Quickish Answerby Rachel Levitsky
It’s easy to feel neutralized by preppy white men with careful pedigrees and anxiety of ownership so shared devotions get hidden by a public persona attached to the radical the intersectional the feminist the lesbian. We are all those things and I felt his devotion to it. Whatever it was. My secret perhaps. Stacy told Anselm and so Anselm asked, not having known. My private contract of devotion. That this is how I was thinking it from when I was knowing that I was thinking it.
Flow Chart, my first. Also my first big book length long poem. It is so pretty so I bought it, new to poetry already in my 30s, it sat next to me for a long time, and eventually I read it slow. Devoted. Three Poems later also stunned but the difference, it is physical. Flow Chart is physical.
When Anselm called (he emailed but it was a ring) I climbed up and got this first and last, and began thinking I will read it through. I got to page 29, and will read it through.
Thinking it natural
to wonder if myths aren't somehow necessarily true
that we yes, cannibalize, grow heads, breathe fire and come back
having flown out to Egypt to sit out the war.
Still, I'm sorry but I must adamantly insist against
hope against growth and even against healing
I hate reminding us
we never meant to fall only
Once as though
Getting on the horse
as a body
of knowledge (equestrian)
shades us from ever getting off, and walking until
This too is a damage which oh my it turns out
can be borne
When and if and why without resorting to
it’s just what we do outside the movies
the zombie movies, popular:
Caliban, you too. Why'd ya...
The second go requires less of us. We borrow each other's marginalia but can do little if nothing about these poison particulars things unseen no longer blissfully not yet known and how can it continue in these ways that it's been. Cow.
I hate rushing to do anything but I do
sometimes less these days helped by injury
Something about friends.
There'll be no more first editions on one hand but plenty more sainting and waiting For inspiring and inspiring straight up
A scene returns via message through the wire and without
the wire except
A lot like the wire. Awards that delay, repeat.
Delay, repeat and like this it's so easy to forget to remember that you're not
Or Janice or José Martin. Gaps are years of invention
whether they were suffered through or not.
How long is two
more correct to say are
Mick Jagger or you reading a magazine within
If it's same time or all times
correcting ourselves even when we get it correct the first time and there’s another
"...promptly and justly forgotten, subtracted like the soul we never knew we had and replaced with something young, and easier, climate of any day and of all the days, post millenarian."
There are no second acts nor second chances or margins or marginalia. Once was anyway most likely enough.
We'll just have to write that poem again.
"Around which a person can collect itself"
"What is right, or cute."
"Our privacy ends where the clouds' begins"
Or so I thought until
I started underlining again.
I left the book on the plane but for real
This time they wouldn't let me back.
Luckily there was replacement, a figure, walking on without, a
Who do the work while we wait and feel ourselves, again
Feel the crust peeling off so we can look fresh, again
Ever shorter the duration before crust again
sheds, and where will it go and who will get it
"A dream of"
It. Finding it? Beyond this total marina, a swollen and infected marine
Layer, laid and layering around it.
What might we do with it
If we did it, or didn't, together
There is that loud threat that getting to it
Has something to do with the horror
Of getting to it, or getting off it,
Alone, and “come off it,
No one wants to be alone.”
Ours is a project of longing for it.
We flocked to you for it. You did it and keep doing
It. While we tried to do it but mostly read it or fed it. Thank you
I am now
RACHEL LEVITSKY’s most recent book is The Story of My Accident is Ours. She is also the author of Neighbor and Under the Sun. She lives in Brooklyn, NY where she teaches at Pratt Institute and organizes with the Belladonna* Collaborative.