Water. Calories. Heat. Shelter. Control over the body. Exposure to bacteria. Occasional increase and decrease of heart rate. Sleep. Sun exposure. Awareness of material surroundings. Communication and cooperation with others. A short-term goal. Something visible to fear. Billions of gut flora. Attention. Recognition of patterns. Memory. The ability to ascertain a quantity of objects. Imagination. The walls of an ontology, however faint. Family. Ritual. Days that are different from other days. A soul. A place to visit. The realm of the sexual. Language to describe: things, actions, feelings. Clothing. Money. A little trinket. Vitamin B12 from the flesh or milk of another animal, or, failing that, from a pill that comes in a blue plastic bottle. Literacy. Identity. A public life and a private one. Boredom followed by novel experience. Recognition in another’s eyes. A long-term goal. A hobby: swimming, sculpture, online shopping. Acknowledgement of the fallible and the unchanging. Insurance. A sense of community. Several pieces of paper. At least one piece of glass. Guilt, however pointless. Habits. Vices. Turmeric for the inflammation. Recognition of very large patterns. Something invisible to fear. Surroundings that are not material. Confrontation of what has long been buried. A great mystery. Love, or, failing that, a place for it. Good luck.
An outside force has been subduing my works. I have only been enjoying things that are practically mannequins for their form. Like the one we see here. The audience’s literacy has so greatly increased that they can now enjoy art that only refers back to its shape. Here a little box. There exists a reverence for the familiar. The zombie does the classic zombie walk. The hero knows his archetype; he’s seen the film he’s in. That glance at the camera is all one needs to feel it, the smooth limits of the box. The hero thinks that he can leave. To that feeling I offer you this service. Practically servants to their form. Truth is I’ve been subdued for quite some time now, though I am only just understanding the degree of it. Every night for years I let it in, and now I shriek to get it off. I must tear out my ironic comfort. I must do it if it kills me. But who am I with it, who am I without it. It and I are practically family. Practically family to their form. “I wonder if”. “Reminds me of”. Enough with that. Nothing I could say now would be limited to me; that rustle in my trees really could be anyone’s. These anonymous white walls. This voice you’re reading. Those movements of your eyes, within this little box. Practically haunted by their form.
Thoughts like future bright technology, like Easter lambs in January, thoughts waiting to be born. The vibration could be felt for miles, but only if you knelt down on the ground. I cannot say if I hallucinated sound. Thoughts like one vast raincloud rolling in, with its countless bulging raindrops rolling round inside, thoughts that build in mass and awesome structure before ruining our plans. I have to let it happen. I have to go inside to play alone, to pin the tail on what I cannot see. For I don’t yet have the sense of sight; the real kind that lets me see through things. But if I run a hand across the tablecloth I sense them underneath; thoughts like cryptic braille, like breadcrumbs hidden by the dead. I’m going to bed, he says; by which he means, why don’t you come to bed. He turns off all the lights and I keep reading in the dark. I say let it happen. Thoughts like steaming hot espresso shots, like movements of my wisdom teeth, thoughts that keep me up when the others go to sleep.
— Roz Counelis is a poet living in Norwich, England. She is currently enrolled in the Poetry MA at the University of East Anglia.