Matthew Rotando inaugurates our new section, “Anti-Genre,” with writings that inhabit the undefined world between poetry and prose. The mixed media image featured here is from a series of Rotando’s blood drawings: he hikes, mountain bikes, bangs against rocks, and sometimes bleeds. When this happens, he pushes drops of blood around on a piece of sketch paper, lets it dry, and then does an ink drawing on top of the blood picture that formed. Finally, he photographs the drawing and renders in different ways using a photo effects program.
Here is my blank. It smells of wide white. I have been many. Live, alone, etc. I allow for the opening and it keeps not. Space on the page and rent of time on earth. Then should we be two or very many? Every something in the grey of this. Weight of the whole void. These innocent catastrophes. Surviving this will take my death. Sun shows up with some new flower I eat or turn into. Bright red happens and a party rushes in, just to light it up and laugh its name. Each other to hold. And in tremolo sunset, I open. Reveal tiny turtle shell or quiet black marble eye.
View From Above
Standing slowly, and amid all imaginings, tall creatures emerge from wet mist. They have faces like our own, only darker, filled with more time. They rise collected and protruding through dusty shade like knives of light. There may be someone to talk to as the din wanes, as fires rise into the night, while we watch from several mountaintops at once, draped in robes of hot fur. No two beings did what we did, nor did any act differently, in that time is always bending back around and laughing. A pose with wide eyes and a faded smile: full of breath and balanced on the point of loss. Why not? We shadow ourselves and visit the wise, equating their words with so much bluster…as if the wind actually cares when we hear it singing through the green branches of spring.
A Dissipating Mist
I suppose there is at least one way to kill a song. It involves making the cat the practical matter in the downed tree. The trunk goes away with the mess and I tear something off, like the fragment of a wish. Then a colloid of ghosts holds the handle and I clean the bottom of the world. It means and rankles. It has to be this way, but something isn’t right: the way the building storm takes to the fields and dances. The stranger thing is when I have my way with a song, it becomes something I think on, but it emerges from waking life as skinned and shuddering. Another tilted house. Not dead at all, but certainly beyond life.
This Might Be Earth
This might be earth. I am riddled with questions and some third thing. There are species of color and all along the way you look at me. A high mocking majestic sea mothers me without the kindred low hum in the elephantine night. You could always be caught wallowing in the telescope. That truth I always fell into, cool with a look of green, always merging. Diabolical and shorn, I stood in my spindle. Then the bragging wore off and characters emerged, collecting drums at the edge, jewelry for the head, festive with cracked glass, et cetera. But even without hands these pages here are moving. And a small mouth comes lipping violets, gardenias in the dogwood park of nasturtiums, so whatnot it has to have a thrum to verb its end. Rather glorious without the burning parts. Just a ho hum of a sketch here, just a trinket in fingers. It wasn’t just me, holding rocket food the eleventh switching timber. That is the show we gathered to see, bright fiend of the medium and then shucking the medium to be alone in air. And air rang so sweet with murmurs of silent arms, quickly mustering more excellent air. Queasy and musty is how we are going to play this eclectic gearbox. A trick with the hand finding the mouth and dark finding us both ready to emerge from the business end of the universe. Like, where is this atom just beginning? And could we go so very much smaller? A crinkle isn’t even the threshold anymore, as it’s all a funk of goo and grasping. These are stories for both of us. Me and all. It has been long since we sat down to build these learning things. That finger of wire, that hand in the murk. Behind low growls we ache to swing. Black mask with rivet-holes where eyes once went. That smash yes and the busted car we crowed off the cliff: they are tall for you when you get to where you stand. Charlie was the name of this bum galaxy. I tracked past freezing everything. Like a kiss in the wind, it’s cold now. But going numb is part of the goodness of it, as your face flies homeward, up to bric-a-brac stars.
I’ll Memory You
The grey granite of big intentions has me in a worldly crunch. Wobbling in time before time, we saw each other and ran towards life. What innocence is this?: I see inside my own head and watch microscopic sharks thrusting everywhere. What rain and what kaleidoscope? Put your hand in mine and we can sleep until the end of sleep. And small fingers come through autumn. A little garden ripple and then quiet. No one moving, and no one going to move. The them that we call us wavers and embraces—lost needles finding their way to beats. And crumpled creatures, breathing tiny yawns of singed relief. No one gazed the way we gazed that way, that day. All was a subcutaneous tide of sighs. Water in me and me missing my cave. It’s too long a way to because. Because you found a way to think the emblems out of dust. I was wrong and right, the way a ship eventually goes down. Someone knows they should sing a song, and everyone pretends to listen.
Illustration © Matthew Rotando