1. Venice
All of Venice that I have on me each day: a marbled notebook doubling as purse, the contents kept intact criminal evidence-style via ziplock bag; a miniature mask on a chain warden-heavy with keys, the faux diamond studs adorning it gouged out by poor handling. Seasick, I soon wanted out of the city, having had enough of its pigeon shit and blind alleys. You just think you know what you want, it answered back, fair warning as I stood in a waterbus and stared at a giant jeweled skull on a hotel façade.

2. In a manner of speaking
Penelope the Piglet, guardian of dirty laundry, has lost almost all of her lines. Past layers of mute and dumb and finally out pops the last idea standing, Penelope’s last words: “I want to sodomize you in your sleep.”

3. Early education
A lesson in asymmetry: small mismatched hair clips bearing caricatures, one of a web with a fat spider smack in the middle and another of wide-brimmed hat on the head of a man sitting with his back turned, appropriately called “The Mexican.” Who comes up with these things? Why wear a web and a Mexican on your hair? Even then I wondered, even as I wore them everyday, fixing my hair in front of the mirror, my smile glinting from all the metal in my mouth to keep my teeth in line.

4. All aboard the Pioneer
Today’s plaque may read:

Here are the necessary pulsars to locate this particular place and point in time: wreckage, spindle, Gotterdammerung.

They say two pulsars are enough, so why not fourteen, or why not three.

5. 1Q84
A book in the hands of a stranger, one I can’t read but recognize. Rare moment of reliable memory, time out of mind, the drunken drawl: Please don’t confront me with my failures. I had not forgotten them.