Transpire

 Issue #8

Summer/Fall 2012

Table of Contents

3 Letter from the Editor

4 Contributors

5 Events

6 Fiction – “Stand Alone Girl” by Teri Louise Kelly

10 Poetry  – “Watcher by Chance” by Jean-Pierre Parra

11 Fiction – “Wolf Song” by Thomas James Brown

15 Poetry – “Breathless” by Holly Day

16 Review – “Norwegian Wood” by Joshua Willey

22 Poetry – “Nighttime Hymn” by Holly Day

24 Poetry – “New Memories” by Holly Day

26 Poetry – “Before It Snows” by Holly Day

27 Poetry – “Calcutta Sand” by Holly Day

28 Review – “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming” by Joshua Willey

32 Fiction – “Hunger” by Jenny Glozshtein

 

Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

This is where I write something nice about how belatedly it is that I’m introducing the eighth issue, and what a swiftly moving summer (and fall) it’s been, and what an eventful one in our little corner of the literary world, and something about what literature and the literary world, the literary life, means to all of us, and either a more professional picture of myself or just a photograph that is representative of the season without being too self-centered, like me out for dinner with friends in Brooklyn, but nothing that implies the way this picture is is the way the world is because this is the only world that matters, because it’s not, and then I’ll write something meant to be inspiring about writing or art or what trans means and what transpire proves to be, something about emitting or giving off, as if through the skin, or escaping, as if through the skin, or being revealed to be (as if through the skin?), and then we’ll see what happens.  Warmest,

– Christina Phelps

Contributors

Thomas James Brown is the Co-Editor of Dark River Press and a postgraduate student at the University of Southampton, where he is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.  Literary influences include Friedrich Nietzsche, S. T. Joshi, and Russian novelist Andrei Makine.  When not writing or editing he makes coffee for a living, although it is fair to say his passion lies with the pen, and not the portafilter.

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district.  Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai’i Pacific ReviewThe Oxford American, and Slipstream, and she is a recent recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College.  Her book publications include Music Composition for DummiesGuitar-All-in-One for Dummies, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese.

Jenny Glozshtein is a student of professional writing and humanities, originally from Israel. She is an inquisitive and fascinated soul whom if you met might have asked you a lot of questions, gone on tangents of imaginary absurdity, and made a poem in an attempt to bid you goodnight. She likes the Chinese game of Go, writes rarely-heard music, and is fond of hot chocolate (which, apparently, is nicely enhanced by the addition of salt). Her creative nonfiction and poetry have been published in Filling Station and Chrysalis, and her articles appeared in Yediot Canada.

Teri Louise Kelly is the transgendered author of four memoirs and one collection of poetry.  Formerly from Brighton (UK) she now lives in Adelaide, Australia.  A pretty ordinary bassist in a fall-apart band, she performs spoken word while inebriated, collects beer coasters, and shoots 8-ball.  Recently featured in an audio documentary on national radio in Australia, both her work and her slide from masculine grace into the diabolical state of female-hood have been heavily critiqued.  She will be performing in a bar near you soon.

Mette Norrie id s visual artist, freelance illustrator, and writer based in Copenhagen, Denmark.  She studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and at the Gerrit RietveldAcademy in Amsterdam and received her MFA in 2011.

Jean-Pierre Parra is a French poet.  He has published about 40 books of poetry, theater.  His main topics are love, sickness, old age, the Holocaust, the homeless, works on the world today: the war in Gaza, the Arab spring, the war in Lybia, and now the conflict in Syria, etc.  He also writes about paintings, especially those of Mariannic Parra.  His works are haunted by two extreme themes : evil and beauty which are the two great mysteries of life’s adventure.  He said, “We can conceive evil, we have the proof in the XXth century that absolute evil exists.  On the other hand, there is beauty.  The universe is not always beautiful, but when we see beauty, it does not leave us unmoved.”  He was born in Algeria in 1951.

Joshua Willey was born in Oakland and studied literature at Reed College.  He’s currently training to translate Chinese fiction.  Some of his work can be found in OpiumRain TaxiAdbusters,Wilderness HouseStumble, and Shelf Life.

Events

8.5.2012 – trans lit mag begins transmitting issue #8, “transpire.”

 

Fiction

Stand Alone Girl

by Teri Louise Kelly

I never much liked netball, or people called John, don’t know why, just some generalised knee-jerk reaction I guess.  When this particular John told me that a misogynist was a national characteristic in a novel about the tsars, I knew I’d made the right decision.  If I’d been called John I’d have had to change my name to Joan when I flipped the switch on genders, that’s the deal they pin to your task bar in psychotherapy.  Tell you not to go overboard and too Vanessa Del Rio on the whole deal, just keep it simple, hang your apron on a familiar letter of the alphabet and they’ll still fill your scripts at the chemist.  It was sound advice, to a point, but it got diluted on television and in print, my name, out there like a household brand of cholesterol reducing margarine.  Even the chemist baulked at that, told me they had no time for potty mouthed girls swanning around on television with blush brushes, that I ought to make arrangements for another pharmacist to service my drug needs, horses had rights too, didn’t I know?

No, I knew they shot them, for cat food that was the bar on my equine knowledge, so I traipsed off in too-tight heels looking for a druggist, one who knew the score, one who didn’t read beat up gutter press stories or watch sensationalised current affairs shows.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t easy to find, but along the way I found a cute two-piece polka dot bikini, it was so neat I decided there and then to get my eyes permanently lined with tattoo ink, my navel pierced and tongue as well into the bargain.  So there I was, two black eyes, a tongue like a dead gopher, an allergic rash all across my belly, trying to convince the dentist I wasn’t on heroin or inebriated, that pain was my gravy train of the day.

He bought it too, ripped out that wisdom tooth with the murderous brutality of a Fascist.  Ether helped, a little, but I still had to drive home, there was three days mail in my mailbox and I hadn’t washed my work gear.  It was a rough drive, incessant, way too much electrical interference in the air, somewhere between A and B I got myself a semi-colon of a head fuck.  When I came around I was stuck in a ditch, worse, my jeep was too.  Every practical atom in my body had closed up shop for the day all I had at my immediate disposal were girl germs.  Useless in the case of automotive catastrophe, like throwing a jug of iced water at Dante’s inferno, I tried to work it through logistically, like I would have done, once.  Nothing sprang to mind, my user’s manual was out of date.  I told a girlfriend on the beach, some weeks later, about how the farm boy had come along in his tractor and had subsequently abused me for knocking out eight of his fence posts, before he stuck me in four wheel drive and exhumed my vehicle from its grave with the ease of a Hungarian peasant shucking paprika.  She commiserated with my predicament, swigged back another vodka cruiser and hurled it into the ocean.  She was reckless, feckless, blonde, frizzy, environmentally unaware, a size fucking eight.  I hated her svelte figure and drop dead honey pot hips, never mind her eco-friendly jugs and ‘come, let me blow you until sun up’ lips.  She couldn’t apply eyeliner for shit, had never watched a Duran Duran video and continually purchased size six jeans she had to crash diet to be poured into.  I liked when she crash dieted, but not when she was in jeans that looked as if she’d been made wearing them.  That bitch, why did I have to have friends like that, how sick and cruel is god.  We went to a hen’s night, it was a clucky broody affair overruled by menstruation cycles and oestrogen discharges.  Pheromones exploded out of the bombe Alaska when the fireman stripper arrived wearing an axe and a hard hat.  I drew the line at that, the last thing I needed to see was some sex-starved housewife licking Dairy Queen soft-serve off a pretend fireman’s tool.  My jeep was in the shop for repairs, I’d gouged a two-inch deep trench in one rear tyre, the mechanic said he’d never seen any shit like that before, and then he asked me if my jugs were real.  I walked home, it wasn’t prudent, there was no street lighting, no streets, just the haunting squeals of night critters mating and drug deals going bad, I fell into a ditch, put myself in four-wheel drive, flung my heels into the still night air and continued home barefoot.  Once inside I stuck Duran Duran on and called the brunette, she was a size twelve, and fluctuating, her old man grew pot and raised chickens, played the mandolin and wore a smock, no big deal, long live Dairy Queen.  I went back to work, even though I could neither talk nor see, fundamental requirements my boss told me in no uncertain terms, for the hospitality industry.  I set off for the doctor’s, my belly resembled Venus during the equinox, I was on fire, burning up from the inside out, my navel spit-barred, my stomach a churning mass of undigested contraceptive pills the brunette had hand fed me.  The doctor looked at my flaming belly and told me they did not perform cosmetic surgeries.  I told her I hadn’t come for anything so puerile, I’d come to be cured. She looked me up and down and told me bluntly there was no cure yet invented for what I had.  The chemist I’d found with the help of the raven haired video shop girl was more inclined to sell me under the counter creams at a high-end retail cost.  On the upside I had Titanic the movie for free and a brand new tyre on my jeep.  Oh, and I could never get pregnant, these were bonuses, one should never look a gift horse in the mouth or a blonde in the chest.  I tried the crash diet out myself – it was relatively straightforward and really slashed the grocery bill down to shreds.  By the time I hit size eight I was too weak to answer the phone or apply eyeliner, let alone try on new shoes.  I ordered in pizza and a redhead, both heavy on the topping.  She asked me what I was running on, I said steam punk.  She took a shower and left, easy money, I finished off the pizza and watched Titanic the movie, it had been a strange few days for sure, I’d have one hell of a lot to report in gender therapy, or maybe not.  Maybe I’d take up netball . . .

Poetry 

Watcher by Chance

by Jean-Pierre Parra

Watcher by chance
lost in the obscure
I drive out
future of prophesied sand
my anguish

(French)

Veilleur par hasard
perdu dans l’obscur
je chasse
avenir du sable prophétisé
mon angoisse

 

Fiction

Wolf Song

by Thomas James Brown

The babies are coming. They’re coming and Friedrich is not there.  After everything they have been through, the heartache, the treatments, he is not going to miss this moment.  He puts his foot down on the accelerator.  The sigh of warm air from the heater blows against his face.  He drives fast through the snow-flecked night.

The road seems endless.  A stretch of black tarmac and black ice and black night.  Eventually he sees lights.  Not the moon, which is full, swollen in the sky, but other lights.  City lights.  He navigates the icy side-streets as only an expectant father can.  Two minutes now and he’ll be home and everything will be all right.  He has waited for this day for so long.  He has wept at the thought of this day coming, and at the thought of it not coming, when it seemed that way.  Her blood, his tears.  They said she was barren.  But now the day is here.  One minute, if that.  He brings the car round the corner, faster than he should –

A figure lopes across the road, running towards him, beside him.

There is a dull thud as it hits the driver’s side of the car.  He catches it with the front wheels.  Then a bump, violent, horrible, to match the feeling in his stomach, as it vanishes beneath the chassis.  It might have been a dog.  He only half-glimpsed it, before it was drawn under the vehicle, flailing then gone.  He knew dogs didn’t flail; that helpless, human gesture, but then he had not seen it properly and a car’s wheels could do terrible things to an animal’s shape.  Broken apart by wheels, a dog could flail.  A dog could die –

He takes the turn and pulls into his drive.  The car grows quiet beneath him.  He tumbles out into the cold night, which hits him with a force, stings his face and brings sharp tears to his eyes.  He moves towards the house.

It doesn’t strike him as odd that the front door is open.  It saves seconds in unlocking it himself.  He steps into the hallway with its long, lavender walls and family pictures: their wedding, that holiday in Morocco, Christmas with her parents last year.  The hallway is cold.  It is filled with night air.  Why was the door open? he wonders briefly.  He calls out to his wife.

Screams reach his ears.  Infantile and distressed, they are the most beautiful things he thinks he’s ever heard.  Almost slipping, he follows them to the front room.

His steps falter.  He is unsure quite what he’s seeing.  Two figures roll on the sheepskin rug.  They are baby-sized with four limbs each but malformed mouths, like battered snouts.  Their eyes, thin, unseeing slits, are his wife’s pale blue and each is covered in growths of matted hair, black and slick with birthing fluid. On hearing a presence they scream and mew and roll a little faster on their backs.  Short, angular limbs peddle the air.

His stomach heaves and he turns from the things to vomit.  His sick splashes the expensive curtains his wife and he bought when moving in together.  He is wiping his eyes when he sees the spots of red across the carpet – a heavy flow, petering out as he pursues it through the hallway, a bloody breadcrumb trail leading back into the cold dark of outside.  He follows the trail, the movements of his wife, he guesses, as she sought to reach him, to escape the wolfish things that have crawled out of her.

He reaches the street.  The night seems vast, as though he could drown in its depths.  Struggling for breath, he follows the blood spots to the misshapen figure in the road.  He realises that they would always lead here.  He studies the shape, which is heaving and moaning.  It rolls over, hand-paws slapping the pavement, and he stares into the face of his wife.

Lights flicker on down the street.  Figures appear in their doorways, drawn, he supposes, by the sounds.  His wife is crying, her jowls quivering, a whimper slipping from her throat.  He begins crying too.  He kneels beside his lady, taking her matted fur in his hands.  He thinks of the first time they met, in a queue at the bank.  Their first date on the seafront, the salty breeze in their faces.  The first time he cooked for her.  He tells her their babies are beautiful, and that their curtains are ruined.

He smells salt now, but it is coppery and rank.  A crowd is forming, shapes drawing closer.  The vastness of the sky is replaced by a pressing constriction, formed by the figures around them.

He smells other things too.  His wife’s blood, the stench of exhaust fumes, the hot wetness of animal breaths.  He hears panting and the slop of tongues against teeth.  Under the light of the moon he sees his neighbours, his friends, their snouts long, eyes shining in the moonlight.

Kneeling over his wife he takes her in his arms, to cover her, to protect her from the circling beasts, before realising his hands are also paws.  His flesh is covered with hair, his teeth long and sharp in his mouth.

He hears a mewling again.  His ears twitch, rising to attention.  He turns, smelling blood and urine, and finds their neighbour walking towards them.  She moves upright as a person and is fully clothed, but sloped eyes bridge her face, her muzzle glistening in the moonlight.  In her arms she carries their two children, struggling in that way all new-born babies do, when first faced with the enormity of the world.  As she approaches him, one of his neighbours howls.  Another joins it, then another, until the city fills with the haunting sounds.

The pups are deposited against his flanks.  Beneath him, his wolf-wife turns her face and smiles.  Then she shudders and expires.  The wolves continue to howl, their cry at once celebratory and mournful.  They sing of life and death, blood and heat, the earth and the sky, and the night sings back at them.

 

Poetry

Breathless

by Holly Day

I put the slice of cake before him
and retreat, thinking
about how he would look when he
finally took the first bite.

With each turn of the mixing blade
each ingredient lovingly folded in
I thought about that look, what
he might say. Every stroke of the knife
spreading chocolate and cream between
layers of warm cake, I imagined
it sliding between his lips, covering his tongue

sticking to the corners of his mouth
the fork coming back out
completely clean. I hear the clink
of silverware against china
look up from the tablecloth just in time to see him put
his fork deep into the slice.

Review

Norwegian Wood

A novel by Haruki Murakami and a film by Tran Anh Hung

by Joshua Willey

Tran Anh Hung’s filmic adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s cult classic novel Norwegian Wood, which was finally released in theaters in the United States last winter, is remarkable for several reasons and not only augments the already stellar reputations of both artists, but serves as a reminder of what is possible when the right visionaries are brought together.  First off, it’s amazing it has taken this long for a Murakami film to see production, as his international audience is massive and his prose is cinematic if ever prose was; some go so far as to say he is a filmmaker trapped in a novelist’s body.  It’s just as surprising that an auteur like Tran was able to land it.  The Vietnamese director of CycloThe Scent of Green Papaya, and The Vertical Ray of the Sun, is a master of hyperrealism, which implies a patience usually not in attendance at blockbusters, nor within the cadence of Murakami prose.  It fits that a non-Japanese would helm the film though, as Murakami, despite his devotion to Japanese questions, is decidedly global, one of the epitomes of the Rushdie generation, and this film will likely be viewed as much in Europe and the United States as at home, though I can’t speak for Vietnam.

Broadly speaking, the subject is youth.  You could say youth and madness, though that might be redundant.  Tran, in Cyclo and Scent of Green Papaya, has proven his knack for articulating the elemental promises of youth, and of course it remains one of Murakami’s central preoccupations (take Fuki-Era in 1Q84 or Kafka in Kafka on the Shore), though he’s been dubbed the great poet of the middle-aged salaried masses, with his mid-shelf whiskeys and white jazz records (what would Adorno think?).

This interest in specifically melodramatic tragedy, which might be the root of all tragedy (as it all essentially gets back to the simple fact that time keeps passing), explains the preponderance of American pop music in Murakami’s books.  But yet another curiosity about this project is that it finds both Tran and Murakami out of their elements.  Norwegian Wood is, for the godfather of bourgeois hipster magical realism, a remarkably straight story, albeit a very sad one (no little people, green monsters, talking cats, rats, or sheep, no alternative universes).  For Tran it’s the opposite, his work has been defined by a realist’s constraint, minimalism.  Here, we have both artists reaching for a middle ground.

One can see in Norwegian Wood, however, Murakami’s swelling urge to lean into fantasy.  The characters are consistently absent, static, like Tarkovsky figures, they are possessed, haunted by unseen forces.  Tran captures this via conservative but effective methods: long shots, close-ups.  Detractors of the film confusedly remark that all they saw was people blinking at each other with distressed looks in their eyes.  Indeed, sometimes it seems Tran’s primary subjects are eyelashes.  If so, they are fitting subjects for this story, if the eyes are the windows to the soul, then what are the lashes?  The question remains, though, what is this other world our characters seem so distracted by?  Tran and Murakami are synonymous in their approach to said world.  Instead of reaching outward, developing narrative, constructing fantasy, they delve inward, as though through attention to quotidian minutiae, they will transcend, go through the world, and though neither artist recognizes the influence of Zen on their aesthetic cosmology (Murakami likes to talk about the importance of Jazz and running) the consonance is hard to deny.  It’s not a film for anyone in an emotional hurry.

It’s right to call Norwegian Wood a straight story, but it epitomizes one of Murakami’s most impressive and important literary tricks.  Though he might start out with the normal elements, just when he has cultivated a narrative flow or given his fictive world some sort of compelling logic, he undermines it, but not in a Beckettian, modernist fashion.  Rather, his texts tend to sort of waffle at the moment of denouement.  Sex, to use a prominent example, is neither traditional or really transgressive or even experimental.  We find characters kind of wallowing in an oddly repressed sexual stasis, then holding their breath, closing their eyes, and doing something vaguely reckless (in so much as sharing fluids with another human being is elementally reckless).  After tension has built around a looming sexual encounter, Murakami stifles out natural appetite for some sense of verisimilitude of the dramatic arc by taking things a new direction, or a sort of anti-direction, as it were, which we can now understand as a prevailing feature of postmodern narrative in general (desire is never attained, only subverted somehow, the periphery occupies the center).  My theory, then, is that he does this not out of laziness or ignorance or poverty of craftsmanship, but to create a space for us to respond to the work in different ways.  Presumably the bulk of his audience is looking for entertainment, for pleasure, which heightens the irony; that a voice so naturally poppy would stymie the crux of our enjoyment pricks in just the right way.  Denied our thirst for narrative continuity, for evenness, we are forced to glom onto to other aspects of the text, namely the form, or elements of what we thought were background or tangent.  Tran’s greatest achievement here is in capturing this foregrounding of the background, this movement into the depth of focus.  With disjointed cuts, some CAN songs (!), a sporadic, unpredictable voiceover monologue, we are unable to read his style one way or another, and are forced to reinvent our method of viewing.  This continual failure to adhere challenges the viewer in a way that is rare for such an essentially classic story.

Ultimately, Norwegian Wood on film is still as sad as it ever was.  The world is cruel, there is no cure for sorrow, the world, like the film itself, spins without rhyme or reason, there no way to gracefully inhabit its architecture of contingency.  So what’s left? What’s the point? The sheer power of tragedy, while it doesn’t make us happy, perhaps makes us wise, a small consolation, maybe, but a true one.  Tran lingers on bugs, waves, bead curtains.  These Mallickean tropes are a great comfort.  Shit’s gnarly, no doubt, but at the very least, shit’s for real.

Poetry

Nighttime Hymn

by Holly Day

if I had known this morning that we would
be over and done by tonight I
never would have gotten out of  bed,
I would have stayed asleep, alive

beneath the covers, kept my arm dead
around your chest, lips on your back, eyes
closed.  I would have found a way to keep
the sun from rising, the bright daylight

a shadow, and you from leaving.

 

Poetry

New Memories

by Holly Day

“Remember this?” I ask her, holding up
the toy dog.  “You used to carry this around in your
pudgy little fist everywhere, you were never
without it.”  I see the blank look change to
acceptance as she takes the toy, she nods
“I remember this.”

It’s a bad game, this deception.  I know she doesn’t remember
the things she did and played with
when she was two, but it amuses me to think that she
remembers being the tiny child I still dream of
every night.  She embellishes on
the pretend memories – “I called this dog
‘Scruffy,’ and we were best friends.  Scruffy
thought I was his mother, and he was
right.”  She looks at me, waiting for my own
addition to the story.

It scares me how quickly her five-year-old brain
adopts the suggestion – I imagine strangers on the street
stopping by her, saying, “Do you remember
me?  I used to be your mommy, daddy,
big brother, remember?”  I imagine her
nodding, smiling, taking the outstretched hand
put out to lead her away.

 

Poetry

Before It Snows

by Holly Day

I bury their tiny heads in peat and
think of the day when the sun warms the soil
and my children’s bodies sprout leaves and send
flowers into the sunshine, raise their loyal
fists high and rejoice in the world.  I don’t
pray often.  Snow falls outside my window

barely heard or felt through bright dreams so grand
longing thoughts of the tiny bodies coiled
out there, the small unpeople obscured and
confined by the icy dunes.  They’re alone
out there, sleeping, I think and dream of the slow
whisper of roots climbing through their soft bones,

branches like fingers growing until
they touch the sky.

Poetry

Calcutta Sand

by Holly Day

I got a paper cut opening the mail today.
It really stung.  I hate it when that happens.  All day
long, the paper cut kept opening up and it may
have bled a little.  Having an open sore at work
is never good, because I’m at the Post Office, say
half of the mail I touched today went out into the

world with my blood on it.  Someone out there, some hot babe,
some weirdo, some stranger, will get an envelope sprayed
with my blood.  I just hope there ain’t no voodoo crazy
priestesses getting junk mail today.

 

Review

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83

Mute Records 2011 $15 79 minutes

by Joshua Willey

The last time I saw my friend Chan he said something intriguing about the melodramatic character of a lot of eighties electro-pop.  Drones, long sustained notes, have been important in spiritual music for as long as such music has been written down, and it was of great interest to post-modernist composers (La Monte Young, Morton Feldman, Glen Branca), but not until the dance decade did the drone really break through to popular culture.  The spiritual resonance of drone is crucial, it can have a hypnotic effect, like the chanting of a monk, the grumbling of a didgeridoo, or to cite a more contemporary example, the wall of sound at a doom metal show (Earth, Sunn O)))).  Chan identified in said hypnosis a sort of temporal freeze, which enabled the listener to float in a space without narrative.  Such distance from the normal flow of reality, from the dramatic arc of life, promotes melodrama because as past and future collapse into the present one is made acutely aware of the force of nostalgia, and the mystery of how things will end.  I didn’t fully understand Chan’s point but before I could ask him to clarify the bus he was sitting on top of started up and pulled away.  This was outside Chennai; he was headed for an ashram in Pondicherry.  What had prompted the conversation, however, was a new album from the Anthony Gonzalez blisscore act M83.

That album was Saturdays=Youth (2008), and next month the follow up, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is dropping on Mute.  What M83 has gotten better and better at doing is putting the drone effect into a pop context.  Despite Chan’s assertion that this happened in the eighties, shoegaze and dreampop, ancestor genres to the M83 sound, were never nearly as accessible as Dreaming.  Though they are indie scriptures, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and the Cocteau Twins’ Treasure are hard to dance to.  The focus, as the term shoegaze implies, was on internal transcendence, thus bedroom pop and the associated twee never took on a very social texture.  M83 is named after a spiral galaxy, and thus it seems fitting to call it stargaze, and indeed it takes much of the shoegaze form, but what was introverted is extroverted, what was dissonant and dark is rendered truly pop, almost cheesy it can be so juvenile and cheery.

Childhood is an M83 obsession (in the Saturdays single Graveyard Girl, the protagonist laments “I’m fifteen and I feel it’s already too late to start living”).  The cover of Dreaming is young people on a nocturnal sofa.  Again, the melodrama.  Adolescence is an inherently melodramatic time, when the stakes of each instant seem simultaneously very high and very abstract.  Gonzalez mines the emotional power of the subject with impressive dexterity. What is particularly compelling about the new album is the extent to which he’s taken the old strum und drang and turned it into dance music.  He manages to have his cake and eat it too.  M83 can be deeply ambient, with nods to Eno and Aphex Twin, but it can also be wildly beat driven and intensely funky.  Fans awaiting the next installment of his Digital Shades series, which explicitly emphasizes the ambient, will not be able to drift too far with this record. Beats, of course, can be hypnotic as well (ragas and Karin Andersson are proof enough), and in conjunction with lush orchestration and no fear of the kitschiness of an abundantly cinematic epic tone, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming could be the most viscerally satisfying record you spin this year.

 

Fiction

Hunger

by Jenny Glozshtein

I tell nobody.  I can’t confide in a single soul.  Not a small child, a soft mind of abstract shapes, nor an old woman on her dying bed, the webs of her mind melted with amnesia.  Not even a dog, a tree, a sheet of paper.

That is because no creature would forgive me.  The poorest, who has not a thing in the world, the most desperate of men would protest.  The lowest of the low, the cruelest, would blench.  Even the richest, most indulgent and powerful of men would turn away in disgust at the offer of this adventurous treat.  A mindless animal would know to bark, snarl, hiss, or roar at me.

Some have done it, in tears, on the verge of starvation.  No one who has had any other choice, though; and certainly none have deliberately fantasized about it.  They would all condemn me, the dog, the tree, the sheet of paper – especially the paper.  God might forgive me.  They say he’s good at it, forgiving.  He created me, after all; who has a better chance of understanding?

But you I will tell, the invisible audience, the soothing silence of the reader of a letter without an address.  I must, but how, how will I make you see?

Have you ever tasted a food so exquisite it felt solid, smooth, soft, all at the same time, so warm and submissive to your touch and your tongue, that it would melt as soon as it enters the hungry cave of your mouth?  And that fascination one feels, at times, when you want to know what someone is really like.  What they are made of and what kind of air they breathe.  What they feel in each and every moment, what is hiding under their skin.

And then, the two coming together – fascination and hunger, hunger and fascination – as if they have been one the entire time, only aspects of the same thing – to love is to devour.  I wish to peel that tender covering of humans and taste their essence; the flawless smoothness, the tiny hairs that glimmer golden in the light, tickling your tongue.  I want to revel in skin – the splendour of flesh – the vessel of our spirits which holds everything internal together, and prevents us from falling apart into unrecognizable pieces.  It is the wrap that gives shape to the adored human body, and allows it to be beautiful.  I want to break that beauty, sink my teeth into it and rebel against the lie, prove what hides beneath these angelic facades – an ugly internal mess of red blood and white bones, tubes and sacs, raw life.

And no, nothing you would say could change my mind, could make me lose this infatuation; it would mean to lose who I am – and as much as infatuations are centred on a thing outside the self, in the act of losing them we lose ourselves.  This pleasure is a delight that nothing could replace, no one could surpass.  In great agony and even greater bliss, I consume meat off the bodies of strangers, and acquaintances.  But oh, I am worthy of pity, as much as the gambler, the smoker, the drunk; I’m merely an addict, helpless against my nature as a youth in love.  Do not condemn a worshiper who has to make a sacrifice – it is the only way to appease his cruel God, my friends.  You must believe me; I am a victim, slave of gruesome appetites.