extracts from aboutness

on the order of relationality [culled from unborn embryos]: / in the beginning the mouth / I inside it

extracts from aboutness

on the order of relationality [culled from unborn embryos]:

in the beginning the mouth
I inside it
a thumb sucked on

for a decade I set
my bent on I’s erasure
dependence embarrassed me
every parasite in need of a host

all night we went pandal to pandal
returning to watch the sun rise
over the broken Kolkata suburb
there was an us to speak of
a sliver of liver

his we was obligated elsewhere
a teenage cut
no grand epiphany
a reveal bash on repeat

the audacity of speaking
a we I was
low to behold

I watch the coots mid-journey / as a colleague pings me / to draft an SOP around loss / my life is my procedure / not for all the Italians / consigned to the underworld with Dante / does redemption keep / I do not want my head turned / backwards in the next life // certain moments I indulge / the illusion of a “next” / if I win the cash I’ll splurge on the OED / I am turned / every which way in this lease // a friend who once had a visceral distaste for wasps / now plants alyssum to attract the former enemy / invites the small bundles / to address the little ant cow pests / attached to her cannabis plants / what is my ploy / do I summon paradise or the knowledge of a high // “every I is a fiction finally,” writes Walcott / breaking the line after “a” / how to represent this cut / in a preponderance of virgules / this free fall into a future / [choose your own adventure] // I would like my life to submit / to the tidy of iambic tercets / it stalls before the silk screen of language / if there were a procedure for living / I would adhere

“Could the repetition be recast?”
“It has already been established.”
“How long can you go on in this vein?
“Say again.”
“Repetition operates.”
“Always with the ‘not.’”
“Isn’t it tiring, the constant echoing?”
“Is there a number of iterations before you give up teeing?”
“Give up writing?”
“Do you think you’ll die before finishing?”
“Read for repetition.”
“Tweak accordingly.”
“Even a magpie doesn’t bring the same amethyst to the doorstep day after day.”
“More Virgil, less virgules.”
“The endnotes are more of the same.”
“Muse, muse, muse.”
“Could you follow one thread?”
“Is the persona the eye of the needle?”
“Clearly you’ve not read Bloom.”
“What moves without the swerve?”
“Let me ask again.”
“Does repetition have a colour?”
“Even the mountains repeat.”
“At least hang the face on an image.”
“Blue, say.”
“So many stops and starts are unbecoming.”
“This no reproof.”
“A trail, a trial, a trail, a trial.”
“You betray iteration in this manner.”

About the author

Eimear Laffan's aboutness will be published in the fall of 2023 by McGill-Queen's University Press. She was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Emerging Poetry Prize in 2022. Her poems have previously appeared in Ambit, Funicular, wildness, and elsewhere. She lives in Nelson, British Columbia.