Acta Diurna by Laynie Browne

 

(sentences from newspapers) 

 

Women of a certain class were rarely alone.

You might expect to get crushed or maybe torn to pieces.

Tinting snow with streaks of gold and blue.

Even when attending to the most intimate parts of their bodies.

I had actually convinced myself that buying books is the same as reading.

Selling Dutch “olykoet” (oil cake) in 1673 from a shop in New Amsterdam, today’s Manhattan

Bare, save for a satin bodysuit.

Never live without beautiful books.

They use the same wavelengths that prevent us from sleeping to make us more awake early in the day.

There is really no downside to this intervention.

He was happier when he made $12 a month as a teacher.

Invisible with age.

Clouds can act like data sets that harbor information on where we’ve been before.

Think of serotonin.

A calm confrontation.

It’s possible to run a computer on water droplets.

Crying isn’t just about sadness.

The knowledge that another person isn’t you.

I promise not to misuse the word “literally.”

Ideal times to skirt the sidewalk madness.

People are gorging. That’s why it’s not intimate.

Non-synthetic emotions. Now you have permission to give voice to fantasies because of how much power they have in real life.

Hitting people with bulky bags, slow walking or clogging up prime jaywalking territory.

Their lives were, in a sense, communal property.

Carrying a mattress around campus all year.

Friends or strangers spontaneously step forward to help.

The dead guy is just lying there anyway.

How does an individual contribute to the microbiology inside a building?

Folded paper hexagons that can be flexed to reveal different flowerlike faces.

He keeps accusing me, while I embrace him, of something in a dream he cannot remember.

A sentence between public and private.

In a long, slightly transparent nightgownlike dress.

Hardly noticing that we had no need of handwriting anymore.

What happens here, no one knows. Another universe? Oblivion? The back of a bookcase?

The most private moments in a woman’s day, as she washes her hair, buttons her dress.

No matter how much you take care of them, this disjunction between reality and image is jarring.

All at once, being reflected off the surface of the moon.

Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.

Bottle-fed, sleepy and wobbly on their legs.

Beds are kind of charismatic.

And so for years, the dolls sat side by side inside a display cabinet, bearers of a message from the dawn of sound recording that nobody could hear.

Fear can be deadlier than fallout.

I will not spend my entire weekend exploring my mouth with a coffee straw.

Confectioner’s dream: garb of angels, crest of blank sheet.

With no names attached to numbers, they remain an abstraction.

“Sad” men’s suits where “their pants are much too large, the crotch is coming down, they have no imagination in the colors. And out of the office is awful; they take the first jeans they find. They don’t care.

Now a study shows that these primates create cups out of leaves to drink alcohol seeping from palm trees.

But if the attacker is your friend’s boyfriend, you’re not going to push keys against his eyes.

There are more billionaire bondage books and paranormal shapeshifter werewolf romances than you might imagine.

An epidemic of adverse events.

Privileged men, followed by women, eagerly wore them for more than 130 years as expressions of power and prestige.

You can’t continue to use an IUD you never got.

The period for public comments is still open.

Let me lose all that responsibility for an hour.

They resented being told that their problems were not medical but were caused by relationship problems or their busy schedules.

An eternity of turning back into swan form by day.

Flowers you gave to me, white frocked, trailing.

New details about the cacophonous final flood.

Packaged like a 30-something starlet.

Continue reading the main story.

The counterfeiters said, “Thank you very much” corrected their errors, and kept printing fakes.

The book itself is almost frivolous.

A mediocre aphrodisiac with scary side effects.

I read the lines you have not yet written.

Children found them difficult to operate and more scary than cuddly.

If you knew now the benefits you might spend years in impatience.

Why aren’t there more women futurists?

Of course the gulf between desire and knowledge has long been a tragicomic staple.

You can’t ride a fish like a horse.

At that point you’re basically role-playing an asshole.

Overreactions to what may be nonexistent threats.

I would not allow the images to exist without making sure there is also a conversation around them.

And the time that the cosmetics factory went up in flames, and the neighborhood smelled beautiful for months.

We spend upwards of ninety percent of our time indoors.

Bloodletting.

Compromised data was held by the Office of Personal Management.

(The authors speculated that the apartment dwellers may have been healthier than the population at large).

 

 

Acta Diurna is a series of sentences from newspapers, a daybook compressed, a little treasury of false chatter, a magpie, gazetta or farthing coin, a spectator, countable rags, forecasts carved in metal and stone, a folio of folly handwritten on silk, a list, a metonymical post and a global body of text.

Laynie Browne is the author of twelve collections of poetry and two novels. Her most recent collections of poems include P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel 2015), Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press 2015) and Lost Parkour Ps(alms), in two editions, one in English, and another in French, from Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havré (2014). She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College.