The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Tome On The Range

Poetry: 'Getting Over It w/ Conscientious Jane' By Gil Lawson
Karl Smith , July 27th, 2014 07:39

New writing goes back to its roots this week with new poetry from Gil Lawson

Getting Over It w/ Conscientious Jane

i’m standing on a hill of dust
             underneath the Manhattan Bridge
at around three in the morning
             on july 19, 2014. before me there’s
a decline as the hill concaves down
             to an empty pavement lot which stretches
for maybe thirty meters, then an empty
             gate which hangs loose
for me. through the gate extends
             a pale narrow arm holding
a chintzy disposable
             camera. through all that empty
space the shutter snaps. behind the human
             there is a series of cement objects,
a short span of water,
             some other boroughs. the shutter snaps again,
temporalizing what could have passed
             for a static description, colors and edges
             outward from the hill of dust,
its shruggy grey impure with halogen.
             i step geometrically outward,
descend - similar - down,
             and am analogized by the
pattern of erosion, my feet
             in dust up to my ankles.
then compression and humidity
             angle me down. at the bottom i step out
of the hill—the dust has fully excoriated
             my feet, tendon, sinew and gore.
i pad bloodly back across the lot.
             in two hours when i remove my jeans
dust and other things explode out of
             my cuffs across the floor, i clean it
drunkenly. dust is mostly—anyway,
             earlier the peanut gallery
             assembled photographs,
             fore and aft
             while we intimated
             near the water—
             my synaptic
             cleft (implausibility):
             i peace-signed, pouted,
             the human swore
             then evacuated
             asking how that
             could be chill.
the next day the time
             behaves the same, a
privileged height disparity,
             long empty zone
i crossed to get here,
             the suggestion
of an arm—a dozen
             things i have to cross.
i cross them all
but i cross them.

a few days later i vibrate thickly to life
             beneath flannel sheets
just off franklin. im so casual and sweaty
             but enough about that—
for the past four months there have been
             three flowerboxes outside my windows,
i look at them each morning. one is fine;
             one has a pumpkin, rotting, since I moved in
in april i don’t dare move, it predates me;
             the last, eked into the small space
behind the a.c. is full of dead things
             that lived before the a.c.
the steady emission of air destroyed
             their shitty little bodies, whatever
airborne weeds got collected
             that far up. for seven months
i’ve been sleeping alone. for three weeks
             i haven’t smoked a wink. for
about that time i’ve been undergoing
             a firm rearrangement of
the affective response i feel
             in light of given names on
facebook, gchat, my inbox, wherein
             digital options of desire re:
breaking invis, like a shell—
             first with the shape of my initial foray;
then hemorrhaging the fluid, both
             in the sense of my ruined privacy
my unmanageable confessionalism, where any detail
             runs out openly, im always hoping
the fact brigade i breed
             creates a sense of psychic debt which gets repaid
either by the cc’s own personal facts (we can
             just call it leverage)
or by the information i need to know about
             transactions in which im uninvolved
out in the world—are toggling around
             configurations . . . the impulsivity doesn’t change.
rather, for those cases in which there’s some movement
             the initial response turns out to be inaccurate
so every time i want to break the shell, or strongly no,
             i have to match that to the scorecard.
the A is usually just chill.
             i mean im told the big deathbed regret
is impassivity but tbh so far its mostly fine.
             i rise, observe the flowerboxes,
shower, think about you,
             sit and think about you,
forget to eat, grow thinner over time.
             for seven months i’ve been
sleeping alone.
             this absence, an airlessness
of scheduling around my cavities
             is so, so firm and jellied,
it makes me dressed forever
             so far as anyone’s concerned.
that clear barrier of dressing-time
seeing and not being seen—
             is, like Jupiter, enormous. i sleep
alone because i’m sleeping alone,
             it takes a dreadnought
to puncture that space and let all my effluvium
             of kindness, generosity, ideas of ‘owing’
and ‘abuse’ to run
             into the middle distance. it makes a
1970’s small monster object
             there, which rotates its head very slowly
its wax head
             its bad rubber head, you can hear the engine
whining, someone yelling cut.
             imaging men developing
marketable fright.
             the space outside the egg both of which
are the shape of sleeping alone rotates its head
             to face me like that.
             after the space in time
             that ain’t breakfast
             nick wakes a few
             subway stops down
             crawling out from
             under his blanket
             of house centipedes
             demanding food
             gluttonous nick
             crazy gluttonous nick
             we used to eat sushi
             and now you’re two
             kind bars. crazy nick
             i’m going to say “i booby-
             trapped your bed so
             when you lie down it
             will kill you” and you’ll
             know exactly what i mean.
             oh yes.
             you’ll know exactly
             exactly what
             i mean.
             my friend nick.
but i won’t have time:
             the day sprang
and died in the palm of the morning.
             now i’m curled in ikea,
feverish, fretting, only
             moving farther
from putting
together. tylenol pm puts
             me, vibrating, down
to sleep alone
             again another month
a year a personality a person
             can learn to live like this
can stop living like almost anything
             can stop learning like everything
can stop
             or i assume as much.

Gil Lawson is from Santa Fe, NM. His work has been published by (or is forthcoming from) n+1, Triple Canopy, Metazen, Hypocrite Reader, and others. He works as a travel editor at TripExpert.