Three Poems by Dana Caspersen

BOMB 96 Summer 2006
096 Summer 2006 1024X1024

Torque

Mowing in tightening circles around the house, the grass a little too
long, almost killing the motor. Circling, angrily, the house. Homer
upstairs, in the studio, learning an order, a procedure, a chant of the
body, wanting him to know it faster. Homer in the studio with the
carving from my brother I put there to remind me to go slow, my
brother sitting in the woods thinking about trees, thinking until he’s
done, me cinching jagged circles around the house, wanting Homer to
be faster, be not deficient, be not so stupid that he must die.

Be kind to him, to me, myself, I beg my mind, my torqueing self.

The grass catches the mower, it kills. Stopped down below the house, I
clear a few sticks out of the way, only a small circle I’m making around
the house, just a swathe to walk, some area that is clean and easy to see.

Homer’s body is thinking as the air travels in from the forest through
the windows, over the field, past me. The grasses bend flawlessly. Past
me through the windows, over Homer, and out. Back over me. Me not
bending. My body thinking what I don’t know. What Homer’s body
knows too. What our bodies need us to know.

My body shakes with the wanting it to be done. Circles moving out
from it in me, circles tightening in me and moving slowly outward to
encompass what looks like it. Like stone, airless air.

Homer: flesh. Caught in my eye that only sees stones.
I clear sticks, practice being alive.

 

And

And the moon surprised me, coming around the corner
as I was, down at the deep of the hill, below the house, coming

around the corner in the almost dusk, in the black and white
of the forest, looking at the barbed-wire corner of the neighbor’s

land and thinking how it didn’t bother me to be so close here.
How sweet it was to sail through this point like a bottleneck that

pours me out or back from the land. Looking at the barbed-wire,
black and grey against the grey and black of the brush, and suddenly

the moon, the moon, so bright above the house, white-yellow
bright, sudden, this moon growing full and rich amongst the deep

grey whiting hues of the forest, in this last week of darkening,
in this week before the darkest day. I headed up the hill, hearing

Bob’s generator, the sound contained somehow, a human thing,
and I saw how the sound of the generator did not disturb the silence

of the sky. I saw how the clouds sailed deep in the sky, without
speaking, and the land, noting the heavy grace above it, bowed to hear.

 

Brasserie Lipp

Maïmée’s eyes in her pinstripe suit, steady across from me, a sinking
in her body begun, a steady flow to her daughters across. Me, then,

in a golden flow, swimming on stage, in a language, through a deep channel
with markers laid for me. Swimming for the watchers to see,

swimming to leave my girlhood self. Maïmée the opposite of a girl, steady
striking thinking from a slight slant above. Maïmée gathering things

to her. Bill she calls to her, me also, me so distant, she steady across,
loving me because she loves Bill and love senses love. In the restaurant,

her favorite, saving her favorite dessert in advance, giving it to us later
when there is not enough. How the bones begin to lower

toward the earth. Maïmée in tennis shoes and her suit, sending off a
geometry of memory and currents of connection, attraction, purpose.

Maïmée on her daughter’s arm as we enter the taxi, a golden circling
around us calling to us about next time, monday maybe, ice cream

maybe, Bertillon. Women, I’m entering into. Waves of ranks, scores
of layers, mothers in confusion and sorrow, loving their daughters,

daughters in anger and surprise loving their mothers. All of us turning
suddenly to notice how the sea cannot separate one wave from

another. The top breathes the bottom. Women create girls who travel in
the currents between women, in channels between the bodies, among

the minds of women, deep channels marked by women. Swimming in a
forming sea until they reach the top and swim out.

Mothers in golden-ness. Golden daughters.

—Dana Caspersen is an American artist living in Frankfurt, Germany. As a member of The Ballet Frankfurt and then The Forsythe Company, she has created numerous works for the stage, functioning variously as a dancer, actress, choreographer, and author. For her work as a performer she has been nominated for the Lawrence Olivier Theater Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, and was awarded a Bessie for Outstanding Creative Achievement. Her written text has formed the basis for numerous works by the choreographer William Forsythe.

Originally published in

BOMB 96, Summer 2006

Featuring interviews with Bernard Piffaretti, Liz Larner, Tony Oursler, Kimiko Hahn, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Park Chanwook, Anthony Coleman, Jesper Just, A.R. Gurney, William Forsythe.

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