Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 25, January 2013—Feminist Issue)

Dawn Lundy Martin
25 Tiny Essays on the Value of Forgetfulness and Sleepiness

Proust proposes, using a Celtic belief, that souls of the dead are “held captive in some inferior being, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, and so effectively lost to us until the day (which to many never comes) when we happen to pass by the tree or to obtain possession of the object which forms their prison. Then they start and tremble, they call us by our name, and as soon as we have recognized their voice the spell is broken.” “And, it is so,” he continues, “with our own past. It is a labour in vain to attempt to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile. The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect […]”

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  1. We are told about excavation as ideal, about release and demons. The fragrance of knowing.
  2. I mean to write the phrase “the body in trauma” but first I write the phrase “the boy” to refer to me, and then I write “the body is trauma” never achieving my original intention.
  3. The I is collecting documents in her body. Why are you writing me?!, it bellows.
  4. Is always after—production from things that linger or lean back into. What is the nature of before as in the sentence has not yet begun?
  5. Not just cellular matter or excretion. The phrase in my ear, “I’ve always wanted to fuck a black woman.” Silver platter donkey.
  6. Push her backskin against treebark. Don’t care. Feeling feels good at any rate.
  7. Body as concavity. As excitement. As instigator.
  8. I is the stabbing wound intellect. Wound as in puncture, not wound as in spindle.
  9. There are incidents the I cannot remember or does not want to remember. Eleni and HR indicate that the body is an archive. I think I believe this. But where does it go, memory? Memory as adumbration. Is this fear?
  10. A garage in the middle of nowhere filled with beer cans ordered high in stacks, labels facing out, long as laces.

    Slipping now.
  11. If absent from happening, if unbound by discovery. Have coveted dissociation. The body as a construction of miniature vaults. I imagine them to be perfect cubes of thick shiny steel. If the work is an investigation it is an investigation into the horrific, the terrifying, the unknown.
  12. A body like this one but much smaller than this one. Somewhere.

    She. She wake she. Black. Is all.
  13. Sometimes you find little handwritten notes in your own handwriting and you do not remember writing them. They say things like, “None of the structures are helping.” And then the phrase “HAUNT BUBBLE” in all caps like that, which you like.
  14. What has been born into?
  15. “Death space,” I want to say when Frankie asks where in my body does writing begin its habitation. “I do not know,” I say instead. And then I see a figure standing in the middle of the stage: a reflection of my own form. My head is severed from the rest of my physical form and floating there, and my eyes hover outside their sockets.
  16. It is you who shudders to be opened.
  17. To be awake, alert, on guard, might be to miss the very thing that shimmers just beyond what’s visible to the attentive eye.
  18. The limping subject wanting so badly to know itself. Exalted space, now, clamoring.
  19. The idea that the physical form is just one part of the body and that we might instead imagine the body’s imagining of itself.
  20. Splitting occurs in aphasic scribbles and destroys the world of the self. To recover is to bring forth betweenness. What’s left over?
  21. In the female form the writing comes from what femaleness? These are saturated geographies that have been over-tended to. Here is the white female body carved from white stone, unreachable. Here is the black female body with a mammy hat. These geographies want for a certain neglect.
  22. To be liberated from the wakefulness state itself.
  23. Unwritings as unravelings or unwindings as in to become undone, to reach the edge of sleep, and balance there, not noticing but loosening.
  24. I want to happen past a tree. Happen past to find the souls of the dead there, trembling, the obliterated selves I once thought were locked inside the imagined body’s miniature vaults.
  25. Storehouse bombed. Vaults empty, just vaults.