from "Small Liberties"
by Elaine Bleakney
"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
She dropped the plumeria on our chests and told us we could slowly begin to end.
Not a total voice waking.
All the damp space and cement saying: you will not remember.
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.”
I touched all I could. No, I touched what I wanted. To sleep.
Someone to step into when bossy told me what I was.
No matter how many, one falling through the first.
My mother asking me to say it back inside a line where I was lost.
When there was no space left for what he could do the boy made a smaller boy inside his mouth.
DAY OF NOTHING MONSTROUS
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.
DAY OF OPEN STUDIO
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.
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