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On Writing / K Hank Jost

Listen, now. We’ve thought too much, too little, to speak—Adam should’ve kept his fucking mouth shut between the births of Eve. Naming things at Father’s request like he could’ve known what any of it should’ve been called. Silence would’ve saved Time.


Imagine that, the Truth of this: Not what you’ve got to say, but saying what you’re calling what you see. Pointing it out ought to’ve been enough when there’s only the two of us, but now—this Hell in the higher water—all we can say is, ‘This too! This too is this too and that all at once!’


Metaphor’s a pathetic higher calling, a limp adhesive for a fissure such as this—I’m afraid it’s all we’ve got. Sit here and call it all by the names we’ve known, add a new one just to piss folks off, and, finally, get down to it to say that A is B as C is A and B is C that A may be. Dumb, knuckle-brained, and kind of the Poets to call all that is unlike ‘like’ and like ‘unlike'-- give us somewhere to stand, since none're yet sat by Adam’s side.


Adam should’ve kept his goddamn mouth shut—or should’ve said, ‘You, Father, called it all and so too will I. If I’ve got to call it anything, all’ll do just fine.’


But, Hell, be lucky and count yourself thus if you’ve realized before now you don’t got shit to say. And, by God, be good in it and listen closely:


They got a name for everything. The book of names is longer than the days it takes to realize it empty. Full up blank to the brink.


Be glad you’ve got nothing to add and start getting it down how everyone else’s calling it. And then, again, call it all of it as it was to begin with: Ain’ nobody else if it’s only you.


K HANK JOST is a writer of fiction born in Texas and raised in Georgia. He is the author of the novel-in-stories Deselections, the novel MadStone, and is editor-in-chief of the literary quarterly A Common Well Journal--produced and published by Whiskey Tit Books. His fiction and poetry have been recently featured in Vol.1 Brooklyn, The Burning Palace, and Hobart. He is currently seeking representation for his newest novel, Aquarium, while he works on his fourth book.  Residing in Brooklyn with his partner, he reads as much as he can, writes as much as he can, and works as much as he must. Instagram: @hank_being_a_better_ape.

1 Comment

Sheldon Lee Compton
Sheldon Lee Compton
Dec 13, 2023

"They got a name for everything. The book of names is longer than the days it takes to realize it empty."

Best group of words I've read in months.

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