He had that dream again, that odd, willowy, portentous dream. The one that had been slowly unfurling in real time for almost ten years.
1955. UCLA. Those same 3 roomies in that house now more familiar than mine. So odd. We got the milk delivery in glass bottles like a few dreams ago. It was delicious. The explanation in the dream for a few month gap was I was away on break and the whole thing welcomed me back whole. 8 years and the thing in real time has not even been more than a few days “there”. We had sandwiches and read the paper with that ice cold damn milk. Can almost taste it.
In 2010 Joanna Newsom gave us Have One On Me, and it was glorious. Three discs of baroque, meticulous tunes, all but one of which are now permanent residents of my bloodstream (“No Provenance”, your time will come eventually, I suspect). Newsom fans have been waiting ardently for a new record for five years, and in 26 days that record, Divers, will begin its public life and quick entry into my already-crowded (yet never crowded enough!) veins. I. CAN’T. WAIT.
In the weeks leading up to the record’s release I will be posting tidbits here so I can vent some of my excitement in a public forum and not drive everyone in my life crazy. If you follow me on social media, though, I am 26 days away from being insufferably obsessed with Divers for the forseeable future. In the meantime, here are some live performances of songs that will be on the record:
Hey Enclave community, now you can download Meow the Jewels. Really.
If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, this is is: last year, Killer Mike and El-P, two hard as fuck rappers who came together to form the duo Run the Jewels, sent out a mass email to their fans announcing their latest record. As Run the Jewels’s lasted record was a free product available to anyone for free downloading, Killer Mike and El-P also mentioned various merchandising options that you could choose to purchase, vinyl, t-shirts, CDs, etc.
At the bottom of this email they also included wholly fictitious “bonus” packages that could be purchased for large sums of money ($20,000 and up). They were obvious jokes, like Killer Mike would come to your kid’s school and beat up a bully of his or her choice, and anyway, no one would have the kind of money to drop on one of them.
One of the bonus packages was Meow the Jewels, a cat-sounds-based remix of the entire Run the Jewels album. This one went for $50,000. Well, some enterprising Jewel Runner went and started a Kickstarter for this remix. It got a very, very, very strong response. Pretty soon Killer Mike and El-P got involved, using their social media and recruiting high profile rap producers to push the project along. And so, it got funded.
And, actually, it’s not that bad. Download it.
Love, If you do not understand
the tongues with which I caress you
do not cut them
they will not bloom again.
They come from a different piece of star
from the condemnation of the missing
each syllable is a bird migrating south
resting on your shoulder
claiming for some water
don’t hush them away
do not erase their nests from your mouth
won’t know how to return to you.
You and I are not the same ghost
but we learn to reflect each other
Do not look for my origin
do not try to translate the dialect of my people
let them dance on your body all night
let them get lost in your fury for a lifetime
let them weave together with their blood
the pieces of you that fell apart in the war.
do not consider yourself an archaeologist
every time I take you in to my core.
and if at times
it is only foolish noises calling you
Only storms, sneezes and shipwrecks
or in one corner a rabid dog licking his paws
and the rest just fire
what do you get from making a cage?
what do you get from taming the scream?
with which arrow are you trying to put out the sun?
if you do not understand, love
the tongues with which I caress you
maybe we are the fire that’s already dying
maybe the curse of the ancestors came true
maybe we already reached the end of the world
and didn’t even notice.
It is late at night right now. It is cold and a storm is nearing the coast. It is mid January. The orange groves of my youth are long gone. The air is crisp and the rains that should come originated near Japan a week ago then rode a roller coaster across the Pacific north into the chill of Alaska to dive down toward this coast. It will then move east and bring big floods to the midwest they say. It is to die along the Rockies and reform hurling Gulf of Mexico water to flood Kansas down to north Texas. The flood may pull loose like a rotten tooth my Grandmother’s grave on that former farm, wash clean that spot I may have seen voices fall from so much night sky. Stupid storm might eclipse nothings like me or the bastard might just fail grandly like some big farce of false promise in this time of drought. I may run out and scream and curse at the rain if my legs will let me later tonight.
Hey Enclave peeps, I wanted to share a little project I put together called “The Latin American Mixtape.” It’s a selections of essays and interviews I’ve put together, all relating to Latin America and its authors.
There’s an interview with César Aira, a couple of essays on Bolaño, one on Rodrigo Rey Rosa, an interview with super-translator Katherine Silver, & some other things. If you dig, give it a look!
On the very last day
At the very last hour
Before the asteroid
Or the nuclear bomb
Or the Trump regime
Hits the earth.
I want to remember
The myriad faces
Of what this planet once was
And will no longer be.
All of these moments
Like scintillating fragments
Of mirrors or dust
The eye-lens of a fly
Or a scarab beetle.
They will pass
In front of my eyes.
And we are all
As dust to dust
And cosmic dust
It’s just about fall (if you’re in the south, this is a GODSEND, at least in terms of weather). If you’re in school or teach, the shit is just starting to hit the fan. The empire is crumbling. What will soundtrack this special moment in your/our life(s)? Here’s an annotated playlist to address all your dystopian needs! Click here to listen to the mix.
this is not a poem written about death
you are on a train underground. it is evening.
there are two dogs on the train, and you hate dogs, but are trying (in general) to hate things like that less often
and with less intensity.
you think of something you once read
about how no one is okay when they listen to “hallelujah”
(jeff buckley or leonard cohen, doesn’t matter which) and soon
there is salty, thin mucus trailing down your throat
because you are trying your hardest not to cry on the train (not that you haven’t before) because you know this isn’t your pain to feel.
and you remember something heartbreaking, and you realize
that every song you ever loved at some point changes and became something new;
songs you had to remove from your vocabulary, maybe. you realize that this phenomenom is happening right now, and that it will continue to happen, possibly forever. you
wonder what you would tell your daughter if she asked about
your tattoo. but your body has already let you know
that it doesn’t want a child inside of it.
you realize that you are crying, and you are on an escalator, and now you are
sitting on the stairs of the metro station, your nose running—
and there is a depth inside of you, and even though your fingers smell
like cigarettes & sweat you put them to your lips and lie down on the tiles and notice for the first time
that a mural is painted on the ceiling.
and you realize that the most beautiful moment of your life cannot be repeated
-because that band doesn’t play anymore
-because those songs don’t mean what they used to
-because the night no longer flickers like that
-because the molly isn’t synthesized the same way -because she is dead
-because no moment can ever be repeated anyway -because she is still dead
-because you are a different person than you have been.
and sometimes just recognizing that the pain you are feeling
in every corner of your body
is part of a tradition of pain that has haunted every person you have
ever met, even the ones who don’t
show it easily; and it will haunt you, too, for the entirety of your cognizant life; sometimes that is enough to make you want to fall into the well
you swear was in your childhood backyard (but probably wasn’t)
until the thick dark liquid fills your nostrils & your throat & limbs are suspended and your eyes grow quiet
and your mouth goes blind.
sometimes you have to sleep for thirteen hours, sometimes
you need to cry while you listen to songs about ghosts and sex
and sex with ghosts, sometimes you must turn yourself inside out
so that you can get a chance to numb yourself from the things that
are relentlessly puncturing you, because your skin is
not solid and maybe
your muscles and bones are.
and sometimes you have to just decide
that you are going to scream out the lyrics to “hips don’t lie”
you are going to strum “if you want to sing out, sing out”
you are going to play every bruce springsteen song you know, on repeat,
you are going to sing along to “i heard it through the grapevine” by marvin fucking gaye, and you are going to choose to be a person who is happy.
you are going to choose to see the people dancing in front of the sunset
in mariachi plaza, and how they are, and how the buildings on 1st street
perfectly frame one-tenth of downtown, and you are going to really
pay attention, and you are going to choose to love this.
you are going to love this, because you have to, because
there is no other option beyond this or
allowing death to eat you up from the fingertips on inward, and because
you have promised someone who is not yourself that you
are not going to die. you are butch cassidy and you are the sundance kid,
you are running out into the gunfire and you are laughing with wildness
deep inside your eyes, you are refusing
to fade back into the calm dissonance of sadness & you are
40 trillion cells that are pushing together because the universe has told them to fight with one old college try
against any kind of doom impending, cells that after centuries of waiting in volcanoes, rainfall, rose petals, other peoples lungs, and, yes—
have now finally coincided inside of you.
and i’ll never know if the baby i maybe bled out looked like her,
and i will never be someone who stands on bridges and does not think (just for two seconds) about jumping. and there will never
be another day like that one in the desert in the front row watching
our favorite band sing the songs about ghosts & sex & sex with ghosts. but there is the slight hum of an e harmonica just out of reach.
there is a distant highway.
there is a girl waving out a window.
“there is a light that never goes out” (which we will dance to, ruthlessly, until our feet crash through the dance hall floor.)
there is a reason to let go,
there is a piece that is inside of me that will glow,
and weep, and it is immortal,
and i will not lose it
i will not lose it
i will not lose it.
Megan Lent lives in Los Angeles where she collects succulents, prom dresses, and prayer candles.
Someday we will collapse,
but for now we are two pulsars locked
in a cosmic tango.
Nebulous smoke emits
from the wick
snuffed by satellites.
so light never
Gamma ray bursts
ripple through galaxies
for some other life to bathe in
billions of years from now.
Nicole Melchionda is currently a student at Stetson University completing an independent study on gothic poetry with published poet Terri Witek. She admires the work of Plath, Poe, and Eliot.
JH: What made you want to become a writer?
AN: I have always been writing. Since I was like 4 years old I have always been making up songs or writing poems and stories and putting on shows for people or imaginary friends. When I was a baby my parents put a video camera in my bedroom for an afternoon and called the video ‘Allie takes a nap.’ It’s basically an hour of me mugging for the camera and walking around in my crib and singing to myself.
I don’t think it’s something I ever really decided to do, I’ve just been doing it. Something like ten years ago I started to take this shit a bit more seriously and got more involved in getting my work published and doing readings, but honestly it all feels like a compulsion. I wrote about this feeling of being compelled to write a while ago on htmlgiant and someone commented saying ‘you’re not a writer, you have an addiction.’ And that’s chill and all. Not everyone can be like me.
I walk to the pool party I wasn’t invited to; Greta Garbo is there, talking to a script writer that was blacklisted; she is spooning chocolate pudding into his mouth and laughing uproariously; he looks uncomfortable but also like he needs the pudding; this pleases me though it is terribly hot out but no one is in the pool; Joan Crawford is passing a cocktail to Myrna Loy who rolls her eyes under a sunhat while Spencer Tracy hands me a robe; I feel his depression through the terry cloth and they all look at me expectantly like I am the savior of their union, their list maker, their dream planner, their landscaper who lost topiary shears in the wrong neighborhood; now Clark Cable puts a palm on my waist, so we are basically, engaged, but I want to be wooed by these haircuts and teeth; my tap dance starts slow but I build momentum: I wear a bowler hat, grow a cane out from my wrist, I instantly grow a Charlie Chaplin mustache— it’s real on me, when I say tap dance I mean my rousing speech and when I say rousing speech I mean I lay down on a lounge chair to take a nap; I’ve been drugged by glamour: let someone else manage this nuthouse.
Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently lives in the DC area with her family. She is the author of six chapbooks. The most recent ones are forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press, Crisis Chronicles Press and Shirt Pocket Press. Her first full length poetry collection is forthcoming from Lucky Bastard Press. Recent work can be seen / is forthcoming at, Pretty Owl Poetry, Yes, Poetry, Gargoyle Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, Glittermob, The Norfolk Review, Moss Trill, Pith, So to Speak, Apple Valley Review, Otis Nebula, Freezeray, and Hobart. For more, visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com/.
Like a stone in the water
I sink unsound & transformed
into only a surge of light.
I don’t need to tell you that
to die is so inconvenient.
Before, I slept in a hurricane bed,
so tired of talking of the body;
the trouble of mothers &
their bad moon mouths.
Inside the space of a breath,
I become subdued by the abyss,
& irrevocably, I am given
to the furnace of the dark.
The Water Arc
I am awash
the dirty light,
& the hinge
of the crave
presses like a map
against my bones.
Yes, my bleached bones—
brittle and dried.
Still, it is true:
I am water-brained
in the arc
of the red shift.
In the Key of Black
There is a surge—a muted calling
in the dark house.
I tear the root. I sing
in the key of black.
I see my name
in the whirring of the flash.
It is so heavy
to be known.
Yes, I am still
in this dream.
I see another gun,
another humming torch
& I propel myself
toward too many shades.
Tell me: how many ways
are there to say
This is my body?
Welcome to #FutureLitDarlings, a series dedicated to authors I (in my personal opinion) feel are writing amazing, unique stuff. How it works: I call out a handful of authors, ones that might not get as much attention in and around various lit circles as they should, be it because they are new or simply underrepresented; the authors named are given a week to send me some writing to feature in subsequent posts here, on ENCLAVE. Simple and encouraging–as is my hope. The end result, ideally, is for this to be a continual showcase championing the depth and vibrancy of our community.
The first callout consisted of Matthew Bookin, Lauren Hilger, Frankie Zelnick, Elle Nash, Len Kuntz, Jordaan Mason, and Nadia de Vries.
The fourth author to reply was Elle Nash, and therefore, this post is dedicated to Nash and her brutally honest and captivating prose. Have a look, you’ll see that she’s onto something exciting. We’re coping. –Michael J Seidlinger
Anatomy of a Mouth
Black magic booze in my body. His hot yeast breath on my neck. His eyes. Bloodshot and blue and I feel like a void. I mean inescapable. He touches me now and everything stops. The heart, the legs, the hands, the breath. My body, it doesn’t feel like a living thing anymore.
I try not to cry. His dick stops feeling like a dick inside me. My asshole burns from come leaking out between us and he goes on his second round, but I don’t feel anything. I feel so little that I almost wonder if his moans are being faked, if he’s just fucking me to fuck me.
He says things over and over like “I love you” and “this feels so good” and I feel so guilty. The sadness makes its way through my veins and there are tingles down to the end of my fingertips, which happens when I’m trying not to cry. His body pumps up against mine. My body knows there is emotion going on somewhere and it needs to get out, it tries to shoot out the end of my fingers.
Even with his come, I start to get dry. Crumbs at the bottom of the sheet, dried up pieces of my insides from the friction. The sex begins to hurt. On set at work, they always use lube. I wanted to think this wouldn’t affect us, that the sex I had off-screen would be different.
He moves and I lay still, eyes at the ceiling. What my mother taught me was that we could do a lot of nothing. We could take a lot of distance, close our mouths, our legs, our hearts and men like my father might stick around for 26 years. 26 years before they decide that what they miss most is a woman who fights for it. Maybe a man like Gavin would stick around, too.
Gavin sticks his fingers in my mouth and I roll my tongue across his fingerskin, pushing them to the roof of my mouth. I think about being on set. I think about my film body, digital body, as it writhes across computer screens. How that body doesn’t breathe on TV. When I grab Gavin’s wrist, he pulls his fingers out but I push his hand further back, let my jaw open wide. My cheeks fill with spit. The pads of his fingers caress the mealy bumps of my far-back tongue. His palm is humid and full of salt.
I look up again and my brain goes numb, dizzy. Sometimes I forget I am woman and think I am human. Or perhaps a bird. Feathers sprout from the wrists and I spread my wings to escape this salted earth and suddenly and out of nowhere the crack of my neck against a ceiling startles me awake again. I realize more and more that I’ve created carefully constructed boxes of how a person should live their life and I’m so scared to step out of them.
Eagerly, his hand pushes back further into my mouth, as far as it can go. The thin membrane of my lip gets caught between the bone of his knuckles and my top teeth and I suck all the saliva into a pool in the middle of my tongue. His first two fingers grasp and curl towards the back of my mouth and into my throat. I keep my jaw open, my neck relaxed. The whole of his hand reaches deep for my insides, but he won’t reach it. Gavin pushes his hand harder into my mouth until I feel something sharp break against my lip. There is a snap that feels like pressure and then a wet warm release like peeing in a hot tub feels. It trickles from my mouth and down my chin. Gavin pulls his hand out quick and threads of gummy spit string between my lips and his fingertips.
I tongue the place where I felt the snap, where my incisor is supposed to be. My mouth jolts to life and tingling pain shoots through my upper jaw and into my nose. Half a tooth falls into my hand, this broken ivory shard without roots. A gnarled nerve inside the pulp sticks out and a slow marching throb pulses through my head. Spit and blood and ivory shine in my palm like a jewel. The soft gummy spot where it used to be gives way from the tip of my tongue and my mouth tastes like a penny. I wipe the spit, the warmth from my chin and blood streaks the back of my hand. I grab the broken tooth between my two fingers and try to put it back in its space, but it won’t go. More blood comes, more shooting pain. I have always had bad teeth anyway, and I’m already missing two. I did not feel so panicked, but perhaps I should have been.
I touch the tiny wet maw with my finger, feel the empty space, the broken tooth. Other teeth dislodge around it like they were waiting to be pulled. Each tooth around the broken one collapses one by one into my hands like a breaking bridge. A mouth full of broken shit. Sharp teeth and glass. The pulsing march of pain continues. I rustle them around in my palms, my teeth like golden nuggets. This bloodied mouth pit in their place.
My hands make tiny fists, all my incisors and molars with their sharp roots poking out. The teeth stick into the flesh of my palms, sharp beads eating me alive. I look at Gavin and he looks at me, looks at his hand with streaks of spit. Then he looks away. The flutter of panic, the rush through my body down to my fingertips. The heart, the hands, the legs. This is when I try to scream. My mouth opens, but it is a place of silence.
Elle Nash is a writer in Denver, Colorado living with her husband, her cat and their weird roommate. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Offing, Hobart Pulp, Nailed Magazine, and others. She also edits at Witch Craft Magazine and reads tarot. You can find her on the net at yourgirlelle.com
I wanted to put in a little plug here for Read My Desire by Joan Copjec, a 1994 work of theory that has been re-issued under Verbo Books’s Radical Thinkers series.
The key thinkers that Copjec is interpreting in this book are Foucault and Lacan (also with healthy doses of Freud), and her knowledge of them is excellent. She’s able to discuss the nuances of their key ideas and nomenclature with a high degree of specificity and authority. She’s very knowledgable of the enormous discourses around these two thinkers, and she’s able to talk about what other interpreters of these two have gotten right and wrong (in her opinion, of course) in ways that make her arguments quite striking and original.
At heart, what this book is about are Foucault’s and Lacan’s ways of seeing reality. To grossly generalize, for Foucault (per Copjec), the modern ideologies leave no space for the individual. There’s simply no evading the control of the various power sources embedded in our world (e.g., history, language, laws), and we simply exist as a subject of this world. There is a key difference with Lacan, which is that our existence is always in relationship to an utterly unknowable Other, which provides an escape from the steel grip of the Foucaldian world.
The initial chapters flesh out this idea, and then Copjec proceeds to apply it to specific spheres. In particular, there is a large dose of film theory in this book, as well as an excellent chapter on the colonial photographs of G.G. de Clérambault (which gets in to both colonial theory and the politics of clothing/fashion). The photos in this chapter (which were made during de Clérambault’s time in Morocco) are amazing.
If you have an interest in the theories of these two thinkers, in particular Lacan’s approach to psychology, I would definitely recommend this book. Copjec’s ideas are fascinating and well-wrought. She’s definitely an interesting interpreter of their writings and an interesting thinker in her own right.
As an added bonus, I just learned on the Web that Copjec is working on a book about the filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Given the thoughts in this book, I’d be eager to learn what she has to say about his films.
Welcome to #FutureLitDarlings, a series dedicated to authors I (in my personal opinion) are really writing amazing, unique stuff. How it works: I call out a handful of authors, ones that might not get as much attention in and around various lit circles as they should, be it because they are new or simply underrepresented; the authors named are given a week to send me some writing to feature in subsequent posts here, on ENCLAVE. Simple and encouraging–as is my hope. The end result, ideally, is for this to be a continual showcase championing the depth and vibrancy of our community.
The first callout consisted of Matthew Bookin, Lauren Hilger, Frankie Zelnick, Elle Nash, Len Kuntz, Jordaan Mason, and Nadia de Vries.
The third author to reply was Lauren Hilger, and therefore, this post is dedicated to Hilger and her unique, powerfully-bold poetry. Have a look, you’ll see that she’s onto something exciting. We’re coping. –Michael J Seidlinger
I’ve come to where you’ve led me, knee deep in the untouched,
my shoes worn bare.
The night before
was a thin chain around my neck that a man tore off and replaced.
Before the dress rehearsal of the opera, alone,
a man stopped in the street
to touch the hem of my gown.
As if an old soldier I can’t fight anymore.
As if mayor
my words take on an edge of decree—
There are 7,000 structurally deficient bridges in America.
The corset too asks questions
of pressure and displacement.
There was to be music, desire of steam.
The band of pennants tied between two trees.
The only way I’ve known myself all winter,
a piped in piano trio,
escaping through the bowl of the mountain, floor of the forest.
This winter, I’ve known myself high gothic, Old February,
crowned with a black reach, thick with delicacy, in love
with every trim of grief.
The message on the tombstone read, much later it makes sense, how’s usa? how’s this?
Fuzz from the carpet, from everybody dancing.
Kierkegaard said terror would help,
perhaps a fear of beauty.
There’s something hidden, go and find it.
There’s a buzz, a song or the beginning,
the planks of wood, the dust like myrrh,
like some bearing blown up.
There’s me, there’s a secret, and there’s the feeling I am giving it away.
The deer has walked this path as me.
The hearts and broken hearts
are evidence she was here.
Snow world I share with deer hooves,
these high heel marks will tell you.
On the hike, I found a buck’s antler. It was in my fist
for hours, it scraped my leg, my grip changed.
Wouldn’t you like someone? You’re like me you’ve received the terrifying news.
Ripe and fit
for the madhouse.
tethered to ice.
Bands of light dig through.
I become my body exactly.
A woman loses her mind all over the piano
and shouts when she plays.
There is nothing else I am supposed to be doing right now.
A stern woman turns the sheet music.
A name is said into the lit air of the concert hall.
I kept thinking as a kid I could do it, didn’t I feel that way?
I am colder now, proper, full of flop-eared devotion.
A long stillness on my face. Long on the simmered breathing, carbonated blood.
Don’t you know what it is to be a salesman?
The composer nods yes,
nods no to the violinist.
I must sit in your room like sheet music.
I stopped in a secondhand store to remember a name. Pizzicato panic
as the hornman and the organ have only been here sad,
as we hear a bar of Art Tatum’s MY EMBRACEABLE YOU from around the corner.
The night is a candle put out by rain.
Like Lotte wiping dust off of the pistol, just hand it here, we’ll put it away,
a crisp cut of silence unfolds you back away from me.
I remember as a kid crossing wires—someone else on the phone.
I forget how it sounds when I don’t say your name.
Shackled by my sight of you. Motion blind.
Your call, your letter: or true cruel loyalty.
I promised a cannon of myself.
How powerful that guarantee, it really goes.
The age in which we live reminds you.
Lauren Hilger was awarded the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, where she was a fellow in 2012 and 2014. Her poetry and reviews have appeared in Harvard Review Online, Kenyon Review Online, andPrelude among other journals. She serves as Poetry Editor for No Tokens Journal. For more, see laurenhilger.com.
There Will Be Blood
I actually cried in the theater the fourth time I saw this film, because the flare of blood and fire and misanthropy overwhelmed me. I don’t know if art influences us as much as certain artists guide us toward the expression we carried from the void that we have not yet the language to realize. I can point to a couple moments in my life when I understood a contemporary artist had showed me the kinds of brutal worlds I longed to build but had never quite dared—Blood Meridian, Scorch Atlas, There Will Be Blood, and one or two others.
Fanny and Alexander
I chose Fanny and Alexander over the seven other Ingmar Bergman films I most revere (for the record, my list is: The Seventh Seal, The Magician, Winter Light, Persona, Hour of the Wolf, Persona, and Cries and Whispers), partly because those films are contained and amplified within the sprawling six hour Fanny and Alexander. Bergman touches on every aspect of life in this film, from the wonder of a small boy’s perceptions to the pitch terror of mortality and the vivid mystery of the beyond. Woody Allen has compared Bergman to Dostoevsky, but Dostoevsky never went so far into the dream as Bergman does here.
Meshes of the Afternoon
Almost claustrophobic in its strangeness, Deren here throws us deep into the weird terror of a dream. After Un Chien Andalou, Meshes of the Afternoon was the first truly ‘avant garde’ film I experienced, and it challenged me (as it continues to) to consider possibilities in form and tone that I didn’t even know existed. The movie is also floating, beautiful, poetic, and really opened me to movies by Tarkovsky, Jodorowsky, Lynch, and other practitioners of dream logic.
Tarkovsky’s films all have a way of drifting along, accumulating and growing, and with such skill and power that eventually the full image is there, towering and painful and almost out of grasp for its mystery. There are so many horrific, dreamy moments in this film that I find at once unspeakably beautiful, and there are many that I find absolutely mysterious, which is the greatest compliment I can pay to a great work of art. His films also make me want to strive after some kind of spirituality or religion, although the spirit of his work is the one that I truly strive for—I might spend the rest of my life striving to write a novel that functions like a Tarkovsky film.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
I love everything about Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s films—he’s probably my favorite working filmmaker, with Paul Thomas Anderson. Like most of the other movies on this list, Uncle Boonmee has qualities of dream logic, but the dream here (and in his other films) overlaps and mingles with elements of realism and myth and documentary. But where the dream is often coupled with nightmare in Bergman or Lynch, we find tranquility in Uncle Boonmee. The rise of spirits from the forest, the approach of hybrid forms from the night, is natural, loving, and not at all menacing. There is a tenderness within the strangeness in his films, and they have taught me new ways of approaching the world, not just narrative art.
Robert Kloss is the author of the novels The Revelator and The Alligators of Abraham and the co-author (with Amber Sparks) of The Desert Places, illustrated by Matt Kish.