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Aditi Machado

Aditi Machado is a poet, translator, and essayist. Her second book of poems Emporium (Nightboat Books, 2020) received the James Laughlin Award. Her other works include the poetry collection Some Beheadings (Nightboat, 2017), a translation from the French of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia (Action Books, 2016), and several chapbooks, the most recent of which are a long poem called Rhapsody (Albion Books, 2020) and an essay titled The End (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020). A former Poetry Editor for Asymptote (2011-2019), she currently works as an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati. 

By This Poet

4

Rhapsody

                           —or rhubarb?
 
 
Scant difference between some flowers
and the heads of cauliflowers the fingers get
herbaceous rubbing against. If I could get
ecstatic I would by the low soft
weeds, the hard oracular orifices of tree bark.
Some landscapes under duress
predict this atonal sky.
 
 
Scant difference between flowers.
The canned cool metal slightly
curves, of trash receptacles,
meadow interregna, strange
fanciful flights, toward toward.
 
 
Where the rhubarb field is not so bright
red as you would think, not so precise
or fulminating, too much green sticks
out, stems and leaves like a fuzz
of voices, watery incarnadine,

 
here where the sounds so simplify
the milieu into that wetness there,
 
 
here I stumble
to approximate the durations of others, to appear
of the same time as though of space,
I worry terribly, I hesitate, I lose my measure, a juice
trickles down my side,
 
 
रस ರಸ.
 
 
Like
I get I’m out of tune.

nation

Steady now, a sense is pealing out the surface areas.

Observe here the fit expressions, as germane as botanic.

Here a faith in images still, and moving, you observe nothing quite
proves prosody but people feel rhythm in their bodies.

The body is pronounced bawdy.

And here a faith in materials I too cagily profess.

And then ‘the sense / faints.’

Fold this.

Steadily you discover exteriors. Fold them.

Continual and cheapened light of the electric kind suffuses most
areas in which you remain.

In some sense you are reporting on a country.

What do you observe?

You observe observation, its obstacles.

Forms of envy.

Narrative growing out the landscape constrainedly.

A seasonal negation inducing absence.

A relation blooms in this landscape full of abuses.

The people aren’t errant, they’re erratic.

Terror takes them.

The air is filled with amazing becomings, Marquezian butterflies.

Fold this.

This is not a truth but a way, a movement—simply—moving futures
into fuchsias.

Experiment with Aspic

It commences. Here
   it is endless. Mostly
poverty. Parallel to
the railway track.
Manure, procession,
conniptions. It is crisp.
   A labyrinth. It is here
it commences. Lac,
it is said. Or albumen.
    Gourds, chikus, com-
prehensions of ripeness.
What’s fresh, what’s
   not, under the same
feckless auspices.
Luxury, it is said, moves,
    sometimes, at midday.
Mellow the light cast on
such euphemistic striations.
        On the goathooks
(up ahead), on the garlands
    (up ahead up ahead).
The muffled scene of death
to which the lines proceed,
curved. Citrus curling up
   the light, so tart it is.
   But here, here where it
commences, here, from where
the lines, endless, proceed,
    here the voices, here
the prices. Lacquer on this
produce, surreal photography,
tainted reverie. Nothing clean
yet, presence implied, not seen.
        It proceeds, an extreme
   intelligence can be held
in the hands, is. Slight burn
    from the citrus, slight build
from up the ground. Euphemism
    for shanty. Euphemism for
        indigence. Skinny body,
slender bean, sturdy drumsticks
   snap. Nothing clean, yet
the causal knives luxuriate.
Lone jackfruit, abandoned
beehive. Nightshade in terror
    of being shook. The lymph is
anxious. The child rears her
        ugly head, slow capacity
for memory. Lacquer, she says.
   Lacquer on this. This kind of
traffick is difficult to curb. Her skin
is light, her mother’s translucent.
    This is how it begins, the acts
of comprehending things, softening,
   into the basket, plastic,
        the voiceless hellos, a
      tendency, hushed.
   An impossible sculptural
    aspect her eyes laminate.
Things mature along
   this aisle that’s endless.
And she too, in the town
called Fraser, opposite
the police station and the
pork shop, parallel to the
railway track, she too
        developed symptoms,
    hysteria, depression,
     a deviant sexualized
    mesmerism. She told us,
not without resistance,
      that she had had an
   education. Her mother
spoke the apt languages.
She said nothing but lacquer.
   Lacquer on this. The brain
like a jelly, something trapped
        in it. She views it
with her double-eye, its
      glittering mound
   of curvatures, lipid-rich
      broth. We call it in the vulgar
gelatin. We will return to this point
later. For the child rears her head
to the sound of community, which
   she hears as tribe, later mafia.
    She appears to comprehend
but does not the sorrow
   of haggling. Whether she might
come to say it, let’s not insure.
   But it is here it commences.
The thickenings of lymph,
the persistent shyness, the passions.
        It is endless. As symbol, luxury,
she finds, and poverty are the same.
   She listens prodigally. Correlatives
    appear, disappear. She lacquers
them. But poverty, she finds, is,
    in act, in thought, a word, to her,
   not otherwise permitted, real.
Articulacy then was of elbows
    and knees. The spirit never quite
levels between her mother and
   the woman on the blue tarp,
but they touch hands. The mother
communes with nearly every one.
    The child rears her ugly head,
quizzical. Recrudescence
   that’s luscious, shutting down
institutes. Speak, she says, speak,
my heart is gelatin. If anything luxe
        is, it is this severe
unthinkable audio. Palatial,
   she says. In futures glorious
and systematic the word ATELIER
   will come to describe this
     pure fragment, this collapse of lines.
Curvatures, she thinks. Conniptions.
   The dusty, colloidal elegance, she
thinks, of air. She views it with her
        double-eye, sculptural aspect.
A powdery substance overlays things,
steady music. It is here she comes to
        comprehend, tender,
later, smell it. We call it in the vulgar
money. Speak, she speaks. The humors
reside not in but a quarter of an inch
   away from her, settling sometimes
as sweat. She was extraordinarily
    vulnerable, with not even a
rotten core. What might coerce her
   to nostalgia. Hot tea chilled jelly
dissolves. No quality here. It is
      nothing and the saw. The recrude-
scence is luscious, shuts down law.
   It began as tendency. Petty crime.
      Delirium of touching. Passion of
the silk. Subjective correlatives.
   Desire, dark wishes, ossifications,
   and abbreviations of sound. The
refusal to dance, the turning away
    inside the apostrophe. Meditative
processional. It got heavy. She
   lacquered it. She viewed it with her
      vulgar eye. She lacquered it.
         No delicacy obtained. She put it
   away in its pure future, glittering
mound. The opposite of hot tea
    and a biscuit. Lacquer on it.
Endless, mostly. Difficult to discern.
   The conniptions. Cognitions. This kind
of traffick is difficult to curb. But no,
       it did not affect her. No one was
             spirited away. This was not the meadow
         in which she grew. No one haggled,
    no one withdrew. It was as a lacquer
on her.