Rachel Levitsky

Gaps and their Consequences

Our expressions, the laconic one and the one responsive to things, many things and every thing, did not read as contradictory. The huge spaces or gaps which either contained them or not made it difficult to reach and actually touch or even less, hold onto, and made this world in which we (still) find ourselves nearly impossible to capture—as it is and as it was—in our head, either all at once as unruly multiplicities and their desperately sought-after negations or as a distinct particular, a single absented thing once there and yet not, and not yet.

For a time we continued to flounder in these gaps, trying to get out from under our sea of stuff, reaching for these things neither there nor named. There, in the gaps, we first sensed that something wrong was being done to us.

Something, but not the thing. By way of invention or reinvention, I don’t know which, we began the morning, sensing that morning left us closest to the plume of history and abundance from which we’d been evicted. Upon waking we danced, together, all of us, sentient and being, our reaching and our touching issuing a violent impact upon the air and its imagined and imperceptible bodies and those that were actual and perceivable—body parts, shoulders, legs, breasts. Each gesture was experienced like a blow which we were accustomed to receiving and so would feel that something was missing if that gesture did not come, or did not come as a blow; this last a physical and psychic condition maliciously suggesting to us that we could not get so closely together, although we were formulating that very facility of close and intimate relations as the contribution we’d make to alter our original design, that which was made of us without us, brutal discomfort amongst ourselves despite regular and daily events—sirens which went off and to which we responded, dutifully, huddling, thrusting our bodies on top of each other, and the traffic jam that was metaphorically the same—which pushed away the morning, the dancing, our unfortunate disjunction and any feelings about all of it that could be left in us, those overflowing from inside us after dreams.

Afterwards and before we’d formulated this morning ritual, there were many sorts of conversations we knew how to have which were also brutal attempts that left us looking bruised and feeling like strangers to ourselves, as did our actions late in the day, outside, in the evenings, the heartbreaking and exhausting manner in which the many arms belonging to the group of us flailed though the air at riots, demonstrations and orgies, demonstrations of our attempt to remember that day and the images in which it bathed as it was beginning, because memory held out something to us who were looking for a thing; for why would we recall a thing if it weren’t even a little bit true?

Rachel Levitsky is the author of the book length serial poems Under the Sun (Futurepoem 2003) and NEIGHBOR (UDP 2009), as well as five poetry chapbooks. Her prose publications include Renoemos (Delete Press 2010) and a novel, The Story of My Accident is Ours (forthcoming Futurepoem 2011). Four mini-essays on The Poetics of Confinement can be found online at the Poetry Project Blog. She teaches Writing and Literature at Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, Bard Prison Initiative and Pratt Institute. She is the founder and co-curator of Belladonna Series.

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