Poetry by Carrie Bennett

Editor Carrie Seitzinger, Poetry, March 19th, 2018

"the director instructs: make your body into a tree"

Carrie Bennett Poetry NAILED Magazine
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Poems by Carrie Bennett. These poems are erasures/partial erasures/contain specific language from Judith Butler’s essay “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” and/or reference Marina Abramovic’s performance art.

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[Dress Rehearsal]

 

She stands center stage ………………..from a distance
the director instructs:………… make your body
into a tree ….close your eyes ….you are the tree
make breath a door without hinges
don’t think too much………… your job is not to think
your job is to be all ….body
let your body speak ….in stillness & desire
the audience will watch ………………..don’t worry
about the blank darkness………… it will come
& you will greet it with………… love
this is a generous act how………… you give yourself
don’t forget ….your body is not………… your own
when you sleep ………………..different acts
will be done………… that you won’t remember
do not fear………… the audience ….will have fun
all objects ………………..have a purpose ….a piece
of glass …………………..to fill with water ….you
will watch………… it sink

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[Mask Monologue]

 

……………………………………………………..S: I found a dark hole & fell down…… Deep in the
……………………………………………………..ground dust & wood…… soot & clay…… I found
……………………………………………………..a floor to fall…… down I just…… moved I moved
……………………………………………………..farther away…… falling a wall small squares
……………………………………………………..hands I was …… fallow…… I fell until lightloud
……………………………………………………..a breaking…… began to stray…… hidden there in

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[Costumes]

 

She is always ready on stage over time the body grows like a tree….within fields compelling fictions or….. sedimentation as a view S says there are cores to conceal this world or is it corpses to carry one no a coup a coupling a compulsion compels the script I am always wrong in this body barely buried away but….when the body is….. planted find the right container

Her performance begins in 15 minutes / time to prep & preen / pamper & ponder each inch / this is S’s big moment / to prove her worth

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[Scene Two: A Greek Chorus]

 

A chorus speaks / surrounds S in a semicircle / o pretty pattern / o lacy bras & G-strings / o body odor / o armpits slathered with soap / o counting down the razor / quick cut the wax & pull the worry stinking up the room / o perfect breaths & mouths / perform your duty perfumed / o putrid underside / o belly burdened with so many holes / o doesn’t it feel good / to be observed / from this distance / /

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[Scene Three: Organizing the Body]

 

Head bent over
………………..S sits under a lamp
sorting bullets
………………..what is hidden
inside each dirty
………………..shell & flesh
her feet pushed
………………..into a bucket
of more bullets
………………..sunflower seeds
pollute the skin
………………..another organ
that waits
………………..wanting/wasting

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[Scene Four: The Operation]

 

The metal beds……………………….. S naked
……….the operation …….takes two hours
in the theater ….glass ….walls ….seats ….we

look down ….at her ….first the body
………………..is put ….to sleep
……….a set of numbers
………………………….told backwards
………………..S becomes ….a piece
……….of glass or ….an animal
that doesn’t ….matter or ….matters
even less
………………..than her ….animalself
……….suffer the prying
………………..o hidden incision
all that ….is sacred/scared will
.………………………..be forgotten

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[Intermission]

 

All night S ………………………..start here
dies on stage ……………………there once
suspended ………………………was a hole
by a thin ………………………….in a frozen
string a single ……………………ground
star shines ……………………….thick plastic
so dark …………………………..walls glowing
it becomes ………………………red under
a punctured ……………………..the ceiling
clot or I …………………………..new rituals

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[Curtain Call]

 

Years go by / S stays inside / light-filled trees & the hole becomes a mouth then hands everywhere hands & arms / bodies pressing faces & more mouths / when a stage remains silent it is already gone / /

S is a play / she doesn’t know & rake away / the words & drugs sex & time /the tree is naked look how the tree stands there / taking what you / give it

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Header image courtesy of Meggan Joy. To see more of her work, go here.

Carrie Bennett Poetry NAILED MagazineCarrie Bennett is a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow and author of biography of water (The Word Works), The Land Is a Painted Thing (Word Works), and several chapbooks from dancing girl press: The Quiet WinterAnimals in Pretty Cages, and The Affair Fragments. Her poems have appeared in Boston ReviewCaketrainDenver Quarterlyjubilat among others. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently teaches writing at Boston University.

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Carrie Seitzinger

Carrie Seitzinger is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Seitzinger is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.
Learn more about her at her official site.