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January 1, 2012 |

Screen Door Submarine

Eric Ellingsen

Screen Door Submarine photo

1
We practiced being Endless for around an hour a day at first. Endless practice was like little pulley practice, like you were a little pulley for me and I was a little pulley for you. We learned pullies are sometimes known as blocks. I loved your block. Your block made my work stack easier easier, made the direction of the applied force force change change, made heavy things things easier lift and lift up lighter and lighter, which doubled the advantage. And when we were both little pullies for each other—wow, what added purchase, what practice in light, what light we liked to swing our lean on. Thank you Pulley. But that was only the first day,

2
then you went into the old answer trade and I felt like a pendulum under water trying to swing more. My waves messed up. I don't seem to sign wave right. The feelings last well into every night. Finding your heart started to require renting a trade-in retail submarine. Turns out my submarine had screen doors. On the way to filling up I realized that there are places further away than the exact opposite of what you mean; how the opposite is not the most wrong somebody can get. Damn you pulley, damn you I screamed. But since sound travels four times faster underwater, all you heard was please come by tonight as planned for dynamite practice and blow up all night long. This confused me beucase it was nothing like I thought I had said. Stunned suddenly, I was spontaneously inhibited. I couldn't remember the secret for escaping from the inertia. It doesn't have to be that way. The next few days whatever happened, andfuck. I never thought I'd be such a sucker to let whatever get into this high security zone. Fuck,on the other hand, can flash the backstage pass whenever you want. I sat up for 40 days asking myself: what does one do when they realized they have opened another umbrella stand in a hurricane storm? What is quite adequate coverage? Are we back to the floating anchor theories and less glamorous endless practice? Timorous and implacable, often I imagine it happening in another way.

3
I think what I really need is what I really want, I mean what I really want want, need need, need want want, want want want, really hope need, and want, and really really bad. I mean really really really hope need. I mean want want want and really really need badly. If this is another feeling that ends in feeling that being near you creates more distance between us, I only want that feeling if it's my only choice, and there's no other way, because I even need that.

4
Another Way, another way in, another way into Endless, or, in Endless practices. Endless practice should feel a little more like hope hospices, or hope heart trauma care units. I can't remember when I started nursing this phlegmmy barbwire notion. How to get good at becoming invisible without anything going away? How far can you travel on handclaps and tickles? Warning: it could have side effects you cannot consult a doctor about. Warning: descriptions may sound wanky. Warning: lonely might feel like zebra mussels clogging your new idea pipes. Warning: we may make non-debatable policies about freedom that require everyone to be allowed to make their own policies about freedom. Warning: responding with a smile does not count for putting up a fight. Warning: wreaths of crud (just sometimes). Warning: reams of impossible, rolls of just the way it is, is just way it turns out, roll with it advice is unavoidable. Warning: you'll get used to the smell of what stinks, won't even notice it after a while, defend it when necessary, stake your life on it when challenged about it, teach your kids on creative repeat how to be wall paper making experts, to admire the surface while ignoring the batting and frames while someone else bears the future loads. Warning: please don't. Warning: marginalized feels like the middle again.

5    (a glue poem pavilion in a poem park about endless practice)
If breaking up, long looks make good glue. Books make good glue. French kissing makes good glue. Blonds make good glue. Boys bring good glitter. Blood makes good glue. Binging too. To get through it, sadness makes good glue too. It depends on the pores. The metals. If you are trying to glue running water to running water, you will need fire glue to get gas. Triple science fiction features makes good glue. Time off makes good glue. That glue makes good ropes. Those ropes make good ambiance, which makes a resin aura, and that good resin aura makes things stick together authentic again, so you can kind of call it glue. Returning to old thoughts makes good glue. New ones too. But I want rubber bands, you said.

6
Now when you ask I just say everything's great. Couldn't be better. Wouldn't want to be anywhere else, or in any other way. I don't have those fleas in my ideas which make me itch in strange places in public, that often. I don't make as many diving boards out of your long deep end looks. I won't remind you that we said all this last year to each other. That the art of being chilled is not the same as chilling out. That the real time it takes to get to the energy of the emotional answer to that question how are you, doesn't fit into the symmetry of the time it takes to clasp handshake and hug that question back pattingly. Bringing up the splinters won't make any long time log difference if you don't see that I'm actually living in a lonely forest. Can I borrow your elves again please? You've been a clear cutter for years. So let's stay with the plan to meet beach side where it's easier to see what's blowing in. We'll stick the dogs and camp fire dance around the cruddy oh wells. We'll pretend we're catching up like we always say we should. We'll say we should run into each other and do this more often. We'll both be happy that we mean it even though we know it won't happen. We won't spend time outloud talking about things we know won't happen between us. I won't think about making those bumping into each other accidents happen on purpose, as often. We'll address the horizon in informal pronouns. We'll dream of making constellations for others to steer by. We'll drop the idea of getting to the stars for the wonder of ground. We'll agree on what we've always agreed on: we can change the world. Make something else out of it. I'll try not to go back to the way it was when the camp-fire feeling ends. You can end by telling your stories about lunching with famous time keepers and others who exude. The evening of exuding it will not be marvelous, but it will be more fun than sitting at home solo for the weekly Saturday night counting up the seconds contest. I'll leave the fire feeling things are ok enough to return and stay in the lonely forest. You'll hug me noddingly, affirming that I'm a good guy, while thinking he just doesn't quite get it, but close enough. That's ok. The morning will seem to happen so easily after the nights over for a while. Whatever.

7
Practice the evening edge sessions, the structural charts for sometimes, the first encyclopedia chant entry for heart. Practice feeling slope when your bodies walking down a slanted sidewalk. Practice with that landslide inside. Practice the heart of what we do by chance, like the matter, of the matters, the morphology of mattering so many matters. It matters so much. To try not to try to enter the drowning in the shallowest puddle things contest. To learn the bird call for calling the smallest mutation opportunities to fly over and land on your bird like shoulder. To discover the content of the rest of your life in a raindrop is not so much different than making that discovery in the chewy revelation one receives in running ones finger down the underside of a well used public park bench seat over the gum collection. So run your fingers, so runs the saying. In the company of uncertain strangers that matter, in the community of it sometimes mattering, in the care of the dying matters, which puts us in the company of the dead matters sometimes, sometimes it makes us feel more alive. It matters, but what a stiff trade for feeling alive. I'll trade the meaning of it all for an experience of just a small part of it.

8
Before it's too late, I'll think I'll re-apply for the Rethinking It Through residency. I'll pretend Too Late is a line, and I can cut in front of Too Late. Cut ahead; pretend there's a good friend up front in front of Too Late. Hey, it's been a long time; how you been? Funny meeting you here. Mind if I squeeze in just ahead in Too Late? Cutting in front of Too Late is a little different than seeing into the future, or making the future happen earlier than now. The line for Too Late is not the same line as the Come Back Faster line. The line for Second Returns is huge. The conversations there make boring glue, jars and jars of boring glue. That glue can't even hold itself together. I got into the Future line early. Which doesn't necessarily mean before later happens, or that some of the past isn't walking on bandaged feet banging its way around on a banjo to catch up. I don't often use the word fire to describe what us feels like to me anymore, but the friction there is lovely.

9
Last time I checked, the 99th page was missing from every single book I own. Is this a sign? Is it time to start believing in signs again? I now know, regardless of what a sign is, that I will spend the rest of my short life looking for the one book that is, in its entirety, all the page 99's from all the books I've ever read. I'll go to every book store and rummage sale. I'll rummage boxes. I'll make office appointment with professors I've never read with questions I don't care about answering, for glances into the shelves. I'll accept dinner invitations and get lost in personal offices on my way to bathroom desperately scanning. I now know that when I find this book it will be a bit bulky. That its title will be an obvious number I've never counted on. That the shape will not be shaped like a road sign grown into tree trunk. And I know the odds are that when I arrive to page 99 in the 99th page book, that page 99 may very well be missing there too. That I won't be able to tell for sure at first because all the pages will say 99. And I'll have to count all the 99 pages up to the 99th page just to make sure. The cover will also be a 99th page from somewhere. I won't know if I should include the cover in the counting. I won't be sure that two 99 pages weren't sticking together somewhere in the middle. The next time I count, I won't be sure either, or the time after that. After about five years I'll know I will be no closer to feeling home free about the matter. I will try not to get upset. I will try not to cry too openly about the retired basketball players dribbling all over themselves mentioned on one of the 99th pages, or the lovers chest that splits open and out swims a school of fish chased by dolphins photographed by a truckload of dipshits. I will continue to ask, if we don't have any walls between us, can we still have a doorbell so I can know when you want in, so I'll have time to straighten up my messing around?

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