Douglas Rogerson & Cea


One True One of Anything (Green)
Peeled paint fragments on 4′ x 8′ plywood, installed on Dekalb Ave construction site, Brooklyn NY, August 2023.
Douglas Rogerson


For you—

I’m at Julius’s again just thinking out quiet here for a minute not really trying to do a poem after all. I am thinking how to write to you, how to tell about yr work in a way that matters, which is really to say how to tell you about us, me and you, our whole history and why should that love letter matter to anyone outside of it. Other writers I love seem to do it so easy. Other people I mean who are people but also who write about not just things I love but in a way that makes me feel like maybe I could love them too—the people and the subjects both I mean. So what if we are each other’s subjects. Gwendolyn Brooks she already said it best when she said: “we are each other’s / harvest: / we are each other’s / business: / we are each other’s / magnitude and bond.”1 There oughta be a closer word than business though I think, something less transactional. What I mean is, whoever else is reading this, I don’t maybe know you, not yet, and here I have an opportunity to invite you into such a love. Asking you kiss the next can you kick down the street.

This place used to be a place.

1 From Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, “Paul Robeson,” first published in 1970. That’s 22 years before I was born. Easily 50 years before I ever really knew what she meant. Before I really felt it for myself.



One True One of Anything (Green), detail.

Every day the concrete blooms. The ruins in progress blossom, flower, shed their rubble in the morning. Scaffolding sprouts along the walk stealing the sun from the trees. Blue tarp billows out the flameblasted windows and birds are chirping somewhere near but there’s not a taste of green in sight. These are transitory lands, wandering lands. Graffiti tags like area codes tattooed across town, constantly re-zoning the neighborhood. For years the laundromat on the corner said simply “STEVE” in big green letters. Then one day that awful off-white come to cover it up. Now it says “TE AMO JUAN” in pink, big heart around it all. I love you Juan. I miss you Steve. More men I’ll never get to know.

It’s too many men I only know like this—by the suggestions their names leave behind. Each boarded up school or half-begun residential casts its shadow of Times Square, of the Chelsea Piers, the People’s Beach, the Old City, of the screens in my hand and the capital letters in my veins. The letters weather me away. Each morning I swallow the men come to patch my repairs—they come in hardhats, heavy boots, bright electric vests, their skin is dark and gentle. They caulk the leaky corners, re-bolster the baseboards. They are doing the best that they can. It’s always something new in this old house. They come and they go and they will be back again tomorrow and the next day until I can no longer afford the repairs. Maybe then I’ll go back down to my materials, make shelter for others to come in from the cold. Until then, I walk me out into the rain and snow, let the old wheel inside the wheel keep its pace.2 Do you still let the land take you like this too. If I was where I would be, when I get there will you show me what you see. All those photos from yr roll on my wall, in their frames. There’s nobody in the shot but all I can see is us.

2 Lyrics from the final track on Gillian Welch’s 2001 record, Time (the Revelator), “I Dream A Highway.” Spent half my life with you on dark highways, overgrown backroads, at the feet of steep cul-de-sac driveways. Neither of us have cars anymore. Let this letter be a highway back to you.




Images from Dekalb Ave construction site, Brooklyn NY, August 2022.

There was a place not so far away from here that could have been a place. Big empty lot between two houses, not even a patch of grass just wet dirt and metal pieces strewn through. People could be doing a life there. Making a casserole. Watching TV. Camping in the field out back with the spiders and the moon. Fucking each other gentle and kind in the privacy of their own consent. Now the place is stuck in possibility. Sticky with potential. And I am furious about all the joy that should be happening here instead. The only green here coating the wooden slabs to keep the future out. Wood struck down and splintered, pulverized, re-made in its own image. Sometimes the paint peels back and I think: Good. I see you. Staples where the POST NO BILLS flyers would be. Splinters on the walk. I’d bring them all back home if I could. But a home it comes with you follows you Home.

On the way to yr place one day, another tattoo tag this time: REAL LOVE IS QUEER RAGE. One foot across the sea you are building yr own green, and I am on yr floor again where I’ve always felt the safest. I was probably playing the music, blues on the ceiling as usual.3

–Where are you gonna put it.

–Just down the street, you know the place.

–Do you need help.

–I think I need to do it myself.

3 First time I heard a Karen Dalton rendition of “Blues on the Ceiling” was on her 1969 debut studio recording, It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best. “I’ll never get out of these blues alive,” she sang. AIDS took her in March of ‘93, just a few months before you were born. I’d barely been around for a year before she left. You take my blue, I’ll keep yr green. Without you I wouldn’t be.


REAL LOVE IS Queer RAGE, graffiti tag, Dekalb Ave construction site, Brooklyn NY, August 2022. Artist/author unknown (speculatively a contributor to the ACT UP group Queer Nation).


Now I see green different. And those deli bags, the ones with the purple roses I used to save for you. The sunbleached blue of a plastic mesh fence. Taped up mattresses on the walk. All the scattered, discarded, precious debris. I can hardly bear it. Our version of carving initials into the tree, you and me. And you too, whoever you are, whoever put those words there. I wonder did you leave this here for me to find. Well I’ve found it. And so I leave this here for you. Are you even reading this. I wrote it all for you, after all. And we have to find each other too just like this. How we’ve always found each other, in the shadows of our capital letters.



One True One of Anything (Green)
Peeled paint fragments on 4′ x 8′ plywood, installed on Dekalb Ave construction site, Brooklyn NY, August 2023.
Douglas Rogerson



DOUGLAS ROGERSON grew up in Knoxville, TN and studied a combination of physics, philosophy, and art at Washington University in St. Louis. He subsequently received a fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany under the disciplines of Visual Art and Humanities before joining Brooklyn’s fabrication industry for several years. His work has been installed in domestic and streetside settings, published in Schlosspost’s Gemini — The Journal, The Solitude Blog, and Issue 03 of Passing Notes, as well as exhibited at Herbert Von King Cultural Arts Center and Weatherproof’s “The Hole” (forthcoming, Dec 2023). He is currently pursuing his MFA at Glasgow School of Art.

CEA / (CONSTANTINE JONES) is an interdisciplinary Greek-American thingmaker raised in Tennessee & housed in Brooklyn. They are the director of the Visual AIDS Oral History Project, THE BODY AS AN ARCHIVE, as well as a member of the collective, What Would An HIV Doula Do?. They are the author of the novel, IN STILL ROOMS (Operating System, 2020) & a collaborative chapbook with Portuguese visual artist Vicente Sampaio, BALEEN: A POEM IN TWELVE DAYS (Ursus Americanus, 2022). Their work has been performed or exhibited across NYC & Tennessee.

Joe Milutis

More Elephant Jokes

An elephant walks into a bar

don’t let it bother you


An elephant walks into a bar

runs around the bar, grabs the peanuts,
rinse and repeat.


An elephant walks into a bar

with his dog.

He shouts to the bartender, ‘Hey barkeep, want to hear the elephant joke?’ The bartender says s s you right after I serve this guy here.’ It is now my turn,’ said Bill.

The elephant says, ‘Why did the worm crawl across the road?’ The bartender then replies, they can’t or you’ll never see your dog again my friend’.


An elephant walks into a bar

The elephant and the barman look at each other

and the elephant says: “Give me a beer”

So the bartender gives him a beer.

The elephant belches and then laughs at his own joke.

So, The Laughing Elephant goes back to his son and tells him …

“You know son, all your life, I’ve used my strength and power as The Biggest land animal on Earth to avoid work of any kind. That was up until tonight…” ,


An elephant walks into a bar

and starts smashing all the furniture. The bartender says, “What’s the matter?” The elephant replies, “I’m blind. I want to be depressed.”


An elephant walks into a bar

and orders a drink. The bartender says, “What’ll it be?” and the elephant says, “I’ll have a beer, a scotch and a tequila.” The bartender pours the drinks and says, “That’ll be $14.50.” The elephant hands him a $20 bill and says, “Keep the change.” The bartender says, “Where are you from?” and the elephant says, “Africa.” The bartender says, “How’d you get here?” and the elephant says, “I flew.” The bartender says, “You flew?” and the elephant says, “Sure. I sat on the wing and let myself be blown out of my cage.” The bartender says, “You’re an amazing animal.”


An elephant walks into a bar

and the bartender says, “Hey, we don’t serve elephants.” So the elephant leaves. The next day the elephant is back and the bartender says, “Sorry pal, we don’t serve elephants.” The elephant leaves. The next day the elephant reappears and the bartender says, “We don’t serve elephants.” The elephant calmly reaches into his pocket and pulls out a picture of the bartender’s daughter. The bartender says, “You showed me the wrong picture yesterday.” The elephant replies, “I have two daughters.”


An elephant walks into a bar

, orders a drink, and then pulls out a gun and shoots the bartender dead.

Elephant: “Sorry, I haven’t shot anybody for two days.”


An elephant walks into a bar

The bartender says, “Hey, where’s your piano?”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

Barkeep says, “What?”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

Barkeep says, “Then why did you say, ‘Hey, where’s your piano?”‘

Elephant says, “It’s under the piano.”

Barkeep says, “You’re one sick elephant.”


An elephant walks into a bar

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

The bartender says, “You’re not fooling me.”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

The bartender says, “You’re not convincing me.”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

The bartender says, “I don’t believe it.”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

The bartender says, “You’re out of your mind.”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”

The bartender says, “You’re nuts.”

Elephant says, “On my piano!”


An elephant walks into a bar

, orders a beer, and starts playing the piano.

A few minutes later a giraffe walks in, orders a beer, and starts playing the drums.

The bartender can’t believe it. “What’s going on here?” he says. “We have two of the most talented animals in the world in the same place, but they’re ignoring each other.”

The giraffe replies, “Well, I’m good, but the elephant is perfect.”


An elephant walks into a bar

and says, “Can I have a beer?” The bartender, shocked, says, “Why yes, I suppose you can. The elephant replies, “Good, because I’m a frickin’ parrot.”


A parrot walks into a bar

and says, “I’ll have a martini.” The bartender says, “You’ll have to wait ten minutes to order.” The parrot says, “Ten minutes? I’ve got to wait ten minutes to order a martini,” and flies away.

A parrot walks into a bar and asks, “Have you seen my brother?” The bartender says, “No, but I think I heard him saying something about a bar.”

A parrot walks into a bar, sits down, and says, “Gimme a beer.” The bartender says, “We don’t serve beer to parrots.” The parrot says, “Why the fuck not?” The bartender says, “Because you look like a parrot.” The parrot says, “And you look like a fucking bartender.”

A parrot walks into a bar and says “Do you have any peanuts?” The bartender says, “No.” The parrot says, “Do you have any crackers?” The bartender says, “No.” The parrot says, “Do you have any money?” The bartender says, “Yes.” The parrot says, “Good, give me a beer.”

A parrot walks into a bar and says, “I’ll have a beer, and a mop.” The bartender says, “You’ve got to be kidding. You can’t have a beer, and a mop.” The parrot says, “I’m not kidding. I really want a beer and a mop.” The bartender says, “Well, I’ll have to mop the floor before I can give you a beer.” The parrot says, “I’ll have a beer, and a mop.”


An elephant walks into a bar

and says, “Can I have a beer?”

The bartender says, “No, you’re an elephant .”

The elephant says, “I’m so thirsty.”

The bartender says, “You’re an elephant, eat some grass.”

The elephant says, “How about a cigarette?”

The bartender says, “No, you’re an elephant.”

The elephant says, “I’m so stressed out.”

The bartender says, “You’re an elephant, go home and take a shower.”

The elephant says, “Can I at least stand on the bar?”

The bartender says, “No, you’re an elephant.”

The elephant says, “I’m going crazy, I’m going nuts. I feel like a tiny mouse.”

The bartender says, “You’re an elephant.”

The elephant says, “I’m leaving.”

The bartender says, “You’re right. I’ll call you a taxi.”

This is a true and funny story, and I can’t help but wonder how many times the elephant was told “you’re an elephant” before he finally left.

Elephants are magnificent creatures


The Writer for the Stranger

He wore his own design. He told me about how many crystals he went through before he found one that was just the right hue. One time, I saw him on a train. He had his chain draped around his neck like a cape. He seemed to be taking mental notes on other riders. I asked him what he was going to write about me in his column, and he said he wasn’t sure. “I just want to put you in my album,” he said.

He told me that he admired “Bling Bling” because it was honest. He told me that I was “perfect.” At one point, I told him that I had written about him for the Stranger. He said that it wasn’t “too bad.” I asked him what my review was like, and he said, “Fine, actually.” Then he laughed.

The next time I saw him, it was at the same comic-book store. He came down the stairs with an expression of genuine surprise on his face. “You’re still here,” he said. I said I was working, but that I would be free after four. “Wow,” he said. “We’ll get together soon.”

“It’s not a date,” I said.

“I know. I know,” he said. “But we should make it one. Let’s have a movie. What’s your favorite movie?”

“That’s a great idea.”

“Me too.” He paused. “But a pizza first.”

I looked around. I saw a pizza place, and I said I was going to get one. We walked outside.

“Tell me one thing about yourself,” he said.


“When was the last time you had sex?”

“Um … I don’t know.” I thought about it. “When I was in ninth grade,” I said. “At a sleepover.”

“You’re kidding,” he said.

“No, I’m not.”

“Was it with a boy or a girl?”

“A girl. Or a boy. Both.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m not. I had oral sex.”


“I’m not kidding.”

“Really?” He paused. “When was the last time you had it?”

“Oh, when my boyfriend and I broke up. In April.”

“That’s terrible.”

“I know.”

“My condolences.”

“Thank you.”

He nodded his head. “I’m going to write about you.”

That wasn’t true, but I decided to make the whole thing up.

“When did you start dating Brian?” I said. “I’ve known Brian for a really long time. Since ninth grade.”

He did. “I’m going to write about you,” he said.

I told him that I was going to get some water and that I’d be right back. I got some water and then came back.

“What are you doing?” he said.

“I thought I’d wait outside.”

“No,” he said. “Come inside.”

I went inside. I sat down on the couch. He came over to me and sat down.

“Well, we can’t do the movie,” he said. “We need to make up a date for you to be my girlfriend.”

“What? You mean the one where we just make it up?”

“Yes, the one where we make it up. Are you ready?”

I put my hand on his leg.

“My girlfriend. You’re my girlfriend.”

“But I told you that we couldn’t make it up.”

“That’s my problem, not yours. You said we should make it up. And I’m going to. So, no. No boyfriend.”

I left.

I walked out of the store and down the street. It was 10 p.m. I walked and walked until my legs felt like they had been sliced with a knife. I got on a bus and went home. I opened my phone and there were pictures of him. He was sitting on a bench with his head on his hand, a dog lying beside him.

“If I don’t see you again,” he said to me, “I’m going to blame you.”

I never saw him again. I don’t know if he used the words girlfriend or girlfriend-boyfriend or boyfriend-girlfriend to anyone else. But that’s what I was to him. I was a girlfriend, and it had been a long time.


What He Really Wanted

What he really wanted, really and desperately, were the Things of life. The camera obscura of DeQuincey, out of which dreams were projected, did not interest him. But Things! Things of people, of places, of objects, of old and new bodies and spirits that were not human, of great things that lived before human beings were—oh, of those smelly crudities that he loathed to encounter in the street.

“What do I want!” he said, triumphantly. “I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I will not ruin or change or coerce or go against nature, which is good!”

In this, one could say, he was wanting want. The self sufficed. But there was something more to it. He wanted things, because they were what he needed, what was necessary. They were the raw material of his imagination. What he wanted were, in a sense, images that he had seen. Images of people and things, that had been cast in the moving image factory of his mind.

“I have even been dreaming of things I have never seen,” DeQuincey once said, “of things I have never heard of, or seen, or smelt, or tasted, or touched, or heard.”

What he had not seen and heard and smelled and tasted were things that could not be seen and heard and tasted and touched—things which were not the true Things of this world, not the Things of this moment, things which had some rough black fabric or thin and fragile pearl, some slight organic curve and knuckle, some curling fin or bony ridged pectoral, or even the iridescent glass color of an egg.

He did not know the color of love. He knew that he could not make himself love without the Things he needed, without the distillations and alien materials that could do this. He had been trying them all out on people and things, since he was small enough to taste and touch.

What he could not make were things like love, or the least strange or delicate wisps of human memory, like women’s hair or something that might be a fragment of human speech. He knew that he could not make a dead body talk to him. He could not make a limb grow. He could not make a heart beat.

In a book he had read long ago, of a Russian traveler’s journey to Constantinople, the author had described Constantinople as “a great brain,” a thought balloon into which all the strange and sad and absurd things of the world, a great whole, “had been forced,” and there still remained “a tight, aching sack full of memories of all the ways in which the infinite has ever been.”

It would seem a contradiction, in not needing things, to need them all the more, in not needing dreams, to create one’s own. But this had always been his experience: no matter how distant the object or feeling, his mind was the magnet and the barometer that guided him to it.

All of this he saw and felt. He saw through the bright, clear lens of the device into the box of colors that was his head and then he would fall into another fugue of passion. This momentary condition could easily turn itself into an obsession, as happened with DeQuincey. The Madness would lie in wait for him, or there was a meeting of desires that had to be addressed immediately, before he forgot all about it.

Sometimes, when his control was beginning to falter, his senses beginning to loosen their hold, his memory begin to wander, his sense of proportion begin to flag, it would just come, out of the blue, that feeling of being absolutely alive. That breathless, blood-rush sensation of being alive. He did not feel sick or tired. He felt as if he had been running along, up in the mountains, and had paused to rest. Then, as suddenly as that feeling had come on him, it was gone, gone like someone having read a great battle off a map, or seeing a movie about that battle. Then he would feel sad. And like something had been lost, something stolen from him.

“What was that I saw? What was that I felt? Who am I?” he would ask himself, that long, long time after. And what came back was not the image of any particular thing. It was the shabby, coarse smell of something, a smell that he could not really place. It might have been a cigarette butt. It might have been blood on the sidewalk. It might have been unripe plum in a child’s hand.

He would ask himself those questions, again and again, until he knew that he must not trust his thoughts. They were going in circles, like the ships of Descartes’ mind, full of about as much truth as a Dicken’s war novel, full of little, easily predictable rips and splits in the layers of awareness. He tried to focus. He tried to concentrate on his physical senses. He tried to locate his voice within his own brain. But nothing seemed to come. He made himself laugh. He made himself walk down the street, singing to himself. Nothing came of it. He tried to ignore it, and pretended he was not there, even though it felt more and more as if he had become something more than a human.

At times, he would awaken, several days or weeks later, in a cold sweat, totally confused, shivering with terror. But he was not trying to escape from reality. In fact, he now felt that he was in danger of losing himself.

He did not want to love, or be loved, or dream of women. He did not want to make someone who would always remind him of his mind.

He did not want to make this thing that ran inside his body.

He was not a physical being.

All the same,

he did not want to die. For many of his patients, that was the way out, the way back. He was no exception. He did not want to lose his experience of life. “What would be the point of living if I could not experience it, live it, enjoy it?” he asked himself. “What if all I had left to keep me in this world was this alien horror that robbed me of my ability to laugh?”

But while these inquiries ran through his mind, a physical illness crept into his system, a sickness of the heart, of the soul. He became inexplicably depressed.

“Why can’t I be myself?” he asked himself. “Is this what it means to live—to be someone else?”

And then he began to dream. Dreams that were of no particular significance, no particular place, and so in many ways perfect, with no particular significance, of that type that we never know what they mean, and yet we dream of them anyway, as if in some way they are our deepest thoughts,
our deepest feelings.

Just before he woke up, he could feel a strange sensation at his feet. The feeling was pain.

“What is this?” he asked himself, in a perfectly calm, perfectly normal voice.

But the voice that came back to him was not his own. It was a voice that did not belong to anyone living or dead.

“Yes,” it said.

“Is that really what it is?” he asked, and the voice repeated, “Yes.”

He woke up to a dull headache, the kind you get on Sundays, after you spend too much time with your family on Saturday.

And that, of course, was when he finally began to see his drawings, and listen to his own voice.


Author’s Note: These texts were generated from a pre-ChatGPT AI text generator in 2021.



JOE MILUTIS is a writer and artist who teaches for the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Washington-Bothell. He is the author of various books, parabooks and expanded essays, including most recently a translation and commentary of Roland Barthes’ largely forgotten, posthumous art book all except you (punctum, 2023).

Gabriel Coffman


GABRIEL COFFMAN is a PhD Candidate in the University at Buffalo and has been a reader/screener for Fiction Collective 2, Subito Press, and Timber Journal. His work can be found in: Softblow, Yalobusha, Psychopomp, Gone Lawn, Red Ogre, Dream Pop, and elsewhere.