for Alice Sant'Anna
When a thread does run from one end of the rope to the other, which bell are you going to ring?
Excuse me—what he means is, who cares that a platitude be disproven? Rejoice! For they stepped in the same river twice, and it made them have a baby.
And when a plastic tree, far away, really does look bigger than its exact duplicate—which is right in front of your eyes—which drawer will you open to find the lightbulb that was necessary to hide from her? If it's even there anymore, will you screw it in and set it down on the dry leaf pile on the tall, tall staircase?
But what if their skin, too, began to smell of fire?
What if spaying took four?
What if a word could be spayed, or did not occur?
Or if, even in the most abject cold, a dear always smelled like the gray of smoke?
I think in the rings you blow from your fingertips. I think, in so far as they are not promiscuous rings. Not at all, until they float, extend, distend, go pop, or get lost.
So they contain bricks when I am too long away. In their gut I contain bricks when they are away just one day. Do I contain bricks when they are close, then, too? Which is to say, does she contain bricks when I am not away?
I am thinking in seven rings, which are gears, my seven movements: come lie on the sun warmed moss—it is not wet, no—if it often is, it is not so now—not unless it has rained, which it hasn't, because it can't here—only an imagined rain—so not at all.
Toward Becoming Literal
after erica kaufman
To kill the movement toward becoming literal, I built this excuse for expression to speak to you in secret of my autoimmunocentric want to rot in the codependent sacroiliac joint. Afflicted by Ankylosing Spondylitis. For if what I tell you were to get back to ears craving anonymity, the ungenerated skin cycle would be made to leave town, the way I warn would become a form of lore, in movements of anatomic wax ring toss.
Part of me thinks I should say it all, flesh it out to the extreme, but then, looking back: to have gone home the other night, Notebook . . . I swear! To have been that reckless mess, that traveling counter-public event, then clerical, then obedient, and only then could sleep, and only lightly because brightly I loved the hypergrammatic intent tower, the super brand new garden of continuous charades, the absolute comfort. What an arm extended between us, as guided, suspended in whiskey! (An orb, too.)
I see now how much easier it is to abstract every last thing, but more softly, apologetically -phobic of emo sewage wrangling the derelict lingo, instead of a cogent motive to be treated with a dignity manifest only in subsequent editions—not in prelapsarian time.
The measure of stride, first with, then without friends. Waiting out the shelf life of stumped disappearing gestures toward killing reason itself. For extreme amounts of writing are an oppression of speech, and I am not to speak to you of the censorship and divorce in my daily routine, nor am I to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone, feeling empathy for book and self for want of drafting. Not accompanied nor am I alone; I am with you, so I am out of season.
I have somewhere surely lived a toy life with your epic cycle of slow remediation, while firs on the gum tree warped into these hyperbaroque limbs—these adamantine vessels losing foreignness beneath the same blossoms as three Marches ago.
To remove a part of my body, to become someone else in a public state, we too camp out in this parking garage and increase the unilateral carnage of our parallel lives. Our place is under the initially private highway, where the archangel Gabriel doesn't touch us, or damage our cheek bones, or mark us elegiacally.
It isn't as complicated or clean as you originally thought, but just one solid receptacle, this being stuck here in the anxiety of letting go of the wheel, going ninety-something, this desire to halt my adaptation to the sequential derision of bipolar cancellation. (I didn't know it would seem so historic to be conscious of my pulse.)
The daytime hesitations that provide this OCD analysis of specifics its raison d'être are actually harder to justify than just going out and staying out, as “a social appendage who is also drunk”.
I used to think the body a landless metaphor for the scriptural right to territory, but there is no guardian anymore. And when it's time to leave the gazebo, will I finally achieve non-eternal life? And again, if we're so misled by majoritarian phylogeny, why do we instinctively people the dominant? I asked the eight-balls, the talking mirrors, the tarot cards, the fortune tellers, the flower torn leaf by leaf, the horoscope, my intuition on drugs, and they all replied alike: “In order to have a lot of light ones now lonely with the fan on, caught in indulgent self reflection too graphic for the dragon cherub.”
Dreams until now were futuristic, slices from a fruit almost ripe,
Or with the hair in my skin comes the grating that contains me,
A window at garden-level with dull moonlight and three
Pieces of unbuttered bread, like glass dipped in water,
Disappear, and the light knitting the spherical grid leaks
From your tear ducts in icicle-forms, No, I'm there for no one,
And every time you think suicide is on deck, sweet summer
Arrives with its play of intensely bright shadows “vague and obsolete.”
Kit Schluter is a writer and translator living in Providence, Rhode Island. With Andrew Dieck and Francesca Capone, he edits O’clock Press. His recent writings can be found in Boston Review, Elective Affinities, Inpatient Press, and The Disinhibitor.
Note: "Toward Becoming Literal" borrows many of its clauses from the author's failed attempt to transcribe erica kaufman's reading with Simone White at the Poetry Project in New York on 22 May 2013.