This house never moves
Swollen in citrus & bleach
Between weekday & weekend shifts
I am a to do list:
Lifting lime cleaner onto tomorrow
wondering if I could kill someone with consumption
Or suffocation by violent intersections
Outside my window
Above my landlord’s signature
Three ants is an infestation
Picture: me swimming in bleach
Until my skin is vomit
A list of things I owe on bond:
Enough poison to kill four ants
Home is where the heart is
People are pattern making machines.
Residing is a temporary positing
Residents are lacking citizen
Residue left over or behind
Reside is being static
only for a moment
Languages are parallelisms
x ≠ y, but is close to y
Conduit pipes are the flavour of my childhood. My older brothers wrapped them in red and blue electrical tape to become instant Jedi. I was outside the fictional frame in their motions offstage to throw a stick that they could impressively parry. I was an imaginary camera man and special effects production crew all in one. In many ways I’m still there. There = less concerned about where I am than where else I am.
This piece is about one particular else. A residence in fiction between 2015-2017, the stories I wrapped myself in & the patterns that I reproduced for years. It is also about Jason. I come back to Jason every few years and wonder what I can do with him. I bring him new anxieties & funny ways of saying not much at all & I’m sorry.
Jason is an alien.
His life is short, two-thousand words or the years between 2014 and 2017. He dies of suicide at 138 words in every draft. The other 1862 were interchangeable. I couldn’t find a way to make them work and did not know what working meant for Jason. Sometimes those words were full of funerals and sometimes carnivals and always watching Jason’s mother shed her skin to reveal that she too was an alien.
Jason never got better. He never went to bed and woke up the next morning and said to his mum in the morning that “I feel like an alien and I don’t know how to feel like a person again”. The space we occupy in fiction limits and expands the parameters of our life. To occupy a confined, selfish and self-centred niche of fiction made seeking help much harder. I needed new fictions from as many different places as I could reach, I needed to share my fiction and help other people find theirs. I was never Jason, but we were close, almost touching. The difference between us is an escape from the frame fiction formed around us.
Increasingly our fictions are being imposed upon us. There’s no shortage of stories trying to sell us or sell us something. Where we reside in fiction/(un)real can be almost as important as where we reside in the material frame/real for determining the outcomes and incomes of our lives. The main hurdles to ending homelessness and hunger in wealthy nations is not our real material wealth but the (un)real fictions of capitalism and the rich that set the perimeters of realistic and achievable development. People are pattern making machines. We can make warriors out of children and conduit pipes and find new fictions that better serve our needs.
Thank you, Jason.