Tuesday, November 25, 2008

solution



the image: a girl

abandoning her pet in the park.

a small, defenseless

heart.







.f

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Very General Preservation


Been opening books,

turning into spooks,

seeing what they once saw;


thinking what

they once thought;

sitting the same way


they once sat.


Been dead and alive

in my room;

alive and dead,

between covers;


been living the life,

their lives;

been living the lies,

their minds.



.f

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bed Sore

Death had a strange way of being at the beginning, rather than the end. My mother had been dead for three minutes when I was loosed from a gash under the navel, a womb or a wound. My father chose not to tell me. He’d say I was born like Eve from Adam’s rib, like Athena from Zeus’ skull-cracked open and split. And in that way I was entirely of him and no part of death. The explanation satisfied both parties in a fuzzy and incomplete way. He accepted that he would wear the role of the mother the way children wear school uniforms - with a sense of unsure obligation.
I have been in bed for a very long time, for all time, really. As an infant my father was told that my muscles were spongy, porous from a violent birth. And I suppose I never tried, those were my legs, there they were. It was skin. Not even fat, or bone, or muscle. Skin, a partition.
Physical therapy was recommended, someone pumping my legs like a bicycle mid-air. But my father said no. He wanted me to forget what legs were for, for them to become abstract. He would not even them dress them. My legs hanging nakedly from their shell. They grew willowy, formless.
My doctor came once a week to treat bedsores. He was slight, anchored by his leather medicine bag, giving him an artificial limp and endearing him to me. It was the medicine bag that I first noticed about him. Pockets and spaces for things that seemed too antiquated for modern medicine -- amber vials with rubber tipped droppers, magnifying glasses, cloth bandages. He never opened his bag though. It was always fat, fat with something. Other doctors began with thin pleasantries but he was stitched with purpose, some sort of worry that negated the need or space for casual conversation. My father did all the talking and then would seat himself in the corner of the room, his body bent forward and angeled towards mine. There was always coffee resting tenuously on his knee. It stayed untouched. The steam dead in the cup.
I could sense when the doctor was preparing to touch me. The hands hadn’t materialized but intention grows thick, pushes up like oil. And I’d brace myself for something cold, for medicine in the touch. But he always started at the nail, the hardness as a warning and then sliding into the balls of his fingertips -- something coyly warm. He would roll me to my side, finger the back of my ribs and I would become aware that I had been sweating, my shirt struggling to stay close to skin. Before treating the sores, he circled them, felt their limits. I relaxed into his fingers, let them knead through me, come out the other side. I wanted to pull him, to pull him through-the needle through cloth. Sometimes he’d grip the dip of my waist when massaging a sore and I shifted the image, made us vertical, created an affection that was not there. I had read somewhere that stuffing wounds with tobacco thickens the blood, coagulates the sore. And I thought about my body, the abscesses filled with tobacco and me as his cigarette, brought to his lips and then inhaled.
When he was done, he’d pull the sheet up for me though he knew my arms could have done the same-his hand ending at my shoulder and squeezing to say goodbye. The only time we faced each other was at his arrival. Even when he left, I kept my back turned looking towards the window blinds-the silver dust, the way it floated off when vibrated, too small and left behind by gravity.

-Saehee Cho, October 11.2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

for henry - nr

at family
on fairfax
I was asked
if I knew
of you

imagining
youth,old
man,
as feminine

you're famous

solitary
life