Acta Diurna

(sentences from newspapers)

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.

State your business briefly, and then immediately go away.


You might expect to die instantly.  But in fact your fate would be far stranger.


This season, for example: “Blue witches.”


Real stories that deserve to be told, not those superimposed on them over time.


As the skies cleared, the protests became more intense.


A dark tangle of tumbledown brick, concrete, scrap metal and weeds.


Erupting ostrich and pheasant feathers.


In this computer a, b and c are movements of water droplets only microns in diameter.


Being raised by humans isn’t ideal for any animal.


And here the faintest whisper is applauded.


Taken out of context, kissed.


We didn’t let our students walk across campus and lick people unless that was welcome.


It could happen to anyone.


Tile floors, blue-mirrored bar-back, dark wood paneling.


If she disobeyed, they had told her, they’d cut off her hair.


Demonstrators blocked the road.


It would be unreasonable to think that as people we are omitted from that gaze.


Fleet as an eyelid closing shut, heavy as a bag of flour hitting the ground.


A moon that will appear slightly bigger than usual and have a reddish hue.


Morphed into a consumable commodity.


Intermittent explosion disorder.


Bristling raffia and courtly lacings.


It’s quite powerful to be from nowhere.


Cleaning and mopping, shoveling coal.


Bitterling parents impregnate mussels with their young.


Libelli portatiles, portable little books, in hand and mind.


Your microbial cloud is like a floating, invisible fingerprint.


Dark streaks descending along slopes of craters, canyons and mountains.


Two rare talking dolls.


Alone, half nude, self-absorbed, unprepared for prying eyes.


Yes, your sidewalk etiquette could be better.


The grid is magnetized, and its design creates the logical rules of movement.


I’m staying here till I die.


Blurps and squelches on the electronic score.


Stone, I give you my anger and my aggression.


In the crime scene of the future.


Even courts have been dragged into adjudicating on phenomena that nobody can actually see.


The wounded man, who has not been publically identified.


I like to feel like no one is listening.


Chained by the ankle to a tree or concrete block.


With fees that can reach $55,000 to hunt lions, for example.


We’ve heard footsteps at work and not seen anyone there.


A few pushed to their feet and gestured wildly.


Two previously entangled particles, even if separated by the width of the universe, could instantly interact.


The beginner needs a little practice to become perfect on the telephone.


The two spend an hour very enjoyably cutting up Mrs. Robinson.


Each of us inadvertently eats a little dirt everyday.


Fine airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter which can find their way into human lungs.


The story would sound medieval if the details weren’t so modern.


Close the gates, raise the paddles, fill the lock, close the paddles, open the gates, enter the lock, close the gates, raise the paddles.


When to blame the sidewalk.


Victims are held in viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed.


Life gives many opportunities for people to claim expertise they don’t have.


Falling asleep was the point.


It’s much more difficult to fight the war of images and messages.


Thrown to the floor and handcuffed.


The reality is we cannot be everywhere protecting everything from everybody.


If that sounds like a leap, that’s not how the filmmakers make it feel.


The dead 18-year old’s father led a march to a nearby church for a service.


Huge gray plumes of smoke, vast parking lots of charred vehicles, blocks of high-rises with blown out windows.


Hundreds more lined up to donate blood.


Flamboyantly clad in chestnut, chocolate and cream.


Many of the injured were hit by flying glass.


But let’s get back to the fantasy.


Novel ways to do analysis of the chemical signature.


Mathematics related “joy.”


If I hate my new job, I will not fake my own death.


Look down into the microscope’s second eyepiece.


Rising early each morning she walked along a cool red earth path to the human forest.


On average, the boys got up at 9:15 a.m., the girls at 8:54 a.m.


Not that I recommend adulthood.


Think of it as a kind of aura in the shape of an invisible bacterial cluster that forms a halo around our bodies.


Right here on this couch.


The experiment represented an advance in the understanding of a Lilliputian world.


Thrown or dragged down a staircase.


Escaped convicts, bodies, a place to toss drugs.


In a real world setting, where you didn’t have sanitized people sitting in chambers, but more like at desks and in bustling crowds.


A loophole-free Bell test.


Where psychiatry is virtually unknown.


Objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior.


Great opportunities in the right locations on Mars.


We deserve to keep our tips.


Will (mostly) swear off smut.


A group of people broke into a beauty supply store and stole


An unhurried look at an outlandish organism.


A well-worn felon


An event known as a super blood moon.


Lived on Amsterdam Avenue next to the chicken market.


This photo captures America’s relationship with guns.


Don’t expect a carousel ride like any you remember.


Right now, we don’t know anything.


Stop being a freak and just look at your phone.


This will be the second time he has been inside her skull.


The departmental hairshirt.


Just say it aloud, savor the way it slips off your tongue and falls to the floor—


The disclosure that dangerous chemicals were stored less than a mile away from dense residential areas.


A tungsten bulb, a sunset, a couple of hours.


We want to see a safe and sexy dance floor in every strip club in America.


It mimics death yet offers rejuvenation.


Like he was a trampoline.


Nothing is beneath me.


It lasts forever and cannot have begun.


When I finally move out of my parents’ home, I will not take all of their vodka and half their towels.


What if you never had to do this again, but your body responded as if you still did?


Don’t pray for me.


Our voices signify sexual fitness.


A lot of people have claimed this is fake.


Specifically, the molecular process inside your body.


His eyes were open but they weren’t seeing anything.


Dressed only in his underwear, a bandage wrapped around his head, he stared blankly when asked here he was headed.


Let’s call it the aspirational R.S.V.P


I have some theories on why this might be the case, which I will not be sharing.


On a recent visit some glared while others slept or muttered to themselves.


Things which were at best ‘thought experiments’ become possible, then routine.


The unique cocktail of microbiome bacteria.


A printer’s mark, dolphin curled around anchor.


Light helps the body predict the future.


Because no drug could safely deliver 1,000 effects.

Laynie Browne's most recent collections are 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 is a 2014 Pew Fellow.