Attendance is documentary poetry by Rocío Carlos and Rachel McLeod Kaminer, who are collaborating on a book length manuscript for the duration of one year.
As we stand in relation to plants and animals—and one another—we are not exempt, but alive as creatures in and of the world. Taking attendance, and attending, alters* our writing, bodies; places—city, land, wilderness; times—past, present, future…
*fucks up / fucks with / plant sex
In like a lion; the cold lingers. It was just leap day, it was just the superbowl, it is still lent. The garden knows of lent, the flowers tease from green buds, the jasmine explodes. You weep at poetry in a science classroom. The children politely photograph each other.
March 6– the yucatecos line the streets. AKA laurel de indias AKA Ficus Microcarpa– little fingers?
Little bone little body bleats and clucks
We ate all the shells of the sea.
We flew to the other coast: the humid heat inhales us, as if the world took us into its mouth. This is how we die. The palms, the palms. A black bird with orange crinolines. A song I’ve never heard before.
Peace lily AKA Spathiphyllum. A flat version of the Alcatraz. The flower not the prison. Imagine the prison had been called “Peace Lily”. Imagine, Imagine. Spathe = leave. Persistent leaf. A Spadix an obelisk, a tower of sex. Eater of filth. Cleanses the air of benzene and formaldehyde.
Rhapis excelsa Lady Palm, Sentry Palm. Rhapis = needle. Petiole. Saw-tooth.
Inflorescence, a cluster of flowers at the top of the plant. Leaves are glossy and ribbed. The fruit and the flower fleshy. Also, what CAN’T rhizomes accomplish. Sheathed and exposed stems.
Snake Plant AKA Lengua de Suegra AKA Sansevieria trifasciata AKA the sword of Saint George. A tiger’s tail. Tale. Old wives actually know a lot motherfuckers.
The ruins of Tulum. Your realize how old your mother and father are. How limited their movement. They are good sports, they don’t want to spoil the girls’ holiday. You stop under the shade and then there is no shade. You head toward the sea. The largest structure, your mother knows. She smiles and drags her index finger across her throat. Altars.
Nearby, Cenotes. The underground bodies of water. Limestone bedrock.
The shore is roped off because it’s a turtle nursery at the moment. You picture the wide-eyed crias. And then the diving gulls.
Tia Amor died last year.
Dizzy was hit by a car when we were in Oregon. Fuck.
I intend to borrow the trimmer. Instead, I am letting everything get worse.
March 20 The equinox. Almost out of the woods. Tomorrow the day Maura died. You sat in her room eating flowers. You sat next her petting her forehead while she moaned and whimpered. She said “Quiero entrar, Quiero entrar.” You are crying now, saying this.
March 22 the day Donaciano died. Sitting up, his chest clenched and he knew. He said, “Señor, recíbeme en tu ceno.”
Good Friday. Malle’s father died today. Alex found him in his chair. Blood under his nose. Malle whose real name you didn’t know was Lisette until you were 12. Malle because Nono couldn’t say madre /madrecita, which is what Elisa called her. Madre: A ti clamamos los desterrados hijos de Eva. A ti suspiramos gimiendo y llorando en este valle de lágrimas, Oh clemente, oh piadosa, oh dulce.
Other people’s fathers die. You stand in the doorway and beg: not this house, not this house.
At the wake, the swimming pool where you almost drowned when you were seven is full of brown leaves.
Out like a lion.
March 5 Dawn, on the roof, very little sleep and less desire to do so. The birds in the bamboo get louder and it’s harder to separate their calls.
The preknowing is the knowing. Or this kind of writing, making the notes for the work seem like the prework/pretext and the do not let your one/right hand know that the other/left is doing—Then making the notes the work only a while later. The premonition approaches the limit of knowing instantaneously*
*What’s the word for contemporaneously that refers to the moment/instant you’ve currently in? Knowing right away, knowing as soon as you know. I knew as soon as I knew
On the roof thinking of my book, how angry I realized it was later. (Also of earlier when I realized about the heartbreak/break up book and about the sadness/grief.) Now feeling more/beyond into a more opened up, ?hopeful? belief about—it’s possible to unknow—a kind of undoing is happening—there is a slide back from knowing or a towards uncertainty built with these knowings.
2nd Day of Spring Your brain is all over your body My brain is all over my body
Pigeon-paloma (that talk w/ Alice) flew at me—no through where I was—fanned out back feathers and wings, feather fan brushing me down my face, from the top/crown of my head (or the 2nd chakra the eye one) down across my face, the skin of my face.
Hello (Ana was there, it’s all I said, I stopped but didn’t startle, which is strange now I think of it, I always do even when I see/watch it coming) hello, messenger. What’s your message? What are you telling me?
Baptism, the sprinkling kind. Or the Jordan River holy ghost kind.
March 23 I didn’t know what I was looking at
I like being alone in the middle of the night reading
I liked being awake with you next to me sleeping, too
Crows hide their nest building is that me then
Crows show off their best building is that me then
Just look so shiny brilliant while they do it
Above La Tuna Canyon—up at its height—birds at play.
Another crow with a pinion missing gap, right wing, closer to the body. Why do I think of crows as men, male? Crow women.
Crows. Walk to the grocery store. Light candles.
Other than A’s body, and mine, there are the not crows. The birds. And my own, mine when in isolation.
playful crows and nesting crows
I read Humanimal* and it wipes me out, wipes out ideas of the book. Today ravens, and all along, all these corvids, raven, unless these crows are larger than life in California—it’s like—more ravens here, right? Than there? (*Bhanu Kapil)
Crows at all times, and or ravens, I still don’t learn the difference
except close up
mourning doves (3)
Mourning doves, one and two at a time, my favorite current metaphor epiphany emblem for / of my future, even in the slatted courtyard light, their call echoing literally, their days too.
How tongues lift as hands
the sword of Saint George the dragon he slays
a pen, mighty
instrument / animal
sharp like a pen, the body
how like tongues (de suegra)
speaking / wagging sharp telling
the kind of tale in which you
do not make it but I do:
old wives know a lot motherfuckers.
Here is a passionate dislike for riots
(meekly translated as a disturbance of the roots)
what can’t rhizomes accomplish
saw-toothed, and inflorescent (a cluster of flowers, pixelated)
the rhapis, a needle; sheathed and exposed stalks,
for indoor amusement and as eater of filth.
The sentry takes away the sins of the world
(have mercy on us / can you see my ribs yet)
always a lion
never a lamb