“[An] ill-conceived repose on the edge
of the flood, so that looking down into it one no longer saw
the comforting reflection of one’s own face and felt secure
in the knowledge that, whatever the outcome, the struggle
was going on in the arena of one’s own breast. The bases
for true reflective thinking had been annihilated by the
scourge, and at the same time there was the undeniable
fact of exaltation on many fronts, of a sense of holiness
growing up through the many kinds of passion like a tree
/ Y the ground / Y a body Y / a cuff / Y posture Y a thousand grindburies Y a thousand
raw disintegrating mounds / IF U PLANNED THE DISAPPEARANCE
OF MY DESIRE / IF U MEET IT U WILL HAVE TO / LET IT WALK
THROUGH / U OR U WILL /
HAVE TO LAY DOWN IS THERE AN ACCIDENT IS THERE
A FIRST TIME I WANTED / TO EXPLAIN CLEARLY
IS THERE ANOTHER PART OF THE TEXT / OF TALKING
AS CLOSE AS IT CAN COME / IS IT LAVENDER CLAY IS IT
LAVENDER AND RED CLAY ON THE VERGE OF ROSES /
IS IT A DREADKNOT / DOES THE WORLD FORGET A BODY / A CUFF A
THOUSAND COMPRESSED THERE / DELICACIES W/ A ROUNDED EDGE
THERE SAYING, “U WAIT.” /
REPEATING THEMSELVES BESIDE IT / BESIDE THE WORLD
IS THERE AN ACCIDENT IS THERE /
A STEM / I WANTED TO
IMPLODE WRITING OR CONFESSION OR SOFTENING INTO A
PRESENCE / INTO AN ESSAY PRECEDING ALL OF ME / A HYBRID
CRUSHING / A DREAM WITH A RIVER
THAT ALSO PHOTOGRAPHS ME THAT / ALSO SPLAYS ME FUCK U
I’M A BOOK OF LIFE AND OUT
FUCK YR LYRIC AS YOUR LYRIC / I’M BOOK OF LIFE AND OUT
/ I’VE BEEN HAUNTED / I’M UNLEASHED / I’VE BEEN HAUNTED
BY ORANGESKINS / FOUND FIRESIGNS / READING PAST DUSK
/ ALL SPRING / ALL SPRING I PICK THEM UP OR PHOTOGRAPH THEM
AND SAY, HOW CAN I BE SO MATURE IN THE DAY TIME AND TOO
IMMATURE IN THE DARKNES / ALL SPRING AND ALL COURSENESS
I’MMA TEXTURE BETWEEN STABILITY AND VIOLITION AND
FLOWERS / Y THE MONARCHS THEIR ORANGESKINS THEIR ORANGE
SEGMENTS R DISAPPEARING / Y THE DEAD AREN’T RETURNING / Y YR
LAWN IS A SERIES OF STERILE CAMPING / MOVING IN NOTHING THERE IS
NOTHING TO STEAL / THERE IS NOTHING TO NOTICE / THE MOUTH WITH / Y
THE PUBLISHED MOUTH FEELS ME
/ I STEAL THE LOVE THAT ATE THE FLOWER THAT ATE THE VERGE
THAT ATE THE SHEER PRESSURES DRAGGED BY LAUGHING OR WEEPING
OR FUCKING I AM ALMOST A FUNCTION OF THEM / OF THE LOVE THAT
ATE THE GHOST CANYON / I LIE DOWN IN WHAT I STEAL / I STEAL TENDER
AS AN EAGLE / AS A BIRDBLOOD
I STEAL TENDER AS LOVE CROWDS / A SAND $ / A WOUND SOUND /
AN ABSOLUTE BOUNDARY OF SENTENCES / PINNED AGAINST SEA FOAM /
AS BRIGHT AS BLACKBERRIES / AS DEMANDING AS TENSION.
/ IF U MEET IT U WILL HAVE TO / LET IT WALK THROUGH / U
A GARDEN / IS A TANGLE / THE WORK OF A GARDEN / IS
A TANGLE / A BODY / A CUFF / A GARDEN IS ON THE
AND ALSO LIFTING AWAY FROM IT / BLOOMING AWAY FROM IT / I WANT
TO SAY IT IS A PERFUME BUT I CAN’T STAND PERFUME / BUT I AM ALSO
TRYING TO RETURN / BUT I AM ALSO THROWING MY SKIRT UP / BUT
RIMBAUD ALSO SAYS IT ENDS / IN A RIOT OF PERFUME /
IN AN ANNOUCEMENT OF PRESENCE / A RESISTANCE /
To resist is to become commodious / a false indigo
To resist is to bring myself closer to you. I LIVE WITH YOU NOW / I BUY US
BEER AND KISS US / CERTAIN IT IS WILD I feel / unsightly / I don’t mean ugly,
I tell E in a letter, I mean unpicturable. / I DON’T MEAN UGLY, / I MEAN
UNFATHOMABLE. How much am I accused / of searching for something that is
unavailable? / To resist is / to invite in what isn’t expected, / to then do something familiar
with it / ?? / to then do something unfamiliar with it / There are just roses when I think
What if it’s pure feeling / ??? / We are Naturalists of the inessential,” says Lisa Robertson,
in an essay about an invasive blackberry (Rubus Armeniacus).“ Rubus shows us how to invent.”
To resist is to acknowledge a connected complex, a difficult witness, a dumb abandoned
beach (1) house that doesn’t say / but evokes pussy, pussy / in the water inclined / in the
water reclined (2). “To be explicit is a privilege,” (3) says Bhanu Kapil. You are a living, I say
to the water. A LIVING.
To resist is to re-incorporate, to re-position, to move while re-visiting, / to move while
reading / the writing, to move while living / the writing. To resist is to pull you closer /
through the creation / of an excess of boldness. / To resist is to pull you closer / through
the creation / of an excess of surface / for us to lie down together on.
To resist is to collapse.
I am sitting
Ashbery’s Three Poems
/ thinking of how I want to write about lying down as some kind of rejection of the face, /
of the face alone, / a proportioned reflection
(the ease / the trash / the chemicals of the reflecting pool)
/ in exchange for seeing the massive sky. /
The reflecting pool won’t teach me how to be resumed
/ how to be ravenous / an impulse of slits / a sea-wolf soft
with onion or apple / soft with a contracting / ??? / a contraction.
MIRRORS R AN OBSTACLE,
I say to the tiny flower with a huge question mark written on it.
I thought I didn’t remember any of the book, / just the feeling of reading it / out loud /
out loud against / my apartment’s wood floor / just the feeling of it, / a copper thread /
a departure gallery. But when I re-read the page where the word “flood” is underlined, (4)
where “[an] ill-conceived repose on edge of the flood” is underlined, I realize I’ve been
practicing thinking of the book / its insides / all along in my writing / in my life. To hold
the text / with my insides To remember / with my body. What does that mean? This is the
most important kind of reading I’ve only just learned how to do. The reading I do away
from the book. The reading I do while feeling or looking at the text elsewhere and
beyond. The reading I do / how prone I am to dog / and cake / and compulsion / and a
mosaic or bristling / nudeness Am I poet Aren’t I mere / mutiliations?
When I lie down (5) , I no longer
catch the reflection of my face.
I see the massive sky.
I Still / hear the water see
what my body remembers.
It is a situation of seeing /
lying in the dirt,
lying on the cliff,
sticky with ice. / A wet perch (6) ,
/ it colors.
“a sun ??? yellow ??? a ??? sun ???
green ??? a ? boat ? blue and pink”
-The Arab Apocalypse, Etel Adnan
What does a corpse mean where you are?
asks B in a letter. I wonder what corpses mean in
Florida? Have you ever seen
Whatever it is, they are, it's also burned?
There’s a body. Unquotable / Remarkable. It’s unquotable / so instead, it’s remarkable.
Does it understand resistance / or is it a moving hole /
a bones and ambition / lying so Still / or absorbent?
Mostly what I mean by Lying Down is that /
The weight of things is actually a great joy for me.
“Because I’m moved in writing to be irrepressible. Writing to you seems like some holy cause, cause there’s not enough female irrepressibility written down. I’ve fused my silence and repression with the entire female gender’s silence and repression. I think the sheer fact of women talking, being, paradoxical, inexplicable, flip, self-destructive but above all else public is the most revolutionary thing in the world”
-I LOVE DICK, Chris Kraus.
It’s raining I wanted to study It’s pouring / the rain buckles I wanted to study THE
FALLS THE FALLS / the water buckles venting a spray A Wave I wanted to study /
“Glittery and bridal,” / says Bhanu Kapil I wanted to study Bhanu / The champagne or
ribbon of her lying down / O Ban, / I write next to you / I write next to choking roses /
Countries / Our bed sheet dipped in wax / when I’m lying down I’m swaying / U read
something until it is there in U / Bleeding Horses Are Flowers, I say when We’re at the
beach / Pressing my Forehead into the sand / the broken Mating the sore shell / O B, O
Ban, / What is derangement? Are there streaks of green / Blushing / Rapidly? A mutation
flows into attracted spaces / into luminous forms / into collapse / into re-centering / the
earth Art. The “or so / the or so—” at the end of the line in Brandon Shimoda’s O Bon / is
so Tender it makes me cry / an opened knot / a dash / is a grave / Can’t I get my arms
around it? / I can’t. / “You lie down. Down. You do not realize you are disappearing,”
says Edmond Jabes. / No, no What if it’s not disappearing but joining A complexity of
disappearing and reappearing? / “(He’d always called her the group),” / says Michael Earl
Craig in a book called / Talkativeness / living Rain is coming / A million intersecting
poems The beach shows it intersecting Close by / Right now, It’s burn your deep necked
Robe / weather in Paris / “Sorry for the French goodbye / You’re welcome for the French
hello,” / says Dana Ward, “Crying” / I love the smell of tomato plants most, says B.
Pleasure / and Poison / and Eyelashes. In weeping I flood / so much Water So much
water doesn’t fight It Floods / It’s a Long Unarmed population / I sit on N’s chest while it
rains enough / to get dark early and cry / I sit on N’s chest and say, I feel / I am
Abandoned (7) I am Discarded by this Poem / A Moving Hole / of Champagne or Ribbon /
In the Woods you Wanted Me / The Jewel Thief / The Crawlfish / Losing her Pendant /
her French for Duration / in A Forest of guns that doesn’t say Spring is Breathing / that
crying is breathing I wanted to study / that lying down is breathing I wanted to study / I
wake up, and it’s raining / No one believes / that I’m dressed like Jane Goodall today / “I
grab my chest during an argument,” / N reads Bernadette Mayer’s Utopia to me over the
phone / the Jungle is Special / The Jungle a lighthouse near / The Gulf A forest of guns /
Flexible resistance to terrible things / Flexible limbs to gushing Sugar / to gushing / Proof
/ I weep thirst I weep trying to lie down / with you You’re talking to love I wanted to
study / “Water, water is a mountain and it is selected and it is so practical that there is no
use in money,” says Gertrude Stein about / “Sugar” / Your voice changes when you lie
down, says M / Tomato Soup in her hands / “A yellow sun eternal vertigo in my hand,”
says Etel Adnan RE: Lying Down / I’m lying down in my hands No page numbers / only
bit up wedges are a person / J calls me and asks if he can read to me / The Whale / It’s a
Tunnel Made of Drowned Breathing / Sugar Breathes in Dates under the Palms laid
Down / anyway Anyway, / N (8) calls me and asks if he can read Alice Notley to me / I
Must Have Called and So He Comes / “There’s this place in us,” he says, “the so-called
pain can’t get to like a shelter behind those spices – coffee and sugar” / “We don’t say
pain we say fucked-up,” Ted says, / N cries reading Alice Feeling / devoted to her / to me
/ to C / to poetry / to the Canon Fucking / to a Canon of fucking A future I remember /
Dana Crying While Reading his poem for Alice I was just crashing the Class / My shirt
was Black with Flowers / on A’s bed / Yr Last Day as a Student should be like this / N
and I keep saying / we taste it on each other We are derivative of diamonds and cigarettes
lying in the earth / Art It is like this, “A vast wetness as of the sea and the air combined” (9)
/ Take out the “as” / to get rid of any metaphor I cry / I cry because it has been A
Dedicated Rain / I grab my chest because sometimes I’m jealous of other women I love /
of the other C / of N / but Flowers, Hear me / I lie down in flesh chalk I wanted to study /
in language / My Devastation my love of Men and rain and Jewelry / By Jewelry I mean
Colored / branches terrorizing / a Canyon I lie down on / in swarms By Jewelry I mean,
“This image knew no bounds” (10)
1 “The birth of Venus happened when she was ready to be born, / the seawater did not mind her, and more important, there / was a beach / not a breach in the universe, but an actual / fucking beach that was ready to receive her / Shell and all. / Love and food of” –The Heads of the Town up to the Aether, Jack Spicer
2 I’m overcome by pleasure / pain / pleasure / pain / the next thing I’m going to write.
3 “If I hear the word privilege one more time, I’m going to shoot myself in the head,” says the Male Professor. E and N and I go out back to smoke and be pissed / eat. It isn’t Hell because it isn’t difficult to tell people from other people. E and I bury an empty bottle of champagne in the flowerbed. N puts on Anne Blonstein’s dress, a wide sack of prairie. He picks a card from the tarot deck. It is The 8 of Rivers, the dancing shaman, the unknown singer, the circling water.
4 UNDERLINE THE ONE THAT SPEAKS TO YOU.
5 Would I die* / ** for poetry? Yes.
“Existence as an intervention in the surface tension,” -Transfer Fat*, Aase Berg Trans. Johannes Goransson.
*Wedged in the center of Frank Stanford’s *The Light the Dead See is a scrap. / It says, “The hoopoe, Yehoahim thinks,” / -The Heart is Katmandu, Yoel Hoffman. / Underneath that / it says, “J, Order a book, and I will write a note to you in it.”
6 A wet perch / A welt A porch / Umwelt / Umwelt / Umwelt / Umwelt / Umwelt / The Stone is Not Worldless Here / The Surrounding Worlds Put Flowers on The Ashes of Each Other / To Make Stones Stuffed with Inhaling Skin / The Surrounding Worlds Ruined Each Other / Umwelt / The Surrounding Worlds Water A Torrent of Flowers / Until They Bleed Fire / Through Their Spit / The Stone is not Worldless Here.
7 “Then she reaches a point where she can name her own death. She accepts the conception of death which is similar to painful childbirth. At that moment, somewhere within her, she can feel a sense of opening of a woman’s world that has the hearing of death. She is hearing the femininity…. In the world of hearing, she learns that she is more conversational and performative. In the numerous repetitions of the symbolic processes, the going back and forth between the inside and the outside, through this spiral process, she discards the identity imposed on her and begins to feel the transformed identity she now has—the identity coded by a different method,” –Princess Abandoned, Kim Hye Soon Trans. Don Mee Choi
8 “I’m working on the structures of men that don’t exist yet,” Ted Berrigan says in “Easter Monday,” a poem / of lines told in quotes / “ ”/ on the page like Alice in Descent of Alette. I look at the page / while I’m writing / and want to lie down on it with / these men that now Exist / “There is ultimately an inadequacy to everything I think & this fills me with extraordinary hope * ” For us We / go thinking is Insane Wishing / longing / We go thinking did the universe ever welcome us / R Wet Crotches / R Deliberate Crotches / R For Us / R Rooting For Us / I believe that I do / I am the Football Player in this relationship, says M in a text / I believe her I do / Because She is a Delicacy / a Difficulty / a Shift / a Quiver. For us We / R Being / the antlers of bodies together on a Cliff / The Ghost Canyon Flooding / the Deserts of love. N and I, we watch the Horse Flower in front of us toss its head into Traffic, while Alice cries for the first time. I’m weeping now. Fuck YR memoir I’m alive / I’m sorry I feel so Strongly against it / but it doesn’t want me to be alive. Deserts of love, says Zurita. He says it twice. I repeat you to myself. What is the most lying down / in our species / Their fields? ACHE, says my book, my shattering cheek.
( * ) “Typing Wild Speech,” This Can’t Be Life, Dana Ward.
9 Three Poems, John Ashbery.
10 Schizophrene, Bhanu Kapil.
Carrie Lorig is the author of The Pulp vs. The Throne, a book of poems and essays which will be released by Artifice Books in 2015, as well as several chapbooks including, with Nick Sturm, Labor Day (Forklift, Ohio) and, with Sara Woods, stonepoems (Solar Luxuriance Press). Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pinwheel, Sink Review, Big Lucks, TYPO, and Atlas Review.