Abigal speaks again

19 08 2010



by Cary Elson

CE:    You mentioned earlier a letter or explanation as you called it—?

AB:  Writing on the body, so to speak.

CE:  Yes, that was what it was in reference to—as a sailor you must have been exposed to a multitude of tattoos…is this what you refer to?

AB:  Yes and no, Cary.  I learned the art of tattoo on my travels, but I was referring to something different.  To a love letter, to how we mothers gift our children, that sort of thing.

CE:  Children? …but, I was under the impression, well…that you had never actually had a child.

AB:  But does that mean I wasn’t a mother?


Perros (Amores)

16 08 2010

We are not alone in dreaming at night

You will never find her

There were fascists at the dog park

Not really–

Except that the two people I saw hit their dogs had the attitude of what I imagine an elite member of a fascist military might have.  The attitude I have, I must admit, seen in movies, of Nazis, for example.  A sort of righteous triumph.

(I wonder whether this offends you–or what about it offends you?  I’m not sure how I feel about the offense)

The man hit his dog across the muzzle with a tennis ball, while the dog was down  with her face up in a posture of the utmost submission.   He had that sort of haircut from those movies.   He was shirtless and he stood around as though wishing for an audience to his abuse.  As those we’d all say, “yes, good job, you have such good control of the dog.” Like we’d all come around him and taunt and abuse the dog ourselves.

After the dog had properly groveled,the man threw the ball into the water and the dog leapt after it with a sort of joy.

This made me think about little pieces of joy.  Doesn’t every dog deserve joy?  Did this dog live in her moments of joy?  Were they enough?

And why did this man “own” this dog?

You ask of my Companions. Hills – sir – and the Sundown, and a Dog large as myself, that my Father bought me

And why was I unable to let go of her suffering–or of what I perceived as her state of suffering?  Even now.

burning all is burning

It was, of course, good I did not attack the back of his head with my keys–although I allowed myself the fantasy of his smooth white skin beneath his hairline breaking open under my hand, of him feeling pain.  As though I could redeem her life through violence–as though I could redeem the lives of all beings deeply suffering whether through their relationships to humans, or to other species*, by inflicting terrible pain.

The eye is burning

For there are creatures everywhere that live lives of great suffering–Buddha told us this a great while ago.

forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning

The suffering of those dogs, however, still lives in me, no matter how hard I work towards detachment. It lives here

and here

I teach only suffering

and the liberation from suffering


*As for other species, there is no one so brutal to one another as members of the same species.  This moment I still feel a deep pain over the suffering of the submissive dog whose name I no longer remember in The Wild Dogs of Africa, an amazing film by Hugo van Lawick


quotes are from W. G. Sebald, Emily Dickinson and Buddhist texts (attributed to the Buddha)

Remains [WARNING-to the squeamish, do not prod the rubble]

8 08 2010

We had fed the heart on fantasies,

The hearts grown brutal from the fare

Someone killed the bird.  Perhaps you might tell me whom. Hawk, crow, cat, coyote.  Racoon, rat


We need empathy, we need  eyes that can still weep

I saw the remains last week and I saw them again today, but more torn; as if someone had considered the wings and breast a feast of some sort but gave up after ripping everything apart in preparation for the meal.  I could smell them today.

the gray air haunted by hawks.

I usually throw flowers on corpses I find.  It is my way of recognizing that the creature was once alive.

I dropped a clover flower on the body of the rat–itself decomposing on the     rainy sidewalk.

Do you know why I stumbled upon so many dead today?


Nothing strange

I feel I am on the interstices of life right now–in a strange way. And these little dead bodies that are nearly not bodies anymore–

I cannot/Tell you how strange

where are the beings that inhabited them once?

And now before the Door

a Face

I never saw before


quotes from William Butler Yeats, Robinson Jeffers, Emily Dickinson, Lydia Millet

Abigal is speaking, shh

1 08 2010

Torture is boring. That is part of its charm. The flip side of absolute pain is absolute boredom. Frustration, sleep deprivation, forcing one to think one is drowning (a particularly nasty feeling for those of us that have found ourselves lost at sea) play on one’s lack of control in the same way, in some sense, as does boredom. We were all tortured (the word loses its meaning) in different ways—how do I know? I know, for torture is not silent.