R-Spin                                                                          —Carrie O. Adams

The helplessness is its own kind of dusk There is a slow shadow descent to send And the sounds of the night are full and empty with nightmares of feral dogs and cemeteries He smells like kerosene in my mind The sound of letting go Smell the carousel The kerosene The careening of arms and legs in the back of the car Circled and encircling I think I am drowning

I think I am drowning when they come at me with the headphones And it sounds like I am drowning Everyone’s lips are moving Covered I listen to the world that speaks hushed Like listen letting go We are out running a thunderstorm Tell me What do you hear And with what ear do you hear it

This that and other things / such (about the actions of the listener or about ideas expressed or understood by the listener) / like that / that sort of / in that manner in the interior

Give the following commands: Pretend to blow out a candle Pretend to hammer a nail Comb your hair



The doctrine of consent and the doctrine of the common good This self This body that wants to choose I want to replace my voice I want to open my mouth and be surprised when language comes out I went I want you to know that no matter how incomplete the sentence may feel May sound I have spent my whole by trying to speak it I am afraid

He told me that doctors have determined that the voice in our mind is not ours In our mind the voice is not the thing that tells the body how to act The body has already made its own decision That sound interprets It interrupts Not cause but reaction We are always naming ourselves What do I trust now I want to tell you Here is the bone Here is the cliff The cliff is not a bone

The woman considered the NOTCH

Sue was interested in the BRUISE

How long can you hold your BREATH?

Bob was cut by the jacknife’s BLADE

The girl should consider the FLAME



He smelled like kerosene His skin tasted like the fire Show me your bruise They are scared of the dark and want to be visible They covered my ears and asked me to listen I didn't want to be bound They are scared of the dark and want to be visible They covered my ears and asked me to listen Why are they asking so many questions My tongue is dry and Why are they asking so many questions My tongue is bitter

Fluorescence Ask me a question It’s the taste of flat orange soda Peroxide Hypostatize We build a hunker hunger To pursue with intent of capture I chase that word I chase Tell me It’s a hang up Tell me this hung up attempt The friction of a hurdy-gurdy against the hush

He might consider We can’t consider She is considering

Tell me everything you see going on in this picture
Tell me what happened to bring you here



Miss Black would consider the WRIST
Ruth hopes he heard about the HIPS
Tom won’t consider the SILK
Paul hopes she called about the TANKS
They had a problem with the CLIFF

I went to the garden and waited One small body to see I only know how to talk to myself And only I know how to talk to me I will give you the sentence to say And he'll say it back to me And then we will say it together He considers wait I beg for forever I say begs He hears thanks I am dictating this back to you

That time of night in the summer when the birds and cicadas coexist They speak and I cannot speak back Mid day and midnight might be one in the same I sent my tongue to a boy in a tree once You might as well keep it The tree I said You wouldn't like what I say after this anyway I sent my tongue Go with me beyond the bois Beyond the stumble of an empty utterance The stubble of my teeth caught tight



Leave me on a short rain Lead me on a short reign The dirt in our mouths makes our thoughts clean Makes our words un gasoline He told me I was buoyant I could be thrown in and rise to the top I wasn’t afraid of anything Was that a dream That looked like the ocean or a puddle in the forgotten neighbor’s yard You mistake falling down for death You mistake falling down for an early plea an aerie play

Say / Show me your
1. Shoulder
2. Cheek
3. Ear
4. Nose
5. Knee
6. Candle
7. Bear
8. Peanut
9. Shirt
10. Ant
11. Tulip

A body forgotten the word Show me your whisper Show me your kneel The amount of information lost I am happy to be sewn I am happy to be shown That I am sewn shut



Linoleum That almost burning smell Afraid of cups coming toward my ears When you muffle the world Your mouth moving without sound I can’t listen I am trying to hunt Caustically isometric The line in the mind between the isolate and the irrupt I know I know the word for face Yours Ask me the same

The holder of the savage memory has lost its selvage Semiconductor of a self-willed self-same eruption More this evergreen remission Mortal permission to let go of names Semi-undone Remade and re-educated As a forgetful one I am the sleep deprived toddler fumbling through space

Do you think you can be helped / This great need for inference / Is this an insect? / Does it keep you warm? / Does it have a window? / Make a fist / Point to the ceiling then to the floor / Put it back

I am going to read you a short story and then I will ask you some questions about it Are you ready?



I catch this goddamn telegram like a bug in my ear Some sort of buzzing from a far off place I put my hands over my ears My ears I stick my fingers deeply into the canal and still And still the buzz buzzing like a fly trapped against the window glass He keeps sending letters to my silence address I address the fire There is the burn of sleep And sleep sleeps like a slow burn of forgetfulness He smells like kerosene in my sleep In my skin when I put my nose up close to my hand I don't have any matches I don't have a way to match the sound with the word with the answer with the idea with the forget with the arm with the eye that looks past the ear please take them off me I hear too much Who needs my voice when everything is already a forest fire



Repeat after me Your heavy wish I’d tell you that I cannot become I cannot But the death of an idea of a wish I am your misery company Ask me how The witness tree The surveying of our landscape of motion away From the burden of communication

We might be riding together I want to believe in this random act of motion Of the motion of our eyes averting Away from each other No one can look But we all listen We all hear the stick stuck grasp of wheels

Spread some butter on your BREAD
He tossed the man a ROPE
We’ve spoken about the SCARE
He is thinking about the ROAR
Miss Brown wants to talk about the HINT



What’s the point of all this glass if there aren't eyes for it If there aren’t ways to trap it To keep it locked in a wind-up box If there aren’t I want to keep for myself If I speak You take my words Every single one Every single one of them A tragic figure

It’s six o’clock He comes home They go between two others They are where they should be I sense kerosene It looks as if nobody is around What color is it?

Tell me What do you hear And with what ear do you hear it?

Carrie O. Adams

Carrie Olivia Adams lives in Chicago, where she works in publishing and serves as the poetry editor for Black Ocean. She is the author of Operating Theater (Noctuary Press 2015), Forty-One Jane Doe’s (book and companion DVD, Ahsahta 2013) and Intervening Absence (Ahsahta 2009) as well as the chapbooks “Grapple” (above/ground press 2017), “Overture in the Key of F” (above/ground press 2013), and “A Useless Window” (Black Ocean 2006).  

ISSN 2472-338X
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