As presented at #AndNow2015 as part of the Resonances & Repetitions: Poetic Reverie and Space Panel.
How do you imagine sleep in moments of irrepressible synchronicity?
When memories of falling persist and a quiet amnesia of her face settles in, is a failure digging deeply into the hedges of you?
Sleeplessness, synchronicty, what it feels like when the night lingers on the wakeful body, draws upon the limbs, sinews, calves. Neck, nape, pure moonlight
The stillness of your breath and the utter chaos of the night sky outside the window, the echolocation rooted in the pit of your stomach with all other sense. Do you know yourself or do you know just your own fixations? Even the smallest reverberation transforms Every bud and twig and leaf. You remember the night in pigments of blue phytochrome.
I have a fairly baroque writing technique. First, I am drawn to a subject that awakens an exuberance in me. And then I move into that subject as if it were a house, I pace back and forth inside, dwell in its various corners, watch it proliferate cobwebs, try to disassemble its architecture. I research everything about the house, the materials used to make it, who lived there, what the land looked like before the structure, who passed through that space, how was the space transformed by the dreams of those who spent any time there.
Imagine the roads you’ve forgotten or the fields you’ve lost. What do you put in their place? New roads, more fields. Amputated gestures, hollowed
Loopholes in the center of things
Describe what it’s like in the field at night; describe the yellow with the indigo sky. There are people that regard flowers much like humans. There are memories of fields she can map by the bones underneath
And their dust faces, recollections combusting
I take notes, I draw maps that I constantly add to or correct, I seek out any recorded memories, I make new ones on top of them, I go on field trips that consist of climbing in caves, navigating by ancient oak, or unending walking, exploring, getting lost, I try to read the land, I scan the horizon as if I’m a lizard, a cloud, me.
“So long as the human consciousness remains within the hills, canyons, cliffs, and the plants, clouds, and sky, the term landscape, as it has entered the English language, is misleading. “A portion of territory the eye can comprehend in a single view.””1 This favors the eye that gazes, that sweeps across a vista, adding perforated lines at the boundaries, that perceives and surveys, but doesn’t experience or interact, doesn’t vibrate with the wind. This idea that we are separate, alone. “Viewers are as much a part of the landscape as the boulders they stand on.”2 We are in the attic with the stars.
Landscapes are like dreams: they may filter, project, incite or satisfy deep desires, fears, and anxieties; we may have difficulty distinguishing their edges.
I am dreaming the land as it was / might have been / could be…Or I am in revery. Sharing space / sharing breath / sharing mythologies; I see everything as collaboration; I walk the Channel and my walking is a kind of collaboration, The Kizh, the Californios, the Chumash, Conquistadors. The Channel may cut a view of the sky that is similar to one viewed a thousand years ago. I may view native grasses that are descendent seeds to plants once crushed beneath bare feet. Descendant owl, fox, coyote, bird, this could be burden or a longed for connection.
Nullified theories of other apertures
Nullify my apertures
Cast theories of breath, charring, shivers
I try to carve out various wedges of skyline, various perspectives on my surroundings, constantly reframing, wondering how many ways it has been seen or experienced before. I write through, around, and apart from all these assembled things / aspects. And I end up with layers and layers of reverberations, of story and not-story, or really, atmosphere, a hyper 3D environment bursting and spilling over. All of this pure indulgence.
Skin. Pigment. Parchment. Neck. Husk.
The raw material of our skin is the same as luminous parchment: leaf material, elemental compost, autumn detritus.
I’m not sure how to approach writing without first mapping, tracing a multitude of possible trajectories. I may get lost among labyrinthine paths. Serpentine maneuvering, vertebral articulation. This process of mapping out is rhizomatic, exhausting, “spreading towards available spaces or trickling downwards towards new spaces through fissures and gaps, eroding what is in its way.”3
Need locates here, necessity folds itself, settles into your locating, pried, unhinged.
The going is slow. Creating maps, versions of maps, that emerge from a digestion of land and road and water traversed and human activities / memories researched or made in a very particular and horizontal, singular way intimately orchestrated and rooted deeply in one’s experience of them. All cartography is personal.
The four directions, in which you were birthed / born / which birthed the wind, and scattered seeds in the four directions / the 4 legs / the four locations, in which you were found / and the four corners, here, you were born (in me)
I need you / to be without …without presumption. / I need not to / do not gather butterflies
Is this space sacred? Mired in venom and clouds
A river descends through our splitting
All this, in turn leaves an imprint on the body, the imagination. Stephen Hall speaks of Orienting,” a “crashing through the larger landscapes of memory and experience and knowledge, trying to get a fix on where we are in a multitude of landscapes that together compose the grander scheme of things.”4 This hopping back and forth between landscape and time, geography and emotion, knowledge and behavior get absorbed / sunken in / is done with / in the body, too. It creates a shifting—you may no longer recognize your new sediments. An internal mapping may emerge (how do we map bodies of water?) or you may succumb. What will be your compass? This becomes a tectonics of self.
Salvage the sea within, segments of skin:
Sand dollar patterned
To see, waiting, hope
When a person climbs the stairs, it is a lament quiet as water. There is an experience that elicits an utterance, draws it out from deep within the body, where it starts in some non-linguistic region, some illiterate organ in which the resonance begins to warm / ignite, and that, then bubbles up through the body to the mind who it compels to speak.
There is an absence that elicits subtle magnification of exigent breaths
The Black Phoebe is a small bird that looks generally like a cardinal, in that it has a small Sid Vicious crest of plumes on top of its head, but its body is black with white belly and wing tips. The white forms an inverted V in the lower breast. It is always near water. Like me. It is always near me.
When coming across poetic images while we read we may experience an exuberance, says Bachelard, which has the ability to awaken new depths in us, can cause a ripple. We may be transformed in the wake of this image, its reverberations remain even after the image is forgotten.
She Who Thunders
Through a deep ravine, comes across giant ravens who peck out her eyes
She replaces them with poppies
But when awakened by an experience in the world that deepens one, and blurs, disintegrates and asserts, in front of unfathomable absence, the daily realizing of the breadth of this new chamber you’ve been tossed into, that she lives now only in daydreams and bird visits, Everything may become poetry, become connecting, become raw, awaken in the pit of your stomach. Reverberations of this cavern may dull out all other sound.
internal estuaries, spirant siren language
a perceptible expulsion of breath
constellations of syllables
spectral languages, the air an oral palimpsest
I live by the River. The River is beside me. I hold in rivers. I noticed the Phoebes after my mom died. They got my attention through their persistence. I saw them occasionally before that, I heard them. But now they linger. There’s only always one at a time on the walls or wires of my home. It could be the same one. Could be her. On my car. Dipping down into the grass, rising up again. But there’s always one. It’s hard to write about their presence. Their duration.
if love elevates, then intestinal rising, spirant sirens, internal estuary
sounds in the delirious heat
They wait me out. Black Phoebes. They are a fairly busy bird. They’re flycatchers. But the ones close to me have time to spare. They sit with me. Or maybe it is just one that keeps returning. Every day I sit with one for 20 minutes or so until I have to leave. Away from home, they are there too.
Now the presence between us.
Neither laughter nor hate defies your apertures
If once illuminated palms subdued devouring
Which of our human selves rebound?
A rhombus writhing in earthquake tremors
Shifting shapes, from the east
Mired in venom and clouds
A river descends through our splitting
What is hidden, latent? In the land, the water, in the waters of the body?
Is it memory / echoes or is it in the imagination: how we envision / imagine the land?
Is it a mollusk memory, primal remembering of some biological impulse, some jump to flight or fight. Remembering what it means to be human, we forget. Collective amnesia. How are we the only species to forget how to live? To be? Forget how to stretch our skin in the sun, how to react when it rises over the mountains, skyscrapers, when the warmth touches our face and we turn away from it, scowling. How are we so successful at rejecting our natures? Our rhythms / our chronobiology?
There are rocks that resemble people with heads bent forward as if shot.
Why do birds behave this way, bobbing their heads up and down, diving, suicidal, just to pull out of gravity at the last second? I think about my ratio of motion to rest and algorithms I could never calculate on my own. Simultaneity, everything concurrent, déjà vu.
Recover the sight of the first four humans
Recover the corners
Recover the innate skill to map the celestial lights
Carved from her particular tragedies, geographies of regret,
Recover interior terra icognita
Writing can be metempsychosis: translation or transfer, as the soul, from one body to another. Inhabiting other subjectivities; a willingness to be and write someone else; but also a cryptic writing of the self; a ventriloquism; alterity. Shadowed gestures
Lucid elemental rush
Raw, scratched: your hide as palimpsest of my
Sweeping gestures along your threshold
Timbre swelling with memory
In this vascular locating,
marrow, coal and rice, cellar roots, your core, your body bears the burden or you lose rigid parts of yourself.
Image Credit: Echidna, Fleshly. Painting by Laura Vena
1Silko, Leslie M. Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Print.
3Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge (Issue 5). February 28, 2015. ‹http://www.rhizomes.net›
4Stephen Hall, Introduction to You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination. Princeton Architectural Press. October 1, 2003. by Katharine Harmon.