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9 volts, pt 3


I begin stalking Ulysses. To facilitate my obsessions, I get an apartment downtown. I buy old clothes, quiet shoes. I approximate her diet and routines. The blackbean and chard omelette at Roodaughter’s, Sunday nights at the perpetual Kurosawa festival at the Neptune. In the No 45 bus I disguise myself with terrific stenches- smells that would knock her eyes inward,  clog ears and throat. There is a thrill that I might be compromised by my intense need to be close to her; but for the will of imposed distances there is a shimmering and altogether inappropriate coziness in the staid dread of what is coming, a small but beloved stuffed toy burning on a wide featureless plain.

I find my head is emptying, softening, like a unstoppered wound. Or soft cheese at attic temperatures. I’m pleased to find that my obsessions are purgative and there’s perhaps an ironic health here. Consolations as they discover. Even my crap is unrecognizable. I can freely inspect my stool without revulsion and panic. I’m smoking less, and have given up coffee in favor of green tea.

Noe encourages me daily. He comes by my loft. He speaks at length on the aesthetics of my spartan living arrangements, like an interior decorator for the demented. He swoons comically over the sublimity of the typewriter under the bare 100 watt bulb, the 25lb bag of dry blackbeans in the cupboard, the cockroaches dried and clutched as if irradiated by cliché. He peers again at the typewriter. Wow, he says. Three words more than yesterday.

This is the museum copy I keep for him. In truth I am writing volumes. The words flow like bukake spray. I cannot contain them. But for him I keep a separate ream of paper with only one page used, nothing crumpled or tossed, a single meticulous passage growing at an indiscernible rate, like a trifling but trickling charge from a radio wired to a starchy potato.