Three Poems
Stephen Chamberlain


My wife's parents lived in a house with a hair on the ceiling. Steve was their one-armed painter that covered the hair with green. He thought the hair was from his arm but didn't want to take credit for someone else's. He was a painter so he could paint and think about the hair instead. He finished the ceiling: "Looks great, Steve." The hair and ceiling under the hair were not painted. Painting a hair is like dyeing but done by a painter. Painters are usually responsible for one or few hairs. Steve thought the ceiling was like an arm with a mole that had a hair on it; the arm he lacked. He thought of adding more hairs to the ceiling, but couldn't remember that arm. He likes moles but hairs more so he painted over the hair. Her parents live in Illinois now.

1, 2, 3

1. The consensus we reached, then, was only the sensation of water in one's ear; or rather the hasty conclusion that the persistent substance was water, and this "water" created enough friction in the ear -- or even just the temple's vicinity -- for us to also determine that the liquid was using something else -- likely hair -- as a causeway. . . over itself?

2. Further discussion induced Rosa's comment that the license by the ear for the "water" to continue the sojourn to the brain -- which would, because of its traverse, cause the fingers of the afflicted to intermittently pulsate; or rather the "water" having, for the most part, vacated the brain, would now sporadically cascade into the aforesaid fingers, as if the afflicted's brain were using the fingers to tell him or her that he or she was not experiencing normal appendage behavior, instead of conveying that same message to the afflicted directly -- was presumptuous and by that time had resulted in a sensation similar to those propellered contraptions which scuba divers use to be carried through the "water"; which begs the question, if the contraption is the sensation or at least the cause of it, them whom or what does it propel? If the scuba diver suddenly becomes aware that he or she experiences the sensation of water in the ear, and proceeds, as Rosa had, to liken that sensation to -- well, now I'm not sure: did Rosa mean that the water-ear sensation was analogous to simply witnessing the scuba diver-propeller contraption; being the scuba diver carried by the device; or just that the feeling, after one has experienced it for some time, is that there is a scuba diver in the ear area propelled by the contraption; most likely the latter -- then are they more aware of the irony that they are currently propelled by the same machine which propels _____ through their ear canal; do they assume that they only lazily compare the sensation to what's right in front of them; or do they suppose that the fact that the nature of the ear sensation and their current mode of transportation is the same is just a coincidence. And upon surfacing, are they scared when their waiting friend says casually, "How'd ya like being in the ear?"

3. And now that Rosa has left, and the sensation has ceased its travel -- or I am still? -- I have decided that it feels instead like an assemblage of follicles attached to a marble. Curiously, though, the follicles manage to simultaneously suspend the marble, so that it faintly rests in the inner ear, and fall over the marble as hair draped around a cranium.

the thirst, like shadow, motile but there

I tell many about my theory -- the theory exigent to me for the theory never exists autonomously, as if it undergoes kinesis even in a vacuum. Only the theory still enfolds, subsumes its impetus, the simple act of waking but not feeling arrived, or the query upon waking, what exists between the cicatrix and the wound. Though the it may have explained more than the theory, for the theory only refers back to it, rather than illuminating or speaking from. Not pulling threads back to speak from a mouth, meaning either using an owned mouth for speech or containing oneself within a mouth, an environment, and still too sick to speak. Is now contiguous with the mouth-lining and creates new threads, says they're the same or enough, drapes them over the face of the mouth. The theory, then, was begat by the feeling that the thirst I spoke to someone of was not my own, and was related to the room in which I was the one speaking. More specifically the shadow of the room; but the thirst simply in response to the shadow as stimuli would not exist in me without intaking it, and thus even though not solely my thirst, at least made me the one rightfully afflicted. Or more intensely, the odious sense that the thirst given me by shadow is my assumption of a, the, or just shadow's own thirst, for. . . light's too predictable, I've elected for no more than thirst; is light that expected, though? Shadow has consumed light to become, and therefore would not necessarily lust for more. Possessing a thirst does not carry that the thirsting thing becomes sated. Is shadow not simply a semaphore, only the information conveyed is likely beneath the waiting, watching. If someone wields shadow to signal that they cannot leave in entire, can they distinguish the answer when likely the room. Though of different origin, shadow breathing up the face of the extinguished entity. Creating endless parallax for the shadow itself to experience, as itself continuously causes a transferrence in position of itself, and thinks what it sees is thirst when really just light. If the light itself was the thirst experienced by the shadow and vice versa, that would follow that the light we see tells us that shadow exists somewhere, if we assume that something must be alive to experience thirst. So I needed the arm to house the occurrence that I'm simply transferring the extant thirst in the room or wall or cavity or retina to myself because I'm often those as well. If the thirst is for light, of what magnitude? enough for self-immolation?

Once I'd fallen around the walls and returned to my place in the room, because I figured the shadows would proliferate regardless, thinking I'd knock some down, chafe some along panels, maybe even spit on a few while actually just accruing them, so that, as I started to say, I returned to the center of the room and addressed them, "this arm, look": and I cut the arm with a piece of the wall left from a day, giving into the room no sonoluminescence like Danae's womb, so not creating an arm out of the room, releasing just the of, tumid itself rather than the arm, its source. Only emitting and I said, excited as was better that it wasn't smoke, "this smoke-like substance is not smoke; I've decided its shadow." To which the shadow pulsing from my back thigh and several on the left wall remarked simultaneously, "it looks like smoke." And I think what was or is most frustrating about it is that the substance I emitted was a bit -- a shade, ha -- too viscous to be smoke, thus I misjudged it and either the shadows in the room did too, or they didn't even leave themselves. Viscous but liquid enough for a drip, as a skein, a braided, paneled excretion. From an emitting to an excreting and as those actions connote something completely different, I will say unconvincingly that there was too much shadow in the room to see it how it, emanated? Picking up the board I dropped after I cut open the arm, and using it to catch some of the emanate, or another board, though, shadow which had flattened itself, only much resistance and heft. Grabbed, found a piece, it, and that was what I held with the other heavier arm, as if the billows lissome from the first hole had synchronously jettisoned a portion, hurling from an itself, and despite this I could not use the piece to stop the hole, instead I held it beneath so I could catch a bit of what was either dripping in a curdled manner or if it were more of a drifting out of the hole, use my hand attached to the gaping arm to catch some of it between it and the board/shadow.