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in a prayer

by mourning dove

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    handmade home-dubbed double cassette (C-67 & C-57)
    red & silver blue glitter shells
    each tape features unique inner artwork from the unknown sound collective gallery
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aglow 03:29 video
5.
to carry 07:55 video
it is my preference like the river wearing at the shore it is incongruous to me, to be made of matter i forget what sound is language was granted but only once i look and look and look touch i cannot abide smell is the fairest memory pull i have little to say for or about myself i am here and not here, what more? i am still thinking of another today my thoughts are not my own, i am glad to be possessed in a desire that has no end for the end has already come some cruel winter ago like that frost along the window frame a landscape inscrutable today my friend tells me i am immortal i could indeed live forever in this grief of mine it is habitable and like the snow-laden corners of the corn-fields given over stretches through a whole mind of direction to "make do" in each or every encounter red berry, naked branches, winter root every iteration of that winter light in her pale hour in that impossibility, here i am anywhere the earth is, trodden or untrodden a love to carry one anywhere, north along the road sanctified in a few gestures to the forgotten mountains back into the self unspoken
6.
It made sense in our world, there was no enemy this time, but we did not know there had never been any. Some of us would go on, elsewhere, but if only it was not after being gutted in this failed system, and placed between mask and mask and ventilator. I have never believed in apocalypse, and this was not it. The urban spaces emptied, Grand Central could echo without a sound. The rot of so long the rich and all those other plagues that were really reducible to slow change in policy blocked by the many interests improperly played off one another, such that capital and so forth was unchecked, the poor, poorer, you know the jist. We were primed for it but it was not inevitable. It did not come like a storm. To me it was some simple song as I walked with a new friend through these Brooklyn barren streets. But here I was with my love in an apartment neither of us paid rent for, in these times where it was easy to steal and squat. We lived in luxury, working on our computers for nonprofits, each gazing out at the neighborhood street, calling out to the abyss that was New York, the most human place now desolate. And I was glad of it, to trace the begin and end, but to know these times would call for the death of so many of the most vulnerable was of great guilt and sorrow to me, such that I passed through each crowd on the subway- though it had now slowed to just a trickle- without touching, staying feet apart from the next. I was most afraid that I was an asymptomatic carrier, in my youthful invulnerability, I might spread it to someone else. It was the only word on the street, and the virus itself would mean little except to those who fell, but for the rest of us, it would dismantle and rearrange the conditions of our society, for better or worse, to reconsider how exactly we had marginalized the other, and in the wake of this slow and mild catastrophe, a first warning when the climate and other things bespoke of all the great troubles to come, we could mobilize the many strengths of this now-suffering but always known to survive metropolis to shift paradigms of work hours and supply chains and wealth disparities and the rickety subway trains and discrimination and even our movements across land, after this unutterable pause, this lapse of the world, this momentarily unending gasp for air, as collectively, this city gone dark- as seen from that East River dock, the trembling gold lights that remained rocked slowly by the waves, made touch with the beyond.
7.
Staring out over the winter trees as in strokes the sky was painted into each color lighter, then darker, from white to blue, to the palest yellow and pink- each color less like a color, more like a sound, holding the phone like something I had taken, from the earth or my body, I wanted to tell you it was done. Instead, I told you I'd disappear. No more bringing you what I imagined were great novelties or even gifts, ____ that were meant and thought about, even a meeting with someone dear to me for you to be welcomed into my strange and limited and still very quiet and vast world- I imagined you and him sorting through my likeness, affixing different sentiments, both realizing the ways that you aligned, as chosen by me. As you chose me- I could not imagine this choosing- like when I looked into your eyes deeply but found myself surprised by my reflection in them. Even in manner, you were still mute, I felt. You would drive me here or there, to whichever mountain I fancied just as December began. You were all new to me in the way that words are still all new to me- I am constantly- taken aback- by how meanings are parsed this way- that that is a thing and that it means- what? We were in this silence over the phone, and I felt "lodged in my chest", I felt lodged in the trees that the migratory birds had just left- I thought hopelessly that you were susceptible to me. There was no matter- simply. We could go to Cracker Barrel and stuff candy up our sleeves and drive on this highway again, out to the small blinking town lights of West Virginia, out to this no place where the hills still stand like solemn heralds to the deep and unrelenting sky. You cried when _____, and I think about how the tear fell from eye to cheek, and thought it strange that here was something of you, that had lost its animacy, and simply fell downward, beholden to gravity. I thought of that wetness which adorned the side of your face like an involuntary symbol neither wanted nor unwanted. _______anyway- what else was there?- and you held onto me as though I was pulling you out of some body, body of water- until we crossed over just as we had walked across the bridge together from my aunt's house to the isle of my childhood, a rocky outcrop in the James'. __________ We could even be friends during the day. I took you to meet my mentor on the Upper West, who was like what you aimed to be, a Jewish lady with many connections, while I met yours, a dominatrix who thought I was a heroin addict. She sat on her porch and smoked weed and I picked up the cat and put the cat down and picked up the cat and put her back down and stared at the wild brown of the hills, wondering what a stranger I was, a stranger for anyone. It was unmistakable to me to be standing in those winter trees, feeling some nonexistent breeze, perhaps the lone long note of so many years ago when I had wandered this brown earth in a cultivated desperation, when I was glad to be cold and even estranged, in pursuit of limitlessness or some bottomless frozen lake. I had told him of the lake, too, I remember, back when there was something sacred about night or day, and every threshold had to be counted and I left a teabag in the cup after drinking the tea he offered me and then I ran off down the street because that's how I knew to live from the first moment of impact when he attacked me with a hug, and before and after that when I had lain immovable for days. Now I fell apart, as the colors of the sky fell apart, shade by shade over the horizon marked in the wild dawn while she smoked her cigarette, with the childish tattoos showing on her thighs- her shorts too short for this weather, and her looking bravely out with again the storm of black curls, she had mocked Leonard Cohen's line because she knew I loved the song like I loved to tell the story of strangers becoming known and then unknown to one another: "many come before us I know we are not new..her hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm.." Knowing you was not some rupture- expelling myself from myself some happy day a year prior, on a girl's kitchen floor in some rehearsed bereavement, no air, no air but what is taken from the blood. No, this was simply a departure, like taking a bus or a plane. I simply wanted that vast distance of the river as it turns the bend. I cannot always sit in the passenger with you at the wheel, though I love the way the sun settles on the far end of the dashboard as I point my feet up and downward, reaching again to touch the horizon. I was a fool then and am a fool now. I hang up the phone after this long silence as I had driven away without a word the night we first parted, no word but: "is that all?", a gesture towards your bag. I do not understand what the humans do, how people inhabit space together for long, except as the company of friends, but this? That you are near me and precious always? Devastating. I cannot bear you but I do not mind you. I can only let you go down the old road, bidding you all my blessings as you go. This separation will be good for you, I explain, but cannot tell when or how it is, only that the moment of our meeting precludes great loss, as simply as ocean meets horizon meets shore, and pulls away, and back, and onward. We sat on the church steps you just saying I could "do whatever I want" and I saying "don't do that, don't be that way, don't say that" before we walked to the island and you were happy again, even fiercely so, but tentative, hanging from the branches of a tree. We went to the old prisoner of war camps where I kindly told you I'd break your heart and you looked into my eyes and did not look away. I wondered if heartbreak would be as good to you as it had been for me, when I felt freer than I ever had, wildly free, and the landscape turned white, an infinite whiteness as it began to snow on the anniversary of the day I was born, and I felt glad to be unloved, better now to love still regardless as the first flake began to fall and I stepped aboard a train to the new continent. And later, in the city, I'd reiterate that love sometimes meant no love, meant leaving you be-
8.
I slept at hers in Bushwick after the light of the morning lit up the half empty subway windows. That reunion on the staircase was sudden, but I simply did not want to cause a world of pain. It is easy enough to live side by side in this house, and the hours measure better with your company, as you know how to pass time better than I. I feel alone too lately in this house, which I am grateful for, and still I care for you, and find you precious. I have failed to reconcile desire, and yet again it is alright, for in my mind, I know surrender, and still pay attention to what I hope to give. I also know I could lose you, or cause you pain, and give way too, and yet I have chosen not, but still sought to expose you to knowing it, before turning back, thinking that there was no need anymore, that you knew too. All the way down from the city, all the way down the river, the blue curve of distant land, the long hum of the car where the waylaid lie on the seats as they do in the subway like- stained paper bags, shopping carts orphaned from the supermarket chains to become human detritus but now the air is open with window glimpses of each broken tower and dreaming current the carriage is full, Sundays the people stand men clutching cans stink of alcohol. They are working men, they forget their skin though the sun tells of each burn and spot- returning as we all do to the city. That nighttime train ride by the river, with all the memory ghosts resting in their seats. The waning moon as the day after my birth, the landscape getting wider and wilder, coming to a chosen dream of the world.
9.
do you know i am terrible i know, that i am terrible, i would, i am, i would do anything now that i am- stricken- break anything as the spring does ice it shatters and you arise where the dream does perish i think of you like warm air that travels but you are most unknown to me that is the gift it is only natural, probably i know as the hills do, mostly, still covered in snow, still sleeping as the blossoms give way in the empty pandemic city that you will escape or in your mind would it be different if you were open, like one of these of course, and you are open. i was glad it was just your voice that one thing, or if you were somewhere, and i were there, your face or form. just one thing, though this is surely a care unbearable in my favorite way am i thinking of you, or something else, lifted in the light sky, this little state, the neighbors, the town-folk we cannot see, the land in its undertone of red, red as the berries beneath the grey texture of trees, the melting creek the mountains in their great blue are not familiar as my mountains, but new. many dreams of you immersed by the faraway glow of your spirit, or up-close, as it is like you were here in the attic room.
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13.
I don't feel when I'm not outside. Felt the wild light of the sun descending/my being. The remnants of the birds' song, the run of the river, on and on. Lately, the house had been full. Her lost somewhere in the tall grass, her perfect face and form. The gold as the sun passed. I left. Who was our next guest? I'll remember this time fondly, she said. Here is everything but I'm looking outside. Here is also, the outside.
14.
yes, i long for you there is no doubt in my mind, in my mind there is no doubt in my mind we are all so soon to die have so little time to lie in bed with the radio on to check the post for the relative gone to wear the pink skirt and the embroidered top with jewel earrings. i will try to determine what it is in your bright dark eyes what it is you are made of like some dear sister or brother my spine to your spine the separation this kiss implies i am yours to find in this wide forever night to render the winter peace with the thoughtlessness of landscape in deep sleep a deer with one antler torn wanders the lost clearing i imagine you come anew, pure and so true knowing what it is. you are one thing and i am another, spoken out loud differing in my pulse and mind, feeling intemperate beside you, knowing i am torn from you by the message i have left of sincere appreciation this devotion makes me, and takes me north along the road in the language of an earth we will age out of and in the bliss of unknowing, fall out and in again to the beauteous oblivion, this time i give you a rose. adorn your cheek, if you like with this or some other symbol to take with you along the way i will bless you beyond whichever grave of water, this or that river, for you, as in death, i will reconsider the word "love".
15.
16.
of course the moon was nearly full as had been the night we had- march is after all, the other side of november and in november i gave you as if some vital gift this is all a lapse of mine, maybe the most blessed kind surely i will not think or feel again here is the ride back from the hills getting smaller and smaller they are still mud brown, we won't see them see spring, though i held the first cream buds in my hand. should i compare them to you- looking at you is utter pain. you look more beautiful every day. here are the lips i have traced with my hand, one side will come undone above the other part that sticks when you smile, you touch with your finger when you are deciding anything. that your bones, the pink of the places were picked and scarred by you, not some bearable freckles of the sun, are bitten the texture of your skin only deepens here are these eyes that make this curve of the line, these dark curls wet after the water, the beautiful, you are a child still almost yet grown i like this mind of how you greet the people, please and find your way, the parked car, the escalator, the bowl of something, i am so glad, you will go home tonight and kick the heater until it works and curl awake in bed for a few moments until quickly you fall, why should i whisper that you are the most precious thing?, no need, when you are in front of me, we are already dead, i'd rather you be after where i imagine you. so go on forever, fall out of the light the moon has granted us as you ask if i was made for you or rather, i say, i was made with you in mind but you were not made for me, no one was made for me. no, you are the beyond thing, dreamt of only through this unbelievable love, and you and you.
17.
as i part from my beloved i say- i will cultivate some grand distances this winter, just to keep things interesting, or rather to look out over the bridges and say "now there is something i cannot describe!" at least it is winter- i find pain melts and cracks better in this fine winter light, so love is born. i want it all to be out of my hands. there will be a series of days i imagine: i prefer "over there" to "here", generally speaking

about

dedicated to james millard ("say a prayer for me, and i'll say a prayer for you") & leighton

contains part of "letters found in the attic" collection:
drive.google.com/open?id=1RICJRqd3bbPJxl5Whs3nbp4-XKlUe3u8&usp=sharing

credits

released February 22, 2022

ft. Nikusha Sarishvili/Birdie & Gnome Home/Waifu Shrine & Alex Archibold & Liam McFarland on a few tracks

also, yams, leighton, qrs-281

mourning-dove.bandcamp.com
sites.google.com/view/elenabotts
sites.google.com/view/unknown-sound-collective

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