Excerpt: a flight of objects that seemed real


“I will sabotage you.” “I forgive you.”

“Take me. I want to see you.” “I need to watch you.”

“You are beautiful.” “Apologize.”



Mohawk king of Main, tumbles his black, black hair gleaming in a straight river down his spine, sliding off the sill of the bank. Limestone pedestal, rock-face throne of descent, the slender bones softening by the Pacific. Chinatown has moved its heart to Richmond, now the deserted shops are empty windows, dilated voids staring into the streets, pinned with notices of overdoses. Fentanyl kingdom, your dreams are slick bile. The bloodstream is pumped with the riches out of wares that spill over the streets. Street vendors making a form of living for a quicker death in front of new condos that promise sanctity in dream city. Shoes and sweaters, watches and cellphones, cords for miscellanea, making glimmering piles between the castoff needles and cellophane. Hands that are printed blue with weights of justice. An Egyptian god standing at the mouth of the river, swallowing the rotary sense of justice in a mouth filled with three different rows of teeth.

A beautiful blonde is crouching over Main Street, the white powder dreams found her when she grew too free for her skin and sailed right out of that flesh, as if she had known all this time that she were beyond it, that she would leave behind this gentle frame. She’s palming mad at the stone that is bathed in piss, her skin leaving behind the lightest refrain. Her eyes are pulled to the street as if all questions are collected there like rainwater, a cup of gutter is sweeter hope than nothing. She’s gone and torn the tendon of the world right out, there it is, a long, pink-grey tendon that has been stretched over the stone like a worm learning itself anew. The city is cracking its bare-bone knuckles over her body, and deprived of simple water for so long, she licks the glass from the streets thoughtlessly, mechanically, having learned to rise again in time for night with a mouth full of garnets that bloom in wet caves. She heard somewhere that the spittle of a clean man would heal her, so she gave herself to him in two palmfuls, and when she held out her offerings, it was as if her skin had healed too quickly, growing taut over recent wounds.  She hasn’t even had the time for the old pain to settle, there has never been time, and there she is tearing it anew. The cold air comes deeper inside her every time, and every time it is sewn up by her own skin, forming a [reservoir] of all the air that she has taken in from the street, all the breath that was given to her out of strange lungs, into a body that used to be warm, a body that she wore lightly, that she flew from so easily, little bird.

Flight is made possible by reservoirs of air that linger under the chest, old stale air that brings up a reminder of other places when it is breathed again, old air rising to the throat. A mouthful of mist. Here on the upward sloping streets, wet with grey matter of newspapers, time is a greyzone, they say – those matters of men that line dreams, announcements of conquests and fascinations that become temporary shelters, torn apart by morning. Wretchedness is the same in every city. In every city the sidewalks are kingdoms of shitworks, its lust glimmering between stone-cracks, ready to plunge its crooked needle fangs into stray flesh. Here is the city we’ve been looking for, the one with all our dreams at once in a moment seen through a beautiful glass. It’s clean here. It’s quiet here. The worst of the parting words were left as unstated misunderstandings, taking on more venom between the habits of mercy and violence. Ku and nothingness, right.

Your sun-coloured down is matted, little blonde bird. There is not enough matter in this world to keep you warm. At the foot of the gates, Cerberus or Saint Peter, or today’s whoever, has abandoned the sentinel post. There are paintings we learn to look at, they are the sights of you beating against the absence of a gate. The white man with his white eyes took the key and left. Couldn’t stand the venom anymore. Couldn’t stand the bodies anymore. Couldn’t stand the bullets. But the Revolution can’t happen without bullets.

This is the only justifiable thing, because bodies that don’t shoot are passive bodies and allow others to die because they don’t shoot or jump in front of the bullet. You have to learn to jump in front of the bullet, but don’t pretend any of those heroics. The bodies left outside the gates were without water for so long they sucked out scorpion poison from the small holes in each other’s arms, pulling star matter out of purple nebulae that refused to heal. Remedy is given in small doses. Remedy is sickness. Send a bullet rain into the bloodstream until immune, until they don’t cut through the skin anymore.

The Chinese garden in Vancouver is filled with the sound of cars and sirens. There is little left of Chinatown, but “it’s not as far gone as the rest of it”, still hanging on bits of it as shards of heritage shops of fans and red silks that are worn at home but never on the streets and it’s up and coming, they say. One viaduct down, the architects laugh over five courses of food, “It’s not Chinatown!” Up and coming, place changes place. What it means to be in a place. Where would you be, if you could be? What if the choice remains whether to be at all? What is the weight of being, where there is no more space to be? But there is a name, and there is possibility in a name. See how we hold it. Tender name, memorised, as if the gravity of things is held in a few letters. Can’t remember the name. Un-memorise the name. Tests on how close you can come to the motives without cutting. A blade is a blade. Know the right words and the right colours. Self-critical gestures of ownership. Performed criticism. The many of forms of saying nothing at all. The day is sick, time congeals and stretches thickly, all of space is dense so that even the polished bamboo stems are feeble under the stifled hunger that makes cities heavy.

Your voice is scattered into letters in front of me, on a stone table that no-one sits at. I’m thick with words. The garden is moved through quickly, eyes and plastic filters glass over a composition of patience, hands are lenses full of information of some kind rushing through from one end to another. The day is old before being born, and when it walks on the earth, it looks like a devil coming home. A homeless woman carts a grocery cart over the patted soil, scraping the bonsai.

In places that are visible to the masses – or, the people – forms of truths spawn, “Insane Heat Wave in Alaska Put Temperatures Higher Than in Arizona” and the next drought comes up, and then an interview with Omar Khadr, and the Palestinian mushroom farm that is helping the resistance gain economic independence, and pictures of deformed radishes, and images of an opera, and it’s easy to forget to think. Names like Khadr are important because they represent our values. Through name associations, or constructions of grammar – or subject/object determination – we establish our being-here orientation in relation to others. Let a man rot in a jail for years without ever trying to burn the prison down. Prisons don’t burn anymore because prisons may be useful for people like rapists and child murderers. There are no longer fires except as representative performance art in street masquerade. They – they, as in we, you/I, nondistinction. The singular – call justice a form of love. Because you/I look good to each other we become fuckable subject/objects, this is making a kind of revolutionary love, or explicability for each other. We can stand in solidarity with fellow people, but only according to convenience because otherwise it becomes morally questionable due to violence and death. The writing of myth, or construction of desirable ethic-commodities. So we can be together in this, we can begin here. A beginning is required. It would help if there was some kind of out of other. We mark our limits, you/i – is there, a state. It’s a contract, but they do pay you if you tell them where it’s going. People without morals means that morals without people is a form of futurist universalism. To have principles is to be self-righteous. That is to be lonely. Too without something, not enough of that. Need the basis of material neutral. Thought about being lonely, but need substance inside – not substance if not understood – displacement of emptiness with material. Fungi growing on Mars. Protect against over-daemonology. Spacedemons. “10 Ugly Fruits and Vegetables to Put a Smile on Your Face”.

Go is a game of expanding space. Space is created out of black and white stones, the greater is teased out of the lesser. Through the entanglement of coordinates, space is transformed in its identity – from black to white to white to black – and this entanglement binds coordinates into a relationship with one another and with space in a way that alters from the first movement the behaviour of the field. Each stone is equivalent to each other stone, bound by no internal laws, but only by the laws of their relationships. The multiplication of stones, the accumulation of territory, is through no distinct behaviour of any one particle, but of pushing the dimension of their spatial enclosure to the maximum point. The plenitude within silence. How many ways do we read silence? Only all potentiality is expressed in a single stone placed at random in an empty field, with no past, and no future. Within a single stone in this field that is empty, has been empty, and will continue to be empty – all potentiality. Then an obsessive deconstruction of greater into generic non-state.

The homeless woman’s salvaged collections, bags stacked in the metallic rattling cart that she wheels through the garden. She stops where the walls peer through a veranda, onto the garden designed by real Chinese designers and architects. The rattle of her wheels stops behind the bonsai and eroded rocks as she looks at the last bloom of the autumn.

Against the wall, in the adjacent street, a man is rubbing the crown of his head against the white plaster coated stone, rubbing his heroin terrors into stone like the monks finger beads over and again until the skin is sore or has memorized the hard surface and the wall is then a lover’s breast or the sickness of resignation oh let me be alone but tear at me harder than flesh can bear because I don’t understand how to walk like this and not understand the way of this intoxicated prayer because it speaks with more truth than the mutterings of constant words because a stream of intoxication can move with the force of the cosmos and the sickness is real and unreal.

“What would we do with so much silence?” “Could finally try to be.”

The occupation of space is the definition, by limitation, of its potential. To derive certainty out of infinite possibility. A conversation at midnight in a grey-blue corner-store about two particles at a distance turning red simultaneously. Relational theory, and the experts thereof, drawing assertions on relationships. Is it sufficient to be a voice, disembodied and distant from you, because I wonder if I would be capable of being a body with you. Because I doubt my own doubt, and am uncertain in everything. That there is always a safe way back to the state that was before. It remembers its order.

Where is it that we are, if we are never decided, and our desperation is tentative? And this condemnation from the outset scars the soils of hopes, wishes, thinking, so how do we continue like this? That we do not desire at all. For love is outside of reason, and sometimes it requires the decision to end everything.

Where our skin meets, our bodies become something that’s faster than the speed of light, even though “that’s impossible”. Simple questions, like, can you love me unreasonably in a way that doesn’t find its way in ends. That maybe doesn’t find its way, as if there is no way. As if it is unquestionable, so I can forget the suspicion that is burning from your eyes, or maybe I’m imagining it there, and it is really in your hands, when you touch me, as if your every touch is a question. I can’t answer you when my business is taking apart distance again. Go. Come into me. You set a stone before me. Where do I move?

Intersect. Place a stone before me. Your palm outstretched. Your mouth in my hand.

She is convinced that there is a way of misreading – that any relationship is a reading of value. He mines her body for substance for him. He licks her cunt to make it easier to enter her. He enters her. She feels nothing. Useful acceleration. Pirates of incredibly gendered commodification – selling bit words that may have been feelings that may have been waste.

A different way to enter me and remain there. Closing space. We occupy the simultaneous meeting of the enclosure and the expansion of space. The moment of being, or becoming, or coming into existence, is the moment the stone is black and white which it is at any time. By pushing at invisible particles with the tongue, we affect the vibratory space around us, that is, we affect the material state of the immensely claustrophobic material mesh in which we are immersed. Or, your mouth sucks on electric particles that are rising on my tongue. Sensory deprivation makes every breath an entrance into infinite wombs. The sounds of things are blocks. So when the force of language is considered as more than the words themselves, the immaterial state will become available to touch. We could sleep inside each other here with little demand for this to be any place, the flakes of careless glass slicing into our backs, becoming fins, sharp scales, the slow rusting of a xylophone, as we determine the strength of our slow propelling into softness, covered in dirt and slick with mingling intention. We could pluck the shards from the rippling shores that run along our unseen sides, visible only to one another, as if flicking away the feather-down of a past year, and allowing for gentleness to settle its breath-echoes over the small red mounds that rise to our strumming. Mecca is pierced with glass. Jordan is spilling over with heroin. You tell me how it is cold. My arms are wet with rains that forgot themselves, I am brushing the fibers that cover you, a web by some silver spider that has walked along your nape and run small secrets into your hair, nests that mark how long you’ve been here, longer still. The real is presupposed by the anticipation, but if you come near me, my flesh is turned outwards and my mind kicks over my tongue, leaving in the slowest way possible. I want you to leave me in the slowest way possible.

A man picks up a newspaper with a nice picture of a pretty woman on the cover, who might be an actress or pop star. His face makes an expression as he folds over the paper to have her smile, or maybe her chin, facing up. A woman hugs a microwave as she tumbles off the bus towards the Empress Hotel. The vein is blooming, it is the leper falling over the doorstep, sanitorium inflected disturbance, auguries for the pantomime. Careful not to overdose on your tap intake.

Construction workers pour hot tar into the scars that cut deep across Pender and Main. Another landscape of groceries with enormous brittle mushrooms and the leather faces of old women. Abandoned warehouses, fish heads, and slim plastic bags that shine a path that knows no night or day, that contained the most direct injection into a primitive simplicity into the realm of total possibility that is the farthest distance from the war until it is cursing under the skin as if the remedy for war is writhing fire in wettening dreams. Your hands press hot tunnels under my breasts curling fists around the red substance that no-one knows and at this moment we are like something of a land somewhere on the ocean where trees are bent into blownout cripples dancing because of a cloud they say that pushed the sky out of the earth and into our lungs so that now your mouth is searching insistently in mine for what it can’t find in another and words like entertainment are unsettling under the tongue, so our mouths are dancing like the crooked trees that Dali hated and the roads have meanwhile become straighter and the concrete is halfcovering a sleeping bag stuffed full of bodies with blue and purple arms and toothless smiles holding each other, and they hold each other more easily than we can because they don’t require anything from each other except being there while the cities pour themselves over their cracking skins.

Lital Khaikin has published poetry in .PLINTH., gobbet, Deluge, Berfrois, Tarpaulin Sky, e·ratio and VERStype. A book, Outplace, is forthcoming from Solar Luxuriance.

Submit a comment