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Nietzsche at Night
the fountain

after collapsing at the plaza fountain in Turin Nietzsche gave up
coherent speech and stayed alive somewhere else for almost twelve years
his unmapped terrain resembled a canvas painted black in successive
luminous opacities of backlit abyss, if he turned on a television
this is what he saw, if he closed his eyes, if he looked out the window
again unshielded night
compressed into the unsayable witness of this sardonic-ecstatic
bituminous grey

     labyrinth night

              forested dark and fathomless
                                                           as eyes in Fayum portraits
                            what a relief
                                             to have lost everything


the distance

between objects and soul
                              vanishes into
                                             a  small vertigo smudge
                                                                      of not-blue

                                    darkness stays awake
                                    to keep the missing company
                     intently trees and stones


                        what we touch
                        like a bird
                        from the nest
                        does not


the hemstitched

      anarchic edges
                  of the canvas
                                 implore us
                                           look at the skin of paint
                                                      how mortal it is
                        in pairs
                        feather lice
                                     if only
                                              we had such attentiveness

                                                                   in the space between leaving
                               and arriving

                            brightness of mica
              will not fit on a page

                                        winter storm steel-blue
                   waves thresh limbic troughs

                                              all the handsome loose atoms


none of this

should balance
          but like a crow in wind
                                                 thrives on emptiness
                        loves us
                        yet cannot
                        keep us

                              at the rim of
                 أم الدماغ الصفيقة   

          we hover
                                     in between dura mater and neo-cortex
                                                    like bees in a meat hive

                can darkness see
                                                     can darkness see us

 sparks of extinction lighting our way



a stubborn
pink lake
looks harder
at me
than I can bear
my eyes turn away
but it’s too late
the lake is

         the lake shines I/Thou

                                               your eyes your yes
             your music from broken things



“the familiar identity of things has to be pulverized” Mark Rothko

“poor Orpheus holds air …” Ovid, Metamorphoses, translated by Charles Boer

ορφνη:  means darkness: etymologically related to Orpheus 

“not-blue”: Matti Megged quotes the ZoharA spark of darkness emerged-but-not-emerged ... not white and not dark,
not red and not green ... one fountain from 
which all entities got their colors” in About Rothko, Dore Ashton

أم الدماغ الصفيقة : the Arabic version of dura mater: the sturdy membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord: literally “rough mother”, “tough mother”

images by the author painted over postcards from McSweeney’s Greetings from the Ocean’s Sweaty Face

Meredith Stricker is a visual artist and poet working in cross-genre media. Her forthcoming collection, re-wilding, was awarded the Dorset prize from Tupelo Press. Her other books of poetry include Our Animal (Omnidawn Open Book Prize) and Anemochore (Newfound Press). She co-directs visual poetry studio, a collaborative that focuses on architecture and other projects to bring together artists, writers, musicians, and experimental forms.