Several years ago, I dripped some of my cells onto a manuscript of poetry for a class I was taking called ‘The Long Poem’ . The title of the collection, on blood and the tantrums of memory, traced several disordered blocks of thought that gathered from the language of blood’s memory. It didn’t feel like a choice when I cut open my arm again in order to drip my body’s paint onto the cover. I marveled at how dark my cells were and how they splattered into various shapes like maraschino moons. My lover at that time didn’t understand why I would harm myself in this way. I tried to explain that these poems derived from my body, so why shouldn’t I honor these pages with the freed plasma from within.
Kazim, you wanted to know what lives between the inhale and exhale. I’d like to answer you that I think it may be love. Or I think it might be strength. No, it must be hunger. We are vehicles; we are animals; we are mechanisms for history. We are meant to repeat the patterns of breath control in order to make room for translation. So we translate and we reconfigure and we analyze and we grow.
This earth is one giant waiting room, Kazim! We take our tickets and wait in and out of patience. We begin as strangers, then remove our clothes and climb inside each other’s wombs and crevices in order to understand our selves better. I am finding myself through these humans I find shelter in. They remind me that these poems are breathing for me and through me and with me. I just want it to be my turn, Kazim. But…as I wait, I find that the adventures continue. If I left, I would never have met your words, nor the human who introduced me to them.
The clots unsnarl. I drip my cells onto each city block. I search out my next sanctuary and poem my through each nanosecond I breathe in.
All evening, The Body grew confused. Throat swelled into a shape difficult for swallowing. Imagine augmenting mouth to take in the height of the moon; its diameter is daunting. Prepare for sores to grow where lips tear. Tongue will grow spotted like endangered hunter, torn up from predator cells.
Voice got lost somewhere inside the wind. This hurricane is bony and battered. Its turned on by shrieks and the murmur of shredded roots. This is happening too quickly.
Nose remembers fuel forced inside it on those days all those years and when music came wrapped up in plastic, plates became square with liner notes. Oh there was red and blood burrowed inside tissues inside pockets and eyes lost their meaning and oh sleep hid in dresser drawers. Now nose is crowded and where is the exit sign and when cartilage crumbles what is left.
A human boils water flavored by vegetables, stolen from soil and alphabetized on grocery shelves. Human shaped as wo(man breathing out bits of masculine and indulging in the aroma of all of it feeds The Body slowly using chest as cutting board to lean against. Human inhales sick body cold body bloodstream of coughsniffcoughblowsniffsniffdrip. Behind every swallow is an orgasm or sensation of humbled skin shaking like an aged car part. Chills whisper all over Body and its temperature is winter’d summer or autumn’d spring what does it matter it is moody.
Sip up the powders and pills and medicinal suppers meant to induce drowsiness and memory loss. This Body is barely breathing but when it does oh it kind of sounds like tire wheels or asthmatic paper.
No words no words no words no words but it is cold here but it is lonely in this Body covered in spasms and fatty disease. What is the complaint. What is there to inhale that has not been experimented on. What is the necessity to take in earth when all that is left is contagion.