Sketch 27

A man entered the subway car at Borough Hall,
was about to sit, but just as his knees began to bend
the train jerked into motion. He stood up, as though
regaining composure after a brief humiliation,
as though it were somehow shameful to be subject
to gravity’s impersonal force, caught
in its grip, an object controlled by physics.

 

 

Sketch 64

Pleasure and disgust, the border of desire, of aesthetics,
where beauty and the uncanny meet—is this the brink
one must always live on, bare and bear, the vulnerability
necessitated in feeling alive? When I have bared myself, I
feel a compulsion to send out a flurry of signals to adjust the
reception of others, to scramble the image that may have been
momentarily revealed of me—

 

 

Sketch 7

If only you knew what I saw when I looked at your face, headless
motherfucker, with your head turned around. We do that kind of
shit. We know everything. That’s how we train. We know fucking
everything.

As I switched subway cars at the next stop, I saw others who
had stood beside him rush to do the same. It’s that easy to
unknow, to deny that we are at war.

 

 

Sketch 4

How did the caterpillar feel when it crawled out of its face,
left it behind in mulch at the bottom of its jar? Is this
ahistoricity, to go forth having molted your face and all
associations dragged along?

 

 

Sketch 13

The wet in the air is like signal anxiety: life is about to
change. The parked bicycle’s front wheel indicates the
direction gravity has chosen, the ice cream truck emits music
& fumes outside the school, luring children, as did the Pied
Piper, towards death. Robert Browning wrote a poem about
the Pied Piper of Hamelin, a rat catcher who passed through
Germany in the middle ages, which was published in
Dramatic Lyrics in 1842. After being trashed for his
confessional lyrics in his first book, Pauline: A Fragment of A
Confession, which didn’t sell a single copy, Browning veered
sharply away from confessional poetry and invented the
dramatic monologue, which, using historical figures as
mouthpieces, protected him from lyric shame. Once, when I
was part of a dance troupe, we rehearsed our ‘[S]elf,’ wrote
upcoming show wearing masks. Never before had I Shelley in a
felt so free—sometimes you can put more of your letter, ‘that burr
emotion into art by keeping your face out. Or is that sticks to
thinking that way merely projective autobiography? one. I can’t seem
to get it off’

 

 

 

 

 

Photograph © ythedarkdays

Reproduced with the permission of the author and publisher: Fourth Person Singular by Nuar Alsadir (Pavilion Poetry, Liverpool University Press, 2017)

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