White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Sean Neville
Sean Neville is a poet, a playwright, and an occasional writer of fiction. He currently lives in the central California coast region. He has taught at several junior colleges. He has a M.A. in English from UC-Irvine and is entering the M.F.A. program in creative writing at UC-San Diego next Fall.

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Sean Neville

Sleep work


The sleep work is going fine.

But it seems we’re all going to die.

Time in its fruitfulness is a fatal companion.

Exactly when is the time for love, anyway?

And will there be a sign? A bell? Our program

is to undo the particles of gravity that subsidize

time’s lifestyle. The suburb-like environment

inside our little closet is a harvest of comfort.

Though even if we had real selves we wouldn’t know what to do

with them. As proof consider the suffix -aka, which we use

to refer to all kinds of love relations, as in put-put-aka

or Wolfman-aka. Consider it vis-à-vis time’s fruit cup.

For example, my Godfish can’t fix his low ball life-path.

Great Light Arch-aka! Therefore, death crawls along

the electrical wiring but can be fooled by a really big nap



Sean Neville

as in 2000 to 2005. Because in sleep precision dreams

effect a fecund effector for surviving time

with a set of your own teeth to tear and rip

through the nuggets of lesser life. For instance, nuts.

Then you can invent new ones: friends—people who like fun.

Appositely, a newspaper walks down the street.

A pigeon asks someone (me?) for the time.

I think I pretend not to hear and study the post office difficultly.

It’s no joke to say I didn't make this world and am therefore

not liable for its failure to perform per specifications.

Still there is the Cadillac of emotions waiting in the parking lot.

Or a pill shaped like a french fry or a species that eats rocks.

But that was in another century. The word bagaboogabag

spells it all out. And it has many uses here.

It summons the lizards and snakes and they

perform a kind of barn dance minus the barn.

(Take note of the feathered song of sleep circling over the civic hot tub.)



Sean Neville

A seeming subject or object (me) seems to slope toward sleep.

This same seeming is one of time’s sleepy laws.

Because the authentic weathered carapace costs too much;

it debits deep in time’s predicate where unhappy people

save themselves by drowning in the Ohio River, say.

I have some news, which is debt is the project’s

joie-de-vivre. The project of sleep.

Real emotions, thank you, are not cheap.

This thin piece of project, also called “The Song of Debt,”

is a dream to navigate a small animal’s death.


Again the city arranges itself for me,

the one sequestered from the verb of Be,

the friendly marked victim of market and mall, of restaurant and stall.

Therefore, the planes all fly north in memory of the northing geese.

And cold night is shot with stars, sprayed with gases.

Near the civic pond the council gas the geese



Sean Neville

by way of explicating the depth of the general debt.

It is already yesterday, whose shadow is

our idea of a universal principle of “slept.”

That is, the debt rotates counter-clockwise

and erases all that fine wording in the contract

framed above the cast iron bed where sleep piles up its debt.


Inside this structure the terrier asks, “Can me be some-von

too?” The unfolk say, “Not in this bed-aka. Maybe adopt

a modus vivendi-aka. But with no infixes this time.

That’s the best we can do.” He is all, “But when?”

I am like, “Be fictitious!” Then he be bad on the floor,

which is a way of avoiding nakedness and sorrow in sleep.

Reactively, each noun ends itself in a vowel—either ö or ü.

And each suffix[ö] is to be caged by brackets[ü].

But the phonology for the new emotion set was stolen



Sean Neville

by those useless stratus clouds that hang out

up in the sky all day in collocation against our species,

homo sleeping hairless rabbit people. Crap!


You have that dirty little god who lives in the basement

to thank for the pink pills and their darkling circuit. In your cells

they grew the dream that sings, “You there

with your greasy hair and please-go-away stare.”

And there is that other dream, less bespoke, the happily finite ones

lent you-as-in-you for being such a good sport about digesting

the communal cathexis all by yourself.

A fraction of you dreams the world incorrectly back again.






Copyright © Sean Neville. White Whale Review, issue 2.2

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