MARYAM PARHIZKAR

Excerpts from COUNTERPOINTS AND INVENTIONS

 

 

Counterpoint: ‘A BETTER SMILE IS A BETTER LIFE’

 

In my trajectory the break of a heart: in my implosion
forgetting my memory. An abrupt ask: how did it feel
to fall that way, cracking at that part of you. My answer
in the crutch below my breast: salvage, my own
private Guadalupe. There exists a beauty I am told
it troubles though naturally no one listens. Punctured
or punctuated: now that we have it what will we do
somebody wants to know. In devastation I find the miracle
of my being rendered in my mouth. Chipped apart
I rediscovered a propensity for new pronunciation.  For now
I keep my eyes in the palm of my hand, to keep safe
from the general direction of others. I too want
to remember myself when I am old, all the things
I have seen. Transubstantiating through teeth: a fissure
tells everything I want to know. I see my consultation
waiting: a subterranean medic below the largest storehouse
for all things saccharine, all lovely things for rotting the bone.

 

 

Counterpoint: rushing hour

 

The passing of a changing same: once I was a thief but now
I only pay attention. Standing still time waits as though
for the right picture. What precedes your question mark:
how to take yourself outside yourself—how to know
unless you ask. The other city buses command you:
BE UNCOMMONLY BEAUTIFUL. I couldn’t quite explain
but at some point commandments unraveled and everything
became so distant: odds fell at ends with themselves,
beautiful began to mean evident and evident always
means definable. I never wanted to be a rebellion
but I came to you with an inscription—how
to be anonymous in a world full of names. Presence
is a passing when all is suspended. Passing is fixed
to what is behind. We move over the bridge:
it might be a wave taking turns around itself, a stitch
always coming back again, or it might be the memory
of a rib. Thinking of a beloved’s bone: if I cannot be
I will be beside you—being that kind of love. We are all
tight upon each other, moving over the bridge.  One falls
asleep on another’s shoulder, approximation for a home.

 

 

Invention: homeland

 

I watch the rider turning to a tide of faceless figures:
a version of the story where she is caught, eaten, slaughters
the animal from within its belly—where she knows
what she is doing. I make a variation—indiscriminate
the shadows, thinking of their destinations pass
each other on the street. Headfirst I run down the path
towards the sun, grateful for my anonymity. When I
am not a woman I am a creature ramming its head
against the wall o signal hunger. In my sincere melodrama
something scratches at my organs. From the body
of a man Clarice says every day spent living is a day
away from death. Not that I wish for death but wonder
of the possibilities that come after. Specificities of the matter
do not explain but make extrapolations. From the station
David wanted to know if it is so bad, to think of us
as another animal. Every day I look in the mirror and see
something not knowing its own terror. As we waited
to leave the man against the wall played music to tell
that he was hungry. In the dream was a feedback loop
made from letters floating in space. In the loop was a song
mnemonic—memory anniversary—for something
I could not recall past the moment right before
I awoke. Adversarial is the memory and my revisionist
take on matters. How it must be to locate coherence
of what all hangs in what we breathe. In another version
of the story it is the wolves who depart from a plague
that wished to gut them alive, no one hurt in the process.
In another version of the story nobody misses anything
that happened before the revelation. Running into the wall
of the sun I disassemble my pieces, taking on a multiplicity of time.

 

 

MARYAM IVETTE IS A WRITER, MUSICIAN AND SCHOLAR INTERESTED IN SOUND, RESONANCE, MIGRATION, FAMILY MYTHS. COUNTERPOINTS AND INVENTIONS IS AN ONGOING SERIES OF MEDITATIONS ON MOVEMENT AND ADVERTISEMENTS. SHE IS THE AUTHOR OF CHAPBOOKS PULL: A BALLAD (THE OPERATING SYSTEM, 2014) AND OR, AS FOR THE FUTURE (SPRING 2016, PORTABLE PRESS AT YO-YO LABS). SHE IS CURRENTLY A PHD STUDENT IN AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES AND AMERICAN STUDIES AT YALE UNIVERSITY, AND IS A FORMER MANAGING EDITOR FOR LITMUS PRESS. BORN AND RAISED IN HOUSTON, TX BY IRANIAN AND SALVADORAN PARENTS, SHE IS IN MANY PLACES AT ONCE ON THE EAST COAST.
GestureMARYAM PARHIZKAR