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narratives in the second person edited by diane marie


contents Affectionate Issue

2

timmy reed Size Appropriateness . . . 3

paige gresty ...5

susie anderson help me identify this season . . . 9

chuck young You Once Were a White Privileged Piece of Shit (And You Still Are) . . . 11 Punch-Drug-Love-Drunk . . . 15

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aes dukirebzi Here lies an Artist, resigned, if not dedicated, to being alone . . . 17

shane jesse christmass THAT ENTIRE VALLEY OF TEARS BS . . . 19

chad redden . . . 23

jayinee basu Bilateral Symmetry . . . 25

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contents

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timmy reed Size Appropriateness

You are watching science videos on the Internet because you want to feel tiny compared to things like killer whales and the universe - or the universes, as one video just suggested – but instead you feel bloated because of something you ate last night maybe. You do not remember what you ate last night or if you ate anything at all but still you feel enormous and it embarrasses you. You make yourself smaller on the couch. You wish your windows had blinds, instead of nothing at all to hide you. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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You wish there was nothing outside of your window, no universes or whales or other people. If it was just me, you think, I would always be size appropriate.

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timmy reed

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paige gresty

Go to the edge of the drive with the best view of the hills and the house and the fields. You will sit on top of your car and delve into the memories of the first ‘before’ and ‘after’ of your life; you will have several more. Think consciously about which memories feel real and which seem exaggerated. The ones that come from a third-person omniscient perspective seem to be the most real, but you can’t be sure anymore. Review from day one where things start to blur- the barn where you read Nancy Drew books in the crawlspace to escape- and contemplate the lies: that you remember often escaping there, but in reality only did once. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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Your memory is a metaphor for the rest of your life. Smoke a cigarette on the top of the car and think that this is a very allegorical trip. Observe how the fields, once lush and green and unpopulated, have now sprouted up pre-fabricated mini-mansions as the suburbs have begun to envelope the genuine countryside. Remember what it felt like to drive out to your father’s house and not see another human for miles. Remember fishing for emeralds in the creek in the clavicle of the fields because that book of Celtic stories said it would be there. Remember the snapping turtle in the pond, the rattlesnakes by the stone wall; remember you have never seen them after all. This is all just a retelling. Look at the porch and the last steps you took outside of that house. Doubt yourself again and doubt your legitimacy in your feelings. Doubt your memories, one more time. Doubt the high A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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paige gresty

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windows and the perspectives leering out of them from your historically-registered former weekend residence. Then leave. Drive the car down the winding roads in the post-dusk darkness and be unable to read the facades of the houses that once had such character on those long, erstwhile drives. Be overcome and stop to smoke another cigarette. Get back in the car and realize the engine has died. Walk into one of the prefabricated neighborhoods; knock on the door, and ask for help. Feel the eyes of the boy home from college as he surveys you in your pajamas, and feel oddly comforted that in six months you’ll be at a university like him. Your cellphone is dead. Call your mother to arrange a taxi to take you the two-hour journey back to your mom’s house, a tow-truck to take the car into the nearest town for a jumpstart on the Swedish-engineered engine. Ride the long way home with shame cloaked A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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paige gresty

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around you like a familiar blanket; at once haunting and stomach-turning, as well as welcomingly sweet. Never think about this again.

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paige gresty

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susie anderson help me identify this season

grass grown long with mornings of dew. stepping over cold uneven ground your shoelaces fill with prickles. emus drink from misty dams as you walk through the foggy paddock whispering "i deserve better. everything is fine". you inhale the present moment, walk over a small bridge and feel powerful. fresh air eats at you – a punishment for absence – asking sweetly "where have you been?". sunbeams make the clear day seem blurry. this is landscape that looms: mountains sit solitary and the air consumes you. there is safety in the knowledge that things go slow in the country. the mountain is your father, your mother, your sisters. white people named it for Scotland, but we A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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call it Gariwerd in our patriarchal tongue. your footsteps trace their narrative, while your body feels disintegrated by the chill. this is a stillness to cherish, to rub all over yourself, a sort of ointment. heavy with thousands of years, become part of the atmosphere. you, too, may settle here

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susie anderson

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chuck young You Once Were a White Privileged Piece of Shit (And You Still Are)

You once bought a dashiki at an Atlanta thrift store. You wore it on stage during a set at the Trocadero in Philly. Your Philly friend told your small town friend that he wanted his body but he meant it in an exercise way. Your small town friend once bought two sleeveless mesh shirts at an Atlanta thrift store. You will later have your future wife tailor your dashiki so that it looks more like a psychedelic fitted deep v. You once thought that this should be your signature look.

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You once worked with autistic children and adults who also suffered from varying degrees of mental retardation. You worked with them at a time when the staff was predominantly Kenyan. You treated the clients with a humanity that you figured they hadn’t experienced in quite some time. You tried to get to know them as individuals and worked at being able to make them smile or laugh or feel understood. You were also an asshole to them. You will credit this job as the reason you lost all ability to be a patient person. You will also understand, at some point, that you were dealing with unresolved anger and residual stress due to a murder/suicide and that that had something to do with your sometimes shitty disposition. You once thought that this job would be good training for when you had children. It would turn out to be a pretty good indicator as you will end up treating your kids well and will also be a total asshole to them. You once received a dashiki from Africa when one A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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chuck young

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of the Kenyan staff members brought one back for you without being asked. You will have your wife tailor this one as well so that it is a lot less like a dress; culturally appropriating it for your personal white bro fashion needs. You once made peace with death while watching dragonflies fuck on a boat on a lake. You figured out that it was all beautiful and all art if one wanted it to be. This revelation was then tested in less than two weeks and you’d later realize that you used it as an intellectual numbing agent. You once made a wish using a Daruma doll that your aunt had brought back for you from Japan. You ended up coloring in both eyes because you wished for something vague and abstract and you were patient. Years later a Japanese girl will live on your floor at college. You will ask her to get you another Daruma doll when she goes home on Christmas break. She will bring one back for you and ask for cinder blocks for her bed in return. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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chuck young

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You will never get her those blocks, which is a real dick move. You’ll end up coloring in both eyes, making another conceptual wish about feeling happy even if just for a fleeting moment. You once realized that you only write about another life that you lived as opposed to the one you are living now. You are not sure if this means that you feel more connected to it or more disassociated from it. You can’t tell which scenario is the most sad. You are a dad. You once were a soul man singing for a rubber band. You are now a plastic American; a cardboard cutout in place of a real husband.

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chuck young

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Punch-Drug-Love-Drunk

You undressed the morning from your eyes and slipped into the white afternoon wine. Now, as the sun becomes a marlboro red, you undress the nightlife from your eyes because you know that I’m content to just sink into the folds of your clothes and to live in the scent of your skin. You’re maudlin. You’ve fallen into a day drunk haze and out of your dimples I would drink the cheapest of all cheap champagnes, hand you a plastic spoon bouquet and ask, “would you marry me?” “Would you bury me in our backyard? Because I hope you outlive me for centuries, at least.” You listen with Van Gogh ear. You paint with Stevie Wonder eyes. You’re a yellow glow sunflower starry night. You are a song in the key of life.

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chuck young

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You remember that time I fucked you on a floor of vinyl after you smashed all of my dad’s old records. You feel like the map of grooves I later made by gluing a bunch of those shards together. You feel that beautifully Frankensteined. You’re maudlin.

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chuck young

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aes dukirebzi Here lies an Artist, resigned, if not dedicated, to being alone.

You went to the grocery and bought bacon coffee and almond milk. It was a green little market next to a tattoo shop and liquor store. When you paid, the cashier looked hexagonally pretty and elongated like a pencil. She looked you in the eye and asked you if you wanted a bag. You said no and felt you’d passed some sort of test. You walked home with the bacon thawing under one armpit and the coffee bag getting wet in the rain. The coffee bag was unbleached and brown and had black ink pictures of Colombians and words like shade. You drank three cups of A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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gourmet coffee with the almond milk. Then you poured water through the machine again to recycle the pot. As you waited for second runnings you looked at the carton of almond milk and noticed it had been on sale. You hope that that is a good price for almond milk, you want it to be a good price, you really really do.

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aes dukirebzi

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shane jesse christmass THAT ENTIRE VALLEY OF TEARS BS.

You’re at the pharmacy counter. To you prescription drugs are important as they tie the whole universe together. Outside the pharmacy you pick up a rain-damaged pamphlet. Inside the pamphlet is a comprehensive list of traitors who’ve aligned themselves with imperialism and capitalism. Top of the list is musicians. This makes you giggle. Your best friend advises you that a novella is a short version of a novel. You advise your best friend that ‘novella’ is a Serbian word for Warren G. You decide that you’d like to check if the pharmacist is registered. You look him up on the internet. His ‘bona fides’ as your A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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GP likes to say. You were going to download an album off the internet, but then you saw that someone you didn’t like was playing on it. When you were seven you had a horrible flu, all feverish. Your mother, may she rest in peace, woke you up in the middle of the night, as you were wailing childish epithets, most likely swearing. You slept walked, well ran. You slept ran, out of bed, pushing your blankets and covers aside. You slammed into the hallway wall. When you woke in the morning you had a sore and bloody nose. Your school teacher explained how this happened to you. You wondered why your teacher had to explain this you. You walked back into the pharmacy thinking that the 90s were such a mystical time. You're watching that movie that The Smiths sampled for The Queen Is Dead. It's got that Frenchie in it from Gigi. On Twitter there’s people praying for things. You start a one word hashtag that references them – #losers. You are writing the novel, not any novel - the novel. The rest of your friends were writing stuff that A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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shane jesse christmass

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seemed to have already been given to them, easy stuff. You were writing into the universe and back again. No one else had done that, a novel written entirely through scrying, black mirrors, that sort of shit. Outside a patisserie that’s just down the street from the pharmacy. You look in the window. A birthday cake with the phrase, “You Bastard” iced on top of it. You purchase a six pack of donuts and wonder what you are going to do with your life. On the bus back home you came up with your 27th idea for a Hollywood movie. You scribble in your notebook that they should remake Smokey And The Bandit. However in the remake the ‘Bandit’ should be pursued by a right wing militia. They’d be brandishing pitchforks. You would go to the test screening draped in a rainbow flag. You would fill out the test card, indicating your favourable response to the remake by writing something about – “the religiosity of wing dings”. In your previous incarnation, in the late 1960s, you took acid and saw your spirit animal. Reincarnation is a blast. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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shane jesse christmass

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This is written in felt tip pen on the back of the bus seat in front of you. Actually it is three bus seats in front of you. You pick up a discarded newspaper. Advertisements. Competitions. In the newspaper is one of those competitions where you can win a piece of clothing that belongs to a famous person. You don’t even think about entering such a completion. You don’t want to enter something like that. The bus driver is sitting on a stack of phone books. A Bible by his feet. You think about the Bible, about how it is so emo, all that valley of tears BS.

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shane jesse christmass

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chad redden

I’ll lose them but I bought sunglasses from the dollar store. The sun asks about you all of the time. I tell the sun what I tell everyone else about you. The sun hopes you will be born soon if you haven’t been born already. My arm bleeds and I feel the sun inside my arm asking about you. Knives are one of the sun’s ways to enter the body. I laugh because you are so curious about yourself. You are the sun and you are always asking about yourself. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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I laugh because you surprise me every day. You leave a smashed birthday cake at the bus stop. I’ll spend the rest of the day thinking about the mystery of the birthday cake. You made sure the cake had purple frosting. Thanks to you I noticed the color purple today. On the bus you could be any of the passengers pretending to sleep. I speak to all of the passengers pretending to sleep and say thank you in case one of them is you. You are clever to not reveal yourself as one of the passengers on the bus pretending to sleep. I pull out an apple and eat it because it feels like a beautiful thing to do for you. You are the sun asking me about yourself from the screen of a phone. I laugh because I am still wearing sunglasses. You are the sunglasses too. I laugh because I know I will lose you.

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chad redden

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jayinee basu Bilateral Symmetry

I. You and your boyfriend have set up two fish tanks and populated them with gorgeous guppies. You have installed a violet light that makes the guppies shimmer like code. You watch the guppies swim together for hours. He points out small details to you. You watch the newt that you have also placed in the tank. He looks like a happy guy. You point out his happy little boppy face. You turn all the lights out in your living room and fall asleep on the couch watching the neon tanks. You wake up the next morning to find torn guppy A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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fins floating greyly in the tank. The newt looks fat and happy. The water looks dirty. Several days later, the newt goes missing.

II. Your boyfriend is stretched out in the sun smoking a cigarette. His short blonde hair sparkles a little and his eyes are narrowed into blue slits. You understand he is beautiful, you understand your life with him is full of love and a kind of domino-like serial pouring of one day into the next. You understand that your life with him will unfold via gradualism and everything that should be contained in a life will exist within it, blossoming slowly like flowers in winter. He is quiet and aloof and you are not. He has a A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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stunning brain that discharges electricity like a lightning storm on a Kansas plain. It holds you captivated and terrified. In many ways you are floating on a raft. You can’t swim, so falling off the raft would be unpleasant. You also lack upper body strength and are bad at rowing, but you are good at drifting farther and farther away from the shore. You’re good at appreciating salt in your mouth and watching seagulls catch the wind. You are good at things that take little effort. You have an endless case of beer on the raft. You are good. You are a dogmatic person. There are things you insist are true. Human-made things are better than natural things. Everyone is an implicit agnostic. You are an atheist. Religion is terrible. Alcohol is wonderful. Drugs are educational. Knowledge is freedom. Like a mantra, you tell yourself: this is this, categorically. That is that. This word “epilepsy” has a meaning. He is not in A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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pain, epilepsy is incurable, love will make you brave, trust in medicine, it will all be okay. This means this. That means that. Like a pin through a specimen, this means this, that means that. Matter is good, it is precise, it exists. Meaning exists. You cling to these truths as you drift.

III. One day out of the blue you are hit by a train. It hits you softly, so softly you barely notice. You forget about the train that hits you for a month. You are bleeding internally during this time. You begin to self-destruct. You drink too much. You have always drunk too much but now you really drink too much. Your nights are black. Your hair is white. You lie to your teachers. You write your teachers e-mails apologizing for lying to them. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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Your teachers forgive you. You kiss a dark boy on the cheek. Your eyes swell with tears. Your boyfriend is quiet and throws a lighter on the ground as hard as he can. You are disappointed that it doesn’t explode. The next day you pick up a piece of black lint from the carpet. It is the dessicated body of a newt. It has turned into a shrinky dink. You wonder if you throw it into a toilet will it swell back to life? You feel like a human but also like a fish. At many important times in your life you have felt like a fish. You find fish horrifying. You have a tattoo of a fish with hideous teeth. This will never stop. You drop the newt and run. You feel that you have activated something.

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jayinee basu

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IV. Pixelated, you breathe your last breath. You decide to jump off the raft and drown. You think “punctuated equilibrium”. You are rushing toward the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by torn guppy tails. You see a sinking train and you ride it, straddling its body between your legs. The water is loud past your ears. You can taste burning plastic. A praying mantis type tells you in an epic voice of fields epic things. You puzzle over why it’s so symmetrical. Your fusiform gyrus is acting up again. You puzzle over puzzling over and OVER and over and OVER and over and OVER and over and OVER and over and OVER and over. Voices break into frightening techno beats. You are feeling a lot of pressure somewhere. You puzzle over feeling. You have lost language before and you have melted into mattresses into skin and A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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hair puddles, you have tugged at strange fibers only to find them attached to pain receptors, you have rubbed your rubbery lips until they’ve bled, you have felt the confusion of being a body with needs like oxygen and water, you have felt the utter nothingness of unconsciousness, but you have never felt this way before. You are blinking back tears. You think the thought “I was wrong” one million and seventeen times. You live through several lifetimes. In one of them you are a rapist. In one of them you die as a newborn. The pressure is actually your two sets of teeth pressing against each other. You open them forcibly and gasp in water. And then you realize you have lungs and alveoli and you take advantage of this a lot. You breathe in and out, in and out. You have gotten used to breathing underwater. You notice eyes. You notice an object upward. You hear voices saying in assuring, reasonable tones A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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“if you open yourself up to new experiences…” and everything is very benevolent and rasterized. That object up there begins to take form. You close your eyes and you’re glad to understand the concept of eyelids. Your tears seal your eyes shut. You open them again and frown up at the object. It takes a grooved form. It’s curled and white and glowing. It’s a molded light fixture. You look down and you see hands. Your own hands. They leave jellyfish trails when you wiggle them against your orange pants. You feel tall as you rush into your own body and look around and feel so much joy and relief and everything and you call for someone and he comes over and you’re good and you laugh and he laughs and you’re good and back to earth. “How long was I gone for?” “15 minutes.” “Shit, hahaha. What did that look like from the outside?” A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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“Uh, like you were coming.” You sublimate when you can.

V. You are a psychotic person. There are things you just cannot. Humans are natural things. Everyone is an ape at a keyboard. You are an atheist. Religion is a comedy. Alcohol is no longer. Drugs are saving your life and ending it concurrently. Knowledge is terror. You have no mantras left. You have no language left. This word “reality” has no meaning. Everyone is in pain, epilepsy is incurable, love will make you brave, trust in medicine, it will all be okay. This means this. That means that. Like sticking a pin through your hand, self investigation will lead to orgasm. A FFECTI ON ATE I S S U E

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jayinee basu

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Matter is incomplete, it is imprecise, it precariously exists. Meaning does not exist. You will never cling to anything ever again.

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jayinee basu

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published on

3 august 2013 edited by

diane marie designed by

ashley also available online at

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Affectionate Issue № 2  

narratives in the second person, edited by Diane Marie.