ELIZA

1. the identification of key words,

widening, thinning, effacement, sweep, contraction, transition

2. the discovery of minimal context,

She can’t remember going through it. She can’t remember pain, blood, or mucous. She has nothing to say and, further, she had no problems. After I was born, she was happy and nothing more.

I think this could have to do with being a rape survivor, but I don’t know. I may tie too much to her rape because she ties nothing to it. She describes it too as a moment she moved on from, or, she does not remember grieving. Or, she has never grieved. She does not make much of it.

She does not make much of it. I fill what I perceive to be the voids of her depression with explanations, rationalizations, analyses, and interpretations. My goal is to tell her what is missing. I am programmed like this.

I sunk into those depressions with my form. From far away, we form a composite whole. As my smallest parts vibrate, coerce, and produce, I fidget with her. My fears are for her.

In the doctor’s office, I begin to panic if I am left alone for too long. I fearfully spread my legs. I sweat, and in the past, I pass out. I cannot stand being out of control of my body. My mind tries to go away.

3. the choice of appropriate transformations,

It will be all my own, and there is not much further I can go than that.

4. generation of responses in the absence of keywords, and

Characterized by the willful positioning of one’s feelings into a subdermal form. This pattern is in a language that some other programmers will understand. Results in daily periods of high-frequency anxiety, worthlessness, and “nothingness.” Prior periods of sexual confusion, followed by sexual malaise. Codependency. Criticism.

5. the provision of an ending capacity for ELIZA “scripts”.

I have no control. The program ends.

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zoe

for now, you are more fish than me
your belly full of liquid
i breathe it, i eat it
and you swallow it

i hear it, and you hear it
muffled and meaningless to you, underwater
but you’ll stick to my translation
you have no one else to listen to

will you want to keep yourself? or, will that come later
when desire inherits your head
taken with the theme of living

aren’t you frightened?
i am afraid to fall asleep
to the darkness you are feeling
kicking at the soft cell of me
hands gripped tight and wondering,
without wondering
what time it is

there is a hope in this project that makes
a contradiction of me
asking to keep something i promised to borrow

but the cat appears, and she seems
much more content to let love go on without reserve
in its extraordinary coordination with impossibility

 

 

way out

i want to always have a way out
i’ve twisted out the grasp of a nurse
lied to get my place, my way
to be fed
resorted to methods in quiet
instead of saying what i wanted

you asked me to talk about this in the dream i had again last night:
i laid in place on your poolside bed. you walked by, on your way out. you said “i’ll see you later, okay?” and it was saccharine, it meant: you’re still mine and i’ll be back to get it. i said okay instead of saying no, which was what i felt but i let myself go to you to get away from someone else who said: you’re still mine and i’ll be back to get it. in the end, you didn’t like my disappearance and you tried to make my world unloved…a retaliation that said much of you as it did of me

this is where i get my shortness of breath
when i cannot escape
airplanes, arguments, politics, and my cervix
when i am backed into a corner and i am willing to be coarse in the mouth
to try anything to twist out of your hands
in what i am willing to give
in how i prefer to hide
in how my cowardice moves
as long as i am alright
because i can do what i will not say
i cannot say what i will do

sung to the tune of a swooning 40’s love song:

harboring you…
appearances are…benevolent 
but you
are confined, mine

i saw you the other day
in a soft prison
you were asleep, you have slept the whole time
since i found you

grief must make one tired
eating energy to know
what matter will be made

in a burrow, so light, floating with the tide
cradled in white, dense pockets of fat sand
seeing that lump at the shore, you,

i could say
it’s the restrictions, the limits
of what we know
that make us who we are

but knowing that
you are eating from me
moving my way
captive, you see
what can i say
of kindness

بحر

my love will arrive on shore
i will see them from far away
coming closer, and closer
after a long journey by the stars

– love poem to refugee

i had been learning arabic at my desk
slowly taking in letters thru an old brain
imagining you asleep in a boat
a dry mouth, no water to cry
as night transformed
my papers everywhere
i was irate

you are already there
the sun has itself on,
rosy-fingered, set upon a blue child
face down and so bloated
the way death can been done
sea sea sea
carrying you until you swallowed it
i failed!

“and now i feel no sign of you…
where once you were on my heart
at the moment of rising,
now you are strangely absent
and i miss your sickness”
– ancient poem, not about love

i am contaminated
likewise

you’ve found yourself
curiously in my thoughts

black water shaped around you
moving more than i thought you could
the tail gone, it looked like
you were human after all

search light on you
naked at the port
knocked about in a wave or two
never washing out

a circumstance becomes a happening
are you mine, refugee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

survival

 

when being run down
i always imagine myself circling a tree
back and forth around the trunk
waiting for him to tire
it’s funny, actually
until i struggle for my life

but when i imagine it, i always see some one else
caught in it, not me

this is the part i cannot stand watching
material coming unbound, for some one,
all the stitches out
the thing getting overwhelmed

dead is something else
a question mark in a stretch of letters
a sign standing in
for an atmosphere that couldn’t begin to word itself

it is the living who expire on death
starstruck with the body
that won’t write anymore