Relational Aesthetics

Perhaps we make a tentative agreement to the best of our capacities, to the best of the capacities in our capillaries, to the best of our pulmonary blood flow, until we become besties, beastigial in the gesture of the agreement that elides the voice as I type into a poem like a child, as I gesture from muscles into words. Perhaps this poem is like a Jackson Pollack or like a Henri Michaux in its gesture because it is silent in terms of content like the death of art into the existential death of white masculinity, into the death of semantic content. Perhaps this poem is able bodied like the splooge dripping at the end of a paintbrush into a dull square that gets called a hymn. But, perhaps each of Michaux’s calligraphic stamps are imprints of slick shifting genitals, pressed onto the page in the clay conundrum of this sloppy erotics. Perhaps this poem is Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Anne Ryan, Helen Frankenthaler, and any other female body erased by the drunken car crash of a big dick, dicking around at the edge of painting like a child. Perhaps this poem isn’t even funded by the CIA during the cold war as means of showing that capital has culture. Perhaps these are all just minor points and this poem is strictly formalist like the raw drippings of a raw and aroused dick. Perhaps the prose poem isn’t even poetry like during the cold war in some strange alcove of some strange alcove, exploded into the dominant culture, so it’s specifically and blankly lyrical everywhere like advertising for children. Perhaps this movement of ideas hasn’t escaped itself yet, child, as it is all still paintings and form like the most funded part of a public museum. But at least there’s still the misreading of text as genital splotches, as imprints of a shifting self like inked fingerprints on government paper, and maybe that is something, something in the body, child, in the body of a child, perhaps, child, that illustrates how wet and covered with ink we are in each instance as we touch the muscles and veins of our childish bodies against the structures of some childish world where we are together touching in a tentative perhaps.

aaron apps is currently a phd student in english literature at brown university. his manuscript dear herculine won the 2014 sawtooth poetry prize and is forthcoming from ahsahta press. his other collections include compos(t) mentis (blazevox, 2012) and intersex: a memoir (tarpaulin sky, 2015). his writing has appeared in numerous journals, including pleiades, lit, washington square review, puerto del sol, los angeles review, and carolina quarterly.