kim pieters studio

 

 

 

 

 

poetry

 

 

the desert Homeric
for kfpieters

 

 

 

 

 

in arid cities we have read as syntax flooded streets, marked tides in museums
where classical shadows

build birds of dust on their shoulders: the old tongue sleeps, forgotten, in
patches, but still the thirst:

the sky, a desert of tiredness, without image to drink, but almost the memory of
rain, half-tasted,

like jealousy in the back of the throat; the lake, maybe eroded, or a salt, unfed
expanse, a wilted lip,

dragging dust boundaries, outside the circle of light, the marble horse’s pupil gilded.
sight splits a line,

a dry horizon, a pen raised to the chalky lips of cliffs, the vanishing point chewed
ragged by wide skies,

a seedless devouring, graced by neither coherence nor splendor; where we live,
on the edge of the letter,

a view pointing stillness, behind gray glass; time ripened under the eye’s black
canopy, the plum

of a newly born century split under the hard foreknowledge of a thumb; and
after the music

there will be the calm, a relocation of light, the movement exact, a trace of anger
held between hand

and paper; and in the wind, where cartographies click, and the surfaces
rearrange their notes, the desert

flaring, pulling a long story from our feet, after a lifetime spent suffering
the stilted innocence of flowers,

to avoid the belonging, the dull love: to walk horizontally along the edge of a
word, blinded by sun,

to forget what was seen, and what there is, and beneath real heel, to tread the
fiction of a hill:

 

 

Sally Ann McIntyre

 

 

Λ

A
holding- apart
of
air

 

by Gregory Kan

Her bicycle was a heavy cruiser left behind by someone in a picture. Leaving meant that nothing could change, that everything became itself, in revolving doors. The front door key was hidden under the succulent. The pattern on the quilt moves, and I have to throw my sight out like a rope to catch it. A light moving over the hill, spreading itself out like a fan, then zigzagging across a field. I tie a knot and will not let it breathe.

Falling through the lower floors, clearing rooms out one by one, but the way things happen is in any order. The self-knowledge of bare hands. He wouldn’t know what to lose if he lost. The rooms grow large, and the things in it, further apart. If he crawled through a hole in the garden wall, if he walked across two or more intersections through wet leaves, if he built houses of anything, if he knew the precision of contingency. If he were multiplied many times by the outside. But the frame is a poor consolation for being alive.

When one thing is taken away, it is replaced by something else, even though that something else has no right to replace it, and even though there is no such thing as replacement. When knowledge is made subject to will. He slid under a certain place in the concertina fence, dipped under a second, unexpected fence, and went on. I can’t go back, I said to him, but he wasn’t there, only a man sitting at a desk, with papers blowing all over. The illusion that experience is as familiar as the frame.

A walk across two or more intersections, through wet leaves, to a place that was neither church nor school. She lowered the half- blackened, half-clear lamp on a table in the centre of the room, and pointed. I remember having been in that same place as a child, and that the snow blinded me while the other children would call out for me to catch up with them. That the snow made a sound she couldn’t spell. That the way she was affected would transcend what she feared.

It was dangerous in a different way from anything before. The sharp, hard knobs came up where least expected. He could not tell anyone that what he saw was not in order. More flashes, or things flashing, or things falling, or things flashing as they fell. He slept on his side in a running posture. Sometimes he would emerge like a sound across a lake. Sometimes he would emerge with something in his hands, showing himself long ribbons of green, or luminous black matter, or someone’s shoe. Why we eat the meat and not the grass.

I don’t know what I can say about this place, only that I’m not sure it even is a place, and because I’m not sure it even is a place, I can never leave. A holding-apart of air. I hear rain hitting the window and try to sleep some more, get as far away as I can get. The soles of my boots wear thin, but the soles of my feet grow thick. That trust would not find an entity or event at its centre, or as its origin. That that makes trust exactly what it is. That that is always already a kind of permission. That that permission is always already a kind of forgiveness.

Who threaded her bicycle through canyons. Many rooms and many passages between them. Who took the picture away. How desire fails as understanding and hope falls into it, silvering the cave behind her body. Whose eyes were fixed on what was not in front of her. Who saw the half- cleaned lamp on a table in the centre of the room, and pointed. When they misplaced even her name. To disappear. To disappear and re- appear, in many places at once. Many rooms and many passages between them. Whose hands grew colder as she swept the snow off the roof.

More than one could believe, and much more than one could know. Neither you nor me, neither this nor that. Dropped as if handed down all the way before finally being let go into water. Being closed, circles are not infinite, while spirals are. Her sweeping the snow off the roof, his calling her inside. I remember that when many ripples overlap, a tunnel opens up between them. Wet clothes over the strain of bodies, survivors gathering to make a horizon. At our feet, there was nothing, so we were absolved of history.

A garment of coarse, gray material. Salt which doesn’t really have a smell despite its flavour. The shock would be confused with the frame. We believed, facing the limit of what we could know. This is not a dream, this is the sea. I don’t know exactly when they came back. He said, I was just a shopkeeper and now I’m dead and it snows. She moved through the gray landscape like no one could see her. I remember sheltering in a tunnel that black-wet bushes made over the ground.

An impossible jump separated bridge from land, a plank of timber laid across it. If a frame is missing, the chair gives way. Not only is the following moment inseparable from the first, but after witnessing their movement she couldn’t say which came first. Who saw double, and then double of double. The way truth cannot be found, but is its finding. The waves dreamed her up as the middle of the lake. She jerked, splashed, climbed out, spat, dived in again. The others who weren’t there took up more room than the others who were.

 

Λ

dereliction
for K

 

 

 

 

by Jeanne Bernhardt

 

re assemble a moment that circles the
body like an aberrant instinct an intractable
bid for here I fell silent for here I resisted
for here I resisted

We sit in the car with the engine
turned off. Telling the story
again and again.
What I mean by dereliction
and why it moves me.
What she means by innocence
when it feels like blame.


It feels like blame.


To be judge, To be judged.
And not forgive.


The child allows she said.
The child allows herself.


But you have invaded me.
But you have invaded me.


And I will not forgive.


Outside the ground is gutted. Bone lifting
through tussock and dead wood. We leave
the car and walk, stamping our feet to stay
warm. Look at this I call my words flattened
by wind. Look at this Look at this.


In a country of willed things


Like you have willed me to be.


I look for places to mother me
she said but it is my father
who taught me the earth.


Upheaval and a harsh law.


To be judge. To be judged.


Telling me your bones are frozen
when it feels like
blame.


reassemble a moment that circles
the body like a detailed instruction
a nematic conceit for here I resisted
for here I was told


for here I was told

When I first saw Kims paintings I
remember the sense I had that here more
than anywhere else what I could know of
Kim would be true. And that in spite of
their guard because of their guard how
naked they were.
How naked she was. I remember I stood
there and could not name what I felt
and the strange allowance in that.


Months later, when I was talking of
her work I said it did not move my
heart. I saw my heart as something to
be moved, I still believed that passion
pushed, a blunt shove of hands to
someplace unexpected. But I felt
uneasy with myself knowing words
declare territories that one ends up
defending. Liking and disliking as if
the heart is two sided.


and as I was hitching home I
recalled that afternoon in her studio
when I stood there unlanguaged and
how that had stopped me. Whether
that had been Kim or Kims paintings
or a shifting of both I didn’t know.
But I had remembered.
It had stayed with me.


And I thought about what I have
invested in a violence of feeling, how
practised and intact that mythology
is and I thought about Kim impelled
toward an inertia of balance, the
awkward fit of demand and
delay, force and reticence,
entombment and grace
and the “and” word how inside it
really is, imagining the margins in
connection as everything is in
connection, their overlap their touch.
And I thought about her painting and
I wondered what unnamed
recognition it was that was telling
and touching on me.


re assemble a moment that circles
the body like a detailed instruction
a nematic conceit for here i resisted
for here I was told
for here I was told


Drafted and then erased like a palimpsest
open to each developing and geometrically
concurring thought and disturbance, Kims
paintings/drawings are an immiscible
surface of tension and intimacy.
A wider ring around the topography of the
body-forcing entry and resistive of trespass.
A keeping-in-to-herself.


Where I am not seen. Where I am always.


In silence in the vein that runs
deep below language my body is
an ear curved toward a holding
space, an alembic, a reminder


I am hard    and soft.
I am hard    and soft.


It was late maybe. The sun was
colour red on fire and I turned to
her laughing.
I turned to her laughing
She was quiet.
Why are you so unhappy ? I asked
I could feel it beside me her
unhappiness. I wanted to hold
her but I did not know where she
was.
I did not know what she wanted.
She looked at me;
Don’t you know she said.


Don’t you know


how do you love
she said
when the body is mute.
for a long time I could not
use colour.
The feeling in colour
and I was suspicious.


To be judge. To be judged
When the body is mute.

You love too many people she said
I don’t believe that kind of love
What’s it got to do with maths
I retorted.


We argued about love


re assemble a moment that circles
the body for here I resisted for here
I was told.
For this I spoke.


For this I spoke.


She makes a sign.
An open secret on the body.

 

 

Λ