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Follow Your Obsessions / Brandon North

To oblate: 1) to participate in a restricted life without making vows to do so; 2) to bulge at the middle. To be obstinate: to be self-engorged. To obtain: to believe your hands can grip forever. To obfuscate: to make a tyranny of understanding that benefits few. To objurgate: to assume time stands still for you. To obstruct: to break a compass. To oblige: to create harmony others must their voices adapt to. To be oblique: 1) to laugh a breath that tickles the back of a neck; 2) to kiss a sore; 3) to construct a fake city for a short film, complete with living residents; 4) to trade money for food, water, shelter, etc. To observe: 1) to forget every argument; 2) to live according to a particular argument. To obviate: to machete with each thought. To be obsolete: 1) to sing in a forest vibrating louder than you; 2) to invent something. To obliterate: to believe in absence as much as desire itself. To obey: to risk unhappiness for meaning. To be obsequious: to be a caricature for the sake of another’s efforts to be well-rounded. To be oblivious:   to understand meaning as that which must be understood by others, indefatigably. To be obtuse: to disbelieve in the wishes of the dead without feeling imperiled. To obtund: to act based on the belief that everything is relative. To obsecrate: to eventually, by logic, assume the Big Bang must’ve been the first act of God, a finger-flick of an explosive marble of potential that burst apart and caused Creation, relative object by relative object; that, in other words, the concept of the Big Bang is just another deus ex machina without being called as such. To obtest: to speak to one’s own self as a means of hearing an answer. To be obverse: 1) to rebel against that which assumes no rebellion is needed against it; 2) to believe it is always the mirror tricking you. To be obnoxious:      to redefine each word as needed, relative to the emergency of the moment. To be obloquious: to be haunted by a need to be both correct and unique in expression. To be obstreperous: to argue, nay, to pontificate, that there are more than a handful of human emotions, no matter what a scientist says, that in fact there is a new emotional cocktail felt for every instance of any bullshit thing anyone tries to encumber you with for their convenience. To be obscene: to love without actions that cause more love. To object: to make an effort as useless as poetry. To be objective: 1) to be subjective; 2) to mistake the breathy approval of others as about your skill; 3) to be dead.


BRANDON NORTH is a working-class, multi-genre writer from Ohio. He is the author of the chapbook From The Pages of Every Book (Ghost City Press), and his poems and nonfiction appear or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Annulet, The Cleveland Review of Books, Bridge (Chicago), and elsewhere. Find him @brandonenorth.

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