INVOLUTION

INVOLUTION

Karen Ocana

A Purolator truck drives by the living room window 

as you listen to Sam Rivers’ Involution and expect a parcel, 

expect it to contain a dehumidifier.  UV index reads 9/10 

and a heat warning is in effect.  Blinds are drawn, windows shut  

and you’ve been watching the drama of leaves 

fluttering in the breeze 

reflected on the grey wall 

as you work out 

how to translate 

certain key phrases.

You’re waiting for the delivery of a parcel, a dehumidifier 

and your dress is magenta, clinging to your damp skin 

as you translate certain key phrases 

in the book you find impossible to finish,  

the phrase about obsessively tracing hands 

across the new and old decomposing walls 

sitting still in the white space of a room 

listening obsessively to the rollicking riffs 

of Rivers’ Involution.

Key phrases in the evolution of the tenor saxophone, 

subtracting oneself from death 

like engraving in white-on-black 

the risk of a window. 

Camera obscura.

            How do we see, exactly?  

Listen.

            Heat rises from her middle like frothy magenta foam 

on a strawberry milkshake, and she dreams 

of fording a river on a steamy night in June,

her blue pencil scrolls, pacing, spacing the words, 

the meanings trailing with the ease of jazzic fluidity, 

horns, percussion, heat, voices, 

the apparent free flow of highly stylized phrases

those of the conversation

those of the hushed 

lush conversation 

when you tell me the events,  the dates,  the places,   the spaces 

you last heard music like this.

            The record ends in the shimmering shade 

            of the living room where the sun lingers 

            like the risk of a door opening onto the street 

            where a crowd rears its head and no one hears 

            the roar of the rivers that scream underground 

            day in day out, as potholes creak

            under the weight of ambulances.

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