Sean Lovelace Reviews AM/PM by Amelia Gray.

The Clock tocks and ticks. Nervous tapping. A colony of motion/emotion. Gray.

I call it The Clock. Been reading, you know, gnawing on its gears…

{posing with a clock? I’ll let that go, Gray. An older you wouldn’t say no; would say HELL NO.}

(First third I read on my roof. Been dragging out this ladder-I-Never-Desired and reading the book on the roof. Not sure why. Life become so ordinary. Then you feel it all ebbing away, so, one day, you start getting on your roof. Or maybe you think you are going to teach English in Japan, move to Alaska, some shit. Keep trying to escape the self, but the self moves, folks, wakes up in your throat every morning. But it happens, man. Just for the feel of the thing. I have no regrets, today. So I read the first third on the roof. The first third felt pretty perfect for roof-reading, I’m just going to say that.

[All photos below from Exactitudes. Thank you, HTML, for showing me these photos.]

THE FIRST THIRD (or the first 45)

The innards of a clock move, move on, shift and change. Back and forth, keeping it real, Time. A night out in new love a blue blur. A night out (rare) after ten years and it feels like the walls are gummed and melting (glance at dude’s eyes, cleavage, at iPod, what did you say, dear?)

{Ever seen the couple who eat for an hour over mozzarella sticks and Sprite and say nothing. The whole time? That, my friends, is hell.}

[45 PM] Love makes kissing feet real. But, once love withers away, “…Carla told her new boyfriends that she’d always thought the foot thing was creepy.”

The last line of a flash might turn the previous 23 lines around, the way the last drink might take you from loudly semi-pleasant to suddenly wrestling a toilet from its moorings for a good old fashioned toilet-toss. I think endings matter more in flash than in most other genres. It’s like being funny in person. Can’t fake it. Can’t fake a flash ending. Have to work that thing out. It seems, at most times, Gray has a keen mind for these delightful conundrums. She gets in the gummy web, then gets out (many writers only get in, then fill the “rough” file with documents…).

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[Train just passed, over there behind the forest. I can see the forest from the roof, but can only hear the train Dopplering by. It sounds pretty romantic/country song, the train, I’ll  admit, and I detest most country music. I find it so simplistic as to be cynical, insulting.]

Clocks shine. I prefer mahogany or brushed aluminum. Old ass outlive-you-plenty wood, or new age fuck-you-when-you-die-this-world-will-roll-on-laughing-like-an-iPod. You are on the side of nature or the side of The Machine. You are heaven or you are hell.

[31 PM] “The ladybug is not dead. Goodbye, golden friend.”  [Note: This flash basically brilliant. Not all are in this book; don’t be stupid. This one is.]

[There is some weird shit in my rain gutters. I need to clean that out, but won’t. My brakes are making this ghost-grating sound. I keep feeling a lump. The washer leaks, I think. Life.]

[AM 26] “When the workers cut it, it didn’t fall.”

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Image of flight. Image of gold, warmth. I so want things to be unlike they are now in the world. Or I mean better. But how?

I read a lot of flash and flash is often well-wrought. But then it might be cold, mechanical. What about the warm flash sloppily done? It’s a spectrum, fuck-nod. Ok, ok, Jesus calm your spirit. I’m saying I re-read this book because it was WARM and WELL OILED PRECISION. Like the coil of water below a fall, coppery–almost author as little god.

[AM 32] “Packing glassware in secret sounds more stressful than it is.”

Few words but the right words. Right words. I read The Clock and I keep thinking how it freezes/grabs relationships, how it frames it all out, how it covers this in a glass scrim of the absurd, how it breaks the glass and tiptoes over the shards. How it bleeds these words.

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[I read the second third while reclining in this huge-ass jacuzzi tub my mom has in Memphis. For some reason, I keep thinking the contractors left something–a tin medal or a toy or a chicken feather–in the hollow beneath the tub, though I’m not sure why. It’s just a recurring thought. I used to work with bricklayers and they would always wall up beer cans and potato chip bags and so on into the walls. One guy peed in the cavity, then walled it up. Humans.]

Often I don’t know how shit works. Especially beautiful things, intricate or complex. Like prayers to a river, or the internet. Like my baby-baby Subaru. Oh, I could bullshit. Uh, you put in the key and electricity goes to the, uh, the pistons (?) then they pump and explode and turn an axle so then the car…Um, OK. Then how about reverse? Your air conditioner. That thing that heats your ass during the winter. Well, it’s magic really, isn’t it? Something stupendous–turn this little key, drive sixty miles per hour now–happens and you cant’ know how, can’t replicate, break apart, understand, you just sit in ass-heated awe. It’s magic.

Some things you should just drive.

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living together existential annoying

“People called, mostly men, asking about the girl in the photograph.” [53 PM]

communication impossible

“Betty shut the phone book and walked into the bedroom.” [55 PM]

we are alone, people, period.

“She fantasizes wildly about the ways in which it might plunge into the ones she loves.” [AM 76]

we all have a rough time

“…most of all, be patient.” [AM 88]

love wonks and then wonks and you’re stuck there

“Pressing on in the winter makes more sense.” [AM 84]

cat. the only reality is to hide.

“Carla woke up, still drunk…” [67 PM]

run from home into a lover’s _______

“Missy had legs, and she knew how to use them.” [AM 58]

coffee, wine, the pity is, we are free

“May their hair clog the sewers in the street…” [49 PM]

nothing is ours, not really. Check!

THE THIRD THIRD (or 90-133)

Q:You read it all?

A: Yes. Not in one sitting. I started it on a deer stand, while hunting. I have seen three cats this week while hunting and have no idea why. Then I picked it up during a funeral, just peeked at a few, which I guess is bad karma now. You ever seen those people who think it’s funny to grab the motorized cart at the grocery and go zooming off? It’s usually the hipster kids. Then they laugh with their friends and get off and go to the PBR and irony aisle. Well, those kids are going to end up in a wheelchair. I finished the book in a giant bathtub. I prefer baths to showers.

Q: Any stinkers in the book?

A: Oh sure. 35 PM was weak, and also AM 44. Maybe one other. The amazing thing is how many glow. The writer seems to really lock into Tess. To like her company, so all those rock. Tears in the writer, tears in the reader, etc. And you can see the process gleaming through, like when she shifts into structural risks, gets away from the repetition–she’s writing these things along and they accumulate and one day she says, “Some of these are too similar. I need to switch up a bit here.”

Q: Any wisdom?

A: Wisdom? What are you, religious? I already told you read 31 PM. And 99 PM is a little D. H. Lawrence. Like I think if you were at a party with Gray and you started bad-mouthing Lawrence with a bunch of intellectual bullshit, Gray would punch you in the mouth. That I consider wise.

Q: Do you recommend the book?

A: A third of my life I sleep. A third I work. A third I do whatever. I decided to fill the whatever reading and reporting on AM/PM. I’m not getting a single second back. What do you think?

Q: Paper or Plastic?

A: I prefer flesh. Never buy more groceries than you can carry out in your  bare arms.

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THE Fourth THIRD (infinity)

The fourth third is the bomblettes of hope-shrapnel you get embedded in your lungs after inhaling a true flash.

133 times I thank thee, Gray. 

him 3




2 responses to “Sean Lovelace Reviews AM/PM by Amelia Gray.

  1. Where the fuck did you get these pictures? What in the hell? What?

  2. Pingback: “I write because I hate. A lot. Hard.” at Amelia Gray

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