AMP. Always Electric.

Volume 2, No. 1

Trakl Diaries / 24

His medical file lists the cause of death, as “Suicid durch Cocainintoxication!” When news of his death on the Russian front reached intellectual celebrity Karl Kraus in Vienna, Kraus reacted by claiming the poet was ‘“hardly a victim of war. It was always incomprehensible to me that he could live at all. His insanity wrestled with godly things.’”
Rolf Schneider, “The Sweet Poison of the White Swan”


The Wrestler, 1912

The Der Brenner poets gather in the garden, fingers darkened by verses of black leaves and spider plants. They speak of ecstasy, how the muse mesmerizes the body. My hands sweep loose tobacco from my pant leg. Awake yet sleeping, sunflowers graze in the long grass. Karl Klaus and Adolf Loos criticize then praise the parallel streams of decay in my poem “Ellis.[version 2]” The exhausted stars sunning in your verse watch us lament. To weep. To dirge. Wail and howl. Trakl, esteemed friend, why do you write nothing but grief?  The hazelbrush in Christ’s side gapes like a fish. Tiny pews—believers, crushed to their knees, do not need forgiveness. Stillness travels from my lips and the tweed of my trousers. We walk to the estate’s edge where hyacinth steals the breath of the pond, breeding vines and fat roots, a brown silty underwater forest where madmen hide with their serpents. “To express the inner, the outer must be radically distorted,” says Oskar Kokoschka. Art…not three but ten dimensions. I find myself wanting to drown in the pond’s thickness, inviting the plants to touch me, the swaying stems to intoxicate. The Klaus says the subjective perception is everything—the August heat smells of the unspeakable rain, and in the filthy peasant hut of my heart, the door’s left ajar

Stephanie Dickinson

Stephanie Dickinson, an Iowa native, lives in New York City. Her novel Half Girl and novella Lust Series are published by Spuyten Duyvil, as is her Love Highway based on the 2006 Jennifer  Moore murder. Her other books include Port Authority OrchidsHeat: An Interview with Jean Seberg, and the recently released hybrid collection The Emily Fables (ELJ Publications). Her work has received multiple distinguished story citations in the Pushcart AnthologyBest American Short Stories, and Best American Mysteries.  She is the editor of Rain Mountain Press.