from A Nest This Size
by Ann Fine

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On the firmament of many names

“Why, can you imagine what would happen if we named all the twos Henry or George or Robert or John or lots of other things? You'd have to say Robert plus John equals four, and if the four's name were Albert, things would be hopeless.” —Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


                                                                                                                                          d d,

                                    In my sleep I was told by a sleeper cell you must not be called Diary anymore. Now, whether it came from an ethereal daybed or an insidious apse in my lexicon, doesn’t matter. The cell slept, and the cell didn’t show: its message sounded snore. Instead, crosswords appeared—larynx across, and yes—down. Daisies were daubed in the miniature airspace above that, and there was a peal of bells. Later, nothing moved again. Eventually, in a springing breadth of light, appeared—ligature across, and game down.

And so I woke obedience. Also, I woke obedience and astronomy; I woke obedience and astronomy and music. I said look. I said I think Diary is a meteorite and a diploma and future…responsibility falls on all of us…so everyone please turn around. So we didn’t face each other during the imagining exercise a long time. Grief made us want to, at moments, but we fought like hell, stoics against hell. Greif because there are too many names. Greif because each one is good and then vanishes. The lists thronged. The lists carried torches of fire…I woke myself.

When I opened my eyes I knew this would be a ferial day. I would make certain not to gaze at screens or other vehicles of bafflement. I would put on clothes. I would put clothes away. I would put water on the dirt my plants lived in, and try not to feel so venerable. Images of your face upbraided newly thin air. Standing still amidst owned objects, to me I acted like a solar system: a bigot of space. Your face became faces. I said I am a bigot, I bigot, I am big. Bigger than you Diary. I absorbed sentimental humidity as an absence. An uncommon thirst doubled over. I resisted missing you again but was not certain what that meant. In this way I failed at longing. So the burden of your replacement pressed again.

Then an urgency to write for words. Send off for a stratagem to gain spectral crystallization.

Questions renew: Are you forensic anymore? Are you a solution of loose nucleotides? Are you going to photograph well in this light? Does your geometry spell a prayer only children’s inner ears understand?

                                                                        Theory and tests, theory and tests: these are the nearest neighborhood frequencies I associated with the great number of names. If I am the messenger how could you listen? How can you hear me when I do not know what you will be called? I am contained by too many answers.

I leave the house quickly. I leave with the assembly:

                  Rabbit; zigzag; glove; bishop; seashell; wave from nowhere; horseback…

Diary operating manual(ly)

[Data entry—9/2006]


1. Death or Ceremony of carriage; methods of getting at remembrances:

At the moment blank is added, the end will be expected to contain emptiness in various states of completion. Some time later some (to be left to measure) many blanks should be finished emptying, and will each of these cast off into the void. If the blanks are assembled in ordinary sequences, they should be labeled at their breaking points. And meaningful ones will be (difficult). Thus the blanks which are most nearly complete at the moment when nothing is added should receive the least label, and those only beginning to grow will receive the most. Among any triptych set of blanks, which will now be isolated from an assembled mourning set, cast off by less affable blanks; the blanks situated near the beginning point of the assembly should be in agreement with any expectation. Ignore the rate of reaction which is all extra, but measure all corresponding rememberments. Lastly replace blanks with souls. Realizing should, upon assertion, possible.

2. Remember the pages were consisting of arms, legs, foreheads, anterior torsos and thumbs when amassing emotion. Lie broken spine down as lovingly. Lay rheumatic hands on the cover to coax experience carefully (one understands the other).

3. Leftover quills go in the mouth.

4. What is dead is neither belonging to what was, nor indicating in any way, a past inhabitation or summary of any mineral composition. Not merely and/or not, or mostly not, a target.

5. Regard a defect in every mourners’ eye. Regard style of art. Regard subject and subject’s strength. What is a thunderfish? What is that sound of thunder?

6.New testaments present moments featuring everyone.

7. Somewhere [in here] is a vast improvement.

Architectis Moderatis

Now I’d like to make a slew of curious statements pretty quickly, until the keys come. I beg you to bear with my assembling helices, [incensed and heated to keep you) and/or bring your density and gradients along with their eyes: please. O, plenty of materials, of course. Hammers and nails and I will be delivered sometime soon, but you don’t think we should wait any longer – not really.

I still don't know your name, or I you, though I do consider a sacred annealment tangible. A kind of recovery we might rasp at strangers’ doors after a long afternoon parade. In the little city I strode alongside a similar haunting, sober, as if to pose a better spy. The eyes seemed exhausted, but spoke of you fondly. Tilting a head toward the refuge of shadow, I took it all in. “O,” I thought, “you won’t scare anyone that way.” In awhile and along the way we eventually come to wonder how we know each other so oddly well, aloud.

How were you everywhere that day, like a lack of air, and somehow, never needless? The walls of the little city grown largely over the rivers. I felt like an open angle then, and my arches carefully intermitted. The problems laid mad doggedly down, then an aqueduct-like system or cumbersome relic of longing. I did feel some friction against my heritage…I wanted a drink.

But, since your’s is a thirst only this denatured drink offers itself to, then, I will inhabit this radio of clime, and will be mindful of the static gaps in any terrific weather. It will be alright right? Please get up and do not beware of too much.

The fragmenting of this theme [Dear Diary] into its own motives may soon suffer momentum’s pitch, but you will help me commend creation for knowing its architecture I trust? Help me praise the moonbeam for putting up angles of calculated surprise, and importing us through edificial quantities of sleep. Praise the forbidden machine of memory for crashing…

Every testimony of the fog is both regional and virtual. So you are not a love letter; you are a blustering idea of wind. Apocryphal, unreliable, puerile, and fantastic. I grow to love the elemental functionality of our zigzagging model. I grow stagnant. Together we’ve become subject to the storm of X-ray, still so here; I volunteer our broken whims this glass solution.

Thankfully, we were born without mechanical regulation of our [glottal and ungulate] trifle registers: This may soon mean deconstruction is likely over time, so here comes why do we crave our undoing? [and] Who taught us to desire?  Framed by the window of any houses here; we are free, and the dull repetition of our infamy is a famous, but finished, problem. Look how stupid this city is. It actually attempts to celebrate itself! They say; traffic is a joke. I say real (is) funny.

When stalled at the light, when the woodlands up my sleeves shiver; they want to give me away. I press their fury green tips inward, I am awkward. They stab. I am impressed to bevel away at my nature. It’s the way in or out, I’m not sure. It is hard work, and no I am not a cheerful edge. I am tendered by moveable commerce: life doesn’t owe life lost. But if flown outward too far, like hell, it will. 

At any moment, under whatever oblique frontispiece hung here, we may hang wildly over into primal dance. Exuberance too, can make sense of our lost legend. And that’s just it: Did you know the spotted fly-catcher has this many names? Post-bird, Egypt bird, old man, beam bird, cobweb or bee bird? You know what that means; He is a good catch!

But I should not embellish what I am not as if I could. I also know how charming little tunes may habituate the divine.
So I send for you each melody I mark. Call you with a star drunk yodel;

Can you come out here in a year?


                                            Time for a ticket.

                                                                                                          Don’t forget?

And dear, mine; In response to your metonymic letters, my voice is a challenging [antique]; an item that may auctioneer for less than a buck in these parts. It gathers itself by way of introduction, and bouquets like a fist.                                     Stops here.                  

                                    Segments of my motives lead to new impetuous dissentions, and segments fantasize: the pink bowls in your body full of patriotic milk; the life of your hot tongue leaning tired against its teeth. These mimetic devotions sustain me. Time is on my mime.

Yes, you see. That’s how I am believably ignored. The more timid locations in the imagination struggle to harmonize two things (sweet and graceful). Higher Organisms? Say hello. Sum of button and which to push:

                                                                        Precisely midway between the heart and head: a category is born. Brand new. I am told things afterward, that don't help much, so I will not repeat them. Not here but for the synthesis of vital inspirations; which (without labor) ensures that a number (two) of us may be afforded a correct placing on the messenger template:


                                    Category (answer) or no (receipt).

The allegory for which has not been written?

                                                                                                                                            I wander still.

Diary operating manual(ly)

Data entry [January 2007]

1. Send in the bones book rate. Send sport[   ]ships and score the slanting. Shipments of making rules.

2. Automobiles: immensity, eternity, infinity [must get to] laughter: (an unattractive semblance of letters?) One enjoys the dropping of a jaw, and one believes in the vehicle.

3. Arrivals, conditions, disciplines: What ports of authority [Set by? Who says?] have supposed aftermaths? In the case of suits, tie them off. Carbon is simple being— also faceted, also loveless— Trust its light.

4. If you believe in God, that he or she may detest even numbers may have occurred to you.

5. Names can demote the cataclysmal properties of their own; so fete them in pastoral sceneries to ensure safety of nominal conditions—these and wild flowers.

6. Dearly (Re)beloved: cause to consider the (re) amplifies in all sacred scenarios of naming; so ≠ so. Remuneration namely repels enumeration. Dear (who), dearly named (to be inserted as inspiration) continues from one end of the spectrum to the other; as a rule.

7. To sketch a view along an arbitrary line a deliberate impression is the strongest impression: absolutely not. Negative impressions are made so positive images may eventually be taken by the hand.

8. Note sketch patterns may divide (attention of) The Following.

9. Put what in ink! Denote further later.

Diary operating manual(ly)

“This mixture of apparently disparate materials—scandal and spiritualism, current events and eternal recurrences—is not promising on the face of it.” —Gary Wills

Data entry 9/2006:

Retrace. Or retrograde? Doesn’t matter.

A) You were getting climactic in your years, and B) no-one can tell.

1. Again, to stipulate how the myths were punctuated: open wider, take risks, be wise; generally aware of the triumph of lies. It is a tedious theory we practice. This may not be as true as the way we practice tedium, theoretically.

2. The letters came after the war we thought was the one for us. Our memory of it was so familialy confabulated, we had to buy the serial stories of guns so we could stick to them, and count on strangers as if they were kin: justice cuts in line. Follow the woodwind section to opine. For a moment, as brief as any’s awe, we assume a lesson is learned for us we will not have to learn en masse, and so we escape narrowly, the consequences of borrowed individuality. Hence, the Dear Diary/episodic corroborations/ occur naturally in situ. The future is all epilogues, starting now.

3. Histrionic is history: repeat and change.

4. Never again look the pages in the eye and say, “you are better without God.”