I live inside these constraints and am hooked up to things that are not working in my favor. I look out at the hallway and formally, this morning mirrors its medium in being too long and broken up at irregular junctures. Where there should be greased pistons there is only this mirror and this morning, broken into tiny wires that split, crackle with electric impulses as I let them dictate my movements. I look at reflections in sexual, systematic failures. I read error codes that tell me things I can only see with your eyes. Let this breakdown glasswalled tension voyeur moment breathe into you; let this weight and this second person perspective allow you to read through me into the binary lines between my words. I want you to read through the parts of me that are chest-caving. I want you to dig this wire out of my bones and wrap it around my finger so that I remember not to trust the electricity.
Stretching and Shape of Alarm
She Breathes Intricate Patterns
Music: “Kepler’s Star Catalog” by Starscream.
Salt Bruises & Inconsistencies, Part I
There were stars all around her, getting in her eyes when she blinked. The stars were patterns; recognizable displays she might put a calloused finger against. She could flip the fabric away but always it ended up falling back over her face, all those stars cutting up the people and trees and sky so what she sees is little flashing, changeling starry pieces of the real thing. She kneels, hypersensitive, in front of the speakers. She tucks the fabric behind her ears, a blue veil. She lives in type. The letters make shadows & sounds, leaping through the fabric and into the walls, out the window, pages and pages of doubled over print. The pages consume me, she consumes me when I dream.
Wasted time might be made to look something of worth, something right-justified; living out a bruise. It takes time in revolutions, leaving trails along watch faces, burning holes in tiny characters designated for marking disruptions in space. These characters dream of me; it makes them uncomfortable to see the tidal pools into which I pour myself. They float on tiny waves like paper boats. I run along the shore, heavy next to the water, weight shifting unevenly on the sand. The awkward fall of time. It radiates. I keep at it, keep after those bobbing white triangles in the little caves that follow the current. I keep thinking I can find her in those hollows. A reconstruction. I can’t give her a name.
The stars were sewn in. They looked like comets after a while, after they sat under the window and ate up all the sunlight with brittle hungry teeth. Generations of hungry threads, scraps, pieces of her other mothers wearing veils while they stitched in half-blind shapes. Also the watch, all dull brass tones now, ticking part of that noise, that responsive rhythm, the coming and going of this she can hear when she is half asleep, what she and her sisters heard when they were sleeping in curls on the floor, dreaming half without time, half in the sounds of the mothers ticking and sewing and making. She is a product of this making. Realigned. Sun cuts in, dancing on the floor, on their hair, in and out of the sewn stars, throwing false light like false voices into the corners in the quick of the afternoon, after a while impossible to tell which is just a shifting shadow, how they have been jilted, disgraced, disenfranchised by the light. These sewn stars chart irregular intervals, weave back and forth, sit sleeping next to her, still. This light and these memories and these sewn stars in burgundy linearity; a bright-faced girl on the floor, in the light.
Her grass-stained memories are not subject to fire codes, are not restricted by false bottoms or entry fees. They sleep in the backyard, wake her up in the middle of the night, sweating into her window. She looks into the scrapbooks and counts the pages, numbering them with cutthroat dexterity. This is sterilization, looking at the last page first to make sure it’s not hiding anything.
[Images by Courtney Rose Burnett, 2009]
You wake up here. The muscles are porous, opening and closing around you. You sink your fingers into the walls, feeling them breathe around your digits. You find yourself sucking pieces of it through your nostrils, inhaling the sponge meat.
Tunneling through soft tissue, you enter the airway. You can feel the conversation in the throat around you. You thought you would be disoriented with the shape of things but the text rocks you into a quiet comfort. A perfect example of longing: between steps and on curbed corners. Looking into gutters and wishing for the end of the rain flow. Watching for where it empties into your equilibrium. Your eyes are drawn to a cancerous outcropping. You’ll have to mention this to your doctor.
You enter into a cavity with teeth that line in dissociative patterns (with or without your consent). You say things here that probably should not be said. You are creating a space that wants to breathe you but you are choking it with your arms extended. The space wants you expelled.
You can feel it here – too close to the brain and eyes: you are poking danger-sharp objects around in ways that inspire. The narrator sides with the body. You should be purged at the nearest toilet…coated in mucous…subtitled with captions that do. not. fit.
[Shane Hinton and Netwurker Mez, 2009]
Music: “Something Happened When You Were Born” by Minusbaby.
Another Wasted Footstep
My hand on your back is this research project although I sometimes say things about punctuation that I don’t really mean and the space key the space key the space key tells me to slow down before we’ve come to a point where hanging seems our only valid option if not starved to death in prison camps then spit into small tin pails and waiting for the definitions to be read out of pages and pages tables of contents and indexes where we hide the ways we feel from those that have inspired such feelings laying down across the tracks and letting ourselves be split through the middle by a miserable steel wheel and I wake up with your breath in my ear across the room saying things in my sleep that correspond with the things you dream and I tell you that these things are a pattern which we acknowledge even though planning never accomplished much for me and the talking even less and the talking even less and the talking even less.
I Am Not This Code
or these syllables, in this context, on this street, around this corner, in this pattern that makes us unrecognizable to those we love and sits down between us at dinner tables uninvited; that pulls old styles out of trash cans and sets them on mantles above fireplaces; that distributes evenly among us the remnants of our collective imagination; that bears the weight of those things we tell ourselves not to look at in the time between the time we look at these things and the time we think about them later, in our beds, staring at the ceiling and wishing that our choices and our discomforts would just go away.