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Archive for November, 2020|Monthly archive page

night hike (oct 1)

In 100, by Nora on November 30, 2020 at 2:58 pm

after many dragging hours working, writing, physics, math, hiding from the merciless utah sun in the rickety airbnb, we pile into the truck, wedging pots of air-cooled savory beans and crusty bread and dripping melons between bare, prickly legs. the light starts down-shifting as we reach the lazy colorado river, perch on hulking red boulders sluiced by purpling water, canned beers drained and crushed, bats swooping. then further into the darkness in the undaunted truck, up looping rocky roads until the night is velvet. a warm wind winds between monumental sentinel rocks more sensed than seen, the silence is softness.

kudzu to cotton (AL, 10/21)

In 100, by Nora on November 29, 2020 at 6:23 pm

there is something dripping here. even in the dry plywood and concrete and gravel, there is ooze just under the surface. Perhaps the viscosity only works in the 4th dimension: it may not feel sticky to the touch, but its sticks back to the past, gumming to the violence and glory of a racist seceded nation, 4 years in sovereign existence but hundreds in conception. the clinging kudzu has been displaced by fields of cotton, innocent cloudy puffs of dazzling white, that likewise insidiously stick to their stalks, necessitating the inexhaustible, infinite hands. an open mewling maw, still seeping dank sweat.

leaving atlanta (10/21)

In 100, by Nora on November 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm

it’s early in the morning as i free myself from the multi-necked highways hydra that clutches the city, boa-constricting it. i surf the radio for something weird – college radio, 20-year-olds deep into 8-tracks set loose upon the waves – somehow finding myself inside what seems to be the soundtrack for an avant-garde film. as the late-october sky lightens, i’m immersed in a mist, looming with bushy trees. creaky strings build in ominous, erratic tension, then mollifyingly spool into a playful jaunt, then lushly build again with heartfelt emotion; i am now the protagonist, my drive momentous, my future a living mystery.

nice to meet you

In 100, by Nora on November 27, 2020 at 12:04 pm

sometimes you are dazzling, orange-creamsicle quilting the dimming sky. sometimes you creep slickly over the hills, engulf sutro’s spindly tower, slide down its contours, unfurl into basins crenellated with pastel ticky-tack houses, blunt muted stucco further diffused, pointillated into dew-drops, swallowing light, from image to absence of image. sometimes you hover haughtily above the bridge, maintaining a discreet shape though made of nothing, just billions of millions of droplets, stitched together fluidly. sometimes you scurry in puffs past the windows, especially in the evening when the yellowing streetlights cast you into visibility, smelly musty or milky. i guess you’re karl.


In 100, by Nora on November 24, 2020 at 12:32 pm

LIFE starts at CONCEPTION (billboard, KS)

Every tongue will confess Jesus as Lord even the Democrats (big red devil pitchfork) (illustrated church billboard, KY)

WE SELL GUNS – AR-15s – Ammo – SHOOTING RANGE (multiple billboards in a row, KS)

WARNING: Jesus is coming. R u ready ? (church, KY)

Freedom. Family. Jobs. Trump. (billboard, TN)

ASAP: always say a prayer (church, GA)

We believe in Jesus. DON’T YOU (church, AL)

Trump 2020: it’s America vs communism – paid for by the Chinese American Republican Committee of Georgia (billboard, GA)

JESUS 2020 (lawn sign, MS)

We’re closed but god is always open (church, TN)

JESUS CHRIST. (church, KY)

another blue morning (oct 23)

In 100, by Nora on November 22, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Waking up in the warm dew-wet blue New Orleans swamp air, on the top level of a wooden shack with an open mosquito net tumbling onto me, a translucent gecko clinging to its folds, two screened windows open to the jangling church bells at 6am, Cajun piety amidst the sultry swelter. behind my head, the screen climbs with the bright green heart-shaped leaves of a vine. A vase with a single carnation, a magazine cutout of the dalai  lama, a crystal-edged mardi gras mask. at my feet, the screen flows into purpling sky, a city languorously unfolding to buxom life.

the loopiest loop pt 2

In 100, by Nora on November 20, 2020 at 6:02 pm

finally curving, from east to south, to almost west, toward the edge of the world, my edge of the world, following kudzu to cotton through alabama to mississippi to new orleans, finally facing full west, loping lethargically through the dripping atchafalaya swamps to houston, rolling through rugged hill country, dashing through the desolate west texas dark to glistening, glittering rain-slicked new mexico, waking up in the snow-dusted gila, its water-gutted canyons trying to hold me, giving me quiet & caves, reluctantly trundling down into the baked-hot creosote arizona lowlands, not onward but not backward either, the loop is closing, almost home.

diebenkorn pt 9 (one year later)

In 100, by Nora on November 18, 2020 at 11:41 am

a year ago i boarded a plane thinking i’d be back in the gloating springtime of may, six months later, to drop in cheekily on my old new york life, the thing i’d built over a decade.

a year ago i sat in this bizarre glass box of an apartment, thinking i’d spend a few nights a week here maximum, as i scuttled between my childhood home and my newly-chosen mexico city.

a year ago i thought i’d be done with this diebenkorn city by the fog-tickled summer.

instead this city has enwrapped me in its pastel-dewed arms so tightly

the loopiest loop pt 1

In 100, by Nora on November 17, 2020 at 2:26 pm

i’m on the longest largest loop i’ve ever looped, gunning resignedly through flat nevada on the country’s loneliest highway, pausing bewildered in the xeric shrublands and red dust slooping canyons of utah, dabbling into aspen-carpeted colorado, dazedly & determinedly boring a single long corn-edged tube through kansas missouri illinois indiana, slowing into stillness in sloping afternoons of pin-quiet appalachian pines & quivering hickories in kentucky & georgia, east always, early mornings a squinting affair, late afternoons buffeted forward by the sun pushing me away from home, farther from my birthplace of gusty woody garrigue, my humble hardy chaparral, my coastal sagey matorral, onward.

smashing pumpkins after the polls close

In 100, by Nora on November 16, 2020 at 11:03 am

enraged guitar keening, screaming joyous abandoned

emptiness is loneliness

driving fast from a place i hope never to see again, where hate oozed from spitting mouths, gaping with entitlement, hands clutched pearls in racist fright and guns in violent spite and ballots in oxymoronic self-certainty

loneliness is cleanliness

dark dark dry air crackling with arizonan heat, seeping from the cracked red earth, precipitated in the hardiest shrubs

cleanliness is godliness

words ripping from my grinning mouth out the burst-open windows, wind unfurling hair matted from fourteen hours under two masks, gloves, face shield

and god is empty, just like me

(sept 19) lake life

In 100, by Nora on November 15, 2020 at 5:54 pm

sun-honeyed water foaming over toes

being towed behind a boat, clinging onto the air-taut plasticky tube, wind wrapping around my arms fluid like water

as soon as your body moves this fast, unencumbered through space, you are small again. only children can feel how fast they move through space truly, wonderingly. because they are small, all speeds take the breath in check, shock into laughter

smooth broad skin shifting tautly over blunt arms, round-ended fingers, freckles and inflected freckles – melanin skips, negative space

wind rips laughter from our lips, waves bite, the most pliant substance made solid by our inertia

blue morning (oct 17)

In 100, by Nora on November 13, 2020 at 6:26 pm

my fog-dampened mind is slow blue like the dew-greyed mountains framed in the window at the foot of my bed. incrementally wakening, my body floats among the trees; the slim pliant trunks wave gently, dignified, in the dark. tiny, quivering leaves cling and brush. the blue begins to resolve into three, then four folds in the land before me, the closer a textured emerald, the further unfurling and condensing its own fog. the leaves are greening and yellowing, dappling themselves, painting themselves colors as light begins to creep into my room, lighting my toes, up against the impossibly clear glass.

(sept 9) a fire-burnished friend

In 100, by Nora on November 12, 2020 at 7:54 pm

salt-fattened hairs tickle his cheekbones. he stalks barefoot through his ash-spattered yard, tanned, smooth chest & tough feet bare. bonny doon has been decimated, but his beloved house still stands, reassuringly symmetrical, wide eaves a shading sanctuary from the heavy, still-laden air. he will nurture his garden back to life, feeding his sweat and labor back into the ground, just as he chainsaw-tore through & shouldered the brush from the nearby ravine, years of clearing that saved his home in one adrenaline-crisped hour. the last fire was not literal. rebuilding this place, rebuilding himself, had not been easy. he’s survived before, burnished.

there’s a laziness to power

In 100, by Nora on November 11, 2020 at 9:39 am

or maybe it’s just lazy when the power emanates from a heavy, black metal instrument hanging from your waist. its surface is so matte that all light and eyes are drawn into it. even after i look away, the fact of it is still there, deep, my heart beating more cautiously, aware of the predator in its presence. an empty parking lot in a long-abandoned strip mall, chipped orange stucco, a wire hanging aborted and frayed over the ghostly absence of the 90s-era LIQUOR sign. your eyes address mine arrogantly, your leering grin lethargically spreads, that weight giving you power.