Attempts at Intimacy, Renderings

 

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irl (2016)

I am clicking through my email then remember the song that is stuck in my head. it has been stuck in my head since I first heard it and I do not mind this at all because for once, in this rare moment, I am at ease with the disquiet. I am between all things on all matter of devices. I am opening new internet windows to look up minutia. are there actually 10,000 lakes in minnesota? when did sappho die? what does the gemini constellation look like? the stylized images of the twins as men or children imposed over points of light, their bodies floating above canis minor are they looking at or away from one another? I take breaks, text people/friends: yes, but no; Ill see you next week; I do not like seafood. I am wondering if this back and forth and blue screen time is good for me/any of us. this is how I am accustomed to communicate, this oscillation. I let the pieces converge how they may. I continue to text while watching cartoons and remember a thing that a friend of a friend said when we went to the river when we didn’t have jobs; I type “i miss you” on my smart phone too large for my hands and it becomes “i./mKiSSYou.” I wonder when the last time was we got coffee or went for a walk. someone emails me critique on an essay I am revising: fewer comma splices, stop writing run-on sentences, more concision. we have been giving and taking so much content, static feels natural. a girl I know I like sends me a text containing a WAV file with the most beautiful harmony and I consider how we do not talk on the phone as much as I would like and how talking on the phone is the strangest act.

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txt(s)

I check my phone first thing this morning, prop myself up with pillows and open my text application to read the only notifications I have come to care for. I text someone to confirm logistics for a day trip/hike on the beach. I text my friend a slew of emoji because we find texting comical and there is some absurd poetry in the images. we conjure swaying desert grasses and cacti under a starry sky with a crescent moon: all are sleeping until a thunderstorm strikes. I am impressed by the malleability of these tiny images. a different friend recently got an iPhone and has an obsession with emoji which I find incredibly endearing. she remarks, “i love the realistic/cartoon versions of each animal” and proceeds to provide examples. the division between what she calls real and what she calls a mere rendering feels strange to me. we have come to discuss rendering as reality: the cat scratching at my door in the morning is reduced to the realm of the two-dimensional.

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my friend and I drive one hundred and eleven miles from Portland to Astoria to Cape Disappointment State Park and somewhere on the way I turn off my phone. on the beach there must be hundreds of tiny washed up jellyfish. far from the water I pick one up and it’s like a tissue paper disc or a large, ovular contact lens inscribed with coaxial circles. my friend reminds me that the word concentrate is a derivative of the word concentric. I focus on how the closer we get to the ocean, the bluer the bands, the bluer the discs. fresh out of water they are dark and slick, misshapen sapphires encrusting the sand. held in my palm, feel the skin, examine the mesoglea, know it is made mostly of water. remember the time with my father finding two newly dead jellyfish on the Georgia shore, I was afraid to touch their moonstone skins. my friend runs back at a wave, his body in motion against static grey sand, against water. later in the car he will tell me he admires our lack of picture taking, as if I would even try that kind of capture. at home I will remove my bluish contact lenses then smell the faint distillation of dried salt water on sand on my clothes.

 

Miriam W. Karraker Biography

May-June 2016 Issue, BOAAT