The small relief to be gained in remembering the past. Some air blows in from an airshaft. Spend the day casting your mind upon a distant garden. How the building muffles the neighbor’s voice so she seems to be crying in one of several languages. Like photographing the labels rather than the art they describe. Ancient rain. In the same way any body may be a host. What child would rather hold a sign than ride a hedge as though it were a horse. She wrote of the Reagan era the social progress of years was undone in a matter of months. Somewhere between being on strike and purchasing foodstuffs. Perhaps an overly technocratic response to the problem of the social. We covered the lamps with sheets or scarves like a house abandoned or in mourning. Not a dry eye in the polis. The way flame licked into the dormitory room. We lived like this and the sun came and went above us. All music disallowed but the sound of his voice. What the sky knew but kept concealed. As though driving up the mountain means simply driving toward the stars. You wouldn’t call it a song exactly. A vertical streak bisects the lens. What family does not have its ups and downs. In this way an abortion becomes a narrative strategy. Continually releasing a small stream of piss. No business as usual but also a woman shouting back to the crowd NO VIOLENCE. Ascending the red staircase. Descending the green staircase. It seemed I had a project that substantially differed from my predecessor but I lacked the vocabulary to name those differences. Instead we turn to her sodden sense of reference. We entered the room where the light slowly changed color. When we came out our eyes too had been changed.
Mostly I believe in naming names but when reference is necessary I prefer the current administration. A door shuts and opens again. I was in the white noise room. For a moment in the basement bar holding your hand. When they said materialism I saw the air in the room contract. A pronoun a shifter. We sat on the cord from podium to speaker and in this way made an umbilicus connecting our bodies to the poet’s voice. Momentary reprise from reading Arendt. Emotional coining. The institution having shaped itself against this kind of organizing. Bodied out like a sail. Right into the dullest part of the day. In summer everyone will start a new life in a new city or town. Field trip to the future with optional return. Division of labor or division of resentment. I pause in the hall to determine if the distraught voice bellowing I HATE YOU I HATE YOU is a woman or a TV. Maybe this means I stepped into erotic substitution. Holding another cool and dry hand for a moment in the church. How badly we sang the song for which the cocktail was named. Intoxicated by the small gasp of the future. Stephanie had stopped sending poems from Beijing. This is one way we might be formed by work. The opposite of a safe word. CAT HAS CLAWS. Or you were greeted at home by the final slice of pie. My sexuality reads Rousseau alone on a couch for days. Another protest announces itself through privately-owned social media. I had stopped carrying markers but kept corrugated cardboard ready for the next eruption.
It was no longer yours you were no longer you. Sometimes we lived in history but mostly we lived in time. Now more than ever appended to the grocery list. A glass of water occurs. What is there lying in a darkened room but thought. Measure out a year of skies. The writing came from hands already knowing what I learned in 2004. It’s true I spied you from the bar. Turned up the eraser with a movement of my foot. We breathed into the bioscape but still sometimes forgot to eat. Whole body transformed from one kind of matter to another. Smoke smell lingers in the sheets. Turned your practice into a set of rules carrying occasional dribs of remuneration. All day trying to remember which suicide Dorothy Parker called unlawful. In the morning I descend into this other time and come back out with snow all over me. Little plastic strip blowing in the wind. Who told you you should always have something to say. Writing as a Cure for Hangover. I hoped to arrive with sufficient time to confront the periodical in its bound form. How wind caught the ashes. When you reach the end you may stop and look out into the abyss. Practice this technique in lecture halls. The relevant question not are you all right but are you supported and if not how. At this time it is helpful to visualize a friend. Our bodies fallen into a disrepair that might impede some kinds of travel. Name the machinery to make the process visible. Not just a set of gestures but also an accumulation of solvent in the liver. We liked entering the room of challenging abstraction having just run out of shampoo. The problem was a lack of knowledge of what the work of making culture actually entailed. When a body encounters the irreconcilable. A little festival.
We agree it has been a beautiful February. Having reached the end of the end. Sun on a sidewalk. Sometimes these days. How the swelling continued until the plug-shaped scar could be loosened and pulled from the wound. How the laws of the nation become the enemy within. You could eat or you could sleep. We called this freedom. Every smudge. Squeal of a neighbor’s tap turned on and off. Might we not like Lozano simply drop out. I have failed to record the ways our collective selves were bitten and torn. I wasn’t romantic I wanted to see the math. Who was deputized to discover. The body devours itself in a slow progression over days. As though some love might rub off on us. Two young people on a date telling where they’ve lived before. Had the grass sprung up. I believed some things would continue. I believed also in the break. What could you carry out the door and leave in the lobby for others to take. Another sunrise tongues through curtains. Let us line up the old selves like a room of clay warriors. What shapes the market ticking on and on. We were caught in the sticky present. Dead branches on a fire escape. We asked how labor might appear. Bereft of form. How you continue. I send the edits along. In order not to know. Screen filled with young white people holding swastika signs a decade after the war. Might we not take arms against a sea of troubles. The kiss at the end of the movie shows reconciliation not love.
MC Hyland is a PhD candidate in English Literature at New York University, and holds MFAs in Poetry and Book Arts from the University of Alabama. From her research, she produces scholarly and poetic texts, artists’ books, and public art projects. She is the founding editor of DoubleCross Press, a poetry micropress, as well as the author of several poetry chapbooks and the poetry collection Neveragainland (Lowbrow Press, 2010).
Published October 2017.