By Natalie Eilbert
Natalie Eilbert is the author of Indictus, winner of Noemi Press’s 2016 Poetry Press’s 2016 Poetry Contest, slated for publication in late 2017, as well as the debut poetry collection Swan Feast (Bloof Books, 2015). She is the recipient of the 2016 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is serving a one-year academic appointment. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.
“He motions” “the women” “to resume their work.”
—Alice Notley, from Descent of Alette
I’ve forgotten how to live. A new release
of Blair Witch Project
reminds me. Smoke pours from a window, night a green
mouth. I spoon berries under my tongue, miss
the private faith in restriction. Cops kill a black man,
his wife yells, “Call the police.” A slip. Corrects. From a screen,
I watch, smoke pours from a window, night a green
mouth. My brothers have turned libertarian all of a sudden,
all night bleed my mind through a screen, what
are your policies, what are your policies, what are.
What doesn’t appear in the news, the cops in their
cars rolling up to black neighborhoods, womp of the sirens.
Authorities who wait for a reason to shoot is a crime that should
air twenty-four seven. This is not in the news.
I watch in real time
a car back up into a building. I remain safe. I’ve forgotten how
to live. I’m gifted garden tomatoes, a zucchini.
Lay with Notley in bed, know I am not
disrupting a void. The divine question of love,
when love ends we are forced to begin. Begin and cease———
In a sitcom from the early aughts, a white woman says
Rosa Parks was protesting buses. Buses.
No use in feeling. The original Blair Witch
played at my house as drug-addled bodies
squirmed the floor. And in the midst of watching, He lept
over the couch onto my body, pressed Himself in
until I kissed back. The tongue already stained, who cares
why not ok ok. The word blare.
His body will not be on television, what he did
never. Belief the quickening sky out car windows.
At Michael’s we chose flowers
to plant along the walkway.
The rictus of
snapdragons screamed open
a squeezing of jaws. I’d pinch one over and over until
dark with disuse. Move to the next like a
soft brutal bee. Snapdragon, a life in whose name
action has already been done to image. The walkway
lined, their shiver of
being there, the screen door’s medieval thwack.
I walk sure to my door with a key, my pulse, my
doggybag. What is the wind what is the blaring
mind that makes each morning shatter into appearance,
the men I have ripped from the IV drip, for whom thirst was once
thorax deep, a sharp asiago souring absolution
into memory, the ways I wake up forgetting. And how
to live I must snap the measuring rule over my knee,
release narrative into the dust of story. Night a green mouth,
some future tyrant thus a woman is born, the vowels
blare out so only the words are left.
When will I take pride in nostalgia, that time I hyperventilated
my first Halloween on the streets without adults, my peers
mocking me despite I uh not in trust of others, not one with
my peers, I uh incident over event, event of incident, the cold membrane
of night holding my skin as if, as if. Over wine, S
says how important touch is to the psyche, the hand I
uh not I hand not phantom hand, a glitch in the machine
of childhood when and when and when, eek, eek, eek.
That time in which we spotted the truck driver jerking
behind the wheel, a gray look in his eye on us, we twelve or
thirteen in dignity. When the world appears
to think hard, goes quiet, leaves as if to receive the
blessings of another kingdom as the jerks, pink faulty skin, the down-
bunched lap, staring, staring.
The mythopoetic experiment for women,
to become subterranean, to see power as a tyrant,
to know it is true that one must resume their work, eyes
burned out and turned inward and extending as a bat’s sense of life.
It is unclear whether he was armed, uh huh, uh
huh, a poetry must be trapped below, broken neck of sparrow below,
the archaic below, below the pow-pow, the split snake,
a poetry must go further in the odyssey to be itself,
the culture a bumper sticker, easy to slap on, difficult
to remove, better to resume with conjecture, delicate epiphany,
spider bites puncturing my calf, insignificant stigmata
required of earthlings to survive. See how quickly I descend,
as if snapped into a hole by touch, the beauty
terrible in its lesson of continuation. I lay a crow feather down
on a book in lyric gesture. Book or weapon
is now a question, as is a demand
to stay “objective”—
objective as the stabled horse, the breath kicking
out. The purest image of death is the indifferent body,
is that what you mean when you say you must stay even
My anger is part of an anthem
part of the aromatherapy aisle, it softens the back, aims to relax
muscle spasm, wrinkle, green beneath the eye.
The window on fire not the window no what’s inside
the window is a passage through which smoke
pours. I am easily stunned by its generosity, lets me see
inside the house, the kitchen, the woman
sipping water emptily. I am able to see a window
not a window, the place it fails to protect.
Am I a window
is my very nature
glass outlet eyes hovering at my rim as I mistake
sight for hunger am I a window that lets and lets and lets
by my very nature
Is it like the time we spoke about whether all matter
is either a wall or a door
and the method of making one the same
as the other, what did we
conclude about this, what made
a thing more like wood and hinge and door what
made us a wall.
Couldn’t I didn’t I
try to slip deeper in the house couldn’t I didn’t I
make us safe.
When a revolution is made, people suddenly find themselves in a changed state — of mind and of nation. The ordinary rules are suspended, and people become engaged with each other in new ways, and develop a new sense of power and possibility. People behave with generosity and altruism; they find they can govern themselves; and, in many ways, the government simply ceases to exist. A few days into the Egyptian revolution, Ben Wedeman, CNN’s senior correspondent in Cairo, was asked why things had calmed down in the Egyptian capital. He responded: “[T]hings have calmed down because there is no government here,” pointing out that security forces had simply disappeared from the streets.
—from Rebecca Solnit’s “The Butterfly and the Boiling Point”
S asks about local grassroots organizations
to protest the shootings of unarmed black men,
Things have calmed down because there’s no
I drank my hemp shake felt the phantom
strength of complete amino chains, my bones
strong, hair strong, fair-trade lavender blooming
my checkings into a lyric without vowels, what do we
do to help, call your local representatives, massage shampoo
into each other’s temples, believe in the work
of the system, ye shall receive a $3 off coupon
that’s right a reduction in overprice for plant-based women
multivitamin. I feel better already!
$13.99 hemp protein from the co-op,
your hair shining green like the moon
if at once the moon knew language and then forgot,
my hair lit by aphasia of
Earlier this week, police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C., sparking days of protests and conflicting accounts of the moment that led to his death. Amid the demonstrations, one chant in particular rippled through the crowds: “Release the tapes.”
Now, Charlotte police have done just that.
—NPR, “Amid Mounting Pressure, Charlotte Police Release Video Of Shooting,” Sept. 24, 2016
What about the dashcam it took days and days
to agree on its release.
Is there technology to confirm no doctoring—of course—
is that a technology they are using
and is there a technology we can use to confirm they are using the technology.
Locally made tofu, locally grown produce, I believe
I believe in the hands of labor
only insofar as I believe in the brands
who shield the labor, replace with trade, a millennial typeface, I uh lord
how language works to diminish us as we diminish.
It happened that I quoted
The Perks of Being a Wallflower to my therapist
the summit of anguish comes with a jester
as Lear would have it
why I think I am only ever funny
and then raged
I remember the light of the library
after I fell asleep
gently with hunger the green
ache of its purpose, little engine’s humming
my sickness into story,
how the sun catches in the leaves so my white tongue
pushes my teeth to either side
to lick my fictions
the curious singing of passersby
a book folded into a lap
how soon I encounter the rot of visibility
a part over another part over another
a bridge stands as a trajectory, an idea
in the gloaming, a land never aware of the separation
of itself, the earth grown and
flattened complicit to order, as if we might avoid
earth promises, promises.
Major League Baseball lost one of its best pitchers this weekend when a boat carrying Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins struck a pile of rocks and capsized, killing him and two other men aboard.
A Coast Guard crew discovered the crash early Sunday. Fernandez, 24, and the others almost certainly died on impact, the authorities said.
—The New York Times, “Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Is Killed in a Boating Accident,” Sept. 25, 2016
I wake up, the phone blips, feeds
me the sense of a capsized midnight boat.
In my peripheral
arms brachiate down the balcony.
I am afraid of such words, so
specific an action, the form of action.
I sip water from the bowl of my palms, sip
again and again over the sink, force up
the chips. Imagine the body as a sac
I commit to empty.
I was introduced to saddlebag
thighs by an aunt who desired surgery
and did not get surgery. Turkey arms. Cottage cheese ass.
the imagination of the body
terribly ached with human form until it became human form.
around my abs as I explain livejournal
to a thirty-six-year old man in
a rocking chair. More gifts of zucchini, three jalapenos.
I dream that I reach across the bed
and kiss you with certifiable heat. Warm, clean heat. You kiss
back, the perfect swell of tongues
to melt away agendas, one finger gorgeously crooked
inside, heat and no fear of the heat until
I remember this is not our way. Cold skin of yogurt,
probiotic bodies alone in our positions, no gel
to make of ourselves, no mealy viscous of what?, just
memory respecting nothing.
Mild hangover, I drink a hemp shake, pop a multivitamin,
plunge coffee through my ritual,
the soft paws of joggers on the path in earnest
a line of their bodies taut and neutered,
the snapping strength, a body
always in the midst of verb, becoming all verb,
how I love where I might go, soft paws
on the path, incomprehensible buzzing, the prank
of life buried in the prank of death. New albums
by Ty Dolla Sign, Mick
Jenkins, T.I. up on Tidal. Tying my laces, about
to head out.
Demonstrators have taken to the streets for nearly a week, after police shot and
killed Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Police say Scott had a gun; his family says he was unarmed.
The first two nights of unrest resulted in property damage, injuries and a temporary interstate shutdown. One protester was shot Wednesday night and later died; a civilian has been arrested in connection to that shooting.
. . .
On Saturday, officials released two police videos, showing Scott walking backward with his hands at his side when he was shot. Police Chief Kerr Putney said the delay in releasing the videos was meant to protect the integrity of the investigation.
. . .
Protests on Saturday and Sunday continued to be peaceful.
—NPR, “Curfew Lifted in Charlotte After Several Days of Peaceful Protest,” Sept. 26, 2016
I choose to be reasonable
about future opportunities—I flew through
applications, invisible pen
scrawling my artistic vision into self-
actualized event. The dreams move from intercourse
to a dog shagged and sloughing
its skin, the dragon mouth piercing out,
where did we first depict
dragons, the sad reptilian escape
flight a kind of insidious wake, oblivious scales, oh
the skull that hides the mind, the rice
has boiled over, starchy foam
bubbles forth the way I attempt to guide my hunger,
I can train it, I can.
As the mind sloughs off the shaggy fur
in being seen, I have become important only
as I have become necessary
and I run and run
as Black America is killed as I rage
and donate and watch and read and reap the benefits
of white supremacy.
Officials are worried about
protesters disrupting fans of the game.
White Charlotte residents mark themselves
A 20-year-old man was taken into custody on Saturday night in connection with a shooting that killed five people on Friday at a mall north of Seattle, the authorities said.
—The New York Times, “Man, 20, in Custody After Fatal Shooting of 5 People at Mall Outside Seattle,” Sept. 24, 2016
The poem itself creates its
environment, says Claudia.
I’m compressing my life into deadlines
I’m flying I’m falling through my deadlines.
Attempting to be reasonable
I take on freelance jobs, lance the blisters building
on my toes, pour
hydrogen peroxide over the loose skin, the distinct
sense of liquid spreading layers of self, the self
buckling to be more than itself, to show
that in splitting, it can be newer than
the green of leaves
the relief of unthinkable
needs, the white skin made whiter
through breaking apart.
My friend’s mother so sick
from chemo she could only crawl across
the floor, from one dog
to the other, and each
sat in their seat of bones, waiting.
Never have I been in a weather
most like my moods. Torrential
downpours for only a few minutes followed by
sunshine and distant rupture. A rainbow
arching somewhere, senseless gift of light. I have no
right to it, only the lies that
snap a prism into example. Lightning without
rain, like the smart of a slap without
a hand. Thunder rumbles for hours.
Five p.m. on a weekday is the worst
time to contact friends about your panic.
The weather is unseasonal and I reach
for comfort, my rings bounce off the water
as a duck in her heft to escape the burning
I don’t trust poets who desire
timelessness from their work, as if
work itself in terms and conditions
weren’t fixed in time.
Trust is not the right word.
Bear the validity of.
My students are beginning to argue
this notion. They do or do not
credit the virtues of product
placement in the poem.
I ask a student I mentor if the phone
in her poems I ask another student
why he believes he can mention Jell-O
but another student can’t say Pikachu.
I ask if it is better to pretend
their MacBook Pros didn’t factor
into the production of their poems.
I ask if they are comfortable with erasing labor
that contributes to industry. If better to elect
an alternate narrative in which
story is a pneumatic hiss in the
of intellectualism. I select
a line, CNTRL+X, scroll, CNTRL+V.
It is a movement I think nothing of.
Programmers are brilliant when they make function
invisible, no need for gestures, the pageantry
of technology. This does not
make me a good teacher.
I pass the bar I always see my former
roommate in, slumped alone
in anguish. I broke lease.
I cross the street. I do not see her.
Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy.
—The New York Times, Nov. 9, 2016
It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to love and our reasons for acting. (C’est dans la connaissance des conditions authentiques de notre vie qu’il nous faut puiser la force de vivre et des raisons d’agir.)
—Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity, 1947
Communication occurs despite itself.
I bite into an apple, pull
of a dead language from my teeth.
My name means Olive in Yiddish
and it means it despite my not adequately
confirming. We are originless.
Ancestry dot com fed me
only five choices. Olive is my name,
I chew its brine,
the olive a soft gland,
an eyeball I keep sucking
Look how I have thirsted for my inelegance
in the age of the autocrat.
This weekend, a salt rim,
the drive in which we saw signs—
“He motions” “the women” “to resume their work.”
glides along, orange dander colliding
with the brutality of naming
what we are.
Rust sprinkles in the long grass
and I loop its belt around and
around my waist.
I have nothing to say to you, America.
Wear your safety pins. Register safely.
We have failed us.
Time unspools a thread on fascism
into a fascist thread—
under FBI surveillance
R says reluctant complicity
in a gchat window—
In the collective
memory of oppression
diverse tactics must be brought
to bear if we are to bear
this. You must remember.
My name means olive
in an exterminated language.
I drag the box of drafts along
grain letters locks,
has been picked.
This is one of the smartest essays I’ve read about fascism in America, what we’re up against. The grief I feel, the haze and disorientation in the punch, that this was written pre-election, warrants a bolster to Malcolm’s warnings. There are too many good quotes. As a sidenote, I thought Green Room was the most terrifying movie I have ever seen, so am glad this articulated why that is. Here’s one quote—but please, read the whole thing:
“The beast can skulk in the basement for decades, feeding off the contradictions at the foundation of the pluralist state and its own waste. This is 2016 and we can’t claim that fascism is a birth pang of the global democratic order, an enemy defeated. (Ghosts, zombies, the terminator: monsters so rarely go away when they’re supposed to.) Fascism seems inextricably tied to what we have, like Dorian Gray’s portrait locked in a closet, consolidating ugliness”
—Malcolm Harris, Sept. 21, 2016, re-posted on Facebook by Natalie Eilbert, Nov. 19, 2016
Over drinks, C shares a snippet from the Q&A portion of a Pussy Riot performance in Madison on November 17, 2016. Six years prior, before members of the band were imprisoned for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sent to the Gulags, performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky hammered his scrotum to the ground of the Red Square to protest police brutality. I winced to remember the act. Now he might face twenty years in prison. Twenty years in Russian prison—labor camps still in Siberia—is a sentence—no human can survive. C asks what the skin between the testicles is called, the part blurred between distant scar and seam, where the nail drove through. Scrotum? No. Not scrotum. The waiter serves me my rioja as I’m mid-zoom on the anatomical map. Spermatic cord, vas deferens, tunica vaginalis. We are laughing but I find the illustration beautiful, imagine an oyster underwater split open, pink fanning flesh before it becomes another animal’s meat. A man split open in protest: “I saw the machine from the inside, the enormous police clot.” And there it is: Raphe. The seamlike union of the two lateral halves of a part or organ (as the tongue) having externally a ridge or furrow; the median line or slit of the valve of certain diatoms (MW). From Latin, it means “seam, suture.”
I only call one person and it has been many days.
Personal reasons I will not get into.
How can one enter into reason, as in
I will not get into it. Answer:) The will.
As in a fish inventing underwater life
as underwater life invents it.
And so one cannot refuse to exist in the space
of speaking by not speaking. To utter—
and to not—an ocean spills from the mouth
simply to boast that which we cannot bear.
It happens no matter what.
Eric Tucker, a 35-year-old co-founder of a marketing company in Austin, Tex., had just about 40 Twitter followers. But his recent tweet about paid protesters being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Donald J. Trump fueled a nationwide conspiracy theory — one that Mr. Trump joined in promoting.
Mr. Tucker’s post was shared at least 16,000 times on Twitter and more than 350,000 times on Facebook. The problem is that Mr. Tucker got it wrong. There were no such buses packed with paid protesters.
But that didn’t matter.
—The New York Times, “How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study,” Nov. 20, 2016
I suppose I could get into it since you didn’t ask—
Consider the face of a mother—
The green it bleeds—
Mother tongue taught me to fib—
To turn so far away—
My cheek a horizon—
In the gloaming—
My heart is broken in a way—
I can’t discern—
Its broken state—
Take the Pyrex bowl that shattered—
To dust when it fell—
From the top of the fridge—
I could not fathom—
How soon a shape could be a—
Wore sandals in the kitchen—
For only a day—
Glass so fine—
The blood I trailed—
Led to no detectable pain—
My bare foot raked—
As I put on a sock—
Isn’t life stupid—
A clean red line—
That finally hurt—
On skin too soft to bear—
That kind of broken—
It Costs New York City Taxpayers $1 Million a Day to Protect Tax Dodger Donald Trump.
—Alternet.org headline, Nov. 22, 2016
Open the google doc called The Lake.
Close the google doc called The Lake.
There may not be a fight to
feels challenged by the terrible
whites who wish me
Do not look up the word Juden.
Do not look up the word Juden.
Do not look up the word Juden.
My name means Olive
in an exterminated———
Take the landscape on my tongue
a sleeping pill
a rolling hill
a failing bill
The only way
I feel beautiful
a click a post an icon floating
in the drain.
I miss every touch as if I miss nothing—
How much can one person
miss a sensation.
Each morning a wake cracked,
a glass tempering
lines into a crash outcome.
A love inside me
for a long time.
The arteries of my throat
thick slack cables
I always do this.
Mostly language is the implication of violence.
The hospice billboard: I wouldn’t do it any other way.
The rape crisis billboard: We believe you.
Zero percent finance.
Uncle C raised a rifle to a gray disc.
He would not see the year out.
There was power in the accuracy of a trigger.
There was power in the inaccuracy of a country.
NODAPL Teach-in Livestream at the New School.
His roommate found him.
He took his own life.
Asleep, I hear a voice tell me how
I’ve made him suffer. Five years
of irredeemable behavior, she tells me.
There is nothing to heal our lies.
I wake the next day, a bone hardened
in my throat. I order a breakfast I do not
eat. I am not inconsolable. The coffee
goes down smooth. I draw a self-portrait, remember
the contour self-portrait I showed my father,
the green and purple shades I presented
as if to say I understood
all faces endure a certain bruise in order to live,
and I was proud. It won an award,
hung a month at the local bank. And my father held it
under his nose a long time, told me simply
You don’t give yourself enough credit, and I knew
he meant my beauty. In the night, I drew
a new self-portrait, fifteen years later, and note the
lines of failure from my failed unpracticed art, faultlines
of my miscalculations, the
distinct pleasure in unfamiliarity.
And yes, it matters if I’m beautiful, the way it matters
to the snowfall that the ground is cold enough
to receive it. To be beautiful and alone,
I never imagine the importance of loss
until the soft cracks along my eyes,
the delicate manner of wrapping my arm
around my own waist in sleep, to dream
of my enemies who whisper into my clean pretty ear
their cruel exacting judgment.
The certain bruise in order to live.
At the mall, I checked price tags on winter jackets. I checked price tags on eyeliner. On mascara.
I went to the restroom twice, hovered over the toilet the first time, sat the second. Imagined
being held around the hips—with regret. I left the mall to check more prices at Kohl’s, at REI.
Wind licked my torso, the cold which, like all things, easily passed through knitted space. Bagless I
returned to Sephora for the eyeliner and mascara, which earned me a Beauty Insider Card. I turned
down chicken teriyaki and general tso chicken samples. Had my eyebrows and lip done. They
asked if I knew about their referral system. No, I did not know about their referral system, but if I had to
guess. I found my new car, a Subaru Legacy, I know, and drove home. I practiced YouTube yoga,
washed my face, applied new eyeliner, texted a man, returned to my car, ate lasagna. Did not
text a man. French electronica plays. My first college boyfriend gave me a burned CD of M83 and I
played it as I left my high school boyfriend on the curb in a different car when I told him
it was over. I wish to tell him the future curbs on which I stood, crushed and flickering like a storm on
adderall. The photo tag shows me from an undesirable angle. Snow will fall tomorrow
morning, one hundred percent chance. Nobody desires me. Still, snow plans to fall.
The Oakland Fire Department said it fears the news is very grim: that as many as 40 people were burned in the two-story structure that housed artists’ studios and stored so many things that the housing department had notified property owners of violations for trash and debris.
—”Oakland fire kills at least 9 at warehouse party, fire chief says,” CNN.com, December 2, 2016
The death toll in Oakland has risen
overnight to 24, from 9. I dream
malicious thoughts, night a green
mouth, wake to snow on the ground.
Isn’t this a kind of memorization, the
track blurs in increments of white, scentless
compartmentalizing until elm looks like
pole looks like the significance of building
up, the tree I backed into, the stop so sudden
my molars ached on impact, almost sweet,
senseless dictation as I drive and speak
into my phone why I’ve never healed,
the forked pitch of winter here
that makes absolution whimsical.
My housing is no longer a crisis, is good,
have never lived in a collective, any
loft in Bushwick. I had a guarantor up
until a few years ago. When D said I was rich
saliva tightened into pinched honey,
but I knew what he meant. At this time
I have help when I need it. When a loved one
dies I’ll have more help when I need it.
My therapist corrects me when I say
the word deserve. She suggests I replace
with the word need. I self flagellate,
wake with a raw throat “under the weather.”
The 1997 fire destroyed everything but us
and we reaped the insurance costs because
it was an issue of utility. Everything we owed
was appraised except the deceased pets.
I do not know if their lives factored any way
into the claims. The trauma for me wasn’t
the house fire but that I had to wait for it
to burn down in The Neighbor’s home, gripped
with panic whether He would be there, waiting.
My fear so acute in the backroom I scoff now
when friends call the fire a trauma. It wasn’t.
It was a fire. Trauma is a single precise name.
I say it over and over.
The world may be ending but at least
I finally have decent pillows. It would
make sense that now is when I cannot sleep.
How long can I be a wall around my green property,
says Plath. I imagine my head sinking
past neck past material.
I sprinted from bed and gazed at nascent lines
etching my face into a draft.
In my mind alone, I walk to the edge of a curb
in the evening, let the damn wind of passing plows
part my hair, the useless gait of my body.
My cotton swab comes away with blood:
As a child, my nosebleeds challenged
the question of blood capacity, drops
at first like a kitten softly menstruating
in the snow. Wet warmth spread
across my upper lip, the pleasure I took in
horror. You can’t know the relief when
in the years that followed my hymen
broke and I wiped myself clean in the snow.
I thought it meant safety for the girl who lay
supine three years prior in adult shadows,
the blood like time a flag to wave
the body’s involuntary permissions.
I would die for language as language dies in blood,
a loss, a loss, a loss. C who said to me
you’re a virgin until you bleed, and who was I
to question such human law. Do you get it?
This is what we do: become auxiliary enough
to be removed. Blood on the Pontiac rings true
like my love for the word buckskin, a word
shaped in my mind like a palindrome without
the promise of form. Last night I could not sleep.
I dreamt in shallow passage about the ex who
on his knees begged in the dark to strip and take me.
And it felt like supplication, the saint’s wantless work,
to heed the man towards heaven, towards heaven.
And it is evening again, it seems it is always evening. It seems that the night can be a coat, a bathtub, the right amount of furnace, still be wrong, shattered, a tremendous light crowded by the stupidity of darkness. I’m struggling with the last vibration, Clarice Lispector wrote, she who let it be known died today in 1977. I’m growing with the day that as it grows kills in me a certain vague hope and forces me to look the hard sun straight in the face. Let it be known. I thought I might fail with purpose today. It seems I am in service only to that purpose, the proximal failure of daybreak to do what it is we believe possible. Here I am, I and the cave, in the very time that will rot us. What is it about the day that we believe possible. What is it about the blue water that keeps us believing.
Then I live the blue daybreak that comes with its bulge full of little birds—I wonder if I’m giving you an idea of what a person goes through in life. And every thing that occurs to me I note to pin it down. .
One of my strengths is being manipulated.
The temperature difference is 20 degrees.
The assassination came after days of protests by Turks angry over Russia’s support for Syria’s government in the conflict and the Russian role in the killings and destruction in Aleppo, the northern Syrian city.
The Russian envoy was shot from behind and immediately fell to the floor while speaking at an exhibition of photographs, according to multiple accounts from the scene, the Contemporary Arts Center in the Cankaya area of Ankara.
The gunman, wearing a dark suit and tie, was seen in video footage of the assault waving a pistol and shouting in Arabic: “God is great! Those who pledged allegiance to Muhammad for jihad. God is great!”
Then he switched to Turkish and shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria! Step back! Step back! Only death can take me from here.”
— “Russian Ambassador to Turkey Is Assassinated in Ankara,” The New York Times, December 19, 2017
What I wanted most was to communicate a glitch.
A glitch in production. A glitch in design. To be a
woman is to be a glitch. On December 9, 2016,
I journaled “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a
position in which I couldn’t fall back on a man
to absorb the blow.” The history of the word glitch
is a disappointing history. It came from German,
directed by radio and television slips, glitschen.
It has only ever served utilitarian need, but it is
a young word, chic to be neutered of function
in favor of the theoretical. I have become entirely
theoretical because I’ve never been sad like this.
The mind leaves the crumpled body, travels far
enough to hear the howls of the body as an issue
from any animal. Sounds graft to a logical fallacy
that to endure we must survive, to survive we must
endure. I don’t believe so. To endure seems mythological,
that such an achievement leads to anything but a trick
of faith. Atlas holding the world. Golden apples.
A woman alive from the desire of ivory. The glitch
of desire when the mind doesn’t want to survive.
What a poor series of choices we have before us.
The inauguration: Let us take omens from the flight
of birds. Let us take the president’s breakfast and lace it
with tar. Let us take protestors who smash and fire
and incur records. We can be public enemy number
white house. We can feed they livestock. Let talk of
God. Let there be oh there is a blessing in the breeze.
We can tweet the chasm, the blue steam that rises
into the maw of industry. We fly or we do not fly.
We email our representations—representatives.
Let our slips remind us of the ground before us.
If there is wind, let wind be the dispossessed by which
we too let go. Let the question of nature be a separation.
We key they stone. We pipe they line. That there is
a miracle, I do not know it. That there is a carrying card
I will drop it down the sewers to identify myself
with wreckage. The trash it makes us gullible, it says
we are here and here and here. The way a body can
be a smudge, my body is a smudge. The way a body
can volunteer to smudge, such is my body, its para
taxis. There is privilege, say, in self-destruction, which
as S points out is an utterly American consequence.
What is the wind made of? Two temperatures.