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IAP 03 ~ Dayna Gross

Important artist Dayna Gross says “here is my work, it is about silence”
— Dayna Gross

I

 

There is this power of honesty

we have

but I only mean a specific we

*

Delicate

slender

figure

curving into

every gesture

born from me

billboard of nightgowns glowing in moonlight--

what’s in a name but a certainty of existence?

Ella,

loving to lick the L ‘tween vowels

always lying, Ella, ‘tween the vowels

within her moonlit nightgown,

crescent skin smooth as distance

she is a vessel of dark waters, this Ella, my Ella,

no, she’s not mine, she locks the door

lies under the canopy sailing in her ship of dark waters

Ella, I whisper ‘tween the key hole, but she locks my voice from her silence

she mutes my plea, brings her slender fingers to her feathered head and feigns to feign something I would call indifference, if I was in the room, permitted to see the gesture myself.

Ella, I whisper through the keyhole

I hear her feet slap against floorboards

she’s taking her bath in perfume petals


as I lay to rest before her door, spelling out her name with the form of my body, keeping her name in a whisper before her keyhole.

II

“Men desire women, it’s a curse you see

women should never desire men

otherwise she becomes a rag, a drag, a weight who should be

less.”

Ella says to me.

*

I can introduce another we,

it goes along with plenty me.

“Don’t ever rhyme with any of us!”

Okay, I’ll add an “N” and make amends.

*

Do you ever go to the bathroom to pee

just to feel like you’re doing something?

-no

me neither.

III

A red glove hangs from the desk

waiting to shake my hand

can’t you see I’m drinking tea you rude object of speechlessness.

Hands are louder than words!

Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap

That’s your mouth you fool!

Clap clap clap clap clap…..

{More action replacing thought}

Dull and docile what a beauty! a porcelain doll

to rub your puberty over under bed sheets

next to your best friend

while her mother fries two eggs

on a pan in the kitchen downstairs.

In this city,

when you take a walk for fresh air

you get plenty more than you’ve bargained for

better stay indoors and drink and drink and drink some more.

“Did you mock a rhyme this time again? You fool.

We will not let you ride on us.

Erase our we from your me we don’t want to belong to you anymore.

Go take a walk and forget to look around

tame your passions with a chocolate bar

and wait for the moon to abandon the crowd.”

Does this make any sense to you?

Rearrange the words an you’ll begin to understand the patterns of language

and forget to beg for original meaning.

*

We forget our origins just as easily and call them mother and father

embryo, egg, sperm, anything but what was our true formlessness.

We will know some day,

we will know.

*

Ella tells me to wait for the end

of the call.

That place where the buzz no longer hums, she says

That’s the end.

You’ll know it when you get there.

Doubt only exists in places of sound and thought.

You’ll know, she says,

you’ll know.

IV

Ella wakes me up

no I wake Ella up

we are both awake

but only one of us drinks the coffee

I see my hand reach for the cup

I taste the liquid, not quite hot enough,

slide down my body,

but she is just as certain as me.

I look in the mirror to watch me drink

I see it’s me, not Ella

she’s insisting it’s her and asks me if I’m sure

but I see me drinking this tea, no coffee,

but I cannot see me first hand, I don’t tell her this

she has this dirty little smirk of an ungrateful maid’s girl

in her moment behind the mask veiled from the crowd.

They whisper about her angelic qualities over champagne glasses

but she’s only locking eyes with me

I know her mud stains

she twirls off in a glow and chins continue to whisper

around rims of champagne glasses,

“Ella”

Everybody whispers Ella

everybody whisper Ella

Ella,

I lo…

V

It’s not actually dark out,

if we could just get closer to the moon

you would understand.

The moon is my metaphor, ageless

like the sea, and tides we are all pulled to and fro

for what though?

where to?

If you waste time with questions you will forget to live

oh, I see

Has anyone seen Ella?

Ema?

No Ella?

or was it….?

I know my holy places now

but they don’t belong to me

what a relief

I would not like to be possessed either

but I know I am, by the we’s

they are sleeping now

another relief

Has anyone seen Ella?

I think she is poisoning the milk

of many mother’s breasts,

but maybe not,

I don’t think this myth belongs to me,

unless it belongs to all woman,

then maybe…

there is too much uncertainty in one head

it’s very unpleasant to say the least.

Has anyone seen Ella?

I think I’ve seen her in a puddle near Voltastrasse

trying to seduce…

*

They simply don’t know

how you used to be

moments ago

it’s all the same to them

you then

me now

years later, or was it earlier?

I’ll know the difference when I get there.

*

I believe

if we start stripping silence

then among the layers

buried so lightly

we would find Ella

I would.

but she is able to whisper to me

without sound

leaving me dumbfound

I’d like to wash her in a bucket.

I’ve been washing many of my women

in buckets of Autumn

I like the way their white gowns disappear.

Every time I look down

I realize I’m in black

skin sticking to the smell

of other’s throat

cigarette smoke.

VI

Ella sits in blue hues and gentle violets

before three glowing rings

and she too glows

but wait,

it’s only a postcard

Ella is looking behind her eyelids

for symbols of Saturn.

she wants to lay with lions

her courage curving her stillness

her mind more simple than a line

her silence a thrill

I am her letter, her mark

an outline

she is the fill.

*

Door slams

somewhere beneath her feet

hanging.

Above her crown dangles discord

she reaches up with her airy hands

the cacophony becomes her blanket

sealing her silence

from me,

her moan,

her mother,

her mouth

crowded with blood,

crunching living

earth.

Ella? shall I read to you the news?

No.

*

Ella meets Steve in front of the eggs in Edeka

Ella is silent

except for in her blinks

she scratches her throat

it sounds like a sweeping maiden

Ella is silent

except for in her blinks

Ella thrusts her finger crusts and cuts

the tip to touch the distance

between her body and Steve

fallen on the floor,

Ella throws her head back

stretching her scratched neck

marked red from her devilish touch

and laughs in echoes,

bats fly out from her cave

she throws her wet skirt over Steve’s wise dome

spiriting his return to body,

feeds him hollow santas

for three stars

leading to her Bethlehem.

She returns to the fallen fruit section

looks for dried figs,

what wisdom cleaves when the waters have dried up?

She looks and leaves

taking a croissant on her way out

and no body

stops her.

This text was performed on Cashmere Radio’s Cryptomnesia experimental poetry show.

 

Q&A

  1. Summarize your work in one word?
    Silence

  2. What inspires you to continue making work?
    Time, thoughts and mortality.

  3. What are you currently working on at the moment?

    Editing my novel and plenty more poetry.

  4. Who inspires you most to push your work further?

    Mina Loy, Clarice Lispector

  5. If you could say anything to your former self, regarding your art practice, that would help you progress what would it be?

    Don't be afraid of the edge, write even when you feel empty, and value my writing over my fleeting social life.