a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
After Rosemarie Waldrop
Think of the power of a single word: Sea
Without the letters on a page, the first thought is about how we view, how we see. It is not a great body of water, or bodies of water holding the earth in its coming and going.
I sit at the cheek of the North Sea in an English town which has all but closed shop. It is late October, I came here to be reborn.
I drink cold Earl Gray and think of all the eastern seas. The Atlantic, the North Sea, The Mediterranean and how their constancy, their underwhelming whittle of sand and rock gives the impression it has less to say of the working over the small pebbles over thousands of years. A perpetual father, donning suit and tie day in and out, reserved and withholding, even at high tide.
At which country, which continent, did the eastern and western water push off from each other holding their own perspective? I bet it was Tasmania. No one knows what to do with Tasmania.
In celebration. In memory.
My celebrations these days are a scantly discernable exhale when I wake having slept more than 3 hours at a time. I don’t think my mind even knows why it turns the lights on in different rooms at different times.
If I want to remember things I must write them down, or watch a movie from my childhood.
Don’t forget to email the gas meter reading. You want to remember how it feels to be loved: Watch Hook. Let yourself cry.
I stay awake.
I stay awake to hold on. If I re-read the conversations and placed emphasis on the different elements, I could affect outcome. I could change the ending. I stay awake and forget that changing the ending doesn’t change ending. Holding doors open with shaking arms only lets in cold wind and sand.
The gift of my pouring everything into a single cup robbed everything else of my care. And now I stay awake to clean up the shattered glass, the snapped tree limbs, wash the dishes, fashion apologies to loved ones.
I remember I have vegetables in the crisper starting to furrow.
We need to live in three dimensions.
As if the decades of my life were carved into three discernable places, I string together this unremarkable trilogy, a child’s paper Christmas tree ring. The thread like the English wind – restless, persistent, gnaws the edges until frays appear. Like biting dry cuticles.
A decade later I erase and re-draw, rewrite curve. Interruption, diversion. Open hands. Being drawn over, reiterated and sheltered and whole could not possibly be enough.
I live now to find a way to stop searching and to stop filling the empty sore spaces with acid. Marvel at the holes that haven’t borne through and the ones that have. Each is a goddamn miracle.
Let us take our time.
Let us learn, as in a line at a dance class. Right foot front. Tap tap, back, left foot single tap, swing. Let the percussion of all the feet be your body’s way of remembering.
Let us take our time, like the wind turbines out in the distance of the Northern Sea, rotating and momenting. Let us knead, like the eastern seas, and constantly whittle and fragment from origin to dust to be new, over and over.
Joanna Preucel is an American-British writer, poet, and teacher. She has taught in international communities for over 10 years, and seeks, as many do, to cultivate and craft language to render experience and transform perspective. Joanna is the author of the chapbook Rune, co-author of the collaborative chapbook The Hour of Anjali and has most recently been published in The Penwood Review and The Stray Branch. Joanna currently lives and teaches in London.