from Active Reception

I was going to, was going to, do it, that is, by which I mean, stay in bed, like I was supposed to, or at least, for the most part, so-called should have, as in, for my health, for the sake of my sinus, my multitude of, sinus, or something, whatever today, is flowing, which wouldn’t have even, been my first time, when I write about, bottoming, people ask, if I mean S, and I tell them, with this kind of regularity, like a tick, or an immediate, bodily, reaction, an allergy, my hives, I tell them, this isn’t my first rodeo, as a joke, rehearsed, amongst many, people, thoughtworlds, friends, strangers, it’s all the same, by this I mean, to say, I’ve been sicker, by much, still, wouldn’t stay, in one place, I was thinking, the other day, this afternoon, about racing, in my head, in my actions, there’s something, astrological, I’m not, exactly, detail-oriented, at the same time, minute, in focus, it’s a paradox, of my essence, one of many, I had this lover, whose signs were, entirely opposed, to one another, a lifetime, of tension, he wears it, well, as a matter, of fact, this one time, the mother of a best friend, had warned her, to take me to the hospital, it was a mixture, of factors, there was the pneumonia, but that only came after, like the hives, after the dose, of the antibiotics, that might’ve, gotten me there, the first time, but that only came, after, the unexplainable, weight loss, knives to my gut, the sharp abdominals, a sudden gluten, insensitivity, or is it, intolerance, but that only came after, there was the breakup, there was a history, there was something, I read this thing, recently, on functional disorders, a term that’s emerged, to discuss, or rather rectify, the language, around the ‘psychosomatic,’ as in, by which they mean, it’s a problem, of history, to claim, it’s all

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in yr head, but there’s something, going on, with these heads, particularly, in relation, to trauma, tests can detect, absolutely nothing, yet people, clearly suffering, can show symptoms, of a multitude, of possible, diagnoses, shuffling, between doctors, possible treatments, tests, among tests, I wonder about tests, a life built on tests, what’s there to trust, anyway, this one time, after being treated for gonorrhea, ‘successfully,’ I started showing symptoms, again, anew, there were the mornings, full of discharge, at my tip, I could see remnants, sticking dust, or hair, a bit of fluid, this time neither yellow, nor greenish, but still, a pain or burning, sensation, the swelling, an itch, at the clinic on Essex St., caught myself claiming, I was clean, after having just written, this paper, on the problematics, of the language, around STIs & ‘dirtiness,’ I felt so, a certain way, unsure, the shot had been painful, the nurse had said something homophobic, but I wished I remembered the exact wording, something grotesque, regardless, this young queer doctor, at this clinic, appalled at my language, said the tests showed nothing, & it made me wonder, whether the whole ordeal, had been constructed, by the verdict, of results, the symptoms stopped, it wasn’t, in my system, the first time, when they said it, was in me, I tried to call, the only guy, who could’ve passed it, my way, I’d even used a condom, didn’t even, really, want it, later, wondered, how it’d, happened, an old friend, passing through, he wouldn’t hear me, wouldn’t take my calls, respond to texts, he was midway crossing, the country, there were multiple, levels of deceit, I later learned of, but I knew the person, with him, who I told to later find, they’d been together, they got tested, neither h

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ad it, either, they said I’d, had a false, positive, I wondered, but the sun was out, it had been easy, to stay in my head, with this fog, easy, to stay in, my bed, for the sake of, a sinus, or stomach, gut, or cock, or head, or sickness, there’s something, to be said, about the flow, of energy, of the emotional, like the gut transfers, its bacteria, across stomachs, across housemates, lovers, friendships, I pick up, my bacteria, willfully, from the people, I love most, it slowly, kills me, I wouldn’t really, mind, a death of honor, besides, I’ve been quite, adaptive, taking in, a multitude, a brethren, having consumed, the flora, a veritable, city, of the minute, the miniscule, sort, of inhabitants, the game, one of playing, host, each surface, each object, body, cell, touched, or in my path, is welcome, is absorbed, with or without, the will to join me, it’s a journey, of growth, of continual re-adjustments, in the formula, of my enzymes, of my basins, on this street I touch each plant of the parkways, the rosemary, pungent, the anise of my bluffs, rolled between the thumb & a finger, good to chew on, keeps me busy, all this racing, between work & more work, I synchronize my fingers, the thumb joining each tip in shared order, index finger to the middle, to the fourth, to the final, a dance, is this tick, is this compulsion, watching these hustler films for lines of desire, as a genre, Speedway Junky does it perfectly, almost, self-reflexively, the main boy, the speedway junky, wanna-be racecar driver, the straight one, or the one whose sexuality, was never much, in question, certainly masc, the one desired, especially, by the best friend, the queer, Mike & Scott, a love not entirely, reciprocated, perhaps even, understood, in this one, as in Midnight Cowboy, the figure of the queer, here the sick, dies, the speedway junkie goes on to his

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dreams of North Carolina, its fast cars, he wasn’t very good at the streets, just passing through, anyway, I like ones where the main character dies instead, even if it’s silly, like this one called Johns, has this whole life of Christ shtick, I’m not opposed to, it’s in the very language, the film of it, a fabric, a coating, it clings to the back of my throat, hangs from the ceiling, lines the parquetry, of pure protein, so distracting, I can hardly get to, my emails, I’m a sucker, for this kind of shit, lines the walls, of my thoughtworlds, something as banal but pricy as a love for green liquors, something as flamboyant as the imprint of a crown of thorns, thorns the crown, these hustler films & debilitation, narcolepsy, or pneumonia, or the mysterious progression, of symptoms, in My Own Private Idaho, it’s said that various doctors, understand narcolepsy, to have something to do with chemicals, of the brain, while at least in the film, it seems to hit come moments of stress, as the world turns to, historical, personal, traumas, the houses hazy, outlines of some, Idaho, some, place in the potato state, the figure, the hair, of the woman, I’ve been shitting these crowns that thorn my bottom, thin spirals, they line the basin of the bowl, from my bowel, striking in spots sensitive, from recent exposure, play, the slight sting, is there pleasure without, pain, or the lasting effects, of what was pleasure in the moment, is it pleasure, still, yes, extended, outside of one moment, another, moment, I was going to, was going to, do it, that is, by which I mean, clean the insides, with the help, of a shower, I was sure, I needed it, was sure, there was something, to it, something viscous, something left, over from days, or weeks, or dreams, or mome

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nts in another, time, or space entirely, taken, from conversation, to a memory, there was something, left over, something, viscous, lining the throat, the ass, the memory of, a Tuesday, or weekend, saunter, to the fields of, some summer, yellow flowers, lining pricks, skins, bottoms, of feet, a messenger, harbinger of, another, past, or, presence, with me on, my bus, my commute, in my bedroom, when the door creaks, open, just a, comma, of a pause, so I feel, welcome, I feel so, welcome, in the bath, of my confrontation, awash, in a glow, of recognition, turn the water on, there’s nothing, never been, anything, just the haunt, of a presence, in my ass, or in my bedroom, or at the bookstore, when the light flickers, above my head, above the counter, with the faint, odor wafting, not the next door, waffles, but the smoke, that once flowed freely, behind the register, at the banister, among the towers, turn the water on, there’s nothing, but the presence, of air, trapped in a bowel, like my rashes, once I started taking notice, with a journal, they were a constant, daily, and nightly, before falling into slumbers, they would coat me, dress me, in the robes of my red castle, we were palatial, til I started, taking notice, with a journal, scribing regal, it was one week of writing, they couldn’t take, the exposure, fled my body, with no warning, as quick as they had come, turn the water on, there’s nothing, but the outlines of a faint battlefield, along my torso, across my arms, legs, kneecaps, feet, the ghost of past reactions, still inside me, for the most part, still beside me, as I take in, more of the same, as a shimmer, as the possibilities of a hole, I was determined, not to reinscribe, the kind of lack, I found, problematic, that so surrounds, the writing

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of a hole, its presupposed, relation to an interior, an opposition, to action, agency, a dwelling on want, for its sense of lack, as though what’s ‘missing,’ fuels desire, without question, of an influence, from the outside, be it the social, or the sediment, today I woke up to the jackhammers, nailing the grounds across the street, from my seaside bedside, I live in a beautiful neighborhood, against my expectations, so beautiful developers have been rearing, ugly heads into corner shops, one story homes, determined our lack of levels, of expensive condos, demands construction, it’s a kind of logic, I can’t wrap my head, round, when I see texture, I don’t think of adding, layers to gloss over, foundations, it’s as simple as ambience, or hear it, sonorous, as a soundscape, in the minimalist genre, look for timbre, there are colors to each, tone, step, fissure, there is a practice, to uphold, in exposition, so brash to think, one could merely top it, top it, and top it, again, and again, building, it’s a horizontal structure, the beauty of its potential, widening, of sound, has something to do with surface, as in area, how wide might we spread tones, cheeks, delays, filters, the wanderer, in the bea(s)t, across speakers, across inputs, across holes, into many ears, into many points of reaching ears, a texture spread across blankets, grounds, dirts, foundations, holy and unholy, at once, many a time, many a timbre, an air, a rest ,  , many a silence, speaks to more than silence, beyond alienation, there is the (w)hole, matter, of being, together, at once, not ever alone, but together, there has never been, such separation, a language-oriented desire, an object-oriented, subject, a truth that lies in its deceptions, beyond the study, I am pricked, by that which cannot be named, a ,  , full of gas, how I feel at my day job, my night job, my in between job, where does the

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writing fit in, the sex, we fuck to the open window, to the drones flying above us, around us, not because we want to but because we don’t have curtains, we are open, to the plains, to the lawns of the northwest, the lone crow, along fences, sheds, not by choice, we are open, hello neighbors, hello surveillants, we are open, to your viewing, pleasures, in your face, we are defined, by the play, of light, through planes of glass, be it bay, or bow, oriel, supported by corbels, brackets, or a multitude of bodies, muscles, ligaments, pulling me, slowly, quickly, gently, full of force, in one sling, in one fell swoop, supported, by arms, legs, torsos, by the ridge, of a back, of shoulders, extending, to grip, to handle, extending bones, to rip, a ramble, into zones, unknown to fair cartographers, those invested, in the surface, of the matter, exterior planes, what is made visible, to an eye, or for peeping, what here is made for creeping, in my holes, into my hollows, the dugout of a grotto, project me inward, can submit to pressure, path of innards, willful in a filling, alert to the directional, the positioning, an act of the conductor, moving hands, for the orchestra to follow, moving limbs, for the organs, the intestines, to swallow, at the right pitch, in the right, tempo, a choreography, of motion, commotion, disrobe a notion, the full symphony, at my back, behind me, above me, below me, a nocturne for a lazy morning, a prelude for a tryst, a swell of the horns, of the brasses, mark the overture, cue the strings, the vocals, hear a body sing, in the time of two, out of sync, in a temper, an aria of want, full of air, for the other, for the chorus, to respond, watching us, feeling us, the ballet of balls, swinging at my bottom, conducting masses, requiems to my grave(l)

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Noah Ross

Noah Ross is a bookseller, editor, and poet based in Berkeley, CA. Noah is the author of Swell (Otis Books / Seismicity Editions, 2019) and Active Reception (Nightboat Books, 2021), an editor at Baest: a journal of queer forms & affects, and, with Lee Choi, an editor of Mo0on/IO.