Pressing the heart

By | 1 September 2023

Eating slow, mouth agape, I ask for mornings off and wait.

I stuff a whole landscape in my mouth—

I think that there are poems in the air,
on this apple skin,
on the porous rind of an orange,
in the slow establishing shot of a body, in sunlight,
on the shore of a beach of a planet,
in the rerun of a forgotten classic film on late-night tv,
in the flare of a nostril,
in the holding of a door, expectant,
in the light that happens when late afternoon transitions into dusk,
in the sharp pause before an exhale,
in the catch of a word in a throat,
in the town you grew up in,
in the first realisation that this is life, hey,
in the curve of the arc of a finger down to the wrist,
in the first time your hand was held with intention,
of a feeling that screams: I like to be around you,
in the way that soft plastic rips too easily,
in the dent that a body leaves in a two-year-old mattress,
in an awareness of your body in space when walking around a place and suddenly it becomes
smaller than initially felt,
in the fold of a lap of a wave,
in how we turn every little thing we say into the biggest event possible,
in the edges of my field of vision,
in textures,
in abstraction,
in a refusal of smoothness
/ in the asking,
/ and in the giving,
in the intense circularity that a finger twists a strand of hair,
in the idea of listening as a type of meeting: an event, an occurrence,
in the question: what does it mean to write a life? Or a moment?

This is the pressing of a heart

in the unconscious struggle against form,
in interpretation,
in a body being “beyond the normative codes of visual recognition,”
in stepping back, in asking, is this right, will this do?
in the winter sun, a still life, I take an image from the air,
in photographing the musicality of absence,
in the expectant wait between drop-off and development,
in the experience of a street from an angle you thought you forgot,
in the length of the space of a song you put on at karaoke,
in the fade-out,
in the plane of descent between meaning and example,
in the gap between window and curtain,
in the maddening desire for the thing that I do not yet know,
in a word on the tip of the tongue,
in lovesickness,
in entanglement,
in both shame and in joy,
in the fantasy of hips on hips, hands on hips, lips on hands, hands on hands, lips on lips,
in the fantasy of a life in which we can spend big,
in the promise of leftovers,
in your favourite tote bag,
in the feeling of a day, ready as ransom,
in translating the space between body and gesture: boundless and incomplete,
in the empty yet urgent thereness of an airport,
in the passage of time as accumulation, breathing in,
in the temporal dislocation of a Sunday,

there is no afternoon there,

in penance, like water, unable to hold, slowly apart of you,
in the feeling that yes! my new medication is working,
in explaining the dynamics of a dream and in the crucial action of it all,
in the afterimage of a face, left for a few more seconds where it once was,
in taking the best bits of a daydream and turning them into warm syllables,
in the silhouette of a body living, nothing more,
in getting a bruise from sitting too tightly cross-legged,
in reading a novel that makes your brain go zap,
in imposing on motion the human meaning of what it feels to be ill,
in developing a personal style,
in the feedback loop of an algorithm that knows you too well,
in that decade-long friendship you found online,
in the favourites photo folder in your phone (an archive)
in that out-of-time period of childhood where years folded into days,
in fresh bread,
in every absurd pattern, seldom spoken,
in that profound yearning for both release and submission,
in seeing and believing, an exit strategy, a graceful knowing.

I know, I know. In my head, in my art, I want to be ready.

A thing of ease,
a way of easy being,
a pressing of the heart.

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