J’Lyn Chapman


An inversion of nudity. The cloying pelt and underneath the body pubescent. Emanating, it reflected your love. Then later, I shed hairs and absorbed it.
Not a going into primordial but a return. Like the river followed through canyon, cresting and climbing, dismantling the way by which we come and engendering it.
I’m not saying we’re animals.
I’m saying, the strangeness of phenomena calibrated by the desire to invent a new experience.

I sent a message to the blank face of the universe. It rose on the back of gaseous matter. It was something about survival, but I do not remember what.
My body was a different shape then, including the desire part, which was scabrous, wet, and infected.
Newer than the collusion of the past and the present, newer than disjunction as an ethics of boredom or acedia. An injunction to listen and receive it.
Three years ago, I detached from the stricken tenderness of all things. So I am no longer concerned with invention and transcendence so much as with possibility and pragmatics.
But that is not entirely true: first a lake wasn’t there and then it was. I was anxious because I wanted to admire it in the manner of grinding into it.
The urgency of happiness was a real dictum, a sense of variousness and sublimity.

I maneuvered into the quick by first feeling tender toward corners and then toward parameters. I did not know what belonged where and so misplaced it.
In fact, everything started to disassemble itself, tiny holes developed in leaves.
Debris and the familiarity of my garbage—I recognized and didn’t what I vomited—seeds so small my fingers hurt to touch them.
Everything began to disassemble itself. No it wasn’t fall. It was apprehension of the body. My tawny kneeling knees burned at their edges.
Everything started to disassemble itself, so I cased my body in caul. Mercurially, the fragmented world gathered into papule, and I asked:
but isn’t everything we love a sticky wound? and: is eating natural?
No eating is natural, the pets said. No manner of eating is natural.
So, I drank various milks. I craved something outside my body, which was flesh—scintillate, carnivorous habits. (I simply have no taste for you.)
I craved yellow, red, and fat. I savored sounds in trees. Fell asleep to anticipated rhythm.
My hunger often exhausted what remained. Paragraphs of sleep ran contrary to staccato movement.

I tried to teach myself discomfort or muted chewing.
I thought calamity of evening. I thought poison. I thought lead and mulberry.
Three years ago, I wanted calm detachment and then I wanted more.

J’Lyn Chapman lives in Boulder, Colorado where she teaches and advises in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Her chapbook, Bear Stories, was published by Calamari Press. Her work can be found in print and online journals such as Fence, Conjunctions, and not enough night.

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