Marcella DurandMarcella Durand

WORKING NOTES by Marcella Durand

Machine into water simultaneously alchemical and chemical: chemical in juxtaposing two elements, machinery and water, & playing with contrast of texture and structure. Machinery artificial, conceived, awkward, practical, vulnerable, controlling, fragmented, fragmenting. Water primal, solvent, overlapping, pervasive, reflective. Poems then written repetitively, refractively, but with construction, structures, gears. Alchemical also reflecting intent, something appearing out of nothing, elements transforming, idea of transformation. Hoping for sympathetic magic in poems, written with intention to cast words against encroaching ecological destruction. The act of printing and its historical association with alchemy a very important element: words appearing on blank page, but also became interested in words laying on top of page, like oil slick, having nothing to do with shape of page or texture of paper, but only involved in their own grinding structure. The lack of interaction at times gave impetus for other interactions--the machine can interact with water? Will be water?



Four Poems:

machine into water 12

machine into water 13

machine into water 8

machine into water 1


machine into water 12

within the riveted machine blocks
a loose screw, a tiny trivet
ready to receive the hot dish, the
ample wish, the building deconstructed,
a demolishment of windows or sheer
glass archways, arcades of iron wound

about and about in braids of lateral
stress. Ready to support the steaming
entrails, the corporate need, the CEO
with complicated desires, the manliness
and the glass ceilings. The translucency
and the economy. The benefits and the

tax dollars. The columns bend and sway
in response to cross-quarterly winds off
the flatness of the lands. A few degrees
lower, the metal shears, to the coldness
of the heart, when mixed with numbers
in a dish of mathematics and upward

trends, blood surrounds addition in a
stew of heavy elements. Heavier in a
mine, or quarry, or this building being
demolished, a deconstruction of ether,
of memory, of placement in sensitivity
to other buildings, a stepping down of

heights, a human-scale endeavor.


machine into water 13

striated do the columns
gessoed                      make
in winds of       tear & stress
do they wander in cold and dropping
the tensed        springs & coils
of these columns         make
inherent                      do their materials
turn      within and       off
then      reopen in weather
signals these     columns do    stand
and     wither like       weeds.


machine into water 8

backyard equals a small pool
evaporation occurs in rings

of frogs drying out in a slow
tantrum the dryness of skin leaving

spaces, or islands: a vacuum
of mechanism, for machines

to run over the hills, filling
the valleys neatly with a grinding

sound (gears, bolts, nuts), uphill,
the drivers, the plastic seated,

the islands dotting, dots of trees,
alone, singular, (specimen)

this is a (specimen) plant: it
stands alone and independent

our (specimen) house and 5-acre
yard, our small frog (in small pond)

in evaporation (& dryness) in island,
erosion occurs, so it is dusty here, so

what? the soil moves around from
place to place and timber to timber

(woods: cleanliness) carbon roots
hydrogen drink, (replant)

or woods cranky, (singular, independent)
ocean about us (roaring like a)

making silence, so much of it
no gears or creaking (plastic)

sheeting, metal scratching,
straining, or bolts being

applied in tantrum of welding,
twisted and waving in sparks,

(house: singular) a grid
a particular geometry of

irrigation circle, house in
center (corner) then 5-acre

specimen (singular, particular)
independent, alone, metallic

bound bolted to another
a cage, rather, of application

in sparks & fire, dryness
spaces in between (skin)

and frogs, shrub, valley
or swell (land waves uphill)

will easily blow off
downhill, become plateau



machine into water 1

where are we supposed
to concentrate if not upon
water which is washing
upon shores and shores
which are receding under
the attack of many kinds
of evictions. Notes stacked
up (like good applewood)
in view of fire. Or warmth
presented by landlord by
strongholds this my darling
fortress my boiling oil
or simmering volcano
this the crack in the earth
the pie the piece thereof
and if this smoking fissure
would blow did blow will
blow then do we drop
melons from the sky filled
with the seeds of declawed
fruits and neutralized neutrinos
and do they burst upon
impact wetly and fiercely
to nestle nicely within
lung, spleen, liver & kidney
those cleansing organs
are themselves cleansed
and lit up within the body
with the green fires of
dissemination my landlord
how did we come to this
lack of fixtures, of door,
of entry points, my enforcer,
my policeman. You too
can be the radioactive
cleanser of our city, with
your oxygen bubbles
releasing fiery into the
filthy corners of my
body, your nightstick
of the hemoglobin, your
plastic handcuffs of
the T-cells, tromping
off to those isolated
islands, to lament the
fruity explosions
of the air. This watery
substance then is
my blood? yours
as well washing upon
the shores of
memory and
stopping for one
second as a wave
will stop before
breaking, before
sand is erased
under the overflow
of tension and
of thoughtfulness,
our water washes
upon each other
as either of us
cleanse the other
and is
the over


BIO: Marcella Durand is the author of City of Ports (Situations Press), the Program Coordinator for the Poetry Project, and the poetry editor for Erato Press. She has collaborated on prints, broadsides, and sculptures with artists Richard O’Russa and Karoline Schleh. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in 6ix, Outlet, Chain, Skanky Possum, and Situation.


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