ditch,

the poetry that matters

Marie Landau

Marie Landau lives in Albuquerque, where she is a Master’s in Literature candidate at the University of New Mexico. She is an assistant editor for the University of New Mexico Press.

  

Reconstruc(itera)tion of a House

 

For now, a curtain impresses the tenderness

between constructing houses.

 

Areas of the house we call conduits

                                                                                 (hallway [strait]

                                                                                                kitchen [in]

                                                                                                                bathroom [out]

                                                                                                                                bedroom [cell])

 

undesirable spaces filled by

wishing

                  if

                      and only (if)

                                                    could write our image.

 

                                                                     If, with no,

                                                                     we find shelter, yes

could press into the liquid unwriting of our movements,

of mornings that yield blank gesture.

 

Afternoon has no one to visit but a kneeling tragedy

sincere viscera

filling centrioles

with vowels

declaring cilia

swim

laughter

dreams

where kidneys

drown.

 

To name a place is to

                                                tame,

                                you

                                                whispered,

                                to

                                                modify,

                                you

                                                insisted

                                to

                                                incline,

                                you

                                                missed

it.

 

There are no borders here drawn to conclusion

just lines of half-life

memories

                      to

                                ring out

                                                and redeem

                                features

                      of

remembrance: two trains speeding

(un)uniformly to crash

the scheduled

marriage of

general

relativity

and quantum

politics, whose reason commits

us to low ceilings: contracted bodies singularly bent toward an apex of probability,

silenced,

wounded,

thrown to the common enemy:

 

                                                                                the House.


Hallway: [         ]

 

Where all the simple tasks denied

                curl up and fester at the kitchen’s mouth.

 

 

Kitchen: Vestiges (of food, of drink, of irreparable consumption)

 

You, of the knife,

                                                you knife

clean into a remembrance of folly.

 

Your gadgets fulfill an otherwise

reckless promise—that a providing space

will unfailingly provide

                                                                memories

                                                                laughter

                                                                sustenance.

 

Last night’s coalescence

brings you into focus—we see

a colony of shot glasses succumbing to filth

  a cake-smothered blade redacting cuts for a still life

   two lemons waiting for the artist of this place to vomit himself into sobriety.

 

He does

 

and the night moves through like wind in a tunnel,

the guests making that same sad whistle

as they travel hallway

                                                                into kitchen.

 

Here, a timbral celebration

bewildered eyes and faces meeting

to share a piece of this surprise.

 

Inevitably, we eat this

too—the space between us experts call Platonic—

and resume the grinding intimacy

of whiskey and comfortable places to sit.

 

But before ceding the night to sofas

and the front stoop,

we stumble back into the room of plenty

                                                                                      to make sure

                                the booze has not wandered off

                                                                                      in desperation

                                and the sticky knife has not claimed

                                                                                      any victims

                                                beyond the cake.

 

They haven’t:

 

your life remains still

and we resurge like

blood returning to the heart.

 

 

Bathroom: Sums

 

A sacred space

catering to varying degrees 

of relief

                and horror at the

possibilities a body brings forth.

 

Sitting, humming anger (lukewarm)

and indecision (tepid)

                we learn here

                that misfortune and sanctity collide—

                to kill

                the parts of ourselves

                we cannot keep.

 

Mirrors redact

                the shadow of your sorrow sliced from the shadow of your face

and still we find ourselves here:

 

                clutching plastic curtains

                                and scraping serifs against screens

 

                                                to partition the sum of what we’ve made.

 

 

 

 
Bedroom: Lastly

 

What was once a grinding intimacy

is now crushing

 

                a metronome of bodies fumbling in the dark:

                                                                                                                                 “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

 

Forget pleasure—it is an unincorporated state in this country of habituation,

a buttress against what the world has to offer

 

                                                                               

                raw meat and ceaseless sky

                                                bleeding onto porcelain plates

crowbars cracking open screens

                                                to spill metal over soft, tactile breathing

 

political movements                                                                                         political stillness

                                laughing children                                                      fetid water

                                                                                profundity

                                                                                 fecundity

 

Our cell rejects these things,

                                                                  the outer layers forming a crust that begs,

 

                Please, leave us to our quiet,

                                and do not come until the dark has made a savage of this place.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                             January 4, 2014