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Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013
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Gesture Literary Journal - July 2013

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  • 1. EDITORS HEATHER GOODRICH LINDSAY KING-MILLER PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE IAN RUMMELL REVIEW EDITOR KARA MILLER INTERVIEWS EDITOR BRENNA LEE WEB EDITOR REBECCA HOWARD Gesture was founded in 2011 with the intention to publish work that is not boring. Published quarterly, we seek written and visual submissions from new and established artists. Gesture is the home for poetry, poetics, prose, theory, reviews, interviews, images, and interaction. We want work that does not intentionally concern itself with genre. Some may call this experimental. We call it exciting. As in, not boring. We want to feel a gesture and be electrified. Gesture 2 © by Gesture Press & Journal Cover art: Ian Rummell Cover & book design: Heather Goodrich www.gestureliteraryjournal.com gestureliteraryjournal@gmail.com
  • 2. GESTURE PRESS & JOURNAL DENVER 2013
  • 3. CONTENTS LETTER FROM THE EDITORS 7 POETRY & PROSE ANTHONY CAPPO 9 ASHER GHAFFAR 11 CAILY GRUBE 13 LIANUSKA GUTIERREZ 14 J/J HASTAIN 19 KATHLEEN JONES 31 DOC LUBEN 33 KRISTEN PARK 35 JH PHRYDAS 40 STACY SZYMASZEK 42 MATT WEDLOCK 45 REVIEWS KARA MILLER 48 INTERVIEWS BRENNA LEE 53
  • 4. 7 LETTER FROM THE EDITORS In creating a space for writing and visual art, what we want is to feel gestures put forth on the page. A gesture reaches or pushes forward in both form and content. A gesture is muted, mutable, and static. A gesture is a wish, a hint, or an idea caught between synapses. We want to collect gestures for you to explore, relish in, be repulsed by, love, and investigate. Throughout our many read-throughs of each piece individually, and as a collection, what constantly strikes us is how wildly different each piece‘s form is in relation to other pieces. Suzan-Lori Parks‘ essay, Elements of Style, signals at what is happening in this issue: form is neither a passive vessel nor an imposition upon expression. The following pages house mutation: the evolution of form where authors are using the words as material substances just as much as the words are anchors for potential meaning. The form of Brenna Lee‘s first installment of the 666 Interview Series is reminiscent of Gertrude Stein‘s structure of Tender Buttons. Yet, Lee evolves the verbal Cubism by assigning a word not to herself, but to another author, evolving form and construction. In Lianuska Gutierrez‘s essay, the heaviness of large prose blocks breakdown quickly with her use of commas and dashes. This propels readers into an addictive momentum bringing the end of the story before realizing it is the end. The momentum continues in other pieces. Stacy Szymaszek uses double forward slash marks as punctuation, which creates line breaks—yes—but her punctuation also creates thresholds signifying breaks or gaps in time; JH Phrydas uses of en dashes create calculated, longing, and dramatic breaks that carve craters in time; Then Matt Wedlock drops a single curly bracket into his piece, which catches at the back of the throat. Nothing is passive about form. As you will soon feel, form and its agents of construction are just some of the gestures we collected to present to you. We hope you love this issue as much as we do. With love, Heather Goodrich & Lindsay King-Miller, Editors
  • 5. 8
  • 6. 9 ANTHONY CAPPO REDEMPTION POEM Milk, eggs and apples rattle in my basket like the ache of you shaking my bones. When the clerk rings me up, she asks if I want to redeem and I say yes, I am the light of the world! My suffering has bought eternal life for killers in Chile, torturers in Oregon, rakes in Appalachia. I ask what I can do for her. For I have smote the dark, ripped a gash in its crawling fabric. Harrowed the graves of the unshriven. She asks if I want to set alone as the default on my card and I say yes, consider it done! I‘ve built towns teeming with isolation. Peeling walls ringing dusty squares. I‘d share this kingdom with you, if you‘d just visit.
  • 7. 10 AD INFINITUM Prepare thee the labyrinth of the Lord, its drawers all filled with schmutz. Up the stairs to the landing—lunar transmissions, theories of oppression, gadfly professors. Wanna put some money on it? Everyone likes your looks. Unlock your clasp-shaped heart. I offer you apologies, cheddar and hey diddle-diddle. Snip snip my poor Cretaceous lip. Cows in abundance, the seven plagues of the Lord. Get your gun. This one‘s hard to believe. Give them buboes, the mothers wailed. You’re damn right I’ve got the blues. Courage, the newsman said. It‘s going to be a bumpy night. Wilfred Owen had it right. Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. The lie of the marching song.
  • 8. 11 ASHER GHAFFAR HOMEGROWN I swim and make thread nests in air. I‘m lucky if I settle on the tree. The first book is the babbling of just discernable things. I tried to grasp the latent meaning like a greedy son groping through an earlier version of himself born again as a thing. Everything condensed is in the first book that is a bomb ready to explode in another writer‘s brain. A featureless love moves through air. The waif who watches over me pursues me. Crossing between two points involves a black hole where body and conception of time are swallowed. The black hole is a logic in the body. One foot ahead of the next is a thirst for a coming that doesn‘t matter. Yet thresholds acquire thumbprints, while language calls out the usual treadmill of desire. Call out for mercy, the drowned man chained to a rocking horse. Gather what sank in the belch
  • 9. 12 of a sea cavern, the heirs that left the first book, a flight to hereafter, or a confrontation with now. Pursued by a cruel God, I sharpen my wordage, hone my silence, prepare for here after; send the fist hurtling through air. I have no great place in this war of positions. I fall over at the point of submission. Ah, the infallible transmission! Rend open the body, turn over the page, and the force of a curse: eternity‘s shadow is recorded on the membrane— Oh miraculous transmission of the body, distorted, splayed open, made consciously dark!
  • 10. 13 CAILY GRUBE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF AN ENGENDERED LANGUAGE his hands lost the word mân can barely draw it in the finger-air television mutes the soft nasal sound of it this is connecticut and this is my grandfather, staring into the mowed lawn that is not romagna to be american is to be the disconnect between famèja and the way we spoke before you were born nonno becomes nòn becomes none—no words to give i don‘t have the sound for his hands in english in the transplant pot, june tomatoes and vowels lingering lifelost near the roots there are too many silent letters to learn after the war, he lost our lèngua lost the fight, except for the nights when bombs rain down in a babble-dream oil in a shallow pan, the garlic tanning i listen for the silent letter of any word who am i but in comparison to the sounds that have died before me? to be american is to be the disconnect between tëra and country and home the qualification of an endangered language is a past trying to erase itself words so soft the end gets lost
  • 11. 14 LIANUSKA GUTIERREZ MY AMERICAN DREAM I was a child who listened. I was very shy, I loved to read, and homework mattered to me, so much; I had a fear in me of disappointing, and I‘m not sure where it came from, because I never did. Or mild reprimands were enough, enough to teach me to take care. I was easily shameable. I could tell disapproval in earnest, the more if they tried to hide it, turn the dial down, just as I could tell when I had really pleased—I knew, as children, and animals, know, when I was loved. I remember Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights when I was 12 or 13 and not a pretty child anymore. As I waited to cross beneath the el tracks, the onset of awareness, of no more beaming at me, no more gratuitous warmth from strangers. The world was new, it was cold, I did not elicit kindness any longer. Something had come over me to make me endangered; glares told me I was one to hate now. I must have just begun to walk about on my own. I was sheltered and usually accompanied. Mama‘s experience on landing here from the Dominican Republic was a couple of attempted kidnappings, two cabbies who wouldn‘t let her out of the car, she had to jump both times.1 She knew better than to send me for butter and eggs, and she knew the news, the milk cartons. __________________ 1 One drove her four hours for what should have been a ride of twenty minutes, with me, a baby, with her in the car. He was headed upstate with us, a long way off from Dyckman—maybe he would have sold her into the sex trade, a mother such a mother, a wife such a wife, all tenderness, and I would have been lost, lost, raised by modern-day home-grown and immigrant massahs. That cabbie would not return my mother‘s address (―Sir…‖) or make eye contact with her. She flung the door open on a highway, and amid honking, fled—was able to take a ride with a dulcet hermana and her family. The woman told her, ―Today you‘ve been reborn.‖ My abuela said later that she‘d heard my mother‘s voice calling to her during the time of the ordeal. The other cabbie talked plenty, in a cajoling, prying, leading way—way that presumes to know what will topple guard and put under spell quick as scissoring a blouse. She felt something wrong in his friendliness. Or the shorthand, inner lexicon accrued from life as a petite, pretty, and timid* woman intimated to her danger; to be more technical. At a stoplight, she jumped out of that cab without a word and ran. Two officers saw this and chased her, they asked her what had happened. She told them: he had begun asking about my love life, he wanted to change his route to get gas, etc.; and it happened, they agreed that she had done right, they were not ones to say, nah, silly bitch. She encountered the chatty one before the silent one, maybe to prepare her. Maybe the silent one loomed in kismet, without intervention, as a certain viper, as the living reaper, was the one really slated as killer. But by the time she met with him, she‘d had an experience to prepare her. If you believe in plans, not waste of pain. *Or if not timid, appearance of good, what shows out like Buddha third eye sheen—they think this means not having suffered, not knowing—and they make sure to teach (called envy, when it means the reduction of an innocent, one not a tyrant or destructive fool—when it conflates innocence with stupidity—sees essence of the child as something deficient, homely); and/or they take advantage.
  • 12. 15 But the eyes and mutterings, and long strident suck-air kisses, tongue flicks and undulation (tall clever iguanas, serpents all around), she couldn‘t stave off, those became my life as a girl. I was in the park across the street from school when an older boy first called me ―cunt.‖ I remember his jokered mouth, and eyes pinched at me, in wolf-smile. I think it was before that, that I had seen a man on my block twirling a keychain that was the green-jelly figure of a cunt, jelly like the sparkly plastic sandals little girls wore in the ‗80s, I had my pair. One time a glass bottle shattered on the ground behind my step. Walking home from school a few years later, a driver blared his horn at me, having waited for me to cross in front of him simply wished my undoing and to make me look (and I refused). It startled me, oh I remember, the jolt. This would happen so many times, but I was still new to it then, I had actually expected peace on my walk. My heart moved in me like a jumping fish (right to be frantic, the fish, out of water, in human hands or bear claws—in one or the other, caught to beast). And the rage I felt, for the scare and to have had the thought I was shaping shot off like a bird. That rage I got used to taking home with me, until I learned, long after, to forget shame and yell on the street, purge in the moment or rankle for a long time after. Before then, for years, the anger had no out. I was too shy, and I took all in, I was one to feel to the ends of me, to shaking, to tears rolling while I stifled sound; I founded my calamities, my body told me what to feel. I trust my body, I remember all its talking from the time I was small, and I intuit infancy before. It points out to me the clandestine, the rotten and finessed. I hid all in spite of me, of my want to out; others hide in wicked canniness. The flux to me of small intensities would find them out to me. It was as a teen that I had the rage seeded in me, rage to want me back to take me back, put stop, give me like track-tied to help, and, too, much more than immolation, compelled, all in but yes, my hair somewhat the fire—live in a cubby for vow to tell, live in 3 feet, this sacrifice, the keep in mind, nestle in abject; but no, the tunnel in and in, innerscape is a universe. Is the god in the air or in the I? In the moment, hell or soar, hand held, hug to I felt flayed at school every day, to just be there, among strangers, pretty much, with most of whom I could not be me, hierarchy in play and alien (just me at home, my parents immigrants, quite living for me), and I not beautiful, not talkative, not knowing how to joke, how to pilot a group. All the time, around most, raw nerve, sounds acute, ill omen—sense of self as not armed with what to do, on verge of shame, some kind of outspill, that will make them condemn. Who did I think they were? What did I think they could see, slipping out of me, eclipse with the black coming out the back, behind my head, ear, while my face wanted so to be a sun—try is not even the word, such a fail, inability, for something telling me always, they will laugh at you, so every step, one foot trips the other. I could not see then, in h.s.: they are limited, they have buttons that plunge them to past scenes, stamps (frozen images, totems, statuettes, blurred portraits with one feature intact), one word, and you remind them of one they boxed away, for threat, for what they took, in some web chink of their formation to the present, as
  • 13. 16 unpainted mask, latex blank canvas, unknown. Like kneading a toe and in so doing tickling the throat, the face they make at you, or what they say, unexpected, is not about you first, it‘s about their pickled one, mummy, locked as reference in their memory. Unless you are that new for them; you present a new frame, framing nothing yet; your lack of surety makes them sluice you, what you show in that moment all the quicker to some ill category they have within (this is what not to be, or you will forfeit your dearest; this is who to praise). One of my buttons hurtled me down to my unthought bravery made to grow a brain, an eye, because someone had picked a secret off me like butioneer snatch, and I didn‘t know what they‘d grabbed, what they fondled, when I spoke one day, a little kid, and he, grownup, locked eyes with others, and made me funny. I remember; I was telling a story, talking animatedly, and the man was not listening to my story, he was at first, but then he was laughing, as I was talking, and he interrupted me to tell others that my dress was transparent. I felt naked, and I shut up then and there; whatever I‘d had to say, that I‘d been believing I was telling to such effect, in a circle of parity (this just given, assumed), I‘d been wrong. Such confidence was not reliable. When your guard is down, when you assume amity, you are fool; what you think you steer or do dazzle, like hands nimble in cut and coiffe, is broke, does not work, you do not take, they do not like. And the new thing too to know—that it Is work; the face to face is effort, not fun, not extension of breath, of play. I don‘t know today who that man was. But strangers leave a legacy sometimes. Anyone, any no one, can be a danger. But no, I learned over and over, not just that day, that people are quick to turn, to jab, to do something that gets too in, where I did not give them permission to go, or where they presume to be able to see, but they‘ve come in with techno-headgear on, playing pictures for them, before their eyes, in goggle cups or robo-band across, that they mistake for my privacy, but they‘re only watching the pictures they came in with. They may not see me, like I am not in the room with them, be they talk to me, target me. It did not have to make sense, and it often did not; it just was; the rules need not be in common, but one is made accountable. Some call sensitivity gift, others illness, depending on how they like you in the moment. It did hurt, it was an opening, skin pulled back, un-cuticled nerves in trot from room to room, the hallways full of eyes, sitting for an hour at a time—lost in the lecture, but oh, then to have to talk. Those around you feel it, and they find you ugly for it, for your speech halted and messy, for your inability to perform, to play some flamboyant part, or to waft an angel, stoner puff of calm. You don‘t give some brand of sass, wryness, hint of wind ya waist, Beavis in the ether like cosmonaut bobbing from a tether, so you bore. But more than that, to look on lack of suavity is to look on a wound, a maim, and no one wants to see. It angers them, that you show them that. And the worry, that smell on you, suffusing, or electricity humming about your form, sending wavelets and wobbly streaks out, altering the air in the room (unless they can ignore you), is a demand, even though you cannot help it. It is a demand put out to them to console; they catch your electricity, resent the lent jitter, the guilt it implicates; they say no, they say leave me be. They say, I can, why
  • 14. 17 can‘t you; where is the coal, cauldron full of it, to center you, to make your belly flamey alcove, to draw us in. You are not gravid with that thing that gives one place; you‘ve no smugness, you don‘t tell us our place; you are empty. Say something to move us, or we will ink you. My body grew without an outlet. I grew shapely and hungry, and after I‘d think about what those men on the street who bothered me, who treated me like I do not treat a cat psssssst niña, like I could never think to treat another human, looking back at me, could possibly be thinking (I concluded, I was a thing to stick it into), I let their want of me strum me in my bed, releasing the school day, remembering I was a woman, after a long day of confinement, stapled lips. The heat of my skin, my plangent flesh in wait made use of even them, what I had, the eyes I had on me. I was young; my body was not yet at its peak; my first year at Harvard, my breasts grew so quickly that pale, undulant canal etchings appeared on them. I learned to feel like a woman, desirable, in a defining, all-the-time way, a way to meet the world more than resurrect to in private, there, in that school. It worked, the persona I crafted and wore. I made boys want me, my form and aura pleased, I had a wide appeal. I felt like a dummy all of a sudden or not, or shamed, unseen, unrealized all I‘d been was rent, I was not smart anymore but now instead of mind, I was a woman. This was the proffered the only way of it, for me. (My ways to work were idiosyncratic, and not for marathoning; I typed with two fingers—the beak peck; and I had learned in my teens to slow my reading, to be able to memorize all I needed to, all they told me to—and in h.s. the all was not so much, and I could do it, store chapters of biology, of history, whatever it was. But now, the piles of books were too tall, the books too lengthy. And anxiety, a want to do well so strong it struck me still—OCD that paralyzed, permitted no flow (it attacks the passion—what the want is in love with, has vertigo eyes on—I would type a word, a phrase, and then erase, over and over again, sheer tic, no cause. What I most wanted, to do well, to write like what I fed on, ruminated like religion (it was, it is—minus certainty—more open, the doors you rest heft on give and give), the disorder parked in front of, like a massive person spreads a black cape. —A different anger came in later, to suck this venom out no more turning pretzel, to please, no more I—Push out me, be both the doctor and slick infant keep the cord, shriveled whangdoodle nose a memento, of past that was, I stand in this (and the now rivers, but is not gone, and again, again—) I‘ll be progenitor to answer about me, the sonny I am. No more looking to— In the meantime, for all that, what they do to sharpnesses they give, put in only (mostly): judge, write on me, gross, as a botched birth tell, nah, silly bitch, try try, for a change, try—Is there anything in there? Too late to prepare, I was there; and it was time to live, in a way apart from books, in any case. It was time for that.) I was part of the defining, and it was awarded to me, both. A match in looking out and look back. The desired response back tells you there is language in common. My fleshy lips I lacquered every day, I wore clinging garments, I clicked along in tall heels.
  • 15. 18 I could move. I danced in shows and walked like I had a hive between my thighs, buzzing, making a honey to shunt to tizzy and stupor they did not see frangible wishbone, frail arcs joined at a nexus, each a neck forcibly bowed, given to fanged bite in the shape of my denim-clung stalks. And that was not me (that was the girl in me, in abeyance). I knew the power nestled in that part now, what it could do to another. I had waited for a year, almost gone out with an over-ready older man named Nemesio I‘d eyed in turn in a Portugese restaurant, who kept pushing out his lips in a flirty pout; he would have taken it with a quickness. But I didn‘t, I waited to be in love. And then when it happened, it was real, it was the first time ever on the planet; I was happy in a way I‘d always waited for. But son wanted to do some more popping but he didn‘t find another untouched like me, to go for him, another like me who could walk like a minx and at the same time wear a face of startled to be having that effect on you and who really was an ingénue, new sling for my boo. A girl to love him unto death and gently, like story girls do. But then I wasn‘t new anymore, after him. And the next one raped me and told many, many that I‘d given it up freely, on date 1. Then I was seen as really unclean. My game was done. What strut has mystique if it‘s literal, yoked to graphic scenes on back sides of eyes. Boys who‘d never tried to talk to me suddenly asked me out. I was whispered about in the dining hall, they pointed at me. I, who‘d always noticed everything. Who had always hated this. The first time, I went crying to my roommate, hyperventilated. But you have to wear the iron mask, carry the killing lumber. No out from the jail cell or the cage. I had to carry it, stay in it. And my America, hope of my parents, is still— still proving that I am human, and not what you make up. All my life is that. They did me so good, I can never stop.
  • 16. 19 J/J HASTAIN FROM LUCI: A FORBIDDEN SOTERIOLOGY Dark is not light‘s opposite. Dark is the authenticity by which and in which light happens. As an ark of darkness most likely to be decoded by a floral print, I long for you to find ways to deflower me (in the human sense of the term). There are times when the vulnerability in my stating this to you makes me fear that I will pique too fast in your grasp. Learn to play the music of my organs, those stringed, jiggling plots and skins stretched over ancient bowls. Reach into me with the deepest symbols of your signature; leave your image imprinted on mine. I am a hand-made talisman. I am embodied ulterior and all I have ever been trying to say is that I only ever want the kind of wholeness that has to do with having learned to fill holes.
  • 17. 20 Dear denizen of contour, Why would anyone push the night toward the day? I remain unable to understand this even though I regularly push the day toward the night.
  • 18. 21 I often wonder where the other one third of the first estate has gone (they left alongside me when I passed through the bleached door and it turned fleshy, red). All of my considerations are anagogically dense: that is a necessity. Anagogic engagement is not necessarily dependent on traditional analysis; this kind of pride is not of the ego. The notion that I am a universal symbol of the ego is just inaccurate. Perhaps it is for this reason that they (the other one third) are not all here with me right now. I mean, I definitely have an ego, but that is only one aspect of this profuse, palpable parable. Regardless if I was the first or the last to do so, I left what had been given me for what else I might be able to find. In looking at me, you might or might not be able to see what is definitely there: the adverse effects of my father on my form. This is an opera whose storyline consists of hot and cold shadows.
  • 19. 22 My father insisted that I would never be buried in the ground (as humans are). Therefore upon leaving the bleached-wood room, I placed myself far below the earth in this cave. This is a form of being buried, isn‘t it? Solitude does not necessarily denote loneliness. Ethical interferences increase multi-planar contact. In creative inertias there is inbound relief. I wander the corridors filled with images of my own design: the faces of saints in erotic depictions, peppered honey and pear slices, doughy blossoms, hybrid forms consuming other hybrid forms, glass vegetables where human vegetables once existed. As I spend time trying to fashion origami cranes out of my tears and my thoughts, I also eat spoonfuls of ink: do so in the fashion of a feast of feats. With each intake of mystical liquid, my weight increases; I sink further and further below the surface. I consider this movement a form of progression, of adornment.
  • 20. 23 If and yes are both aspects of an inexhaustible resource, sigils of chiasmus. Consider this: sludge I endlessly unpack from a mouth with which I cannot grin. It gives me cell-nausea in a cosmic form every time I wonder, even though wondering is one of the primal rights that I left my first estate in order to attain. What does wonder and wondering feel like to you? I wonder if I will ever have an offspring, or if I already have one whom I can‘t recall.
  • 21. 24 In the cave I am increasingly working to see beyond the strictures of Yahweh. At first, leaving was enough. Now I yearn for more synthesis: more breath. Contrary to how some approach it, knowledge can be known by feeling. Form and parts are how to prove that. The parts in all of their excess are the stroma; pieces in affectionate poises are what hold a body of a me together. A me in a body is never redundant. Me in a body is capacity for ongoing climax. All of this as ricochet in me (which is producing inside scars whose insights are ravenous), allows me to pursue the barrages as they are pursuing me. I do all of this; I pay attention as a way to stay a creature of sight within the plummets of an eternally orbiculate mirror. Paying attention to subtleties is how to fall in love and to be in love with is all I have ever wanted.
  • 22. 25 Even with the crystalline shape of my yen, even with so much accumulated skill, I continue to see myself as a stranger to my first estate. Perhaps one is forevermore estranged from the sites and principles to which one is heretical. There‘s a difference between playing god and striving, with every fiber of your form, to become your own divinity (as personage, as passage). I guarantee you I am divinity in states of striving. It is a challenging but refining work to be a nomad who travels while sitting still. Better that, though, than being an infinitely smooth young savior, running feverishly from the contours and contents of midnight as it burns. So many of his drops of blood were wasted on the bleached stones in the garden: wasted at the foot of the cross. It feels of value to ponder his unclaimed hemolytic droplets in comparison to my intentionally released droplets. Do you see this needle here in my hand like a salty genital? I remove some of what is within me in order that it might act as nourishment for someone else, even if that someone else is me. I am not into waste: much more interested in profane but functional methods of syncretistic devising. In my case, my self-released emissions are like red dye going into a full glass of red wine: infinitude being held, the fact that I depend not on my attributed lineage, but on my own schema and perseverance.
  • 23. 26 It feels uncomfortable to me to present the impressions within my image to you as forms of teachings. Haven‘t we all had enough of teachings? There are more anarchic models for us to go by than teacher to student: modes which have eros (as opposed to hierarchy) as their base. As images are birthed within, starkness tempers and begins to secrete essence. It is possible to transgress spiritual subservience: to be real and genuine cuts into the patriarchal order that is regularly imposed on mythologies of deity and angel. As an embodied annulment of my father‘s overarching position, I cut the pleroma from three (as with triclavianism) to innumerable. I want you to consider that cut to be one of the ways that I am able to experience things akin to human erection, but so in the form of reredos. Contexts of self make a me like a god. Abaddon within an antimatter-alma mater.
  • 24. 27 Creating and populating images is apotheosis: an important way to reconcile opposites. Because I am image creating image and not image created by, then simply living out an attributed destiny of that image in a planar realm, please find the largest and longest mahogany box out there. Find this, even though there will still be more drifting autumn leaves, swords long gone limp, and aborted aspects than you could ever possibly stuff in the box. Find this for me, then put me and other images within it and store the unabridged mix in a secret place in your life. In this new body, symbols will be sums: unusually soft. Only hard when they need to be; similar to balsa wood floating in the surf appearing to lose its structure as it bobs in the waves, then you reaching out to touch the wood on the shore and noticing that it is, in fact, a solid object. This is one of the many ways I move from Lucifer to Luci (bypassing Satan). Only when I need to get hard do my images get hard. My images get hard from within me, and then proceed outward as protrusions. Like in the case of a human erection, this is something that I can‘t stop from happening.
  • 25. 28 I remember others‘ human memories. Sometimes this remembering feels like divergent destiny, yet other times it feels like dysphoria, displacement. As is reported in the case of Claire Sylvia and cell memory in the transplant heart she received, others‘ experiences are here with me in my body. These experiences are personal for me: in me they are me even if they are not from me. The cells of a first body carry their memoirs into secondary bodies. Notice my strut like an upright beam. See how I am materializing these images: green peppers, beer, maniacally shouting the word ―amen‖. Psychotropic revelations are here to add mystery, not completion.
  • 26. 29 So many blemishes and mutilations on my form: meaningful minutia. Here on both of my sides, wounds leak an odiferous liquid. Stunned and disturbed by this leaking I still have not reached my fingers into these wounds to taste the emissions, to see if this is in fact a mixture of blood and water like in the case of my spirit brother‘s own side: Longinus lance. When Adam‘s side was opened to extract Eve, the stoutest bone of Eden‘s fate, I am sure my father underestimated how much blood would spill forth from Adam‘s side. Blood is a natural intensifier of embodiment in human forms. Consider this: in the moment you pass someone on the street with their sign asking for a dollar, do you stop? Not always. But if they were bleeding from their eyes or from their outstretched hands, though you probably would still not touch their hands due to an unresolved fear of getting AIDS, the likelihood of your giving them your dollar is greatly increased. I have seen this happen many times. Thinking blood would function as something to assist him with his desire to control our forms, I think that my father is still surprised by how blood emancipates the individuality of our own agency: that force which puts us in deepest proximity with our desires.
  • 27. 30 Slitting open the dried pear to reveal linkage, pairs of pearls therein. Pulling knots and tangles from hair by pulling them right from the scalp of my image, I am thinking about how compressions and elongations cultivate cleanliness that has not yet been robbed of its complexity. Why did I get such adverse and dramatic responses from my father and spirit brother every time I tried to bring up my mother? Could it be that I did not come from anything that retains a mother‘s image? When I was younger I often snuck into the library pursuing myths about Baphomet (the hermaphrodite god of the pagans) in the pages of the books therein. I intuited and therefore pursued Baphomet, but did not yet know that this god (like so many others) was an imagined one. Did imagining make that god less real? Certainly not to me. Imagined gods are definitely more image though, than they are dogma. At the frothing edge of a water so great that it could devour all of the contents on its shore, a tomboy plays gingerly, joyfully with a toy boat.
  • 28. 31 KATHLEEN JONES GOLD STANDARD I was going to a poetry reading, to meet a friend‘s friend. The bus from Boystown to Andersonville was nearly full, everyone economizing their bags and purses and asses. When two girls jumped on, wielding suitcases, the grey old man perched up front lurched from his spot to the just-emptied seat next to me. His sweatpants hugged his skinny legs, his head bobbed with the movements of the bus, he faced forward but muttered. He said queen of clubs and fanned a deck of cards across his thigh. It wasn‘t a trick but a visual aid, a sudden delight. He said coffee and a pack of smokes but he was not drinking coffee, he was not holding cigarettes. Later, he said Wal-Mart gift card to no one or to me, the words not quite nonsense. Compared to the night, the bus was dry and warm, a good crowd going, the quiet almost friendly for once. Maybe he expected me to marvel aloud instead of silently. Perhaps he was disappointed. But then he held out a black-and-white school portrait for me to appreciate. It was him, but a kid, crazy or not-crazy, happy or sad, or all of it. I nodded and smiled, but froze when he plucked a loose hair from the tired blonde head of the woman one seat up. She spun around and glowered. I shrank. When the bus stopped the man stepped off first, then the woman, then me. The next night, at another reading, Carol Ann Duffy read ―Mrs. Midas,‖ and when she said then watched / as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice she paused and looked at us, and when we looked back— we thousands of listeners— she ran a finger round the rim of her water glass. I‘m talking about cards: here are some cards. I‘m talking about a glass: here‘s a glass. When a person speaks, watch. Gold standard, a vault behind each thought.
  • 29. 32 FRACTIONS After ―Mother, Bradford Yorkshire 1982,‖ one of David Hockney’s composite polaroids David looked at his mother, wondered where she had gone, thought he might find an answer today. In woozy pink carpet he photographed her sixteen by seven times, expression and posture whole but in fragments. If Mother is numerator and a Polaroid camera is denominator, David Hockney has made art of fractions. If he‘s made art of fractions, he‘s done so using already existing math. Who hasn‘t calculated the day‘s remaining hours and needed to sit down, ankles woven together against all possibility of getting up? Who hasn‘t gazed in two directions? So he sliced her up then glued her back together, white spaces reminding us: we all live in rectangular rooms.
  • 30. 33 DOC LUBEN THE BEAR A bear moved in to the mansion next door. A large brown bear, all full of pre-winter fat. The family that owns the mansion is on vacation, or maybe moving to San Carlos, whatever pointless thing people who live in mansions will be doing. But the bear smelled food in the cabinets and smashed in through the French doors on the back deck and hasn‘t left. He has lived there for weeks. At first he ate as much as he could, very fast, but that lost its novelty. and he wandered away from the open freezer door. He sat in all the chairs, then sat in all the chairs again, pretending to be Goldilocks. He turned on the computer but his fingers were too fat to compose anything of great meaning, so he smashed the screen into the wall and was angry not to find any meat parts inside. Anything that gets warm should have meat parts. The bear laid down to sleep in front of the fireplace but it made him feel macabre, like an antique accessory, so he moved into the master bedroom. He sleeps naked, on top of the covers. He tried once to ball up the pillows and comforters into the shape of a lady bear, but it was not big enough and came all undone when he nuzzled too vigorously.
  • 31. 34 He started to think a mansion is not a great place for a bear, but now that he was here leaving seemed implausible. The other bears would scold him for returning to the woods, saying he had been ungrateful for a great thing. He tries to entertain himself with walking up and down stairs, and knocking over lamps and then standing them back up. He turns on the television and roars at the people who do not seem to be frightened but are still unhappy. He has taken up a form of gardening which involves him batting at the rosebushes with his claws leaving large holes of nothing but bare branches. He has eaten nearly everything, including the Halloween candy hidden in the youngest son‘s bedroom. Every day his eyes look more sleepy. He climbs the stairs and goes down them again. He likes the stairs. They seem almost like magic, like climbing a tree from the inside. He wants to give up eating and focus on stairs. Stairs are the opposite of food. The more you use them the more they are there. They never run out: all you have to do is turn around and there they are again.
  • 32. 35 KRISTEN PARK from AURELIA There was something Phillip found in Aurelia. It was not her hand. It was never her hand. Perhaps, a toe. Perhaps, the point at which a line is drawn. Sand or wood or something impressionable: water. The threat was greater than the indentation. None of these chairs is right. It’s hard to sit. To be here with shoe tucked under shoe, ankles bound, the floor unrelentless. There is no support in this wing. The fluorescent lights asked only of shadow and bag and carriage. Fee green and yellow cinder blocked to cold electric spite. The point does not draw upon the lifelines palm found. Hands flounder and fumble and. Phillip tucked his in the folds of his arms. Pressing was warm. Stratification a threshold that exists in press. Something to be. Aurelia lie in the hospital bed unaware of the shuffling heels drawing ceiling; drawing capacity; drawing door.
  • 33. 36 Aurelia‘s fingers fan on bed. Sheet line over comfort. The cleave of heels in hall. Walls catch but pitch but keel sound. Board empty. Arrival at bedside, nails half moon blue beneath the pink. Wind catches the leaves in the window frame and blows them inside out. Or perhaps it is upside down. The silver is showing. Her veins are showing. Palms prone to pressing down. Nails breathe into the bedding, showing. Exposure, though is different than diagnosis. As to expose is different then to prognosticate. There is only so much time between sound departing and arriving. The heels, the breath, the scratch of nails on fiber. Counting threads and lines and cells. Phillip watches the leverage hands pressing down can achieve. A lift of sternum. Pressing is not holding is not grasping is only uni-directional. Symmetric. Met by the surface, against. Tension with no torque may be unresolvable. He waits for the break. Moon on leave and trees arrive as wind. And then he cannot wait. Turns palms supine and presses thumb to flesh. Fingers fan in his. She continues to breathe. The heel sound drops at doors endjamb. Phillip is wrong. Maybe it was her hands. Maybe a life was drawn in two palms lining sides. Perhaps, perhaps is something. A threshold of wait.
  • 34. 37 Aurelia knows only nurse drawing. Perhaps, well, maybe, there is more than taking here where space is blocked cinder upon wall. And so nurse: We will test the bone for there will be some innovative, really only injected then fluorescent on screen so red blue jelly fish protein deep tissue your bones well, find cancer early and exposure to jellies will we need a diagnosis to proceed No, this is not protocol. And so Phillip: Love calls deep and holds unknown And so Aurelia: Proceed, I give my bone. And so nurse, and so.
  • 35. 38 It is important to distinguish between plunging and pressing. It is important to distinguish between plunging and pressing because this is a love story. It is important to distinguish between plunging and pressing because this is a love story and this love has flesh. This is not an ideal love; this is love between bones and cells and signals; and it has a carrying capacity, and thus, forth, has a capacity to carry, and so: It is important to distinguish between a plunge and a press. For the needle‘s sake. For Aurelia‘s sake. For the sake of Phillip holding the object and asking for space. To draw for to draw yellow breathing bones. The hands shake where the soul treads a weight too light to point in.
  • 36. 39 Philip wakes to burning. Rope frays between the roll of thumb and middle finger. Prints fill with line and line with cells and the knot is nadi is heat is center is unraveling finger friction hand. He must drop the line to lift Aurelia‘s hand. Mark. The degree at which the knot will loosen is the degree to which he looses himself in the process. He takes her pulse at the wrist. Mark. He takes her pulse at throat. Mark. He takes her pulse behind the knee. Mark time passes regardless—a function of distance, a question of space. Her lids flutter but her lips stick together. Skin dry and cracked holding humid heat. He rubs ice over blue lips and they part rough beneath the melt. He wants her to speak but she swallows instead. She wants him to speak but he listens instead. The quiet holds them and there is no telling who the pair of eyes belong to. The ones on the ceiling. The ones noting the horizon line.
  • 37. 40 JH PHRYDAS from LEVITATIONS a bon-mot sits on a pedestal – underneath, a layer of bodies resist unnecessary movement – anchored by ankles – tiny raps of knuckles evoke time – they wait for no one – carpet hairs separate them like leaking sculpture – the way hips protrude like silence – glass staining minute detail – unabridged sentences – increasing and suddenly decreasing –
  • 38. 41 bone compass – create through insistence a spiral – shifting, the world emerges – amalgamation retains its own form – but a scattering – I but a crossing – limns – and the institution of watching – limns – and the rights and rituals keeps – limns – taut – skin recedes when touched – or thickens – gains momentum – force coalesces as a seeable object – interior movements outside regulatory perception enact a more precious form – because life-supporting – possibly being – merely a system‘s reaction to dissolution – here – investigates the potential of impermanence –
  • 39. 42 STACY SZYMASZEK from JOURNAL OF UGLY SIGHTS 8.31.12 East Village: disgruntled worker zone, remember Arlo walks up 1st now, throw caution to the wind//notice my reflection in the window of laundromat, my ass looks huge, then memory of something someone may be said about O‘Hara not being the type to notice his reflection in windows//will never patronize any of these new places//young man with open sore on his back drops to his knees to ask for money//outdoor seating eats up sidewalk//been off caffeine so long one cup wires me, light lunch doesn‘t level me//urge to skip steps, forge signatures, it‘s okay, you can forge mine too//pieces of ceiling are getting closer to my chair//go out for water and come back with soothing spruce bath salts// what would the Godfather do?//lost the Power Ball despite Susan Miller‘s certainty of money from an unpredictable place//prop up on iron fence gobbling spirulina chips//new rubberized sheet for Cass rolled up in a bag//expression of confidence followed by the ever so slight fear that patterns can‘t be broken//my therapist and gynecologist have basement offices//emerge into late summer dark//Shulamith Firestone dead in her E. 10th St. apt. all week 9.8.12-9.20.12 Carroll Gardens/Soho: nyc.gov text tornado warning seek shelter right before 4 hr meeting in Manhattan, reminds me to cancel this service//order breakfast from diner during storm, pass delivery guy on way out, text K she can have half of my potatoes//F service change, book to Jay in ultra humidity//smack gum on F, feels good but looks bad to watch others do it//persona non grata in room of people who make a living from their art//gardenia smell of only lotion sample I could find at Ricky‘s//the unprepared getting prepared in real time//new lay out of Brooklyn Fare, produce in too many places, buy more than I can carry, call K half way home for assist//K watching Auntie Mame in bedroom, too much horn in a score makes me nuts//cook everything the wrong time//yell ―put the blame on Mame‖ at the top of my lungs// credit card balance payment not posted payment received a day late payment mailed a week early late fee try to get it waived, realize I‘ve been chatting with a robot//
  • 40. 43 synthetic ball of hair held by a weed//thorough Gowanus House grounds people won‘t pick up that condom but finally got mud-encrusted doll leg//Cass meets Biggy, he licks her asshole, guys walking Biggy expect me to be offended//can‘t lose 2 pounds I picked up in Milwaukee//bully stick on bed, bed as giant wee wee pad//not dead but not growing plants//moldy rug, Winn Dixie not stocking rugs anymore Upper West Side: sit in gown opening to the front listen for footsteps, notice there are now magazines in the exam room//Dr. who told me to lose weight indifferent to my weight loss//powder-free latex gloves, ―does your GYN do a rectal?‖//9 month wait for appointment//her language striped bare//―get dressed and meet me in my office‖//my real weight on upscale scale//stack of amber urine samples//medical waste bin lid open East Village: everyone wants a tree// practice of redirecting grey area calls to me//threat of giant mirrors being permanently installed in Parish Hall//passing Sarah on 2nd Ave, not saying hello because what if she sees me but doesn‘t want to see me//sign in sheet at church says IN/IN//600 wheels of ricotta salada recalled, threw out the wrapper of the wheel we‘ve been putting on everything, K‘s listeria hysteria//another person surprised that I work full-time like I volunteer because I love poetry//―Szymasver‖//―Save on Juicy Turkey‖//Stacy with an ―e‖// diaper smell in the about to be public forum and stain on fabric covered chair may be related, wheel it into kitchen where later Will almost sits on it//one of the cheeses for reception brown, furry// blushing in front of 90 people Anne later telling me it‘s the year to take my power then demonstrates how ―hey there, nice to see you‖ then I try//ugly memory as Rachel reads, her calling me from Temple in 1992 ―you haven‘t actually graduated‖ thought I was such a good poet that it wouldn‘t matter//when a bed was a sleeping pallet everything dragged in from Baltimore Ave//passed math forgot about grad school//student journalist with a deadline whose calls I avoid shows up//season kick-off night of 1,000 hugs and one finger in ear//fear I won‘t be able to remember next reading without writing it down//how naturally diplomacy comes// period of time when I see beautiful so can‘t write ugly taking a holiday makes this ugly// someone asked if I was a therapy junkie//my therapist says I really use it//I really excel//therapy billed to credit card// accrues interest
  • 41. 44 Carroll Gardens: K says she can‘t wait for the day when the fecal collection kit isn‘t sitting on the back of the toilet//listen to cello music while working on budget//my bare foot as a broom//square on calendar with double booking//being outside when high school lets out//take a pic I thought would be cute but I look menacing, like I‘m choking the dog//gerunds are ugly in poems//forgetting wallet, at least Cass doesn‘t bark anymore, frozen meatball stains on sheets//songbird on cement flutters wings, move her to woodchips, this just is//person who has no sense of how to move through public space, word to the wise, figure in your giant backpack knocking people around on the subway// emailed lab results late Friday night, ten minutes of thinking I‘m diabetic, words in the abnormal results field, probably nothing// crawling into bed, tormenting K with my anxiety East Village: subway drum circle sets up with me nearly in the circle//Fetish Fantasy Series, pleasure tape//walking composition ratio of forgotten to recalled//about to betray my mother put it off another day//so many offers to use people‘s upstate homes can‘t seem to take them up on it ―sounds dangerous‖//December facial tremor in September//lesbian of note on F, not ugly but K would say her shoes are, never remembers meeting me//is occasionally wearing a blindfold during sex really a fetish?//use my apt keys to try get into the office and vice versa//―Chemical peel is an exciting way to improve your looks‖//Chirping Chicken//Pudgies//―thank you for improving my face‖//toothpaste stain on my lapel
  • 42. 45 MATT WEDLOCK WORN DOWN CUTICLE we cut well against the fracture our faces silk sheared crimson purple and white go tell {them of my siren song this, my hands raised index finger pointing in gives pause to your upper lip and for good reason i‘ve tasted the colorless sugar fucked the salt strangling here brought tongue from before, skin told air to behold skin to dance no god before devil set water to word, before you
  • 43. 46 from CORN BREAD NO. 2 to make to render to be to be itch scratched fat butter soft within flat landslide bite triumphs baker‘s cry observer‘s drunk waist deep neck flounder cry sea flea sand feet prick poison curved thighs split tails search for copper teeth he forgot the she, the she gave the she a he with a lemon and cold winter dress; gradiations of June within July‘s fiddle smile amiss with. now I, skin weathered sycamore against the depths of no saved except pulls fingers marionettes. bread and butter cold lips fantasy no one wants so everyone makes bread instead water the temperature of blood supposedly makes a fine loaf for dead white men
  • 44. 47 REVIEWS
  • 45. 48 KARA MILLER HOW TO BREACH AND DESTROY BOUNDARIES Sara Ahmed, in The Cultural Politics of Emotion, claims that ―fear works by establishing others as fearsome insofar as they threaten to take the self in.‖ For Ahmed, the paradigmatic object of fear is being swallowed up, losing the boundaries between the self‘s interior and exterior. Horror, in Ahmed‘s reading, is always located on a boundary of some sort; there is always a structure in the process of breaking down. This principle goes far to explain two very different modes of horror: the ornate suffocation of Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House, and the violent, primal stillness of Clarice Lispector‘s The Passion According to G.H. Both novels circle obsessively around boundaries both architectural and organic, and both novels evince a fascination with decoration and adornment that goes beyond the creation of impressions or mood. Decoration marks the boundary between interior and exterior. The walls of a room or a house exist in their ornamentation; the skin of the body exists in the manner in which it is painted, altered, and made beautiful. Haunting, the imposition of horror, transforms that decoration into a site of decay and revulsion. Where the walls or the skin break, the adornment that marked them becomes a talisman of horror. This horror of ornamentation is particularly apparent in Jackson‘s obsessive visual evocations of her haunted house. Hill House is not malevolent simply because it is haunted; it is evil in its very construction, ―chillingly wrong in all its dimensions‖ A house, after all, is composed nearly entirely of boundaries; when the boundaries begin to bleed, the structure itself is infused with horror. One can sense an echo of this adornment-horror in a line from Clarice Lispector‘s novel The Passion According to G.H.: ―Killing is also forbidden because it breaks the hard casing, and leaves one with the sticky life.‖ This mode of disgust—a primarily aesthetic mode, that of the bodily inside being allowed out—has been put to extensive use in the horror genre, but the violence that interests Lispector is of a strangely formal variety. Passion is a profoundly still and internal novel. In its early passages, G.H., a dilettante sculptor and socialite, enters an unfamiliar room in her house, where she sees and crushes a cockroach. What follows is irreducible and nearly indescribable. In her encounter with the empty room and the horrifyingly alive roach, G.H. sees what she terms the ―neutral,‖ the ―insipid‖—the absolutely unembellished and undisguised substance of life. Thus, while Jackson works in a mode of gothic over-adornment, Lispector utilizes its inverse: the horror of borders that reveal themselves bare and unadorned. Both Jackson and Lispector fixate on the uncanniness of the decorative object, the point of disturbance where luxury corrupts itself, the displaced ornament that reveals that the boundaries between life and its antagonists are not functioning as
  • 46. 49 they should. While Jackson finds hell in the skewed corners of her Hill House, Lispector imbues her roach with disconcerting aesthetic fetishism: ―Seen up close, a roach is an object of great luxury. A bride in black jewels.‖ In Jackson‘s novel, the malevolent Hill House absorbs a quartet of individuals already to various degrees deranged. The group is summoned by Dr. Montague, a researcher of the occult, and its central character is Eleanor, solitary and jealous and strange, with a history of finding herself in the midst of paranormal events. Eleanor has spent most of her life nursing her now-dead mother, isolated from the outside world, and Jackson introduces her by way of this statement: ―The only person in the world she genuinely hated, now that her mother was dead, was her sister.‖ Into this nexus of feminine toxicity comes Theodora, another of Dr. Montague‘s subjects. Theo is beautiful and vivacious and probably a lesbian, and she constitutes the perfect subject for Eleanor‘s barrier-dissolving envy. The final subject, Luke, the young and charming heir to Hill House, intrudes upon and mediates their relationship, but the book‘s most important emotional currents run between the two women. From their first meeting, Theo and Eleanor can hardly maintain a clear line between their bodies and identities. They share clothing, sleep in one another‘s beds, and watch one another with jealous fascination. At one point, Theo paints Eleanor‘s toenails red, and Eleanor‘s body revolts at the violation: ―I hate having things done to me … I don‘t like to feel helpless … My mother—‖ Here, the decorative arts have been perversely used to destroy a boundary, and with the dissolution of that line, an entire history seethes to the surface. Later, when one of the house‘s ghostly manifestations floods Theo‘s room with blood—for which Theo blames Eleanor— Eleanor thinks back to the red polish: ―It might as well be paint, don‘t you see?‖ The horror of blood, here, is not in its reference to violence or death, but in its reference to seepage, a body not contained in itself. The red paint and the blood are both accessories, both markers of where one body ought to end and the next begin, and they echo one another with disturbing precision. Lispector, too, finds gruesome meaning in simple forms of ornamentation. Early in Passion, G.H. enters the room that was previously occupied by her maid and finds it stripped of all decoration. She describes this empty room as ―the portrait of an empty stomach,‖ a thing whose ―entrails had been parched.‖ Lispector uses this carnal imagery to a precise purpose: for her, decoration is not a sign of life but life itself, and its absence is a form of evisceration. Unadorned, the room reveals itself to be as vulnerable and obscene as a human body. In the room, G.H. encounters a mural depicting three empty figures: a man, a woman, and a dog. Describing her revulsion at the mural, G.H. says, ―the drawing wasn‘t a decoration; it was a writing.‖ Decoration is essentially incommunicative and opaque; it marks a border, a point that cannot be moved through. When this decoration transforms into something explicitly expressive, a point of leakage has been opened, and G.H., along with the reader, recoils in disgust. Though the horror is less explicit, the effect here is not
  • 47. 50 terribly different from the effect when Eleanor finds her name written in blood on the walls of Hill House. Walls that bleed and walls that send messages are both walls that breach their essential function. This complication between outside and inside is inscribed in every surface of Haunting. Hill House is a structure far more organic than rational, composed of concentric circles connected by passages that twist like viscera, its openings concealed, its inner passages obscene and private and guarded from light. Softness, curvature, and circularity, properties that can be alluring on human bodies, are horrifying displayed on the walls of the house. Of course, much of Hill House‘s malignance consists in its power to break down the boundaries between itself and the people inside; over and over, Eleanor experiences the house‘s hauntings as coming from inside herself. Hill House threatens to consume Eleanor in a number of senses: by swallowing her up and annihilating her, of course, but also by dissolving the barriers that divide body from architecture, structure from soul. The displaced ornament—here, the form of the organic body rendered on the walls of the man-made structure—functions, again, to corrupt the ideas of decoration and sensory pleasure, and to reveal the porosity and leakage of most boundaries. Sara Ahmed writes of fear as an affect that produces and maintains distance. The primary object of fear is being swallowed up or consumed, but that very fear works to maintain a mediating space, so that this devouring impulse is never consummated. Fear, according to Ahmed, ―restricts the body‘s mobility precisely insofar as it seems to prepare the body for flight.‖ What happens, then, to a body that refuses to flee? G.H. does not run from the manifestation of her fear, and as a result she loses her adornments, the hardness of her boundaries, the limitations that render her sane. Lispector writes that ―the vision of an infinite piece of meat is the vision of the mad, but if I cut? that meat into pieces and parcel them out over days and over hungers—then it would no longer be perdition and madness.‖ Images of eating constitute objects of fixation in both Passion and Haunting. In the mind of Eleanor: ―I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside.‖ In the mind of G.H.: ―the unclean animal of the Bible is forbidden because the unclean is the root … eating the living matter would banish me from a paradise of adornments.‖ Swallowing and digestion affect a total dissolution of boundaries, a total displacement of every object of decoration and sane sensory pleasure. For Ahmed, the perpetuation of fear depends on the fact that the threat of consumption is constantly deferred; fear ―constructs some bodies as enveloped‖ but maintains a distance between the enveloping body and the body experiencing fear. Without this distance, terror is not properly terror. It might instead be G.H.‘s ―infinite piece of meat,‖ no longer marked by the embellished boundaries that make an object or an affect intelligible. For both Eleanor and G.H., there is consummation of a sort; Hill House destroys Eleanor‘s body and claims her personality, while G.H. quite literally consumes her roach. In Haunting, this transgression of the border that produces fear
  • 48. 51 effects a sudden, jagged end to the narrative; in Passion, the narrative circles around a crater, the inexpressible moment of consumption. Eleanor‘s inner narrative ends with ―I won‘t go, and Hill House belongs to me,‖ and then her suicide; G.H. concludes with ―Life is just for me, and I don‘t understand what I‘m saying.‖ The two women have in common this dissolved, leaking me; the boundaries between higher and lower life, and between life and substance, have been utterly corrupted and bled through.
  • 49. 52 INTERVIEWS
  • 50. 53 BRENNA LEE 666 AN INTERVIEW WITH BHANU KAPIL Installment One | Author One [six words six authors six issues] The 666 Interview Series is an attempt to explore language, the conceptual, and experimentation in writing and art-making by creating a space of vulnerability and transfiguration through engaging simultaneously with a structured and open format. Words are objects. Each word holds weight and possibility. As objects, words contain the potential for transmutation. Words have the ability to melt. They can burn, shift, or fall apart. The intersection and variance of these interconnectivities is where we find the hinge, the image. The image is an allusion, a locus for the object itself or the object inside of itself. This is the power of the optic, to both refer to and occupy this hollow landscape. How does the author-artist inhabit this gap? How does the author-artist compose the silences of this break? How does one curate the phantasms? It is here that the reader realizes the unity of word and image. There is no moral division between the two. The written word-object creates the image- object, or the word-object becomes the image-object itself. In this malleable space the author-artist and the reader both can explore the relationships among words, images, and meanings. To explore language, the conceptual and experimentation, I chose Bhanu Kapil, author of Schizophrene (Nightboat Books 2011), as the first 666 author-artist to interview. Experiencing her work is often an act of engagement with the image of the body in space and time; on the grid. She writes, ―Sometimes I think it was not an image at all, but a way of conveying information‖ (40). Kapil‘s readers often encounter what Cixous would refer to as ―a universal woman subject,‖ which appears as a repressed female unconsciousness deeply connected to the sexual and the animal. With this in mind, I selected six words in regard to the body, especially in Kapil‘s work and use of form, which is such a site of intersection that explores the transmutable space. It is a place of incubation. Kapil responded to the six selected words, as vectors, prompts, memories, or in any way she chose. While discussing Schizophrene, Kapil expressed the importance of moving past the beautiful language, of letting go of the excess in order to let something else emerge and to allow the reader to encounter, as she puts it, ―the intensely vivid present of the hallucination.‖ This is the experience of entering her work, of memory as matter. In May 2013, I interviewed Kapil in an attempt to explore the space and limits of her own texts, bodies, and language.
  • 51. 54 1] Monster: Chopin prelude #15. I looked left. To see Maiana, one of the undergraduate students in Monster class, untangling the red wool from the tulips. Walk to red. Follow the red wool to the trench or ditch where – I am lying down. Then everyone gets in, taking an animal posture. We make a star with our bodies for the dirt and put ourselves into that. The language in the middle of our bodies. Absorbed. I left with their papers wrapped in an emerald green sari. Looking left, I see the last thing – as above. To write you have to be a monster. You have to open to the thing that isn‘t you. 2] Smear: Ban is a smear on the asphalt – a dredged bit of something. Was I a black girl? Yes. Yes I was. In the culture I was from. In the era when, in solidarity with their Caribbean neighbors and fellow workers, Indians and Pakistanis called themselves black. Ban is a girl walking home from school just as the race riot begins. I built a chrysalis on the street: a light tent over the text. Sometimes I think I keep writing that – Ban – waiting for the moment – which is diurnal – something that happens in time – or because of it – time – when she completely – disappears. No. Ban is a stain that reappears – the outline of a girl‘s body – as soon as you rub it off. 3] Mimicry: How Ban repeats. In real time. From India comes the news that a girl. Is on the ground. That she lay there. For forty minutes. Before anyone. Called the police. And that this. Happens. Five minutes from my aunt‘s house. On a part of the street I have. Walked past. Or driven past. Multiple times in the. Last twenty years. Who am I ? Who is Ban? Ban is my sister. Ban is my daughter. Ban is me. But who is this girl? What happens when what you are writing about becomes – more real – than what you are writing about? This is when writing is no longer the appropriate response. To a scene. That is not founded upon. Semblance. Or mimicry. But is only itself. A bleed. In the red-yellow dirt, re-mixed and – wrecked – on that other street. 4] Shift: A thin muslin dress. Cessation. The shroud in the form of a simple garment. A girl is set on the pyre. At the last moment, as the flames surge and lick – she opens her eyes. And leaps. Out of the fire. Into the river. Where she is carried by pink dolphins. Out to sea. There, mid-ocean… 5] Return: So I did. By the Thames, I recollected my childhood with the dirty swans. I put my beak in the pudding. Glancing left, I saw the path I used to walk. Up the hill. To lie. Between the graves on the bright. Grass. Above London. Where the person I did not marry. Said. ―You are my home.‖ The next day, or the day after that, I left. Without a word. To return to my life. In Colorado. Which was beautiful. Not yet wrecked and violent with yellow and white flowers on the windowsill. A son. Not yet born. Or begun.
  • 52. 55 6] Hole: Sometimes I think that everything I have ever done as a writer is the regulation of a glimpse – through a hole – in an ox cart – mid-century – on the border of India and Pakistan. My mother saw…and then her head was pushed down….beneath the straw….so that what she saw was always….a partial…scene or image…that never resolved as narrative. But as the fairytales of my childhood. In which a woman was always. Tied to a tree. And dismembered there. Like the women. In the Ramayan. A text of my childhood. Also. The angels and demons pour out of that hole every time I write. I became an experimental writer as a way, I sometimes think, to create a surrounding environment for something. That was never. Fully seen. Lastly, please leave us with a word, an offering for the next interview: LOVE.
  • 53. 56 CONTRIBUTORS ANTHONY CAPPO received his M.F.A in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. His poems have appeared in Connotation Press – An Online Artifact, Lyre Lyre, Scapegoat Review, Scribble Magazine, and other publications. He grew up in Cherry Hill, N.J., but is a long-time resident of New York City. ASHER GHAFFAR is a writer whose work has been featured in numerous Canadian literary journals. His first poetry collection, "Wasps in a Golden Dream Hum a Strange Music" was published with ECW Press. His forthcoming collection, "Homegrown," addresses the surrounding discourses and the material fact of home grown terrorism. The writer has been haunted by this emerging global reality since the the July 7, 2005 London Tube Bombings. In addition to a dissertation in Social and Political Thought at York University, Ghaffar is also at work on an experimental autobiology on the problem of djinns and psychic possession. CAILY GRUBE recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in English Writing. She has evacuated most forms of social media and hopes that you can't find her. Currently, she lives in Pittsburgh with her boyfriend and their two terrariums. Her work appears in Hot Metal Bridge and Collision. LIANUSKA GUTIERREZ is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Work can also be found in Counterexample Poetics, Eratio Poetry Journal, Corazon Land Review, Wicked Alice, Yemassee, and other journals. J/J HASTAIN is a queer, mystic, seer, singer, photographer, lover, priest/ess, gender shaman and writer. As artist and activist of the audible, j/j is the author of several cross-genre books and enjoys ceremonial performances in an ongoing project regarding gender, eros and embodiments. KATHLEEN JONES is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her work has appeared in nibble, The Stickman Review, Jones Av., and Morpheme, and is forthcoming in Iodine Poetry Journal. BHANU KAPIL writes her bio as, "An obliterating heat. Or weather. How these other forces impede a post-war architecture‘s modernist aims. Similarly. I want to write out, one after another, a sequence of degraded colonial forms. My work engages the colony at the instant of maternal death. Part of being a writer is the capacity to make statements like this, privately. Is the colony a kind of mother? I want to study form as an activity of incarnation: the thing that abates, progresses but never loops again. Instead, I want to write my subjects to the end point and beyond, even if that means I am a failed British novelist of some kind. BAN is a novel of the race riot, for example, set in the U.K. The pre-biology of this project extends from a World Conference of Cultural Psychiatry, at which I was a delegate, to the street on
  • 54. 57 which ―Ban‖ – a girl walking home from school in the opening moments of a riot – lies down to die. I am interested in social death and the acoustics of violence. Since 2010, I have given [built] performances upon these themes [activities] in India, the U.K. and at various venues in the U.S., including the Schindler House in Los Angeles, The Subterranean Arthouse in Berkeley and at Pratt Institute in New York." DOC LUBEN is a writer and spoken word performer in Portland, Oregon. His work has previously been featured in The Legendary, Smalldoggies Magazine, and Housefire Books. His poetry collection, The Diesel Powered Rag Dog, is available at docluben.com. KRISTEN PARK is an ecosomatic writer of the littoral zone. As a Naropa University M.F.A. graduate, Kristen found the language to investigate samskara. She writes in edges. Cofounder of the Inukshuk Collective, she generates somatic writing exercises and coordinates poetry-movement events. When not choreographing in the bathtub or writing in the sand, she teaches composition at Johnson & Wales University and Bryant University in Historic Rhode Island. JH PHRYDAS is a current MFA candidate in Writing and Poetics in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. He is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and received his B.A. in English Literature from UC Berkeley. Phrydas was saved from a life of bartending and wayward travel with generous grants from the Endeavor Foundation for the Arts and the Anne Waldman Fellowship at Naropa. He is the founder of Fair Warning! Press, co-founder and editor of TRACT / TRACE: an investigative journal, and has forthcoming work in Something on Paper and Bombay Gin. Phrydas currently resides in Boulder, Colorado exploring ―how to write the distance between two hands, nearly touching.‖ STACY SZYMASZEK was born in Milwaukee in the summer of 1969, and grew up there. She is the author of the books Emptied of All Ships (2005) and Hyperglossia (2009), both published by Litmus Press, as well as numerous chapbooks, including Pasolini Poems (Cy Press, 2005), Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane (Faux Press, 2008), Stacy S.: Autoportraits (OMG, 2008), from Hart Island (Albion Books, 2009), and austerity measures (Fewer and Further, 2012). From 1999 to 2005, she worked at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. In 2005, she moved to New York City, where she is the Artistic Director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church. MATT WEDLOCK lives in the watchtower of the Sunflower House in South County RI. He received his BA in Literature from Bridgewater State University and his MFA from Naropa University. He is currently an adjunct professor of Literature and Composition at Bristol Community College and Bridgewater State University. He runs the recently founded letterpress printshop Salient Tooth. He blogs at everypaupersnickers.blogspot.com and tumblr.com/blog/everypaupersnickers.
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