Our Mistress of Lit Crescendos the Restless Incumbent In Human Opening Explodes Rococo Glow Into Undazzled Dark While Gem-Flushed Mineral Statuettes Shout Abra Freaking Cadabra

Amaranth Borsuk and Kate Durbin


We speak the body electric, a self unfolding in crenellated petals of glass.

At its heart: a wire, a spark, A-B-R-A, the peaks and valleys where a letter closes, fills with air, opens to release breath. A-B-R-A. A-B-R-A. A-B-R-A.

Abracadabra, the body rises, as the magician's utterance makes clear: language performs and gives form. It brings us into being.

After the author is gone and the page is gone, what is left but for the poet to split herself in two, to take shape as a split self with a forked tongue and speak in tongues.

But further still, to then displace her self and let the reader give the text its next shape.

We are born with the word heaving on our lips, and we die heaving as well, our hair a mass of flame floss. In between, there is sounding and calling, tinkling and teeming, throbbing and wooing, tousling and spurting, crystallizing and soughing, grooming and mounting, whirling and stirring, embarking and frothing, stretching and winking, encroaching and waning, blooming and expanding, wreathing and humming, skiving and ravishing, swooning and gasping, lisping and sweetalking, nipping and afro-toing, concerning and a-crewing, flattering and mouthing and creeping and heaving.

Two poets, rapt throats rising. In separate houses yet hive-minded, they pen invokationtranslations of works of visual art depicting excess where hair and ears stand in metonymically for the act of hearing. The poems, they think, will be suffused with sound and self in surfeit. Will be thick (digable lyrics so fat you might gain pounds): from Vanessa Beecroft's fruitful and color-coded last supper, to Amy Cutler's cake-cache landscapes. The interwoven poems begin and end with a gerund: actions continue and radiate outward, an Ouroboros text that swallows its own tale. From line to line, the infinitive surfaces, an echoic reminder that being is happening before our eyes, the poem constituting itself gradually, an autopoietic system. But the lines are initially disparately woven--they must be more closely intertwined, a museum of superfluous tresses trimmed. Then the poems heave, breathe out again. They grow skin, they callus, new words appearing between the old, new wounds appealing beneath the gold. Abra, two-headed monster, mutant. Part prophet, part carny, Abra shapeshifts with every word, speaking a kind of l=a=n=g=p=o=p agitprop for a futurepast in which we are posthumanimal hybrids with antlers and wings, frosting faces and clockwork innards.

Curious progeny, Abra's foice and vace are shaped by many forces. She embodies collaboration, goes along and gets along and is not a third, but a fourth mind, arba, emergent from the merger of these sounds, these selves. Abra exceeds known boundaries, recreates the map of the body in different conjoined avatars, limning and brimming with DNA from Eve and Puck, Arachne and Dorothy, Dolly an Durga, Moses and Sleeping Beauty, centaurs, and sirens, and witches, and little pigs! Disfigured, it figures Abra sees the grotesque as Abra's species of beauty. Abra the washed up Marie Antoinette Piratemermaid Chola, Abra Maypole Frostingbaby, Abra Astarte Muerte is Born, Abra Nutcracker Fellinymph, Abra Benjabot Automaton. Everything passes through Abra like words on a screen relentlessly expanding. A tumor trellis of chance's cascade over which a multiplicity of influences and authors preside, wreathing nurses building a fecund bouquet over human hollows: a knotty network across whose synapses Abra ushers affinities, an enactment and celebration of creation, of art, of life, of death.

Abra has long been with us, at our various births and deaths, present and timeless. Abra's first tattoo was cuneiform, and Abra's body is an illuminated manuscript where word and image cross-pollinate and merge. Tablet to tablet, dust to rust, Abra pushes us out of ourselves. We evolve, more heads than a hydra: three, four, fifty, five hundred, yours is here. And cradled in your hands, the book's rainbowordy dainties dribble, the paper tongue of language licking your fingertips, a living text that infuses its readers with light through a pale kaleidoscope, a neverending opal story: yours, ours, Abra.



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