a feeling has passed before a charted present

I wanted to write a book that was like lying down.
            —Bhanu Kapil

a feeling has passed before a charted present
a possibly expired desire
a replacement of Whitman’s body with his opposite
a polite vengeance

a presumed minor literature
a simile not in force
a yoking of the concrete
a myth makes

a body subject to forces not legislated to pass over a same
a memory uncertain about a sentence
a certain observation of an indefinite object
a response barely stands

a sentence only to signal an unwritten
a demand for a law barring its passage and end
a tapeworm, a pinworm, a hookworm, a threadworm
a fluke a sentence wants never to end

“from The Sky Forever” [to say your land vanished]

to say your land vanished               into thinness                              scrap under your feet

when the name                                 feels the same in the mouth   who is the most hysterical person

to say I was never meant to            the origin moment                    do you remember laughing

be about poetry’s originating         in childhood trauma                  when the first American boot 

hit the ground in a cloud                of dust maybe before that         you’re killing me   

                                      

                   

 

                    

 

 

 

 

 

"from The Sky Forever" [reenact reincarnate the earthquake]

                                                                                                      reenact reincarnate the earthquake

                                               on the long return to your bed

iamb tendril threading     fretted fingers                              strummed purr crest into soft pang

landing buzz                       stomach pit’s nervy light radius

                                                                                                      compass me

                                                                                                      snaking infinite under ink

                                                                                                      kin planar prisms of eyelids

                                                                                                      bloomed lip landscape plaid

                                                                                                      under brim look at me ancestral

                                                                                                      hollows invaded millennia

                                                                                                      dwell binding curtains closed eyes 

                                                                                                      now intimate idioms 

 

Related Poems

If They Are a Silueta

after Ana Mendieta

If they are a silueta 
But I can’t make out where one begins and
Ends

If in the breakdown of the body there
Is nothing but smoke

If I get inside it
And try and make love to what is there and
Not there
If I feel that it wants me anyway
But I am trying hard for it to not be an
It but a they them he she initials and stars

Humanimal [I want to make a dark mirror out of writing]

47. I want to make a dark mirror out of writing: one child facing the other, like Dora and little Hans. I want to write, for example, about the violence done to my father's body as a child. In this re-telling, India is blue, green, black and yellow like the actual, reflective surface of a mercury globe. I pour the mercury into a shallow box to see it: my father's right leg, linear and hard as the bone it contains, and silver. There are scooped out places where the flesh is missing, shiny, as they would be regardless of race. A scar is memory. Memory is wrong. The wrong face appears in the wrong memory. A face, for example, condenses on the surface of the mirror in the bathroom when I stop writing to wash my face. Hands on the basin, I look up, and see it: the distinct image of an owlgirl. Her eyes protrude, her tongue is sticking out, and she has horns, wings and feet. Talons. I look into her eyes and see his. Writing makes a mirror between the two children who perceive each other. In a physical world, the mirror is a slice of dark space. How do you break a space? No. Tell me a story set in a different time, in a different place. Because I'm scared. I'm scared of the child I'm making.

48. They dragged her from a dark room and put her in a sheet. They broke her legs then re-set them. Both children, the wolfgirls, were given a fine yellow powder to clean their kidneys but their bodies, having adapted to animal ways of excreting meat, could not cope with this technology. Red worms came out of their bodies and the younger girl died. Kamala mourned the death of her sister with, as Joseph wrote, "an affection." There, in a dark room deep in the Home. Many rooms are dark in India to kill the sun. In Midnapure, I stood in that room, and blinked. When my vision adjusted, I saw a picture of Jesus above a bed, positioned yet dusty on a faded turquoise wall. Many walls in India are turquoise, which is a color the human soul soaks up in an architecture not even knowing it was thirsty. I was thirsty and a girl of about eight, Joseph's great-granddaughter, brought me tea. I sat on the edge of the bed and tried to focus upon the memory available to me in the room, but there was no experience. When I opened my eyes, I observed Jesus once again, the blood pouring from his open chest, the heart, and onto, it seemed, the floor, in drips.

from Bharat jiva [I can not begin to know]

I can not begin to know
producing difference by deferring
second third person construction
in the first third person narrative
promising surrender to the dead
acknowledging, I am an unknown participant
something maybe, something blind
consuming scarcity
producing hunger
constructing gender
breathing markers
making someone a thing
scapegoat instance
another perfect occasion
construct of a common sense sentence
out of many different bank accounts
apparently to produce
a final outcome
illumination legible
newspaper flyspeck
on the edge of an abstract noun