i have been awake at all the hours, and asleep. there is not a second that hasn’t played both sides. sometimes i hear the first train emerging from the tunnel in the morning, a song like blown breath over wine glass. i know my time by the sliver of light cutting through the break in the drawn curtains.
the first person has already been caught by facial recognition software.
when people get plastic surgery do they have to update their passports.
i want to be more invisible.
so many electrical appliances make beeping or dinging sounds these days. the microwave, the kettle, the refrigerator, the washing machine, the dryer, the dishwasher. even the lightbulbs buzz. there is no such thing as silence.
the only cure is to make more noise.
what we had then was levity, but none of us really knew what that meant. what were we. conduits of some sort.
i had wanted to conduct decay with my own arms. flailing a beat so hard and wild and steady. as if the strings and drums of existence would follow my composition. and each time i reached back for a beginning of this dirge longing, i would see myself writhing in all the dilapidated mansions of our excess. i turned again and again to the age of chaos, wore a black shirt, watched the revelers drop like that old-world children’s tune. we all fall down. i had wanted to count in time, to wave myself out. but those dreams passed and i began to wait instead to be struck unexpected.
and the event changed things and i
endeavor to fit this
into what was that like
the face transplant patient refused to discuss
his suicide attempt
and referred to it as
that seems appropriate
remember the ’90s
it was a time when lots of things were medium
i’d go back there now
even knowing everything that would come.
i’d probably cry a little bit in my uniform
but in the back legs, where no one would really see.
i see your account is private when your heart stealth-stamps my public persona. a country’s arm’s length away, i sit upon the same hard-backed chair, the same tinsel still strung from two christmases ago. would i write of the new red corduroy romper, monogrammed and hanging in the closet beside my mother’s prom dress; or would i describe the tiny nested dishes resting between the pantry moth trap and the applesauce. no, it’s the kind of thing you have to see for yourself. how it fits odd and true. like the night you were awakened by the sound of a mouse nibbling your saltines. with your books on their metal shelves. your antique ashtrays. i think of you now in your house in the steel city; hope for more tomes, strong floors. what i mean to say is that i have to see it for myself. i’ll tell you then: i gave a new name to every new life. i tried gin. they say there is an aromatic for everyone. lavender grows here with no effort. rosemary too. road medians, public spaces, the afterthought lawn. i wore a silver party hat in december. blew a kazoo and made no announcement. the account set to private, you understand.
oh the things bees do behind closed doors
debt-ridden, wrought, wan,
hovering over clover
but this bear-belly honey pours so clean
my sweet speck, my hungry freckle
let’s toast, for
no one really says watch out for whirlpools
or check that quicksand at the counter
all the expired camels of yesteryear
the trifle bowls of marlboros from a secondhand story
we used to say sequined
ever so worn from want
this just seems like a day for you. gray sky and nostalgia, another bout with the regrets of a country singer. which means i’ll likely do it all again tonight. some symbols you just can’t scratch off. and there’s a beauty in that. i know you know. just another guitar. you’re making it scholarly, and i’m still telling folk tales. i call it process art. which means every minute counts, even when i’m asleep. use the formula if you like. it’s free. and when next we meet, i’ve got a real sad story for ya. in a slow drawl. or i could tell you the one about the time we went shopping for party supplies. you were old then. now i’m so much older. maybe you saw that coming.
Della Watson is an avid collector of collaborations. She is the co-founder the Bay Area Correspondence School (BACS), an epistolary arts network. Since 2011, BACS members have explored the potential of correspondence through art, writing, technology, music, performance, and social events. Our community is open to new members. Please join us! // https://www.facebook.com/BayAreaCorrespondenceSchool/
Della is also the co-author of Everything Reused in the Sea: The Crow and Benjamin Letters (Mission Cleaners Books, 2013), a co-author of the chapbook the longer you stay here (Aggregate Space/Featherboard, 2016), and a contributor to the anthology Remembering the Days that Breathed Pink (Quaci Press, 2016). // @alma_crow (poetry only) and @Dk_Watson
All images by Della Watson