- Barry Hannah
- Open City/AAWW
- Sound Art/Dissonance
- Trance Poetics
"LONG POEM FOR MORNING/BLOOD" is a piece of lyric prose that was created during a magical summer in the mountains of Colorado.
The sunflowers have this gaze. By going to places I thought I could escape my own universality. This is paradoxical, I know. And the sun itself, a kind of reminder of time immemorial, of universal light following you everywhere. I tell you this so that the morning, filled with nothing but birds and eternal goat song, may take shape.
This is where I went last night. You have to know that this story came to me in images not in words. We are made sacred by sleep. So this is translation.
They went into the forest together, bodies heavy, bodies that just wanted to lie down, forget themselves, feel the sprinkle of water gushing against roots and branches on their skin. Or to be touched. She wanted to be touched by a woman's hand absent-mindedly. The forest had recently received enormous amounts of rain and the pathway was split by the water running downward. One could see the geological strata, the tree's roots, water’s turbid yellow which had made its way from ground to sky back to the ground now running. If one could not be happy here one would never be happy. They spoke of little things. Eleven suns go north. An abandoned shack stares. Further up the rocks reign.
A deer skull is perched on the windowsill. My neck in pain. I dreamt the title first: the world ending! These dreams that never end. Instead there are interludes. I was meeting people and not finding the way to the disco. Titles sometimes have that effect. And with this neck, I can only really look into one direction. I have turned the deer skull towards the window and the empty sockets filled with sunlight.
The owls were out again and the whole air swarmed with birds. She had blood-speckled shins from scratching. Sometimes we miss a word here or there, but you see what I mean. She was nervous or restless, perhaps, her longs nails moved along her shins occasionally. Further up the wild was wide open.
She swung her arms and they listened to their breathlessness. The inner equipment of these two creatures moving against the newly created stream was quite different. Not only male and female, one was solitary with vast resources, the other brooding with an eternal sense of the lacking, a four wheeled trembling pit of worms. Logic was somewhere else. Sky darkened into a golden black. This was the afternoon, after all, winds got gusty and the sun almost unnatural against the brewing clouds. Flies moved indoors.
The longer the morning, the more we taste ourselves cleaning nails with the corner of a book's page, excreting time. Why were they in the forest and who and from where? Raking across nature with lower back pains.
I'll say this much, we are angry in the morning thinking of millions and millions of people living in this morning too. And we, all quiet and geranium, may want, in those moments, to call on that which is wild.
They both walked fighting the sloth. There is always something to think about, some scene to be built in one's inner terrarium. The cabbages with their elephant ears. One hand has even fingers the other not. Maybe one day they would have blonde hair and white shins. Maybe one day they would allow the other to die.
What itches are the bare legs. What itches are the angled knees. At dawn she gets up to distract her body from her skin under which mites or parasites have started to build a country, breeding spaces by the blood. The forks fall into the cupboard every evening. They stay there until leveled next to plates again. The sense of movement below the skin is slight, almost a mistake, as if the tingle comes from blood or the memory of blood. Six strings of pearls. These creatures are so small no eye can believe their existence. They may live for three days in the host. Her body, the host. The ambitions of the saints are mysterious to her. On a beach a dog is running at dawn. A particular crème is supposed to alleviate the itch. Their freshly laid eggs. The host is what will die you. In light of what is happening in this world itchy skin is bearable, but not at night when the stillness wakes the creatures and the eggs hatch, always hatch at the darkest hour of the night.
And we are never ourselves, except when we sleep.
The hovel, they passed, was built by a man with seven fingers and he shot wild turkeys from his window sometimes.
She made a hand gesture towards the wildflowers.
She had not said this in words or even thought it in dreams, but it was clear that her visible outputs, the eggshells and sunshine, at the edge of this riverine flowing downward or backwards, the disasters unfolding politely beside her impatient words and that of others, undeniable that the nods she received imaginary and her legs short.
If you cannot be happy here you will never be happy. But walking is hard and breathing too. The place unresponsive to the relentless word pushing around in our bodies. Most things had been pointed out except for that which could not be seen.
My own blood tastes diurnal. The longer the morning is beginning, the less I am swimming in this torpor. The scorpions have finally swept back out to sea.
The insides of their noses were all dried up. When you concentrate, you can really experience the world in a timeless explosion of incommunicable purpose and beauty. It takes work and discipline and fountains of energy. Thistles were everywhere, violet and tall.
She looked at him. What keeps one going further and further into the forest?
Their thunder bodies waiting to be given to the other, the one that equals. But neither of them had the energy. She looked at her hands. And to be loved means regret, because the one loved is a hand in the rain. The plants inside looked at the plants outside. Their clothes were getting wet and it seemed worse at this point to turn back, might as well get the maximum of this rain. They walked heel to heel.
What I am not saying is that they both wished to be somewhere else.
There are these small, almost invisible black worms on the tiles. The tiles are brown and look like soil, but these worms must realize that they can't get in; they can't dig themselves into tiles. Now they have to live on the surface, and I don't even know what that means for a worm of that size, so small it could be mistaken for a line of dirt.
What I'm not saying is that the owls have been appearing at all times of the day and we greet each other with a long stare. At night they emerge in my dreams, as if they were inside of the house. Or as if I had swallowed the owls.
Can anything pass back out of the retina, after it has been seen?
The dogs started to bark from the valley and I dropped butter onto my toe.
They did not look up the sky exhausted them.
Why do we say terra incognita?
Refuse to live in the Either/Or
What I'm not saying is that wild animals appeared and somehow devoured, perhaps one perhaps both. It was her bloody shins that they licked first. This is future, this is the Future.
And the story came in images not in words. His temples at dusk. Her hand movements heavy like semicolons falling into sentences. I woke from the dream and the earth had disappeared.
Yanara Friedland has studied and worked as a journalist, translator, writer and teacher in both Europe and the U.S. She is currently finishing her PhD at the University of Denver and writing her first book length collection of stories. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Les Editions Maelstrom, The Herald Magazine, Nomad’s Magazine, The Collagist and Quarterly West.