FIRST FOREWORD/apologies and escape route

Dear Elsewhere,

And dearest, and I can't wed you an image of silence to held breath, proffer held breath as white veil lowered, white spiders, footsteps in mist, a crystalline architecture scarlet and silver open-framed through which you may wander forever and yet not receive shelter, as the curtain hits the cast, as in-home aliyah, scale and scalar, as stand-in, as something beautiful to look at, satisfying enough to turn away from. I can't offer you an image, I can offer you language, and I can't offer you language, I can offer you silence as held breath, silence as footnote to silence, all I have is words, elsewhere, a low, tilted spinning violet disc denoting desolation in black void denoting thought; I can offer you mute, mimic, thievery and basic accounting. I have nothing to offer but mirrors, I can offer you mirrors, alter your mirrors, remind you these words aren't mine, end with a pause, with held breath, with instead of speech you can look at, an open frame in desert where it rains every day, and not even that, but I have color and shape, another language, I can offer you the scarlet disc of hatred, I can aim it, it contains loss and mist, it keeps my breath held, I can offer you words made of words and silence made of words and language made of somewhere else entirely,

only in public,


elsewhere there's a beautiful, still, and he's on his own, and

the suh suh suh of sorry I tried but only zidlvort and geshtroft unable to utter even a single word, if only I could explain, but that means beginning, beginning and ending, and beautiful images, and all I can offer you is the white veil of between.


SECOND FOREWORD/maybe begin again means stay put

Dear What-I-mean-when-I-say-you,

What's more important, the veil or what's beneath it? I can give you veils, I can give you the white veil of an absent tongue, the maroon veil of a dead tongue, the crimson-painted aluminum of someone else's tongue, mother tongue, cobbled-together tongue, a veil lowered of not now but maybe later, the edifice of someone else's past reduced to a wall you stare at facing due east, a northeast somewhere in your mind or your future, a pull as of puppet or kite strings. I can offer you veils lowered or lifted, not all or none, only some of each, speech-act golden curtains lifted behind lack of affect, behind this is not happening, this hasn't happened, and this won't happen but this will. But this too: I can give you lack of affect, lay it down for you to walk upon barefoot to feel the wrinkles in the fabric, the sutures between scavenged sheets of tin, a fixed smile that lingers long after you depart, after we depart, a low and steady hum of reverberation from what we were going to say, confession I was going to make, mistakes I was going to let bloom before life was lived and thoughts and actions scattered but the hum remained. Remains. Or a hum under a veil, I can't offer you much, getting it wrong staggering to the starting line, mainly zidlvort, mainly chei kuck, I could say I was sorry or still am but to whom should that apology be delivered, else it be suppressed, and if I can't offer you fancy language, audience of one, of some or none, I can offer you the plain speech of regret, such as "I regret that he still exists in Racine and in my mind" and "I regret to inform you that it took him ten months to lift his veil" and what I discovered, if I can apologize for it

never really having been there to begin with, still

wanting to rip his face off, or replace that apology with this one: when I say everyone I mean you, and when I say no one I mean you, and when I say nothing I mean you, and I am tired and my heart is heavy but I can still hold it aloft.

Nor yet could there have been or yet be romance, only white noise, bass clarinet, room tone and teeth scraping the concrete, an effort to kushen or swallow whole, I don't yet know what.

I can offer you scrapes and veils and their anatomy and vocabulary.


THIRD FOREWORD/by opportunity or by chance

Dear Other-elsewhere, brokh-that-lifts, the-you're-starting-over,

I can offer you no apologies but a thank you, a dank, a yasher-koeich. Heartstrings tugged, curtain lifted, new curtain, same audience, same unveiled breath, new lungs, aliyah, no need to apologize, not "lease on life" just get on with it and don't shut up. I can offer you heartfelt and know you won't laugh, or do so only when my back is turned, when I am thinking "the drain is clogged" or "against or away from her yahrzeit" or "I've got blisters on my fingers, my lips, my tongue, or that was shade thrown their way, they never knew" or "I need to make another mess, but how do I begin?"

I can offer you my veil-assortment, I won't try them on, and I can offer you my durkhfal, my flisung, my emune. I can't offer you an image because you already know, I can offer you a vocabulary made of fireflies, of kinds of flight, of hunger for not knowing what's next.

I can't offer anyone an English Language that was never mine, and yet there are still words, you and I can still sit and talk, and by you I mean anyone, and by you I mean me, and by you I mean everything at once, pulled together, held aloft, the heart somewhere

it has eyes and ears, it doesn't have a mouth, it has strategy, has a lightning bolt

we can use words or lightning bolts, exchange them, curve them, carry them around or leave them here because the them that they are who want written evidence need a farewell, a gezegenung, a Dear John letter, and

Dear John: was there something other I had to offer you but dead air and follow-through, was there something I were trying to say?

Or more in public, was there still something you/he/we needed me to be, andersh vu?

Andersh vu: a vais shleier, a shmeltsen harts,



(in order of appearance; everything is Yiddish unless otherwise indicated)

zidlvort — curse word

geshtroft — accursed

chei kuck — nothing much (literally: a little shit)

kushen — kiss

dank — thanks

yasher-koeich — thanks

aliyah (Hebrew) — literally "to go up" but also meaning "to go to Jerusalem"

yahrzeit (sort of Yiddish/German/Hebrew) — anniversary week of the death of a loved one, used in Jewish prayer service; literally "year time"

brokh — blessing

durkhfal — failure

flisung — flux

emune — faith

gezegenung — farewell

andersh vu — elsewhere

a vais shleier — a white veil

a shmeltsen harts — a found heart