Gravitational & Adamah
‘ocean as audience — a durational piece’
at the ocean, i have learned to arrive hungry. i need (inside me) the body of predator or of prey. a meal in front or behind but not within. within only space. only noise. wet silence. empty/embrace/continental. in the ocean i am (we are) prone to the humanity no longer inside our skins, voided as we grew sturdy on land legs. legs crested in calves and ankles stomping/ambitious/yearning to make sweet use of this territory called ‘ground.’
i wish to be un-ground-ed. i wish to be out-of-bounds.
‘on the ground’ is a phrase we use to signify realness/practicality/utility. something on the ground is birthed in(side) with the mind and borne out(side) with the body. ‘ground’ is the planet where we place this utility. we walk/fight/grow on the ground. toss our seeds on the ground. pull our food from the ground. try to save this ground. (it is/we are unsavable.) try to conquer/toxify it. bury our trashes and ambitions in it.
we place our dead in the ground, and then plant (eat) on top of them.
when planetary we are human, and we are useful.
in oceans, we are the future — off-kilter but glorious. the sea will never be split, never become unwhole and unholy. will stare opaque at the shore and endure. will eternal. will patience. will hunger but never hungry. though we do not call it ‘sea’ here. too bad. the metaphor is useful. so let us search for a watery dialect. let us save something of beauty.
utility cannot be all there is. (right?)
i am frightened by its deathless body — mine capable and tiny. i visit the ocean as an astronaut (broken/coastal) for it is not my planet. how to hold my self and where to place my hands in all this vastness? think too far into the water and i lose coordinates — i cannot yet speak of space. yet there is the yearning (you know it, too) towards which i throw myself suspended. to empty my insides out. to fill the darkness with darkness.
but i make my noise in ignorance of both depths and widths.
the ocean blooms toxic, now that we made it so. (good for us.) seasickness condensed into bodies, and extruded into selves, of which i am and you are. i have found it nearly impossible to write into the hunger of this nauseated mind. my own million eyes stare back into its gaze and i am unable to constellate. without script. cueless/clueless. my monstrous vibrancy washed into dark, and countenances wiped blank.
it is a gravitational moment, that. it is a ruffling of structures in the brain-back. a deep descent into it, under the waves of it — the crater hug, blue oceanic.
and still, after all the tales and all the angles, why would we write about the ocean? i would not recommend it. i’d ask my body to leave its tools on the ground and walk empty into the water. silent. present. engaged in the oldest of performances — the doubling of history and its replication. pulled towards each other like dwarfed stars in the water of space.
you want to draw the story of that boy. but the story will slip from your mind if you let it. as if there are folds in the story. ruptures/crumples/crumbled. so start opposite the mind. start low in the dirt at the feet. i remember you touching his blackened toe pads. soil? fire? use charcoal depth for these.
climb up three furrows through the heel. shift into a mother gear and harrow the hill of his ankle. the clutch unpins. avoid white sinews and toss it up the calf. southern curve of muscle. magnificent iron. shaved skin. the back of the knee is rust/rabid. is newly fenestrate. is cracked glass still intact. (eventually shatters.) but it is not you who shatter for you have misplaced hammers and all blunt objects.
(instead) you are vapor. are moving barely into the thigh. are walking past a mule team tilling ochre. frayed linkage, weathered vanes. (this is how we grow now.) look up! as g-d stumbles into the groin. all gait. sketch her safe in her sulk. her radiant buzz. is she carrying? bees’ hive/close nest. lace and waxwings rupture out onto the granite belly and we feel a glacial craving. it is your hands’ craving. now sketch touching. but how do you draw un-touched? make it feel like your mind. make it my sin — i want a red slick on the ranges of his chest.
its plowed furrows are fallow. are weeds and entrails. missing carcasses. add a pastor an abattoir and his ribs show breath show phosphorus show the final hubble radius. point the lens at a field and bend the radiation to his collarbones. next: google your birth chart. talk astrological implications with snark and lip but constellate his birth chart too. lust fell from stars, they say, so contour your shared neptune into his neck — a brash and addictive journey. (but please, stay with me.)
this last part is the hardest. this last part is not important. his face — is not his story — is yours — is not for the paper — is maybe sacred — is only brown blood. is un-focused/un-formed. you remember his eyes as two pressed palms. you think this is childish. you stop thinking. you started this drawing with one image of corn silks across his cheeks but end up finding silicate crystals there instead.
by now, we are bored reading horoscopes across his scalp and decide to scrap it all and build a clay manikin into his brain. it grows and collapses infinitely in the months that you spend trying to give him a closed face. and you cold sinter. and you reglaze. and you smear it with your blood/your clay. and at the moment you decide to stop drawing altogether its dimensions have smothered the paper, the shards of light and darkness leaking char.
About the Author: Greg Veitch is a radical farmer and writer from the coast of New England. Most days he's outside—a notebook in his back pocket with dirt pressed in the pages. He is currently farming organic vegetables on a mountain in Alaska, where he's principally occupied with growing as many things as possible before the snow comes roaring back.