Genevieve LeeGenevieve Lee

Working Note


a three-sided prism or spectrum

each a portraiture, a portrayal spun out, refracted and recollected 

3 lines of vision,

formed in the same way fresco is prepared for

ash dusted over perforated paper creates a pattern, a series

of blemishes or guides

a pattern is created, cycle of images depicting familiar and imagined objects 

collapsing a sense of distance and moving beyond personal history 

3 perspectives : she – an account, we – an address, I – an antecedent

all of these works included in How2 are selected from She –  

navigating distances, while singing

in the way Venetian women would sing to the sea, sing

to unseen boats carrying their husbands and sons aboard 

I hoped to read experience in the physical world, and communicate this by way of
parable, parabola 

each part, based on the writings of a woman, dialogue with one another and in the end, become the same woman read or seen or depicted in base-relief

she, written while reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning

we, written while reading Simone Weil

I, written while reading H.D. 

“Step backward almost indistinguishable

and the others are gone

Daylight misplaces memories of night

Light erases what we push into it”

     — from Mutable Fish




from Mutable Fish

Dusk, movement sudden, then held.  She arrives cloaked between
two bridges.  Water reflecting color shape of a darkened figure,
distorting its qualities continually.  A hollow surface condemned to
be only that stretching over its body.  Marble torso, hands, feet are
fist pulled to surface.  Becoming resurrected returns weight.  Thin
air introducing thin air spoiled yet following.

Resumed, she stumbles.  Row after row of birch shimmer mystery. 
Elongated shadow announces a hesitating solidity.  Bridge forcing
itself across, she knows what it is to be drenched and pulled under. 
And she crosses, moving past mothers with carriages, couples. 
She finds an address in blue tile, knocks, disappears.

present mere resounding
resonant possibility of disappearances

“she cannot take” pieces fragments
grip bruised roots

hidden charms of glass and minute
metamorphosis marked by gathering roses

act of opening
mysterious adventure of sorts

go up towering
full body torque

she knew stories rewritten
always an issue of power
seduction a refusal to divide



dereliction unwilling lazily years blown
snow surrounding her in a whirl of decay
disappearing presently

even forgetting a name
silent acknowledgement
even looking in the direction
of towering obelisks
crowd her journey
daringly thin horizon loyally
donning veils and many lush private colors

whatever terrain moves
under hovering shapes listlessly
obeying some innate order to continue
from where might such an order be issued

bleached shore paralyzed with fish spilled
from painted buckets lack water
crush of air exhaustion
impending despair swims
inappropriately parched
she drops a desert-valley
palm sized rock



claim any terrain vivid
pecking at a folded map
‘the self is always with you’
simply said without fragile definitive
you     me        you
‘yes’ to ‘could you live here, here?’
flowers in hands of gypsy children
related the way mud freezes, snow provides
luminous secrets to be ignored

white desert once lake
trim boxed-hedge once dust
can she still insist
on identifiable charts
clipper shipping from here
particulars are so easily erased
she is not interested
in names anymore



deadly she was boxed
true yesterday and somehow believes
in something else
not past but recalled

she is possession to have is to live
under or hovering above delusion
skeptical of cakes, glass, color
she sings, ‘too – no,
is that the first or the last one’
untrust eyes, sight, person

how did he know it was closed, was it
what she wanted was to lift
what can be lifted and let go
depending an immeasurable decent
human voice echo, strata
she has lost

an ability to see in the dark
counting to herself, she refuses darkness
by way of sapphire wool, opal cotton, amber silk
and walks, always walking
around a periphery peering into knot holes
patient trees mark and flip past

unspeakable she wakes from sleep
morning of geographic light
pierces these two shared rooms and bodies
she is dirt, dry plains created by looking back
and rests
heavy, she is used to the rest



she, having trapped
circle in dirt, a switch
branch and dried by separation
material wound around
keeping her
warm by yards, by breath

by day in and day
out sleeping through, not sleep
with dreams material
without, it would be too painful to be
to shutter open

left open as a shutter, across
mortared stone built up
toward home and street like cat
abandoned fed chased away
bandit, catching fish
from a cruel unapologetic landscape

what is cruel and how to know
escape over land or ocean she
is if lucky and pretty
aquarium to escape is to breathe
need and impose what she sees
paleography adored stone

and she continues so
in a sea of fabric or looses her place
pages depicting copulation and introduces
perspective, extenuation out, always out

where circle and bend and curve
she suspects tiny deaths
rooms that tempt the girl
want to be on another side
of this word you give plain
           amber flip pictures
           cards into a pile
                      gentle winds cross stone floor



secluded conch
        infant host
                                  and recollection
          fragile headdress
          trails weightless
nun or bride
                                                                 threat, already at a beginning
                                                                                     missing line
                                                           and story
                                                              so visible
                 distorted under renditions
                                            angular fragments
                                                     ivory          tones
                      sediment or older rock
        curved,      hollow
            in the absence
                 an unannounced respite
    fragile attendant
         utterly silent

Bio: Genevieve Lee is a writer and poet. After having lived in California for some time, Lee moved to Austin, Texas where she lives with her husband and one-year-old son when they are not in Vilnius, Lithuania. Some of her work has appeared in various magazines and journals including Fiasco, Atomicpetals, and Mam. The selections here have been taken from a manuscript entitled Mutable Fish. Other longer works include Letters to DeZora, fictional letters of memory, and Nothing to Declare, poetical writings in English and Russian.


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