Issue 21: Katy Lewis Hood

from mast

          after Hemali Bhuta’s Speed Breakers (2012)

‘Matter is pitiful; form is terrible; in the sculptural work, negation is luminous and contingent.’

                                  —Lisa Robertson, ‘7.5 minute talk for Eva Hesse’ (2010)

‘But say you, surely there is nothing easier than to imagine trees…’

                                  —George Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710)



about (her) disposition folded outwards

“without walls towards unseen walls, was a start. enclosed,

the body fits the space like drystone, each shift

in weight tests sites for adjacency, or closeness to

the body              leaning

the body              resting on              itself

parallel to vertical only of

trees, spirit level just off, o/w cube.

she, she, and she (and). the place of meeting the sloping ground,

where the fourth corner of the triangle is the wood queen,

and the prism is weather. waver: what is left after all stripped back:

suspended transmission across old future stock, cold hands,

optical fibres.

              break. white vinyl letters, dark green metal,

              hip height points “where it splits into two

              does not resemble upturned twig, large stone or

              fruiting body

asks the body in the space

to slow down, brings the body to slow down

in the space, in the space the body slows.

the body in the space has a certain number

of identifying characteristics, a tendency

towards certain kinds of looking

in and out of walls

              > the look was all-consuming, or like putting on a wig?

the trees wear their leaves pulled down just so at the crown, a parting

of foliage gifting the ground. it is still too early in the season

for them to truly shake in the wind.

              break. 11 sand casted aged / blackened bronze roots

              ranging from 17.7 inches – 47.2 inches in length

              (2012) count span since between fingers.

              rings for birthdays spun in leaf litter

              lasts longer than ellipse. to come full circle:

              decomposite turns out of sync re-

              turns only to snake around, or ladder drill.

              there are ways between trees

grown out of eponyms, mappings, crown shyness—

midsummer craquelure—drawn out from seed

will transmit obliquely and laterally in spite of

the park is not open at this hour. not of a piece,

the bodies frame the bodies’ gold leaf or

patinated trunk. these are matters of veins

and paths in the canopy, sap memory,

documented brackets, tarry spots.

the park is not open at this hour.

              break. the first in dull light, roots

              darker than trunks not quite colonnade.

              they rest, on top, catching eyes if a tree falls

              “not quite natural in the forest whose wood

              and no one as though they had just been

              “placed is there to hear or perhaps just

              the angle of the picture does it make

              “an intervention a sound?

              the second cut through w/ long shadows,

              shot other direction over the bank. shafts

              slant, grass encroaches, ground crisscrossed

              with twigs. she (the amateur) sketches amateurishly,

              pages flap in the (imagined) wind. graphite

              rubs off in layers on a surface cheaper

              more acidic than rain. an alternative to pulping

              would be to carve directly into the bark: beche,

              he wole rote in wete, in drie endure and

              the art of failing in healing amidst the sound

              the scaling could not see the wood for the trees.

              > the nature of the “opportunity was mentioned early

and entirely w/o any expectation of gratitude. the young woman (pictured)

wears a backpack—perhaps in the manner of a schoolgirl—as she walks

through the grounds loosely counting. ash, beech, pine, sycamore,

pedunculate oak.

in step she walks with the birds

the deafening birds the horns on the roads

she remembers she imagines in step

for growth in growing into itself. 

soil remembers creak of beechfall

on the mast. from a distance, before,

a woodpecker drumming, after, a band of snakes?

never known for their realism, the serpents shy

from that which resembles the deadly to them,

their tongues not sharp enough to switch.

axe, chisel, cast. pitch myths of singing

to modulate habitat: lightly shave bark

with a drawknife, watch for cambium,

leave to dry. the surface is prepared

to be etched in charcoal; the artistry

of snakekind a form of trickery that trips

off the tongue sooner than the dawn chorus.

away, offsite, the park is not open at this time.

              break. return in drought, third impression

              is relief after open pastures, proper to estate.

              snaked from oak hanging horizontal in the

              ha-ha’s “uninterrupted view, survey back

              to pollard broadly vertical at the foot

              of the bank. leafed through, the deeds

              have a wavy edge, margin mimicked

              in the walk back to “where the path

              splits in two, around a beech, upright

              and laced mycelic, submerged, still.

              the litmus test is hand to root,

              sole to soil where fibres will not

              bend. last of the set points weathered

              gold to steps whose spacing tends towards

              a gait more natural, artful, more at stake.

finding (her) feet across terrain, the sound of plastic-

ity can be isolated in the recording “the singing of birds

the supposed practising by a bird of its song in a quiet tone,

the production of subsong obsolete “by heart, or not.

the centres of gravity are adjusted to the gradient, compounded

root-hair by hypha, labyrinth by limb. tremoring

bodies             of ether              whose empty

is a seaming from under or overstoreys (either) /

come open come patent w/o breaks all with courtesy

geotropic aspect just laying the ground

Katy Lewis Hood is a writer and PhD student researching Anthropocene poetics. She co-edits CUMULUS and amberflora, and her work has recently appeared in Gilded Dirt, Tentacular, FRONT HORSE, Plumwood Mountain, and MAI.

Copyright © 2018 by Katy Lewis Hood, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.