Stephanie Gray is a New York-based poet and filmmaker. Gray’s poems investigate language’s inner workings and breakings. She explores the mysterious ground between pop culture, fact, fiction and desire, while working between nostalgia, place, and memory. Her poetry collections include two full-length books, Shorthand and Electric Language Stars, Portable Press at Yo Yo Labs (2015); and Heart Stoner Bing, Straw Gate Books (2007). Her chapbooks include A Country Road Going Back in your Direction, Argos Books (2015); Place Your Orders Now!, Belladonna* (2014); and I Thought You Said It Was Sound/How Does That Sound?, Portable Press at Yo Yo Labs (2012). Gray’s awards include a 2016 Lamda Literary Award Finalist for Shorthand and Electric Language Stars. Gray holds an M.F.A from LIU.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Artist
“What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?” “I don’t know,” said Alice, “I lost count.”
“She can’t do addition.” the Red Queen interrupted.
So called ultrasonic
If I saw with my ears and heard my way through the night, what would I hear? She was saying you were saying that saying it goes without saying. Often it has nothing to do. I may be a disinterested worker. It lay in everyone’s grasp yet no one found it. Low frequency sounds have long wavelengths and are too coarse. The strike is a form of demonstration. Uncommunicative from North Dakota. Of the so-called hard core. Loses that infinity of mind. How does the computer know what I’m thinking? Not even the most deeply committed can pretend the immediate. The remainder of consonants. Mirrored in the electronic innards. The fall of the voice. He had no alternative but to squeeze. Detect magnetic fields. Silence alone protects. It’s always written upward. We are in the streets because we are all tight inside and that tightness is compounded of manythings. Don’t get bogged down by trying to read. They have on the drawing board. After that level, there’s nowhere else to go. A certain amount of wired in knowledge. Only to the speed of light and the distance of stars. Porpoises have no vocal cords. I’m not thinking Woe Is Me. Hot on the heels of metallic. In the current voltage of resistance. The checkout clerk is doomed. You didn’t mean it, most of the time. The analog must sacrifice. A hole in the wall of my own. Dooming to live in muted. The blowhole may vibrate to make ultrasonic signals. Precisely to the degree they’re not allowed. Dynamic screens of arcade. Downward glide of pitch. Expressions of time with in. Brings things back from dissipation. Constellations seem to be in them. Because your walls were thin. Be assured you will repeat the sound. It should be turned over and the blank pages used. The shun book is written. The former book burner escapes. The psyche can find a locus. To make things appear, language must. Hints of meaning in the loose wash of noisy chaos. When your ears have been busy. If I had deep closets, it would work out, you know. Consumed with letters not written. Pictures selecting me. Old disposable cameras not disposed. Sound forms around the horseshoe. What you said you mean, wasn’t, really. There is a sheen that is missing. The hustle will make it possible. Why not do what everybody does? They think something magical is going to happen. It’s unclear whether we can make it all back. That reality is playing out. Someone else’s optimism becomes yours if you stand close enough? For a free Bible, call… Change your life parking cars in Manhattan. Kind of like a red light. If something happens to me when I’m at work drag me outside.
Inattention blindness: Instances when we don’t see something because it is not what we are expecting to see. When we don’t see
“I have trained myself to notice what I see.” Light in the dark. To see the whole picture. Did you get the big picture? Everybody missed it. Syllables emerge from disaster. The mirrors turned inside out. Some jobs are always in demand. Visually sonic thought. Secret collusion between what you meant and what you ended up saying. Shift to an ultrafriendly face. Are you ready to change your life? You can do this: 1-800- Think. Finds himself sharing in the psychic pain. Basking in ambient bummers. Shedding what was “a few years ago.” Loses a degree of boomtown. I didn’t see it coming. You missed all the signs. She didn’t see it at all. The city that never sleeps definitely needs a nap. You didn’t know it but you were sacked by the Goths. We knew what you were all about. Keep it alive by not messing it up too much. I don’t believe you that you didn’t see it coming. I don’t see what you’re saying. He was last seen wearing a smirk. If there was a silver lining, I didn’t see it. Even that, it turns out, was an illusion. The secretary has seen it all.
Hazel Mayhall, lowly negative cutter, 1959
I think I can see what you see. To crop the world a million times over. To replace yesterday with today. To substitute my nostalgia for your déjà vu. You cropped yesterday’s heartbreak with the Empire State Building in the background of a big bulky taxicab. Perfection is forgettable. You tabled two scenes together and two more and two more until we got a two-hour movie. But really, you have to understand, it’s complex. People are aware they cannot accumulate everything. But you did. Except what the director said not to. There’s a bin at the back of your brain of every outtake sitting in the middle of your best dinner at home with the company. Yes: we really understand, it’s complex. Some days you forget what’s the real movie. All you remember is how long it took for you to cut out the scene. When you see the movie you see it but don’t see it you see it but don’t see it, instead of the kiss you see the laugh and bump into nose. The theorist couldn’t do it but you could: we need a new narrative. You turned the sky into a limpid blue. You saw the whole picture. It was stillness on the move. You trained yourself to notice what you see. You wished everyone bon voyage over and over again. You left them on a trip that never happened. You did the walk that nobody really sees. You had no clue what you were delivering. You dreamed of a day with no orders and no deadlines. You dreamed the outtakes remade themselves as the movie in the boardroom. Everything that didn’t happen, happened all at once back-to-back in one hour. It was an hour of nothing happening. If you can’t see it, is nothing there? This is what happens in slow times, it goes into slow motion. You can’t help the people who want their world back intact. You help to rule everything out into a particular shape. You made sure nothing ever registered until a few seconds after it past. I wanted to ask you if I could dive into your outtakes. If it would take me back to the same as it ever was, a loophole large enough to drive truckloads through. To see what historians want to see. To go back to the back up tapes erased. To erase the time cards. The crime is that people don’t know about this. To not be on a bridge to nowhere. Screams from countless girls who are too young to drive. Forgetting that this isn’t theater, but something like life. Filled with glimpses of catastrophe. It was all about just keeping everything at bay. It happened by pure accident. It was not a Tupperware party in Jericho Long Island. The last edit is the shrewdest hustle.