This speaking map
outlines the axel,
a place from where to speak
while the curious descends the twisted ledge
I am curious; you markedly less
Invisible sermon, when will our ears hear
the uncertain foot of books?
Who dares to stand up-ended?
The body weight in the book
The body weight into the carved arms
My face that you don’t touch
We could do a number of things with this rope
To be buoyed by words
By the words we don’t speak
What does it mean to hold a piece of the same thing with two separate hands?
The page you mark
The page I mark
We read from the same book yet your words are different
The texture sanded down to a smooth, non-threatening surface
There is no reason to leave what lacks threat
I’m sorry for all the questions
My arms just want to hold on to something
and you are always somewhere else
In the future we will learn whether or not we float
We will learn which story will prevail
I feel the difficult mountain,
the rubble of discarded words that we’ve used to evaluate ourselves,
to get closer to the books that grow out from within
Even without encouragement these words accumulate
I thought they were meant to be shared
There is only room for one of us up here
That is how it feels
Jackie Clark, The Pulpit
American, b. 1981, playing from Jersey City, NJ, USA
Jackie Clark is the author of Aphoria (Brooklyn Arts Press) and the chapbooks Red Fortress, Office Work, and I Live Here Now. A new chapbook, Sympathetic Nervous System is forthcoming from Bloof Books. She is the series editor of Poets off Poetry and Song of the Week for Coldfront Magazine. You can find her online at nohelpforthat.com.
Thoughts on the Telephone process
Overall, I think this project is interesting because it gets one out of their normal process and encourages connection with a bigger entity. Though there is always a connection to a bigger entity when creating art of any kind, this project made that connection more overt, which I valued.