In Their Own Words

Jackie Clark's “I Live Here Now”

Jackie Clark author photo

I live Here Now (an excerpt)

( )

Of that which is completely empty,
which resists objection,
what sonic combustion,
what din of fork on plate,
of sky up above,
which corner amends previous corners,
which ear turned outward,
a leaning in that ends in ink, lends against sinking,
a promise to promise nothing more than a warm tub,
an elongated back,
whispering is much easier in the dark,
what relation describes the proximity,
describes penmanship in the shape of tree,
for want,
for expulsion of emotion, wrought iron,
unabashedly arguing the objective,
the never naming,
the already having named,
we spend wallets of time for talking,
on time to anticipate together,
there is no color for that,
the community makes all colors,
makes reaction unable to be gauged,
who institutes anything,
what dried pepper,
what pie of your eye,
yet the morning happens every morning,
someone somewhere wakes up,
looks through the curtains at the sky,
what body is the body,
now it sleeps
and holds in its thoughts,
what is time in this equation,
how it leans,
how time is smarter now than it was then,
not unabstract,
not unlike a calling,
a construction that builds itself into itself,
how the happy heart is scooped out like an avocado pit,
simply removed and appropriated,
how the opposite of everything,
even without the pay off,
which is the pay off,
is central

From Aphoria (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author

On "I Live Here Now" 

All of the poems in the I Live Here Now section of Aphoria (which first appeared as a chapbook from Lame House Press) are untitled and appear with only a symbol of ( ) at the beginning of each poem. They appear this way because they are all a part of a quasi-linear thought process, or thought movement, with a focused concern on physical and emotional orientation, the way the body and mind moves through the world and how it relates (or doesn't) to its surrounding.

Often times I am struck by what we carry around with us, all of the thoughts that are in our heads, our hopes and fears and dreams and memories that no one near us knows anything about unless we tell them, and even then our telling always runs the risk of being inaccurate, of falling short. On top of this, our own internal communications sometimes falter, we get lost, we lose our home, end up living somewhere else (physically or mentally), as the section title suggests.

This particular piece is trying to find some stability, to be rational, to know that every morning no matter where you wake up you will still be you, that your body will hold your thoughts, that time can get smarter as it goes on if you follow the cues, that even though happiness can simply be removed things have to go on.

One of Kurt Vonnegut's "rules" for writing is, "Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water." I've sort of taken this rule and made it one of my rules for living. To be alive is to desire but sometimes the will to desire is nil. Sometimes despite how you may feel about it you have to rebuild, you have to start again. That glass of water gives me courage.

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