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The Elephants

Process Music

Alexis Almeida

They loved art they loved the closeness of art
They loved talking and retreating the brief feeling
Of apartness they loved the feeling
I want to be with all of you
Together without speaking a brief
Rush of friendship they loved
It more real than anything
To move separately across a room knowing
At some point they would meet
Love they loved to turn and be
Surprised by the way it all came back
From a broken place like a song is
Telling them to sing or a purchase
Is placed it holds you up
It’s prospect they loved a walk
And a question together a question
The way a room collects light
Can you cast a whole
Life inside its values yes
But I wouldn’t recommend it
Here as we are
In this room
With our friends

They loved privacy
A picture of trees its heart filling
With blood the smell of the morning
Her body calm not
Convulsing his comfortable with hers
And itself this dream and the way
They remember speaking
Not in English but every other language
They spoke this love
Is a politics touch the world
Touch my hands a transparency
Of color they loved color
Transparency in the word
Color they could see the river
From the bridge they couldn’t float
A river the source a companion
All your life a sentence
About pleasure and doubt
It was happening
I will I will
Everything just steady
A host
A host in his house

They loved against something
They knew was gone but loved anyway its
Face they loved the slow rhythm
They loved the sound of cars they loved
The ordinary the ordinary
As normal as a president
As pulling up in a car
Driving to the mountains
To say I love you
To say this is our
Year and then things change
They loved a heart they
Imagined would speak
In the dark a face can be ugly
Like the world a governance
There is nothing
No trust
No trust
I will love you
Driving there but never getting out
I will stand beside
The window I will
Go outside

They loved seeing and then
Not being able to see
And hearing the same sound you have
To hear the sound before you play it
You have to walk the line
Before you leave the line
You have to wait on
What you call a strange
Logic something invisible
You cannot hand to another
Person I love you
How do we protect
You from all this hate
People departing
The sound is there to turn
Inside out they loved to turn
Away to listen
To what endures in silence
If you call out to the room
The sound is there

Alexis Almeida grew up in Chicago. Her poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in The Brooklyn Rail, Gulf Coast, Prelude, Dusie, Flag + Void, Action Yes, and elsewhere. She is an assistant editor at Asymptote and a contributing editor at The Elephants. Her chapbook of poems, Half-Shine, is recently out from Dancing Girl Press, her translation of Florencia Castellano's Propiedades vigiladas [Monitored Properties] is recently out from Ugly Duckling Presse, and her translation of Roberta Iannamico’s Tendal is forthcoming from Toad Press. She is the recipient of a residency from Yaddo. She recently spent the year living in Buenos Aires on a Fulbright research grant, where she has been compiling and co-translating an anthology of contemporary female poets living in Argentina.

This originally appeared on April 30, 2017