Hope to see you there!
Pretty excited about this!
We are so excited.
Hope to see you there!
Pretty excited about this!
We are so excited.
EAT PREY DRUG: WETIKO by Paul Kwiatkowski [NSFW]
Another cantankerous motel. Beige curtains, bleached yellow, dotted with fly husks frozen over the air conditioner. Beyond, a diffused light show of corporate signage smeared in a spectral blur. Inside, sunlight barely reaching the floor. My vision never adjusts.
CNN recycled coverage of an 8.7-magnitude earthquake that railed the northern coast of Chile all the way up to Hawaii, where people evacuated in case of a tsunami. The earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010 was only 7.0, and the one that rattled San Francisco in the late ‘80s was a 6.9. The largest recorded earthquake in history was a 9.5 in 1960 that also happened in Chile. Less than 24 hours after it struck, tsunami waves hit Hawaii then Japan, over 10,000 miles away. During the last month since I left Los Angeles, there had been more earthquakes in California than ever before recorded. More than a dozen quakes of 4.5 magnitude or higher had hit the United States that year, and it was only April. Chile was far from Oregon, but given the circumstances, I worried.
Surrounding the hotel parking lot was a dense field of trees — not the kind of forest people strolled through but a wooden rind, the type of semi-secluded area that insulated business centers and office buildings. The only time people saw these woods was on the local nightly news as police and volunteers combed the area for a missing person.
I had nowhere to be, it wasn’t late enough to sleep. Bored and restless with watching a reality show about plastic surgery horror stories, I grabbed a flashlight and entered the woods behind the hotel dumpsters through a trail most likely forged by animals coming out to feast on garbage. I lurched through the low-hanging branches until the forest closed behind me. I headed to where the trail thinned into patchy undergrowth sloping into a ditch. Inside was the wedge-shaped entrance of a cave. At my back, the treetops were back-lit by a twinkling smear of light pollution swelling up from the hotel parking lot. I paused, unsure how far to go before adventure turned into stupidity.
I climbed down, grasping at handfuls of dirt and dangling roots for support. Without layers of gravel and sediment to absorb the rumble of nearby traffic, I felt the Earth shudder. Sans the monstrous drone of cars on the interstate, my circulation slowed to an audible throb.
My shouts into the cave went unanswered. No evidence of anyone else inside. The gravel turned sandy from rainwater, which trickled down from an opening in the cave roof. I prodded the sludge for evidence. Warm bursts of air drifted through porous openings in the wall. It smelt like partially digested grass, the hot breath of livestock. There was a rumbling underfoot. I imagined something massive coiling back into its protective shape. I was certain another earthquake was happening nearby.
EAT PREY DRUG outtakes – Paul Kwiatkowski
Entire days were spent vomiting, purging something out of my body. I was frozen in a lucid dream state I couldn’t wake from. I hallucinated clouds like opaque scales spiraling shut. I felt poisoned, altered at the atomic level. Hollywood looked no more damaged than usual, but I couldn’t phase out the white noise wheezing from the highway — all day the sound of leaf blowers, lawn mowers and construction crews blending into my subconscious.
Chapter 2 is coming soon.
Thursday night and the local tavern trembles with the pops of bottle tops and clamor of billiard balls. Boys in Birkenstocks and socks chat up girls with exaggerated cat eyes. Craft beer runs from the reservoir like an amber fountain against a backdrop of polished oak. It’s all very romantic, seemingly the perfect place to watch people and invent for them motives, emotions, and actions — a writer’s paradise. But after four chocolate stouts and not nearly enough water, my abilities have gone out the window. In the morning, I’m left with notes like, “Pam has waffle ass,” “sauce and the shack,” and “pizza pants.”
What is it about intoxication that makes us believe we are better at things than we actually are? Wittier, funnier and deeper than anyone in a 50 mile radius? Why do I think I can write fiction under the influence? F. Scott Fitzgerald captures the phenomenon in The Beautiful and the Damned: “There was a kindliness about intoxication — there was that indescribable gloss and glamour it gave, like the memories of ephemeral and faded evenings.”
Sylvia Plath, usually regarded as the grande dame of depression, did in fact live a very pleasant life before her demise. Even though this period of relative contentment was mostly confined to the early ‘50s — specifically 1953 — it was very much a part of Plath’s character before she became known as the queen of melancholia.
What made Plath her most ecstatic in 1953 was winning a guest editorship atMademoiselle in New York City. In Elizabeth Winder’s Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953, Plath’s ambition to be a writer stands in sharp contrast to the common perception of her as a wilting flower. “Sylvia was in the middle of her waitressing shift when she received a telegram — she had won Mademoiselle's fiction contest — which meant a cash prize of $500 dollars and publication in the August college issue,” writes Winder. “For the first time, the possibility of supporting herself as a writer seemed real.” The excitement of fulfilling her wish to go to New York City trumped every other disappointment Plath was feeling at the time, most of which related to the dating scene.
In my twenties I realized that the muse is a bum. The muse only shows up when you bait her by putting your ass in the chair. She can only be lured to your side by the sound of pounding keys, the smell of paper and ink.
I was a single mother and social worker with two degrees before a lifelong visual impairment known as retinitis pigmentosa deteriorated my vision to the point of legal blindness. If you turn a camera lens out of focus so that you can’t identify a familiar person 10 or 12 inches from you, that’s close to what the world around me looks like. Things look so blurry that they are just mottled, colored shapes.
I was born with poor vision, getting my first pair of glasses at two years old. My vision worsened slowly, becoming less defined as the years progressed. My glasses got thicker, my contact lenses stronger. My eye doctor described my retinas losing cells like shingles shedding from a roof. I had to read larger print, sit closer to the television or computer monitor, enlarge my font from 12 to 14, then 16, 20, 36, 48. Finally, my doctor declared me legally blind at the age of 40.
Since social work was something I’d wanted to do since I was a teenager, it was hard to give up, but I could no longer perform my duties, chief among them being driving. I had to think about what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
“Then I pressed on the spot where the groin is joined to the cock,
Slipped a finger into his arse and massaged him from inside.
The secret sluices of his juices began to unlock.
He melted into what he felt. “O Jesus!” he cried.”
It’s a poem, and it’s not mine. In the original version, “The Platonic Blow, by Miss Oral,” or “A Day for a Lay,” or “The Gobble Poem,” or “The blowjob poem,” there’s more verses written by W. H. Auden around 1948. The author didn’t want to publish it but didn’t want to destroy it either, and everybody knows how this sort of story usually ends: The writer asks for his editor to destroy all manuscripts, the editor says yes, of course, you have my word, but he doesn’t do it, and a few years later he or someone else finds one of the papers, a poem or a novel or a supermarket bill, and decides to publish it. So that’s what happened: Ed Sanders, the poet and activist, snatched that poem from W. H. Auden notebook and published it in the February 1965 issue of Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts.
That was the “Mad Motherfucker Issue.” The magazine was celebrating its third anniversary, and the issue was dedicated to “all those who have been depressed, butchered or hung up by all these family unit nazis, fascists, war-freaks, department of License creeps, fuzz,” etc. It included a cover by Andy Warhol, with a sex scene from his Couch movie; an announcement on the formation of The Fugs, Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg’s band (Tuli also published in the magazine); poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, LeRoi Jones, Gerard Malanga, Ted Berrigan and Gregory Corso. Allen Ginsberg contributed an untitled poem dated from December 19, 1962 and an article about a dream he had with Peter (probably Peter Orlovsky, Ginsberg’s partner and fellow poet) and Norman Mailer. Orlovsky submitted three pages of drawings from his notebooks; there’s one of Charles Chaplin on a screen in a Damascus movie house.
“I’ll print anything”, wrote Fuck You founder Sanders, who was also then owner of the legendary Peace Eye Bookstore in New York. Send whatever you want, poems, “banned manuscripts,” “your plans for the pacifist holocaust,” and we will publish everything — that was pretty much the idea. From 1962 to 1965, Fuck You was edited, published and printed at a “secret location” on the Lower East Side of New York.