waterlogged at the
rust wave and rot
fixed foot wander through time not
wet now latent
this stillness a
I’ve been in line to stand for person for such a long time and now
the shop’s shuttered and no other thing’s awake.
Someone near me asked, Who united the war?
Someone else said, A lost felt.
Can’t escape the head,
all those neurons shuttling thought.
See, everyone behaves – or seems to – like
“its not their problem.”
I have to admit infuriation: this is people,
people! What’s this I’m breathing?
But here. Body, our bright, metered field. Drape me
in linen and salt. Watch me turn marvelous.
Matter transforms – human
body to maggot nest, the hiss
of dry ice against a metal sink.
The law of thermodynamics
or the myth of substantiation?
Flesh shreds or just grows too old,
then turns to dirt, to concrete,
to building. This building or the world’s tallest.
I am not looking for the incantation
to turn iron into gold. The alchemic pot
warmed by burning: internal energy
equals heat minus work.
Wood to smoke becomes
a manifestation of something else –
smell that lingers, a tenuous
cling to my jacket’s cotton lining.
If burning is not disappearing
then neither is drowning: the body
shows up again on another shore
in the folds of a current
whisked through the Atlantic.
Translation is a form
of disappearance. My name gone
all wrong in their mouths.
A pause is less than disappearing,
a stutter articulates
fragments of disappearing.
We went for a walk along the shore
and a seagull landed on your head,
Desire is not disappearing –
desire is the other side, desire
makes appearing come upon us.
The tankers are not disappearing,
those full symbols of loss.
But disappearing is not always so.
When you go, where do you go?
Flush against the sky a human
silhouette on a building’s ledge.
Return utterance to form.
My mouth shapes sounds strung together
I have been contradicted before,
my body discounted in the war of meanings.
The muck of the afternoon,
all rain and mud,
brings the outside in.
And the man, dead for days
in the apartment above me
has finally disappeared. Taken away.
Trouble with the resounding wings
of the fly: who knows where it has landed
before. Decomposing flesh, what rots.
Transference of filth is not disappearing.
And where does the system fail?
I open my purse to nothing but stale air.
from Dear Disappearing
[ apology tastes
like time was we slow
hesitant and You
the disappearing moment becomes
its own ascent
myriad the gap accounted for
time was ]
Note: Italicized line by Antony Gormley. His project, “Another Place” placed a hundred solid cast iron body forms (of Gormley’s own body) along the coast of the Kugelbake in Germany. The statues – now permanently installed at Crosby Beach in the U.K. – all face the horizon. This series, in part, engages with the visual and socio-psychological resonances of Gormley’s project.
is a poet, writer, and educator based in New York City. She is the author of the chapbook bough breaks (Meritage Press), and her poems have recently appeared in DIAGRAM, H_ngm_n, Anti-, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor of Drunken Boat and a freelance writer and social media consultant for foundations and nonprofit organizations. She leads creative writing workshop for at-risk youth and other community groups, is a mentor with Girls Write Now, and a founding member of Agent 409: a queer writing collective in New York City. Tamiko is a former Kundiman Fellow and received her M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Find her online at www.wonderinghome.com.
Photo by Kian Goh