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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

Poem for K | Evelynn Black

(that way you lived a life untroubled

by distortions) (pigeons fucking outside

the window, were pigeons fucking

outside the window) (because they lived

just outside your room) (every bird call was

associated with a bird) (I had flickers, birds

in the bathroom) (bird sounds even

in winter) (& spiders always out the corner

of the eye) (I don’t know how to tell you

what it’s like to be uncertain if the birds are real)

(to wonder, whether the shadow around

the corner is a normal element of light)

(or something sinister) (how even the dull

incessance of unwavering electric bulbs

carry shadows in their light) (there is a space within

psychosis) (early on) (before the break’s complete)

(where everything’s uncertain) (I knew then

what I heard could not be real) (I just didn’t know

the way to tell which parts were features of the world

or which were miscast by my brain)

(your boyfriend didn’t understand) (what’s the big

deal if you can’t tell if birds are real) (they’re

just birds) (it won’t affect you either way)

(it’s true) (hallucinating birds, in the grand scheme

of things, is relatively harmless) (but it’s not

about the birds) (it’s the foundation

that falls out) (once birds are unknown quantities

there goes the rest) (bugs, car alarms, people

shouting your name) (a phone that does

or doesn’t ring) (the shadows morph & faces

flicker even in the sunlight) (once you can’t

tell if one thing isn’t real, you can’t tell

if anything is real) (our senses are so basic

to our lives) (they filter everything) (inside

psychosis what you see is unfiltered, overfiltered,

but the filter’s wrong) (the brain circumvents

reality itself) (simulates the sun, the shadow, sound)

(uncertainty breeds fear) (& everything is bright) (it finds a thing

& latches on) (for me, that thing was demons)

(there were 2) (one was a red man who screamed

at me) (his voice was hot & thick & sounded

like the dead tone on an old TV)

(the second was a great black figure, winged,

& with enormous arms) (between his shoulders sat

a grotesque sky blue skull) (of all the things

I knew) (& knew so few) (I knew that he would be

the one to end my life) (I tried to make

a record of that garish afternoon) (journals, letters

poems, text, etc.) (I lived) (& in the interim nothing

happened) (life is awful boring) (I still can’t figure out

the way I got from schizophrenia

to love) (I simply have, as usual, a kind

of vast & endless registrar, a database,

a list of everything you ever saw someone do

while they were in love: kiss, hold,

take, eat celery, eat carrots, eat

applesauce, kick a stone, stutter

out i love you, lie, be lied to, lie again,

fall, flicker, sleight of hand, the fingers

as they interlock a few moments after

getting out the door, paperclip a few

files together, make coffee, drink coffee

forget to clean the coffee maker, make

coffee anyway, make love, walk, talk,

of nothing, of politics, of love,

of where to eat, do laundry, fold laundry,

gaze out the window, clean the window,

spin each other to an unheard music

across the kitchen floor, discomfort,

wine, blankets on the couch, how one

comes up behind the other to embrace

them as the the other is doing dishes,

spill juice, clean the table, fight, clip

toenails, eat yogurt, lean against the

bus stop on a hot afternoon, why is there

a line down the middle of my scan, god

damn printer, not even six months old,

a list of hands, arms, legs, positions,

have sex, sleep, fuck, take a shower, sleep, try

to sleep, paralysis, image, blur) (& then there’s

these two) (harried, they came homeward

thru the rain) (water cut by roof) (split to fall)

(drip, flow, spatter) (often words came) (not so

today) (palimpsest) (iridescent) (she had to

force it) (paddle) (aromantic) (gone that curious

aphasia of the sky) (she found an image of chaos

in something simple as the rain) (one day when you

asked me) (upset) (out loud, but without these words) (yes

I mean to say I am in love) (yes, I do mean

to say it) (could you say it any other way---I mean,

does it have to be like this) (of all things) (like this)

(yes) (carry me back to the cloudy shore, where

we once stood by the small lighthouse)

(we had gone, we said, to the lighthouse

to be, in our own way, novelists, poets,

critics) (what a way to have friends, a

kind of silence possible only among

friends who by their nature are silent

so little to say, but important to do it

in the presence of those who understand)

(how love or friendship or that mix of the two

are uncommon things) (& how did you feel

that day) (do you remember) (how the small

motion) (so many waves on the water)

(oscillation) (the persuasion of motion)

(in the early spring) (some wet surface

painted with a grey pallet) (wave) (three years

later you say you didn’t go to the lighthouse

with us) (I was dating L then anyhow) (& still somehow

I remember you there) (or want to) (it doesn’t

matter now) (you, on one coast) (married

to J) (me, on the other) (looking out the window

at my job) (how blue the day is) (waiting for

the State to update its files) (struck always with

this blue) (& everything that color triggers) (so in

its very nature it was, as I understood it to be, the color of

not of sadness, as so many consider

it to be, but rather of possibility) (of reality) (of

the imagination, the force, Williams says,

of which is comparable to steam or

electricity) (so) (your voice) (I always want

what I can’t have) (& when I say

the demon had blue hands & a blue

skull, I mean to say I saw every painting

possible in which I died & this was one

of them) (I was crying) (convinced they were

coming to eat me) (instead that night you were

there at the door to see me & said you ought to run

your hands through my hair, offered to get

in bed & hold me against the demons)

(& I had no recourse after that but to keep living,

despite my knowledge of each blue painting

of my death) (so we were given paintbrushes by death

& we said to each other) (of course

I did) (we said to each other) (we said

Evelynn Black is a trans writer from Seattle. She received her MFA from Cornell University. Her poems have appeared in Peculiars Magazine, Requited, The Seattle Review, and other publications.



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