Selah Saterstrom and Elizabeth Rollins: God is a Ghost Story, and This Here is a Ghost Story too

Fall '07 TOC

In Follet's Eye of the Needle there was hot sex between
a spy and a housewife. Then, when she finds him out
she slams the window on his fingers and there is tons
of blood. In fact, he loses a finger. I don't know if he really
would have killed her, but it seemed like he was going
to. The feeling was: he was the best sex she ever had.


He suggested that we simultaneously existed in a film version of ourselves.
In this version we were paid to kill one another. Life, after life, he said.

He was never going to love me, that farmer.

Q: Who made the other half of the baby I saw floating in the corridorof the mansion-on-tour?
Q: Who made us and unmade us?
A: you. A: you.

In first grade Jean-Pierre had perfectly straight dark bangs
and he was smart in everything where I was only smartest
at reading. When he looked at me I felt drumming hearts in
my hands and feet. He hardly ever did look at me.

In high school he was in my Russian class and he got to go
on the class trip to St. Petersburg but I didn't because there
wasn't any money. I dreamed of getting to know him in

(a leftover dream)


They were Gemini-twined, they were hay-blond, I mean honey, Honey. It was sad,
like childhood. I laid in wait to see them pass. I wanted them to ask me to go
with them, but this never happened. The blood flowing through their
Siamese canal was the color of that sound.

-- June grasshoppers, outside a window in a house that a ghost burned down in '76

There are many lovers I might have taken. I haven't even
met all of them yet. I'm married now and have vowed to
have only the one. Besides, I once took a lover just because
I enjoyed watching a shopping cart rattle across a snowy
parking lot. That one ended badly.


You know the score, you, at one point say: I'm done. That was enough
for a whole life's worth. Yes, but how will you die now?
There is a slipping scarlet chord. It lashes as a broken
animal that will shit, then expire. It undoes my mouth
into a pile of broken letters.

in & out of language (this life)


I think the words "best" and "friend" are like a sweet little
cage we lower over someone. We put soft pillows down
and heaps of colorful blankets, provide snacks, music
and windows. In the cage we say loving things
and understand exactly. But later, that love becomes
a  razor and it wants to cut the others from you. That love
becomes a poison working slow to siphon you. That love
writes letters, makes phone calls, weeps, saying:
mine mine mine mine mine mine mine.

I get paid to describe pain. It is what I do.
When I tell you this, in my most sultry voice,
yes, you say, true.
Fuck you for buying into the myth
& fuck you for needing to keep it that way.

Sometimes when everyone puts their palms out to compare
lines she has to look away.  No matter where she goes,
her lifeline is always the longest one.

Don't complain, my mother says, you choose this life, you choose this polygamist life. Lately I've started to dream of leaving. Of going to the grocery store
and never coming back. Sensing this you say,
remember family is the most important thing and you
are part of this family and we will always be a family,
forever, even in heaven.


If they are stupid, I can't fuck them. If they are mean, I can't
fuck them. If they are greedy, I can't fuck them. If they are
ignorant, I can't fuck them. If they are drunk, I can fuck
them. If they are undeveloped-with-potential I can fuck
them. If they are high, I can fuck them. If they are funny,
I can fuck them. If they are overweight I can fuck them.
If they are good kissers, I can fuck them. If they are
lunatics, I can fuck them. If they are flirtatious, poor,
wealthy, of different ethnic background, or smell a little
odd, and so on, I can fuck them.

Anyways, some people can hide their meanness until after.


I was there, even then –
in the arch of her back that spring afternoon.
I was in a hospital, bleeding, but I was there.


A friend gave me a picture of a man with his long penis
tied in a knot. I kept it in my kitchen junk drawer and every
time I saw it I liked to think about the man tying his penis
up like that and then posing for a photo. I've known so
many others basically afflicted in the same way.

The pornographic man says to the pornographic woman: with your whole body.
And she does, I mean with her whole body.

Her body becomes the middle part of a butterfly, stuck in a curve.
Everything, at this angle, is at a slight curve. And thus corresponds.
At the utmost top of the lilt, what happens? What is there.

I postulate: historical figures.

Porn is haunted with historical figures. They roam those paper thin rooms
their figures cutting paths between the porn voice banter.
They are looking for the history books
so they can slide in and go back to sleep again.

Here is a woman pretending not to know that the "dance try-outs"
are for an all nude review. But she and the judge can "work something out."
She's a teen who needs cash & all around them,
the translucent men of Ponce de Leon marching through,
and then the conquistador himself.  He has an exhausted look on his face.
At this point he has discerned there is no fountain of youth.


Trolls were ugly because they had warts, many hairs in
the wrong places, outsized body parts. They were ugly
because their voices were graveled or furred. They were
ugly because they wanted to harm us when we crossed
the bridge.


Would the man have killed the woman? It did seem like he was going to.
Would she have preferred to die?

Well, it is never easy loving a spy, a man of espionage.
He must always change so that he will not be caught.

There is a song about using your pussy like a tractor pull.
I've done this before, and sometimes without meaning to.


You have said this to me. Except you didn't say tractor pull,you said tractor beam.
And every time you said it I imagined a green John Deere tractor
in a Delta cotton field, at night, with a light on its hood the size of the sort
one associates with a lighthouse. The light, so big that the tractor
can barely proceed.
It is not an enjoyable image, but one of suffering.
Watching something strain to carry something that is so very large.

In all the pictures of the Virgin Mary after the Ascension
she looks serene and calm. I think some integral part of her
was killed off in that union.

Some part of her would have to be removed
to fit all that God.


Actually, I have had sex with God (this is not a lie).

He shot through me and a flower bloomed out of my mouth, then fell to the floor
and broke like a pane of glass.

I would say that he was completely there, but also distant.
I would say that his love was impersonal, but thorough.

I would say God is definitely into sex, and in a regular guy kind of way.

After, he got dressed and said he had to go back to work. In that moment
He reminded me of Jim for this is what Jim would do.
Honestly, I was a little bit surprised by this.

I don't feel disappointed, but I don't know what it is I actually feel.
I feel like a look I would sometimes see on my grandmother's face.
I miss her.

Before her see-through body stood and walked away from her regular body
she told me: teeth, ghosts communicate to us through our teeth.

When you grit them to the maw, when you bear them down, you can feel them --tapping out the code.


:: TOC ::

Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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