The Collected Lies of AK & All Sizes Fit One (for Peter)

by Aaron Kunin

“I dreamed ‘that’ ‘you’ spat at / Me then denied ‘it.’” Aphorisms and a poem, with art by Sam Moyer.

“The Collected Lies of AK & All Sizes Fit One (for Peter)” was produced by Triple Canopy as part of its Immaterial Literature project area, supported in part by the Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Works by Sam Moyer, from left: Altruism, 2010; Camus Can Do, 2009; untitled, 2010. Courtesy Société and Rachel Uffner.

The Collected Lies of AK

He slept on the floor because he had made his bed and wanted to remain in control of one part of life.

I was not made in a lab.
I was made in a factory!

I was not made in a bed.
I was made like a bed!

I thought that I had forgotten to ask, but it turns out I had forgotten the answer.

Books can crash too of course.
Just like computers!

He had not given up on the ambitions of modernism.
“Their importance will make me important.”

The wrong time of day to make your aggressive joke about the basement office.

“Make me look artificial.”
“I want to look like a doll.”

“I am a forty-year-old fat fuck.”
“Well I’m not any of those things.”

He gives her plenty of room because he knows she’s afraid of him.

I always believe your whoppers.
Because I do not know what to do with figurative language.

From whom may we reasonably demand love?

Easily touched and easily appeased.
True, he is easily touched (offended), but it’s so pointless, because he is easily appeased.

Do you think I’m disguising my smell too much.

He suddenly produced that phrase and died laughing.

One vibrates; the other muffles.

I could not hear it because of the people I was sitting next to.

“I have been with you all day and now this mild presence is enough to light you up.”

Not all cartoons are fun.
Cartoons are not fun.
Fun is restricted by conditions.
There is no fun.

“for fun
(put all possible stress and violence on “fun,” make it scary and painful, it hurts to say it)

I always say it after I hang up the phone; once I said it before.

They are selling morality.

Sympathetic and contagious magic is the same idea!
Inductive and deductive reasoning is the same idea!
Illocutionary and perlocutionary is the same idea!
Showing and telling is the same idea!

Everything I can’t tell the difference between.

A place in the airport without TV.
Seemingly less crowded because there is no TV.
One of your coworkers, the TV.

The anthropologist’s suggestion: You lack culture, you do not interact with your group, you need TV.

Aren’t you lonely without TV?

I felt my brow unfurrow.
I heard it.

Stop worrying your expression.

Please, he said.
He said please.

> <%

He never recognizes you first (because he doesn’t wear his glasses).
Unless you are merely inches away from him, unless you are a particularly striking-looking person,
       he can’t make you out.
His nearsightedness is frequently mistaken for rudeness, idiocy, harshness, etc.
This explains why all his friends have exaggerated features.

He is trying hard to make silence appear an ethical position.

He laughs because he realizes he has just said something rude.
He laughs to cover the insult.

Maybe unconsciously he’s trying to sabotage you?
—Give him a little credit! He is aware that he is trying to sabotage me.

Now you can cross it off your list.
Assuming you can find the list.

I have destroyed your list!

She can’t help inventing plausible stories.

You’ve heard me tell my version of the story; now I want to hear your version.

No, that’s just what you wanted to hear; that’s not what I said.

The gift of being sometimes alone.
The gift of being able to identify what you are feeling.

She has the unusual gift of knowing what she’s feeling right now.
But she can hardly believe in what she’s felt or will feel.

We assume that our procedures are transparent.

He breaks the rule twice.
Perhaps it isn’t a rule.

Have you learned anything yet?
—Only the banal moral lesson of the age in which we live: when to silence your phone.

What used to keep you awake now disturbs or entertains you while you sleep.

He felt his expression change.
He felt it changing.

He suddenly looked up and said yes.

I just got a new phone, and I wanted to try it out.
—Well it works.

When she says she is confused she knows exactly what she wants but can’t ask for it directly.

Solve the problem by not calling back.

She made them forgive her in advance in case she “fucked up,” “went crazy,” etc.
But when the time came, she did not act crazy; her sanity was terrifying.
Her sanity was terribly convincing.

There is no difference.
—Between shouting in the street, singing, whistling, mumbling to yourself, talking on the phone in public,
       and writing in your notebook, and wearing perfume.

It’s the first thing to go.
When he’s distressed, his playfulness is the first thing to go.
In distress, he gives up on play.
It wipes off easily.
—It was a very thin layer.

All Sizes Fit One (for Peter)

Do not dominate us, Lord. What
Part of you remains awake when
Every light goes out? One “part” that
Worries the floor
Might get wet. With “the” promise “that”
Sleep extends to

All things, we many dead tremble.
Does your mind wander? But “your” hand
Knows where it is. Only sleeping
“Your hand” forgets
“Where it is,” and comes “to” itself
In a new place.

Stillness “of” “the” “sleeping” body
“We,” “the” greater number, feel as
Paralysis “in” “the” dream, “and”
“A” residue
“Of” emotion sometimes infects
“The” moment “of”

Waking. I dreamed “that” “you” spat at
Me then denied “it.” There’s “a” shade
“In” “you,” “in” which “you” “sleep,” even
“When” “the” sun “is”
Shining, “a” shaded area
“That” “goes” inside.

“The” “many,” spill “that” finishes
“In a” puddle, “we” will never
Be able “to” wipe “it,” because
“It” “will never”
Finish spilling. “Your” throat pulling
Water into

“Your” “body,” also “your body”
Adjusting “to” its cold, “you” store
“You” lock, “you” keep “the” key. Like
People whose eyes
“Do not” change “when” they smile or laugh
“Or” cause “or” “feel”

Pain. “Like” foreign objects meeting
“In a” man’s mouth. “Like” waiters who
Wear brilliant white shirts “to” show:
“We” “Never” “Spill”
Anything. “Like” “the” wallpaper
Sticks “to” “the” wall.

The Collected Lies, cont’d

You made me forgive you in advance for going crazy, but when the time came for you to go crazy you did not
       act crazy; you were terribly sane.
Yes, your sanity terrified me.
And I forgive you for that.

“Sorry this is difficult.” She apologizes for the difficulty, although it is easy enough to offend, to apologize,
       and to forgive.

That is what he could not understand. And that is how he knew it was true.

A smile is a kind of bite.
Because it’s a hole in the face.

I have a better idea: Why don’t you go into the kitchen, find the carving knife, and plunge it repeatedly into
       my abdomen, here, here, and here?

You were the primary obstacle to her happiness, and the instrument.
She brought you here to make herself happy; then made herself happy by getting rid of you.
Happiness solicited. And accomplished.
Unhappy instrument!

He stood on the porch, examining his motives.
He looked down, examining his motives.

When you are called on to do the great work of making a person happy, it is terrible to fail in that task.

The essential fact about him is that he’s a pod.
Or is the essential fact whose pod he is.

When I open my mouth, I die of embarrassment (every time).

She justifies her actions by referring to the actions of others who have mistreated her.

I got here sooner than I was comfortable with, in order to gratify you.
I do not regret it.
I do not regret anything I did with the intention of making you happy.
And besides, “there is no substitute for someone who actually wants to see you.”
Unfortunately, when I arrived, I was too tightly wound.

How terrible it would be if he should fail!

If only it were that simple.
If all that was necessary to your happiness was the correct recitation of passages from classical poetry.

At 2 a.m. he started to entertain bad thoughts about you.

bless the garbage can
at the library

When I think of all the calculations I have made in the cause of general politeness!

The standard by which you act is how you’ve been treated.

> <%

A question or an accusation.
You didn’t ask if I was enjoying the film, you asked how I was doing.
And I said that I was okay—which was a lie; I was miserable.
You did not ask if I was grateful and I did not answer gracefully or graciously.

“cold seas of feeling ice” (dream sentence)

People who are stupid are likely to do stupid things.
Smart people can get stupid people to do stupid things.
This kind of manipulation is not taxing to anyone’s intelligence.
Stubborn is another story.

I loved Judith’s body.
And her voice. She had three voices actually: one was small, another was sarcastic, the third
       was declamatory.
And her sense of smell.
And her puns.

She was satisfied and embarrassed by what she said.

Still wearing the skins of Judith?

He discovered later that he actually wanted what he tried to get.

Aesthetic (i.e., formal) decisions, not for aesthetic (i.e., taste) reasons.

Why do you adopt the values of the community that rejects you?

He can’t help regretting missed chances to have said something impressive or self-important—about his
       knowledge of foreign languages, for instance.

Why, in her presence, do we become overly protective of what we know, when she is ready to share all her
        knowledge with us and learn from us?

Those three numbers made him smile wistfully.

He mopes in her presence; this moping angers her.
—Both are absolutely correct.
But not natural.

She can’t talk to me and thinks I’m doing it to her and maybe it’s true.

Enunciating as if responding to a question in an examination.
As if being examined.

Your gestures have changed.
The wave not as open.
Which is the fundamental feature of a wave.

Critics learn about life primarily through criticism, which is part of life.

He has an unfair advantage in that his subject is inherently interesting.

He made up his mind approximately two years later.

Never allow yourself to articulate your motives.

“I am not happy,” he said proudly.

Which lie did he tell to explain his presence here?

Aren’t we going to pretend that we didn’t hear it?

What do mistakes and endings look like with people?

I can put this word anywhere I want.
Example of artistry.

I know myself poorly.
—That is what indecisive means. Making poor decisions.

Getting up and moving around will not help right now.
Being awake will not help.
Sitting up won’t help.
Turning on a light won’t help.

Surprised at my presence here. And wondering how I tricked myself into it?

I would do it “in a second” (immediately)
I will do it “in a second” (reluctantly)

And I ate the strange candy in the mini-bar.

Filing is about forgetting not remembering.
Not so that you can put your hands on it easily but so that you won’t suddenly be staring at it.
How many mnemonic devices have the same function.

I need to talk to someone while eating; otherwise I eat too quickly.

> <%

You evaded the questions brilliantly.

It keeps you awake at night and it wakes you up in the morning.

Why was this the right decision, I sometimes ask myself hopefully.

You have to schedule him.
Because he will be sure to fill completely whatever time you give him.

“it made sense”
It did not make sense; it made him unhappy.

Complicate your life as therapy.

The train and I are both getting up.

Shocked by his own action.
He had not yet rationalized it to himself.

Possible functions of a justice system:

Because I prefer the product sold in video stores to the product sold in bookstores.
(Not because I prefer videos to books, but the books I like do not sell.)

It is called “defense.”

“I suspect”—his frame.
The frame of his speech is suspicion.

Reading warms a room.

He makes women suffer.
He would make art objects suffer if he could not find a substitute.

We perform these rituals to protect the rest of the world from our god.

I get nervous just being around your job and responsibilities.

These doodads just make things difficult to repair.
These colored lights are just something else that can break down and be repaired.

Does it look like the signature of an adult?
What is that middle initial doing?

Part of your job as an animal is being hunted; another part is running away.

Tonight you will not escape this conversation.