The Storms That Blow Through Us: Three Poems by Adeline Fecker
"i am the echo of something ancient . . ." [o]
i want to be new (please)
new like the snow this morning, the solstice sunrise, the printed page
so much has built up
too much me, too much heavy
make no mistake
it is not the self-loathing, there is much
it is not the hypochondria, there is suffering
it is not the acceleration of the universe, i am always out of breath
i want to be chocolate in my mouth again fully returned
burst out of the cave and taste truth before it grows bitter
about the trees and the grass
that have crumbled under my weight, my breath, my touch
(this morning i woke up to blood on my feet)
i have broken branches to get here
i have smashed the snow into dirt
i have felt godly about splintering and cutting
and especially good
is that not godly?
to damage, to destruct
burst out of the cave like the weapon i am but never wanted to be
can a weapon want? (i want to be new)
who do i talk to about entropy?
about the melting snow, the decay of the sun, the printed page
the chance at a zero-sum game
i am losing now
shall i confront death? implore god? (i am both by definition) is that absurd?
by definition i am entropy, i am east of nowhere
i could trample west but i would rather stand still and stop breathing
what can i do besides damage?
the ozone screams with every breath i take
to make this poem, have i defiled the page?
what right have i to sit voyeur to the sunrise, the snowfall, the changing seasons
let alone desecrate and contaminate their beauty with ego
who do i talk to about me?
Thoreau said one weapon to another you cannot solve nature
yet i need not understand it to unravel mine
can a weapon weave?
i could make a shield to push against time, a rocket to escape singularities
or a violin
can a weapon create? (would that curl or tangle space?)
i am the echo of something ancient
by definition i am celestial, i am the big bang trying to hold its note
was a song worth defiling the universe?
i want to be new but i am old and i am entropy
maybe we have children to feel better, but how will they be better?
i could create so much more
how could i forget
my cell’s rebirth; in ten years, my body will be rebuilt again, of the same song
but i am singing now
so, let me be new
and i promise i will shrink the net
i will suffer less, though there is much
i will hurt fewer, though i must breathe
despite the acceleration of the universe, i am just as fast
what can i do besides damage?
i am new today, tomorrow, tomorrow
i am living and dying with each molecule in my body
i am escaping every second i am alive and here
what can i do?
Dipping of the deceased in the Ganges. [o]
The notes race down the mountain side
In a frenzy
They slip down my cochlea
Clinging to a never-ending recess
I skip beside them
Through the miles of plot twists and choirs of rain
I find myself at an open mouth
Where everything is coming out
And getting introduced
For the first time
I wonder if there is some significance
In the way, the snaking river
Must come undone
Spill all its secrets
Always running and running out
Certainly, there have been rivers that leave
Buried in the canyons and the heavy summers
But not this river
It has never stopped for applause or intermission
It has never stopped telling me to be quiet
As if all of them are about to cry out gospel
Would you choke me like the Ganges?
Throw bodies and sewage and silt in the water
and tell them to squeeze tightly
Till I am a staggering wheezing mess
Till the fish wish they were never born
Till daadee1 wades into my arms begging to be clean
Will you want to be a doctor after?
ér zi2 weeps “my mother is dying, please help me” and brings you here
Will you slump home in defeat?
your eyes burst open in the middle of the night when you finally remember my name
As a child, you were singing river
Listening at the mouth
1 Grandmother (Hindi)
2 Son (Mandarin Chinese)
'My Funny Valentine 1', by Amy Dixon, 12 x 12 inches, acrylic on canvas. [o]
my heart saw you before i did
it’s beating picked up trying to talk to yours
that our souls are closer
than we are
and i’m spinning backwards
moving like i never have before to see you better
with practice, it could become graceful
but it will never be performance
i struggled to understand how i could have mass and matter and matter
but those adjectives pour out of my left hemisphere
with ease for you for you
i’d quite like this moment to be forever
if only to study you and understand what a soulmate might be
even if we never speak
or ruin each other’s plans
or read each other’s minds
perhaps i am simply waiting for your photons to push me
how many days have you gazed up?
how many of your ancestors fought over the right to name me?
and all i wanted is an experience
how cosmic of me to take my sweet time to get here
then steal those two seconds of eye contact and go
maybe i should abandon the binging
always keeping my soul skinny and controlled
little did i know how long i starved
denying all the best tasting things in life because i was not
pretty enough to stay
like i did not deserve to be full
but are you the color of soul food?
are you enough to collide with not for two seconds
and every second
do you have the time?
to sit down and have a meal with me
do you have the time?
to be patient with me
i was always in a hurry to get away
it took me centuries to reach you
but now i feel so momentous
and on time
Adeline Fecker &
WILD CULTURE SCRIBBLER'S QUESTIONNAIRE
What is your first memory and what does it tell you about your life at that time and your life at this time?
My first memory was being dropped off at daycare by my mother. The space had large windows on three of the four walls which, at my short height, was just low enough to see over. I could watch and wave at my mom as she exited the building and walked all the way to the car. In my memory it was sunny.
Can you name a handful of artists in your field, or other fields, who have influenced you — who come to mind immediately?
Annie Dillard, Rupi Kaur, Brenda Shaunassey, WB Yeates, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare.
Where did you grow up, and did that place and your experience of it help form your sense about place and the environment in general?
I grew up in Portland, Oregon. The Willamette Valley is a beautiful place and its proximity to the gorge and the coast imprinted a strong connection to nature on me.
If you were going away on a very long journey and you could only take four books — one poetry, one fiction, one non-fiction, one literary criticism — what would they be?
Our Andromeda by Brenda Shaunassey (poetry), Gathering Blue by Louis Lowry (fiction), Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard (non-fiction), Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson (literary criticism)
What was your most keen interest between the ages of 10 and 12?
I went through a big horse phase where I drew horses, read books about horses, and rode horses.
At what point did you discover your ability with poetry?
I feel like I am constantly discovering my own poetic voice, and that growth really took off when I came to college. That rich internal voice was always there, but I was finally listening to her.
Do you have an ‘engine’ that drives your artistic practice, and if so, can you comment on it?
When I find myself at a loss for things to write about, I can find plenty of inspiration in the news. There is a troubling sentiment going around that people should not read the news because it’s stressful and anxiety-inducing; but emotions are important and can be harnessed into action. To ignore them is a privilege that millions of people do not have. What is important is using that distress to drive constructive action. Poetry responds to the negative and destructive events in our world by creating something new.
If you were to meet a person who seriously wants to do work in your field — someone who admires and resonates with the type of work you do, and they clearly have real talent — and they asked you for some general advice, what would that be?
Write everything down. Every little thought, phrase, or sentence that floats into your head. Keep it in a journal or even a notes app that you can refer back to. Keep a list of words you think are interesting, or concepts you want to explore. These ideas can grow into poems or fill in gaps when you’re writing so you never experience writer’s block.
Do you have a current question or preoccupation that you could share with us?
How can we save our environment? It’s a loaded question, and I look to people smarter than me for ideas. I am from a country that causes the biggest destruction, but will be the last to feel its effects. This means I have the greater responsibility to repair the damage. My honors college course this term has exposed me to rich indigenous knowledge systems and I am interested to learn how that knowledge can inform environmental protection.
What does the term ‘wild culture’ mean to you?
Wild culture is a process of reconnecting with parts of ourselves and our world that we take for granted, yet are integral parts of our existence. Wild culture connects us all with each other and the biotic and abiotic world around us.
If you would like to ask yourself a final question, what would it be?
What's you favorite element? Air/wind.
ADELINE FECKER is a biology student at the University of Oregon Clark Honors College. She has been published in Ephemera Literary Journal, and Teen Ink (Editor’s Choice Award). When she is not writing, she can be found dissecting zebrafish brains in the Oregon Institute of Neuroscience, or tutoring undergraduate chemistry. Currently, she is working towards her thesis on the influence of sensory conditions on Autism related social behavior and neurophysiology. She lives in Portland, Oregon.