where there should be an ache there is a blank a hollow square the texture of grey clouds I poke at it test its absence lack of substance trace its outline the negative of a window perhaps a looking-glass of liquid smoke it rolls it rolls I don't know where it goes it is not like darkness nor is it a white night for every item I attempt to name I find that it is the absence of it the not quite that the none of the above I was told I would go through steps that there was a staircase a well an orderly descent ascent instead I am observing a spectrum of grey and I notice how there is no wrongdoing to redress pocket of pus to press no explosion only the shapeless ghost of you
grief a study in grey
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