6. 14. 2021

“Political Despair”
“Of Violence”

Bahar Orang

Political Despair

     & yet I hesitate to make any shape with my mouth. Despairing, I stay gentle to the knowledge that all my words were given by the dead. All our words bear something terrible, and something tender.

     Shadows, silhouettes, dappled light, open hands—there are no complete foreclosures for expression. Sometimes the boundless desire to exist is strange, subtle, and pained.
     Maybe it is the grief that binds us.

     & yet a belated orange light tears through the sky, even desecrated places are glowing, even our emptied bodies recognize what-we-are as interim place. Maybe without grief we cannot break
     to beauty.

     In every wakeful dream is my difficult longing for abandonment or for transcendence. Through and through, I am stained with it, with purpled waters that would not be parsed, that murmur
     loss, loss, loss.

     Beneath my body’s stone, my empty grave, my incurable remembering, my thousand letters. & the stone’s face that faces not the world but the earth, carved forgivingly, everything’s inscription,
     I have loved you.

Of Violence

By love,
languages, faces
Feverishly, I
chase life
before life,
before life. To
trespass language,
to trespass—
of the living. To
account for loss.

Nation names
and names,
some things
Unspeakable. It is
intimate, what
takes place, when
the rulers speak.
Poets, meanwhile
unbury language,
something will

What, when
poems against
nation are
highest award?

Now, I
to language.
Inside its
ruthless enclosures,
positing what is
produced, what is
destroyed. Tyranny
in English, or—
is English.
Anarchic words,
even, acquiesce
to power.

Wherever there is
proximity, there is
the givenness
of violence.
The flux of it.

I reach out to touch the body shaking, crying silently in bed next to me—
reciting softly,

I will not refuse
what I yearn for.

Bahar Orang is a writer and physician-in-training. Her first book is Where Things Touch: A Meditation on Beauty.