by Randee Silv
Codes: Exclamation mark. Ditto. Ditto. Not too close & not too far. Snake skins hung beside shaking untied ropes. Misspelling. Yes. Misspelling voids value, I heard them say. Numbers listed on a clean sheet of paper were recited by him, then she, as we waited at the station. Dead. Alive. Public. Private. A tally was demanded. I was asked to sit down. There was a chair. You can’t erase. You can’t cross out. But you can ditch. If it’s not held in anyone’s hand then it won’t be on anyone’s mind. They’re acting a bit skittish. Violence. The interrupting of violence. Bullets. She called for the tracing of bullets. No one left without agreeing. 2 foot. 5 foot. A 10 foot version. Strands of hair & silk were threaded through minuscule holes at dinner tables in needed repair. Memory & honor. It just has to be possible to balance on fingertips. It just has to be possible to arrive without traveling, without strange vanishings, without debuts bound up in tight balls. Wildly difficult. To some degree, he tells us so. Throwing rocks. Throwing rocks at walls. Each demanding a purposeful purpose. I was asked to sit down. There was a chair. Fabricating schemes. Manufacturing fables. The graininess of not knowing. Skip. Hop. Jump. A heavy oozing is interfering with its opening. From his belly hangs weapons. His foot swells as she blasts her woes before fanning. I still remember how he batted swarms of gnats. He was facedown on the pavement for what he knew. If in the end I trip on the stairs, it was well worth the fall. He’s not trying to make keys move. They move. He’s not trying to tell you what to hear. The hearing is doing the telling.
Acorn: A magician’s dove flew out from his traveling pushcart. The treble clef tattooed on her finger composed as she was pointing. He insisted that she listen. The sinks weren’t faucetless. No firewood could be found in the upside down forest. Boxes of rat bait filled the room. I picked up a conch shell and pretended to hear nothing. A black unfilled suitcase was left on the floor, and if you knew to peer down into it, a hidden underground stream with schools of swimming fish could be spotted. A man appeared. Waist to legs, toes gripping, cradling a baby. His stomach did protrude a bit over his belt buckle. He said he was pregnant. I dared not wipe the sweat from his brow. Across from us at the table were strangers. He told it to them. It came across like a neatly spliced tabloid blurb to me. I think he would have gone on indefinitely if I hadn’t finally agreed. There was no further talk. I had a friend, a doctor, who said she’d examine him. I expected him to refuse until I told him of her practice. She pressed down forcefully and hit his stomach hard with her fists. She looked straight into him. Neither budged. He tried to lift himself up but couldn’t. There’s always the possibility of such an occurrence, but it wasn’t him, not now, at least she didn’t think so. I don’t know if I’m moving through the thickness, the thickness that slows everything down.
Disrobed: I wasn’t interested in reading his thoughts. But he seemed to want to read mine. I didn’t think he could read them, at least I didn’t think so. At least not the thoughts I didn’t want him to read. He listed reasons why he could, even those he’d already repeated and crossed off. There was one that was missing. If he can’t read mine and I can’t read his, then there are no thoughts to consider. He agreed to read his and I agreed to read mine. Another day passed. I constructed a large mud enclosure from smoothly rolled coils where I could sit inside and think about what I had built. I could’ve sat in front of it or walked many times around it, but that wouldn’t have been the same. There was room for another to sit and look at the coils before the afternoon heat dried them. The mud slowly started to crack. Someone did come and splash it, but with what, I couldn’t tell. Another day passed. I didn’t know which door I would pick. I had to pick a door so that the next person would have a door to shut. I thought about how they might pick the door that I hadn’t picked. I chose the door that said ding. Not dong. I don’t know why. Now I didn’t have to think about which door to pick. Another day. He said that he couldn’t see my reflection in the window. I pointed to where it was. He said it was not there and perhaps it can only be seen by me. His shoulder touched mine until he got up. My shoulder touched hers and I could feel her disgust. I could feel her exhaustion. Another day passed. I did try to walk on the outskirts and found myself in a stampede, a stampede masquerading as a question. I fell to the ground, a ground without broken pieces of gravel. I sat down on a chair without an “X” and was asked to get up and go sit on a chair that had an “X.” I didn’t understand why and she didn’t either.
Abstract painter Randee Silv writes like she paints. She constructs wordslabs, altering between what is and isn’t. Words emerge as gestures rooted in sound and texture, reshaped, juxtaposed – tilting fragments, distant and immediate. Her slabs will be in upcoming issues of Posit & Swineherder. She’s the editor of the online magazine, Arteidolia, a platform to re-approach and re-consider: visual, sound & word. Her writing on visual art has also been published in Resolve40 and Revolt Magazine.