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The Logan Notebooks

By

Publication Year: 2014

Clouds, mountains, flowering trees. Difficult things. Things lost by being photographed. Things that have lost their power. Things found in a rural grocery store. These are some of the lists, poems, prose poems, and lyric anecdotes compiled in The Logan Notebooks, a remix and a reimagining of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, a collection of intimate and imaginative observations about place—a real place, an interior landscape—and identity, at the intersection of the human with the world, and the language we have (and do not yet have) for perceiving it.

Published by: Center for Literary Publishing

Title Page, Copyright Page, Series Page, Dedication

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Clouds

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pp. 1-

Cloud shaped book, opening. Cloud shaped like a sphinx. Cloud shaped like a steam engine blowing steam. Cloud shaped like a UFO. Cloud shaped like a handbag. Cloud shaped like the first thing you spoke when we met. Cloud shaped like a peacock, or a cloud-breathing dragon. Cloud shaped like an old-fashioned clock. Cloud shaped like a rabbit chasing a crow. Cactus-shaped cloud. Lampshade-shaped...

Improvisation (Arrival)

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pp. 2-3

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Aeptember

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pp. 4-

My guy stands beside a sign on our storm door, “No smoking within 20 feet. Oxygen tank in use,” ashing into an empty brown bottle. A young trucker lives across the cul-de-sac with his pretty girlfriend. She has a limp, and lends me her hairdryer. When he’s home, he drinks until he’s numb to his thunderous sound-system, or shows us all of his guns. He coats his knives in anticoagulant. But one night he brought...

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Different Ways of Speaking

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pp. 5-6

In Rome, buongiorno bends its knee and flourishes, a little ciao is a chirp of friendship. But I kept hearing this word, salve from hipsters, Communists. Hail, citizen. I remember the first time someone salve-d me from under his sunglasses. I felt so cool. When my parents say roof, it sounds like rough. As in, the rough is leaking. Or, get down off that rough right...

Improvisation (Distortions)

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pp. 7-8

Aphorism

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pp. 9-

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Things Found in a Local Grocery Store

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pp. 10-

Seasoning for homemade elk or antelope jerky. A friend explains this is a gimmick. You just need salt, sugar, maybe some garlic powder. She adds as an afterthought, It’s really low-fat. Muhammara, a paste of red pepper, pomegranate molasses, walnuts, olive oil, cumin. Simmer with chicken, or scoop with bread. A handsome young Lebanese man hand makes it. It’s the same rust-red as...

Letter to a Friend, Unsent

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pp. 11-12

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Beautiful Things

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pp. 13-14

The evening we spend trying—replaying the Internet video—to learn the steps to “Thriller.” Barefoot on a linoleum floor under a naked bulb, between a deep exhausted laugh and a swig of purple wine from a box, I realize I don’t feel alone...

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Trees

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pp. 15-

The slender umbrella pine holds its florets high over our heads. I stab lamb smoking on the grill while Craig and Robin set seed cones ablaze, hurl them down the bocce court into the purpling dusk. Is that wise? I raise my voice. I really doubt it, Craig hollers—grinning—back...

Impossible Things

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pp. 16-

Things Found in the Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon

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pp. 17-18

Improvisation (Nostalgia)

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pp. 19-

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Día de los Muertos

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pp. 20-

This apartment is like a comic book version of a shitty apartment. It’s dark, the wood paneling is tickered with nail holes, the tiles in the bathroom loose as teeth. One fell through yesterday. Through to what, you ask? The gutter between comic book scenes? The space between thought and mentioned? Don’t ask. I buy sun-colored flowers and set them around. The next-door neighbors leave their three-legged dog...

Improvisation (Away)

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pp. 21-

On a Visit to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

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pp. 22-

Aphorism

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pp. 23-

Things That Lose by Being Written About

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pp. 24-

Things That Gain by Being Written About

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pp. 25-

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Billboards

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pp. 26-

Outside of Amarillo, a chalk outline on a black sign advertises a company you can call to clean up dead bodies after an accident or a suicide or crime. I think, Texas. I think, Who does this job in places that aren’t Texas? I remember General Sheridan said, If I owned Hell and Texas, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell. Along i-15 in northern Utah, billboards for: Laser hair removal. Breast augmentation. Chemical peel...

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Clouds

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pp. 27-

Cloud reflected in a rearview mirror. Cloud reflected in the screen of a cell phone that gets no service on these roads. Cloud reflected in a window that reads: For sale: Goats. For milk or meat. Cloud reflected in a window that reads: 2-for-1 Breakfast All Day. Cloud reflected in a window that reads: Guns! Guns! Guns! Cloud reflected in a window that doesn’t say anything, and in a broken window. Cloud reflected in your...

Thanksgiving

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pp. 28-

The Houseless Woods

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pp. 29-

Birds

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pp. 30-

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Birds and Memories of Birds

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pp. 31-

After brunch of omelets with salsa and coffee flecked with cinnamon, we take Robin to the aviary. It’s a little sad, the off-pink flamingoes fed just enough shrimp to keep them blush, the cooped eagle with its seraphic wingspan. Shrill little budgies. But peacocks roam free, unfolding themselves to us. One was pure ivory. And a lone duck looks confusedly from his awkward vantage atop another bird’s cage and Craig...

Improvisation (Prayer)

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pp. 32-33

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Mountains

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pp. 34-

Like cracking a whip the size of a conveyor belt. Then its echo, the sound of all the bookcases in all the world bumping back against their walls. No. Like the god of noise stamping his hoof in a marble hall. Or, imagine the winter sky is the tight skin of a drum, thumped by the gunshot. The penny-colored dog looks up, looks at me, goes back to eating snow. My coffee, even through the paper cup and the...

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On Safety

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pp. 35-

In the trunk of the car, we keep: A hatchet, two sleeping bags, a gallon of water, matches, gas can, tampons, bungee cord, headlamp, jumper cables, winch, wrench, glucose, windex, a pack towel, a first aid kit with Cipro and burn ointment, an empty paint can because who knows, salt for snow, salt for food, Sriracha sauce, frost-scrapers, umbrellas, toilet paper, goggles, three kinds of tape, an old mason jar, a few...

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The West

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pp. 36-

I’m sitting on my bed, a Victorian ruffle of pink and yellow, reading To Kill a Mockingbird and I hear it. Like a big rig barreling into the neighborhood. I stand to look out the window, and the street comes rolling like a picnic blanket shaken towards me. Then the ground bucks under me, I grab the bedframe, make my way under a desk like we’d drilled in school. And then it’s over. There’s a tsunami in the toilet, and a...

Aphorism

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pp. 37-

Poetic Subjects

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pp. 38-

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The West

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pp. 39-

We read about daredevil priests, conquistadors in finned helmets and shin guards, fur traders selling otter pelts to railroad barons, Chinese laborers, gun-slinging good-natured whores. We rooted for abalone beads in old Indian midden heaps. We tidepooled, toeing anemone to watch them pucker. On Gold Rush Day, in bonnets and petticoats, boots and cowboy hats, with pie-tin props we panned for gold in sandbagged...

The Real West

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pp. 40-41

Improvisation (Boy)

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pp. 42-

On a Visit to Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels

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pp. 43-

Improvisation (Girl)

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pp. 44-

Things That Do Not Matter

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pp. 45-

Things That Matter

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pp. 46-

Temples in the Wilderness

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pp. 47-48

Aphorism

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pp. 49-

A December Wedding

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pp. 50-

Things That Lose by Being Photographed

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pp. 51-

Things That Have Lost Their Power

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pp. 52-

Early in the New Year

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pp. 53-

On Being Cold

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pp. 54-

Aphorism

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pp. 55-

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March Madness

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pp. 56-

My students hand in their Spring Break papers. One kid who rides the rodeo circuit writes about inhumane treatment of animals—I keep threatening to turn him into a meme. One student writes an essay about her father, in jail for the molestation of his grandson. Another student describes guilt about his sister, raped by a classmate he thought was a friend. A young woman adopted by an upstanding...

Pleasing Things

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pp. 57-

Improvisation (This Land Is Your Land)

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pp. 58-59

Aphorism

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pp. 60-

Other Wests

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pp. 61-

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Things That Are Hard to Describe

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pp. 62-

I wake in late winter dawn, open my eyes to find there’s something there. This has happened before, the black smudge and speckle of a hemorrhage in the vitreous. It blooms slowly across my view. Ink-leak into oil. How do I explain this so he’ll understand? Bats flap in my face when I try. I know what’s in store—the needle slides into the open eye, then the suddenly underwater look of everything when the...

One Week in April

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pp. 63-

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Winds

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pp. 64-

Voice snare. Hair churn. Wind under the soles of the feet. Wind that knows the names of all its loosed feathers. Nearly-wind in the wolf ’s fur. Tender wind handling the edge of a sleeve. Wind making instruments of these forgotten bottles. This rickety window. Tarp-snap. Hat thief. Dawn wind with ice on her skin. Wind that undoes ideas, like inside-outing an umbrella. Nap-snatcher. Breath-eater. Night wind...

Late May

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pp. 65-

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On Natural History

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pp. 66-

On a long wall in the Utah Natural History Museum, fourteen enormous skulls stare down. This one wears an arched bone mitre, this one, a speared crown. That plated helmet is ridged with thorns. So many Ceratopsian dragons in the Great Hall of an invisible king. On the way to Dinosaur National Monument in the family minivan, my father slows to a...

More Pleasing Things

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pp. 67-

Winds

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pp. 68-

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It Was a Very Hot July

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pp. 69-

There’s an old Impala, and a Ghostbusters station wagon. There’s a car that looks like it’s right out of the pages of the Great Gatsby—it even has wooden wheelspokes. Naturally, there is a jeep fully equipped with machine gun and cannon. But there’s also a little vintage teardrop trailer, hitched to a Volkswagen Bug. There’s a shop selling expensive ladies’ clothes, but I too want to look like I’m on the set of Grease, so I...

Insects

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pp. 70-

Aphorism

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pp. 71-

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Trees

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pp. 72-

Dust, sun, scrub oak—my childhood smells. We hike among fluted pillars of huge Sequoia. The Grizzly Giant, the Bachelor and the Three Graces. Because of the way fire shaped its legs, the Clothespin Tree. My guy and I pause to have a photo taken by the Faithful Couple. But in a hot tub later that night, his voice full of someone else’s words, he tells me he’s been unhappy. He says, sipping a cocktail I just got...

Improvisation (Departure)

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pp. 73-74

The End of August

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pp. 75-

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Mountains

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pp. 76-

Sara and I trundle along the trail, passing back and forth a question about how happiness might be related to leniency. I’ve been on this trail in many seasons. After his wife—his favorite model—died, Monet stopped painting people. He stood before the Rouen Cathedral in morning drizzle, or as the sun downed behind no cloud, and watched it vary. His shadows never render black but a yellower shade of...

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Mountains

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pp. 77-

Star-white. Nymph-white. White as the jawbone of a deer, at least I think it was a deer, I found near here. White as not-knowing. Lightbulb-white. Spit-white. White as a vow. Powder-white. White as a high C. White as one of grandma’s ceramic figurines. Whale-white. White as a martyr’s foot. White as a babytooth. White as a claw. Picket-fence-white. White as a hot coin. As a fear. White as a blind eye...

Aphorism

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pp. 78-

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Things You Can Never Have Back

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pp. 79-

That tall man with a little red birthmark under his eye. I remember I loved watching him drive his Volkswagen through snowstorms, small muscles of wrist and knee and clavicle taut at attention, but his conversation so calm and calming. That person he brought out in me....

Things You Can Never Really Know

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pp. 80-

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Fires

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pp. 81-82

The spark-creak and rise in a fire pit. The sheet-snap in a hearth. Whenever we turn on the gas fireplace in our apartment, the whole room smells like crayons. We sit on the floor around the coffee table, playing Scrabble for the umpteenth time. I never win. I just stretch out my hand to feel the radiant heat from the fireplace shining on the cat’s starboard side...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 83-

Publsher Notes

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E-ISBN-13: 9781885635389
E-ISBN-10: 1885635389
Print-ISBN-13: 9781885635372
Print-ISBN-10: 1885635370

Page Count: 72
Publication Year: 2014