Brian Clements is the editor of Sentence.






Forgiven in Providence

“Keep reading,” she said. “Your voice pleases the violets and that story is full of vertebrate colors, which makes the ficus think of what it could have been.”

Just to see the chestnut of her mouth keep leaping from her lungs like that, I kept reading.

“Read another story,” she said. “Read one with little pieces of vignettes fallen from dogma, which is supposed to uncork something unexpected, like a life.”

“In April,” I began, “the ceremony begins with yellow if you live far enough south...”

She sighed. “Oh, that one... You know, I paid to see a fight, and, by God, I’m going to see a fight. What you’ve become is a crude excuse for license.”

And on it went like a marriage.




Forgiven in Providence, Part II


Each day it all sounds more and more like vaudeville. Dancing with the chickens, serenading the dining room table, role-playing scenarios where I am the bean and the computer is the giant.

But none of that compares to the mystery of doubt when you have the bad taste to live in a lover’s house. She takes the silence of the masses as an unalloyed chime from the bell tower.

Since we are stumbling toward a seed anyway, and since the title already forgave us, why not start an emergency? But if you point at a woman you attack her, because fingers are the devil, and because beneath all theory a plot is crying for mercy.




Forgiven in Providence, Part III

 "Why don’t you cut up your anatomy,” she asked, “and reassemble it as a twisted zombie composer?”

 And if she’d been kidding I might have considered it.

 Once, the purpose of prayer was to guess. Then it was just tradition.




Forgiven in Providence, Part IV

I wanted to tell her a story, so I started in on the one about the chestnut of her mouth.

“Make like hydrogen,” she said. “Split.”

“But it’s changed,” I promised. “Now it’s all about how—after democracy didn’t free us, and the vaccine didn’t save us, and the garbage man turned out to be just a work around—we bought a new car.”

“I want to hear,” she pined, “about my noble childhood, and the religious fervor of bees. About the practice of the glider pilot and his fear.”

“A sonata is the window,” she continued, “the wind. You are just a guess. The lines the lake makes in its going away is not too normal an emotion. Tell me something wrong, something insignificant, like a poem...”

And I guess we’d had about enough talking at the point.  There are too many things about people that can’t be prevented by sheepskin. Unfortunately, that’s when I started singing.





You use your hand like you use a car. It works. It treats you well, even though you have to remind yourself you are not an employee. Or maybe you don’t have to remind yourself—continue to operate under the assumption you can handle the wear and tear of habit and forget the notion of your nature, which is just a gene or two short of mass murder.

Because if you take the traffic’s abuse, what else do you need to say? If you bring the prison of chance into play, you don’t have to worry about going home. It’s luckier to pass away into practice, to exercise your tongue against the back of your teeth and get the lips ready to follow with their customary O.

Those surveys of the practical literature will wear you out and waste your time like a drug. A good one. And to take advantage of them properly, you’ll have to exhaust your always already and fill it up with once....  Maybe even manage to translate your penchant for substance into a miniature thesaurus where every word equates with this time.

Enjoy them while you can—those ideas that meditation is any different from sodomy, that reflection is a kind of substance. It’s a product of forgetting to forget the cause-and-effect that preserves and keeps you. As if you could know what you were going to be in a year. Why else broadcast these advertisements for what you’re going to mean in a minute? It’s what lets you go home.




Strange Day

Not a day goes dark without moments of foreign matter flying up the nostrils of the next. Out over the crops, freight defies it attraction to other artifacts, pulls out of the blue behind it a mysterious power over consumers.

Another day, another unknown. The corollary horizon is someone’s far-flung idea of consistent yield: the annual return on native property is equal to the frequency of local awareness. As a consequence, the harvest is an uncanny ritual, an appearance of the odd out of the ordinary.

One day, an unexpected fruit of the previous day’s development makes all the goods go bad, ruins the produce and sends all your possessions packing. The eerie afternoon light upshoots from a rare insight: there’s nothing peculiar about anything, and you can hardly bear the domestic outgrowth. What’s funny is, normal as it all is, how queer the normal seems in that novel combination, how fantastic.




In Your Image

This offering I place in your hands for your signature, for your cellular breath and your digitized print, for your real-time calling card.

As to future events, I just respond to actual situations.

As to an absent beginning, there are other out-of-the-box solutions that don’t postpone the indelible need for skinflush, pulse.

Speak directly with me. We are invested with messages underwritten three or four layers deep. Each layer leaps when your breasts brush against me.

The world is twofold, at least, and I am of three or four minds, at least, and the two, pari passu, are likely to be material for each other for several more moments, at least, at least...

So in a minute is an up-to-date vehicle for our customers, self and other, who want to decentralize and deliver inherently uncertain and subjective demands. And since image takes over the imageless, they are all I can think of to say “desire, but not...”

If you say soul of my soul, you have said too much. It implicates the whole world in your particular turning away, your private commerce brought again and again to scale.

But that was the image they handed me, and it’s equal to or greater than the strength of my hands. It’s always hard to say exactly what an image means when what you mean is as liquid as where you are.

This could all be converted to common talk, couldn’t it? A steady declension until you hit the right spot? Let’s try:

“expect” “plan” “anticipate” “believe” “estimate” “hope” no it just leads you to that other attempt to satisfy the need for content.

How about invitations and gifts? “granted” “return” “share” “income”?

This offering in your hands may not be released in time for its time-to-market. And then what’s to be done? Even this day is decomposing.

Between the I and the now there is an image whose balance is mission critical. By its own custom, you don’t get it until at least three days after its ascension.