Chris Tysh: 3 poems

  Chris Tish

  Excerpts from Derrida’s In / Voice

  3 poems
  I’d like to die. In the mountains, a lake,
  a long time before you

                   We might as well
       the one who speaks about writing’s drift
                                   la dérive
                   which exiles inhabitants from their river(beds)
       pulls the plug on the lyric
                        interference of the ego (cf. Ch. Olson)
                   or even worse
                   blows the gear
on that peculiar trope we call self
                           now helpless
                                   against the tell-
                                       tale signs
                   of its demise

                   iron shutters
                   drop down
                           like a sentence
at the end of a judge’s gavel

                           In the charred film
                                       of our lives
L’amour fou (dir. Jacques Rivette, 1968)
                       not that I look anything like Bulle Ogier
               it’s the dialogic pulse
               of the two celluloid gauges (16mm & 35mm)
   that carries off
               l’écume des jours
                           — untranslatable idiom —
                            as if life were a beach
                       Café de la Plage (59 rue de Charonne)
       or pools of water
                   skimmed from the top
       for their truth content
                       analogy logic
                               lends an edge
               to written things

                               a black pencil
       comes off cleanly
                   in one yank
leaving your other hand
                   to write
               a new expiration date
                               on my lips

  To only say I, I don’t reveal my sex

       obsolescent theory
                   shallow impression
                   the unmade bed

           susceptible to enter

                                   a critical dictionary
under a jet of spit

           squashed everywhere
                           like a spider or an earthworm
(Georges Bataille, ‘Informe’, 1929)
we put on a corset
                       of expectations
                   on the bumpy ground
our spike heels tap out
               a hollow sound
                       heard tout autour

Gender is the extent to which
       we go in order to be loved (Robert Glück, Margery Kempe, 1994)

       over what is due
                   in the ashes
                           of a name
       nothing other than fear’s
                       arched back
                       tomblike hold
for the masc./fem. riddle

  Behind the curtains or petticoats
  of the cradle, or behind oneself

I would like to ask
                           the back body
                           yet so intimate

opens such longing
       to know its story:    rounded shoulders
                           le creux du bassin
                   mute ilia
           the pretty lumbar curve

a pianist’s hand strays
                                   to the treble clef
               as someone’s hurrying
               down an empty corridor

Could it be
       a dialectical relation
                       between what we imagine
       behind spread fingers
                    rustling secrets a scuffle from below
and what goes back to the line
                           bundle of tissue and muscle
“that is a place of first permission” (Robert Duncan, “Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow” 1960)
               teenage terrains vagues
                       now dark with rain


Chris Tish is a poet and playwright and the author of several collections of poetry and drama. Her latest publications are Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic (Les Figues, 2013); Molloy: The Flip Side (BlazeVox, 2012) and Night Scales: A Fable for Klara K (United Artists, 2010). She is on the creative writing faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Her play Night Scales, a Fable for Klara K was produced at the Studio Theatre in Detroit under the direction of Aku Kadogo in 2010. She holds fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts in the USA and the Kresge Foundation. Her latest project, Hotel des Archives, features verse ‘transcreations’ from the French novels of Beckett, Genet and Duras. She received a Board of Governors Award for Our Lady of The Flowers, Echoic in 2015.


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