Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Augury

One day a stray walked onto the set in the middle of a scene, distracting the actresses. It was unclear how it could have got there, as no-one had seen it before it stalked into frame. We kept the film rolling, though. We got distracted – the director too, despite his reputation. That’s how it looked for a split-second. But he stayed himself. Maybe for headlines, maybe he’s just like that. He gutted the dog right there with a knife that he apparently carries on his person at all times, spilling the entrails like vague futures all over the plastic carpet.

Two of Them

You left your pills on the counter like
you meant to take them.

Interview with Yours Truly

Dear All,

Reckoning editor Michael J. DeLuca interviewed me about bees, and also about that story I wrote for Reckoning 1. In case you’re wondering, who’s that mysterious figure behind the mask? you should click the following link to enlighten yourself: reckoning.press/johannes-punkt-interview-the-bumblebee-makers-kiss/

Over on the site, you will also find the story to read so that you can know what we’re talking about. As I said back in December, when Reckoning 1 came out and you had to pay money to read it, I’m really very proud of this story. I hope you will like the story and the interview. I say things like “The bees are still here, being shipped about in big trucks all over your continent, dying, surviving, amnesiac and medicated” and “lofty basement mimeograph pipe dreams” in the interview, if that’s any carrot.

08-feb-2017

The brightness of the music: she was almost blinded
while playing the flute, absent-minded.

Rob Mitchelmore (of jamesjoycewaskorean.com) and I wrote a poem. I furnished him with the punchline and he delivered the context, proving once again that even sophisticated-seeming poetry is just dirty jokes all the way down. I’m amazed at the result and very proud of our creation, and I hope you’re proud of us too.

Introducing: Request-a-Couplet

Faithful readers few,

Back in the long-ago, in those distant foggy times when I had a Twitter account, I used to tell people to give me a topic, any topic, and I would produce for them a rhyming couplet about that. That was fun. Since I no longer have that avenue for boring and political reasons, let us say that you can email me at johannes.punkt @ gmail . com, and politely request a poem. Then, as if by magic, one will appear. I reserve the right to make it a bad poem and also to change the rules. This offer is open indefinitely. Do let your poetry- or weirdness-loving friends know. I need things to do in idle times.

Here are a few examples of such poetry, from those dark days long past:

Sometimes your thoughts are gold and you feel wise
and other times it’s like “…view 18 more replies.”

— On “The Missing Link in the Otherwise Perfect Chain of Thought”

You wear long dark gloves alone
in solidarity with stone.

— On “Statues Missing Limbs”

They rub their hands together not
for God but cuz they hatched a plot.

— On “Just How Athetistic Praying Mantises Really Are”

One pill, two pill, red pill, blue pill;
I’m a bit uncomfortoobill.

— On “Medication”

NEW STORY: The Bumblebee-Maker’s Kiss

Dear All,

I have a new story out, called The Bumblebee-Maker’s Kiss. You can buy the journal it’s in, Reckoning, for five dollars here: weightlessbooks.com/authors/benjamin-parzybok-authors/reckoning-1/

The Reckoning cover.

The Reckoning cover.

Out of things I have written, this is one of those I’m the most proud of. It feels a bit silly to write more than that but if you’re looking for me to convince you to buy this, consider: not only is my story really cool, the whole journal is cool. The stories and poems inside it all bear themes of environmental justice.

I don’t want to tell you what my story is about but I should tell you some of what’s in it.

The first time your worlds crossed paths you felt your fate short-circuiting.

I wrote a story where there are no bees anymore, and I know what happened but you don’t. Humans started creating mechanical or electrical bees to fertilise flowers. One of them devoted her life to it; it seems to be all she does. But her kiss is eponymous, so something must disrupt her routine. The story is about slipping, falling in love with this bumblebee-maker. This person who makes the bees that fertilise the flowers in the city.

If you like my writing — and your reading my blog seems to suggest that you do, thank you — you will like this story. If you like eco-punk or solarpunk or environmental speculative sci-fi, if you want your prose and poetry to acknowledge global warming and maybe give you an estimate of how fucked we are, you will like this journal. Will it unfuck us? No, the unfucking is a huge undertaking. But maybe it can unfuck your heart a bit and give you release, hope, all that good stuff. It is the first issue of Reckoning, hopefully the first of many.

Peace,
Johannes

Constellations

Your father told you about magic. About the stories hanging from the ceiling of the world like carcasses in a slaughterhouse. About astronomy and astrology. You learned to draw maps of places that didn’t exist. He told you it was okay to not know the names of constellations, because you can create your own astronomical phenomena and your own myths. Sometimes it might hurt seeing lines drawn by someone else hundreds of years ago. It doesn’t matter that things go missing, because you can find them again. Outside the apartment the whole hospital was quarantined. He was talking about himself.

DM;DO Song

I only publish poems after disasters, now.

~

DM;DO Song

by Johannes Punkt

Vi byggs inifrån som träd, och det växer ut broar mellan oss som inte är av död materia och dött tvång. Från oss går det levande ut. I er går det livlösa in.

– Karin Boye, Kallocain

Strip, pluck those lashes out like daddy’s long
legs. Bow your head like you’ve done something wrong
      and let your ostrich feather boa go
      and take your tar-black evening gloves off. Throw
            your widow’s veil and hat away and cut
      your fishnets up, your lace, your straps, your bow.
      Let fall what’s left of that old dress real slow.
            Step out of those Doc Martens. Don’t rebut —
don’t walk, don’t run, don’t march.
                                                 Don’t look me in the eyes.
                                                 Don’t mourn, don’t organize.
                                                 Your body tells no lies.
                                                 Your body tells no lies.
                                                 Don’t mourn, don’t organize.

Salt water waits its turn and then a church
roof crashes down on land. The gargoyles perch
      on solid oil. Pick up the blackest stone
      that you can find on Lesbos’ shore on loan
            from King Poseidon: vote with it as hard
      as you can throw it, when the tide is low.
      Now break, collapse, like waves, alone. You owe
            nobody anything. Let down your guard.
Don’t pray. Don’t supplicate.
                                        Just wait and see who dies.
                                        Don’t mourn, don’t organize.
                                        Your body tells no lies.
                                        Your body tells no lies.
                                        Don’t mourn, don’t organize.

Light. Stained light moves like maggots on a fresh
corpse, hesitant. Don’t flinch, don’t twitch, don’t thresh
      about. Don’t budge an inch. You’re dead so don’t
      get up. Don’t whimper when you’re kicked. It won’t
            get better. Don’t you think it would behoove
      you to lay still? Don’t rise, I know you’re prone
      to giving in to those who have a bone
            to have picked clean with you: the maggots move
like light on placid ponds.
                                    Don’t swat away the flies.
                                    Don’t mourn, don’t organize.
                                    Your body tells no lies.
                                    Your body tells no lies.
                                    Don’t mourn, don’t organize.

Tide pulls at you and your reflection blinks
six times. The woman in the mirror thinks
      that you’re the copy, staring through the moat
      the tide digs round your body as you bloat.
            You think the moon’s tug means the sea draws breath.
      The sea does no such thing. You see them row
      to shore the boats that overflow, that stow
            ten thousand migrants, in the shibboleth.
They’re refugees. Don’t think.
                                          Don’t fear the tide. Don’t rise.
                                          Don’t mourn, don’t organize.
                                          Your body tells no lies.
                                          Your body tells no lies.
                                          Don’t mourn, don’t organize.

All funerals should be immediate.
Yours was. The gulls made sure your needs were met
      then turned to vultures. If you find me: roll
      my useless wooden body to a hole
            and push me in and say what’s on your mind.
      No strings attached. Don’t be polite. Let’s go,
      let go. Don’t claim you’re sad, Pinocchio,
            lest something sprout. Don’t say shit to be kind.
Don’t notify my next
                              of kin. Don’t eulogize.
                              Don’t mourn, don’t organize.

                              Your body tells you lies.
                              Your body tells you lies,
                              don’t tell me otherwise.
                              No farewells, no goodbyes.
                              Don’t mourn, don’t organize.

Grief, love. A gunclap in your ribcage: grief,
grief, grief will turn you to a liar, thief,
      and murderer. Your deadbeat heartbeat: strobe;
      your heart: arachnid and arachnophobe;
            your body: like a tongue, but you – stay still.
      Don’t understand it. How can those you know
      be gone when you recall –? Grief waits below,
            between your shadows on the stone, to kill,
revive, repeat. And if
                              you hear my song, don’t rise.
                              Don’t rise, don’t rise, don’t rise.

Review: Normal

In case you keep reading my counterfeit reviews of books thinking, damn I would like to read one of the books that this man describes, fear no more. I have written a real review of a book that actually exists, and the only thing I had to counterfeit in the process was my self.

The review is up at Minor Lit[s]; just click the following link: minorliteratures.com/2016/10/21/normal-by-warren-ellis-johannes-punkt/

FakeReview: The Boneyard Bedouin Epique by J. Steam Fronker

I know I said I would not write another review of a book that doesn’t exist, but this one just gripped me, readers. Right from the start it hooked me, with little barbs and flukes on the inside of the hardcover, like a psychopath had designed this book. This is the kind of book that would bleed you dry if you’d let it.

I’d never heard of J. Steam Fronker — the anagrammatic pseudonym of a weird sex pharmacist who in the meatspace goes by Hannah Dee Arbucte — before I read these books, but she’s apparently something of a sensation in the online literary world. More accurately, she is a catalyst, the substance against whom everybody reacts. You have to have an opinion on the latest Fronker doolally. Apart from her uncle’s publishing house, she only communicates with the “Inside World,” as she calls the world outside her books, through her microblog on Regrettr. There, readers are treated to a cornucopia of strange terminology, only half of which is decipherable. She rarely responds to replies, but seems to welcome the attention.

Imagine if Chuck Tingle wrote Gormenghast. No, don’t imagine that. Forget that thought. Fuck. Let’s start over, from the other end.

Ghias Aljundi once said that “writing a poem can be as dangerous as carrying a gun.” Because any weapon has at least two edges, doesn’t it? He was talking about the horrible regime in Syria, specifically, which is known to murder poets to silence them. As such, it is a bit perverse of me to relay it here, relating it to this steampunk desert fantasy epic no-one has read, but that is what I’m doing. Perhaps I, like Fronker, believe I have something imporrtant to say and I hide it here, in a silly fishtank, where you won’t read it. Perhaps I don’t want to write you a poem. There is a double valence to danger: the danger can be to oneself or to others. Expand it a bit and it’s us or them. Often it is both. I believe J. Steam Fonker wishes to weaponise literature. She wants it to be equally as dangerous.

Just last week, she pleaded with world leaders (“kopfhats” in Fronkerese) to ban more books. It was a surprisingly coheroquent plea, and it turned out to be an old “Now York Toast” article pleading with President Obama to ban guns, which she had transformed with some search-and-replace magic. Hence all the paragraphs about how access to books leads to school shootings. Her followers had been arguing in circles with each other for a day until this was revealed, minithinkpieces bubbling forth, and then the bubble burst. I admit I may have got caught up in the dunderfrolic myself.

Consider the plot of the Boneyard Bedouin Epique (consisting of four books: The Word in the Stone, The Trunk in the Junk, The Gland of Arlulin, and The Sand in the Clothes). A young woman sets out to peel her own world apart like one continuous clementine spiral by singing herself out of it, her culture not having anything like literacy. This brings danger, long before she comes close to succeeding, but she eventually succeeds. This is perhaps the most unfair summary I’ve ever done of one of these series, but there is so much in it. How do I explain to you the ship of avarice? How do I tell you of the Dune pisstakeage of giant writhing cocks fucking the desert and how it is a comment on US foreign policy? Why would you believe me that that fits in with the rest of the book? I could tell you the whole story is of a dustmote falling to the floor, shaken loose from a rocking table, which is true. Or I could tell you about the calligraphy. The instructions for dancing with ink-tipped boots. The suicide pact the author makes with the reader. It all makes sense; none of it makes sense.

Virgil said that a good couplet should be enough to make a snake explode. Such is the power of words. Fronker longs for a time gone by, when her words would have a physical effect on her surroundings instead of being shielded by a humtracker and electricity. I don’t think she’s written herself out of this world just yet, but she might. When she does fall through, I wonder if we will all solipsistically blink out, or if we will stand there dumbfounded, mouthing “I didn’t know you could do that.”