For __________.

When you touched __________, 
you commissioned me to bring 
before your eyes the history 
of "__________ and __________" 
at work behind the dream 
that collided with our __________. 

He is lost. I am found to be 
__________, still, and seething with
the rage of __________ before me: 
I birthed him, fed him my fingers, 
bathed him in __________,
while you sat staring at the stars,
building nothing.  

In the kitchen, I sharpen __________. 
My sagging __________ hard-earned, 
unafraid of changes: in stirrups,
on hospital beds, I bled 
the __________ of him. 

The __________ is set. I welcome you 
to a __________ of consequences.

From now on, I will follow you 
__________ and night, until one 
of us dies or I run out of feet. 
The __________ behind you will 
whisper in your __________
what I told you before: "You 
are __________." 

Lorelei Bacht

3 Questions for Lorelei

What was your process for creating this work?

* Erynie emerged fully formed, but contained many identifying details / references to other people who would not have wanted to be featured in it. I decided to blank out the specifics, in order to keep the emotional kernel of the poem, and to create a space for the reader to fill with their own particulars - an invitation to co-construct meaning.

* Plenty more fish, oui, mais combien? is an attempt at combining languages in a single poem, which I found extremely difficult at first - I had never allowed my multilingual thinking to express itself on paper. This attempt is still heavily partitioned - apologetic, almost. I am working towards allowing a more organic form of multilingualism in my writing. I did have fun rounding up and examining cliches for this.

* grief a study in grey hovered in the air for days, then wrote itself with very uneven line breaks. I also kept embellishing and losing the threat of the one idea that is at the core of the poem. It underwent several revisions, and was abandoned for a while. Then, I took a fresh look at it and realised that I needed to remove about 3/4 of it, to simply state the weird greyness of grief.

What is the significance of the form/genre(s) you chose for this work?

* Erynie: the gap-fill enables the reader to complete the story with their own particulars, instead of being bogged down in mundane gossip about who did what. It makes the whole thing playful and participative, instead of a mere recrimination.

* Plenty more fish, oui, mais combien? is an exploration of cliches about love in French. All the unexamined phrases people throw at you when hearing about your marital difficulties - plenty more fish in the sea, etc. Every stanza starts with one of these sayings, but quickly turns into a slightly surreal retelling of the speaker's actual story.

* grief a study in grey: the form of the poem recreates the particular emotion it describes. It is shapeless, unpunctuated, a block of grey that tells itself but refuses to be broken open, processed. A form of waiting. A silence.

What is the significance of this work to you?

All these poems are explorations of an emotional situation at a given moment. They are not the final truth on what happened, did not happen, should or should not have happened, or will happen. They are simply a place in which something stated itself, and the act of witnessing it. Having lost some, found some, I am happy to move on. 

Lorelei Bacht is a multicultural poet and lover of all things bizarre living in Asia. Her work has appeared / is forthcoming in such publications as Visitant, The Wondrous Real, Quail Bell, Abridged Magazine, Odd Magazine, Postscript, Strukturriss, The Inflectionist Review and Slouching Beast Journal. She is also on Instagram: @lorelei.bacht.writer

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