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Tome On The Range

Two Poems By: Mira Gonzalez
Karl Smith , September 8th, 2013 10:09

The first instalment of weekly new writing comes by way of two new poems from twenty-one year old Mira Gonzalez

A New York poet, by way of Los Angeles, author of the Sorry House published i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together, Mira Gonzalez is, among an ever more saturated field, one of alt-lit's (a grimace-worthy piece of terminology, but seemingly inescapable at this point) most valuable assets.

Of course, not everyone would consider that a worthwhile accolade: in a VICE article from earlier this year we were treated by way of a boring, infantile and narcissistic argument to the news that alt-lit is for 'boring, infantile narcissists'. Certainly it's true that the genre, which like any art has its subsidiaries of variable quality and worth, is a kind of apotheosis of solipsism - disjointed, inward looking and often sincere to the point of being squirm-inducingly awkward - but this hardly renders it unique in terms of literature or removed from the realities of life. It seems, if anything, ridiculous to attack a genre on the back of its willingness to embrace a key concept of most, if not all writing: that the author considers what they have to say to be worth saying. (And, as Heiko Julien - who incidentally co-authored this poem with Gonzalez - kindly points out in that same article's comment section: 'vice and alt lit are pretty much the same'.)

Perhaps most baffling of all is the all-too-commonly held, and all-too-frequently trotted out belief that alt-lit writers somehow owe their popularity not to the quality of their work but - in a kind of infinite and bewildering loop - to their popularity; that the sum of an alt-lit poet is the total of their twitter followers and tumblr reblogs and not the impact of the weight and intricacy of their verse. The manic, fevered streams of @miragonz and @miraunedited are hardly evidence for the case against this, but they shouldn't have to be. Gonzalez's poems aren't off the cuff, 140-character splurges nor extended versions of such, but considered works that rely heavily on the art of tabulation - their impact coming as much from the disconnection of words and phrases, the disparate nature of thoughts, as the connection. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.

last night i had several nonspecific thoughts

last night i had several nonspecific thoughts
about distance, or sadness, or impermanence

it was as if all sounds and textures existed independently of me
and independently of human experience in general

it was late and we were on drugs
my body felt weak or depleted
you were was facing away from me
my hand was barely touching your arm

we laid in your bed and mumbled together
consciously allowing ourselves to experience the absence of loneliness
resigned to the knowledge that we will never be able to fully express anything

in the morning your breath was sour and i felt angry at you

i imagined the sound of your voice, in the future
when you hate me more than you ever have

then i felt the comforting abrupt movements
of your hand pushing against my face

i was reminded of a hospital waiting room
ten years ago
when i still had asthma attacks

last night i cried for no discernible reason

last night i cried for no discernible reason
in an apartment that doesn’t belong to me
in front of a person who also doesn’t belong to me
(because people can’t own other people)

i say that i don’t like owning things
but i’m not sure if that’s entirely accurate

i used to only cry alone
i have cried more in front of people in the last 6 months
than in the last 5 years of my life combined
probably…

crying seems funny, to me

i am on a very crowded train
passing grand central station
it is 9:01AM and i am officially late for work

i am late for work because i slept 15 minutes past my alarm
then i had sex
then i stopped for coffee

i am late to work every day
when you’re an intern nobody cares what you do

the main thing I am learning at my internship
is how to look busy when i’m not doing anything
also, i am very good at making photocopies now
and putting labels on things

today i got an email from a woman in human resources
she was upset because i haven’t gone to any of the ‘intern events’
because the ‘intern events’ count as your lunch break
and i want to eat lunch alone
i have become very good at avoiding other interns

at 5pm i will take a crowded train to my second job
at my second job i have learned how to answer phones
and transfer calls to the appropriate extensions
and smile at people
and bring people coffee
and call the car service
and process fed ex packages

today my brother emailed me while having a good drug experience
i want to have fun when i take drugs
but it’s difficult, sometimes

also, i want to lose 20 pounds
but i think that is an unrealistic goal
considering i don’t exercise
and my diet is terrible
and i am unmotivated

i think i would like to go to mexico and just hang out for a while
my dad says I have 50 cousins in mexico but i have never met them

would they let me leave work early
if i got hit by a car but wasn’t seriously injured

i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together is published by Sorry House, and available to buy here

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