line

 

A story about my maternal line ~~~ This is my great grandmother Martha Gayer. My mother’s mother’s mother. She died in 2008 at the age of 99, but I didn’t know she was alive at the time or when she died. I was never introduced to her. She lived alone in a psych ward in Iowa, estranged from most of the family. My grandmother hasn’t said much about her or anything to me. All I was told is that she was mad. /// Martha’s mother, Alvina Tanck, migrated alone from Dägeling to Iowa in 1907 in her 20s. Alvina was born from the rape of her mother—the rapist: her mother’s brother-in-law, one of my grandfathers— and deemed ‘illegitimate’ from birth. The farm in Iowa was her fresh start. She had nine children, including Martha. /// I wish I met her. But I can kinda see her smirk on my face.

debate

Staring out the window of an eleventh-floor conference room. Beyond glossy tables topped with glasses of water, the sun sets over Melbourne. She never looks the same. Skyline always seems to change. Haven’t been here long enough to recognize what was, let alone how it becomes. Alas, I distract. Watching red and white pass, to and from flowers and the hive. In a split moment, into those lights, I feel detached from this life. Will anything we say here translate there? What to make of a tower. Bathing in philosophy while people without water. Sliced by fences. Strip-searched of rights. In here, few cushioned. Sipping. Talking, thinking, reading, and writing. Arranging thoughts, growing fields. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. I mustn’t belong. Not—able—enough. But who is to say who gets to stay? An amniotic slip, gasping for air. Between pockets of meaning and earning. Where are they going? Home to families or alone in boxes. Nowhere and everywhere, staring into a screen, just like me. That space I crave, pushing every him away. Curling “Learn Spanish and Leave” into the margin. Not complaining, just debating. What a fucking gift: to be a student. But what’s the point trying to hold a line? Seeking a PhD? Injecting Latin. Punctuating rationality and morality. The letters and numbers don’t add up. An insufficient balance = halted reach. Or can it seep from seats into policies? Alter the next for this planet. Where’s the ripple? Bouncing on a grid, sliding through that divine intersect, I giggle. Prefer poetry. But isn’t it all when the last petals fall?

may be

maybe too soon to understand
maybe each used other as a means to our own misguidance
maybe we weren’t ready for It
maybe I like to clean up just to make a mess
impossible to see before a turn
to name the before
could have sworn we felt without words

maybe we’ll recollect these scattered selves,
restrengthen the illusion
becoming ends in and of ourselves.
find that place there’s nowhere else to go,
for now just keep going and going

maybe I think what may be too much.
certainly we’ll never know.

ride

cycled the whole city
river to the sea
terraced lanes my map’s never seen
but didn’t shed a bead of sweat
cheeks just got a little red
negotiating gears
to coil her chain
thinking back, peddled so fast
I didn’t feel a thing riding into that crash
locked in bed the next few days
wading within some psychotic break
until leaving again
for another spin

smiling eyes
demobilized
serpentine wrap my spine
rinse minerals to spare
pearl tears for Mother
all she gives
all we take
the greed, a seed, rebirth; a tree
how can she be all this
in silence?
concrete-filled mouth
jaguar yawn let it out
may this flight
be a charm
to find home
stillness in scattered bones