A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Kelli Anne Noftle 




A picture of the junkyard at midnight.  Shattered windshields heaped against a
wilderness. The desert won’t keep track of time but needs massive amounts of
energy, spread across the badlands to appear casual. I’ve been wondering about you
in three-dimensions. In glass, plastic, metal. I’ve been wondering if holograms are
photographs that never die. Somehow the image gets trapped inside. See? I’m in the
empty lot with my door ajar. I’m tilting my credit card, looking for your face in a
moving bird. We are only inches from a future. The adequate amount of space for
desolation is predetermined. There is a supermarket from one angle, a salvage yard
on the horizon, twelve locusts and a jar of honey. What makes you different from
the other? A composition compelling in its near obscurity? I’m not even allowed to
talk about your ghost—



Civilization began with a tree, a week, a wind, a crawl, a rose, a bead of water, a jar, a moving
body, a river beside a tree, a river carrying semen and feces, a riverbank of cement holding
semen and feces, a shopping cart, a plastic spoon, a gravel yard, a weekend, a woman wading
in a river, a woman who took forever to get there walking through semen and feces, a path
beside a river that leads to a gravel field, a jar of water, a sick hot wind, a month of labor, a
tree shedding sand and needles, a labor pain, a woman crouched in the wind, a woman
carrying his name and his face on a child in her arms, a desert of bones circling a yard, a
spoon to scoop the child’s food, a knotty tree, a wind blowing rocks and needles, a long time
waiting for roses, a beginning, a spoon, a needle, a rosebud, a budding, a week, a circle, a
name, a rose, an opening, a turning into, a parting, a woman, arose, arising, arise, begin, arise,
begin to turn, turning, to a tree, to a rose, into a face, into a woman, in two parts, shed his
body, carry his name to your grave. 








Common examples include seeing animals or people in clouds or hearing hidden
messages on records played in reverse. Sometimes the brain is almost too good at
recognizing faces. That time in Berkeley I kissed a woman who looked exactly like
Adam. You can’t develop a photographic memory but you can reconstruct the rest
of the head even if two facial features are the only attributes visible. A few beers
later, the modulation of light, your hair is different, you’ve gained weight, the
simplistic drawing of three circles and a line on the side of a building—who’s smile is
that? To understand holography, one can think of it as similar to recording whereby
a sound field is encoded in such a way that it can be reproduced later without the
presence of the original. Remembering is repetition. That woman looked like no one
I knew, yet she was familiar. Remembering is confusion. Lines of graffiti. Despite the
complete lack of resemblance to a real human face, I recognized someone. What’s
that called? A highly evolved survival trait? To render a faceless apparition, one must
capture both the immaterial and the palpable. A skull in a rosebud. Jesus in a grilled
cheese. Try to decipher which Adam. Holography is also a metaphor some physicists
use to describe our ability to store memories in the universe. Forget the brain!
Sometimes you have to face the music going backwards. Sometimes you must fill the
face of the earth and subdue it. Face down, with anyone.








it begins prickly

aluminum tins

a cutting board stained
with pomegranate seeds

a splintered twinge

an infestation

flies circling a jar

civilization is not
a fork or spoon or

a rose
a rose

it begins cloudy

a deserted composition

a maggot’s white rice
body twitching

flower stems
in water decomposing

do not mistake intrusion
for the luck of company

the face of a scarecrow
in the garden

an empty pie pan


“I knew him as intimately as I knew my own image in a mirror. In other words, I knew him only in relation to myself. Yet, on those terms, I knew him perfectly. At times, I thought I was inventing him as I went along, however, you will have to take my word for it that we existed.”   -Angela Carter, “A Souvenir of Japan”

My favorite souvenirs are from a writer/artist friend in the Marines who was deployed to Iraq for a few months in 2003. During his deployment, he sent me letters and drawings on scraps of cardboard and a single bougainvillea petal pressed inside a sheet of wax paper. He said the flower was from the only living plant in what once (supposedly) stood as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. He wrote: “the rest is piled with rocks.”


Kelli Anne Noftle’s first book of poems, I Was There For Your Somniloquy, won the 2010 Omnidawn Poetry Prize. She lives in Los Angeles and sometimes makes music under the name Miniature Soap.