“Some years there exists a wanting to escape…” ~ Claudia Rankine

Some years there exists a wanting to escape—

you, floating above your certain ache—

still the ache coexists.

Call that the immanent you—

You are you even before you

grow into understanding you

are not anyone, worthless,

not worth you.

Even as your own weight insists
you are here, fighting off
the weight of nonexistence.

And still this life parts your lids, you see
you seeing your extending hand

as a falling wave—

/

I they he she we you turn
only to discover
the encounter

to be alien to this place.

Wait.

The patience is in the living. Time opens out to you.

The opening, between you and you, occupied,
zoned for an encounter,

given the histories of you and you—

And always, who is this you?

The start of you, each day,
a presence already—

Hey you—

/

Slipping down burying the you buried within. You are
everywhere and you are nowhere in the day.

The outside comes in—

Then you, hey you—

Overheard in the moonlight.

Overcome in the moonlight.

Soon you are sitting around, publicly listening, when you
hear this—what happens to you doesn’t belong to you,
only half concerns you He is speaking of the legionnaires
in Claire Denis’s film Beau Travail and you are pulled back
into the body of you receiving the nothing gaze—

The world out there insisting on this only half concerns
you. What happens to you doesn’t belong to you, only half
concerns you. It’s not yours. Not yours only.

/

And still a world begins its furious erasure—

Who do you think you are, saying I to me?

You nothing.

You nobody.

You.

A body in the world drowns in it—

Hey you—

All our fevered history won’t instill insight,
won’t turn a body conscious,
won’t make that look
in the eyes say yes, though there is nothing

to solve

even as each moment is an answer.

/

Don’t say I if it means so little,
holds the little forming no one.

You are not sick, you are injured—

you ache for the rest of life.

How to care for the injured body,

the kind of body that can’t hold
the content it is living?

And where is the safest place when that place
must be someplace other than in the body?

Even now your voice entangles this mouth
whose words are here as pulse, strumming
shut out, shut in, shut up—

You cannot say—

A body translates its you—

you there, hey you

/

even as it loses the location of its mouth.

When you lay your body in the body
entered as if skin and bone were public places,

when you lay your body in the body
entered as if you’re the ground you walk on,

you know no memory should live
in these memories

becoming the body of you.

You slow all existence down with your call
detectable only as sky. The night’s yawn
absorbs you as you lie down at the wrong angle

to the sun ready already to let go of your hand.

Wait with me
though the waiting, wait up,
might take until nothing whatsoever was done.

/

To be left, not alone, the only wish—

to call you out, to call out you.

Who shouted, you? You

shouted you, you the murmur in the air, you sometimes

sounding like you, you sometimes saying you,

go nowhere,

be no one but you first—

Nobody notices, only you’ve known,

you’re not sick, not crazy,
not angry, not sad—

It’s just this, you’re injured.

/

Everything shaded everything darkened everything
shadowed

is the stripped is the struck—

is the trace
is the aftertaste.

I they he she we you were too concluded yesterday to
know whatever was done could also be done, was also
done, was never done—

The worst injury is feeling you don’t belong so much

to you—

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“Sci-Fi” ~ Tracy K. Smith

There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.

History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance,

Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.

Women will still be women, but
The distinction will be empty. Sex,

Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.

For kicks, we’ll dance for ourselves
Before mirrors studded with golden bulbs.

The oldest among us will recognize that glow—
But the word sun will have been re-assigned

To a Standard Uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing homes.

And yes, we’ll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus. Weightless, unhinged,

Eons from even our own moon, we’ll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once

And for all, scrutable and safe.

“It Comes in Every Storm” ~ Olga Orozco

translated by Mary Crow

And don’t you feel also, perhaps, a stormy sorrow on the skin of time,
like a scar that opens again
there where the sky was uprooted?
And don’t you feel sometimes how that night gathers its tatters into an ominous bird,
that there’s a beating of wings against the roof
like a clash among immense spring leaves struggling
or of hands clapping to summon you to death?
And don’t you feel afterwards someone exiled is crying,
that there’s an ember of a fallen angel on the threshold,
brought suddenly like a beggar by an alien gust of wind?
And don’t you feel, like me, that a house rolling toward the abyss
runs over you with a crash of crockery shattered
by lightning,
with two empty shells embracing each other for an endless journey,
with a screech of axles suddenly fractured like love’s broken promises?
And don’t you feel then your bed sinking like the nave of a cathedral crushed by the fall of heaven,
and that a thick, heavy water runs over your face till the final judgment?

Again it’s the slime.
Again your heart thrown into the depth of the pool,
prisoner once more among the waves closing a dream.

Lie down as I do in this miserable eternity of one day.
It’s useless to howl.
From these waters the beasts of oblivion don’t drink.


Llega en cada tormenta

¿Y no sientes acaso tú también un dolor tormentoso sobre la piel del tiempo,
como de cicatriz que vuelve a abrirse allí
donde fue descuajado de raíz el cielo?
¿Y no sientes a veces que aquella noche junta sus jirones en un ave agorera,
que hay un batir de alas contra el techo,
como un entrechocar de inmensas hojas de primavera en duelo
o de palmas que llaman a morir?
¿Y no sientes después que el expulsado llora,
que es un rescoldo de ángel caído en el umbral,
aventado de pronto igual que la mendiga por una ráfaga extranjera?
¿Y no sientes conmigo que pasa sobre ti
una casa que rueda hacia el abismo con un chocar de loza trizada por el rayo,
con dos trajes vacíos que se abrazan para un viaje sin fin,
con un chirriar de ejes que se quiebran de pronto como las rotas frases del amor?
¿Y no sientes entonces que tu lecho se hunde como la nave de una catedral arrastrada por la caída de los cielos,
y que un agua viscosa corre sobre tu cara hasta el juicio final?

Es otra vez el légamo.
De nuevo el corazón arrojado en el fondo del estanque,
prisionero de nuevo entra las ondas con que se cierra su sueño.

Tiéndete como yo en esta miserable eternidad de un día.
Es inútil aullar.
De estas aguas no beben las bestias del olvido.

“Moon for Our Daughters” ~Annie Finch

Moon that is linking our daughters’
Choices, and still more beginnings,
Threaded alive with our shadows,

These are our bodies’ own voices,
Powers of each of our bodies,
Threading, unbroken, begetting

Flowers from each of our bodies.
These are our spiraling borders
Carrying on your beginnings,

Chaining through shadows to daughters,
Moving beyond our beginnings,
Moon of our daughters, and mothers.