Con Messinger is a poet and translator living between Iowa City, IA and New York. She is the author of the digital chapbook “The Love of God” (Inpatient Press, 2016) and “The Land Was V There” (89+/LUMA, 2014). Her translation of Juana Isola’s chapbook “You Need a Long Table Behind a Pile of Firewood to Have Lunch with Your Children in Ray Bans” was recently published by Monster House Press.
HOW TO COMMIT A PAST SIN shaping, rounding, contouring, a locker, a red locker no – that’s what they said, tomorrow is what they said. aren’t you damn pleased with yourself? I mean. I mean what? can’t I still be sad forever with the body of my choosing? isn’t anything as good? well it was something like looking at a past moment, you were walking down a hallway but it’s moving – thanks for being here, the floorboards say. sure, I say. I remember not being here or I don’t remember being here, I was just brought here five minutes ago, and that really is not much time here so, in the minutes between you bringing me here and here being this place, I’m supposed to feel something, so here have a sandwich, sit down rest a while let us see, here are some sins you have committed in the last week, here take this and drink, what about your novel? are we here? has anything happened here yet? so, well that’s a day. I saw you 6 (six) minutes ago, so what? those were great, what were? the six minutes where you saw me or the other minutes, are these six minutes called six minutes of absence of your own absence of not having to be alone with yourself, that could be called an absence of loneliness, la vide is not a vacuum it is a void, a void and a vacuum are very different things are they not? me not seeing you is a void whereas a vacuum would suck me into you which is more difficult to explain. how do you figure it? So, yes, let’s call these six minutes minutes of absence, let’s call them that. on the other side of farpoint station, that would be our place, I’m just waiting to watch snow with you on the other side of the room come thick or thin, this soup is too thin – all this waiting to find half a word, or the other side of me, hah, silly silly. It begins with your chest vibrating I want to start tomorrow, I must, who left you in command? who died and made you green? I did, from my amethyst tomb we went in as children in the forest, there were horses, I tried to dig in the latticed soil my hands stinging from bits of quartz, what is this a novel? I mean I meant to express this moment in childhood to reflect some comment in the past. was midwinter day written in a notebook or a typewriter? it is not midwinter but it’s snowing outside and I don’t have a shovel. I don’t know where the shovels are kept I’ve been using the same excuse since 2004. what will it take to be happy? I bought bananas. I’m not supposed to. I’m not explaining this well. I went ice skating around this time last year, after we got bagels and lox and I thought you were gay but I was wrong. AND WHAT WORLD ARE YOU COMING TO in forgetting – I see you – I look at you and I see you – this is the only form, the only thing I’m trying to do really. I look at you and I can only see you once, I forget you – once I forget the old you – there are two yous – more than one body – there is the insistence on many that disturbs, that is disturbing, as is being a subject or whatever, try keeping plants. where are my friends? see that’s part of my problem too, I only learned having a coke with you is a pun on Kenneth Koch yesterday, prior I just thought it was some sort of weird title, oddly low brow for O’Hara who seems so fancy. Izzy told me. I’m not good at figuring things out on my own and now there’s snow and grey sky and what the hell is jouissance, I mean what color is it, have you ever felt it, are you still playing in the hay bales. Also, Warhol has that line about a Coca-Cola being a gesture of solidarity between classes. Everyone drinks Coca-Cola. Warhol is a fool. no sadness = no golden hours or a cup lying on its side in a field— I remember your couch, as in there are some parts of memory that you cannot order as many times as you try. that car is silver. it is a box. it is not a car. those windows across from my window are almost a stained glass but they aren’t. I cannot find my phone or a reasonable place to live. let’s give ourselves the moment of this tree letting down its leaves, do they go down or up? that car is blue. up is green and down is blue. now what? you had thought that by some point we would be able to create a registry of emotions. we had thought that at some point this would be possible. this would seem to be a trajectory one could take. right. instead, what if you stay home all day and become a demon? I mean to say how hard is it to let a woman and her dog live. there is a bag carried by the wind, how hard is it to not leave her in the middle of the street, I turn and tumble waiting for some sign for you – the bed isn’t made, the car is old. and oh great, it’s another tragedy. when I say it like that, I don’t mean to be apologetic – I am sitting here. she sits in a beige field with her big dog. why is this so difficult? I went to see more birdfeeders the other day, Sunday, rows of them but the deer started tearing them down and eating them. they tire of watching things move, if we can call wind movement, we can. still nothing. even the grass in a field. it’s infuriating, we can. we can nothing. and we still do. my apologies. in my dream last night, I left my bag on the Amtrak, maybe while going, while, going somewhere. this means 1 of 2 things. you are doing too many things. this does not mean anything else. I try to get my bag back but cannot, it is gone the doors close but the Amtrak doesn’t have that kind of doors. isn’t anything as good? it’s a lot of back and forth. it was long ago, I was with Diana in the dream. maybe we were in Montreal. I’ve never been.