River Fragments: A Hydraulic Self Portrait
Was aber jener teuer der Strom,
— Hölderlin, Der Ister
1.We swim fathoms
for our life
over a nameless
running against backwards
on the air,
of how we’d like to be
The sea speaks
Moon perfectly well.
The moon is fluent
in Ocean. Hey, listen,
if there’s something happening in your orbit,
I need to know.
II.What then is a river
if not a hymn,
if not a reverted tragedy
The malachite tinted geyser
An interstitial double helix neon sign
flickers pity and fear
We feel nearer
to what’s really happening in life.
But don’t think it’s all beer and skittles. Honestly,
honey, it’s a bit of a miracle
I made it this far
without all the psychedelics.
As for Aristotle, it’s a coke bottle —
the ground of tragedy is form.
All else is a less than curvilinear
of the tragic,
a colossal waste of time.
III.A time lapse locality.
The journeying it takes to oar our way
through the nudity
of History and Self. At once so big and so small
are the measures of becoming.
it’s never personal. For water has no
In homely return
to the endless, we seem
unconscious. Like, could this one be the one?
The final and the first dream?
We are the simultaneity
of the in-between and of the bellow, and also,
and also of the above
in an imaginative paradox, a magnetic enigma,
an uncanny memory
carved in the riverbed by time’s silt,
we cannot unfix from our mind.
What we recall of what we thought of
as our right turns out to be right,
to have a piece of this
for now, for the duration, for the time being,
for being as such.
O running, running, running towards a forever proverbial
IV.Rowing backwards through fathoms,
vapidity gnaws a seething
into the weakened blank spaces
of a pelvis,
leaving transhistorical tooth marks
What do these retrograde waters want?
Am I being punished
by the sea?
Could I have prayed with a little more diaphragmatic conviction,
a little more oompf, to the river?
Could I have had the wherewithal to love
more gently even, with greater
Erstwhile, radical poetic care
builds a whole new woeful chorus of regrets
in a signifying chain
pain train oven camp number furor ship build guilt
I’d have atoned in heartbeat
what I’ve done, and to whom.
For the record, our shipboard
people came here
not in search of land, language, or wilderness
so much as refuge,
effaced names lost at sea
where we know our currents
a radiance emanates from the bends
of our riverbeds.
Slumbering eyelids aglitter,
a Tragic Beauty.
off the high crests of cheekbones
and Pleiads of a placid brow.
A fine downy moisture glistens in the divot over an upper lip.
This was the beauty of our face, transfigured
suddenly overnight by occult little lines
as Aquarian age.
In this moment of momentary estrangement
do not mistake me
for someone else,
I’m no weeping downstream tree.
Please see me
for what I am, not
for the golden persimmon
I will one day yield.
You wake to discover
your own face,
and that mourning
may be an error,
for that which we’ve lost is language.
As par for the course, the rivers are coursing
elsewhere, to some other essence,
to some other signifying site.
You wake to discover
that you are the manifold
eyes of the green
you are your face,
you are your name.
VI.You wake to find out that your
pleasure has been multiplied
by an uncanny manifold
and a necessary strangeness, signposts
of who you really are.
You say it’s an improvement
and I feel you, it’s true,
you’re not belligerent on purpose per se,
it’s just your proprioception —
it’s way off kilter,
going steady with the Abyss. This
is no time to impress extra personality on water.
This is no time to impose persona in the air.
This is no time to go do
drastic, this moment is not tragic,
it requires no action,
it is simply time
taking shape in the form of a river.
But what he does, the river,
Razielle Aigen is a poet and visual artist. Her debut chapbook is, “Light Waves The Leaves” (above/ground press 2020). Her poetry and interviews have been published in journals across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. More of her work can be found on her website, razielleaigen.com. Tweets @ohthepoetry