It feels like March but it’s not
though the individual elements
of this day possess a degree of similarity
to an earlier time I saved & stored
labeled as March
the same robust textures of light
the way the grass holds
intense waves of green.
The only thing certain
is that all of this data is wrong.
December 19th it’s almost Christmas.
I’ve been quiet for so long I’d rather keep thinking.
The drive this morning was uneventful
as usual. I saw
someone in the car next to me
fidgeting with her lap texting
instead of bringing her attention
to the moment she was in &
I fell in love with her for only a few minutes.
This is why I’d rather stay home.
It feels like there was a war
& my side lost.
So I’m happy to disappear in the desert
happy to go away & let the world
maybe wait for some new generation
to ask me back into the light
of some future March
all this blue air around me.
I sat in the front yard and rearranged the apples that had fallen since I left. With time, I'm sure I could spell something complicated out. But there was the rot, hands sticky, slugs finding home. Bees ricocheting off wet neck and forehead, crawling on my arms. I got to an A. And then: what have I done? Boiled water in a woodsman’s hut. Gun movement, shoe white. There was never any gun. The shoes were never white.
A fat man in a tight swimsuit asks a young girl to wash his back. We pretend we don’t see this. The sun in our eyes, grit kicked up by passing bicycles. There’s a painting on a cinder block wall, a Middle Eastern scene. There’s more more more to the beach than tan and pale blue. More than unwatched ice cream stands and children shattering day with the din clang of some imagined pain.
Two women sit in shadow, as the sun decides. They lean against a fake checkered floor that rises behind them into smaller and smaller black and white squares.
“Depth perception,” you say.
One woman says to the other woman, “It was just easier to go along.”
“Some waste of time.”
In the painting, an immaculate palm reaches over everything. A coned building is dwarfed by this and chapped to peeling by sun.
This isn’t what we wanted.
Gulls rocket away from the shore. Restless hum of waves trash the beach with wet sacks of potato chips and broken glass.
You scratch your arm and wait, victim to the scent of a hundred planes. Jet fuel fouls the sky and your head runs under those silver bellies, screams like a lost trapeze searching for a fist. Like radio static searching for a station through tunnel walls.
You sit at the windows, watching the reflection of passengers walking by, and the girl three seats from you eating bunless hamburger meat with her hands. You’re looking up knots on the internet because we want something new: bowline and sheet knot, figure eight and studding sail, a timber hitch. We want the burn on my arms irregular, like music we might dance to.
I spend the day imagining you the way I found you: face underwater and blurrily beautiful, blonde hair in your eyes. Forgive me. I am slightly drunk. This is what I want. I want you there again. Before the lungs fill, before speech decays to vacancy. You swim away, but I catch you on the other side where the water clouds with red.
I have another dream about you. Blonde head black in shadow, pressed into the neck and forelock of a russet horse. A man stands in the stall’s corner reciting those same three lines of Shakespeare I once learned. The tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, the good. Perhaps the man is me, waiting inside witness wood, panels two hundred years old, waiting to be noticed, addressed, understood. I see your face in the grey planks, then in shadow on the mare. The brace on the man’s leg kicks out from the wall and settles back noisily. And settles back with a scrape like a popped balloon. Your face stays on the horse and you say soft, then loud to drown my broken voice, my not-so subtle pop and drag, The sky is never blue, but it’s always. The sky is never blue, but. The sky is never blue. When I ask how this can be true when I can clearly see the sky (blue) through the high window, and when I ask what it always is, you say, To complete a sentence takes time. And the wood isn’t wood, the wood is concrete, the straw ground concrete with flecks of blood in an arc on the floor. And hair settled into seams. Fingernails settled into seams. The horse is a hand-me-down, a blanket scratchy and wool. And the man on the wall is a warden, and the brace is a rifle he holds with two hands.
I would like that photo of you with your hands behind your back. Your face red, skin wet, rope around your neck.
I want to say, “How can you trust someone who shatters glass whenever she gets the chance?” I want to say,
“How can you believe in anything?” To watch the stars align, the rotating sun, spots that will slay us, quickly or with cancer. My mother lays in a hospital in Florida, fingering her thinning hair, no thought for the tumor.
You ask forgiveness for the girl’s shaved legs, impeccable hair, her can’t-hold-a-conversation charm.
I want to remember you with your legs crossed at the ankle, shins lifting off the edge of the bed.
A macadam road runs curving around the series of green hills. The picnickers and hikers on the sides of the hills can see down the length of various segments of it; every few minutes a car runs down it, accelerating into the sudden dips. The tallest hill is topped with a wooden pavilion, whose slanted roof shades a circle of smooth wooden benches. A stone trough collects rainwater that runs down a hidden wooden tube from the roof, and keeps it in the shade; a ladle is chained to a metal screw hammered into the stone, for those hikers who would consider drinking water appearing so mysteriously at the top of a steep hill. On this day in particular all of the benches facing north are occupied. A dozen or so men and women in their sixties and above sit facing away from the road and towards the zone in which the hills begin to subside into a flat, brown-grassed plain. Over the plain several planes, or perhaps aircraft, are flying low with an intent and ominous purpose, that mirrors quite accurately the sunbleached avidity on the faces of the watchers on the hill
In the morning and in the afternoon, when the sun isn’t beating down as strongly, quite a few people drag bundles of firewood out to the roadside and stack them to sell to passing cars. The rental cabins set back into rustic “camps” in the cupped woods get cold at night and the firewood vendors count on the returning visitors who know this and buy the firewood despite the heat of the day. No one wants to arrive once the sun is at a level where it torques and wavers between the passing hills, and so by that time the roadside is mostly cleared, and the locals recede back to the tall, thin houses that must have all been built to plans drawn by an architect who passed through during some founding moment of energy. Further inwards the forest is shot through with underground streams
Past viewing from the hills the surface of the plain dries out until it gives up the last of its grass and ductile soil and becomes a mix of sand, gravel and shale. Here and there gray slabs flecked with mica lie flat to the ground. Here the sun is even stronger during the day. A second road moves down from the north and then turns eastward, bordered by two tall fences; it has a quality of having been drawn in by a marker – completely matte and black and lacking any lane markers or marks of any other kind. Similarly, the cars that pass down it have no doors or license plates, and their tires are black circles of material. No road connects the zone behind the double fence and the green hills, and the hike across the drying plain is difficult. The people living in the forested areas surrounding the hills make their living off of travelers (day-hikers, campers, and people visiting the hot spring) but inside they are always turned towards the drying plain and the double fences
On her off days the camp cook walks several miles to a large clearing whose eastern edge folds and dips into a ravine. The sides of the ravine are shagged with rocks that heat up in the afternoon sun and emit a crisped hothouse dank, an intensification of the dry, brown-grassed clearing. Today her sandal broke on her walk, so she is walking barefoot on the hard-packed dirt kept smooth by a seasonal creek. She is wearing a calico apron, worn jeans cuffed up to mid-shin, a faded strip of cloth to tie her hair back. She is descending towards a cool black opening. The night previous she was on the phone with her brother: he told her, via his flickering lamp-like image, that the groups in opposition (to something she is involved with both tangentially and intrinsically) are becoming inured to the smoke bombs, to the hard packets of air we send zinging past them, and to the massive images we project against their clouds of the Chayot, the Ophanim, the lionesque Hashmillim
Almost exactly a week prior a man went missing hunting. He had been stationed in a blind, and when his friends didn’t find him there they assumed that he had gone back to the lodge alone. Once the sun had set the lodge sent out search parties, but they had not found him before he walked in under his own power the next morning. He claimed no memory of intervening events and there was a strange wound in his leg. The local doctor drove out to see him around noon and stitched him; later he mentioned the minor commotion in a letter to his son (also a doctor). He wrote that the wound had been abnormally neat, as if it had been made with a sharp knife as opposed to a branch. It was the first time he had ever treated a patient with such a long and carefully delineated gap in their memory, and there was a mark on the back of the hunter’s neck that might have been caused by a syringe. The son reads all of this carefully on his porch, under a slant of morning sun, and folds it away as if he wants to communicate something to the contents by this gesture
A girl is alone in the main pool. Later, meaning that evening, she discovers that she is alone at the spa: the other family has left, her own has not come back, and the owner has gotten drunk and wandered away
It is part of the history of the people in the region that they lack density. This means that roads are low quality. Before the Emancipation people were smuggled through here, or kept on to work as permanent fugitives. Given this, the undercurrent of authoritarianism is hard to explain or understand
Mid-way up the tallest of the seventeen green hills a fly-like figure is captured on film slowly ascending. We can’t examine this film as if it is playing on some kind of editing device (the kind where the image responds like a viscous liquid to shifts in its plane). We can’t stop the film and then zoom in on certain details, or use a computer program to peel apart the layers of information laminated together in the film. The man is passing by a windbreak to his right which conceals a young couple and a child lying as if asleep on a gingham blanket. The child is so still that a starling has landed beside her. The couple were holding hands, which have now tumbled carelessly apart. When he meditated to prepare for this the man saw himself holding a candle in his left hand. His nights flew away from him in glories like he had never imagined; in the brutal noon heat his father held him under the rushing waters, and the shocking cold broke him away from the world
“Antipas recognized something he had been afraid to see. Brown tents were scattered here and there, men with lances were moving among their horses, and dying fires shown like sparks on the ground”
“…the gold transfumed from the mahagonies, the pages’ rims of de luxe books, still burns, a sugar grain under your eyelid’s shell”
He sees his brother coming as a v of dust on the horizon. He steps out of the shade of the reed mats, shuffling his feet into thin rubber sandals. His brother coasts his bike into the courtyard and they greet. Their shadows move rapidly across the dirt. Beneath the reed mats another man is asleep on his back; a scarf is wrapped around his face except his nose. The brother begins to tell the story of why he has come so urgently. He is from a village in the valley, near where the open pit mine was dug. Everyone in that village works for the mine. There is another village three hour’s drive from the mine, where no one works for the mine, but that village is now allowed to fish along a certain stretch of river. There are also agreements around where cattle can be grazed. After a dispute around pay a group of young men who worked clearing the leavings from the mine refused to come to work; the further village now said that their young men should be able to do the work. A few days later the young men went to the stretch of river where the further village fished and drove the fishermen off. Someone was seen crouching in the bush near a group of cattle and making strange noises with a bit of wood attached to a rope. What was needed was for someone to come out from the regional governor’s office in order to mediate the dispute. Having some standing, the brother waited early one morning for the van that covered the route to the regional capital to pass by his village; he also had a sack of dried chickpeas to deliver to his cousin’s wife. By that afternoon he was standing in front of a judge whose sister was married to a village man. The judge called a police officer, who arrived in a car with a flat tire and drove the brother to a set of seventeen repurposed mobile classrooms on the edge of the city. By then it was dark, and for some reason the area around the mobile classrooms had been churned into a sucking mud. The policeman drove off. The area was forlorn, silent. As the car rattled into the distance it seemed to draw after it every other noise, every bit of motion, and every trace of humanity and life. Depressed – in fact oppressed by a sense of the evil and futility of life – the brother inspected each of the plain, rectangular mobile classrooms in turn. After some time doing this he saw that there was a small concrete building standing even further out on the plain, in whose window could be seen the flickering orange sign of lamplight. Without any real hope he walked down the loose-soiled path leading out to the building. He came up to the window. A man was inside, seated at a desk. The desk was covered in bundles of paper sheathed with twine. Behind the desk poorly-built wooden shelves groaned under bundles of paper. The brother called to the man through the open window and explained his situation. As he spoke, instead of feeling relief at having found someone, his sense of evil, oppression, and futility grew. The man listened patiently. Finally he told the brother that he was authorized to deal with these types of issues, and invited him into his office. The inside stank from the lamp - the smell, the rotting paper, and the carelessly tied knots in the twine contrasted with the man’s bearing. After listening to the brother for several minutes he got up from his chair to cut the lamp wick. As he did this the brother saw his face divide into several faces, and then seem to settle on one, like a finger settling on a single item among the selection in a shop. The brother decided not to reveal what he had seen, and to wait to see what this creature wanted and if there would be an opportunity to escape without a confrontation. The man came back to his desk wearing this new face – not much different than the old, only this one wore a light beard - and repeated that yes, he was authorized to deal with these matters, as well as other issues relating to fishing rights, grazing rights, the location of beehives, damming of streams, and so forth. All that was required was that he make a visit to the brother’s village, at a time at which it had been arranged for a delegation from the further village to be there as well. He began to consider his schedule, counting days off on his fingers. Finally, he said that he could come exactly two weeks from now, on his way back from the foothills beyond the valley where the mine sat, but that he would only arrive in the dead of night, after a full day’s traveling. When he arrived where should he look for them? The brother answered slowly that he would gather the village council and wait for him in front of the school, which stood a slight distance away from the rest of the village. They would be burning a fire to keep warm, in any case, so it would be easy to find them. The man nodded and repeated that he would be quite late. Finally, he opened a drawer in his desk and brought out a poorly photocopied sheet of paper. He said that of course before he undertook any official duties he would need a signed request from a representative from the town. The brother brought out a pen from his backpack and ran it over the thick black line that lay at the bottom of the paper. Now he had invited this creature to his village in the dead of the night, but he did not think anyone could blame him, in his circumstances. The pen left no trace on the paper. He shook the pen a few times and tried again. It was dry. I hope it will be fine, he said, if we sign this on the night of your visit. The man shook his head and explained that if the pen was dry they would need to find something to use as ink. He began to list various possibilities, dismissing each in turn as impractical – dirt, soot, spit. This went on. Finally he stopped and there was long silence. The only feasible thing, he said, was to use blood. The brother explained that of course there was no way for one man to bring another man’s blood out of his body. The man gestured at a small knife on his desk and said that while normally it was used for opening letters, it would do just as well at pricking a man’s thumb. Easy to say, replied the brother, but hard to do. The man only smiled, and said that maybe this time, out of all the times, it would be different. His fear turning to anger, the brother said then let us see, and picked up the knife from the desk and plunged it into the middle of the man’s clean white khaffir. The man fell backwards in his chair, and as he hit the floor his face came apart again into many different faces, and they all began to spin wildly, like a well crank when the bucket is thrown towards the bottom of the well. All of them together let out a quick shout of alarm. Blood poured from the wound in the creature’s chest. The brother who was waiting says you lying bastard. A man can’t spill blood from a man. The brother who came says that he saw the blood spill out in the lamp light, even faster and thicker than the blood had spilled out before, when he had seen men cut by things besides men. Then the strange man jumped up and ran out of the building into the night. There was nothing left to do except to bar the door and wait for the dawn, and when it was light to make his way back towards his village. He is headed there now, and needs fuel for his motorcycle. But his brother still cannot believe his story and sits mulling. With nothing to do the brother lights his pipe and sulks. Every few minutes his brother says slowly a man cannot spill another man’s blood. Then, someone else is coming. There is a v of dust on the horizon. The brother takes down his binoculars and looks out at the plain. The wind picks up. It is someone running towards us as fast as he can. His brother sucks at his pipestem. Can you see his face? It is too far away to see clearly
Three black limousines wait at the bottom. The drivers lean together on a hood and smoke cigarettes, careful not to get ash on their liveries. The path down is filled with switchbacks and the passengers are old, even if they seemed fit. The drivers are all from the same city. Not far away, but they look down on the people who live here. No one here does real work. It is real work to drive the highway in the black of night. There will be no other cars. Only their six headlights, like two long fingerbones lying on a black satin sheet. There will be a hired train waiting for the old people at the depot. As it pulls out they will feel afraid to be left behind. They will have a sense of the new gulf opening up between people
At the nexus of the underground rivers the camp cook is able to see any point where the water emerges from the earth. Normally she would not stay this long but something has been telling her to. She cannot see out onto the dry plain, but there are people she talks with who can see along the dry river beds there. Something was rolling over the plain, possibly some kind of chemical. The people living in the forested area surrounding the hills are not aware of the people living in the dry plain. The people living in the dry plain are not aware of the people living in the forested area surrounding the hills. Everyone is aware of the people living in the cities and they are marginally aware of everyone
The girl forgotten by her family has been living off of spring water and the food she scavenges from abandoned buildings (spas, resorts, hotels, summer homes). A week ago she found the body of a man halfway down the slope of the tallest hill. From the position of his body he was reaching towards something when he died (if actually anything can be deduced from the position of his body or what it seemed to be doing, although it should be noted that the decomposition of the body is strangely impeded). He was reaching towards something very passionately and his fingers were clawed in a grasping gesture. The girl decides that he died failing at a very important mission, and she makes a circlet of bent twigs and thick stalks of grass to crown him with and places it on the back of his head (she never sees his face because she would be afraid to turn him over)
Kolymsky Heights: Takes its name from the Kolmya region of Russia, which consists of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and the Magadan Oblast; the region is best known for the gulags and sharashkas established there under Stalin, and takes its name from the Kolmya River and Kolmya Mountains (wherein Kolmysky Heights)
Burns without reflection to swerve miles of mushy meadow, register the hummers' speeds, the vituperative alternatives, searches under old coals for slightest wad, those which never cease to fling, resistance settles without, shows me time.
I don't think I want you knowing what I look like. There is black, and then there is light. It's green. I think I will someday make my own path. There is no one else here but you and me.
not enough sun.
orrow [below) in los angeles from plane in phila-
teaches, curator , also . 10:49:46 (p.m.] dec. 12, 13 -
| friendly; close
a close friend
on friendly terms ((with))
a close relationship with
After what you did to me? You shined me. You said you were going somewhere. You passed me on bike to stop at this cool produce store. Then you saw me and took off out the back. A cashier nodded his head at me through the window.
(a friend’s dream)
complicated by the fact that there is a tilt of 7.25 degrees between the ecliptic plane and the solar equatorial plane as well as a true wobble of the solar rotational axis. (Only twice a year are the solar north pole and the celestial north pole aligned.)
I was married to a man who was brilliant and strange. My older brother disappeared once in Germany and I called all the hospitals in Munich, even the one for children. My best friend always tells me, “Juliette, everything’s going to be okay.” He eats with good appetite and I like listening to him talk about Beethoven. The same year my mother was held hostage in China, I lost my virginity. She hired thugs to help her break free while I converted to Christianity. By the year of the Fire Horse, I hope to have contained the sun within my body and been set free within my spirit. The ultimate success. Greater heights as my age progresses. What damage to my eyes. Oh, solitary moon.
“If existing boundaries are taken for granted, experience will be restricted to, and determined by, only that which has gone before.”
Votanikos diary documents one of Athens's oldest and poorest neighborhoods. From North to South the neighborhood encompasses Plato's academy, a small village-like environment, Iera Odos (the “Sacred Road” that used to connect Athens to the rest of Greece), a largely abandoned industrial area, the site of an abandoned shopping-mall construction, and a Roma encampment.
This is a neighborhood that has ceased functioning according to normative urban logic. While the rest of Athens struggles with the effects and conflicts caused by the current economic crisis, here everything is calm; the problems of economic and social difference have long since passed.
In Votanikos we find a space responding to a post-traumatic logic of being, where the lack of the conventional function of things has been assumed but no solution has yet been made. Votanikos is a pause in progress, a sign of trendlessness, a reset.
"No rhythm without repetition in time and space, without reprises, without returns, in short without measure…It is only in suffering that a particular rhythm breaks apart, modified by illness…The harmony between what one sees and what one hears is remarkable."" – Henri Lefebvre
By Laura Vitale, exhibited and performed at The Sculpture Center in New York in February 2014.
Click image to view PDF
There is only ever space between nouns.
Nouns stumble over one another.
The stumbling is not visible in words.
This is an attempt to get to the gist of the lecture by cutting straight to the nouns.
Nouns are relied upon.
There are variations of pauses between nouns.
Editing creates a kind of hesitation.
Almost every word sounds like the beginning of a new breath.
Words are things.
The word versus the thing.
It’s challenging listening to every word.
Listen to the varying speeds of the way words are said.
Hear nouns flicker.
There is darkness.
There is space and time between nouns.
Nouns slip away continuously.
Hear splinters of sound from the audience.
Hear the words women, babies, stars, birth, astrology, thunder, skeptic, birth, sender, period, recipient, monk, hypnotism, research, monk, dead, god, power, time…[page turning]…[Applause]
Nouns are relics of a culture and time.
Nouns consist of space and time.06:42:08
Feliz Lucia Molina is the author of Undercastle (Magic Helicopter Press) and forthcoming collaborative novel The Wes Letters (Outpost19). Her writing appears and is forthcoming in Gauss PDF, UbuWeb, Troll Thread, The Volta, and others. She curates a monthly EGS video lecture series at The Conversant is an editor at Continent. She lives in Los Angeles and can be found at stripmallheaven.tumblr.com. </>
Laura Vitale (http://lauravitale.info/) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA from Brown University. She has had solo exhibitions in New York City at Harvestworks and Recess Activities, and has exhibited and performed in group shows and collaborations at MoMA, The Kitchen, La MaMa, and The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church. She was commissioned to make a multi-channel sound installation for WNYC, and received an emerging artist commission from Issue Project Room. She was a 2013 MacDowell Colony Fellow.