artwork for Russel Swensen's writing

The Sorry Machine
Russel Swensen (@scribblymouse)

Tweets from January to May 2012. In near reverse chronological order but otherwise unchanged.

I am a music box. I cannot carry a different tune. All the other wallflowers stood on their tip toes. I never saw the sun again. RT if you never learned to wear a scarf. RT if you think your body is a tornado shelter. RT if relationships are like tree-houses you always wanted to have one. You had me at retreat.

@tsa @robdelaney How many lbs of peanut butter do I have to smear over my naked body before I get to fly the plane?

The summer I built a dirt fort in my brain. Summer I lost the hand I’d wrapped the thread around. That time you thought you were having a breakthrough about who you really are and then it started to rain.

@aRealLiveGhost hi i just found yr tumblr. you are the best thing since black crayons.
@sofifii no one taught me how to get off the phone, i have to burn myself on the stove, there’s no other way

Draw two people holding hands and then erase one of them. All the birds are missing pieces. I haven’t seen an entire bird in weeks. Some of the treadmills have TNT. Some of them don’t. I can’t live like this.

@petfurniture bet if you turned on one of those csi blacklights you'd see specks of unicorn blood and boy tears EVERYWHERE

In dog years I’m pretty depressed. I’ve just been ousted as the mayor of a bloodstained mattress. Does me crying into my sleeve count as a podcast. Does me crawling under the desk count as a lesson plan.

@aRealLiveGhost being a dinosaur felt a lot like being a prop.

“I’ll be hood forever!” little Jay-Z wailed and burst into tears.

@SaraJBenincasa move into an elevator shaft of infinite sadness
@SaraJBenincasa elevator shafts are super metal this year.

Don’t call it a comeback because I give up on life. For she is a princess bird and a desert fox. Considering setting myself on fire just so I can call 911. I’ve started using flu shots recreationally. Zulu hissing a the end of her leash.

@mittromney how do you feel about waffles?
@mittromney what’s your favorite kind of ramen?
@mittromney should i sell my hair?

“look dude you can only hide under the merch table crying for so long” “sometimes when you talk to me I feel like you’re performing an autopsy” @monstersandmen on now at the @PasteMagazine party.

I am like a beam of light whatever I turn my attention to is improved by it. I will not be bullied into no longer bullying. @aRealLiveGhost sext: leave your house right now go to the hotel turn off the lights lie on the bed still dressed.

I was a vampire that was afraid of the dark.

@aRealLiveGhost I thought we were trying to give the stars a puppy dog they’d never had one not even a dead one.

There’s sad & then there’s buying milk at Walgreens sad.

@BelladonnaENT well now i have to go stomp on t’s lounge & i’m not even sure i’m big enough
@BelladonnaENT i will glare in the direction of that bar until it burns down

Suddenly I realized my cigarettes were alive and that they had always been alive. And to have put sugar in your hair to have tried to tell you.

It turns out I don’t speak body language.

@mittromney i have $94,000 in student debt. are we together?
@mittromney what’s your stance on murdering mimes?

The best part about re-translating Beowulf has gotta be the surprise ending. I think I can invent a self-cleaning stove. I can kill a hill giant with a flick of my wrist. When is Adele going on the biggest loser.

@petfurniture I was a crushed velvet painting & you were what I was crushing on.
@mittromney 250 million problems?

The first step is to make the stove feel really bad about itself. Local woman stops vomiting blood for A WHOLE HOUR #momentousdayformyanmar

@mittromney republican wild one?

Starting to worry that several people in the crowd now have souls. This bus driver is making me super racist. “This is no longer a democracy,” Dick Cheney on the next episode of #thewalkingdead. Sotto voice.

@petfurniture remember when i told you that sad story about nobody giving me their numbers after i lost mine & then you didn’t give me yrs?

Be the drunken mistake. Why isn’t #bethedrunkenmistake trending. It’s hard to be the leader of a social movement.

@petfurniture sometimes i just really want to give you paper flowers

Probably should have searched my mouth for weapons. Probably should have searched my weapons for weapons. They call it daylight savings but I’m still single. Feel like i need to kill a Hungarian diplomat or something

@Powell_DA Blankets.

If a girl takes your breath away you should take away something that she values, like her virginity or her bike. @daneawisher Have you seen that video where Alicia Silverstone chews up her food and spits it into her baby’s mouth? I have an erection.

@aRealLiveGhost I want to have dead kittens with this girl.

I’m the emotional equivalent of an ice-capade.

Let’s all take a moment out of our day to celebrate how profound we are. Can’t believe I forgot my hooker heels. In Alaska they call rape “getting warm.” Bands named after animals get so pissed when you skin them.

all of @edward_mullany’s poems are snow angels
@hoostown angels don’t usually say “WHY ME” mid-sob?

How much fucking carrot juice do I have to drink before i turn into an ultraviolet bunny of love. Walked Zulu in the rain went running in the rain there was an exterminator in the building I said “So. I am you.” & then went back to bed

@Powell_DA i prefer to think of “slut” as a euphemism for “enthusiastic!”

If pregnancy is a superpower can you rob a bank with it.

time to send out my stock “sorry if i said something bad about your book &/or slept with you” email #awp12 Packed everything except for feelings #awp12 @edward_mullany I have NEVER SMILED AND MY HEAD IS SONNET SMITHEREENS. This is my wall. There are many walls like it but this one is mine #awp12 @writebloody anyone with hair that pink is already half in love with me #awp12

Special needs rape machine. Captain of the klonopin swim team. Lion Cunt would prbly be a pretty great name for a band.

@mat_johnson twins only “activate” when their lives are in danger. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

The best upper body workout is trying to get your girlfriend to admit where the fuck she was last night.

@SaraJBenincasa every five minutes dip your hands in a bucket of dry ice.

“That shit cray” K marvels as he ladles some of J’s from scratch cranberry sauce onto a fine white plate. “You are now watching the throne,” K screams as the turkey itself finally makes its appearance. Tell me when the pain kicks in.

With friends.

@robhuebel whoever has that voodoo doll of me needs to stop feeding it cocaine alcohol aids. I hate it when no one sits next to me on the train because I’m drunk & afraid to leave my apt. What if deer are real. Comfortable in my skin more comfortable in yours not an Aztec. Murdered all the blankets for siding with the bed. Whenever someone says to me what do you bring to the table Russel? I say chairs.

@thewrens “the theremin sounded like loss.”

I know kale is special & all but wilting kale makes you feel like no one loves you also no one ever has.

I have this fantasy where you close the drapes & slowly walk away.

@donni honey I shrink wrapped the kids this way they won’t go bad
@simultagnosia our lady of adderall

I am not going to stop punching myself in the face until I move up in line. I took a lot of downers today because I can’t figure out how to dim the lights. I’m so tired of learning and growing and becoming a better person.

@shelbyfero they need boxed wine that doesn’t judge you. as in actually whispers “i don’t judge you” every time you pour a glass

I am a government building. I think there’s a Nazgul trapped in the hood of my car. You look good let’s screw up our friendship. I’m so hungover my syllabus hurts. A priest walks into a bar. He can’t stop crying.

@welistenforyou follow me
#ff the lemmings

@FRiGGmagazine I am hearing this because I am reading twitter out loud to feel less alone

Russel Swensen’s Comments

I’ve been on twitter dot com forever. I killed an account even (it was mine, no one objected). I also was really lost, I think, like a lot of people that had an online community (come at me: livejournal,, etc) and lost it at some point. I felt like I was actually more alone with every thing I wrote. I was creating nothing but isolation and rage and it was all revelatory in a way that I’m not super comfortable with: not sure I was revealing Great Things About Me. But I started realizing that there was Something Else Out There. A lot of this happened just with chance discoveries: not about me, never me, but the kids and their “punk rock.” I wanted to rock out too even though at thirty-three part of me thinks “dude. It’s over. Please INCINERATE YR REALNESS.” So far, I dunno, I feel kind of like I HAVE incinerated but it ended up being Surprisingly Pleasant.

I am super into you, twitter dot com. But less so in “how I do what I do.” I am v uncomfortable talking about myself as myself. I would rather say look at the Surreal Purity Of Kimmy And Danielle. Though I recognize this is partly a cop out. I Am Sorry. What to say. Ok. So: I am like fire:. I do what I do. Now I Am Like Fire. Working on this project has changed twitter for me. I wouldn’t say I’m Gentle but I am Not The Same Druid I Once Was. I have learned about punk rock, finally, haters I am no longer faking it. I am not writing about writing. I am writing. I am writing from a place of Very Pleasant Incineration That Feels Like Hugging.

I have written 4,000 tweets in the last month, I think. And they’re all at least stabs at art and not “here is a link to a poem” or “I am so sad right now” or “rape jokes.” In fact, nearly everything I do now has stage directions, storyboarding, just an entirely different format from what I was culling from for “The Sorry Machine.” Evolution, online, moves neon fast. I am coming to understand the possibilities of Weird Twitter but I’m not there yet; can’t express much except for love. So, if you want to know more (and I’ve already said so much) look for me beneath yr internet shoes. I will be waiting to hug you ruthlessly and then look through sad photographs.

Hey, we’re a team. Kimmy and Danielle and me. We were born in the same orphanage, orphans give the best kisses. We’re in a pain free poetry cult. These things were thrown out today, for instance, not even all of it by us. It’s #FF and I have been working on these pieces, these comments for what seems like months. Trends come and go. Certain lines are in constant play. “The Theme Of My Twitter” “sext” etc. We read other’s stuff. We have nearly co-written a life together. You could argue that this was collaborative way before “project.” “RAP GAME FERNANDO PESSOA BATTLING FIVE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF HIMSELF”—by who? To me it’s nearly moot. What if I said these pieces are even about each other (in direct response on an almost line by line basis)—or that I wrote one and not the other—what changes here, what would be lost?

I ask because Ellen expressed concern that certain repetitions would suggest that K and D were the same person, with the same strings dangling from them. ME AS DARK LORD. (Editor’s note: I did not mean to imply you’re a Dark Lord! Although: How’s that shoe fit?) I guess I just don’t see it. We’re working on creating a shared language. What else is collaborative like twitter? Where else do you read and write simultaneously? Is it literature? It is not interested in if you think it is literature. Can it be used to produce literature? Clearly. Have we really begun to tap the possibilities of a format that is closest to shareware glitter? Idk but kinda doubt it. Will “ownership” become an issue? Yes, but chill bb. One thing at a time. And look, twitter dot com can get pretty messed up. I’m not up for the discussion: it’s there to be had. But my timeline for instance is my dream collage (I RT like, a fucking lot): a collection of voices, shiny pretty things, bits of broken teenagers, oversexed comics, various people pretending to be animals. It’s the best community I’ve ever been able to be a part of AND at the same time create for myself, on a daily basis. The interaction is constant. It is exactly what we’ve always wanted and what if, just this once, it’s good for us?

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 37 | Summer 2012 | The Twitter Issue