‘Com see, comes high tide begetting us to xist .. egging us to crawl tween sum spumed sinkhole-cum-sesspool & an ever-cullapsing thresheld .. lichen to a sandcastle moat …. to bathe under such sun we call our own. Not kumtux sleep us of wither we wear (either way home-wise), yet keep us now a particullar plumed spot to come into bean (yà stocked cum a ferry-tailed fish landing in laboos) .. in sleeps not past come planting seasun (daccording to the Naturel Hystœry Almanack of father). From such frothy threshold of quiggly, intuit us that such & such river we sleep on vec floatsam rapidly becomes not just soule river arriveing to saltchuck but landguage set in stone cum hooked fish. Tum-touch us entropey cum heat-pyre on our skin-cum-shell that we nanitch now cum lumen .. even vec seeowist shut. Such lumenus spurm flickers wind-ways, so blink us our eyelits to eye-touch & in déjà-darkning sky above .. a troping flock of v-shapes circels round the blinding white sun .. induicing laud vizions cum augered tree-rings (a cumulation of witch lands upon the roof of our laboos).
‘By & by, in such collide-o-scope flickering, recognize us each blink cum «bird» .. the accumulation of witch comes to form sum hole, nanitched from gatherring pieces …. cum sum calculus of solits under sum 02 dimention flight curve.
‘Around & round birds circel ovur us & our mother ded in weedy ruins of quiggly bunker piled déjà high vec debris. Each circle drawn in sky becomes similer to sum 01 avant, yet a particullar momentum gathers vec eatch repetition that our finger on ikt we cannot stick (even spose our fingers come formed plenty digit-ways to finger-touch) …. même each momentum syckle etched from 01° nanitch (not hoodwinked to «think»), said drawing drops from saltchuck to sky cum clustering burds .. to spindle a webbing of clouds .. to snass verse fleeting .. to land in see …. all avant to wagon wheels & dubbed rails them come on, killing buffalo from mighty helixed wakes.
‘Tum-touch us muck-itch encore cum n-creasing pangs. Beside our tongue, we now keep a noze to help in the hunt for muckamuck to eat. Skookum nozzes some of us keep. Them not vec skookum noses mimick them who ajax what muck aye to mamook vec such a skookum nose tilted to ground .. coolie to follow scent.
‘Scatterd round our mother ded in sum seedy ruined tomb, aye alt sets of bones decaying .. not unbecoming of bones of our mother stoned, déjà ded. Situuate us our bodys to gnaw into the scarred turnstyle of such a bone corpus …. yet these pointless bones come, when them come, long soured & devoided even of murmuring marrows .. plenty trope tho, to harbor grudge.’ — Rem+Rom
Rem+Rom A RAFT MANIFEST
‘In the wake of The Becoming, Rem+Rom become hyper-aware of their current state and build a log raft to “riverse ingenear” their father’s route that berthed them unceremoniously at the mouth of the “Colonvia” river—all in the name of “westword x-pantson”. To log their passage, the bastard brothers jury-rig their own DIY “landgauge” derived in part from Chinook jargon, Spanish, pirate and surfer slang, and backwoods Pidgin English (disseminated from a “courier” pigeon’s “messyjizz”), and a steampunk “riding” system “cannonballized” from books they “in-heretic” from their estranged “riverend (f)author” and decipher adrift on the river (his “illitterit” journals (rife with typos and dim-witted dogberryisms), The “Eventshores” of Huckleberry Finn, Finnegans Wake and the Discovery doctrine of “maninfest dustyknee”)—a written script that also marries “spittin’ imedge” with text, down to “customb” typefaces cyber-rigged from a refurbished Remington, and that “messysorrylie inkloots” drafty copyedits to prove illegitimacy [sic] and that reads “backwoods” (by “trail + earhorror” they learn to read right to left since no one “tot” them “udderwise”). A dyslexic “hystorickle” story-line “devilips” in time (in the “reel moondough”) as Rem+Rom take turns “scooby divine” into the choppy floodwaters beneath the raft and pipe up the feed (akin to a dream log), and “off corse” their twined storylines reflexively “merehorror” the bona fide riding of A Raft Manifest—or “Huck Finnegans Wake,” if you will—exposing its progeneration.’ — Calamari Press
‘Human Trees is the story of Robert and Michael (who I imagined as the exact some person with different hair color), two brothers going to the hospital after being told their parents had been admitted there. They meet different people in the waiting room, each trying to communicate them something: children heralds in charge of communicating bad new to people (because studies say people take bad news better if they’re communicated by children) a man with a knife in his heart, a woman wearing a spider on her, an elderly person singing hymns and several others. What happened to Robert and Michael’s parents? Why are they really in the hospital’s waiting room? Is there something greater than the mystery of their parents’ health condition at play here?
‘Human Trees draws inspiration from several iconic surreal narratives: Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Franz Kafka’s The Trial and more or less everything American movie director David Lynch’s ever worked on. It makes fun of contemporary institutions, their self-importance and the pointlessness of their rules, which condemns Robert and Michael to an existential confrontation they would’ve otherwise avoided. And the beautiful thing about Human Trees is that it does it without necessarily casting a moral judgement. Matthew Revert, much like he did in the spiritual predecessor to this novel Basal Ganglia, prefers to cast doubt on reality itself. Are Robert and Michael choosing to see only a waiting room because they’re afraid of the possible significance of what they’re going through? Of course, Revert doesn’t answers that question and lets his readership form their own answer, hence the potency of his books.
The laughter has no interest in departing Michael and he welcomes its invasive nature. It continues to fall from him as he leads his brother towards his chair.
‘Read that quote above. Read it twice. Out loud if you’re up for it. This is one of the many reasons why Matthew Revert’s writing is special. He’s a stylist. It’s a rare thing in this day and age. Not only he writes well, but he self-consciously contorts language in order to make his point better. In the passage above, he uses passive voice in order to depict Michael as mere conduit for laughter. The laughter is going through him whether he likes it or not. He’s powerless over the absurdity of the situation and, more important, over his reaction to it. The protagonists of Human Trees Robert and Michael are powerless over their situation because they’re terrified to act upon it and see behind the veil of reality and it’s so powerfully depicted through Revert’s use of language that it doesn’t need to be explicit in the novel itself. Stylists are few and far between in 2017 and Matthew Revert is one of the best we have.’ — DEAD END FOLLIES
Matthew Revert Human Trees
Broken River Books
‘Following news of a mysterious condition threatening to take their parents’ lives, two brothers are thrust into one another’s reluctant company. Within the disquieting absurdity of Kubler Hospital, time loses meaning and reason dissolves. As their wait continues and unattended patients die around them, the brothers are forced to confront the confusing abuse of their past.’ — BRB
The dream had not concluded before the phone woke him, but the dream has already concluded many times before. Waking up cannot protect him from it. He and his younger sister, Elisabeth, stand at a riverbank feeding ducks. He understands they are eiders, which is confusing as they reside in arctic climates and the dream environment wears unmistakable spring. Robert hands a bread roll to Elisabeth and keeps one himself. They pick from their rolls and throw what they pick toward the eiders, watching as they fight amongst themselves for the tears of bread. Robert aims his bread into the heart of the fight, fascinated by the elegance of their desperation. Elisabeth aims hers in a different direction, toward an outlying eider that seems too feeble to participate in the strange attraction their violence contains. The other eiders are too consumed to notice the uncontested bread, which the outlier begins to make a hesitant approach toward. Elisabeth continues directing her bread toward the outlier, hoping its hesitance will diminish. It pecks at the bread and stops, expecting to be punished. When no punishment arrives, with confusion, the outlier continues its encounter with the unexpected food, taking it as fast as its weakness allows. Robert continues directing his bread toward the fighting crèche, telling himself this is intended to help Elisabeth feed her object of pity, but wonders if he merely enjoys being responsible for the fight his bread has caused. The trajectory of Robert’s bread starts to waver, which works to separate the crèche, drawing them away from the fight and increasing their awareness of the surrounding environment. A wayward throw directs one eider’s attention toward the outlier, now too deep into its uncontested meal to understand the danger. This eider transmits a sound, which directs the attention of the others toward the outlier. Robert hears Elisabeth gasp as the first eider descends upon the outlier. This gasp becomes a scream as the others join the first in its attack until the outlier is consumed beneath them, becoming one vibrating texture. Elisabeth motions to walk toward the texture with the intention of dismantling it, but Robert holds her back. He feels interfering with their established order would be incorrect. Whatever words may exist to explain this to Elisabeth refuse to find voice, so he says nothing. Elisabeth stares at Robert as though she is the consumption of the outlying eider and Robert does what he can to avoid staring back so he does not have to feel its pain. When the crèche disperses, the outlier’s death exists as all naked things exist – with uncomfortable certainty. What was inside has been dislodged and dragged into the outside where it sits embarrassed and ashamed. Elisabeth continues to scream, moving toward the mess of broken eider and squeezes it between her fingers. Her body stiffens in response to Robert’s hands, rejecting everything she now believes he stands for. He has learned to moderate the level of physical strength he exerts where his little sister is concerned, but this moderation must now be disregarded. Removing Elisabeth from this moment requires all his strength, both of body and mind. Once removed, Elisabeth runs ahead of Robert requiring that he chase her around the park. She tells Robert he killed the eider and will never be forgiven for doing so. This promise is repeated, becoming truism. He did not kill the eider. The other eiders killed the eider. He catches up to Elisabeth. She no longer runs, but maintains the accusation. Those in the park direct their attention toward the drama. Robert tries to smile the attention away, but only succeeds in turning the attention into new oxygen. He implores Elisabeth not to blame him, which provokes laughter, not just from his sister, but all others in the park. I did not kill the eider. The other eiders killed the eider. He does not remember at what point in this episode the dream ends before the phone interrupts. It does not matter. This dream is too strong, always broadcasting its narrative and infecting the waking life that follows. He draws his attention away from the dream and toward his parents and their situation, whatever that situation may be. Perhaps this is a false alarm, worthy of little more than passing interest. Whatever the nature of his parents’ condition, it at least provides an opportunity for Robert to exemplify, via his attendance, a certain level of responsibility seldom practiced.
Matthew Revert ‘Being Small’
Matthew Revert ‘daniel’
Matthew Revert ‘If you could, I would’
‘I am intrigued by artwork of any kind that leaves the participant ample space to create an idiosyncratic, intimate relationship to the conjured world. Not so much to step into a pair of shoes that are waiting for me at the lintel of the artwork, but to tread through it barefoot and unsure of the path. There’s something of mythos to that — to go into the unexpected without a map. Empty space does that. Disorientation forces us to orient ourselves. I think we are all capable of that, once we get over the surprise.
‘The Crowbiter is hungry, and yet there are no fish. She must orient herself to a disconcerting reality and locate new abilities within herself. And so she grows. She acquires a skill — a gory skill perhaps, but one which feeds her family which otherwise would have starved.
‘As she stands there on the shore, her mind goes blank at the lack of fish. At the failure of the expected. At the consequence of starvation if she does not go off her map of the known. There is an internal pause in the psyche when we must re-conjure a world. We hesitate with the choices and absences of choices when we must occupy an unexpected gap in our comfort or knowledge. I am curious about those internal moments of psychological arrest. These are pivot points where choices are made. Where we feel the ache of our ignorance, or the excitement of unforeseen possibility. The use of photographs are intentional pauses in the pace of the narrative, exactly so the one holding the book can be released from my language and have a personal adventure in the space left open.
‘As for the rest of my choice — much accessible and lucrative literature has become codified by iterative commodification. We read the same forms and structures over and over again, forgetting that once upon a time the short story was scandalous. Poetry was reserved for oracles and prophets. Nowadays, much of human written expression is not so dissimilar to taking the nine hundredth trip to Disneyland. Maybe there’s a new ride? They changed the formula for the funnel cakes? Snow White has a different scarlet dye in the fabric of her costume? With all due respect to the sensory rewards of tradition, we can’t grow — either as a discipline or as people — without pushing beyond them. I’m not sure my book pushes beyond as much as reaches out towards a wider tradition that calls upon ancient forms of human expression. A handprint on a cave wall. These kinds of adventurous enigmas that we can ponder — the fertile liminal space between communication and perception.’ — Quintan Ana Wikswo
Quintan Ana Wikswo A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be
Stalking Horse Press
‘A searing, sensual novel with photographs, A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be weaves together southern fabulism and gothic fury, pulling at the restless, volatile threads of seditious American iconoclasts Zora Neale Hurston, Patti Smith, Cormac McCarthy, and Toni Morrison. At this devil’s crossroads of the King James Bible and the Egyptian Book of the Dead emerge the ghosts and realities of sex, race, violence, and hauntingly vulnerable emotion. Quintan Ana Wikswo has written an unforgettable and relentless reinvestigation of the American soul.
‘A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be unfolds on the unruly, mixed-race, queer-sexed margins of a conservative 1930s Southern town. In the wake of abandonment by her husband, an impoverished young midwife and her twin daughters create a hospice and sanctuary for the town’s outcasts within a deserted antebellum plantation house. The twins inhabit a fantastical world of ancient resistances, macabre births, glorious deaths, ravenous love affairs, clandestine sorceries, and secret madnesses—a site where the legacies of catastrophic injustice, bigotry, brutality, and grief contend with unquenchable desires for restitution, wholeness, sexual liberty, and lives of freedom outside the chokeholds of racism, misogyny and social constraint. Overshadowed by lingering scandals of miscegenation, the persistence of searing endemic violence, and a troubling secrecy surrounding their father’s disappearance, the women begin to walk into the discomforting limitations of their myths and wounds, and create their own new maps of sexual and personal fulfillment, resilience, and transformation. When the town claims that he is closer than they think, the women must decide whether his reappearance would offer wholeness, or unbearable consequences to their own hardfought, courageous journeys towards existential insurrection.’ — SHP
Quintan Ana Wikswo reads THE LITTLE KRETSCHMAR
SFAI140 – July 2016 – Quintan Ana Wikswo
Artist Interview with Quintan Ana Wikswo
Speculative Treasury: You are an illustrator, writer, editor and a journalist. It is rare to be such a polymath. How have you passions evolved up to this point?
Chris Kelso: I think they have. When I was younger I went through these phases – first I grew up thinking art was my path, then I experimented in various bands, then finally books, which has been the obsession that stuck. Initially I was purely interested in illustrating and if I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t a big reader growing up. It wasn’t until the school librarian gave me a copy of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark that my love affair with books took off. I think it was a real eye opener to see someone who wrote so beautifully and then illustrated his words with really detailed, elegant art. Ever since I first took up writing I’ve tried to lead by his example.
ST: You are a young Scottish writer in the field of the fantastic. To what extent has Scottish fiction been influenced by the American perception of the genres structuralizing the fantastic? What has influenced your writing?
CK: I think the influence has been two-way. The new generation of Scotish writers dabbling in science fiction take their cues from certain US authors. I can see a lot of Samuel Delaney in Hal Duncan’s work because I think Delaney really introduced his own oeuvre into the genre, one that was confrontational and overtly sexualized. Similarly, Philip. K. Dick has been a huge influence on my own writing – but I certainly don’t restrict myself to the parameters he set for himself. I think we’re all influenced by the great big blancmange of science fiction that’s out there. Each individual has their own voice though. I personally think writers like Neil Williamson and Douglas Thompson are utterly unique and I believe they’ll influence as much of the next generation as Zelazny, Asimov or Heinlein. They write using a purely individual perception and often the best writers have more going on in the way of influence than just science fiction alone.
As I mentioned earlier, Alasdair Gray made me want to be a writer, which holds true to this day. I owe a lot to surrealist writers like Burroughs and blue collar poets like Bukowski as much as the fantasy pioneers like Octavia Butler and Philip. K. Dick.
ST: What are the most inspiring things in the fantastic that you deem as most alluring to you?
CK: The intense sense of wonder, for one – seeing the beauty in the eldritch, but also the dreamy illusions of an alien future that it can offer. Fantasy is pure escapism; it can be smart, funny, irreverent, but it’s still escapism. Everything is distraction. Distraction we need.
Chris Kelso Shrapnel Apartments
Crowded Quarantine Publications
‘Chris [Kelso] tosses out the rules of writing with his unique freestyle prose and with no punches pulled, gives us a book that is a tight sharp edgy read. Taking up where Unger House Radicals left off we are invited into the lives of those in and out of the Shrapnel Apartments courtesy of reality TV. You never know what to expect behind the unassuming doors of one’s existence. Although a stand-alone read, we do find a crossover of characters from Unger House Radicals.
‘The story is told by multiple narrations that intertwine with one another, at first glance one might wonder where this is all going but as you continue to read everything begins to fall into place. A second story plays out alongside the goings-on at Shrapnel, here we find a child killer is on the loose driven by a mysterious entity. Chris doesn’t give up his story easily, he makes you think and reflect back on what you have read. A never-ending cycle of the abused and the abusers, the living and the dead, the good and the evil, this is a story that really doesn’t end.’ — Paula Limbaugh
Reality is like bebop – fast, asymmetrical, complex, prone to sudden changes in pace and tone. Reality is also just as free-flowing; it’s whatever you want it to be. It can be pointless, if you want. You told me that.
—-I remember who you used to be. You used to be a drummer, body and soul. People who loved your style said you were the next Tony Williams, those who criticised said you were too American in the way you played – I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean exactly but I know it always used to bother you.
—-At your peak, you were playing with the likes of Eric Dolphy and drinking Pernod with Max Roach. I didn’t know what to make of it when you eventually gave it up to work as a priest. I’d tell the other kids on our street that my dad was one of those born-again types, came pretty much out of the blue. Given how outlandish you used to be I don’t think many folk believed the transition was genuine. I never understood it though, because once you found god, you didn’t much care for jazz anymore. You just replaced it, changed your whole reality. I guess you wanted something more solid or optimistic. Something less pointless. I can understand that to an extent.
—-You can’t just sit around listening to noisy records all day, what’s the point? – that’s what mother used to tell me. You need to get out there and earn some money. But what she doesn’t understand is that, before you decided to swap jazz for Jesus, you infected me with your passion. That passion never left me, even after I started to deconstruct what made me who I am, that never came unstuck. Once you let the music in, once you relax and suspend all your expectations, you fall in love hard. In your absence, I’ve had many loves come and go, my heart’s been broken so many times there’s almost no point in mending it. Let me tell you, I need jazz. More than money. More than booze. More than Miles Davis wanted Wayne Shorter. More than god.
—-I say, why not choose how you want to live your life and lose anxious thought in the shapeless order of improvisation? I’m allowed to make extreme choices too, just like you. Instead of working a tedious job, I’ll kick back, have a cigarette and bask in the manic energy of ‘Science Fiction’ by Ornette Coleman. So what? What’s so wrong with that? You used to love Ornette Coleman. I’m determining my own reality. It doesn’t impact on anyone else. Why all the bellyaching?
—-It got to the stage where you were telling me that jazz was a waste of time, it ruined your youth. You said there are demons in the music that put a curse on you, make you think that the chaos has order. Those demons make you believe in anarchy. But there are rules to playing and listening to jazz, as you know. To appreciate it you need to train your ears and your mind, forget what you thought music was all about. You taught me that Jazz is demanding, it focuses on things like discipline, philosophy, patience – and that’s just to listen to it! To play jazz you apparently need to know (at least!) 1000 tunes, transcribe over 100 solos and practice 14 hours a day if you ever want to reach any level of proficiency. I watched you chase this myth at your drum kit every day until I was ten.
—-As a man of Christ, I understand why you had to discourage me. You felt like your curse had been lifted, that you could finally see clearly, so naturally you wanted your son to see clearly again too. Your sermons never hit home though. The only preaching I ever bought into was Louis Armstrong’s when he sang about how wonderful the world was, how wonderful his world was. It’s all about how you look at it, right?
—-I sometimes felt like I had two fathers, discounting my birth father. When you were young, you were my hero and that’s when you gave me your greatest gift. Now you’re trying your best to erase the man you once were. You’re trying to erase your gift, but it’s too engrained. I’m sure you know that. Giving up jazz couldn’t have been easy for you either. Even in your early bible-thumping days where you renounced every form of creative expression there was it doesn’t take away from what you gave me.
—-Why does jazz scare you so much? What does it represent that you find so sacrilegious and threatening?
—-I could tell there was always a flicker of fear in your eye whenever we talked about it. You really believed in the evil inherent to jazz music. Talk of your previous life as a drummer washes the colour clear out of your complexion. Dexter Gordon said that jazz is a living music. How can that be evil?
—-I just want you to know that I’m safe and happy. I’m living in an apartment in the south now, a place called Shrapnel Apartments. It’s much more of a blues town, but there’s jazz here too. Most of the people are insufferable but Lydia is probably the least offensive adult in Shrapnel Apartments. Not perfect though. She is shallow, craves insane symmetry. I feel like reminding her that she’s a fucking junkie and she’ll never look that good. The delusions of other people never fail to amaze me. Read some fucking Zizek, some Chomsky. Listen to some Africa/Brass. These are real agencies of brute force. Get a fucking clue, you know? If I rise to her it’ll give her a chance to castrate me with a single glance. She was once a weak woman and now she thinks she’s Margaret Thatcher. I won’t give her the satisfaction. It’s worth it for an easier life.
—-I respect who you are only because of a lesson you taught me when you were a very young man, when you were a different person. You paraphrased Beethoven, said that to play without passion was inexcusable. You continue to play with passion, there’s no denying it. Even if neither of us agrees with the direction of this passion, we should respect it. Not in the name of Christ, but in the name of jazz. In the name of anarchy.
—-Let’s not reconcile, because I fear we will never agree face to face. Let me just remember you as you were, before god came along and tried to wipe that young jazz virtuoso from my memory.
—-I suppose this letter has been for nothing and that’s alright.
Unger House Radicals: An Excerpt Narrated by Chris Kelso
p.s. Hey. Oh, Dora, if you’re reading this. I realize that in my rush yesterday I forgot to give you my email address, It’s: email@example.com. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. It must be a tough time right now to be a David Lynch hater. I haven’t seen the new ‘Twin Peaks’ yet, but I personally love his work, especially the more recent work, and I’m totally convinced by it. But that’s showbiz. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. You’re right, ha. If only he had directed ‘Naked Lunch’. It might even have worked. Interesting about letting the editor work solo. I couldn’t do that. But with Zac’s and my films, they really become what they are in the editing. Curious to hear how that method works out. When will you see a solid edit? Haven’t seen the new Dardenne, and I’m interested to read your thoughts, of course. Everyone, here’s Steve Erickson. Perk up and click. Steve: Here’s my review of the Dardenne brothers’ latest and weakest film THE UNKNOWN GIRL. Incidentally, this is the film I had to download Chrome to watch on my laptop because its distributor’s website is so messed up for streaming video (and the only actual press screening its publicist scheduled was well after my deadline).’ We delivered the film (unfinished sound) and relevant texts to our producer, and I’m pretty sure he submitted it to Sundance yesterday as planned. Finger crossing time begins. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, buddy! Thanks for thanking Bene. I forgot to tell her I was going to repost that, so I hope she saw it. I’m real good, thanks. Awesome to hear that your getting back to work has been a joy. And, obviously, very excited about your new poetry book, and ‘strange structure’ only compounds that, very naturally. Happy Friday! ** Nick Toti, Hi, Nick. Yeah, weird. I wonder. You doing swell? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. ** P.W.A, Hi. Welcome. Thanks a lot for coming in! ** Okay, quiet around here again, huh. Up there are four books. I read them recently. I loved them. I recommend them. But you know that already. See you tomorrow.