Blank Rant

By Elena Karina Byrne

I go back to my dull boring search, foraging

For the feel it gives me of the thing which has

Invented me: that void whose sole idea I was.

-Bill Knott


Suppose, pulling yourself apart, you didn’t come

in one piece,

and like language, had to be put back together over time

and the more pieces,

the more you could think, and being half-music,

half-yourself, unafraid

to be only air, only white space, unafraid to paint birdhouses

at night...you’d

let grass be lawless since the sweet disorder of the seasons means

you require everything of yourself

to see nothing of yourself but the tired talk of being human in

proportion to your heavy skull,

its twin anemone brain filling with thumbnail pictures, the argument of stars,

metal post offices and blood banks,

books, the contortionist’s endless cartwheels and sex, with enough food for

forgiveness, incongruities’ parable

set to music, death and dancing on tables, bullies, and their lead tools,

backlashes to hard entrances,

and to this morning’s smell of dirt, cruelty, and plastics, and

a dizzy commerce wheel,

the growing crowds’ underwater move through the streets,

all there ever was for you

in a child’s shoe box, or under a wood ladder, altar, in the goodbye

paragraph of sleep,

or, or what mistake, rusty boot hinge, what doorknob falling like a bell’s

lead tongue, what

politic disguise and thirteenth happiness, what body, what

unbuttoned distance

measured beyond the museum awning of trees, tandem

inhaling, the bone-door,

that discussion to go on when flying the horizon, the flesh’s

final petition

which is the heart talking to the head, non-stop

talking in a language

you invented out of nothing, all alone in the void, in the white

room inside of you,

until you were inseparable to yourself and suddenly washed

back up on shore:

whole again, and oh for air, gasping …


ELENA KARINA BYRNE is the author of five poetry collections including If This Makes You Nervous (Omnidawn Publishing, 2021). Former Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America, she works as a private editor, freelance professor for the Poetry School and elsewhere, Programming Consultant & Poetry Stage Manager for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club.Elena’s writing screenplays while completing her collection of hybrid essays entitled Voyeur Hour.


Art by Izzy Walter