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This poem is an excerpt from "Zephyrian Spools (Knives Forks and Spoons Press)," Neis' hybrid-narrative about a young filmmaker who is fixated on the enigmatic pursuit of filming the wind. Note: If you are reading this poem on an phone, you may want to turn your screen horizontally.
The frame becomes a canvas from which the world arrives.
Lay the camera on a tripod and turn on the power.
Cover the lens with a burning canopy.
From a sudden, amorphous plain the camera stumbles and falls –
slipping through the bubbling bog, acupuncturists tune into faded nerves
and tension points, swarming perfunctory cells ooze out pixilated spores
through sacred layers of folded skin.
Reels of skin unfold into the eye of a temporal storm, rewinding back
into the moving matrix of frozen futures, glitched-out memories
speak in alien tongues – vivid oranges, neon blues – outside the mark
of your language.
Reformulated joy unpacked into strips of pixilated psalms.
Burning canopy of suns, wolves recapitulating your human remains.
There was once a young girl
who flowed with the luminous crescent
of a full-bodied moon
She swayed with the flowing stream
into an eye of the crimson forest
The spirit of extinct animals
the pouakai, chamitataxus
forests of birch and pine
began to appear to her
as transparent film
Under the canopy of bare stars
she moved to the rhythm of the cardinal directions
under the cryptic instructions of the wind
she walked East-South
followed by North-West
She lay down and felt the soft moss
on her bare skin
her body feeling more pleasure
than any of her suitors’ caresses
came upon her
A warm purple light
shot through her
swirling around her thighs
The moon was full and shone brightly on her face
everything was luminous
she saw dancing swallows gliding in the sky
somersaulting and free falling
gliding vertically with tremendous speed
only to reach greater heights into the stratosphere
A golden pheasant landed on her belly
the wind, plants and birds
began to call out her names
“Lydia, Lillian, Lizzie, Lilith”
In the nocturnal depths of the moonless spheres
shining above the deep shining clouds
white stallions gallop across the galaxy-strewn night
whatever happened to the original wind dancers?
In whose golden land did the grass grow and the cattle graze?
what happened to the original feather-like memory of Lilit
whose name invokes the Mesopotamian storm spirit
of Ancient Sumer, circa 3000 bce
Lilit, Lilake, Lilitu, Lilim, Lilot, Lilith, Lilis, Lil.