Madelaine Caritas Longman: white infinity net

white infinity net

Snow touching snow. Petal and rhizome,
      asterisk, osteocyte. Splitcell and starry
      matrix of bone

            a sharp pain behind my left eye            insomnia prickles
      bright as ice cream      body out of bed
                                          to paint
Once I awoke I could not walk, talk,
                                          the single blanket
            read, write                   drips its pattern
      the river's white stones      like milk   across the floor
                                  I got on my cardio glider

I could not recall any details of my life      frost climbs the broken window
                                                           onto a hand
                        monochrome net
                                               American emptiness
                                 space extending      all directions
it gripped me. and it released me. and it gripped me.
                                                 O'Keefe's cow bones
                        a vertigo of                  open sky

and released me. no longer the choreographer of my life

         the crinkle of light on water decided              I might
                                                      become a farmer
      my consciousness shifted                  and paint on the side
                                          it was beautiful there
                        by the underlying surfaces

                                          my unrecognizable hands
to some esoteric space, witnessing myself
                                                fetal ball in an ambulance
          two planes crossing             "We do not treat illnesses like yours
                                                at Bellevue"
the dialogue inside                 white sound of water
                                             either the doctors
                                             would rescue my body
      texture of paint                       or this was a moment
               striking the tub                     of transition

                        canvas visible beneath

               the myelin            pollen and fractal

      mycelium threading outward         to materialize rapture

                                     tens of thousands of arcs
                               crawling off the canvas
the atoms and molecules of my arm blended          onto the table
      with the atoms and molecules of the wall     onto the floor
                                            and my body
                                      gathered around
could no longer define the boundaries
                        invisible points of gravity
      microscopic lights              accumulating mass
            hundreds of millions            of white pebbles
'What makes it even more terrifying—'
      'Remarkable. Not terrifying — remarkable.'
            each individually verifiable   really "existed" there

                               the stones' white spirits
the brain stem potential
                                    the riverbed
      for death                     where she hid
            nets of light           from her family
monochrome obsession                the grackles' human voices
      into consciousness
                  the ash of paintings fell
                  like the ash of flowers

      respect for the cells composing      repetition compulsion
a human form                        stage or trap
             tightrope, safety net

      blood clots               flowering water
in the fibres of language
      between meaning and sound
            forty-five hours        dissolving

            English                 into white

thirty-seven years                  into white

      painting from pre-dawn        I had to relearn the words
            into deep night         for peanut butter, for tuna fish
                        to describe what was happening
                                    inside my body

                                 enveloped

            the single particle of light

I didn't know if there was anybody I was supposed to be mad at
      before it was all gone

                  that was my life

'Are there mysteries of the brain that are better left unsolved?'
'No.'                 

 

Madelaine Caritas Longman‘s writing has appeared or is scheduled to appear in magazines including Matrix, CV2, Room, and filling Station. She lives in Montreal.

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