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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Bell

streams by Andrew Bell

Constant Montald. 1862-1944. Allégorie des genres littéraires. Allegory of literary genres. sd. Musée des Beaux Arts Ixelles

stream-of-consciousness writing has been integral to the process and art of literary work as a principle of modernism, and arguably earlier as a fundamental form of human expression, advanced by novelists like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, who, along with Marcel Proust and many others, exercised that self-inspired mode which brushed shoulders with surrealism and the idea of writing itself as a technique of interior, psychological exploration, beyond mere aesthetic flourish, and by the nature of its unhinged reflexivity, powerfully communicative, transcending daily and prosaic vocabularies, thoughts, sayings, as new language enacts an order of inner transformation, creative, perhaps abstract, but like the best of fiction, utterly true, perfectly human.

Pelted like a coat, there are busts of hunters on the walls of the silos where we hide from ghosts. Pleated, my pants sag.

Wait for better temperatures. It’s too humid for starch.

I heard of a potato that died of dehydration, and with it all the Irish drinking games.

The vicissitudes of life quench the mornings they’re born into. We’re left with a drought that waits for liquid promises, evening tidal certainties that whisper into cloudy sunsets.

In our arms are threads of forgotten multitudes, their frayed tangents waving hi to the warmth we fled.

These blankets are pillows that prop up the head of the state, that dreamed a gleaming teardrop, that dribbled down the cheek of lion lying prone, waiting on a gazelle’s misstep.

Promethean gait that stutters like a child trying to recite Proust.

Pancreatic syphoning that breathes life into sponges waiting in tidal pools, evaporating into another middle-ground.

Pound the ground around our sounds teething, seething all the angers saddled bareback across grasslands rooted to the basest petrification of all the forests on fire.

Can you hear the sound of that glass? It’s shielded and gleaming in a sword’s last glow.

My blacksmith smelt you, and you are morning to my afternoon. Before I held a cup of soot and waited for it to turn to flame, and when it melted and flooded the Arctic, I cried for seals eaten by polar bears as they starved to death from lack of empathy.

If a cat were a tiger it would eat me as it lay by my side and purred.

Foreign services are only foreign if you don’t know the language. There is a piece of pie between this government and my disease. It eats only when the weather is Mediterranean, and its olives are always ripe except when they aren’t.

Glands swell in orchestral symphonies when water hits them right, and when it’s dry there is nothing but spiky gnomes that hide in snake holes and pop out when they think they hear a joke that’s worth criticizing.

Their dirt piles up as they dig, and the deeper they dig, the smaller the hole.

I sketched an orange that peeled and dried into a star that lit up the coffee ring inside a cup I drank yesterday.

Drinking a cup is difficult if you think about the mechanics of it, and easy if you think of a lightbulb turning off.

When your joints turn off, you’re left with a pausing that stays time and creates all of the sloths hanging on all the trees.

If you walk through the towers of all the castles in all the countries of every world, will you know how to defend them? What if your bricklaying is subpar?

How much mortar does it take to explode a genuinely original thought? Is my bullet fast enough to puncture a game of chance?

There was once a woman who fought against the line of her fish hook and bled after it caught and released and flew into her ear. She heard all the prayers of all the fish she never caught, and afterwards made a net of them and flung it into the sky and caught every constellation that had ever been imagined. She reeled it in and then laid it out on the ground outside her home and danced until she was paralyzed. Her brother came back from hunting and asked her why she couldn’t move, and she replied that her muscles were stardust, then she burst apart in laughter.

Andrew Bell is a freelance writer


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