The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Chris Dankland presents … excerpts from The Ten Thousand (part 2)

Hello !!
As a long term side project, I’ve started writing a book called The Ten Thousand. My goal for this project is to write ten thousand picture stories that I’ll share regularly on social media. So far I’ve written more than a thousand stories. The photographs I use are found wherever I can get them. All of the stories are 140 characters or less.
In this blog post I’ve picked some of my favorite stories from the book. Click this sentence to read a similar post that I made for Dennis’ blog. 
I like these stories a lot and I hope you enjoy them too. If you do, please take a moment to follow me on:









thanks !!






Mid-sob, she had a vision of all the squiggling creatures and chemical hallways inside her tears, each one its own galaxy. It didn’t help.


The trouble with islands is they think they’re the only solid thing around. The beauty of islands is their determination to touch air.


a stereo
a drink
a cat
and a sunday dinner spread alone.
some people never find lasting satisfaction in these things
they’re dumb.


lEAvE mE AlOnE.


lleavve mme allonne.

(l)(e)(a)(v)(e) (m)(e) (a)(l)(o)(n)(e).

how many fucking ways can i say it


She snuck out and smoked a joint. It made her feel soft and juicy inside, like a ripe fruit. Now was the time when her brain tasted best.


Thirty human beings in a subway car. Thirty parallel universes bouncing below the city. I don’t understand boredom, but I understand fatigue.


Drink until the glass starts drinking you.


Her entire life Cecilia had been incredibly adept at figuring out when she was being lied to.


We need to have a talk with the children…we just can’t do this every night. Halloween ended eight months ago.



Cowboy boots that make rocks pop and crumble beneath them with every step. Eyes that cut like bullets through all the Devil’s tricks.


And when the aliens arrive, filling the air with magic lasers, they’ll ask: Where’s Elvis? And we’ll reply, so sadly: You’re late.


“Flamingos are phallic, you know,” she said, batting her four pound eyelashes. She would lay in her yard all day and tell it to whoever passed by.


She swam through my mind all summer. Not once did I come up for air.




O to be a sunbeam in the city. O to spend two seconds there and bounce back to space. O to glance off 10,000 uncaring surfaces and disappear.


Fame is like the caged tiger in a travelling circus. Legend is like the thing in the jungle that ate six people and was never seen again.


She was a night diamond. Something sacred. Something that decent people don’t know about.


Cops killed Jesus.


After dark they’d grab their skateboards and move through the city like eels: all teeth, eyes, and slither.


The same dark that falls on West Virginia is the same dark that cradles Saturn. The same dark is in my mouth too, while I hum a quiet song.


No dope, no furniture, no car, no plans, no stability. Times are hard! No job, no family, no credit, no expectations. Maybe not that hard.


The broken world breaks.
The fresh wound aches.
The tired skin flakes.

God will make what He will make.
We will take what we can take.


I used to think there wasn’t any goodness in the world, but then I started seeing deer in the country. So gentle. People like to shoot them.


One night she drove her bike straight into the waves. I will ride the sea floor forever, she said. I’m sick of all this goddamned Love.


A song spilled from the blackbird’s throat into the air. It was the same song that all birds sing: I am alone, but I am searching.


“Hello, what can I get ya’ll?”
“I’d like a boyfriend who’s not a stinking piece of shit, please.”
“And for you?”
“Just kill me.”


At dawn the pink light of morning rolled through like everyone’s favorite sweetheart, blowing kisses at every window in town.


The city is my church, like the song says. I don’t know what we believe in, but I know my soul depends on it.


The dream of the unrepentant prodigal. A shadow carrying her far away from home. Her lonely cries filling the air.


Death had been good to Jackson. Now he was neon. For timeless eternity he floated through darkness, admiring himself.

THINGS ART CAN DO: Put your mind into the world. Seduce you with better love. Fill you with vision. Deepen your understanding. Fuck shit up. 
Viruses are devious little travelers, soundless and small. Somewhere in America, a pair of evil black tires are hitting the road. 
One morning Paul was driving to work when lightning struck him and turned his blood to lava. Now he works the night shift. 
Of all the abandoned fast food bags 
in all the strip club parking lots 
in the entire stinking world, 
you were the prettiest. 
Despite our endless frailties, there’s such glory in being a fast young thing in this slow old world. 
Jupe pressed play and Bach’s St Matthew Passion filled the subway car. “YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS ABOUT?” he shouted angrily. “CRUCIFIXION!” 
“Hey, what happened to Scummy Alcoholics Moping In The Shadows?” 
“They got priced out.” 
The prophets say: Flee this world and follow God. But all I do is drive around and around. I don’t know where God stays. 
“Where ya going?” 
“Somewhere different.” 
“You’ll be disappointed. It’s the same everywhere.” 
“Maybe. But I can’t just take your word on it.” 
Mrs. Smith said yes. 
Sister Nancy hugged her habit. 
Matthew read how the sun was born. 
The world spun somewhere new. 
That was the year when dad insisted, as some kind of weird moral lesson, that 90% of the time the right tool for the job is a machete. 
The Moon: I’m billions of years old. 
The Dirt: Me too. 
The Clouds of Evaporated Water In The Sky: Me too. 
 A Human: I’m important!
“If motel rooms could sing, they’d sound like this,” said the disk jockey. “Love, horror, uncleanliness, and vacancy.” 
Sitting in this room like a rock in space, he thought. Like a cloud in the night. Like a bubble in the sea. Like…
He took another drink.
Underneath her sunglasses it was already Night. She was waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. 
“Sometimes you make a kid happy and sometimes you do coke in the break room,” said Tinkerbell. “It’s give and take, here at Disney World.” 
The stars don’t sleep either. 
The subway was the city’s urethra, pissing humans through the city at high speed.
It’s a cold dark world. But we burn. 
She lit a smoke and inhaled. A thousand writhing white fingers slithered into her lungs, digging their nails deep into her bronchioles. Ahh.
“I’m blonde now!” she said, spinning in a circle. “Like it?” He shrugged. “WELL FUCK YOU THEN!” She pulled off the wig and threw it at him.
He kissed her wetly. She grabbed at him like a drowning woman who wanted air. And together they sank to the bottom of the sea.
The carnival of illumination can only exist when the world gets dark.
Picture stories number (855) through (932) are part of one poem called A+F+T+E+R+L+I+F+E
i’m very proud of it, i think it’s one of the best things i’ve made.
If you would like to read it, the download link is below. i think it looks especially good when read on a cell phone or a tablet
This as an audio version of the poem:

A+F+T+E+R+L+I+F+E from Chris Dankland on Vimeo.

thanks for reading !!




p.s. Hey. So, we have a major treat this weekend because the amazing writer, d.l., and personality vivant Chris Dankland is sharing a chunk of his beautiful and note-perfectly medium mashing ongoing work ‘The Ten Thousand’ with us, and the pleasure is all yours. Enjoy, and please direct comments to Chris, who, by scary coincidence, is currently in the path of Hurricane Harvey and could surely use some props and outreach. Thanks, everybody, and Chris, if you’re seeing this, the blog is honored and grateful and please take great care of yourself until further notice. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Jiro Takamatsu’s work looks very interesting, thank you, and I’ll investigate further. How was the wedding? Any unexpected spectacularity? Have a sweet weekend! ** David Ehrenstein, Gosh, I wish someone would make it possible to see Piero Heliczer’s films. Surely someone could figure out a way to put them on Vimeo or something at least. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. That seems fair of the actor. Yeah, being in-between is one of the director’s least appealing jobs unless you’re lucky enough to have a Production Manager. At least it sounds like it’ll work out, and I’m glad your cinematographer faced reality. Well, obviously ‘hippies’ is quite a broad term. ‘Forever Changes’ was not an obscure record on release. It was on a major label, heavily promoted, got raves all over the place, and I and everyone I knew were completely smitten with it. It didn’t chart very high in the States, but it was a hit and instantly revered in the UK. On the other hand, ‘Easter Everywhere’ and the 13th Floors in general, were pretty cult even in their heyday. They were on a tiny label, and critics loved that record, and hardcore record types like my crowd were very into it, but it and they were not lionized until later, around the mid-70s as I recall. Their music was too ‘weird’ and rough at the time to get much radio play, if any. Even the underground radio I listened to in those days barely played their stuff. It sounds like your friend was mostly following the edgy mainstream stuff at the time, like most people back then, I guess. ** Bill, Hi, Bill! Ha, nice about the full length title of the Chen Zhen piece. Are the fires out? Well, it’s Saturday so hopefully they’re at least on hold. ** Tosh Berman, Hi. For better or worse, I get the impression that Cinefamily’s skinting of queer work wasn’t much noticed or remarked upon until the roof fell in. It’s a sad state of affairs. I mean, whatever prejudice they had notwithstanding, it is a valuable place and, if it dies, it will definitely be a real loss for adventurous film admirers in LA. ** Sypha, Could it be possible that your teeth issues are at least somewhat behind your general health issues? Bad teeth can cause a lot of problems for the body even in far flung places. Do take care of the cavities, man, as much of a drag as the repairing act is. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, Thomas! Thanks for the very good words about the post. Samara Scott … I don’t think I know her work? I’ll give it detailed look, thank you a lot! I liked the Ismail Bahri show. It’s definitely worth seeing, yes. And it’s two blocks from my apartment. You get here tomorrow, cool! Well, Zac and I have to start working on the film on Monday, but it won’t be the relentless, days-eating sound work that starts on the 4th. Yes, I think the best thing is to check in once you’re here. Zac’s away at a wedding this weekend, and when he gets back I’ll know better what our work schedule is next week. In any case, I’ll definitely have time to hang, that’s for sure. Safe trip over here! See you very soon! Love, me. ** Right. Fling your eyes, minds, and whatever other parts of yourself that are triggered into Chris Dankland’s wonderful post/gift this weekend, and speak to him, and thanks a lot, and I’ll see you on Monday.


  1. Wolf


    Mh, something is definitely going on with the blog; I can only access yesterday’s post (had to type in the url to get today’s) and Marc could only access the Cortazar one yesterday (he left a comment on it not realizing it was 1 day late)… It’s even weirder if we and Misa are the only ones noticing it. The plot thickens.

    Dirt day was a spectacular thing. Chthonic art is so deeply satisfying, I find. Sierra’s House of Mud is fantastically creepy, or maybe downright scary, not sure… The Shining meets Night of the Living Dead or something.

    Today’s gems are just perfect!! Chris Dankland, if you see this (stay safe in the storm!), major props. Those are truly brilliant. I think the Deer one is my favorite. But the old man with his cat is a close second. Although the ET-children… man, so hard to choose. Good thing I don’t have to!

    How was your week D? Mine was… well, let’s just say I’m glad it’s over! We have a three day weekend now and the weather looks summery for the first time in months so I’m pretty chuffed. I think maybe I’ll go visit some old trees.

  2. Steve Erickson

    I advised a friend who lives in Houston to see if he knows anyone in Austin or Dallas he could ride out the storm with but another friend of mine did a live feed of the hurricane from Austin, and I realized my advice was pretty naive – things are only slightly better there.

    I know there are contemporary artists whom everyone I know loves and who get great reviews but barely make it to the Billboard top 40. Run the Jewels would be a good example, although they may be a special case because they also offer all their albums as free downloads on their website. They have obviously decided they won’t make money off selling music, so they tour endlessly and sell a huge array of merchandise. They’re also getting zero airplay, as far as I can tell. The New Pornographers chart higher, but they also seem to have never reached beyond a cult following in the U.S. or even come close to having a hit single or getting radio airplay here, although they may be more mainstream in Canada. Also, it seems like no one listens to the radio anymore and just streams music, so the issue of getting airplay is now irrelevant and getting people to stream your music is much more important. (A recent Pitchfork article said that this is the reason why bands who have experienced major success on indie labels are now suddenly signing to majors. I was completely baffled why Arcade Fire, who have had several # 1 albums, gone gold three times and won a Grammy for album of the year, would possibly leave Merge to sign to Columbia. Apart from not having a hit single, Merge seemed capable of giving them all the success in the music industry any label could.)

  3. Tosh Berman

    Chris, I love how your work is so suited for the social media. I look forward to your posts on Instagram as well as here. Do you plan to make a book, or will you just focus on the medium of Instagram, etc.? Your work I can see as a book, but the presentation on Instagram is so fantastic. I like running into your work in the context of seeing other people’s posts – and then all of sudden you show up. It reminds me of Chris Burden’s little video pieces that he paid for as an advertisement. I was watching late night TV, and then bingo, you see Burden crawling on the glass on some pavement. The juxtaposition of late night TV and coming upon such an artwork was startling at the time. I have done major pieces (for or to me) on my blog and Facebook, and I think of those mediums a lot. I’m not sure if my “365” or Sunday series will work out in a book format. I wasn’t thinking in those terms of getting published in that fashion. But I did think of these works as being written for the medium of a blog/Facebook post. And I wonder if you think of the medium of Instagram for instance as your canvas.

    Dennis, I think of your blog and what you are doing here is very much part of the medium of the “blog.” It’s not a book or a printed piece of literature, but something that lives beyond those mediums. It’s very powerful and for sure has an influence on how I see my work in such a fashion. Chris as well. Both are treasures in my life.

  4. Bill

    Chris, what a great set of work today! Hope you’re staying out of harm’s way in Texas.

    Dennis, the fires do tend to be on hold for the weekend. As you might have heard, it’s a rather tense weekend in the Bay area, with several white supremacist/rightwing events scheduled. The big one has been cancelled:

    But people are a bit nervous about trouble at the smaller ones, since opposition to them may not be as organized and focused. We’ll see.


  5. Steve Erickson

    As far as I know, there have been no white supremacist events scheduled in New York. If they come, I will try to follow the advice I gave people in Boston on Twitter – that I basically stole from Ken Baumann – re: playing copyrighted protest songs at them very loudly so they can’t legally put self-promoting videos on YouTube.

    I was listening to the new reissue of techno/IDM group B12’s 1993 album ELECTRO-SOMA and felt nostalgic. There was a weird period around 1992 where it seemed like myself and everyone I knew whose tastes were grounded in punk and who was then an indie rock fan suddenly embraced the music coming from the rave culture. I both participated in this – when I heard the first albums from the Orb and Aphex Twin, I went “wow, electronic music is awesome,” and quickly went out and bought music by Orbital, Underworld, 808 State, LFO, everything I could find released by Warp Records, all the many Orb-inspired compilations with “ambient dub” or “ambient house” in their names and also whatever collections of Detroit techno and Chicago house were then available – and observed it as an employee of Kim’s Video, which both rented videos and sold records and CDs. There was one employee of Kim’s who was a “dance music sucks” holdout, but he gave up by the start of 1993. And this was all a few years before the music industry labelled it “electronica” and aggressively marketed Moby, the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy to rock fans (who bought them and forgot about those artists 6 months later.) I only went to one rave, where Aphex Twin, Moby and Orbital played, separated by 2-hour long DJ sets; I didn’t take any drugs besides caffeine, and when Orbital went on at 4 AM, I was about to pass out and decided going to sleep at home would be more fun than watching them play, as much as I liked their music. But is my experience representative of Generation X or just a personal anecdote? It’s weird that “EDM” is now way more popular than electronica ever was, with artists like DJ Snake and Major Laser scoring multiple top 10 hits constantly. There are a few EDM singles I like – Martin Garrix’s “Animals,” DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” – but it’s awkward to explain to people who know nothing about this music that liking electronic dance music artists like Actress and Dominowe does not mean I like Skrillex or Diplo.

  6. Alistair

    Hey Dennis, hope you’re having a good weekend. I’ll send you my blog post on Monday, so you can upload it at yr leisure. It sounds like yre moving into a busy period with the film, exciting! I’m trying to stop thinking about my book this weekend. You said a while back that when a book comes out its a good idea to be working on the next one, and although i’m still in the handwritten stage, its forming. The dirt pieces were awesome, that Urs Ficher piece is one I’ve been thinking about lately, and I need to investigate Anastasia Ax, who I’m not familiar with, but sounds great. Axo
    PS, CHRIS, so great to see more of these pieces, I love them, they’re so pure and vibrant, like little linguistic electric shocks!

  7. Mike Morey

    Chris, I follow you and it’s my favorite thing. Mike Morey

  8. S.

    hey D how’s it going man? saw a great pearlstein the other day. fucked the it boy, now what? chasing ghosts and terrible fish. the eclipse was neat. hope you’re all good. back to the keyboard now

  9. Steve Erickson

    Chris, I was really glad to see you marked yourself safe on Facebook,

  10. h

    Chris Dankland. I enjoyed reading your prose. The Images too are very nice. My favorites are… hm, hard to choose… fragments of ‘she is a night diamond’ and ‘the gentle deer’. Thank you for sharing and hope you’re safe.

    Dennis, apologies for the short absence. I just wanted to be quiet. But will be back soon. How is your film work, I mean, the sound work, going?

  11. _Black_Acrylic

    @ Chris, these things are always a treat whenever they pop up in my Instagram feed, and to have so many in the same place together is an embarrassment of riches. As others have said, I was glad to see you marked safe after the Hurricane Harvey scare.

    Friday’s wedding was nice as these things go. What’s super great is that my friend Andrew was there, whom I hadn’t seen for the best part of 20 years and we shared stories of our 90s prime like doing acid then walking home through graveyards, that sort of thing. This pic he emailed yesterday seems to sum up that time in a single photo. He’d led a wild life for a decade and has now settled in Stockport with wife and 2 kids, commuting here every other weekend for the Leeds United game. He’s also super upbeat about the new direction Yuck ‘n Yum is taking so I take great encouragement from that.

  12. Dóra Grőber


    Wow, it’s good to be back here! Just like you hoped (and knew), my days with Anita were wonderful and very inspiring. The funeral was also… well, as peaceful as could be. I think it was quite a heavy weight on the shoulders of my grandmother and mother and knowing that it all went down as planned might bring some feelings of closure or calmness. I certainly hope so.
    What happened with you during these days? How are the rehearsals going? Did you start working on the film again?
    I hope all’s well over there!!

  13. Chris dankland

    hey everyone !! thanks so much for reading and all the nice comments

    I’m doing fine — i slept over at a friend’s house and now i’m basically flooded into their neighborhood without a laptop, just my phone, although i don’t think the house will flood

    I’ll try to respond to everyone’s comments if i can

    thanks again !!

    please send good vibes to houston and texas

  14. Misanthrope

    Chris. Okay, I’m prone to exaggeration, I know that, but I don’t think that I’m in any way exaggerating when I say that I think this side project of yours is one of the best things going these days. They’re so fucking funny and heartbreaking at the same time. The mesh of the photographs and your writing is sublime. I fucking love every fucking bit of every fucking one.

    Dennis, I’m back. Didn’t go anywhere. Cold is pretty much gone. My weekend was filled with social obligations, falling asleep really early, and sleeping like crazy. I’ve barely been on the interwebs at all.

    We just found out that a close friend of my brother’s OD’d on heroin a couple days ago down in Florida. Was found in a hotel room with a needle stuck in his arm. Fucking sad. A really nice, good dude -one of the few my brother knew- who’s become another fucking statistic. Ugh.

    Well, Insidetheroar, in his heady days, accidentally (and very drunkenly) shared some of his stuff with me on AIM back in the day. That’s all he’s ever shared with me and probably wouldn’t have otherwise if he hadn’t been in such a state. So yes, my determination is that he’s a brilliant poet. But I -and you and everyone else- will never see another word because he won’t let it happen. He told me he’s going to burn it all before he dies. Also, his back and forth with Antler on here back in those days of the blog were quite exceptional too.

    I hope your weekend’s been good.

    • Steve Erickson

      I’m so sorry to hear about your brother’s friend. The first person I knew that died who was close to my age OD’d on heroin when I was 20. At this point, the dangers of the drug are so blatantly obvious that I don’t understand why anyone would ever take it despite the fact that it’s supposedly insanely pleasurable as well. Can’t people tell when they’re stumbling into a trap that’s so well-marked? I know it’s not that simple and that people are often self-medicating or, right now, that they got addicted to opioids through a legitimate need to treat physical pain and moved on to heroin because they’re still hooked, it’s hard to quit such drugs and heroin is cheaper. I know from personal experience how hard addiction is to quit, although I was not addicted to anything related to opioids or opiates. One reason I think “Generation X is superior to millennials” rants I read on Facebook are bullshit is that as a generation, we had a weakness for heroin (I’m not speaking about myself personally, but a lot of people I knew, especially in the rock music scene, did), but it seems like millennials do too.

  15. Thomas Moronic

    Chris – I love this project. Totally evocative and haunting things you’re conjuring up. They feel really special and I like them a lot. It’s like if Felix Feneon got wifi. Thanks for sharing your brilliance.

    Hey Dennis,
    Hello from the 10th arrondissement! So I arrived this afternoon. I got settled in and then met up with Michael, Bene and Milo. We had a catch up and went for dinner which was super nice.

    Then I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and just gawped at everything lovingly. I always forget (or rather I always remember but the memories just don’t do it justice£ how much I love Paris. It’s just beautiful. So I’m buzzed to be back.

    With regards to hanging out, I’m very flexible. I have a number for you but it’s from a long while back, so do you want to email me your current digits? Or I can send you mine?

    Talk soon,
    Thomas xoxo

  16. Misanthrope

    Seems, too, that the tech glitch has been worked out. At least as of right now. 😀

  17. Jamie

    Hey Chris Dankland, everyone of these is completely excellent! No joke. Thanks very much. I’ve read through them a few times and they’ve intrigued me and made me smile a lot. Such a way with words you have. And I’m glad you’re safe from that hurricane, man.

    Dennis! How are you? Dirt was amazing! Was it a movie, what with ‘starring’? Whatever, it was wonderful. So much good stuff. I saw Purification Room in London a few years ago and was bewitched. I really really love that mud filled house too. I want to be a explosion sculptor. Apologies for the late response, but we had friends over for an early birthday celebration for Hannah on Friday evening and got way too drunk, slept most of Saturday then had to get up to race to Edinburgh for more book festival (Tom McCarthy; quite good).
    How’s your weekend been?
    I’m happy that you’re happy about the PGL subtitles and you get to share the lines that you’re proud of. Are you starting that this week?
    What else? We’re meeting up on Thursday! That seems crazy to me. I’m in Sunderland/Newcastle Monday and Tuesday then up early Wednesday to jet to your neck of the woods.
    I hope things are great with you. May Monday fit you like a glove made expressly for your hand.
    Black power sneakers love,

  18. Misanthrope

    Oops, ’twas wrong about the glitch disappearing. Hope you and Chris can see my comment.

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