quarry lake

quarry lake

Illustration by Vaidehi Tikekar

ola says we should try to will alcohol into our lives
despite wanting that more than anything, i say
i’ve no faith in will power because it’s never conjured
there’s no will in this bio

as we walk through the lower vienna to quarry lake,
i take a picture of her beneath brick arches of
an aqueduct/bridge of water above, i wondered which direction
that water flowed, if it flowed

materiality and art’s a charge between us, or for me
through cybernetic sharing of literature, exhibits, and videos
about decolonization, sympoietics, animal-human relations, new materialism
ocean archives rich interplays in a queering world, tentacular mischief

but along a trail, quarry dredged mountainside clay-faced and shade
before an abandoned building, so we discuss detroit and ruin porn
i think of all the facades of soviet production in eastern europe
it didn’t occur to me that we were touring each other’s minds

climbing up a snake throated road we couldn’t translate prohibition
ola says she’s been told it looks like somewhere outside europe
as we reach quarry lake, it’s a rather small square body of water
an algae-green and its shore a blossoming of young adults
white pedals mulched a trodden soil

escaping, closer to water, passing through edges
to an alcove, tucked away, she spreads vegan homemade jam on toast
in the intimate location, without intimacy found
and in silence listening to ducks landing in water
watching trailing ripples of a large coy fish
that didn’t belong there

she says this looks exactly like europe and observes a mosaic
of deadened trees, nonnative outgrowths, nonnative fish in this prosthetic lake
and hillsides shaven down to exposed bone

i lay back as she smokes, says she’ll join but never will
looking out along the greying waters, sashaying impression of rippled pines
closing my eyes, wind hushes anxiety, mammalian murmuring
lapping of water, some tranquility, some essence remains

i sit up again and she’s leaning away from me
as if i was a violation, that i’d extract, but maybe now i repulse
there’s no desire for me to impose this feeling
my body i wish it less threatening, to match the gentleness
approachability i feel exists beneath, but it problematizes…

it has been like this since we first met and my first suspicions
after our first date where we drank wine in a park and slept together
were clarifying: the connection i felt was perhaps mine alone

i ask her what she wants of me and i can’t quite understand
her mind is remote, her body moving further away from me
she’s talking about how she felt a connection with me in the park
but since dissipated, and i replayed it through my head:
that night, our inebriation, the collision of our moments
subtle withdraws throughout, i’m replanting trees in
a quarried mountainside

and we joked about how our dating apps collapsed but
we somehow were reconnected, and how public transportation
led her all around the city making her over an hour late
on our first meeting, that maybe there was some cosmological
glove trying to prevent a meeting, it’s all blind movement
retinal afterimage

somewhere down the line was continuity, a discourse
capitalism, a dimension of nature in cybernetics and data protection
the web has opened, but i’m thinking our data insecurity, our privacy
is only our own doing, not in the vibrancy of indra’s shimmer

but sympoietics of uncontainable expression, not
unlike rhizomic, rooted, blooming springtimes of
material wilderness, yesteryears, haunts of trace
of knowledge, of materiality of a world in rubble
compost and critter the kinship, worming pleasure
and life out of chthonic dreg

and perhaps then, best let it all go because
like quarry lake, we could only extract, we could only colonize, orientalize
this fantasy Real, of these dialogic relations, that aren’t (t)here,
we were visiting, a place wasn’t real, all the subsequent tension and conflict,
wondering then was she trying to get a drink just to feel
that connection with me again, a narrative, that there we
could artificially re-create, re-spawned that flow of affection,
standing beneath aqueducts in lower vienna

but it was recreation. recreate-ion. reproduced. artifice. i could try to will it
we could try to will it to pass the time. to feel something else
or just sustain this a bit longer. to be drunk into continuity.
rupture from material pain

ola asks what i want. in a way i want to be wanted. i wanted to feel pleasure
jouissance, which was maybe something negotiated, maybe constructed,
to recreate a good time again, recreation of our time,
yet what i want, want i, want is something natural. no quarry lakes of time,
and i think we all do. i think i do. perhaps it’s our nature
to make unnatural natural. want was artificial.
what could never be… be
what will never be

Dan Talamantes

is a writer and historian from the Central Valley of California. His work has been published in the Elderly, Cathexis, Soft Punk, Paragon Press, The Write Launch, SF Chronicle, among others.

All contributions from Dan Talamantes

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