sick with ink. who first and best.
line by line I take the letters down.
in two years
I mean to understand. I mean to say that time defers
what I read from earth. when I understand
who I try to save. to say it in a poem.
to be doing pretty ok, knowing things. having read.
to understand his value in the community.
while forgetting how to speak
must say he knows
how to be without being all of us. who is for her or anything.
a woman must make herself, or send herself to be made.
or a man may languish in letters on the internet.
meant the act on paper, in space.
have lost have left
the map who reads language to me.
dead from the mouth up.when I consider how soon hath time
lost me between two beginnings. when I consider my pages lost.
I dreamt where I should not go, nightly, but had been
and knew countries more than a war. I am born
on the wrong history. I am dead and stretched on too much land.
I ink the graft where the plates of earth align. I wonder when we’ll all be together.
I count the times I name myself.
but that two-handed engine at the door
where the eye steps on the world, the poem ends,
we make breaks. we see the curvature of what we stand on,
I can’t know this
but I know to write it down
what will you do? you were building something, abandoned it halfway as ever,
though a foundation might be left.
the way he moved the cigarette’s remains among his fingers,
his echoed shoes and shirt, how distinctly
japanese. how gone. how irrelevant to your darker purpose: the annual melancholy,
to be remedied
sluggishly. I continue to become more and more
English and listless. my counterparts change nationalities
at will, decrying this or that and moving sluggishly,
in a sense of cool,
they leave and go nowhere repeatedly, reiterating thirty times
and onward. visceral in jeans, this half looks better and better.
covertly contribute nothing, add to nothing, twelve percent of nothing,
still nothing. I could not walk up this hill.
the faces remain the same, remain tangentially
related and okay, two of them are still better. two names,
faces distinct in countable ways.
only that as something undesirable, something comforting,
the last worthwhile thing on a lonely pathetic continent.
only not there, no declarations
illuminate nothing. the mouth shuts and reopens, without morphology.
vowels pose as lexical things, have the same effect and so
you should shut your mouth. two bubbles fly up as the lights go off.
all the links uncouple into lonely cars, now a year ago and you’re stealing,
crippled arm, it won’t be the last.
our papers gone—every one, a line—
I forget my name. she has named me.
I woke up for the first time.
the shore came for me didn’t come for me. the water blacked out
at night. what continent I’m on—
which way the roads run, split down the middle. running to where
the sun will fall, I fell
to forgetting what I saw with eyes or which. my eyes
were never north. pulled from east and buried again.
I buried her—not I—at night. I never saw the east coming.
Gillian Olivia Blythe Hamel’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in VOLT’s 20th anniversary issue, The Volta, The Offending Adam, and Laurel Review. She is managing editor at Omnidawn Publishing and editor of OmniVerse. Gillian also co-publishes speCt!, a chapbook series and book arts imprint, with Peter Burghardt and Robert Andrew Perez. She lives in Oakland, California.