from "Small Liberties"
by Elaine Bleakney

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"Today I am working on an idea that I have been calling 'Small Liberties:' a term that defines the small ways that one carves out personal freedoms and autonomy in an overwhelmingly bureaucratic society." –Andrea Zittel



DAY I


THE CAPTAIN.

She dropped the plumeria on our chests and told us we could slowly begin to end.

Not a total voice waking.

THE WORLD.

All the damp space and cement saying: you will not remember.

THE CAPTAIN.

What I like when my voice is thrown in what’s managed, cut.

Motel with salt breakfast and a bible in the side. “And you shall be a restless wanderer of the earth.”

Feather across.

THE WORLD.

I touched all I could. No, I touched what I wanted. To sleep.

THE CAPTAIN.

Someone to step into when bossy told me what I was.

THE WORLD.

No matter how many, one falling through the first.

My mother asking me to say it back inside a line where I was lost.

THE CAPTAIN.

When there was no space left for what he could do the boy made a smaller boy inside his mouth.
 






DAY OF NOTHING MONSTROUS


All icing.

Inside my room of rows & clean.

All for going out for paper with birds pressed in.

Blank shooting rows. Haiku to speak. Never talk

my big man messed. Dying. Tossed in his desk set, a scorpion

stinging glass to a dull brass knife. A white bull above

shored in ringlets. His heifer’s nose at mine, smudged

memory, quail in a shirt wrapped blood. Black

tuft from a brain that said sky, please.

Lift, now.
 






DAY OF OPEN STUDIO
[my Captain's]



All her paintings are white. Blue in the clouds near the window

white boxes to the sky. One marked X.

A suit inside. “If I let it go flying he goes flying out.”

She takes a white pencil around the white of my eye.

 
Hi.


The storm system roars in Storm Projects next door.

She rolls her eyes. “Sometimes he turns the rain track up so I can hear”

She closes her door. Sometimes ash from a volcano.

Sometimes winter/spring, surprise. Snow crossing her body