New Zealand-born writer Alice Miller and Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga, an architect and artist from Greece, met at Akademie Schloss Solitude in winter 2015/2016. Coming from completely different artistic disciplines, they have now brought together their distinct works: Two poems by Miller encounter a collection of pictures that Lazaridou-Hatzigoga took during her stay at Akademie Schloss Solitude. Between the narratives of the poems and those of the moments captured in the pictures, new stories emerge …
Any time there is a window, or a winter, or a news
report strung out to minute-by-minute;
Any time there is a letter, a philosopher, a question of
travel through time or Texas; any time there’s a claim
we can learn to stretch our minds across the greys of this precise universe
which itself slouches in an infinite series
of likewise or elsewise universes;
Any time someone reaches down to pick up a copy
of the New Yorker, and it is March 2008, and this
gesture changes their whole-life-plan because of a poem
by W.S. Merwin which says (among
other things) that all flowers are a form of water
and the whole world’s burning;
Whenever our hands touch like swords
and we bow, either because we want
to obey the rules of combat
or because it might help to save our necks;
Whenever the blue hour;
Whenever fathers wait for children
to arrive on a plane
when even the 24 hour news cycle
has had to admit the story is over
with the wreck fished out
and no survivors;
Whenever I promise but send you nothing
what I am failing to say
is that some of the moments we cling to most
are the futures we never let happen.
At the heads the waves crash rage at rocks and you watch, you stretch your attention like it can’t snap.
There are songs stuck in you that you might hum when your light’s snuffed, when your tree’s cut, neck’s split.
When the metaphors eat the real.
But how will you sing when your brain’s gone? Here’s how;
when you die, don’t think of the mind, but feel how your body is.
For if creasing’s strange, why not uncreasing.
Why not chrysalis.
Why not as your brain discovers second childhood, your body forgets its markings too.
Why not bonelessness can mumble song.
I’ve not thought to ask if heaven has seasons or how I might be cured of my need for new, but in my city the sun has come out for the first time in weeks and it knows how long since I’ve spoken to a man or woman.
And it says you must go and find some park bench with a plaque to a local who loved the sparrows, and you must carve their name into a napkin and let it go in the wind.
You cannot mourn all the dead, it says.
You must let them go one by one.
The Heads previously appeared in The Rialto, issue 84, 2015. Saving appeared in Mslexia, issue 67, 2015.
All pictures taken by Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga.