta from a protracted, internecine quarrel, comeuppances collateralized. I tried to make sense. Too globohomo for homofash, too homofash for globohomo, the culture is not with global communism, and I am with the culture. To be about this life is to abide no insolence, to brook no overreaction. Gun to my head like I have to acknowledge you, like you deserve anything, like I have to explain anything to you, to stop to disagree with you. Your feckless effort to wield and leverage capital you sell out. In this desolate spiritual condition, what passes for penance is a gag order. Happy and defiant, how when I broke my silence you would hear it. I can’t be bought. I have used no names, only symbols. I won’t clear the air of slander or invective. The distance between us is greater now we are close. I am drifting away from the extant. My revelations are all renewing at once, my vain permissions credentialed by a pied piper, my personal life instrumentalized for I have parasocialized, I’ve been infiltrated, and I’ve eaten shit, possibly my own.

I, conduit, shaking. I’ve eaten shit. Possibly my own.

Divorcing again, trading kids in the parking lot, it’s fine. I pulled up with nothing but posterity’s atemporal echoes in mind, and on holidays, I go home, the only place I’ve traveled since I rose above the lung-scarred choler of this hardcore Darwinism, injected like livestock.

I, conduit, shackled to the throne. I could be spending quality time with quality people but the readers, well, they have their demands and no one else distributes the product. Others solicit more. I’ve walked the line like Joan of Arc and you’ve taken my patience and equanimity lightly. The community owes me. Nothing bad has ever happened. We operate with deep intuition and are motivated by pleasure.

Manuel Marrero is the founder/EiC of Expat Press and the author of the novels Not Yet (2019) and Thousands of Lies (2015).

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