Like everyone, I am arriving and departing at once. My home steps out of the house when I do and stays within me. Through these motions, I discover just where it is that I sweat, and if I may confess, there is not one inch on me that has held back when I turn toward you. All my exertion must make me appear like a blooming, or a little explosion, within my human totality, if the look on your face gives any indication. Aren’t I exploring myself out of a body until I am all absence? When arriving and departing at once, the days last equally long. Sunday starts again toward a Monday with promise that Tuesday broadens for Wednesday’s realizations that allow Thursday to sway to a restful Friday for the reflections that occupy a Saturday wherein I am stilled and all days are the same distance from me. I am not existing; I am being existed.


When I, as an infant, soiled myself, my mother would do the changing. I believe that an extraordinary life cannot be lived without help from others. While being changed, I was gently brought into several positions that were quite familiar by then. I was set on my back, lifted by my feet, rolled to my side then to the other. I cannot remember more. Perhaps my account would be more faithfully rendered had I ever changed another. The dog barked. I had not yet even seen shame. At the moment of changing, my comfort was assured, so I wonder how a mother could fear for her child, because enough has been given, hasn’t it, though I admit that I am still childless to this very moment. Such are the limits to the fruits of my experience. Innocence is expired, though one’s existence has been framed by these loving and faithful deeds. There are so many people in the world, yet a person would be helpless if they did not take responsibility for themselves.


I was kissed on the lips by someone who knew the ways of enacting joy in countless others. It was a wet and soft kiss that created within me a sensation of floating. I wanted to float and continued to do so. While heading home, I pursed my lips toward my nostrils to smell what was left of the kisser’s scent. Hadn’t my lips always been shaped by desire in unexpected fashions? With my lips in this position, I had the sensation of having disappeared up my navel. The wind carried smells that interfered with my intended scent, but I gave my surroundings no attention. I would sooner spit out my lungs. It was a city where I was prepared to applaud a kiss that could invade it like nature. It was nature where I was prepared to applaud a kiss that could invade it like a city. I was not due any time soon to fail and fade from what was demonstrated on my very mouth.


Shot into me is the writing of someone I never knew who died in the epidemic. Somehow when reading, as though it was the author’s hope, my body is weakened and soon thrilled. That the author lived elsewhere in another decade is no matter to my permeability, my belief that we both could have made it. The writing’s preemptive love with its reader is evident. Its offer and intentions are clear. I should have been born in other times to get my nose out of this book and into a hollow along the author’s body, in a bid to deepen our intimacy, risking its corruption and exasperation, though I have been willfully seduced, in premeditation, perhaps to bring my author some comfort while lying in bed during the darker moments that no one should face in life.


I fantasized about a certain body I had not fully known, and I thought of holding it against mine to become indifferent to embarrassment, or the absurdity of anyone’s anatomy, when ingesting its scent to make the operator of that body accomplice, exchanging saliva, not to be made a metaphor or stand in for the entire populace, not this time, and instead to be seen by some and find a hollow in being seen, a profound adventure, because I would like to be sick with that body and its operator, in other words, of a singular breathing.


I sometimes get the feeling of watching the world, or whatever happens to be outside, go by. (If it is the world outside, so be it.) It is as though a great favor has been done for me. When bicycling, I am beside myself with little need to touch the pedals. My mouth is too distant, so anyone is speaking in my place. Anyone is crashing on my own bicycle. The wounds are suspended inches above the surface of my body. Though it looks like my hand, I cannot even tell whose it is that takes yours this very moment. When not existing, I am existed upon. Or I am made a passenger. Crediting me for my arrival accounts for only one side of the union through which the life I love, mine, is sustained. This union’s other side situates a body that compliments my own: a stranger I seduce, for instance, or the incarnation I may or may not assist.


Just to have this narrative is enough for my exaltation, however often I may fail to alter my actions, turn a phrase to its timbre, or escape things, and although thinking that the narrative is historically true is not necessary to find one quite noticeably changed, receiving fresh exposure to an undivided life, I wish to think it true and on occasion have even felt that the whole narrative, described as miraculous, is not so far-fetched since it is the chronological rendering of resensitizing, which I need many days of the year, if not every last day of the year, however many days that turns out to be, impossible to number, though I will need to continually approach that narrative and find it beginning again within me through every hour and more exceptional moments.

Evan Kennedy

Evan Kennedy is a poet and bicyclist who lives in San Francisco. He is the author of Jerusalem Notebook (O’Clock Press) and The Sissies (Futurepoem).

Photograph by Christie MacLean


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