An On Belonging:
Antagonisms by Psychic Documentarian Ex-Girlfriends of Boyfriends
Literary Males At Large
Niceties: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me
Artwork by Zan De Parry
Maven: Confessing on video like poetry matters.
Mikesch: No one cares what I write. Or reads it. Or reads!
Man: So, what exactly is a maven? Good to know what something means before we say it. A maven…
Mikesch: I read the word maven in Sextrology.
Maven: A seminal text, I’m sure. Your sentences are desperate. A, umm, pack of see-through V-necks.
Mikesch: Turtlenecks on some seem low-cut. Women warn “Honey, cover up”. They’re always worried we’ll have bodies. But, like, we have to lug these shits around. I don’t want to have to wear three shirts. It’s all dude.
Maven: Many male readers of your stories write to you privately they find your sexuality overemphatic.
Man: I find sexuality unnecessary. It deemphasizes the world’s force when you lean against modality.
Mikesch: Oh, okay! Is it me?
Maven: Never the boys or the barrooms. The homophonic oral in the title. I sigh.
Man (interrupting): Right. Today, there are so many bad ass women writers. The gender’s found its heart and grit with a less accomplished reliance upon sexuality. We’re past its discussion.
Mikesch: I’m ill-prepared for this level of grilling. Ahh, it’s bad to convey what you look down on in you. “Aim to emphasize the top!” Don’t want to waste my prosaic youth on donning a one-piece. It is and it isn’t the ones in the bikinis with the say.
Maven: I like your top.
Man: Purple prose: let’s dialogue.
Mikesch (taps man’s knee): You’re so smart!
Man: I’m all for lyricism, but what does it challenge us to remember? I mean, how many Borgesian versions of ourselves can we be led through to gain a deeper knowledge of an unnecessary “experiment”? I need a souped up core to proceed.
Maven: What was your writing process like for Niceties? Were you partially conscious?
Mikesch: Compound words slur together sometimes, and I think it sounds so nice! Don’t you get a mental voice when you’re on the toilet for a while?
Maven: I don’t recall what occurs in these chapters. Let me offer a starter sentence to entice readers. “This book waddles through vocabulary word banks to_________”
Man: I want to like this work.
Maven: It’s like what you say indicates if you’ll go on to graduate.
Mikesch: Well, hell.
Maven: You begin to tell us something, and instead it’s as if you mean to take off toward some life event. Something of girlhood and bildungsroman. Then, you drive back to the suburbs from muscle memory and start slandering in quitting tongues.
Man: What you’ll want to do is discuss the work.
Mikesch: Please don’t make me belong.
Maven: Anyone could read your mind from across a sidewalk. Is that why you imply in language?
Mikesch: I fear and respect elder psychics!
Man: I’m curious about your obsession with mysticism. Actually, wasn’t mysticism fully explored in the seventies, alongside every poetic possibility? We don’t need to intentionally hide from the canon, do we? Sometimes restraints help us reach. Can you expand on that?
Maven: If you’re trying to do what you’re doing, you’ll need more power behind it.
Mikesch: Nullified easily!
Man: Then, there’s that Pluto isn’t a planet. There’s that there are 13 signs now, I read an article about…
Mikesch: Uh, fuck articles!
Maven: Your five-year plan, career-wise?
Mikesch: Once I was asked that on a dating outing. On a log in the dark! Beside him!
Man: And how did you answer?
Mikesch: Shivered and blinked!
Maven: Can you utter a sentence without weighing each side on a see-saw?
Mikesch: You know, if your Moon is in Libra, you become very overwhelmed by being asked to classify and make a sort of stratum, but then there’s…
Man: Writing one’s life is incredibly courageous. Coming to know what you were coming to know when you came to. Achieving growth in characters really takes craft documentation, even dignity. Then, you could afford to be a experimental now and then. I’m dying to know what this is about, because I know you’ve got loads to say.
Mikesch: I quit an office where a man died in a vent.
Maven: What else?
Mikesch: I made my boss quit I was so critical. Felt terrible!
Maven: Let’s let her try again.
Man: Plain and simple, what’s Niceties about?
Mikesch: Trying not to come off too twenty-four carat!
Maven: He means politely there is only so long a woman can whimper giggly upon the page, charming. Pages wrinkle, too.
Mikesch: What does the word assessment mean anymore?
Man: Do you feel better than the reader? Is that your author’s intent?
Mikesch: I fear I am a hoverer! A hovel’s feng shui!
Maven: Who influenced this?
Mikesch: Eating farina! Caring for others! I will spare reciting the living because I don’t want to embarrass them! Punctuation humiliation! Traveling children’s choirs! Failure! Others shoulder-poking, imparting “You have again failed to flush! Fecund theses of feces, indeed!” Calling oneself babe!
Man: Sort of masturbatory.
Maven: Lady Godiva, bouncing on a gaudy donkey. How are you able to justify expressionist work when there is this little thing: the Internet?
Mikesch: Do you like when people mouth the words “Ever so…”
Maven: My partner and I…
Man: It looks so, so bad for you to gossip.
Mikesch: Our shared former found your partner’s slippers when the things were picked up.
Maven: And who won out?
Mikesch: Ooh, none of the “in love”! I’m still drawing my face on pillows in permanent market and resting on the frames. I leave marks like dogs’ noses on his window, windexing away that eye pus I won’t call t-words!
Man: This is what I mean. Say tears! Tell us how you knew him and what he represented to you. Who is he archetypically, and like, how is that in relation to now? And cut some of those exclamation points.
Mikesch: Ha, I should speak in lower registers, I suppose. Writers do this thing where they call you your last name in like a faux-gruff way. I feel one coming on.
Maven: Why don’t you open Excel and later Powerpoint to chart the events bringing you to the moment you decided to compile these ? There’ll be these tall square things called rectangles. Study up. Maybe you’ll understand how blown-out you imploring us has become.
Mikesch: X & Y! Ahahaha! Parallelogram is beautiful to say.
Man: If you don’t articulate anything, you’re not living in the world. You aren’t contributing to the conversation. It’s a matter of citizenship. It’s the artist’s role. You aren’t implementing language in a way that conveys anything intelligible. Writing teaches us lessons. It implicates us. It teaches us about ourselves.
Mikesch: I’m staring into my big dumb bra on the floor! Even it faces away from me! In negation! “Posit, Bitch!”, it says. I’m thinking “Is what the thing is saying is that I’ve got to fill the thing?!”
Maven: Why are you evading the truth of yourself?
Mikesch: Idk! Idk!
About the author:
Elizabeth Mikesch is the author of Niceties: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me (Calamari Press) and has or will soon appear in BOMB, Tagvverk, Sleepingfish, Unsaid, and Similar Peaks.