x8 – y5


by Lital Khaikin

[ x1 ]

A curious meeting, hand meeting hand, one shedding of soft membrane,
the other disintegrated carapace, needles of petrified scaffolding. [Carcasses
of function] [ respond to solitude]. Shaped at the other’s insistence. How
easily one assumes the other.

The retreating wrist, the [draw] spans endless realms, carves and strikes
against the boundless distance, where there was only [finite]. Written into
this, the unordinary fear to discover another, imprint, the trace of the not
yet, the [grip] of the not now. In this reciprocated shudder, we [reveal]
those unutterable things, those particles that form the most persistent
dreams, the most enduring myths, those arrangements in which we place a
foolish faith, a breaking,
bursting arterial system of diligent conversations. The disremembered art of
traversing unknowable landscapes, to find in them a semblance of [memory
/ experience / document], with no other purpose than to break the body
against [unreachable distance].

These intentions of [crossing distance / to cross distance]
too pass in abrasive exhibit, to strip, weary, of their softness until waking
in the making of an in-between, in, a becoming, a broken thing in the
absence of a periphery
in this the unmaking, a taking shape by gesture, a movement articulated into
the weight of silence, this silence that flows, tar seeping. Against the
constitution of some invisible net, a measuring by. Skin against atrophy.

The walls – shivering with the grace of their age –
dancer’s limbs. Pillared spine held with a stillness not of the body,
that held frame and bore witness to its encompassing, dense with walls that
sink, sumptuous, into the earth. Abdomen full with grated stone, in sweet
intimacy flesh-draped dripping with colour, against the turbulence of bone
marrow stripped blood evacuated pulse carved
heart mistaken for tender cyst
rumbling against rock brittle coursing across skin warming with touch
remnants of passage

Desires sacrosanct amid the emptiest of things.

[ y1 ]

To mark each interval in the immoveable emptiness, within all points, by a
one from the next a shifting of perimeters  to another and

as though this surface, [cold / denying] invitation for touch, could be
enough for the markings of another, an otherwise intrusion

in that stillness and unequivocal silence that requires no answer
a hush between seasons undecided the breath that two notes spans the lung
taking in [you] the essential
to find you in this passing between of matter

this [pause], provoking distance
this gentle parting between objects and words and bodies, a separation that
had not moved from its place since it began
in the intake, in the [pursuit / taking in] of the necessity unarguable, might
have been the closing, the drawing closer, the closure

and tell me how to [hold] these demands to explain the language of bridges,
of sleep, of blood
limp stretched over a child’s fingers that could not grasp a larger word than

achieved in the void, an arriving, the giving to of a moment
into which, the falling of emptiness
matter as it submits to space, and so on, where one begins.

[ y2 ]

Each night a confessional purge, validating the occurred, demanded by the
day. Absolution. Enough of an enough and purpose, so quantifiable a
figure. The task of time
that would destroy the previous night
where touch becomes burden, one thin sheaf of testament, a confirmation,
reverently placed on another, tome bound in blue, the [unspeakable]
revealing itself.

Even in the sentiment that defies carnal instinct, [you are] diminished in this
movement, [you become] against the assignment of purpose that is a body’s
own composing fleshly reason sacrificial meat stuffed and bound a pardon
for the butcher sickness in the splendour

trace of volition
that recognizes the sense of the end, coming through in the written, into.

[ x2 ]

nameless imaginings of another, paint over mind with learned metaphors
clever, crooked devices
such a mannered mess
wrists reaching through sand a speaking through scrawled over
once an almost crucifix not quite, dis sacred geometry nevermind the soft
carving, molting, growing over blue and red and bone and an unmemory of
capped in the safety latch and called practice
mind repositioned, un- re- pent
will tell exactly will tell what is, as it is the unshaping of things, the form to
which matter conforms
as it is before the collapse inward
the imminent, corrupting stasis, keep the broken system breathing

[ y3 ]

[might I] equate you with a dry forest that swells with noise to which there
is an urgency
painted with heat, tatters shaking
near tropic but lacking in that heavy darkness depth thickening
your utterings spread across such distance or I’m imagining language at all
memorize the climate etched into the sphinx face breathless traveller turned
away no well or stars or bells in the desert
Takemitsu’s harp, same brittle plucking of strings the stupidity of angels
a moss that creeps along vulnerable the sound it makes invisible across

[ y4 ]

to no longer know the spaces between a you an I
we share in such a terrible history of no and never
to be lost then, to disappear then, this then must be
we share in this midst
and still never

[ x3 ]

The rusted tin supplications of Scelsi
the slicing of calm, the crest of the pre-dawn cutting through time

[ y5 ]

what it is to be completely, this
and to understand the voice assumed

it might have been of a dream, in a yesterday

arising, the anger of presence

all sound as if a constant, fury. As if presence, witness to this, is wrong. The
seeking of a complete silence that refuses speech, of necessity in doing, that
undoes as it is measured.

can you be reduced to this, then,
to an anger of being, a rage against the void,
can I simplify you to this quotient
into such a perfect expression of will—
continue, to decide to be, how we meet with delusion, and can we talk
about god

cut, adrift, dissonant
voice disrupted in a phone line, all tomorrows come together drawn out,
forgot how possible it was to feel such absence of time,
concrete of November against bare feet
why didn’t you wear your coat, 0 on the stone slabs, take me
Belial on the bridge

July in the stasis of recovery a hand’s reach over taking the world in white
sheets and turned shoulder, Count of Monte Cristo on the bookshelf, an
exit sign alit with emergence, emergency room scans and remembering how
to breathe again, no prescription no promise won’t be better, what a waking

[ x4 ]

wrong bodies, mired in a room of [definite],
where a [solution / protection] was promised in a surrendering to the
intermediate, a reframing of thought and considering less emergency, less
memory, the wait and in-between, of explanation, conceive for the sake,

first words carry the burden of being
the necessity to speak regardless, that comes to, as the greatest truth. How
another may be defined by the irregular, when all the world has the
certainty of rhythm
against this order of the most complicated tongues
with the most distant of bodies, undecipherable, and the blessed no more.

[ x5 ]

Un—to preclude the having done, the done with, the maybe made definite. To have done.

Dissociation from the inherent, time to be separated from the essence /
enshrinement in / of [other].

[ x6 ]

confrontation by encounter, in accident, the act without context is the
object. Observer of the original totality, never separate from this instant, in
Variations, the task of time.

it is not enough to know
despicable thought.

[ x7 ]

“If I lift my face toward the sky, my skin would not be broken.”
The pupils caves of unuse
all had grown over, taut and white, a stretching drum over hidden globes.

Not a leaving, hardly an action
a singular [existence] swollen with sound
of reaching

“Where’s my skin?” the cry
“I couldn’t say.”

[ x8 ]

anxiety ripens against offerings of refuge
weigh on the absence
word is rediscovery.

Cover image by rachel a. k.

About the Author:

Lital Khaikin is an Ottawa-based writer and editor. She is a contributing editor and writer for continent., and has been published in Afterimage: The Journal of Arts and Cultural Criticism, REDEFINE Magazine, Herd Magazine, and Guerilla Magazine.