woods nostalgia for the present a day collapsing into memory red you are buying and carrying interrupting yourself as you go she told me her dreams of the dead I’m becoming snow that was my ambition what I longed to enter waiting for the next word for the series of symbols you ignite hived and agile it’s a bracelet of dawns and a something else hidden in the body unavailable unavoidable people who haven’t thought of being someone else they are pre-Freudian he said and we admitted this would end someday the way he had smoked until a certain hour with great pleasure and then simply stopped
Regarding the novel
What I used to return to with varying degrees of eagerness or hesitation is now swinging shut like a self-locking door.
A certain corner, then a few steps down the cobbled passage strewn with garbage–this the way to a particular part of Paris or the night market in that Japanese railway city, depending on the hour.
A landscape filling up with snow. Months before this and centuries later, my gaze followed two young women walking away from the road, far away, rolling a suitcase, disappearing through a meadow into a stand of birches.
Placing the self before a fast-moving industrial conveyance, avoiding the question of which bridge to jump from. I don’t remember any wolves in the story but certainly dogs, at least one dog. In her photo of herself, the baby screaming, the whites of the dog’s eyes in the corner of the frame, the dog who was trying to sleep.
Wool is never mentioned. Muslin. Fur. Velvet. Lace. Colors of clothing. An enormous pear. Bear baiting, probably, and shooting, skating, steeplechase. The cold letter opener you might press against your cheek to remind you to dig up some of your own memories, dormant and bereft: photos of people you can’t name in their powdery shrouds.
When music had to be performed to be heard. He ordered most of the dishes that could be ordered. The private rooms were full of others. These used to be such a delicacy, they were like money.
Barbie & cigarettes
green cowboy boots mild headache
falling shy portraiture clouds
dogs & their jackets
newspaper mustard places to get on & off
hotel with one room rented
following the story of a tunneler in the Great War
leaving to come home again
one hundred years a glass of water
here to see images of midwinter sexual climax alpine skiing
I came for the mountains
I was misinformed
These are the songs they played then
You do not recognize me
I say me because I have slipped inside the character you fail to recognize
Waiting as reason, motive, way of life
Already a small group
Selected, one might say
Rare spice, sprinkled over the planet
Departing & returning, pockets full, nearly asleep
A music you willed arrives across the winter land
Without thick coat or socks
A coffee almost Turkish
I find the people friendly, helping themselves to the words
now we can enjoy our selves
what you depart from is not the way
nourished by hunger
immigrant/exile/ the dream of departure and return
in books about the desert a subtle color wheel
those who waited patiently/impatiently
(all her photos depict native plants)
he ordered water without sparkle
in this life with a missing limb, a soldier in your last life
attached to a wheel
comprehensible as a flashing outwards
whatever it was
I wanted it to happen to me
self-portrait with broken
I see you are nearly erased
name comes up
or scattering fresh sawdust
for me to find
someone else is mending
the little dreams
in the bright world
Valerie Coulton’s chapbook, small bed & field guide, has recently been published by above/ground press. Previous books are open book, The Cellar Dreamer, passing world pictures (all from Apogee Press), and the lily book (San Francisco State University Press). With Edward Smallfield, she is the author of the chapbooks lirio and anonymous (both from Dancing Girl Press). She lives in Barcelona and is one of the editors of parentheses, a multi-lingual journal of poetry and fiction.