A journal of narrative writing.
Clarifications Designed to Correspond with Certain Other Questions Which Won't Appear Here

Adisagreeable boy is any boy who doesn't like you back. Who passes you rude notes in the library that say "blow me," and "meet me after school so we can fuck." Any kind of boy is often a disagreeable boy.

A worthless knife is the kind that the disagreeable boy will brag about. He will never bring it to school, but instead draw elaborate pictures of it and claim he can inflict maximum pain with this invisible switchblade his older brother picked up at a head shop in the city. In math class he will form his arm into a half-moon around his paper to protect it from the teacher who will not see the cartoons he draws of himself eviscerating her with his worthless knife.

When a rebellious girl discontinues drinking milk, we'd like to think it means something, but it doesn't. Chances are she'll start again when we're not looking, when she feels like it, when her doctor gives her a premature lecture on bone loss. He will be tapping his restless pen on the desk, and when he looks at her intently, she will blush.

When we say the water of the ocean is restless, we mean the water is agitated, edgy, as if it's about to take a test, or ask someone out. The ocean licks the shore. It changes color, reflects the sky, lets itself be navigated by large ships. If restlessness is motion, we're all restless—not just the ocean, but the disagreeable boy, who is also disobedient, playing a hand-held video game in the shadow of his desk, or kicking the chair of the girl in front of him in a particular rhythm.

When the rebellious girl is older, she finds that restless parties are often for work. She drinks too much and passes out in the bathroom, or goes home with a man she's not attracted to, and after she has sex with him, untucks herself from the bed where he's still sleeping, lets herself out, and catches a cab home, where she's happy to see the car service guys playing dominoes on the sidewalk in the clicking light of their storefront.

The disagreeable boy makes photographs on birch bark by coating the surface with emulsion. He creates unsettling images with wood-textured irregularities that look somewhat like veins. He prints x-ray images of the same female figure over and over without a face, glowing bones etched on thin paper film of salvaged bark that fell willingly to the ground like the rebellious girl from the library who years ago knelt because he asked her to when she met him in the bare trees of the park.

Each time he reprints her figure, he kneels with her. Their teeth click when they kiss, his tongue an invisible knife, her restless hands navigating the disobedient buckle of his belt. Signs in the park warn them not to litter, or loiter, or strip off bark from the birches. Their jackets rustle like leaves as they transport themselves to a rebellious place of agitation in a particular rhythm; like the sad-throated ocean they roar and breathe and thrum.

A shadowy tree means winter, stark branches against a white sky like her hair scrawled across someone's bare chest. Sad-throated songs of the morning after delirious autumn, flame trees with last leaves draped in frost. A leafless tree is a kind of seasonal marker. The rebellious girl buys pumpkins and wrapping paper. She puts on shoes and pulls her coat around herself tightly to get the newspaper from the stoop. When the branches move, they no longer rustle like sheets. They click like disobedient boys pretending to sword-fight with sticks, like frenzied make-out teeth, like the restless keys of a thrumming typewriter beneath her long white fingers.