L’Aurore, companion poem to Ysaye 5

The shades are drawn, lights off

The granitic waters are still and deep
the first breath is drawn, relents

Summoning heat,

gathering from unfathomable depths only to break again, contentment,

the first sigh
He gathers and beckons suspended dust particles
And far away,

the first innocent lapping of a wave

In my exhale, I gently push them away

She is ready to begin

Exquisite coolness

On land they begin to stir too

everywhere with hesitation, even agitation

the flowers uncontrollably give way to sudden bloom.

the regret of blooming too soon

a pristine bare arm falling over the side of the bed.
everything sighing, aching, mourning

Sudden grip of the deadnight questions

the last aborted ghost

strange beauty of barrenness

desire to bloom, desperate to believe

The blackbirds with their beady eyes begin to unruffle their rough plumes.

Conversing quietly with each other, they flick their eyelids in distrust; toss their heads in yarak

softly taunting

he couldn’t love you, who could love you?

Reason in her dark-honeyed voice coos, reassuring them, pets their hard angular feathers

but even she is skeptical

Now the shy flowers are silently unfurling, still careful.

is now the right time? do I look okay?

Are you sure he’s coming?

the blackbirds and flowers lament, with poor blank melodies, plaintive in despair

the slumbering birds of paradise awaken

slowly arch their long necks and shake their tresses
The blackbirds scurry, nonchalance a mask on their faces

I carefully walk my fingers on the heat radiating from your skin.

how much I want to wake you!

caught! lovingly exasperated, held, and he abandons for dreams

serving as diversion for the

Unrest

The waves now worried, rush up on their haunches only to dissolve as quickly as they started.

Frothy white remnants cling like desperate limbs to the shore.

possession

The waves asking resounding pleading demanding…won’t he come?

And the same thing is happening in the city too…
The city is gray concrete

the distant mewling of a lonely being,

faint echo and hollow imprints of a phantom pair of heels
and a light gold haze starts to perfume the sky
And the whole city is anticipation! Frenzied anticipation! Waiting for what is to come.

In between deafening roars and hushed in-betweens of their infinite repetition, suddenly, there! There it is!! The first sighting of that curious pale yellow substance

In our dusty apartment, consciousness aroused

But will it grow? Will he yet come?

The waves now grow obstinate. Almost cruel.

The world waits defiantly and proudly, beating wildly…now believing without question.

And now the world is growing richer.

Blacker, deeper, and oh yes, sweeter… odd things are taking shape, becoming solid… gaining purpose.

ah! we cry! the ascension! the waves are tumbling, wild ecstatic frolic in their milk and honey foam.

and in our repose, the hollows of our cheeks are being filled with rivets, streams of sun. the dips and arcs in our bodies scooping, collecting, greedily possessing the light wending its way insidiously through the shades, prying its way into the room.

and the whole room is gold enchantment and dizzying gilded atom orbs.
The light is seeping, trickling, finding it’s way into every corner, running towards every once-darkness and illuminating truth, wild joyful and free. This precise moment of alighting this torch divined. And all those men gasping under this weight, muscles rippling under the enormous burden of this sun and everywhere the world is singing in strange high pitches and primitive hoarse groans. all the rest of the flowers burst open now crying at last! at last! we’ve been storing this beauty, this treasure all night for you! and the people gazing dreamily out of their windows, walking triumphantly in their cities…and us too, in our bed, breathless, we chant at last! Yes, at last!
As the world completes another revolution, as we complete our revolutions

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Windchimes

I remember those nights in a series of gestures. My hands, running through the pieces, running through my hair, gripping leather at that gay club with saddles, flipping through the books I bought to find myself, in her hands as she read the lines written there, throwing paper at the girls shaking in ecstatic technicolor blur. They were loose nights that stretched into morning and I danced with mania, trying to outpace the thoughts that come with stillness. I loved the dark of the clubs, the red and rainbow lights distorting me, my hair a long cage over my face, unpermitting. I loved the beautiful girls, with faces and bodies so fantastic, I could relax, my female obligation to be beautiful so fulfilled by others. I want to call you sometimes, like I did from that house. In a room with a smell so full of incense I felt it press down on me when I was asleep. The heavy floral scent a long tissue that slowly entered my nostrils and kept filling me. Outside of my room, there was a picture of a man kneeled before Jesus. It was a baptism, but I misunderstood, I thought the follower was like me, believing in a man and getting on my knees, giving everything, receiving nothing. If I called you now, I would tell you that I wasn’t a girl then. You were mistaken. I was broken fragments tied together and hung by string. My beauty was just reflection and my songs were incidental, hollow sounds formed by the shattered parts of my self rubbing together. I couldn’t look at you then because your eyes had such a density and focus to them. I knew that if I met your gaze, I would be fixed in place and I would slow down.

tunnel vision

My love for you happened to me the way that someone can be driving alone in the dark for a long time and far off in the distance there is another car and it is approaching at a moderately fast speed and suddenly the glare of your headlights was all I could see, a light that blinded me to all else and I knew that if I kept looking, I would change direction, crash, fall apart, and I just didn’t have time for any of those things so I kept on driving

Ocean

Everyday she brushed and she brushed, the salty tangle and mass heavy with sand and grit. She trudged through the muck, finding plastic cartons and sodapop tabs and even a whole piano once. She watched it sink, the water pressure causing keys to be pressed, composing certain chords and then others. The proportions of the instrument made even less sense underwater, stolid curvaceous middle, stubbed legs. The light refracted off the strings inside pinging light in myriad directions. It landed gently and there it was, the most exclusive concert hall, an audience of kelp. Occasionally, a fish would dart too quickly and sound a note, more of a muck than a pitch. Each day, she lost her beautiful hair ornaments, the shiny eels and the lugubrious whales getting netted, stuck, torn off her head. But still, she brushed and brushed everyday, her long web of hair that wove around the world, untangling the plastic cartons and sodapop tabs, and there was no one to help her.

Kafka in Cleveland

There is a moment in Kafka’s Trial where the main character opens the door to a room where he witnessed atrocities the day before.

Typically in the horror genre, the twist would be that there are no signs of what occurred the day before, only silence and darkness.

Instead, he finds that the atrocities are still only going on. He is not crazy, the world is crazy.

I remember how excited I was going to Hazel, which I thought for sure was haunted for the first time. Staying hours in the cafeteria, never having seen so much food, gorging myself on excess of every kind, not knowing there existed such things as mistakes or pain. That I could be a recipient of pain, a maker of mistakes, and most surprising of all, be someone who causes immense pain were things I hadn’t learned yet. Being so ready to leave, biding my time in hopelessness on the couch while you slept in the room. I will walk to the campus bookstore which I thought of as my Tiffany’s. I will breathe the dusty air in Harkness where I was solidified in her class. I will walk by 205, that hallowed space where I spent so much time, reading Kundera on the floor, practicing, loving music, honestly just wasting time, because I was just a kid, I had so much of it then. I will go to my favorite room where I would watch the sun rise on the walls at 7:15 when the school opened. Or I would watch it in Hazel in the upper corner, listening to the heater, reading everything is illuminated in the resplendent light during practice breaks. The first difficult and complex female friendships of my life, best friends today. My beautiful friend who loved to read. I can see her pea coat and her gloves and scarf and her hazel eyes. The first love, the first pain, the deep love, the secret passageway, that one moment I’ll try to express the rest of my life, losing my shit in the food co-op when I first realized that losing someone is something you experience over and over again every time you do something without them for the first time. I’ll walk by my old homes. The home I shared with girls across from the hall from my best friend. Chasing the sunlight in a car. The studio where I would pray on my knees alone in the night, and leave at 3 am to wander the streets because I didn’t care what happened to me. The studio where I quietly put my finger around the idea of being free. And the music, all the music I loved alone in the library, all the texts I read and studied and listened to. All the people who taught me, and played with me, and made me. All the magic of sound which, like every moment in life, happens only once and dissipates.

I have so much sadness when I think of my time there, and I think it’s because the door has been closed for the last 6 years. I’m about to open it.

snail in a Rothko

Back to the darkness, to the sleeplessness, a return to the baby-faced snail in the hollowed ground, unctuous, bumping into roots and rhizomes, antennae yearning, moving forward over ground, slowly leaving itself behind, a dying phosphorescence, dial on a light dimmer, drenched dirt granules clinging to the sodden veil of slime and the emptiness it carries a safety to crawl inside, to collect and distill, gather itself in monolithic sadness

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood: Thoughts

One of the best books I’ve read in recent memory, it made me laugh out loud more than any book ever has and moved me to sad tears when I wasn’t in funny tears. I would proselytize this book about a priest’s daughter to anyone and I found myself reading funny bits out loud to family members and friends, insistent that everyone should hear the comic and poetic genius of Lockwood.

The pervasive tone of this book is one of love that Lockwood has for her family. She writes this memoir while staying in her childhood home as a grownup (with her husband) to save money and she records and observes her family for this memoir. While she is not religious anymore, that doesn’t stop her or her family members from loving each other in such a full and nourishing way. It was a joy to read this book just to see the deep love that is capable between a family that disagrees about something that more often than not rips other families apart. Also refreshing is her fondness for religion, the lack of resentment for her past and her past religion. There are moments of regret and wistfulness and of course, actual ugliness…such as when she writes about her rape, or the many failings of the Catholic church… but so often, people who are no longer religious are so devoutly and violently atheist. This book wouldn’t have been possible without her strong love and curiosity for her family and the objectiveness and empathy with which she is able to view people who have viewpoints very different from her own; viewpoints that I wouldn’t hesitate to say are wrong.

What I love most about Lockwood is that she is always in awe… not of a god she doesn’t know, but of every detail of every person in her life. She looks at everything with light, reverence, and love, the way many religious people I think, would be envious of. She writes about the similarities and differences she has with her father (the person most different from her, though their occupations as priest and poet have a natural closeness) but neglects the similarity she has to the Father. Her writing reminds me of the Christian God’s purported omniscience, capable of seeing everything about his flawed people, and doing so with unwavering love. She examines a lot of the uglier issues of the Catholic church and also the uglier mindsets and thoughts that her beloved family believe without letting them influence how she feels about them as a whole. Many religious people I know believe that humans are inherently sinful, bad, but can become good by acceptance of God into their lives. This book is beautifully the opposite. Humans are good, and sometimes what makes them the most “human” or “inhuman” is God, the Church, and the societal and self-harming things you must do to serve them.