after that shot in Solaris

by jdavidcharles

This poem explores two new(-ish) areas of writing for me–one, the prose-poem, and two, the occasional poem. It is occasional because I wrote this poem in response to a horrific video (which I warn is violent) of a transgender woman being attacked at a McDonald’s. I have a terribly hard time recognizing that things like this happen and that there are such people in the world as to be filled with such hatred and violence, and that furthermore I belong to their species. Suffice to say this poem is a sort of coming-to-grips with that. All relations involve a certain violence or hesitancy of the other as other, a desire to subject what is alien to what is familiar–particularly through the language we use and how language can cover up what is alien using similar language as well as distance. So hopefully this poem embodies/contributes-to such a discussion.

after that shot in Solaris

Sure, he said, emerged in piss, why not emerged in piss? Head cocked forward into knees, they said, to prevent the weight of the blows, because, when it comes down to it, the sheer force of the swinging hand or foot would rather be received in the shoulder than the head by anyone, wouldn’t it? Phobia is the formal term for when we shit ourselves to the very edge of ourselves.

Carrying that weight inside us it’s a wonder we can move sometimes. I couldn’t explain that scene to you, the one with the long shots in crisp black and white, no, something about its imperfection and your body beside mine and how they fucked until the self-pity oozed out made it too hard to explain. Death, rebirth, death, rebirth, death… you know the drill. Of course they laughed when they kicked her, they were afraid, or so I am led to believe, and the video confirmed it to be true—that’s what humor looks like: fetal and scared, a certain repetition to it. But when the father in the joke said it’s turtles all the way down I had to explain it to you twice before you laughed.

These are days we cannot ask another to look where we have scratched until the blood runs, god, get it away, get it fucking away from me. This is not boredom. This is just a sentence. A sentence—and a sort of optimism.