© Image Nathalie Blanchard. All rights reserved



To enter the chamber through which one must pass, the skin should be soft and appropriate to be fashioned into leather. Remove the hair in waxed strands, and lace the body’s enclosures shut with this twine.

We say the same of the sky, its patchwork of amorphous signatures—

To find oneself beneath this sky is to close it with its own appendages, its thumbs of rain that extend from the center of its palm, to recognize a voice but see a different body.

That’s a dark horizon, as in: where are you moving toward?




That I am willing to gather for you living flowers, and yet I bathe

In a tea of others dead—plunge in their statements, again and again…

Let us look at the sky we once had, but tentatively, where yellow fingers meet, and

Strange, wet slits rain down rain down until the trees, when sawed, collapse

Like dollops of rice pudding—and let us regard this sky,

We its product, and follow each other’s glances as one follows

The eyes of a cat stalking a dragonfly caught between two windowpanes.




Empty rays sent out as feelers come to a new ground, illuminate the air that hangs in swabs above the grass—these we call salutations,

Each a day horizontally extended over sleeping bodies that move in sync with their dreams,

A fate of high-cast words packed down in a canon that, someday, will no longer respond to this gunpowder.



Between the hours where I find you between words where the hours have found their solace between the futures rendered in days we have known and the sweetness of days in which we have drowned between there where I am between where you are I wait for you as if in a house,

Expecting no visitors.




And our shadows that accompany us unwittingly? The thoughts that thrust us into thought in the first place, like palms upon our backs that cover their own shadows?

And does a shadow age as it grows longer, as when, for example, beneath a setting sun or a waxed moon, the head elongates to the size of the chest, and the legs, to the length of the entire body, and beneath each planted foot there forms a darkness the very size of the fetus from which they, eventually, sprung? And this blind companion

Who assures us we are never exactly alone, that we may always find company in the negativity of our body, is brought into the world through the spaces we ourselves occupy.

For then, when the body is touched by light and there behind casts a shadow, somehow it is then that I find my most faithful companion.




Wait for no affirmation—not even your own;

and affirm not yourself—may you be the last to be affirmed,

To have your lips rubbed against—but upon the air, the cold plaster

of forgotten city walls; may they dry and crack such that

Those you love truly, and those who truly reciprocate,

will be the sole few who will allow your lips

Upon their bodies; and may the children look awry,

and the elderly look away, knowing it polite.




Your willingness is the hammer that breaks me. In sudden arcs it hurtles like a birth. A ration of this body, cut from its beliefs, burns in making a signal of objection. The clouds toll seven.

Above the hills of a cemetery in the morning, a second body, as a flare, hangs in a silent recess of time in the foliage. The clouds toll seven.

Beside the tomb of Héloïse and Abélard condoms are distributed to mourners from a hot dog cart.
The clouds toll seven.

To arrive as a body, to renew the tensions that alert us of our undeniable misplacement. The clouds toll seven, and there is the shock of having endured the passage from light into a darkness that is in no way permanent.

The clouds toll seven, and we count the tolls aloud. The clouds toll seven.

In recounting a dream, do we integrate the matters recounted? That is, may I write to you these histories life had never before shared? The clouds toll seven.

It was written on a grave, a grave, it was written on a grave: consigned to perpetuity. The clouds toll seven, and we wait for the eighth strike, which does not come, and it might be about to rain.




The hours surge away. By the force of an unforeseen gravity, they retract into their turbid centers. We alone are responsible for this recession, and thus we find ourselves in its midst; it attracts us into a space of untruth when we speak.

In this silence, we lay down our gratitude gently.

There is an earth we cannot walk upon, for it is covered with our descriptions of it, from which blooms a distracting foliage.

There are truths you do not believe.

There are angles of passing time that house you and cause you to retract like the hours.

One smells the infinite here, in the morning before one has awoken, where one must deny what one believes in light of what one knows to be true.

Must this series be resolved, or may I wait here to be scattered again by the concerns of the sleeping?

Perhaps our frailties, as opposite extremes, must converge, and thus would we ignore the long periods of silence endured, and ascribe them to the faults of the days in which we rest and surpass each other’s edges.

Without regret live those who would burn for the lies of a stranger.

From these heights it is unclear that it is us whom we are watching.




If, yesterday, upon a wing was a skull, a nettle, or a thorn, it was a reminder of what is to come:

The piercing of the attended.

If, today, an aluminum globe is displayed beside a skull and an extinguished candle,

There will be no further celebration of earthly time.

Tomorrow, the memento mori will go unobserved.




From behind, a precipitate of voices listens to the morning, complete, that bathes me in its teachings, and this I call night.

As the sun rises, it extends into the morning as a hill into the sky, discrete and singular. Haste works patiently upon us,

The haste of the morning to conceal itself within a novel form of the day’s evolution.

Its language may be foreign, but in its repetition a parallel sense precipitates.




From the church resting against the lowering clouds,

A force repels the pilgrims whose bodies, propelled by impatience through a fog of contrary volitions, lose their form.

From certain vantage points, they lose their depth like this room without windows where storms do not disturb my rest;

From others, they extend into what appears to be time

As a series of boulders descending into water.




What need have I but of the word ever that, as a fortress in the clouds, persuades me away from the church that would motivate this body toward the pendulum?

For as I would surely fall through the clouds that surround this castle in the sky, but would find myself well supported by its solid floors that would recall to me the nature of clouds, so, surely, would I fall through the clouds of images that compose my memory:

Faces I’ve known, devoured, those distant sensations I might come to depend on as flesh, had I not the word ever to remind me of their bearing as figments of a past no more alive than water vapor in a sky not yet cold enough for clouds…




“I speak blindly into the night air for I cannot see you, and yet in all, in the most distant rustling of the smallest creatures in grass, in all objects that come to be and decompose before having even once been seen, in all that the forces of the imagination may create, I have captured what of you I can.

I have captured that part of you that cannot be seen as missing until you find yourself beneath some light of the evening, shadowless and alone—a part of you that could not have existed until you felt its absence.

I manufactured that absent part of you, in reparation for my flight—but I am that part of you—and I am gone to myself as I am gone to you…”




“So frequently and with such detail have I sought and imagined an unknown pleasure felt by one I have never known as if it were mine that I have come to understand where such a pleasure might be found at night, where such a pleasure might be found in the day, and I have stalked such a pleasure, and I have sat beside such a pleasure, seen the very hairs that grow on its face, watched it as it read, feeling itself to be alone, given it reason to speak with me, and then have I spoken to this pleasure, but I have never demanded its name, for it is a quality of such unknown pleasures that they only extend themselves everywhere until one finds for them a name, and once named, the pleasure dies and, its rigid body interred, it interests nothing and no one, and it renders fallow the land where it is buried.”




This voice from the recesses of this windowless night, as the rain on the oak leaves falls, propels your voice as a finger through a keyhole extends, and upon it, through the creviced articulation, ride the spiders of traffic that past this rusted doorstep creep, as the rain on the oak leaves falls, as this voice, lower than I recall, this voice, as if tied and quartered over the inimitable depth of however many breaths it would take to reverse the passage of time and take the first breath again, this time through you, through your throat, or inside its voice, masked as air, to have always taken this first breath in you, serrated, as a key, this breath, this key unearthed after years of silent burial, this key that has lost its lock and may now be regarded in its own right as this voice, and this rain falls upon the rain voicing the oak leaves; O this voice never reaches the end of this dark sky, nor does it, from its heights, return.




“Having, after three glasses, narrative,

I drank a fourth—O how sentimental I became!

Each face, like one I have kissed from my depths,

And bringing it there, have drunk of its spirit!”




In front of these voices in chorus that rise from underneath the spoken words, as if these words were a song, nothing moves, ashamed of its plaintive outlook when much more could be at hand.

Continue pulling those bows across your throats and I will follow you into these new attitudes that speak from morning and break through the darkness of their sources like the shoots of a crocus. That is breath—what breath is—felt—coming on from a face.

I extend to you the crescent of the spine, and attend this body that hangs like lightning glass from angles of conversation. I hear a voice from the well; the reflection below in the pool is not mine, but a thread strung around her neck that extends between two trees fallen into wells of their own bark.

May a reunion be the daring entrance into a space once shared that one must become reacquainted with, or more, that one must entirely reinvent.




Perhaps all things change as light in stained glass when we perceive them. It is thus that we would purchase the urn.

Or perhaps in the light of the coming seasons there will be nothing to reflect upon, for the memory will have been spent upon life itself as it surged first in the morning and once more in the night, like the waves into which we fell and from which we now recede.

Or perhaps tomorrow will bring a double dream of this new year, for in the newness of it all, with only the memory of the definite expiration against which we were born, we will be able to live this memory as if for the first time, in anticipation of the first time, of a memory of this anticipation, of a memory of this memory, of having lived what these futures may have already held.




The story can always be told in fewer words: to be, for example, should suffice, but driven by the fear of conclusion, you elaborate within a series of momentary eternities that, much to your confusion, end when you stop speaking.

From a distance, the landscape seems infinite. Or is it when near—when you are within it—and infinity is not singular and absorptive, but manifold, inextricable from the innumerable particulars that refresh at every blink of the eye and whiff of the nose?

When you speak it is the same; when you think it is the same: your story can always be told in fewer words: to be, for example, should suffice.


Kit Schluter

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