Cole HeinowitzCole Heinowitz

Working Note

In one chapter of the novel I am writing, a cow fuses identities with a pile of lumber. This was written by narrating each knot and fiber in the nine wood planks directly above the sofa in my bedroom. If someone, having read this chapter, were to unknowingly rent my room long after I had left it, they would no doubt recognize the planks. Writing, when based on the impersonation of objects, has the potential to operate simultaneously in every conceivable register of meaning. The widely reverberating skin thus created—when worn either as a bodysuit or a municipality—will make us better lovers. The cult of individuality will wane when the individual has made this leap to becoming a practical god; the elastic band of Greek tragedy will snap, and love will roll forward in a blind cascade of punches. I enjoy inventing covert seduction schemes, then confessing them shamelessly to simple machines and home furnishings.







Is this just for show?


              Is this just for show?
(generation 1)
              To ratchet it up when you get stuck

                     Or do you believe we need to stop making references to our media?

Having a handicap or having to use your fingers excessively
is not the same as being clear-headed
and thus also different from being self-referential.

When it gets stuck, we reach inside and dislodge
the offending teeth.

Otherwise nothing would continue to happen.

We like offensively simple words
like "happiness" to shift the balance of power
from gratification to examination as gratification.

(generation 2) Is this just for now?
like rain to buoy up the shit level when the actors have leprosy.

                   Or do you believe we need to stop making
                   meals out of bookshleves and tarmacs?

I’m going to do it to you slowly, wearing my cherry red wax
vampire lips, losing myself in fantasy under the shrubs
dispensing French manicures like a Vietnamese refugee in the highway culvert. 

                         When we disappear into our stagecraft for one moment together
                         coloring everything in twice, macerate paper pulp, strangling 
                          the metaphor to keep it face down cold— that’s narrative.

But through the factory window all you can see are dome-shaped factory
windows crammed to the breaking point of their own mass with brick:

Where is the frantic anything of moment? I asked the dancer in the green room.
Perhaps I’m old, she said,

                       and that’s why the light died

and now I’m only

slightly dressing up.


Old Man

     An old man, and not a very pleasant man to look at, lay in pale daylight in a wide bed consuming the greater part of the room. Behind him to either side was a low window, its wooden quadrants painted white, overlooking the back of the building before the fence where trash was kept. He smoked a cigar. The room had once been mine. An illiterate maid and myself have been placed in charge of his care. He said to me as he held the phone receiver to his head, "And who is able to speak such things over the wire...Only the dead can."

Often, his statements, and especially this one, filled me with horror and incomprehension. In the beginning, I had tried to ascertain their meaning by asking him erudite, undaunted questions regarding their syntactic construction or his own position as a speaker. These approaches had brought nothing but pain as they played in the field of a game whose master he, indisputably, was. Now I had given over, given over everything to his mastery. I reduced myself shamefully before him, asking the most naive of questions, renouncing any appearance of recognizing the grace of his spoken forms, seeming not to catch his poise, complaining, "I do not understand how the two parts of that statement go together." While prodigious questions only peaked his cynical sportsmanship, that taut mechanization of things and their opposites, these tiny, pathetic inquiries sent him into a chaos. He began to mumble, forcing cigars from his reserve behind the bedpost upon me, forcing the wet end of his cigar into my mouth, begging me, making me smoke it, lighting another for himself and beginning, too, to smoke, reeling back and forth as though his spine had liquefied, perspiring, eyes drooped swollenly closed.

I did not allow myself the cover of terror that I whimpered for in all his limitless rancor. I grabbed the cigar from my teeth and hurled it out the window to burn what it might and die out. I spoke to him meekly, through infantile wellings of tears, trying to forge some pattern by which I might join together the two parts of his statement. "Today I wrote a story, as short as a single page, nebulous of plot. The beginning is heady and muffled as though caught in foam. By the end, something has clearly happened. But," I broke off, "how can these two things fit together?" He seemed to be looking off somewhere else, frozen there cadaverously. But he was not dead—how had he the right to speak for the dead, turning each article before a chilling noun to an exclusive "we"? In my room as in all of the rooms here, the foliate branches of some lanky Mediterranean plant were tacked up along the seams of the walls, nestling in the upper corners. I followed the line of the stalks down with my eyes to the splintered, whitening nub where they had been broken off from their trunk.

Winding slowly away from the house, I wrote a chart to which I could apply the man’s teachings. At the top was written "the story," next, "the self," and last, "the dead." A young woman’s path crossed mine. She asked me what I was writing. "I am writing fiction," I said. "The worst of all," she replied, "because it is so..." and we finished in unison, "invisible."

Preface 3:

Movement, a lover

Forget about the time you used yourself to a dry nub, and also forget how you promised never to stop fucking once you had started. The dry tip at the finger end, down the railway. Screams outward five men down a gorge. Forget about the time your hair was cut as splinter in my palm, the wet spot on the back of the four-door. The metallic suck on the taste of the cut, the land membrane slipping into a forehead of trash. When will it stop being Monday in our urges? A mundane tulip is being urged on a mountebank. He lives in a dug-out mother.

We plotted the cell wall, watched protoplasts stream across the landscape. Called it a rosarium but pissed it with daffodils, tulips because today is New England and the red south land mimics the vomit of our last February—all starts in memorium—an update from the loo—Miss Rebekah says...

We have accepted the feces folded between pages of the ornithologists’ guide. Bird-watcher-sensualist, grope me there place me in the bush where I am awaiting a curtain call. To step forth, guarded with juniper sprigs, wearing only placenta, and to violate the earth for a tribal encore. Why else have we developed the word "brink"?

And so one became a ballerina. I say became because one does not undertake this bodily suffering lightly or without some process. The toe in regeneration, and the ribcage—caught a bird beneath its zenith and swang. [Or] sang the morning song quite consistently off-key. And so the toe turning, the pinkest pig of the lot on my palette. Says, forgive the merriment on eastern after, a gnomon. A concubine under the wardrobe. A cardinal, direction in spring. Oh Chaucer—the birds maken melodie beneath my screenless window. The smoke—not yet ancient.

One of us is in danger of using the word citizen soon. I like food that you don’t have to eat slowly to be manipulated by erotically. The references to a beatific past are fast accumulating at the infamous window, growing rapidly rowdy and purloining favours from the women among them. The references to a barbaric ritual are twisting like a screw into the old, dissectable earth. The old, desiccated mourner climbs the song and spies in on our young bodies, selfish and petulant in the deathless flesh scent. Here is an organ for you, dear reader, yes, a kidney, and I scamper back into your hand, where the bush is ready to bloom into flame, to keep eating and eating and eating.


BIO: Cole Heinowitz was born and raised in San Diego, California, but currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island. She is pursuing a doctorate in comparative literature and teaches literature and Spanish language courses at Brown University. Her first book, Daily Chimera, and her forthcoming book, The Dream Life of Anger, are published by Incommunicado Press. Her poetry and essays have also appeared in Proliferation, Mirage, and Revista Hispánica Moderna.

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