Donnaville: Work in Progress

Hey there! I thought I would describe to you what I’ve been working on since late fall of 2019. It’s a new book called DONNAVILLE, and it takes place in a city that is, yes… the city of my mind. You know how the poet Delmore Schwartz once wrote, “The mind is a city like London/Smoky and populous: it is a capital/Like Rome, ruined and eternal,/Marked by the monuments which no one/Now remembers”? This book imagines that city, er, my city — the little citystate of my mind.

You know how Sylvia Plath once wrote, “Is there no way out of the mind?” (Look it up, it’s a terrifying poem.) Well, sometimes Donnaville feels a little bit like that, because its central location is a prison, and one of the two main characters is the Jailer, who is also a janitor and torturer.

You know how Denise Levertov once wrote to a lover, “You invaded my country by accident/not knowing you had crossed the border./Vines that grew there touched you”? And then she tells him, “I invaded your country with all my/’passionate intensity,’/pontoons and parachutes of my blindness./But living now in the suburbs of the capital/incognito, my will to take the heart/ of the city has dwindled. I love its unsuspecting life,/its adolescents who come to tell me their dreams in the dusty park…”? Well, Donnaville is also about that, what happens when people approach the “countries” of other people’s minds, and try to have relationships with them. When different countries (or citystates), in other words, try to get together.

So, I have finished preliminary edits. It will be a long while before this book is out, but if you want to read some short excerpts, you can read them here, here, here , here, and here. Hope you like! 🙂

Divine Mother/Siren Song

The divine mother finally
comes to me
finally speaks

[it has taken me 56 years
to rip the wax out of my ears

I stuffed them with so long ago
I was terrified of hearing her lush
candy tones]:

I want to rub your shoulders
Oh lay down lay your head down on my breast
I want to feed you
I have the food right here
a tunafish sandwich and
a meatball one

and I have roses for you so you will always know
how wonderful you are

my delight, my little cookie
my bright animal
my brave girl
full of fire

and I will spread around you all that you might ever have needed
all you might ever love

Darling

[the smell of perfume around her. Silk scarf
the color of saffron, I can almost smell the spice
coming from her hands and her words
as she speaks
she is intoxicating]
I will never leave you

[please.
I cannot take
your betrayal.]

The mother’s nipple is bright red and her breasts are apple blossoms. The nipple in my mouth is sucky sucky delight I do not need anything more.

This is from my new work in progress, a memoir that is mostly in prose. The book is tentatively titled Jailbreak. You can find additional excerpts here, here, and here.

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