Curated by CC Calloway
strange how long i must stay inside strange how
slowly i wake up even stranger that i have a voice
and that nothing really ends more so lingers strange birds
squeak unintelligible languages through rain and there is
an unknowingness of continual breath and its origin i find strange
how mosquitoes love my blood so much they tell each other i was
once one cell long ago strange to look
at my face stranger that i will never taste
my own heart and perhaps it tastes like the earth
turning, strange how i long for my mother’s skin
and how the earth wheezes stranger that i was not born
a bat nor a toad nor a shoe stranger that my eyes
shiver when i cry strange that i shared
a womb with some one and that person is gone and
how bees want to touch me, i am no flower!
and the light was good at kissing
and the light was good at knowing
and the light made blood warm beer warm streets
warm socks melt whiskey spit—
it walked me into the naked street, took my name
and gave me no others.
everything is covered in ash again.
i sit in my kitchen with the fridge open, looking up at the ceiling. there is a ghost sitting beneath my floorboards, directly underneath me within the womb of this house. she gestates, gestates, gestates, and then births. inside of the fridge i see a river full of women scrubbing their faces with clay—statues they become. they are constantly pregnant, and constantly giving birth, constantly pregnant…
as i move, the ghost moves. she follows me around the house. i melt through the keyhole of my bedroom and she sits behind the wall. i wonder if she will rearrange my furniture at night. perhaps her predilections are more inline with an open breathing between the conversation of the furniture and the walls. now, the whole house is breathing and everything starts to rise like one long sound, one long sip, one fluid ocean. i melt into the soup bowl of my bed.
i wonder if adam and eve loved each other,
or if it didn’t matter much.
the ghost is now inside my mattress, just below my skin. i float up to the ceiling, bubbling, listening in the middle of the night, swaying like a broken antenna, like a dervish bent on subtle ecstasies. i am the moon in its multicolored coat and the fangs that prick their slick songs into my dreams.
and a voice peels through the night, thick, like molasses, like tar even. everything is covered in ash again. it is the voice of a lost loved one and it reaches through the darkness. i hear a bat say their name. it is their word for a large group of mosquitoes, for flies, and for love—it means several things. that bat, much like me, thinks in dots and paints the entire room in a topological fantasy, a map of my own insides.
i cannot speak in the middle of the night. even to undo my own voice, wow. every time i look up at the ceiling i think, my god, the ocean will surely eat me. my god, i can feel myself slipping into an uncertain metal, forgetting what language is and how rain undresses the leaves. everything i could ever want to say is held within my tongue, reaching towards the soft palate of my mouth—a stabbing. the ghost rises and drops notes onto my tongue.
it is the only way i can hear now—when voice is poured directly onto my tongue. this very sensation of awareness tickles me. and how do i make my voice unlike any other bird? unlike any other worm?
the moon sings the word, hhhhrrrrngggg
like listening to a candle speak
cosmic companion—a fish spitting at the moon
time collapses and so we give blessings to the lice
i don’t read i just stare at books for hours
you give me my name and i immediately throw it away.
TOUCH: the world continually resurrected
TOUCH: cold, like a fish
TOUCH: the intimacy of a spider and its web
TOUCH: blindly cracking an egg into each person’s hand
TOUCH: the surface of the eyes and their extension onto all the earth
TOUCH: looking at the sky
TOUCH: never looking at the sky
TOUCH: the frayed rope of language
TOUCH: when you stroke a tree, a tree also strokes you
TOUCH: a type of hunger
TOUCH: everybody listening to the tapping of a stick
TOUCH: a rope secured between your belly and another person’s belly
TOUCH: a flashlight in a dark lake
Hannah Spector is an interdisciplinary visual artist and poet working out of Austin, TX. Spector thinks of language as a solid object—a concrete and spatial expression that can overturn limiting perceptions of the everyday. Spector has exhibited work at Artpace, The San Antonio Museum of Art, The Visual Arts Center (ATX), Transformer Gallery (DC), and Pyramid Atlantic (DC). She received her MFA from The University of Texas at Austin and currently holds a Lecturer position at Texas State University and The University of Texas at Austin.
Bucky Miller is an artist, writer, and a recipient of the Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship. He has had exhibitions at spaces including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and grayDUCK Gallery. His first self-published book, The Picture of the Afghan Hound, was selected as one of photo-eye’s best photobooks of 2016. Miller’s work has also been featured in publications like n+1, Der Greif, The Believer, and Glasstire. He currently lives in Texas.