SARAH HAYDEN | WRITER & ACADEMIC

This piece was written for the MA: Art and Process Graduate exhibition PUSH  

PUSH TO
 

[A] box pegged open. Canvas walls want [always] to be falling together: [they are] now held, instead, like this. Old epithelial [long, far, under] made bare [to] th’air. [A] dull sheen summoned near-immediately. Barest being/ o be held. It rims th’all of it. Minimizes risk [of] extreme encounter. Yellows an edge to-ward purple. <It is called feeling but is its real name thought?>.[i] On the rebound, it is understood to have erected a cordon. We find ourselves on one side of this; [our] throats stoppered, [& so] set to waving.

 

[A]cross the gap, another unit throws some sonar—when it can, and hopefully. [Its] every bounce is logged, [if] in terms immaterial. When laid out later, the records cannot be found wanting. What’s caught between banks will be kept still [[still]] until after th’initial reckoning. Conceived as thick, this zone is writ[h]ing, nearly. Each agent, intent, subject [t’] observation. Magnifying for handing round. You are [to be] asked to train them on what you can’t [yet] see. We will come round, again, [a]for[e] the end, but whatever looks to be coming through, <you mustn’t touch the hiding places./ they address a different world>.[ii]

 

As to what’s coming, we can admit only of the need for readiness. Thermometers will be shook, shook again. Someone will notice [th’] in/curious muffling. Someone else may burst in to announce <The horizon was never a blush before us>.[iii] And [in the event] you will commit this to tape, with all appropriate captioning. Much of what spills from here will leak through what you planned to be sifting. Keep conscious of the phase, even[t] as it is underpassing.

 

Abide.

 

In intermitting, all must remain helmeted. Under prevailing strictures, such measures can’t [be said to] be anything but anticipatable. The trussing, too. <Is there a place of turning off? But they say the calculator cannot find it>.[iv] Step carefully; there won’t be a where you can ever, fully, place. The upshot cannot [but] be condign (if only). Much as conditions will vacillate—[if] less capriciously than before—

you might be advised to maintain contact with the ground. <Be of good cheer>.[v] Stay on the line/ Polish no obstacle. 

 

To those in the round, these jumps [under wraps] are less likely familiar. [And yet] no-one expects contractual undertakings. Instead, what is drafted will be kept wet. The mixer’s centrifuge [kept at] whirling. Your hand hovers above the joystick, [your] pads prophesying futurity. Tiring though it [may well] be, we would ask that you resist the call toward any grasping. To date, our data. Its implication: that latency affords optimal effects. As to your first request, for a stay against total interactions: <It is not a feeling, but a circular movement to represent the transfer of visibility toward dream without abrogating the claims of body>.[vi]

 

At the point of the calling [up], few had any other answer. Every set separately contained, enclosed inside [the ambit of] a particular angle. You enter each of these, breath suspended, in [expectation of] _____. And fluently as you pass receptors o’er surfaces [raising no trouble] something [unstill] hovers. Hold steady the sphere. Keep both elements in view. Try it; try it stereoscopically. There are few enough hides and [we will submit] you are unlikely [finally] not to be found. These devices. What can you make out? What is it you were told would be happening? Was it always going to be today? Amid all these unlikelihoods, <The day is nervous buff—the shakiness, is it inside the day or me?>.[vii] [This] matte ball sticks, and its resistance, to[o], might tell us something. <You want to imagine futures. You want to create futures’ objects in your mind and hold them there, until your mind turns into the shapes of these objects>.[viii] Keep tracking. The closer you cleave, the more sanguine the prognosis.

 

[i] Denise Riley, ‘A Shortened Set’, in Selected Poems (Hastings: Reality Street, 2000), 41.

[ii] Anna Mendelssohn, ‘to any who want poems to give them answers’, in Implacable Art (Cambridge: Equipage, 2000), 34.

[iii] Maria Sledmere, ‘Melancholic’, in Nature Sounds Without Nature Sounds (Bristol: Sad Press, 2019), 11.

[iv] John Ashbery and Joe Brainard, The Vermont Notebook (LA: Black Sparrow, 1975), 47.

[v] Ashbery and Brainard, The Vermont Notebook, 101.

[vi]  Rosmarie Waldrop, ‘Lawn of Excluded Middle’, in Tender Omnibus: The First 25 Years of Tender Buttons Press (New York: Tender Buttons Press, 2016), 183.

[vii] Riley, ‘A Rayon’, in Selected Poems, 61.

[viii] Nisha Ramayya, ‘Futures Flowers’, in In Me The Juncture (Bristol: Sad Press, 2019), 26.

Sarah Hayden 2019

 © 2020 by Natasha Pike 

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